Thursday, January 31, 2008

Primary Thoughts

This week is primary week in Georgia. And next Tuesday will be the official primary vote day in Georgia. We can vote this week or next Tuesday for whom we hope to be our next president…. Or who we don’t want to be our president – wait, let me explain.

Historically, during the primary some people have used the ballot of the their opposing party to vote, and they voted for their opposing party’s weakest candidate, thus hoping, the weakest candidate will be running against their party’s candidate in November.

That is why Lester Maddox got to be Governor. Many Republicans voted for Lester Maddox thinking he would be the weakling running against Republican Bo Callaway. Lester got enough votes to tie the election and it was thrown in the Georgia House of Representatives for them to vote for our next Governor. What wasn’t counted on was the party-loyalty element. At that time (1966) there were more Democrats in the Georgia Legislation than there were Republicans. Lester won.

And also if you want to vote for an ideal when it would do most good – I think the primary is just the time for such a vote. For instance, if you wanted to vote for a person who has been campaigning for a cleaner environment, vote for them with your primary ballot. They probably won’t win, but the votes are counted, and say, 20% of the people voted for the environment candidate…. The other candidate would say something like “hmmmmm …. I could use that 20%” So, he/she will probably talk environment issues to try to persuade those 20%.... environment is just an example… you could pick the person that is mostly anti-Iraq fightings, or the person who wants to bomb them back to the stone age (as General LeMay), or any other cause you think is worth your vote… it might help persuade the most popular candidates to compete for your vote.

Here in Cobb County during primary voting they usually have a bunch of Republican voting booths but only two or three Democrats booths, which mostly stay empty. The Republican voter line is long and Democrat line there is no waiting. You can’t beat that.

I am surprised there are not two exit doors – one for Republicans and one for Democrats. They have us in groups already. Then the Democrats could walk out their door where a FBI prison bus will be ready to take us traitors away.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

TRUMP Is Back!

And I don’t mean Donald!

The above is the first page of TRUMP’s takeoff on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, drawn by Will Elder (then-MAD-artist-in-exile).

TRUMP magazine will be re-published next month in book form by Fantagraphics. There were only two issues, so they should fit nicely in one book.

Bhob Stewart has an excellent article post in his blog Potrzebie about TRUMP’s return and the founders of TRUMP: Harvey Kurtzman and his artists.

TRUMP de-TRUMPED after two issues, so Harvey Kurtzman and his merry band of artists created HUMBUG magazine, which lasted about a year, eleven issues I think. Then Harvey was the editor and driving force behind HELP! Magazine (satire), and after it folded he and Will Elder (primarily) started the Annie Fanny series in PLAYBOY.

In the same posting Bhob tells that HUMBUG will be re-published in book form by the same group in March.

I can’t wait!

Below is the cover of the first issue of HUMBUG.

Happy Anniversary Lone Ranger!!

Above is the first page of MAD comicbook’s second takeoff on the Lone Ranger, illustrated by Jack Davis (Georgian corn-fed).

"Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear.... The Lone Ranger Rides Again!" – that was the opening, as the Lone Ranger and his faithful Indian companion Tonto set up camp outside town to discuss what evil lurks in town, and how they were going to straighten things out. A pair of do-gooders!

This past Sunday on the CBS News Sunday Morning Show they said “next Wednesday will be the Lone Ranger’s 75th anniversary of the first time they aired on radio.

Well, today is Wednesday.

In my grammar school days I remember daily meeting my old late friend Larry Holcombe where our back yards met – we each had toy guns and a stick or a broomstick which any fool could see was not a stick or broomstick, but a beautiful horse.

We each also had a Lone Ranger badge that we got by sending something off to Marietta (I’m sure this is misspelled) Bread Company. We also each wore a Lone Ranger black mask. We were the Lone Ranger Twins.

We galloped the open range looking for evil bad guys and always found them, and made them pay for their sins of swindling the gold mine workers by shooting them dead.

The opened range was the back yards of his family, my family, his uncle and aunt the Whites, the Hands, and the Baxters. We would have extended the range to the McEntyres and the Jones, but his mother wouldn't let him cross the street.

We were too young and too irresponsible to have watches on our wrists but somehow our built-in clocks knew when it was time to come in the house, curl up on the floor with cookies and milk and listen to The Long Ranger on radio.

Tell me, what do you think of when you here William Tell’s Overture? If you say anything other than The Lone Ranger you either had your nose in a book when you were growing up or you are a pretentious snob. Those are fighting words stranger.

"Hi-yo Silver, away!"

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Calvard School 1913

This is the Calvard School, which appears to be a high school, in Cohutta, Georgia. Cohutta is in Murray County, several miles north of Chatsworth, Georgia. The picture was taken in 1913.

The ones mentioned below are/were relatives.

1st Row: The last person on the right is Henry Ridley, III. His grandfather was my ancestor.

2nd Row: The first person on the left is Melvin Ridley, son of William Ridley. He has crutches. I don’t know why he used crutches – he died a year about a year later in 1914.

3rd Row: The first person on the left is Robert “Bob” Ridley, my grandmother’s brother. The fourth person on that row is Henry Killian “Kate” Ridley, my grandmother’s cousin. He was married 5 times., but who’s counting? I think the first four wives died. I remember we visited him on his last marriage and his wife was chopping kindling wood. He said, she “swing a mean ax.” She outlived him.

5th Row: The first person is Charlie Caylor and the fourth person is his brother Willie Caylor, they were/are the grandsons of Henry Petty’s sister Harriet Ridley Caylor.

The 3rd person on the same row is Irvin Petty, my mother’s uncle. I don’t know if he was frostbit before or after this picture was taken - his brothers had to hold him down while his uncle, Willis Garret, a doctor cut off his toes.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Me! I Got The Excellent Blogger Award! Me!

If you already know this, it means you been reading my mail.

Carolyn of The Ginger Quill has awarded me The Excellent Blogger Award.

I feel good! As James Brown would have said.

(psstt! keep it under your hat, but I also feel like I am getting away with something).

Art Spiegelman Is Coming To Town

If you are a comicbook connoisseur and live in the Atlanta area you might be pleased to know that artist Art Spiegelman will give a lecture on comics at 7:30, Tuesday, February 5, at Savannah College of the Arts (SCAD) at 1600 Peachtree Street in Atlanta. There will be free parking and admission. You can’t beat that! (unless they fed and paid you.

Here is a link:


Art Spiegelman won the Pulitzer Prize for his Holocaust narrative MAUS, which portrayed Jews as mice and Nazis as cats.

Spiegelman was contributing to THE NEW YORKER magazine and I read where he given the position as their cartoon editor. But, I don’t think it lasted.

I have personally related to him because he and I share the same hero: MAD comicbook creator Harvey Kurtzman. He has done several tributes to Kurtzman in one form or another through the years. Spiegelman in very innovative and experimental when creating comics.

I have one of his books named IN THE SHADOWS OF NO TOWERS which concentrates on the horrors of the New York Trade Center Towers on 9/11 In the book he bares his soul just how horrible that act was and has a repeating theme about dropping the other shoe – when will they drop the other shoe?

I still have not decided if I am going to hear his lecture or not.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Alleys in Marietta

I can only think of three alleys in Marietta. These are two of the three.

The top alley is the alley that runs from Atlanta Street to Winters Street where the Marietta Journal used to be before they moved to the new building.

The Atlanta Street side had an interesting flow of tenants on the southside. It is now a cigar store, or the last time I looked it was. Before that it was an annex for Saul’s, a clothing and cloth material store. I am sure there were other stores between the two. When I was a growing adolescent it was the Marietta Police Station. My father was the Chief of Police there then.

Years before it was a police station it was a theater, I believe it was The Strand Theater before The Strand moved across the Square and became a huge grand glittering art palace.

When it was here, in, just outside the view of this picture, there was a door in the theater that led out to this alley. One time a young man was sitting and watching the movie and afterwards he stepped out in this alley and shot himself in the head with a gun he had with him. I heard the bullet scar in the brick or cement is still there. I looked for it and couldn’t find it.

It must have been some movie.

If you look carefully you can see the ghost of the man who shot himself - or see his shadow anyway. In more than one of my photo he has made his appearance - usually on sunny days!

On the north side of the Atlanta end was Reynolds and Ferrell Drug Store, then Kay Jewelry, where the commercial was “It’s OK to Owe Kay” – which I did. I bought a Royal typewriter there when I first got out of high school and paid on it for months and months. If I remember correctly, I paid by a payment coupon book. I dropped by there weekly or monthly, I forgot which, and made a payment.

Now it is an antique store. About a year ago I was there browsing and they had on LP record albums for sale for a buck each. I bought a few.

The alley not shown is off Church Street. Between antique shops that is a driveway to a parking lot near the railway tracks. Now, it is between antique shops, in my time on the left was the Economy Restauant (chilidogs, chiliburgers, and Hunt’s Ice cream) and on the right was a leather/shoe shop that had always been there and I thought always would. They closed up about a year or two ago. I used to get a pleasure out of stepping in the leather store and taking a deep breath. The new leather aroma was great – well, it smelled good.

The bottom two alleys are the same alley taken at different times. It is off Atlanta street. Across the street used to be Marietta’s big post office with a pile of steps leading up to high Greek-like pillows – then it was the library, now it is the Marietta Art Museum.

Fine Feather Freaks (of Nature)

On our (Willow & me) walk this morning I heard the familiar honking of Canadian Geese over us.

I looked up and saw 3 flying Canadian Geese in an odd formation. They were flying north. Hmmm. That is strange, it is the last days of January, which doesn’t seem the time fowl would be traveling north or south. It seems they should already be south, lying around sipping blended worm-shakes, or a bug burger or something, soaking up sun rays for their vitamin D needs.

Then, right behind the 3 geese were more Canadian Geese honking. They were in an odd formation too. There was vacant place on the right, just behind the leader, and two vacant places on the back row, and I looked again at the first three, not out of sight yet, and they were the missing parts of the formation. If you could take those three, in their exact positions and keeping their positions, place them in the other geese’s formation they would fit right in the empty spots!

What’s going on? A riff was going on, that only they can explain.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It Happened Today

Today, around noon I picked up our mail at the post office and to the local convenience store to buy a Sunday paper – which comes out around 10:30am Saturdays (figure that one out).

