The Country Curmudgeon

Bad, bad to the bone

Underdog’s nemesis, Simon Barsinister, is a really bad guy with a name that kids did not really get. Bar Sinister is a left-handed bar on a coat of arms indicating birth on the wrong side of the blanket. Thus, Simon the B—. He had this little device that upon uttering the words “Go snow!” would bury an entire region in snow and ice. This made it easy for him to conduct his nefarious business undisturbed by police. Somehow the supervillain always seems to be surprised when the superhero shows up to thwart him.

Driving me crazy

OK, you know who you are. Unfortunately, I do not, at least not until it is too late and I am behind you. I am referring, of course, to the erratic driver. (Do not confuse with erotic driver — that is something else entirely.)

Who are you?

Confusingly, “Who Are You” was performed by The Who. If you were born a bit later than me you may be asking who is The Who that performed “Who Are You?” Hint: It has nothing to do with “all the Whos in Whooville” or “Who’s on First.”

Anyway, the question demands an answer. My kids (I use the term loosely, the youngest is in his mid-30s) convinced me recently to finally join the 20th century by signing on to Facebook.

No horse, pardner

There is a saying about guys that wear cowboy hats who are not cowboys. “All hat and no horse.” Those boots with the high heels designed to stay hooked in the stirrups are just weird without stirrups. Besides, they will make your knees hurt, as I can personally attest. Oops! In my defense it was the 1970s.

Out of ammunition

In the old cowboy movies the Good Guy seldom runs out of bullets. The Bad Guy often does, whereupon he takes his empty gun, the one that cost him a half year’s pay, and chucks it at the Good Guy. You’d think they would learn after a while. They always miss. At this point the Good Guy, sportsman that he is, stops shooting, rides up alongside doing maybe 40 mph, and leaps from his horse, taking the Bad Guy tumbling onto the ground. They both then jump up and start duking it out. Remarkable. If I trip over the dog I need help getting up.

All about spoons

The common spoon; what do you think of? Metal, plastic, wood? Why a spoon at all? The spoon is surely a sign of an advanced civilization. Let’s face it. You don’t really need a spoon. A spoon is a convenience. It allows us to more efficiently handle certain problematic consistencies, like pudding and soup. Sure you could eat them without a spoon, but would you look and feel genteel? I think not. It certainly saves a great deal of hand and face washing, at the very least.

Sing along with Bjkrl

I was rereading Michael Crichton’s book, “Congo,” the other day, in which he makes a reference to an Air Force funded research program back in the ’70s studying potential communication with extraterrestrials. This reminded me of the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” In this story the hypothesis is that music can be used as a sort of universal inter-planetary language. Then it hit me; the answer to communication with aliens has been right in front of us since my childhood. Gene Autry was blazing more than a trail in the Old West.

Aptitudinally challenged

As Steve Martin once said, “Some people have a way with words while others … not have way with words.” It is an observation on inborn abilities, like memory. I forget who said this.

The human race has gotten itself into a lot of trouble by listening to Tony Robbins, the self-help guru. The belief that you can do anything you set your mind to has left a lot of frozen mountain climbers en route, just to name one. If that pilot trainee had been willing to admit that he just didn’t have the touch for landing a 707 we might have had one less spectacular crash on the morning news.

Those stupid birds

I was watching one of those castaways-at-sea movies the other night. The wretches were about ready to cash it in, spirits sagging, ready to give up, when behold! Birds! A sure sign of land! Their spirits revive and they resume paddling. These guys got lucky. Your average castaway would not know the difference between an albatross, a bird that spends most of its life far at sea, and a pelican, a shore-based fisherman who returns to land each night. Albatross, like pelicans, also eat fish, and maybe castaways too weak to defend themselves.


What is it about people that makes them collect? Most collections are worthless except to other collectors of the same stuff. We collect everything from bottle caps and matchbooks to cars. The more you get, the better the collection. However, a collection is no fun if it is finite. There has to be more stuff out there that you don’t have for you to try to collect. The more you collect, the less fun you have because it takes longer and longer to find the stuff you don’t have. A collection, by definition, is an exercise in frustration.