Happy Clouds & Cracker Barrels

January17/ 2000

 If you have never seen “Bob Ross The Happy Clouds Painter” on PBS, you have missed one of life’s little niceties. He died a few years ago but will live on forever in timeless reruns.  Our local paper ran a Sunday story on Bob Ross’ legacy … it made me smile.  That qualifies him for a SwaggerSays mini-column.  …. BobLee also gives a sneak preview of his latest BobLee ALIVE theme – Preserving America’s Cracker Barrel.  It is, of course, Incredibly Insightful!  

   We had planned another 3-4 “cram Coach K down your throat” columns but a recent Zogby poll indicated we had “culled that herd” quite enough for now.  Our Weekender on Rumor Alchemy scared off three more constipated puckered butts but drew 12 “best ever … must include in next book” praises.  Despite our 1,000s of readers that’s a noteworthy response. Most folks simply print out or link our columns and send’em to all their like-minded friends, never bothering to tell us directly.  

   We LOVE hearing from you … even the long time, very dear and valued reader who said recently that BobLee’s socio-political views “make me vomit” … but she admitted addiction to BLS’s “wicked way with words” … another possible tombstone epitaph when that day comes.  “Vomit and wicked” … it’s a gift … Fred Rogers eat your heart out!

   Speaking of Mr Rogers … Bob Ross The Happy Clouds Painter is in Fred’s league when it comes to putting his viewers in a tranquil state of mind.  I hope every mutha-lovin’ one of you folks have seen this guy at least once.  The guy with the giant afro who paints landscapes in 30 minutes on PBS.  As noted, Bob Ross bought the farm about 6-7 years ago but his taped shows are timeless and priceless.

   He takes a blank canvas and his palette and creates endless variations of the same woodland, mountain scene w/ the cabin in the foreground surrounded by “happy little clouds and friendly snow covered fir trees”.  I defy any one with a pulse to watch his show and not say “gee, I wish I could do that!” He makes it look so easy and he has such fun doing it.  

   Of course the “artsy fartsy” crowd despises Bob Ross.  Which is all the more reason to support him wholeheartedly. Maybe if he added a crucifix in a bottle of urine next to the cabin and demanded an NEA handout to create his “art” they would like him more … ya think? … probably not.  

   It turns out Bob Ross and his descendants are not exactly starvin’ artists. There is a mini-Martha Stewartesque empire around this guy. They have a line of art supplies with his name and likeness PLUS you can attend classes to learn how to teach classes to help regular folks “paint like Bob did”. I wonder if they include giant afro wigs in the “Bob Ross Wannabe” starter kit.

   Maybe the Ross folks will do like Bob Timberlake did.  After Timberlake painted a gazillion versions of “old barn, wooden bucket, and fence posts” he started putting his name on sofas and chairs his fans can buy to put under the original Timberlake “picture of the old barn”.

   It may surprise you to know Mr. Swagger is quite the art aficionado … I even have a “Dogs Playing Poker” shirt I wear when Kid’s friends come over … much to Kid’s eternal embarrassment …  My inner sanctum has a painting of Custer’s Last Stand with guys getting scalped in it; and I’m always on the lookout for “Lewis Grizzard On Velvet” for my dressing salon.

   Bob Ross and his “happy clouds” … check him out on PBS. Sure, PBS has a political agenda (who doesn’t?); but that’s easy enough to navigate through, if one is of an opposing mindset, and enjoy Bob Ross, plus there’s the DoWopp segments during their annual BegAThon and Bill Friday’s nice interviews. … hummmm, BLS endorses PBS, wonder if PBS will reciprocate and recommend SSays … bwahahaha!


 Swagger’s Stumper

Who Was He? … This Actor played

Fred Rutherford (Lumpy’s Dad) and Mel Cooley (Alan Brady’s stooge)

 “Maha” will gobble this one up like a salted cashew


    As noted in recent SSays … BobLee has two LIVE engagements this week (Wed to Greensboro Rotary and Thurs to High Point Rotary).  We constantly revise these darn things to eventually create “THE most entertaining twenty minutes imaginable” that does NOT involve a clip of Ann-Margaret in Bye Bye Birdie or a Joey Hetherton Serta Mattress commercial.

   Our current presentation is 80% different than the original over a year ago.  We insert current topical stuff (K-Lakers and New ACC) but stay true to our objective of keeping at least 30% of the audience ready to lynch BLS for being sacrilegious to their false sports gods … and the other 70% proclaiming him as “kinda weird but ya gotta admit he’s right”.  The % fluctuates during the course of BobLee’s 20 minute PG-rated “sermon”.  

   Swagger’s current theme is Preserving America’s Cracker Barrel, which has nothing to do with that roadside restaurant chain. SSays readers know BLS’ concern that sports may soon join politics as verboten subjects for idle gum flapping among neighbors.  Whether it’s the “old fogeys” at the general store … the regular pinochle players at the fire station … or young pretentious fuzzy cheeks at a sports bar with 50 COUNT’EM 50 GIANT PLASMA TVs AND OVER 100 VARIETIES OF WINGS!!! … the anger and vitriol created in those Internet Hate Parlours is overflowing into “the real world”.  That’s not good. 

   Strong opinions, especially regarding subjects about which none of the opinioners know “jack”, is too rich an American heritage to let fall by the wayside.  90% of the Baddour-bashers can’t manage their family budget or remember to change the cat’s litter box; but can bloviate all day about how Dickie The Human PinCushion should manage a $35,000,000 budget and a 50 person staff. There is something comforting in that time honored tradition.  

Those who can DO … 

Those who can’t … 

have an unrelenting need to try & tell others how to”.

Yo Butch and Tee … how would that look on a T-shirt?

   To quote former UNC Football Coach for Life, Dick Crum … “Every man in America is an “expert” in two things … barbecuing and coaching football.”  PETA may eventually eliminate any carnivorous culinary but let us all strive to preserve the non-violent debating of totally trivial sports crap.

   Since politics is now off the board … If you eliminate “sports” from the cracker barrel topic menu you are left with “weather” … la dee freakin’ da … booooring!

   BobLee is putting together his Fall Caravan through the Southeast.  If you have a civic club or organization that needs a “wake’em and shake’em up” speaker contact TheGuys for dates and details. Incidents of folks throwing cutlery are rare but BobLee does get to keep any silverware flung at him.  

   Flo, Vera, and Alice were Mel’s waitress harem.  Vera is the one most folks miss.  Flo, of course, had the often “kissed grits” …

   Is There A “Fruitcake Freddie? … We get asked by readers about “Fruitcake Freddie From Franklin Street” our resident over-the-top Lunatic Fringer.  “Is there really such a loonie?”  Yes and no.  The nickname comes from our love of alliteration.  He could be “Foolish Frank” or “Flapjawed Felix”.  We do know someone who truly believes “Chuck Amato has Mafia connections and will KILL anyone who rats on his cheating”.  But, most of “Freddie’s” mondo bizarro schtick is an amalgam of various crackpots we encounter in our travels. … Ride down Raleigh’s Hillsborough Street and you can find “Freddie’s” goggle-eyed, spittle spewing red-clad evil twin spouting gonzoisms about Dean Smith, Claude Sitton and G. Gordon Liddy. 

BobLee in Greensboro Tomorrow (Wed)

Noon – Friendly Road YMCA

Dress in camo gear and wear a red carnation

BobLee in High Point Thursday

Noon – High Point Country Club

Comments Or Questions About The Meaning of Life

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