Tag Archives: Tom Drake

I Can’t Believe It’s Been Two Years

1 Nov

Two years ago, I started this blog, and it’s really hard to believe. I just went back and looked at the first post. To say the least, it’s not very good. It’s so bad that I am not even going to link it. The writing isn’t great, and it is obvious that I knew nothing about blogging. For instance, I spent the entire post introducing myself before realizing that there was an About page for all of that. It was a lot longer before I realized that putting pictures in a post helps out a lot.Two Years

It doesn’t feel like I have been going this for two years. My parents used to tell me that time goes by faster as we get older. I didn’t believe it, but I do now. My blogging time has definitely flown by, and it has also brought some big changes. Since I began blogging, I have gotten married. I went from a confirmed bachelor who lived by himself to a man with a wife, stepdaughter and a dog. The dog is a girl. too. I am surrounded by females, and I love it.

I haven’t really thought about what to write in this anniversary post. Usually, something pops into my mind, and I put it on the screen before I forget about it. Nothing good has come to mind, so I am going to dig into my stats and see what has been going on.

Since the first anniversary of this blog, the following things have happened.

Surrounded by Imbeciles has been viewed most by people in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.

It has been viewed the least by people in Qatar, Aruba, Uruguay, Mozambique, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, Jordan, Mali, Bangladesh and Uganda.

The people who have made their way to Surrounded by Imbeciles have mostly read the following posts.

The Problem With Gas Pumps – This one carried the blog for a long time as people hit it constantly. However, it hasn’t been viewed in a while.

Into the Sunset – This is the one who got me Freshly Pressed. I just threw it out there without thinking and ended up getting hits all over the place.

Movie Wisdom – Burt Reynolds Edition – You would be surprised how many people want to know what Burt Reynolds said in his movies.

Listeria – Gunslingers Edition – Who was the fastest gun in the West?

Listeria- Western Actors Edition – They say Westerns aren’t popular anymore. I beg to differ.

Sometimes It’s a Western, Sometimes It’s a Porno – This is actually about something at work. However, people search for “western pornos” all of the time.

Victorian Brothelese – All you ever needed to know about the whorearchy.

The Great Pumpkin Carving Escapade – This one has climbed the charts in the past week.

Dirty Deeds and Thunder Chief – I bet you never heard this song by AC/DC.

The Cullman Comet – One of my favorite posts, this is about my meeting with Tom Drake, who has lived a very interesting life.

Before I go celebrate all of this blogging with a big glass of cran-grape juice, I also want to link two posts that I am really proud of. They haven’t gotten many views, and I am going to advertise them as much as possible.

The Smell of Cape Jasmine is an exploration of one of my favorite songs, and A Southern Legend is about an almost true southern legend. I hope you check them out.

A Post About Posts

10 Jun

I am always fascinated by what brings people to this blog and what they read when they arrive. Occasionally, I will go over to the stats page and see where the posts rank in viewership, and, the other day, I did just that. Some I knew would be there. Others were a little surprising.Eleven

The Problem With Gas Pumps“, as it has for months, stands at the top of the list. In the early days of this blog, I wrote a sarcastic view of gas pumps and how they think we are imbeciles. For a long time, no one read it. Then, it hit big. This post controlled this blog for a long time, and I can’t figure out why.

Into the Sunset” brought a huge surprise when it was Freshly Pressed. The idea for this one kicked around in my head for a few days before I wrote it. When I got around to it, there was no plan. I just typed. When I got the email that said it had been noticed, I sat there stunned.

Victorian Brothelese” was another early post and covers my research topic in graduate school. I am sure you noticed the word brothel in the title. You can imagine the search terms that get people to this one.

At some point, I came up with the bright idea to look for movie quotes that provide life lessons. My first attempt at this was “Movie Wisdom – Burt Reynolds Edition“. I’m not sure people are looking for wisdom from Burt, but, from the search terms, I know there are a lot of fans of Smokey and the Bandit out there.

At another point, I decided to use our fascination with lists as a topic and came up with Listeria, a combination of List and Hysteria. Get it. Listeria. Anyway, two of those posts have hit the big time. The first is “Listeria – Gunslingers Edition“, and the second is “Listeria – Western Actors Edition“. There seems to be another theme there, as well.

