Sunday, August 16, 2009

Combining Things We Love. Jeremiah Weed.

Whether you live in the south or not, it's a great day when we find two of our favorite things somehow combined into something new and exciting. Whether it's a new dessert, like a banana split (bananas, and THREE count 'em THREE different toppings!) or a phone that is also a camera, a GPS and ear wax remover (Ok, so no camera phone will do that yet, but you just wait...) We love it when things are combined.

Witness then the newest innovation of The South. Sweet Tea AND Alcohol.

JEREMIAH WEED Southern Sweet Tea Flavored Vodka. Oh but it doesn't stop there as you can also get Southern Sweet TEa Flavored Vodka AND Bourbon Whiskey or even Southern Sweet Tea flavored Vodka AND Lemonade. Now, I'm not a big drinker of Southern Sweet Tea but every now and then I do get a hankerin' (yeah, you heard me "a hankerin') for something sweet and yet with a kick. When I was a younger man, I drank and enjoyed Southern Comfort mixed with Ginger Ale. (Yes, we both know what that says but let's not dwell on that shall we?) Later in life I drank 7&7, (Seagrams 7 and 7-UP) and then Bourbon and Ginger Ale, and then straight Bourbon. It's interesting to note that my tastes seem to have come full circle with my interest in this new ready prepared knock-your-socks-off sippin beverage. I can't wait for the next barbeque where I can serve this wonderous Southern Invention. (I won't even try to figure out where they got the name Jeremiah Weed just so long as the product is worthy.)

It's times like these that you gotta love the south!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What the HECK is that THANG??

Recently, we had an office party. We dont' have them very often, so when we do it's a pretty big thing. One of the interesting NEW items in this party was the inclusion of the "Goodie Bag." The first 20 people (our office has about 80 locally) received this nifty goodie bag, in which you found a Country CD (meh, I'm not into country) a Hunting Bumper Sticker, a Hunting Can Cozy, a Fisherman's Towel (See the pattern here) AND finally.. (cue music) THIS THING:
Here's another picture of it.

As any good reader will know, I am not big on hunting, even if I do own a nice huntin rifle. So I turned to my office mates to ask what this was. I work in Tech. If I had pulled a part from a 10 year old laptop, I might have gotten a better response, but mostly I got: 'Well, Huh...' So, what is it? It must have to do with hunting, right? I mean why else would the Tennessee Hunters Ed use it if it wasn't? And then it's not like it is so easily recognizable as something else either. You know, like this:

Ok, what is it? (No, not the yellow adapter, I know that that is...even if my strained attempt at photoshop could have been better) What is that orange thing used for? We stood around my office doing impersonations of Steve Martin and Bill Murray's SNL skit "WHAT the HECK is that?" None of us wanted to ask the person or persons unknown who donated the junk-uh...I mean wonderous item; but we really do want to know. "WHAT THE HECK IS THAT THANG?"

I'll give a hearty shout out to the first person who can CORRECTLY identify this wonderous item, or at least come up with a better use than "land fill."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

This Southern Life - That Confederate Flag

There are more controversies about the Confederate Flag than you can possibly begin to discuss. The Confederate battle flag, called the "Southern Cross" or the cross of St. Andrew, has been described variously as a proud emblem of Southern heritage and as a shameful reminder of slavery and segregation. In the past, several Southern states flew the Confederate battle flag along with the U.S. and state flags over their statehouses. Others incorporated the controversial symbol into the design of their state flags. The Confederate battle flag has also been appropriated by the Ku Klux Klan and other racist hate groups. According to an independant study, more than 500 extremist groups use the Southern Cross as one of their symbols.

So why do people get so worked up over something so old and so trivial?

First, we must understand that symbols like the Confederate Flag have no intrinsic meaning. The meanings symbols carry are those which each human attaches from their own experiences and learning. Thus, any viewer of a symbol is free to assign it any range of meanings. The symbol itself, then is constant, but the value symbolized is not. Herein lies the source of controversy over the Confederate flag.

Where one person views the Southern Cross as a symbol of his own unique individualism another can view that same symbol as a reference to a less enlightened time of hate and subjugation. And yet in our American society, we agree that each person has the freedom to express themselves in their own way. Where do you draw the line? Where do we say 'Ok you can view this flag as a symbol of your memory of your ancestors and this other person should not view it as an insult? Therein lies the controversy.

The controversy is not going away. There will always be people who view the Confederacy as an honored memory, and not for the death and racist, segregationist traditions for which it stood. Here is a modern allegory: In a recent post on, a young person asked whether he would be arrested by wearing a shamagh in public. Obviously the shamagh (a desert army scarf used to keep sand out of the face) is quickly referenced to terrorists and recent world events make the wearing of one as controversial as carrying a Confederate Battle Flag. The young man didn't seem to understand this until it was pointed out to him.

Not being raised in the south, I can honestly say that I have no wish to have the Confederate flag draped on my house, car or beer belly (no I have no beer belly, but thanks for that visual) and yet I truly understand the feeling that one wants to have for history. When I lived in Colorado, I had one of those NATIVE bumper stickers on my car, proclaiming to the world that I was born and raised in the Mile High State.

I considered getting a large 6' poster for my room but never could find one. But the NATIVE bumper sticker has no controversial history. It's not related to any movement of violence or subjugation. Even if I put a huge green NATIVE flag on the back of my pickup and drove around town the most I could get is blank stares. This again has to do with the perceptions of the viewer, not the intent of the owner. Southerners who display the flag may merely be showing their love of Southern history, not the slavery inherent IN that history, but the viewer only sees the effect, not the intent.

But let's take a moment to add to that thought. The Civil war was fought about more than slavery.  It was about freedom.  The CSA wanted to secede, The North wanted the southern resources.  Slavery was a part of this whole mess, but there was a lot more going on than that. Most of the soldiers fighting for the south were NOT slave owners. Many of the soldiers fighting for the south were black. The Confederate Battle Flag honors them all.  Again, where do we draw the line?

At one time I suggested that perhaps we should all agree that what ever we want to do with the Confederate Battle Flag, we should do it like we do our other private private. But with this new thought as to the history, I'm not so sure. In this free country, I'm not sure we can tell someone that they cannot carry around a symbol which means one thing to them while it means something else to someone else.