Contrary to Ordinary

Jerry Jeff Walker (Monte Dutton photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, October 25, 2020, 12:30 p.m.

Monte Dutton

I’m sort of rested again. When I heard the news of Jerry Jeff Walker’s death, I had been up all night and slept 90 minutes before I filled a commitment to go stand around outside’s Whiteford’s Giant Burger watching the “Red Devil Rewind” show. I was halfway to vegetative until last night, and about the only coherent project was trying to figure out how I got hooked on the Gypsy Songman, and I failed at that.

It wasn’t my old man, who passed on to me his love of Charley Pride, not to mention Willie & Waylon & the Boys. I don’t think it was the line “between Jerry Jeff’s train songs, Newbury’s pain songs and ‘Blue Eyes’ Cryin’ in the Rain,’ though that may have led me to Mickey Newbury.

It’s like genealogy. Jerry Jeff was more the roots of a family tree. I never would have written True to the Roots: Americana Music Revealed, had it not been for Jerry Jeff. Gram Parsons, John Prine and Townes Van Zandt were offshoots.

Jerry Jeff Walker (Monte Dutton photo)

Now they’re all dead, Gram and Townes long ago and Jerry Jeff and Prine this year.

Jerry Jeff was within a month of being 16 years older than I, and yesterday, in my exhausted stupor, I realized that it was the perfect age difference between a fan and his idol.

I couldn’t cite a list of all the singers, songwriters and musicians who wiggled their out from the mighty oak of Jerry Jeff without leaving out a dozen. The same is true of friends from the old JJW “list-serve,” which is now an archaic oddity of the early internet. Maybe the musicians are roots and the buddies are branches. I grew a lot of branches myself while I was digging up the roots.

Twenty-five years ago, which is about the time Jerry Jeff’s warranty ran out, I would be crushed right now. I would be drunk, or stoned, or both, and felt like that was the way I should be. Now, however, probably due to my father actually dying when his warranty ran out, I don’t get sorrowful about the loss of people who lived memorable lives. I haven’t cried yet. Tears will come, though, the same way I weep when I see the tape of Carl Yastrzemski’s farewell to Fenway Park. Tears now come to me unexpected, often months or even years later. Memories live on and grow warmer with time. I haven’t cried about my mother and probably won’t until I get over the daily habit of wanting to call her. My NASCAR sportswriting compadre, David Poole, lingered in my mind for six months before I shed a tear.

Jack Ingram

Jerry Jeff gave me the inspiration to go buy a guitar at a pawn shop without having any idea what to do with it and the persistence to learn to halfway play it by pure trial and error. He’s the reason I now consider my guitars pets: dogs, to be precise.

The only time she barks is when I touch her wrong / But when I pet her right, she tags along / She doesn’t mind it when I want to take her far / All my dog really is is this guitar.

My words, not his. He wrote metaphorical songs about a bootmaker (“Charlie Dunn”) and a hat maker (“Manny’s Hat Song”). Most people know Charlie better. My preference is Manny, but not by much.

He’d say, “Set yourself down, tell us what you’re thinking about / Your hat says something about you, before you even open your mouth.”

His words, not mine.
In True to the Roots, I wrote a chapter about Jerry Jeff’s son, Django, whom I interviewed at a Schlotzky’s in Austin. I tried and tried to get an interview with his father, but that was a casualty of Jerry Jeff doing exactly what he wanted to do with his life. If he wasn’t “contrary to ordinary,” I wouldn’t have loved him so. The book includes a description of a conversation we had on the side of a street outside the Newberry Opera House, where a weary Jerry Jeff paused and chatted with me, with his guitar hanging at his side, en route to the Hampton Inn across the street. I wouldn’t trade it for an audience with the Pope. I’m not Catholic, and my religion is derived from Tom T. Hall: Me and Jesus got our own thing going / We don’t need anybody to tell us what it’s all about.

One of my favorite memories of many Jerry Jeff concerts was the way he’d grow irritated at the people who demanded to hear “that one song.” A Jerry Jeff concert was a matter of him choosing extemporaneously from hundreds, perhaps thousands, of options, in front of a band that was so good it could indulge him his whims.

