Go Forth, Exonerated

Quote of the Day:

Everybody blames the Jews for killing Christ, and the Jews try to pass it off on the Romans. I’m one of the few people who believes it was the blacks.” –Sarah Silverman (who you really ought to follow on Twitter)

TB was intrigued by today’s breaking news that Pope Benedict, in his new book, officially exonerated the Jews in the crucifixion of Jesus. Now, to be fair, the Catholic Church has taught this truth since 1965 (blank stare). But this new absolution of, um, every Jew who ever lived except for a few that were actually involved in the arrest and actual death of Christ, is important because Benedict is an academic, a theologian’s theologian. The Pope carefully analyzed each of the Gospels in his book and concluded that “it was the “Temple aristocracy” and supporters of Barabbas who were responsible.” Media reports make no mention of whether Benedict attributed any blame to the Romans who actually crucified Christ.

The best part–Benedict asks, referencing Jews past and present, “How could the whole people have been present at this moment to clamor for Jesus’ death?” Indeed. (blank stare).

You know what this means? It means beginning at approximately seven years of age, when I first heard something about the “Jews killing Jesus,” TB was already, unwittingly, a natural-born Biblical academic savant, a veritable fount (font?) of spiritual insight, a theologian’s theologian you might say.


You know, forgiveness is important. It’s really at the heart of what it means to be a Christian. I guess that’s why I found the reports of the Pope’s treatise both fascinating and welcome in these times of conflict and mistrust. Because it has absolutely nothing to do with forgiveness, unless viewed from the Jewish perspective, but rather about, um, justice? No. Biblical scholarship? Not quite. The ability to tell one’s ass from a hole in the ground? Yeah, that’s it. PB sets one helluva example of this if you asked me, and so, in keeping with the spirit of his pronouncement, TB, nee theologian, will now deliver verdicts of innocent to other long-sufferers:

  • I exonerate African-Americans for the shame of slavery. Hmm, while I’m at it, I’ll go ahead and exonerate every white person living today. And every Asian. What the hell, I exonerate all living beings, be they man or beast.
  • I exonerate Catholics for every crime committed The DaVinci Code, and I’ll throw in an Angels and Demons kicker.
  • I exonerate the great Northwestern forests in the D.B. Cooper affair, the South Seas in the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, and the Andes Mountains for the movie Alive.
  • I exonerate General Sherman and every soldier in his army of guilt for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. With a Confederate Army kicker.
  • I exonerate not only the current Pope, but all who Poped before him, in the criminal, unsolved death of logic, reason and independent thinking in the outside universe. I ask myself, “self, how could every Pope in history have been present at the moments when people decided that it was the sheep who really had things all figured out?”
  • I exonerate each and every snake in history, starting with snake number TWO, of human suffering. Still hate you freakin’ snakes, but not because of that whole business with the apple. You just creep me out with your slitherin’ and hissin’ and stranglin’ and poisonous teeth and whatnot.

And now suddenly, I find my mind turns to all the people that can still go to hell, starting with…..well, I better not. Not for me to judge.

Posted in Blank Stares, current events, Humor, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Playlist For the Scamp

Quote of the Day:

[Music] takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

During this extended period of writer’s block, laziness, and general late winter malaise, the ladies of the TBU have done their part to keep a little life movin’ around in the cosmos, and dropped some nice tunes on us in the process.

This gives me the idea, on this traditionally empty Saturday in the TBU, that perhaps I could turn to you all for a little child-rearin’ assistance. You see, I think it’s an important parental duty that a scamp be introduced to quality music at an early age. Lately the Little Scamp has been showing some signs of an affinity and aptitude for good tunage.  So I’m trying to put together a little Scamp AND TB friendly playlist that, perhaps, may supplant an additional screening or two of Tinker Bell on our next road trip.

Here’s what I’ve got so far, and I’d like to hear any suggestions for more. No, MD, she ain’t ready for the Crue. Yet.

