Tag Archives: Rambling Ruminations

The Jesse James’ of the World

16 Oct

I was watching an NFL game and heard the announcer say something about a player named Jesse James. Obviously, this made me think about the famous outlaw, and I began to wonder something. How many people have this name?

In addition to the football player, there is the television reality star who was once married to Sandra Bullock. He made to it television as an customizer of motorcycles.

A professional wrestler also used Jesse James as a ring name. Of course, character names tend of change in professional wrestling, and he has also wrestled as Road Dogg and a few other things.

Locally, there is a country music singer named Jessie James. I do not know what she sings, but I know she is married to Eric Decker, who plays for the Tennessee Titans.

The list goes on and on, but you get the point. A lot of people are named Jesse James. This begs a question – why are people named for this criminal?

It is a question that has a few answers. In fact, I cover a few of them in class.

First, we tend to think of Old West outlaws as heroes. This could be because they represent independence and the ability to do as they please. It could also be because dime novels and movies convinced Americans that they lived a romantic lifestyle. This definitely happened with the original Jesse James.

However, there is one problem. I am not certain that Jesse James is an Old West outlaw. Some of his most famous robberies took place in Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky and Minnesota. Heck, he lived for a couple of years in Nashville. I am not sure those are places people have in mind when they think of the Old West.

Second, Jesse James is a cool name. It is alliterative and roles of the tongue. When people refer to Jesse James, they never say Jesse or James. They always say his entire name. Consider the brother of Jesse James. Frank James was involved in the robberies, but his name does not live on as a football player, motorcycle customizer, wrestler or country singer. The name does not draw the proper attention.

Yes, people are named Jesse James because of the original’s hero status and because it sounds cool. Heck, if the football player was named Frank James I would not even had heard it. I would not be writing this post, and you would not be reading it.

It sort of makes me sad for Frank James. Of course, Jesse was killed because he was the famous one, and Frank lived to a ripe old age. Frank James may be the cooler name after all.

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The Problem With Last Names

19 Aug

I am bothered by the most mundane things. That is probably a problem with me, but this is my blog. That means that, in this space, the problem is with that thing. Some of them have long been bothersome. However, this one just cropped up as my life has become more social.

What is this “nails on the chalkboard” thing?

It is calling people by their last name, and it is something that needs to be explained.

Let us say, hypothetically, that a couple wants to invite another couple to dinner. Someone says, “We should have dinner with the Bradys.”

In my mind, using the last name is too formal. I think someone should say, “We should have dinner with Mike and Carol.”

See, it sounds more relaxed and friendly. The dinner is not going to be black tie. It is probably going to be something at the local Chinese place.

What about this?

“Did you hear about the Munsters? They live in that weird house down the street. Their pet dragon is terrorizing the neighborhood.”

They should be asking about Herman and Lily. Of course, there should not be any gossiping going on.   If there is, then it definitely does not need to sound formal. Gossiping is one of the most lowdown things that we can do. Unfortunately, we all do it. Perhaps, I should write about that sometime.

Walking in a Field of Stone

6 Aug

Last Saturday, the weather was beautiful. Humidity disappeared for a day, and that is a big deal in these parts. It was a day that was meant for being outside. For a lot of people, that means activities like golfing, boating, jogging or working in the yard. However, I feel the pull of something else. I went for a walk through our city cemetery.

Much can be learned in a cemetery. You can learn about the lives of individuals and families. You can learn about the history of an entire community. There are even times when you can learn about the history of our nation.

As I walked, I visited the graves of my great-grandparents, who made it through life the best way they could. I stopped at the grave of my aunt, the first woman regional solicitor for the Department of Labor. Then, I visited the grave of my uncle, who passed away a few years ago.

Along the way, I passed markers that date to the early 1800s. Some of them honored congressmen who are buried there. Across the field, there were small Confederate flags at the monument for those killed in the Civil War. I saw last names that were once prominent in our town. Names that we no longer hear. These were people who owned successful businesses and held public office. People who altered the direction of our community in many ways.

The markers had different designs. Some were tall obelisks, and some barely existed at all. The words were faded to a point to where they could not be read. More recent grave markers were engraved with the hobbies of the deceased, but one was just a metal nameplate. It belongs to a prominent Nashville lawyer and former gubernatorial candidate who was born in our city. Now, he has no stone.

As I walked through the cemetery, I realized something. All monuments fade. Even the new ones will become unreadable at some point. Names that were once known by everyone will be forgotten as the generations pass. We cannot count on being remembered by a marker in a field of stone. We can only count on the deeds of our daily lives. We can count on ourselves to make an impact on our world. That impact may be great or may be small. It may or may not be remembered. However, we can make sure that it is positive.

 

The Story of Graduation

6 May

Another academic year has come to an end. Some students have packed up to go home for the summer. Other students have packed up to go on with their lives. They will take their degrees into the world and use the information that they have learned.

Graduation is always a day of excitement and pride. However, it is also a day of sadness because people who have been together for a couple of years leave campus and walk with their families in different directions.

