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Redneck Ingenuity

picture of redneck group

What is a redneck? Comedian Jeff Foxworthy defines a "redneck" as someone with "a glorious lack of sophistication," stating "that we are all guilty of [it] at one time or another." I would say from my life's experiences that there are probably quite a few of us who are rednecks with an extremely thin veneer of culture or refinement.

I read several different ideas of where the term "redneck" originated, but it was first applied to poor or working class white people from Appalachia, then later to people in that group in the whole southern part of the United States. Eventually the usage has widened to refer to people as rednecks throughout the United States and Canada. I found that the term "bogan" is used in Australia and New Zealand, and I learned in France that the French frequently use the term "paysan" (peasant). Can any of you from other countries tell us your term for rednecks?

It seems to me that at least one aspect of redneckery is being a packrat – if you throw something away, you will immediately need it and wish you had held on to it. Most rednecks are probably just making do and getting by with what they have – something everyone may all end up having to do if our economy continues to decline. Many of the abundant redneck jokes poke fun at old cars in the yard, old appliances on the porch, etc. Snobs might not prefer to think of it this way, but could rednecks just be practicing a different form of the modern virtue of recycling?

My wife and I enjoy watching the Red Green Show, Saturday evenings on PBS. Red and his friends could easily be among those Canadian rednecks. Their inventive use of unlikely objects that had been packratted away along with their heavy use of duct tape shows great redneck ingenuity. Here's a picture from the show's website:

picture of Red Green

The use of large quantities of duct tape by Red Green and the others in the Possum Lodge is a practice is not restricted to just Canadian rednecks.

Here's a redneck moving van in the USA.

picture of redneck moving van

Here's a rear view of that "moving van" heading down the highway.

picture of redneck moving van

This past week someone sent me the following comic strip along this theme.

picture of redneck mummy

A redneck snowplow....

picture of redneck snowplow

Some redneck body work...

picture of redneck body work

A redneck doghouse...

picture of redneck doghouse

A redneck mailbox...

picture of redneck mailbox

Some redneck planters (American Standard?)...

picture of redneck flower planters

A redneck fire alarm...

picture of redneck fire alarm

Rednecks do other amazing things with food as well. Here's some redneck seafood....

picture of redneck seafood

And the "pièce de résistance" – a redneck wedding cake...

picture of redneck wedding cake

I'll post more redneck pictures in the future.


"Every time you change something, something has to change." - Becka Loach

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Q: What's the most popular redneck pick up line?
A: Hey, nice tooth!

Paul Harvey … Good Day!

picture of Paul Harvey

Paul Harvey (...pause...) Good day! was his signature line at the end of virtually every broadcast. This past weekend saw the the passing of that American icon, Paul Harvey Aurandt (September 4, 1918 – February 28, 2009) The picture on the right was taken when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the nation's highest civilian honor.

I enjoyed listening to Paul Harvey through the years. Long before Internet news sources, before today's talk radio format, and before the choices now available on cable TV for honest, thorough news coverage, Paul Harvey was unique in serving up insightful news that no one else was reporting, as well as off-beat or heart-warming stories about people, both famous and obscure. He will be remembered by many for his The Rest of the Story segments. Here's a neat one called "Gentle Legacy." (If you're reading this by e-mail or in a blog reader, you will probably have to go to the blog to view this video clip.)

He will also be remembered for his distinctive, resonant voice and for what has been been described as his "pregnant pauses." Danny Thomas once told Mr. Harvey, "You'd better be right, because you sound like God." (It's a unique voice, but I don't know if I'd go that far....) On another occasion Danny Thomas commented, "You can almost hear the amber waves of grain." Obviously, Mr. Thomas was a loyal Paul Harvey fan.

In my files I had a piece attributed to him that I especially like. I was able to determine at truthorfiction.com that he indeed wrote this piece.

If I Were the Devil
by Paul Harvey
© 1999 WorldNetDaily.com

If I were the devil...

I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world;

I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man's effort, instead of God's blessings;

I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of the other way around;

I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue;

I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership;

I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies;

I would make it socially acceptable to take one's own life, and invent machines to make it convenient;

I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more than human beings;

I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a lawsuit;

I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young, and I would get sports heroes to advertise them;

I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family member for my agenda;

I would attack the family, the backbone of any nation.

