Friday, March 31, 2006


Dependent claws

Ice-T, shown here as the kitty version of a tween, undergoing early political orientation, goes under the knife today! His little toesies will be sore!

After long and anguished consideration -- and getting a bunch of new furniture last weekend -- I decided to have his front claws whacked off.

He has been outside, like, three times, since we made him a house cat. Just before Christmas, he rode with me to Starbucks and back. Once since then, I took him out on the porch and when a car came by he freaked out and climbed my head like a tree.

Ice-T is agoraphobic. We are committed to havin' a house cat. Who knew?

Thus and so: Off with his talons!

Y'all who are opposed to such on principle, feel free to beat me about the head and shoulders. Fact is, my new, oh-so-comfy leather recliner -- and Dr. ER's new chaise lounge -- didn't leave room in the house for such principles.

Not to worry: I love my kitty, and as his Lord and Savior, I will take care of him.


Thursday, March 30, 2006


Dadgummable dialect!

A Texas state trooper pulled over an Oklahoma pickup on I-35. The trooper asked, "Got any ID?"

The Okie replied, " 'Bout whut?"

I love this! The joke's in the dialect, y'all. Anybody don't get it, lemme know'n I'll splain it directly.

(Thanks to "T" in Texas)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Editor's lament I

My kingdom for someone who can tell a dadgum hyphen from an ever-lovin' dash -- and knows how to use each!

Carry on.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Sometimes I don't know ...

... whether I'm comin' or goin' in life -- but I keep on truckin' anyway.

--ER (Photo by Dr. ER on State Highway 1, the Talimena Drive, in "Little Dixie," southeastern Oklahoma.)

Monday, March 27, 2006


'We're OK with it all'

Americans do not deserve America.

Awesome and sickeningly depressing scene from "Boston Legal" -- links to transcript and video.



(Thanks to Drlobojo).

Sunday, March 26, 2006


'Chopra, Aristole or Jesus?'

But first ...

This morning in this church.

The Reading.

The Prayer of Confession:

"Lord of Life, help us to understand the wisdom of the separation of church and state, and the importance of religious values in the shaping of a humane society. We have not only freedom of religion in our nation, but freedom from it as well. As the world grows more violent, help us to recover the wisdom of the founders, who gave us a legacy of religious freedom, and religious tolerance. In Christ's name, Amen."

The biggest challenge.

And now, to our regularly scheduled devotional ...

Edward Fudge
Mar 26, 2006

A Bible professor summarizes author-guru Deepak Chopra's message as "Don't trust the intellect; go to the heart," then asks whether the same mindset infects much contemporary Christian thinking.
* * *

Chopra is indeed one of today's most prominent purveyors and popularizers of New Age, Hindu-oriented, "Eastern" mysticism. As such, he preaches distrust of the intellect, so that the "heart" swallows up everything else. You are surely correct that Christians in any age are always susceptible to the tossing waves and swirling winds of their own intellectual environment.

For that very reason, we need vigilantly to remain grounded in Jesus Christ, in whom God has disclosed himself incarnate, by whom he has redeemed us and received us to himself, and through whom he gives us every spiritual blessing (Eph. 4:14-16; Col. 2:8-10). Remember, however, that Christians may also be misled by the siren calls of Western logic and philosophy as well -- whether via Aristotle, John Locke, Scottish "Common Sense" empiricists, or current advocates of sovereign logic -- which preach distrust of the heart so that the mind swallows up everything else.

Far better to choose as guru ("a personal religious teacher and spiritual guide" -- Webster), but as far more than guru -- indeed, as Son of God, Savior of the world, resurrected Lord, baptizer in the Spirit, divine healer and coming King -- that man born neither in the East nor the West but in ancient Mediterranean Palestine, who saw the total picture and charged, "You shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart AND with all your mind" (Matt. 22:37).


Copyright 2006 by Edward Fudge. Permission hereby granted to reprint this gracEmail in its entirety without change, with credit given and not for financial profit. Visit our multimedia website at

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Buck Owens, 1929-2006, RIP

***UPDATED with better obit***

"Pbptpth! He was gone!"

Poor ol' Buck! Lived a good, long life, though.

Read the Buck Owens Wikipedia entry here.

Read about his Oklahoma City connections here.

Rest in peace, chief Buckaroo!


Friday, March 24, 2006



This is why, despite my self-estrangement from the Southern Baptist Convention, I remain a Baptist:

Because the yahoos runnin' the show now are a shameful aberration, and I pray for a return to true "soul competency" and "soul freedom" among my fellow Baptists, and I await a return, as I fight in my own little bloggy way, for a return to the historical conception of the separation of church and state in this country.

God bless Bill Moyers:

"This is a time for heresy. American democracy is threatened by perversions of money, power, and religion. Money has bought our elections right out from under us. Power has turned government “of, by, and for the people” into the patron of privilege. And Christianity and Islam have been hijacked by fundamentalists who have made religion the language of power, the excuse for violence, and the alibi for empire. We must answer the principalities and powers that would force on America a stifling conformity. Either we make the heretical choices that will inspire us to renew our commitment to America’s deepest values and ideals, or the day will come when we will no longer recognize the country we love."

In the comments, read the rest of his remarks delivered March 14 upon the establishment by Marilyn and James Dunn, of the Wake Forest Divinity School, of a scholarship in religious freedom in the name of Judith and Bill Moyers.

(Thanks to Drlobojo, fellow Diasporal Southern Baptist, for sending me the text.)



'The Lies of George W. Bush'

I am on a roll. Look away if it burns your eyes.


"George W. Bush is a liar. He has lied large and small, directly and by omission. His Iraq lies have loomed largest."

Read more from David Corn in The Nation.

