Friday, June 21, 2013


On the outskirts of Monroe, Louisiana, in West Monroe, you'll find the homes and  business headquarters of these four guys who have a hit show, "Duck Dynasty" on A & E.

West Monroe is a typical suburban town in the northern part of the state, and these guys are typical Louisianans, who love their families, duck hunting, and the Bible.   

Back in the eighties, I probably drove past the sprawling home of Phil Robertson, who created the show -- he's probably the most famous duck caller in the U.S. On my way to the theater at the University in Monroe to set up for a performance, I remember how surprised I was to see so many churches -- churches on every corner, and one was bigger than the Holiday Inn where I was staying. 

Phil Robertson, 67, is the patriarch of this family of born-again Christian duck callers, which includes his four sons --Alan, Willie Jase, Jep, and Phil's younger brother, Si, a Vietnam vet. Phil proudly has said, more than once, "Yes, we're basically Godly, I didn't think that would work on American television."

The fact is, the 3rd season premiere of "Duck Dynasty" drew the highest ratings the A & E channel has ever seen -- with 8.2. million viewers, it's the most watched program on cable, (after "The Walking Dead"); its April 25th finale beat "American Idol" in the ratings.

Phil is also a bestselling author. His latest book, "Happy, Happy, Happy: My life and Legacy as the Duck Hunter Commander," describes his childhood -- no running water, electricity, outdoor commode, all the kids sleeping in the same bed. Though Phil attended Louisiana Tech University on a football scholarship, he ignored future possibilities as a starting quarterback.  He went into the duck hunting business, creating a duck caller with a double reed (like an Oboe), with a dimple in each reed to keep them separated, which he sold at Duck Commanders, his newly opened store.

Aside from the show, the Robertsons go hunting and fishing together -- they say,  "for food and for souls." They look like hillbillies, but they're not -- Phil patented his duck caller. Last year, along with supplies to the 2.3. million water fowl hunters around the world, Duck Commanders sold 185,000 duck callers.

And other family members are making money on their best-selling books which are published now, and distributed by Simon & Schuster.

"Duck Dynasty" has inspired and is influencing other shows, affecting our culture. I couldn't write about my husband's acting career if I didn't know anything about Shakespeare -- I couldn't be discussing the power of TV today is I hadn't glimpsed "Family Guy," or some of the NCIS shows, or "Duck Dynasty."  

The Robertsons -- their beards, the way they talk and what they talk about --  seeing flocks of birds flying free while the humans below are below are having fun shooting them down -- it's not my cup of tea.

Okay, if I sat down with them they'd think I was weird. They are not weird, they just very different from me.

Here are two video clips. I couldn't watch all of the second clip -- maybe YOU can. They're fellow Americans -- good guys, kind of like neighbors we need to respect and like for what they are.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Why do I care if things are perfect or not?

Okay, as a writer -- muddy ideas, ungrammatical sentences, and typos are like food spots on my clothes --it says I'm careless and distracts readers from the point I'm trying to make!  I've got to strive for perfection in my work.

And yes, I have to look right. If I'm wearing makeup --base, mascara, lipstick -- I can't have specs, blotches, or smudges; hair has to be arranged flatteringly, neatly in the hairstyle I've been wearing for a long time. Before I venture outside, I need to look pulled-together, as attractive as possible. The way I look affects clerks who are helping me when I'm shopping -- it affects the doctor, lawyer, or anyone I'm consulting. And employees --cleaning woman, janitor, various fix-It people -- they function better if I'm  pulled-together, nice looking.

When it comes to how you look, striving for perfection is essential.

Gee, when does it NOT matter if I'm perfect or not? When is it okay to be me -- just me in whatever mood or state that I'm actually in?

When I'm talking with my son, it's better for him if I hide my moodiness, depression, or confusions. He functions better when I'm pulled-together, organized, sensible and logical -- unencumbered by imperfections.

Gee,  holy cow, holy smoke, holy minorka, good God -- the only person with whom I can be the real me is that guy who is my husband -- John, who likes-loves-respects-supports-cares for me even if  I'm  cranky-sloppy, off-balance-neurotic, selfish, babbling-illogical, food spotted, not pulled together, making dreadful typos because...

Hey, I'm him -- he's me -- PERFECTION is just something we humans strive for like Godliness.

Monday, June 17, 2013


I'd love to have a cold beer right now.

I learned to love beer -- didn't like scotch on or off the rocks, or vodka  martinis which my husband liked, but beer was something to sip and share with him.   

"Science News" has announced that a new study, by Indiana University, revealed that there are chemicals in beer, other than alcohol, that get you craving for more and more. The University's team of highly accredited researchers did brain scans on 50 volunteers while they were drinking and saw that even minute sips, too small; to produce a "buzz," nevertheless caused the brain to release the feel good chemical dopamine.

Of course the report verified what other accredited researchers have proved --  "dopamine is a powerful motivator. This chemical in beer is why most beer drinkers crave another and another."

I don't know about you, but one beer would suffice for me.

The reliably wise Ben Franklin said: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

Sophocles mentioning important foods  said, "bread, meat, vegetables and beer."

Shakespeare, in "Henry V," expressed Henry's thoughts on the subject: "I would give all my fame for a pot of ale and safety."

In 1944, Winston Church told his Secretary of War: "Make sure that the beer - four pints a week - goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop."

Martin Luther said: "We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards. Strong beer is the milk of the old."

According to Confucius: "An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger, or a beer."

"He was a wise man who invented beer," Plato proclaimed.

Hey, I'm off to the kitchen to get me a beer.

My husband, John Cullum, who used to drink a lot of alcohol, doesn't  drink anymore. After an opening night party when he got snockered, I asked him to quit drinking  and he did. Now John makes sure there's a cold beer for me in the fridge.