Saturday, March 23, 2013

Color My Cow

Oh, you knew I was a farmer when you married me;
You said you liked hard-workin country ways.
You got goose bumps cannin peaches for the County Fair
And orgasmic satisfaction smellin hay.
When the sun came up, the birds would sing your favorite song;
The mornin breeze would whisper your name.
But since you ran off with Buck Wheeler, the John Deere tractor dealer,
Things around here just ain’t been the same.

So, you take this cow and color it brown;
She’s lost her moo; she just mopes around.
Take this pig and color it pink;
It used to be cute, but now it stinks.
The hens won’t lay, and the truck won’t start.
You made the mule cry; you broke my heart.

Our humble barnyard once was such a happy place;
The mules would hum “There’s no Place like Home.”
Now you ought to hear ‘em croon “Love Letters in the Sand,”
And “Am I Blue?” would chill you to the bone.
The beanstalk turned to vicious gossip overnight;
The once well bucket looks a little pale.
The tater crop is russeting below the ground.
Yeah, the dog’s been dirty since you hit the trail.

So, you take this cow and color it brown;
She’s lost her moo; she just mopes around.
Take this pig and color it pink;
It used to be cute, but now it stinks.
The hens won’t lay, and the truck won’t start.
You made the mule cry; you broke my heart.

We made the most of what we had and had a ball;
Lord knows the best things in life are free.
You swore an oath that you could live on love alone;
But “love alone” meant livin without me.
Hand-in-hand, we skipped and flipped and skinny-dipped;
You crusted pies; I busted up the sod.
We took a leak off Lovers’ Leap and took the plunge;
We jumped the broom, but then you hopped the clod.

So, you take this cow and color it brown;
She’s lost her moo; she just mopes around.
Take this pig and color it pink;
It used to be cute, but now it stinks.
The hens won’t lay, and the truck won’t start.
You made the mule cry; you broke my heart.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Me llamo Tiglathpileser

There are not many good reasons to leave San Michez. I’m content to spend most evenings around the campfire with Merlin Bob and Hotrod. Even so, I take a few weeks every summer to journey yonder to Burnside, Louisiana and pay a visit to Miss Lizzy. We sit on her front porch, sip mimosas, and solve the world’s problems.
I love the Mississippi River Delta. It supplies the planet with food, clothing, music, and weirdness.
One day last July, Miss Lizzy and I were watching her handyman mow the yard. He’s an artist.
Miss Lizzy was humming a tune, barely audible over the drone of the antique Toro. I recognized it and sang along: “♫ Lizzy, Lizzy bo-bizzy, banana-fana-fo-fizzy, me-my-mo-mizzy…Lizzy. ♪”
She smiled, nodded, scowled, and demanded: “What’s got into people nowadays?”
“Gads,” sez I, “pick a topic.”
“The names they give their kids! Good Lord!”
I had to admit, “I do hear some horrendous handles.”
“Parents anymore just seem to pick random syllables out of their…out of a hat. So many go for names that sound French or like cowboys. I swear, the young couple next door named their most recent offspring Davy Crockett DeTonto!”
“Davy Crockett wasn’t a cowboy.”
“Well, he died at the Alamo. That qualifies in my book.”
I said, “I’d love to read your book.”
Miss Lizzy sat up straighter and said, “The only book that matters is The Good Book.”
“The Bible?”
“Of course! What ever happened to good, solid, old-fashioned Biblical names?”
“Like Peter, Paul, and Mary.”
“Exactly!” she shouted. “Names used to mean something! These days, every Tom, Dick, and Harry is named Buffalo Cisco LeWanker!”
“I like Adam, Matthew, and Luke.”
“How ‘bout Rebecca, Ruth, Esther, Eve, and Elizabeth?”
“Well, yeah…if it’s a girl.”
“If you’re lucky, it is.”
Miss Lizzy inspired me. With your kind indulgence, I’d like to suggest some other Biblical names, along with their meanings (all references KJV):

Zebedee: In ancient Babylonia, Zebedee was the Keeper of the Doo-Dah. (Matthew 4:21)

Shethar: Sailors in Biblical times paid little attention to adverb/pronoun order, even when speaking English. Shethar came from a familiar response our nautical friends gave to the question, “Where does she blow?” (Esther 1:14)

Zadok: Even Vulcans have Biblical names. (2 Samuel 8:17)

Parnach: Another Vulcan. (Numbers 34:25)

Keturah: Hey, Klingons, too! (1 Chronicles 1:32)—check out the names of her kids.

