Greetings from Coburn Mountain, Alabama, and welcome to my first blog post ever.

That’s right, first one. Why do I keep thinking about those monkeys they used to launch into orbit?

I live on a farm, which everyone in my family imaginatively refers to as The Farm. My ancestors lived here a long time ago. As far as I can tell, they were mostly a bunch of ornery hillbillies who managed to do just well enough to afford decent burials.

Later generations were less interested in gunfights and blood feuds and, one assumes, had more time for raising livestock and farming. Tractors replaced the mules and horses. The TVA brought power and light.

And now I live here. Wonders and mysteries!

I have given my solemn promise to the powers that blog I will not eat bark. Eating bark, I’ve learned, is discouraged in the more enlightened sectors of Ye Olde Blogosphere.

That’s fine with me. I’ve never advocated extreme measures, except, perhaps, when it comes to rattlesnakes or tequila.

I’m more of an anti-bark eater. I have strong opinions about practically nothing. My opinions are as weak as kittens. Your opinions could beat the crap out of my opinions and take their lunch money.

My dog, Bob Johnson, is definitely a bark eater. He’s a barking bark eater. Bob Johnson will eat anything. I’ve caught him chewing happily on rocks. He has very strong opinions about what goes in his mouth (namely, any object that fits inside it, and many that do not).

“Don’t eat that stuff, Bob Johnson!” I say. But he is irrational.

I reckon that’s enough introductory applesauce. I have carefully formulated a few opinions for my shakedown cruise on BBL&L. I will share these with you at this time.

Good things are better than bad things.

Good things, if not properly appreciated, lose their power to astonish and sustain us.

Here are four good things I think are worthy of consideration:

Good Thing #1: Public Libraries

I live within an easy drive of five excellent public libraries staffed by pleasant, helpful librarians. If you don’t understand why this is a good thing, you’re reading the wrong blog.

Good Thing #2: TV Shows Actually Worth Watching

Most folks didn’t care for the way the final episode of The Sopranos ended. I thought it was great, at least as soon as I figured out it was an intentional black screen and not a loss of satellite signal. The ending left the door open to a sequel, and, face it, that’s what fans of the show want. More Tony, more Sopranos. In the meantime, there is Mad Men.

Mad Men has been criticized recently by a few commentators who believe the show’s dialogue is over-enunciated and grammatically anachronistic. I’m sorry to disappoint them, but I don’t watch Mad Men to bone up on authentic 1960s speech. I watch Mad Men because it has a kick-ass ensemble cast and a compelling story line that rarely wavers off course. Bonus points for thrillingly reckless nicotine and alcohol intake (two vices best enjoyed vicariously), cool fashions, pop art and the occasional beatnik.

Good Thing #3: Everything Evens Out

There is now a Frank Zappa statue in Baltimore, the city of his birth. This offsets the Hootie & The Blowfish monument to be unveiled Oct. 21 in Columbia, S.C.

Good Thing #4: The Burrito

Simple and economical, yet so versatile and tasty. I’m not talking about fast-food fare or the local hipster slap-and-wrap. DIY and you’ll never look back. Bonus points for degree of difficulty (easy) and hot-sauce nirvana.

One Extra Good Thing, Because You’re Special
: Ham (the Astrochimp, not the cured meat) has his own Wiki page. It’s awesome.

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.” That was the opinion of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer, philosopher and mixed martial arts champion.

May your own list of good things never be far from your thoughts. Update daily for maximum effect.

We need good things.

And they need us.

John Hicks lives outside the city limits, where eagles dare.

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