I’ve not written anything about the passing of Lactose the Intolerant, mostly because I don’t know what to say. I feel helpless.

Please pardon the breaking of character, but I never met Mr. Siddoway. And I’ve not had direct one-on-one communications with him. There have been email threads that included others, particularly Harvey, but he and I never communicated on a personal level. Yet, I feel as if I knew him, at least a little.

Part of that comes from the few communications here at IMAO, and part comes from reading his writings at Nuking Politics. Still, in those brief and quite indirect encounters, I thought, “Gosh, I’d like to meet this guy. He seems like a quality person.”

From his obituary, I think that’s borne out.

None of what I’ve written has alleviated that feeling of helplessness. But should it? It’s not about me and what I’m feeling. It’s about Mr. Jonathon David Siddoway and the family he leaves behind. This online family at IMAO isn’t feeling the grief his actual biological family or his church family is experiencing. They are the ones directly affected by his loss, and have a huge hole that will never be filled. But they have memories that will never be lost.

[If you have comments, please offer them on Harvey’s post.]

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A note of thanks

Everything’s finally back to what passes for normal at la casa de Basil. The power was finally restored this afternoon, and Comcast service resumed tonight. The tree is out of the tree, thanks to a neighbor and some hired help.

Oh, and thanks to you.

The comments you left regarding my tree in a tree predicament were truly hilarious and put a smile on my face. The responses to Harvey’s “Where’s Basil Really Gone” Straight Line question were also enjoyable to read.

Things are all better now, and I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you. Thank you all for the encouragement, the kind thoughts, and the many laughs. I do so appreciate you each and every one. Thank you.

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I really need to get my tree out of the neighbor’s tree

Hurricane Matthew came by for a visit this weekend. Friday, actually. I was out of town anyway, and had events in Perry on Saturday and Millen on Sunday, so it was Sunday night before I got a chance to see what all Matthew had wrought.

I did know that the power went off at 8:36 Friday night, because, well, I have it tell me things like that. And here it is Monday afternoon, and the power isn’t back on yet. Georgia Power says I’ll have service by 10:00 tonight. They, as well as the local EMC, have had workers out all day and all night working on things. I have no complaints. Sure, I wish my power was one of the first back on, but I can understand them focusing on nursing homes, restaurants, grocery stores, and such. Or so it seems.

Now, we’ve had hurricanes before. When David came through in 1979, it hit closer, but it had already weakened by then (thanks, Florida). When Hugo came through in 1989, it was more powerful than David, but further away. We even managed to get in some football during that Thursday night strike.

Matthew, though, was more of a problem than either of those. At least, it seemed to put down more trees and tree parts in very inconvenient locations. Driving out of Millen, for instance, there were several traffic lights out on U.S. 25 in Statesboro. Most people knew to treat such circumstances as a four-way stop. But some didn’t. You know what you call dumbasses like that? Dumbasses.

Anyway, same was true for Claxton (the place famous for fruitcakes — the kind you have at Christmas), Glennville, Ludowici, and Jesup. Yes, those are all real places. Brunswick, where my son lives, is in pretty good shape. They have power, at least.

Me? No power. But I do have a tree in a tree. The tree that’s in the ground is actually the neighbor’s. It just hangs over into my yard. Free shade!

The tree in that tree is my tree. Well, actually, it’s part of my tree. A good chunk of it, at least. And, I need to get it out of the neighbor’s tree. The neighbor isn’t there, so the neighbor doesn’t know my tree is in their tree. I’d kinda like to keep it that way.

So, any tips on getting a tree out of a tree? I’ve tried offering it treats, but it just won’t … leave.

[Comments also welcome at BasilsBlog]

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Dream Land Part 3: Papa’s House

[Previous: Dream Land Part 1: Grandma and Papa’s House, Dream Land Part 2: Grandma’s House]

Part 3 of 3.

Grandma’s House, the Dream Land from our childhood, had sat unoccupied while Grandma lived at the guest house at my mother’s. This went on for four years, until after she celebrated her 100th birthday. Before the year was up, my uncle made the hard call that something needed to be done with Grandma’s House.

My mother, never one who wanted to be told what to do, even if what she was told was right, was unhappy with the suggestion. It wasn’t that my uncle was wrong, it was something that she had dreaded doing, and now had to do. And no one was happy about it. Not Grandma. Not my mother. Not my uncle. Not my sisters. No one.

