Sunday, May 10, 2015

MOM AND THE MARINES



It was day 225 of the Iranian hostage crisis, back in 1979. I was Kitchen Manager at The Keg, and living at Moms house. We hadnt had to put dad in the VA hospital yet with his Alzheimers. I guess I was feeling Patriotic, or maybe I was just feeling listless, being 22 and not entirely happy with the work I was doing.
Whatever it was, I thought about joining the Marines.

I told my mom.
“Mom, I’m thinking about joining the Marines.”
“Oh no Stevie. Why would you want to join the Marines?”
“Well, Mom, the thing is, I’m not very tough. I’ve never been in a fight. I wouldn’t know what to do. I’m thinking the Marines might toughen me up some.”
She looked at me real hard, then her face started to soften.
“Oh no Stevie. You don’t need to be tough. I want you just like you are. Just a nice boy who is sweet and doesnt know how to fight.”
“Ok Mom, I won’t join the Marines”

Then 12 years later, during Gulf War One I was Chef at Rivercrest. I was happy there. I had a nice house a wife and two kids, 2 and 3 years old. The phone rang one day. It was an Army Recruiter. He wanted to recruit me. I didn’t just tell him "NO" outright, but asked him what it would pay, and where they would send me, stuff like that. I told him “Hey, I make pretty good money,. I got a house, a wife, and two kids and I just don’t see me joining the Army or the Foreign Legion at 35 years old.”
“Sir, you are eligible for another two years!” he informed me.
“Ok, well, thanks for the information” and I hung up the phone.



But about a week later there was a knock at the door. When I answered it there was an Army Captain, in full dress uniform, standing there. I didn't know whether to salute or shake his hand.
“Mr. Renfro?” he asked.
“Yes”
“I talked to you last week about opportunities in the United States Army, and I thought I’d stop by today and give you this packet of information” and he hands me an official looking folder with an eagle and a pair of crossed rifles embossed on the cover.
Oh man! I couldn’t believe it! I invited him in, introduced him to my kids, showed him where I kept the lawnmower, the grill and charcoal I fired up every Monday night; the badminton court I had set up in the back yard; my boat and $10,000 worth of fishing tackle and camping gear which I used QUITE regularly, and explained to him again that while I was always open to new opportunities, me and the Army probably weren’t the best match at this point in my life.
I saluted as he left.




I told my brother about this encounter. He was a Colonel in the Army at the time. He wasn’t surprised and laughed.
“Yes, the pressure is really on these recruiters these days. If they cant sign enough guys up, they end up in Saudi Arabia, getting ready for the big push to Baghdad.”




Anyway, Happy Mothers Day Mom.
You were right.
I like me better not being tough too.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

MORE KID ROCK

When me and Kid Rock ran away from home back in High School we had to spend the night in my car.
One night he woke me up at 2am, banging on the back seat.
"I'm cold!" he screamed.
"Here, here are some shirts" and threw him some of my shirts from the front seat.
A few minutes later, he's banging again.
"I'm freeezzing!" he whined.
So I threw him two pairs of pants to cover up with.
A few minutes later, he's banging again.
"I-I-I've never b-b-b-een this c-c-cold my who-who-le life" he says.
so I threw him about 10 pairs of socks.
It wasnt good enough. He starts bangin' again, but I was sick of all that whining so before he could say a word I said "Kid, I'm down to nothing but underwear up here. Do you really want my underwear?"
That shut him up.
He slept like a baby the rest of the night. What a pussy.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

I was in a hotel café in the lobby where you get a complimentary breakfast; cereal, Danish, donuts, maybe some eggs and sausage, and they usually have a waffle iron. Of course, coffee and juice.
I was in Las Cruces, New Mexico, just passing through.
Of course, being in the lobby, there is a big wide open area, and an Atrium that goes up about 3 stories to a glass ceiling where you can see the sky.
Now I have a big voice. Always have. Its booms even with my normal tone. Its partly due to having worked in a Kitchen for a long time, where its loud and you have to talk loud to be heard. But its also because I just get kind of excited when I talk.
So I’m having my breakfast and my phone rings and it’s a friend of mine.
We chat for a minute, and its good to hear from her, and I’ll be home by the end of the day and she asks me:
“So, how was San Diego?”
So I start telling her about San Diego:
“I saw the aircraft carrier Midway! They have Jacaranda trees with pretty flowers on them every where! I went to a haunted hotel, and saw the bathtub Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis took a bath in!
I ate oysters, and swam in the Pacific!”
By now I’m pretty worked up, right? And I probably don’t notice that I’ve turned the volume up pretty good, and my voice is bouncing off the rock walls and glass ceiling of the atrium and you can probably hear me in down in the deepest part of Carlsbad Cavern. I continue, my Texas accent really starting to come out:
“I met these three California girls while I was swimming in the Pacific. They sure enough liked me. They just LOVED my voice.
They wanted to know:
"Do you always say "Ya'll"?"
"All the time ma'am."
They look at each other, gasping and giggling, and Debbie says "He said Ma'am!" and they turn back to me and Linda asks "Do you always say ma'am?"
"Yes ma'am"
They are delighted. Apparently this is their first exposure to southern gentility.
Linda asks "What about when you are talking to a man?"
I go into my best Foghorn Leghorn impersonation, you know, the big Rooster from the cartoon...
"Suh! I say, I say, Suh! This heah is a chicken, Suh!"