Check out the book from Amazon.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Sioux uprising

Here's another damned lie from every other right-wing simpleton out there:

"They're for abortion! They're FOR killing babies!"

Bull. Shit. Those are the most damnable of lies.

I am for admitting that since I don't have a uterus, I don't have a dog in the hunt. "Choice" means that: Women make the decision because it's their decision.

A woman makes the decision because it's her decision.

And the lying bastards say, all that time, that that means pro-choice people are "for abortion." Lying bastards.

The Sioux uprising:

“I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction,” declared Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota.

Read more about it at Bitch, Ph.D.

"Over and over in the Gospels, Jesus is scathing in his dealings with hypocrites. We believe that Jesus would recognize the inherent hypocrisy in decreasing support for family planning or reducing access to contraception while simultaneously seeking to criminalize abortion. Such actions deny women and men access to basic help and information on family planning while, at the same time, forcing them to bear children. Abstinence-only education programs pushed by the right are actually associated with an increase in the rate of abortions. Such approaches like these increase the rate of abortions. They are not about protecting life; they are about controlling and punishing desperate women, especially poor women. Criminalizing abortion would also disproportionately target poor women who could not go abroad for a legal abortion."

Read more on the hatred behind criminalizing abortion at Christian Alliance for Progress.



Bush: Harding, not Grant


(Trying KEvron's extreme minimalist blogging technique ...)



Free press for ER

Mark M. at the formerly obscurely but originally named "Four Rows Back" blog, now unoriginally and humdrum-edly named "Casting Pearls Before Swine," has done me dishonor.

One, he has blogged a whole rant about something I wrote over here.

Two, he never named me as as the blogging culprit.

He quoted me directly, so that makes him a petty thief. And there's a lie or two in it about me, which makes him worse.

Cracks me up. What I wrote was not directed at him, did not mention him -- and should not have concerned him, at least no more than the heartburn I get from reading his crap from time to time.

Here's Mark's rant.

Here's what prompted it, with full context, which, or course, Mark ignored.

Mark. Get. A. Life.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006


New lies from Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family is lying about the intentions of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State for this November's election season.

Read the lies, which FOTF considers "spin."

Dr. Dobson needs to rein in the liars who are working for him.

What does Americans United say? Read it here.

Congratulations -- again! -- to Focus on the Family and its PAC for growing so successful in politics. The organizations have real influence. They are running with the big dogs, for sure.

FOTF is becoming indistinguishable from the rest of the cacaphony of the right wing. Same press releases. Same write-your-congressman campaigns. Same newsletters and mailouts and fund-raisers and political strategizing.

FOTF. Has. Arrived.

Impressive. Very worldly. You can hardly even tell it's a "parachurch" organization.

None of which has anything to do with the Gospel -- or with families, for that matter.

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."



Jackass trap

There's a jackass hangin' around here again.

Here's some bait:

The Erudite Redneck blog is all about ER.

Imagine that!

ER tries not to be rude, but is sometimes.

How dare he?

ER is always surprised by jackass attacks.

He's guileless that way.

ER knows "erudite" means "scholarly," not "smart."

What a smartass!


That should be "er," you puffed-up, self-important jerk.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Is an attack imminent?

By The Erudite Redneck

"Isaac Hayes Controversy Continues," the AOL headline says. "Is Scientologist returning to South Park?"

Here we go again. With ALL that's going on, and going wrong, in the world and with this country, we've let our attention span get away from us again, and I think it started with the Dubai ports deal.

So many people were so caught by surprise by the story, and so caught up in the story -- and some are so embarrassed that they were caught by surprise and caught up in the story -- that lots of people just tuned the hell out again.

Myself, I'm still agin' any foreign gubmint controlling the ins and outs and tos and fros of our ports. Period.

It's all part of my unabashed protectionist stance on trade and the economy in general -- and my main bitch about Bubba: Part of his triangulation was to be "conservative" on "free" trade. SHAFTA and all that.

There is "us," and there is "them" -- and NEITHER should bow to Mammon above all.

My own attention span has snapped, too, though.

It's no fun picking on the alleged president. Like makin' fun of a Special Olympics kid. Wait -- that's an insult to Special Olympics. ... It's like making fun of your basic eighth-grade boy tryin' to keep up with a graduate seminar.

No fun picking on the Republican Party. I tend to turn away when I see anyone shittin' their britches.

No fun cheering on the Democrats -- they lost what was left of their soul when they left Sen. Feingold hanging out last week with his proposal to censure the alleged president.

Hope, yet, springs eternal. The righty-rights seem to think that the Dems have no chance this November without a "viable alternative" to the ransacking the Repubs and their alleged president have been up to these long years.

Nah. If my sewer were backed up here in the house, I'd hire someone, perhaps in desperation, on their mere claim to be able to come in and clean the place up -- THEN I'd listen to whatever ideas they might have for fixing the problem itself.

Stopping the shit when it's rising fast is the most important thing.

... A ramble, yes. ... Newswise, today makes me think of 9/10 for some reason. And that makes me wary that another attack is imminent. You know, to "pull us all together" again and all.

As if. The right-wing leadership of this country pissed away one chance at internal unity and global empathy. No reason to think they wouldn't do it again.


Monday, March 20, 2006


Buffaloed, or, Lenten cheating?

As regular ER-udites know -- hey, I just coined that! I christen y'all peeps of mine ER-udites! -- as y'all know, my Lenten pledge was to desist eating beef and pork.

Beef. Pork.

And I haven't had a bite of beef or pork since before Ash Wednesday. It's something I think about every day, which, I think, is the main purpose of Lent.

I made the pledge thinking I might have a lamp chop or two during Lent -- lamb not being either beef or pork.

At the store where I went to get a couple of lamb chops, they had buffalo! I bought a buffalo steak and a little buffalo barbecue.

I laughed out loud when I saw it in the butcher's case, thinking, "What a surprise! The Lord does have a sense of humor."

Saturday night, I had a buffalo steak and potato for supper. Today for lunch, I had a little buffalo barbecue -- I'll freeze the rest for later.

Dr. ER claims I have gone back on my Lenten pledge because buffalo is red meat.

But I didn't pledge not to eat red meat. I pledged not to eat beef and pork.

My conscious is clear, although I did feel a little bad about it when Dr. ER gave me a hard time.

I honestly interpreted it as a funny redneck kind of Lenten blessing: "Here, ER," I thought I heard the Lord say, "You have been good and faithful in your Lenten pledge. Have a little buffalo steak and be merry."

So I did.

Again, my conscious is clear. No beef. No pork. But I'm interested in what y'all think.


Sunday, March 19, 2006


Rain on the plains!

KTOK-AM, news-talk station in Oklahoma City, has been playing a PSA about the rain that ends with "Thanks be to God."

Amen. ... Whoa. I just heard something burbling outside my office window.


Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

-- "April Rain Song," by Langston Hughes

Saturday, March 18, 2006


ER's BS detector at work this week

Got two God-related e-mails this week that are urban legends.

The first one, which has a young Einstein challenging an "atheist professor" in a classroom showdown, is a great story and good fodder for pondering the nature of good and evil. But it appears never to have happened.

It's bullshit. Benign bullshit, but bullshit nonetheless.

Read about the Einstein-atheist professor urban legend here.

The other one seems more sinister -- a tale made up, supposedly in the name of God, to defame the American Civil Liberties Union. Isn't that Christlike! The story goes that the ACLU freaked out over a photo of a bunch of Marines with heads bowed, praying.

It's bullshit. Slanderous, evil, lying bullshit.

Read about the ACLU-Marines praying urban legend here.


Friday, March 17, 2006


'Go Pokes,' ER said wanly

Oklahoma State’s wrestling team advanced six wrestlers into the second round of the NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

Read all about it.

It's damn hard for me to get into this, actually. The champeenship tourney is going on 15 miles from where I sit. But I've never been so sickened and disappointed by my undergrad alma mater as now.

Might as well call it Boone Pickens U. -- and yes, I by God WILL look a gift horse in the mouth when the money comes with so many strings attached; when there isn't even any PRETENSE that academics is more important than sports; when the damn university has a chief executive, in practice as well as in name, instead of an academic leader-president; when the bootlicking MBAs in the CEO's court dare to raise ticket prices for everything across the board; when the system is so effed up it 1., literally lets Eddie Sutton (legendary basketball coach, to you non-Okies) trip over his own damn bottle of hootch, then 2., clamps down on the facts of the matter with the state media ...

With all that in mind, no way will I pay $100 for one ticket to see wrestling. I hope the Cowboys win, though. Barely.


Thursday, March 16, 2006


My, um, hillbilly name

I prolly orta be insulted by the very nature of this. But I can live with sech a handle! :-)

Eh, my bunch is pretty much made of denizens of the alluvial plain, anyway. We jest spend a lot of time in the hills, 'cause they know to party up there!


Your Hillbilly Name Is...

Big Daddy Tractor
Hillbilly Name Generator


Trixie's 'Ponder me this' meme

Finally! Trixie tagged me with this meme a week ago!

Let's make this a meme, shall we? Answer these questions here, and if you wish, tag five folks and have them answer the same on your blog.

Fasten your seat belts; here we go!

1. What is the best thing you've done this week (since Sunday)?
Drove around the Paw Paw bottoms with my big brother last Sunday morning, just talkin' and remembering and reminiscing.

2. What's the most meaningful personal issue you've thought about this week?
See No. 6.

3. What's the biggest nuisance task you have gotten out of the way this week?
Bailey is still recovering from his hind legs quittin' on him, so our sun room is his sick room, and I've been so dang busy I didn't have time to depoop the place until last night. Last night, I scooped up his weight in poop!

4. What's the biggest annoyance hanging over your head this week?
A huge financial situation that will resolve itself soon, we hope, but is in process.

5. What has made you happy this week?
Seein' my fam last Saturday and Sunday, and playin' with Fenway, the step-granddog, Sunday-Wednesday; he was bein' step-granddog-sat while Bird was on spring break in Texas.

6. Have you cried this week? Why?
No literal tears. But Bird is still being a selfish, unreasonable, manipulative, dishonest, disrespectful and unhelpful Bird. Her mama needs her, just her -- sans the damn boyfriend -- for a little help, but mainly just to be with her, and Bird could not care less. I gave Mama ER plenty of reason to worry when I was younger, but I have never showed her consistent personal disrespect the way Bird acts toward her mama. It makes me crazy.

7. What are you looking forward to most this week?
Resolution of No. 4.

8. What has just flat made you crazy this week?
See No. 6.

9. What bliss have you experienced this week?
Occasional moments of quietness during morning devotional readings.

10. What have you prayed to change this week?
Myself, that I will better meet Dr. ER's needs as she continues to recover from a broken hip. And that we both will accept Bird's weirdness as we continue to hope that the Bird we once knew will return -- and for myself, if that Bird is long gone, that I'll accept her self-estrangement as the way it should be for now.

Tagging: Maness, Tug, Son of Lilith, Drlobojo, REM870.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


The Big Die-Up

This is one hell of a mess, but it ain't the first time a bunch of cattle unexpectedly met their maker in the Texas Panhandle.

Read about the Big Die-Up in the blizzardy winter of 1885-87!