My sister had mentioned about buying the house, but wasn’t sure she wanted to take on that expense. She already had a house that was too big for her, and that she couldn’t sell.

My mother finally decided to buy my uncle out. She gave him half of what he said he wanted to sell it for. Since the idea was they’d split it — they actually had title to the house, not Grandma — my mother simply gave him his half, and assumed full ownership of the house. She knew she’d need to dispose of it in some way, but wanted to do it on her own schedule, or at least when she was ready.

Grandma celebrated her 101st birthday worried that some stranger would end up with her little house. She understood that the current situation couldn’t continue, but she still was saddened by that prospect.

My sister decided to buy the house after all, and began doing the work to get it fully livable again. After four years sitting unoccupied, it needed a little work. Heck, it needed a lot. And, truth be told, a lot more than they realized.

During the whole remodeling process, my sister changed her mind and decided that she needed to not buy the house. My mother wasn’t happy about that, but that’s not the first time one of us made her unhappy about something. Anyway, I made a couple of phone calls, and, when I was happy with what I heard, approached my mother about buying the house. She was surprised, but welcomed my offer.

This is a good time to let you know that when my first grandchild was born in 1999, there were several suggestions made about what she, and the other soon arriving grandchildren, would call me. I wasn’t thrilled with any of the suggestions. I knew, though, that whatever the grandchildren called me would be how I was to be known for the rest of my life. If I didn’t like it, I’d change my mind and embrace it. It’s what grandfather’s do.

When one of them was able to call me a name, it came out “Papa.” I hadn’t thought about that. No one had thought about that. But I loved it. And, to this day, I’m Papa to all the grandchildren.

Now, back to the house. The whole process of buying a house was what you would expect: the unexpected popping up and such. It was much frustrating, as you can imagine, but finally, it was done. I bought the Grandma’s House, formerly Grandma and Papa’s House.

It’s a little different inside than before. Some of the same furniture is there, some arranged as always, but some arranged a little different. Just enough like it always was to make it very familiar. Just enough different to make it someone else’s house.

Grandma was thrilled last year when she found out that I bought the house. She told me she was so worried someone she didn’t know would get the little house. She celebrated her 102nd birthday last September knowing that her little house was still in the family.

Grandma died this week, and we’re burying her today. She’s gone. Her house is still around. It’s Papa’s House, now. But, in many ways, it’s still the same Dream Land we all loved as children.

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Dream Land Part 2: Grandma’s House

[Previous: Dream Land Part 1: Grandma and Papa’s House]

Part 2 of 3.

After Papa died in 1979, Grandma lived alone in the little house she had shared with her husband for over two decades. She knew that, without Papa, she wasn’t long for this world. So, she figured she’d be passing on soon after.

Grandma continued to feel that way throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, all the way through this year. She continued her life in the little house, the house that had been her Dream Land since her first grandchild, my older sister, was born.

Grandma had retired a few years earlier, and had spent most of her time taking care of Papa. With him gone, she grew restless, and went back to work. She and several of her friends, some from the church, some from the Eastern Star, some she used to work with at the shirt factory, went to work part-time for the local newspaper.

The local paper, in addition to printing the local news, also printed the small town weeklies for several other places. That meant stuffing the local Sears or K-Mart sale paper and such into the newspapers. And, apparently, old retired women have a knack for that, because they did a lot of that.

Grandma continued to stuff papers, attend church services, shop at the Winn-Dixie, and attend Eastern Star meetings for years, and, at the end of the day, return to her Dream Land.

The grandchildren, me included, didn’t visit as much. We were growing up, or grown, and had started our own families. Some of us lived in the area, and others moved away. But, Grandma’s House was always a special place to us. We all managed to find time to visit on occasion, but not like we should, or, like we wanted to. We could have made a better effort, but we were busy. At least, that’s what we told ourselves.

However, when we did visit, it was almost like being back in that Dream Land we visited as a child. We missed seeing Papa, but Grandma was there. She was always there. Until one day.

Grandma fell while working in the yard in 2010. It was pretty severe. She looked bad, and hurt really bad. After 31 years living alone, it was time for some other arrangements to be made.

