The Kudzu Kronicle

Because not all Southerners are the same

Category: Newspaper columns (page 1 of 2)

Even Facebook knows the value of a good snooze

There have been some truly remarkable inventions over the past couple of centuries — the automobile, the airplane, the microwave, the television, the computer and the Weeble Wobble, just to name a handful.

But I think we can all agree that the greatest invention of the past 100 years — perhaps even the last millennium or two — clearly is the snooze button.

Sure, an awful lot of us drive cars, too many of us watch TV and only a handful of disturbed people do not love Weeble Wobbles, but all of us use the snooze button. Those extra nine minutes of sleep — and another nine minutes, and another nine minutes, and “Oh, God! How did it get to be 7:30? I’m late!” — make you truly appreciate how wonderful sleep is.

I know some folks like to brag about how they don’t need much sleep. When I hear of doctors or nurses pulling long shifts without sleep, I’m not impressed but worried.

“Um, would you mind getting someone who’s not shaking from 10 cups of coffee to put that needle in my arm?”

Presidents Clinton, Obama and Trump have all claimed to operate on four to six hours of sleep while in office. This allows the leader of the free world more time to chase interns, pick NCAA brackets or tweet — whichever is the most pressing issue of the moment for that particular administration. Continue reading

No questions allowed

My latest column in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (also shared by the Macon Telegraph here) begins with a question as the headline: “Is it time we replaced America’s national anthem?” This, of course, predictably produced knee-jerk angry reactions when shared on the Ledger-Enquirer’s Facebook page,  including one suggesting I should no longer be breathing. (Thank you, James E. B. Miller of Columbus, Georgia, for that one. I can see why you are a valuable employee in the security industry — you gotta know when to take folks down, such as for asking a question.)

Also predictable is that most of the angry folks — if not all — clearly didn’t (or can’t) read the commentary. No one is quite so vociferous in America these days as the ill-informed or ignorant-by-choice. I love it when the angry clueless masses scream at me. However, I actually respect those who disagree after thoughtful consideration and perhaps even the consumption of the written word — beyond the headlines, where so few dare to tread nowadays.

The California NAACP prompted the column idea by calling for replacing the national anthem. I thought that seemed a bit of an overreach and planned to sarcastically offer a multitude of silly suggested replacements. However, after reading more about “The Star-Spangled Banner,” I realized their proposal at least warranted a second look. It’s amazing how reading can help alleviate knee-jerk reactions.

But no. In today’s America of required nationalism and forced patriotism — gee, I wonder where in history we can look for something similar — you can’t question. Submit. Accept. Bow. Pledge your allegiance. Or get out.

I will suggest to those who will not allow even the question “Is it time we replaced America’s national anthem?” that when you’re singing along with your fellow patriots to “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the next football game, don’t sing these six words toward the end: “o’er the land of the free.”

Because, obviously, freedom is not a concept with which you agree.

READ the column here

At last, a movie actually worth seeing at the theater — “Dunkirk”

As I explain in my column in today’s Ledger-Enquirer,  it’s very hard for me to find a movie worth two hours of my time or any amount of my money. So, what the critics say matters to me. I usually concur. That most certainly is the case with the World War II flick “Dunkirk,” which has garnered rave reviews.

It’s intense but not gory or gratuitous. Some folks who have been through conflict might find it a little too real, especially on the big screen with booming sound. Then again, as I mention in the column, my grandfather loved war movies despite the fact that he lost both of his legs to Nazi machine-gunners in Tunisia in 1943 while fighting as a member of the legendary Darby’s Rangers.

I don’t do movie reviews, so, in short, go see it. Also, at the end of today’s column, I mentioned First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s two accounts of meeting with my granddad — Cpl. Fred Dixon — during his rehabilitation at Walter Reed in her “My Day” syndicated newspaper column. Here are those two links:

Eleanor Roosevelt’s February 21, 1944 column

Eleanor Roosevelt’s February 25, 1944 column

2017: The year in PREVIEW

For years, I’ve given my readers a sneak preview into the coming year. And, based on analyses provided by Russian intelligence agents, I’ve yet to be wrong about anything. Ever.

My 2017 year in preview was published Tuesday by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, but if you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t — or can’t — read. So, for your listening pleasure, I’ve asked the Margaritahill Times audio department to provide a podcast version of the 2017 year in preview. You can hear it below:

Prince: Another legend I’m glad I witnessed

My parents saw him as the purple pervert. Critics lauded him as a groundbreaking genius. His peers either loved him or were insanely jealous (Rick James). But I just loved the music.

I finally got to see Prince live in Atlanta about 10 years ago, and it remains the best concert I’ve ever seen. I figured a legend like that could kinda mail it in, but he went above and beyond with a show that lasted more than two hours. And when the entire band disappeared into the stage for intermission, Prince re-emerged by himself with an acoustic guitar and performed several songs alone.

In the last several years, I’ve knocked a lot more artists off my bucket lists of shows — including The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Elton John. Lest you think that list is a little too British, keep in mind that my other concerts began with the Beastie Boys in 1987 and since have included such names as James Brown, Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Taj Mahal, The Spinners, Kool & the Gang, Sugarland, Rod Stewart, John Mayer, Garth Brooks, Def Leppard, Dixie Chicks, RunDMC, Lourdes and Jimmy Buffett.

Those are just the ones off the top of my head, and it should be noted that I’ve seen Jimmy Buffett at least 8 times and John Mayer twice. I got my wife and I backstage with Mayer and our photo taken with him, which means I have brownie points for life.

In this coming Sunday’s column, I write about the acts I’ve seen and the fact that I’ve just about run out of bucket list acts to see. I guess I’d put Norah Jones and Ingrid Michaelson on that list. Otherwise, I guess I just need to see Buffett a few more times before he calls it quits.

Knowing I’ve got a pretty eclectic taste in music, who else do I need to put on my concert bucket list? Let me know.

Be sure to check out my column this Sunday at this link for more about the artists I’ve knocked off my bucket list and some you need to add to yours.

Y’all should all be vegetarians

A couple months ago, my son made a shocking announcement:

“Dad, I’m a vegetarian.”

At first, I went through denial: “No, no, no, you still love a juicy ribeye steak.”

Then, it turned to anger: “No one grills a steak better than I do, and you’re gonna eat it!”

Then, bargaining: “What if you just ate meat like once a week? And what about fish? That’s not really meat.”

That was followed by depression: “He is never again going to know the joy that you can only get by sinking your teeth into a juicy ribeye hot off the grill. What a sad, sad life he will live.”

Lastly, there was acceptance: “Fine, be a vegetarian. I’ll eat your share of steak.”

Those are the official five stages of losing a child to vegetarianism. At least, that’s what my shrink said when we discussed this at lunch over a few chili dogs. The more I looked at it, though, the more I saw that everyone should be vegetarian.

It’s healthier. Vegetarians are 40 percent less likely to get cancer than meat-eaters. Heart disease, diabetes and obesity risks plummet for vegetarians.

It’s also far better for the planet. It takes an insane amount of water to produce just one pound of beef (mmm, beef) — water that is fast being forever depleted from the world’s aquifers. Livestock also generates incredible levels of waste and destroy topsoil. Oh, and those animals contribute to more greenhouse gases than every mode of transportation on this planet combined.

And that doesn’t even take into account how these animals are treated. Animals destined to be eaten are fed antibiotic-laced junk and crammed into way-too-small enclosures. These animals have feelings. In fact, studies at Catskill Animal Sanctuary have revealed pigs laughing and turkeys hosting a radio show. You never hear activists complain about the inhumane treatment of squash.

For those reasons and many more, I believe my son is right, and you should all become vegetarians. It’s good for your health, and it’s better for my planet.

Note, I said YOU all should become vegetarians … not me. We’re all hypocrites on a few issues, and this is one of those for me. It’s simply too late for me. One too many delicious double-chili-cheeseburgers pushed me past the point of no return. You don’t have to take my word for it — just ask my doctor. When they withdrew some of my blood during a routine visit this week, someone in another room said, “Is someone frying some chicken? I smell grease.”

