Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Brush Pile

Though I've lived in a lot of places throughout the west (Denver, Reno, Los Angeles, Nebraska) I'd never experienced the phenomenon known as 'The Brush Pile' until I got to The South.

In front of my house, on one corner of the lot, I pile sticks and branches which have fallen out of the trees in the wind. I also put the big branches I cut off to shape my erstwhile forest. I even put Big Stumpy out there once I had beaten him into submission. There is a pile of wood like this in front of most every house in my neighborhood. It's almost like a holiday decoration which sticks around for most of the year.

Two to three times a year, usually spring and fall, city workers come by and, with a big claw, pick up the branches et al, toss them in a big truck and carry them away. It's a great service and one, as I say, which I've only seen in the South.

The Brush Pile can get pretty big too, depending on how much you cut during the year. The object is to get your branches trimmed, trees cut and overgrown brush cut down on a regular basis and into the brush pile BEFORE the city comes. Leaving the cutting to too late in the year and you end up with a brush pile which sits most of the summer or winter. I've had a couple of summers now where I've not done my cutting early enough and ended up having to mow around the pile all summer long. This leads to a rather ugly looking monster of a pile with shaggy edges and who knows what living beneath it.

One year I had a run in with a neighbor over the brush pile. She thought that the pile was hers and would throw my branches out onto the center of my lawn when I was at work. I'd come home and calmly put them back. One day I caught her dragging a big branch off the pile so I asked her what the freaking heck she thought she was doing. (I did not, however, use those exact words, as I'm sure you can imagine.)

"It's my yard!" she yelled. I pointed out that it was my property and also calmly indicated that HER property ended at the edge of her driveway. Being as we were standing right there at the edge of her driveway the visual was a hard argument. To this she responded "Well I MOW it!" (Apparently she would mow one pass along the edge of the driveway between her property and mine and for some reason she thought this granted ownership. I'm not making this up!) I was almost at a loss for words. How do you argue against that kind of logic? I said simply, "Oh, ok then, let me get my mower out and I'll do your entire yard and then I will own YOUR whole lot." Too much logic. She huffed off. Thank goodness she ended up moving not to long after that, and my new neighbor and I now share the brush pile without problems.

I'm pretty sure that it's the growth of the trees and such which causes the need for the Brush Pile. I really don't know why the city comes around like they do, but I'm sure glad they do it, otherwise I'd have one heck of a brush pile in no time flat and I have absolutely no idea what to do with it or how to get rid of it. Rats...thinking on this reminds me I've got some things to cut down.

Where's my chain saw?

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Bubba By Any Other Name

One of my favorite TV shows of days gone by is Nash Bridges. A good cop show with Don Johnson and Cheech Marin. Good writing, good characterizations blah blah blah, but why mention it here, you ask? Good question...(Thanks for keeping me on track.)

Don Johnson's character, Nash Bridges, called everyone BUBBA...ok, mostly just the perps and goons but it was one of the reasons I really liked his character. Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that in real life. I tried calling a couple of people 'Bubba' here in the Mid South (within earshot of the "Nashville Bridges" I might add) and got the strangest looks. One guy even went so far as to squint me up and down and say "Who you callin' Bubba?"

Though the word 'Bubba' conjures up visions of men in camouflage and all night beer fests, Bubba is not a word to be bandied about lightly. (Especially, it would seem, by some suthun upstart such as yours truly.) Apparently, there are rules, though unwritten. Bubba is a term of endearment, a term of personal involvement, a nickname. But more than that, the USER of the endearment and/or nickname has to be ENTITLED to use it. Ergo, the connection between user and receiver must exist long before the user even considers using "bubba" to someone. Another example, I call my brother Bubba (he lives out west) and he just laughs. I expect this means that the user and receiver also must both be from or at least IN the south for the 'Bubba' to work properly. (It could also be that my brother just likes to laugh at me. I'm not ruling anything out where he's concerned.)

Bubba is a shortened version of the term Brother. Now, unlike the 70's term "Bro" or the Hawaiian version "Brah" either of which can take the place of any name to anyone (sort of like "Bud" - but not the this getting confusing?) Bubba must have that personal connection. You have to be related to a Bubba, or have known this particular Bubba for sometime to be authorized or deemed worthy of using the affectation. This may seem a bit protracted and drawn out, but I swear, suthunas seem to know this stuff from birth! The one glaring exception to this rule is that if someone is introduced to you as Bubba, or in some way tells you that they are "known as" Bubba, or even "you can call me BUBBA" you are free to use that as their name or nickname even if you have just met. Yes, it is that complicated.

No one ever bristled at Nash Bridges, looking him up and down and squinting with a "Who you callin' Bubba?" Cheech never laughed when he used it either. Perhaps that's why I liked the show. Perhaps I'm just trying too hard to blend in with the locals. Perhaps I'll phone my brother and call him Bubba one more time just to hear him laugh.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Suthun Thinking - Not All It's Cracked Up To Be.

I just heard from a local retail worker that our Suthun Giant retailer WALMART (yeah, that's right, I'm naming names) has told its employees that they should no longer refer to Friday after Thanksgiving as Black Friday, but rather refer to it as the 'Event.' Their reasoning: It is more PC and less racist to use "Event".

Let's contemplate this a moment. Some director of internal idiocy at Walmart has determined - through many hours of study (read: woke from a long nap) to decide that the word BLACK in "Black Friday" refers, in some twisted way, to race. And further has somehow convinced others at Walmart's Suthun headquarters to agree with him. (Well, he is the director of idiocy, now isn't he?)

