Labor Day, And Buddy Ebsen Is No Bad Thing

Especially when it leads to a classic cowboy tune sung by Rex Allen.

There’s another tune about that old outlaw, but I cannot post that one here.

Stranger

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The Scots Are A Very Humorous People

Thrifty, too, and a good story costs nothing. This one does not predate my great grandparents emigration in the 1840′s, but almost. It was first current in the 1870′s – but it is still topical today. Enjoy.

Stranger

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Labor Day, And I’m Still Laboring

Here it is September – and it has been record setting cool up north. We have had a few cool days, ourselves, but not as cool as Yankeeland.

But the heat’s moved back in, temporarily at least. Since it has been cool, we have had a record slow start for Hurricane Season, without a single named storm for August. But that may be changing. I see a tropical depression has formed in the Caribbean and if it becomes a hurricane we are due for 26 more named storms. Including two or three “majors.”

And it’s raining cats and dogs as I write. Oh well, if you don’t like Mississippi weather, wait a while. It will change. And if somebody is a bit cool, somebody else is bound to be hot. Like the Chinese.

From the captive media China is the hottest it’s been since the heat made Harald Hardraada take his chain mail fighting clothes off and then got ambushed by Harold the Saxon, back in 1066. Harald came out the loser in that battle but one of Bill the Bastards archers sold the Saxon a farm a few days later.

Naturally, Bill the B became William the Conqueror in the history books. The winners write history, you know, and their biographers don’t say bad things about their patrons.

Especially when said patron had as much power as Saddam Hussein and his children and used it about the same way. Which is how a blacksmith’s pretty daughter happened to become the mama of the aforementioned Bill the B.

Without benefit of clergy – although weddings were mostly a matter of saying you were wedded – especially for the guys giving the orders. Most of the order givers had visiting rights to a dozen or so gals – just in case they felt like visiting.

That was during the last big global warmup we had, back when Greenland was warm enough to support farming and the Anasazi were droughted out of the Four Corners country. But the sun shut down, Greenland froze up, the sunspots went away during the Maunder Minimum, and put the whole world into the “little ice age.”

The boffins are in a hot debate about the why of that period ended. Some say the solar system was entering a dusty limb of the galaxy and that added fuel to the solar fire. On the other hand, some are equally certain that we were exiting a dust cloud, causing the sun to shine extra bright on the Earth. It seems like the old days are here again.

More recently, it was so cold in the 1700′s folks made a thriving business of chopping ice out of rivers like the Potomac and storing it for the next summer. So George Washington could serve iced juleps and Martha could serve sherbet all summer long! You sure couldn’t do that today, because the Potomac hasn’t friz in a while! And you wouldn’t want to serve river water, either.

But a few days the media said was 40C, over a hunnert four in Shanghai! But it has been coolish out in the Atlantic. So maybe we will escape the worst of Hurricane Season.

The Old Farmers Almanac says this coming winter is going to be another real old fashioned cold ‘un. I don’t know about you but I am ready for a cold spell. That would improve everyone’s disposition, and it would take most of the fear of one of those him and hurricanes away.

I dunno. The aches in my joints say that something’s going to happen. I hope in about six weeks or so the jet stream is going to come south and bring a blast of cold air that will have us all looking for our earmuffs and down jackets. I am ready!

Got my down undies fresh cleaned and I won’t freeze until Hattiesburg is ready to have an ice sculpture contest. With blocks of ice from Gordons Creek! But the last time the knuckles popped this way we got Katrina. More big wind we don’t need, not none

The big winds cost way too much money. One about every forty years is more than enough for me. Any closer together and you won’t get the stuff repaired from the last one before the next one hits. And they are darn expensive to clean up after.

I admit it. I like a little jingle left in the pocket after I pay expenses. But I’m like a bank teller. I wish more of the money I handled rubbed off on me! And I always like a good laugh – but some of the things I think are funny aren’t necessarily funny to other folks.

