Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rehashing the News

The standard hazard of upcoming New Years is that both the televised and print media go into the rehash mode: printing numerous items regarding The Top Ten News Events of 2010, The Tope Ten (or Twenty) Entertainers of 2010, The Best Dressed of 2010, The Twelve Biggest Rectum Pains of 2010, and so forth.

This should be looked at as opportunities the media exploits for doing it on the cheap: recycling news. This is not to say that the quantity of news is a constant: sometimes there is not much happening, sometimes there is.

Actually, some forms of recycling is commendable. If newspapers or glass bottles could be recycled, then that's cool. And summer re-runs on television can be viewed as an opportunity to varying one's viewing or see an episode that might have been missed. It's knowing what is okay to recycle, and what is not, that is crucial.

Wouldn't it be refreshing if, somewhere, a television evening news team were to begin the program with, "Folks, nothing much really happened today, but we plan to fill in this half-hour agreeably, should you care to watch. Oh yes, Myra will unbutton one button on her blouse every five minutes."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas, Moon Pie Highs, and Other Nostalgia

I wish I could buy Moon Pies in Montana. I could use a Moon Pie high right now despite the extra time I need exercising and running to work off those extra calories from that Southern indulgence.

And wouldn't it be nice to spend the afternoon hanging out at the Cool Springs mall with the girls, or eating Thai food in M'boro.

And cheering for Middle Tennessee State.

Nostalgia works in odd ways. Sometimes the little things loom inportant. Whatever outsiders feel about Tennessee, I will always be a Tennesseean. At the Christmas time it is joyous to get reconnected with family, to help trim the tree, to put on a pretty dress on Christmas morning and go to church, enjoy family dinners, and in general reconnect.

I hope everyone has a joyous Christmas or Holiday Season.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


It was sorority song night, and the Chili Dog Sisters were to take part by arranging, practicing, and staging a skit for this evening of mandatory fun and games. Now other groups went in for the intricately coreographed show tunes, sometimes with canes and straw hats, the Greek choruses, the oldie rock numbers, and (of course) that schmaltzy sentimental state song "Tennessee Waltz."

We elected to do cute. We each wore white felt [literal] cat suits with kitty cat whiskers and kitty cat ears, and sang a nonsensical song, "The Cat Came Back" which harkens back to nursery school days. In truth, we were perfectly awful: too cute by half -- just the kind of thing that soothes the nerves of Student Activities people and encourages their world view that college students are basically benign.

At the climax of the song, all seven of us turn around in unison, twirl our tails in synchrony, insert large darkened cotton balls into our mouths, turn back forward, and spit out the cotton "hairballs" in unison.

We got the most applause.

But no prize.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Barroom Pie Fights

I don't know if this kind of "sport" is simultaneously catching on in other parts of the country, but around here a new bar activity is girls' pie fights. It's as lurid as a wet t-shirt contest, but is quite a bit messier -- yet does have some redeeming taste values.

The two contestants wearing swimsuits appear in the contest rink together. Each are each armed with a pair of cream pies: some contestants prefer both to be vanilla custard, while others mix vanilla and chocolate. They stand about six feet apart, and attempt to hit each other with their pies, while trying to dodge their opponent's.

Usually both customers get quite messy in the process; and the audience cheers on this amazing spectacle.

You can call it tacky; and I fully agree. But America, with inventiveness in seeking out new avenues for crass entertainment, have invented tough guy fighting exhibitions, wet t-shirt contests, skin the bunny, midget bowling, and hot dog eating contests. Think of this as part of the grand tradition!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Capital for a Day

Here's a little-known bit of chicanery in history. It happened over 200 years ago not too far away from where I grew up:

"A recurring issue, and one that took five treaties and 28 years to dispose of, was the Cherokees' claims to land wanted by the settlers. Forked-tongue diplomacy was the norm in dealing with this issue, but it was elevated to a new artform in 1807. In an earlier treaty, the Cherokee had been led to believe that if they ceded the land in and around Kingston to the government, Kingston would become the capital of Tennessee. And true to the agreement, Kingston did become the capital of Tennessee — for one day. On Monday, September 21, 1807, the first session of the seventh General Assembly of the state of Tennessee convened in Kingston. At the end of the day, the Senate and the House of Representatives resolved to '...adjourn forthwith from Kingston, to meet on Wednesday the 23d inst. at eleven o'clock, A.M. at the courthouse in Knoxville.' "

In other words, they told the trusting Cherokees that, if they were to cede the land, it would become a state capital. And they went through the motions, making little Kingston capital for a day.

Reference for the obsessive fact-munchers: