Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beep beep

Do you think they called each other before going to the store?

On a side note, you can tell just how small these parking places are. This is the right size car for them. I think they are really cute little cars but haven't driven one.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Is she the outdoor type?

Found this at Goodwill today. It's made of plastic and is painted gray. Not sure how that paint will do out in the garden but we will find out. I think a clay terra-cotta pot will make a nice garden hat. She will need a new paint job, and I want to be creative with it whenever that happens. I am notorious for procrastinating on projects!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

No retirement package

Barmaid in a dive, it's a job
You wonder how people end up in some situations, and being the barmaid in The Wheel Bar is one of those situations. To briefly sum up the situation, I had just completed 2 years of Fine Art at the Community College... receiving a degree meant for transfer to a 4-year college, but zero job training or career prep, and I had no money to continue with school. The fact was that I needed a job, had no job skills, and did not want to become a hooker. This bar was similar to all the other dive bars that I spent time in growing up (not voluntarily - my cousins and I had to amuse ourselves with the jukebox and such while our folks drank). I was a drinker, and had not worked in a dive or tended bar, so I was open to adding that to my life experiences.

When I walked in, the owner leered at me (as a young woman I was used to that), and said "God damn it. You wanna tend bar?" I did. "Ahright, get yer ass behind this bar afore we take you in the back room and check you for hemorrhoids." Yes, that's really what he said, and I didn't think it was funny, it was just typical old drunk in a bar low-class humor, and I had been sexually harassed on just about every job I'd had, so it was not a deal-breaker and I figured I could withstand it. Funny thing, he didn't even ask me if I was of drinking age (I was 21 [actually I may have been as old as 23], but he didn't card me. Whaddya think? Wouldn't you card me?).

The job paid $15 a day for about 9 hours of work, and it was 6 to 7 days a week. It was paid in cash. I was also allowed to serve myself alcohol, as much as I wanted, and I could have a frozen Tombstone pizza for dinner but had to eat it during the shift. There weren't breaks. Also, there were almost no tips. I'd get maybe a dollar or two during a shift maybe, but I remember one night when we were well into the night and I still hadn't been tipped. I told the owner, and he pounded his fist on the bar and yelled "God damn it!! You sonsabitches tip the god damned barmaid!!" Then a couple of people put quarters on the bar, and not without a grumble.

See, this was the kind of place where it's all regulars. Every night around 5-ish, the same people came in. I knew what their usual drinks were. I had to learn the signals, like the one guy, when he put his empty in just a certain place, that meant he wanted another one. The jokes and banter were the same every night. I heard the hemorrhoid joke nearly every night. I drank all night, and got through it, learned to roll with the punches (it wasn't recommended to go through a night in there sober, I tried it once). Some stayed until closing every night, and if somebody passed out, head on the bar, we could joke about them being "Asleep at the Wheel." The owner and his wife sat all night at opposite ends of the bar, glaring at each and sometimes arguing. When they weren't in the bar, they were upstairs (they lived there, literally).

Next door to The Wheel was a Sunday bar, which they also owned, called The Hub (I think). This was when MO still had the Blue Laws where you couldn't serve more than .03% beer on Sunday, so that's what they did. Hardly anyone would be around other than the most hard-core regulars, just the people who practically lived at The Wheel (or actually lived there). Both places had a jukebox well stocked with hard-core country music, and a pool table. The Wheel also one of those bar shuffleboard machines. One night, some black people came in. They were waiting for a bus or something and came in to play some shuffleboard. It was not the best idea for them to step into a bar that was as rednecky as this one. At The Wheel, they HATED people of color, and when they walked in everybody got a little nervous and jumpy. Pretty soon, the owner's wife told me to reach under the bar and hand her the gun. I refused. Guess I was the one with the risky behavior then, but guns are always bad news. Fortunately, they caught the bad vibes from the hostile stares and walked out. Sigh of relief. See, on that side of the highway it was mostly white and on the other side it was very mixed, and some of those old-timers are not big on diversity, to say the least, and can go over the edge over the smallest thing (just look at the Tea Party).

After a few months, they hired another barmaid. She was going to work days mostly. They really liked her even though she was kind of fat, because she had a pretty face, laughed a lot, had really big boobs and liked the skimpy sundresses. They really liked her, that is, until they found out she was dating a black man (although they never used polite terms) and she got fired on the spot. I was getting pretty tired of that place by then, and got myself hired as a cocktail waitress in a restaurant lounge with a piano bar, where they made me wear itty-bitty shorts with Budweiser logos all over them. I went from serving drinks to food, and then got notified that I'd been hired to work assembly at the GM plant that was in north St. Louis at the time. One of the foreman was a semi-regular at The Wheel, and had helped me get hired there and moved me into the next phase of my working life [I blogged that phase under the tag Autoworker].

I love Google Street View. I looked up this place and it looks like some kind of warehouse now, and except for the lack of bar signage, it looks the same.
There's the Sunday bar on the left, the little beige building.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ugliest. Hat. Ever.

Ick spacer

The guy in this ad also does a TV ad for his pest control company, and does the entire thing with this tarantula on his head. I guess he will turn your pests into his pets.

Oh man, between this and the Spam with Lima Beans with Elmer's Glue sauce - I think it needs to get prettier around here, and fast.

Ugh inspiring

When I was a kid, I might've eaten the Spam out of this. Now, I would feed it to the raccoons. And what is that sauce? It could be Elmer's Glue and they didn't mean for it to show in the picture.

(I will eat Lima beans now, but not after they've been Spammed)

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I prefer to think of the Summer Solstice as "midsummer." It is still viewed as the middle of summer in many countries (although not the USA), and it makes perfect sense to me that when you reach the peak of something - the point after which it begins to diminish - that's the middle of it.It's been full-on summer here for at least a month, but it will continue like this until the end of September, so climate-wise it's not the middle of it (or the beginning either). I'm one of those people who who likes the other southern seasons better than summer, it's a balance.

The yard, both front and back, is most noticeably full of sunflowers now. The tallest ones are about 9 ft tall. MrB has been working his butt off out there in the heat. There's the daily maintenance of filling the bird feeders and changing the birdbath water (which always needs it), plus the weekend stuff which can run into hours. I can't take it, personally. I could survive the heat but the mosquitoes run me back in quickly.

I love the details in the pics, like in the one above you can also see a ladybug.

As for out-and-about events, they are usually weekend things except for very special events. I've been in no mood for the outdoor heatfests/free concerts that happen all summer... not with this humidity and my foot problems. Am planning on finally scheduling a visit with a Podiatrist. I've had aching on the sides of my feet for awhile, and I believe that the standing and dancing I did at the Eric Johnson show last week has created a cyst on my foot. I am really unlucky when it comes to physical activity - it usually ends with me at the doctor. Oh well.

The rest of summer is going to be very busy on the day job, vacation days will be few, and any time off taken (whether it's vacation hours mostly spent at the vet's office, or my sick time) will probably have to be made up due to workload. Come on, October. I'm already ready for it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good hair, no brain

Rick Perry refuses to debate Bill White, the Democratic party candidate for governor of Texas. More here. Perry's really got nothing to gain from it.

But you have to wonder what genius decided to stage a Rick Perry press conference right outside Bill White's headquarters in Austin. See the results below:

More about it on DailyKos and Burnt Orange Report


My co-worker has this on the wall outside her office.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Old Dominion Barn Dance, pt 3

Continuing with looking deeper into who these people are in my old photos. Click photos to enlarge.

"Wacky Red Murphy first saw the light of day in Hiedelburg, Ky. Started his radio career in 1932 in Covington, Ky. Since then has traveled all over the South on numerous major stations. He keeps the whole Barn Dance cast in good spirits--a likeable red head who radiates his happiness to others. From his role of comedian, he can change momentarily to serious singing. Joined the Old Dominion Barn Dance July, 1947."

Couldn’t find much on Wacky Red Murphy. He is mentioned in an account of the last night of Hank Williams (which is reposted a lot on the web), Murphy is not connected other than he performed in the same town, Knoxville, that night, New Year’s Eve.
New Year's Eve, 1952, was low-key by the standards of later eras. The Tennessee and some other movie houses were hosting midnight shows. But champagne was still illegal in Knoxville; you could only find it in private clubs. The city did sponsor a dry "Gala New Year's Eve Show & Dance" at Chilhowee Park, featuring Wacky Red Murphy and local comedian/politician Archie Campbell as "Grandpappy," plus the Cherokee Indian Square Dancers.

"Ray Berry is a most likeable fellow, playing his own guitar while he blows on a harmonica, sings the ballads of the hills in the style that suits everybody. Born in Corydon, Ky. Started pickin' and singin' at the age of 16. Has played on major stations from Texas to Pennsylvania. The more the folks of the Old Dominion see and hear Ray, the more they like him. The youngins' especially like his "Popeye" and "Donald Duck" characters he imitates."
I couldn’t find anything on Ray Berry beyond what is in his bio there.
"One of the newer members of the Old Dominion Barn Dance is little Nita Lynn, who stands just about 5 feet high, plays a "handfull" of guitar and has a distinctive style of singing and yodeling. Born in Middleboro, Ky. First radio work was in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1939. Nita will fast become one of your favorite entertainers on the Barn Dance."
Nita Lynn was born Juanita Earlynne Morris, and she was another child performer who grew up onstage. She is still with us, as far as I know, and hillbilly-music.com has a pretty in-depth writeup on her that they did with her assistance. She played with lots of folks then and later, including Paul Howard. She may or may not have been in his band for this recording, but here he is in 1947, with a cover of a Hank Williams song that was recorded by Hank the same year.
Paul Howard and his Cotton Pickers: Rootie Tootie

Listen to Hank Williams' version here
Bonnie, Bea and Buster, the Puffenbarger Kids, were born in the hills of West Virginia. Later moved to the Shenendoah Valley of Virginia. Started in radio about nine years ago in Harrisonburg, Va. They joined the Old Dominion Barn Dance in 1947. Bea and Buster both play accordion and Bonnie plays bass fiddle. Bea is also the organist for the Little Church Across the Way program.
I found some info on this band from a couple of obituaries (below), and Facebook. "Buster" was Charles, and his sisters were Helen "Bea", Bonnie and Joan – so it looks like they later added one more sister to the band:
Charles E. "Buster" Puffenbarger - Died 2-16-2002 – Cancer. Born 6-17-1929 - Played accordion - He was one of the The Puffenbarger Kids who appeared on The Old Dominion Barn Dance variety show and a member of A Touch Of Class - Played alongside Chet Atkins, Mother Maybelle Carter and Grandpa Jones. Stewart, Helen Elizabeth, 80, of Mt. Washington, died Wednesday, June 7, 2006. She was the former Helen Puffenbarger and began her country music career in the 1940's along with her siblings Bonnie, Buster and younger sister, Joan, under the Puffenbarger Kids) at radio station WSVA in Harrisonburg, VA. In 1948, the "Puffenbarger Kids" became members of the "Old Dominion Barn Dance" located in Richmond, VA. In 1949, the "Puffenbarger Kids" were invited to join the "Mid-Day Merry-Go-Round" on station WNOX in Knoxville, TN. Later that year, Helen was asked by Mother Maybelle Carter to join the Carter Family band as a regular on WSM's "Grand Ole Opry."
Helen's son left a comment on John Carter Cash's page about his mother's time with the Carter Family band, and how she had lived with June Carter for two years. There's a lot more, if you want to look up the junior Cash, it's all there. Going to finish up this 3-part series with a Chet Atkins. I don't have his WRVA press photo, but I saw it in the Old Dominion video posted in part 1, where he was called "Chester Atkins." This is a tune off his first album, released in 1953, called Black Mountain Rag:

It's hard to just say a few sentences about Chet Atkins, so I will leave it there and let the guitar do the talking.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Old Dominion Barn Dance, pt 2

The continuing saga of discovering who these people are in these old pictures on the wall... again, click on the pics to enlarge.

