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.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Back to telling you about my Alaska trip.  

In Skagway our cruise ship pulled into a dock that was adjacent to a cliff onshore.  To give you some idea what I'm talking about, here is a photo of the Skagway harbor.  I took the liberty of marking up this photo to show the cliff to the right of our ship.
On the cliff, various businesses and previous cruise ships had annotated their logos and/or messages.  It looked like this:

Impressed by this marketing technique, during the night, I managed to climb the cliff and install this Buzzy logo that you can see here:
Did Someone Say Photoshop?
Next time you just happen to be in Skagway, Alaska be sure to check it out. Given all of this marketing that I was doing, I may yet be able to write this trip off as a business expense.  Any doubt that our current President wouldn't do so?  Oh, to see those tax returns. 

And speaking of walls, the talk is $25 BILLION (click here) to build one along the Mexican border.  Meanwhile, back here in the U.S. over 60,000 folks a year are dying from opioids.  Seems like some of the $25B to be pissed away on an unneeded wall would be better spent solving some very real problems that we have.

I always thought that this was an AC/DC song and was surprised to find it's by a group called Accept.

Sunday, June 17, 2018


The biggest sporting event in the world began this past Thursday and I hear you saying "Huh?  Did they move the Super Bowl to June?"  

Although soccer's World Cup action doesn't get much notoriety here in the United States,  world-wide folks are down with it.   For instance, in Mexico the Grand Warlock Antonio Vazquez invoked Ancient God Quetzalcoatl to help guide them to the championship round.  (Dude looks a little like Francis Wood doesn't he?)

Quetzalcoatl is an Ancient God depicted as a winged serpent worshipped by the Aztecs and Mayans.
Like most of those Ancient Gods, Quetzacoatl was all about fertility and farming.  Here is a good video describing Quetzacoatl and his origins:

Mexico plays a very good German team today.  I'm thinking Quetzacoatl has his work cut out for him to get Mexico past the Germans but we'll just have to see won't we?  Match begins at 11 a.m. and I will have it on the tube at Buzzy's Country Store.  So if anybody is interested in spending some of their Father's Day watching soccer come on down.  OK, I didn't really think so.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Bourdain and Cobain

Initially I had planned to tell you about all of my Alaska adventures before commenting about the other low tide moment of my trip. (I say "other" because my biggest low tide moment rolled in having to contend with the beer cooler fire at Buzzy's Country Store which I have already discussed.)  

Capt. Jerry's death preempted my posts about having fun in Alaska.  So, I figured I would discuss another recent death that also made me very sad.  It was learning of Anthony Bourdain's suicide.
I was in Denali last week when I heard the news that Bourdain was gone.  It bummed me out for the next couple of days whenever I thought about it.  It felt like I had lost a friend in a way because I have always been a fan of him, his books and his T-V shows.

For some reason(s) that I probably should examine more closely, suicide has always had a strange effect on me.  Sometimes I can write it off that it is because my close friend Doug Courtney went out of here that way when he was only 22.  (For related post on this click here.)  That association with it then always upsets me to hear about someone else doing likewise.    

I also recall when the ex and I were in a couples therapy session in April, 1994 the day that Kurt Cobain offed himself.   When the therapist asked me how I was doing, I made a comment about how Cobain's death had upset me and made me sad.  The therapist acknowledged it and then ploughed on doing what turned out to be the autopsy of my soon-to-be-over marriage.  

Later on in the session, after I again mentioned Cobain's death, the therapist very politely re-directed me by pointing out that Cobain's death had nothing to do with the marital problems that we were there to discuss.  He noted in his best psychobabble that while my feelings may hold some validity and may be worth examining some other time, the session before us was to work on the dissolution of the marriage.   I immediately clammed up about Kurt.   However, in retrospect, given the way the rest of that session and my over-with-marriage went, I may have been better off exploring why suicide affects me the way it does.

