MLK

January 21st is the day we remember Martin Luther King’s birthday. This Tuesday on what should be a day for Americans to put aside politics and come together to honor the legacy of an extraordinary American, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK Day should be about his his teachings on love, his commitment to ministering the Gospel, his dream of equality for all people. I have a sneaky suspicion we will be hearing very little of that but more on how divided the media thinks we are as a country.

As I get older and reflect on my life I realize that I must have been oblivious to my surroundings when I was young when it came to race. After all I was growing up in the South at a time where I can remember the separate bathrooms. I remember integration at Indian Land High School. I don’t recall having any problems when the black kids from Barr Street High came to ILHS and if there were who could have blamed them. Looking back now, that had to be a awful experience for those kids. When I was young I never saw Hank Aaron as a black player or white for that matter. He was an Atlanta Brave, my team. So was Rico Carty, Ralph Garr, Orlando Cepeda. Black or white, who cared. I was color blind. I never noticed that the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates were the first team to start an all African American starting lineup. All I knew was Doc Ellis pitched a no hitter while tripping on LSD. Now that was a big deal. My grandmother always told me to try to put yourself into someone’s place. I have tried to do that all of my life. I admit I could be naive when it comes to race but to be honest I am happy to be naive. I guess in part because of what I see. I read in the press and listen to news that the race problem is worse than it has ever been. I have concluded that race issues will always be with us, some conjured up and some real but I see the good in people. I see it everytime I volunteer at the soup kitchen. I see these people who are mostly white and conservative open up the doors and love on people. I see people shed tears, pray, all sorts of acts of kindness with those on the other side of the serving window, and yes most of these are African Americans. I do not see the race issue as other people may because again of what I experience, not what may be reported on CNN. I also know to say there isn’t any racism would be stupid on my part. The ugliness of Charlottesville has shown us that.

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Over the summer we vacated and one of our stops was Memphis. We went by the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was assassinated. It was a eerie experience. I walked back in time. The motel, the cars, the sign. The quietness of people who were gathered there. Nothing had changed from that early morning, April 4th 1968 when those shots rang out in the Memphis sky. I can only hope that we will change and like Dr. King said “not judge by the color of their skin but the content of their character.” Amen Dr. King, Amen.

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Make 2019 Not Suck

Someone posted on Facebook last night , “ Reviewing 2018 resolutions, I have 6 hours to lose 40 lbs. Your selections are solicited.” That is 2018 in a nutshell for me. All the wonderful resolutions that I made last year and the years before were gone as faster than President Trump’s next Chief of Staff. I have only kept one New Year’s resolution in my life and the only reason that happened was because I was cheap. In 1984 Marlboro Reds went up from 75 cents to a 1$ a pack. I was not going to pay a dollar for a pack of smokes. Haven’t had one since. Resolutions pretty much are useless. So is dwelling on 2018. The same things that drive people crazy in 2018 are going to drive you crazy in 2019. I friend of mine told me last night, this was going to be a terrible year because of a monumental birthday she is having this year. They are pretty much all monumental at this point. It’s more of a surprise to me that I have made another year. Okay you say 2018 sucked. How can you make 2019 better? Seems like I made better bad decisions last year. Does that count?

My first suggestion would be to lay off “Talk Radio”.

A day without Rush and all the other so called radio pundits is like a day of sunshine. This includes Fox News, CNN, MSNBC. I quit several years ago after getting worked up every afternoon watching Glenn Beck on Fox. Rebecca threatened to have me committed. I truly do have a better quality of life.

Read more.

Reading is good for the brain. Reading challenges your imagination. Reading reduces stress. I have always been a reader. My grandmother instilled that in me at a young age when we would run up to Pettus Store to get books from the mobile bookmobile. David Baldacci, CJ Box, my favorite Ace Atkins, Ted Bell, Michael Connoly just to name a few are some wonderful authors. Read more.

Listen to music.

The Science Behind Why Music Makes Us Feel so good. Unlike food or sex, music  isn’t necessary for our survival, but it is extremely rewarding and pleasurable. It taps into the same parts of the brain that pleasure from sex and food does. Music  floods the brain with a chemical called dopamine. Try out Jason Isbell and the 400 unit, Band of Heathens, The Mavericks, The Record Company, Margo Price, Sturgil Simpson, Kacey Musgraves. Plus when I listen to music I find myself not turning the tube on nearly as much. Survivor is still on TV?

