Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Looking for a Leader

I resisted temptation immediately following Friday night's "debate" and decided to reserve my observations regarding same until a time at which I could offer a less emotion-clouded opinion.

In short, I thought it was an embarrassment for all except the hosts.

I've already mentioned that I thought the fair city of my undergrad matriculation and my alma mater did me proud with their preparation for and presentation of the first presidential debate of 2008. Beyond that, I think everyone else involved sought and found the bottom of a mediocre swamp and wallowed wastefully in willful minimus of leadership at a time when our great nation is in dire need of strong action-oriented, wisdom-founded direction.

Senators McCain and Obama gave us sophomoric snickering and platitudinous pablum, respectively, and treated us disrespectfully with their non-answers, irrespective of the gravity of the international and domestic crises confronting us. Their performances were embarrassing. These two knuckle-heads are the best we can do?

There's a good reason why senators, even very experienced ones, seldom make good presidents. By definition, they aren't leaders--they are deliberators. The founding fathers saw the Senate (originally appointed by the governors of their respective states), rightfully, as a body slow to take decisive action--in contrast to the oft-rash actions of the popularly elected representatives in the House. It's been said that every one of the one hundred men and women serving as United States Senators quickly come to believe that they could and should be President of the United States. It is a select and hubris-instilled club. But, membership in that club doesn't qualify one for leading this great nation. Giving great speeches doesn't qualify one for the job, any more than not being voted "Miss Congeniality" does.

The moderator's best question of the evening--and the one most pertinent to the future of our republic--was what the proposed near-trillion (try counting that high, even by thousands) dollar American tax-payer bailout of the country's (read: world's) financial system would mean to these politicians' proposed pandering programs. That they provided no concrete, principled recalculation of their plans (nor even seemed to have even considered the question in light of the current crises) speaks volumes to their unpreparedness to lead our nation.

I wish there was a third choice--a viable candidate whose position was staked firmly in the conservative bedrock on which this nation was founded and upon which this nation has thrived. But, there isn't one. And, so, as I have done since 1988, I will cast my vote AGAINST a presidential candidate, instead of for one.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fading Glory

The fear and trepidation in Rebel Nation leading up to last weekend was palpable. We had the eyes of the world on our little burg as we prepared to host the first Soundbite Spout-off of the 2008 Presidential Election, and our men in red and blue prepared to wade into the Swamp and wrestle with the Gators. The town and campus had its street traffic restricted and our hopes for a win were minimized as well.

We barely had time to catch our breath following the off-again, on-again McCain stunt and the uneventful accomplishment of our part in the debate season, before we plunked down on our couches in front of our TVs and held our breath again as the nation prepared to watch the Florida juggernaut devour our pitiful Rebels. I held my own emotions in check on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, guarding myself against the sure-to-come let-down. It didn't come. But, I'm not celebrating this morning and I've tried, as the caffeine races into my blood stream, to put my finger on the reason why.

It's a Mississippi thing to worry what the rest of the world thinks of us. Oh, we pretend not to care. We put on the proud face and hide our concern behind the gleaming columns of our picturesque facades. But, deep down in our hearts, like the mud at the bottom of our rivers, there is a viscous muck that traps our feet and holds our self-esteem down.

The glory of this weekend's wins will fade quickly. The attention of the world has already turned to the next debate and the widespread replays of the Rebel D's Tebow trounce will rapidly contract to the machines of the Rebel (ahem) Faithful. We will go back to worrying about what the world thinks of us, and they don't even know we exist.

Such is life here at the northern end of southern nowhere.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vote to Remember

Six weeks from today, nearly half of the adult population of these re-United States will prove undeserving of the representative democracy under which they thrive, shirking their highest responsibility (some would say DUTY) as a citizen. Forty-two days from today the other half (if they haven't already participated in some form of early voting--which, in a way, is a shirking of civic responsibility by not completely hearing out the candidates before casting a ballot) of the adult population of these re-United States will line up at their designated local polling place and participate in the single greatest right and privilege known to man.

Voting in our nation is a sacred right, bought for the many at the high price of sacrifice by a few. There are many ways to honor military veterans--voting is the best way. There are many ways to remember the ladies who strove to win suffrage for women--voting is the best way. There are many ways to recall the struggles for minority voting rights--voting is the best way. Many of the young men and women who laid down their lives to ensure our rights and defend our freedoms joined the struggle or went off to fight so young that they themselves had not yet had the opportunity to participate in the free elections for which they sacrificed.