I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable. If the family crumbles, so does the nation;

I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and movie screens, and I would call it art;

I would convince the world that people are born homosexuals, and that their lifestyles should be accepted and marveled;

I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct;

I would persuade people that the church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naive;

I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional;

I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are.


Bet over at Dappled Things did a post yesterday on Paul Harvey. She found a quotation from him describing his entry into the field of radio at age 14: "As a boy, I fell in love with words and ran away from home and joined the radio."

Harvey is credited with coining or popularizing such terms as "skyjacker," "Reaganomics," and "guesstimate." I find it ironic that this post on Paul Harvey falls so close on the heels of my post on Dr. Seuss who also loved and coined words.

Do you think it would be fair to say that Paul Harvey was also a "word nerd?" Do you have any memories of or reflections on Paul Harvey's career?


"If there is a 50-50 chance that something can go wrong, then 9 times out of ten it will." - Paul Harvey

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"I've never seen a monument erected to a pessimist." - Paul Harvey

Paul Harvey ... Good day!

Word Nerd

picture of Dr. Seuss

Theodor Geisel, born on March 2, 1904, would have celebrated his 105th birthday today, had he not died in 1987. He is better known by a title and his middle name – Dr. Seuss. Children and adults alike love his books for their fun use of words, rhyme, and rhythm.

Our children had several Dr. Seuss books that they loved especially – The Cat in the Hat, Fox in Socks, and Green Eggs and Ham. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them aloud to the children, but Fox in Socks was quite a challenging tongue twister!

picture of Nerd

Dr. Seuss combined words to make new words that were known only in his books. I'll have to ask Dave over at The History Bluff to verify this, but it is believed that Dr. Seuss coined the word "nerd" that has taken on a life of its own. I've read that the first documented use of the word was a character named Nerd (seen in the picture on the right) in the story If I Ran the Zoo in 1950 ... just in time for my birth the following year. Phew! I don't know if I could have been a nerd in high school otherwise! 😯

Now that I've moved on to become a computer geek, I have to admit that I'm still a word nerd. As a language teacher, I love words. I marvel at Dr. Seuss's ability to put words together in such fun patterns.

My word play is definitely more in punning rather than in rhyming. In honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel's birthday, I'm posting some fun puns.

Abacus: a calculator used by early geeks.

Baker: A person who works for money because he kneads the dough

I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.

The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

picture of the cat in the hat

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

The thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

Adam's rib: the original bone of contention.

Air pollution is a mist-demeanor.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.

A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.

A gross ignoramus: 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus.

Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

We'll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.

The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.

The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.

A calendar's days are numbered.

The dentist and the manicurist fought tooth and nail.

Dow Jones Averages: Roamin' numerals


Here's the link to the official Dr. Seuss website.

Our daughter Megan and several other young mothers went together with their toddlers to see the Cat in the Hat at Pottery Barn Kids. Megan wasn't sure how Drew would react, but instead of being afraid, he was intrigued. All he wanted to do was to get a hold of the Cat in the Hat's red necktie. Here's a picture from that visit.

picture of Megan, Drew and the cat in the hat

Do you or your family members enjoy Dr. Seuss books? If so, what's your favorite?


"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss

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A waist is a terrible thing to mind.

Coffee Shop Economics

At this time of year, Americans have either already done their income taxes or still have about a month and a half to put it off. On top of that, we just heard today about the president's proposed new budget with tax increases for the nation's most wealthy. (We all will have to wait breathlessly to see if there's any chance it can go through.) This all made me think of something that's been aging in my files for the right moment to be posted....

picture of latte

Coffee Shop Economics

Suppose that every weekday ten men go out for lattes. The coffee shop is the best one around and their beverages are not cheap. Each day the total bill for the ten men comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

- The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
- The fifth would pay $1.
- The sixth would pay $3.
- The seventh would pay $7.
- The eighth would pay $12.
- The ninth would pay $18.
- The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59, enjoying the latte and his friends.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men had lattes every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily coffees by $20."

Lattes for the ten now cost just $80. They could continue to enjoy their lattes and their time together, but for a lot less!

The group still wanted to continue to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes, so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink coffee for free.

But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?"

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his coffee.

So, to be fair, the owner suggested reducing each of the six men's bills by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:
- The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
- The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
- The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
- The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
- The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
- The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink coffee for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I got only one dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right!" exclaimed the fifth man. "I saved only one dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute!" yelled the first four men in unison, "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth man and beat him up.

The next night, as much as he had previously been enjoying coffee with the guys, the tenth man didn't show up for coffee. So the nine sat down and had their lattes without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them to pay even half of the tab! Too late, though, since their wealthy friend had no plans to return.

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction, all the while still getting stuck for most of the tax revenues. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might go to other coffee shops where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier and less demanding and where they can drink a latte for the same price everyone else pays and possibly with nicer friends.

(Added 5 March 2009: I just learned that the original idea for the scenario above came from David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, University of Georgia. The original that I received was unattributed and I could not find the source. I changed it quite a bit, turning it into a coffee shop instead of a bar, but I'd like to give credit where credit is due. I was really surprised to find that Muddy Dog Roasting Co. had done almost the same thing with the piece back in October 2008! Great minds....)


What are your thoughts on the Coffee Shop Economics story above? Do you think it's valid? There's an interesting article about this type of thing called The 2% Illusion in the Opinion Journal of today's Wall Street Journal.

This week has been extremely full, but definitely good. Our church, Hampton Park Baptist Church, has been hosting the Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team all week. The messages have been excellent and the music outstanding. Anyone local who would like to attend Friday evening's Irish Sacred Concert, the meeting begins at 7:00. Come a few minutes early to get settled into a seat before it starts.


"Every person born since Adam's sin is not God-centered, but self-centered." - Steve Pettit

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The IRS looks at every taxpayer as having what it takes.

The Garden of Your Life

One thing I like about gardening is that it has so many parallels with life, among them the Scriptural principle of sowing and reaping. Today's instant vacation is a nice piece I had in my files about our individual gardens of daily living.

Here's a great way to plant your garden of daily living:

Plant three rows of peas:
1. Peas of mind
2. Peas of heart
3. Peas of soul

Plant four rows of squash:
1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness

Plant four rows of lettuce:
1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another

No garden without turnips:
1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another

To conclude our garden, we must have thyme:
1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends

Water freely with patience and cultivate with love. There will be much fruit in your life garden because you will surely reap what you sow.


Just this afternoon after I got home from school, I planted three rows of sugar snap peas in my newly tilled garden ... lettuce later this week. It's too early for squash and I have no plans for turnips. The thyme is in our herb garden already.

Here's a picture of the garden after I added the topsoil and compost to the newly uncovered area:

picture of topsoil added

I borrowed a tiller from a kind neighbor, but this is probably the last time I plan to till that area since I try to use the no-till method of gardening. Here's a picture after I tilled all the soil and mixed things up well.

picture of tilled garden

After that I applied a nice layer of mulched leaves another kind friend had given me, as she has the past several years. If you look at the left-hand side of the first picture above, you can see that this mulching has produced some nice soil already as the leaves break down and provide good organic material in the process. I really like having a layer of mulch because, in addition to building up the soil, it helps hold in moisture and allows me to garden without getting my shoes all muddy, even right after rain. Here's the garden with the layer of leaves:

picture of mulched garden

This week I received an e-mail with pictures of a heavy snowfall last month in Québec City in Québec, Canada. Since my last post was weather-related, I thought I'd share some of the pictures in this blog post.

picture of snow

picture of snow

picture of snow

picture of snow

And as we learned in the last post, everyone has a different take on the weather....

picture of snow

OK, maybe some of us should stop whining about how cold it is or how much snow we have to shovel! 😀 Really, what's the winter been like where you live?


"As well might we argue that it is unnecessary for us to breathe because God gives us breath, or that Hezekiah need no longer to eat and drink because God had promised he should live another fifteen years. . . Grace does not annul our responsibility but fits us to discharge it; it relieves from no duties, but equips for the performance of them." - John Owen

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In this age of titles, I'm not just a gardener, I'm a Plant Manager.