CLASSIC LUNAR – “MATER WAR” From July 19, 2010

FROM JULY 19, 2010

German Johnson Pink



What began as a simple tomato war between brothers decades ago has now come to this.    Harassing emails from the son of one of those brothers who rather subtly accused me of neglect.    Well, I stood up to that son.   “Patience is a virtue,” is what I wrote him back.  I guess I told him!


Joseph, or “Big Coon” as they called him, left Graham, North Carolina in 1956.    In 1962, he found his way to Florida, hundreds of miles from the nearest North Carolina homegrown German Johnson tomato.

Eugene, “Little Coon” stayed behind.    The lure of the Carolina German Johnson was just too great, I suppose.

Big Coon relied on Little Coon for a number of years.    Little Coon was Big’s best tomato connection.    “Maters,” they call them in Graham.    You say “mater” around those two, and you knew what was meant:  homegrown German Johnsons.

Little was a good brother to Big.    He used to visit Big in Florida during July.  For several years he did this.    And he always brought maters.    Big was in heaven.    Big was big.    A big man.    The maters Little always brought were big enough to, once sliced, cover an entire Miracle Whip coated slice of white bread.    One good slice, Miracle Whip, salt and pepper was all Big needed to do one of his patented inhale whistles.   An inhale whistle is when one breaths in while whistling.  Not out like normal whistles.     The inhale was Big’s indication of total satisfaction.    He always did  that just before taking the first bite of his “mater sandwich.”

There was another brother, Garland.    They called him “Goosey.”    He was the oldest.    One summer, somehow, Goosey got involved.    I do not recall his exact involvement, but I do believe it ultimately led to the mater war.    Maybe he sent Big an unscheduled shipment.    Maybe the maters he sent were bigger than the ones Little always sent.    I really do not recall.    All I know is, the war began when Little brought his family to Jacksonville Beach, Florida, along with a supply of maters for Big.

When Big visited Little’s beachfront motel room for the first time on that trip, he walked right by his brother, his brother’s wife and their two children.    He went right for the maters.    At least this is how I remember the original recollection of the story.   Big bent down and opened the refrigerator where he saw a huge platter of the largest most beautiful display of Carolina German Johnsons he had ever seen.   The wire rack of the refrigerator shelf was sagging from the weight of that incredible harvest.    The inhale whistle was blowing full steam ahead.    Little quickly reacted to this sort of refrigerator invasion. “No, no, Sonny,” Little barked.  “Those are mine.    Here are the ones Goosey sent you.”    Little gave Big the sack.   The paper sack.    The rather small paper sack.    With three of the smallest non-Roman, non-Cherry tomatoes Big ever saw.    Big stood straight up.    His eyebrows almost reached his hairline.    And his mouth popped open so wide the cigar that lived in the right corner of his lips hit the floor.

“What?” Big asked.    Little just gritted his teeth tightly, trying to hold them inside his amazing and sinister grin and rubbed his hands together fast and furious like he was trying to start a fire.   The others in the room just laughed.    Big laughs.    The war had begun.

It wasn’t a real war, of course.    It was all in fun.    Occasionally Little Coon would mail Big Coon a photograph of a mater the size of Big’s head.    One time Big used Carolina mater seeds in Florida soil, trying to grow his own.    It didn’t work.    But Little always made good on the maters.    Big was never hurting for a good Carolina German Johnson.    Not as long as Little had anything to say about it.

Big Coon died in the fall of 1992.    He was buried back in Graham a couple of months after the last German Johnson was harvested in Alamance County that year.    The following summer and a few summers after that, on July 16 of each of those years, I took a single German Johnson tomato and placed it on Big Coon’s grave.   The sixth year, I took two maters.    Been doing two ever since.    Little Coon died July 4, 1998 and is buried right next to Big.    I just can’t take one for Big and leave nothing for Little.

One year, though, probably in ’99, I left a really large German Johnson for Big.    And I left a scrawny little one for Little.    I hope Big and Little both saw the humor in that.    Like all the other years, those maters were placed there in love and amazing fondness of those two and of the relationship they had.