The Good, the Bad and the Presidential” gets a lot of hits from folks trying to find out which of our presidents was any good. I’m not sure that I can help them, but I have provided a handy list of who I think was any good.

One of my personal favorites is “Dirty Deeds and Thunder Chief“, an examination of lyrics that people get wrong. You would be surprised at how many people search for the exact words in the title. Perhaps, I should write a fictional biography of Thunder Chief and throw them off track.

Another favorite is “Sometimes It’s a Western, Sometimes It’s a Porno“. I love the search terms that bring people to this one. I didn’t realize that were so many people wanting Western themed porn. Honestly, the porn studios are missing a real opportunity here. Unfortunately, this post isn’t what they are looking for.

One of the best experiences of my life was meeting a man named Tom Drake, and I wrote about it in “The Cullman Comet“. This is a post that I would like everyone to read. Truly, he is an interesting man.

Finally, another early post has worked its way toward the top. “A Requiem for Josey Wales” is an examination of one of my favorite movies. For years, my mom complained because my father, my brother and I watched it every time it came on television. Then, she watched it and liked it. This is a movie that should be required viewing for every human.

Those are the titles at the top of the charts. It’s probably cheesy to link a bunch of posts like that, but, from a personal view, it’s interesting to see what draws people to this blog. It looks like these are the ones.

The Cullman Comet

15 Oct

This weekend, my friends and I drove to Starkville, Mississippi to watch the University of Tennessee play Mississippi State University in football. The best way to get there from here is to go through Alabama. Yes, Mississippi borders Tennessee but going through another bordering state is the fastest route. Weird, I know.

It is also the best route because it allows us to stop in Cullman, Alabama and eat at the All Steak Restaurant, home of the world-famous orange marmalade rolls.

Passion on a Plate

We got a lot of looks as we walked in because we were wearing the colors of our team, and that’s not something seen very often in Alabama. An elderly man wearing a crimson University of Alabama shirt took special notice and walked to our table when he was finished eating. He was a nice man who asked us where we were from and what we thought about our team. After a few minutes, we offered him a seat.

He introduced himself as Tom Drake, and we spent the lunch hearing the story of his life – one of the most interesting stories I have ever heard.

Mr. Drake was born in Cullman County and found his way from there to Chattanooga, where he played football and wrestled in college. After college, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the army drafted him, as well. In those days, the federal government was more powerful that the NFL, so off to the army he went.

After being honorably discharged, Mr. Drake was hired by Bear Bryant to coach wrestling and football for the Crimson Tide. When we asked who was the best player he ever coached, he did not hesitate to say Joe Willie Namath. However, coaching was not his calling, and Mr. Drake went to law school.

Bear Bryant and Joe Willie Namath

While still enrolled in school, he won a seat in the state legislature and continued to be elected for 32 years.  During that time, Mr. Drake served as Speaker of the House and worked closely with infamous governor, George Wallace.

In Birmingham, they love the governor.

Now, that is an event filled life, but there was more. Mr. Drake spent his spare time as a professional wrestler. Fighting under the name “The Cullman Comet”, Mr. Drake fought against some of the most famous wrestlers of the era. He was later inducted into the International Wrestlers Hall of Fame.

The Cullman Comet

With such a wide array of talents and experiences, Mr. Drake made a perfect contestant for What’s My Line?, and he appeared on that show in the 1970s.

We barely had time to ask questions as he told story after story. However, his most important story was about his wife. They did everything together, but she died a year ago from brain cancer. He said that he still hasn’t recovered from the loss, and I got the feeling that he just needed someone to talk to. He needed to talk about his life and his memories, and I felt honored that he picked three strangers who were wearing the wrong colors.

Mr. Drake said that he is writing a book, and I hope that he finishes it. The book would chronicle a man’s life but also a piece of our history. I was reminded during lunch that history can be found anywhere. It can be found in old documents, but it can also be found in a conversation at the All Steak Restaurant in Cullman, Alabama.