"The Saddle Sweethearts, Rose and Mary, two lovely young ladies, who pick and sing just as pretty as they look. On the left is Rose Schetrompf, who was born in Baltimore, Md. Started in radio at the age of 15. Plays guitar and does very nice solo work as well as harmony. on the right is Mary Klick, born in Hagerstown, Md. Started in radio in 1939, plays guitar and bass fiddle. The girls are nationally famous in radio, and joined the Old Dominion Barn Dance family in July, 1948."

Rose, in particular, had a career of note beyond the Saddle Sweethearts, which was her "good girl" WWII-era band. She was born Doris Schetrompf, and went on to marry Joe Maphis and become his duet partner as Rose Lee Maphis. I learned some of that through a Google-preview of this book: Lonesome cowgirls and honky-tonk angels: the women of barn dance radio by Kristine M. McCusker

Now Joe Maphis was a legend as a guitar pioneer and inspired Chet Atkins, Merle Travis and many others. He was a big deal. Here he is doing his comedy Barn Dance schtick as "Crazy Joe."

"Cousin Crazy Joe Maphis has been a radio entertainer since the age of 12. A native of Suffolk, Va., later moving to West Virginia. Has picked and sung with Sue, John and Sam Workman since 1940. Took time out for 3 years overseas duty for Uncle Sam. One of the original members of the old Dominion Barn Dance cast. Has been featured on most of the larger Barn Dance shows in this country. He is pictured here with his latest--Cindy the 1923 Ford, which he brings right out on the stage on Saturday nights."

Joe played in plenty of the Barn Dance bands. Here he is again with the "Korn Krackers," this time as Cousin Joe Maphis.

"The Krackers consist of Cousin Joe Maphis, Jackie Osborne, Buck Ryan and Ray Edenton. Ray was born in Richmond, Va. Started in radio in 1946, plays guitar and bass fiddle. Buck Ryan was born in Mt. Jackson, Va. Started his fine brand of fiddlin' in radio at the age of 15. Jackie hails from Grafton, W. Va. Made his radio debut at the age of 8 in Akron, Ohio. He plays guitar and bass fiddle. Cousin Joe Maphis, who plays most any instrument with strings, is a well-known radio artist to folks all over the country."

He might have been a legend among musicians, but his claim to fame is probably the song "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (and Loud, Loud Music)" which has been covered by the Flying Burrito Brothers, Porter Wagoner, Flatt & Scruggs, and lots more. This video with Rose and Joe was recorded in 1959, several years after the Barn Dance era featured in the pics here - but definitely old-timey classic honky-tonk. Enjoy!

Old Dominion Barn Dance, more info Joe Maphis wiki Still more to come in part 3. Don't touch that dial.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Old Dominion Barn Dance, pt 1

I've had a stack of old 8x10s (press photos) pretty much all my life. I never knew who those people were, never looked them up or anything, but still hung them on the wall in frames because they are cool and kind of funny. Decided to scan them and share, and in the process I looked them up.

These things are from WWII era, from a radio show on WRVA Virginia call the Old Dominion Barn Dance. During these times, radio ruled, and these radio shows were not only heard locally (and attended live) but sent overseas for the entertainment of soldiers away from home. Here's some more info on it, and a video about The Barn Dance, Sunshine Sue, and the whole gang.

Here she is, the first "Queen of the Hillbillies," Sunshine Sue (real name Mary Arlene Higdon). Caption below. Click any of these pics for a larger view.
"Sunshine Sue is Mrs. John Workman and is mighty proud of her "Big Sugarfoot" and little Billy Boy who was born in Richmond in 1941. Sue, along with John and his brother Sam, under the direction of WRVA, keep the Old Dominion Barn Dance rolling and strive daily to please you radio friends. Sue is the only "Femcee" of an nationally known Barn Dance. Born in Southeastern Iowa, as were the Workman brothers. She has been singing your favorite homespun songs on WRVA since January of 1940. As well as radio work, her interest is in being a housewife and mother."
The autographs on these are printed on, as they are on lots of press photos. Continuing in the series, which will take up a few posts here on the Oasis, are Benny and Curley.
"Yodeling Benny Kissinger and Fiddlin' Curley Collins are perennial favorites of the Barn Dance listeners. Benny was born in Fairchance, Pa. Started his radio career at the age of 15 in Fairmount, W. Va. Whether it's a Western cowboy ballad or an Irish ballad, the folks love to hear Benny sing. Curley was born in Catlettsburg, Ky. Started in radio at the age of 14 in Huntington, W. Va. Curley plays guitar, fiddle, and does fine MC work."