My mother finally got a large dining area set up at her house. It was a building separate from the main house, that had a large room where tables and chairs could be set up, with a kitchen just off that room. There was a bathroom, an office, and a bedroom.

Yes, it was actually laid out like a guest house, but her intent was to have big family gatherings there. We called it the Fellowship Hall. (Baptists can truly appreciate that.) In 2010, though, she lost that functionality. It became quarters for Grandma. By living there, my mother could watch out for her. Actually, she paid a lady to sit and watch soap operas and Grandma, while she went to work at her job at the Baptist church.

Four years went by with Grandma staying at the guest house. The little house, Grandma’s House, sat unoccupied. Utilities were still on. Mail was still delivered. The grass was cut. The yards were raked. The only thing making it unoccupied was the fact that no one was staying there.

My uncle (my mothers brother) was tasked with upkeep of the house. Well, the hard stuff, anyway. If it needed any work done, he did it. Air conditioning, wiring, pipes, whatever, it fell to him. And, living an hour and a half away, it was difficult on him. He put up with it for four years, until everyone finally accepted that Grandma wasn’t going back to her house. She was approaching 101 years old, and really wasn’t in any condition to look after herself by herself.

He finally had the difficult conversation that no one wanted to have: it was time to do something about Grandma’s House. He thought the best thing to do was to sell it. And, after much anguish from some, that’s what was finally agreed upon. None of the grandchildren were happy about losing their Dream Land from their childhood.

[Next: Dream Land Part 3: Papa’s House]

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Dream Land Part 1: Grandma and Papa’s House

Part 1 of 3.

The little house was built in the 1950s as part of a planned neighborhood. I don’t really know if my grandparents were the first ones to live there, but the house was less than four years old when they moved in. Grandma and Papa. That’s what we always called them. And that little house was Grandma and Papa’s house. It was truly a Dream Land for us grandchildren.

It was alway a treat to go there. Grandma and Papa always made us welcome. I don’t remember spending the night there a lot. The small house had two bedrooms, so there wasn’t a lot of room for the grandchildren to stay over. Still, just being there was a dream.

Christmas Eve was always spent at Grandma and Papa’s house. We got to open a present that night, and we went home all excited about what we got and what we dreamed we’d get the next morning.

Birthdays were always special at Grandma and Papa’s house. We always got a card and a dollar for every year of our age. In the 1960s, getting seven dollars for being seven years old was a treat.

Grandma and Papa had a little black and white TV when I was young. When we were there, we got to see the stuff they watched. Papa always watched the six o’clock news from channel 3 in Savannah: Dateline Savannah had the news, Cap’n Sandy gave the weather, and then there was sports. And, on weekends, there was Lawrence Welk (hated that), Porter Wagoner (hated it, except for Spec Rhodes), and the other stuff that old people watched.

In late 1967, my great-grandmother (Grandma’s mother, who we all called “Ma”) moved in part time. My great-grandfather (he was called “Pa”) died that Autumn, and Ma had to move out of the log cabin they had leased since the 1930s. She spent a couple of weeks at a time at each of her three daughters’ places. When she was a Grandma and Papa’s, she’d sit in a rocking chair with a can of snuff in her hand and watch Georgia Championship Wrestling.

Grandma and Papa were the first people I knew to get cable. Of course, when cable TV first came available there, it was the three stations in Savannah and three main ones from Jacksonville (yeah, duplicate network programming). Other than the six network channels (two of each major network) and a couple of PBS channels, there was a channel that showed the weather — actually, a camera rotating between a thermometer, a barometer, and a clock — and not much else. It was different. But, since it was at Grandma and Papa’s, it was special.

They got a new color TV, we grew up, but always went to Grandma and Papa’s when we could. Ma died in 1976, and it went back to Grandma and Papa’s house, though we had always called it that.

Papa’s health problems and heart condition caught up with him in 1979. After watching the Independence Day fireworks, he went to bed happy, and never woke up. He went to Dream Land, and stayed. And the little house became Grandma’s House.

[Next: Dream Land Part 2: Grandma’s House]

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U. S. Air Force Blue

DWDThinking of Uncle Doug

They took the blue from the skies and a pretty girl’s eyes
and a touch of Old Glory’s hue,
And gave it to the men who proudly wear the U.S. Air Force blue.

