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As most of us who keep up with current events know, the middle of the country, especially cattle country, has been hit several times already this winter with huge snow storms.  Some are even calling these storms “Weather Events of Biblical Proportions” – with a historic blizzard of up to 44″ inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10’s of thousands.

To me, it is very similar to what happened along the Gulf Coast with Katrina. The difference is how the people living there have responded. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it.

Someone sent the following to me in an email. I don’t know who wrote it so I can’t give credit to them – I wish I could. It puts things in prospective.

George Bush did not come. FEMA did nothing. No one howled for the government. No one blamed the government.

No one even uttered an expletive on TV. Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit. Our Mayor did not blame Bush or anyone else. Our Governor did not blame Bush or anyone else, either.

CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC did not visit – or report on this category 5 snowstorm.  Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards. No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House. No one looted. Nobody – I mean Nobody demanded the government do something. Nobody expected the government to do anything, either.

No Larry King, No Shepard Smith, No Oprah, No Chris Mathews. No Shaun Penn, No Barbara Striesand, No Hollywood types to be found.

Nope, we just melted the snow for water. Sent out caravans of SUV’s to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars. The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn’t ask for a penny. Local restaurants made food and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snowbound families. Families took in the stranded people – total strangers.

Even though a Category “5” blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.

Maybe SOME people will get the message.  The world does Not owe you a living.

Whoever wrote this has it right. Life ain’t brain surgery. You do whatever you have to do. You prepare. You react. You do the right thing. But you damn sure shouldn’t wait around for someone to do for you. Thank God this country ain’t made up by a majority of folks like we saw on TV during Katrina.

Richard

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Signature file … AKA, Sig File. Why everyone doesn’t have one and use one is beyond my comprehension. It ain’t brain surgery.

We’re talking a sig file for your emails. It’s really simple. You create a standard (and alternates, if you wish) signature file that is included with every email you send. It should contain basics such as:

  • Your name (and title, if a biz sig file)
  • Your company name
  • Phone numbers – all of them including fax (I know, so 1990s)
  • Address of business
  • Blog addresses (if you have a blog)
  • Company web address

Of course, the above can apply for a personal email sig file or a small business sig file. Modify to fit your situation. Some people I know even scan their signature and include it in the sig file. I’m not a big fan of this practice – simply from a security standpoint and all the crazies out there just looking for an opportunity to steal your identity. But do as you like – it’s your call.  Just create a sig file and use it.

Why? Because people will notice the information, probably make a note of it in their contact manager, and just might do business with you one day or be able to find you when they need to at some point in the future.  The more you share your sig file, the more others will, too. It’s contagious. And you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to do it.

Until next time.

Richard 


Bubba’s Cake Baking for the Holidays

After the age of 50 some of us begin to assume different character traits.  Some of these traits may be due to a smaller dose of testosterone flowing through our bodies or it may be we have just mellowed over the years.  The kids are grown, weddings are done, and retirement is just around the corner.  Now is the time for those hobbies and pastimes we never took time for as younger individuals.  Some of us have even taken to reading Southern Living Magazine.  (There are some good looking young women in this magazine, and they cover SEC football during the fall of the year.) Southern Living also has features on golf courses and they always have several articles on one of our favorite pastimes…………FOOD.

Now the good news about cooking when you reach the double nickel (age 55) would be that your wife no longer tries to tell you how to cook or what you are doing wrong.  She does not generally care if you cook a whole pound of bacon or use a pound of butter on one dish.  My spouse is so happy she does not have to make another decision about food or a meal she says absolutely nothing about any of my cooking.  Let me tell you guys who think you have to be a girly-man to cook.  Get a grip.  This is the ideal time to partake of your favorite adult beverage.  The female of the species does not think it is inappropriate for men to drink while slaving over a hot grill or gas range.

Another benefit to cooking is the trip to the local grocery.  I have become fast friends with the wine section in my Kroger and women of all ages believe if you are a man and shopping for food that you will have the answers to all their cooking questions.  Go figure!  I do not cheat on my wife but it is always entertaining to offer sage advice to women and the occasional man regarding the proper preparation and cooking time for various dishes.  I try to stick to the basics such as pork tenderloin, chicken, steak and specialty burgers but every now and then I will offer advice on complicated dishes of which I know absolutely nothing. 

This past Thanksgiving I determined that I would make a special chocolate cake for friends and family.  The ingredients alone cost me $45.  Did I mention the recipe called for Bourbon and I figured what the hell, I may as well buy a half gallon since I was already at the store.  One can never tell when a friend or two might drop by while you are cooking and it would be downright inhospitable not to offer a libation or two.  Most of my friends like sour mash bourbon anyway and if they find out I am cooking they will make a special trip to: number one, watch me make a mess, and number two, to have a couple of drinks and solve the worlds mysteries.