Most of our founding fathers actually feared universal enfranchisement and a high voter turnout among the largely uneducated general population. They feared the mood of the mob taking root and producing wild, inedible fruit in the ballot box. Early requirements to vote, such as land ownership, male gender, and age, reflected this fear. The representative form of government, the division of national government into three co-equal and other-regulating branches, and the electoral college, were the mechanisms by which they sought to attenuate the wild spirit of the masses. But, I have come to believe that they were wrong not to trust the will of the people.

If our government is to remain the guarantor of our freedoms, ALL of us must participate in it--at a bare minimum by exercising our right and responsibility to cast an educated vote. I believe voting is more important than paying taxes, and as such, failure to vote should be punished in a much more severe way than is failure to pay taxes. Every adult citizen of our nation should be required to cast a ballot every time anything is brought to a vote--even if it is a ballot of abstention. Self-serving politicians can take advantage of low voter turnout much more easily than high voter turnout. Save yourself and our nation from them by voting.

Remember to vote, and vote to remember.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Just a Game

It's just a game..., or is it?

Halfway through the first quarter of my Rebels' SEC opener against Vanderbilt last night, #2 son turned to me and commented that it was the most exciting game he'd seen in a long time. Turned out he was partially right--there was a lot of football yet to be played, and the rest of the game wasn't so exciting for Rebel fans. The first quarter was a barn-burner in which the boys in red and blue jumped out to a quick lead on the strength of some big defensive and special teams plays. Ole Miss moved the ball well on offensive the whole game--out-gaining Vandy 2 to 1 in total yards. But six, count 'em, six turnovers and three red zone zeroes let the Commodores stay in the game and come out on top.

As much as I have tried to not let the fortunes of Ole Miss Rebel football dictate my mood the last several seasons, this loss was particularly hard on me. After suffering through the last four miserably sub-mediocre seasons, I was trying hard not to get my hopes up too high for this year. But, a new coach and a team loaded with talent sucked me in...and let me down.

Miss Brenda broke the sullen silence on the drive back to the northern end of southern nowhere last night with the soft-spoken comment, "Ed, it's just a game."

I woke this morning with that comment in my head, and I've tried to wrap my mind around the concept as the caffeine sped up my higher brain functions. I've come to a much different conclusion, however. With apologies to Miss Brenda--she just doesn't get it.

College football is more than just a game--particularly for alumni. It's much more than just a bunch of hyper-muscled kids displaying superior hand-eye coordination and fancy footwork while gliding and colliding at unnatural speeds. It's not just a game about bragging rights and chest-thumping.

Football rekindles a fire in once fierce hearts now beating timidly in our coolly civil civilization. For a few hours on a crisp fall afternoon we who attend these contests crowd into stadiums that focus our attention and attitudes in a common cause. We add our voices to a collective violence-approving roar that transports our spirits back to a time before we suborned ourselves to the gentler norms necessary for the success of the congested communal living that is civilization.

College football, and, to a lesser extent, high school football, possesses an element that lifts the fervor of its fans above that of professional football. That element is the sense of belonging and elite self-identification that comes to many, if not most, true followers of their school's fielded forces. If you are an alumnus, particularly an undergrad alum, your school's mark is stamped indelibly on your heart in a way few other associations or citizenships can be.

Combine those two, collective primal roaring and elite clan identification, and you have a heart-gripping cocktail that addicts like no drug, lifting to the highest highs of ecstasy and dropping to the lowest lows of depression. And, even as the pain of this game-specific low slowly wanes, melding into a collection of general disappointments, I find myself beginning to think longingly about the next game--the next fix.

If this particular season's pain persists, however, I may just have to adopt Miss Brenda's philosophy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Field of Possibilities

I'm starting to get it.

A neighbor, who has the hay-cutting implements and baler that Miss Brenda doesn't see my need for (yet), has been making hay on my fields this week. Last evening as the sun dropped into, and fired, the low clouds to the west, I walked off the hill on which our home stands and down into the field-dotted bottoms behind. There is something about a field of new mown hay that reins in my attention and spurs my imagination. I think it is the possibilities that a clean field presents, that I like. I think I'm starting to understand why people who work the land love it so much.

With all the rain we got this year, the hay grew tall and thick, obscuring the possibilities behind jumbled jungles of green and tan. My sojourns to see what was going on in the back forty were increasingly limited to the walks around the field edges. By the middle of the summer I could barely see over the grass to the other side of most of my fields. Last night, I stood in the center of a cut field and turned slowly around, imagining I was standing in something different than just a hay field--perhaps this could be corn next year, or wheat, sunflowers, brown-top millet--the possibilities were endless.

But, I'm not a complete farmer, yet. The last thought I had before I turned my feet toward the house was, "I could bivouac a whole battalion in this field."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pre-Poll Prognostication

Eight years ago this fall, as these re-United States were embroiled in vote count litigation following a close election, I was serving as the Chief of Operations at US Forces, Korea. For several weeks at the beginning of daily meetings with my Korean counterparts, I labored to answer their questions about what was going on in America. Bridging the cultural and linguistic gaps was a daily challenge without having to include definitions of "hanging chads" and explanations of the historical reasons for the electoral college. One Korean officer opined, "Americans must be very smart to be able to understand all of this." To which I could only sputter through my laugh, "They have no clue!"

If you thought what happened in 2000 was a wild ride, buckle your seatbelts--the aftermath of the 2008 presidential elections will likely make the Gore-Bush recount debacle look like a fender-bender compared to a "big one" at Talledega.

Understand this, the Democrat Party in general, and Barack Obama in particular, will not accept a close loss gracefully, with actions in the best interest of the nation. Both the Democrat Party and Senator Obama have track records replete with concrete examples of just the opposite. During his brief, meteoric rise to political prominence, Senator Obama has engineered primary and election wins by disqualifying his opponents with challenges of their failures to cross every "t" and dot every "i" on their ballot petition paperwork. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that the fact that Senator McCain was not born in the United States (he was born at a US naval station in the Panama Canal Zone) has not been raised as a serious challenge. One of the very few qualifications for election to President specified in the The Constitution is that the person must have been born in the United States. One can argue convincingly that a US military base is US soil, regardless of location, and further, that the Panama Canal Zone was a US Territory; but it is a constitutional issue that could be exploited, and may yet be.

If this election remains as closely deadlocked as the polls seemed to indicate, there will be some very close ballot counts in some very important, from an Electoral College standpoint, states. Here's my prediction regarding how the two candidates and their parties will react on Wednesday morning following Election Day if the vote counts in key states are very close:

If Senator Obama is edged out by Senator McCain, the base of the Democrat Party, led by a chorus of classless celebrities, will rant and rave about another election stolen from the people. Legions of lawyers (paid for by George Soros) will begin litigation to force recounts.

If Senator McCain is edged out by Senator Obama, the base of the Republican Party will go back to work making this country's economy hum so that we can all waste millions watching classless celebrities collapse our culture.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Inglorious End for a Glorious Oak

I'm no tree hugger, but I hate to see one go.

I've been engaged in a sad chore in my spare time the last couple of weeks here at the northern end of southern nowhere. Perhaps the greatest loss I suffered during the Super Tuesday Tornado last February was two of a trio of massive Eastern Red Oaks at the back end of my back yard. They undoubtedly had stood silent sentinel in that location for well over a century. They were there and taller than the altitude achieved when the Wright Brothers began the era of powered flight. They survived the deforestation of this part of the south in the early part of the last century and witnessed the introduction of the cussed kudzu vine to control the resultant erosion. I like to think that some young man returned from one of America's wars or from battling the ground to produce a living and soothed his soul in their shade--I know I have.

The storm that changed the lives of my neighbors and rearranged the landscape hereabout laid two of those old oaks over--one completely down in the prone position, the other propped up on stout limbs as if at the "up" position of a pushup. Their roots are still connected to the earth and this spring they leafed, if not as as full as they might had in their upright years, and I have been loathe to submit them to the axe. So, I used a chainsaw instead.

For two weeks now, Miss Brenda and I have pruned the smaller limbs from our two prostrate pals and fed them into a chipper. The resulting mulch has found a new home in the flower beds around the house. The wood looks good there, if not as majestic as in its former life. A friend has a saw mill and I plan to convert some of the straighter and thicker limbs into oak boards for projects. The crooked short pieces will fuel my fire pit this fall. Can't wait to watch their sparks become stars.

Perhaps conversion to carbon will be their greatest contribution. In case you missed it, the sun is entering a very quiet cycle--there has been no sunspot activity for over a month. The last time that happened--the last ten times that has happened--it presaged a cooling phase for the planet. That's right, Al Gore and all of you hubris-filled secularists, the God of the universe is in control of our environment. With the blink of an eye His will reaches to the edge of the expanse and tweaks a nondescript minor star whose minuscule power fluctuation influences our speck of dirt's environment much more than mere man could do short of global thermo-nuclear war. Even then I'll side with His Majesty--the largest explosions man has ever witnessed in our solar system were the teeny-tiny (on the universe's scale) pieces of comet Shoemaker-Levy hitting Jupiter.

Me and my oaks ablaze are going to do our part to save the planet from (once again) becoming a big ball of ice.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday MOTO's, Vol. I, Ed. 2

It's Monday morning, the coffee is hot, the air outside here at the northern end of southern nowhere is dry and cool, and it's time once again for The Colonel's MOTO Awards.

The MOTO Gold medal goes to the sportscaster who described Saturday evening's gridiron contest between Auburn and Mississippi State as a "real defensive struggle." Hmmm, and I thought that 3 to 2 was a score indicative of a barn-burning offensive shoot-out.

The MOTO Silver medal goes to Senator John McCain for the following "ya think!?!" comment: "We are carefully monitoring the financial markets, including the duress at Lehman Brothers that is the latest reminder of ineffective regulation and management." What's important in this quote is the scary notion that we need more strict regulation of the financial markets. Seems that I remember such elements of the Soviet command economy being responsible for the collapse of that bankrupt system of government. The senator who would be king gets it right when he blames "management." That's the true test of survival in a capitalist system.

The MOTO Bronze medal is awarded to The Colonel for his head in hands muttering of the following as Division IAA (what does Championship Subdivision mean?) Samford was leading his beloved Rebels 7 to 6 halfway through the second quarter of Saturday evening's tilt in the shade of the second largest college jumbotron in all the land: "This is embarrassing." Ya think?!?, Colonel?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Moose are BELOW Us on the Food Chain

The chattering class, which hyperventilated to the point of hypoxia over Vice President Cheney's quail shooting accident, is apoplectic that Governor Palin actually knows how to field dress a moose that she, gasp, shot herself. That someone of the fair sex (sorry to sound sexist--but the media started it) would so debase herself by participating in the retro-masculine practice of killing innocent animals (we retro-males call it "hunting") is such an affront to their elitist sensibilities that even the most "fair and balanced" members of the media are snickering about it like Sarah Barracuda is a misunderstood freak of nature. They are, once again, demonstrating their complete lack of tactile grasp with the reality that they are so quick to denounce politicians for being out of touch with.

Hate to break it to the coastal elites, but there are a lot more women out there who know how to handle a rifle, skinning blade, and butcher knife than they would ever dream existed. Just because none of the simpering snobs (of both genders) with whom they consort would dare risk breaking a nail on the least little bit of activity below and beyond a round of tennis or golf, doesn't mean that the rest of the country is so effeminately inclined. I know I've been heard to grouse about how soft Americans have become, but even I know that most Americans are of tougher, more real stock than the commentating clan would have us to believe.

I know dozens of women just like Sarah Palin, who have the brains and multi-dimensional ability to be both refined and capable of handling the hard edge of life on this planet. I feel sorry for those (of both genders) who don't have that ability--their life has to be, well, pathetic.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years On

Has it really been seven years?

Seven years ago this morning, nineteen men executed a plan, hatched in an Afghan hovel, to use our most advanced everyday technology against the psyche of America. Their tactic succeeded beyond their master-mind's wildest dreams. Strategically, the paroxysm of patriotic anger that followed proved, as it had in December of 1941, that for all of the saturation of American culture throughout the world, the world still does not understand what makes Americans tick.

Sadly, that we are still embroiled in a war without end, with active, if disparate, conventional force campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a multitude of unconventional campaigns in places around the globe that very few of us can even point to on a map, demonstrates that our current national leadership does not understand what makes Americans tick, either.

Americans want what they want, now. Tomorrow is a frustrating delay. Next week is an unacceptable imposition. Next year is... well, next year what they want will be out of style. It was stylish to wave our flag and sing songs about American vengeance...seven years ago. By the 11th of September, 2002, most Americans had taken the flag off their car and replaced it with the banner du jour--"Save the baby whales," "My child is an honor student," "Dale, Jr. rocks."

I've said it time and again since the beginning of this mess, American wars are won quickly and with unlimited violence. American wars are lost drawn out and limited--not because we fail on the battlefield, but because Americans lose patience and withdraw their support very quickly.

