Tag Archives: Ole Miss

House = SOLD!

Yes, you read that right = we’ve finally sold the house. After more than a year on the market, we’re no longer paying for a home we don’t live in! And the timing is perfect—all on God’s time, of course—but we’d reached that point where we just couldn’t scrape the money together for two homes and had paid our last note. I wish I could tell you I was independently wealthy enough to afford a home here and a “Mississippi summer home!” ha.

121008-1311-itsbeginnin1.jpg 121008-1311-itsbeginnin2.jpgBut, all with most new chapters in life, there are positives and negatives moving on. We have a lot of really great memories in the home in Oxford. We were there for five good years: Brittany was in the 7th grade and Brett was 2nd grade when we moved in: Brittany had graduated and Brett was starting 8th by the time we moved. Man…talk about changes (just look at the pictures).051713_1825_Youaretheon2.jpg

Brett7thgradeWe went there knowing only the person who hired BJ at the University—which is what took us there. We leave with a host of people we know and love (even those who have the misfortune to cheer for the Mississippi school UpNorth)—and it’s really them we’ll miss the most. Fortunately we live in a day and age of Facebook and Twitter and whatever else, so we’re expecting to stay virtually in touch.

We watched the Hogs rise…and then fall in the sports programs, particularly when it came to playing Ole Maid. Heck, prior to moving there, the football team had won 7 of the last 10 games. While we lived there, we only won 2 out of 5 against the mascot-ly confused Black Bears. Many of the other sports were in similar reversals (all but the Track team—which continued to dominate on a national level). I’m hoping now that I’m gone and can’t watch them live, they’ll start winning again!

060111_0437_Gradumicate4.jpgI started—and finished!—my MFA while there. Was part of a great MFA program at Spalding University and made a lot of very cool writer pals who are doing great writer things today! The novel that was my thesis is making rounds with an agent and I’ve had good comments from those few who’ve read it.

We all witnessed our largest snow ever—a full 10 inches! I know, I know, you folks in the northern climes laugh at that, but for us it was pretty cool (see what I did there?).

Anyway, it’s nice to have closure on the home…and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of memories to create! And, of course, I’ll put a good bunch of them here. As always, thanks for reading.


Filed under Kids, Moving


Recently I got a recommendation for a book of fiction by a longtime friend (thanks, Bill!). He read a book that he liked and took the time to recommend it, pointing out a few things specifically that he thought I’d like. That got me thinking about recommendations and friends and book reviews and such.

Ages ago, when I was still a student at Hinds Junior College, I used to work at Camelot Music. This was in the days when Camelot’s walls were full of cassette tapes and the racks were full of vinyl…before the cd took over. Over time, I noticed that frequent customers would return to specific employees to ask them for a suggestion for something to buy or for their opinion on something new. I realized that customers came to rely on and trust the opinions of the various employees. Yes, I even had folks come to me to ask if I’d heard an album and what I thought of it.

I think of it much in the same way that I’ve said about feedback on creative work: accept it all but evaluate the source. Country music or rap fans never came to me because they knew I didn’t listen to that style of music. Writers of romance have to take my opinion with a grain of salt—if the romantic parties don’t wear spandex and capes, then I’m probably not interested.

I don’t do a lot of book reviews here, but I do them once a month or so. I often wonder if anyone reads them because I figure the majority of the readers of my blog do not read many comics or superhero related books. Yes, I’ve often wondered about how some of my entries work to create my “writer’s platform”…and then I don’t worry too much because as I’ve said before, that’s okay because I pretty much write this journal—oops, I mean blog—for me.

But when I do book or comic reviews, you the reader, have to evaluate the source (for those who attend Ole Miss, that source would be “me.”). It helps to know me personally and to have had conversations with me so you’d know I like superheroes, civil war and American history and I’m NOT a big fan of the greatest American tyrant, Abraham Lincoln. Oh, you don’t have to know me personally to have gotten that, but see—when you know those things, it helps you evaluate the source when I talk about whether a comic/book/film/whatever is something I liked.

You shouldn’t just do that for the things “I” review, but for every review/recommendation you read.

So, when my longtime friend Bill Sawyer—who knows all those things about me and more—suggests a book I might like, there’s a pretty good chance I will. I hope that you do the same thing when you read any reviews/suggestions/recommendations that “I” make.


Filed under General

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.


Filed under General

Origin of “Hotty Toddy”

Disclaimer: This post may offend some. Offense is not intended. Humor is intended. However, seeing as to how I may likely fail at my attempt at humor, offense may follow. Thus, if you are a University of Mississippi fan (sometimes referred to as That School Up North), please do not read any further. I would hate to offend my Rebel Black Bear friends. Both of you are important to me.

