Babe, Hank, Barry, And Joe

Posted in Georgia History by chamblee54 on July 31, 2012

There was a comment on facebook … “I don’t understand the arguments against involving steroids in Olympic sports.” This is an issue which jock sniffers get worked up about. Many non sports nuts wonder why. This reminded PG of a lovely post from 2007.

Barry Bonds was about to break the lifetime record for home runs. Folks said the record was tainted because of steroid use, and because Mr. Bonds was not a nice man. There were calls for an asterick in the record book. This was odd to PG, who was in Georgia when Hank Aaron broke the record in 1974. Back then, the line was that Babe Ruth had fewer at bats than Mr. Aaron. A lot of hateful things were said about Mr. Aaron before home run 714, and it should not be surprising if he is just a touch bitter.

PG decided to take a look at the metrics, and see what he saw. This post is the result. As a bonus to the reader(s), Joe Torre and Hank Aaron gets a summer rerun. It is based on a column by Furman Bisher, who went to the press box in the sky March 18, 2012. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. .

There is a certain controversy these days about the eminent breaking of the lifetime home run record. Currently held by Hank Aaron, the record is threatened by Barry Bonds. Before Mr. Aaron held the title, Babe Ruth was the owner.

Controversy about the Lifetime Home Run Record is nothing new. In 1974, when Hank Aaron was about to break the record, the admirers of Babe Ruth said that Mr. Ruth had fewer at bats than Mr. Aaron did. Many attributed this criticism to racism, with a black man besting a white man’s record. The current controversy is two fold. There are allegations that Mr. Bonds took steroids to make him stronger, and that he “cheated”. There are also some concerns about the overall personality of Mr. Bonds.

PG does not think steroid use is a big deal. Ballplayers are abusing their bodies to perform, and if they take the risk of using steroids, that is their business. Many people disagree.

A good question to ask is, would Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron have used steroids if they had the chance? Mr. Ruth was a wildman, who drank during prohibition, and was known for undisciplined behavior. Mr. Aaron played in an era where steroid use was not as common as it is today. The answer to the first question is (Mr. Ruth) Probably and (Mr. Aaron) Who Knows.

While you are keeping hypocrisy statistics, Mr. Aaron and Mr. Bonds played on television, where beer commercials were constant. While alcohol is legal, it is a very damaging drug, deadly and addictive. But it is legal, and any ballplayer who plays on television promotes its use. This is both steroid users and steroid non users.

As for personalities, there is the widely circulated story about the college team that Mr. Bonds played on voting 22-3 to kick him off the team. Apparently, at the very least he does not charm sportswriters.

In 1917, Babe Ruth was suspended for hitting an umpire. He was known for his outlandish behavior throughout his career. It should also be noted that he played in an era when the press did not scrutinize the behavior of players as much as they do today. How would today’s reality show media have dealt with Babe Ruth?

PG once heard a radio show caller say that Hank Aaron was a mean racist, who would just as soon cut your throat as look at you. He had never heard this said out loud before, but had heard hints about Mr. Aaron’s personality over the years. After the personal attacks before breaking Babe Ruth’s record, Mr. Aaron might be entitled to a bit of anger. Also, in any arena, people who achieve great things are not always especially friendly.

Mr. Aaron is the only one of the three that PG met, however briefly. In the summer of 1965, the Milwaukee Braves came to Atlanta to play an exhibition game at the newly finished Stadium, which would be their home the next season. After the game, PG was allowed to wait outside the clubhouse, to get autographs from the players as they left. Joe Torre saw the crowd, hid behind a truck, and made a quick getaway. Hank Aaron came out, patiently signing every autograph requested of him, while smoking a cigarette.

The fact is, all three men played in different eras. Babe Ruth never played at night, never flew to California, and only played against white players…many of the most talented players of his era were in the Negro League. Hank Aaron played before free agency, interleague play, the DH, and widespread use of steroids. The only way to determine who is the home run champion is to count how many homers are hit, and award the prize to the man who hits the most.

Which of the three made the most money? Barry Bonds, by a wide margin. He played in the free agent era. Babe Ruth had the best line about his salary. In 1930 Ruth was asked by a reporter what he thought of his yearly salary of $80,000 being more than President Hoover’s $75,000. He replied ” yea, but I had a better year than he did.”

Who played on the most teams to win a World Series? Babe Ruth 7, Hank Aaron 1, Barry Bonds 0.

The career of Babe Ruth was a long time ago. He made a greater impact on America that the other two combined. He was one of the first sports superstars, as America emerged from the carnage of World War One as a prosperous superpower. When he broke the single season home run record, he hit 29 homers. The next year, (1920, his first year with the New York Yankees) he hit 54. There is a possibility of a livelier baseball.

Babe Ruth captured the imagination of America like few personalities ever have. Playing in New York (which dominated the press) did not hurt. He was a man of his times…it is unlikely than anyone could have that kind of impact on today’s superstar saturated America. While his record has been broken, his place in the history of baseball is the same.

Furman Bisher has a piece at the fishwrapper site about Joe Torre . The punch line is that Mr. Torre “grew up” when the Braves traded him to St. Louis. PG was a kid when this was going on, and did not hear a lot of what went on.

In 1965, the Braves played a lame duck year in Milwaukee before moving to Atlanta. One night, there was an exhibition game at Atlanta Stadium, the Braves against the Yankees. PG got his oh so patient dad to take him to the clubhouse after the game, to get autographs. In those days, you could go into the bowels of the stadium and wait outside the locker room. Hank Aaron came out and signed dozens of autographs while smoking a cigarette. Joe Torre came out, hid behind a truck, and took off running.

Mr. Torre was a raccoon eyed catcher for the Braves. In the first regular season game in 1966, he hit two home runs, in a thirteen inning loss. Soon, the novelty of big league baseball in a toilet shaped stadium wore off. Mr. Torre got at least one DUI, and apparently a reputation as a barroom brawler. He was traded to St. Louis in 1968. Mr. Torre hit .373 and won the national league MVP in 1971.

The comments to the feature by Furman Bisher were interesting. Cecil 34 contributes
“The reason that Torre was traded is because on the team’s charter flight back to Atlanta back in 68, a drunken Torre got into a fistfight with Aaron. Aaron popped off to Torre, and thus the fight was on, broken up by the other players. Since Aaron was the face of the franchise at the time, Torre was traded. There had been bad blood between them for years before this incident anyway. Reasons vary. But the final nail in the coffin was this fistfight. I was told Torre could pack a punch and Aaron came out on the worse end of it.”
There has been whispering for years about Hank Aaron and his attitude. Furman Bisher made hints once or twice, but there was never anything of substance. It seems that Mr. Aaron does not lack for self confidence. Mr. Aaron was the subject of much racially based abuse while chasing the home run record in 1973, and some anger is justified.

Hank Aaron was known to not get along with Rico Carty. Mr. Carty is a dark skinned man from the Dominican Republic, who was popular with fans. Mr. Carty was eventually traded. Rico Carty had a barbeque restaurant on Peachtree Road in Chamblee, next door to the Park and Shop.

Joe Torre was the manager of the Braves in the early eighties. The team won a divisional title in 1982, but lost the NLCS. This was after Ted Turner bought the team, and Mr. Turner fired Mr. Torre in 1984. ( Managers are hired to be fired ).

Getting back to the comment thread, Misterwax contributes
“Turner cut Joe Torre loose because Ted was in love with Henry Aaron and Aaron thought Joe Torre was a white supremacist….A hangover from the clubhouse days when they were teammates…still does today. And THAT is the only reason he was cut….beause Hank Aaron said so.”
Hank Aaron was recently quoted on Barry Bonds and Steroids. Joe Torre is managing the Los Angeles Dodgers, and is leading his division. Furman Bisher is 90, has outlived Bear Bryant by 26 years, and continues to sign his columns “selah”.