The U.S. Air Force Blue

Oh, they are men with a dream on America’s team,
They’re a rugged and ready crew.
And you can bet your boots the world looks up to U.S. Air Force Blue.

To U.S. Air Force Blue!

They know where they’re goin’, they’ve set their course,
the sky’s no limit in the Air Force.

They took the blue from the skies and a pretty girl’s eyes
And gave it to the men who proudly wear the U.S. Air Force Blue.

Uncle Doug
2 February 1938 – 28 November 2014

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Dreams do come true

A few months ago, I was speaking with local (to the Columbus area) author Larynn Ford, and mentioned that I was seriously looking at going to DragonCon. She certainly knows me well enough to generate that “What? You?” look.

Same look I got when people who knew me a long time saw me using a Mac. Same look I got when someone saw me eating a salad. Same look I always get when I do something that makes people wonder if I was replaced with a Pod Person. Because I’m not the DragonCon type.

Anyway, I mentioned that Colin Baker — the Sixth Doctor for those that need that explained to them — would be there. She was one that needed that explained. She’s never seen an episode of Doctor Who, whether the new series of the old series. She knew it existed, and wasn’t really surprised that I would like the show, since it’s one of those “really weird British shows.”

Though the explanation of who Colin Baker was helped her understand why I would consider going to DragonCon, she still wasn’t convinced I was in my right mind. Until she suddenly changed the subject.

“Oh, did I tell you about this weird dream I had?”

“No,” I said. Then I thought better. “Maybe.” That way, if she started telling me about it, and I really didn’t want to hear about it, I could say, “Oh, yeah, you told me.” Then maybe she’d stop.

“Well,” she said, “I dreamed I was asleep…”

“Are you sure that was a dream? Maybe you were really asleep,” I offered.

“Shut up. I was dreaming that I was asleep. Then I hear a strange noise, so I got up. It was coming from down there.” She pointed down the hall toward her daughters’ old bedrooms. “There was this strange woman there.”

“That makes two that were in the house,” I thought. I knew better than to say that out loud. Aloud, I said, “What do you mean, ‘strange’?” I figured this would be the inspiration for another one of the characters in one of her books.

“She had curly blond hair and a really odd dress. It was made up of a bunch of different colors. Red, green, blue, all kinds of patterns and checks. Really odd looking dress.”

I thought for a second. “Hang on.” I reached for my iPad and typed something in the search box, and found the result I wanted. “Was this her?”


“THAT’S HER? Wait. That’s a guy. Who is that?”

“Colin Baker. That’s the outfit he wore as The Doctor.”

We bought DragonCon tickets that night.

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Peggy Joseph 2014

Remember Peggy Joseph? Sure you do.

[The YouTube]

Well, she’s using different words now.

[The YouTube]
Tip: The Other McCain

The question is not who “will she vote for in 2016?”, it’s “who will she vote for in 2014?”

I didn’t mind making fun of her in 2008, or in the years since. But she seems to be wising up. So, maybe there’s hope — real hope — after all.

But, if I stop making fun of Peggy Joseph, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop making fun of Barack Obama and others who still drink his Kool-Aid. None of us should.

Do you have a funny story of someone who was Peggy Joseph then and is still that way? Share it. We could all use a good laugh.

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VP Biden Congratulates Wrong Marty Walsh (Sadly, Not Satire)

(Submitted by my niece Sarah [High Praise!])

BOSTON – When Marty Walsh won the Boston mayor’s race, Vice President Joe Biden was quick to pick up the phone to congratulate him.

The only problem was, the Marty Walsh on the other end of the phone wasn’t the Marty Walsh set to succeed longtime Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

The Marty Walsh who Biden had connected with was actually a former aide to the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy.

That Marty Walsh said before he could explain the mix-up, Biden launched into his congratulations, saying “Marty, you did it, you son of gun.”
Walsh, who said he has received misplaced calls for the other Marty Walsh in the past, said he quickly set Biden straight and passed along the cellphone number for the mayor-elect.

Walsh said Biden then jokingly congratulated him for not being mayor.

Sarah adds:

You would think being VP would make him privy to the updated contact lists. Or his secretary is a sadist, oh so innocently letting him be a super-fool. Someone should get him a cape.

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1 Corinthians 13

Note to IMAO readers: While we’re awaiting news about Frank’s son, due to be born, well, last week, here are some words I penned for my son, who was married this past weekend:

Son, you’re now married. Whether you realize it or not, your world has changed.

Yes, this is the dreaded “Dad’s giving me advice and I didn’t ask for any” situation that arises … well, all the time. It’s kinda what I do.

I’m gonna suggest you go read 1 Corinthians 13. Almost any translation will do. If you use the King James Version, it’ll say “charity,” but that word from 1611 would today be rendered as “love.” Anyway, go read 1 Corinthians 13.

Now, why would someone with my marriage track record be someone you’d listen to? Maybe I’m not someone you need to listen to. Then, again, maybe I am. Hear me out and decide.

Go read 1 Corinthians 13. Yes, that’s the third time I’ve said that. Maybe I think it’s important. And maybe you need to go see why I think it’s important. So go read it.

Now, about the wedding. It was beautiful. Yes, the rain kinda made things wet and sloppy and just plain rotten at times, but that was nothing but stuff around the wedding. The wedding itself was beautiful. Your vows to each other brought tears to my eyes. Everybody was looking at the two of you, so I got away with it.

Remember when it was all stressing you out, and in the elevator, when it was just you and me, I said to let those that are wanting to do their stuff do their stuff? I wasn’t telling you anything you didn’t already know; you were already doing that. But, I said it anyway, to reinforce what you were doing. You were doing the right thing for the circumstances, and I wanted you to know that.

See? You already know what to do. You’re a grown man. Now, you’re a grown married man. I’ll be offering advice, but, like the “let ’em do their stuff” advice, it’ll often be things you already know. When I do that, I’m trying to reinforce what you know. I can’t teach you much anything new, except by example, and then, it’s often examples of what not to do.

Kinda like, “Huh. Look what Dad did. Look where it got him. I need to not do that.” So, yeah, I can be of some use, even if it’s an example of what not to do.

But, I also have some good advice on things to do. Like what I mentioned earlier: go read 1 Corinthians 13.

Oh, and this next bit isn’t easy, but it’s necessary: After you’ve read it, go live it.

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Things Named After Obama: Weed!

[High Praise! to American Digest]

Our Strain of the Union is here! A leader in it’s own right. Obama, is a heavy indica strain that is great for late afternoon or night time medication. This hard to find quintessential strain is sweet and pungent. The inhalation is smooth, resulting in a full body warmth and strong mental high. All hail as you chief!

Yes, this is a real thing.

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Presidential Monster Action Figure: Baracula

[High Praise! to Technabob]

Yeah, this is a real thing.

Unfortunately, you can only get Baracula if you buy the entire set of 7 Presidential Monster Action Figures for $175.

Try eBay.

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Ban Scary Toy Guns!

[High Praise! to The People’s Cube]

Yeah, this is a real thing.

Actually I support this effort. Hand this certificate to your kid after you buy him his first real gun.

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Ten times Hooters?

Hulk Hogan — remember him? — is opening a new restaurant. I betcha didn’t know that Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) had an old restaurant, but he had a couple.


Anyway, he’s opening his new one in the old Crabby Bill’s location in Tampa.

Hogan tells the Tampa Bay Times the restaurant will be “Hooters times ten.” I’m going to sit and imagine that for a minute.

. . .

Okay, where was I? Oh, yeah. Hooters times ten.

Reminds me of a story I think I’ve told before. Years ago, I took my son and one of my nephews to a Braves game. Afterwards, as we were heading back into Columbus, it was getting to be supper time. I asked them if they wanted to eat supper before we got back to the house.

About that time, we passed a billboard for the new (at the time) Hooters restaurant in Columbus. And, my nephew, being a mischievous one, said, “Let’s go to Hooters!” Since they were young teens, he and my son laughed.

Only, I was determined to have the last laugh. So, when we got to the exit, I took the heading towards Hooters, not the one towards the house. And, then pulled into the parking lot. Then took them inside.

They ordered their food and, with eyes wide and mouths agape, did their best to eat their wings. I ate my burger.

A day or so later, when I took my nephew home, his mother asked him about his trip. My nephew said, “We went to Hooters!”

Shocked, my sister asked, “Well, how was it?”

“We (pointing to himself and my son) enjoyed the wings, but I think he (pointing to me) liked the legs and the breasts.”

I’m not sure Hulk Hogan’s restaurant will be able to top that.

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