Like the time folks at the Jackpot were telling how they met and married their wives. One old boy said he met his wife at church, got to the singing out of the same hymnbook stage, so of course he had to meet her family. The first time he came calling her daddy met him at the door with a shotgun in his hand.

He was left with only one choice. Wife or death.

Now, like I said, some folks think things are funny that just flat leave me cold. Like most blonde jokes. Have you heard the one about the blonde who worked up a big appetite so she stopped off at the Pizza Hut.

The clerk asked her if she wanted her pizza sliced up into four slices, or eight. The blonde scratched her head as she thought about it, then she answered. “Make it four slices. I could never eat eight.”

Or the one about the blonde who was found unconscious in a jail cell with twelve bumps on her head. She tried to hang herself with a rubber band.

Or “How many blondes does it take to change a light bulb?”

“None. Their boy friends do it for them.”

Now a real life blonde I once knew named her daughter Morphine, because morphine comes from wild poppies.

Speaking of wild, I once knew a Doctor name of Jack, the twin brother of a pilot I posted about a while back. One time Jack was a guest at a big dinner party when one of the women turned to him and asked, “Doctor, what do you find to be the most common ailment of children?”

Jack considered the question while he chewed up another chunk of chicken and then he answered the question. “Mothers, madam.”

There’s more truth than poetry to that, for sure. But when all this went on the latest thing in aircraft navigation was the string of searchlights running from major airport to major airport. On a clear night you could stand on the ground
at Big Cabin and see every light between Tulsa and Kansas City.

Nowadays the latest airplanes are entirely computer controlled. The flight crew is a pilot and a dog. The pilot is there to feed the dog, and the dog is there to bite the pilot if he tries to touch anything.

But anyhow, when Jack was in med school he had landlord trouble. If Jack complained about anything the landlord would say, “Well, what about it?” And never do anything about it.

One day Jake came to see his brother. Jack took Jake a few doors down the street to where he had an old horse.

“Jake,” he says, “Help me get this mare down to the rooming house. I want her up on the porch.”

When they get the horse on the rooming house porch, Jack says “Hold the door for me. I want to get her inside.” When they get the horse in the house

Jack says, “Jake, you pull and I’ll push. I want to get her up the stairs.” They heaved and hauled and the horse struggled, but they got her up the stairs.

At the head of the stairs Jack says, “Help me get her in the bathroom.”

So they struggle and finally get the horse in the bathroom, and into the tub. Jack pulls the curtain on the tub, and the twins repair to Jack’s room. Ofcourse, Jake wanted to know what was going on.

“When the roof leaked and my bed got soaked nothing was ever one. When the hot water heater quit, I had to take cold baths for two months, until I paid for it to be fixed. Whenever anything goes wrong around here all the landlord says is `What about it,’ and nothing ever gets fixed.”

“The next time I hear that old fart go in the bathroom I’m going to step out in the hall. He’s going to come running out of the bathroom yelling `There’s a horse in the bathroom.’

And I’m going to say ‘What about it?’ And let him
worry.”

Stranger

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A Bit Of A Tune And A Step From Cape Breton

A few minutes of this will work up a sweat – and all it takes is practice. And strong ankles. And knees…

Stranger

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Handling Money And Other Runiations

Yesterday I was talking about Red Svenson and his wive Olga when the wife told me it was time. I didn’t know time for what but that I was being summoned. To supper, in that case.

But Thinking about those two, I ‘spect they could have been the old couple who were settin’ on the porch rocking and he says “Honey, I have sure taken you over the rough spots of life.”

And she sez “Yes, and dammit, you ain’t missed a one.”

But speaking of speakers reminds me of the feminist speaker they had down here at the community center.

Miz Dye said one speaker had a take on Adam and Eve all her own. Starting back in the Garden of Eden when Eve called out to God;

“Lord, I have a problem.”

“What’s the problem, Eve.”

“Lord, I know you created me, and provided this beautiful garden. I appreciate it, especially all these lovely animals and that funny snake. But I’m
lonely. And I’m sick to death of apples. I’m just not happy.”

