Friday, December 31, 2004

If I were Queen

While I was technically born and raised south of the Mason Dixon Line, I have never considered myself a southerner. For one thing, Maryland did not secede from the Union (some would argue that it was not allowed to, not that it didn't want to). In addition, I somehow managed to pick up all sorts of anti-Southern biases during my youth. This is somewhat amazing, considering that my own mother, much of her kin, and many of her good friends, all considered themselves either 'country people' or 'hillbillies'. But, not me. I always thought myself 'better' than all that.

Then, somewhere in my adulthood, I realized that I really liked fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, and grits (albeit, not with a fried egg in them). And, that not all country music was depressing tripe. And, then, the real homecoming happened. I started reading Jill Conner Browne's Sweet Potato Queens' books.:

These are inarguably the funniest books I have ever read. Jill Conner Browne makes being Southern sound so much fun, for women with the right wherewithal. While I could never see myself wearing a Sweet Potato Queens' Saint Patrick's Day Parade costume ( green sequined mini dress, high heeled boots, big red wig, and tiara), I enjoy and concur with many of the author's opinions. Besides which, I would love to spend more time participating in one of their favorite activities: "Lolling about and doing Jack Shit". I don't know that I'd have the balls to do some of the other things that Jill and the Tammys have done, but I'm thrilled to know there are women out there doing those things.

If you haven't read the books, (first off, stop reading this right now and go get one of them) the Tammys are the other official Sweet Potato Queens. In the first couple of books, she wanted to protect the identities of her friends when relating some of their stories. She asked them what name she should call each of them. They all agreed that they wanted to be called 'Tammy'. So, many of the stories begin with, "One of the Queens, I think it was Tammy, ..."

The books are also strategically peppered with narrative recipes for concoctions that will make your mouth water and your hips widen, just by reading the recipe! The recipe titles are a hoot by themselves, such as "Chocolate Stuff", "Death Chicken", "Armadillo Dip", "Gorilla Casserole", "Bitch Meatballs with Sexy Red Sauce", and "Motor Home Marvel". And, who wouldn't love to try the much mentioned Sweet Potato Queens' beverage of choice, "Fat Mamma's Knock You Naked Margaritas".

Since publication of the first book, hundreds of local chapters of Sweet Potato Queens have sprung up all over the country. Frequently, these far flung Queens, dub their chapters as being the Queens of some other fruit, vegetable, or other consumeable. Sometimes they call themselves something pithy and amusing like Bodacious Babes, or outrageous like The Secret Society of Butt Dimple Queens [ yes, this is a real chapter ]. I'm not quite sure what I'd be Queen of, if I were to become the Boss Queen of a chapter. Perhaps those who know me could make suggestions?

If I've piqued your interest, even just a tad, you should check out the author's web site at If I haven't done my job in this regard, slap me upside the head with a wet squirrel. If I have, you should be all over these books "like a duck on a june bug".

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Having the flu SUCKS!

I've had colds before. I've had stomach bugs before. But, I've never had a two for one punch like this.

It started with a cough. Moved on to headache and body aches. Then it got UGLY. Nausea and dizziness. During the meanwhile, all the other symptoms just kept getting worse. Thank goodness the nausea started to wear away, just in time for the runny nose, inner ear congestion, and lower abdominal involvement.

The doctor's office said that I can expect to be really ill for about a week. With the way I have been feeling, I'm beginning to suspect that the high death rate associated with Influenza in the past was partially attributeable to suicide.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Religious holiday cards

I have never been a very religious person. For most of my adult life, I have been an unchurched-Agnostic. That being said, I have never skipped celebrating "Christmas". But, for me, the holiday has never been about celebrating the birth of anyone. I won't lie about it. Until very recently, the holiday has been, mostly, a celebration of capitalistic materialism. In recent years, however, it has become more about celebrating the year that has gone before, and showing those I care about that they are ever in my heart and mind.

I do not begrudge anyone the way they celebrate the end of year holidays, whatever version of them is part of their own personal traditions. When sending out holiday cards, I look for as generic a card as possible usually along the lines of "Seasons Greetings", "Happy Holidays", or my favorite, but hard find, "Happy New Year". I like cards that represent my own areligious feelings about the holiday season, but will also not directly offend the recipient(s) of the card.

I wish that everyone behaved with this in mind. If you are a religious person, and you have friends who are not religious, you probably wouldn't send them a religious holiday card. If you did send your non-religious friends cards that made them uncomfortable, over time, the friendship would suffer from such acts.

The most awkward situation arises in business-to-business card giving. Most businesses send the generic holiday cards that I've always leaned towards. Good businessmen (and women), do not want to alienate clients, partners, or vendors. However, if your business is closely aligned with religion, you may be inclined to send a religious holiday card. To send a generic card may seem an affront to the very ideals your mission statement represents.

My company does business with a Christian organization. That organization values my contribution to their business. So, each year they send me a VERY religious holiday card. I shouldn't let it get to me. But, it does. I feel like either they are assuming that the world is Christian, or it should be. Both ideas inspire some very un-Christian emotional responses from me. I eventually calm down and remind myself to "forgive them, for they know not what they do".

How do others feel about this topic?