This is Buzzy's Country Store blog designed to keep you apprised of what's going on at the Store. Buzzy's is a general store located in St. Mary's County, Southern Maryland near Pt. Lookout State Park. Buzzy and Jean Ridgell purchased the Store from Jean's father Harry Raley in 1953. Buzzy operated it until his passing in 2009. His son J. Scott Ridgell is the current owner.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Style Invitational

The Garden of Eden (yesterday's post) was one of my go-to columns to read in Saturdays' Washington Post.  However, on Sundays I liked to check out their Style Invitational column.  

S.I. was a word play contest that asked readers to submit humorous entries for a particular topic.  If you are unfamiliar with how it went, the following will provide a good overview:

Here is a recent column containing more examples of items that appeared in the Invitational (click here.)  Excerpt follows:

The Beatles Lennon and McCartney were always wordsmiths with their lyrics that were clever and funny.  Hello Goodbye is a good example.  Stay to the video's end when the "Heyla, helloha" refrain brings on the dancing girls in hula skirts.  Get it? (Aloha means both Hello and Goodbye.)

Saturday, March 23, 2019

In the Garden of Eden?

Spring time and an old man's fancy turns to - yard work.  And while I have never been a big gardening-green-thumb-kind of guy, I do enjoy getting outside and puttering around the little piece of terra firma that I call mine.  

I remember years ago I would read a weekly column in the Washington Post titled Garden of Eden written by Jack Eden.  I always thought he knew what he was talking about and even followed some of his advice every now and then.  However, I never knew that he was such a controversial person (click here.)  

And yet, I also recall my neighbor Cheryl, who knew all about gardening stuff and worked at a local nursery, mentioning to me that Jack was not a straight up kind of guy.  One day as I was discussing yard matters with her, I cited something that Jack had suggested in his column.  Cheryl immediately John McCained him by saying that he was nothing more than a shill for the chemical boys and that I should ignore everything he said.  She did not have anything good to say about Jack and urged me to stop reading him.

She went onto explain that Jack was so tied up with the chemical folks that their sales reps would come into the nursery earlier in the week and advise them that they needed to stock up on XYZ Spray because Jack was going to recommend it in his upcoming Saturday column.   The reps knew exactly what Jack was going to be hawking and pushing.  (Did anyone call it collusion back then?) 

Today of course with the internet at hand there is no lacking of gardening advice whether chemical or otherwise.  May Jack who died in 2009 rest in peace in his own little garden of eden.

I got to think that this 1970 Joni tune was one of the first "Eco-friendly" songs to ever hit the airwaves.  I have included here just because it has the line "Hey farmer, farmer put way that DDT."

Friday, March 22, 2019

Stella Awards

I first ran into the Darwin Awards many years ago when the Navy's Safety bubbas would release a list of accidents and mishaps that their folks had encountered by doing something stupid.  (I recall one such accident that was reported involving two dudes trying to sneak into a Metallica concert.  Turns out that it was deemed "Urban Legend."  (click here.)  

Enter the Stella Awards.Seems just about every conversation I ever hear in Buzzy's Country Store involving crazy lawsuits, someone will cite "How bout that lady who sued McDonalds because her coffee was too hot and burned her?" Well, that lady be Stella.  

The Stella Awards then are insane legal awards named after one Stella Liebeck who in 1979 received a huge settlement from McDonalds when a cup of their coffee burned her and she sued them for it being too hot.  (There is a good back story to this case that semi-exonerates Stella and explains why her award was not as outlandish as it sounds.  Regardless, she still has this awards category named after her.)  

All this came to mind after someone recently forwarded me an email listing this year's top 7 Stella Awards.  This list  has been around for several years now, but it was the first time that I had ever seen it.  So, as I read the first six cases on the list, I actually believed that they were true cases.  Yes, they were semi-absurd, but they all sounded just plausible enough that I believed them to be true.  

However, when the following was listed as the First Place winner I shook my head and said to my-Ridge-boy-self, "No way.  Jump the shark time."  Here is the story:

It sent me to that www data base where I learned that all of the legal cases cited in the email were bogus (click here.)   Thus, these particular Stella Awards were bogus.  However, for a sampling of actual Stella Awards cases (click here.)