“Well, in that case I will create a man for you, Eve.”

“What’s a man, Lord?”

“Eve, the man will be a flawed creature, with aggressive tendencies, an enormous ego, and the man will be unable to listen to you or emphasize with you properly. All in all, he will give you a hard time. But hell be bigger and faster
and stronger than you. He will need your advice to think properly. He will be good at fighting and kicking a ball around, hunting fast running animals, and not altogether bad in the sack.”

“Sounds great, Lord,” says Eve, “But what’s the catch.”

“Well, Eve, you can have him on just one condition.”

“What’s that, Lord?”

“You have to let him believe I made him first.”

The lady who told that one thought it was funny – but preferred the Genesis version. Anyhow, looking at the news I see the IQ testers claim NASCAR fans run ten IQ points smarter than average.

That must be a shock to the media, especially to one of the more
pulchritudinous talking heads who recently fumed that NASCAR dads are stupid enough to vote for “one of them.”

Considering “blue states” investment bankers are supposed to be superior examples of the populace, and none seem capable of understanding a simple declarative sentence such as “I am on your do not call list!” or “Do not call me again;” as well as questions such as “What part of do not call me do you not
understand?,” I don’t have a great deal of respect for the blue states general level of intelligence.

Or of the intelligence of this logorrheic but pneumatic dentiloqist’s facticidal tribe in particular. After the script runs out I consider the female members of that tribe to be examples of the dolichocephaloblonde typified by Marie Wilson as Irma, and her male counterparts by Edgar Bergan’s Clem
Cadiddlehopper.

She kinda’ reminds me of the blonde who was out for spin in the country. Blondie tools by a wheat field and notices a blonde in a rowboat rowing away in the middle of the field. So Blondie slams on brakes, hops out, and spectates for a while. Finally, she can’t stand it any longer so she shouts to ask the rower
what she thought she was doing.

“It’s an ocean of wheat,” the blonde boater shouts back. “I’m rowing.”

Blondy was furious. “It’s blondes like you that give the rest of us a bad name,” she shouted. The rower just shrugged her shoulders and kept on rowing. And that really made Blondy angry.

She jumped back in her car, cranked up, and left with a parting shot out the window: “If I could swim I’d come out there and kick your behind.”

Now, let me add that I used seven dollar words to describe the zoftig poseuse under derision, because the PC cops say we gotta use words that are over their heads so’s not to give offense.

If they can understand you they can choose to be offended! But she does remind me of Frankie, who got an emergency call from
his very blonde girl friend, Jill.

“I bought a jigsaw puzzle and it’s too hard for me. There are thousands of
pieces, and I can’t find an edge piece anywhere.”

“OK, Jill, I’ll come over after work and see what I can do. But what’s the picture on the box?” sez Frankie.

“It’s a big red rooster,” sez Jill.

That evening Frankie shows up and is ushered to the kitchen table. After looking the situation over, he says, “Jill, for heavens sake, put your corn flakes back in the box.”

Actually, that news sheila most reminds me of a reporter for the Denver Post who had a flat up in the mountains. Undaunted, the intrepid scribe jacked
his car up, the spare out, took the lug nuts off, and was just hoisting the spare on the lugs when a rattlesnake started buzzin’.

The scribbler was so excited he picked up the snake and beat his lug wrench to death.

Of course, this well endowed paraphrast works for a network whose employees were instructed in the proper way to negotiate a revolving door. According to a reputable newspaper, all the news room employees were handed a memo entitled
“Follow These Simple Steps When You Use the Doors.”

Quoting the paper, “To enter the secure space move directly into the revolving door compartment. The door will start automatically. One person per compartment. Keep hands, feet, and bags away from the edges of the door.”

Reasonable enough – so reasonable a NASCAR dad or mom would not have to be told.

Somehow, I don’t think mouthy’s bosses regard reporters and news readers as very smart. But that reminds me of a story I heard about the New York Times editor who was bending his elbow in a Big Apple bar.

