May 8,1886

One hundred twenty-five years ago today, in Atlanta, Ga, a momentous event took place. The after effects are still with us in ways that could never have been envisioned by James S  Pemberton or the customers of  Jacobs Pharmacy. For those untold millions whose thirst has been quenched by a ” Co-Cola” as my wife famously said after the birth of our first child, and Mello- Yello lovers everywhere, it should almost be  a holiday. Yep, it was the day in which the first Coke was served.

I don’t really care much about the secret formula or if somebody has actually published  it somewhere. I have very little interest  in knowing that   the beverage actually had cocaine for a time. I just know that there have been many times that nothing but a Coke would satisfy or quench  my thirst as jingles have proclaimed. It has settled my stomach many times, has smoothed the way for many a hot dog and hamburger and still does. In the interest of disclosure I  would be remiss if I failed to mention that Mello-Yello shares the top spot now. But it is  a Coke product, of course.

It is interesting that an NC native, the home state of Pepsi, would be such a loyal  Coke consumer, but there you have it. I well remember in my hometown of Leaksville, NC as it was known then, watching the Coke bottles go round and round at a bottler? or distributor and thinking how cool that was.

But in the interest of history as I remember it I recall that while living in Columbus, Ga in the late 70’s and early to mid 80’s that there was  the John S Pemberton house located on  a brick paved street near the Chattahoochee River where I often indulged my then affinity for running. There was a  plaque on the grounds identifying that house as being that of one John S Pemberton who concocted the formula for Coke and then rushed off to the big city.

Actually he probably refined the formula  after moving to Atlanta where the product was not well received until being bought by Asa Chandler with the rest being history. Ironically for me, Dr Pemberton,  a pharmacist by trade, was actually born in North Carolina and buried in Columbus. Finally I have an NC connection for Coke. Have to go now, it is time for  a Mello-Yello!


May 8, 2011 Posted by | Culture, Food | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Top Gun is one of my all time favorite movies. Maverick and Goose, Ice Man and Charlie, Cruise and Kilmer,etc. Near the end of the movie, shortly after the climactic dog fight, Kilmer and Cruise meet on the deck of the carrier. After a brief stare down, Kilmer tells Cruise, “you are still dangerous,” adding that he could still be his wingman. Then we have the macho man  hug and action continues.

According to some well-known folks, there is  a dangerous person running amok around the country today. She has been to Ft Bragg, to Roanoke,Va, to Columbus and Cincinnati, Oh among others. Organizing for America director Mitch Stewart calls her dangerous as does well-known style arbiter Martha Stewart, presumably not related. Ms Stewart, apparently with her verbal claws sharpened also threw in the descriptive words confused  and boring. Doubtless Tina Fey had something to say also, but I don’t care.

Of course, we speak of Sarah Palin as she tours the country to promote her book which sold some 300,000 copies on day 1. I will say up front that unlike a number of my conservative brethren, I am uncertain as to whether Ms Palin would make  a good president of presidential candidate even. But I am certainly enjoying the angst that is surfacing  among those who are not fans. Is she dangerous? Dangerous to what and to whom, don’t know. I don’t really think so. It was amusing to note Martha Stewart’s comments. I  am unsure how one can be boring and dangerous simultaneously. If you are dangerous, you are certainly not boring are you? Why does Martha even care?

Anyway, the Obamacare folks should applaud her media attention. She is probably diverting some attention from all the machinations and payouts occurring in the Senate to obtain the votes of wavering Democrats. Whatever it takes, though. Sen Schumer said, we can’t not succeed. Parse that phrase, all you grammarians.

Last note. McCain has read her book and liked it. Obama says he probably will not read it.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are We Having A Coarse Discourse?

According to some, both in the media and in government, indeed we are. Om  of the latest to opine is Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The Secretary made his comments to the Columbus, Oh. Dispatch newspaper in response to criticism of the President making 5 appearance on Sunday news shows this past week. He said”trash talk” on conservative talk radio and tv shows( hint: Limbaugh and Beck although he did not name anyone).He said that the nation’s ability to solve its big problems is being impeded.

“‘He( Obama) can’t even compete with all this stuff that people are saying about him, so the idea that he did five interviews Sunday, that’s just miniscule compared to the kind of trash talk that goes on all week prior to that.”

“All of this background, all of this trash talk in the background, it does not contribute to civil discourse…”

Now , pay close attention to this next response and see what comes to mind( Does the term Fairness Doctrine sound familiar?). He was asked if he could envision any changes in the media that might reverse this trend of incivility.His response,”In a word, no.Unless the people decide…to shut it off, to turn it off.” Inadvertently, he mat have said more than he intended. If people don’t want to hear or watch Limbaugh or Beck, et. al, they can watch Olbermann or Maddow or Cooper or listen to Air America. Apparently, th have not made that choice , in significant numbers, at least to this point.

One other thought. What level of discourse is  acceptable and who decides. Perhaps Mr LaHood should check out some of the criticism that Lincoln  faced and see how civil that was.