So, the latest in the mater war?    The email.    From Little Coon’s son.    I got this last Sunday.

“I was hankering for some free German Johnsons, but the tomato fairies have not left any at the cemetery yet.”

My reply?  “Patience is a virtue, Cuz.  Friday is ‘Mater Day!’”

“Mater Day” was last Friday.  July 16.  My Dad’s birthday.

I left three this year.

Peace at last.


Call me weird. Call me a wimp. But I fear severe weather. I guess my mom had something to do with that, although watching, annually, “Wizard Of Oz” tornadoes for the first twenty years of my life didn’t help!

King James Bible

When I was young and when a thunderstorm hit, my mom made us unplug everything electrical in the house. Even lamps! Then we sat toward the middle of the house and away from windows while Mama read Bible verses to us. I do not recall nighttime thunderstorms, so reading the Bible at night and in the dark has never been an issue within my memory.

But, dang it, I think I came up with this OCD thing on my own!

Just an hour or so ago, a severe storm passed over my Charlotte home. I unplugged nothing, and I sat in my favorite chair next to a window, watching television. I did ask God to protect us all from the severe weather, but I didn’t read verses. No. All I did was put my shoes on.

Look, it’s summertime. I love being barefoot. So, when that storm ended safely, I took the shoes off and opened every window in the house.

Well, just now, yet another “Severe Thunderstorm Warning” came across the television screen. So, yeah. I closed the windows and put my shoes back on!

Here’s my weird and wimpy fear. It’s not that I will be struck by lighting. It’s not that watching television with the lights on will attract deadly bolts that invade my living room. I don’t even fear the house being destroyed by the wind or fallen trees or spinning uncontrollably to Oz!

All I fear is walking barefoot through all the rubble and debris to a safe place!

Seriously, y’all!

Click HERE for the companion piece on LUNACY, “Hurricane Fran.”


In September of 1996, most of us many inland North Carolina residents prepared to endure the brutal strength of Hurricane Fran. Chapel Hill is not a normal place for a hurricane to visit. But I prepared. Somewhat.

I did not fill my bathtub with water. I didn’t buy bottled water. I did not use masking tape on my windows. I bought no canned goods. No candles. I mean, I was not living in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida where those are normal hurricane things to do. I was in Chapel freakin’ Hill!

But as the threat of that dangerous storm approached Orange County, I did prepare some. I moved the living room sofa to the middle of that small room, and made my son and his Dalmatian sleep there and not upstairs where they normally spent nights.

               I removed my son’s pet rabbit from his front yard cage and his pet parakeet from the stairway landing and placed them both in the downstairs laundry room.

I moved my La-Z-boy chair as far away from the front window as I could – maybe two inches. That’s where I tried to sleep.

But before I even considered the valued lives in that house that night, I first took care of my feet and my fear of walking barefoot through all the rubble and debris that a major storm might cause to our home. Yeah, that’s right!

First thing I did? I put my shoes on!


Mama loves the color purple.  She says it’s Jesus’ favorite color.  When I first saw that dress, I didn’t even know Jesus had a favorite color.

I still have an image of that dress today.  It was nothing special, really.  Even by June Clever standards.  But when I was ten, it was the most beautiful dress I had ever seen.  And it made Mama just as beautiful.

I told her how much I loved that dress.  She must have said something like, “Well aren’t you so sweet.” And that was it.  Nothing more. Nothing more was necessary.

When I was a kid, like most kids I guess, I would procrastinate from time to time.  But I got that trait from my Mom or Dad or someone in my family upon whom my therapist can reasonably help me pin that blame.  For argument’s sake, I’ll blame Mama.  That will certainly help me rationalize the way she bailed me out from time to time.

She did some things she probably shouldn’t have.  I remember not having done some school work before going to bed a few nights.  The mornings after those nights, I’d wake up worrying.  I was a worrier.  Like Mama.  I guess she understood me because of our similar emotional patterns.  But when I woke up expecting the worst from the day ahead those few mornings, I found my work all done.  By Mama.

Now, maybe I would be more of a responsible human being today if she had just let her child suffer the consequences of his inaction.  But I credit Mama with the love and understanding I have for my own son.  That I’ve had for almost 26 years now.  And maybe I have done that man an injustice.  If I have, well – he’ll just have to take that up with his own therapist.  Like Mama with her children, I cannot stand to see my child suffer.  Even in the slightest of ways.

One night before going to bed, during my sixth or seventh year, I noticed that one of my gold fish was sick.  It was just floating.  On its side.  In that tiny little bowl that it shared with its mate.  I thought it was dead.   It should have been.  And if it wasn’t, then surely it would be the next morning.  I didn’t want to leave the little thing.  I loved the little gold guy.  Mama, as she always did, assured me everything would be okay.  “You need to go to bed,” she said.  So I did.  And I don’t remember doubting her.  She was always right when she gave reassuring information like that.  At least in my eyes.

And.  I was a bit of an idiot as a child.  Thinking back on it now, I should have known that little side-floater would die.  I should have known that no parent or anybody could have saved that fish.  But I went to bed as an innocent and trusting little idiot-boy, never doubting at all the love and strength and ability of that woman.

When I woke up the next morning, I ran into the living room where the fish bowl stayed.   On top of the upright piano.  There was only one fish there.  The sick one was gone.   Mama let me down.  For the first time ever.   The woman let me down.  That was a difficult moment for me.

I walked to the bathroom.  There I saw Mama for the first time that day.  She was just sitting there.  On the closed toilet.  Leaning over the bathtub.  She looked old and tired that morning.  Her right arm and hand were in the bathtub.  She was moving water around.  So very gently.

She had been there all night.  Hunched over that tub.  Nursing that damned little gold fish back to health.

Its mate was happy to have it back in the bowl later that morning.  Mama was happy to get some rest.  After seeing us off to school.  I was simply in awe.

Several years later, I was beginning to grow up.  I was about 9 or 10.  Out in the world.  Or at least out on the block.  In the neighborhood.  Taking care of myself.  Exploring.  Doing things that would surely cause Mama to hemorrhage.  If she only knew.

I wasn’t worrying so much anymore.  Growing away from the love of my life just a bit.

Jimmy Jordan’s older brother, Jickie, helped us build a tree house in the Jordan’s back yard.  It was more of a tree platform.  But is was ours.  The guys’.  Jimmy’s, Jody’s, Johnny’s Arthur’s, Paul’s and mine.

The foundation was triangular.  The flooring was made of equal sized planks.  The planks hung over the joists slightly on the wide end.  Greatly on the narrow end.  As I explored our place, the entire construction, I trusted my friends and their brothers just as much as I had always trusted Mama.  I was growing up.  So I stepped onto the floor that was over-hanging the narrow end of the triangular foundation.  My foot landed on the outside of the joist.  The other side of the plank let go and flew straight up like little Arthur on a seesaw when his large sister Rebecca sat opposite him.

I dropped from our tree platform.  Straight down.  To the ground.  I think Mrs. Jordan’s close line broke my fall just a bit.  But I couldn’t move.  It was my back.

Some neighborhood men made a makeshift gurney.  They carried me to a station wagon.  And to the hospital.  That’s where I remember seeing Mama.

I was in such pain.  I was worried.  Again.  I was crying.  But there was Mama.  Standing in that room.  Wearing that beautiful purple dress.  She took the time to put on that dress before meeting the neighborhood men and her son at the hospital.

I don’t remember anything she said or did.  Maybe she said or did nothing.  She didn’t need to really.  That purple dress said and did it all. It may not seem like much.  But it was another extra mile or ten to me.

And, I’m not Jesus.

But on that day, purple was my favorite color, too.