A cab driver walked in and his fare waved him to the bar. The cabbie ordered a seltzer, turned to ye ed and asked if he’d heard the latest scandal at the Times.

“No,” said the editor, straightening up to his full height. “But let me warn you that I’m an editor at the Times.”

“S’awright,” sez the cabbie. “I’ll tell you really slowly.”

That sounds reasonable to me. Most of the news media puts me in mind of Charley Greener’s boy Rufe. I was in the Ben Franklin one time and Rufe comes in for a box of moth balls. “OK,” sez Hazlewood, “But didn’t you buy a box yesterday
and a box the day before?”

“Yeh,” mumbles Rufe, “But them moths are so durn fast they’re hard to hit.”

Well, back to the news, I see we now have politically correct computer viruses that put a message on your screen that your computer has been taken over by electronic microorganisms. I suppose it was bound to happen.

We already had those Hanoi Jane programs that aid and abet viruses as your anti-virus program tries to delete them. And the PBS virus, which stops your computer every three minutes and asks for money.

The E-bugs do have their champions. I hear Mary Tyler Moore is raising money to save the viruses; while Brigitte Bardot is getting some sexy looking gals to strip naked to protest cruelty to E-virii.

And then there’s that new organization, PETEL. People for the Ethical Treatment of Electronic Lifeforms. I guess that proves there’s a crazy cause for every loose nut. Or for every nut on the loose.

Hmmm, CNN says Duke University Hospital washed sterile surgical instruments in not so sterile hydraulic fluid. Sounds typical. Doctors mistakes and hospital infections reputedly kill almost 300,000 Americans every year – more than
automobile accidents, AIDS, and breast cancer combined – and according to this lament a quack doc amputated the wrong leg.

So the sawbones went back and amputated the right leg. Which left the atient without a leg to stand on. And without a doctor to testify against the quack in his lawsuit.

Down under, a woman drag racer was fined $850 for drag
racing on a busy commercial street with three children in the car. The loser, who had his wife and children aboard, was fined $1,100! And an Austrian court put a ghost haunting a house in jail.

They don’t say why the ghost had a grudge against the homeowner, though.

Up in Iowa fertilizer dealers are adding something to their anhydrous ammonia. Anhydrous is a vital ingredient in the illicit manufacture of that bad drug called meth – and the addition will turn anyone who swallows or smokes meth
made from treated ammonia bright fluorescent yellow.

That’s what you could call a dirty yellow trick! I would suggest
Mississippi require adding the stuff to all anhydrous sold in the state but I’m sure that at least some Legislators would filibuster.

Mississippi can’t afford to lose another industry, you know!

Speaking of the news, I used to enjoy the late Paul Harvey, who said that a British boffin says the first man to live to be a thousand is already past 60. Now, that just might be so – but I sure hope Doc Methuselah does Ponce de Leon one better
and knows where the fabled Fountain of Youth lies.

Considering the aches and pains I have picked up in the last eighty years I don’t think I want 12 times that much before I report for reassignment. And I can just see the expression on the Senate’s collective face when they realize
that a man who works for 40 years will expect Social Security to pay for 935 years of retirement! Somehow the amount paid in and the amount paid out just does not work out. Unless you can live on a hundred bucks a year.

The thought of living that long reminds me of Greek story about the pretty but vain gal who asked Apollo to make her immortal. The sun god did, but she forgot to ask for eternal youth. And you know the rest of that story.

She’s still around, they say, but she hasn’t shown her face in public for two or three thousand years.

The Greeks had a lot of stories like that. They were intended to teach the younger set about life, and maybe do it with a smile to boot. Like some of the stories Aesop told, which always have something cogent.

Like the story about the crow and the rabbit. The crow was sitting in a tree, enjoying the good life, when a rabbit hopped up under the tree.

“Mr. Crow” asked the rabbit, “Can I also sit around and do nothing all day?”

“Sure,” cawed the crow, “Just lay down where you are and rest easy.”