Only two major American wars in the last 150 years, The War Between the States and World War II, ended satisfactorily. Both were considered inordinately long by the American people--both lasted less than four years. Had it not been for Sherman's race through Georgia in 1864, Lincoln may very well have not been re-elected and the new US presidential administration might very well have accepted a peace with the Confederacy. Had it not been for Patton's race across France in the fall of 1944 and a stirring photograph of a flag raising on a Japanese-held island in the Pacific in February of 1945, the American people would have lost patience and readily accepted peace with Germany and Japan short of unconditional surrender.

I fear we are on the path to acceptance of a "peace" with radical Islam. We are seven years into this war, and there is no victorious end in sight. American apathy mounts with each passing day. Our "leaders" are more concerned with maintenance of political power than with making the hard choices required for victory in war.

I hope I'm wrong. But, hope, no matter how audacious, is not a strategy, nor an acceptable course of action.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Where's Kim?

Keep an eye on the Land of the Morning Calm--things may not stay so calm there.

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (neither democratic, nor a republic respectful of the rights of its people), better known as North Korea, is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the "communist" regime's establishment. I place the word communist in quotations because North Korea is no more communist than the old Soviet Union was. Confused? Let's start with a definition.

Websters defines communism as: A: a theory advocating elimination of private property; B: a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed

Marx and Lenin perverted the communist ideal and used the concept to cloak their consolidation of Russian political power into the hands of a select few totalitarians who ruled over every aspect of society and each citizen's actions within that society--not exactly the Utopian personal freedom theorized in the original communist concept. Their version's fraudulence was manifest in the walls built to keep people in the "worker's paradise."

When WWII ended in the summer of 1945, Russian forces occupied the northern half of the Korean peninsula--US forces, the southern half. Russia installed a puppet regime in the north under Kim Il Sung and we installed one under Syngman Rhee in the south. Mr. Kim proceeded to build a society based on a cult of personality that has become the most extreme example of such the world has ever known. Kim turned Korean society (the half he controlled) upside down. He took those people who were at the bottom rung of Korean society and placed them at the top. Among a people for whom the pecking order is EVERYTHING this was a brilliant, if most cynically sinister, ploy to ensure the loyalty of those entrusted with power around him. They knew that if Kim lost power, or if they lost Kim's trust, they would go back to the bottom of the ladder. The bottom of the ladder in a society already at the bottom of world societies is a very low position.

When Kim Il Sung died in 1994 he was succeeded in power by his son, Kim Jong Il. Kim, Sr. had groomed Kim, Jr. for two decades to assume power, and there was a nearly seamless transition of power and personality cult. Pictures of the two Kims were visible in any direction at any place in North Korea--now Kim, Jr.'s picture is omnipresent. And now, Kim, Jr. has not been seen in public recently (didn't even show up for the grand parades marking the regime's 60th anniversary)--fueling speculation regarding his health, and even his covered-up death.

The worry is that Kim, Jr. has no acceptable heir (his progeny are all world class losers) groomed for succession to the throne. The guy Kim most trusts, and who is the power behind the scenes is 87 years old.

So, we have a million-man army, enough missiles and artillery and chemical warheads (and a few nukes, most likely) to end even all cockroach life on earth, a population skating very close to the thin ice of starvation, and a potential power struggle among the current elites around an ailing, or dead, Kim Jong Il. If a civil war does erupt in the DPRK, there will be 60 years of pent up societal rage unleashed.

The Republic of Korea, the North's estranged and very rich brother to the south, would actually prefer that the DPRK continue the status quo. South Korea can't afford to assimilate the poor masses from the north. The East German example is instructive--(West) Germany is still trying to recover from taking on the responsibility for the bankrupt command economy of the "communist" East German regime, nearly two decades on. The North Korean economy makes the old miserably failing East German economy look robust in the extreme by comparison.

Ah, yes, but have no fear my hip-hop-brained friends, Joe Biden has plenty of foreign policy experience to keep Baby Barack out of trouble.

What a joke.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

My Best Friend's Birthday

Every time I look, I still see the girl who caught my racing teenage heart. Jesus saved my soul, but Miss Brenda saved my life.

An unprintable number of years ago today, Miss Brenda got the first present I ever bought for a girl, for her 15th birthday. Somewhere in a shoebox of memorabilia is the card I gave her--the stuffed animal gift didn't survive the rigors of child-rearing that began seven years later.

I cannot begin to imagine the trajectory of my life without my soul mate. One thing is certain--she deserves a lion's share of the credit for any success manifest in my existence on this big blue marble.

Miss Brenda is, and I say this in all sincerity and seriousness, the best person I know currently residing in human form on the planet.

She will not tell a lie--even to cover for a surprise.

She possesses an inordinate amount of concern for others. I nick-named her "Twelve" because she cannot help but "tend to" (Ten-two; get it?) anyone and everyone else in the same grid square with her.

She believes in the power of prayer. It is raining gently on my food plots this morning, even though there was no rain in the forecast. She reminded me early this morning that I asked her to pray for rain, yesterday, because I was concerned that the new growth would burn up in the late summer heat, before Bambi ever got a chance to munch on it.

She believes that animals deserve to be treated as well as people--in most cases, she treats animals better than she treats people.

She believes that her children can do no wrong; and, while I fervently disagree and possess manifold evidence to the contrary, I love her for that faith.

Most importantly, she believes in me. And that has made all the difference.

Happy Birthday, Sweetthing!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday MOTOs

This morning I thought I would lead off the week by listing winners of The Colonel's Mastery of the Obvious (MOTO) award for their hammerlock grip on reality demonstrated in gratuitous gum-beating last week.

The MOTO Gold medal goes to Gloria Steinem, the bra-burning feminist boomer icon whose relevance has decreased to just above that of a pet rock, for her MOTO comment that Sarah Palin "shares nothing but a chromosome" with Hillary Clinton. To which I will add my sincere thanks to my God.

The MOTO Silver medal goes to the sportscaster who opined that the Rebel (ahem) faithful "have to be heartbroken" at Ole Miss' last second loss to Wake Forest on Saturday. Ya think?!?

The MOTO Bronze medal goes to Barack Obama for the following, "I actually always thought of the military as an ennobling and, you know, honorable option. But keep in mind that I graduated in 1979. The Vietnam War had come to an end. We weren't engaged in an active military conflict at that point. And so, it's not an option that I ever decided to pursue." He gets the award for his mastery of obvious historical timelines. But let me add my analysis of this comment. One of the things that has always cranked up my crotchety ole colonel meter is when someone insults my intelligence and sense of honor by giving me a feeble reason for not serving his country in uniform. Senator Obama's inference is that if we had still been at war with the Vietnamese communists in 1979, he would have raced to the recruiting station. All of you who believe that this assertion strains the limits of even the most open-minded definition of credulity, raise your hands. This comment ranks right up there with Hillary Clinton's laugher that she wanted to join the Marines in 1975 and was told she was too old and her eyesight was too bad. Change we can believe in, indeed.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Rebel Resuscitation Required

He hadn't been to a college football game since he was a freshman at Memphis State in 1953.

The father of my bride went with me to the Ole Miss--Memphis game Saturday night. We rolled on to campus two hours before game time, searched in vain for a parking spot within easy walking distance of the stadium, and ended up parking off campus and hiking a mile in the waning heat of a waxing summer evening. I told him that somewhere on the bucket list of every southerner must be a visit to the Grove on a Game Day, and so, with time to kill before kick-off, we diverted for a stroll past (through is insanity nowadays) the Grove.

Having checked that box, we decided that by the time we walked over to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, stood in line at our gate, and climbed up to our perch on Row 65, we would have nothing but a short wait for the start of the game. Well, the parties in the Grove must have been good--the foot traffic to the stadium was still light less than a half hour before pre-game festivities and we were ensconced on our rootin' roost well before the vast majority of our fellow fans.

Several decades of gridiron mediocrity (interspersed with precious few above average seasons), institutional banishment of our mascot and other cherished traditions, and a perennial high ranking on the list of best party schools, has reduced our fan base to a moribund mob unable to hang around to watch the end of a ball game in which our team scored the most points since the last season Archie and Olivia's baby boy provided the heroics. By the time the fourth quarter began in the first rout we have enjoyed in what seems eons, the Rebel (ahem) faithful were racing the dejected Memphis fans to the exits. Ole Miss fans are the worst, and I are one--although I did and normally do stay to the final gun. We don't deserve a winning program. We can't even completely fill one of the smallest stadiums in Division I.

I'm proud for our team and happy we finally have a coach, but wish my father-in-law hadn't seen Ole Miss for what we really are. Particularly after hearing me brag for the past three decades.