Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Looters and the lack of Diversity

I have been watching some news reports from New Orleans about all the looting taking place. All the looters seem to be black folks. Maybe this is just a media distortion and there are white folks looting a jewelry store somewhere in the French Quarter and we just haven't seen it yet. Or maybe it is a sign that there are huge cultural differences in how people react to the misfortune of others. There are people stealing televisions and gold chains. Are those needed for survival in a city that is 80% underwater now? Our cultures must really be far apart because I can't understand the thought process that goes, "We have been hit by a hurricane, my home is flooded, we have no electricity or water, I need to go steal some jewelry."
These are not the comments of a wild-eyed racist. This is an honest look at what is happening in New Orleans right now. We have created a culture of people who believe that they are "entitled" to whatever they want. These people are "takers", not "givers". Today they are taking what they want from other people in New Orleans.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Nature 1 - Corps of Engineers 0

The tragedy along the Gulf Coast caused by Hurricane Katrina being broadcast over every network tonight has been years in the making. Cities are flooded, homes and businesses destroyed, and hundreds of lives lost because we all thought that we could outbuild Mother Nature. Turns out that she's a pretty burly broad.
Where to start? How about all those homes and hotels built along the beaches and the barrier islands? I guess that the phrase "barrier islands" is not fully understood by developers and lovers of beachfront property. Those islands expand and contract with the weather. They are there to protect the shoreline from storms (hurricanes). They are not there for condos, hotels, and golf courses. Stop building on the freaking beach!! If you build there, you should not be able to get insurance or government assistance.
How about those cities that build right on the water's edge? If you build a seawall to keep the water out, it will work only until Mother Nature builds a bigger wave. Memo to Mobile- Move those offices to higher ground.
But the trophy goes to local, state, and federal governments. They have spent more than 150 years and countless billions of dollars trying to control the flow of the Mississippi River. A girl called Katrina just demonstrated the folly of it all. It's a big country, let's allow the river to take what it wants and we can work with the rest.
It's time to face the facts. It is time to let New Orleans go! We will never win this battle with Mother Nature, why keep squandering money trying? I have been to New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis, and other river cities. I have seen the levees and the river walls. The time has come to admit defeat. Pull everyone out of the "Big Easy" and let the water have it. Long term, it will be significantly cheaper for the federal government to buy out the property owners than to keep rebuilding the city and maintaining the levee system.
WAIT!! All of you who are thinking, "This SOB has lost his mind" might be correct. But, it's still my blog. This is not as outrageous an idea as you might think. Starting in the Depression, the TVA bought out lots of property owners to build lakes and power plants. All we need to do in this case is buy the property, the lake is already there. The Federal Government established a precedent when it forced property owners to sell their homes and leave their ancestral lands when they established the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Did you just think that everyone wanted to leave and let the government build a park?? Don't waste your breath telling me about the beauty of the French Quarter, have you seen Cades Cove? Today we are spending billions to buy out the tobacco farmers, why not a little more for the jazz clubs and voodoo shops? Why not buy out the property owners of New Orleans and the surrounding area and avoid a repeat of this tragedy??
It's time for taxpayers to speak out. It is our money going to rebuild New Orleans. How long before another storm and we have to pay again? Even worse, the insurance companies will have to raise rates to cover their losses. Neither the government nor the insurance companies pay to rebuild New Orleans. You and I pay for it through higher taxes and higher insurance premiums. Our voices need to be heard. Evacuate the city and give everyone a few months to remove their personal property. When the time is up, blast the levees and walls and let Mother Nature take her course. With any luck, she will take out the last few looters. That which deserves to survive, will.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Boycott Pamela Anderson???

I keep seeing billboards featuring Pamela Anderson urging people to boycott Kentucky Fried Chicken. I think that she is doing these ads for the PETA group. I was disappointed a few years ago when I found out that PETA did NOT stand for People Eating Tasty Animals.

Anyway Pamela seems to be concerned about painful debeaking and scalding of chickens, among other issues. Memo to Pam: I may just be some redneck from Caswell County, but let me tell you a little something you might not have learned about chickens out there in Southern California. First, they are debeaked because they have this ugly tendency to resort to cannibalism when bored and looking for a change in diet. How do you PETA folks feel about "painful" cannibalism?? Is it OK for chickens to kill and eat each other? Second: They are scalded because that's how you get the feathers off. We don't have any Chicken Salons here in North Carolina where we can send a chicken to get plucked. We have decided to go the scalding route. Rest assured that the first chicken who requests a trip to the Salon will get it.

BUT here's my main point Pammy!! You don't need to have a Mensa level IQ to ask yourself why a woman with breast implants and tattoos is complaining about how an 8-piece bucket of Original Recipe is treated. When they start giving chickens silicon breast implants to make them look better, we will talk. In the meantime Pammy, I am headed out to kill some corn and execute a few potatoes to go with that bucket of Original Recipe.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Been to the Mall?

Today I ventured to Four Seasons Mall in Greensboro, a place I rarely go. I had some business to transact at Dillard's (More on their new credit card ripoffs at another time). Afterwards, I decided to go to the Post Office in the mall to mail an Express Mail letter. Major Mistake!!

The first group of people I encountered in the mall was a group of six. There was a fat woman in a whalechair with her leg elevated looking as if she has had surgery. Her chair was being pushed by a young man. Another young man and three girls completed the ensemble.
No one in the group weighed less than 250, maybe 275 pounds. The best news was that the whale in the whalechair was wearing a shirt that claimed "I'm Taken". The rest of the mall crowd was more than I can describe.

There are only TWO things of which I am sure:
1. I'm not going back to the mall anytime soon.
2. If P.T. Barnum were alive today he would be selling tickets to watch the crowd at the mall.
The Fat Man, The Bearded Lady, Tom Thumb, none of these can hold a candle to the crowd at the mall.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Coca-Cola, the champagne of the South. As a friend says, I would rather drink a warm, stale Coca-Cola than an ice cold Pepsi. I don't drink coffee or tea, I get my caffeine the way God intended, Coca-Cola. Actually, I used to get my caffeine from Coca-Cola, now I just do without caffeine.

Five years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I drank my last Coca-Cola the night before my screening for diabetes. If I had known, I would have had the 2 liter bottle that night. Anyway, I haven't drank one since.

People ask me if I miss soft drinks. My response is usually the same, "It was a hell of a run while it lasted." After thirty years in the restaurant business, I figure that I had just reached my limit. Most restaurants let employees drink all the coffee, tea, and soft drinks that they want. I probably averaged drinking about a gallon and a half a day of Coca-Cola. That's right, 1.5 gallons, 6 quarts, 12 pints, however you want to put it. Of course, that didn't include those I drank at home or on the way home. By now anyone reading this is thinking, What the hell took so long for the diabetes? I am not a doctor, I don't even play one on TV, you will need to ask someone else.

Why I am writing all this? Today after mowing the yard, I had an incredible craving for a Coke. I used to kill a 2 liter bottle after mowing. Relax, I drank a liter bottle of water instead. I had kind of figured that the urge would fade. It may fade, but it doesn't go away.

How much do I like Coca-Cola? I told my wife that if I am ever in the hospital and it doesn't look like I will make it, forget about calling in the kids and the family. First, go get me a Coke (Glass Bottle) and a Snickers bar. Then we can talk about family.

Friday, August 05, 2005

More on tattoos

I had a comment from a friend who actually reads this swill and wanted to know if I was opposed to all tattoos.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and I am not opposed to all tattoos. Several years ago, a British lawmaker proposed requiring male AIDS carriers to get tattoos. His idea was to have their lower backs tattooed with the words "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here." It failed, but you have to give him credit for having the guts to suggest it. I might be OK with his tattoo idea.
I'll keep you posted.

Relative Humidity

This may somehow tie in with my BATH Index, but I'm not really sure.

Whenever it is hot in North Carolina, there is a lot of talk about the humidity. This is an annual summer event, so I am almost used to it. Last week, a customer was telling about how hot it was and how the temperature and the relative humidity combined to form the dreaded "HEAT" index. So I explained Jones' Law of Relativity to him this way. "Let's suppose that you are sitting on the beach on an island in the West Indies and there is a beautiful woman beside you who just happens to be naked. So you are sitting there drinking one of those FuFu drinks in the tall glass with the bushel of fruit garnishing the glass, surveying a beach full of naked or near naked women. There may be other guys there, but they aren't registering in your brain. In this situation, would the same temperature and humidity that we have today even be noticed?" His answer, of course, was "No". As they say in West Virginia, it's all relative.

Speaking of relative humidity, the best definition of this comes from a customer known only as "Pervert Joe". I like Joe because his sense of humor makes me look like a candidate for sainthood. Joe defines "relative humidity" as the bead of sweat running down the crack of your ass when you are having sex with your wife's sister and you hear the front door open. I told you, he makes me look like a saint!

B.A.T.H. Index???

July was a pretty hot month around most of the United States including here at home in North Carolina. I'm not a big fan of stinking hot summer days, but I always figure that it could be worse. The only thing that I find worse than the heat is the constant discussion of the heat. As a restaurant manager, I talk to a lot of folks every day. Most of them want to talk about whatever is in the news and lately it has been the heat.
I hate the weather segments on the news. How about just reporting the facts and letting us figure out the rest? Don't you love watching the weather idiot say something like "We're going to try to get this front to move through here today." How do you think he's going to do that? What station do you think that the clouds are watching? As if the real weather isn't miserable enough, they contrive numbers to make you feel worse. The chill factor and the heat index are the two best examples of this. For example, one day in the winter it is 10 degrees and windy, can't they just report that? Noooooo! They have to tell us that the wind chill factor makes it seem like 5 below zero on our bare skin. Excuse me Mr. or Ms. weather idiot, but at 10 degrees, I'm not putting my bare ass outside. Last week it was 100 degrees one day, miserable enough right? Noooooo! The weather idiot has to tell me with the humidity(more on humidity next time) it feels like 115 degrees. Thanks for brightening my day! There should be a "Truth in Broadcasting" law to require stations to show a disclaimer on the weather segment. Something like "Our goal in broadcasting this segment is to keep your butt glued to the Lazy Boy watching this swill on the TV and not let you go live your life". By the way, I'm not waiting by the phone for Senator Liddy Dole to call me and tell me that they have passed that idea into law.
By now anyone with more than a room temperature IQ has figured out the B.A.T.H. index thing, right? Well, maybe not. Last week, one of our managers wrote in the "weather" line on our Daily Sales Report - "Heat Index 110". I saw it and wrote "B.A.T.H. Index 9.8". The next day he asked what the B.A.T.H. Index was. I explained that it was the Bitching About The Heat Index. A BATH Index of 9.8 means that 98 out of 100 customers complained about the heat. In my own opinion, and I'm the one writing this, the BATH Index is as relevant as the heat index. Hey Mr. or Ms. weather idiot! Next time it's a hot, miserable day, don't broadcast from your air-conditioned studio, go outside. Find yourself a busy street corner and compute your own BATH Index. Now that will be news worth watching!!