So the rabbit stretched out and soon went to sleep. All of a sudden a fox appeared and ate the sleeping rabbit up, bones and all.

“Leaving not a scrap for me?” complained the crow, “I’m the one who provided your meal.”

Aesop had a different take on it, but these days every wage slave should heed the moral of that story. You must be very high up to sit, do nothing, and expect to be paid.

Of course, there are modern stories in same vein. Like the sad tale of Ulf af Trolle. Ulf was a Swedish economist who labored over a hot typewriter for years on a book detailing Swedish economic solutions.
When he finished it he took his precious manuscript to a Stockholm Kinkos.

Where a clerk mistook the shredder for a copier and turned 14 years of work into confetti in less than 30 seconds! And no, Ulf didn’t keep carbons! The moral?

Always make backups. Of everything. Always! Without fail!

How about the two clerks and their manager who cut across a park on their way to lunch. One of the clerks kicks a clod and discovers it’s a very dirty antique lamp. He rubs it, and the Genie of the Lamp appears.

“I usually grant three wishes,” says the Genie, “But
since there’s three of you I will grant one wish each.”

“Fine,” says the first clerk. “I want to be on a beach in the Bahamas without a care in the world.” Poof, she’s gone!

“Me next, me next,” shouted the second clerk. “I want to be on a beach in
Hawaii, with a tray of pina coladas on my beach towel and a beautiful woman in my lap.” Poof, he’s gone.

“Ok, says the Genie to the manager. “You next.”

The manager says “I want those in the office at one o’clock sharp.”

And of course, the moral is to always let the boss have first say!

Anyhoo, everyone has a little different outlook on life, and a little different sense of humor. A joke that will have some folks laughing for days often leaves me completely cold. It’s not that I don’t get the point of the “joke,” it’s just not funny to me.

Not that I would qualify as a humor critic in any way. I’m about like the gal that applied for a job at the Treasury Department in Washington.

“What are your qualifications?” asked the personnel manager.

“Well,” the girl replied, “I always like to handle money.”

Roger that – but I don’t get it we will have some well fed dogs.

Stranger

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By The Way, If you like what you see….

…Tell your friends. If you do not like what you see, tell me.

Stranger

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What Do You Do When You Are Too Poor To Afford Separate Instruments?

The accordion has gone out of style in the States, a victim of Lady of Spain, $75 Sears accordions, and out of rhythm and off key squeezebox players. These two young ladies are excellent players – who have figured out a way to beat the high cost of a good accordion. Try it, you will enjoy it.

Stranger

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Stupid Football coaches, And Indians With Cameras

Well, there’s some sort of Robert Burns festival on the radio and it’s right interesting. No, they aren’t playing “My Jo, John,” not by any sort of means. What they are playing starts “My girl she’s airy, she’s buxom and gay/ her breath’s as fragrant as blossoms in May.”

What follows that just goes to prove that while a lot of folks will flat deny it, great great granny got around too. And judging from the number of fourth, fifth, and sixth cousins some high toned ancestor hunters I know claim, she must have enjoyed the trip.

But I never thought I’d live to hear “Muirland Meg” on the radio. Out in the tack room, yes. Or in Murphy’s bar in the Pass. But not on the radio. I am limited in what I can say about Maggie, except she got around. Round heels, mostly. It scandalizes folks that “Scotland’s greatest muse” wrote about such trifles, and it sure would scandalize folks if that were broadcast over here.

Particularly those folks belonging to the fun killin’ members of the Blue Stocking Society. Funny about that. I have actually known a couple of genuine “blue stockings.” Terrible folks. The kind that would hang drapes over “September Morn,” and take baths like soap was rationed, one cake of soap per lifetime. Their minds and bodies are both dirty.

Old Lady Dennis was like that. She was always going on about “improper thoughts.” I think she gothold of one of those “What Every Young Girl Should Know” tracts when she was small and never got over it. I read those tracts once and I never thought the advice was healthy. Most healthy folks aren’t bothered with improper thoughts. They enjoy them, and sometimes share them.