  • Love Shack–B-52’s
  • Peaches–Presidents of the United States
  • Hey Soul Sister–Train
  • Octopus’ Garden–Beatles
  • Yellow Submarine–Beatles
  • If I Had a Million Dollars–Barenaked Ladies
  • Steal My Kisses–Ben Harper
  • Volcano–Jimmy Buffett
  • We’re Going To Be Friends–White Stripes
Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Jack Cristil, Voice of the Bulldogs

Quote of the Day:

Wrap it in Maroon and White.”     —Jack Cristil, signing off on a Bulldog victory

TB was five years old, maybe four, the first time I remember hearing Jack Cristil on the radio. It was 1974, maybe 1975, and I was visiting my Grandmother deep in the backwoods, Phoenix, Mississippi. She lived with her brother, Uncle Van, an unmarried man of solitude who hardly ever talked. My Dad and Uncle Van were close. Though sixteen years apart, they’d pretty much grown up together in that place and at that time where, on a daily basis, you spent time with who you lived with, because everybody else was busy or inaccessible.

When Uncle Van and Daddy talked, there were usually a couple of sentences exchanged, followed by several minutes of silence, deep and considered thought I always assumed was taking place, then a few more sentences, then another stretch of companionable silence. Almost always they were standing, leaning on a truck or propping up a barbed-wire fence, or shuffling feet in the gravel drive. Eventually, after ten minutes or maybe an hour, Daddy, always Daddy, would take his leave and Uncle Van would grunt an unintelligible farewell and then glance over at me, sizing me up or possibly even trying to communicate in his strange, stoic, country way to the kid under their feet. I always liked Uncle Van. We never exchanged more than a 1000 words over the course of the next thirty years, but I liked him. When he died a few years ago my Dad said he always like me too, because I kept my mouth shut and most kids were too loud and made him nervous. Ironic if you know me, but true in his case.

Strange, that is what I thought of when I heard of legendary Mississippi State broadcaster Jack Cristil’s retirement. The one and only time I was allowed in Uncle Van’s inner sanctum at the crumbling, dog-trot home he shared with my Grandmother was on a dark autumn night back in 1974. Or 1975. He was listening to the Mississippi State-Memphis State game on his radio. Daddy must’ve been interested in the game too, because we never went in that room before and we never would go in it again. I remember that we won. I remember that radio broadcast making me think there were great things afoot at some faraway stadium. Things great and important enough to hold Daddy and Uncle Van’s attention and to make us all smile and I think I even got to talk a little that night. Many years later I would learn more of Bulldog football history and of a dramatic comeback victory over Memphis State around 1974 led by Rockey Felker and though I can’t be sure, because maybe it was 1975,  I feel pretty confident that was the game we listened to at Uncle Van’s.

It would be several more years before I lost the wisdom and good judgement I was born with and, among other things, began to care enough about college football to recognize the great Jack Cristil’s voice announcing that the Bulldogs would be moving “left to right across your radio dial.”  By then, I already understood, Jack was part of the family. Also a part of my childhood, now gone of necessity like so much else, and missed.

Posted in Life, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Princesses and Fairies and Tea Parties, and Scooters Too

Quote of the Day:

“I like to be a free spirit. Some don’t like that, but that’s the way I am.”     —Princess Diana

TB came across this article today about the subliminal messages being delivered to little girls through their playthings, princesses in particular. I was interested because I happen to be living through the unexpectedly blissful phase of life most anyone with daughters can identify with–princesses. I love ’em. They, with a not insubstantial assist from the Little Scamp, make me smile without fail.

When the singin’ Cinderella Barbie screeches out her two-line tune for the seven hundred-forty-third time of the evening, I smile. When the Scamp pleads to watch Tinker Bell “just one more time,” I secretly, happily accede to her wishes. When her tea party is meticulously and hyperbolically arranged for the princesses and the baby dolls and the bears, I sit and watch and glow. Whether my invitation to the party is delivered or not.

I see all this and I revel in the Scamp’s joy, but even more in her peak, yet rapidly diminishing age of innocence. The freedom of make-believe, the desire to befriend all, the single-mindedness of her playtime–these are the things a four year old has yet to be trained to diminish in value. At some point the pure innocence, as it must, will begin to wane.