Back in the 80's, I worked retail. The phrase Black Friday always made us shudder in thoughts of hundreds of shoppers descending on our cash registers waving their checkbooks and semi-precious metal charge cards in an effort to buy those special gifts for the holiday season. I never NEVER...repeat NEVER EVER heard this phrase used as a reference to race. Not having worked retail for some time, I made a quick phone call to some friends who own retail stores, work retail and are seemingly on the cutting edge of retail (if that's possible) and they all agreed: No racial tones ever meant, construed, or implied. Not to be one to rest on a single fact, I then went to a couple of co-workers who are of African Descent. When I told them of the reference, they both stared at me like they were waiting for the punchline. Then they both said at almost the same time. "That's stupid..." 'Nuff said.

Black Friday carries two connotations in its name. First is a reference to Black Monday, October 29, 1929 when the US Stock Market crashed and there was a run on the banks. A similar effect can be seen in people rushing into stores on that fateful Friday (after Thanksgiving) causing the new moniker to be invoked. Second is a nod to the fact that the day after Thanksgiving supposedly the average retail business begins working in positive numbers, hence "in the Black" and not "in the Red". (I would suppose that this means that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving should be referred to as Red Wednesday...but I doubt that moniker will ever catch on as it might also be deemed too racist.) I'm not sure how any retail business could work nearly 11 months in the red, but let's not dwell on that. Let's dwell on the idiocy from Wally-World.

Black Friday has nothing to do with RACE, the song "Black Friday" by Steely Dan or the film "Black Friday" starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff (1940). I'll get up on my Suthun Soap Box for just a moment and state that a) Black Friday will ALWAYS be known as Black Friday regardless of what some dipwad paranoid peon at WalMart may think and b) it's obvious that the Director of Idiocy at Walmart is not originally from the South.

A guy like that gives 'being suthun' a bad name.
He probably drinks one of them flavored designer light beers, too.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Camouflage - Suthun Denim

There's a guy I know who works in an auto repair shop who wears the same outfit every day. Camouflage Tee-Shirt, camouflage jeans and camouflage boots. Every time I see him I tell him I can't see him cuz he's so well camouflaged. He laughs.

To the uninitiated, it may appear that my friend is dressing to be always prepared in case someone should drive up and shout "Hey, I need someone to go huntin' right NOW!" to which my friend would shout "I'm your MAN!" and the rubber would burn and the deer would tremble. In truth, it's merely an accepted alternative to what folks out west have worn for hundreds of years, namely: Denim Blue. Starting in St. Louis and all parts west of there, (heck, even up Nawth!) Blue Denim is the accepted casual statement. In the hot spot restaurants of Beverly Hills and Knob Hill Denim Blue is even acceptable evening wear.

In the South, Camouflage is not only an acceptable alternative to standard blue denim but also a statement of Suthun-hood (or is it Suthun-ness? ..hmmm. suthun-itude?) It's a way of stating who-you-are and where-you're-from in a single color scheme. It can be army camo, forest leaves camo and even the new desert camo. Camo is camo. Don't leave home without it.

But Suthuners use camouflage on anything, not just clothing. You can find just about anything in this design, from clothing and gear to tools, toys, decorations, purses, wallets, keychains, and even weddings. Let's enjoy a few of these.... (Yes, I know you can't see them, they're camouflaged!)

More weddings, and proms are going camouflage. Where are they holding these proms, Yosemite Park?

Camouflage Siding. What are they trying to accomplish? Keep the deer from seeing their home? I'm afraid someone will come along and run into the side of my house cuz they couldn't see it!

I have absolutely no clever retort to this one.

Lastly, I love this, but wonder what it is really camouflaging. If camouflage is to make something 'hidden' I think this one isn't doing what it needs to do.

If you find a pic of something unusual camouflaged, send it to me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Suthun Engineering - Not as Bad as it Sounds.

Perhaps it is my new Suthun background that causes me to be so impressed by these marvels of invention. In today's economy, it's amazing to see how some suthunah can do some suthun engineering without the need for lots of money or equipment. Usually a few nails and some duck tape are enough.

Take this fine Suthun Engineer:

Need to move a cow? No need for fancy cattle hauler, or even a pick up truck. A handful of nails and some 2 x 4's and some netting and you've got yourself a cattle hauler. (I would hope that cow is smaller than average, or those shocks are better than average!)

Or even making small repairs and improvements. Here is a Suthun Engineer who needed to repair/replace a window on his van. Using a standard wood window and some expanding foam he had handy he's ready for the road. No need to trim down the foam or paint the window as this allows the average passerby to know exactly what was done to create this fine automotive specimen. (This engineer didn't even wipe off the excess foam that dribbled down the side of the van!)

Much in the same way that this is my favorite example of Suthun Engineering. It's the perfect example of what you can do with a few tools and a bit of know how. Its the suthun way to MAKE one of them new fangled big flat screen TV's.
Pohtry in Moshun, ain't it? Ok so its not in motion, but you can see how nice it looks, right? (A true suthunah will note immediately the NASCAR clock on the shelves.)

But let's see what Suthun Engineering means to the suthunah. Is this really a NEW flat screen? Let's walk around and look at the back of that wall, shall we?
Beauty. You can see true suthin engineering in this shot as the engineer didn't care that the door to this room no longer opens fully, so long as the big flat screen looked right on the other side.

I love the south. It's people like this who keep me awake on the way to work and who give character to the populace. Don't you wish YOU lived here?