Jack Goes to Nashville and Crappy Bongs

Jack, who is 24, left for Nashville tonight. He left with his truck, a guitar, two pair of jeans and three white tee-shirts.

Fame and Fortune will meet him at the I-Hop. He is a brilliant, handsome talented guy and he’s headed for Nashville in a truck that just started smelling slightly of burning oil.

Lexie was carrying his guitar and tee shirts. She tripped over a dead piece of carcass Theo, the dog, dragged up.

“It’s a dead rib cage,” Lexie yelled.
“Hey Jack, Theo brought you a carcass. Is it the same one from last week?” Alex yelled.
I hit him in the stomach, “You think she asked for ID? It’s a dead animal,Oh my Lord.” I said.

Jack climbed into his trucks and pushed his hat back.
I yelled, “Please, sing happy songs!” He’s been prone to sad stuff lately.
Jack grinned, “Crappy Bongs?” he teased.
“No I said,  sing happy songs.”
“Nappy Thongs?” he yelled back, still grinning.
Alex pushed me, “He always had a way with words.”
And I slapped him in the belly again.

Jack started his truck and backed out of the driveway. Theo picked up his dead animal and dragged it into the bushes, since Jack didn’t want to take it with him.

Jack is going to Nashville. I love him. I guess this is how stars are born.


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Beat Your Kid and They Will Love You

I was going to write about Kanye West but the video of the judge and his wife beating their daughter with a belt got to me.

I have four kids, they make As (ok a B now and then) they get scholarships to college, they are respectful and really fun to be around. They say “yes maam” and “no sir” and help do chores around the house. And not one of them has ever had a “beating”. I think I’ve given out two spankings in 23 years of parenting. Here’s the strange thing. I’m a “strict” parent because I demand my children be decent human beings. And I do it without hitting them.

I do remember one spanking. It’s a  famous Hampo story about 3 year old Mary. She pushed Jack off an ocean pier 15 feet above the water into a bunch of barracuda. He was four years old. I went in after him and when Jack and I climbed up the ladder, wet and terrified, Mary was laughing. Yes, she got a spanking.But that’s the last one I remember and it was 20 years ago).

Spankings and beatings are a lazy form of parenting. If you can’t come up with a more effective form of punishment you are an idiot.

We tell children not to hit each other or us, but we are allowed to hit them. Why is it legal for a 200 pound man to hit a 50 pound child? If he hits his wife or mother he goes to jail. But hitting a child is ok. That’s absolute bullshit. It’s also ridiculously and obviously hypocritical.

Here’s another problem with spanking/whooping. As the child gets older you have to escalate the whoopings  year after year. You can “spank” a four year old on the butt and make an impression. But by the time they are teenagers guess what you have to do to make an impression.?You have to beat them, hard, with a belt, to get their attention. That’s just inevitable.

Yes, I got spanked when I was a kid. But I’m a better parent them my parents.

If your child abuses cell phone privileges, take the phone away for a week. If they abuse the computer take it away for a month. If they don’t cut the grass they are grounded, from everything, until they finish your yard and the old ladies’ grass next door.

A smart and creative punishment makes a lot larger and longer lasting impression than a dumb ass whooping.

And the truth is, if you beat your sixteen year old daughter with a belt like Judge William Adams and his wife, she will probably fear and do what you say, but it’s doubtful she will love or respect you.


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The Snarky Church

This morning Lexie and I drove  to the corner store, David and David’s and I saw a girl who goes to school with Lex, but is a year older. I said, “She really is pretty.”

“Yeah, she is,” my daughter agreed, “but she doesn’t like me.”


Lex just shrugged, “She goes to ________ Church, you know how it is.”

Lexie explained this situration in such a “low key, no-big deal” way. But I’ve heard this kind of comment about that church over and over and over in our small Arkansas community. Kids and adults talk about two  churches in our area on a regular basis.

If you go to one of these churches you have it easy,  and you get to go to heaven. If you attend a different church, these church goers make you feel as though you’re chances of passing through the pearly gates are minimal. And those congregations are seen as openly hostile and rude. That’s just crazy. No church wants that kind of pr.

This weekend an adult friend of mine compared the pastor of the ______Church to John Lithgow in Foot Loose. “There will be no dancing in my town!” and “You people from the outside, who are dancing, are going to hell.” But he doesn’t even realize half the kids in his own congration are swinging and swaying every chance they get.