Vote Early And Often

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on July 31, 2012

After a few minutes, PG ran out of excuses. He found a clean shirt, and his sandals, and put them on. The drivers license was removed from the wallet. A bungee cord wrapped around the billfold, as a reminder to replace the ID. The rain was nothing but a glorified drizzle, and not a good reason to stay inside. Maybe, just maybe, it will be a bit cooler today.

The path was in mid summer form, with a few of the vines trimmed out of the way. There are always a few renegade plants creeping into the walkway. The first couple of feet are easy to snap off by hand, and nothing here has briars or poison. If only you could say the same about the ballot.

When you vote at the school you attended as a child, you always notice how little everything is. The cafetorium was a giant hall way back then. There is a sepia of picture of the Principal in the hall. PG may be the only person there today who knows who got sent to his office.

The slip of paper you fill out asks you to list a preference. It means Democratic or Republican. While PG is non affiliated, he knows there is usually more action on the Republican side. Just a preference.

The third person you interact with takes your drivers license, and holds it in front of a device. The gizmo code on the back is scanned. PG said hi to big brother, which confused the poll worker lady.

Then you go to the ballot stations. They are these stand up devices, with a *privacy* barrier on each side. There was the usual onslaught of judges. Ashford Park is in the sixth Congressional district now, with Tom Price as the designated thief. Casino gambling, cell phone towers on school property, and an non binding anti abortion measure were all there for the bleary eyed voters to consider.

There are two proposals on the ballot today. Both have spawned highly unpleasant debates. PG received a number of robocalls supporting T-SPLOST over the weekend before the vote. Roy Barnes, Joseph Lowery, Burrell Ellis, and a few county politicians earned eternal scorn with their automated efforts.

There was only one yard sign visible on the walk to the polls. It said “No City”. PG did not argue. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.

A French Tar-Baby

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on July 30, 2012

In the time when there were hobgoblins and fairies, Brother Goat and Brother Rabbit lived in the same neighborhood, not far from each other.Proud of his long beard and sharp horns, Brother Goat looked on Brother Rabbit with disdain. He would hardly speak to Brother Rabbit when he met him, and his greatest pleasure was to make his little neighbor the victim of his tricks and practical jokes.
For instance, he would say: “Brother Rabbit, here is Mr. Fox,” and this would cause Brother Rabbit to run away as hard as he could. Again he would say: “Brother Rabbit, here is Mr. Wolf,” and poor Brother Rabbit would shake and tremble with fear. Sometimes he would cry out: “Brother Rabbit, here is Mr. Tiger,” and then Brother Rabbit would shudder and think that his last hour had come.
Tired of this miserable existence, Brother Rabbit tried to think of some means by which he could change his powerful and terrible neighbor into a friend. After a time he thought he had discovered a way to make Brother Goat his friend, and so he invited him to dinner.
Brother Goat was quick to accept the invitation. The dinner was a fine affair, and there was an abundance of good eating. A great many different dishes were served. Brother Goat licked his mouth and shook his long beard with satisfaction. He had never before been present at such a feast.
“Well, my friend,” exclaimed Brother Rabbit, when the dessert was brought in, “how do you like your dinner?” “I could certainly wish for nothing better,” replied Brother Goat, rubbing the tips of his horns against the back of his chair; “but my throat is very dry and a little water would hurt neither the dinner nor me.”
“Gracious!” said Brother Rabbit, “I have neither wine-cellar nor water. I am not in the habit of drinking while I am eating.”
“Neither have I any water, Brother Rabbit,” said Brother Goat. “But I have an idea! If you will go with me over yonder by the big poplar, we will dig a well.”
“No, Brother Goat,” said Brother Rabbit, who hoped to revenge himself—”no, I do not care to dig a well. At daybreak I drink the dew from the cups of the flowers, and in the heat of the day I milk the cows and drink the cream.”
“Well and good,” said Brother Goat. “Alone I will dig the well, and alone I will drink out of it.”
“Success to you, Brother Goat,” said Brother Rabbit.
“Thank you kindly, Brother Rabbit.”
Brother Goat then went to the foot of the big poplar and began to dig his well. He dug with his forefeet and with his horns, and the well got deeper and deeper. Soon the water began to bubble up and the well was finished, and then Brother Goat made haste to quench his thirst. He was in such a hurry that his beard got in the water, but he drank and drank until he had his fill.
Brother Rabbit, who had followed him at a little distance, hid himself behind a bush and laughed heartily. He said to himself: “What an innocent creature you are!”
The next day, when Brother Goat, with his big beard and sharp horns, returned to his well to get some water, he saw the tracks of Brother Rabbit in the soft earth. This put him to thinking. He sat down, pulled his beard, scratched his head, and tapped himself on the forehead.
“My friend,” he exclaimed after a while, “I will catch you yet.”
Then he ran and got his tools (for Brother Goat was something of a carpenter in those days) and made a large doll out of laurel wood. When the doll was finished, he spread tar on it here and there, on the right and on the left, and up and down. He smeared it all over with the sticky stuff, until it was as black as a Guinea negro.
This finished, Brother Goat waited quietly until evening. At sunset he placed the tarred doll near the well, and ran and hid himself behind the trees and bushes. The moon had just risen, and the heavens twinkled with millions of little star-torches.
Brother Rabbit, who was waiting in his house, believed that the time had come for him to get some water, so he took his bucket and went to Brother Goat’s well. On the way he was very much afraid that something would catch him. He trembled when the wind shook the leaves of the trees. He would go a little distance and then stop and listen; he hid here behind a stone, and there behind a tuft of grass.
At last he arrived at the well, and there he saw the little negro. He stopped and looked at it with astonishment. Then he drew back a little way, advanced again, drew back, advanced a little, and stopped once more.
“What can that be?” he said to himself. He listened, with his long ears pointed forward, but the trees could not talk, and the bushes were dumb. He winked his eyes and lowered his head: “Hey, friend! Who are you?” he asked.
The tar-doll didn’t move. Brother Rabbit went up a little closer, and asked again: “Who are you?”
The tar-doll said nothing. Brother Rabbit breathed more at ease. Then he went to the brink of the well, but when he looked in the water the tar-doll seemed to look in too. He could see her reflection in the water. This made Brother Rabbit so mad that he grew red in the face.
“See here!” he exclaimed, “If you look in this well I’ll give you a rap on the nose!”
Brother Rabbit leaned over the brink of the well, and saw the tar- doll smiling at him in the water. He raised his right hand and hit her—bam! His hand stuck.
“What’s this?” exclaimed Brother Rabbit. “Turn me loose, imp of Satan! If you do not, I will rap you on the eye with my other hand.”
Then he hit her—bim! The left hand stuck also. Then Brother Rabbit raised his right foot, saying:
“Mark me well, little Congo! Do you see this foot? I will kick you in the stomach if you do not turn me loose this instant.”
No sooner said than done. Brother Rabbit let fly his right foot— vip! The foot stuck, and he raised the other. “Do you see this foot?” he exclaimed. “If I hit you with it, you will think a thunderbolt has struck you.”Then he kicked her with the left foot, and it also stuck like the other, and Brother Rabbit held fast his Guinea negro.
“Watch out, now!” he cried. “I’ve already butted a great many people with my head. If I butt you in your ugly face I’ll knock it into a jelly. Turn me loose! Oho! You don’t answer?” Bap!
“Guinea girl!” exclaimed Brother Rabbit, “Are you dead? Gracious goodness! How my head does stick!”
When the sun rose, Brother Goat went to his well to find out something about Brother Rabbit. The result was beyond his expectations.
“Hey, little rogue, big rogue!” exclaimed Brother Goat. “Hey, Brother Rabbit! What are you doing there? I thought you drank the dew from the cups of the flowers, or milk from the cows. Aha, Brother Rabbit! I will punish you for stealing my water.”
“I am your friend,” said Brother Rabbit; “don’t kill me.”
“Thief, thief!” cried Brother Goat, and then he ran quickly into the woods, gathered up a pile of dry limbs, and made a great fire. He took Brother Rabbit from the tar-doll, and prepared to burn him alive. As he was passing a thicket of brambles with Brother Rabbit on his shoulders, Brother Goat met his daughter Beledie, who was walking about in the fields.
“Where are you going, Papa, muffled up with such a burden? Come and eat the fresh grass with me, and throw wicked Brother Rabbit in the brambles.”
Cunning Brother Rabbit raised his long ears and pretended to be very much frightened.
“Oh, no, Brother Goat!” he cried. “Don’t throw me in the brambles. They will tear my flesh, put out my eyes, and pierce my heart. Oh, I pray you, rather throw me in the fire.”
“Aha, little rogue, big rogue! Aha, Brother Rabbit!” exclaimed Brother Goat, exultingly, “You don’t like the brambles? Well, then, go and laugh in them,” and he threw Brother Rabbit in without a feeling of pity. Brother Rabbit fell in the brambles, leaped to his feet, and began to laugh.
“Ha-ha-ha! Brother Goat, what a simpleton you are!—ha-ha-ha! A better bed I never had! In these brambles I was born!”
Brother Goat was in despair, but he could not help himself. Brother Rabbit was safe.
A long beard is not always a sign of intelligence.
A French Tar-Baby was written by Joel Chandler Harris.
The text is from Project Gutenberg . The pictures are from The Library of Congress . This is a repost.

