Archive for April, 2016

Lee Trevino: He was never one to hang out in the locker room playing paddy-cake with Arnie and the boys.

Lee Trevino: He was never one to hang out in the locker room playing paddy-cake with Arnie and the boys.

All in all I’d rather be at the big, lush-green, flowery giant that is the golf course at Augusta in Georgia for the final round of the Masters.

As a lifelong fan and sometimes very good and sometimes hack of a player of the game that so many people (understandably) find as exciting as watching grass grow, the Masters ranks right up there in my book with the Super Bowl.

I grew up watching pro golf from the time that the likes of Nicklaus, Palmer and Gary Player of South Africa–not to mention characters like the easy-going old gentleman Sam Snead of West Virginia and the hyper-colorful Puerto Rican Chi Chi Rodriguez–were featured on black-and-whte TV.

They were as much my sports heroes as Micky Mantle and Yogi were in baseball, and Sam Huff and Frank Gifford and Bob Lilly and Don Meredith and “Bullet Bob” Hayes were in football.

I always liked that golf was the most international sport in the world. (Players in contention at the Masters today include a 58-year-old German and a rising young star from Japan and so many others young and old from around the world. Tiger, by the way, did not play this year and is very much not missed with so many great young players like Jordan Spieth dominating the game and the major tournaments now.)

Like Trevino, today's rising young golf star Jordan Spieth--who has the potential to dominate the Masters Golf Tournament like no one since my golf hero Jack Nicklaus, is from Dallas.

Like Trevino, today’s rising young golf star Jordan Spieth–who has the potential to dominate the Masters Golf Tournament like no one since my golf hero Jack Nicklaus, is from Dallas.

Then along came Lee Trevino, the happy Dallas street hustler who grew up taking well-to-do Dallas golfers to the cleaners with his trick shots, unconventional but effective golf swing, and a whole lot of rebel attitude.

As the great Dallas sports writer Blackie Sherrod once said, Trevino was “not one to hang around the locker room after a round playing paddy-cake with Jack and Arnie and the boys.”

I remember following Trevino around at what was then the PGA’s Houston Open tournament a hundred years ago, when Trevino was at the top of his game and drawing huge galleries by bantering with his followers.

I remember him hitting a drive and walking down the fairway while a heavily intoxicated white man in the gallery staggered along heckling him, throwing a tense damper on the fun.

“Come on you g——- Mescan,” the drunk slurred.

Trevino just kept walking along near the rope toward his ball in the fairway, dead-eyeing the heckler with an icy stare but much admirable restraint. Somebody from golf officialdom, along with a Houston Police Officer, quickly came along (thank God) and ushered him off the course.

Trevino just went back to his game like the classy professional that he is and all golfers tend to be.

It’s another reason I always loved the game. It’s pretty much exclusively for ladies and gentlemen who respect the game and each other, even if intense disagreements arise.

Trevino can call out golfers today for being “gutless” (which he’s done), and will gain far more respect than he’ll lose from any young turks who may indeed be a bit gutless.

Young turks in golf always defer to their elder champions.

Trevino has always been one of the classiest, most jovial and no-nonsense rebels in American sports.

And as longtime cultists here at the Cult of the Jitterbug know, no-nonsense rebels in any field, who “keep it real” with and do so with class, are my kind of folk. (Merle Haggard anybody?)

Here’s what Trevino had to say about the current crop of great but “gutless golfers” a few days before the current Masters–which Dallas boy Jordan Spieth (another classy golfer who definitely did not grow up a scrappy street hustler) is owning for the second year in a row–began:

    “If you go there now and try to use a cell phone they will kick you out, even if you are using it in the parking lot or on the driving range. The players can’t even use them on the driving range. Have you heard one of them complain yet? No, because they are gutless.” Trevino points out this acquiescence wouldn’t fly at other tournaments. “If they went to the U.S. Open and the U.S. Open told them they couldn’t use their cell phones on the driving range they would raise all kinds of hell. They’re scared to death.”

See the whole, very spicy enchilada of an interview Trevino had with a Memphis sports writer here while I go back to rooting for my man “Kid Jordan” Spieth.

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The weather in BZ has been so mild and sunny and breezy and energizing that I treated myself to a day at the beach.

With all those great Merle Haggard songs still in my head and unforgettable memories of the two nights I danced and while he played his great dance music.

What a vocalist. What a poet/storyteller. What commanding stage presence. What a complete musician.

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Theocrats in the Tennessee Legislature seem hell-bent on making the Bible the “official state book of Tennessee.”

Their proposal to “officialize” the Holy Bible would place the sacred book as a symbol among such other symbols as–(no kidding):

— the raccoon (Tennessee’s state wild animal);

— the tomato (Tennessee’s official state fruit);

— the Large Mouth Bass (the state’s official fish);

— and the Barrett M82 (Tennessee’s recently adopted official state rifle–a .50-caliber sniper rifle and for more on its power and background see here).

So what’s wrong with this proposed law? Why should anyone care?

I’m glad you asked, because God spoke to me and deputized me to be your Answer Man on this nonsense today.

So praise Elvis and pass the grits while I explain.

By a vote of 19 to 8, the state senate has passed a bill that originated in the state House of Reps. It would simply “make the Holy Bible the official state book.” (See here for details and make note of this quote: “In solidly Republican Tennessee, heavy doses of God and guns are considered reliable election-year politics. The Bible bill came to a vote just days before the candidate filing deadline, giving lawmakers pause about being portrayed by political rivals as being opposed to the Bible if they voted against the bill..)