I’ve had all kinds of steak, hamburger, pork and an awful lot of chicken. I swear that if chickens ever go extinct, so will I. I’ve also had deer, rabbit, alligator, raccoon, possum, you name it. As someone once said, if God didn’t want us to eat animals, He wouldn’t have made them out of meat.

But all of YOU truly should go vegetarian — for the sake of your health and the sake of my planet. Besides, once all you folks convert, just imagine the great deals I’ll be getting on ribeyes!

Today’s a good day for some Bible verses

Note: I don’t know whether my column today was too controversial for the Ledger-Enquirer or if they just forgot to post it on the Ledger-Enquirer’s website. Hopefully, it’s the latter. But it had a lot of direct quotes from Jesus that hypocrites hate, so it’s possible that it would have interfered with the hypocrites’ feel-good spirit on Easter and got spiked. It wouldn’t be the first time in the last 18 years of writing for the L-E that a column got spiked. A couple of times it might even have been justified.. But this is a column that has to run on Easter and be shared on Easter, so I’m sharing it here.


Recently, after ISIS got through blowing up some more historical sites in Syria, some ancient texts were discovered, and one of the texts was nearly 1,900 years old. It claimed to be a lost Gospel by someone named Earl. And I believe this must be true because — just like Donald Trump says — I, too, get all my news from the internet.

Earl’s Gospel is a real game changer and validates a lot of religious extremists’ efforts here in the United States to be more condemning and judgmental and less into all that inconvenient peace, love, acceptance and forgiveness Jesus also preached. Earl presents a Jesus more in line with Americans today.

Now, we know in Matthew 5:9, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” However, in Earl 2:8, He is quoted as saying, “As for the Romans, I say we bomb the camel dung out of them, just as soon as we come up with bombs.

In Matthew 6.5, Jesus says, “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. … But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. ” Thankfully, He clarifies in Earl 6:2, “Although, I must say that praying publicly before football games, graduations and city council meetings is pretty darn important, And, by the way, calling for prayer in schools is a handy election tool for the demagogues.

In Matthew 19:24, Jesus says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God,” and in Luke 12:48 says, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” So, it may sound like Jesus wasn’t much into hoarding wealth, but in Earl 13:21, He notes, “Give enough to get your name on a building or something, but not so much that you can’t afford yachts, Italian sports cars and a Congressman or two.”

In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” But don’t fret that you might have to waste your time on our nation’s needy — you know, all those moochers and freeloaders. No, in Earl 14:7, He says, “Thou shalt not waste too much taxpayer money on things like Medicaid and food stamps when we could instead lower the top tax rate 1 percentage point for some rich folks.”

And in Matthew 7:1-2, He says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” But lest ye think the kind of folks who pass so-called “religious liberty” bills would make Jesus want to vomit — as I thought — we learn otherwise in Earl 11:25 when Jesus says, “Whoa, whoa, whoa! I didn’t mean gays. Ew! Of course, we can judge them. Somebody, hand me a stone or a legislative pen.”

Uh-oh, I just got a news alert from Snopes that the Gospel of Earl is not 1,900 years old but just 25 years old. Oh, and it’s about some guy named Jesse, not Jesus.

Oh well, at least we have those more familiar Jesus verses to go on this Easter. Pretty good day to reflect on them — and maybe even read a few more. Let’s just hope He didn’t mean everything He said, right?

Moving is the cat’s MEOW

We are currently crammed into a small rental house while we await the construction of a new house — well, actually awaiting the start of construction on a new home.

Our cat, Sadie — er, I mean my wife’s cat, Sadie — is not fond of this whole moving thing after having lived her first seven years or so in a different home that she believed was was hers and she simply allowed us to stay there out of the goodness of her little feline heart.

But she has had something to say about all this, and I let her use my column space this week to voice her opinion. Click here to read the latest column.

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