Block Party

Posted in Georgia History by chamblee54 on July 29, 2012

PG and Uzi usually talk on the phone on Sunday, around noon. At 11:45, the phone rang. PG answered with a cheerful “good morning”. He felt very foolish when it was a robocall, telling him to vote for T- SPLOST on tuesday. This is one of six automated phone calls PG has gotten in the last two days, ensuring a no vote on tuesday. Joseph Lowery should know better.

Since PG injured his knee in February, there have not been many Sunday afternoon walks. Today though, the heat and the sore joint are not going to be an obstacle. It has been a while since the two went to Little Fivc Points, and today was the day.

One thing you should never discuss publicly when you go to a trendy neighborhood is where you park. Some things are just too personal to talk about. Today was a low traffic day, and a huge parking spot opened up for PG’s honda.

There was a sign, indicating an WRFG block party in the community center. You could hear a band playing, by the time you reached Bass High School. The party was a low key affair, which seemed like fun for the people attending. After a few minutes, it was time to go back towards Zestos.

The photography was fun. PG has been taking it easy on the camera lately, and soon remembered how much fun it was to photograph everything in sight. The mannequins had new outfits, at least new to PG. The wig store was in it’s glory. You have to wig in before you can wig out.

Soon, it was time to go up Moreland, towards Junkman’s Daughter. The knee was starting to protest, and PG didn’t want to force the issue. A couple of men were panhandling. One had a hint of menace in his voice, and the other had been wasted since Jimmy Carter was Governor. As PG walked by the stonezombie a second time, he was heard to say “lets get naked”. PG was going to say it’s too hot, but thought better of it. This was almost in front of the Vortex, and PG was concerned about a possible extention of their no idiot policy to the sidewalk.

Soon, PG and Uzi were back in the vehicle, heading up to the Piccadilly on North Druid Hills road. The server lady was offended that PG did not get a dessert. He said he would have gotten one if she had paid for it, which simply did not work.

Bob Dylan Brookhaven Bleeding Lambs

Posted in The Internet by chamblee54 on July 29, 2012

Google has a better memory than PG. This can be helpful when you have 2000 plus posts in your archive. When PG sees something on facebook that he has written about, he thinks it is cool to give a link to the post. To find this post, he uses Google Advanced Search.

When you go to GAS, you have a bunch of blank lines. The one on top of the page is for the thing you are searching for. Yesterday, PG looked for something that started with B. It was probably Brookhaven, since the vote on creating a new city has become a car crash … tough to look at, but impossible to look away. When PG started his search, he typed B in the top line. The automemory suggestible piped in with Bob Dylan, Brookhaven, bleeding lambs.

PG has written about all three subjects, usually more than once. Once, PG came out of the bathroom, in a mentally unhealthy state. He heard a person praying for entertainment on a radio. “The blood of the lamb has cleansed my heart“. PG freaked out over the visual of the bleeding lambs. After asking the owner of the radio to turn the noise down, there was seven years of righteous anger.

This wound up on Facebook today:
“I don’t know where “normalcy” came from, but I loathe it. Normal, normality. We do not say “realcy” or “functionalcy” or “dualcy” or “trivialcy”. Curse you, Warren G. Harding.” When PG looked up Warren Harding, the suggested options were water, Walt Whitman, and war between the states. At this time, the decision was made to look up the other 24 letters.
Synchronicity abounds. About halfway through writing about Eat, Pray. Love, PG was embarrassed. The first letter to draw a blank is K, which symbolizes strikeout on a baseball scorecard. Hüsker Dü, hip hop, hot and busted, Healy building and heroin came before “is life sacred”.

Last night, PG was talking about an early job he had, as a caddy at a golf course. One day, a man missed a putt, and shouted “shit, piss, and corruption”. PG has an appreciation for creative profanity, and remembers that turn of words forty four years later. Today, that phrase is listed ahead of Santorum, and Santorum weird.

Christopher Isherwood represents an internet holy grail. At some time in the last thirty years, PG read a magazine story about Mr. Isherwood. He said that religion is about people, not doctrine. The key to the religion you adopt is the person who introduces you to that religion. If anyone reading this can direct PG to the source for that quote, it would be greatly appreciated.

Here are the results of this survey. If nothing was found, the letter is not shown. Like a telephone dial, there is no Q. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

a- adventitious, anti racist faq, atlanta water crisis, Abraham Lincoln
b- Bob Dylan, Brookhaven, Bleeding lambs
c- camel going through eye of the needle, coonskin, Cynthia Mckinney, Christopher Isherwood
d- Donna Summer, Durand Line
e- Eat Pray Love, embarrassed
f- friday the thirteenth, Fred Thomas
g- Gary Johnson
h- Hüsker Dü, hip hop, homonyms, hot and busted, Healy building, heroin
i- is life sacred
j- Jane Fonda, Jane Svoboda
l- Lester Maddox
n- n word
o- Og Mandino, opening lines of books, old times not forgotten
p- privilege, poppers, prose is better than poetry, Pope Pius XII and Cardinal Spellman
r- racism, rotary club four way test, rudolph the red nosed reindeer, Raymond Carver
s- seven, statement issued by Georgia Department of Correction, shit piss and corruption, Santorum, Santorum weird
t- T-SPLOST, trocadero, Tom Waits storyteller, the saint, the day I helped kill a baby, Truman Capote
w- Warren Harding, water, Walt Whitman, war between the states

The Surge Five Years Later

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 28, 2012

PG wrote feature five years ago about Iraq. It was prompted by an op-ed in the New York Times, A War We Just Might Win. The NYT said, things are bad in Iraq, but we might win anyway.

Looking back, this was the start of the “surge”. This program had two parts. There was a change in stategic focus in Babylon. Additional troops were sent. They were not greeted as liberators.

In America, the press started to say we were winning. Since most people did not have access to information from Iraq, they took the word of the media. When the msm tells you what you want to hear, it is the truth.

In 2012, the combat troops are out of Iraq. America still has a substantial presence there, as well as an ongoing war in neighboring Afghanistan. The horrific sectarian conflict in Iraq has calmed down, although people are still being killed. The Iraqi government is friendly with Iran. The American War machine may visit Tehran soon.

Whether of not we “won” in Iraq is open to debate. Whether this “liberation” is worth the army of widows, and the destruction of the American economy, is a good question. Here is the story from 2007.

An op ed column in the “liberal” “msm” New York Times about Iraq is getting a lot of attention. The question arises, can a word of it be believed?

After all, in war, the first casualty is truth. In this conflict, truth took a beating in the runup to battle, and has been hard to come by ever since. A complicating factor is the battle for public opinion in Amerika. Without the support of the public, the powers that be in Washington cannot sustain a war effort for very long. This struggle for public opinion is a feature of modern war that some seem to understand well (Israel comes to mind), and that the neocon morons that begot this struggle are oblivious to. Of course, Halliburton gets paid whether we win or lose, and the Chinese investors buying chunks of our national debt are not interested in the freedom of the Iraqi people.

