Q fix: sauce and religion

Those who want to see firsthand evidence of the American love for alternately-spelled words have to look no further than the myriad Southern spellings of the word "barbecue," or the vast creativity that goes into Southern church names.

intent to convert

I'm not much for proselytizing. Nor much, outside my close circle of friends, for expounding upon my spiritual beliefs. I tend to draw the line at random strangers publicly announcing religious beliefs, especially with intent to convert. (We should so make that a tort.) For me, there's a vast (and only rarely blurry) difference between two friends talking about the things that matter over coffee, and some random, unknown person trying to take a few minutes to convince me that their belief system is the right way to go.

More trees

There's not much between Huntsville and Birmingham, except somewhere near an hour and a half of scenery that can be compressed into approximately three minutes of equally unexciting viewing:

"Look. Trees."
"More trees."
"Is there anything else to see?"
"More trees, I think."
"Are we there yet?"
"Given that we left five minutes ago, and it takes nearly an hour and a half to get there, I think that highly unlikely."

It's a pity, really; Alabama seems to be missing some of the out-and-out oddness that is the freeway scenery in Arkansas. Anyone who has driven I-30 has encountered one of the most famous (and enduring) billboards in central Arkansas:

Enormous capital letters, the billboard equivalent of a shout:


I don't know where those have been

Ever heard the saying, "Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should"? Today's interaction with a grocery-store cashier brought this axiom to mind. Granted, I had plenty of time to think about it, given that it took her an exceedingly long period of time to ring up my order.

This is a lot of love.

I've been promising these photos for quite some time, but a post such as this had to wait until I'd gotten both rolls of film developed. After Dad was diagnosed with cancer, I spent a week in Arkansas, staying with Mom and Dad. I made a point to catch up with some old friends while I was there—all of them old friends who see me rarely, now that I live four hundred miles away.

(A number which Eleanor always says with a glare.)

Sean's birthday; cat photos

Shortly before I left, we celebrated Sean's birthday at a local restaurant. All of the locals, minus Geof cleared their schedules to show up:

Sean's birthday party.

(front row, left-right) Jessica, myself, Jeff, Chris. (second row, left-right) Crystal (holding her daughter), Kat, Sean, Rick, Jeff (not my spouse) and Jeremy.Sean's birthday party, 2002

Logic error: snow

Native, lifelong southerners don't quite know what to make of snow. Snow is, of course, that mystical white stuff that seems to fall in fourteen-foot clumps onto remote places like Buffalo, New York, and the upper peninsula of Michigan. This would be a problem, except that it's a demonstrable fact that nobody (the Abominable Snowman excepted) actually lives in the UP of Michigan.

As for the eighteen people living in Buffalo, New York: you're out of luck. Have fun digging; we'll see you in August. Say hi to the polar bears on your way out, willya?Snow is inconsistent with southerners' natural states of being. We react to it like pampered house cats—when thrown outside amidst the mess, we stand there, shell-shocked, for a few minutes, and then begin twitching our hands uncontrollably to try to shake the cold stuff off. (If you've ever seen a house cat thrown outside in the snow for the first time, you know exactly what motion I'm trying to describe.)