More to come! Gotta love these fashions!

Campaign time again (when isn't it?)

We went to see Bill White speak at a small rally on Saturday. Bill White is a Democrat and has a shot at actually winning. He's moderate (we both know that the whole state of Texas is not ready for a liberal, just smelling the coffee), mainstream, and qualified (after being Mayor of Houston). Rick Goodhair Perry managed to pull ahead in the polls recently, and the only reason I can think of is that he shot a coyote. This is nuts, but politics *is* nuts. I made a little doodad for Bill White on the sidebar, click on it to visit his campaign site or just click this.

If you are in Austin and in Lloyd Doggett's district, it's time to go get a yard sign and a bumper sticker. He sometimes goes unchallenged but that won't be the case in the recent political climate. Rep. Doggett is the only Congressperson I've ever had who represented my views. This time he's going to need an extra boost to hang in there. Lloyd Doggett is a treasure. Just my humble opinion.

Doggett campaign site
Doggett House Rep site

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bat Night

The Mayor and City Council have declared the Mexican Free-Tailed Bat to be our official city animal, and celebrated it on Sunday with a kickoff event featuring Adam West, a special screening of his Batman movie at the Paramount (for $$), and another (free) appearance of Mr. West *and* the Batmobile -- plus -- a concert by our beloved Band of Heathens. Here's Adam West's quickie appearance and below is a once-over of the Batmobile.

Some people showed up in costumes, and I admire those people for wearing *any* extra clothing because it was a very, very, sweaty, hot day/night. Humidity put the heat index into the low hundreds. I guess sweating is healthy, right? Whew. Bats like it hot though, and it's all about them.

Here's what all the fuss is about, our largest urban bat colony in the world (not my video). They figure there are between 750,000 and 1.5 million bats flying out from under this bridge every night in summer. It's really pretty awesome, and gets rid of the mosquitoes. I hate mosquitoes.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Johnny Depp is 47

I will see any movie with Johnny Depp, because even if it reeks here and there, he's always a redeeming little part of it. My favorite character of his is not The Hatter (pictured), I think I would pick Agent Sands from Once Upon a Time in Mexico. What's your favorite Depp character?
Photo by Leah Gallo, scanned from a magazine. Gorgeous photo.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

News from the Cat nursing home

The Mighty Favog (Jax, our 14 yr. old) has had us hopping for the longest time. He has needed to go to the vet *a lot* over the past few months with his itchy ailment (eosinophilic granuloma plaques). He breaks out in itchy spots and requires bandages, e-collar, topical meds, and steroids. Because he's impossible to pill we are limited in our ability to treat him. His breakout spots seem to be concentrated more on his left leg than on his belly now, which is a bummer because we discovered that he can still get to his leg even with the e-collar on. He's proud of his belly, which we are happy to report is growing some hair on it again now that the leg has become the culprit. We are also trying the Prozac again (which has made him easier to care for in some ways, but doesn't fix the itchies) but instead of the cheap pills, we have to get it made special in a meat-flavored compound that we smear on him so he can lick it off. He also gets regular allergy shots, which MrB administers because I can't deal with needles. Ugh.