Sometimes I’d yell, “Play what you wanna!”

True fans – Tried & True is the name of his publishing company and record label, and I write “is” because his music lives beyond him and collects royalties, to boot – drew amusement in watching him grow gradually rankled until he’d say, “All right, goddamn it, I’ll play ‘Railroad fucking Lady.”

Forgive the language. Sometimes it’s necessary to turn a memory into words.

Puckett Farm Equipment, 2010

Better words have been written by people closer to him than I. I’ve read a heap of them since word arrived that he’d succumbed to those dreaded “complications” that claim most folks.

The biggest personal loss in Jerry Jeff Walker and John Prine is now I’m going to have to write some more songs myself.

I’m not worthy, but to recall his tribute to Hondo Crouch, a man must carry on.

Take a look at my website, Laurens County Sports. It’s better now that Laurens County has actual sports again.

If you enjoy my insights about racing and other subjects, make a small pledge of support. Rewards are in place for pledges of $5 or more. If 1/10 of my followers and Facebook friends pledge $1 a month, I’ll be set. Read all about it here.

If you yearn for my writing in larger doses, I’ve written quite a few books. Most are available here.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.

My eighth novel, a political crime thriller, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s right up to date with the current political landscape in the country.

Accentuate … the Positive

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, October 22, 2020, 9:32 a.m.

In these desperate times, I thought it beneficial to build a list of stuff I like.

Monte Dutton

Stuff that has gotten better.

This requires deep thought, but here goes.

Whiteford’s slaw dogs are as great as when I was sneaking out at lunchtime in high school almost a half century ago.

The rear video camera in my truck has made me a fine parallel parker. I used to grouse about having to pay for bells and whistles I didn’t need. I can live with not being able to shift into reverse without putting my foot on the brake. A vehicle that drives itself still scares me but not as much as a tractor-trailer that drives itself. A compromise might be shopping carts that drive themselves and don’t remain in the parking lot.

I always laugh when Alex Moffatt imitates Eric Trump and Maya Rudolph does Kamala Harris.

All by himself, Mookie Betts makes baseball better. Imagine if he still played for the Red Sox. Time-out. I’ve got to regain my composure.

My doctor once sat in front of me in French class. If he asks me if I want a flu shot, I say, “What do you think?” He says yes. I get it. That’s the way every patient ought to be with a doctor. I’m against medical choice by pharmaceutical commercial.

I like living in my hometown. I don’t love it. I know it. I’ve just gradually concluded that I’m not fit to live anywhere else.

Music will be fine as long as the occasional Jason Isbell comes along.

I love my guitars. I just wish I could play them better. It’s what happens when you pick one up in your forties. It’s all I can do not to get worse.

I have lots of friendly acquaintances. My definition of “friend” is more restrictive. A man only needs a few. I think I have the right number.

Take a look at my website, Laurens County Sports. It’s better now that Laurens County has actual sports again.

If you enjoy my insights about racing and other subjects, make a small pledge of support. Rewards are in place for pledges of $5 or more. If 1/10 of my followers and Facebook friends pledge $1 a month, I’ll be set. Read all about it here.

If you yearn for my writing in larger doses, I’ve written quite a few books. Most are available here.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.

My eighth novel, a political crime thriller, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s right up to date with the current political landscape in the country.

Counting Flowers on the Wall

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, October 18, 2020, 8:16 a.m.

Monte Dutton

I’m just stereotyping here when I say that everybody is going to die. It’s true, of course, but not right away. Not necessarily right way.

Everybody’s got to be careful.

But everybody’s mad. There I go stereotyping again.

Anger may be worse than the virus. Or maybe I can’t think straight because I’ve had too little sleep. It’s the weekend, right? I’ve been doing dangerous things like watching sports on TV. I’ll get back on kilter tomorrow when there’s nothing to watch but TCM. Also, because I won’t have to pick up my sister and take her to work 30 miles away at 6 a.m. and go back to pick her up at 7:15 p.m. Surely her truck will be fixed soon. Taking her 30 miles away to pick it up will be easy.