FIVE Coveted Redneck Points(tm) to the first person to tell me what common Cow Country phrase "the Big Die-Up" is a play off of!

I hereby christen this'n the Big Burn-Up.



... storyNEWShistoryNEWShist ...

Busy work: Change enough words in the following for it to make sense today. Or, just respond to the idea. :-)


"Many held that the party should oppose every war; others held that the party should oppose every imperialist war, classified the World War as such a conflict, and therefore were against it. Still others held that the party should oppose the war as one of aggression but that it should support it should the United States be invaded. The Southwestern Socialists, fearful of a Mexican alliance with Germany, were the ones who held this position. They were unalterably opposed to the European War, but many of them agreed with Dan Hogan (Socialist newspaper editor in Huntington, Ark.), who said, 'If those damn greasers come across the line we'll get our guns and shoot.' "

-- from David A. Shannon, The Socialist Party of America: A History (New York: The MacMillan Co., 1955), 95.



Tuesday, March 14, 2006


10,000 beeves smoked!

From Texas A&M University

AMARILLO -- Ranchers across the Texas Panhandle must take care in
disposing of animals killed by wildfires that ravaged almost 700,000
acres, Texas Cooperative Extension experts urged. (That's dang near the alleged state of Rhode Island. -- ER) ...

"The first thing we need ranchers to understand is they should not drag
these dead cattle to the bar ditch," said Brad Williams, Texas Animal Health Commission area director in Amarillo. (No shit. --ER)

Williams said estimates on the number of dead cattle are still being
gathered, but the figure could rise as high as 10,000. (Poor critters! Lots more got smoke inhalation. We could smell the smoke here in Central Oklahoma the other night. -- ER)

Read more in the comments.


Paw Paw Bottom

I am much obliged to Drlobojo for finding this image of Paw Paw.

See the words "Paw Paw Bottom" in the center of the picture, more north than south.

The crossroads just to the southwest is the "bottomless pond," a sinkhole, which is where my schoolbus stopped and turned around to head back out of the bottoms. Paw Paw being the terminus, it was called the Paw Paw Route.

The crossroads southeast of the words "Paw Paw Bottom" is where the Paw Paw School was; the townsite was here and to the east; just to the south is where the cemetery is.


Monday, March 13, 2006


Cat skeleton in a tree top

Good friend, pokin' at me for "rescuing" Ice-T from the roof of the house twice and from a tree a couple of times, before he became a house kitty:

"You ever seen a cat skeleton in a tree top? They'll come down."

LOL. True!



I am Ice-T's Lord and Savior

By The Erudite Redneck

Ice-T ran into the garage this morning when I dashed in to get a non-beef-non-pork frozen lunch to tote to work.

I was in a hurry and running late and the last dang thing I needed was to have to try to outfox a cat in the briarpatch that is the garage.

But in I went, into the labyrinth of empty boxes, unused household items, yard tools, holiday decorations and what have you. There was Ice-T, under a wicker headboard leaned up against a trash can and sitting on the footboard.

Foolishly, in a rush, I decided to roll all my dice at once, so to speak: I grabbed his tail -- and ROWR! -- he dug in and scootched away.

Went back in the house and declared to Dr. ER that the dang cat could stay in the garage, that I was going to work, and that when he got cold enough or hungry he would come to the door and meow and she could let him back in the house part of the house.

"Well, Mao used to do that. I don't know if Ice-T will," she said, referrin' to the first cat that adopted us, a wild, bobtailed critter that most definitely was not a house cat, despite having been liberated of his claws by a previous owner.

(Remember: This was the kitty that showed up on 9/11. He was given the name "Mao" partly because that was what he said all the time and partly because by the time we realized he was a full-time denizen of our front porch, I was neck-deep in a graduate seminar on modern China.)

So, I relented. Went into the kitchen to get the big plastic jug of cat feed, toted it out to rhe garage and made sweet-sounding noises while rattling the feed in the jug.

It took several minutes, but Ice-T finally showed himself, and after another several minutes he stopped running and being scared long enough for me to walk right up and pick him up and love on him and take him back in the house.

And it dawned on me that I had just lived a metaphor for God's love for us, which is a good thing since the Max Lucado reading this morning didn't do much for me, relying as it did on Isaiah's passages regarding the Messiah.

I'm rethinking the place of those Scriptures in my faith, and daily devotions are not all thinking and rethinking; they should be part prayer and part just shutting up and letting God's grace come on you anew. Thinking got in the way of grace.

So God's grace for me this morning came on little cat's feet.

Time and again, I see a door open and rush in without thinking, or with wrong-headed thinking, and the door closes behind me, leaving me in darkness. Whatever shining things attracted me in the first place disappear in the shadows.

It gets cold and I can't see as well as I first could, or thought I could -- and I start bumping into dangers, toils and snares and tripping over things. Sounds, smells and other things that seemed exciting when the door first opened are scary with it shut.

But the fact is, like Ice-T, I'm never really alone. God comes and gets me and saves me from the dark and the cold and all those sharp, unfamiliar, dangerous things.

Most importantly, he saves me from myself, my irrationality and my impetuosity and my simple human curiosity, which often gets us in predicaments before we realize it.

I love my stupid cat, Ice-T. Imagine -- imagine! -- how much more God loves us, to always -- always! -- come rescue us from the cold, dark garages of life rather than waiting for us to get cold and hungry and come whining at the door begging to be let back in.

Ice-T did not have to get desperate and go back to the door for me to let him back in the house. I followed him round and round in the garage, chasing him, really, waiting for him to relent.

God does not require us to go back to the place in life where we made the mistake that led us to separation, and darkness and cold. He chases us round and round until we get tired of running and let Him pick us up.

That's what it means to be a Lost Sheep. That's grace, and that's why it's amazing.