CLASSIC LUNAR – “SEGMENTS” From June 23, 2014

FROM JUNE 23, 2014

I guess, if we’ve done stuff right, we hold within ourselves meaningful memories. The most meaningful ones come from the folks who have graced our lives over time.

I have shared with you many memories that came from folks like that. They were about a grandmother who said to me, “Please don’t go!” About a grandfather who trusted me with his tool shed. An aunt who brought me a birthday cake. An uncle who took me fishing.

They were about my dad who made me laugh. My brother who remembered a fallen war hero. My sister who cared for my ailing mom. There was one about a cousin who sent a timely message of encouragement.

There have been many of my son and his wife, and their children. They once filled my empty cupboard with fresh food. My grandsons laughed at me and called me by my new name, “Paw-Paw.” My granddaughter cooked eggs with me.

And my friends – there are many stories of those who lifted me when there was no other direction I could go alone.

It’s funny. When I look at all of those moments objectively, I mostly think of just the stories and of the folks who created them. The stories each, seemingly, intertwine with nothing. They are each merely segments. Segments of time.

Maybe they don’t need to intertwine. Maybe they need to simply exist. But how do I reconcile the simple existence of mere portions of life after what I was given by a woman who embodied the emotional ties that bind all such moments?

She has some segments, too. I’ve shared her moments quite a bit over the years. I look at those times as I do all of the others. At first. But when I remember hers, and when I try to classify them, she clouds things a bit for me. When I think of her, all of my segments lose their definition. And her moments magically fall into place behind all of them.

Her moments have driven all of my life’s portions.

It was her mother who pleaded with me. It was her dad who showed a young child how to use a hammer. Her sister did the baking and delivering. Her favorite brother-in-law baited my hook. Her husband was the clown. Her oldest son remembered. Her daughter cared. Her niece was the timely one. Her grandchild and his family filled my cupboard, laughed and changed my name – and cooked eggs. And the friends? Without what I was given by her, I would never have been able to put a true value on those folks who lifted me all those times.

The woman seemed to bring order to things in my life. She still does. She has, for the past sixty years, taken all of those segments – all of them – and through emotion and love scrambled them into the one solid memory that I need. It’s the only memory that allows me to trace, to a single moment, my very own history and the origin of all of the elements that comprise my life.

That single moment happened when I met my mother.

And the moments following? With her? There were laughs. There were smiles. There were tears. There was some genuine stuff going on. But the definitions of her segments were always clouded by her ability to intertwine those moments in such an inclusive manner.

The one where she stayed up all night to save the life of her son’s goldfish. It was a sweet and singular moment much like all of those from each of the other folks in my life. But when she saved that little swimmer’s life, she didn’t stop there. She brought life to fatherhood – mine. She brought life to my son. And to his children. The days and hours and moments that have passed from that night in 1960, when she stayed hunched over that bathtub in her goldfish emergency room until well after daybreak the next day, clouded that one moment in time into lives – real ones – mine, my son’s and those of his children and into the lives of every child we each touch these days.

The woman seemed relentless in including more into simple moments that were, until she stepped in, easily and clearly defined. Like the time I fell from a tree and hurt my back so badly that the neighborhood dads rushed me to the hospital. All she had to do was to let me heal and move on. That would have been enough to give me a simple segment and a story to tell one day. But on the day I was hurt, she remembered what I said of a purple and flowered dress she wore not long before that accident. I said to her, “I love that dress, Mama.” She looked beautiful in that dress.

That afternoon at the hospital, she arrived wearing purple and flowers. She knew she could do nothing to help heal me that day. But she did what she could. She wore that dress. And she knew. Words and thoughts that come from other folks mean things. So do deeds that come from mothers in purple dresses.

If I was the only one who understood what she did that day, this, too, might just be another sweet moment – just another segment. But Mama clouded this, too, and included in my life deeds and words that I see and hear and feel from my very own son and his wife. I have seen the very same stuff from my brother and sister. Even from my young grandchildren.

