Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Little Pigs, let me in!

Hannah Jane went to the doc today for a pregancy check-up, so I got to take little Petunia -- with seven teeth in her whole head -- to her gym class in Lexington. This place is amazing, with trapezes and trampolines and a zip-line and a pit full of plastic balls and chutes and ladders and whatnot. Mama used to send Fripp and me into the yard with brooms to play "light sabres," or occassionally she'd give us a handful of lawn darts, but now kids have it made. I mean, a zip-line... are they training Petunia to be a commando or what?

So anyway, I worked up a nice little appetite singing, dancing, tumbling, and line-zipping with the other "moms". I had lunch at the venerable Little Pigs Barbeque on Alpine Road. Situated across the street from a mobile home park, a stone's throw from the junction of I-20 and I-77, this place is one of the Midlands' best kept barbecue secrets.

Three regions on the SC Barbecue map are represented here: Mustard, Vinegar, and Ketchup based pulled pork all grace the buffet. The collard greens and cole slaw were both good, and the banana pudding looked enticing as it was devoured by my buddy Fletch, but Gervais is on a diet for my upcoming marathon. I didn't get too mad at Fletch for eating it right in front of me, because I knew I was stranding myself on temptation island by even going to LP, and because he picked up the tab. Which, at around seven bucks a head, is one of the best deals in town.

Gervais says, try Little Pigs next time you get the hankerin' for some terrific barbecue.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cromer's P-Nuts files lawsuit against state GOP

L-R: Historic Cromer's slogan, Rep. Altman, Sen. Fair.
Company accuses party of deliberately luring worse nuts into capital city

B & P News - Columbia

Attorneys for Cromer's P-Nuts, Inc. today filed a lawsuit against the South Carolina Republican Party for "collusion to undercut the Cromer's company in worst-nuttiness."

"Cromer's has operated under the slogan 'Guaranteed Worst in Town' for decades," said Cromer's president Claude "Peanut" Flanders. "Now the Republicans are luring in worse nuts to Columbia from all over the state. It's insidious."

Only two Republican legislators, Rep. John Graham Altman of Charleston and Sen. Mike Fair of Greenville, were mentioned by name in the suit. But some insiders speculate that more prominent GOP politicians will be included in the prosecution's case.

"Finding nuts in the Republican Party is like finding a mullet at the Barnyard Flea Market" said state Democratic Party Director Lachlan Macintosh as he thumbed through his notebook of state-specific one-liners for the press. "It's like finding a pig under Governor Sanford's arm. Wait, no -- it's like finding calabash shrimp at Murrell's Inlet."

GOP Chairman Katon Dawson, consulting his own file of press-ready zingers, said he expects the case to get "thrown out like a boiled peanut shell at Williams-Brice Stadium" and the lawsuit "has about as much merit as Piggie Park has kosher food."

Senator Fair took exception to being named in the lawsuit.

"If fighting 'evil'-ution and trying to get the Ten Commandments posted in our rest areas makes someone a nut," said Fair, "then feed my ass to an elephant."

Representative Altman agreed, adding "Cromer's aren't very bright, are they?"

Monday, November 28, 2005

Smokey Bones... your reward for going to Harbison this time of year

Hannah Jane and I went out to Smokey Bones over the weekend with a couple of friends. That side of town is ferocious of late, but this place is worth it if you're out there.

The pulled pork was good, as deemed by myself and my buddy Sticky. His is an opinion I value, because he is the one dentist out of ten that doesn't recommend Trident gum, and therefore I know he puts a lot of thought into giving his seal of approval to such things. His wife Bonnie Lee deemed the St. Louis style ribs "the best she'd had in a while."

The highlight of the Smokey Bones experience, however, is not the pulled pork or the ribs. It's the skillet cornbread with crushed pecan butter you MUST order as an appetizer (Really you must, it's SC Law - bill introduced by Jakie Knotts). I just salivated all over my spacebar thinking about that stuff. I had collard greens and fried apples for my sides, and they were great as well.