Old Lady Dennis called Brother Cook to come pray for her son one time, when he got the measles. Brother Cook knew the whole bunch of them were sprinklers, Methodists, so he asked Old Lady Dennis why she didn’t call the Methodist preachers instead.

“Oh, we couldn’t do that. Jimmy is real contagious and we love our preacher.” That was Old Lady Dennis.

She was not typical of Methodists, but Old Lady Dennis was a notoriously strong Methodist. Somebody asked her one time if Jesus came before her and she asked Him if He was a Methodist, and He said He wasn’t a Methodist what would she say.

“Nothing,” sez Old Lady Dennis, “because I’d know it wasn’t Jesus.”

Now, that Dennis blight was married to a lease hound. One of the kind of traveling men who would stay away from home for weeks on end, hard drinking, and he had bad reputation for fooling around with the women.

Especially plying the cuckoo bird with other men’s wives. The old saying goes that a man who fishes in another man’s pond may catch crabs. Charlie Dennis’ fishing usually resulted in him catching hell and an occasional bird shot – from all sides.

I’m not really criticizing Charlie. There’s an old saying that some kids fall in love two or three times a week, and we figured Charlie was in his second childhood.

When Jimmy got sick Charlie Dennis decided it was time to reform, so he volunteers to be baptized. Going to join the church, make a bunch of promises he wouldn’t keep, get sprinkled, and be a good man thereafter until the hereafter. To make a long story short, he was standing up in church, answering all the usual questions, when Otto Myers stands up and interrupts the proceedings.

“Preacher,” sez Otto, “I have known this Charlie Dennis, man and boy, for over fifty year. Jest sprinkling Charlie Dennis ain’t going to go. You are going to have to anchor him out in deep water overnight before it will stick.”

That Dennis bunch lived on a ranch out Sentinel way, not far from the Ott place. Thinking about the Otts and Dennis’s reminds me of the time Bill Cooter was riding a horse from Altus to Sentinel. He started late, and Bill said it was so dark that night he couldn’t find his nose with both hands.

Along about eleven Bill saw a light in house, way out in the country. Bill rode up, and of course the rancher, Tom Ott was his name, was standing on the porch wondering what anybody was doing riding up at that time o’ night. Didn’t take Bill long to ‘splain himself, so Ott offered him a bed for the night and feed and water for his horse. ‘Bout fifteen minutes later Bill was sound asleep.

Tom was going to load a bunch of feeder cattle to take to the Amarillo sale, so Bill was kinda surprised when he was called to breakfast at 2:30 AM. “Don’ take long to spend the night ’round this place,” he grumbles.

Mentioning’ Bill Cooter reminds me he was in partners in the combining business with Joe Cloud, until Joe bought him out. Joe was a full blood Ojibwa Indian, and one of the few with no taste at all for the firewater. Anyway, Joe was a heck of a nice guy, Wisconsin Indian who was wounded, sent to Oklahoma to recuperate, and sort of settled down.

While Joe was over there he picked up quite a bit of loot of one kind and another. Leica cameras, field glasses, Luger pistols, and so on. Brought most of it home, too. One spring, just before time to start harvest, Joe and I were shooting’ the breeze on the porch of Trouts Store. Joe was trying out a pair of field glasses he had, looking up the road, when he grunted “tourists coming.”

Joe stepped inside and comes out with an Army blanket they used to cover ice, and a ratty old black hat. Joe wraps himself in this blanket, sticks the hat on his head, and asks me to step back into the store and watch while he sets on the porch and makes a picture for the tourists.\

‘Bout a minute later this Caddy, the first one I ever saw with tailfins, comes to a stop in front of the store, all four doors pop open, and two couples jump out. A young couple and an older couple, and all four of them had little Argus C3 cameras in their hands. They had all four cameras snapping away, aimed at Joe!

Joe waits till they get about ten foot from the porch, then he stands up, drops the blanket, and starts snapping’ back at ‘em with a Leica with a lens that looked big as a picture window.

It took those tourists about five seconds flat to clear the property. A couple days later me, Bill Cooter, and Joe had a half dozen belly laughs apiece about the silly expressions on those tourists faces. Frost didn’t see anything funny in running tourists that maybe had money off, but Joe and I pacified him by reminding him most tourists didn’t bring anything but a dirty shirt and a dollar bill and they didn’t change either one there.

Now, Bill Cooter was a brother of the Cooter Twins that I have mentioned before in connection with using an outhouse for a decoy. Bill and the Twins daddy was Lane Cooter. Lane, Junior.

Junior wasn’t fat. They just built him a foot or so short for his weight. Junior had a forehead that ended a half inch over the back of his shirt collar. He allus said they didn’t put marble tops on cheap furniture when they kidded him about it.

Like all the Cooters, Junior would charge Hell with a bucket of water. All sand and a mile deep, all them Cooters. Strict honest Baptists, real religious, and with a sharp sense of humor, too.

One time Junior was called to court to give testimony for the defense on a livestock deal. Harmon County had picked up a truckload of cattle that had been sold on a handshake deal and the buyers didn’t have a receipt.

Ordinarily, that would have been handled with a phone call, but the DA was Joe Herbst, ‘scuse me, Mister Joseph Q. Herbst, a little guy just out of law school. Herbst was the sort who would do just about anything to make a rep, and folks were divided about even up on whether he was so crooked he could sleep on a corkscrew or chew nails and spit corkscrews. There was a faction that thought Herbst could eat nails and… well, nemine.

Juniors testimony made it clear Herbst was on the wrong trail, entire. Herbst breaks out in a sweat and then he says to Junior “Mr. Cooter, are you acquainted with any of the gentlemen on this jury?”

Junior, he looks from one end to the other, slow, then h
says “I reckon I know more’n half of them, yeah”.

Herbst says “Mr. Cooter, are you prepared to swear that you know more than half of the gentlemen of the jury?”

Junior, he looks at that jury up and down, slow, then he drawls, “If it comes to that I’m willin’ to swear that I know more’n all twelve of ‘em put together.”

The general opinion after Judge Ross threw the case out was that all asses don’t travel on four feet.

Old Lane, Lane Senior, still lived in the little house he’d built when he first settled in Kiowa County. Old Lane kept a Peacemaker under his shirt in case of trouble, but trouble never bothered to call on Old Lane.

No sir! Old Lane still shot rabbits on the run with that .44-40! The rabbits ate his garden truck and he ate the rabbits. That always seemed fair, ’cause there were lots more rabbits than garden.

Sue Johnson came out to interview him for the paper on his ninety ninth birthday. When she left she told Old Lane she hoped to come back and see him next year, on his hundredth birthday. Old Lane looked her up and down, and said “I don’t see why you don’t. You look healthy enough.”

Sue looked plenty healthy but no more hale and hearty than Lane Senior. That man looked healthy enough for almost anything. And did just about anything the younger men did.

I don’t know how true it was but the story that went around the feed store had it Lane Senior and Junior went to the livestock show in Dallas. Lane Junior went to Bob Wills’ big bar and ballroom in Fort Worth and left his dad in their room. So Senior supposedly calls room service and orders a stick of wood, a violin, and a blonde.

Stunned, the guy on the other end of the phone sez “Man, that’s the strangest order anybody has ever placed with me.”

“Son,” Old Lane is supposed to have said, “Son, when
you get my age you don’t know whether you can whittle, fiddle, or diddle.”

Knowin’ Old Lane, the bets were on the last. Old Lady Mullendore, the bankers wife, had words to say about the morals of the story until Brother Ralph Steele quoted her chapter and verses out of the Bible to shut her up.

She argued with Brother Ralph but that verse about what a loaf would buy and the verse about the person without sin throwing the first rock shet her trap. She’d been a taxi dancer in KayCee when she met Mullendore – and bread was still sellin’ for a dime a loaf at the IGA.