My signature feeling right now is tired. I’m world-weary. Also weary of seeing so little of it.

On the bright side, the coffee maker is working smoothly. I haven’t banged on it in a week. My hand isn’t even sore now.

My walk on the wild side has consisted of buying some K-cups of pumpkin-spice coffee, which I briefly liked. Half the box remains.

It’s all about me. That’s because in this awful time, most of the time, I’m the only one I see. I talk on the phone. I get texts. No news is good news, but isolation is bad news, so what do you do?

You complain. That’s what.

I’m a liar. When someone asks me how I’m doing, I say fine. I mean, I’ve had a flu shot.

COVID is under my skin because it may get under my skin.

People say as long as I have taste and smell, I’m fine.

The best news, I guess, is that life stinks.

Countin’ flowers on the wall. It don’t bother me at all. Smokin’ cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo. Don’t tell me I’ve nothing to do.

That was Harold, Lew, Don and Phil, circa 1966. Lew wrote it. He died in 1990.

Some things never change. Most things do.

Take a look at my website, Laurens County Sports. It’s better now that Laurens County has actual sports again.

If you enjoy my insights about racing and other subjects, make a small pledge of support. Rewards are in place for pledges of $5 or more. If 1/10 of my followers and Facebook friends pledge $1 a month, I’ll be set. Read all about it here.

If you yearn for my writing in larger doses, I’ve written quite a few books. Most are available here.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.

My eighth novel, a political crime thriller, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s right up to date with the current political landscape in the country.

No 20/20 Vision in 2020

Monte Dutton

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, October 4, 2020, 10:53 a.m.

President Twitter is sick, roughly as much as the country. The TV stations are gobbling up the money of all the political candidates and brazenly running their ads back to back.

The other fellow is a disgrace.

You think I’m a disgrace, but that guy is worse than you ever imagined.

Paid for by the most civic-minded rich people who ever lived.

It’s hard for the lawyers promising to make you rich — for being in a wreck or taking medicine that gave you cancer – to find slots, not to mention the miracle drugs that will allow your Aunt Agnes to play tennis again if, in rare instances, they don’t kill her.

The oceans are rising. The forests are burning. The storms are churning. The world is turning, but just barely. The cities are teeming with unrest. The candidates are debating as if they just had a fender bender out on the freeway.

Don’t ever say you’re smart. You’re stupid!

Don’t ever say I’m stupid. I’m smart!

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

Smart! Smart! Smart!

Shut up!

No. You shut up!

I will not!

You will, too!

Now, gentlemen …

What makes you think we’re gentlemen. You shut up! You’re just a moderator.

Welcome to the U.S.A. today.

What happened to 2020? It was supposed to be 20/20, but everyone went blind, figuratively.

An alarming number of people think the world isn’t round, the coronavirus isn’t real, and if President Twitter has it, it must be a ruse to trick the Deep State.

I feel sorry for smart people. Nobody listens to them anymore.

Take a look at my new website, Laurens County Sports. It’s undoubtedly going to be better when Laurens County has actual sports again.

If you enjoy my insights about racing and other subjects, make a small pledge of support. Rewards are in place for pledges of $5 or more. If 1/10 of my followers and Facebook friends pledge $1 a month, I’ll be set. Read all about it here.

If you yearn for my writing in larger doses, I’ve written quite a few books. Most are available here.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.

My eighth novel, a political crime thriller, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s right up to date with the current political landscape in the country.

My writing on other topics that strike my fancy is posted here.

Hope the Young People Learn from This

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Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, September 10, 2020, 8:45 a.m.

Monte Dutton

Here’s what I think about the wide, wide (and wild, wild) world of COVID-19 around us. Forgive the bias on account of my world is centered in sports.

Thus do I want there to be sports. As much as I enjoy a rib-eye steak, I enjoy walking a high-school sideline more. I enjoy watching football practice more than some do football proper. As I get older, I become more and more the avid observer of young athletes. I remember what I was like, and amid the astonishing change in the world and the people on it, I try to understand what they are like.

I think it’s too easy to exaggerate the changes. They’re about 80 percent the same, and the 20 percent is magnified. I try to keep my “get off my lawn!” impulses at bay. In general, young people give me hope. I’m ready to turn the world over to them. They couldn’t possibly botch things as badly as my generation.

Many are full of themselves. They know just enough to be dangerous. They will learn, not by me trying to tell them but by trial and error, rites of passage and the occasional realization that something in which they believed is catastrophically wrong. I look back at myself as a young man and see someone who was disastrously funny. I cringe at that vision, but more importantly, I laugh at it.

I just chuckle at the kids, who know so much but yet so little. That part of growing up hasn’t changed.

Earlier this summer, I was talking to a kid and found it condescending that he said, as if breaking some blockbuster, “You see, I’m a Christian.”

I didn’t but wanted to reply, “Did you think I was a Shiite?”

They think they are having thoughts no one else has ever had. I doubt there is such a thought.

Pixabay

I hurt for them, living in a world that has suddenly been onerously restricted. One day recently, I recollected my college years, when I excelled both in the classroom and the beer joint, and somehow emerged a better man. (OK, my analysis is jaded.)

The whole college experience is being altered forever. If I were a younger man, I’d survey the current conditions and just say, “Tell you what? I think I’ll skip this year. When college gets back to normal, I’ll go back to college.”

Then again, I know now what I didn’t know then, and being ignorant of such wisdom, I’d probably do what everybody else did.

This is going to be a transformative experience. How remains to be seen.

 

Take a look at my new website, Laurens County Sports. It’s undoubtedly going to be better when Laurens County has actual sports again.

If you enjoy my insights about racing and other subjects, make a small pledge of support. Rewards are in place for pledges of $5 or more. If 1/10 of my followers and Facebook friends pledge $1 a month, I’ll be set. Read all about it here.

If you yearn for my writing in larger doses, I’ve written quite a few books. Most are available here.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.

My eighth novel, a political crime thriller, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s right up to date with the current political landscape in the country.

My writing on other topics that strike my fancy is posted here.

Are the Good Times Really Over for Good?

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Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, September 1, 2002, 8:36 a.m.

Monte Dutton

Wow. It’s September. When will wonders cease?

For the first time in my life, something has happened that is as bad as it could be. I’m grading on a curve. In absolute terms, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 – epidemic regionally, pandemic worldwide – could theoretically dwell in the realm of ultimate badness if it ended life on earth. (It’s early yet.) As a practical matter – Lord knows we want our analyses to be practical – let’s just say it has exceeded all expectations, at least here in the States.

President Twitter has been worse than I imagined. This is a surprise. He is not a man I like. He is the only president I do not want to meet. My expectations were low. Turns out I gave him too much credit.

Many of his fans don’t seem to know he is in charge.

For no reason that makes any sense, each month brings with it a glimmer of optimism. Surely this nightmare has a bottom. Fred Cunningham, whom I used to know fairly well and remain in touch by that paragon of the personal, social media, referred to it this morning as “the 74 Days of August.”

Deaths, riots, hurricanes, would-be sports that no one can watch, all in the midst of a battle over the country’s future … August was a slog across the Sahara with a thermos of water and a reluctant mule.

When was the last good month? I’m going with February, even though I don’t remember it.

Pixabay

Among the items that have caught me by surprise:

Kenosha, Wisconsin, is a hotbed of discontent.

A large percentage of football teams will not play at all in 2020. At the moment, a tiny percentage is playing. Playoff games in several sports are taking place in empty buildings, with crowd noise simulated. It beats nothing. Just barely.

Pixabay

The Constitution doesn’t matter if no one in a position of power will enforce its provisions.

Russia has somehow managed to make the most powerful nation in the world a satellite.

Nothing is getting better except, apparently, the S&P 500, whatever that is.

Our leader, still dear to some, spends most of his time running up the world’s biggest golf tab (strictly on courses he owns) and tweeting.

The entire Administration once foreclosed on Grandma’s farm.

If mobile phones went dead, no one would know what day it is.