Sunday, March 12, 2006


Ruins of Paw Paw, Okla.

(Remains of the Paw Paw School, built in 1926. Six or seven miles south and east of Mama ER's house and ER's old stompin' grounds, in the Paw Paw bottoms of the Arkansas River.) --ER

By Louise Humphrey*

Paw Paw took its name from the Paw Paw Society**, a semisecret organization of Southern sympathy during the Civil War. Paw Paw trees were plentiful and many took for granted it was named for the trees. It is located in Sequoyah County, seven miles southeast of Muldrow on the Arkansas River.

The early settlement boasted a blacksmith shop and a general store with a post office in the back. Land was available if one wanted the task of clearing.

The owner of the general store was called Governor Watts, a large, heavy man, who claimed most of the land along the river. He created enough interest that a few families moved in and the community started to grow.

A cotton gin was built near the river, for cotton became an industry with the good rich soil. Steamboats came from Little Rock going as far as Muskogee carrying supplies, produce and passengers. Thus the settlement made progress until the accident.

At Fort Smith (Ark.) a railroad bridge crossed the river, with a span that opened to let the steamboat through. One day the bridge failed to open and the boat broke in half and sank. The old glamour of transporting by steamboat was never regained.

The progress of Paw Paw faced a real problem of transportation. A so-called road ran on the Paw Paw side of the river to Fort Smith, but the soil was not good for roadbeds. When wet, it was almost impassable. On the other side of the river, a fair, sandy and shorter road led to Fort Smith, but to cross the wide and swift river was a problem.

A ferry was established in 1880 so the farmers could get their produce to market in Fort Smith. After the passengers reached LeFlore County, they crossed another ferry across the Poteau river to get to the city.

The Paw Paw Ferry was operated by means of rope and a pulley attached to posts on either side of the river. The boat crossed at a forty-five degree angle so that the current did most of the work. Often the rope would break and carry the boat downriver into a sand bar. None was ever seriously hurt. Fare for crossing was 40 cents round trip for wagons, ten cents for horseback riders, and five cents for a footman. The ferry carried mail and newspapers and often transported cattle. Three wagons could be carried at one time on the boat.

Several pioneer families were Marion J. Watts, R.B. Patton, Sim Claborn, J.C. Cherry, S.J. Shackelford, W.R. Langford, Sim Eldridge and Lindsey Dickey.

The earliest school was a log cabin one-room building near the graveyard. Split logs were used for benches. R.B. Patton taught in the early school. “Neighbor Tom” Watts was also a stern teacher. Before the school was built, Dr. Bruton’s wife taught in their home.

Later a two-story pine timber school house was built. Thos. F. Watts taught over 100 children a day. The school term consisted of three summer months and four or five months in the fall. This corresponded with the crops to be made and harvested.

Later in 1926 a new brick school was built with four classrooms and a large auditorium with stage, office and storage rooms. The board members whose names appear in the cornerstone are J.Y. Kidd, R.L. Condren and O.W. Green. Dewey and Prudy Patton were early teachers when Paw Paw had a two-year high school.

Mr. Parker came in and built a store near the new school, a grist mill and blacksmith appeared, and a few bought lots and houses. As the community grew, roads improved and automobiles came, phonographs, player pianos, parties and marriages, and Dr. Collins was kept busy delivering children and controlling malaria fever, and was known as a specialist in curing pneumonia. During the flood he came to see that the families were placed in secure homes and even offered monetary assistance for food or whatever was needed for their welfare.

The first three cars in the community were owned by Ulphin Cherry, Sim Eldridge and Lindsey Dickey. These cars were tried out by making Sycamore hill in high gear. If they passed this test they were sold.

A “June rise” was prevalent from the river and it continued to dominate the outcome of the community. The water would go away and they would pile more dirt on the levee. In 1927 the levee broke and the old river showed its fury. When the flood alarm was spread people quickly left their homes for high ground. They watched the river build up to a width of about fourteen miles, and some watched their homes and livestock and life’s work go away.

The valuable $200 per acre land was sold for $9 per acre to settle accounts. The community continued to survive by farming, and sharecroppers farmed the land owned by Dr. Fox. Crops consisted of cotton and corn. During the depression very little money was made after paying rent, buying seed and a few staples.

Most of the food was raised on the farm. People were fortunate to be on a farm instead of in the city on a soup line. Home demonstration agents were helpful in the community with preserving food. On washday it was quite a treat to open a jar of canned meat and have lunch with very little preparation. As usual on the farm, food was plentiful when in season. When the cows freshened there was an abundance of milk, which was kept cooled in tubs of fresh pumped water. Later in hot summer weeks an iceman hauled ice from Fort Smith, providing ice for tea on the menu.

The early schoolhouse was also used as a community church. Different preachers of different faiths alternated each Sunday. The crowds were the same and the Union Sunday School literature was sufficient for all.

One of the main events of the year, besides Christmas, was Decoration Day. This fell on Mother’s Day. It was an all-day affair with preaching, decorating of graves, dinner on the ground, and a Mother’s Day program in the afternoon. This is still the custom but the programs are not as extensive, since all the families live elsewhere. During rehearsals in preparation for the program, you would hear of “decoration dresses,” “Sunday slippers” or “oxfords” being purchased new for the event. More often than not, the person in charge of the program was a school teacher who seemed to find “pieces” for all to recite.

This even taught the children respect for the dead. Flowers were gathered the day before in meadows and roadsides wherever wild flowers were available. Mrs. Hixson took children on a flat bed truck and picked the flowers. When the day arrived everyone came in their “finery” and carried a basket lunch. After the morning message by the preacher, the children were lined up “two by two.” The entire cemetery was decorated by the children, while the women were busy spreading the dinner on the ground. Tablecloths were laid on the ground and food was spread next to a neighbor or relative.

