Tag Archives: Stupidity

Got History?

There is a restaurant I just keep going back to.  Sweetwater Tavern in Sterling, Virginia.  I don’t know why I keep going back, exactly because it was the scene of one of my most embarrassing moments evah.

Still, I return. Went there just a few days ago, as a matter of fact.  They have terrific food and good beer. So I guess that explains it.  Plus, it keeps me humble.  Humbler.  Yeah.  Humble-est.  Or at least quiet.

Nevertheless, if you go with me, I’ll tell you the story. Unless John’s with us. Because last time, when I tried to tell Jacob the story, John hushed me up. Imagine! Now why would he do that?  He looked around the room and kept saying “keep your voice down!”

Actually, if it weren’t for my husband, it would never have happened. Not at all.  So it’s his fault.

And, if it weren’t for our friend Rob, who was visiting us from Geneva, well, it absolutely wouldn’t have happened.  So it’s Rob’s fault, too.

Me?  I’m innocent.

You see, both John and Rob are Civil War buffs. When Rob was visiting a couple of years back on Martin Luther King Day and it was a beautiful, warm, sunny winter day, well, what else was there for us to do but visit a Civil War battlefield?

Luckily for us, we live in Virginia. Civil War battlefields are a dime a dozen, ’round here. [Fortunately, the fears I wrote about in Great Balls of Fire have not materialized. Yet.]

Anyway, the three of us decided that we would head off to visit the Manassas Battlefield. For those not living in Dixie (Civil War – Land for the non-initiated) I’ll just let you know that Manassas was the very first battle of the Civil War, on July 16, 1861. Folks from Washington made a day of it – they packed picnics and took carriage rides out there from the Capitol to see the Yankees whup the Rebs. They called it the Battle of Bull Run.*

Only it didn’t happen quite that way.

The Rebs won. And when they had a do-over  the next year  on August 28–30, 1862, well, the Rebs whupped us again.

Of course, that’s not how the whole war went, though, was it.  Nope.  The NORTH won the Civil War!

Actually, Google Wins

Actually, Google Wins

But when you wander around Virginia, and probably other parts of the Old South, well, you don’t really get that impression.  Nope. Not at all.

As it was, John, Rob and I should have been prepared for what we found when we arrived at the Manassas Battlefield that morning. Cars with Confederate Flags were everywhere. Mostly pickups and cars that were auditioning for the Dukes of Hazard.

 

There are more cars around here like this than you can shake a stick at. Google Image, Natch.

There are more cars around here like this than you can shake a stick at.
Google Image, Natch.

 

Because, unbeknownst to us at the time, here in Virginia, the weekend of Martin Luther King Day also includes a Virginia State Holiday:  Lee-Jackson Day. Yup. Nothing says “We Lost” more than having a holiday to honor the vanquished generals.  And one that just happens to coincides with the National Holiday honoring slain black civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr!  Folks can get up to all kinds of merriment!

All morning long, there were whoops all around us of “The South Shall Rise Again!”  Men sporting Confederate Flags on their jackets, their cars.  And they were there to honor Stonewall Jackson whose birthday (January 21, 1824) was nearing.  Oh boy!

You see, it was at the First Battle of Manassas, that General Thomas Jonathan Jackson became “Stonewall.” It’s where he earned his famous nickname when as put by Wikipedia:

[Confederate] Brig. Gen. Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr., exhorted his own troops to re-form by shouting, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Rally behind the Virginians!”

John, Rob and I had a nice time touring the battlefield. I’ve often said that we Americans do great battlefields. There are maps and audio buttons, knowledgeable park officials wandering around to answer your questions. Demonstrations of the firearms used, the uniforms. The works.  But it was clear from their words (and their bumperstickers) that folks around us, well, they didn’t really know their history.

 

My Picture. Take that, Google Images!

The answer, based on what we were hearing around us was: NOPE. My Picture.
Take that, Google Images!

 

As we wandered, and as we left, the three of us shook our heads constantly. Because you see evidence everywhere, not just at the battlefield, that Virginians haven’t heard the news yet — that that they’d lost the war.

Afterwards went for a late lunch at the Sweetwater Tavern. It’s a big, fun restaurant and bar, with great food and a terrific atmosphere.   We drove to the restaurant, crossing Lee Highway, John Mosby Highway. We passed the Sully Plantation, and took a wrong turn leading us towards Leesburg. The names of the Confederate heroes of the Civil War were everywhere. There is no Lincoln Highway as far as I’ve seen.  No Grantsburg.  No Sherman Boulevard.  Nope.

“Whoever said ‘History is told by the victors,’ has never been to Virginia,” John quipped.  You’d really never know that they lost, that they surrendered right there in Virginia, at Appomattox.  Because, really, they haven’t given up.

So how did that lead to my most embarrassing restaurant experience ever?

Well, we continued our conversation after we got to our table. We asked for a round of beers, placed our lunch orders, and continued commenting on all of the things in Virginia that, well, that you’d expect would be named differently. To be named by the Victors – The Yankees. Named by ME in fact.  Well, my ancestors.  Who were still in Ireland during the war.  But still …

Anyway, we talked about how, even today, folks in the states of the former Confederacy, don’t accept that they lost and are still fighting the Civil War. I mean, the War Between the States.

Our beers arrived, and, shaking my head at the bizarre attitude of folks in my adopted state, I raised my glass in irony:

“The South Shall Rise Again!” I said, my voice dripping with sarcasm.  With Irony.  With my superior knowledge of history.

And I said it, just as our African-American waiter placed a basket of bread on the table right next to me.

I stammered, shuddered, tried to evaporate.  I wished a cannon ball would fall on me – from either side, it didn’t matter.  I sincerely hoped that someone, anyone would run at me with their bayonet at the ready.  I wanted a quick death, not to be left dangling in my humiliation.

Because, really, what could I do?  I considered explaining myself to the poor waiter, but I knew it wouldn’t matter. That really, even a Connecticut Yankee like me couldn’t make reparations.

I stayed pretty quiet for the remainder of the meal.

We did leave a ridiculously large tip, though.

 

*     *     *

* For some reason nobody seems to know, streams and creeks in Virginia are called runs. I presume that’s because they run to the rivers and then to the sea. But still, if anybody knows why they are called that, I’d love to know. Because nobody I’ve ever known knows. It’s a mystery.

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Where’s MY ‘Panic Button’?

Wednesday, the Texas legislature’s House voted to allow their members to install “Panic” buttons in their office.  Isn’t that special?

The reason they might just need these panic buttons is because some folks are just getting out of hand.  And in their hands, they want deadly weapons.  Just about wherever they go.

The Texas Lege is voting on whether to allow “Open Carry” of guns.  Texas would join 22 states where Open Carry is already legal.  [For the record, I am astonished that that bastion of gun rights, Texas, does not currently allow folks to carry guns wherever they choose.  Shocked, in fact.]

The vote to allow House members to install “Panic Buttons” all came about because of a group of folks, ummmm, lobbying for open carry rights.  This group went to the office of a House member, Pancho Nevarez, who had the audacity to plan to vote “No” on open carry.  And while these “lobbyists” believe strongly in the Second Amendment, they apparently haven’t read about the FIRST Amendment.   They were aggressive.  They were intimidating.  They were, in a word, assholes.

But the thing is, rather than doing anything to prevent assholes and crazy folks from carrying guns, intimidating people and killing them, the Texas House voted to allow their members to install “Panic Buttons” to alert security.

You will be surprised to know this action just doesn’t sit well with me.

Perhaps I should be used to it.  After all, there have been security measures in Congress and most Executive Branch departments for nearly 30 years.

Folks cannot bring their weapons into the State or Defense or Homeland Security Department.  You can’t even bring it into the Air and Space Museum.

And, really, that’s OK by me.  I don’t want government officials to be shot at their desks.  It’s so messy.

But you know what?  I don’t think anybody should be shot at a Walmart.  Or at a movie theater.  Or at an elementary school.

So why should we provide an extra level of protection for the very same folks who vote to put the rest of us at risk?

The folks who decide on the gun laws are voting to keep themselves safe.  If they’re going to do that, they should damn well vote to make me safe.  And you.  And our kids.

What is wrong with this picture?

 

 

 

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Pretty Please?

Until this morning, I’ve been dreading 2016.

Politics, to me, is a spectator sport.  And so the idea of Hilary (ho hum) v. Jeb (ho ho ho) sounded like it was going to be about as much fun as cribbage.  Watching cribbage.

But this morning, I read that we may have some entertainment value to our next presidential race after all.  Whooeeeee!!!

Mitt Wants to Run Again!!!

And you know what idea he plans to run on?

POVERTY!

Yup.  According to this article in the Huffington Post, Mitt is going to tackle poverty:

Romney, who made a fortune in the financial sector and was cast by Democrats in 2012 as a heartless businessman, wants to make tackling poverty — a key issue for his 2012 vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan — one of the three pillars of his campaign.

Tell us another one! (Google image)

Tell us another one!
(Google image)

I wonder if Ann Romney knows she might have to eat tuna and pasta again.

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Louie Gohmert for Speaker!! YES!!!

Have you heard the exciting news?  Representative Louis Gohmert ((R-Where Else But F’ing Texas) is challenging Rep. John Boehner for Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“Why?” you ask, “Elyse, you are a liberal Democrat.  Why do you want such a stupid, ignorant Neanderthal Teapartier [OK, so I repeat myself] to be Speaker of the House?  What better way to prove to ‘Merica that the GOP’s aims are stupid and harmful than having them served up to us on the TEEVEE by Gomer-Fuckin’-Pyle?

In case you’re unfamiliar with him, Gohmert is widely considered to be one of, if not THE dumbest member of either party in either House.  Here is a compendium of his, ummm, opinions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAdGnvMKEYM

Every time this man appears in front of the camera, he shows himself to be an idiot.  So what better mouthpiece for the GOP?

I give Louie my unqualified support.  You can too!  Just go to House.Gov and contact your own representative.  Ask him/her to vote for Louie!

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Our Groaning Nation

It occurred to me just now that America, the grand experiment in Democracy that began in revolution in 1776, and organized itself under the Constitution in 1789, is no longer in its infancy.

Yeah, I was shocked too!

Of course, at 238 years old, I shouldn’t be.  In fact, growing up should be expected.  We can’t remain babies or even toddlers forever, now, can we? Cute and cuddly was bound to give way to something, well, to something decidedly different.

We want to be like the big kids.  After all, the countries that most of those in power like to believe we all hailed from (legally, natch) have been around for many hundreds of years, some even a thousand years or more.  They’ve done so much stuff that they don’t even bother to put up plaques saying what happened.

Yes, those other countries, they’ve changed, grown, and matured through the ages.  We must too.

And we are.

Which led me to the realization of the entire problem with our country.  With our political family.

SHIT!  America is  a teenager, God help us.

Yup.  We (and the world we lead) are truly fucked.

We have become a nation of petulant fools who can’t think beyond our own immediate needs.

Let’s hope our nation doesn’t wrap itself around a metaphorical tree.

[Elections matter.  We got what too many of us stayed home for.]

*   *   *

The idea for this post came to me when I read Zorbear’s post, Just wasting our money again… featuring  this terrific cartoon

INFRASTRUCTURE

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An Actual Fun Office Christmas Party Idea — REALLY!

Damn it.  (No, that’s not the Christmas party idea.)  I meant to post this earlier.  Like in November.  But I forgot. Because in spite of not being terribly fond of Christmas any more, this is a great idea.

Thanks to Doobster for his post The Office Christmas PartyIt reminded me that I forgot.  Or something.

So embedded in this story is the great office Christmas Party idea.  Whoever comments on it first gets to give me his or her favorite stuffed animal.

A Different Toy Story

Nobody suspects I would have done anything of the sort.  I’ve fooled them all.  Well, at least I’ve fooled the folks I work with.  And that will do.

You see, we have a terrific Christmas tradition at my office.  We have a party, yes, and it’s actually fun because we like each other.  And the highlight of the party is a gift exchange.   About two weeks prior to the party, we choose the name of a co-worker, and bring a gift for that person as if he or she were 7 years old.  We open the gifts and have a great time guessing who gave it to us.  Then the toys are collected and given to a local charity.

We have a blast, it’s for a good cause, and everybody tells their funny childhood remembrances of what we would have done with a toy like they got.

But it was awkward for me this year, because I got a doll.

She was a beautiful, blue-eyed doll with rosy cheeks and curly blond hair just like mine.  Any girl would love her and gently care for her.  Any girl would treasure that pretty doll.  Any girl would have given that beautiful doll to her own daughter to love, too.

