Frontier Former Editor

June 30, 2008

Az, you make this way too easy . . .

Filed under: Canadians, humor, lost weekend, Monty Python — Tags: , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 11:12 pm

First, go see Azahar. She’s having a bit of a time having to host an Australian and an American and keep the Guardia Civil (and their airport security division the LaGuardia Civil) from arresting them. That alone should be reason enough for your sympathy.

On a slightly less serious note,  here’s an interpretation of her latest adventure in Spanish medical care . . .


Az, we’re rooting for you because, frankly, Robert Mugabe isn’t quite as personable as you.


June 29, 2008

In honor of . . . .

Filed under: anatomy, blogging, cool stuff, humor, observations, sculpture, The View — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 8:07 am

nursemyra and daisyfae, who managed to get their most recent postings in under the wire while visiting azahar, I offer this small cultural tribute. And it also includes a touch of neon green . . . .

A true synergy of culture and lingerie this blog thing is!

And, Az, the color the two smuggled in alone should bring you back to full health and a long life. I’m sure it probably burned out the sensors on several digital cameras already . . . .

June 23, 2008

Blue Monday

Filed under: bald white guys, George Carlin, humor, observations, old times, societal niceties — Tags: — Frontier Former Editor @ 6:46 am




That was quite possibly the most important lesson I learned as a teenager.

Thanks, George.

June 22, 2008

Let them eat cake.

Filed under: food, old times — Tags: , , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 8:28 am

No, I really mean it. Let them eat two of the best damn cakes ever conceived in the South.

Max and Stiletto managed to fire me back 37 years in the old wayback machine with a brief exchange on red velvet cake.

Yeah, I like French and Viennese pastries, strudel, baklava, donuts, hot cross buns and all sorts of baked goods from around the world. But there are two delicacies that stand toe-to-toe with anything any country can produce to throw off your blood sugar levels.

courtesy of

Red velvet cake is best enjoyed in your mom’s or grandma’s or aunt’s kitchen with a glass of cold milk. It beats even a good old-fashioned Nilla Wafer banana pudding. As my grad school roomie once said in a comparative discourse on pizza and mutual oral gratification, even when it’s bad, hey, it’s pretty good. And when it’s good, red velvet cake will take our mind off just about anything else.

And for reference, I’m pretty sure my great aunt’s recipe for red velvet cake included lots of Crisco, red food coloring and Hershey’s cocoa.


And there’s molasses stack cake . . .

courtesy of

My grandmother would make me a stack cake if I even mentioned the words ‘stack cake’ in passing. She’d tell me to go find a good pint jar of homemade molasses, which around here only took a day or so after mentioning to a friend or acquaintance that ‘hey, I’m looking for some molasses.’

When you look up stack cake, you’re going to get thirty different stories and names and variants of how “this is the true stack cake.’  They’re all true, but my grandmother’s recipe was simple, cheap and took damn near all day to make because of the number of layers (six to eight in her recipe) to bake, and me having to wash the bowl of all that molasses.

Now, you’ll see all sorts of recipies declare that you have to have homemade apple butter or cooked dried apples to make the filling. My grandmother used White House applesauce from the jar, and her stack cake tatsed as good if not better than ‘authentic Appalachian’ stack cake I’ve had at Appalachian ‘cultural fairs.’ She made it the same way everyone else makes it around here – with what you have on hand. I could go on about the Zen of making stack cake, but she made it and it was good every time.

I’m hungry, in more ways than you know.


June 21, 2008

Show some emotion . . .

Filed under: cool stuff, music, old times — Tags: , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 10:53 pm

I’m too tired to tonight.

June 15, 2008

An open letter to the NBC News Division

Filed under: journalism, MSNBC, NBC, politics — Tags: , , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 12:04 pm

Jeff Zucker

President and CEO, NBC

30 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, NY

15 June, 2008

Dear Mr. Zucker,

Please accept my sincere condolences and sense of loss after the untimely death of Tim Russert.

Mr. Russert was an especially bright light among those who inspired me during my career in journalism. He proved that one could be intelligent and present intelligent thought in the context of television news – a quality all too rare in today’s media environment.

Mr. Russert – or Tim, if you might indulge me – had that rare capability to call respectfully a spade a spade when interviewing politicians, policy makers and about anyone else in the public eye. He did that without demeaning them, allowing their own character and record to dictate their level of respect in the public eye.

Tim could acknowledge and respect the regular Joe’s perception and knowledge and impress upon those in rarified circles that the only real thing separating their knowledge and judgement from the masses’ was their pay grade.

Watching all the memorial and retrospective programming on NBC and NBC this weekend has served to heighten the sense of loss and regret that so many of us share. In that regard, I would like to suggest an even more fitting way in which Tim can be remembered in a productive and respectful way.

Please tell every journalist and presenter in the NBC News Division to get off their asses, stop playing to the camera and start doing their job in informing the public about what their country has become and is becoming.

And Mr. Zucker, please tell David Gregory that he’ll never work again if he engages in the sort of public ass-kissing of public officials which he performed on Dick Cheney at the Radio and Television News Correspondents dinner.



Frontier Former Editor

June 13, 2008

If you ever needed reminding that life isn’t fair

Filed under: 2008 election, journalism, politics — Tags: — Frontier Former Editor @ 10:57 pm

Tim Russert’s dead, and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will get to go home in seven months to enjoy their questionably-gained fortunes while we pay for the secret Service protection they’ll probably need because of the sodomy they performed on American society.

Russert is vindication of my cherished belief: people who’ve done things are far better journalists than are journalism and communications majors.

June 9, 2008

Something more freakish than living-dead dog heads


namely, the man who would think he has even a snowball’s chance in the jet blast of an F-15 in afterburner of becoming Virginia’s junior U.S. senator. I give you . . . . . James Gilmore.

Yes, James Gilmore, whose administration gave me more than enough to do during my career as a reporter.

James Gilmore, whose political bright idea was to phase out Virginia’s local personal property tax on personal automobiles. It sounds good, until one realized that:

A) Gilmore’s bright idea included having Virginia replace the phased-out revenue with state tax revenues, so we could all pay for our lower car tax with our own state tax monies.

B) Gilmore slightly underestimated the cost to state coffers – he said $40 million in state revenue annually to pay for the phase-out. The actual cost? Try more than $100 million annually.

C) Gilmore’s vision of lowering the local tax burden on Virginia citizens would have qualified as legal blindness, since localities found themselves raising real estate tazes and other fees to meet the shortfall. Ergo, more local taxes on the hard-working Virginia taxpayer.

D) Less available state tax revenue meant less funding for things like education, transportation, public health, and teacher and state employee raises. (The last item always gives me a big chuckle, since one of my relatives goes on about how Gilmore’s Democrat successors as governor screwed deputies and corrections staff out of their raises. News flash: Gilmore spent damn near all the money on your raises on his goofy pyramid scheme to lower your car taxes).

And, to round out a fun-filled four years of Big Jim the Car Tax King, he managed to make enough of his own party mad enough at him so that two major Republican legislators came out today to support the Democratic candidate for Virginia’s U.S. Senate candidate, Mark Warner.

Yep, it’s in the Washington Post and the Roanoke Times

Warner, incidentally, succeeded Gilmore as Virginia governor and managed to work with most state Republican legislators to rescue basic services and the state’s bond ratings. The two Republicans – Delegate Vince Callahan and state Senator John Chichester – were the top overseers of the state budget legislative process and enjoyed the distinction of having Gilmore veto the budget plan they crafted in an attempt to clean up the mess he helped bring about.

I had the interesting experience of interviewing Gilmore and of observing his arithmetic skills. When asked to explain why he didn’t apply more of his own discretionary economic development fund to seducing businesses to southwest Virginia. Gilmore promptly countered with the fact that he had spent several tens of millions in that fund west of Marion – even after I gave him the out of asking if he meant Marion.

After a little fact checking with the state’s economic development arm, it turns out that he spent more like less than $10 million west of Roanoke. Roanoke, incidentally, is about 100 miles east of Marion.

This – among several other chapters in Gilmore’s four-year success story – leads me to believe that Gilmore’s map of Virginia west of Roanoke consists of a blank area captioned with “Thar be sea monsters beyond!”

It’s not that Gilmore is a Republican and his opponent is a Democrat. It’s that Jim Gilmore has to be one of the dumbest, out-of-touch people ever to be governor of Virginia. I could name three Republican governors of this state who, in their worst ever days each could show without effort the decency, grace and intelligence that would turn James Gilmore into a pillar of salt.

Please, Jim, take the advice of Biff from “Back to the Future” and just make like a tree and GET OUTTA HERE!

June 2, 2008

Something less freakish than the U.S. presidential campaign . . .

Warning: If you’re a PETA enthusiast, don’t watch. If you believe everything that the Stalin-era USSR  and Ensign Chekov spouted, then you’ll enjoy this. If you’re a Tom Savini or Herschel Gordon Lewis Fan, you’ll probably fall asleep.

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