The Stellar Gospel Music Awards will take place next Thursday in Vegas (click here.)  Believe it or not, Snoop Dog is nominated for three awards.  No, the Stellar Awards' folks were not smoking some of Snoop's stash, as these nominations are in recognition of his Bible of Love album released this past year.  The following tune is from that album.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Buzzy Cruising

Following my post about the return of the Smith Island Cruises, couple folks have asked if I am going to organize another Buzzy's Country Store trip over to the Island.  

Back when my buddy Capt. Greg Madjeski was honchoing the trips to and from the Island, we organized a couple of Buzzy trips where we pretty much filled the boat.  Everyone who went had a great time.
Capt. Greg and His Wife Darlene Boarding the Twister

However, the last time we tried to do a Buzzy cruise it ended badly when the Cruise folks bumped us because they had another group who wanted to go the same day that we had slotted.  (The Cruise folks were giving us a "Buzzy discount" whereas the other group was willing to pay the full ticket cost.  It was a business decision and while I get that, still it pissed me off.  I had to contact all of the folks who had signed up and tell them that the trip had been cancelled.)   Thus, I am not organizing any future Buzzy based trips over to Smith Island.)

Like Bruce says "You got to learn how to live with what you can't rise above."  At this point in my life, guess I still haven't mastered how to do that.  Instead, I lean on the old saying "It is better if you can forgive, but it's good not to forget."  

Everyone did have a good time on the Buzzy Cruise though as seen here in these photos from Jennifer Adkins.

Sea Cruise was a big hit for Frankie Ford in 1959. However, it had been recorded in 1958 by the song's originator Huey "Piano" Smith.  Huey's vocal was erased and Frankie's version became the hit.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

When You Go

He caught me by surprise when I asked him how he had been doing.  He motioned me to the side away from some other folks and teared up as he said that his lady friend had died a few months ago.  I didn't know the lady.  Also, I had not heard anything about her passing, so it caught me by complete surprise.  I didn't really know what to say to my friend to try and ease his pain.  

As a result, I didn't say much.  I started to say something goofy about life being a hard road to travel full of detours and dead ends; but instead I just shook my head and said that I was sure sorry to hear that.  Looking back I realize I should and could have been more supportive.

As we said goodbye, he told me that he reads the Buzzyblog everyday.  Because all this reminded me of Bob's tune about women who come and go, this one's for him:

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Smith Island Cruise Is Back

Good news - the Smith Island Cruise from Pt. Lookout State Park will resume this Memorial Day weekend.  Capt. Jack Russell announced it on his FB page as follows:
You can reserve tickets by clicking here and going to their website.

All time greatest song about being outside, on the water and sailing through life:

Monday, March 18, 2019

You Got to Hand It To Him

With yesterday being St. Patrick's Day I thought the following would be a good follow up:
My buddy Francis Wood gave me this book and I have enjoyed looking through it.  Over 75 photographers were deployed to photograph scenes from everyday life in Ireland.  One review summed it up by noting: "A feast for the eyes is the result of an impressively coordinated project that, though ambitious, makes no claim as a definitive record of a complex country."
Entertaining book but I was a bit surprised that no Irish country store scenes were depicted in the book save for the following:

Irish pub scenes were also scarce with this being the sole representative.  (Check out the brand of beer they are knocking back.)

Not finding many photos of country stores nor pubs, I did land on this one that will forever make you appreciate your day job:

N.B.  Be sure to re-read post title above.

And while on the subject of jacking off, hope I'm not ruining this song for you by noting that Billy Idol may not have been talking about "Dancing dancing" in the following:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Can We Pray on St. Patrick's Day?

The other day I mentioned how the Supreme Court is currently hearing a case involving the Bladensburg Peace Cross and how it will impact interpretation of the Establishment Clause.  As I was knocking around the internet corridors looking for info on this matter the following caught my eye:

Greece is a town located in Rochester, New York. My wife's sister Marcie resides in Greece so it made me curious as to what the case involved and how it was connected to the Establishment Clause issue. 