Well, I hope the gal who’s singing now is as pretty as her voice.

“Being pursued by the dragoon/

Within my bed he was laid doon/

And weel I wat he was worth his room/

My dear, my dainty Davie.

I guess that’s one way for a man on the lam to meet a moll!

Anyhoo, Brother Ralph Steele was right learned about the Bible, and about making moonshine whiskey. He said there wasn’t a word in the Bible against making booze, just against overindulging in it. So he didn’t drink what he made. He was a teetaling moonshiner!

One midnight when the Alky Tax men were bad, Brother Ralph went to add a little fuel to the fire under his still. And there was a big rattlesnake coiled up on the ashes under the still.

Ol’ Buzz resented being poked and prodded, so he sank his fangs in Brother Ralph’s shin. Brother Ralph made it to the house and they roused his oldest boy to go to town for the doctor. After a good while, five minutes seems like two hours when you are agitated, Old Doc Plummer came stomping in the house.

Doc was in a state, too, all hot and bothered about getting called out at one in the morning for a snakebite. In Doc’s experience Ralph would either be dead in an hour or he would survive without treatment. So Doc stomps in the house and looks at Ralph. And Ralph looks right back with a big foolish grin on his red face, and a can of grain alcohol in his hand!

“Dammit, man, your’e drunk,” snarls Doc disgustedly. “That stuff will kill you.”

“Well, Hell, Doc” Ralph mumbles, “Rattlesnake bit me, I’m gunna die anyway.”

They are singing “Ye jovial boys who loved the joys” and that reminds me of the time Brother Ralph’s son, Jim, was playing football for the Cowboys. The Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Jim Steele was what you would call a party animal. So he always came to practice with a hangover. And it’s hard to impress a coach when you got a hangover. The only thing Jim showed his coach was that he could drop kick the football. So Jim got to sit on the bench and admire the cheerleaders.

One miserably cold Saturday the Cowboys were down by two field goals. The first string quarterback had gone down. And the second string quarterback had gone down. And then the third string quarterback went down. That left Jim, the backups backups backup. The clock was down to less than two minutes so the coach figured he was going to lose the game by six points, so he took Jim aside and issued his orders.

“Son,” sez the coach, “You haven’t shown me much, and I don’t expect much. So run three off tackle plays and kick the football. Remember, whatever happens, three plays and drop kick the football. You heah?”

The first play, Jim took the snap, tucked the ball under his arm and ran 32 yards, to past midfield. The second play Jim tucked the ball in and ran the ball for 11 yards, to the 37. The third play Jim broke through for 29 yards and was down to the eight with a minute and five seconds to play. And then Jim drop kicked the football.

The coach grabbed Jim around the neck when he came off the field. “Wattenell were you thinking when you kicked that dam football” he screams at Jim.

“I was thinking I had the stupidest dam coach in the world,” sobs Jim.

Thinking of the Steele’s reminds me of the time they wanted to float a bond to build a new school. Natural, the guys with more property than kids were against it so they ran an ad in the paper about how the bond issue would put an unjust burden of taxation on your children and grandchildren. Brother Ralph was reading over that in the Jackpot and voices his opinion on the subject.

“Bedad,” he opines to the world, “I was about to vote a
against this bond issue, but if my children and grandchildren are going to pay for it I believe I can afford it.”

Yep, I believe he could.

STranger

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The Greedy Cat; Colombian Music

For those who fancy Colombian food, one of the many “greedy cats” La Gato Golosa, is usually a good choice. Not always, of course, so caution is advised.

This sprightly example of Columbian music, also La Gato Golosa, is a good introduction to the genre:

Enjoy something that is a bit offbeat.

Stranger

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A Little Calypso, Sort Of

Even the expurgated version of this tune was banned from air play in 1946. But the unexpurgated version was number one on the juke box that year, resulting in a lot of grins. As well as a few sniggers:

This is the fist time i have heard it done quite this way. And yes, “He had it coming.”

Stranger

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