Theoretically, we are adaptable and resurgent. When this is all over and President Twitter is in jail or exile (St. Helena comes to mind), how much of this change will remain?

Have we gotten out of the habit of going outside? Going to events? Ballgames? Movies? Travel? 

How long will we reside in two camps, the lonely and the hostile? The depressed and the belligerent? Those who watch cable news and those who don’t? Those who care and those beyond it? The bitter and the mad?

 

Take a look at my new website, Laurens County Sports. It’s undoubtedly going to be better when Laurens County has actual sports again.

If you enjoy my insights about racing and other subjects, make a small pledge of support. Rewards are in place for pledges of $5 or more. If 1/10 of my followers and Facebook friends pledge $1 a month, I’ll be set. Read all about it here.

If you yearn for my writing in larger doses, I’ve written quite a few books. Most are available here.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.

My eighth novel, a political crime thriller, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s right up to date with the current political landscape in the country.

My writing on other topics that strike my fancy is posted here.

A Strange Significance

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Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 1:05 p.m.

Monte Dutton

The coronavirus blurs the lines between major and minor accomplishments.

On Monday night, I finished the 22nd chapter of a novel. I’m closing in on the completion of the rough draft, but it’s not quite as rough because I’ve done a lot of retracing my steps and polishing previous chapters in lieu of pondering how it’s going to end. I used to know how it was going to end, but I’ve reconsidered and rearranged a good bit of it. All in all, though, I ought to be prouder of what I have achieved.

But … I finally remembered to buy some lightbulbs on the way home from a volleyball match at Laurens Academy, which might not seem like much, but it was the first bona-fide athletic event in this county since March. The private school is forging ahead, while the public schools have pushed back until September. There’s even an 8-man football game a week from Friday.

It had been a long time, at least a decade, since I needed lightbulbs, and when they started burning out, I just thought I could rummage around and find some, which I did for a while. Also, some of the old ones didn’t last very long.

Somehow I consider remembering to drop by the Dollar General to be about as significant as 2,000 new words of fiction.

It feeds on human interaction, the fiction. Mingling with people I know is operating at about 10 percent capacity. It has become precious.

I’ve read some good books. I’ve played guitar a lot, though I haven’t written any recent songs. I’ve got a chorus stored away here, a chord progression there. I’ve seen some fine movies I didn’t know existed.

This was supposed to be a column for my website, Laurens County Sports, but I decided this was the proper place for my mind to navigate. Yesterday I took some photos, sold some ads, bumped into a friend at a car dealership, watched a volleyball match … and bought some lightbulbs. The last was the accomplishment.

I need a new dish rack. I’ve never had a dishwasher. I need some bowls. Not just any old bowls, but bowls that facilitate the cracking of eggs on their rims. I’m set in my ways. I also need more bowls, ones that hold just a little bit more soup to warm in the microwave. I’m tired of spilling a little in the plate while I carefully walk from the kitchen to the living room. The dining table is covered up with boxes, baskets, caps, CDs, large bowls full of pliers, screwdrivers, and, quite possibly, lightbulbs I didn’t see. I haven’t eaten there in years. It’s around the corner from the TV.

There’s always something to do more important than cleaning up.

Like this. How am I going to clean up with the guitar in reach?

 

Take a look at my new website, Laurens County Sports. It’s undoubtedly going to be better when Laurens County has actual sports again.

If you enjoy my insights about racing and other subjects, make a small pledge of support. Rewards are in place for pledges of $5 or more. If 1/10 of my followers and Facebook friends pledge $1 a month, I’ll be set. Read all about it here.

If you yearn for my writing in larger doses, I’ve written quite a few books. Most are available here.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.

My eighth novel, a political crime thriller, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s right up to date with the current political landscape in the country.

My writing on other topics that strike my fancy is posted here.

Iceman Thawed

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, August 6, 2020, 1:34 p.m.

I have “encountered” Kimi Raikkonen before. I was about 10 feet away for a media conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2011, when, away from Formula One, he tested the waters in a couple NASCAR races, one for trucks and the for what is now the Xfinity Series. I asked a question he didn’t consider noteworthy, which is not unusual. He is a terse Finn, noted for his brief answers.

I found him something of an enigma, which is also not unusual now that I’ve read a biography of the 2007 World Driving Champion, The Unknown Kimi Raikkonen, by Kari Hotakainen.

As you might suspect, it was translated into English.

Monte Dutton

I grew to like Raikkonen in Hotakainen’s bio. I wish I knew him better, which makes me one of several billion.

Hotakainen is more commonly a novelist, and early in the book, I found it a bit overly simplistic. This was a dubious observation disproved in subsequent reading. Hotakainen made Raikkonen’s spareness with words plausible. The demands of driving in the world’s most popular form of auto racing make being a “character” risky. He is, however, quite humorous, particularly when the paucity of his words is considered.

“These other drivers,” Raikkonen said, “come off a different production line.”

Raikkonen did not come from wealth and privilege. He is from Finland’s second largest city, Espoo, but Espoo is not a burgeoning metropolis as it has a population of only 284,000, which is in the range of Toledo, Ohio. As a boy, his home did not have indoor toiletries. It is uncommon for an F1 driver to rise to the top from humble roots. It is fairly uncommon nowadays for a NASCAR driver to achieve stardom without the benefit of a monied family.

Once Raikkonen was asked, “What was the most exciting situation during this race weekend?”

“The start,” he replied.

“And the most boring?”

“This.”

Another time, after qualifying at Hockenheim (Germany), a writer asked him, “What do the tyres [sic] feel like?”

“They go round as you’d expect,” he said.

Another: “What’s the fifth place on the grid like to start from?”

Answer: “It’s the fifth place.”

Raikkonen, 40, now confronts the end of his career. He has won only two grands prix in the past nine seasons, and his apparent last hurrah was the 2018 United State Grand Prix, his 21st career victory.

In recent years, Raikkonen has settled down to raise a family with his second wife. Once he was quite the partier, though safely hidden from public attention. Hotakainen devotes a chapter to a 16-day partying adventure during a 3-week break in the F1 schedule. Raikkonen was accompanied during his binge by hockey player Kimmo Pikkareinen through Italy, Bahrain, Switzerland and Finland. One of the participants was the Prince of Bahrain.

One of the quotes in the book is from Raikkonen’s friend Juha Hanski: “When Kimi sets out to have fun, something happens every minute. And he talks nonstop. If he likes a bar, he likes to stay a long time. It can be a bit funny to discover later that we’ve been sitting in the same place for 15 hours.”

Much to my surprise, Raikkonen’s life is comparable to Curtis Turner and Joe Weatherly on a grander scale. Those celebrated NASCAR bohemians of yore died in 1970 (plane crash) and 1964 (racing crash), respectively, and never settled down.

It’s a quick read, though the demands of my life meant it took a long time to read it. It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy it.

Take a look at my new website, Laurens County Sports. It’s undoubtedly going to be better when Laurens County has actual sports again.

If you enjoy my insights about racing and other subjects, make a small pledge of support. Rewards are in place for pledges of $5 or more. If 1/10 of my followers and Facebook friends pledge $1 a month, I’ll be set. Read all about it here.

If you yearn for my writing in larger doses, I’ve written quite a few books. Most are available here.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.

My eighth novel, a political crime thriller, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s right up to date with the current political landscape in the country.

My writing on other topics that strike my fancy is posted here.

What in the Name of the Constitution Is Going On?

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Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, July 30, 2020, 3:28 p.m.

Monte Dutton

If there’s no sports this fall, it’s devastating.

It’s devastating to me because I am running a sports website without the benefit of sports, but it’s devastating for millions because sports is a vital part of their lives. It’s mild in comparison to losing basic social interactions and gatherings, but it’s all part of a general malaise.

No sports. No theaters. No concerts. Few private parties. Few street festivals. What little is allowed is at risk.

Make America great again. Ha! President Twitter takes no responsibility. Neither do his sycophants. They round up their familiar suspects: Obama, Hillary, Soros, Pelosi, Schumer, Democrats, liberals, media, fake news, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the godless, commies, socialists, anarchists, those who worship other gods, protesters, rioters, looters, young, old, ad infinitum.

One would think President Twitter was not in charge.

One would think it intellectually dishonest if it were intellectual at all.

Here is the essential flaw in whataboutistry. If one blames it on Obama, et al., one is approving of what the alleged suspect did.

Obama did it, too. Hillary did it, too. LBJ, JFK, FDR, yada, yada, yada.

President Twitter is in charge now. His standard operating procedure is to take what he is doing and has done and say everyone else is.

Joe Biden, these people say, is a doddering old man. String together all the gaffes, lies and exaggerations of President Twitter in the past four years and they would stretch to the moon and back while Biden’s occasional flustered misstatements would barely reach the outskirts of town.

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President Twitter thought Finland was a part of Russia. He recommended that South Korea solve its security problems by moving its capital, Seoul, to another location. Seoul has twice as many people as New York City…

But forget about who’s old and who isn’t, who’s stupid and who’s smart, and who’s conservative and who’s liberal.

This morning’s tweet about delaying the election underscores what I have noticed all along.

President Twitter cannot govern effectively as anything other than a dictator.

I don’t see how anyone who claims to support the Constitution can also support President Twitter.

Take a look at my new website, Laurens County Sports. It’s undoubtedly going to be better when Laurens County has actual sports again.

If you enjoy my insights about racing and other subjects, make a small pledge of support. Rewards are in place for pledges of $5 or more. If 1/10 of my followers and Facebook friends pledge $1 a month, I’ll be set. Read all about it here.

If you yearn for my writing in larger doses, I’ve written quite a few books. Most are available here.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.

My eighth novel, a political crime thriller, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s right up to date with the current political landscape in the country.

My writing on other topics that strike my fancy is posted here.

Life at a Safe Distance

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, July 3, 2020, 11:19 a.m.

Monte Dutton

This morning brought a bit of a break from the desolation of the Self-Quarantine Age. I had breakfast at the cafe on the square, and it didn’t seem like I was risking life and limb. I try to keep my trusty bandana handy, along with a supply of masks. In a world of relentless sameness, I take comfort in certain aspects of reliability.

For instance, my breakfast of choice is $10.88, and I generally add a tip of $3.12 because I value the reliable service and it makes balancing my online checking account easier. I usually eat breakfast at home, but a week without going to Steamers at least once is like a day without sunshine.

This morning a colleague walked in, and we carried on a conversation from across the room, which was safe and not too obtrusive because Steamers was sparsely populated after the morning rush, which isn’t quite as much a rush in this desperate time. The good folks are getting by, just like the rest of us.

I feel like I’m somewhere between the Snappy Cafe of The Andy Griffith Show and the coffee shop of Seinfeld. Steamers is the Snappy with internet access. I love it.

John Clayton works at The Laurens County Advertiser, and he is an important part of our sparse county media. We used to bump into each other quite often before the world became sequestered. This was the second time since the world shut three quarters down. There’s a new member of the civilian information corps. He broke the story that he’d seen her once.

Pixabay

Thus was there news, not any to print (or, in my case, post), but it was something to discuss other than other things “they say.”

The Fourth is tomorrow. I expect it’s going to be a lot like every other weekend, which is barely a weekend at all, only with late-night fireworks. I expect the barrage will commence tonight, just to soften up the dwindling defenses. Crossing the railroad tracks seems like a trip to the beach.

 

Take a look at my new website, Laurens County Sports. It’s undoubtedly going to be better when Laurens County has actual sports again.

If you enjoy my insights about racing and other subjects, make a small pledge of support. Rewards are in place for pledges of $5 or more. If 1/10 of my followers and Facebook friends pledge $1 a month, I’ll be set. Read all about it here.

If you yearn for my writing in larger doses, I’ve written quite a few books. Most are available here.

(Cover design by Steven Novak)

Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.

My eighth novel, a political crime thriller, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s right up to date with the current political landscape in the country.

My writing on other topics that strike my fancy is posted here.