The aforementioned cake includes 1/3 cup of bourbon (or was it 1 cup, I do not remember) but it was a great cake and eaten by all my friends and family.  I do remember the cake, frosting and glaze took a total of 1 pound of butter and 1 pound of sugar and ½ pound of brown sugar.  In addition there was buttermilk and powdered sugar included.  Needless to say the thing melted in your mouth and was totally consumed. 

The only bad news to the whole story is the necessity of clean up once you are finished.  When grilling the clean up is simple, burn the grease off of the grill, throw away the tin foil and disposable plates and clean up the beer cans.  Cooking inside is a totally different animal.  Your wife or significant other expects you to wash all the pans and utensils used during the cooking and to wipe off the stove and counter.  Why is that? You would think they would be so happy we cooked a meal or dessert that they would at least volunteer to clean up – I mean really – cleaning up ain’t brain surgery.  Not gonna happen.  Just go ahead and do it.

Bubba Terry


Where did all the dads go that showed their kids how to do all the little things on a car? Like check the oil, the air in the tires, changing a flat, etc. To look around at all the cars running around, it doesn’t appear anyone keeps a tire pressure gauge in their glovebox any longer. I don’t know about you, but my dad taught us to keep the correct air pressure in our car’s tires. And I still do it today. And winter coming on, everyone needs to check the air pressure in their tires. It ain’t brain surgery.

I can’t say this any better than the following from the Car Care Council website on proper tire inflation:

Description: Proper tire inflation pressure is the specified air pressure given by a carmaker for a certain tire on a specific vehicle. This pressure specification should not be confused with a tire’s maximum pressure, which is usually listed on the tire’s sidewall. Some vehicles may specify different pressures for the front tires and the rear tires.

Purpose: Correct inflation pressure is critical for good fuel economy, safety, maximum tire life, and proper vehicle handling performance.     

Maintenance Tips/Suggestions: For the small amount of time it takes, checking tire inflation at least once a month is one of the best investments you can make to get the maximum life out of your tires. Proper inflation can also improve gas mileage by more than 3%, when maintained regularly. Keep this in mind: Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi (pounds per square inch) drop in pressure of all four tires. You may want to check your tires more often during the winter months. Tires will lose about 1 psi of pressure for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature drop.

Keep an accurate tire pressure gauge in your car’s glove box (many gauges at “air stations” give false pressure readings) and check the tire pressure when the tires are cold. Never trust the appearance of a tire as a gauge for inflation. A tire could be 10 psi low on pressure and not appear to be low on air. Use the recommended inflation pressure listed in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or on the inflation sticker found on the driver’s door jamb. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check the spare. There’s nothing more annoying than a flat spare when you have a flat tire.  

Look, Christmas and the holiday gift giving season is right around the corner. Forget all the cutesy stuff and go for practical. Get the ones you love who drive a tire pressure gauge and teach them how to use it and prepare them a schedule to remember to check their tire pressure on a regular basis. It might just save their life and will save on gas and wear and tear on that expensive vehicle in the driveway. It ain’t brian surgery.

Have a great day!

Richard


One of the rights of passage for a lot of young males and some females is the annual preparation and participation in opening day of deer season.  For some fortunate individuals this event can actually happen twice per year, once for bow season and once for gun season.  If one is really lucky and lives in a state that separates black powder hunting from bow and gun seasons, they get to participate three times.

 

I am not one of those people against deer hunting!  I have fond memories of participating in opening day and the entire season and I actually miss some of the camaraderie enjoyed with my family and friends.  Some of my best non-hunting friends never understood why anyone would want to shoot bambi or his mother and father but they never experienced the thrill of opening day.

 

In my part of the country deer season runs for a month or more and allows one to properly prepare their deer camp or leased hunting area in advance.  The preparation process begins in late August and early September when several trips to the woods are required to build tree stands.  My father-in-law was such a perfectionist. We had to build tree houses that included sides for our deer stands.  These structures were usually 4 X 6 feet and included chairs, an alcohol heater, and an empty can in the event mother nature beckoned.

 

Opening day morning began with breakfast at my father-in-law’s house and included myself and two brothers-in-law eating a massive breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and grits at 2:30 in the morning.  Some years we actually got some sleep.  The breakfast was completed when my father-in-law would reach for a half-gallon of Jack Daniels and announce to all of us that it was now time to quote “be somebody” and we would all partake of a least one shot of sour mash bourbon.  Well hell, when I was younger, drinking at 3 A.M. was accepted and besides we never loaded our high powered weapons until we arrived in the woods.