Anyone who’s spent any time around SEC sports is well aware of the foul-mouthed chant so dearly loved by the Ole Miss faithful. All other eleven schools in the SEC are repulsed by both its vulgarity and by its execution, which is generally only done when 85% of the participants are fully inebriated. Black Bear faithful are quick to point out that there is a “kid-friendly” version, but regrettably cannot remember those words.

It’s funny, though—if you aren’t already laughing—at the general misunderstanding of the “Hotty Toddy” term. 98.32 percent of the current student body believes it comes from a form of hot totty, which is, of course, a hot alcoholic drink. Serve them another, please.

Fans of rival Mississippi State claim it comes from a time when teams hurled slurs at one another during sporting events and a drunken Ole Miss fan heard an angry Mississippi State fan yell “hoity toity” which, of course, means “Pretentiously self-important, haughty or pompous.” The Ole Miss fan, in his drunken stupor, took it as a challenge to imbibe more alcohol. Serve him another, please.

Fans of rival LSU also claim it comes from a time when fans of the team hurled slurs (as well as beer bottles) at one another.  Of course, the LSU faithful were actually yelling “potty potty,” which was a stab at the ever poor quality of the Ole Miss football team. Serve them all another, please.

Fans of rival Arkansas claim no knowledge of the obnoxious chant and are insulted when intoxicated Rebels accuse the Razorbacks of having an obnoxious cheer. Razorback fans wonder how that new coach is working out for the Rebel Black Bears and are thankful not to have to play such football powerhouses as Jacksonville St.

Fans of rival Alabama, which is not really a rivalry at all as Alabama rarely loses (44-9-2), have actually never heard the Hotty Toddy chant. They’ve heard of it, but it seems the Bamrs begin their own famous Rammer Jammer chant at kickoff of their games with Ole Miss. The Rammer Jammer chant is generally done after victory is assured. They’ve all had enough, thank you.

Of course, no one associated with the University can remember the REAL origin of Hotty Toddy—statistics say memory is the first thing to go when one is intoxicated.

LATE EDIT: As I seem to be getting a LOT of hits recently…I think I discovered why and just HAD to post this very humorous youtube video. Not sure how long it will be up before the Black Bear lawyers force it down–so watch it while you can!


Filed under General

Hittin’ deer

On Wednesday before Thanksgiving day, the family set out for a fun night on the University of Mississippi campus to watch the Arkansas Razorback Volleyball team take on the Rebels. Neither team had been all that great this year, but since Brittany is very interested in v-ball, we decided to go. While I really like football, the cost of tickets is outpacing the affordability for my family. Plus, seems to be fewer drunks at volleyball games, even at the #4 party school in the nation. (That’s not fair for me to say—as far as I know, I haven’t seen any drunks at the UM v-ball games, not something I can say about the football games)

It was an exciting set of matching, going all the way to the 5th game to determine the winner. Ole Miss pulled it out in a squeaker, and Brittany decided she wanted to stay and try to meet the coach…the Razorback coach, that is. So we waited around and the Razorbacks (Brittany wouldn’t let me call them “Hogs,” because they are girls!) began to trickle out. She had the opportunity to meet a couple of them and talk to them—asking questions like what should she do to prepare for college ball.

Then some nice Razorback lady took us over to the coach and the group of girls that were riding the bus back to Fayetteville. Man, talk about an incredibly nice welcome. The coach (Robert Pulliza)—who’d never seen us before in his life—talked to Brittany about the game (in general, not the game that night) and what she needed to do to be a Razorback when she graduated. Several of the team members asked her questions about her position, her team, etc. What a very cool experience. We left calling the hogs, of course.

On the way home we talked about the fact that it wouldn’t be long before Brittany (in 9th grade) would actually be in college. Of course, BJ and I aren’t really ready to accept the face that in 4 years from now, Brittany will be a freshman in college, not high school! As we lollygagged along, (I wasn’t speeding, really! We were taking our time, going about 40-45 mph) a deer stepped out in front of me and ran into our van!

We called the police and the came to check on us. We were fine, but the van was in horrible shape (photo attached!). Seems the deer took off the entire left front corner of the van—parts of my van are still sprawled along the side of the road.

Keep in mind, this was Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I talked to our insurance agent and nothing could be done until Monday, after the holiday weekend. So, we let the van sit until then.