Their lives will also take them in different directions. Some will follow the path of which they planned. Others will take detours along the way. Some of them will stay in contact with their former classmates. Others will disappear from view.

In high school, I had a good friend with whom I used to hang out. Heck, we knew each other before high school. After the high school graduation ceremony, we stood around in our regalia and talked. My mom took a picture of us. That was the last time I ever talked to him or saw him.

That is the story of graduation. It is a time to look to the future. Graduates tell each other that they will stay in contact and talk. Then, they leave campus to go to their family celebration. They busy themselves with getting jobs. Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months. Months turn into years. With all of that going on, it is difficult to stay in contact and talk.

Many of them will stay friends forever. Many of them will move on down the road and never look back.

Yes, that is what graduation is all about.

Should I…?

14 Apr

It is quiet. The only sounds are the hum of the air conditioner; the chimes on the porch; and the clicking of the keyboard. Nothing is moving. The dog is lying nearby on a blanket. Lots of questions are running through my mind.

Should I write about the controversy of moving the remains of President James K. Polk? Last week, I visited his ancestral home in Columbia, Tennessee and met the people who would like for him to be there. The worst part was someone in my group not knowing that he had been president.

Should I be outside? After all, it is a beautiful day.

Should I listen to Will the Circle Be Unbroken by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band? Earlier, I listened to some of it. The album starts with “Grand Ole Opry Song.” Luckily, we were able to attend their 50th Anniversary concert at the Ryman Auditorium. It was a great show.

Should I clean out my emails? Yep, I have a couple of email accounts, and both of them have gotten out of hand. I need to go in and delete some stuff. It is terrible to let spam hang around.

Should I get a flip phone? I have noticed something. Everyone who has a smart phone is always on it. They are addicted to it. I should not say they. In reality, it is we. Anyway, I also noticed that those who still have flip phones are never looking at them. That could be the way to go.

Should I check the mail? Wait, it is a holiday. Have you ever gone to the mailbox before realizing that the mail did not run. It has become a holiday tradition for me.

Should I put up the computer and do something besides type? I believe that I should.

Things I Think

25 Mar

I think…

the speed limit means that you can actually go that speed.

cracks in concrete are canyons for ants.

Escape from New York is the best movie Kurt Russell ever made.

the Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings version of “Suspicious Minds” is almost as good as the Elvis version.

the iPhone is the most addictive drug in the world.

that only rocks live forever.

the Freedom of Speech is under attack from people who only want to what they want to hear.

more people need to like history.

John Wayne and Clint Eastwood should have made a Western together.

people who are famous for no reason should lose their fame immediately.

people who throw chewing gum on the ground should have chewing gum stuck on them.

trees communicate with each other.

a remake of Escape from New York is a bad idea.

married life is a great life.

football, my favorite sport to watch, will one day be banned.

truffled macaroni and cheese is terrible.

I need to buy more vinyl.

reality television is the worst form of entertainment ever invented.

chairs are better than couches.

blogging is awesome.

 

Things I Think About While Listening to Jose Feliciano

16 Mar

It is a good night. We had a great meal with great conversation. Now, Jose Feliciano is on the turntable. The only problem is that it is cold outside. We made it through an entire Winter, and it had decided to get cold in the middle of March. It seems that Spring has not yet sprung.

Heck, Jose is singing “California Dreamin'” and is talking about a Winter’s day. I know how he feels. This is no time to be sitting in the house wearing a hoodie. Yet, that is what I am doing. I am also thinking that it is time for a stream of consciousness.

Let us start with Jose himself. He sings the theme to a terrible Western that could have been great. Mackenna’s Gold stars Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif and a bunch of other big stars.

It is about the search for gold. It is also about Julie Newmar swimming nude. According to movie lore, she was supposed to wear something in the scene, but she shocked everyone by doing it for real.

By the way, the theme sung by Jose Feliciano is “Old Turkey Buzzard.”

For those not up on their 1960s television, Julie Newmar plays Catwoman on Batman, the campy version that stars Adam West. A lot of cool people play villains on that show. Burgess Meredith plays the Penguin. Eli Wallach plays Mr. Freeze. Why do I mention those two? They are also in Mackenna’s Gold.

Did I mention that it is a terrible Western that could have been great? The real problems are the special effects. Man, they look terrible, and I imagine that they looked terrible when it first came out. They should have gone natural like Julie does in the skinny dipping scene.

Jose also sang the theme song for Chico and the Man, a 1970s television show about a cranky old man and a Chicano man in his 20s. It stars Jack Albertson and Freddy Prinze. It also stars Scatman Crothers.

Scatman appears in a ton of movies and television shows, but Friday Foster is one of my favorites. It stars the fantastic Pam Grier, but it also had Eartha Kitt. Does anyone know what other role features Eartha Kit? She plays Catwoman on the the campy 1960s Batman.

Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt play the same character on the same television show. Lee Meriwether also plays that character in that version of the Caped Crusader, but that is another story for another time. We could let Barnaby Jones work his way through that mystery.