The menu says the meat is smoked for "up to twelve hours," which in my world can mean anywhere between one second and twelve hours. But judging by the taste, I'd say it was closer to twelve hours. Menus aren't supposed to be literature, I guess, and I'm sure I've done as bad or worse on this blog. Anyway, try Smokey Bones if you ever find yourself in that circle of Hell known as "Harbison during the holidays."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sanford abruptly creates Department of Unemployment Control, names Tenenbaum as head

Below left: Governor Sanford. Below right: New
Director of Unemployment Control Inez Tenenbaum
I'm disappointed in her performance so far, says Sanford of new unemployment czar

B & P News - Columbia

In a surprise announcement Friday, Governor Mark Sanford created a new government agency, the Department of Unemployment Control, and named current Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum as its director. He then blasted Tenenbaum for South Carolina's soaring 6.9% unemployment rate.

"Third from the bottom is just unsatisfactory," Sanford said at a press conference Friday morning, three days after October unemployment figures were released. "Tenenbaum is not getting the job done. I'm disappointed in her performance so far."

GOP chairman Katon Dawson echoed the governor's sentiments. "The state's economic situation is horrid, and taxpayers need to be able to hold someone accountable," said Dawson. "That person is obviously Inez Tenenbaum, head of the Department of Unemployment Control."

Tenenbaum was surprised to read criticism about her performance in her new position in the newspapers Saturday morning. "Aren't these the October statistics?" she asked. "How could I... Oh [expletive deleted] this [expletive deleted]."

Asked about the timing of the new department, a Sanford spokesman said that "it had been part of his government restructuring plan" all along. "Don't let the Tenenbaum 'Unemployment Establishment' fool you," said press secretary Joel Sawyer. "They've had hours to fix the unemployment problem. The buck has to stop somewhere. That somewhere is Inez Tenenbaum."

This is the third new department Sanford has established this year. In August, he created the state Credit Rating Department and named Democratic Senator John Land as director. Earlier this month, he created the Department of Prison Escapees at the request of political ally and Department of Corrections director Jon Ozmint. To lead that department, Sanford appointed Newberry physician Oscar Lovelace.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Title loan to get SC through holidays

Below: Governor Mark Sanford and Treasurer
Grady Patterson obtaining title loan
Loss of AAA credit rating forces state to pursue alternate lenders

B & P News - West Columbia

South Carolinians got more economic bad news Tuesday, when top officials used the title to the state as collateral for a high-interest loan.

"The good news is that losing our Standard & Poor's AAA credit rating hasn't altogether stopped us from being able to borrow," said Governor Mark Sanford, outside the Paycheck Advance store on Highway 1. "The bad news is that if we default our state will be owned by this guy named Hector."

State Treasurer Grady Patterson, when asked about the title to the state about an hour after the transaction, replied only, "The Palmetto State," then farted loudly.

While some Democrats pointed to the title loan as evidence of another Sanford failure, USC Economics professor Jebediah Tweed applauded the move.

"I think the fact that the governor is supporting small businesses is great," said Tweed. "The very proliferation of these outlets is a testament to the governor's small business initiatives. I can't think of a better indicator of a healthy economy than a payday loan shop on every corner."

Cayce resident Hector Rumph, owner of Paycheck Advance, would not disclose the amount of the loan.

"I don't like to disclose personal information, such as loan amounts and interest rates," said Rumph. "Let's just say, South Hector-lina gets kind of hot in the summer, if you know what I mean."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Senator Mike Fair offers winter house heating tips

Below: Fair uses The Descent of Man to heat home.

The Harry Potter series will keep your house warm all night, says Greenville politician

B & P News - Greenville

State Senator Mike Fair (R-Greenville) wants his Upstate constituents to stay warm in the imminent winter months.

"It gets cold up here in December," said Fair at a press conference in his living room. "A nice fire, fueled by books such as Origin of Species, is the perfect remedy for the winter chill."

Fair provided reporters with a list of books recommended for the fireplace based on combustibility, ash quality, and references to controversial topics like evolution, magic, and dinosaurs. Included on the list were Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code, and Are You My Mother? -- a children's book that, according to Fair, glamorizes single-motherhood in its depiction of a bird family.

"Don't feel constrained to my list," added the senator as he doused a copy of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time with gasoline. "Be creative. The Harry Potter series will keep your house warm all night, I bet."

Greenville High teacher Marlene Lewter phoned Fair to voice her displeasure that her class's biology text was on the list. "He said it was missing the chapter on Noah's ark," Lewter said. "And the one about sly demons burying fossils all over the world. I thought he was joking, so I laughed. Then he hung up on me."

Arlo Humperdink, president of Christian Exodus, lauded Senator Fair. "I think it's important that we get full use of the earth's resources, and recycling initiatives such as this are instrumental to the balance," said Humperdink. "Plus, you know, book-learnin' is the expressway to Hell."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

TIME, Bureau of Labor Statistics are leftist left-wing liberals

By Mark Sanford
Guest Columnist
Much has been made of my recent designation in TIME magazine and the Bureau of Labor Statistics as one of the country’s worst governors. Well, here’s what I have to say about all this critical liberal gibberish: TIME magazine and the Bureau of Labor Statistics are leftist liberal left-wing organizations.

Liberal, leftist TIME says I’m the third most listless governor; the leftwing liberal Bureau of Labor Statistics claimed last month that South Carolina’s “unemployment rate” was fourth from the bottom, with only Alaska, Mississippi, and Louisiana laboring less.

Notice the latently liberal, left-wing, libelous, left-field spin on these things. TIME laments that even though my party’s in the legislative majority I haven’t been able to accomplish things because I lack some magical entity it labels “leadership.” Two words for the left-handed lamebrains at TIME: “Seatbelt Law.” Load that in your bong and smoke it, lefty.

The Bureau of Liberal Labor Statistics is equally leftacious, if not more left-leaning. Fourth from the bottom? I’m no mathematician, but the way I look at it, 6.6% unemployment is fourth from the top. But in crazy liberal left-wing Leftyland, top is bottom, up is down, and little is large.

My record lectures loudly for itself -- look at little businesses. A couple short years ago, it might be laborious for a small business owner looking for a landscaper. But lately, 1 in 15 South Carolinians would literally love to land such a job. Only three other governors have leveraged a log-jam of readily available labor that exceeds mine, and two of them had help from a liberal, left-wing hurricane. But you won’t learn about laudable things like that in Mother Jones – oops, I mean leftist TIME magazine – or liberal lefty MoveOn.Org – oops, I mean the Bureau of Left-wing Labor Statistics website.

Luckily, I believe my fellow 'Lappers see left-leaning liberal leftist left-wing leftist liberal propaganda for what it is: leftological wingy leftist Liberian liberal leftocracy.

Mr. Sanford is the Libertarian-leaning leader of the little state of South Carolina.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wednesday Lunch: Chef Fatback does it right

Hannah Jane said the ribs she ate today at Mac's on Main were the finest to cross her lips, and I can't disagree.

Barry Walker, aka Chef Fatback, is a real l'uomo universale. His culinary expertise is without question, he is a television personality (weekly show on WACH-TV), a first-rate musician (I am told), and a dedicated public servant on Town Council in OkraTown (as it's called on Wag the Blog).

Enough about OTC (OkraTownCouncil). Let's talk about OCT (Okra, Corn, and Tomatoes), a perpetual favorite on the Mac's on Main buffet. Add some best-ever ribs, collards, turnip greens, "Florence Fried Chicken," impossibly delicious macaroni and cheese, and some Peach Cobbler that makes me wish I wasn't training for a marathon, and you've got yourself a meal.

This place is great. Voted "Best Blues Club" in the recent Free Times vote, Mac's has pictures of several musicians and politicians on the wall. B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, Slim Jim Hodges, Squealin' Hog Sanford, Smokey Joe Wilson, and more. The political pics are all near the door so you don't have to look at them while you eat.

If you haven't been to Mac's on Main, go. Trust Gervais on this one.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Somebody needs a humor voucher

I came across this latest "press release" from South Carolinians for Responsible Government yesterday on SC Hotline. Gervais says, 'Ariail, watch your back!'

I give this one a 10 on the Unfunny Meter. It's a 9 until your eyes veer down to the guy whispering about the dog, which ratchets up the unfunniness to the alarm setpoint.

Full disclosure: I kind of like Inez Tenenbaum. No, I mean I like her. In a way that makes Hannah Jane hella jealous. Is "Lady in Red" playing on the light-rock station? That's because I requested it. So I naturally don't like all the Tenenbaum-bashing going on out there.

But, I will do for SCRG -- ostensibly an education organization, actually a tax organization -- what they would never do for our schoolyoungin'... acknowledge their improvement. The group's first Tenenbaum cartoon was impossibly lame. It was basically Beavis or Butthead (I'm not sure) with his fist in Homer Simpson's mouth. Homer's black parents are questioning whether 'Doctor' Inez should be choking their son with dollars.

Now I know my personal equation for humor (DeMint + anything gay = funny) might not appeal to everybody, but I don't think I'm out of bounds in saying these cartoons don't quite meet the bar for haha. Check out the mouse: "Forceps.. scalpel... TAX HIKE!"

SCRG, "this dog won't hunt." Where's the funny?! Where's Dennis Sinned?!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

DeMint eager for Wednesday concert

Congressman DeMint sports his "Elton" glasses
Congressman set to enjoy flamboyant rocker Elton John in Columbia

B & P News - Washington

Congressman Jim DeMint will be in Columbia on Wednesday for the only South Carolina tour date of rock and roll legend Elton John. The concert will be held at the Colonial Center.

"I wouldn't dare miss Sir Elton in my homestate," said DeMint, decked out in oversized glasses and mauve platform shoes in an interview Saturday. "If he cancels again I'll just die."

The performer was scheduled to appear in March, but canceled the show due to fatigue. Thousands of ticket-holders, including DeMint, were offered the choice between a refund and tickets for Wednesday's performance.

"Jim was very upset back in March," said Governor Mark Sanford. "I hadn't seen him cry that much since we saw Steel Magnolias."

Congressman DeMint said Saturday that he prefers the classic Elton John songs, but also likes the newer material. He also pointed to the musician as a role model for young people in South Carolina.

"Some rock stars are talentless, lewd, sick womanizers," said DeMint. "Not Elton. You won't find scores of cheap women backstage at one of his shows. I think our children could learn a lot from him."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Second-most fun I've had in Pauline

Ol' Gervais got to take a trip to the upstate last week, to speak to some Clemsonites and to attend a Veteran's Day event at the Pine Street school in Sparkle City USA.

What struck me about Tiger Town was the proliferation of Lovelace signs. I heard he was Student Body President there. Of course, Beasley was a Tiger too, and what did he ever do? What? Profile in Courage award? Oh. Nevermind.

On Friday my Aunt Hankie took me to Bull Hawgs in Pauline, outside of Spartanburg. I kid you not, if you bring in fresh antlers during hunting season, you get a free plate. And you get to keep your antlers.

The barbecue was great, naked but with spicy vinegar-pepper sauce on the tables. Great slaw too. Absolutely worth the trip if you're up there. I saw a gentleman offer to pay for the meal of this Navy guy in uniform. When the sailor told him thanks but he'd already paid, the guy went up and paid anyway and gave the kid his money back. It was a nice Veterans' Day gesture, but I get the feeling it would of happened on any day on the calendar in Pauline, SC.

God Bless America.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Governor endorses Floyd's views on education

Sanford displays Pink Floyd's The Wall
We don’t need no thought control, says Sanford at press conference

B & P News - Columbia

Governor Mark Sanford held a press conference yesterday to give his official endorsement to the education agenda of the classic rock band Pink Floyd.

“We don’t need no education,” said Sanford to an enthusiastic group of homeschoolers and stoners. “We don’t need no thought control.”

The governor’s remarks got a warm reception by most of the attendees, some of whom joined Sanford for a brief game of hacky-sack after the speech. Others were not so pleased.

“He was supposed to be endorsing Karen Floyd for Superintendent of Education,” said spokesman Joel Sawyer. “Instead he’s up there reciting 'Another Brick in the Wall.' I mean, it’s called shorthand, jackass. Help me out here.”

The speech echoed many of the governor's previous sentiments regarding public schools, and some political insiders say they were not surprised with the Sanford’s familiarity with the influential band.

"My husband loves classic rock," said First Lady Jenny Sanford. "He must have listened to Wings' 'Live and Let Die' like a hundred times while he was working on his Medicaid proposal."

“He’s a huge Floyd fan,” agreed Lt. Governor Andre Bauer. “At the mansion he tried to make me watch the Wizard of Oz while Dark Side of the Moon played in the background. I was like, 'No thanks, Captain Trips'."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

No luck with barbecue on the historic Horseshoe

This week I went to lunch at the McCutchen House on the historic Horseshoe at USC because I got wind they were serving barbecue. For those of you who don't know about McCutchen, it is run by the hospitality/retail program and basically uses students as indentured servants. It has great food, at $10 a meal, in a great location. (Someone recently told me the Horseshoe was ranked #2 in the Free Times as the best place for "makin' bacon" in public.)

But back to the barbecue, or lack thereof. In the candle-heated serving tray labeled "Carolina Barbecue," I was dismayed to find roast beef smothered in K.C. Masterpiece or some similar concoction. I can honestly say that if I was on the faculty at USC, I would have been tempted to give somebody an "F" right then and there, on principle.

It really wasn't bad; it just wasn't barbecue. Around these parts, that's a term which, unmodified, is reserved for pork. Otherwise, the meat in question will be named: Barbecue Chicken, Barbecue Beef, Barbecue Possum, what have you.

The Flounder Florentine and Bourbon Walnut Chicken at McCutchen were great, and the peach cobbler made me forgive, but not forget, the transgression. This is a great place to hobnob with the bigwigs and dillydally with the fancypants. It has a dynamic menu that is available online, and wine and beer-tasting classes are offered occassionally. They encourage reservations, but the typical wait for a walk-in is less than 5 minutes.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hunley preservation team makes new discovery

Below: A worker removes marine
growth from historic decal
Confederate submersible sported first "Don't blame me, I voted for Jeff Davis" bumper sticker on rudder

B & P News - Charleston

Preservationists at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston made a historically significant find on Friday when they discovered what is thought to be the first "Don't blame me, I voted for Jeff Davis" bumper sticker, affixed to the rudder of the CSS Hunley.

"This is a big find," said Jonah Giphurst, lead preservationist for the Hunley. "Before now, most people thought the sticker had its origin in South Congaree, or maybe Red Bank. This places the Jeff Davis sticker in its proper historical context, and dispels some of the false associations attributed to it."

News of the historic decal spread quickly among Civil War enthusiasts and Confederate memorabilia retailers. Several South Carolinians already have similar stickers on their vehicles.

"I got one on my F-150," said Cletis P. Horck, a resident of Batesburg-Leesville and member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "I think it conveys an important sentiment about states' rights and the role of the central government. It also reflects my feelings about negroes."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Big T's... Big Taste!

Based on a good word from commenter Phillip a couple weeks ago, I decided to try Big T's on Garners Ferry tonight. Great food!

Petunia, with five teeth in her whole head, loved the pulled pork, the green beans, and the corn-bread... no paternity test required for that girl! She also enjoyed the banana pudding. (We have a rule in the Bridges household: "If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding.")

This place is inexpensive. It's a styrofoam-and-plastic dining experience, and it's in a strip mall, but somehow all that added to the ambience. I will likely never try the pig's feet dinner on the menu, but the collard greens were outstanding and the tailgating specials seemed pretty reasonable.

There's a letter from Congressman Joe Wilson on the wall, next to a newspaper clipping his office sent. Now that's constituent service. The clipping describes Big T's participation in Governor Sanford's inaugural barbecue, which, as I understand, was BYOP.

The picture, by the way, is not of Big T's. But it's close enough.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Richland GOP to field candidates in student council elections

Below: Republican "Josie" is heavily
favored in the race for Dent Middle
School student council president.

Same-sex "going-together" to be central issue in upcoming race

B & P News - Columbia

The Richland County Republican Party is actively recruiting and endorsing candidates for student council races in area schools, according to a statement released last week.

"I know we've had criticism about politicizing races that are traditionally non-partisan," said county chairman Shell Suber. "But the student body needs to know where these kids stand on the issues."

Key among those issues is "same-sex going together." Several GOP student council candidates in the county have proposed a measure defining "going together" as a fleeting, week-long union of "one boy and one girl."

Next week, Congressman Jim DeMint plans to visit Dent Middle School and endorse "Josie" for student council president.

"Josie has what it takes," said DeMint in a phone interview. "Tommy [Henderson], on the other hand, is a die-hard liberal cut from the same cloth as Ted Kennedy."

"Ted who?" Henderson responded between slurps of his Capri-Sun at recess Friday. "Jim who?"

Josie earned headlines -- and the endorsement of Governor Mark Sanford -- earlier this year, when she announced her plan to enforce a co-pay for students visiting the school nurse. "This entitlement spending has gone, like, too far," said Josie. "I totally join Governor Sandifer in saying, 'as if,' you know?"

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Dam good lunch: Granny's BBQ

Me & my brother Fripp had a helluva lunch today at Granny's on the Irmo side of the Lake Murray Dam. Actually, the official literature says "Columbia," but one look at the fried okra on the buffet and you know you're in Irmo.

The pulled pork was good, and there were three sauces from which to choose. Also on the buffet were corn fritters, fried chicken, slaw, beans, and a few other vegetables I skimmed right over. And chocolate pudding.

I passed a whole bunch of signs near the dam, some saying vote "yes" and others saying vote "no." It's a referendum to build more schools or something. Gervais says, build them suckers close to town if you build 'em. Don't stick 'em in the middle of nowhere. I know it's good for developers and stuff, but that place just ain't the same with all the sprawl and traffic.

Speaking of traffic in those parts... if you can stand the gridlock on Harbison Blvd, John McCain will be at Barnes & Noble signing his new book a couple Sundays from now. It's limited to two hundred people, so get there early.

Bottom line: vote yes to Granny's.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Former staffer unhappy with Governor’s Halloween costume

Below: Governor Sanford on Halloween

I thought it was just a joke between buds, says Sanford

B & P News -- Columbia

Some say South Carolina politics is scary enough when it’s not Halloween, but now a former Sanford staffer says the governor went too far with the costume he wore on Monday.

“I don’t mind being lampooned by my political opponents,” said former spokesman Will Folks. “But this is ridiculous.”

The governor donned a sleeveless tee-shirt and used a beer bottle as a prop to satirize his former employee, who recently plead guilty to criminal domestic violence. Folks learned of the costume late Monday evening, when he heard the Governor kick open his front door and yell, “Trick or treat, beeyatch! Gimme some candy!”

“I apologized to Will,” the governor said Tuesday. “I guess my usually on-point sense of humor, the kind I displayed by carrying the pigs into the Statehouse, has failed me for once.”

The governor used the opportunity to reiterate that domestic violence is not a laughing matter. “I thought it was just a joke between buds,” stated the governor. “But it hurt his feelings. Once again Will Folks has been victimized, and I'm sorry.”