Turns out it involved something that I have always wondered about regarding separation of Church and State - praying before public meetings, legislative hearings etc.. The following link will take you through the matter where the Supreme Court ultimately ruled that such prayers were ok and did not violate the Establishment Clause (click here.)

One of the commentators was critical and had this to say:
As you see, all of this was just a round about way for me to weave in a reference to leprechauns.  By doing so I acknowledge that today is St. Paddy's Day and want to wish you a good one regardless whatever God(s) you do or don't pray to.  Wear your green and drop in Buzzy's later for some St. Paddy cheer.

Nice little Christian rock tune/video here for you from David Crowder  who sure has a Ricky Yeatman air about him doesn't he?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Lefty and Buzzy

Any conversation about my fixation on Maryland basketball will inevitably go back to the Left Hander, Coach Lefty Driesell.  I only discovered recently that last year he had been inducted into basketball's Hall of Fame.  His acceptance speech at his induction (click here) will show you why I like him so much.  He was a great coach and a very witty, funny guy who made Maryland basketball what it is today.  

Lefty being bald may have had something to do with him always reminding me of Buzzy or vice versa.  But in addition to that physical trait, Lefty and Buzzy both had other commonalities such as a larger-than-life persona about them, a very direct manner of communicating and a my-way-or-the-highway air about them that I respected.  Their wit and sense of humor were also traits that I liked and tried to emulate as I grew up.   

In his book My Losing Season Pat Conroy has a chapter titled Lefty Knew My Name.  Here is something I found that has Conroy discussing this:

Friday, March 15, 2019

Been a Long Time (Well 5 Years)

It's just not the same but then again what IS the same as it was 5 years ago?  I'm talking Maryland Basketball and their participation in yesterday's start of the Big Ten Tournament.   They lost but frankly I wasn't all that concerned nor upset about it.  There was a time however....

Back when they were in the ACC, Maryland's opening ACC Tournament game was always a good excuse to take off from work, kick back and watch them play.  I particularly liked it because it was the official start of March Madness where the conference tournaments helped determine who was or wasn't going to the NCAA Tournament.

Today however, with the Terps now in the Big Ten Conference and playing the likes of Nebraska in Chicago, it just ain't the same.  (Great article on this by Washington Post's Barry Svrluga (click here.)  Things have changed and it's not necessarily for the better.

I know, I sound like some old fart bitching about things like the Designated Hitter being in baseball's American League.  (Note - the DH has been around since 1973 but you still hear some folks voice complaints about it.  Me?  I kind of like the DH but do think that MLB having two sets of rules on it is very stupid.)

Back to the Terps though, I still follow them but not like I used to.  When they were playing in their ACC days, I did not miss a game during the season nor post season.   I had my version of "Must see T-V" long before NBC used that for their programming.  The ACC played its games on Wednesdays and Saturdays and Maryland's game was always televised.  I made it a point to be in front of the T-V at Tip Off time.

I remember telling Pam shortly after we hooked up many years ago and we sat down before the T-V as a Terps game was about to commence "Honey, there is a whole nother side of me that you haven't seen yet so just ignore me for the next couple hours."   That she hung with me after one of those games is a testimony to her devotion I guess.

You see, back then watching Terps' basketball was a participatory sport for me.  I sat on the edge of my seat through out the game, yelled at the Carolina refs, stomped around the room when the Terps made a run, told Billy Packer or Dick Vitale to "STFU" and sometimes even threw things at the screen when things weren't going Maryland's way.  By the time the game ended, I was exhausted.

But now, with the Terps in the Big Ten Conference, it just ain't what it used to be.  As Svrliga notes in his above referenced article, the Terps are still in a transitional period and will eventually put the ACC experience behind them and become full fledged Big Ten people:
Knowing that I don't have 100 years ahead of me to make this transition, guess I'll stay stuck somewhere in transition land which is always a tough place to be stuck in. 

Several standout lines in this classic Zep tune reverberate quite frequently in my head.  Of course "Been a long time" is numero uno, but I also find myself often repeating "Lemme get it back, get it back, baby where I come from."

Just maybe the rockingest song ever recorded, everything kicks and rocks in this bad boy.  For instance, I read a critic's review where he noted that if cymbal abuse were a crime then John Bonham would certainly be doing a life sentence for this performance.  Just take a listen to Bonham's constant banging of the cymbals and you'll see what the critic was talking about.  (However, a little warning for you, once you key in on that factoid, it might ruin the rest of the song for you.  You will find yourself focusing solely on that, instead of enjoying the overall song.  Hate it when that happens!)

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Bill and Bruce

My mentioning former Senator Bill Bradley yesterday, led me to dig out something I had saved from an Esquire article dated 1993.  The article dealt with life lessons that various people had mastered and had proved useful to them over the course of their careers.  

Before his political career, Bradley excelled as a basketball player both in college (Princeton) and for 10 years professionally with the Knicks.

In the following he discusses how his peripheral vision on and off the basketball court served him well throughout his life experiences.
It reminded me however, of Bruce's admonition about life and how "there are things that'll knock you down you don't even see coming" (1:10 mark below.)  It is from a song on his "Divorce album" Tunnel of Love.  (Why do I think "When you're alone, you ain't nothing but alone" is such a profound statement?  Guess I am easily swayed eh?)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Jane Davis Doggett - Wayfinder

I recently caught Bill Bradley on his American Voices Sirius Radio show interviewing Jane Davis Doggett.  Her Wiki bio describes her as "a pioneer designer in wayfinding and graphic systems for airports."

During her conversation with Senator Bradley Jane discussed how airports evolved and grew thru the years.  She was instrumental in coming up with graphic designs and signage to help passengers make their way thru airports.  For instance, she noted that installing signs out on the highways leading into the airport to assist travelers was one of her ideas.  Once the traveler entered in the airport complex, the designations of Terminal A or B was also something she helped develop.

The following are samples of works of art by Jane who at 90 years young is still growing strong.

I was unable to locate the Bradley interview to pass along here, but did find this YouTube video on her (click here.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Happy Birthday JT

Today is James Vernon Taylor's  birthday.  He was born in 1948 in Massachusetts but moved with his family to Chapel Hill North Carolina when he was two years old.  They lived in a very rural area known as Morgan Creek which James described as follows:

"Chapel Hill, the Piedmont, the outlying hills, were tranquil, rural, beautiful, but quiet. Thinking of the red soil, the seasons, the way things smelled down there, I feel as though my experience of coming of age there was more a matter of landscape and climate than people."

I can relate a little with how he attributes his environment as a significant factor in his childhood years.  Growing up in the country with woods and fields and water all around you naturally will help shape your life perspective.
McCoy Road
However, growing up in Buzzy's Country Store as I did with people all around and interacting with them on a daily basis also helped shape my perspective, much more so than playing in the woods ever did.  Unlike JT, I can't say that it was my environment more so than it was people who most influenced my development as a kid.  (In shrink speak they talk about discussions like this as the Nature versus Nurture Debate.)

JT discusses his growing up days in this song:

Since it's Two For Tuesday here is another nice little "Taylor tune" for you.  Ben Taylor even references his dear old Dad in a couple of places e.g. "just call out my name" at 1:39 mark. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Happy NFL New Year!

Today marks the unofficial beginning of the NFL's year; but officially, it doesn't commence until Wednesday 13 March.  Confusing?  Hey, it's the NFL where EVERYTHING is so confusing that some critics have even ventured that NFL really stands for No Fixed Logic.  

This week's "kickoff" schedule reinforces that view.

This Wednesday will mark Joe Flacco's official trade to the Denver Bronco's while the Redskins will sign Denver's former QB Case Keenum.  I have mixed emotions about Joe leaving the Ravens but was hoping that the Skins would have made him an offer to stay in the area. (I was looking forward to the irony of RGIII now being a Raven while Joe became a Redskin.)

As for Joe's legacy with the Ravens I am reminded of a Seth Meyers comment on SNL where he showed a photo of Paul McCartney and asked something along the lines "Shouldn't we give a pass to someone who was great early on in his career but then followed it up with years of mediocrity?"  (I don't necessarily agree with Seth using Paul as his example here but I do get the point that he was making.)