Bottom line, some churches are really snarky. They aren’t nice to people who don’t go  their.  And that seems absurd because Christians are supposed to be nice and Christ-like, right?   If I was a pastor or minister (trust me I have too many suitcases of sin to lead anyone) these are not the adjectives I would want associated with my church.

The truth is I know some very nice people who go to these churches.  They are really lovely.  But the rude ones are also the noisey ones, and they are the ones everybody remembers.  Maybe 80 percent of the people in church are kind and loving but the 20  percent ruin the churches reputation.

If I led a church I’d want folks to think of my people as the smiling, l0ving, giving, supportive congregation. Then new people would want to join my church and  they could learn all about God’s love.  

Here’s the truth. You need to be nice to the sinner to get him through the church doors. This includes kids in high school, hobos and soccer moms.

Why would anyone join a church full of  snarky, rude, judgemental people? If they make me feel bad  I don’t want to hang with them.  .



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Stripper Shoes! You Know You Like Them

I had a boss once who said, “I like six inches of skirt and four inches of heel”. Or it might have been the reverse. Men like heels.

I had a dear friend, she was extremely wealthy, an artist and brilliant. She told me, “Never wear heels, all they do is slow women down.”

I hate heels but the truth is most of the most powerful women in the world and most of the hottest wear high heels. Lord, that sucks because they really really hurt. That’s actually my only problem with heels. If they felt good I’d be in them every time I left the house because they do look sexy and everyone wants to be taller.

Look at these Jessica Siimpson shoes, they are absurd, ridiculous and magnificent. I would look absolutely ferocious wearing something like this, until I I tried to go up the stairs, fell on my knees, tore up my hose and got bloody palms. Then I’d look like a” zombie mom” instead of “hot mom”.

Women fall so deeply in love with their expensive beautiful high heels.  Last year when my daughter, Mary, was 22 and went to jail for forty five minutes she called and said, “Momma, I’m in jail, it’s disgusting and I’m going to ruin my Jessica Simpson’s”. That was her biggest concern. Her giant blue heels.

So, when you see me shuffling along in some boring, safe and  mundane pair of shoes, I want you to know, in my hear,t I’m really rocking a pair of six inch leopard print stripper heels. And I look smokin’ hot.


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My Terrible Temper Vs The Swifter

Last week I almost lost my temper. That frustrates and scares me because good Lord, I have a ridiculous, stupid temper.

Inevitable, when I do loose control and get really mad I do absurd and self destructive stuff. I melt down completely and make myself look like a complete ass. And for days afterwards, I feel physically ill. So, I try very very hard not to get smokin’ hot mad.

One day, a few years ago, I got mad at my Swifter while I was trying to clean house. Alex rolled up the driveway in his big blue truck and I was slamming the Swifter against a giant oak tree. There were tiny pieces of plastic all over the yard. But I just couldn’t stop.

When Jack was ten or twelve we had our first go-rounds over rap music. I thought it was filthy, racist and sexist and I told him he shouldn’t have such dark thoughts rolling around in his head or in my house.

Because twelve year old boys make lots of mistakes, Jack put on a CD, I think it was NWA, I heard it, walked in his room picked up his cd player and slammed it down on the tile floor. Again, I was surrounded by lots of little pieces of plastic. An hour latter I was calm enough to apologize and he did too. And a few days latter Jack and I split the cost of a new CD player.

Sometimes I wonder if a bad temper is genetic because lots of folks in my family had them. Fortunately, I don’t seem to have passed the gene on to my kiddos.

Obviously, the correct move in this situation would have been to take his CD player away for a week.  Of course I know that.

When I feel the rage building I generally do one of two things. If I’m with the kids I tell them to leave me alone, immediately. I make sure they are out of the house or in their room. If I’m with adults I simply remove myself from the situation, I walk out. And when I walk, it may look really rude, but I’m trying to save my self.

For the past three weeks a man at work thought I did something to hurt his career. I didn’t do it. I explained that I simply didn’t do it and I apologized for the situation. He didn’t hear a word I said and kept insisting that everyone was out to get him. (The truth is we all liked him a whole bunch).

For three weeks he was cold and rude to me but I figured he would get over it, eventually. Then my boss made us sit down to talk it out. Ok, I was fine with that, but the man launched into a condescending  attack complete with finger pointing. I felt that sick, hot rage building so I simply walked out in the middle of his tirade.

If I didn’t get out, I knew I would have picked up his computer monitor or the staple gun sitting on his desk, and thrown it through the window and then quit my job.  All of this absurd behaviour would have been very bad…FOR ME.