So stumbling upon an article about a book (Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein) that purported to show how princesses and all things pink are really the first step in boxing my Scamp in to a future of unhealthy self consciousness and a narrow view of gender roles initially left me skeptical and dismayed. Well, it turns out the author left a little wiggle room for Scamp and me. She posits it’s the over-emphasis on all things pretty and pink that is the problem.

Says Ms. Orenstein, “Some of these things, like the Disney princesses, and all the princess culture that it’s spawned, seemed innocent, protective, easy, harmless — and maybe it is. And maybe it’s not. But I think that parents need to have more context about girls’ culture to understand the decisions they’re making and make them so that they’ll be in concert with their values.”

Makes sense to me. As I read her interview (not having read the book), it seems she is suggesting moderation, awareness and diversification. Good lessons to learn, I’d say. Little different than how an adult ought to enjoy chocolate cakes and cookies when I have them, but not to have them all the time. The Scamp is getting that lesson. Santa brought her a good bit of princess and pink for Christmas and she got more shortly thereafter for her birthday. But there’s a green “rollerleader” too that she loves.* And a purple stationary bike video game controller. And a blue scooter.

The Scamp gets just as excited about taking off for the park on that gender-ignorant scooter as she does sitting at her pink table dispensing tea, maybe more so. I smile pridefully at her obvious natural agility and determination each time she flies fearlessly down the first hill. She’s still beautiful and innocent on that Scooter, but those aren’t the qualities at the forefront. I think she’s getting enough balance in the ever-present, mostly unseen messaging battle we all try to fight for our kids.

So the princess phase can go on about it’s business and play out at its own pace. Good news for the Scamp. And me.


*Rollerleader–this is a made up word, which I now trademark, that my daughter came up with when she first saw one of those big balls with the handle on top that little kids jump around on. Who the hell knows what they are called, but the Scamp loves hers and “rollerleader” has proved to be a good name for it. (Hasbro, Fisher Price, etc….call me.)

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Roses Are (often) Red

Quote of the Day:

Roses are red, violets are blue; I forgot to get you flowers; so my balls will be too.”


The logician in me:  Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, apropos of nothing.

The deep thinker:  Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, which is very confusing if you are color blind because I would’ve guessed Violets would be Violet, or at least Purple, but of course Purple to me often is Blue, so, yeah, I suppose Violets are Blue. But I digress.

The Haikuest:  So Roses are Red; And Violets are Blue I’m told; Here’s some chocolate.

Just saw Scott Pilgrim vs the World and it cracked me up:  Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I have to say it now, I lesbians you.

The legal scholar:  Roses are (often) Red, Violets are (allegedly) Blue, In consideration of your acceptance of aforesaid, commonly described as Red, in lieu of and to the complete exclusion of Crimson, Ruby, Garnet, Burgundy, Cardinal et al, et seq., etc., ipso facto, habaes corpus, yadayadayada, that is to say Roses, ergo, ipso, harpo, i.e., the flowers(hereafter referred to, if necessary, as “Roses”, you, being yourself, the Royal you, the recipient of said bounteous fruit of the Earth, but not such fruit as apples or cherries or strawberries, which are, in fact Red, to the exclusion of the aforesaid, though not always, but to wit, are the forms of the fruit to which you are explicitly not being provided, and are thus inedible and also can stick you cause I picked these next door and didn’t get them from the florist, do hereby waive, release, terminate, forego, and release any and all claims which now or heretofore or herebefore can and/or could have been made regarding my taste, class, creed, religion, sexual preferences, character or romantic inclinations. All references to the colors Violet and Blue and all they may or may not represent are hereby disavowed. Anyways, I was thinkin’ now that all that’s out of the way…maybe we could….you know….

The Blogger:  Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I’m ready to monetize this site, and I’m counting on you.

The Practical TB:  Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, You don’t really love flowers all that much and they cost a damn fortune, and only really last a few days, so why don’t we just put forty bucks toward our next trip and call it a day? (soft, playful punch to the shoulder). Awesome, love ya babe.

The Romantic:  Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, (censored–you didn’t really think you’d get any of my gold material did you?)

And now, to make you think about death and get sad and stuff, if my poetry didn’t already do that for you….Sex Bob-Omb

Posted in Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Unintentional Hiatus

Haven’t had anything to say this week. I know some of y’all check in regularly for a little diversion, and sorry to fail you on that. Others that subscribe via email–well, this is a pretty crummy post. Sorry for the distraction.

The TBU lives, and I’ll get back to it asap.

Suggestions welcome, especially if you have an idea for a post or a funny list.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

It’s Cool

Quote of the Day:

Where do you want it?” –Billy Joe Shaver

TB’s come to a conclusion, gradually I guess, over the last thirty years or so. Moma, Daddy, Teacher, Coach, Preacher and even my ARB’s were wrong about something important. Tryin’ to be cool is alright. In fact, that’s exactly what all of us ought to be doin’ a lot more. What they really meant, whether they knew it or not, was “don’t try to be cool and fail.”

I wrote about this before awhile back, but a strange confluence of contacts today has me cogitatin’ on the subject again. The first thing I saw on Facebook this morning was a Paul Newman quote, seems today’s his birthday. Newman is the cat that inspired my old post. The guy that honored his birthday is an old friend and classmate. He was running marathons last spring, then by summer he was hairless and wan, attacked by cancer. All fall and winter he posted a daily update about the challenges in his life and treatment. Many of the posts showcased an intact sense of humor and all of his messages revealed an amazing sense of optimism. Very cool. Then he got the word he was cancer-free. Even better.

Then at lunch today I heard a song by Whitey Morgan and the 78’s called “Where Do You Want It.” It’s a re-telling of Billy Joe Shaver’s 2007 shooting incident in Waco, Texas. Seems Billy Joe was being harassed by a man in a bar and at some point he got threatened with a knife. Billy Joe responded by pulling a handgun and asking his assailant, “Where do you want it?” Now that’s cool. Then he shot the dude in the face. Questionable, that decision, but a jury in 2010 saw it as self-defense.

My mind wandered during the 78’s satellite performance to other examples of cool. I thought about a friend who used play in a popular touring band but then decided to settle down to family life, raise a couple of boys and now he records music designed more for the soul than the sale. I thought about a girl who has traveled the world in service to others and now teaches school. She still travels to far-flung ports, but gets to do it for fun now. I thought about a conversation I once had with BW Buzz.

We were still in high school and at a party. Buzz had some girl interested in him but he was blowing the deal acting a little too goofy. Just a little case of nerves, no different than anyone else, but it was coming out all wrong. For some reason he came to me because he knew he was in trouble and asked what he needed to do. “Damn, Buzz, just be cool.” Sage advice, even if I didn’t really know what in the hell I was talkin’ about. Worked too, she kissed him. And then he went right back to bein’ goofy, ’cause, well, that’s who he was. I don’t know why that little vignette has stuck with me all these years. But upon reflection, maybe it’s because that’s how ol’ Buzz was cool–just bein’ himself. Another thing about Buzz, he’ll laugh first and most heartily at a story told at his expense. And that’s pretty cool too.

Back in the 1960’s Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart remarked that while he could not precisely define pornography, “I know it when I see it.” “Cool” is like that too. It is best defined by knowing it when you see it, of that I’m sure. Even so, I think I’ll take a stab at something more suitable for Webster’s next edition.* Cool is when somebody handles a situation better than the observer believes he could himself. And it’s a status to which I continually aspire, in spite of lots of well-meaning advice to the contrary.

*Webster’s defines “cool” as “being fashionably attractive or impressive.”  I guess they thought that sounded better than “we know it when we see it.”


Posted in Life, People, Philosobaen | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Losin’ Streaks

Quote of the Day:

You can win, you can lose, or it can rain.” –Casey Stengel

You ever had one? TB has damn sure known a losin’ streak or two. I had one that lasted over a decade. It took a lot of beer to weather that storm.

Typically though, a losin’ streak in life involves the smaller things and they wear a body down, a soul too. Mine usually start with something like a lost wallet, then there is an unexpected setback at the office, maybe a sprained ankle or a long cold or a vicious paper cut gets mixed in somewhere. A few extra pounds will inevitably appear on the scales. All too often there’s a fender-bender in the mix.

I always know by the second act when I’m in a streak. “Bad things come in threes,” is the cliché, but when you get on a streak, that thought, it pops up after number two every time, is just a woebegone grasp for a non-existent straw.

These kinds of life losin’ streaks, I am convinced, are a result of biological and cosmic forces we cannot hope to understand. Karma? Nah. There’s something to that, but losin’ streaks aren’t related. If anything, the losin’ streaks I’m describing are more prone to strike the righteous. It’s an ironic aspect of the tumult that simply piles confusion atop pain. Not only that, but the sort of streaks I am attempting to describe are never so drastic as to allow a socially acceptable outward show of self-pity, and of too little consequence to attract commiseration from outside observers. Hey, it could be worse, right? It’s not cancer, or starving children, or being a Tulane fan for cryin’ out loud!

There’s only one way to beat these little life losin’ streaks–you gotta ride ’em out. Sleep. Drink. Go about your business, with a bit more care than usual. Outlast. That’s all there is. Eventually those neurons will start firin’ back on the right trajectory. Karma won’t let this nonsense get out of hand.

Bonus QOTD

Count your blessings name them one by one.”     —Baptist Hymnal, number 231



Posted in Life, Philosobaen | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Thursday Pickin’ Season III Anti-climax

Quote of the Day:

“Achievement brings its own anti-climax.” –Maya Angelou

TB doesn’t know if any of y’all still care about this or not. Frankly, I don’t. But in the interest of closure, here are the results of Bowl Pickin’. I won.

The Championship Game was a push, so no points were awarded there to anyone, nor any taken away. I went 4-0 in the Big 4 bowls and 3-1 on my minor selections along with picking up the 20 point bonus for nailing my Pick o’the Bowls, LSU.

  1. TB  76
  2. Larry  60 (4-0, 2-2, POTB)
  3. Tiny D  32 (2-2, 4-0, Tied POTB)
  4. Face  20  (2-2, 3-1, no POTB designated)
  5. Smily J  16  (3-1, 3-1, Lost POTB)
  6. TDW  0  (2-2, 1-3, POTB)
  7. Sweet  0  (1-3, 2-2, POTB)
  8. JLou  -16  (3-1, 1-3, Lost POTB)
  9. Pitalo  -32  (2-2, 0-4, no POTB designated)
  10. Flyin’ J  -48  (0-1, 1-3, Lost POTB)
  11. BR  -62  (1-2, 0-4, Lost POTB)

With BW Buzz a no-show, Sweet got bumped into the playoff. Had Flyin’ J not made a last second appearance, Larry would’ve gotten in too. Thank goodness he didn’t, because if he had been in the playoff, Larry would’ve become an embarrassing Grand Champion. But all’s well that ends well. With her third place finish in Bowl Pickin’, Tiny D wrapped up the title, as justice required.

A hearty congrats, TD, but good riddance to Cam!

Posted in Sports | Tagged | 7 Comments

A List of Places Where TB Would Pay $200 to Stand Outside

Quote of the Day:

The real fun in living wisely is that you get to be smug about it.” –Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes

  1. A jail cell, assuming the other choice was standing inside it
  2. Kate Beckinsale’s shower (if the conditions are right)
  3. Any structure located within a 500 mile radius of Bora Bora
  4. An Arizona Congressional Town Hall Meeting
  5. Helicopters, roller coasters and snake farms
  6. Hospitals (assuming the other choice is standing inside it)
  7. Right Field at Wrigley, four stories up on game day
  8. The Pearly Gates (if I can get close enough I like my chances)
  9. The Sarah Palin Lecture Series
  10. Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan or the State Fair

But 200 bucks to stand outside the Super Bowl? I’m not feelin’ it. Will Kate Beckinsale be there?

Posted in current events, Humor, Lists | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments