Introducing Chesty Bird

 

Chesty Wants To Know. You feel lucky...punk?

Chesty Wants To Know. You feel lucky…punk?

This is Chesty Bird. He earned his name well because for the past two years he has acted as if he owns my deck. By my estimate Chesty weighs about 3 ounces but in his mind he is ten feet tall and bullet proof. Every morning about 5:30 I hear him on the window sill where our kitchen window looks over the deck. It’s still too dark to see but that just tough…cause Chesty is already blowing revile. CHIRP….CHIRP. Chesty only barks a single note but once the sun breaks over the horizon you can look out my kitchen window and see that he issues his Chirp with a great deal of gusto. And that is how he got his name. Chesty throws his wings back bounces up and down on his spindly legs, and lets every other bird in the world know who the boss man is. CHIRP…CHIRP…CHIRP…In between every chirp chesty bounces around in a quarter turn like a prize fighter ready to throw an upper cut.

Speaking of upper cuts, one day a few weeks ago when we had a ten inch snow Chesty had lots of unwanted company. I cleaned away the snow and put out high oil content sunflower seeds. I soon had 27 cardinals on my deck at one time. Chesty was none too pleased. Make no mistake he ate his fill, but he used up a great deal of energy jumping every other cardinal out there every five seconds.

At one point those wretched starlings showed up and started gulping down all the seeds. There got to be so many I decided to shoo them away so the cardinals would have enough. When I opened the door birds scattered everywhere, all the birds that is except Chesty. He just sat there on my patio table giving me the stink eye and shelling sunflower seeds like some kind of runaway shelling machine.

He kind of stared at me with a Clint Eastwood like squint. I said, “Hello Chesty.” Chesty can’t talk but if he could have he would have said this between spitting sunflower seed hulls.

“Now you just turn right around and get your behind back in that house boy, …ptooey…{that’s a seed spit}. I’ll take care of the business that needs to be took care of out here on my deck…ptooey…

I gave him the respect he deserved and slowly slid the door closed, returning to my coffee cup. Right now the world needs more men’s men….uhh…bird’s birds…like Chesty. Chesty for President!

 

St. Valentines Day Massacre: I Attempt B’fast in Bed

What do you mean what is it? A Heart a Cupid and an arrow...its so obvious!

What do you mean what is it? A Heart a Cupid and an arrow…its so obvious!

Authors Note: All dialogue in this story was between me myself and I. Therefore the speaker will not be identified. I was talking to myself.

It all started going South in Kroger when I couldn’t find raspberry sauce. I was going to drizzle (yes drizzle…more on that later) raspberry sauce on the plate in little swirly lines on the white plate the way they do in restaurants when my wife orders some little fru fru dessert. That was part of the plan. I was going to actually DO something for my wife on Valentines instead of buying a stupid heart shaped box and a flower at the last minute like usual. I was going to serve her breakfast in bed (0nly it would be breakfast in the kitchen because I didn’t know where a tray was and I would probably spill it and I didn’t want to have to clean all THAT up and it would still be breakfast right after she got out of bed which is almost the same thing).

At first I was going to do breakfast the way I do it. Three eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, a half a loaf of toast..etc. But then I thought, “Hey dummy. She’s a girl. Didn’t you just go to the Love and Respect Conference. She doesn’t want to eat that crap. She wants a girl breakfast…which means chocolate. And she would love it if you drizzled that raspberry stuff on the plate and drew whip cream hearts on the food and then even drizzled on that too.”

So I went about preparing to do that. I somehow decided on chocolate waffles. Only I didn’t have a waffle iron and I didn’t know how to make plain waffles much less chocolate waffles. I know how to make pancakes really good but I use Aunt Jemimah for that and you just add water. So I went to buy Aunt Jemimah chocolate waffle mix only they don’t make that, what’s more Aunt Jemimah it turns out isn’t even in the waffle business at all, she’s strictly in the pancake market so who knew.

So I bought bisquick and chocolate cake mix. That had to work right. I mean I am a Chemist. I have worked in labs for 27 years. I think I can jolly well formulate a waffle batter out of these simple ingredients somehow.

The checkout lady at Kroger sensed something was about to go horribly wrong. She asked me what I was going to do with bisquick, a chocolate cake mix, chocolate chips, chocolate peanut butter flavored chips, 18 eggs, cooking oil, whipping cream and redi whip. When I told her she began to laugh. She laughed so hard in fact that she stopped checking me out and began to cough uncontrollably. Don’t worry about her though. She caught her breath enough to call out to me as I walked out the door, “Good luck…and good luck to your wife…you’re gonna need it.” Doubters.

I then went and purchased a very large waffle iron. I figured I needed large waffles because I wanted them to be in shapes. Like…valentine shapes. I went into a store I have never entered before and likely never will enter again and purchased valentine cookie cutters. A cupid, a heart, and red lips were in the cookie cutter kit. On top of that I would use my redi whip to draw in intricate arrow through the heart. Should be a piece of cake (no pun intended).

Valentine morning I get all the stuff out of my truck while Tracy is still asleep. This was seven AM. I had told her that cupid would have a surprise for her promptly at nine.

My wife has some very large mixing bowls, somehow I managed to use all of them. I combined my ingredients and I even read the instructions on the waffle iron. I used lots of cooking spray and that created lots of smoke but thankfully I haven’t maintained my smoke detectors in years so they didn’t go off.

It turns out you have to put things like eggs and oil in cake mix. No biggie there, we had oil and I had 18 eggs at the ready. So I tossed all that in the bowls and threw some bisquick in there and stirred vigorously. I used a whisk. Lesser men wouldn’t know what a whisk was but I am in touch with my feminine side so I knew. I whisked very vigorously on account of I am still a dude even though I know what a whisk is.

It turns out, batter can do some amazing things when you pour it in a waffle iron. It went something like this.

“So how much do I pour in there?”

“Well dopey you just keep pouring to you can no longer see the waffle shaped thingies on the bottom of the waffle iron.”

“Wow! that really comes out of there when you turn that bowl..quick put the lid down…hurry! Mash it down in there! It’s growing!…squish it down with the lid…it’s…hey is it supposed to ooze down the sides like that?”

“Yes, they know it’s going to come all out the sides and run out on the counter that’s why the sides of the waffle iron are smooth so the stuff can flow out better.”

So far so good.

I set the timer for 4 minutes but before the timer when off the lid started lifting up on the waffle iron. So I felt that must mean the waffle is ready. I got a spatula and started getting it out but it was kind of not all coming out at the same time. That was okay though I only needed a chocolate waffle chunk big enough to fit in my cookie cutter.

My first one I did a cupid. Then I decided he needed a face. I never did find any Raspberry sauce at Kroger so I just bought strawberry ice cream topping instead because as everyone knows Raspberries and strawberries are cousins so its basically the same thing.

I attempted to draw red lips and a face on my cupid with whip cream and strawberry topping. Then I drew back in horror. I had inadvertently created what could be construed as a very racist cupid. I had basically put Al Jolson on my wife’s Valentine plate. I had to start over. I didn’t want to throw racist cupid in the trash, lest someone see it and be offended so I did the only thing I could do. I ate him.

Next I tried to use the heart cooking cutter on the remaining chocolate waffle fragments (pictured). This was a disaster. The stupid waffle kept coming apart even more.

I had to go to plan B. I would make chocolate chip waffles instead. I tried that with bisquick but bisquick requires milk…who knew? I didn’t have milk. I had to call in the calvary. Aunt Jemimah…get your keister out here. I know you only do pancakes but you’re going to have to make an exception here.

Aunt Jemimah and the chocolate chips sort of saved me. I got some fairly waffle looking things on the plate about 8:55.  By now I was sweating like a horse for some reason.

I tried to draw an arrow with red whip but that stuff really comes flying out of the can too. So I am not sure what I really drew.

It was time for the piece of resistance and the French chiefs say. (I know they don’t really say that, this is comedy here). It was time for the drizzle.

Only then did I realize I don’t know how to drizzle. Is there a drizzle tool? Do they sell those at pampered chief? Here is how that went:

“Look there is no drizzle tool in any of these drawers. Just stick a spoon in the strawberry stuff and drizzle that way. Tracy will be in here any second.”

“Okay…alright…I’ll just stick the spoon in and lightly drizzle…OH NO!!! I globbed!”

“What did you glob for, you were supposed to just drizzle!”

“I was trying to drizzle but instead I did a straffing run all up on my whip cream arrow that didn’t look like an arrow in the first place! So NOW what?”

It’s too late now. Stick heart stickers on the plate and table,  maybe that will distract her.

There’s more, including how I shorted out her light up valentines cup of orange juice. But I Am tired of typing.

 

Comments on this blog

I very much appreciate the feedback that many of you give me on posts here on the blog. I enjoy hearing from you. I try to respond to them in a timely fashion. I hope you are all getting my replies. I don’t know how the comment feature works on your end. I am hoping that when I reply to your comment you are getting an email but I am not sure if you do. If not, just check back from time to time here and I try to respond within a day or two.