Puah: Another Klingon. Puah was the son of Dodo. It just wasn’t very intimidating: “I am Puah, son of Dodo!” The other kids gave him a really hard time. (Judges 10:1)

Shaashgaz: What Jumpin Jack Flash was back in the day. (Esther 2:14)

Eldad: Means “father” to someone who flunked Spanish I. (Numbers 11:26)

Raamah: The King of Lama-Ding-Dong. (Genesis 10:7)

Zerubbabel: That’s someone who just drank a whole firkin of wine trying to say “Jerusalem.”  (1 Chronicles 3:19) (See also John 2:6)

Elzaphan: Same guy trying to say “elephant.” (Exodus 6:22)

Rakkon: Ancient French for “raccoon.” (Joshua 19:46)

Pekah: Official charged with keeping track of how many pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. (2 Kings 15:29)

Suppose you are blessed with triplets & suppose they’re of the male persuasion. How about

Shem, Ham, and Japheth? (After Shem retired, it was Curly, Ham, and Japheth.)

Mibzar: A cousin of the Coneheads (1 Chronicles 1:53)

Jozadak!: Something Drill Sergeants can yell in G-Rated movies. (Ezra 3:8)  

Iphedeiah Shashak!: That Drill Sergeant’s really ticked! (1 Chronicles 8:25)

Maadiah: Comedy routine in which the part of a feisty elderly woman is played by a young man. (Nehemiah 12:5)

Yes, friends and neighbors, names used to mean something, and with your help they can again.


♪ In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…♫ (Judges 10:1)


(By the way, Nehemiah 12, the whole chapter, is jam-packed with some Jim-dandy handles.)

Out West with Doc

Doc Arnett always has something positive to say, and he says it very, very well. He likes to write and talk about the things and people for which and for whom he is grateful. I want to take a paragraph or two and let you know how much I appreciate Doc. I’ve been acquainted with him for over a decade. I know him to be a guileless guy with no hidden agendas. Doc Arnett is the Real Deal.
I remember in particular the time Doc and I attended a conference in Las Vegas. At breakfast on the first morning, I was moaning and bellyaching because I was sore and scuffed up from riding the mechanical bull in the hotel bar. I explained that I had no choice about riding the mechanical bull because I was the only person present from the Lone Star State and it was my patriotic duty to show them how it’s done.
I’ll never forget what Doc told me. He said, “Tom, they don’t have a mechanical bull in the bar.” He went on to further inform me that we were at a conference in Los Angeles, not Las Vegas.
Coming from anyone else, I would have interpreted this as impertinence or base sarcasm.
“Okay,” sez I, “If we’re not in Las Vegas, what’s that machine I’ve been poking all those quarters in?”
Doc said, “Hmmm…” His eyes looked up and to the right. (See, that’s why he has a Ph.D. while I only have a Certificate of Attendance: He thinks before he speaks.) “Was your bed by any chance vibrating all night?”
“Sure, but I just thought it was an earthquake or something.”
Doc, ever the gentleman, did not press me for what I meant by “or something.”
After the conference, when checking out of the hotel, I saw a man and a woman carrying battered and obviously heavy bags. The suitcases had, no doubt, rolled at one time—one of them still had part of a wheel, bent at an odd angle, hanging from it.
I understood. These conferences are often held at hotels we could not afford if we had to pay for it from our own pockets. Not all of us can afford fancy clothes or portmanteaus. It is not at all uncommon to be standing behind someone at the ATM who must first check his or her balance before withdrawing five bucks to tip the doorman. Some even try to make excuses, pretending they like those cattle-class flights that arrive at midnight because you get to rub elbows—and knees and shoulders—with real people or that they prefer the taste of their own canned chili to that of a $12.00 room service hotdog.
I was not exactly eavesdropping, but I did hear the man with the tatty bags explaining to a colleague: “Our room wasn’t quite ready when we arrived, so we had to wait in the bar. Some maniac from Texas wrecked our luggage!”
I hid behind Doc and eased on out to the bus stop.