"Jamie, Remember To Do Your Thing That Helps People With Their Real Problems", my wife says as she hands me the paper bag with my lunch, "and good luck on your detective case today, hun!" #solveAF (2.8k) - You've Got Hate Mail
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-7279,single-format-standard,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode_grid_1300,qode_popup_menu_push_text_top,footer_responsive_adv,qode-theme-ver-10.1.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.4.2,vc_responsive

“Jamie, Remember To Do Your Thing That Helps People With Their Real Problems”, my wife says as she hands me the paper bag with my lunch, “and good luck on your detective case today, hun!” #solveAF (2.8k)

“Jamie, Remember To Do Your Thing That Helps People With Their Real Problems”, my wife says as she hands me the paper bag with my lunch, “and good luck on your detective case today, hun!” #solveAF (2.8k)

Southern hospitality is a phrase used in American English to describe the stereotype of residents of the Southern United States as particularly warm, sweet, and welcoming to visitors to their homes, or to the South in general.

How to Play the Blues: Chords, Patterns and Fills for Major and Minor Blues | TAB + AUDIO

{Link Bit.ly/2tWLahs}

What guitar player hasn’t even taken part in a blues jam? If you’re reading this and saying, “Me,” then this lesson is for you.

We’re going to show you the chords and scales you need to navigate the 12-bar form, as well as some cool licks and turnarounds, so that the next time you’re at a jam session and your turn comes, you’l be ready to tear it up.


The primary harmonic structure of the blues is the I-IV-V progression, which derived from church music of the South.

Unlike most tonal music, which uses dominant 7th chords (1–3–5–b7) as functional harmony, the blues uses them to add color, most commonly in a 12-bar form (FIGURE 1).

Where Does the South Begin?

{Link theatln.tc/2ugX2KN}

The Post had an interesting article last weekend about how the Washington, D.C. region has lost most of its southern identity in recent decades as northerners move in and the federal capital’s culture, food, and dialect became more standardized. The article raised the inevitable question: Was D.C. ever a southerncity? And if so, where does the South begin?

Most Americans would agree that Richmond is a southern town, but how far north above the capital of the Confederacy does the South extend? Is Fredericksburg a southern town? Annapolis? Harper’s Ferry? Louisville?

In some sense it’s a ham-handed question, since “the South” has many sub-cultures. Charleston is very different than Dallas; the Great Smokies look nothing like the Delta; and Lexington-style barbecue is sacrilegious in Memphis. But at the same time, most Americans, southern and otherwise, have a psychological concept of the South. The question is the geography of it.

The town of Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley was the base to legendary southerners such as Harry Byrd and Stonewall Jackson, yet it is north of Washington, was settled by Quakers, and has the feel of a Pennsylvania mill town. Not surprisingly, Winchester changed hands 72 times during the Civil War.

The border is obviously hazy, as anyone familiar with the events of 1861-65 can attest. The five most widely used borders are the Rappahannock River, the Potomac River, the Ohio River, the Mason-Dixon Line, and U.S. Route 40. Each of these can seem equally logical and preposterous depending on what kind of metric you’re using. Here are some of the best ways decide:

Surveys and Censuses

The Mason-Dixon Line is the most traditional border between North and South, and to some extent the line made sense in its time. Maryland was a slave state, home to the likes of Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman, and Lincoln had to send federal troops into Baltimore to quell secessionist riots — all suggesting Maryland was a southern state.

The Line endures today and the U.S. Census still lists Maryland and D.C. as part of the South. In fact, the Census even calls Delaware southern, which seems a bit misguided. The concept of the Mason-Dixon Line today is outdated, as few people would describe Baltimore, with its ethnic neighborhoods and industrial tradition, as southern.

Many historians and sociologists decided long ago that the Mason-Dixon Line was too clumsy and that U.S. Route 40 — the old National Road — was a more accurate border. The road extends from Baltimore to Frederick to Cumberland, through Wheeling, across southern Ohio, through Columbus and Indianapolis, across southern Illinois, and out to St. Louis.

In the “Nine Nations of North America,” Joel Garreau noted that there are “substantial differences in food, architecture, the layout of towns, and music to either side of that highway.” Southern Indiana, he wrote, “is definitely part of Dixie, and has been ever since the Coppherheads (those Northerners who sympathized with the Confederates in the 1860s).”


Gen. George McClellan could never cross the swampy Chickahominy River outside Richmond, and so everything south of there is clearly property of Dixie. But a more frequently-used border is the Rappahannock, which is about halfway between Washington and Richmond. Most neighborhoods north of the Rap feel metropolitan while counties south are rural.

