More Change, Please

The other day, my son James went to eat a poboy with some high school kids that have been pretty nice to him. It’s a place where you pay up front and then sit down. When the waitress came back to ask if they needed anything else (e.g., condiments), he said sincerely, “I would like more change.”

If there were a book about how to explain money to kids with autism, I would definitely buy it.

Conversation in an Antiques Store

I had a conversation on Saturday with a lady who owns a small antiques store here in Starkville. She was telling me about how some relatives of hers found a coffin in their attic when they bought the house. The conversation was precipitated by another customer’s question about a large, hinged box for sale that was coffin-shaped. He joked with her that it was a coffin and she deadpanned “yes” and then they both speculated it was probably a quilt storage box. Then I told her what Ann told me about Catherine Tucker Windham, the famous columnist in Alabama who kept a coffin in her house and had her assistant/yard man/friend promise that when she died he would wrap her in a Gee’s Bend quilt and place her in the coffin before the coroner arrived. She hadn’t heard of Windham and, at the time, I couldn’t think of her name, but it reminded the store owner of her relative who found a coffin in her attic. I asked, “how did someone get a coffin into an attic?” It’s the natural question, right? And she said that it wasn’t a full-sized coffin. Ominous. Then she said that they probably made it for someone and it was decided that it wouldn’t be used for that purpose.

The store was open on a Saturday, about the only time I can ever be a looky-loo, and she said it was the only Saturday she could remember that they opened. Usually they travel to Memphis on Saturdays to buy things at estate sales. I suppose there is an estate sale->antiques store circle of life for furniture and household items.

This particular antiques store is right across the street from the best pawn shop in town that has an amazing selection of guitars and musical equipment. I’ll have to tell you about the owner of the pawn shop some time.

First Day of 2016

Today, I:

Showered while listening to Spotify.

Ate beignets, bacon, and eggs for breakfast.

Calculated the cheapest width/length combinations of lumber to finish out our bedroom.

Talked to my parents who called to wish me a happy new year.

Ordered tile for the bathroom.

Gave a panhandler a banana, a granola bar, and a Coke. He had two full forty-ounce malt liquors in his bike basket that I only noticed as I handed him the banana.

Ate tomato soup and a grilled cheese for lunch.

Went to Lowe’s.

Worked on bedroom and cut trim from lumber on hand.

Repaired James’s malm (ikea bed) with two lengths of 3/8 threaded rod, four washers, two lock nuts, and two wing nuts.

Cleaned up the den by removing construction materials.

Listened to a podcast interview with the president of AEI.

Realized I’d turned the cuckoo feature off on the cuckoo clock. Eli turned it back on. It is keeping good time.

Completed a transaction with a guy on Craigslist named “Jonas” and earned a sawbuck for it. He said that he did indeed like the Weezer song, “My name is Jonas.”

Ate pork ribs, cabbage slaw, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, and oranges for supper.

Advised someone on gift-giving.

Looked longingly at Epiphone hollow-bodied guitars online.

Sorted through all the recent newspapers and threw out most of them.

Had a brownie with whipped cream for dessert with Ann while we watched the movie Kate and Leopold.

Wore old shoes all day to allow my feet to spread out; they are sore from wearing D-width shoes for a few days in a row.

Read about deaths of Natalie Cole and the Ian guy who created Debian Lunux.

Drinks today: Negra Modelo, water, Unsweetened iced tea, coffee.

Interesting Linkage for the People

Lots of interesting things I ran across today:

The Tyranny of Social Justice Warriors
by Rod Dreher

Cool Product: Drag and Drop Video to Animated Gif Maker

UC Santa Barbara has digitized 10s of thousands of Wax Cylinders. I think it is all old enough to be royalty free and out of copyright. I’m sure Moby is working hard on his next derivative hit already.

Interesting book on software refactoring: Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code

AEI article about an article about poverty and test scores: New article argues poverty not to blame for poor relative test scores

Cool Link Fest for R Programmers: 100 R Packages

Interesting new movie about poverty and helping without hurting: Poverty, Inc. Wish I could organize a local screening here in Starkville.

Interesting Article: An Economic Development Primer for Small Town Mayors

Mrs. Tate of Starkville, MS

Sweet citizen of Starkville heading for the biscuit shop. When she was younger, Mrs. Tate would raise money every year to make up the amount needed after fundraising for the local school to take kids on a trip to D.C. In two days, she would be able to pick up enough aluminum by herself to raise about 600 bucks. She still walks everywhere and still collects cans. Now, she buys a load of Christmas presents to bring to a children's cancer hospital in Jackson every year. Mrs. Tate introduced herself as "The Black Santa Claus" when she first met Ann. She is very important for Starkville, Mississippi, and once told me "I really love all the crazy people who walk up and down this road." That road is North Montgomery, the central North/South road that runs through Starkville.

A photo posted by barlowjon (@barlowjon) on

Centipede Pseudopods

I Think I Like a Speckled Axe Best

I put the Twitter app back on my phone. I realized that I’m not getting news anywhere else. I even missed the Biola U conference and had no idea about the Delta State shooting until days later. But I learned the habit of reading my kindle app instead of Twitter, so I think the trick was useful.

I’ve tried on countless pairs of dress shoes to find a replacement for my black wingtips that have holes in the sole. Nothing really has worked out. One of the nice men’s stores in Starkville has only split-toe oxfords! I wanted to try on cap-toe oxfords and maybe some more wingtips that were less ornamented than my Florsheims. I finally ordered some today from Amazon that I hope will work out okay. The last ones I ordered arrived and looked very cheap, so I had to return them. I wear my dress shoes six days a week, for about 9 hours a day, almost every week of the year. So it makes sense to buy some decent shoes. I wish I could do the “shoe rotation” thing, but that’s an advanced technique of manhood. Imagine owning two pairs of black shoes at the same time! That’s like exercising regularly or scheduling haircuts regularly. Really, who can be expected to keep those kinds of standards up?

Alright, gotta run. Eli has invented a board game he wants me to play.

Southern Expressions

Here are some expressions / terms I’ve heard (in the wild) lately. I was (very) familiar with some of these, but a few are new to me:

“He was such a good lawyer he could get a charge of sodomy reduced to following-too-closely.”

“Boy, I’m gonna slap you naked and hide your clothes.”

“Boy, I’m gonna jerk a knot in your tail.” (variation: “in your head.”)

Dragonflies described as “snake doctors” and a myth that when they fly near you it is important to close your mouth because “if he sees your teeth, he’ll sew your lips shut.”

Wasp Sipping Observed / Odd Frog Amidst the Yucca

I was in the backyard all yesterday doing yardwork; it was a pretty interesting day. At one point, a wasp flew into view. He hovered over the surface of the pool, then landed on the surface of the water with his wings raised in a V like Jeremy. Then the wasp quaffed deeply for about 10 seconds. I actually could see him drinking. Then he took off very skillfully, beating the wings but never touching them to the water. I had no clue that wasps could land on water and stand on surface tension.

I also removed a few yucca plants and found this guy:

Frog nap interrupted

A photo posted by barlowjon (@barlowjon) on

I think he must be some kind of tree frog, but I’m not sure. I carefully cut this blade of the yucca out and put it under the shrubbery. He stayed on it almost the whole morning. I had almost gotten so frustrated with the weeds in this yard that I was getting close to using some round-up, but seeing this little guy solidified my commitment to not use anything that could harm amphibians in the yard. I like the frogs, the tiger geckos, the anole lizards, etc. It’s amazing to have so many fascinating critters in the yard.