Finger pointing always gets to me in a negative way.  Once a teenage boy was putting his finger in my face and I told him if he didn’t move it I would snap it off and eat it. We are still friends but he never did that again.

I don’t loose my temper very much any more. I work at it. Because I know I only end up hurting myself and I hate having to apologize. And I still miss my Swifter.


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Manly Divorce Lawyers

I saw the weirdest ad in the newspaper this week. It’s for a local attorney who specializes in divorce. He represents men for the most part and I swear in his ad it says, “If your doe is chasing other bucks, give me a call.” And he’s posing with an 8 point deer head. He goes on to say “your wife and children will lie about you and DHS will ruin your life.” And he backs that statement up with a bible verse from 1st Corinthians. I swear, there is no mention of DHS in my King James version of the bible. This guy totally creeps me out.

Two thirds of divorce proceedings in America are started by women and fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. That’s a lot of girls hitting the door and waving good buy. ( I found a divorce calculator if you’re interested).

And when wives do end a marriage,  I guess men think the women are treated better by the judicial system. I can’t blame the guys for getting manly divorce lawyers who not only represent but protect. I was asked to look at the “one man firm” at Cordell&Cordell Reviews.
They represent dudes, but in an entirely different way than the previously mentioned crazy deer hunting lawyer. They council men on how to be smart during a divorce, they host seminars like “The Ten Stupid Things Men Do”. I can think of a few, including trying to cut their own hair and eating an entire large meat lovers pizza. Their phone number spells out “Dads Law” and they claim to be ‘a partner men can count on.”

So guys really are feeling like they’re getting shafted by the courts. Women leave men, file for the divorce and then win in court. It does sound like a pretty good deal for the girls. What a reverse in our society. The power has shifted.

Maybe it’s because men and women think about marriage differently. Men are told it’s time to “settle down”, but girls start thinking and dreaming about their wedding and marriage right about the time they get their first Barbie and Ken.  Girls  dream about their wedding. I’ve never known a boy who admitted to dreaming about his wedding would he close his eyes and imagine his tuxedo?  I don’t think so.

Guys kind of give up and get married, their expectations aren’t through the roof. Girls believe marriage will make them happy. And when it doesn’t match up to all her beautiful romantic dreams, when he watches tv instead of telling her she’s beautiful, when he stops noticing her dress or the color of her eyes….she calls a lawyer.


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Eaten By The Clutter!

My mom, Ann Stell,  used to say “Beware of possessions, because they possess the possessor.” That’s an awkward sentence but it’s  so true. Basically, what my brilliant and crazy mom meant was  ”All your junk actually owns you.”

All the nick-knacks in our lives make us do things and not do things. That means the crap is in charge. We can’t pack up and move because we have so much stuff. We can’t buy a smaller house, we can’t stop paying for storage buildings, we can’t find an empty cabinet because every week we acquire new things, from McDonald’s Coke glasses to shoes and coffee cups.

I carry a lot more stuff into my house than I ever carry out. Every week, I stuff more and more into the 2,100 square feet. No wonder I’m feeling kind of claustrophobic.

But how can I decide what’s important?  My problem is my family is dead so every little do-dad and thingamajigger has a special meaning. My brother Jack died when I was 16 and he was 23.  That was more than 30 years ago so I have to keep the little blue cup he made out of clay when he was 7. And when my husband Alex and I were dating I bought him an ugly framed print of an Indian looking at a mountain. It’s awful, but I have to keep it, right? Along with the tickets to the first concert we went to (Tina Turner) and the dozens of crystals we dug up one weekend. I have three chairs and two desks that belonged to my grandmother. They are old and “special” so nobody actually uses them. I should keep those too, right? And there’s a goulash pot Alex’s grandmother always used and it reminds us of dinners with her.  There are four people living in the house but we have 18 coffee mugs. What the hell is wrong with me? Everything in my house belonged to dead people.

Last weekend I was wearing a pair of shorts I stole from my brother, Granger, before he died.  The running joke is  “Hey, look, I’ve got a ghost in my pants.”

It’s got to stop somewhere. Or we need to move to a bigger house, one with three sheds instead of the two we have now,  or maybe a barn.  

Jack and Mary, my two oldest children, have developed an absolute aversion to anything sentimental because of our “stuff problem”.  Mary and her honey Richard, have a beautiful apartment with almost no furniture cause she likes it empty. Jack has become such a minimalist he only has a truck, one pair of pants, five white tee-shirts and a toothbrush.

Maybe they are on to something.


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I Want To Be A Millionaire So Freakin’ Bad

“The rich are different from you and me.” F. Scott Fitzgerald was right. They get to do things most of us don’t and it’s not fair..

I try to figure out how I’m going to get my whole famly jammed into my Nissan, with 200,000 miles, and make it 500 miles to the beach. I worry, because of the close quarters my oldest son will eat the face of my youngest daughter just because she’s annoying and makes us listen to too much Ke$ha.

The rich, they don’t worry about the old Nissan, they contact  private jet companies and book round trip flights on sweet looking and luxuriously appointed planes.  There’s so much room brothers and sisters don’t even have to sit next to each other. Hell, they don’t even have to look at each other.

And then according to the crazy rich people web page they do things like (and once again, I promise I’m not making this up) They intentionally take part in a Covert Ops Boot Camp, they wear camo, cover their faces and pretend to be soldiers.

 ” You will be taken to a secret training base somewhere in Arizona, where a hand-picked cadre of Green Berets and private soldiers of fortune from the world’s toughest spec ops units will teach you all the actual skills needed for this operation…and to stay alive.”

They jump out of airplanes then swim with great white sharks. Rich folks take their kids to surf camp in Australia then have dinner with an Aborigines family and learn to play the didgeridoo.

Those rich people, they do some crazy awesome stuff and I hope one of my children figures out how to make a bunch of money so we can meet them on the Great Barrier Reef and swim with the giant manta rays in the moonlight.


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Band Geeks and Hot Dogs

Band geeks, there’s just something about them. Band geeks are life in a shot glass, all swimming around, bumping into each other and looking through the glass.

Here’s the thing, if you are a dude on a football team you have some stuff in common with the guy next to you on the line or the bench. You want to start, you work out, you want to win, your parents want you to make a big play. The other guys want the same thing. Every Friday night you are put on the spot and must prove yourself.

But the band geeks are a different bunch, they are “everyman.” There’s one of every color and flavor in the band, a jellybean for everybody.
Remember the Armour hot dog ads?  I remember every word (and that’s why all businesses should consider a jingle)Armour Hot Dogs Original Song. Please listen to this before reading any further.

“Hot dogs, Armour Hot Dogs, what kind of kids eat Armour Hot Dogs?

Fat kids, skinny kids, kids that climb on rocks

Tough kids,sissy kids, even kids with chicken pox”

Well, that describes the band geeks pretty well but I think i’d have to add a line. “Goth kids, gay kids, kids who smoke some pot. Smart kids, cool  kids even kids who love to rock.”

The highschool band is the ultimate melting pot and it’s a beautiful thing because in the end the figure out they are a family with a lot in common. And most of the band geeks, the smart ones, figure  that out after the second bus trip. Thou, Lexie said the band has more drama than the cheerleaders.

But maybe the greatest thing about the band is the fact everyone starts, every Friday night they all play.The talented, the losers, the eye rollers and the honor students, they all stand shoulder to shoulder in infamously ugly uniforms and they play…together.


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duck faces are still kind of funny… silly girls

Sometimes the key to comedy is in the editing. A fifteen minute story might be funny. Trim it down and a five minute story almost makes you pee, or at least blow 7-Up our your nose.

But some of the stuff on Buzzlol.com is pretty funny, even if I’m not stoned. If I was stoned I’d probably laugh till my head hurt.  I work with a woman who gets sooooo much joy from the internet that I’m jealous.  Every morning she opens up stuff people e-mail her and videos on face book and she laughs like a crazy woman. Kittens falling into bowls of pudding and old ladies trying to wax their legs.  It’s a bawdy joyous sound and I kind of envy her her.

Here’s a link to girls making that weird duck face.  I know a lot of girls thought they were being sexy and making a kissing face. My daughter, Mary, had the hottest duck/kiss face on the planet.  But after 51 million21 year old women on facebook all made the same face, it stopped being sexy. Men realized it was just a ploy and they all looked like ducks. It stopped being sexy and turned into “STUPID NOT HOT”!

And finally there’s the “auto correct” page.  This happens to all of us, right.  We try to type “call me” and it turns into “ball me” and we hit the send button before we relize we just tested our great uncle with the porno mustache.  He’s the one that always winks at you and compliments your sweater.

“Warning” turns into “wanking”. “I got great tips” turns into “I got great tits.” 

Well good for you.

Buzzlol is pretty funny, you can absolutely waste some time there, laugh out loud then lie to your boss. Tell him you were trying to rewrite a report and put a spread sheet in it.  Yeah, and then “give him the classic duck face cause you have great tits.”


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