"Oh you are so FUNNY too!" they said and took me by the arm and we just had us a time!”


About this time I had noticed a woman across the lobby sitting with her husband. She had stopped eating her breakfast, and she was looking right at me. She set down her fork on the table, and as I said “we had us a time” she took two fingers and stuck them in her open mouth, as if trying to force herself to throw up.

I actually went over after I finished breakfast and tried to make an apology.
But it was awkward.
Don't ever bother apologizing to a bitch.
Ever.

Friday, April 10, 2015

AT THE SONIC FOR A BANANA SPLIT

There is one girl, she drives me nuts. I dread going up there, and pray she doesn’t bring my order. She is too much like me.  She is too friendly.  She is too familiar, putting too much effort into being nice, to be funny.
She says the same thing every time she brings the banana split out.
She rolls out on her “Skitz” (not misspelled, I think she is high to boot), and handing me my banana split says:
“I REALLY had FUN making this for you”

I don’t know why, but it creeps me out. I wish she didn’t tell me that.
Finally tonight,  she skated up to me and said “I REALLY had FUN making this for you”.
I took the split, inspected it very closely  and with a horrified look on my face said “Please don’t tell me that. You didn’t get a hair in it, did you?”


You can say that about anything on the menu, but please don’t say it about the hot dogs or the banana split.

NATIONAL SIBLINGS DAY, MY SISTERS STORY, PULLED FROM THE COMMENTS OF A FACEBOOK POST


“I have no idea why I feel the need to add to the Bulletholes family faux pas but here goes..I don’t think that I have even shared this with Bullets…

I was at a professional dinner at a nice restaurant (I didn’t know a soul and needed a drink or two to overcome my shyness and talk to people). After my dinner arrived I was trying to shake the salt out of the wrong end of the shaker. OK, the pepper had come out of the bottom! I thought that I had figured it out fast enough that I was in the clear and could maintain my professional decorum.

But OH OH…I looked directly across the table and saw these blue eyes looking at me and bobbing up and down. They belonged to a man whose head was bobbing because he was laughing at me and I knew that I had been busted. But, right then it was just a little laugh between the two of us. But, as my luck would go, this guy was Michael Foster who was and is one of the funniest humans on the planet. His reaction made me start laughing too, and the more he laughed the funnier he made it so the harder I laugher and it just kept going…until I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t contain it and I slapped my hand on the table. So hard that it caused (yes) my chair to tip over backwards..I had a little hang time so I tried to catch it…but it went all the way down to the floor.

Then I was trapped because the chair had these great big arm rests and my feet were initially jammed up under the table. I managed to get my feet loose so they ended up wiggling up in the air with my high heels on full display, just in case someone at the table hadn’t noticed what I had done. Now you couldn’t miss it. Not just my shoes were up in the air for every one to see. I was wearing a dress.


The 20 or so of my new colleges helped get me up and out of that chair. It was a big heavy wooden chair. Since I had unwisely pulled my feet out from under the table righting the chair and letting me stand up wasn’t really feasible. They had to drag me out of the back it. I know that my mother, who was always the epitome of a lady, was turning in her grave. I wanted to dig a whole in the ground and crawl in it for the rest of my life.

But, as it turned out I didn’t have to find any liquid courage to introduce myself to this group of strangers anymore. I had provided them with the best laugh they had had in while and they all wanted to be my new friend even if they had seen my underwear. Michael Foster ended up being one of the best friends I ever had.

I guess that this runs in the family… I am working up the courage to hit the comment button. Here goes."


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Jay Wilkinson Versus The World

“I was dyslexic,” Wilkinson said, “so my mom gave me comics. Books were overwhelming. Comic books were cool because I could just look, and then I’d get excited and want to read a little. So that’s how I got started drawing."




“I’ll do portraits of people’s dogs, sometimes grandmas,” he said with a laugh. “Last Christmas I did portraits of [a client’s] dogs, but I put them in Patton-esque general outfits. Sometimes [clients] are like, ‘Go nuts.’ Other times I’m told to just stick to the picture. It’s a great way to earn a little extra cash.”