 

After a shot or two we would load up the vehicles with all manner of firearms, ammunition, food, liquor, beer, jackets, radios, chairs, toilet tissue, sleeping bags and anything else we would need for our day in the woods.  All of this paraphernalia was loaded into the back of an aging Ford Falcon and then four or five of us would pile in the vehicle for the 45 minute ride to the woods.  Upon arrival we would greet the hardy souls who had spent the night and then pour another shot or two just to be socialable.  The obligatory lies would be told and around 5 A.M. the caravan would drive the final 15 minutes to the hunting area. 

 

Prior to actually walking to the deer stands we had to apply doe urine to our shoes to cover our scents.  Then, under the cover of darkness we would stealthily find our way to the aforementioned deer stands (tree houses) by shining our flashlights on the path and looking for red or green plastic tape we had tied on branches.  I always had visions of Elmer Fudd walking to a deer stand on his tiptoes.  (If you do not know Elmer Fudd look it up on Google.)

 

Were the truth told just about everyone went to sleep as soon as they climbed into the stand.  There is always one exception and he or she usually got the first deer.  Naturally the truth has never been told in a deer camp so there were many stories of massive 10-point bucks walking just behind some brush so that no one could get off a good shot.  Whoever fired the first shot would wake up the rest of the fearless hunters and everyone would come down from their stands agreeing that all of the deer in the county were now long gone after the first shot was fired.  This normally happens around 9:30 in the morning.  Everyone would walk to the rally point and wait to see who had fired the shot.  If the person who fired the shot had no carcass to display as a result of his shooting then the razzing and kidding would continue for the remainder of the season.

 

By 10:30 almost everyone was back at the camp telling lies, smoking cigars and drinking their beverage of choice.  Two or three members of the hunting party would be cooking enough lunch to feed a third world country and someone would always have a portable TV with enough tin foil wrapped around the antenna to bring in some kind of signal.  The ball game would be on and drinking, smoking and eating dominated the remainder of the day.  Oh yeah, there were always one or two smart asses who wanted to hunt in the afternoon but we did not bother them if they did not bother us.

 

Deer hunting after all, ain’t brain surgery.

 

Bubba Terry


The typical picture painted of a “bubba” includes dirty overalls, a short haircut, work boots and a wad of tobacco firmly implanted in the left cheek. Everyone knows that a real bubba can chew tobacco and drink Budweiser beer with no danger of mixing the juice with the alcohol.

In the usual scenario bubba is probably driving a beat up Ford pickup truck with a decal on the window of a little boy taking a leak on his least favorite NASCAR vehicle number. The truck will always be equipped with a gun rack and if the owner is prosperous a spotlight will be attached for shining deer after dark. (For those un-indoctrinated to deer hunting, the spotlight is used to illuminate the deer and render the beast temporarily paralyzed so that bubba can get off a good shot). The practice is illegal and every October and November several bubbas are introduced to the fine dining available at their local country jail as a result of the “shining.”

The inside of Bubbas vehicle will be filled with a variety of snuff cans, beer cans, McDonald hamburger wrappers, empty potato chip bags and a couple of empty coke bottles. In addition the glove box will be filled with several rounds of ammunition and at least a 3 inch knife. The rear of the pickup will have the obligatory tool box and numerous tools and devices that Bubba may use in his day to day work activities. (Note: several of these tools will have broken handles). More likely than not their will also be a dog, usually a lab or pit bull, although the lineage of the dogs may be in question.

Now that we have painted the usual Hollywood or television picture of Bubba let me offer a more realistic description.

The typical southern bubba will be dressed in freshly laundered khakis or blue jeans accompanied by either a polo shirt or a pressed button down. His feet will be sporting either boat shoes or loafers and if it is Spring or Summer he may choose to be sans socks. Tobacco is a thing of his past and he has taken to drinking Miller Light or whatever import was on sale at the local Kroger or Wal-Mart.

Bubba is probably driving a truck more expensive than Volvo’s, 3 Series BMWs and even more than the new line of Mercedes.  (Mercedes has managed to join the league of inexpensive mass produced cars for the masses)  The truck will have a “W” sticker on the back and most likely the bumper tag from his University on the front or in a window decal on the back.

Bubba likes to go hunting occasionally just to get back to his roots. This hunting may be on leased property where he and his buddies have a deer camp. The camp is generally not used for hunting but rather for drinking and reminiscing about past conquests and plans for retirement. The thrill of sleeping in the woods in order to get in a good days hunting have long been overtaken by the desire to sleep in a warm bed with a good woman, so bubba will take his leave of the camp in the early afternoon and journey back home where he will share a good meal with his peer group and drink wine and Scotch rather than sit by a fire and swill beer with the boys.