Supporters (including a handful of Democrats) say the measure recognizes the book’s unique role in American history.

Opponents, including some sensible Republicans and many of the state’s churches, church leaders and other religious bodies, say the move could make people of other faiths feel slighted.

Never mind how it would make people of no faith feel in a country where one is free, thank God, not to believe in God or put faith in the Bible.

Even Jesus was a free-will kind of guy.

Conservatives in Tennessee, who are all about Government over-reach, want to make this a state symbol alongside symbols like the state raccoon and state sniper rifle. Why didn't Texas think of this????

Conservatives in Tennessee, who are all about Government over-reach, want to make this a state symbol alongside symbols like the state raccoon and state sniper rifle. Why didn’t Texas think of this????

Even Tennessee’s very Republican Gov. Bill Haslam opposes this bill. The hitch is–he hasn’t said whether he’ll veto it.

“The Bible is the most important book in my life, and I think in the world,” Gov. Haslam told reporters last week. “But that’s very different than being the state’s official book.”

(NOTE TO GOV. HASLAM: I, for one, happen agree with your position wholeheartedly! So be a leader and just say you’ll veto it and then, veto it.)

One sensible Republican in clear opposition, state Sen. Ferrell Haile, is quoted as saying, “The Bible is a book of history, but it’s not a history book to be placed on a shelf. It’s to be lived out in the lives of believers.”

Again–this is a Republican conservative I agree with. Yet unlike the governor, he didn’t waffle in fighting it. Picture me giving him two big thumbs up. (Barry Goldwater, the great American freedom fighter and conservative icon who once said Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition could go to hell together, would be proud, I’m sure.)

As Sen. Haile points out, the Bible’s having a place in world and American history does not mean it’s a history book anymore than it’s a science book (and it is definitely not that either). It’s a HOLY book, a FAITH book, meant to be lived out (thank you again Sen. Haile for saying it!) by people of faith, not to be used for scoring political points from hypocrites in office who preach “family values” at every turn.

Hypocrites like the family-values governor of Alabama, currently fighting for his political life because of yet another political sex scandal. (Honestly, I take no delight in pointing out such hypocrisy. But it’s just astounding how frequently the guilty dogs always preach family values the loudest, isn’t it?)

Opponents say the proposed Bible law also raises a lot of questions, like which translation of so many translations would be the official one? Catholics use a version of the Bible that is a far cry from the old King James version that so many Protestants in the Bible Belt seem to think was writ by Jesus. (A Catholic bishop is among those state religious leaders is not happy about this bill, btw. See here for one reason why.)

And while supporters say they have Jewish friends who have no problem with this kind of junk legislation, their few Jewish friends are hardly representative of most Jews and Jewish leaders in Tennessee and across the country. As in, not representative of any practicing Jews of any significant number.

Of course, nobody cares what peace-loving American Muslims among us might think, except those of us who love and cherish American freedom and liberty and don’t believe God, the Bible or Christianity need protection from the Tennessee Government against Muslims, Jews who don’t believe Christ is the Messiah, non-believers or, for that matter, me.

I’m not a resident of Tennessee but if I were I wouldn’t need the state’s Big, over-reaching Government diddling with my religion and the constitution.

* * *

What I hope is obvious to most Americans is that the proposed law is unconstitutional on the face of it. But ultra-right conservative leaders in so many of America’s state capitols, not to mention in the nation’s capitol, are all for the Constitution—except when they’re against it.

When it comes to guns and God, they’re always plenty willing and ready to play loose with it.

Seriously, my friends.

I am opposed, and passionately so (in case you didn’t pick up on that), to this nonsense, if only because I love and cherish God’s word and don’t want it cheapened and trivialized like it’s some some kind of state raccoon, fruit, fish or rifle by the kind of people who think St. Augustine is a kind of grass that makes for pretty lawns in Southern Living magazine.

I just hope and pray that the theocrats leading the state of Texas these days don’t follow the lead of Tennessee–which honestly is one of my favorite of all American states–that gave us the infamous monkey trials back in one of American history’s Darker Ages.

Tennessee's state rifle. (Capitol City Arms Supply owner Steve Swartz shows off a Barrett .50-caliber rifle in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File, taken from The Washington Post)

Tennessee’s state rifle. (Capitol City Arms Supply owner Steve Swartz shows off a Barrett .50-caliber rifle in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File, taken from The Washington Post)

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Cash. Dolly. Willie. Waylon. Loretta. Merle.

Some names in country music conjure up instant images of larger-than-life legends.

Merle, dead at 79, insisted in keeping it real and if you didn’t like it . . . well.

It was still real.

May he rest in perfect peace, perfect peace.

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I don’t know about you, but I just need some comic relief.

Sebastian Maniscalo is one of the laugh-out-loud funniest–and it seems to me most under-rated–comedians in the biz.

Here’s some of his bits, starting with some intensely emotional nipple-tattoo humor.

The sort of humor that makes you wonder, “What’s WRONG with people?”

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So what does this picture say to you?

If you’re an American (and not all who read this blog are), what is the story you imagine when you look at it and reflect on it?

If you’re a Christian, what is the story you imagine when you mull on it? If you’re a devout Christian (and what American isn’t that), does it bring any scriptures to mind?


What about this picture which I’ve posted here before of you-know-who with his daughter back in the day in you-know-who’s home?

What does it say to you?

What does it say about American culture today? What does it say about American Christian culture today that so many Christians still make excuses for you-know-who?


Finally, what do you suppose Jesus would say about this interesting meme?

Finally, what do you suppose Jesus would say about this interesting meme?

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