Wilkinson isn’t worried where he’ll end up. He’s just enjoying the ride.

“Art is toying with people’s ideas of the universe, law, politics,” he said. “I’m still solving this problem of what art is. I don’t know where I’ll wind up. I assume I’ll settle into one format eventually, but it’s not something I’m worried about right now.”


Jay is the son of a good friend of mine.
His characters are totally unique; slightly deformed, weather beaten wrinkled and toothless people, desperate characters on the fringe, forgotten and forlorn, trudging on with their face against the wind, back turned from the sun.

His next show "Bobby On Drums" May 30 at  Shipping and Receiving, Fort Worth Texas.




Monday, April 06, 2015

Saturday, April 04, 2015

MORE ON THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE

I did a post a while back about a Colorado cake shop that refused to make a cake for an LGBT wedding. They said it violated their right to free speech. The judge ruled against the cake shop, saying that by refusing to make ANY cake they were guilty of discrimination against a protected group of people. Colorado had extended rights of public accommodation to LGBT.

Well, a Religious group has tried to put the law to the test in their own way. They ordered a cake from a gay baker at the Azacar Bakery with an anti gay message on it, and when the gay baker refused to make the cake, they tried to sue. And failed. Apparently they never read the judges ruling:
"it is the explicit, unmistakable, offensive message that the bakers are asked to put on the cake that gives rise to the bakers’ free speech right to refuse. That, however, is not the case here, where Respondents refused to bake any cake for Complainants regardless of what was written on it or what it looked like. Respondents have no free speech right to refuse because they were only asked to bake a cake, not make a speech."

I'm amazed that people are talking about this as though they know something about it without ever having read the judges ruling on the case.  If they would simply do that, some of the nonsense might stop, and we could get headed in the direction of a good solution and compromise.

I was impressed with the Azacar Bakeries response to the request. They refused to make the cake with the anti-gay message, but did agree to make the cake without the message, but to provide the materials where the purchaser could put the offensive message on the cake themselves.
And the Religious group tried to sue.
I just have to shake my head.

In the Elane Photography case out of New Mexico, in which a judge also ruled that a photography shop was in violation of public accommodation laws with regards to an LGBT wedding, here is what he said:

"On a larger scale, this case provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice. At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less. The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.
 In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship. I therefore concur
."

I have some very good friends who look at this and focus on that last line "it is the price of citizenship". And this concerns them.
I agree, I don't like to hear anything is the price of citizenship.
In the case of a wedding cake, with no obvious pro-gay message, no double groom/double bride at the top that might infringe upon the makers right to free speech, I see no problem.

The Photography case, where a photographer was asked to take pictures at a gay wedding, almost went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court declined to take it, leaving the lower courts ruling in effect against the photographers.
Someday I think they will have to take a case like this. Certainly baking a cake with no pro-gay message requires little participation in the actual event.
But taking pictures at a gay wedding? The photographer has to be very much involved, His participation level in the event is at a much higher level than that of the baker.

In the meantime, I will ask who seems to be the more tolerant--Azacar Bakery, or the religious grouup suing, or the Baker who flat out refused to make ANY cake-- and willing to make compromise, or as the judge has it in his two sentences before the last:
" That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world."





Friday, April 03, 2015

HOW I CAME TO BE A PUNK

Yeah, in Detroit in the Fifth Grade I had a teacher named Mrs. Rawlings.
She liked to say smart mouthed stuff like "You have the brains of a squished ant" and "Did your mother have any children that lived?" and it didn't take long for me to really appreciate her humor.
I started saying the same stuff to anyone that happened to be in my way.
If anyone taught me how To be a punk, it was Mrs. Rawlings.
I stopped say "Yes Ma'am " and "No sir" and started to say "yep" and "nope".
"Please" 'Thank you" and "You're Welcome" went right out the window.

When we moved back to Texas i remember my 7th Grade teacher asked me if I didn't know how to say "No ma'am".
My reply?
"Nope"

Thursday, April 02, 2015

OBAMA MANDATES “APPLE A DAY” FOR ALL AMERICANS



President Obama, speaking to the American Medical Association, indicated that all Americans should be required to eat an apple a day.
“A good diet is a great preventative measure” he said “We’ve all heard the old adage “”An apple a day keeps the doctor away” and I think that’s sound advice”
“He can’t do that” said Republican Ted Cruz. "Americans should be free to eat or not eat apples at all. Its time to bomb Iran.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest was quick to walk it all back.
“The president merely made some comments concerning healthy dietary choices. There are no plans to make apples a part of the ACA. “

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"UNTIL YOU LEARN TO HOWL...

...YOU WILL NEVER FIND YOUR PACK"