Thoughts on the passing scene

I’ve been much quieter than I have wanted to be the past few weeks. I had posted some, prior to the loss my church family suffered but not a great deal. Then I just needed several days to absorb so many aspects of how I experienced God through tragedy that I basically shut the blog down for a bit.

But believe me I have had many opinions I have wanted to share. About ISIS, Ebola, elections, and on and on. But I have resisted in most cases. How many different ways do I need to state the obvious about our current administration. So I have mostly just posted in a more focused area (the green movement) or not posted at all.

I’ll have quite a bit to say in the next four or five days. Until then, here is an article I am quoted in. Honored to be included in this piece. http://www.redstate.com/diary/energyrabbit/2014/10/13/marita-noon-regcession-americans-arent-feeling-obamas-vigorous-recovery/

A Loss Beyond Words

L to R Joshua, Michael, Monica, Caleb

L to R Joshua, Michael, Monica, Caleb

This past Friday, my family lost a family. Dear friends of our’s, who were also our church Youth Pastor family and my son’s mentors, were tragically killed in a car accident on their way to vacation. I was asked to be the media spokesman for the church which was a surreal experience. I did interviews with a dozen media outlets. All were very sensitive and the few stories that I have had a chance to see in print or on television were well handled. I was asked to write the official press statement for the church. It reads as follows:

The Rosebower Baptist Church family is stunned by the tragic loss of the Cruce family. Michael, Monica, Joshua, and Caleb were more than just our youth minister and family, they were vital links in our bond of love. They had been on our staff for ten years and had mentored, counseled, instructed and ministered to both our youth and the church body as a whole. While we are heartbroken with grief at this time, we cling to the words of Scripture with full faith that we need not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

 

Red and Black Ties That Bind

My day had started at 4:30 a.m. After a few hours of work, some whirlwind errands, some last minute packing, and seven hours of driving, I had finally arrived in Atlanta.

“Why do I do this to myself?” I sighed. “I could have stayed home, saved a ton of money, and watched it from my recliner.”

My quest was to make it to my good friend Taron’s house. He has been my friend since we met as students at the University of Georgia in 1984. The following morning, the two of us were headed back to our alma mater, and those hallowed hedges of Sanford Stadium to watch our beloved Bulldogs play their season opener against Clemson. But … why?

Taron and I both have big screen televisions these days. I have a DVR, so I can pause the game and go get a coke. The viewing experience has never been better at home. Yet here I was, willing to drive over five hundred miles, with no tickets, to walk the campus from one end to the other in ninety eight degree heat, hoping for an opportunity to pay double, or more likely triple price, to get into the game. It made no practical sense.

The next morning things seemed a little more understandable as we donned our red and black official Georgia clothing and headed toward Athens, but in the back of my mind I was still asking myself if it was worth it. Along the route Taron and I reminisced about old times, but we spent much more time worrying about the future and shaking our head at the state of things.

When we finally hit campus, I grumbled to myself again about paying thirty dollars to park a good mile from Sanford Stadium. I shook my head at my own stupidity, as sweat poured from our brows as we tromped through every tailgate party we could find with two fingers aloft in search of tickets. “I’m too old and too wise for this,” I actually said aloud. Then I thought to myself, this time would probably be my last.

We got the tickets and they were the best I’d ever had. The fifty yard line split our seats right down the middle. We had plenty of time to attend the Dawg Walk, where players walk through a corridor formed by fans and the band on their way to the locker room.

Photo credit: Logan Booker, Bulldawg Illustrated

Photo credit: Logan Booker, Bulldawg Illustrated

I stood there in the sweltering heat, awaiting a procession of nineteen- to twenty-three-year-olds whom I had never met and will never meet again. Despite myself, I was getting caught up in the crowd’s excitement. I looked up and saw a three-year-old girl in a cute little cheerleader outfit. She was sitting on her daddy’s shoulder and waving her red and black pompoms. I got a lump in my throat as I remembered the way my own daughter, now all grown up, had once done the same.

The band was there, and the Drum Major had them strike the first notes of the fight song, “Glory, Glory to Ol’ Georgia … ” It was the song I sang to the top of my lungs as a student in ’84. Beside me was a handsome young couple, probably about twenty years old, and they were singing to the top of their lungs too. I joined in and for a moment forgot about the heat.

Later we made our way to our seats. I struck up a conversation with two older men in the seats behind me. Both were in their seventies. We made small talk mostly, but we talked about the Bulldogs too and what they might be this season, and whether or not we dared to get our hopes too high.

From my seat

My view at the 50-yard line.

The band marched, the pomp and ceremony was unleashed, and the Bulldogs stormed out onto the field. As the Dawgs burst through the paper G held by the cheerleaders, all things seemed possible. An SEC Title seemed in reach, a national championship just around the corner. It was opening day, and we were undefeated.

My friend and I cheered with great gusto, and I noticed the elderly gentlemen were giving it their all as well. We all knew all the same cheers. The game was a real battle through three quarters and every time the DAWGS were defending on a second or third down, we leapt to our feet with ninety-two thousand others. The heat was more oppressive than ever, but the game was on the line, the opportunity lay before us to hang on to our optimism, so we downed one bottle of water after another and rose to cheer once more.

Then the Bulldogs began to dominate, and the excitement built to a fever pitch. High-fives were exchanged between Taron and me and the elderly gentlemen, and the two guys to my left and the father and son to Taron’s right, all of whom we had shared friendly conversation with during time outs. After a long touchdown run we made the high-five rounds, but added a fist bump for the guys in front who we’d never so much as spoken with prior to that.

Student Section

Photo credit: Logan Booker, Bulldawg Illustrated

That’s when it hit me. I knew why I did it and would likely keep doing it, as the two gentlemen sitting behind me. All ninety-two thousand of us were human. And despite the fact that we like to think of ourselves as independent or as loners, there is nothing we desire more than to be with other like-minded humans. We seek unity in diversity, E Pluribus Unum–out of many, one. On Saturdays in Athens, when the Red and Black is worn with pride, there are no racial divides, or political parties, or wedge issues. For that brief snapshot in time, we are all united. We are all one Bulldog nation. And we long for that in our “real” lives … we yearn for it. But it eludes us.

Bulldogs young and old love Athens. We flock to it from literally every corner of the nation. From the three-year-old little girl with her pompoms, to the twenty-year-old couple, to Taron and me, to the elderly men, we know the cheers. They are the cheers of our forbearers from football seasons going all the way back to the 1800s. In a world of constant and overwhelming change, the cheers stay the same and that comforts us and warms us. When we learned the cheers we were young and vibrant, hope was in abundance, the future was before us, and everything was possible … for the Bulldogs and for us.

Sanford

Go Dawgs! Photo Credit: Logan Booker and Bulldog Illustrated

The game ended with a decisive Bulldog victory. We shook hands with the new found friends, not conscious of the fact that we will likely never see them again. There was a twinkle in our eyes as we departed because we knew that the dream of a national championship would live another week. We walked, at first in a sea of red and black, towards our cars. Then as we branched out further from the stadium, our numbers dwindled, until finally Taron and I walked alone through the last dark parking lot. We drove off through the night dehydrated and drained. Faint smiles still lingered on our faces as we rode silently down a dark Georgia highway barreling headlong back into reality. But we had been there hadn’t we? What we’d felt was real, wasn’t it … just for a little while? That we were united as one, and in our hearts we’d all been young again, and hope had overflowed, and all things had seemed possible … Go Dawgs!

New Look Blog, Newsletter and Rock & Roll

You may notice some changes to the look of the blog. I am working with Christi McGuire to redefine this site and to begin a newsletter. I will probably transition more towards a newsletter going forward. That way, once or twice a month you will get an email from me that will have several topics discussed in one email. I’ll probably have a couple of serious issue topics, then some fun stuff too. This will give me more time to prepare higher quality content and also lighten up a bit. (Although that seems more and more difficult for me to do.)

Its odd and I guess a function of the world we live in, but my roots are in comedy and humor and I have almost abandoned that. It has not been intentional, I just feel the weight of responsibility more and more to cry out to a lost and dying culture. But on a personal note I need to shed at least some of this weight and I think you readers do too.

Lastly, I very much appreciate you loyal blog followers, but I still desperately need to grow my following. I have been turned down twice now by publishers because my “Platform” is too small. I am hoping the newsletter does that, attracts more followers/subscribers.

Oh! By the way, I hope to work with Socially Present here in Paducah to develop some video content as well.

For now, the rock and roll part. If I haven’t told you, I LOVE great rock and blues guitar playing. Stevie Ray Vaughn was my all time favorite and I will have to blog about the night when I stood with my chest against the stage just a foot or so from Stevie and watched him and the Fabulous Thunderbirds while at University of Georgia. One of the most memorable nights of my life. Here is a fascinating video of the guy who is number three on the list, Rick Vito. This is an AWESOME video of how he laid down the track for Bob Seager on “Like A Rock”. Rick Vito Explains His Iconic Solo