Everyone showed respect for their elders. It was not uncommon to call them “Uncle and Aunt” whether or not they were relatives. Some of these were Aunt Fanny Dickey, Aunt Nan Cherry, Uncle Tom Bailey, Aunt Jessie Shackelford, Uncle John Shackelford, Aunt Maggie Watts, Aunt Betty and Uncle Allen Blaylock, Uncle Will and Aunt Lillie Patton, Uncle Henry and Aunt Myrtle Shackelford.

The community continued to grow and the school doubled in size with two teachers in each room. This was made possible by bussing the children from Elm Grove and outlying areas of the Paw Paw school district. There were good ball teams and track meets where Paw Paw was able to compete with any school in the county. At one time a grade school girls’ basketball team coached by Clarence McDole defeated Sallisaw High School’s “B” team at a county tournament. But annexation caused the school to lose their attendance area.

The river never ceased to hold a threat over the community and in 1943 the old river showed its fury, complete, total, final. In its wake lay the death of a beautiful community.

There were other floods that covered the entire bottom. Today there are sink holes that stand on the landscape as mute evidence of terrible floods in years gone by.

Today the real danger of bad floods is past because of the controlled waters of the river through upper stream dams and the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System on the Arkansas River.

*From “The History of Sequoyah County 1828-1975”
Published in 1976 by The Sequoyah County Historical Society
ISBN: 0-938041-32-0
ARC Press of Cane Hill
13581 Tyree Mountain Road
Cane Hill, Arkansas, 72717

**I have found no clear evidence that this is true. Not saying it's untrue. The closest I can find in history is the Missouri Paw Paw Militia. More here. Maybe some of the original settlers of Paw Paw, who came from Arkansas, had moved there from Missouri. --ER

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Happy birthday to Mama ER!

Mama ER is 84 today! Off soon, to God's Country, to see her and hug her neck.

All her kiddoes -- I'm the baby -- will be there today. :-) ... Oooooh, three hours drivin' alone in the pickup. Tunage of my own choosin' -- Dwight! Martina! Garth!


Friday, March 10, 2006


Meowa culpa!

The following just popped up in comment the Herdin' Cats post of Dec. 28.

Herdin' Cats? Hey! You linked to the video on my webpage! How about some props for the file and the bandwidth?

Anode Eledar
(yes, I'm positive)

Here's the post with the funny kitty video. Apologies for failing to give credit where credit is due -- if I understand all this correctly.



Hell is (----------).

Fill in the blank. Discuss.

Then, go to hell.


Thursday, March 09, 2006


How would I look in an M.Div?

Hmmm. ???



Congressman: Read the Constitution!

We were somewhat bemused the other day when U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, mentioned in a meeting with the Reporter-Telegram's Editorial Board that he is introducing a bill in Congress that would make it mandatory for every member in the Congress to read the U.S. Constitution once a year. ...

Read it all from the Midland (Texas) Reporter-Telegram.

Good, good. Of course, some of us hope they read between the lines, too.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Baby ER, striking thoughtful pose

Proof that I did have hair!

Bailey update: He is resting comfortably behind a baby gate in the utility room, on a dose of prednisone and pretty doped up.

We took him out to pee awhile ago and had to hold his hind end up while he did his bidness.

The doc said he'd get his legs back, again, but it will be awhile.

He's in no pain and is maintaining his always sunny short-yellow disposition.



Lenten update

I'm new to this Lent thing. You're probably not supposed to divulge much about your own deal or how it's going, humility bein' what it is and all.

But in this, my first time out -- no beef, no pork -- I must say that my hope that the little sacrifice would be consciously before me all the time has pretty much panned out -- ha! so to speak.

Who knew that denying the belly would keep the mind and heart on God? Maybe that's the point? Somebody with more experience fill me in.

Beef and pork are available for every meal everywhere I go! You have to look for alternatives.

Not surprising, I guess, since you can't sling a cat without hitting a bovine anywhere in Oklahoma and there are parts in the Panhandle where you can't sling a cat, or a cow, without hitting a pig.

But I also got this to say:

Turkey "chili" looks just like chili, smells just like chili and it works right fine on a turkey dog. The glorious lack of fat and calories (comparatively speaking) is a bonus.

But it ain't chili -- and I am so ready for a big biowl of spiced-up cow! :-)

(P.S. Fellow diehards, forgive my indiscretion in posting a pic of turkey "chili" with beans -- even turkey "chili" doedn't deserve that, but it's the only pic I could find.)


Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Bailey: 'guarded condition'

Poor Bailey's hind legs quit on him this afternoon, and Dr. ER, whose right hind leg has quit on her (broken hip), quite appropriately freaked out and called me at work, but couldn't find me because I was in a daylong meeting, and had security track me down.

I rushed home to rescue two of my favorite people in the world -- my wife and a little four-legged dude dressed up in a po-white-trash-weinie-dog suit. Took him to a doggie hospital, where he remains on day-to-day -- not for living, but for coming back home.

Bailey got a cortisone shot and some meds for this, the latest difficulty with his back, and he never quit loving all of us, and he never quit waggin' his tail, despite the discomfort.

When I was a lot younger, some of used to debate whether dogs and other pets had "souls." Nowadays, I believe that critter dogs and critter cats are among the vanguard of God's invasion of humanity, just behind the Savior Himself and ahead of the first-born of the born from above.

Because all critter dogs and critter cats do is love us unconditionally, and accept our pitiful, scared, ignorant but hopeful love back -- which just about sums up any right relationship with God, as far as I'm concerned.



Have we been neoconned?

Fascinating video. (Picked up from a commenter at Maness's place.)



Monday, March 06, 2006


Liberal Christians

Had another blog bout today with someone who finds it as hard to believe a Christian can be a liberal as I find it hard to believe a Christian can be a free-trade-big-business-first-warhawk.

Go figure.

At least we agreed, again, to disagree.

Here is an example of an organization of liberal Christians:

Progressive Christians.

And here is an example of a new book by a liberal Christian:

"Think Again," by Dr. Gary Cox. If nothing else, be sure to read the introduction.

Also, without going into any detail, ol' ER would appreciate prayers from all quarters -- lib, con, neocon, apolitical, whatever -- in connection with something for which I can find no faith, no serenity and little hope. I don't know what to pray, myself. I'm down to the inarticulable groans that Paul(?) talked about. Maybe one of y'all will get "a word from the Lord." :-)


Sunday, March 05, 2006


Lord, awaken us!

The Prayer of Confession this morning at this church:

"Lord of Life, many of us are deeply concerned that we have betrayed our deepest values as a nation, and that we are distorting the gospel itself in pursuit of power and wealth. Everywhere we turn, followers of Jesus advocate violence to solve problems, and seem to possess none of the dispositions of a follower of Jesus. Help us, we pray, to seize the day, and turn the ship of state around. In Christs name we pray, Amen."

Read this book.


Saturday, March 04, 2006


Things and Supplies

Hi --

Dr. ER guest blogging for ER, who, foaming at the mouth, rushed off to go eat a leg sandwich.

No, not what you're thinking; ER's gotta have himself a soft shell crab sandwich; a sandwich I won't eat because I eat no sandwich that has legs hanging outta the bun.

ER wanted to put up these photos and stories himself, but because of his Lenten promise not to eat beef or pork (y'all should hear the whining) he searches instead for something to fill the rib-eye shaped hole in his belly. He's pretty close to eating turkey SPAM at this point, and Lent isn't even a week old. I will need extra Xanax by Easter.

The first thing up today is the vista that ER wakes up to each day when he turns over and puts his glasses on.

A careful inventory shows a number of dichotomous items, all of which, on average, yield an E. and an R.

Two OSU cups; a bag of likely-softened mints; a book of daily devotions; a lamp that he stood in line for hours to get FREE (you can buy 'em for five bucks) at the grand opening of a new furniture store in Texas. Note the sleep aid and the off-brand nicotine replacement therapy in his trash can. Note also the legs and horns of his stuffed bulls and cows.

Note also the epic history of Europe that he's been reading for six months; he's almost done.

Major Dr. ER points to anyone who can name the book or book series of the book on the upper right hand side of ER's night stand -- the light blue one.

Here is the ER household mantle. Until Christmas 2005 the mantle was a display for photos of Bird and various beaus or Bird with her cello. Once the stockings came down, we de-Birded the mantle. The checkerboard is on that ER made in shop class back when he was more R than E; the black and white is ER's fave photo Dr. ER took in Douglas, WY; the photo in the foreground is a vista Dr. ER took in Sedona; doesn't do it justice, but the rear view mirror appears both ahead and behind on the road, with Sedona red rocks playing image and afterimage. A mug ER got for Christmas this year from major pal who knows ER's affinity for all things cattle. A blue vase pained by Dr. ER. Mantle results: A little bit E. and a little bit R.

Now the following shots show the obverse and reverse of a commemorative plate that Dr. ER bought for ER in Blackwell -- it passes for art in the ER household. It's really a commemoration of the art of butchering cattle, from beginning to end. The reverse and logo shows that the plate honors Beef, and was created for an outfit in Hobart in the late 1970's. A lot of folks notice this piece of so-called art; only when they get up close do they realize what a bloody set of scenes it portrays. Still, Dr. ER allows all kind of ER-type "art" in the house, having given up any notion of a decorating scheme. Our scheme is motley -- half of it's E. and half of our art is R. I worry at times that the R. is creeping out of Dr. ER's little room into the rest of the house; this plate is a good example:

At the top of the plate, the poor cows are grazing; to the right, little do the cows know it, but this is what they're gonna look like soon. At about five o'clock, the cows should start to suspect something. At seven o'clock, cows grazing; at nine o'clock the lady of the house buys beef. And in the center, cowboys are branding their cattle.

A closeup of the center follows:

On the reverse of the plate is what I like to call "Ode to Beef." In case you can't read it (was not an easy piece to shoot), it pays tribute to the muscle flesh from cows:

Beef...An Industry of Nutrition. This fine porcelain plate has been created by World Wide Art Studios as a tribute to the Beef Industry. Produced in a limited edition of ten thousand pieces, the ten color design was kiln fired fusing color with glaze to insure that is beauty will last forever.

Below is a closeup of the Barne's Feed Lots logo:

What you can't see beneath the logo above and what is cropped out of the logo shot is an admonition that this fine, decorative plate is meant purely for that -- decoration, or, as I like to think of it, "decoration." (with very obvious quote marks around the word).

It goes on to warn owners of this fine piece of art not to use said piece of decoration for food.

Results of Art Analysis: Totally and completely R!

And now....something to really freak you out. ER has kept the following document ever since he was a sorta wee one. In the late 1970's, apparently, the Klan Youth Corps was still making the rounds of rural Oklahoma schools, attempting to recruit youngsters into their group.

The Danny Bonaduce-esque boy pictured is, I guess, what the Klan believed a white supremacist teenager would look like at the time.

To quote some of the sentiments in the document:

"If you are a White student between the ages of 12 and 17, and ideologically oriented towards the survival of White Christian civilization and values, then the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan invite you to become a part of the Klan Youth Corps."

Gad, I'm pretty sure similar pamphlets were handed out during Mao's reign in China, encouraging youth to join the Red Guard. Un-effing-believable that this kind of stuff was still be handed out to ER and his ilk when we were junior high-aged.

Now just imagine -- "Son, I don't want you to get behind in your studies, so only one extracurricular activity -- you can join the Boy Scouts, the FFA, or the Klan."

Holy cow.

This reverse side requires the applicant to certify that he is White and that he will keep secret and confidential any information he receives AND that he meets all requirements under penalty of perjury if falsified.

ER will tell the whole story of this document and how he came by it and why he kept it all these years, but even in my backwater of a home town, this kind of stuff wasn't going on in the late 70's or early 80's.

And here is yet another piece of memorabilia ER owns, along with his membership card to a gamecock club somewhere in OK. No commment needed from me on this one, I don't think:

And the following picture is for ER to explain later:

And no ER post, guest or no, would be complete without the gratuitious display of Ice-T.

Major Dr. ER points go to anyone who can remember what movie the term "Things and Supplies" (the hed for this guest post) comes from. Am thinking Tech or drlobo can get it if they scratch their heads. It's part of the ER household family lexicon now.

What's in the bag? "Things and Supplies."

It's also good filler when you can't remember the words to the OSU Alma Mater: "Oh, OSU and stuff....things and supplies...." words actually sung by a member of this household prior to a football game last year.

It's also useful on the phone when telemarketers call:

"Is this Mister ER?" says the voice from Bangladesh...

"Things and Supplies" says Dr. ER.

It's the only way to get revenge for off-shoring: Mess with the overseas-but-pretending-to-be-in-the-U.S. caller: Screw with the English language.

More from ER later. Dr. ER, being more R than E today so ER can eat......

Friday, March 03, 2006


Where ER has been

Weighted to the South and the Great Plains, which should be no surprise!

(Swiped from B.)


create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.


Sausagey goodness! Goodness gracious!

It's gonna be a good day.

Trixie has posted about one of my favorite vittles: Vie-EEN-as.

Pat Robertson lost reelection to his seat on the board of the National Religious Broadcasters. As a former member (in the early '80s), let me say that news does my heart good.

Best news of the day, from Max Lucado:

"You see, he didn't have to go. He had a choice. He could have stayed. He could have ignored the call or at least postponed it. ... He could have come back when crosses were out of style. But his heart wouldn't let him. ... His divinity heard the voices. His divinity heard the hopeless cries of the poor, the bitter accusations of the abandoned, the dangling despair of those who are trying to save themselves. ...

"And you can be sure of one thing. Among the voices that found their way into that carpentry shop in Nazareth was your voice. Your silent prayers on tearstained pillows were heard before they were said. Your deepest questions about death and eternity were answered before they were asked. And your direst need, your need for a Savior, was met before you ever sinned.

"And not only did he hear you, he saw you. He saw your face aglow the hour you first knew him. He saw your face in shame the hour you first fell. ... And it was enough to kill him."

The concept of "blood atonement" -- the idea that Jesus died to save us, to pay for our sins, to satisfy God's sense of justice -- is outdated to some people, including some Christians who consider it primitive if not barbaric.

Sometimes, I have my own doubts -- even as I cling to the fact that I have met God through Christ, somehow. Sometimes I wonder about the mystery. I think today I'll just revel in it. Peace.


Thursday, March 02, 2006


'Unseen. Unforgotten'

Historic pictures of civil rights struggle, never before published, from the Birmingham News.

Thanks to AE at Arse Poetica.

I'm 41. My memory begins in about 1968, just little wisps. Tell me your memories of these times and events.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006


ER's. Ash. Wednesday. Poem.

By The Erudite Redneck


The ultimate.

Personal Pronoun.

Not ...

The exclamation.

The expletive.

The joke.

But ...

The Dude.

The One.



'Dear Dr. Dobson'

Presented as publshed by the Colorado Springs Gazette, without (initial) comment. What do y'all think?


Here is the text of a letter that Focus on the Family founder James Dobson said he received from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Dobson read the letter on his radio broadcast Wednesday.

Dear Dr. Dobson:

This is just a short note to express my heartfelt thanks to you and the entire staff of Focus on the Family for your help and support during the past few challenging months.

I would also greatly appreciate it if you would convey my appreciation to the good people from all parts of the country who wrote to tell me that they were praying for me and for my family during this period.

As I said when I spoke at my formal investiture at the White House last week, the prayers of so many people from around the country were a palpable and powerful force.

As long as I serve on the Supreme Court I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me.

I hope that we’ll have the opportunity to meet personally at some point in the future.

In the meantime my entire family and I hope that you and the Focus on the Family staff know how we appreciate all that you have done.

Sincerely yours,

Samuel Alito

Read all about it.


How 'typically liberal'!

Even when Focus on the Family "reports" good news, it does so with a smirk. Jerks.

I can see it now. Jesus splits the eastern sky, the second-coming headline on the FOTF Web site will be: "Harrumph. We told you so!"

Jerks. Jerks. Jerks. Maybe I'll give up reading FOTF stuff for Lent!


9th Circuit Says Street Preacher Can Preach

A street preacher who got crossways with Portland, Ore.,has won his suit that claimed the city violated his free-speech rights.

According to The Associated Press, the typically liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Edward Gathright, a no-nonsense preacher whose pulpit is the sidewalk.

A three-judge panel unanimously ruled that Portland gave groups that held events at city parks too much discretion to eject people.

In 2001 and 2002 Gathright was kicked out of six different events.

"Gathright may be a gadfly to those with views contrary to his own," the judges wrote. "But First Amendment jurisprudence is clear that the way to oppose offensive speech is by more speech, not censorship, enforced silence or eviction."

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