When I parked at the convenience store I parked next to a little car with a little dog in it. It was one of those little dogs with a lot of hair on its head and its face looks human.

I went in, got my Sunday paper and waited behind a young nerdy lady/girl. I don’t know if she was a teenager or a few years over that. The acted awkward and looked nerdy. When I left with my paper she was ahead of me and I saw she was wearing denim with 1922 on her ass. A big 19 was on her back pocket and a big 22 was on her other pocket. I wonder what that meat?

She walked up to the car with the little dog in it and stood there and made faces at her little lamb chop. I got into my car, she got into her. We started our engines the same time.

She looked over at me and I motioned for her to go on. Ladies first, was my thinking.

She petted her little bouncing dog and was talking to it and backing up at the same time.


She backed into someone’s car that the man owner was pumping gas.

She pulled back into her parking place she just backed out of and jumped out of the car to and ran over to talk to the man with the car she hit. She left her door opened and the dog took off running.

I felt for her. I remember the first day we got Willow she took off running and it took practically a posse to catch her. So, I got out, ready to return the favor – she was running in pursuit, when a man walked out of the convenience store and the dog ran up to him wagging its tail. He quickly figured what was going on and picked up the little mutt. She ran up, gained possession, and was holding him and walking back to see the scene of the car bump when I backed up and left.

At the movies to see JUNO and to use the facilities

We saw the movie JUNO yesterday. It is a great movie.

It is roughly about a 16 year old girl who got pregnant, decides to give it away for adoption and her relationship between her boyfriend, girl friend (buddy), family, and the yuppie couple that plan to adopt the baby when it is born.

The movie is very heart warming, thought provoking, funny, and emotional.

The girl who plays Juno is a very good actor the character is rich in thought and is a rebel at heart that gets a kick out of shocking people, although that is not said, just plainly implied. She is as cute as a button and frequently comes out with a string of cuss words which leaves you shocked that those fowl words came out of the mouth of that cute little innocent girl’s mouth.

Some of the dialog between Juno and her girl friend sounds like the longer than usual sentences written by Kelvin Smith in one of his movies…. Things that make you start thinking before she is even through talking, then she hits you with another confusing thought.

I did not hear or read anything to imply just where the movie is suppose to take place. I think someplace in Minnesota – nearby St. Cloud is mentioned.

We stayed for the credits at the end – I wanted to see if Kevin Smith had a hand in making the movie (no credit saying that)* and song was being sung that sounded pretty good was being sung, then completely unexpected was the statement “my shit don’t stink” – which is sort of like the movie, you hear a lot of things unexpected.

After the movie we went to the Johns. I went to the men’s and Anna went to the ladies. I was the only one in the men’s. When I first stood at my station I heard the toilet behind me flush – but I heard no moment. When I finished I turned around and a stall was opened. I stepped away, closer to the stall’s opened door and begin to walk away and it flushed again. Auto flush is waiting water – give that toilet a penalty fine!

I remember at the men’s restroom at The Varsity on North Avenue in Atlanta, if you walk down by the row of urinals they flush as you walk by…. it is sort of like they are snapping to attention as you walk by, which reminds me of a blip in the book “No Time For Sergeants”.

*that is strange - the only big name I gave credit for was Kevin Smith, who apparently, had nothing to do with it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dining with the Retirees

Last night we went to a dinner that one of Anna’s retired ex-co-workers gave. She is a widow.

Besides inviting us she also invited another retired co-worker and her husband, and another retired co-worker who is also a widow.

There were five of us. Three of them were about 87 years old and the hostess and I are both 66. Anna is younger by several years. Roughly figuring in my head, I think the average age of the dinner party was 75.

The invitation was for 6:00pm. We arrived at about 5:40. The others had already arrived. One thing, when partying with the elderly crowd you don’t have to worry about anyone being fashionably late.

When we first sat down to dine our light conversation was mostly about aches, pains, ailments, and medicine.

Eventually we got around discussing travel and the conversation turned interesting. The couple that is each about 87 has traveled quiet a bit. They lit up when they talked of the time they spent six weeks touring Australia about a year after they retired, and the cruises they have been on… and all the states they have visited…. They were enthusiastic about telling about their travels and acknowledged that their touring days are over…. They are just too old and sore to travel much anymore.

Then the hostess pulled out an in-house telephone book of the organization they worked for that she took with her when she retired – and they started going through the book looking at names they haven’t thought of in years and you could tell they were excited – they would pull a name out of the book and maybe one of them would remember whatever happened to him or her… I could sense their blood pressing rising as the organization’s phone book reminded them of people they haven’t thought of lately.

It was fun to watch their enthusiasm as they relived their own work days.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Herrin Family

This is the Herrin family. In the picture they are out in the field working. I suspect they are near the road and the person who snapped the picture just stepped out of his or her car and took it.

They look happier than if I was out hoeing.

This Herrin family lived down the road from Anna’s mother’s mother’s family between Cumming and Alpharetta, Georgia, probably in what used to be Milton County. Some of them married into Anna's Jones family.

Another Night in the Library

I went to the Main Library in downtown Marietta yesterday evening to hear a lecture of the history of Cobb County. I met my sister there – who also loves our local history.

