AAW: Acronyms Another Way

MADD: Mother’s Advise Dare Devils

Unlike Mothers Against Drunk Driving, this group has a certain amount of resignation that boys will be boys.  So instead of trying to outlaw cliff diving and motor cross jumps, this MADD group spends their time and research dollars by sponsoring clinics at martial arts studios and skateboard parks and teach teenage boys the best way not to kill themselves while doing a triple-salami sandstorm or a scorpion death tongue.


ACLU:  All Claires Love Ukuleles

Unlike the formidable American Civil Liberties Union, this rather small group of woman named Claire has a quirky passion to get together and play ukuleles.  The rules are that simple but strictly enforced.  The next meeting is October 24thin Davenport, Iowa at Claire Jackson’s house.  Please bring a casserole along with your ukulele and two forms of ID.


NYPD:  New Yorkers Play Doctor

Like their fraternal brothers in law enforcement, this group of New Yorker’s is solving a societal problem the only way a Brooklynite can: by tackling the problem head on through shortcuts.  So, instead of MCAT’s, med school and residencies, this ever-evolving group is seeing patients at the fraction of the cost by staying connected through medical apps, specialized chat rooms and whatever “Ask a Nurse” is available through a random list of toll-free numbers.  Need a splenectomy?  Just let them download the procedure!


 NATO:  The North Adriatic Treachery Opera

Not to be confused with the alliance that has kept Europe peaceful for over 70 years, this Albanian musical group believes every opera should reflect life with a heavy amount of backstabbing and bloodletting.  If you attend, it is advised not to sit in the first three rows.


 AARP:  Angry Americans Remove Problems.

Unlike the powerful organization that caters to the growing needs of an aging population, this group doesn’t rely much on lobbying and letter writing.  Instead, they take matters into their own hands.  Just don’t ask them how.  There will be no minutes on how they solved Clarence Dawkins insistence on mowing his lawn at 7 am every Saturday.

Uncool – Traffic

I have this friend, Scott, and we have much in common.  Besides being marginal golfers, we also have a shared philosophy when it comes to driving on the parkway, being one should enjoy the commute.  I don’t understand why anybody wouldn’t subscribe to this philosophy.  The whole purpose of driving on the parkway is to relax.  Just look at the word.  It has the work park in it.  But the main complaint people have with the parkway is the speed limit, which is 25 mph, which to most is the equivalent of still being in park.  But isn’t that the point?   If you want to go 40-50 mph, try a thoroughfare.  If you want to go 60-70 mph, jump on the freeway. And if you feel a need to go above and beyond any of these speeds, there are always church parking lots.

For Scott, being on the parkway is therapeutic for he can relax and work through his day.  When I’m heading home after visiting my parents in the suburbs, I like to take the Theodore Wirth Parkway back into Minneapolis.  I love how my engine hums just above an idle.  I love how the scenery unfolds like a painting.  I love how a squirrel can dart into the road, freeze, shift and dart back before my front tires even reach it.  Sure it takes more time but that isn’t a priority.  Hustle is important but so is rest.  Decompression, space can all be found on the parkway unless some jagweed is behind you.  Then you have a problem.

Nothing will ruin a perfectly good drive than to have a motorist riding your back bumper.  I don’t even know why these drivers are even on the parkway.  If they really need to get somewhere quickly, why do the pick the slowest route? I find speeders on the parkway annoyingly dangerous for they don’t understand how quickly things can go wrong.  First, there isn’t much room for them to pass.  Second, there are plenty of joggers, picnickers and skaters darting in and out along with the squirrels.  It’s really not a place for excessive speed.  It’s not a place to get quickly from here to there. That’s why I couldn’t figure out why the car behind me kept honking.

I was taking my little brother, Chris, back home after a few rounds of Frisbee golf.  We were inching along the west side of Calhoun Parkway for the area was full crossing sunbathers, volleyball players and cyclist on ten-speeds. My concern was not to run into any of them, but it didn’t sit well with the car behind me that kept swerving and honking.

Clearly, the car wanted to pass, so I let off the gas and pulled to the right to let the car whip around and continue for another thirty feet before it came to a red light.

All that work for a red light?  Normally, I am mild mannered and let most things pass, but I couldn’t help from raising my hands above the steering wheel and mouthing, “Where are you going to go now, Jackass?”

In less time it takes a New York cabbie to run a meter to $20.00, the motorist jumped out of his car and started yelling at me.  I had no idea what he said for I couldn’t get past his appearance.  He was built like a NFL linebacker, and except for a pair of yellow running shorts, he was completely naked and high on some strong psychotropic drug for he was frothing completely incoherent nonsense.

Even though it was a hot summer’s day, a chilling cold front rolled through the car. It was an absolutely terrifying moment that slipped beyond my control.  With the amount of adrenaline coursing through the guy’s steroid-infused body, he could have easily pulled me from the driver’s side window and snapped the life out of me. What was annoying had turned dangerous. I wished more than anything that Chris wasn’t in the car.  He didn’t need to such a deteriorating scene.  No one should, but random violence never asks for an invite.

As the guy took another step towards my car, the car behind me honked for the light was now green and turning yellow.  The guy jumped back into his car and peeled through the red light.  I remained.  Whatever lay ahead could wait.  Being on the parkway, I was in no hurry.


Have you ever been in the middle of a song, singing away, when a singular, poignant thought comes to you, as in what are the words coming out of my mouth? For example:

Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care

What does this even mean? Does it mean anything or is it like most children’s songs that string nonsensical words together in an attempt to keep little ones occupied? Well, to understand the chorus let us start with the lyrics:

When I was young I used to wait
On master and hand him his plate
Pass him the bottle when he got dry
And brush away the blue-tail fly

That’s wonderful. We now have a children’s song about slavery. What lesson are we going to learn?

When he would ride in the afternoon
I’d follow him with my hickory broom
The pony being rather shy
When bitten by the blue-tail fly

How is the singer going to follow if the master is on a horse? And if a horse gets bit by a fly the size of a model airplane, why is its reaction shyness? If you were ever bit by a blue-tail fly, which is a horse fly, then you know it feels like you are being stabbed and burned at the same time. It’s a bite that does not cause shyness unless shyness meant enraged anger during the antebellum South, which explains:

Well the pony jumped, he start, he pitch
He threw my master in the ditch

Now I can understand the jovial nature of the song. Of course the singer is going to feel pretty good after seeing his master chucked from a horse. But why does the singer feel a need to crack some corn?

Like many things in life (e.g. the bible, the constitution, the television series Lost) the chorus has multiple interpretations. Depending on the source and what to believe, “jimmy crack corn” can mean:

• Cheap corn whiskey
• The term used to open a bottle of cheap corn whiskey
• Crows eating in a cornfield
• A regional term meaning “chitchatting”

I think it is perfectly reasonable to believe that after seeing his master fall off a horse and break his neck, the singer probably retrieved the bottle from the previous stanza, sat in the master’s chair and said, “That’s the funniest thing I ever saw.”

Still how did an accidental death turn into a kid’s song? Why did Burl Ives turn it into a sleepy lullaby? Why would a white rapper from Detroit spin his own song from the title? I read Eminem’s lyrics a couple of times and I have no idea what it is about. All I can gather is belligerent indifference. Here is an excerpt:

Jimmy crack corn and I don’t
Did you hear? I don’t give a

On a positive note, even with the string of profanity and a guest solo by 50 Cent, it doesn’t appear anyone dies in Eminem’s version.

Since the true meaning of this song may never be revealed, I feel I can offer my own interpretation. After all, I’m addicted to popcorn.  So when I hear “crack corn” I naturally think of popcorn. And “Jimmy” can easily sound like Jiffy. So it’s not a stretch to sing:

Jiffy Popcorn and I do stare
Jiffy Popcorn and I do glare
Jiffy Popcorn and I’m aware
I burnt the batch again.  Dang!

Photo courtesy of salinjohn.

Seven Deadly Phrases – Minnesota State Fair Addition

1. “There is a place on machinery hill near the whirlpool and spas, where, Dear Lord, you can save fifty cents on a pork chops and brats.” (Pamphlet handed out at the front gate.)

2.  “It’s not practical.  It’s fashionable.”  (Walking through the International Bazaar.)

3. “Am I eating gator or ostrich?”  (It was camel.)

4. “Wow this Stratosphere ride is really long.”  (It was broken.)

5. “Did you say wine or swine flu?” (Most definitely both.)

6. “I’m walking.  Do I need to have an idea?”  (Any response on where to go next.)

7. “Yes, Officer, we did leave our baby at home, and no, you may not look in the diaper bag.” (At the Motley Crue-Kiss concert.)


I watched a Blue Ray the other day, but before the credits rolled, a warning:

The copyright proprietor has licensed the optical disc (including its soundtrack) for private home use only.  All other rights are reserved.

It further went on to say:

The definition of home use excludes the use of this optical disc at locations such as clubs, coaches, hospitals, hotels, oil rigs, prisons and schools.

Three things:

First, if you are at a club and the only thing you are doing is watching a movie, you are in the wrong club.

Second, do you think people in prison care if they are breaking the law?

Third, How did oil rigs end up on this list?  How can this warning even be enforced?  Some oil rigs are on platforms in the middle of the ocean staffed with people who either got out of prison or are on their way.  I’d hate to be the person to fly into the Gulf of Mexico to  tell a group of roustabouts or wildcatters that their double feature of Steel Magnolias and Sense and Sensibility has been cancelled because some nitwit in Hollywood put oil rigs on a list.

Marathon and Beyond

Why do people run marathons?  Does anybody realize the original one was job related and involved a person dying?  That’s how it started.  A Greek soldier by the name of Pheidippides was given the assignment of traveling from the town of Marathon to Athens to spread the news of the Greeks’ victory over the Persians.

Since he didn’t have a valid Eurail Pass, Pheidippides ran the whole way, only stopping to drink from nearby wells and to let a trainer work on a troubling charley horse.  He ran for so long he started to drop a couple of P’s and a few I’s from his name.  And when he finally reached Athens and delivered the news, it is legend he immediately dropped dead.

Knowing the above story, I’m glad I’ve never ran a marathon.  The only way I can see participating in one is if the course ran along a major bus route.  I once met a woman at a cocktail party who told me her greatest accomplishment reaching 30 was running a marathon in Hawaii.  I told her my greatest accomplishment reaching 30 was reaching 30.

Life is rough and marathons only provide compound fractures.  Still, I understand the lure.  From an exercise point of view it’s the perfect cardio workout.  A steady run can elevate the heart rate and quickly burn calories.  When I went for a run, I loved how it calmed and cleared my mind.  At the end I felt a mixed sensation of being relaxed and energized.  However, I didn’t like how I couldn’t get out of bed the next day.  This may have been due to poor genetics and a lustful need for contact sports.  Still, running did not help.

Now that I walk I am surprised how much I now see, like falling of leaves from a tree, the stillness of a quiet lake, the playful nature of a neighborhood squirrel, the cranky attitude of passing wood duck.  Then there is the steady stream of joggers passing me on the left and right, getting in their training miles for the next marathon

Running I understand.  Marathons I do not.  The reason?  There are three:

  1. Time.  I don’t subscribe to any activity that takes four hours to complete.  This is why I never bake bread or golf more than nine holes.  The average male runner takes four and a half hours to complete a marathon provided his wife lets him.  That’s a full workday of running if he has to run back to his car after the race.
  2. Mechanics.  I hate to tell you runners but humans are not designed to run long distances.  Unless you are part gazelle or Kenyan, you are not going to look graceful.  For most, running a marathon is a deteriorating slog.  It’s a proven fact that the human body can only store enough burnable carbohydrates for 18 to 20 miles.  After that the body must tap stored fat.  And the last thing the body wants to do during this process is run another six to eight miles.  In running terms this transition is called “hitting the wall.” What your body is saying, “That was fun.  How about we go out for pizza?”
  3. Boring.  Let’s face it.  There is no part of a marathon that is interesting.  All people do in marathons is run.  That’s it.  There is no jumping unless it’s over a pothole or a fallen runner.  There is no tackling unless a crazy fan jumps out of the stands to hug the leader.   And there is no scoring like football or night clubbing.  There is only running and trying to lower your time.  From a spectator point-of-view, you would find lawn bowling more compelling.  If you go to a live marathon, you have about 14 seconds to see your spouse/friend/co-worker run past you.  If you watch it on TV, you can spend most of the time in the kitchen baking bread.  If you miss the whole race, you can catch the highlights on the evening news for there will only be one: the winner breaking through the white tape, bending over and vomiting all over his shoes.

These are big challenges and I think it’s time for runners and organizers to consider what running a marathon really means and figure out ways they can improve their sport.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Go Old School.  Runners could represent what the marathon originally stood for by selling themselves as couriers.  During their race they could transport packages or legal documents.  They could carry secret messages for organizations who need to convey information but don’t trust the government or big business.  Granted, some of these enterprises might be illegal in nature, but wouldn’t that add some excitement to the run?
  2. Town Crier.  I think it would be great if we had someone to spread the day’s news by running through the streets.  Who doesn’t get nostalgic when they hear from an open window “The British are coming” and “Apple stock is up 15%?”  Granted, any news is now available with the access of a smart phone.  So maybe news spread by marathon runners could be more personal and uplifting like “Mayor Slayton wishes everybody a wonderful Columbus Day and this Friday will be the last pickup for leaf bags.”
  3. Volunteer.  If somebody can run a marathon, what can’t they do?  Why should they limit themselves to only running?  Why can’t they incorporate 26 lonely miles into a noble enterprise?  I know many marathons already have causes, which is great.  After all RACE FOR THE CURE is a better than RUN FROM THE COPS.  Marathons for cancer research is a great idea but why not go one step further and ask the runners to go to the houses and collect the pledges from the sponsors?  Or if this seems like a logistical nightmare, how about having runners pick up trash along a marathon route?  Suddenly it isn’t the person with the lowest time but TIME – TRASH COLLECTED = WINNER.  I know I certainly would come out and cheer the marathon if the runners came down my block.