The Potomac was also the effective border between the USA and CSA. The Feds’ decision to coin the Army of the Potomac was symbolic, as it hinted at the central point. Similarly, the Army of the Ohio suggested that the Ohio River was the western border between North and South, which seems reasonable if you consider Kentucky southern and Ohio northern.


If you look at the Kentucky/Ohio and Kentucky/Indiana borders, you’ll also see that the southern state is overwhelmingly Baptist while the northern one is a mix of Catholics, Methodists, and Presbyterians. Not surprisingly, the Baptist counties in southern Illinois supported Stephen A. Douglas (who founded a Baptist seminary) over Lincoln, who was a Presbyterian.

The divide roughly follows the Ohio River, but it cuts across West Virginia, where the southern tier is Baptist and speaks will a drawl and the northern tier is ethnic and cheers for the Steelers. Maryland was a colony founded by Catholics, while Virginia is mostly Baptist with a strong Methodist following in the hills.


If religion is voluntary, dialect is involuntary.

The Differences Between a Job, Career, and Vocation

{Link Bit.ly/2f6p6P3}

What are the differences between a job, career, and vocation? It seems like a simple question to answer, yet most working adults don’t have a clue.

A job is something short-term that we do for money. We often hear the phrase “dead end job” when people talk about their work. There’s no long-lasting fulfillment or happiness from a job. For those of us who have had jobs, or have one now, we know that we outgrow one job quickly then search for the next job. All the while, we wonder why we aren’t satisfied with our professional lives.

A career is something with long-term goals for which we make money. The funny thing about careers is that they are often discussed in a negative way. People try to separate their career from their personal life. Yet when people ask us about ourselves, our careers are usually a big part of how we explain who we are. This seems silly if you think about it because the vast majority of us don’t like our careers. Careers may provide the monetary means to obtain material possessions, but our careers aren’t fulfilling. We aren’t happy for those eight to twelve hours a day we spend in the office.

A vocation, or calling, is something to which we all should strive.

How to Brew Beer (and What it Costs)

{Link Bit.ly/2u1uhWU}

I’ve mentioned many times on The Simple Dollar that I figured out how to brew beer at home, and just as many times, readers have requested a walkthrough of this process along with some cost analyses.

Recently, I made a batch of porter and took some photographs along the way to illustrate the process. Let’s dig in!

Beer Brewing Equipment

If your goal is simply to brew a batch of beer and consume it in one sitting with a group of friends, all you need is a brewing bucketa bubbler, and a siphon hose, depicted below.

When you mix up a batch of beer, it needs to ferment for a week or two, and this bucket makes it quite easy. You simply put your unfermented beer in the bucket, put the bubbler in the little hole on top of the bucket (the bubbler allows gas to escape without contaminating the beer), and let it sit. When you’re ready to drink the beer, just open the spigot and drink a glass – the hose can make it easier to pour.

Most home brewers tend to want to bottle their beer for long-term storage. If that’s the case, you’ll need to accumulate roughly fifty empty, clean beer bottles and also a simple bottle capper, again available at your local beermaking supply store.

This equipment, all together, will cost $20 or so and are often available in kits.

When making beer, I use a few optional items:

The large glass jug is called a carboy. You can use it for long-term storage of the fermenting beer – it doesn’t last too long in the bucket. Also, I use an auto-siphon (which makes it very easy to siphon beer out of the carboy) and a bottling tip (which makes it very easy to put beer in the bottles). You may also want a hydrometer, which you can use to calculate the alcohol content of the beer you make.

You don’t need these things to make beer, but it does make it easier in some ways. You can leave the beer for a very long time in the carboy and bottling is a much easier process with the auto-siphon and the bottling tip.

The only additional items you’ll need to make your own beer can likely already be found in your kitchen. You’ll need a large pot (one that can hold four gallons of liquid or so), a large spoon to stir it with, a thermometer, and a funnel (if you’re using a carboy). You’ll also need to carefully sanitize any equipment you may use – I use a bleach solution to make sure everything is as clean as possible.

How to Make Beer

As I mentioned earlier, I planned to make a porter. I found an interesting recipe on the internet:

Along with these ingredients, there are a few standard items you’ll need for any beer making journey: a grain steeping bag (essentially a teabag for steeping the grains in the water), priming sugar, yeast, and caps.

All of these items are available at a beermaking supply store. I acquired all of the above for roughly $35.

A big part of the fun of homebrewing is that you can experiment with the recipes as much as you want. For example, my wife and I made an oatmeal stout that went off the recipe quite a bit and it turned out sublimely delicious.

Boil the Water and Steep

Most beer making recipes follow a pretty standard procedure. Just pour two gallons of water into your large pot, heat it to 160 degrees F (80 degrees C) or so, put the grains in the grain bag and tie it off, then drop the grain bag in the water to steep for twenty minutes or so.

Above, I took the picture just after dropping the “tea bag” into the water. The steeping will cause the water to change color, usually to some shade of brown. Here’s what it looks like after the steeping.

Adding Malt

Once the steeping is finished, you simply bring the pot up to a low boil and add the malt extract (a brown liquid) and the bittering hops.

You copy someone else’s originality because you’re afraid of being natural; failure is assured before the start; but success comes later, Yo.

How to Recognize When You Are Too Trusting

{Link Bit.ly/2tWTZIo}

I am a lucky person in many ways. And one of those ways is the fact that I was born to parents who are very trustworthy — especially my mom. If she said she would do something, her word was as good as signing something in blood. I never, ever had to question whether she really meant it or not. My dad wasn’t quite as reliable, but he was just a little slower to come through. Regardless, both of my parents live(d) their lives with a lot of ethics and integrity.

Although I just said that was lucky, it has become a double-edged sword for me throughout my life. As you might guess, because my parents are/were very trustworthy (my dad has passed away, but my mom is still alive), I am as well. If I say it, I mean it. And if I don’t mean it, I don’t say it.

For example, even if it’s something simple like meeting a friend for dinner one night, I never cancel unless absolutely necessary (like I can’t get out of bed because I have the flu, or some other unforeseen occurrence which would prevent me from keeping my commitment). Even if the day arrives and I am too tired or just don’t feel like going out for some reason, I still go. Because I made a commitment, and I am a trustworthy person.

Since I am this way, I naïvely believed everyone was like this too. Luckily, I chose friends early in my life who were trustworthy too. So up until my 40s, I pretty much had good experiences with people.

Then a few years ago, everything changed for some reason. I met a few people who are not only NOT trustworthy, they acted in some very unethical ways. For example, I had a friend who persuaded me to get in on a “once-in-a-lifetime” investment. We were very close friends, and I trusted her. Well, not only did she scam me out of my money, she has done it to other people too. In fact, I think she’s probably running a Ponzi scheme, although I have no proof of it.

Think about it — so many of us are way too trusting. I had to learn my lesson the hard way, and maybe you did too.

For example, do you know someone who has fallen prey to an email scam? I get emails all the time from completely unknown people who tell me that my website is a complete mess and they want me to give them money to help me with it. And I also get emails telling me that a long lost relative left me $15,000,000 dollars and that if I give them my bank account number, that person will wire me the money. Umm, yeah right. I think not

And then you have the poor people who are scammed in the online dating world. Many people create fake profiles and then woo their victims into falling in love with them. And this is all before they actually meet! In fact, some of these people are on the other side of the world and they’re just waiting for you to hand over your life savings to them after they gain your trust.

So what can we do to be sure that our level of trust is appropriate? I mean, we can’t go around in life trusting no one. But obviously, we can’t trust everyone. So what should we do?

I think you need to use a combination of your head and your heart/intuition.

I open the cabin in the spacejet; then, abruptly close it; what’s that smell?

I glance to my left; there’s a figure waving his arms; I acknowledge him and he puts his arms down; putting his fingers up, he motions to pinch my nose; I do this and reopen the cabin of the vehicle.

I climb down the stairs and step on the spongy ground; looking around, I can see numerous metallic robots covered in rust; this must be where the smell is coming from?

“You guessed it”, the man says to me as he motions with his arm to look around, “I just found them this way, Yo.”

Continuing, “as best I can tell, their central telepathic programming stopped and they are just locked in position doing nothing. There’s a lot of valuable hardware here if we can get them functional again.”

I glance to my right and see a small shed in the distance, “perhaps, that’s the relay station?”

We walk up the dune and arrive at a locked door.

“Don’t worry”, I tell the man as I bend down to pick up a rock from the ground, “I always carry a key with me, Yo.”

I break the glass window next to the door with the rock and put my hand into the shed; fumbling around, I find the front door lock and twist it; the bright red portal to the shed opens.

We enter the space; on the far wall is a button marked In Case Of Emergencies.

I walk over, and dust off the button, before hitting it.

The control panel below it lights up; and there’s a whirling sound as the small gears start rotating to lower the shelf on the side wall.

Because of the noise in the shed, I can’t hear the click of the pistol on the back of my head.

I fall in a heap; crumpled, all I can do is look up at the ceiling of the shed; I reach into my pocket and pull out my videotelepathy device.

I Love You, I think and the message is sent to HR and my wife, almost, instantly.

0.28425 nanoseconds later, my vision fades out.

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”

Herman Melville