They all wear purple and flowered dresses from time to time. They each bring goldfish back to life. And those friends? When they see purple dresses and rescued gold fish, they understand. They understand Mama, and they wear and rescue, too. My survival is proof of that.

The woman gave me life. She loved me. She showed me how to use her kind of love to survive and prosper in such ways – beautiful and clouded ways that take my regimented sort of segments, blend them into things that are difficult to define but that include all of the loving and funny and sweet and endearing moments her son has been allowed to live.

All of them.

No one but Mama could do such a thing.

No one.

Ninety-four years ago, on June 23, way before she gave me life, the woman graced me with the promise of some meaningful stuff. That was the day Mama was born.

I cannot say how much right stuff I have done all these years. I would argue that I haven’t done nearly enough. But by clouding segments into six decades of meaning that intertwine perfectly with every moment her son has lived, well…

mama young

I’d say Mama did some stuff right.


I know what it’s like to be without a father on Father’s Day. In this regard, I have been alone for almost twenty-five years. But before the most important man in my life died, he was there for me. In his own bizarre and fun and wonderfully generous ways. Frankly, I blame that man for much of my bizarre behavior the past sixty-three years. There are certainly others to blame – mostly my own twisted self – but this is about Father’s Day.

And. This is not about my dad. It’s not about any dad, really.

 It’s about the kids of dads who disappeared.

It struck me tonight that many of my friends, family, and kids I have known and loved for decades are mostly – or always – without their dads.   And have been since their youth or forever. Well, this is my possibly bizarre attempt to ease the pain of those folks who often need the love of a rarely or never found dad.

Look, I think I know how men can be. I mean, I am a man myself.

I am well aware of a man’s urge to simply walk away from everything. When I was a young man, all I wanted to do was to walk away from real life.  All I wanted was to live alone on a farm somewhere. Just me.

And my dog, McFee. At that time, all other possibilities scared the hell out of me.

I somehow overcame that fear. For a time, anyway. So I took a job, got married and had a child myself. But, as my wife was suffering through the labor that brought my son to life, my very first “man” reaction was to get the hell out of that room and take McFee to the farm!


I feel like I was privileged back then. My own dad gave me a college education, I was given a great job and a wife that I loved dearly. Still, when my very own son was being born, I wanted to run like hell!

My dad and young son

I guess I stayed around for the very same reason my dad never permanently left me or my siblings. But the man left us plenty of times. I have very few memories of my dad being around when I was young. I think he tried his damnedest to find his own farm. But he always came back. And I think I know why.

Men are strong. In many ways. But when it comes to our children and to the mothers of our children, well there is a weakness many of the strongest men cannot overcome. And my dad was weak. Very weak in this regard.

I guess what I am saying here is that men who want to be or believe that they are strong enough to overcome the weakness of love find themselves in uncontrollably awkward situations. So they leave. For a while or forever.

Look, the ultimate weakness in men who totally leave their children in favor of their devotion to their own strength, is no excuse for neglecting the children that define the man. But to those kids who feel totally neglected, here are my thoughts.

My dad left me, plenty of times. But I forgave him. And he knew that. If he had been as strong as your dad, he would have never returned. And if he had never returned, well – again, I was privileged. I knew the man well enough to know that, without any doubts, the man – my dad – loved me.

And would forever.

My son and his dad

I also know that if I had run away from my child’s birth, like I wanted to, I may not even know the kid right now.   But I am certain that I would love him just as much as my dad loved me.

My guess is that your dads feel the very same about their love for you.

CLASSIC LUNAR – “MAN IN A TRANCE” From June 15, 2014

FROM JUNE 15, 2014

I guess one takes from songs what they need to hear. I first heard this one in the early ’90s – maybe ’91 or ’92. It was released in 1991. And what I heard in those lyrics and felt in that tune are likely nothing even close to what the artist intended. But this is a really good time to talk about that song.

It’s about a place, a meaningful place that’s the most meaningful one I have ever known. Each time I hear that song, I connect with some important stuff. Some meaningful stuff.

Had it not been for an old and departed man very dear to me, I may never have been delivered to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. That’s where the man pretty much began his family. With a wife and a toddler and a GI Bill education at the university there. I began my family there, too. And like him, I was educated there as well – in so many things.

It is there that I learned of “dogs barking and birds singing and of sap rising and the sighs of angels.”

My life is so much like that man’s life was – certainly in the destructive ways. I learned from him the value of financial responsibility. Like him, I mostly dodge such responsible actions. But, like him again, if I have but one shirt to my name, and you need that cloth, it will be yours. The man’s mother said to me one time, “Joe would give the shirt off his back.” That quality was likely his downfall. It will likely be mine as well. And like him, I do not care if it is.

I have discovered of late that I have some of that man’s social skills. He was a very round man. A big guy. His clothing style was limited to his budget at the big man’s clothing shop. And most of his triple-x shirts were stained from the three or so previous meals. But somehow, in between his chubby cheeks, his vision seemed to take aim and land squarely into the eyes of the onlookers and bring smiles and laughs to the faces his smiling and laughing face and eyes always encouraged.

I am very thin. But unless one thinks that wearing twenty-year-old Converse low-cuts is more fashionable than food-stained big men’s clothes, then our wardrobes are pretty much the same. My shirt stains, though, are not from old meals. Neither are my blue jean stains. All of that comes from something else I got from the man – laziness. Washing clothes is something we both find and found to be deplorable.

But folks smile and laugh at me, too. I am not at all as funny as he was. I never will be. But I do not care about that either. I now know what the man felt when folks smiled and laughed back at him all of those times during all of those troubled years. I see such things these days through eyes not impeded by chubby cheeks. I see that stuff very clearly.

The man was not perfect. But I admire him. And while I do not try to be like him, I will always be, I suppose.  Still, I have tried to master one of his finest skills. I have failed miserably. It cannot be duplicated. Not by me. It simply cannot.

The opening line of the song suggests that old folks never know why they call things the way they do. Well, I am an old guy these days. Maybe I am misguided in my simple interpretation of the song, but I will call this the way that I do – and have – since my dad died around the time of that song’s release.

Each time, during the past 22 years, that I hear James Taylor’s “Copperline,” I think of my dad.

“Half a mile down to Morgan Creek,
leaning heavy on the end of the week.”

Morgan Creek is a well known waterway just outside of the town my dad made well known to me – Chapel Hill. And, like Daddy always did, so, too, do I lean heavy on the end of the week.

And the man was quite the dancer. Even as an old man, weighing way too much and wearing seersucker jackets, the man spun and twirled and dazzled women on the dance floor. Old ones his own age. And young ones – daughters-in-law, nieces, granddaughters and even strangers who were beautiful and wonderfully amazed at the old man’s dance floor moves. The man could dance. That was maybe his finest skill.

“One time I saw my daddy dance, watched him moving like a man in a trance.  He brought it back from the war in France, down onto Copperline.” (James Taylor.)

When I hear that song, I think of all the most meaningful stuff in my life. But you know what? When I hear James Taylor sing that one line, I remember the most meaningful man in my life. The man in a trance.

The man who could dance.



FROM JUNE 13, 2014


I have a dad. But I am a dad, too. And this is Father’s Day.

This week’s “Father’s Day” Lunar Report deals with my dad. I guess this Lunacy should deal with the poor child who has had to wish me a happy Father’s Day every year since the mid-80’s.

I differ a bit from my dad. He was rarely apologetic.   Well, he was regretful, I think – when he did things that maybe harmed at the time those he loved.   But in his life patterns?   He was apologetic to no one.   He was who he was.   And I admire his neglect of apologies when it came to the life that he chose.

But me? I’m a wimp. I readily acknowledge that.  In my mind, apologies are due.

To my son – I apologize for the time when you were just a toddler, and when I asked my best friend to baby sit you.  When I returned home that afternoon, the vision of you walking around the house with your diaper around your knees as you carried yet another beer to your fast asleep babysitter still haunts me.