Joe's 2012 season playoff run remains one of the best ever in NFL history.  Re-watching The Mile High Miracle still hits me like a shot of cocaine whenever I need a little boost.  All I can say is thank you Joe for throwing that pass and thank you Jacoby Jones for catching it.  (All those J's involved, make it an even nicer feat.)

It is fitting then that Joe goes back to Denver the site of his miracle comeback.  Here's hoping that Mile High continues to be a good luck place for him to play.  

The opening line "Goodbye Joe" took me to this tune.  However, I have another reason for including it:  the Ravens won the 2013 Super Bowl over the 49ers in New Orleans and Flacco was the MVP.  Talk about having some fun on the bayou!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

At Cross-Purposes

Sunday religion time and I have for you a touchy topic dealing with an ironic header "The Peace Cross."  It is situated in Bladensburg and has become somewhat controversial.
The U.S. Supreme Court is currently reviewing the matter to decide if the Cross violates the Establishment Clause.  George Will made a case for why the Court needs to clarify this issue and ultimately allow the Cross to stay as it is (click here.)  

Just this past week a letter to our local Enterprise presented why the Cross is indeed a religious symbol and hence violates the Establishment Clause:

All of which, led me to conclude:
If the Supremes do decide that the Cross has to go, then what's next?  (For the record, the Cross on Blackistone Island is also situated on public land.  What's the difference between that and the Peace Cross?
Cat Stevens also waded into a bit of a religious controversy when he converted to Islam and walked away from his rock n roll roots in 1977.  Message-wise, his Peace Train still holds up after all these years.
Video is from www.edelweissstudios.com.  Best I could determine is that Wakefield is a town in England.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Not Much Happening But You Can Eat!

Heard a comedian once riff on the local Evening News shows featuring news, weather and sports.  He noted that "Wouldn't it be something if the news caster came on at the beginning of the show and said "Not much happened today in the way of news so we're going to go right into the weather."

I was reminded of that when I looked around to see what was going on events-wise in the County at large and specifically in South County this weekend.  Basically, not a damn thing is happening.  Unless that is you are hungry.  And thanks to the Big 3 as in the Church, the Legion and the Fire Department you will never be without an opportunity to eat at least in the First and Second Districts.

The Ridge American Legion has their steak dinner Saturday evening.  The Second District Fire Department has a breakfast Sunday morning and the Knights of Columbus have their monthly chicken dinner on Sunday.  

If you'd like some music with your meal, then Joe and Cindy Salvo's Sunset Cove Restaurant has both dinner and music for you Saturday evening.  This weekend they will have Josh and Woody playing starting at 7 pm.
I am not too sure who Josh and Woody are nor what kind of music they play; but I am very familiar with this duo in the following video.  I quoted John Lee just the other day to one of my friends who was reminiscing about something stupid that he had done in a previous life.  I advised my friend, "Like John Lee said - Don't Look Back."  

There are several highlights in this tune such as when Van cuts in at the 3:20 mark.  However, I think my very favorite moment is at the end of the song where John and Van thank each other.  That always makes me smile for some sentimental reason that I am at a loss to explain.


Friday, March 8, 2019

Brewing Controversies

I know, you have been too busy keeping up with the R. Kelly saga to have given any attention to more mundane matters such as a major war going on in the beer advertising industry.  

Here's the short version but feel free to click here for a more detailed account.

Anheuser-Busch (AB) ran a Super Bowl commercial critical of MillerCoors for using corn syrup in their products.  This not only riled up corn growers but also pissed off the MillerCoors folks (click here.)  Check out this video on the subject:

Locally here in the State of Maryland a couple of alcohol-related bills are working their way through the legislature and could have some major impacts if passed. One bill would establish an Alcohol Commission that takes away oversight power from the Comptroller. This has aroused some concerns particularly from Maryland Comptroller Franchot (click here for story.) 

Franchot has been very active in trying to make Maryland more friendly and open to the craft beer producers.  A bill was passed last year to permit the craft beer folks to sell up to 2,000 barrels of beer in their taprooms.  A current bill is looking at rolling that allowance back.  

Likewise, another bill is seeking to allow the craft brewers to self distribute their products vs. having to go thru a beer distributor to do so.  This represents a break from the traditional three tier system. 

The Franchot issue has heated up to become a personal battle between him and Maryland Senate Leader Mike Miller and House Leader Mike Busch (click here.)  (I'm sure some clever headline writer has already discussed this as "Comptroller vs.  Miller-Busch beer battle.")

Haven't played this tune in awhile for you but seems appropriate for today's topic:

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Alfred and Sophia

OK, now that I got your attention, this is a follow up about the individual who took the above photo of Ms. Loren - Alfred Eisenstaedt.  If he sounds familiar to you it's because I recently did a post on his most famous photo The Kissing Sailor.

 Alfred Eisenstaedt has quite a bio that is worth checking out.  (You can click on the link to get the full Wiki story about him.)  From serving as a German soldier in World War I to him living to the age of 96, Eisenstaedt had a very full and adventuresome life.   

And speaking of "Life" his photos appeared on Life magazine's covers 90 times.   Sophia proved to be his and Life's most controversial witness the following:
(To see more images that Eisenstaedt took of Sophia just search for Eisenstaedt + Loren Photos.)

Here for you is a silly video that's been around 10 years and has amassed over 1 million views.  Like having Sophie on the cover of Life, the video's popularity may have something to do with the hot Nikon babe in it:

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Flug's/Hole in the Wall

The other day I drove past the Hole in the Wall in Hollywood and wondered about its past and whether it was ever a country store.  Thanks to Massey's You Know You're From St. Mary's FB page I now know the answer.

My buddy John Garner then commented that it was indeed a store and that his Grandfather ran it: Leitha Stone added some info on its ownership in the 70's. Today the Hole in the Wall is owned by Shirley Peeling.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Two for Tuesday

I was looking for Stevie Winwood/Blind Faith's Can't Find my Way Home the other day when I came upon this excellent version of it by Rachael Price.  

Personal Note:  As I get older the line "But I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time" has taken precedence over "And  I'm wasted and I can't find my way home."  These days I can always find my way home.  Time however is a very elusive mistress.

After landing upon this cover of one of my favorite tunes, it led me to also find this other one by Rachael and her Lake Street Dive band.  Pretty good stuff.  May have to plunk down some coin and check her and LSD out (no pun intended.)  

It's always a treat to find a new artist or band who have been around awhile and have a bunch of material for you to catch up on.  Rachael and LSD are scheduled to perform at Wolf Trap on June 8th.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Brian's Photo

Brian Barnhill Photo
While I was visiting our reps in Annapolis last month, Del. Matt Morgan mentioned the now famous Buzzy ATV Snow Photo.  We laughed at how Brian Barnhill's photo ended up in the Enterprise article discussing Matt's opposition to the sign ordinance.    Here is that Enterprise article written by Jason Babcock:
13 Jan 2017 Enterprise

I would like to give you the rest of the story about that photo: 

On a very snowy 7 January 2017 Brian Barnhill opened Buzzy's Country Store for me while I was digging my way out of Piney Point.  Very shortly after opening, Brian had a crowd of folks in the Store.  He took the photo of the Store and the 4 Wheelers and then posted it on his FB page.  

After Brian shared the photo on his FB page, it very quickly made the rounds.   I even had folks tell me that they saw it on some of the D.C. local news channels in their stories about the Southern Maryland snow storm.

About that time, the County's proposed revisions to the sign ordinance issue had heated up.  Matt wrote about it and used Brian's photo of Buzzy's to make his point(s) on FB and at a public hearing on the issue (above Enterprise article from Jan 2017.)  When the Enterprise published the photo and attributed it to "Submitted Photo" Brian thanked Matt as follows.
In Annapolis the other day Matt told me that while at the time he was unaware of who had taken the photo, he is very good friends not only with Brian but also with Brian's Mom Nancy Harwood.  

During the kerfuffle over the rooftop signs, my friend Steve Peterson sent me the following proposed solution.
I am very glad that the proposed sign ordinance was amended to allow the Buzzy sign to continue as is and that I didn't have to take up Steve's solution! 

And speaking of snow and great photo's, here is a nice little song and video from Sonny James: