Monday, March 9, 2009

Southerners Talk Music!

When I was eight years old, I vowed never to say the word "ya'll" and kept forcing the tedious "you guys" out of my Midwestern mouth. By the time I reached adulthood, "ya'll" was rolling off my tongue as smooth as butter and after a few drinks in my system, I adopted a Southern drawl. Ah, yes. The Southern drawl. When I think of Southern accents, I think of Scarlett O' Hara wailing, As God is my witness, I will never be hungry again! Other favorite Southern accents include Johnny Cash, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Matthew McConaughey, and Paula Dean. Oh, and I must give a shout-out to John Edwards on behalf of younger sister who seems to become weak in the knees every time she hears him speak. Or sees his Southern flop.

The Lady & Sons Restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. Hey ya'll!

In effort to prepare for my husband's kin folk's arrival from the North, which will entail a series of Atlanta Braves versus Boston Red Sox games, I am fixin' to brush up on my Southern lingo. Like the urban dictionary, we, too, here in the South have our Southern dictionary. I reckon I will learn quite a few new phrases to use while I heckle all the Red Sox fans while sippin' my sweet tea vodka.

SAM HILL: an expression of bewilderment as in Why the Sam Hill are there so many Yankees livin' in the South?

BLESS HER HEART: a phrase used by a Southern woman to excuse themselves for speaking poorly of someone else. This is one of my favorite Southern sayings and a thank you to for this prime example: She's as ugly as a mud-fence, bless her heart.

WHITE ON RICE: to be on or close to something. Bill stuck to that Hillary like white on rice.

NEAR BOUT': almost as in David Ortiz near bout' broke his neck when he tried to steal second base.

RAISE SAND: when a person is about to throw a hissy fit: My hubby is fixin' to raise sand cause his team is losin'.

FIDDLE DEE DEE: a synonym for f**k, used to conceal vulgarity: Fiddle-dee-dee. War, war, war. This war talk's spoiling all the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored I could scream (Scarlett O'Hara).

Great balls of fire. Don't bother me anymore, and don't call me sugar.

Other Southern phrases:

Why are you smilin' like a goat in a briar patch? This phrase is used when somebody is up to no good and hidin' it.

This goat ain't smilin' though.

I am hungrier than a bitch hounddog suckin' pups.

It'd be a dark night at the well before she'd get a drink. This means she is so ugly, she would only get her drinks from the well at night to avoid being seen.

I wouldn't spit in his ass if his guts was on far (fire)! This means you do not care for this person.

And don't forget The Southern Golden rule: y'all is singular, all y'all is plural and all y'all's is plural possessive.

All ya'll come back now, ya here!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Southern Drinking: My Grown Up Science Fair Project

I like to make outrageous claims without scientific evidence--wait, is this called a hypothesis? I revert back to middle school and think about science fair: Do Plants Grow Faster If You Play Music? Do Huggies Diapers Absorb More Water Than Pampers; and for the more sophisticated middle school student (ie: not me), how about: Surf and Turf: The Perspective of a Mushroom (first-place winner at Inman Park Middle School in Atlanta, GA in 1999). According to Wikipedia, a hypothesis is based on previous observations or scientific theory and it is never posed as a question, but rather a statement such as The Perspective of a Southerner: We Have More Fun Because Our Drinks Are Better. And, thus, I reflect on my outlandish statement and pull some good ol' facts from my Southern soul.

1. Jack Daniels Old No. 7: This man of mystery created Tennessee whiskey, a whiskey that is filtered through a thick layer of maple charcoal before it is put into casks for aging. Jack Daniel supposedly died of blood poisoning after kicking his safe because he could not remember the combination code. Kicking a safe=bloody toes=infection=blood poisoning in 1911. Further, there is speculation about two things: his birth date and the No. 7. Some say Jack Daniel had seven girlfriends while others say he chose the number "7" because it was lucky (please say the former rather than the latter is true). Need I say more about this Southern gent and his contribution to liquor & spirits?

I also have to give a shout-out to Southern Comfort: another mystery behind this blend of whiskey, fruit, & spices. SoCo was allegedly created and sold in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Creator Martin Wilkes Heron had two slogans for SoCo: None Genuine But Mine & Two Per Customer. No Gentleman Would Ask for More. The mansion depicted on the label is Woodland Plantation in Louisiana and operates as a bed and breakfast. Southern Comfort was also Janis Joplin's beverage of choice and Johnny Cash has a song called Southern Comfort. Other fun facts about SoCo: In an episode of Family Guy, Peter Griffin and his friends get "wrecked" on SoCo; in a A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanch finds a bottle of SoCo in the pantry; and in Stephen King's Road Work, the protagonist's favorite drink is SoCo and 7 up. In Amanda Palmer's words, "Who needs love; when there's southern comfort."

2. Kentucky: Bourbon & Derby: Bourbon is an American whiskey made primarily from corn and named after Bourbon County, KY; it is estimated that 95% of the world's bourbons are distilled and aged in Kentucky. Bardstown, Kentucky is the Bourbon Capital of the World and home to the annual Bourbon Festival. Speaking of festivities & bourbon, Kentucky is also home to the Kentucky Derby, which was created in 1875 by Meriweather Lewis Clark, Jr. (grandson of William Clark of the Lewis & Clark expedition). Clark was inspired after seeing the Epson Derby in England. Along with horse racing and floppy hats, the Kentucky Derby also has a signature drink: the Mint Julep. A mint julep is traditionally made of mint, bourbon, sugar, and water. This drink was originated in the Southern United States by Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky. Each year almost 120,000 mint juleps are served at the Churchill Downs over the two-day period of the Kentucky Oats and Kentucky Derby.

Derby=hot Southern women, large hats, & mint juleps.
What were you thinking Nick?

3. Sweetwater 420: This is Atlanta's claim-to-fame brewery and the name itself should be self-explanatory. Sweetwater Brewing Company's Don't Float the Mainstream motto embraces itself by creating beers such as Summer Hummer, Donkey Punch, and Happy Ending. The company was created in 1997 by two friends, Kevin McNemy and Freddy Bensch. In 2002, the company was named Small Brewery of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival. Sweetwater has also won various nationally recognized awards at the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. Sweetwater beers are available through the Southeastern United States. The bread and butter beers, 420, Georgia Brown, IPA, and my personal favorite, the Blue, can be found at both restaurants and stores. For a full tasting, visit the Brewery Wed-Thursday from 5:30-7:30 and for $8, you get a brew tour, six pours, a beer glass, and live music. Bring your pets, too!

4. Firefly Vodka: Based on previous observations of myself and my relationship with Firefly, I would dare to say that there is no other product currently on the market that is comparable with this sweet tea infused vodka. Firefly Vodka distillery is located on Wadmalaw Island, SC, thirty miles South of Charleston. Master distiller Jim Irvin and partner Scott Newitt created this six time distilled vodka. Every aspect of the production is done at the Irvin House in old buildings that were once used to maintain a carriage company. According to the Firefly website, the distillery is "proud to bring true southern products to the market." Amen ya'll. Firefly is currently distributed to 40 US States (luckily in Georgia, too), but beginning in March 2008, Firefly will be available in all 50 states. That is true Southern hospitality--we like to share our wealth. You can become a fan of Firefly via Facebook:

Disclaimer: Please act responsibly--this is intended for adults of legal drinking age and purely intended for entertainment purposes. Do not mix Jack Daniels with anything but coke and water; limit your SoCo to two shots; wear a floppy hat while drinking your mint julep; and don't forget your Southern drawl when drinking your Firefly & water.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Little Urban Artists Represent the South

With the Presidential inauguration just a few days away, I am quite pleased (and a little smug) to hear that the kids from Ron Clark Academy will be performing at four of the inaugural balls on Tuesday. At one of the balls, one of the students will share the stage with Usher (who is one of our fellow Southerners--born in Dallas, TX, but raised in Atlanta) and Patti La Belle. If you have not seen the kids performing "Vote However U Like," which is a play on T.I.'s "Whatever You Like" (T.I. is also a Native Atlantan), please go and watch it NOW: These little darlings made my eyes tear up every time I watched them perform and/or speak; I was on Obama overload, wrapped up in the idea of history in the making, watching Oprah cry on a stranger's shoulder, and these boys just made my heart weep with sentiment. These kids make me want to have kids. And that never happens. Ever.

Located in Southeast Atlanta, near Turner Field

Reason # 6 for Why I love the Dirty South: Ron Clark Academy: Ron Clark Academy was founded in 2007 by Ron Clark, who was made famous by Oprah after winning Disney's American Teacher of the Year in 2001. Located in Southeast Atlanta, Ron Clark Academy is an inner-city school, a former awning and tent factory transformed to an independent school for fifth through eight graders. The school incorporates teaching methods that were proven to be successful in other schools including Harlem. The private school was an idea that both Ron Clark and Kim Bearden (Cobb County teacher recipient of a national Disney Award) conjured specifically for at-risk kids in Metro Atlanta.

In December 2008, Oprah donated $365,000 to the school, $1000 for each day of the year, she said. After hearing of the check, sixth and seventh grade students had their "Dear Obama" song recorded by Imagemasters. The song addresses issues/topics that the students believe Obama should address during his Presidency, including bringing our troops home and "stand[ing]up tall for the middle class;" the song was written as a follow-up to their first performance (which was aired on ABC's Good Morning America, CNN, and BET).The kids will be fitted for tuxedos and ballgowns. Be prepared to have your heart swell with pride.

These little munchkins are heart breakers (or heart throbs?)

Ron Clark Academy's philosophy: "Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Waldo Emerson. You can support the academy by visiting:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Homage to the Dirty South

Every time I visit my in-laws, I am forced to travel up North to the tiny town of Merrimack, NH: population of 26,558 in 2007 according to, three Dunkin Donuts, zero Targets, and Red Sox paraphernalia galore. I marvel at small town life, where the American Legion is the hot spot (well, you can get Absolut Vodka for $2.60 and a Bloody Mary for a $1)--and every man, strangely enough, reminds me of King of the Hill. During these trips, I have a terrible tendency to note reasons why I love the South and I make a mental list, so that the next time I hear someone diss a Southerner (which happens as often as each time a baby drops their binky), I am well-equipped with some cold hard facts (or just my biased Southern opinion).

1. Our Women Are Delicate Flowers of the South: Okay, so I started with an opinion, but there is something to be said about our women. If anybody has some sort of silly GQ or Esquire survey out there with some "evidence," let me know because me simply telling you that Southern women are better looking than Northern women may not be the best argument the next time someone says, "Southerners are dumb." Hey, well, our women are better looking! Examples: Eva Longoria, Corpus Christi, TX: Jessica Simpson, Abilene, TX: Beyonce Knowles, Houston, TX: Reese Witherspoon, New Orleans, LA.

2. Fried Chicken and Waffles: I love that we have regional food that is rich in culture (and butter). We eat black-eyed peas and ham hock on New Year's Eve for luck! The last time I had Southern food, I went to Mary Mac's Tea Room and saw Senator Max Cleland, who lost both legs and one arm during the Vietnam War and Southern as hell (Democrat born and raised in Atl). I ate my fried chicken, collards, mac & cheese, and passed on the ultra sweet tea. Other hot spots: The Collanade, Glady's Chicken and Waffles, Son's Place and for more refined Southern, try Watershed or South City Kitchen. Just make a date with the gym the next day. Oh, and Paula Dean is ours--and from Georgia, too!

Mary Mac's Team Room: good Southern Soul food!

3. Atlanta Braves Baseball: Okay, hear me out for just a second. We are definitely not the Red Sox or the Yankees and we do not have any curses involving goats and yes, John Rocker was a former Atl Brave. But the Atlanta Braves were featured on TBS in Braves Baseball on TBS, starting in 1972, which was broadcast and distributed to cable throughout the U.S. The program received high ratings and Braves were dubbed "America's Team" in the 80's (we were the Dallas Cowboys of baseball!). Although most viewers were from the Southeast, the Braves picked up a following throughout the U.S. Every so often, I meet a friend's grandfather who is from the North, but loves the Atlanta Braves. Or a Northern friend who has a childhood photo of him/her wearing a Braves sweatshirt. The Braves Baseball on TBS ended in 2007 and during the final broadcast Skip Caray said, "To all you people who have watched the Braves for these 30 years ... thank you. We appreciate you more than you will ever know. ... Thank you folks and God bless you. And we're going to miss you every bit as much as you miss us." Rest in Peace, Skip Caray. Braves baseball is not the same without him...

4. Yes, We Do Have Good Schools! The South is often known for our poor SAT scores, and particularly Georgia, but we have good news, too. In 2007, according to US News and World Report, Georgia Tech was ranked #7 nationally among public schools and 35th nationally among all universities. In 2008, Kiplinger finance magazine ranked Georgia Tech as #16 for best value in public colleges. University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill was ranked #1 while University of Georgia was ranked #4. Other Southern colleges include University of Florida (#2), Florida State University (#17), and University of North Carolina at Wilmington (#25). Kiplinger factors academic quality and costs (includes SAT, admission rate, retention rate, and cost of tuition and living). And drum roll: here is my salute to my alma mater, Georgia State University; in 2008, the US News and World Report ranked the J. Mack Robinson's School of Business's Executive MBA program #5 in the country (amongst its competitors: NYU (#1), Northwestern (#3) and Berkeley (#6). The Financial Time Report ranks GSU's School of Business #57 worldwide while University of Georgia is ranked #59 worldwide. Moral of the story: go get your MBA, ya'll!

5. Politicians--Our Pride and Joy of Atlanta: Every time I drive home on Freedom Parkway, I drive past a tribute piece of Martin Luther King, Jr. and I am comforted by his presence. MLK, Jr. was born in Atlanta and grew up in one of my favorite neighborhoods, the Old Fourth Ward. I have walked past this old Victorian on my way to Our Lady of Lourdes, its porch swing still in tact and a small plaque designating 501 Auburn Avenue as birth home of MLK, jr. You can tour his home for FREE ( and with MLK day around the corner, can you think of a better way to celebrate? I also want to salute our other leaders: Andrew Young, politician and human rights activist, was the first African American since Reconstruction to be elected to Congress from Georgia--I have driven and walked Andrew Young International Blvd. for years: Maynard Jackson, the first African-American to serve as mayor for a major Southern city--I used the Maynard Terrace exit off I-20 on a daily basis for five years: Senator John Lewis, our representative in Georgia's 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He is known for his role in the Selma to Montgomery marches, where in the first march he was beaten mercilessly during a peaceful demonstration.

John Lewis during first march from Selma to Montgomery: Bloody Sunday.