the farmer and the cowman should be friends

So, Thursday night, President Obama intends to sit down with Dr. Gates and Sgt. Crowley for a cold beer and a friendly discussion about race in America today. And I think it's a goddam great idea.

I'm not saying we're beyond the age of needing to litigate to make sure racial prejudice does not impact peoples' lives. I'm not calling this "post-race America", for the good lord's sake. But I do think that many of us are in a place where our individual, socially implanted, culturally reinforced racial prejudices can best be winnowed out and destroyed by looking each other in the face and talking shit through. And if there's beer involved, so much the better!

Now, maybe this will fail. Maybe it'll wind up a Springer-style screaming brawl, with broken glass and trigger-happy secret service men. But I doubt it, as shallowly entertaining as that might turn out to be. Will it solve the rancor and divisiveness this incident's created in those of us not actually involved? No, probably not. But for the two men at the heart of the issue, maybe this will be a moment worth thinking about later. Maybe some education, some healing will happen while they sip their Red Stripe and Blue Moon (and is there any more perfect symbolism than that?) - let's ignore the Pres's deplorable choice of Bud Light for the moment. Maybe the next time Crowley's called upon to interact with a black person in the call of his duty, he'll understand some of the anger and distrust aimed his way and have some patience. Maybe Gates will feel like he got to speak his piece and was heard, something that doesn't happen often enough in this world.

After all, I have yet to see much drama that couldn't be deflated and deflected if the people involved would just sit down and talk. Drink up, guys. Hope it goes well. Here's to you.


heel, toe - that's how we go

The Wizard of Oz. The Hobbit. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. All those fairy tales full of third born sons strolling across Europe in search of their fortune. Mr. Toad legging it home from prison. The barefoot mailman. Even the Von Trapps escaping over the mountains. Long tromps and epic walks filled my childhood stories and yard adventures.

My sister May and I would pack our gear - a treasured mess kit, my favorite trench tool, apples and pb&j done up in a bandanna bindle - and strike out across the yard or neighborhood. If we could find a crick drainage ditch, we followed it, ankle deep in who knows what. We drew maps, explored parks, dodged cows, slipped through barbed wire, crawled under bushes to find hidden trails.

So, last month, when May told me she planned to walk the Natchez Trace - a small paved highway of more than 400 miles between Natchez, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee, it seemed like the obvious next step. The trip we'd been training for our whole lives. "When are you going?" I asked. "Do you want company?"

Fall of 2010 and yes.

For a day or two, I said maybe. Maybe I would think about it. Maybe I would walk a little in the evenings and see how I felt. Have you seen me lately? I am not a small man. After a lifetime as a fat kid and 10 years with the state, I am not exactly up for strolling a few dozen miles with a pack on my back every day. But. But but but. The Stand. Huck Finn. The Canterbury Tales.

So now May and I are sort of obsessed, and, if I want to go, I need to stay that way. I'm In Training, for a certain definition of that phrase. I'm limbering up and starting to walk again. I'm sweating my way around the neighborhood at night, cursing the heat, cursing my tired legs. If may can do it, I can do it.


while my folks are in Mexico

Dear Mama and Dad:

Well, I just spent the weekend, with May, keeping an eye on Moon Manor. The house didn't burn down, the dogs didn't run off, and foxes did not raid the hen house. To battle this complete lack of excitement (and doing the Tallahassee Democrat's Sunday crossword puzzle does not count), I made Kool-Aid pickles.

1. Open already made dill pickles (in this case, that my mama canned).
Delicious looking, ain't they? If not, please blame the fact that I have to a camera phone.

2. Show how much a pickle can look like a thumb.
This is teh kind of thing that cracks me and my sister up. We sat around giggling for a good 5 minutes after I took this picture.

3. Buy kool-aid (actually, two packs, cherry in this case). Make it up, 2 pack of powder but only one pack's worth of water and sugar.

4. Pour off liquid in dill pickles, retaining all the dill seed and so on. Pour double strength kool aid over pickle in jar. Put in the fridge to chill.
I drank the rest of the kool-aid, but that shit was strong as hell. I iced mine heavily, which watered it down enough to enjoy.

5. After a while (a week or more is best) Eat! They come out sort of sweet and sour.

May and Jess hated them. May said, "I don't like this, and it's in my mouth." I felt so bad for her, but I really like the salty/sweet/dill effect. Anyway, I left the jar in the fridge, so tell me what you think.



Sometimes, you're just going through your day - wake up, work, go to grab a sandwich - and you glance over and see something that suddenly has you in stitches. This was one of those things.

(If you didn't see the incredibly airbrushed and homoerotic film 300, you might not get it.)


depressed? angry? sad? got a belly ache?

You've got your basic Koko and All Ball.

But I kind of like it best when they're the same size.

Of course, if your cat is bigger than your monkey, things can get pretty wacky.

With 4 hands, you can hold your kitten and eat a banana at the same time!

How could I pass up a chimp and a white tiger.

Don't you wish you could curl up with a cat and a monkey and take a nap right now?