In a Vietnam flashback, the concept of “victory” is fuzzy, unless it is napalm in the morning. If Victory is setting up a government in Iraq that can function, without being a threat to American interests, that may happen in the next administration. If the idea is to get Sunna and Shi’a to hold hands, sing KumBahYah and roast marshmallows, we might have to stay until the 22nd century. If our objective is to destroy Al Queda (fight them there so we won’t have to fight them here), then we may want to consult Zager and Evans about the year 2525.

Lets get back to A War We Just Might Win. Turn your bs detector down for a while.

A second reading of the editorial leaves one with a sense that the management of the paper told the authors to write a positive piece, possibly to quiet criticism of the paper. Many paragraphs have a sentence or two, with a concluding third sentence that has little to do with the supporting statements. Here is an example:

Everywhere, Army and Marine units were focused on securing the Iraqi population, working with Iraqi security units, creating new political and economic arrangements at the local level and providing basic services — electricity, fuel, clean water and sanitation — to the people. Yet in each place, operations had been appropriately tailored to the specific needs of the community. As a result, civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done.

There really isn’t much to add. However groovy the killing gets, if Iraq doesn’t get it together politically, we are losing. This is a patch of real estate without a democratic tradition, which has been ruled by foreign powers, and dictators, since the time of Sheharazade.

The one bit of concrete good news to come out lately is the Iraqi people getting tired of the foreign fighters, including Al Queda. It has been suggested that we are buying this “loyalty”. It remains to be seen what will happen here. Incidentally, the United States just finalized an arms deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. How many of those weapons will find their way to the fighting in Iraq? (And would Israel get involved in all this Arab killing? Who says it hasn’t already?)

A clue to how long we may need to be in Iraq was provided by this story, “Northern Ireland: End of an Error” . The British army’s longest continuous military operation comes to an end at midnight tonight when responsibility for security in Northern Ireland passes to the police. Operation Banner lasted 38 years and involved 300,000 personnel, of which 763 were killed by paramilitaries. The last soldier to die was Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick, who was shot at a vehicle checkpoint in 1997. This was a visit to a region of the confederation. It was a district with a similar culture. The troops were there 38 years.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress. Video is from WTF Japan Seriously

Drugs Of Death

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on July 27, 2012

The new tradition of States offing condemned prisoners with an intentional drug overdose is going to be reviewed by the courts. That is what Associated Press says. It is being repeated verbatim by numerous media outlets, including mainstream, lamestream, and dry creek bed.
The execution of Warren Hill was delayed. The court wants to consider the state’s decision to use an overdose of pentobarbital, instead of a three drug cocktail. The latest development is the court refusing to expedite the case, but to have oral arguments in November. PG left this comment at Peach Pundit, where he first heard this story.
1- The stories that you linked to regard sodium thiopental. It has been replaced by pentobarbital. The initial role of these two substances was to sedate the prisoner, so the other two drugs of the procedure could be used. (i.e. the gateway drug) The State has since decided to use a deliberate overdose of pentobarbital as a one shop stop.
2- This is a good decision. When SCOTUS ruled on chemical execution, they ruled on the three drug protocol, including sodium thiopental. Whether or not the State can change this at will is a matter for the courts to decide. This should provide lots of work for the legal industry.
3- Most of those death row inmates are not going anywhere anyway. The pace of executions is glacial.
4- This hemming and hawing about the number of drugs to use in an execution makes me wonder if the State is wise enough to employ the death penalty in a just and proper manner.
For those who just joined us, here is a review. When SCOTUS ruled that “lethal injection” was constitutional, the case referred to the Kentucky Protocol This was a three drug process. The protocol included sodium thiopental to kill pain, pancuronium bromide to paralyze the inmate and potassium chloride to stop the heart. (The spell check suggestion for Pancuronium is Pandemonium.)
The manufacturer of sodium thiopental objected to the use of their product in executions. States began to stockpile the drug, buying it from shady sources. Eventually, pentobarbital was used as a substitute. The manufacturer of pentobarbital objected to it’s use for executions, and this may cause problems in the future.
For various reasons, states decided to use a deliberate overdose of pentobarbital to waste the condemned. There are several reasons for this. Pancuronium bromide has been in short supply. Also, some say that the sedation is inadequate to prevent the pain caused by pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. Some say that the one drug approach is more humane. Now, it appears that the court is going to have a say so.
CNN had a fun feature recently, about this issue.
“Pentobarbital is widely available and has been used for physician-assisted suicide, including in Oregon, where the practice is legal in limited circumstances.”
There are a couple of other chemical execution stories today. This is from Associated Press via Washington Post.

Virginia has added a new drug to be used in executions to replace one that is in short supply. The Virginia Department of Corrections said Friday that Rocuronium Bromide can now be used in the lethal injection cocktail. The drug is an alternative to Pancuronium Bromide, which is scarce nationwide.
Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center says Virginia appears to be the first state to substitute a drug for Pancuronium Bromide, which is used to paralyze the muscles. He says Texas and Georgia have switched from the three-drug cocktail to a bigger dose of the sedative that typically is the first of three drugs administered. In May, an anti-death penalty group called Reprieve complained that Virginia had a stockpile of Pancuronium Bromide while hospitals are in short supply.

In Missouri, the plan is to do one drug executions using Propofol. This substance became famous when it caused Michael Jackson to leave the planet. Propofol is a British product, and some don’t want it imported to use in executions. (The spell check suggestion for Propofol is Foolproof.)

The Business Secretary Vince Cable is expected to introduce new legislative controls over the sale of Propofol, which will be used to prepare the injection that puts prisoners to death in America. It was also the drug used by Michael Jackson to treat his insomnia. The move was announced after Missouri became the first state to confirm it would begin using the drug in its executions, with others expected to follow, according to the Times.
Mr Cable said: “This country opposes the death penalty. We are clear that the state should never be complicit in judiciary executions through the use of British drugs in lethal injections.” He added a ban would not stop anaesthetics being sold the US for medical purposes. Since Missouri outlined its intention to use Propofol, campaigners have set out a legal challenge, arguing the drug causes pain before death, and humane administration of a fatal dose was unlikely.

A voice was heard in the distance, singing “Beat it, Beat it, no one wants to be defeated.”
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This post was written like H. P. Lovecraft.

One More Post About Brookhaven

Posted in Georgia History by chamblee54 on July 26, 2012

By this time next week, we will know if the City of Brookhaven will be established. A lot of noise has been made. The competing claims made by NoCityBrookhaven (NCB) and BrookhavenYes (BY) are tough to sort out. There is a third committees registered with the State of Georgia, the Brookhaven Ballot Committee (BBC). BBC supports the new city. The role played by BY and BBC is a matter of speculation.

Chamblee 54 has posted five times about this issue in 2012. One way to chart the evolution of this issue is to review these posts.

Brookhaven Pie, published May 19, is a repost of Brookhaven Burger, posted May 20, 2011. Both have pictures of the Peachtree Road commercial strip in the pre Marta days. The city movement was in the planning stages. The post was made after a story at Peach Pundit. Here is a fun quote.

The story in Peach Pundit is a lively affair. People with reservations about this new city are given links calling them liberal crackpots . The author tells the tale of seeing a young man walking away with his lawn mower. He was not happy with the police response, and feels that an new city police force would do a better job.

The story spawned a festive comment thread. Instead of discussing the merits of a new city, the commenters discuss the pros and cons of confronting the lawn mower thief personally, as opposed to calling the police. There is one comment that begs to be quoted. I agree, creating government is not conservative. It is a conservative reaction to liberalism gone awry.

City Of Brookhaven was posted June 13. The mailers had started to arrive. … The yes mailer has racial undertones. It has a picture of Dekalb CEO Burrell Ellis, who is African American. The headline read “What’s CEO Burrell Ellis doing with Your Tax Dollars? There is a quote from an “Email from lobbyist to DeKalb County”, with a line about fighting the proposed new city.

