Tag Archives: Brandon Mississippi

Renaming professional sports teams

While Northwest Rankin High School—from whence I graduated—was being built, I was among a lucky select number of high school students who were picked to help determine the high school colors and mascot for the future school. So much time has passed that I honestly don’t remember how influential my fellow students (of whom I can only remember three. There may have been more, but I only remember the three…possibly because they are female) and I were. I do remember we did not want to be anything similar to Pearl or Brandon (the schools from which most of the students for NWR would be drawn) and we didn’t want to be like Ole Miss or MSU. Those in the area know, of course, that we went with a Cougar and with Southern Miss colors.

All that is said to say I think it would be more interesting if professional athletic teams were to choose their mascots reflective of town history or even town (regional) personality. I realize there is a tiny instance of that now, but barely so much as to be noticeable. Therefore, I’d like to propose the following new names to be more representative of the communities they serve.

Boston WitchBurners

Atlanta Smokestacks (you non-history folks ask someone interested in history why this one makes sense)

NY Hurryups

NY Stuckups (they DO have two teams, y’know)

Minnesota Cheeseheads

Miami Crackheads

San Francisco Fruits & Nuts (okay, so 49ers worked, but not so much anymore)

Tennessee Hillbillies (Banjo-pickers is a close second)

Dallas Guntoters

New Orleans Crocodile Eaters (though “hunters” came in a close second)

Chicago Rumrunners (Mafia comes a close second)

LA Smogs

Houston Oilers (yeah—see, that one once made sense)

St. Louis Flood

Washington Liars (keep in mind this is DC, not the state!)

I could keep going, but I think it might be more interesting for any and all additional thoughts and suggestions to the list. No, I don’t expect anyone with enough clout to pay attention to this list, but it is fun putting together.

I’m sure I’ll have something more serious to say next week.

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Civil War Adventure (FCBD)

Since I’ve been in school the last two years, my “pleasure” reading has piled up. No, I mean that literally. I have a stack(s) of about 40 books that I’m finally getting to work my way through. Oh, I read plenty for school, it’s just that…well, it was for school and so it was kinda like work.

Anyway, I just recently finished reading Free Comic Book Day’s (FCBD) Civil War Adventure, one of the two books I picked up when I was also a guest at Heroes and Dreams down in Brandon, Mississippi. It was actually a book I encouraged Brett to get as he has a growing interest in history and the Civil War. He flipped through it, but it didn’t interest him. Yes, I was a bit surprised.

Now I know why. And, actually, I’m so relieved he didn’t pick it up.

The first thing that hit me was that it is very inappropriate for younger audiences. Or, to use terminology of today, it is certainly not family friendly! In an interview with Chuck Dixon, who wrote one of the stories in the book, he said, “Our work is family friendly stuff so there was no concern about content.” Whoa! He must have been talking about a different issue, because this one is replete with language that should earn it a PG-13 rating! And in the end, there is a detailed sequence on how surgeon’s amputated limbs of wounded soldiers. Very interesting, but also very visually graphic and NOT “all ages.”

FCBD’s site advertises the book as “historically accurate stories of the war.” Granted, I read elsewhere (probably the interview) that they were fictionalized accounts—but the publisher is promoting the accuracy. Unfortunately, an amateur’s mistake is made when the text indicates the Emancipation Proclamation “frees the slaves in the South.” Of course, even amateur historians know this isn’t the case, and that the EP was merely political posturing. Effective yes, but still merely a proclamation with no legal power or authority.

And to top it off, the stories are just bad. There’s no real reason to get emotionally attached to the disposable characters. “Gator Bait” (which makes most Southerners think of U of F football) gives all of about three sentences worth of information regarding blockade runners with no actual historical figures to teach us about. The jerk gets his due at the end—no real surprise there. The second story, “I rode with the devil,” is slightly better in that it touches on Bloody Bill Anderson and displays his violence on Jayhawkers. Problem with this story, though, is the central focus is on a fictionalized character that we don’t get the opportunity to really get emotionally vested in.

And to add insult to injury—though this will probably surprise very few Southerners—all the Southerners are portrayed in a negative light, while the one Northern-sympathizer is nice…his off-screen son is portrayed as evil, though. Of course, that portrayal comes from evil Bloody Bill.

Generally, I like Chuck Dixon’s work…that’s partly why I’m so surprised this is just so bad. I mean, he even uses “y’all” as singular!

Geez.

Don’t waste your money on this one.

Wait…it was free.

Okay, so don’t waste your time on it. I can list 50 things better and more accurate!

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So you think you know hot?

I’m going to have to stop leaving the windows of my truck open…and I’ll tell you why, but not before I ramble on a bit.

Before I moved to Piggott to take the job as the paper’s editor, I’d been there so many times before that I’d come to think of it as my home away from home. Mom and Dad, both being from Piggott, talked about things, places, people, events so often that I knew many of the stories better than they did, especially after the dozenth or so telling.

One of the things I’d heard about Piggott so often when I was a kid was how everybody left the keys in their car, or left their doors unlocked at night. I even heard that many of the folks slept at night with the doors and windows open during the summer months because it was so hot.

Of course, growing up in Mississippi, it’s often funny to hear folks talk about “hot.” I can honestly say you don’t know “hot” until you’ve mowed yards in 113 degree weather… in the middle of August…uphill…barefoot…in fire ants.

With the football season coming on and two-a-days getting ready, someone mentioned the team will start around 8:30 or 9 a.m. This isn’t the official report or anything, so don’t mark it on the calendar—get it from the coach. My point is that when I was in high school way down South, our two-a-day morning practice started at 7 a.m. and it was already nearing 90. Add the helmet and all the pads and its doggone hot. Sweat and chinstraps make for some pretty unsightly facial blemishes, too…just watch the players here in a few weeks and see if I’m not right.

But I ramble…

It’s easy for me to imagine sleeping with the windows open and the breeze blowing through. Of course, it’s easy for me to imagine a million dollars, too. Somebody must have forgotten to tell Dad before he was transferred that Brandon, Mississippi is about 300 miles south of Piggott and about 300 degrees hotter! I used to hang half off my bed and stick my face in the screen of the window hoping for a breeze that never came…unless Dad turned the fan on…in his room, of course.

And of course, doing that—sleeping next to the screen, I mean—means that I got to hear everything going on outside.

Once, in the wee early morning hours, with a bright moon illuminating the place, I woke up with a dog’s face staring right at mine. He’d propped his front paws up on the window ledge (it was a low window) and was simply watching me sleep, I guess.

Needless to say, it scared the mess out of me to wake up and see a dog staring at me. I learned to back away from the screen a little.

I don’t like getting into a hot vehicle, though, and so I often leave my windows down.

Not any more!

I recently came to my open-windowed vehicle to discover a bird had been inside my truck and had done his little birdie-business (birds don’t have to shake) on my steering wheel, on the inside of my door near the handle and on the back of my seat.

I ate chicken that night just to prove man was still the superior species…after I used the Windex and paper towels, that is.

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