I apologize for the time I asked you, after attending a Carolina basketball game, to steal toilet paper from the arena’s bathroom because we were broke and out of TP at home.

I apologize for my “sex talk” with you.   I tried to tell you some valuable stuff.   You just looked at me, rolled your eyes and said, “Oh, Dad!”   My wimpy self scratched the back of my head, looked down at the floor and responded, “Well, okay.   Just promise me that when you feel like pulling your pants down, you call me first!”

I apologize for the times you came home from school and found me asleep on the sofa with Court TV on the tube.   I really am sorry that those times I could not answer your “so what’s up with OJ?” questions.

I apologize for all of those cheeseburger steaks and green peas.   That was your dad’s easy way out.   But, damn! You slammed down every bite!

I apologize for serving for desert what you called “ghetto cookies.”   But cinnamon toast is damned tasty.

Look, I have many more apologies I could list here.   Deeper and more meaningful ones.   But all I can seem to think about right now is that my only child and his wife have four children of their own.   That could possibly mean that they will one day have FOUR times the apologies that I have right now.   Damn.   Really, son.   I am so sorry about that sex talk screw up!

My two favorite adults!

There really are many apologies that I could I make. But they are all so pallid when lined up next to all of my moments of gratitude.   Thank you, child – and your wife and my granddaughter and grandsons – for defining for me, in the most elaborate of ways, what old-man pride is all about.



“Seth-Man!” Or “Little Paul!”

Ha! “Sweet-P!”


Look, I am a sucker for DVRing bizarre television series and watching other bizarre ones on Netflix.  

But when I watch one of those shows, I mostly begin the viewing by fast forwarding past the opening credits.

You know, like everyone else, I am in a hurry to get to the main story!

Well, let me tell you about “House Of Cards,” a Netflix show.

First of all, as soon as the new second, third, fourth and fifth season’s began, I was lost! Totally lost! So each time a new season has begun, I am forced to watch ALL the episodes from the previous season! That’s a wonderful indication of just how twisted and bizarre is this show! Currently, I am only five episodes into last year’s shows!

But here is the most twisted part of this post. I really do not care how much of a rush I am in when I begin to watch a “House Of Cards” episode. I might be hungry and anxious to eat my lunch or dinner while watching. I might be late for a doctor’s appointment or work meeting. I may even really be dying to use the bathroom at the moment! But, damn it, I cannot fast forward through the opening music of that show!

Seriously! I am mesmerized by the opening theme. I researched my mesmerization tonight. The guy who composed that music is Jeff Beal.


Below are two links. One is Beal explaining the creation of the theme. The other link is the theme itself.

Thanks for putting up with my twisted nonsense here. But Jeff Beal’s sound really is fantastic!




Always Dreaming was today’s Kentucky Derby winner. But as long as the poor young nag keeps racing, his dreams of running without being brutally whipped are futile.


I watched today’s Derby. That’s something I rarely do. Now I remember why I have avoided this spectacle.


As the race was ending, here is what I saw: 20 three-year-old colts and mares, running as fast as they could, while their, what I call “drivers-” not “riders”- were beating the hell out of them.



Meanwhile, the cameras covering the event showed multi-million dollar “owners,” cheering the beatings of their very own living property! All the while, sipping Kentucky mint juleps!


Look, I am a NASCAR fan. And those drivers beat the hell out of their modes of speedy transportation as well. But those beatings are mostly accidental. And when their modes can no longer perform, changes are made. They use duct tape. They change tires. They repair twisted metal. They add fuel!  And – they drink beer!


But what NASCAR owners never do is send their useless and beaten living vehicles to a deserted pasture to merely bide time until the glue factory sends a pick-up truck – while it’s wealthy owner sips more juleps, buys more young living things whose whippings will one day create even more self-serving smiles and cheers!

If I were a young and fast horse, I would treasure the name of “Always Dreaming.”

Let’s face it. Dreams are all that young thoroughbreds have!