This mailer was from BBC. PG looked for a web site, and could not find one. The difference between BBC and BY had not been made clear. To PG, they were just the people who wanted a new city.

The other issues … taxes, financial viability, police protection … were being discussed at this stage, at least at the NCB and BY websites. The BBC mailers were personality based DeKalb county bashing. It should be noted that the BBC mailer was the first message to arrive in the mailbox.

Brookhaven Town Hall Meeting was posted June 29. PG attended a meeting at Cross Keys. The bathroom did not smell like cigarette smoke. A collection of officials from BY, and several other cities, were on hand to promote the new city. The point was made that a new city would not be a new layer of government, but a parallel layer controlling certain aspects of governance. The other mayors said that they had their own naysayers, and that their towns were running smoothly.

Letter About Brookhaven marked a return to the personal attacks. A Republican politician wrote a letter to various media outlets, where he compared DeKalb county CEO Burrell Ellis, and County Commissioner Kathie Gannon, to Barack Obama. When PG went to the website of Ms. Gannon, what he found contradicted most of what was in that letter. The website also referred to a county study about decreased tax revenues. This would tend to support the NCB contention that the new city would not have enough money to operate on.

Somebody Made A Mistake was where things got interesting. There was another BHO bashing mailer, which was denounced by Chamblee54. It was soon pointed out that the mailer was from BBC, and not BY. Apparently, this is an important distinction. (The original title was “Brookhaven Yes made a mistake”. That was changed the next day.)

At roughly the same time this mailer was going out, Brookhaven Patch published NoCityBrookhaven Outraises, Outspends Cityhood Proponents. This article had many of the same talking points as the BBC mailer. The issue stressed by BBC in this mailer was the source of financing for NCB. Apparently, a few Historic Brookhaven residents have been the primary contributors to NCB.

The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, formerly known as the State Ethics Commission, has a dandy website showing the committee financial reports. There are reports about NCB Contributions, BY Contributions, and BBC Contributions The largest contributor to both BY and BBC is J. Patrick Hoban, CEO of Troncalli Motors, and a Historic Brookhaven resident.

The story at the Patch linked has a lively comment thread. Apparently, this has been going on for some time. A handful of people do the majority of the posting. Personal insults, threats, and name calling is part of the fun. Both sides are confident of victory. It is not known whether the pro city people in the comment thread are connected to BY, BBC, or both. The Patch has made noise about conduct and civility, but has not taken much action.

BY had a picnic at Ashford Park July 22. PG walked over to attend. He talked to J. Max Davis, the Chairman of BY. Mr. Davis stressed that the offensive flyer was not from his group. He said that he doesn’t know who is in BBC, and cannot control what they say. Mr. Davis did not denounce the mailer in this conversation, and evidently has not done so in public.

At this stage, it is coming down to trust and personalities. The financial claims made by BY and NCB are tough for a non expert to sort out. It is obvious that DeKalb county is poorly run, and not giving the Brookhaven area the attention it deserves. The question is, can BY/BBC do better?

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library.”

Abby Farle Is My Clean Up Facebook Friend

Posted in Georgia History, Religion by chamblee54 on July 26, 2012

The Chick fil A story just gets weirder and weirder. It is the sort of thing which blossoms in hot weather, when real news slows down and media mouths need something to chatter about. Just ask Abby Farle.

CFA is an Atlanta based fast food chain. It is known for spelling challenged advertising, a cow, and being closed on Sunday. The company has always made noise about Jesus, which irritates some people. They quietly give money, and food, to different groups, some of which are religious.

S. Truett Cathy operated a grill, in Hapeville GA, called the Dwarf House.  There is a small door for short people. He sold chicken sandwiches there, and started to open other stores. The cow mascot, and redefining the traditional spelling of chicken,  came later.

Dan Cathy is the son of the founder, and the present President and C.O.O. He kick started the present fuss with some comments on a radio show. “I think we are inviting G-d’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’ I pray G-d’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

Mr. Cathy stepped in it again with a print interview. The fun started. Some said they were going to stay out of CFA, and spell chicken correctly. Others said they were going to eat mor, and changed their spell check settings to chikin. Miss Piggy said to eat more cows. Attention vultures in all shapes and sizes, including XX large, saw the circus as a chance for another fifteen minutes. An attempt to back down by CFA was ignored in all the joyful noise.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any stranger, Gizmodo published an alleged facebook conversation. It featured a young lady named Abby Farle, who was quickly found out. Supposedly, this fake facebook person was the creation of Chick fil A. She defended the company in an alleged facebook conversation. PG learned about it at another facebook thread, this time started by a real person. Here are a few of the comments.

It is going to be tough to prove that “Abby Farle” is the invention of Chick fil A. The company has issued a statement trying to back down, but people on both sides don’t want to let this matter slide. The facebook page created by Mike Huckabee is part of this mess. With competing messengers fighting for attention, it is tough to tell what the real message is. In the case of Jesus, the jerks have long been louder and more persistent. After a while, it is just easier to walk away from it. If you don’t agree with the scheme for life after death, there really isn’t a good reason to subject yourself to the abuse.

I’m confused. Is it not likely that an employee of the company, maybe at company HQ simply did this on their own?!? Why the assumption that this was generation by CFA executives or public relations. Sounds beyond stupid as some intentional way to spread positive pr after the Henson thing. And in this digital age, it would be easy for any stock photo to have been pulled by just about anyone. I don’t see any facts in the article that demonstrate that this fake Facebook account was created by the company or its executives. It looks more like something maybe a lower level employee did just because he was sick of hearing all the negative crap on Facebook but didn’t want to be seen as biased with his own comments. I also don’t get how this would be a game changer. I think you should just admit you are doing it because you are such a massive Muppet fan. Not because of this unsubstantiated BS.

1-This is from the comments, of the Peach Pundit Story about CFA backing down. Bob Loblaw July 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm I know a person who was interviewing to be an owner/operator who says they were asked if he engaged in premarital sex during an interview after telling the interviewer that they were unmarried. Calypso July 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm Why would anyone engage in premarital sex during an interview? Doesn’t sound like they really wanted the job. 2- ” I think you should just admit you are doing it because you are such a massive Muppet fan.” Miss Piggy has lost a lot of weight. She is no longer massive. Not eating waffle fries has it’s advantages.

Miss Piggy appeared to me in a vision while I was floating in the ocean at Tybee Island yesterday morning. I do not want Miss Piggy mad at me.

I suspect this is a hoax. There is no Abby Farle on facebook. The Chick fil A fb page is mostly about Cow Appreciation day. All I have seen is a screen shot, with last names blacked out. It would be fairly simple to fake that bit of dialog.

If this wasn’t a hoax I’m sure it wasn’t done by any executives at CFA. It was probably by a low-level employee or someone else acting alone. My decision to no longer patronize CFA is not based on this one incident, but on conversations with friends. As well as the Miss Piggy vision

We will probably never know who created Abby Farle. (Who’s your daddy Abby?) Any photoshop queen could have pasted that Gizmodo conversation together. What is amazing are the people who assumed that it was another CFA product. When your COO runs his mouth, and creates ill will, people are willing to believe bad things about you.

The facebook member page of Abby Farle is long gone, if it ever existed to begin with. Today, there is a “public figure” page, with 524 likes. There is a meme generator. There is also this, Hi Guys!! I’m Abby Farle. It has one of the few messages, produced by this circus, which is worth reading.

Hi Guys!! I’m Abby Farle. Oh, wait, I’m not. You know why? Because Abby Farle is fake. I’m Jeremy Goldman, author of the upcoming Going Social: Excite Customers, Generate Buzz, and Energize Your Brand with the Power of Social Media and blogger at You know why I’m not lying to you about who I am? Because lying to further a cause sucks. Brands shouldn’t do it. Advocates of those brands shouldn’t do it.

I’m sure many of you have seen that Chick-Fil-A has allegedly created Abby Farle to stick up for their policies. The truth is still coming out – but we do know that Abby Farle – at least the one in the picture – is a fake.
Assuming for a second Abby Farle is 100% the creation of a brand – or a brand representative – doesn’t that suck? Shouldn’t we be past this type of idiotic manipulation as a society? In my mind, we are. That’s why I’d like to encourage all of you to avoid any brand that speaks down to you or misleads you in any way. We’re smart, and we’re owed better.
Thanks for listening! – Jeremy “not Abby Farle” Goldman

Pictures are from The Library of Congress

Jimmy Crack Corn

Posted in Music by chamblee54 on July 25, 2012

Q: What does “Jimmy crack corn” mean, and why does he not care?—Matt, Columbus, Ohio

PG was trolling “” when there was a convergence of stupidity. (The site does not exist in 2012.) All his life he had heard “Blue Tail Fly”, and been embarrassed. And there, in (pardon the expression) black and white, was someone who wondered the same thing.

It seems as though “Blue Tail Fly” started out as a minstrel song. For those who don’t know, minstrel shows were white people putting on black makeup, and imitating African Americans. Minstrelsy is not well thought of these days.

The story of BTF involves a slave named Jim. A fly bit the pony the old massa was riding, the pony was offended, and threw the old massa off. He was hurt landing, and died. Jim still has to crack corn, but he doesn’t care anymore, because old massa has gone away.

Dave Barry took a poll once to find out the stupidest song of all time. The overwhelming winner/loser was “MacArthur Park”. The combination of over the top show stopping, while singing about a cake left out in the rain, makes this ditty a duh classic.

In the spirit of corny convergence, the video is a karaoke version featuring Donna Summer . Miss Summer is a talented singer, who happened to connect with Giorgio Moroder. There are lots of singers who would have hit the big time if they had fronted those records, but Donna Summer hit the jackpot.

For a proper post, there needs to be a third stupid song. This is not about stupid bands, singing about being D U M B. Even though they totally don’t belong, there is a video of the Ramones included. PG saw the Ramones at the Agora Ballroom in 1983. This was after their prime, and before a homeless man caught the Ballroom on fire.

We still need a third stupid song, and PG wants to get this posted with as little research as possible. Just like some writer was once given twenty minutes to write a song, and he decided to do the worst song he could think of. The result was “Wild Thing”. PG used to have a 45 of someone who sounded like Bobby Kennedy singing “Wild Thing”.
This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

688 Spring Street

Posted in Music by chamblee54 on July 24, 2012

There was a comment at Chamblee54. “Steve Loehrer – So tell me what you know about Rose’s Cantina. I booked the music there from 1978-80 – Thorogood, Delbert, The Thunderbirds, The Fans, The Razor Boys and on and on. I was the one that did it. And I probably know you.” This blog has previously published features about the Great Southeast Music Hall, Richards, and the Georgian Terrace Ballroom. One more music venue post is not going to hurt anyone, and will be a good excuse to post some more pictures, from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.

688 Spring Street is a nondescript building, located down the hill from the Varsity. At one time, a company called Southern Tailors made wine jackets there. It is currently a Concentra Urgent Care Center. In between, it was the site of two rock and roll nightclubs, Roses Cantina and 688. One block over, at 688 West Peachtree, is a Catholic Construction management office.

House manager Rose Lynn Scott is quoted as saying “You know, we really aren’t sure exactly when it all started and ended,” Scott said. “Honest to God, we weren’t paying that close attention.”PG first knew about it around 1977, and really didn’t go very often. There is a running list for this post, and whenever a new band sinks into the mush, it is duly noted. There was some band, whose name is lost to antiquity, that did “Love Gun”, which sounds remarkably similar to “Amphetamine Annie” by Canned Heat.

The punk rock revolution did not completely pass Atlanta by. A band called the Fans said they were making the pop music of the eighties. PG saw them twice and Roses, and they might be the only time he ever paid to get in. They were an impressive outfit, doing Velvet Underground and Telstar. Later, they opened for Talking Heads at the Agora, and were pretty awful. Much, much later, PG shared an apartment with the brother, of the drummer, for the Fans. Also living there was the brothers wife, a cable guy, seven snakes, a ferret, and a cat.

Back to the words of Rose Lynn, “It was a dive bar supreme and proud of it.” The stage was in the middle of the house, with a game room behind the stage. If you liked to shoot pool and listen to bands, this was the place. As for drinking, PG might get a beer or two, but mostly got bombed at other spots.

In those days, PG would go rambling from club to club, often accompanied by his friend Dinkson. One night, they stumbled in on a three piece band. They did a song called “Madison Blues”, with the guitar playing slinging riffs, and the bass playing playing the same notes over and over, never changing the look on his face. This was George Thorogood and the Destroyers.

One other night, PG stumbled in on the last few minutes of a show by the Brains. They wrote a song called “Money Changes Everything” that Cyndi Lauper did well with. This is another great local band that never seemed to get a national audience. Another night, some old black man, possibly John Lee Hooker, was playing guitar.

Around about this time, PG decided to either grow up, or take his childhood seriously. He wound up in Seattle WA. That wore off after a while. On the greyhound bus going home, PG talked to a young lady, who said something about a punk rock club in the Roses Cantina space. This was the 688.

A few weeks later, Iggy Pop did a week at 688. Here, through the miracle of copy paste, is the story. It isn’t plagiarism when you wrote it yourself.

At any rate, by the time PG got back from Seattle, some brave investors decided to have a punk rock club at 688 Spring Street. Soon, Iggy Pop would be playing a week there. In the seventies, the bands would play for five days at the great southeast music hall or the electric ballroom, two shows a night, and if you were really cool you would go on a weeknight before it got too crowded. Soon after that, it was one night in town only, and you either saw it or you didn’t.

PG had a friend at the Martinique apartments on Buford Hiway. There was someone living in the complex known as ZenDen, who sold acid. You would go to his place, wade through the living room full of grown men listening to Suzi Quatro, and purchase the commodity.

On to the the 23 Oglethorpe bus, and downtown to 688 Spring Street. Before anyone knew it, the band was on the stage. A veteran of the Patti Smith Group, named Ivan Kral, was playing bass. Mr. Kral sneezed, and a huge cocaine booger fell across his face. He was not playing when the show ended.
There was a white wall next to the stage, and someone wrote the song list on that wall. That list of songs stayed on the wall as long as 688 was open. “I want to be your dog” was on the list, as well as the number where Iggy pulled his pants off and performed in his underwear. Supposedly, in New York the drawers came off, but the TMI police were off duty that night.

The show was loud and long, and had the feel of an endurance event…either you go or the band does. Finally, the show was over, and PG got on the 23 Oglethorpe bus. You got the northbound bus on West Peachtree Street. You could look down, from Fourth street,  and see the Coca Cola sign downtown.

Twenty years after that, PG worked in a building at that corner of Fourth and West Peachtree. If he had known about the future of working for Redo Blue, PG might have jumped under the 23 Oglethorpe bus, instead of getting on it. The Coca Cola sign was long gone by then.

There was band called Human Sexual Response in those days. PG caught their act at 688. They had three vocalists, wearing matching outfits, and sang a lot of lyric happy songs with really cool harmonies. The problem was, PG was not familiar with those oh so witty lyrics, and did not know what it was all about. At least he got out of the house.

Kevin Dunn played guitar for the Fans. (He had an ad for guitar lessons on the bulletin board at Wax and Facts. It said that raising racing turtles was more profitable than playing guitar.) One night at 688, he performed with his band The regiment of women. They opened for someone, possibly the Plastics, who we will get to in a minute. So, this guy plays guitar and sings, and a woman plays a drum machine. No skin pounding drummer, but  a lady who twisted the knobs on a machine.

The Plastics were from Japan, and did a killer version of “Last Train to Clarksville”. It was about this time that PG got a job, and decided that he liked sleeping better than hanging out downtown.

One night, about 1983 or so, PG made an exception. The band that night was Modern English. Before the show, PG ate three z burgers from the Zestos on Ponce de Leon. During the show, the singer rubbed his stomach, and said to feel the music. About this time, the z burgers were making their presence known, and PG could feel something, but it wasn’t the music.