Google Image from Etsy

Google Image from Etsy

Link to doll

Any girl but me.

Because for the most part, I hated dolls.  And for most of my childhood, I did anything to avoid playing with them.  Except when I was about 7.

Well, I guess I answered honestly when I said that, uhhh, yeah, I would have played with the delicate dolly.   And, yeah, I would have played with it when I was about 7 years old.  So yeah, the gift, umm, fit me.  I didn’t elaborate, though.

I didn’t, for example, tell anyone that the dolly would not have been happy with the situation.

I blame my parents, they bought that particular house.  I blame my brother. Me, I was innocent.  I was led astray.  I was forced to do it.  The fact that it was hilarious and became one of my favorite memories is completely irrelevant.

You see, the house I grew up in was next to the railroad tracks.  And naturally, because it was strictly forbidden, my brother Fred and I used to spend lots of time playing on the tracks.  We’d put our ears to the rail to listen for trains, and, once we were sure none were coming, we’d run across the tracks.

That was fun for part of the first summer we lived there, but hey we were 6 and 9.  We needed growth opportunities.

We flattened pennies until we had enough to lay track from New York to New Haven made entirely of smushed Lincoln faces.  For a while we would wait for a train to come and then hop across the tracks, trying not to trip and die.  Fortunately we both succeeded and outgrew our interest in that particular challenge.  We tried to flip the track switch so that the train would jump the track and go down our driveway instead of on towards New Haven.  But for some reason, someone had locked the switch, and no matter what we did, we could not get the train to go down our driveway.  It was probably just as well.

One day, I got home from a friend’s house to find that my favorite stuffed animal, an orange poodle won for me by my dad, was missing.  Naturally, I accused my brother of hiding it.

“I didn’t hide it, Lease,” he said.  “I played with it.  It was just sitting on your bed,” he said in that brotherly tone that indicates I was stupid for questioning him.

He walked into my room, grabbed another stuffed toy, my stuffed Pebbles doll with the plastic head, and said. “Come on.  This is really neat.”

Out we went, down to the tracks.  We waited and waited, putting an occasional ear to the rail.  Finally, Fred placed Pebbles on the tracks.  Like Pauline, Pebbles looked skyward.  Like Pauline, as the train approached, her feet wiggled.  Unlike Pauline, however, there was no rescue.

 

We would have let Pauline go, though. Really.

The train whizzed by sending the most delightful plume of stuffing up and out, way over the top of the train.  It was a hit.  We rushed back for additional victims.  All my stuffed toys and each and every doll met a sorry end.

As it turned out, today at the party, my boss had picked my name, and the doll was from her.  “Would you have played with a doll like her?” she asked, no doubt envisioning me dressing her up and playing with her like other girls.

“Absolutely,” I said, weighing the doll and imagining just how high up this particular doll’s stuffing would go.

*     *     *

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Nope. Not Even For This

In 1983, I’d forgotten about Nate’s birthday — my (then) youngest nephew.  He was turning 7 on November 29.  And I hadn’t gotten him anything.

I couldn’t not send him a present.  I couldn’t send his present late, either.  I had a reputation to uphold, hard-earned through a combination of silliness, indulgence and bribery of my sisters’ kids. The favorite aunt.

So bravely, OK, foolishly, I went to ToysRUs on Black Friday that year.  Because I am a damn good aunt.  A saint.

An idiot.

Not me, but the blond woman looks kind of like me.  (Google Image)

Not me, but the blond woman looks kind of like me. (Google Image)

 

It was a madhouse.  Wall to wall people, shoving each other around to find the latest favorite toy (Cabbage Patch dolls, I think it was that year).  Zillions of people trying to grab things off the shelves, elbows flying, tempers flaring.  I’ve never gone shopping on Black Friday again.  I never will.  Nothing would get me to go.  Nothing.

Unless of course, some store re-runs this sale:

Japanese Department Store

Offers Unusual Deal

Finally, braving the mall makes some sense

On second though, nope.  Not even for this fuckin’ sale.  Or any other fuckin’ sale, for that matter!

Hope you are/were smart enough to stay home!

 

*****

My thanks to Toby of Dumbass News for  reminding me of this sign.

(Happy Birthday Nate!)

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