This is the 2nd evening in a row I spent at the Main Library. Again, no homeless people hanging around. If they were ran off, I think that is terrible. If they found a more comfortable place, good for them.

While waiting on the lecturer the room begin to fill up. I over overheard a young couple behind me talking about a trolley car they are putting into service soon. It will be a Marietta History-On-Wheels trolley that will do a sweep of Marietta.

I couldn’t help myself – I had to jump into the conversation. The young man told me the trolley-like bus will hold about 22 people, the driver, and a docent. The docent will point out historical and interesting points as. If I remember correctly the tour will cover three long streets with many historical homes and also Kennesaw Mountain.

I wish them good luck. I would love for something like that to be in Marietta.

I just hope there is a market for it. I suspect the locals that would take the tour will do it only once – it is like paying more than once to see the same movie… but maybe not, some locals might feel it is an idea way to show their visitors just how impressive Marietta is.

My sister arrived. She told me she just ran into our first cousin
in the lobby.
(sorry – that was too tempting). Bobby told her that he and his wife are looking for a new place to move. A developer has bought every house in the subdivision they live in. Now, it is time to find a place and move on…. Out goes the old and incomes a new condo complex or something…. Tch tch.

Dr. Thomas A, Scott gave an excellent talk. He was born and grew up in Tennessee. He wrote his dissertation on Cobb County, Georgia, moved here and is a professor at Kennesaw College – he has been here over 3 decades. He is very knowledgeable with names, dates, and movements. And he knows how to tell what he knows in mind-digestible terms.

He told how Cobb County, a rural county became a boom county and how once we were a one party county (Democrat) and then a near 50-50 county, then a one party county again (Republican). He also compared the influx of people in statistics in terms of political party preferences, income, and race – in particular blacks. In the 70s this county’s black population shrunk to a very small percentage and now is on the rise.

He predicted we are on the way to a two-party county again, which will be a good thing. A one party county (Republican or Democrat) tends to stand still or not solve pressing problems.

It was a very good talk. I bought his book a couple years ago and just might read it again.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Some people are making a big deal of Clinton nodding during the Martin Luther King Memorial Service. Well, it shouldn’t have happened, but it did.

In the above picture it looks like both Clintons are dozing.

It happens to very busy people on the go sometimes when they sat down in a relaxed mode. I remember on jury duty Judge Haney slept through the proceeding, but seemed to have a sixth sense when to wake up to make a ruling or something.

Other leaders have been caught snoozing here and there. That happens to people high up in the eyes the people – the cameras are always looking at them, and they are human and at times they are very busy and burning the candle at both ends.

Genealogy Research Stuff

I went to the Cobb County Genealogical Society meeting last night at the Main Library in downtown Marietta. I was reluctant to go because of the bad rainy near freezing weather but I think it was good that I went. For one thing I found out my library card had expired.

Another thing, I enjoyed an informative lecture on genealogy research by Kenneth Thomas. Ken has a genealogy column in the Living* section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday edition.

Ken Thomas’s lecture was different method’s of research and what is available on the Internet. Some of it was common sense and some I already knew, and some I didn’t know.

One interesting tactic is if, when in a cemetery, you come across a relative’s grave that you would like more information about him or his family, and there are flowers on the grave leave a note in a clear plastic zip-lock bag and ask the person leaving the flowers to get in touch with you….. I thought I knew all the backdoor methods, but I never thought of that.

But unless I really snag a good interesting trail I think my researching days are over.

I need to start putting my researched material in order. I have a big 4 tall 4 drawer filing cabinet, and about 12 big boxes in the basement all stuffed with stuff I have come across.

I have just about decided to scan all the articles and everything else I accumulated in the way of family information and have it all on electronic files and throw away the paper files. The paper stuff just takes up too much room and is an eyesore. I think what I accumulated will be safer digitized… I think the paper stuff is going to end up a dumpster one way or the other anyway – either I do it, or somebody else will do it after my body gets cold.

I have spent the past two days scanning and giving file names…. Hey! It is kind of fun!

Also, this evening was the first time in a long time I have been to that library that homeless people were not in the magazine reading area holding a book or magazine and dozing, or giving themselves a wet paper towel bath in the rest room. Does this mean there has been a surge in the economy and all the homeless people have jobs and warm homes to go to?

No, it probably means they found a legal way to keep the homeless out. No Lottering!

*The Living section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday edition was much better when it was called “Dixie Living”.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Self-Righteous Church

Cobb County has been the home of and/or produced many celebrities through the years. Off the top of my head I think of Joanne Woodward, Lash LaRue, Travis Tritt, cartoonist Mark Bagley, Cartoonist Skip Williamson, Julia Roberts, Joe South, Billy Joe Royal, and Ray Stevens…… also Ted Turner and Troy Donahue… there are more, they are just not on the top of my head.

Joe South, Billy Joe Royal, and Ray Stephen were/are friends and professionally linked together.

Ray Stevens is from the mill town of Clarkdale in the southwestern part of Cobb County. Clarkdale was a mill town. The mill building is no longer a mill. I heard it a mall or a maybe a flea market place.