The last show PG saw at 688 was Hüsker Dü. The best guess is February 14, 1986. There was a totem pole, made of old TV sets, in the front part of the club in 1986. Here is the story.

Hüsker Dü means “do you remember” in Danish and Norwegian. PG saw them sometime in the eighties. It might have been the metroplex, but it might have been the 688. There is a list of shows they played, and the metroplex is not on there.

PG saw a show at the Metroplex the next night. The band is forgotten. The metroplex was a dark spooky building on Marietta street near the omni. The balcony was very dark, with everything painted black. PG tripped over a bench. Funny how HD means “do you remember” and memory is letting PG down here.

688 was a different story. PG saw a bunch of shows there, both as 688 and Rose’s Cantina. HD may have been the last show PG saw before they closed. PG was well into the work/sleep lifestyle that preoccupied his life after a certain point, and just didn’t make it out much anymore. A friend won tickets to the show or he wouldn’t have made it.

PG didn’t get into the show very much. HD was a trio, with the later outed Bob Mould as the guitar g-d. For all of his musical skills, Mould is not much for onstage charisma. PG felt that if he had been more familiar with their music, he would have enjoyed it more. Some bands you can see without hearing their records and get into it right away, where others need a bit of familiarity.

Yossarian Part Three

Posted in Book Reports by chamblee54 on July 24, 2012

This is part three of a homage to Catch 22. Parts one, two, four, five, six, and seven are also available.

XIII Major —De Coverly PG had been slack about the Catch 22 series. It had been a couple of weeks since the last installment, and he had not written a word. Until the fateful afternoon, when he started a document, wrote the heading for chapter thirteen, looked for the online cheat sheets, and sincerely meant to start back on the project. Of course, he had to check facebook one more time, and saw that his longtime friend Dinkson was posting old pictures, that he had scanned. Which gave PG another excuse for something to do, instead of work on the Catch 22 series. After all, it is your own personal copy, possibly a first edition, albeit without a dust cover. You can take as long as you like on this project, and not worry about returning anything to the library.

The distraction was the laptop. It has proved unstable for writing text, although it may have to do someday. It has other uses. There is a work room, in the middle of the house, with lots of table space, and a computer stand already installed. There is also an old scanner. PG bought the compaq s200 back in the Tobey Road days, and when it proved incompatible with a replacement computer, PG got a scanner/printer combo unit. The s200 scanner went into storage, and seemed ready for a comeback. All that needed to happen was plug it in, install the software on the laptop, and you are in business.

Not exactly. PG found the old CD, and installed it. Then, the scanner was plugged in, and the computer asked for more software. The CD was put back in, and a message came on the screen that the software did not pass the windows logo test. The software was uninstalled, which caused the display settings on the laptop to go back to default. Some software was found on the internet, and it did not pass the windows logo test. Software with the same number was found on an external hard drive, and it too did not pass the windows logo test.

PG rebooted the laptop, and tried to install the external hard drive software. It still did not pass the windows logo test. The next step was to plug in the scanner, and try to operate it with GIMP. The little window opened, but when you clicked scan a signal came on that the device was warming up. Ten minutes later, it was still warming up. The scanner is now back on the shelf, where it will probably stay for a while.

Chaptere thirteen is named for Major —- De Coverly. He is one of those unforgettable character sketches that you forget when it is time to write about the book. In this chapter, Yossarian argues with a whore, and Major DC is charmed by fresh eggs from Milo Minderbinder. Yossarian flies a mission, gets someone else killed, and receives a medal and promotion for his efforts.

XIV Kid Sampson The long dreaded mission to Balogna is here. Yossarian says they have to turn back, because the intercom is not working. So they turn back, and the mission is smooth as silk, with no flak in sight.

PG winds up going to dinner by himself a lot. Some people don’t like to do this, but PG is used to it. He always takes something to read, which for the next few months is going to be Catch 22, complete with grocery sack dust cover. Friday, it was a chain Pizza buffet house in Tucker, GA. The lady who takes your money asked PG if his book was the Bible, which was rather amusing. The lady has probably never heard of Catch 22, the concept, movie, or book, and could not know why PG thought this was so funny.

This happened on a movie set once. PG was reading a book about a farmboy. Sambo knew someone named Moo Cow. The reason he was called Moo Cow involved a cow and a five gallon bucket. Moo Cow was standing on the five gallon bucket, trying to pleasure the bovine, when the animal decided to take a dump on the bib overalls of Moo Cow. PG was on a movie set, reading this by a spotlight between takes. In the school library room where the extras hung out, an older man said he saw PG reading, and asked if it was the Bible. Maybe in the Old Testament they would have used a camel.

This was a couple of weeks after PG went to a faerie gathering in Tennessee. He took this book with him. During the know talent show, PG read a description of an outhouse.

XV Piltchard & Wren Catch 22 is starting to be fun to read. There is a ways to go, and the heavy handed satire may return, but chapters like this make up for it. Yossarian, and crew, are sternly reprimanded for turning back from the Balogna mission. Their punishment is to go back to Balogna. The Germans are waiting on them this time, and there is heavy fire from the ground. Somehow, they make it back to the base. Yossarian immediately leaves for rest leave in Rome.

There is a lady blogger (bloggess? bloggette?) in Texas called clotildajamcracker. She “lkes” stories that PG writes, which means that he is required to read her stories. Some of them are pretty good. This one relates to Catch 22, because it is about her sister cooking for army generals. Clementine talks a good game, and somehow gets away with it. Here is the story, The Stolen Tale of the Rattlsnake Tacos.

Some people call it self-esteem. I just call it delusions of grandeur. Just look at the expression on her face. Do you see what I mean? She’s perfect. She can do no wrong. She can’t help it. It’s not her fault. She was born that way.

She’s got this special God given ability to tell these fascinating stories and keep her audience entertained. It’s too bad that she’s a compulsive liar. Nobody seems to care or to know about the fact that she’s completely full of crap. Maybe she’s lying, maybe she’s telling the truth. There’s just no way to tell. She is so believable. It is because of her amazing charisma that she got this job cooking for gourmet food for army generals. Those guys just adored her, or at least that’s what she says.

This one time they asked her to make this fabulous dinner for some important Japanese generals. You know how Japanese people are they just love to eat daring exotic foods like poisonous puffer fish. So they asked her to make rattlesnake. To us here in The Republic of Texas, it’s just food. But if you’re from Japan, it’s ethnic food.

My sister, Clementine, had never cooked a rattlesnake before in her life, and to be honest with you, she’s terrified of snakes and other slithery creatures. She had no idea what to do with this thing, so she just stuck in in a big pot of boiling water, hoping to God that she would think of something while she chopped up the jalapenos

As she was chopping, the pot foamed up and bubbled over the top and the snake started slithering out of the pot. She panicked and freaked out because she thought that maybe it was still alive. She reached for a pair of tongs and shoved it back in, but it kept slithering back out again. She boiled that thing for twenty minutes and the dad gum thing would not stay in the pot, so she pulled it out with a pair of tongs in each of her hands and threw it onto the counter. Then she chopped it’s head off and cringed.

I don’t know how she managed to rip the skin off and pull the meat off it’s bones. I guess being in the army made her tough. While she was chopping up the meat for the tacos, her hands started stinging and swelling up. This is when she remembered that rattlesnakes are poisonous. She thought for sure that she had forgotten to pull out some sort of venom pouch or something and was certain that she was about to die. She didn’t call the ambulance. She isn’t that stupid. Almost, but not quite.

Instead she did an internet search on preparing rattlesnake. She couldn’t find anything so she just laughed and figured that her hands were stinging because the jalapenos were hot. She told this story to the Japanese generals and they laughed, ha ha ha.

Clementine swore that she would never cook a rattlesnake again. She said that the next time someone asks for it, she’s just going to use chicken and say it’s rattlesnake because it tastes the like the same freaking thing and nobody will ever know.

XVI Luciana PG is writing this chapter on July 23. If his mother had lived, she would be 90 today. She passed away in 1998. Her mind was sharp until the end, but her body had been a wreck for years. There was a fear of long, drawn out illnesses. PG misses his mother, but would not want to have her spend fourteen years as an invalid.

There were three older people in PG’s life. His parents were two. Only one grandparent, his mother’s mother, stuck around long enough to know PG. Both father and grandmother died at 75. On July 23, 1998, mother was fighting the cancer that would claim her in December. At 3am, on the 76th birthday, PG got a wrong number phone call.

July 23, 1999 saw PG at work. He typed the number 0723 into his computer, and realized what day it was. PG went outside, and stood in the parking lot, trying to maintain his composure. An obnoxious salesman walked by, and snarled “What’s the matter”. The salesman got in his truck, went to the Dunwoody office, and got fired.

July 23, 2004, was a Friday afternoon. At a bit after five, PG had one job to run before he went home. A taxi was going down West Peachtree Street at seventy five miles per hour, and crashed into the building. From where PG was standing, he had to walk past the front of the building to go anywhere. It was not a bomb. PG called 911, and covered up some cash that was left on a table.

That weekend, PG’s landlord called, to say he was putting the house up for sale. On Tuesday, the Bully For Jesus, who had dropped the money to the table and ran, picked a fight with PG. The store manager threatened to fire PG, to the amusement of the Bully For Jesus, On Wednesday, the company operations manager pulled people into the office, one by one. PG was the last to go. An employee had heard the store manager use a racial slur, and was threatening legal action. There was a new store manager the next week. 7 months later, PG lost his job at Redo Blue.

Getting back to Catch 22, chapter 16 is very entertaining. Yossarian meets Luciana, who is more than a match for him in talking things out in english. “All right, I’ll dance with you,” she said, before Yossarian could even speak. “But I won’t let you sleep with me.”Who asked you?” Yossarian asked her. “You don’t want to sleep with me?” she exclaimed with surprise. “I don’t want to dance with you.”

They meet an an officers club, and Yossarian buys her dinner. He wants to play that night, but she wants/needs to go home to her mother. Luciana goes to visit Yossarian the next day, and they do the deed. Yossarian impulsively tears up her phone number, which he immediately regrets. When he gets back to base the number of required missions has been raised again. When Yossarian hears this, he feels sick, and goes back into the hospital.

XVII The Soldier In White This chapter takes place in a hospital, which is a different place from normal reality. Whenever you go into a hospital, there is a moment…usually when you go through the mechanical double doors at the entrance… where you make the journey from civilian reality to medical dysfunction. When PG went to see a doctor the other day, the moment of transition was getting into the parking deck. You punch a button on a machine, and it stamps an electronic code on a magnetic strip, and spits the card out into your hand. When you leave, you hand the card to the immigrant in the little box, who tells you how much money you need to give them. It is not negotiable.

Yossarian is beginning to enjoy life inside the house of medical care. He is not subjected to Germans trying to kill him. In fact, there is a quote about death, that is in three of the four online cheat sheets that PG is consulting for this report. It probably is supposed to go in this report.

“They couldn’t dominate Death inside the hospital, but they certainly made her behave. They had taught her manners. They couldn’t keep death out, but while she was in she had to act like a lady. People gave up the ghost with delicacy and taste inside the hospital. There was none of that crude, ugly ostentation about dying that was so common outside the hospital. They did not blow up in mid-air like Kraft or the dead man in Yossarian’s tent, or freeze to death in the blazing summertime the way Snowden had frozen to death after spilling his secret to Yossarian in the back of the plane.”

The story is beginning to get unstuck in time. One minute Clevinger is alive, and one minute he is dead. This becomes more pronounced as the book progresses. It might be another commentary about life in war… all the time is the same, the only thing that matters is whether you are dead or alive.

The soldier in white is a man who is covered in bandages. He has a hole where his mouth should be, but never says anything. There is a shot here, that PG remembers from the movie 42 years ago. The soldier has an iv feeding tube, and a catheter bottle to collect piss. A nurse comes along, and places the piss bottle where the iv bottle was, and the iv bottle where the piss bottle was. This was years before the concept of recycling caught on.

XVIII The Soldier Who Saw Everything Twice This is another chapter about time warps and hospitals. In the first part, Yossarian is back in training, and spends Thanksgiving in the hospital. He thinks this is a fine idea, and thinks he should spend every thanksgiving in a hospital.

He breaks this promise the very next year. He spends turkey day in bed with Lieutenant Scheisskopf’s wife. In between bouts of fornication, they discuss the existence of G-d. There are quotes available online, so it must be important.

“And don’t tell me G-d works in mysterious ways,” Yossarian continued. … “There’s nothing mysterious about it, He’s not working at all. He’s playing. Or else He’s forgotten all about us. That’s the kind of G-d you people talk about, a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, brainless, conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good G-d , how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements? Why in the world did He ever create pain?”

“The G-d I don’t believe in is a good G-d , a just G-d , a merciful G-d . He’s not the mean and stupid G-d you make him out to be.”Lieutenant Scheisskopf’s wife

As PG said to the checkout lady at the pizza buffet, this book is not the bible. If it is, then it is the Old Testament. That was a mean motherfucking G-d. Of course, the New Testament has the result of G-d fucking a mother, so maybe it was/is the bible.

After the religious interlude… or is that a faith quaalude … Yossarian is back in a war zone hospital. There is a man in his ward who sees everything twice, which is very amusing to all concerned. Then this man, who inspired the title of this chapter, died, which was not amusing. The only problem was, his family had come to Italy to see him. Someone had the idea to wrap Yossarian up in bandages, and pretend to be the doomed son. The mother told him to keep warm as she left.

Maybe this is starting to get too serious. PG found some jokes in his archive, but thought the pictures that went with them were pretty cool, so he used them for another post. Here are the jokes.

A TRUE SOUTHERN LADY………..A very gentle Southern lady was driving across the Savannah River Bridge in Georgia one day. As she neared the top of the bridge, she noticed a young man fixing to jump. She stopped her car, rolled down the window and said, “Please don’t jump, think of your dear mother and father.””Mom and Dad are both dead; I’m going to jump.””Well, think of your wife and children.””I’m not married and I don’t have any kids.””Well, think of Robert E. Lee.” ”Who’s Robert E. Lee?””Well bless your heart, just go ahead and jump, you dumb ass Yankee.”

A blind man and his guide dog enter a Bar and find their way to a bar stool. After ordering a drink, and sitting there for a while, the blind guy yells to the bartender, “Hey, you wanna hear a blond joke?”The bar immediately becomes absolutely quiet. In a husky, deep voice, the woman next to him says, “Before you tell that joke, you should know something. The bartender is blond, the bouncer is blond and I’m a 6′ tall, 200 lb. blond with a black belt in karate. What’s more, the woman sitting next to me is blond and she’s a weight lifter. The lady to your right is a blond, and she’s a pro wrestler. Think about it seriously, Mister. You still wanna tell that joke?”The blind guy thinks a moment and says, “Nah, not if I’m gonna have to explain it five times.”

One day 2 blondes decided to drive to Disney Land. When they saw a sign that said ‘Disney Land left’ they turned around and went home.

A blonde, wanting to earn some money, decided to hire herself out as a handyman-type and started canvassing a wealthy neighborhood. She went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had any jobs for her to do. “Well, you can paint my porch. How much will you charge?” The blonde said “How about 50 dollars?” The man agreed and told her that the paint and other materials that she might need were in the garage. The man’s wife, inside the house, heard the conversation and said to her husband, “Does she realize that the porch goes all the way around the house?” The man replied, “She should, she was standing on it.” A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money. “You’re finished already?” he asked. “Yes,” the blonde answered, “and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats.” Impressed, the man reached in his pocket for the $50. “And by the way,” the blonde added, “it’s not a Porch, it’s a Ferrari.”

This is the end of Yossarian Part Three. Parts one and two were published a long time ago. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These images are Union Soldiers, from the War Between the States. Being crazy was not a good excuse in that war.