September 26, 2009 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Shoot Low Boys, They’re Riding Shetland Ponies”

Yes, I was, am, I guess a fan of the late Lewis Grizzard, a southern author and humrist non pareil. I suppose I was introduced  to him when living in Georgia  in the late 70’s and early 80″s. I could always  get  a  laugh by just reading aloud  the names of his  books.  His columns  themselves  were always treasures. I learned that he was actually born in Ft Benning, next door to where we lived in Columbus. I knew from his writings that he suffered  from heart trouble,which was finally the cause of his demise at age 48.

Just recently, I piped up  about  one of his books at work and one of the guys I work with  exlaimed  how happy he was to learn he was not the only Grizzard fan in the world and would so inform his wife.

Now, after that overly long intro, I guess I should shed some light on my choice of that phrase for my title. I sort of put my own spin on things sometimes to have a phrase suit a  situation. And so it is this time. I have taken this title and doubtless used it in a way the author never intended. For me, in  a more or less humorous way, it means setting ones expectations low enough so that they are easily attainable.

Now, don’t jump to the conclusion that I have no high expectations, for surely there have been some along the way. But you must admit that low ones are easier to meet than the higher ones, each and every time.

A couple of examples might suffice. UNC  football has never attained the lofty heights of basketball. There have been some very good years,some great players( Julius Peppers, Lawrence Taylor, Don McCauley and of course Choo Choo Justice) but never  a period of excellence that was maintained for long. So we aim lower as fans and hope against hope that now is different and that Butch Davis will be the guy. I would use some work related examples from over the years, Suffice to say, they have existed.

Am I a pessimist, perhaps. Truly a glass that is half full has got to be half empty as well.  But in an  effort to fight that natural born pessimism, remember that the 2010 elections will be here soon enough. You are welcome.

August 27, 2009 Posted by | Literature, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Second Firstborn

Technically, one cannot have two firstborns. But, one can have a firstborn daughter and a firstborn son. Today is the celebration of the the birth of that firstborn son. Yes, indeed, a quarter century ago  plus one in the “metropolis” of Columbus,Ga, we became the proud and thankful parents of a son.

Unlike our daughter’s birth(see March 8 post) there were no weather related issues.  There was however a near midnight trek to the local hospital with at least one of us expecting to be sent home. You see, we made this trip some three weeks earlier than we had been led  to expect. But, in a manner eerily prophetic of  one who has always gone his  own  way  and continues to do so, our son was ready for his grand entrance. And about 100 hours of labor later- give or take, there he was!

I really wanted to find a suitably embarrassing photo from years  gone by but alas, my completely well intentioned efforts were vetoed by his mom. And  not once, but twice.

So, from those who knew you first, happy birthday and mazel tov!

Ninja Turtles Never Forget Birthday

Ninja Turtles Never Forget Birthday

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Family | , , | Leave a comment

Tales Of Christmas Past

I’d love to write a post about ghosts and visions  and Scrooge and Tiny Tim . But about all that this will have in common with A Christmas Carol is the phrase ” God bless us every one ” . My tale of Christmas Past goes back to 1982 and takes place in Columbus, Ga where we were living at the time .

i often refer to this as part of my previous life when I was employed in a textile company credit union . Being December we were extremely busy lending money and only being a 2 person operation, I was working a lot of ( unpaid ) overtime . So it was not very smart for me to get involved in a very time consuming activity since I had almost no time . But I took the plunge anyway and volunteered  to be a part of the crew for our (   First Baptist ) church’s initial presentation of The Living Christmas Tree .

Our music minister was Ron Collins who was one of the originators of the living or singing Christmas tree as it is variously termed . He was ably assisted by a choir of 70 ( of whom my wife was a member ) , an orchestra, numerous people involved in construction of the tree , lighting , sound  and technical people , costumers , dramatic people , decorators    and others I can scarcely remember . All in all , I suppose 125-150 people, some of them doing double duty .

Not being musical or terribly talented in . in  much of anything else , I ended up as one of two people running lights . We sat a small consoles at the back of the auditorium with a gentleman in between who really knew music . He coordinated our lighting  work with the music . It sounds so simple to write but simple it was not .

I could write forever i suppose but wil try to narrow things a bit . On Thursday before the first of 7 presentations that began on Friday, rehersal went until about 11 PM . I had a terribly demanding day lined up at work so as i recall, Iarrived at 5 AM and worked until 5PM at which time I raced to the church, fortunately only a few blocks away .

The electricity was definitely in the air , would things work, what would people think etc . I remember being so very nervous and not wanting to be the schmuck who messed it all up . The  choir entered in darkness , singing as they  mounted the 35 ft tall metal tree, gorgeously decorated with ornaments , lights and greenery . When the lights first came up it was as aif a collective Ohhhh arose from the crowd of 600 or so . I get chills even now remembering . It was a wonderful thing to experience , even as a small cog and I have been thankful for it ever since .


December 2, 2008 Posted by | church, Holidays | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment