Do you find this photo as disturbing as I do?


(In case I can’t get the photo to work:

I saw this display in front of a Cricket phone store in North Charleston, SC.

Of course, this shop doubles as a clothing store, which is probably a story in itself.

Come see their Anne Boleyn collection.

# # #

Chick-Fil-A boycott fail: Biggest. Day. Ever.


Yeah, that boycott of Chick-Fil-A sure seems to be working, yes? This photo was shot Wednesday afternoon at the restaurant in North Charleston. Cars wrapped twice around the building, with employees directing traffic flow and helping people back out of parking spots. Inside, the lobby was jammed. Lunch hour was a nightmare. The employees kept it together through it all; they maintained sunny attitudes and high-level service. The customers knew it would take a while to get lunch and expected the food to be assembled in a hurry, but so what? No one made a scene; everybody was cool. Yeah buddy. These folks who don’t like the company or what it stands for, they ought to boycott the place more often. Everybody just stayed away in droves, or something. ###

NYC mayor’s vendetta against bladder busters may spread

A cartoonist for the Conservative Daily News caught the mood just right here.

New Yorkers may soon need to grab a refill if they want to consume mass quantities of soda. That is, if Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way.

It’s just another day at the office for Hizzoner. Since taking office, Bloomberg has opened fire on smokers, trans fats, salty snacks and soft drinks. This latest has Bloomberg calling for a ban of sugared drinks in anything larger than 16 ounces, no matter what the majority of voters say.

So much for the famous Bladder Buster, or whatever it is your favorite convenience store calls its 40-plus-ounce Mt. Dew. Even the 20-ounce bottle, which is the new standard size for soda, has to go.

Keep your nose inside the vehicle at all times.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey — which is really New York South though no one will readily admit it — is considering another out-of-left-field law that will prohibit the family dog from riding in the passenger seat with his head sticking out the window. Pets must be restrained when in the vehicle, maybe even with a harness.


I don’t live in New York. I’ve never been there, and I have no desire to ever go there as long as I live. I could say I don’t understand the Bloomberg way of governance, but that would be a lie. I grew up in California, which is about like New York except the sun occasionally shines.

It’s my California experience that keeps me from laughing as I read about the latest Bloomberg Follies and about New Jersey’s proposal. I’ve seen too much, and California wrote the manual on how to be a proper Nanny State. Even New Yorkers laugh at Californians.

(A fast disclaimer: “New Yorkers” means those who live in That Big City Up North. If you call an upstater a New Yorker, he’ll hurt you and I won’t blame him. But I digress.)

But New York and California are the incubators for many of our national problems. Folks talk of street gangs now as if they’re the newest threat to our way of life; they’ve been around New York even before I was born. Illegal immigration used to be a California problem; now it’s even in the Carolinas and yes, the Midwest.

Same thing with some of the laws you used to laugh at. Now you’ll have a problem finding someplace to smoke indoors or make a phone call while driving, and many of those laws started because someone in New York or California complained.

A state with a lot of immmigration — like South Carolina — tends to adopt these laws faster than someplace like South Dakota, which isn’t exactly a hot immigration magnet. Part of it is a natural thing. We California-bred types like our Mexican food, and New Yorkers like the idea that they can call someplace and have a slice of pizza and a bagel delivered at 4 a.m. Except I still can’t find any Mexican food that is even close to the real thing out here, and the 4 a.m.¬† pizza/bagel runs haven’t materialized yet.

But we’ve got their laws. And we’ve got politicians who think they know what’s good for me better than I do. Something obviously got lost in the translation.

If you want to know the future here in these United States, cast your eyes on New York and California. It’s better than a crystal ball. Just hide your Bladder Buster when you see a cop, and make sure Fido’s paws and tongue stay inside the vehicle at all times.


Ground Chuck: New blog, new articles, but graphics don’t fit

As promised, Ground Chuck is now live.

This blog, which aims to cover matters of the Lowcountry, starts off with a pair of articles:

Check ’em out.

A footnote: Obviously, the blog is new. I’m using default WordPress graphics for the moment, and the cover photo does not look anything like Charleston. Not even close. Even if I took a grease pencil and drew some Spanish moss in the trees, it still won’t look like Charleston.

Just bear with me.



Why does spring so totally rock down South?

Always a part of spring.

No comment necessary on my part. Just enjoy the view.

Proof positive that, to misquote Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), there are two kinds of people in this world: Those that are from ’round here, and those who wish they were.

Cool, shady ... doesn't get much better.
Check out the Spanish moss, but you'll need to slow down for it.
As seen on the Trident Technical College campus, North Charleston SC.

... and just a few feet away ...

Who pays attention to endorsements anyway?

A good friend of mine mentioned recently that a couple of legislators we both admire — Sen. Jim DeMint and Rep. Tim Scott — so far are laying off on endorsing anybody in the Presidential primaries. My friend says it’s a good thing; we don’t need to form yet another bandwagon in this campaign. There are enough of those already, thank you.

My initial choice in the Republican primaries, Herman Cain, threw a major screwball in giving his endorsement. Hey, he’s having too much fun right right now, making the politico-comedic scene with Steve Colbert, to be messing with the campaign lunacy.

A candidate with half a brain (I understand that is a requirement to run for office in some states) would covet the nod from a DeMint, a Cain, or even the freshman Scott.

Politicians are funny about endorsements. When I edited a weekly paper in Arizona, a City Councilman kept bugging me about it during the election season. Somehow or other he got the idea I set the policy there — that privilege usually goes to the guy who buys all that paper and ink, and it sure wasn’t me. But the owner and I were on the same page there, so I got to make the endorsements.

In truth, though, I can’t tell you who really pays attention to those endorsements.

OK, I lied. Maybe I can:

  • The candidates themselves.
  • The ones making the endorsements.
  • The drones.

Of course the candidates are interested in endorsements. They’re in a volatile business, and their fortunes are dictated by public opinion. They’re always checking the wind. A good endorsement from a fellow politician (why did I say wind?) shows the candidate he may be on the right track and wowing the right crowd. And a media endorsement is good, too. As laughably ineffectual as the mainstream media is these days, they still have enough muscle to set policy.

The endorser also has an interest here. To a politician making an endorsement, it can be genuine respect, the making of an alliance somewhere along the line, or a favor to be called later. Like it or not, horse trading is still a big part of politics. And a news outlet has thousands of advertising dollars riding on an endorsement — not just in the political season, but after the votes are counted and the signs torn down.

But that’s small stuff. Why did I mention the drones?

The drone factor is important here. Off the election results over the past couple of decades, they may be in the majority by now. More likely they already are; they only recently discovered voting.

I’d have no problem if these drones (y’all know who you are) merely retired in front of the television, watched the newest hottest reality show, kept up with the celeb du jour, got their news from the National Enquirer or TMZ, and left the voting to those who actually care.

The drones pay attention to such stuff as endorsements, and are more likely to base their vote from an endorsement than a person who actually engages his brain every once in a while.

Here’s the straight stuff: If I vote a certain way because my favorite movie actor or athlete says so, I’m a drone.

If I vote for someone because my union/teacher/boss/spouse/authority-figure-of-choice votes a certain way, I’m another drone. ¬†Taking advice from someone you respect is one thing, but giving that authority figure the pink slip to your vote is something else entirely.

If I vote with an eye toward what I would get out of it and screw the rest of the country, I’m the worst kind of drone.


Stay home.

Go away.

Better to handle sharp objects than a ballot.

Oh, yes. That newspaper owner I actually saw eye to eye with on endorsements: We both agreed that to make an endorsement was to insult the voter’s intelligence. I did have the privilige of writing the editorial containing our endorsements, too. After listening to all the candidates bugging me for months and stringing them along a little bit, I wrote something like this:

“Here are our recommendations on how you should vote: Make sure the paper ballot is right side up before you punch out your choices.”

Fun days. But my boss wouldn’t let me write anything urging the drones to stay home.

Oh, well. There’s always this election.



Waking up gets involved if you’re a reformed night owl

To use the old Bill/Hillary Clinton joke, it takes a village.

Or more correctly it takes:

  • One alarm clock.
  • Two mothballed cell phones.
  • One active cell phone.
  • Seven alarms.
  • Zero death threats.

Check out the rest of the details in Random Hacks: Baling wire and duct tape.



Turning a routine shoplifting into an adventure

A man was arrested Saturday after deputies say that he stole meat from a grocery store by stuffing it down his pants, according to an incident report.

Deputies said the manager of the Ingles at 2120 E. Main St. called police after an employee said he saw a man, later identified as Terry Campbell, walking out with meat in his pants …


But wait, there’s more, according to WYFF News:

The perp had several packages of meat stuffed down there.

The store manager himself reached in the guy’s pants to recover the meat — by then you’d better be sure a crime is being committed; ’cause I can’t think of any other reason to stage a TSA-style search.’

The perp took off, tried to start his car. The operative word here is “tried,” as he had to throw it into neutral and give it a push start.

Finally he took off on foot and was easily captured.

And complained of chest pains after he was arrested.

And you think you have those days at your job where everything goes wrong?