Henry, who will be 19 years old this summer, is hanging in there with very little change. He maintains a steady level of high maintenance: twice a day prednisone pill and liquid pain med, once a day asthma inhaler. He throws up fairly often (like this morning I had to clean that up before coffee even). If you have a cat, you are used to that though, or you will be soon. His arthritis is getting worse, and we now bar him from stairs as well as carrying him from room to room in his bed like a King (whenever we think it's time for a change of scenery). We believe he still really misses his buddy, Duncan, who died of heart troubles in 2007. Duncan spent his entire 11 years of life buddied up with Henry - that's a long time in cat years. Henry howls through the night a lot. His eyesight is failing, and he probably has a certain amount of pain despite the meds, but we also think he's lonely. We spend as much time as we can with him, but we are no substitute. Love goes on.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Big Brother in your jeans

I felt something scratchy digging into my skin inside the jeans I had on, and discovered it was this (below). It was made of thin metal strips and was a little sticky. It was sewn in, with a little cloth patch barrier sewn on top, and I guess the cloth patch kept me from feeling this bugger before.

I got these Old Navy jeans at Goodwill, so they've been worn and washed who knows how many times before I got them, and I've worn/washed them quite a bit too.

Here is an excellent rant about these things, which are radio-frequency ID (RFID) chips. Attaching something like that to clothing in the store is not unusual, but apparently Old Navy is not willing to remove it for you as a store normally would for those thumb-tack gizmos.

At least I didn't go through the embarrassment of getting stopped for suspected shoplifting like the guy at the linked post, but I can't remember the last time I was in an Old Navy store. It's been a few years.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Return to Scamalot

{sigh} You know, I think craigslist is a great service and it's wonderfully free and all that, but every time I try to sell something on there, I get more scam responses than legit ones. I know... what should I expect? Trying to sell a Powerbook for $400 yesterday, and even though I wrote in the posting "Local only" I am getting those scammy responses that offer to pay more than you are asking to cover "shipping to another country."

They really try to pose as locals, or at least American, but their English always breaks down. Also, their references to your item are generic and could apply to anything that's for sale (because they don't really look at the ad).
From: "wills james" willsjames20@gmail.com

Thanks for the fast response actually i was guessing a gift to buy for my cousin,who is based in West Coast Africa with his company, and while browsing craigslist, i saw what you have for sale and found it quite nice as a gift. I am willing to offer $500 for it including shipping cost via USPS{ems}express mail. I will be paying through PayPal, because its the safest means of online payment.

Hope to read from you soon

Nice to read from you, "wills james," but I've already heard this one. They pay you with a fraudulent Paypal or a fake money order (I don't know how people rig up a fake Paypal, I only know that the transaction is going to bounce and fall back on me to make good. They offer to pay in advance (item unseen) and pay a lot extra to cover shipping overseas. Then someone will come to your house to pick it up (a third party agent), you will pay that person the shipping money and hand over the item. So you are out the shipping money *and* your merch, plus you have to make good with your bank for the fake stuff.
From: "Linda Carey" careylinda02@gmail.com


Thanks for the email. I read your posting of the item and I want to buy it for my niece in Lithuania, but I am currently busy at work but I can pay by PayPal account because it's safe and secure online transaction, I can pay a bit more then you are asking and to cover the extra cost to ship it.

i will be offering you $550 including the postage cost via post office or DHL,

Please get back to me on this, if my offer is acceptable and send your PayPal address and I can send the payment.

Thanks a lot!

Oh Linda... I didn't send you an email, and if I had, it would have said "Do you know what I am selling?" I wish I had time or tenacity to mess with you people. I'd find someone in law enforcement who's interested in busting you small-time criminals and that person would be meeting with you instead of me.

[updated June 2 with yet another scam email!]

I appreciate your response ,I'm willing to buy it for my co-worker in oversea.I want to know the condition of the item and i am asking Apparently if it can be shipped internationally via post office hope $150 will ship it because i make an Inquiries about the shipment via Post Office(Register Mail).I would be paying you through PayPal
because they are reliable for online transaction,Kindly email me with the email that associate with your paypal account / send me an invoice for me to remit payment as soon as possible. if you don't have paypal account,go to www.paypal.com and set up one and get back to me, its free and secured for online payment..

Please get back to me with your paypal id so that i can send the payment today into your account.

God Bless You

Yours Sincerely ,