Calling All Cars!

OK, I’m going to date myself here (and I’m a cheap date).  Do any of you long-time Nashvillians remember an obscure talk show that was on at night on WTN, long before Gaylord owned the station.  In fact, I think this the period when the station was in bankruptcy, as George Plaster never lets us forget.

Anyway, the show may have been the most unique I ever heard.  It was hosted by a retired police officer, and various aspects of crime, law enforcement, and other law and order subjects were discussed.  The show also did something fascinating: twice an hour, a police dispatcher would break into the broadcast, and tell all the current calls the police were on.  They made it sound like a real dispatcher’s call.  Believe it or not, it was compelling radio.

It was the coolest thing ever to my 2nd shift working, young adult mind.  I miss it.

 Does anybody remember what the name of the show was, and who hosted it?


There’s a great discussion going on at Kat Coble’s place about talk radio, political discourse, and civility.  She used as her launching pad EstrogenFest 2007, which happened up at Mack’s place this past weekend.  Hearing the wonderful stories of great conversation and sweet camaraderie, I feel a tinge of jealousy.  Now, I’ll never go so far as pining for pregnancy, as Jonathan Hickman did (the very thought seems frivolous to a man who can never even pass along his genetic material), but, I must admit, hearing the stories made me wish I were female and in Aunt B’s good graces.  Sometimes, I long for more than the “parallel play” that comes along with most male friendships.

But, that wasn’t where I wanted to go with this.

Anyway, Kat wonders why more of our discourse, including talk radio, cannot be like it was at Mack’s.  She gives a contradistinction:

Part of the “fellowship” was us talking about areas where we disagree, but realising that either we didn’t disagree as much as we thought we did or that we didn’t really have a full understanding of the other “side”s beliefs. I’m a conservative libertarian (Sorry to all the Davids who disagree on this, but it’s true.) There were others there who were conservative-ish, several progressives and more than a few who seem to defy categorisation–if only because they don’t talk that much about politics.

We had fun and civil discussions, from which we came away having learned more about our friends.

I’m going to give my opinion, saying up front that, yes, I know I wasn’t there.  But, being almost as old as Mack :), I think I’ve lived long enough to know quite a bit about interpersonal relationships and discourse.

There appear to be two things at play.  Both have to do with mindset.  The first is intent. If you show up looking for a fight, you’ll get one. If you seek friendship, you’ll get that.  Knock, seek, all that stuff.  If you read carefully the words of each of the attendees, one thing stands clear: each person attending was carrying a burden (or two, or twenty-four), and what they each desired most was rest and healing.  This desire was bigger than anything else.

As an aside, it was fascinating reading the accounts, how, no matter where each was coming from, each desired , and arrived at, the same place.  How anyone could view this particular convergence and believe that life is a random accident is beyond me. But, I digress.

 Anyway, this leads to the second mindset that fosters good communication, even amongst “enemies”: a belief in a common bond greater than any, or all of the people present.

This is what’s missing in our general political discourse.  We don’t understand that we’re on the same side anymore.

If anybody thinks Lintilla and I don’t argue, they’re crazier than I am.  Yet, the tiffs we have are always with the backdrop our love for each other.  There is no need to get all worked up, because in the end, whatever it is we are arguing about is so much smaller than the bond between us. 

There used to be a concept in American politics that is all but gone: the water’s edge.  In other words, our political disagreements are insignificant compared to our willingness to defend one another from foreign invasion.  This concept was true of my brothers and me growing up.  Man, would we fight!  Yet, my older brother defended me on several occasions.  He might have been tormenting me a few moments earlier, but, by golly, nobody from outside the family would do that!

And that’s what’s missing.  Our “discussions”, if they can be called that, are no longer held within the framework of commonness.  Oh, I think we’d still defend one another in case of invasion, but we refuse to use that knowledge as a backdrop.  Sean Hannity shouts because he truly sees Democrats as the enemy.  I have no doubt that many Democrats think of him the same way.  None can see anything bigger than the disagreement.

But there is.  Friendship. Love. A common desire to just…rest.  Conversations that are cloaked in the safeness of the “bigger” know the proper tone.

Could this translate itself to a popular talk radio show?  Could a right-wing talk show that truly asked for input from liberals about how to best see the end-game in Iraq, with reasoned back-and-forth discussions work?  Could a left-wing talk show that saw George Bush, or any other conservative,  as a human being with regular joys, pains, worries and loves, instead of McChimpy stupid-pants or whatever the pejorative of the day is, could this show be popular?

I think so.  The key is this.  You ask a question.  The other person listens to what you asked, processes it, then tells you what they think.  You listen.  You process their words, express any commonality, then any differences.  You learn from each other.

Friends talk like this.

Nothing But The Blood

The boys in the band are begging me to go with them on a boys night out.  They’re going to see Grindhouse.  I’m running out of ways to say no.

My tolerance for blood, both in real life and on screen, is lower than low.  I get nauseous at the sight.  If there is as much blood in this movie as has been rumoured, I will literally barf in the seats.  There’s just no way.

I will go with y’all for pizza, though, boys.  I just cannot go see this movie.

A Tale Of Three Glorious Women

My intragender interactions have been most profitable of late (hypothetical injuries notwithstanding).  I’m so happy I could spit.

Remember the problem I had with my upcoming vacation because Delta (via Expedia) moved my flight, resulting in a 4.5 hour layover?  I received much wonderful advice, including advice from KateO that I call Delta and try to get them to change things (which, being an idiot, I promptly forgot).

Well, a couple of days ago, Delta decides to to the same thing again, this time on the return flight.  This is not appealing: because of the two-hour before departure arrival requirement, we faced the prospect of spending 11-12 hours of our vacation in airports. 

I always know that my wife has had enough of my namby-pamby ways when she says “give me the phone”.  She did that yesterday, calling Expedia to give them what for.  Well, the good folks at Expedia said they would be glad to change our flights, if we were willing to pay the difference in fares (which ran from $100-300 per person).  As a man facing the prospect of unemployment, uh, no.

It was at this time I remembered KateO’s advice.  Lintilla called Delta, with that wonderful tone of voice that says, “I’m angry enough to get your attention, but not rude enough that you’ll be uncooperative just to spite me”. 


The customer service rep from Delta was extremely helpful, changing our flights at no extra cost, even changing the time of our rental car reservation.  We now have only a 1 hour layover in Atlanta each way, which, if you’ve been to that airport, is just enough time to hoof it from one terminal to another.  And we get into Ft. Myers at dinnertime instead of bedtime!

So, Kate O and Lintilla saved my family from my all-too-accommodating personality.

The third wonderful woman I want to mention is someone I’ve referred to in the past, without a name.  From now on, I’m going to call her the Redneck Canadian.  We have an interesting work relationship, in that she used to be my boss, but then she got out of the boss business; the last time I lost a lot of weight, she was my workout partner.  So, she knows stuff.

Anyway, she’s had a really rough time of things during the past year or so (actually longer than that), and she didn’t join me on this year’s fitness crusade.  I really missed that, because if I’m left to my own devices I’ll just do a cardio workout.  The Redneck Canadian, on the other hand, prefers strength training.  Together, we make a good fitness team.

A couple of days ago, I begged her again to help me with strength training (I’ve done this on and off as the year has gone by).  She informed me that, due to some medical problems, she recently learned that she had to start exercising again, so I was in luck.  I hate to be happy for myself when someone else gets bad news, but, Yipee!

Today was supposed to be our first day, but I forgot about an appointment, so I screwed up that part.  But, we start Monday with the weights!

Knowing how these things go, it would be wise not to ask me about the Redneck Canadian on Tuesday.  Days 2 and 3 of a strength training regimen are possibly the most painful of all.  But, I appreciate it, anyway.

My Dog Ate My Blog

Still working on my homework for Newscoma.  If you haven’t been following along, she suggested that we blog about our own reps as opposed to that other one that gets all the headlines.

Well, I tried to start with West Meade’s own version of Strom Thurmond, Douglas Henry.  He’s the most interesting to me because 1) I may run against him next time, just for kicks and 2) he sounds like Foghorn Leghorn. 

But I’ve run into a problem.  Seems Mr Henry is most fond of memorializing, commemorating, bridge-naming, and all those ceremonial things senators do.  I did, however, find one interesting piece of legislation he sponsored, SB1973 (PDF), which clarifies the intent of Families First.  I have no idea why he thinks we’re missing the spirit of the law, or why we need to change it, but here is the text, in its entirety:

(j) It is the intent of the general assembly that programs administered under this act, as compiled in sections 71-3-152 – 71-3-165, inclusive, be administered in ways that further the purpose of promoting financial self-sufficiency for recipients of services provided, while not discontinuing services and assistance to persons in dire need and who are not reasonably capable of living without assistance due to incapacity, crisis or low functional ability.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring

I’ll be honest, I have no idea why this is necessary.  “Families First” was TN’s version of welfare reform, and I have no idea how the law as it is currently manifested is not meeting the text above.  Maybe some of our more legislatively-attuned can explain this to me.

There is little more that Henry has sponsored that is interesting.  A bill that allows big municipalities to establish fire company in-service fire inspection programs.  A bill that allows “school bond authority to appoint designees to serve in the member’s place as a trustee of the chairs of excellence endowment trust fund”.  A strange rewording of the greenways law.  A pilot program for mental health care in large cities.

Try as I might, I find it hard to make any of this into compelling discussion.  I think that’s why he-who-must-not-be-named is blogged about so much.  As annoying as he is, at least he’s not boring.  Let’s face it, most of the work of the legislature is sausage grinding.  Another thing you must remember, in West Meade/Belle Meade/Hillwood, we prefer “boring” out of our representatives. Which explains how the very interesting Bob Krumm lost to Henry.  However, this doesn’t make for very good blogging.

But now, I’ll turn my attention to my much younger rep, Gary Odom.  Certainly he’s introduced something blog-worthy?  I’ll research and report my findings back to you.

I AM trying though.  Hopefully I won’t get too many points marked off for turning it in late!

It’s Already Started

Zaphod has now picked up a bit of slang, that he uses constantly, and it’s driving me insane.


My son, the OCD kid, extremely advanced academically.  When he wants to know about something, he says “Whaddup”.

“Whaddup with that yard sign?”

“Whaddup with that crazy guy in Virginia?”

“Whaddup with that hair under your lip?”

Whaddup.  Whaddup.  Whaddup.  I hear it in my sleep.

If this keeps up, before long I’ll be asking him, “Whaddup with your pants hanging off your butt?”  Pull your pants up!

Posted in Humor, Kids. 4 Comments »

Charity Campaigner, My Butt

I did not know much about Heather Mills before she appeared on Dancing With the Stars.  Tabloid news just doesn’t interest me, and that was the forum for most of the information out there before DWTS.  I knew she was married to Paul McCartney, I knew there was a messy divorce.

Last night, as she was eliminated from the competition, she did something I’ve never seen before on DWTS.  The first thing out of her mouth was blame for the judges, specifically Carrie Ann Inaba .  I thought the British were known for showing grace in all circumstances.  It was ugly, and actually not true.  Heather Mills did not get eliminated because of the judges.  Her scores were always in the mid to top ranges (always better than, say, Billy Ray Cyrus).

Mills was eliminated because she could not connect with the ABC audience.  I’ll be blunt: judging from reading blogs, newspapers, and from personal conversations, I can safely say that most Americans just don’t like Heather Mills.

I tried to give her every benefit of every doubt.  She started well, but two things worked against her: there was too much contrived sympathy farming, and her personality.  Now, I suspect that her agent had negotiated several interesting clauses into her contract.

  • The show had to refer to her as a “Charity Campaigner”.  BTW, what the heck?   Does that mean she’s never had a real job?  Americans don’t go for that royalty stuff.
  • There were probably clauses about “the leg”: how many times it should be shown, mentioned, alluded to.
  • Under no circumstances could anyone on the show mention Sir Paul.

 I have no special knowledge, these are only guesses on my part.  They should have had a clause that prevented her from speaking in the live parts.  She gave us all a glimpse into the the world McCartney had stumbled into when he married her.

There’s only one good, descriptive word that is appropriate for Ms Mills and her conduct last night.  I will not say it here.  However, I can tell you that it’s not “Charity Campaigner”.

Update: Whist checking out British reaction to the news, I ran into this nugget:  apparently, Mills skipped her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel last night, something I’m pretty sure all the booted stars are required to do.  Sheesh.