The present day southern bubba works in a variety of occupations including the professional ranks. Some Northerners and a few individuals from the South confuse the term Bubba with redneck, good ole boy or some other commonly used derogatory term. I am here to tell you that bubba is nothing to be ashamed of. Bubbas were most likely Boy Scouts and members of the MYF or BSU and might have even gone to (God save us) Catholic School. Again, for those who are uninformed MFY is Methodist Youth Fellowship and BSU is the Baptist Student Union. Remember in the deep South you were most likely Methodist or Baptist because these were the two physical churches that dominated the most prominent landscape in any downtown region of most Southern Cities. The Catholic Church although prominent in some areas, Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans is of little consequence in the rural South.

Regardless of his outward demeanor and dress the usual Southern bubba served in some branch of the armed forces and although he is extremely loyal to the Stars and Stripes you most likely do not want to downplay the importance of the Confederate battle flag. A lot of second rate organizations attempt to use the Confederate flag as their own and hold rallies while waving the flag and speaking disparagingly about cultural changes in our country. Here again we have an incorrect stereotype concerning Southern heritage and the real meaning behind the Confederate flag. The whole concept of the Confederacy was not to deprive minorities of any rights, hell, the average Confederate soldier (Yankee soldiers too) was uneducated and fighting for his country, not because he was trying to maintain the practice of slavery. A vast majority of those fighting and consequently those killed did not own slaves and were not much better off than the slaves themselves. Bubba in 1860-1865 was fighting because he was loyal to the South, and NOT what the privileged land owners were afraid of loosing.

Bubba’s never have internal conflicts concerning the treatment of women, children, small animals or anyone who cannot defend or otherwise take care of themselves. The obligatory “can of whoop ass” will be opened on those who insist on mistreating anyone or thing that may fall in these categories. Simply put, bubba sees no excuse for anyone beating up on a woman, (although some women can damn sure whip most bubbas.) picking on a child in any derogatory manner, picking on those less fortunate either physically, mentally or financially and for damn sure never beat or kick bubba’s dog or his friends dogs or any dog he may know. Most dogs are one of God’s gentlest creatures and deserve a pat on the head and perhaps a good belly rub but definitely not a whipping or beating unless bubba sees fit to perform discipline.

All of us who recognize the term bubba as one of friendship and love also realize…..

Life ain’t brain surgery.

Bubba Terry


Most of us hate to admit it but we all have a little “bubba” in us. By some definitions a bubba has qualities held to be characteristic of certain Southern white males, such as a relaxed or informal manner, strong loyalty to family and friends, and often an anti-intellectual bias and intolerant point of view. I am here to tell you that the anti intellectual bias is totally off base. For example I have friends who are PhD’s, physicians, business owners and attorneys who are bubbas. They are definitely loyal, they love Jesus (except those of the Jewish persuasion) and they are patriotic to the core. They are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and independents sharing a love of God and country and not afraid to state their thoughts in the field of public opinion. They (we) are often overshadowed by political correctness but true bubbas do not shy away from controversy or their beliefs.

Many of the bubbas I have known are truly characters and could fill many pages of manuscripts with their foolishness and their acts of kindness and their willingness to help those in need regardless of race or creed. Read on for a story of one bubba with a heart of gold.

Our story begins with one couple among a group of friends experiencing the birth of their first grandchild. This birth was the first grandchild in a group of 8 couples (most males in the group would identify with the term bubba) and was widely celebrated. What makes this event unique is the fact that the grandchild was born with Down Syndrome. This was not known prior to the birth and not expected by anyone. The group immediately took on the role of a support mechanism. Not expressing sorrow but celebrating the life of the child and performing numerous acts of kindness and love for the child, the new parents and grandparents. This support continues 7 years after the birth of the child and the child refers to all of these individuals as aunts and uncles. A bond never to be broken!

What does this have to do with being a bubba? Here is one example.

One bubba and his family were on vacation a few years after the aforementioned child was born. They were eating seafood in a coastal Florida restaurant when a couple was seated next to them. The couple had a child with Down Syndrome. Bubba remembering his friends decided to perform an act of kindness anonymously. He called the waitress over and gave her $100 bill and told her to use this to pay for the meal of the family who had been seated next to his table. He spoke to the family on the way out and mentioned that he had friends in a similar situation but never mentioned paying the bill. This is the same person who would go out of his way to assist anyone at any time and more stories will follow of his exploits.

I only wish more of us could be bubbas!

Bubba Terry