This is a blog about everyday life. Food, gardening, photography, and nature. What you won't find are pictures of lots of people.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

March Madness Part Two ~ The Mascots of Kentucky

This has been a very good year for Kentucky basketball.  Not only is THE Kentucky basketball team rated #1 in the nation, 3 other teams from Kentucky made it to the Big Dance.  I am starting to wonder why, if we have such great basketball teams we can't have some awesome mascots???

First, let's start with Murray State University.  Located in far western Kentucky, practically in Missouri (pronounced mizzoorah by the natives there), they decided on this mascot.

Murray State Racers
Yes.  It IS a blow up doll.  I understand, however that "Dunker" also has a real life costumed version.  Personally, I think Kentucky goes a bit overboard with horses and I think this is proof.  You have to try really really hard to get any farther away from horse country and stay in Kentucky than Murray.  Why not call him Racer?  Or Secretariat?  Why not just make him something else??  Anything but a blow up horse doll!  Sheese.  It is embarrassing.  I didn't pick the Murray Racers to go very far.  In fact, they got stomped by the "real" Kentucky basketball team last night.  The Wildcats.

University of Kentucky Wildcats
 When you look at Mr. Wildcat what comes to mind?  Excellence?  Well, no. How about mad golfer in blue?  Or perhaps jockey gone wild?  Patchwork puppet?  I give them points for incorporating Kentuckisms in the costume, but the face.  Please!  Don't you just want to kiss that cute little kitty cat's mouth?  Look at him stamping his foot at a bad call!  Darn you referee!  Gosh doggone!!  Someone give Mr. Wildcat a jug of moonshine please.  He needs it.

It gets worse though.  The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are in the tournament this year.  What is a hilltopper you say?

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

I blew him up extra large so you could really believe your eyes.  I have no idea what a hilltopper is and I think I have a lot of company at Western too.  Is that his mouth on the right side there?  But he does have a cute nose dontcha think?   And the Groucho eyebrows are certainly cute!

The Louisville Cardinals have long been UK's rival in basketball.  It is a good thing the contest doesn't involve mascots!

University of Louisville Cardinals
Now that is a mascot!  The state bird strikes up a pose like Joe Namath's famous photo in pantyhose.  Look at that beak!  Yes, he could tear bits of flesh from bones with a snap of his bill.    He is poised to jump up and do his job at a moment's notice - instill enthusiasm, pride and strength in the fans!  Can you see Mr. Wildcat doing that?  Or Dunker?  Or the Blob Thing?  Louisville knows how to choose a worthy mascot every Kentuckian should admire. 

We'll see how far they advance.  Based on Mr. Cardinal they should go far!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March Madness Part One

The time is upon us again!  It is that time of the year when we gamble on basketball and any pretense of work comes to a screeching halt for the NCAA Basketball Tournament!  This year I thought I would choose my brackets solely on intuition.  To get started I peeked at some pictures of mascots from the teams in the tournament.  This was so entertaining I thought y'all might like a peek into this entertaining, yet sometimes disturbingly scary world of fanciful characters.

At first I tried to categorize them by animal, historical character or ......ugh....well Other.  I quickly gave up.  Some of them, quite frankly, defy any type of category, in fact I can't fathom how they inspire school pride at all!  And some of them, no kidding, ride scooters!

Pitt Panther
I'm not sure what the purpose of the scooter is.  When I was in school you couldn't even wear shoes on the gym floor let alone ride a scooter on it! Maybe it is made with Pittsburgh steel?

Meet Gunston.

George Mason University
This guy is a real puzzle.  Is he a Puritan?  A Pilgrim?  I don't even know what he is, obviously he is a historical character but why not name him George?  Or Mason?  Or Thomas or even Jeff?  Gunston?  Nobody can take this guy seriously.  Look at him.  At first I thought he was limping using a cane, but then I saw he was riding a scooter.  Is it me or does he look like he has to pee pee really really badly????  Is he racing to the bathroom?

Duke Blue Devil
If you have to make up a character this is a pretty good one.  But being a Kentucky gal I can't be caught saying anything nice about Duke.  Ever.  The entire state is still pissed over "that shot" (can you say Christian Laetner?).  One expects a red devil but somehow a blue one is even more fierce.  Cool blue for a devil.  No forked tail here folks, just some sort of cryptic initials on his head.  What does it mean???? You better hope you don't get that icy finger pointed at you!

Based on the Blue Devil I'd say Duke has a chance in the tournament.  Oh, on second thought, maybe it means Go To Hell Cats!?!

I'm not so sure about that other North Carolina school though.  Take a look at Ramses the Tar Heel.

North Carolina Tar Heels

If you must personify a mascot  it is probably best to make into something people will recognize.  On some level.  Is this an elephant?  Or is it an antelope with beautiful horns?  No!  It is a rock star!  I could root for Ramses I think.  But never the Blue Devil.  My coworkers  would dissect me and eat my spleen.

I have new found admiration for Ohio State.  Meet Brutus.

Ohio State Buckeyes
It took me a few minutes but I figured Brutus out.  He is actually a buckeye!  The only buckeyes we Kentucky folk like are those peanut butter candies nearly covered in chocolate to resemble a buckeye.  But you have to respect Brutus.  He is true to his roots (pun intended).  In fact, I'm "nuts" (pun intended again) over Brutus.  I love a mascot whose aggression is manifested in his name!  I'd like to hug Brutus.  He looks soft, and kissable.  If this is a contest of veracity Ohio State will go far.

Likewise, Michigan State doesn't "put on airs".

Michigan State Spartans
It takes panache to wear a dress in sports and get away with it.  He even looks manly.  Go Spartans!  But he's a young dude.  Check out "Commodore" Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt University Commodores
Lets face it people.  He looks like a dirty old man.  Sure Vandy gets points for staying true to their mascot aspirations, but couldn't they have made him look a little less......sinister?  He makes my skin crawl when he mugs for the camera on TV.  Mothers, hold your children close.  Very close.

Rather than leave you cringing in horror at Mr. Vanderbilt's 2012 incarnation I present to you the Florida Gator.

University of Florida Gators
Being a Kentuckian I'm a "gator hater" by definition.  We sooooo wanted Billy for our own ya know.  But how can you hate Gator?  He's green.  Like Kermit the Frog.  It's not easy being green.  Hey!  Look closely.  Notice the cheerleaders.  They think they are #1!  Ha!  Mr. Gator is a closet Kentucky Wildcat fan!  He knows they are #2!  Either that or he's missing some fingers.  You decide.

Come back next time.  I'm easing you into the world of March Madness my friends outside the USA.  You will not believe your eyes at what is coming down the pike.  I never realized how diabolical some mascots can be.

Friday, March 9, 2012

An Invitation

I would like to take this opportunity to ask each and every visitor who stops by and reads this to participate in Moosewood Sundays. 

What is a Moosewood Sunday?  Well, it can be anything you wish that has two essential ingredients:  Food and Love.  It can be something as simple as just taking a moment to be thankful you are sharing some time with someone you care about or as elaborate as preparing a meal for others.  Or maybe you will join us and try a few recipes?

Moosewood Gumbo Soup

We now have this wonderful technology that brings people from all over the world together in small unpredictable ways.  Sometimes we take life for granted.  It is easy to do.

I stood on my front porch last Friday afternoon watching the sky for tornadoes as I have done for nearly 40 years when there are warnings.  I am a survivor of a deadly F5 tornado and in my home county we lost over 30 people that day in 1974.  My family was fortunate, only a couple lost their homes and one lost their life.  All of my family, however, was close enough to hear that terrible deafening roar and most of us had sought shelter in buildings that were damaged or totally destroyed.

Such an event changes your life.  You are spared.  Others aren't.  While I strive to remember that today is all we have I was reminded again Friday that our lives hang in a delicate balance.  We really may not have tomorrow, let alone a happy tomorrow.

Seeing those weird colors in the sky Friday just like that afternoon 40 years ago brought it all back like it was yesterday.  Cherish today.  Enjoy and be thankful for those that enrich your lives.

It just so happened that an old friend and I decided to eat our way through some Moosewood cookbooks on Sundays as a celebration of friendship. ( Moosewood is a pretty famous restaurant in Ithaca, New York serving mostly vegetarian food.)  Technology allows us to do this via her blog and texting. You can find her initial blog post here . 

I invite you all to join in whatever way you would like!  Make some new friends!  Reach out to old friends, or maybe just practice an random act of kindness.  We know the world can use more of these things.

Feel free to leave comments or email me.  I hope to figure out how to disable the encryption box to make it easier.  Until next time...........................................................................

P.S.  I switched back to the old interface and found the box to disable encryption!  Please some kind person leave a comment to test it out for me!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Did you miss me?  I've been lurking around peeking into your blogs and occasionally leaving a comment, but what I thought was going to be a few days turned into most of the winter! 

Are you familiar with that cute little contraction, "y'all"?  I'm sure if you are from the southern United States you smiled a bit or giggled.  If you are from the northern United States you probably rolled your eyes and thought "O no, here we go again!"  If you are not American then you may not  be familiar with it.

Y'all is one of those terms in the vernacular that natives just use without thinking.  How y'all doin'?  Where y'all goin'?  Y'all come back and see me!  It is used to refer to a group of two or more.  If you prounounce it just right you just swallow those l's at the end.  There really isn't any reason to enunciate them.  Y'all need to get on to the next word!  Y'all can be young folks, or old folks, mean or nice, ugly or pretty it really doesn't matter it's all y'all to us here in the south.

I used to look down my nose a bit at people who used "y'all" on their blogs.  I mean, my middle school english teacher would probably take a permanent marker and put a big red circle on her computer screen if she saw this lil' essay with that contraction!  But y'all know what?  I'm moving past that and I'm gonna use y'all on my blog now.  I might even use some other bucolic aphorisms from time to time if it suits me.  I think technology is a wonderful thing, but By Cracky, I think regional language is too!  It has history.  It is passed on through generations from family to family.  I fear it may become extinct from all this technology and new slang that has emerged from  rap and hip hop.  I'm going to do my part to preserve it.  I might even use "ain't" once in a blue moon if I take a notion.  Who knows?  I'm going to live a little and ignore a few rules!  I think y'all will enjoy it too!

Y'all remember that winter kale I planted?  Well we have had a mild winter and even the collards survived and I've had plenty of fresh greens to eat on.  Here is a mix I picked Sunday.

Siberian Kale, Red Russian Kale and Georgia Collards

Y'all see that?  That's a "mess" of greens.  It is an ambiguous unit of measurement but any southerner that cooks can tell you when they have a mess.  It just depends on how many of y'all are coming to eat!  We also use that term to refer to a person that is sassy funny.  That ole So And So, he's a MESS!

I better be going now, lunch is about over and my boss don't pay me to jabber away telling people the proper usage of our dear southernisms.  But before I leave y'all I'll show y'all one of the scarves I made this winter for a friend. 

Scarf had her bath and was air drying before I boxed her up and sent her to south Alabama to my friend.  She is a soft lovely combination of baby merino wool, mohair and silk.  She is soft as a baby's ass.  Warm too.

Well, I'll see y'all later.  Come back and see me y'hear?