Volunteer. 

Instead of complaining about GOP or Democrats, Trump or Pelosi and about how crappy 2019 is, do something about it. Make a difference. Volunteer. It will make a difference in your life and you will see that some of your problems aren’t as big as you may have thought. If you have big problems find you a support group with like minded people who you can share with.

Adopt a pet.

There are tons of dogs and cats out there who need you. You can make a difference in the life of a animal. You will find that you actually may want to be around them a helluva lot more than people. Just be careful and don’t adopt a tannish beagle mix, with half a tail who loves to chew everything in sight.

I saw Lukas Nelson (Willie’s Boy) last year and he sang a song that pretty much sums everything up. He said, Turn off the news and build a garden. Do this and you will have a full year. Can I get a amen? Have a great 2019.


“Turn Off The News”

I believe that every heart is kind
Some of them are just a little underused
Hatred is a symptom of the times
Lost in these uneducated blues

I just want to love you while I can
All these other thoughts have me confused
I don’t need to try and understand
Maybe the I’ll turn off the news

Turn off the news and build a garden
Just my neighborhood and me
We might feel a bit less hardened
We might feel a bit more free

Turn off the news and raise the kids
Give them somethin’ to believe in
Teach them now to be good people
Give them hope that they can see
Hope that they can see
Turn off the news and build a garden with me

Trust builds trust
And all that negativity’s a bust
Trust builds trust
Don’t you wanna be happy?

Turn off the news and build a garden
Just my neighborhood and me
We might feel a bit less hardened
We might feel a bit more free

Turn off the news and raise the kids
Give them somethin’ to believe in
Teach them now to be good people
Give them hope that they can see
Hope that they can see
Turn off the news and build a garden with me
Turn off the news and build a garden with me

I Love Music As Long As It’s Groovy….

Studio where Bob Seeger, Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Steve Miller basically most everything in the 70’s were recorded here.

I love music. It is my passion. Always has been. From the time I was a little kid listening to to the Beatle 45’s on the orange and yellow Capitol Records label, or The Dave Clark 5, I was hooked. I had Beatle cards, Beatle dolls (still have Paul and George). Then British Invasion swept to America. Rolling Stones, The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, The Zombies, The Kinks, Freddie and the Dreamers, The Hollies. I’d watch Ed Sullivan every Sunday night to see who he would have on his “really big shew. “ Then I would adjust the rabbit ears, eat my chicken ala king that I had just boiled in the pouch and watch Shindig or Hullabaloo. I lusted after Petula Clark as she sang “Downtown” and I remember playing “Knights in White Satin” by the Moody Blues and “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan over and over again.

“ I love music as long as it’s swinging, all the joy that it’s bringing” …The O’ Jay’s

Over the years I collected 600 albums from Pink Floyd to Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers with some Andre Crouch in between. I had my Avent Model 300 receiver and pre amp, my Technics turntable and lastly my Cerwin Vega LOUD speakers that when ZZ Top sang where Jesus had left and to where he was going, everyone in the Dungeon on 211A Townes Street and surrounding areas knew it.

“Music is life, that’s why Our hearts have beats” .

Some friends and I took a vacation to Nashville, Memphis, Muscle Shoals, Alabama and the Mississippi Delta on a musical blues tour across the south a couple of months ago and to just be able to experience where Keith Richards wrote the iconic “Wild Horses”, which was on a commode lid at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and to hear a story about some little punk living in the woods for two weeks behind that studio which turned out to be Duane Allman. To see the gold records lining the wall of some of the most iconic songs ever made. To hear the famous Wurlitzer Electric Piano where Aretha found her sound at FAME studios was truly mind boggling. To go “Down To The Crossroads” in Clarksdale, Mississippi where Robert Johnson allegedly made his deal with the devil. ( much like Cher, Neil Diamond, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line I suppose) It was a wonderful trip. It was music.

Where words fail, music speaks.” Hans Christian Andersen

2018 had its share of great music. Leon Bridges, Jason Isbell, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Kacey Musgraves, Lukas Nelson, JD McPherson, Chris Stapleton, Lake Street Dive, The Record Company, Paul Thorn, The War and Treaty, The Revivalist, Tyler Childers, Greenville’s own Marcus King. Just to name a few.

Music is in great shape despite the losses in 2018 like Aretha, Dolores O’Riordan (Cranberries), Edwin Hawkins (Oh Happy Day), Marty Balin (Jefferson Starship), Roy Clark, Nancy Wilson (The Supremes), Tony Joe White, Ed King (Skynyrd), Randy Scruggs and despite the cesspool that is country music, the computer techno garbage, the I guess I am to white to get rap although for some reason I did like Danny Glover’s, “This Is America”, so you will find a nugget in any genre of music. So here is to 2019 and the good music, as long as it’s groovy…..

Music is also my escape from the bullshit life can sometimes bring you………..Steve Miller 


Aretha, Clarence Carter, The Allman Bros, Otis Redding, Percy Sledge recorded here

If Jesus Came To Greenville

On December 24th 1989 Rolfe Neill wrote a article in “The Charlotte Observer” asking what Jesus would do if he came to Charlotte on Christmas. I thought it was an interesting article back then so I cut it out and kept it. I recently found it and it got me thinking about if Jesus would ever visit Greenville what would his schedule be. Rolfe’s article was pretty dated with references to Jim Bakker, Phil Donahue, Johnny Carson. I really didn’t want to explain to some 20 year old with skinny jeans so I thought I would modernize it and add my own thoughts of what I think he would do. First of all, I am a believer in Jesus and claim to know him. Heck, I am a old ex-Episcopalian and that is a church started by a man who had six wives, so forgiveness goes without saying.

I have my own thoughts on Jesus. I have read the “red words” in the New Testament and as I said, I am a believer. I always wondered what question I would ask Jesus if I had the chance. I guess my first question to him would be Neil Diamond, Cher, Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan? Really? Jesus can you possibly explain that? Please tell me.

I don’t think Jesus would ever say the opening prayer at a Swamp Rabbit game. (Greenville Hockey Team)

I truly think he would be blackballed at most Greenville country clubs. I barely got in some of them.

I think Jesus would stare in stupefaction at all the churches or Baptadome’s or Repentagon’s or campuses as they are called now that are erected in his Father’s name here in Greenville and instead go to a all night chapel and pray alone.

I think he would drop coins in the Salvation Army bucket and spend the night at The Salvation Army.

He would probably ride a bus and not drive a Lamborghini.

I don’t think he would ever take Jennifer Garner’s place in those crappy Capital One commercials.

I think he would go to Perry Correctional and spend time with the inmates.

I think he would go by the Humane Society and pet a dog and wonder why he created a cat………. I mean hold a cat.

I think he would wonder how most church-related colleges justify the claim to themselves.

I think he would visit Carolina Retirement Center and empty the bedpans of the elderly.

He would tell children to obey their parents and husbands and wives to love one another.

He would thank the Gideons for enriching every hotel room in Greenville

I think Jesus would tell Dabo that he better enjoy this run because it won’t last forever.

Just for kicks and giggles he would switch he skin of all black and white people.

He would see that Greenville County leads South Carolina in sex trafficking and wonder why the county, churches and businesses aren’t trying to do more.

I think on Christmas morning he would eat breakfast under the Hollis Bridge and dine with the homeless there. In the afternoon he would spend time at “Home With A Heart” talking with recovering alcoholics and their families. I think he would spend the night at Shepherd’s Gate assisting battered women.

I think he would ask why we waste so much food and thank Loaves and Fishes for helping eliminate waste in Greenville County.

I think Jesus would ask to Spotify Mahalia Jackson and Andre Crouch.

He would visit the Falls Park and feed the birds from his hand.

I think Jesus would scorn many of the sermons preached this day in Greenville in his name and ask whatever happened to the social gospel? How did prosperity religion supplant Jesus teaching? When did the moneychangers regain possession of the temple?

And finally, I think he would look at Greenville as well as all America and see the country that was founded on Christian principles and wonder what has happened. He would probably say that I didn’t make it that hard. All I said was follow these greatest commandments. “Love your God with all your heart and secondly, love your neighbor as you would yourself. ” Jesus would probably say that you are failing miserably.

Big Big Bob Gibson

I stumbled across  BBQ sauce crack at “The Local Cue” in Greenville.  I am not very big on bar food however if you want something different and different I mean these guys smoke their own wings and that come from big chickens. They also have Brisket Nachos, BBQ Benedict, Chilaquiles, Pork and Collard Spring Rolls with, Memphis Red, SC Gold, NC Vinegar, blackberry habanero, Korean BBQ, Singapore BBQ sauces.  This place is numero uno in Greenville for bar food.  But what makes this BBQ kick is the “White Sauce”!!!!!! Made from Duke’s Mayo, (there is no other) horseradish, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar  as well as other things that I have tried to perfect.  

Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q began bottling their Original White Sauce in the mid-90s. It’s now available in grocery stores in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida, as well as specialty shops across the country.  

In their restaurants, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q uses the sauce as fast as they can make it. Each smoked chicken that comes off the pit in the pit room gets dipped in a vat of white barbecue sauce. “It gives it a good coating and it keeps the chicken from drying out while we hold it on the service line,”  They don’t do another sauce application until it gets to the table out front where the customer can add more white sauce if they want to.

Now, there are those that swear up and down that Big Bob didn’t start the Alabama White Sauce craze in Alabama but when you think of Alabama White Sauce, Big Bob Gibson’s name will pop up. You can go online and get several variations of it.  I’ve had different versions.  Eating it is was like the first time I had guacamole. I had to close my eyes because it looked like my friends daughters diaper. That sauce just looks like somebody spooged all over the chicken but my oh my this is some good sauce and the Local Cue   – 30 Orchard Park Dr, Suite 7, Greenville, South Carolina 29615 – does there version of the  white sauce right, plus they have 20 or so taps. Believe me, it’s the greatest BBQ sauce ever.  

Pick Up Your Lambo Keys And Follow Me

Living in Greenville SC it is hard not to listen to local or national news and not hear about Greenville Pastor John Gray of Relentless Church and the $200,000 anniversary gift he gave his wife.  In his defense Gray has said he has saved his money for years and drew on a variety of sources financially including his second book deal and the fourth season of The Book of John Gray, his Oprah Winfrey Network reality-TV show, to pay for the gift.   I also know the church is very involved in the community and does good things in the Greenville area however I also believe that the version of Christianity that John Gray, Joel Osteen, Steven Furick’s of the world  bloviate  are the very ones who have given American Christianity the black eye that it deserves.  If I was starving for religion and  walked into a religious buffett restaurant and I had the choice of anything I wanted, including American Christianity,  I would walk away hungry because there would be nothing that would appeal to me.  John Gray may be a good man but like he and the others it is all about the money. I have always thought pastors were like football coaches.  You would never see Dabo leave Clemson and go to Furman much like you would never see John Gray leave Relentless Church to go to my Church that has around 100 people on Sunday mornings. For some reason when the Lord speaks it is always a move upward and it’s always about the Benjamins. Pastor Gray asked “What is the big deal?” Their to me lies the problem.  He doesn’t know that it is a big deal.  He doesn’t understand that it is a big deal.  He can’t see that it is a big deal.  Besides, Jesus would have bought American.

  

So I Decided To Write A Blog

So I have decided to start a blog.  I have found out as I have gotten older that I enjoy writing.  It runs in the family, my grandmother and my mother wrote poetry and my grandmother journaled back before jouraling became popular. My brother has a blog and also has written several books, so now I guess it is my turn.  I can’t see myself writing a book and honestly I can’t see anyone really reading this blog so mostly it is for my own entertainment.  Call it therapy, I guess. Occasionally there may be something that someone in passing may find interesting and if that is the case, please tell me. I pondered for awhile on what to name this thing, because every blog has to have a catchy name.  I was listening to Dan Le Batard on ESPN radio and he speaks of all the gasbag coaches at press conferences who always talk but nothing ever comes out of their mouth. Perfect….. Much like myself, I talk all the time but nothing ever really comes out of my mouth.  “Reflections Of A Gasbag”  was born.    Merriam Webster defines gasbag as “a  person who talks too much, typically about unimportant things”.  Nuff said.  I will write about restaurants I visit, food which I consume, music that I listen to, places I have traveled and hope to travel to and culture in general. I will gasbag on some things that are important but mostly I’ll be gasbagging about things that aren’t.  Life is short and it gets shorter with every passing day.  Let’s enjoy it, laugh about it because there is so, so,  so much material to choose from.