Monday, we took it to the preferred shop and he couldn’t get to it for 2 weeks. Finally, we found someone who could get to it in a week—but it still had to sit for a week before any work would even be started! As we absolutely cannot travel out of town in my truck with all 4 of us in the family, we told them we’d really, really, really like to have it back before Christmas so we can travel to see family. They assured us they could do it. As of today, though, we’re having to deal with only 1 vehicle…and one that can’t take the entire family anywhere.

To top it all off—the deer must have lived after tearing up the van. Neither us nor the police found any sign of him!

1 Comment

Filed under family

Setting students up for mediocrity

Hot on the heels of my blog about the school board and how it would be best if I just ran everything, I had an interesting conversation with a Professor at Ole Miss. His children attend the same school as mine and we were discussing our school’s athletics when the conversation came around to Brett and the struggles he’s had early on this year and the conversation regarding changing to the 10-point grading system.

Brett was an A/B student last year (yes, you remember those posts from proud Daddy!) but he’s really struggled some early this year, bringing home grades that are…well, they’re not As or Bs. Brett approached me during my conversation with the Professor and we whooped for joy over a 100 he received that day on an Accelerated Reading test. The Professor asked if it was a 10 question test…it was.

He suggested the 10 question tests simply set the kids up to be average students. He further suggested the problem runs deep in public schools and that our school board won’t consider changing the grading system in our own school to put our kids on equal footing as those in the rest of the state.

I didn’t understand how a 10 question test on our current 8 point system was such a bad thing…so I asked him. In order for a student to receive an “A” on the current system, he must make a 93 or higher. On a 10 question test, each question is worth 10 points and thus a student must get every single question right in order to earn an A. There is no room for error. Miss one question and you get a 90, or a B. On the 10-point system—which the majority of schools in Mississippi now use except for Lafayette because some school board members believe “that’s just the way it’s always been around here,” and that’s a good thing—a student may still miss one question and receive an A. Why should students be expected to perform perfectly in order to receive an A? Very few of us, adults included, ever perform to perfection.

Until he’d explained it to me, I’d never considered it like that…and I’ve given my fair share of tests to students (although it was on the University level 10 point system). I was opposed to Lafayette keeping the 8-point system on the grounds of equality and equal footing for our students alone. Our kids must make better grades than those of their peers around the state of Mississippi, even across town at Oxford, in order to receive a grade of A. To some students, that might not matter. To the majority of them, however, a GPA with As will carry much more weight than a GPA with Bs…even if the number score is the same. The colleges will look at the letter grade, not the number grade.

It’s one of those issues that seems like a no-brainer to me and most of the parents I’ve talked with. The administration, hired by the school board, has even wisely recommended the change. Yet, the school board has now affected potential collegiate admission to nearly 800 students.

That’s messed up.

1 Comment

Filed under Columns

College students are back

There’s nothing like life in a small college town when the college students return after the summer. The majority of college students leave in May/June and return to their homes for the summer. Summers in college towns are so nice and peaceful; traffic is relatively light; Wal-mart isn’t crowded, etc.

Actually, that’s just one of the various ways to tell when the college students return…and as much as I’d like to say it’s just Ole Miss students, it’s not, college students nation-wide are generally irresponsible…Wal-Mart was a complete mess my last visit. It wasn’t just “school” supplies either. Every aisle had “dropped” merchandise on it…you know what I’m talking about, the uh-oh, I changed-my-mind-and-now-I-don’t-want-it drop. I saw meat –which is supposed to be in the refrigerated section—with the pop-tarts; I saw pop-tarts with the bagels (someone changed their mind about breakfast); and on and on.

Having worked much of my younger life in retail, I know how incredibly frustrating this can be. And I don’t mean just putting it up, although that is frustrating. I understand people changing their minds—we all do it. But to shove that item onto the first available shelf? That’s not only rude, and inconsiderate…but I would say some of it was like theft. You could almost excuse items that aren’t refrigerated. But to see a milk in with the paper towels? At the very least leave it in the cart and give it to the cashier at the checkout register. I mean, why ruin something just because you’ve changed your mind? This is how I think it is like theft. If you put milk or meat with pop tarts, the meat/milk will ruin. And while it may not be much, it is money that the company loses, Wal-Mart, Kroger, or whoever it is.

In addition to the mess at Wal-Mart, there is the incredible increase in traffic. You gotta think; almost overnight there are 15,000 additional people in the city. Of course, most of them are texting on their cell phones while they drive and that’s why they continue to swerve in traffic almost running me of the road. That’s the other thing that irritating when college is in regular session.

Of course, about the time I get wound up and complaining really good…BJ reminds me that if it weren’t for them, she wouldn’t have a job.

Then I suddenly love college students.

Leave a comment

Filed under General