Ray Stevens put rich humor into country music. I think he really is good and has some very funny insightful songs.

Here is a link to one on You-Tube. Take it away, Ray!

Self Righteous Church

Baby – its cold outside!

I used to say "Baby - its cold outside!" to either son when they were preschool age and then rub the son’s neck with my cold hands – and he would always burst into laughter. That would get them every time.

It has been cold for several days now. With few exceptions, we have been cabin bound.

We have been doing cold cabin-bounds things, like making chili and watching dvd movies:

LICENSE TO WED staring Robin Williams, Mandy Moore, and John Krasinski. It was a cut comedy – nothing I will remember the rest of my life or anything. Interesting, John Krasinki was the fiancĂ© – he is the tall casual fellow in the TV sitcom OFFICE – and three or four other OFFICE stars did cameos.

PERFECT STRANGER staring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis. It was a good intriguing who-did-it kind of movie…. With a twisting ending – all mysteries have a twist, I think a non-twisting ending would be just as surprising.

COLOR ME KUBRICK staring John Malkovich. It is about a man impersonating director Stanley Kubrick and raking in on all the director’s amenities: free food, free lodging, free drinks, and more free drinks – apparently the guy was an alcoholic. The movie was very well done – it played at lot of Kubrick’s movie soundtracks, such as the music in 2001 and Clockwork Orange. And I think, but I am not positive that almost every scene was a mockery of a scene in one of Kubrick’s movie. I haven’t seen all his movies – but several times I did see hints of one or another of his movies going on without comment.

Willow, on the other hand, got cabin fever. She had to break out often and romp in the frozen snow and maybe chase a squirrel for the fun of it – of course the squirrel wasn’t running for the fun of it, it knew it was running to save its dear life.

Monday, January 21, 2008

This Is my 1500th Post On This Blog*

You are reading my 1500th* posting on this blog. Whoopee!

This is cheating in a way, I am using a post to tell you how many posts are on here.

Who cares? Throw the confetti and toot your little plastic horns and let me toot my own horn and pop the Champaign cork!

My 1500th* post on this blog would have been several weeks ago if Laura Armstrong had not written the article about me. When I knew she was going to write about my blog in her next column I went through the entire blog combing it for anything I said about my neighbors and deleting them. Not that my neighbors read the papers, but they might know somebody that does…. And well, it was just a bigger chance my posts about them might get back to them – which, knowing them, could cause a confrontation. Does that mean I am conniving, two-face, and a coward? Pretty much so.

Posting 1500* posts you can tell I am a quantity over quality man. I would say maybe as many of 1475 of those posts are plenty of nothings but an irreverent mind wandering. So? Who said I had to inspire somebody to be born again or march off to war, or refuse to go to war, or rewrite the Constitution? I don’t want to change minds; I think this world needs all the different ideas it has to keep things going.

I bet some people wonder why I post as often as do. I wonder that too. The main reason is mind exercise; brain pushups. I need to give my brain a good workout to keep it aware and on top of things** … not that my ideas and opinions are that unique – opinions are much like anuses, everybody has one – but the exercise is trying to manipulate the English language – which I fall and tumble a lot, but I get up, brush myself off, and continue the workout.

Another thing you might have noticed: I try not to take myself too seriously (I have observed people become detached from reality when they take themselves too seriously). – The only time I take myself overly serious when I look into a mirror and work on my “charming look”.

*The 1500 posts are for Chicken Fat only. There are 24 posts on my first blog Chickenfat (one word).

** Just yesterday I merged from a day dream to find myself holding a cup of hot spicy sunflower seed for birds standing by the desk over my computer. I had no idea what I had planned to be my next step.

The Abercromies

The father in this picture is Albert J. Abercrombie. The oldest child on the fence is John J. Abercrombie and probably the youngest child is John J.’s sister Bessie.

The wife/mother who is not in the picture is Emma Viola Hunter Abercrombie. Emma was the daughter of John Rafas and Lilly Hill Hunter. John Rafas Hunter was the son of my great grandfather William A. Hunter.

The picture was probably taken in Birmingham, Alabama.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Wits End* and the Merry Mutes

*Bring Money.

(Not to be confused comic artist Wally Wood’s magazine Witz End).

When I was in my teen years there was a local group that had a 15 or 30 minute show on a local TV station. I think they called themselves the Merry Mute Players. They did funny skits… a fast pace funny skit thing, sort of like The Committee, but silent.

The two main players were Phil and Nancy Erickson, a married couple. One of their players was a young man named Dick Van Dyke. Dick came and he went, as others did – but, boy was he good, a born mime.

Later, on a date once, Anna and I went to The Wits End* (*Bring Money) Playhouse in Atlanta, on a little side street off Spring Street, near the Biltmore Hotel. They were just as funny as when I saw them on TV… a high energy one skit after another - but this time they had dialog and sung... they had a great song called "They Are Tearing Up Peachtree Again".

The Wits End* (*Bring Money) was a night club. I forgot the details, if you had a drink minimum, or a cover charge, or what, but the show was always great. After we were married, whenever we had guests from out of town, we knew they would like The Wits End*.

They would pick on common situations, politics, national and local, and it was very entertaining. Yes, indeed.

If I remember correctly they moved from their little club off Spring Street and to the top floor of the huge Merchandise Mart, right in the center of downtown Atlanta.

After that it was just too much trouble to get to.

In 1965 when I worked for Atlanta News Agency. On my route out in the southeast rural country side of Dekalb County, Georgia, I saw a farm house that had WITS END* - The Ericksons on the mailbox. I wonder if they had many unannounced visitors?

I think Phil and Nancy would be in their 80s or 90s now, if they are still living. The Wits End* (*Bring Money) probably is gone forever. I Googled The Wits End and also Phil Erickson and came up with nothing. With all that hard work they did, now they are nothing but a memory.

Sunday Morning Pulpit

On Thursday’s Day in History, January 17 (1961) in 1961 President Eisenhower gave his final speech to the American people. He asked them to abandon warfare and adopt more diplomatic means to resolve conflicts. He prayed that someday people of all faiths, all races, and all nations will come together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

The above is from the History Channel calendar.

I don’t know if it was the same speech or not, I suspect it was, that he said, “Be aware of the military-Industrial complex”.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Our Medford Cousins

Yesterday I told about buying beer from Mr. Medford, as a teenager, at Medford’s grocery.

I talked to my sister last night, she read my blog and told me something I was unaware of. Mr. Medford’s first name was Jake. Jake Medford is a relative through the Tysons. He is descended through the Huey family. The Hueys married into the Tyson family the same way the Hunters did. Jake is descended from Styles Medford and Amanda Huey. And Amanda is descended from John T. Huey, which I am too.

One time when Buna Walker ran for sheriff and his father ran as his chief deputy, I remember two financial backers they had: Jake Medford and Barney Nunn. Barney Nunn owned the Nun-Better Cabinet Company and was extremely religious. I don’t know about Jake, but I do remember sometime back then a cross was burned outside his store.

One time before car driving age several of us rode our bikes to across the street from Medford’ Grocery to the Kendrick’s Farm. The Kendricks had horses and could ride them on their extensive property for a few bucks. We did that several times. The trails we rode the horses is now a subdivision and the house and barn has been replaced by a CVS Pharmacy and a parking lot…. Tch tch.

Once when we rode our bikes there, one of us did not show. As planned we met him in front of Jake Medford’s house. His house has a historical marker in front. I don’t know if I ever read it or not, but it is fairly close to Kennesaw Mountain, it is probably related to that Civil War Battle. Now, occasionally, when I ride by that house and remember several of us sprawled out on his yard enjoying ourselves I wonder why Jake would allow that. We probably bought Cokes at his store… we were paying customers. Probably as far as he was concerned we could have danced with his wife if we bought a bag of peanuts to go with those Cokes.

I remember another time I was with my family on a Sunday ride and we pulled into Medford’s Store and saw my first cousin-in-law Frank walking into the store with long underwear on. Puzzled, then we saw his wife, my first cousin, Faye (a college professor) in the car next to ours laughing. Frank was paying off an election bet.

My sister also told me Dempsey Medford who owned The Bookstore in downtown Marietta were also part of the same Medford Family, which meant we were related to him too.

Dempsey Medford seemed to always have several old hens working for him, and more or less just stood around and looked at people. Dempsey had a thick stock of dark, but graying hair. His son, who also worked at The Bookstore was baldheaded. If one didn’t know better, it would have been easily assumed that Dempsey was son of his son.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Winnie's Pah's Birthday

On this date* in 1882 A.A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh, was born.

When I think of Winnie the Pooh I think of Eeyore the Donkey. When I think of Eeyore the Donkey I think of Carl, and elderly man who lives around the corner.

Carl, like Eeyore talks in a deep slow voice. Carl is tall and slim. He is 87 years old. He is a very kind humble person… very gentle.

I have know Carl long before he moved to this neighborhood. He was my father-in-law’s good friend, and sort of a running buddy years ago.

Carl owned a lot of land, sold it, and is now on the board of directors of a bank he partly owns but you would never know it, as kind and gentle as he is. He and his wife live in a humble house in and older neighborhood.

Carl is almost blind now. I see he and his wife at the grocery store and always talk to them. He walks along with her, holding on to the buggy. I don’t think he can see beyond 15 or so feet in front of him.

One morning while Willow and I were walking I saw ahead of me Carl in his driveway looking for the morning paper, or I think that what he probably was doing. He turned around and slowly walked up his driveway to his house.

When I got even with his house, he was already inside. I saw the paper in the gully away from the driveway.

I thought if I carried it up and rung the doorbell it might scare them – it was before daylight. So I placed it in the middle of his driveway, so the next time he walked down it would be plain view.

Later I was thinking as tall as Carl is, it might be hard for him to bend over in the ditch and get his paper when it ends up there. So, now every morning, on our walk, I always make it a point to go by Carl’s and if his paper is in the ditch, I put it in the center of the driveway. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.

My next door neighbor is and elderly lady, I always get her paper and put it on her car hood in her carport so she won’t have to walk long or bend over. The elderly neighbor on the other side of me, when it rains only, I put his paper up under the overhang of his house so it won’t get wet.

I am the morning newspaper Leprechaun!

*History Channel Page-A-Day calendar.

An Unspoken Gentlemen's Agreement

I think the statue of limitations has run out on certain crimes I did as a teenager, such as littering and drinking beer as a minor, or I might not be telling this.

Back in the late 50s and early 60s we went to Victoria Landing at Lake Allatoona often to work on a houseboat and to hangout.

We normally went to Victoria Landing by going up Bells Ferry Road which ran into another road near the Kellogg Creek area, then up just a few miles and turn left.

Many times we stopped at Medford’s Grocery Store and bought beer. Mr. Medford was a pudgy greedy looking man, but he had principles. Yep, he had very high strict principles of what age he would sell beer to you. You had to be grown; or at least grown enough to be able to push your money across the counter.

Medford’s Store is where the little strip shopping center is now at the corner of Bells Ferry Road and Ernest Barrett Parkway.

As soon as we pulled out of the parking lot we would open our first beer. Usually we would each have an empty beer can to dispose of about the same time we reached where Booth Road came into Bells Ferry Road.

On the left by Booth Road is where the Westmoreland family lived. Yep, the same Westmoreland family that kept a journal on the happenings of the community that I occasionally present several transcribed pages to the blog. Then, I was not aware of the Westmoreland family and did not know my great uncle Arthur Hunter was part of that family.

On the right of Bells Ferry Road, across from the Westmoreland’s house, is where we tossed our freshly emptied beer cans (in my defense, tossing beer cans was not as politically incorrect, as it is in today's times).

We were not the only ones tossing our empties there. Other friends would empty their beer cans about the same place and throw their cans in the same yard.

One time we were throwing our cans and I saw a man pushing his lawnmower glaring at us. The next week he was there waiting and hollered at us when we showered his yard with cans.

It did not happen with the car I was in, but happened to a friend, and off hand I do not remember what friend but he and his friends drove up excited because when they threw their cans out into the yard a man stepped out from a bush with a gun and took a shot at them.

We quit throwing beer cans in the man’s yard. After that we had an unspoken gentlemen's agreement: we wouldn’t throw beer cans in his yard and he wouldn’t shoot us.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Fosters

This is a picture of the Anna’s family, the Foster Family. The picture was probably taken in the Roswell-Alpharetta-Milton, Georgia area. The elderly couple are Anna’s great grandparents Charles Brooks and Ardella Vinson Foster. They had four sons and a daughter. The youngest man in the picture was Anna’s grandfather, Paul Everett Foster (1895 – 1936), who looks about 18 or 19 in this picture, I think it was taken about 1913-15.

Snow Report

above - about 6pm last night.

What snow?

Willow and I just returned from a 30 minute walk and the light rain has just about dissolved what little snow we had.

Late last night it was pretty… a big white blanket covering the earth as far as you could see. It was the first time Willow has seen snow and she was first slightly leery of it then in no time she was jumping up and down in it.

Willow is like other Georgians – we are amazed at snow. It is so rare in these parts.

On our walk this morning I saw a little boy, about 7 or 8 years old looking out his family’s living room window – with his hopes for today being washed away.


I see LOL a lot on emails and comments to blogs and such. It took me a while to get it. LOL means “Laughing Out Loud!” …. First I wondered if it means “Lots of Love” or maybe for the “Love or Life”… nah, they didn’t fit the situation – but Laughing Out Loud would fit in with their comments.

Maybe the reason it took me a while to get it is that I don’t normally laugh out loud. Anna will see something in the paper she feels is funny and share it will me and I usually smile, make a grunt, nod my head, and go back to what I was doing. I rarely laugh out loud.

However, I do smile when I think something is funny. So, maybe I should put S instead of LOL. Then again, sometimes, if something funny takes me by surprise I might let out a breath or a loud sigh, which is sort of like a “smile out loud”. Maybe I should put SOL. But then again, they might think I am saying “Shit Out of Luck!”

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rock City Birdhouse

Back last fall on a stormy windy day the side of my “See Rock City” birdhouse was blown off, exposing a great little six-apartment dwelling, each with its own perch.

I missed my “See Rock City” birdhouse. It reminds me of days gone by when gallivanting through out north Georgia we have came across many old barns with the “See Rock City” logo painted across the roof.

Sometimes a sign would read “See Seven States From Rock City”.

It is true… or I think it was. Rock City is a amusing place to visit when you are passing near Chattanooga. Rock City is on top of Lookout Mountain. At one place in the park is a kind of plaque on a base with arrows… pointing to the horizon. The arrows show which state are bracketed within the lines… like Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, maybe Alabama and Virginia, Kentucky, and lets see, we need one more…. Hmmmm… I know! Tennessee!!

Actually, I think Rock City is in Georgia. The Georgia Tennessee state line bisects Lookout Mountain. It was owned by the Carter family (not the Carters of Plains, Ga.) for generations – I would think, like everything else, by now, the corporate world now owns it.

At Rock City they also have a narrow trail between two giant rocks… they cleverly named it “Fat Man Squeeze”. They also have a swinging bridge and a Lovers’ Leap – of course it is traditional Indian story of a Indian maiden and her Indian brave lover…. The parents would not allow their romance – so, the rest is a great view.

There is also a cave of some kind at Rock City with fairy tales stages with animated dolls singing or whatever.

But back to my damaged “See Rock City” birdhouse:

We decided to replace the damaged one. Anna said the only place she knew of that sold them retail, besides the gift shop in Rock City, is the Crackle Barrel Restaurant. We went there. They had one left, on display. I picked it up and paid for it and the top thing that holds the two roofs together slid off and I saw no way of getting it back on. I found two ladies working on the retail displays and asked them how to get it back on. They couldn’t do it either. One of them said, “Don’t worry, we are not going to let you leave here with a birdhouse that is not right.”

She went back in the back and came back with a box with an unassembled “See Rocky City” birdhouse houses neatly packed. We took it.

Sunday I assembled it. As I was working on it I was thinking of what the retail sales lady said, not once, but a couple of times, ““Don’t worry, we are not going to let you leave here with a birdhouse that is not right.”… I could see me grabbing it from her and holding it like a football running across the Crackle Barrel lobby with the two women trying to tackle me or grab the birdhouse from me… and each time, I would kick them off or push there foreheads away with the my hand and keep running, but the other one would be waiting with a baseball bat for sale to knock me out before I reached the door.

They wouldn’t let me leave with a bad assembled birdhouse – so, I guess it is ok that I assembled it badly at home.

Below, Rock City Barn Advertising, Lovers' Leap at Rock City, and Fat Man's squeeze.

Paying Respects

A friend of ours died this Monday. He was the husband of Anna’s retired coworker-friend. We usually saw them in dinner/party surroundings a couple times a year. I always thought he was a warm, sincere, and easy going person… and good looking and healthy looking. I think thick stock of stark white hair looks good on a man or woman.

He had a massive stroke last week. I don’t think he ever gained consciousness. He was 68.

We went to Carmichael Funeral Home in Smyrna tonight to pay our respects. I’m sure he will be missed, but the family was very positive and are not wallowing in their own misery of their lost. I noticed the wife had a couple of emotional moments but her 6 ‘ 5 “ (more or less) son was by her side giving her aid and comfort. Good.

We saw several other friends paying their respects also. We got in a group with them and talked. One elderly lady in the group, that we have known at least ten years or so at the dame dinner-parties as the others there, shook my hand and gracefully said, "It is nice to meet you."

I snapped back "It is nice meeting you too!" Usually when I realize I have been overlooked or ignored I get irritated.

Then she turned to Ann, held out her hand and said, "Haven't we met before? - I seem to recognize you from somewhere..."

I realized she was losing her grip on her memory. I rushed to judgment. I felt rotten.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Invisible Man Strikes the Varsity Restaurant!

The above illustration is on a tee-shirt by Georgian artist Jack Davis. It is of all the famous people who have eaten at The Varsity Drive-In in Atlanta, which claims to be the “World’s Largest Drive-In. The Varsity in Kennesaw is not a Drive-In, no car hops.

I have been ignored at fast food places at the ordering counter, but you would think it is hard to be ignored at a drive-through window, but I managed.

Today I was shopping near the Kennesaw Cobb Center area of Cobb County and thought it would be nice to change my routine and have an old fashion Varsity chili/slaw hotdog and their delicious onion rings. I planned on carrying my Varsity meal home, so I drove up to the drive-in speaker and ordered, a young lady told me the price and I drove up to the window. The lady told me the price again and held out her change. I gave her a five dollar bill and she “ching” her cash register, counted out the change very efficiently and shut the window.

I patiently waited for my hotdog and onion rings.

In my rearview mirror I saw a car order at the squawk box and drive up slowly behind me.

The lady, again popped the door opened held out her hand and said, “Four dollars and 37 cents please.” That was about 70¢ more than what I paid. I just looked blankly at her.

She double-focused on me and let out an embarrassed giggle. Then she said a bunch of words in Spanish that was broken up in giggles. She thought she had already gave me my food when she took my money. It was still sitting by the window.

She apologized and gave me my red and white Varsity cardboard box. I told her that was ok, it happens all the time.

Hey! Did I tell you the time I was the only survival left off my father’s obituary?

Where in the World is Banksy?

Have you heard of the artist Banksy? I haven’t heard of him until the past Sunday on the Sunday Morning CBS News Show.

Banksy is a pen name I suppose. He is a super artist (I think) who is believed to live in Yate, near Bristol, England. He does graffiti on public buildings and private property – he breaks the law.

It is also believed he was born in 1974 and his name may be Robert Banks…. Just how somebody came up with that, I don’t know.

His graffiti art has appeared in the U.S.A., the Holy Lands, and other parts of the world. On CBS they hinted that he may be independently wealthy, being able to globe trot like he does and not report to a regular job each day.

He is a very good artist but seems to be making fun of art and those who patronize it. His art also insults authority and wealth and modern things. He has plenty to say is saying it. I think he has a very dry but rich sense of humor.

There has been several auctions of his art* and it auctioned for 10 times what the dealers expected it to sell for.

There was a showing of his work in New York City and Banksy himself made an anonymous visit and but some graffiti on his own work – it was his way of saying, “Kilroy Was Here!”

I googled and copied a-not-so-random samplings of his work which is above in the introducing picture and piled on top of each other below. Be sure and click on each picture to get the full benefit of his art.