But back to Bourdain - this Sunday night at 9 p.m. CNN will air the first of the final two episodes of his Parts Unknown (click here.)  If you have never caught any of his shows this should be a good one since it will feature him doing Mardi Gras-related things in a couple of Louisiana towns other than New Orleans.

I have Nirvana in what I call my Shooting Star category of Rock Bands such as Creedence Clearwater, Little Feat,
Guns N Roses  etc..  These were great groups that soared very highly,  burned very brightly for awhile but then burned out just as quickly.   

Friday, June 15, 2018

Capt. Jerry Norris

                                                           8 June 1929 - 14 June 2018

The photo above was taken by Kim Wiley about a month ago in what would be Capt. Jerry's last visit to Buzzy's Country Store. While there, Jerry was as he always was - easy going, smiling and the nicest of gentlemen that you will ever know.  His was a life well lived.  We will all miss him very much. 

And yes, he was sitting on his chair.
See my post from November of last year (click here.)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Caribou Crawl at 40 Below

While I was familiar with Johnny Horton's North to Alaska tune, another one by him about Alaska was one that I had never heard.  

Titled When It's Springtime in Alaska, It's 40 Below the song starts out as a nice little story about a prospector who wanders into the Red Dog Saloon where he meets a pretty gal named Lil.  I say "starts out as a nice little song" because by the time that the third verse/conclusion of the songs rolls around the nice story takes a somewhat dark turn.  Seems that our story teller and Lil were on the rug doing something called the Caribou Crawl when Lil's fiancé, well, listen for yourself:

And speaking of 40 below, when I was in Fairbanks I officially became a member of Alaska's 40 Below Club. 

We were at some tourist joint that featured a chamber with temps below 40 degrees. For $7 you could go in, get your photo taken and receive a certificate stating that you were now a member of the Alaska at 40 Below Club. Usually the Buzzy in me will resist these kind of tourist things, but this time I thought "What the hell, go for it."  In I went.
Who Says I Am Not a Cool Dude?
As for Johnny's Caribou Crawl, think I'll have to pass on that experience.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Lyin George Was Not Lyin

In Skagway, Alaska we were scheduled to take a railroad tour of the White Pass - Klondike Summit.  However, our train tour was cancelled because some rocks had fallen onto a portion of the tracks that ran over a trestle which had to be inspected and certified as safe before the train tour could re-start.  

In lieu of that trip, we booked a van tour which drove along the road that led up to the summit and into Canada.  As it turned out, I am kind of glad things worked out the way they did because our tour guide on the trip was excellent in telling stories and describing how the Gold Rush went down back then.

One of his stories involved a bartender named C. J. Barry.  He described C.J. as a "failed fruit farmer from Fresno, California."  That phrase stuck in my mind and I made a mental note to learn more about C.J. and how he became one of the ring leaders of the Klondike Gold Rush.

The tour guide described how C.J. was tending bar in a place called Forty Mile Creek when in walked Lyin George Carmack who was somewhat of a local character.  Hence, his nickname.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Carmack
Lyin George instructed C.J. to "Give everybody a drink."  Suspicious of Lyin George's abilities to pay for the round, C.J. asked that George pay for the round before he made the announcement.  Lyin George then pulled out a bag and dumped a pile of gold nuggets on the bar.  C.J. announced to the patrons in the bar that not only was that round on the house but so were all subsequent rounds as he promptly quit tending bar and departed that night for the Klondike area to stake his claims.    As they say, the rest is history.

This Johnny Horton song kept running thru my mind as I heard the stories about the Alaskan Gold Rush:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Good to Be Back

Photo by Chris Bender
I was in Fairbanks, Alaska sound asleep this past Saturday morning when Jenn called to tell me about a fire in Buzzy's Country Store.  Nothing like that kind of message to wake you up and get your motor running.
"Shock" Is an Understatement
Turns out that the beer cooler light ignited when Jenn turned the cooler on and an electrical fire broke out.  As the cooler quickly filled with smoke Jenn called 9-1-1 and the Ridge Fire Department folks quickly responded and extinguished the fire before it could spread anywhere else.  My thanks to everyone from the Fire Department who helped out on this.

Also, special thanks to Clyde Ridgell, Steve Wilkinson and L.P and Lisa Mercure who helped Jenn relocate all the beer out of the cooler and clean things up.  And of course my thanks to Jenn for being on the scene and dealing with the whole situation.

Seems like something always happens whenever I go away.  Hope God isn't trying to tell me anything that I may not be hearing.  However, it won't be the first time that I ever failed to "see the light."  Right Todd?

Monday, June 11, 2018

Stones vs. Ramones?

My buddy John Carbone recently forwarded me this article ranking the members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (click here.)  

It's a fun list but like all lists it is subject to one's own tastes and preferences.  For instance, sliding the Rolling Stones to Number 15 was bogus.  Chuck Berry, Beatles, Elvis, Dylan in the top 4 slots makes sense but the Rolling Stones should be in the 5 spot and not James Brown.  (And no, this is not a racist move on my part because I would have JB somewhere in the Top Ten.  However, putting him at #5 seems a little too PC for me.)   

Note - T
he Ramones were ranked #7 some 8 slots ahead of the Stones.  Guess that Mick and the boys still can't get no satisfaction.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

"I Could Be Enslaved to the Need For Her body"

Haven't done anything on my main guru Thomas Merton in awhile.  hence, with it being Sunday and me trying to post something semi-religious, let's celebrate tomorrow's anniversary of Brother Tom getting laid.  

Yep, that's what I said "getting laid" because on 11 June 1966 Merton and his nurse friend Margaret Smith met in his shrink's office and consummated their love affair.  Margaret was a 25 year old nurse who had helped Merton recover from back surgery and they became close friends.  So close that the monastic, celibate, Trappist monk yielded to all of Maragret's many charms.  Here is the story reprinted from a Note in Merton's Wikipedia entry (click here and scroll down:)

In Learning to Love, Merton's diary entries discuss his various meetings with Smith, and in several cases he expressly denies sexual consummation, e.g. p. 52. However, on Saturday, June 11, 1966, Merton arranged to 'borrow' the Louisville office of his psychologist, Dr. James Wygal, to get together with Smith, see p. 81. The diary entry for that day notes that they had a bottle of champagne. A parenthetical with dots at that point in the narrative indicates that further details regarding this meeting were not published in Learning to Love. In the June 14 entry, Merton notes that he had found out the night before that a brother at the abbey had overheard one of his phone conversations with Smith and had reported it to Dom James, Abbot of Gethsemani. Merton wondered in his diary which phone conversation had been monitored, saying that a conversation he had on Sunday morning, i.e., the morning following the meeting with Smith at Wygal's office, would be "the worst!!", see p. 82. The June 14 diary entry also describes Merton's discussions with Abbot James in this regard, and Merton's intent to follow the Abbot's instruction to end his romantic relationship with M. Roughly a month later, in his entry for July 12, 1966, Merton says regarding Smith, "Yet there is no question I love her deeply ... I keep remembering her body, her nakedness, the day at Wygal's, and it haunts me ... I could have been enslaved to the need for her body after all. It is a good thing I called it off [i.e., a proposed visit by Smith to Gethsemani to speak with Merton there following their break-up, which Merton called off]." See p. 94. Learning to Love reveals that Merton remained in contact with Marge after his July 12, 1966 entry (p.94) and after he recommitted himself to his vows (p. 110). He saw her again on July 16, 1966, and wrote: "She says she thinks of me all the time (as I do of her) and her only fear is that being apart and not having news of each other, we may gradually cease to believe that we are loved, that the other's love for us goes on and is real. As I kissed her she kept saying, 'I am happy, I am at peace now.' And so was I" (p. 97). Despite good intentions, he continued to contact her by phone when he left the monastery grounds. For example, he wrote on January 18, 1967 that "last week" he and two friends "drank some beer under the loblollies at the lake--should not have gone to Bardstown and Willett's in the evening. Conscience stricken for this the next day. Called M. from filling station outside Bardstown. Both glad" (p. 186).

For more discussion on Merton's affair with Margaret (click here.)

Clapton's Layla is still the best song ever about being in love with someone and dealing with not being able to "act" upon it for whatever reason(s:)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Living the Good Life

Another video for you with a warning - watching it may cause you to never think of champagne the same way again:

Friday, June 8, 2018

Photography 101

Many times the secret to nailing a good photo is simply a matter of patience.  However, no matter how long you have to wait around for the shot you want, sometimes you just have to take the photo as you see it.

I had spotted the scene of colorful Curaçao as viewed from the deck of the cruise ship.  We were slowly approaching the dock and I thought "That would be a good picture." 

 I quickly returned to my room to get my camera and grab the shot.  However, when I returned, some old guy was perched in front of the view I wanted and stayed there the whole time we approached the dock. I waited and waited but he did not move.  The fact that the old guy bore some resemblance to my hateful neighbor George just pissed me off even more.  I finally gave up on him moving and took the following:
That would be the end of the story, but a year or two later we made a return trip to Curaçao.  Knowing the shot I wanted, this time I was ready for it and got it.
Funny thing though, now as I look at both photos, I think I prefer the one with the old guy in it.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Piece of Pork

Tweet This Book contains tweetable quotes (140 characters or less) on many different subjects.   (The subject Country Stores did not make it for some unexplained reason.)

Samples from other subjects that did make it include:  Drugs: "I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me." Hunter Thompson.  

The subject Time includes this quote from Sartre "Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do."  

On the subject of Sex Billy Crystal is quoted as saying - "Women need a reason to have sex.  Men just need a place."

Food has several good ones as shown here:

On the subject of food, here is still the all time greatest, funniest and grossest film scene ever involving food.  Warning however - you should not watch this if you are squeamish or hungry.  (The penis song at the beginning is worth a second listen too!)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Like Stealing Bread From an Old Lady

Heard an interview on the radio with Carol Leifer who was a writer for the Seinfeld T-V show.  She discussed how she came up with ideas for the show including the Marble Bread episode.
https://www.npr.org/2018/05/14/611061109/something-from-nothing-20-years-on-the-enduring-yada-yada-of-seinfeld">interview on the radio
Here is the scene:

Carol described how Jerry had become so likeable and accepted by his fans that he could get away with robbing an old lady and fans watching the show actually cheered him on.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Today in Buzzyblog History

From 2009 there was this post about our upcoming Flag Pole Raising and the first Buzzy Car Show event:

However, Buzzy passed away on June 9th that year and we postponed the event until later in the summer.

And speaking of Flag Day, here is a nice little patriotic tune from Dirks:

Monday, June 4, 2018

Because "Tracii and Axl" Just Wouldn't Have Sounded Right

Here's some trivia for you - how did Guns N Roses get their name?  The Rose part is easy because of lead singer Axl. 

But did you know that the Guns part came from a dude by the name Tracii Guns?  For complete story (click here.)

Tracii went on to play in a number of other bands most notably L.A. Guns who are still out there touring.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

"Papa Was a Copper, Mama Was a Hippie"

On This Day in Rock History RHCP album Stadium Arcadium was doing pretty well you might say.
One of several great songs from the album follows.  See if you can recognize the many acts and bands they mock in the video:

Saturday, June 2, 2018


Following up on June birthdays, today is Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts' 77th.  Good interview here with him but if you're looking for some music, go to the 3:25 mark for a jazzed up version of the Stones' one and only disco tune Miss You.

Friday, June 1, 2018

June Birthdays

Buzzy's Country Store June birthdays include my niece Jean Hofmeister 1 June; my grandson Shawn Ridgell 2 June; Captain Jerry Norris 8 June;  Teeny Boy June 11; my sister Donna Jean Taylor 12 June; Kayla McKay 13 June; Lee Carroll 17 June; Cheryl Trossbach on 18 June; Sheryl Mandeville 22 June; my great nephew Wyatt Taylor 23 June; my nephew Todd Taylor 28 June;   and Michelle Lengel on 29 June.

Also this month on 2 June my niece Amy Hofmeister marries Trevor Mathews.

Appropriate song even if Robin Wiiliams appears following a suicide scene - how weird is that?

Thursday, May 31, 2018

If It Looks Like a Duck.... It Still May Not Be a Duck

Don't Judge Too Quickly.  I could make a case for "Don't Judge Period."

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Where Have You Gone, Brian Williams?

Do you ever get suckered into one of those click bait sites that then make you do the silly Slideshow thing?  And of course the lead-in-photo that they teased you with is on a slide that is several into the spiel.  

I usually avoid those sites but the other day I burrowed my way thru one of those rabbit holes because I thought I recognized the dude on the teasing photo.
Turns out I was correct in recognizing him but I had to forward thru several other slides to find him and his story  on Page 8:   
Brian Williams played one year for the University of Maryland basketball team before he was drafted into the NBA.  That's how I recognized him.  To read the rest of his story click here and I promise you it's only one click away.

Wonder if this song was paying when Brian's brother did him in.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Twofer Tuesday

You are probably familiar with Harry Chapin's Taxi about him meeting an old flame and them "catching up" so to speak.

But did you know that Harry did a follow up to that encounter wherein the two met up again and this time - well listen for yourself:

Not sure that I agree with Sue saying "It's better sometimes when we don't touch our dreams" but I get what she means.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day Ceremony

Ridge Rumble today.  WARNING:  It's an election year so expect all of the political vultures to be circling.  Don't let that stop you from attending however.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sunday Sunday

If I had to choose, Sunday would get my vote for best day of the week.  I don't have any particular reason why other than it seems like things are always a little slower and a little better on Sundays.  

Throw in a Monday holiday and Sundays get even more better.  (Sister Gregory is turning over in her English grammar grave!)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Moving On, Up, Out - Somewhere!

A local boy, a Ridgell cousin of mine said that when he turned 18 his old man had two words for him "So long!"  He said that he moved out the next day and noted that he had been on his own ever since.

When I was a young buck, the thought of living at home was  never an option.  It was just assumed that moving out was the norm.  Plus I knew that had I even thought to remain at home, Buzzy would have charged me an arm and leg to do so rent-wise.

But the times have changed.  More and more kids are living at home and not moving out.  It's a nationwide trend.
And when the parents do put their foot down and tell their kids to hit the road, it can be a dicey situation as these folks discovered. 

Tough love is tough.  "You oughta know by now."

Friday, May 25, 2018

"When the Doctors Failed to Heal You"

I won't identify who I am about to talk about, but those of you close to me will immediately know. 

It was early in the afternoon when he came into Buzzy's Country Store. I asked him what he was doing out and about so early because he usually rolls in around 4 o'clock.  

He said that he had just been to see his old friend who has recently had the Hospice folks come in.  He teared up as he told me about his visit.  I tried not to let him see me tear up too and pretended to clean the counter without making any more eye contact.  He got a beer, sat down and just shook his head in silence.

I made some comment about my visit to see our friend the previous day.  However, he either didn't hear me or didn't want to talk about it anymore and said nothing in response.  I didn't follow up with anymore chit chat and continued cleaning as someone else came into the Store.  He got another beer and the conversation moved on.  

Still, I felt like I could or should have said more to him.  However, I wasn't sure about any of it.  

For most of my time behind the Buzzy counter it's a fun experience that I enjoy.  I can't say that about this particular exchange and in fact still feel very sad about the whole thing.

Sting wrote this song to and about a dying friend.