Gut Rumbles
 

November 30, 2006

A Mentalist

Originally published October 23, 2004

I don't believe in magic. I don't believe in telepathy, the supernatural, witchcraft or ghosts. But in college, I once saw an amazing show and I still don't know how the guy pulled off those impressive tricks.

I can't remember his name, but he billed himself as a "mentalist." The first thing he did when he came on stage was hold up an envelope that held his paycheck for the performance (or so he said). He told the audience that he would give the check to somebody, exit for five minutes and give us a chance to hide it. If he couldn't find it by the end of the performance, he would work for free.

About 500 people were in the room. The President of the Student Council took the check and finally placed it under the asscheeks of a good-looking woman somewhere in the middle of the crowd. "Don't put it in your pocketbook," he said. "Just sit on it." She did.

The performer came back on stage, announced that the FIRST thing he was gonna do was find his money, and he asked for two volunteers who knew where the check was hidden. A lot of hands went up and he picked one man and one woman from the group.

He grabbed their hands, went into some kind of cosmic trance and walked straight to where his check was hidden as if using a divining rod. "Honey, I believe that you're sitting on my money," he said. She stood up and he retreived the envelope. The crowd went wild.

I figured he had a spotter out there working for him that TOLD him where the check was hidden. That's the oldest trick in the book. But he did some other things that blew my mind.

He could add a series of ten four-digit numbers in his head and get the right answer every time. I KNOW that he didn't fake that stunt because I yelled out "1177" and my number went onto the list a person was keeping on a big marker-board behind him. When all ten numbers were recorded, he gave the answer without ever looking at the board. He did that trick five times. He was correct every time.

If he was wearing some kind of wire, I couldn't see it.

He also hyptonized some people and that was a hoot to watch. I tried to volunteer for THAT, but I never made it to the stage. The guy picked a few members of the basketball team and put them to sleep on stage. He told one guy that when he woke up, everybody in the auditorium would be nekkid. He told another one to take off his shoe, hold it over his head and be VERY ANXIOUS about where his shoe was when he woke up. He told another one that HE was nekkid and nobody else in the place was.

He brought them out of their trances and the reactions were incredible. The one who saw everybody nekkid was grinning like a goof-ball. The one with his shoe over his head was distraught about losing his shoe. The one who thought HE was nekkid, covered his private area and almost crawled under his chair.

I don't know if hypnotism really works, but it appeared to that day. I talked to two of those guys after the show and they confirmed that they weren't acting.
I don't believe that they lied to me, either.

If you ever get the chance to see a good "mentalist," take it. You'll remember the experience 25 years later.

November 29, 2006

rocky horror picture show

Originally published October 26, 2004

I was in an Irish pub in Atlanta a week ago and the place had music videos playing on a big-screen TV. Lo and behold, "Let's Do the Time Warp Again" came on and I was rocking out in my chair while singing along. People stared at me strangely. Nobody else sang along.

Maybe two dozen customers were in the bar. When the song was over, being the mild-mannered, shy guy that I am, I asked, "Didn't any of ya'll see that movie? That's from "Rocky Horror Picture Show," a genuine cult classic. Don't tell me that I'm in a room full of people so culturally challenged that nobody recognized that song."

I was.

I couldn't believe it. I thought EVERYBODY saw "Rocky Horror Picture Show" at least once in life, and then probably went back for one of those midnight screenings where everybody dresses in costumes and carries water pistols to make it rain in the theater.

Bejus! That was IDIOT NIGHT, and I had a blast. Once, I dressed as a transsexual in black leather and fish-net hose, with heavy eye make-up and bright red lipstick. I almost broke my ankles trying to walk in those 4" spiked-heel shoes I donned for the occasion. You know what? Nobody gave me a second glance in the theater. (I DID NOT wear that outfit to the Waffle House after the show.)

Oh, I was BEAUTIFUL, but I wasn't dressed nearly well enough to compete with the others there. I saw some... well, never mind.

If you've never seen "Rocky Horror Picture Show," you won't know what I'm talking about.

November 28, 2006

Why?

Originally published December 1, 2003

I've known a lot of wimmen in my life and they all shared one common trait. NOT A SINGLE ONE was comfortable with her physical appearance.

I've lain in bed with a woman so beautiful that she made by heart beat like a rabbit's in a field-trap while she told me 100 things she believed was WRONG with the way she looked. I never understood that womanly trait.

Men don't dwell on such things. Being the swine that we are, we're just happy to keep some hair on our heads and remember to wipe our asses after we take a shit. I never look in the mirror and worry about my physical flaws. In my mind, I have none, except for the gray silver hair. And even THAT is not a flaw-- it's just a sign that Father Time is running me down.

I know that society sets standards of beauty higher for wimmen than it does for men. All wimmen are supposed to resemble super-models, yeah, yeah, yeah. I disagree. A goddam super-model will bore you to death reciting 100 things that SHE sees wrong with her body, too.

One of the sexiest things I ever saw was Jennifer washing her car one hot summer day on the mini-farm. She had soap suds on her hands and sweat dripping off her nose. She wore a tank-top and cut-off blue jeans. She was barefoot. I was sitting on the tailgate of my truck while drinking a beer. I became horny.

When she was finished washing the car, I walked over and kissed her. "Let's go upstairs and make love," I suggested.

"I STINK and I'm all sweaty," she replied.

"You've never looked better to me in your life. I'll lick the sweat off you. Just put down the washrag and let's go upstairs. Right now." I grabbed her hand.

"Let me take a shower first and fix my hair. I look like shit."

"That's not what I want. I want you just the way you are."

She allowed me to have my way, but I don't believe that she felt comfortable about it. We had excellent, sweaty sex, but I could tell that she felt less than womanly because she didn't have a chance to shower and perfume first.

Wimmen, let Acidman tell you something. You don't need a perfect body to be beautiful. You don't need to smell like perfume to be sexy. Pure, hot, summer woman-sweat is one of the most powerful aphrodiesiacs I've ever known. Wimmen smell good to me when they sweat.

They taste good, too.

Forget looking into the mirror and counting your flaws, wimmen! Just look into your lover's eyes and let yourself go.

(Ed. note: It has finally occured to me... I can "restore" comments to some of these older posts by linking the post itself, especially when it comes to the "lost" archives that display posts one at a time as opposed to the whole month at once. The only thing is, on some of these posts, the comments just STOP, mid-sentence sometimes. I don't know why, or if it can be fixed, but... meanwhile, any comments are better than none of 'em, right? So, from now on, when I can, I will make a link to the original post and it's comments just like I did this time.)

November 27, 2006

Why not?

Originally published September 29, 2004

This will be a long and boring post, but I've got nothing better to do today. Besides, a lot of OTHER bloggers are doing it, and I don't want to swim against the tide.

200 Things

01. Bought everyone in the pub a drink--damn right I have.
02. Swam with wild dolphins-- yes.
03. Climbed a mountain--many of them
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive-- never, although I want to.
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid-- no, and I DON'T want to.
06. Held a tarantula.--yes. I like spiders.
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone--yes, more than once.
08. Said I love you" and meant it--- yes, only once and that woman betrayed me.
09. Hugged a tree-- Huh? I have a picture of me kissing the ass of the "butt-tree" on Blood Mountain, but I never hugged the thing.
10. Done a striptease-- Heh. Yes, including once in a gay bar in Key West. That's a long story, involving a lot of tequila, but trust me--- the crowd loved it.
11. Bungee jumped--Nope, and I don't want to.
12. Visited Paris--Nope. And I don't want to.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea-- Bejus! I've had the shit scared out of me many times in the middle of Mother Nature's fury on the water.
14. Stayed up all night long, and watch the sun rise-- Once did it almost every night.
15. Seen the Northern Lights-- Nope. But I want to.
16. Gone to a huge sports game-- Do UGA football games count?
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa--Naw.
18. Grown and eaten my own vegetables--Yes. Plenty of them.
19. Touched an iceberg--Yes.
20. Slept under the stars-- Too many times to remember.
21. Changed a baby's diaper-- Yes. Didn't like doing it, but I did it.
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon--No.
23. Watched a meteor shower-- WOW! Several times.
24. Gotten drunk on champagne-- Yes.
25. Given more than you can afford to charity--Yes.
26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope--Yes.
27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment--No. Only wimmen do that.
28. Had a food fight-- Oh, HELL YEAH!!! I'm a fan of the Three Stooges. I like a good pie-fight.
29. Bet on a winning horse--No. The dogs fuck me every time I bet on them, too.
30. Taken a sick day when you're not ill-- I plead the 5th Amendment.
31. Asked out a stranger-- Yeah. And she often said "yes," too.
32. Had a snowball fight-- Of course.
33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier--No. I did lay my balls on there once. Does that count?
34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can--Yeah. On the free-fall ride at Six Flags in Atlanta.
35. Held a lamb-- No, but I roped a few goats.
36. Enacted a favorite fantasy-- Yep. And it was a good as I expected it to be.
37. Taken a midnight skinny dip-- Frequently.
38. Taken an ice cold bath--Yeah, but not because I WANTED to.
39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar-- Fuck a beggar.
40. Seen a total eclipse-- Yeah. In Savannah around 1974. Amazing. The day went totally dark about noon that day and it confused the shit out of all the birds.
41. Rode on a roller coaster--Yes.
42. Hit a home run--Yes.
43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days--I don't understand the question. I've lived three days that FELT like three weeks, but those weren't pleasant experiences.
44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking-- I dance like a fucktard. And I don't care who's looking.
45. Adopted an accent for an entire day--Nope.
46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors-- I don't know where that might be.
47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment--Yes.
48. Had two hard drives for your computer--What's a "hard drive?"
49. Visited all 50 states--Just 37, but still counting.
50. Loved your job for all accounts-- Never.
51. Taken care of someone who was shit faced-- Yes. And the same people often did the same for me.
52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied-- Yes.
53. Had amazing friends--Yes.
54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country--Yes!!! Even if I did dance like a fucktard.
55. Watched wild whales-- I've only seen two in the ocean, but I guess that's still a yes.
56. Stolen a sign-- I plead the 5th Amendment.
57. Backpacked in Europe--Nope. Nevr been there.
58. Taken a road-trip-- Yeah. MANY of them.
59. Rock climbing--No.
60. Lied to foreign government's official in that country to avoid notice--Umm... does a Custom's Official count? If so, then a resounding YES!
61. Midnight walk on the beach-- Plenty of times.
62. Sky diving-- No, and I never will jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
63. Visited Ireland-- No.
64. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love--I'm still working on that one.
65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them--Yes.
66. Visited Japan--No.
67. Benchpressed your own weight-- I once could bench-press almost TWICE my weight back during my jockstrap days. I weighed 145 and I could bench-press 270. Now I get sore if I lift too many cans of beer.
68. Milked a cow--Tried, but I pissed off the cow. Got no milk.
69. Alphabetized your records-- No.
70. Pretended to be a superhero-- Yeah, as a kid.
71. Sung karaoke-- Damn right. I did it in Spanish, too.
72. Lounged around in bed all day--Yeah. With a partner.
73. Posed nude in front of strangers-- Yep. Done that, too.
74. Scuba diving--No. I don't know if my sinuses could take it.
75. Got it on to Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye--No.
76. Kissed in the rain--Of course.
77. Played in the mud--Damn Right.
78. Played in the rain--Damn Right.
79. Gone to a drive-in theater--I've done everything you could possibly do at a drive-in theater.
80. Done something you should regret, but don't regret it.--Yep.
81. Visited the Great Wall of China--No.
82. Discovered that someone who's not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog--Yep.
83. Dropped Windows in favor of something better--No.
84. Started a business--Does dealing dope count?
85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken--No.
86. Toured ancient sites--Sure. I've been to bed with older wimmen.
87. Taken a martial arts class--No.
88. Swordfought for the honor of a woman--No.
89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight--Yes. I was a 12th level Magic User before I got killed.
90. Gotten married--Twice.
91. Been in a movie--Once.
92. Crashed a party-- Who? Me?
93. Loved someone you shouldn't have-- Read my archives.
94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy--I think so.
95. Gotten divorced--Yes. Twice.
96. Had sex at the office--Never.
97. Gone without food for 5 days--Yes. But I never ran out of cigarettes.
98. Made cookies from scratch--No.
99. Won first prize in a costume contest--No.
100. Rode a gondola in Venice--No
101. Gotten a tattoo--No.
102. Found that the texture of some materials can turn you on--YES!!!!
103. Rafted the Snake River--No, but I've canoed the Apalatchee, the Oconee and the Nantapahala.
104. Been on television news programs as an "expert"-- At WHAT?
105. Got flowers for no reason-- No, but I have sent flowers for no reason.
106. Masturbated in a public place-- I plead the 5th Amendment.
107. Got so drunk you don't remember anything--I don't remember doing that.
108. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug--Uhhh... define "addicted."
109. Performed on stage---BWHAHAHAHAHAAA!!! No, never.
110. Been to Las Vegas--No
111. Recorded music-- Many times
112. Eaten shark--Yes.
113. Had a one-night stand---BWHAHAHAHA!!! No. Never.
114. Gone to Thailand--No
115. Seen Siouxsie live--Never heard of whoever that it.
116. Bought a house-- Five of them.
117. Been in a combat zone-- Does River Street count?
118. Buried one/both of your parents-- Just one, so far.
119. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off-- Yes.
120. Been on a cruise ship--No, not yet.
121. Spoken more than one language fluently--I can speak some Spanish, but I'm not fluent yet.
122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone--Yes.
123. Bounced a check--I never did but my first ex-wife was damn good at that job.
124. Performed in Rocky Horror--No, but I dressed up to go watch the movie at midnight once. I was a sweet transvestite from Transylvania.
125. Read - and understood - your credit report--Fuck my credit.
126. Raised children-- Well, I TRIED.
127. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy--No.
128. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour--No.
129. Created and named your own constellation of stars--That's just fucking ridiculous.
130. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country--No.
131. Found out something significant that your ancestors did--Yes.
132. Called or written your Congress person--Many times.
133. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over--Sorta
134. ...more than once? - More than thrice?-- Three times.
135. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge--No.
136. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking--Hell, yes!
137. Had an abortion or your female partner did--Yes, and I am ashamed of that fact.
138. Had plastic surgery--No
139. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived--A most definite YES!
140. Wrote articles for a large publication-- Do the Savannah Morning News and the Effingham Herald count? If so, then yes,
141. Lost over 100 pounds--Hell, no.
142. Held someone while they were having a flashback--No.
143. Piloted an airplane--No.
144. Petted a stingray--No, but I've eaten a few of them.
145. Broken someone's heart-- Yes, and I am ashamed of myself today.
146. Helped an animal give birth--No.
147. Been fired or laid off from a job---BWHAHAHA!!! Of COURSE not!
148. Won money on a T.V. game show--No.
149. Broken a bone-- "A bone?" How about "several."
150. Killed a human being -- Not Yet.
151. Gone on an African photo safari --No
152. Rode on a motorcycle--Yes. I didn't like it very much.
153. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph--Many times.
154. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced-- Only by surgeons.
155. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol-- BWHAHAHA!!! Of course not.
156. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild---Oh, boy...have I ever done that? Yeah... some really GOOD mushrooms, too.
157. Rode a horse--Yeah, and I preferred motorcycles.
158. Had major surgery--- Is cancer surgery "major?"
159. Had sex on a moving train-- Not yet.
160. Had a snake as a pet--FUCK NO!!! I hate snakes worse than I do cats.
161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon--No.
162. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing--Yes.
163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours--I don't remember. I was asleep.
164. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states--No.
165. Visited all 7 continents--No.
166. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days--Yes.
167. Eaten kangaroo meat--Not yet.
168. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground--No.
169. Been a sperm or egg donor--- I've donated a lot of sperm in my life, but I just did it one shot at a time with someone I enjoyed being with.
170. Eaten sushi-- No.
171. Had your picture in the newspaper--- Many times.
172. Had 2 (or more) healthy romantic relationships for over a year in your lifetime-- Define "healthy?"
173. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about--No.
174. Gotten someone fired for their actions---Yes. That was my job for a long time.
175. Gone back to school--No.
176. Parasailed--No
177. Changed your name-- Does being "Acidman" count?
178. Petted a cockroach--FUCK NO!!!
179. Eaten fried green tomatoes--Yes, and I really like them.
180. Read The Iliad-- Yes. and The Odyssey, too.
181. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read--Yes.
182. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them--No.
183. ...and gotten 86'ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was you--No.
184. Taught yourself an art from scratch--If playing music counts, then sure.
185. Killed and prepared an animal for eating--Yes.
186. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt--Yes.
187. Skipped all your school reunions--No. But I'll probably skip the rest of them.
188. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language--Yes.
189. Been elected to public office--No. I never wanted the job.
190. Written your own computer language-- HELL NO!
191. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream-- Yes. But it turned out to be a nightmare.
192. Had to put someone you love into hospice care--No.
193. Built your own PC from parts--No.
194. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you--No.
195. Had a booth at a street fair--No
196: Dyed your hair--Yes. And I discovered that I was allergic to the dye.
197: Been a DJ--No
198: Found out someone was going to dump you via LiveJournal--No.
199: Written your own role playing game--No.
200: Been arrested---I plead the 5th Amendment.

There. Wasn't that fun?

November 26, 2006

Okay, folks, I'm off to Mississippi

Originally published July 15, 2002

I will be back, blogging tirelessly (that's a blogger in a pickup truck running on a bare rim and throwing sparks in his wake) when I return Thursday evening. You will have updates about those dirty repulper shafts and the paddle-stuff I'm going to investigate. I will thrill you with descriptions of the beautiful place I'm going and the wonderful adventures I am certain to have there. So, stay tuned.

Now, it's OFF TO THE RODEO!!!

Things I learned while dead in Mississippi

Originally published July 19, 2002

1) Airline Security sucks. They confiscated my 2" moustache sissors at the first checkpoint I hit in the Savannah Airport, but let me carry a cigarette lighter, a bottle of Old Spice after-shave and a Gilbey's Traveller of vodka on the plane. They took a $2.00 pair of Wal-Mart sissors and left me with two Molotov Cocktails and the means to ignite them. Great thinking... downright GOVERNMENTAL.

2) After security confiscated my moustache-trimmer sissors to ensure that I would not use them to hijack the plane and crash it into a tall building, Delta Airlines doubly-insured against that possibility by CANCELLING MY FLIGHT! I had to go back through Checkpoint Charlie, stand in line for 45 minutes and book another flight. Then, I had to go BACK through Checkpoint Charile, where the very same woman who confiscated my sissors searched my carry-on bag a SECOND TIME! Great thinking... downright governmental. She probably would have checked my shoes except for the fact that I was wearing sandals.

3) The new flight ran late. As we circled Atlanta, I showed the stew--- excuse me-- the FLIGHT ATTENDANT my 6:05 ticket to bumfuck, Mississippi, and asked her if I possibly could make it, because the time was 5:50 and the plane wasn't anywhere near the ground yet. She assured me that if I missed my flight, I would be booked on the next one, which left Atlanta at 10:15 that night. I was mightily reasurred by that information.

4) I disembarked on a concourse about as far away as I could be from where I needed to be, and that's a goddam BIG airport. I ran down an escalator, caught the Atlanta Airport mini-train, ran UP and escalator, then had to pee really bad. I had a choice to make. I could run like hell for my departure gate, piss all over myself and maybe make the flight, or duck into the nearest bathroom and have clean pants until the 10:15 flight that evening. After prostate surgery, and wearing a diaper for three months until I regained control of my bladder, I knew better than to run. Even though I don't need the diapers anymore, when I have to go I HAVE TO GO! I hit the bathroom, and I'm glad I did.

5) I arrived at the gate for my 6:05 flight at 6:25 and THE PLANE WAS WAITING FOR ME!!!! The other passengers may have been pissed off, but I was delighted.

6) Mississippi looks a lot like South Georgia, only not nearly as interesting.

7) Mississippi is just as hot and humid as South Georgia, just not nearly as interesting.

8) People in Mississippi are just as friendly as people in South Georgia, but that's a Southern thing and is expected Down South. Manners still matter here.

9) I really liked my rent-a-car and the motel I stayed in. I want to hire the maid who cleaned my room to do my house once a week. I'll pay her well, too. And I may just buy a Toyota one of these days.

10) I don't want to hear any more crap at work from ANYBODY about how God himself squatted down and shat pigment technology in Hamilton, Mississippi. I toured the plant. They do some things better than we do. We do some things better than they do. But the White End is just as dirty, just as dusty and just as WHITE as where I work. I fit right in there. I had a big, burly black guy named "Pat," who is my equilivant there (he is called a "Superintendent." I am called a "Coordinator.") and he said, "You're dressed kinda nice to be going out there. It's dirty and dusty." I told him, "Let's go. I FART dust." He laughed and said, "So do I, my man. Follow me." We went, and I learned that brothers in the White End are brothers all over the world. Yeah... we DO fart dust. And we're goddam PROUD of it, too.

Now, to bed and to work in the morning. I have many more stories to tell.

Did y'all MISS ME?

November 25, 2006

My dog is stupid

Originally published December 30,2003

Oddball likes to be outside. When I turn her out in the morning, she runs across the street and camps out on Jack's front porch most of the day. That's good. She's shitting in his yard instead of mine. They have a rottweiler, so they won't notice the pansy-assed turds my dog leaves over there.

But every day or so, I hear her barking up a storm. I know EXACTLY what causes that commotion. One of the neighbors has a big-headed, gray tomcat that once liked to shit in my garden, until I popped it in the ass in mid-poop with my pellet rifle one afternoon. Now, the sumbitch won't come into my yard, but it DOES like to sit in the bushes and glower with evil in its eyes at the Crackerbox, as if it is plotting revenge. I should have killed that fucker when I had the chance.

That cat drives Oddball crazy. The cat is at least as big as my dog, and it won't run from her. If Oddball spies that cat, an obnoxious bark-a-thon ensues. YAPYAPYAPYAPYAP! Oddball knows better than to try an attack, because that cat probably would eat her alive. But, she'll bark at it all day long. Got-dam! I can't stand that noise.

I have to go outside and say something like, "Go kill the cat, or shut the fuck up!" The cat sees ME and runs away. It remembers that sting in the ass I gave it with my pellet rifle. I am a man to be feared.

If this crap keeps up, I'm going to be forced to kill one of those two animals. Guess which one I'm going to pick?

A genuine Jamaica story

Originally published December 31, 2003

When I went to Negril in 1977, I met a guy from Canada named Barry. He knew a lot more about the island than I did and he showed me some cool places to go. He liked my girlfriend (Cheryl) at the time and he was one interesting partner that you just meet out of the blue on a trip like that.

I learned after about three days that Barry was a dope-smuggler. That's how he financed all his trips to the island. We were sitting outside the cabins one morning, eating banana and coconut for breakfast, after a nice swim in the water, when Barry asked, "You want to go up into the mountains today?"

I said, "Sure. Why not?"

I need to learn to bite my tongue when the urge to say, "Sure. Why not?" even crosses either sphere of my brain. That shit has always gotten me in trouble.

We rode bikes up the road and onto a mountain trail that was so steep that we had to get off and push the bikes to the top. I was busy sweating and pushing my bike when I looked around and realized that I was in the middle of a field of ganja bigger than any corn-crop I ever grew. "Holy shit, Barry!" I said. "We're in the middle of a marijuana farm! Look at that stuff!"

"Yeah, I know. Just don't touch any of it," Barry replied. "We're going to go talk to the owner of the farm." We did.

This guy lived in a house with no walls. It had a roof, but the walls were like Venitian blinds that could be raised or lowered, depending on weather conditions. He was a genuine Rashta, with dreadlocks halfway down his back. He had two white girls living with him, both of whom were passed out in hammocks when we went inside. They never woke up the entire time we were there.

Barry started talking business with the guy, and all of a sudden, I see more marijuana in one place at one time than I've ever seen before in my life. That Rashta dumped a FULL GARBAGE BAG of weed on a table, and then he started cutting it up with a machete. He and Barry were yelling at each other the entire time.

I gave Cheryl a "What the fuck did we get into" look and was thinking seriously about running out the door when a rainstorm hit. The Rashta lowered his walls. He then pulled out a white paper bag, grabbed a handful of ganja and crammed it inside. I thought that Barry had made a purchase. But, no. The guy just twisted the bag into a spliff and set it on fire. I guess that there was probably over an ounce of marijuana in that joint. We smoked the whole thing.

I lost all feeling in my fingers and my eyes were seeing everything twice. I wanted to crawl into one of those hammocks the guy had hanging in his house and I was willing to kick one of the wimmen out to get there, too. I wanted to go to sleep in his pot-field. But he and Barry kept talking business.

We left after Barry made a suitable deal and walked out of that place with about five pounds of ganja. He looked like a bare-chested Santa Claus with that heap of reefer in a black plastic bag over his shoulder when we headed back down the hill.

I was fucked-up as a worm, and I had hand brakes on my bicycle. The wet red clay coated my tires and the brakes didn't work anymore. I found myself flying down that mountain on a bumpy path with a barbed wire fence on one side and a rock cliff on the other. I couldn't stop. I looked for the first place I could find to bail off that bike before I broke my fucking neck.

I found a place where the fence curved away from the path and I thought that I could land there without tangling with the barbed wire. I ditched the bike and skidded into the fence, but it didn't get me. I came out okay, glad to be alive.

Cheryl and Barry rode up about a minute later and said, "We didn't know what got into you, hauling ass like that. We thought that you were trying to race us down the hill."

"I damn sure beat you to here by about a minute," I replied. "I believe that I'll walk my bike the rest of the way down the mountain."

That's what I did. We hit the paved road, pedaled right past the Negril police station with Barry carrying a sack full of ganja, and two days later we helped to tape that stuff to his body so that he could smuggle it home. After we cleaned out all the seeds and stems and smoked a generous amount, he was carrying at least three pounds when he left.

I don't believe that you can get away with that kind of smuggling anymore. A dope-sniffing dog will get you today.

But it surely was an adventure when I played my part in 1977.

The Outhouse

Originally published April 10, 2005

I didn't live in a house that had an indoor crapper until my parents moved to Savannah. In the coal mining camp in Lewellen, Kentucky, we had an outhouse (a two-holer--- a sure sign of prosperity) and a ceramic chamber pot stuck under my bed for night-time emergencies in the winter. You were supposed to pee in the pot if you had to go during the night.

My brother once shit in it and got his ass whipped for doing that. He was four years old and afraid of the dark. He stunk up the whole house really bad.

If you've never used an outhouse, you have not lived a complete life.

I got in big trouble once when I conspired with my friend, "Pee-Wee," to drag a big rock from the front yard all the way to the outhouse and drop it down one of the holes. That task took a lot of effort from a couple of six year-old boys. It was a BIG rock. But we got the job done.

That rock hit the shit-pit with a loud SPLOOP! noise, then slowly sank beneath the surface while we watched it go under. Rats ran around in a panic. Flies buzzed off to another outhouse. It was quite a show.

Pee-Wee and I would have gotten away with that stunt if we hadn't decided that we wanted to do it again, with a BIGGER ROCK. We found one, pried it out of the ground and were all the way to the steps of the outhouse when my father spied us. "WHATTHEHELLYOUTHINKYOU'REDOIN'?"

Pee-Wee and I, standing on the bottom step to the outhouse with a big rock in our hands, gave the typical little boy answer to that question: "Nothing. We're not doing nothing."

My father didn't buy that lie. He ran Pee-Wee home and busted my ass. I never really understood why, but I learned that day that I was NEVER to get caught throwing rocks down the outhouse hole again.

Hell, I had contemplated throwing my BROTHER down there before, but I abandoned those notions after that day. Dad put a good whuppin' on my butt. Now that my father is dead, I can't ask him a question that has plagued me for a long time. I could see getting a butt-whuppin' for throwing my brother down the outhouse hole.

But what was wrong with tossing a rock in there?

November 24, 2006

Don't do it

Originally published April 11, 2005

The Book of Genesis in the Bible has always troubled me (so does the story of Job, but I don't want to digress here). When I was about 12 years old, we went to visit Aunt Chassie's farm, which was WAAAAY back in the mountains. You had to ford creeks with no bridges and drive down a pot-holed dirt for miles to get there.

It was a big place and very intriguing for a 12 year-old. That's where I first got spurred by a pissed-off rooster and where an angry bull ran me up an apple tree. I also got royally cussed for feeding one of the many dogs that slept under the front porch. (Those were WORKING DOGS. They were supposed to catch their own food.)

My cousin Ernie and I were partners in crime at that stage of our lives. Chassie had an apple orchard, but she also had a lot of apple trees in the cow pasture, where she also had one mean-ass bull. That sumbitch had a set of cojones on him that resembled two cantelopes in a leather sack, and when he became aroused, his dick was bigger than a Louisville Slugger baseball bat. He serviced all the cows and he was very protective of his harem.

Ernie and I were told that we could pick and eat all the apples we wanted from the orchard, but we should STAY OUT of the cow pasture.

Here's where the connection with Genesis applies. As soon as we were told NOT to eat the apples in the cow pasture, those apples suddenly looked better, sweeter and jucier than anything we saw in the orchard. We wanted a couple of THOSE apples--- you know, the ones we weren't supposed to touch. Forbidden fruit is always sweeter.

Ernie and I did pretty much the same thing Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. God (Aunt Chassie and our parents) told us to leave the forbidden fruit alone. We immediately developed a craving for it.

So, we hopped the fence and went running through the pasture to pick some apples off the forbidden trees. We were doing good until that bull spotted us, and he became righteously indignant. He charged, and we took to a tree to get away from him.

That bull was blowing snot out of his nose that resembled Silly String fired from an aerosol can. He pawed the turf and butted the tree. He wanted to KILL US, while his incredible testicles almost dragged the ground.

I had this all figured out in my 12 year-old mind. I told Ernie, "He'll get bored in a little while and wander away. Then, we can climb down and hop back over the fence." Yeah, right. About four hours later, we started yelling for help while the bull still patrolled the bottom of the tree.

The bull had a ring in its nose and I saw my Papaw open the gate and start walking across the pasture. He had a chain with a hook on it draped over his arm.

He walked up to that snorting bull, put the hook through the ring in its nose in one expert motion, and then led a suddenly docile bull away. "You boys get down outta that tree and get back to the house," he yelled, as he escorted the bull away. We climbed down and ran, hopped the fence again and went back to the house.

Boy, did we get our asses tore up for that bit of mischief. I think we got spankings from everybody in the house at the time. ("You finished? Okay give ME a shot at his ass now!")

I learned a lesson about Forbidden Fruit that day. If you go for it and get caught, you're in one heap of trouble. DON'T DO IT!!!

But to this day, I still look over that fence and see sweeter apples than the ones I can pick with no risk. I still ignore the bull and hop that fence. I'll take my chances with being treed or suffering an ass-whuppin.' But I gotta have that sweetest apple, the one I'm not supposed to get.

That's pure human nature in MY humble opinion.

November 23, 2006

Acidic holiday wishes...

happyeverything.jpg

Thanksgiving

Originally published November 26, 2003

I suppose that I'll go over to mama's house tomorrow. She going to cook a turkey and some shuck beans. I LOVE shuck beans.

A couple of years ago, I broke my mama's heart by cooking a turkey better than the one she prepared. We had a lot of the family arrive from all over the country for a big feast that year and no one had ever tasted a deep-fried turkey before. That's how I cooked mine and it was sucked up to the bare bones in nothing flat. Mama had leftover turkey. I didn't.

If you've ever deep-fried a turkey, you'll never bake one in the oven again. I have a turkey cooker and I do the frying outside on a propane grill, but you can do it in any large pot on the kitchen stove if you're careful.

I once fried four turkeys, back-to-back on Thanksgiving morning and was finished with all four before noon that day. I use peanut oil, keep the grease between 325 and 350 degrees and allow three minutes per pound to cook the bird. A 20-pound turkey takes one hour. Frying results in the juciest, sweetest, most tender turkey you'll ever put in your mouth. I had the practice refined to an art form.

I'll probably never fry another turkey again. I got a free turkey from work last year and gave it away to Jack's mom. I seldom cook anymore and I have no use for a 20-pound bird on Thanksgiving.

Hell. I have no use for Thanksgiving anymore.

Fear

Originally published November 30, 2003

This is, without a doubt, the best email I ever read:

It was a dark and stormy night. No shit. We took off in a flight of two F-4c's from Cam Rahn Bay Air Base one night in '69. It was storming all around Cam Rahn. We were loaded to the gills with slicks, including a 2,000-pounder on the center station. Road reconnaisance in route pack one (southern portion of North Vietnam) was the mission. By the time this flight was over, Murphy was proven alive and well. Everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong. First, my flight lead disappeared into the clouds before we could join on him. Then, after multiple radar-assisted attempts to join up, I got vertigo from the reflection of his rotating beacon on the murk surrounding both craft. Each time I thought we'd be able to assume wing-tip formation, I SEEMED to be overtaking at a suddenly excessive speed and I'd back off or overshoot. Finally, FINALLY (seemed no longer than a few hours), we got in position. Pretty soon, it was time to hit the tanker. The rendezvous with the KC-135 was about the only routine occurrence of the flight. We were in and out of thunderstorm fringes somewhere around 20,000 feet. Lead went in first and took his fuel without incident. Then, it was my turn. As we approached the tanker's boom, i was blinded by a bolt of lightning that struck our plane, coming off the refueling boom. Now, it's not a real good idea to be in close proximity to another airplane if you can't see anything. So i eased forward on the stick to make sure I didn't run into the tanker, easing the throttles just a touch to make sure I didn't overtake him in my slight dive. After a short time (didn't seem like more than a few hours), my vision came back to the point that I could see my flight lead and the tanker. Incidentally, aircraft struck by lightning have been known to disintegrate on occasion. I got the F-4 back into position verrry cautiously. The question of taking fuel or not hadn't entered my mind, YET. If we didn't take fuel, we had to abort the primary mission because we were just far enough away from the target area that we needed the fuel to get back home. Besides, the head shed said no out-of-country missions without a tanker. I, a TAC-trained, mission-oriented Yankee Air Pirate, naturally wanted to accomplish the primary. Secondary targets are usually a pain in the ass anyway. Zoom around for hours hoping someone, somewhere can use your load of ordnance. No mission at all meant dumping a full load of bombs in the water. As soon as we got in position, we were struck by lightning again. Damn that stuff is bright up close!! Blinded, I managed to avoid a mid-air collision again. This time, I thought about calling off the refueling. After much cajoling by my flight leader, I was convinced that, since I hadn't exploded either of the first two times, the odds were probably in my favor. HAH! We got in and took our fuel without incident. Then, the fun started. Our inertial navigation system was kind of haywire, likely from the lightning strikes. John, in the back seat, tried to get the thing working, to no avail. Poor John, from another squadron, probably thought the 559th was a dangerous outfit by now. We tuned TACAN to channel 71, in the northern part of South Vietnam. Little did we know at the time, that the enemy had set up a channel 71 of their own at a position north and west of the good guys'. The storms are still all around us, but in many places the ceiling is high enough for us to run the road recce. One plane above 10,000 feet and one below, we started looking for targets of opportunity. Once we separated, we turned off all exterior lights. No sense giving the bad guys something to shoot at. Flight lead would call out a target and roll in on it. I'd look one way and the flash from his bombs would be nearly 180 degrees from where I expected it. No moon. No stars. Interior lights out in the front seat to aid outside and night vision. In other words, no way for me to orient myself visually and hard for John to help with the navaids, because they were A F U. Our turn came. We dropped single 500-pounders on what we thought were likely targets. We spotted a searchlight. Aha! A real target! I should explain before i get to the hairy part that the eastern part of southern North Vietnam is roughly sea-level. Anywhere from ten to twenty miles inland from the South China Sea, it rises vertically in limestone cliffs to around 2,000 feet. Remember, we were essentially lost. I rolled in on the light, planning to release the 2,000-pounder at 4,500 feet above the ground. Well, we were a little farther west than i thought. As we approached release altitude, I could suddenly see trees and boulders. Very quickly, I could see limbs and rocks, then leaves and pebbles as I jerked the stick so hard, I almost blacked myself out. F-4's don't like to be horsed around like that. The airplane was shuddering so hard, I just knew we had hit a tree and been damaged. As we got the craft pointed back skyward, John yells from the back, "I can't see!". Now i know for sure we're in deep shit, to the point where the G(uy) I(n) B(ack) has been injured. (you snap 9 G's on, a guy who weighs 150 pounds suddenly weighs 1350 pounds. Snapped vertebra immediately came to mind, although that wouldn't explain why he couldn't see.) I point us toward the water (I think i do), assuming we'll have to abandon ship. Before long, John discovers his shaded turn the interior lights up a little, scan all my instruments, and discover that there's nothing wrong with the motors or any other system. The G-meter shows 9 G's. The plane is officially stressed for 6.7. We'd had a lot of cracked wing spars on those old birds, too. Opting for discretion, I decided we would "sky spot" (imitate the B-52's) the 2,000-pounder still hanging from the center station. I leveled at high altitude, pointed us back at the light and tried to lob the bomb on the light. Didn't miss it far either! We joined with the lead for the (thank God) uneventful flight home.

As we taxied to our parking, the 6' 5" maintenance officer stood
glaring at us with his hands on his hips. As soon as we shut the
engines down, he was at the canopy rail yelling, "what the hell did you do to my airplane?" I, in typical fighter pilot fashion, replied calmly, "we brought it home, Duke, that's what we did to it."

These events are factual as i recall them. I know some of my brothers tasted that hard dirt due to enemy tricks and bad circumstances.
I know today that it was the grace of God that allowed me to bring that airplane and its precious cargo back to Cam Rahn Bay. John never had the opportunity to fly with me again, for which, I'm sure he's eternally grateful. I don't blame him if he feels that way.

Thanks to Shamus for the excellent story.

November 22, 2006

Bud

Originally published June 22, 2004

Bud was Jennifer's dog when I met her, but Bud became MY dog for a long time. He's a chow-black lab mix and he weighed about 95 pounds in his prime. Jennifer had him de-nutted as a puppy (she's trying that with me now), but Bud never lost his alpha male instincts. He was a Tall Dog.

Bud always hated cats, other male dogs and any person wearing a uniform. He killed several cats that were too stupid to run from him when they invaded his property, and I learned to bury the broken-necked corpses on the other side of the fence, because Bud would dig them up and "play" with them if I planted them in the back yard.

Bud was as gentle as a lamb around children. I remember Quinton crawling in diapers up to him and saying, "Nose!" as he poked Bud in the nose. "Eye," as he stuck a finger in Bud's eye. "Tail," as he tugged Bud's tail. Bud just laid there and took the abuse as if it were all part of his job. He never even growled.

Of course, Quinton wasn't wearing a uniform. I came home from work one evening and found my back door knocked clean off its hinges. Huge claw-marks were all over the wood and Bud was in the back yard. I don't know how the guy from the electric company got away after reading the meter, but Bud went after his ass and took the door down doing it. I found a note in my mailbox saying, "I will call the next time I need to read your electric meter. Can you please secure your dog?"

Hell... I thought the dog WAS secured. That was a solid wood door he tore down. I'm not sure that I could have done that. But the meter-man always called after that incident, and I tied Bud up with a heavy-duty choke chain when the reader came to call. Bud never did learn to like him.

Needless to say, I never worried about being burglarized back then. Anybody who broke into my home would be reduced to dog turds in short order, because Bud didn't like unauthorized visitors. He seldom barked, either. But he had a low-pitched, throaty growl that sounded absolutely vicious when he was angry.

A Peeping Tom started cruising the neighborhood and spying through people's windows at night. A lot of elderly widow-wimmen were worried about the guy and I told them that I would be on the lookout for him. I didn't need to. One crisp, cold winter night, we turned Bud out in the back yard and he decided to sleep outside. He liked cold weather.

The Peeping Tom tried our bedroom window that night. Bud was coal-black and pretty much invisible in the dark. I think he was asleep under our bedroom window when the Peeper must have stepped on him. Bejus! What a commotion! I heard Bud's growl, an "OH SHIT!" and the sound of running feet. A few seconds later, I heard a "CLANG" as something hit the back fence at high velocity.

I grabbed a pistol and went outside. I found Bud panting with blood on his muzzle. It wasn't Bud's blood. The next day, the neighbor behind me said that the noise woke her up and she saw a young man vault over my fence with Bud hot on his ass. "That boy had no seat left in his pants," she told me. Bud damn nearly chewed his ass off.

We never saw or heard from the peeper again.

Bud is almost 17 years old now. He is arthritic, deaf and half-blind. His coat has almost as much gray as my beard. He sleeps a lot.

I ask about him every time I see Quinton. As of Sunday, Bud was still hanging in there. He's not the Tall Dog he once was, but if he's still good for 15 seconds, he's still a bad-ass. I loved that dog.

I still do.

Cats and dogs

Originally published june 29, 2004

Via email:

HOW TO GIVE A CAT A PILL

1) Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth,
pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2) Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3) Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4) Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right
forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5) Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6) Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7) Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8) Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9) Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink 1 beer to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10) Retrieve cat from neighbour's shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open withdessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11) Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus jab. Apply whiskey compress to
cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw t-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12) Ring fire brigade to retrieve the fucking cat from tree across the road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

13) Tie the little bastard's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill
into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash it down.

14) Consume remainder of Scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill
remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15) Arrange for SPCA to collect mutant cat from hell and ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

HOW TO GIVE A DOG A PILL

1) Wrap it in bacon.

November 21, 2006

Gun Story

Originally published January 20, 2005

My story isn't as good as this one but it still taught me a valuable lesson when I was a boy. My friends and I used to run through the woods with BB guns and we'd shoot anything that resembled a reasonable target, including each other on occasion.

But Milton had a REAL .22 rifle. It was an old, rusty piece of crap that he probably found in a junk-pile somewhere. The trigger guard was broken off and I think the barrel was bent, too, because nobody could ever hit shit with it. But it made a louder noise than a BB gun and we were happy with the sound effects.

We went down to Hayner's Creek one morning to shoot fiddler crabs. They make good targets and I've not seen anything else they're good for except as bait for sheephead fish (although a raw oyster in a piece of nylon stocking works a LOT better). We shot until we were tired and thirsty, then decided to take a break.

Most of us carried canteens when we went out into the "wilderness" like that. We found a pine log to sit on and were passing around the canteens (Michael had KOOL-AID in HIS, that Mama's boy!) while we discussed further plans.

Milton was just bouncing his rifle butt on the ground. Thump. Thump. Thump. Then, all of a sudden... KA-POW! The gun went off. Milton was wearing a baseball cap at the time, and that hat ended up in the branches of a tree nearby with a neat hole right through the brim. He scared the shit out of himself and everyone else, too. That bullet missed hitting him in the chin by less than 1/2".

He never brought that gun back into the woods again. And I developed an increased appreciation for NOT being careless with a firearm.

Dentists

Originally published January 21, 2005

Bejus! I HATE going to the dentist. I believe that I would rather have a doctor take off my foot with a chainsaw with NO anasthetic than have a dentist do some of that horrible shit he learned in "Inquisitional Tooth-Torture, 101" his freshman year of med school.

I am convinced that my teeth are too close to that little man in my head who runs this body like a tractor driver. He sits in his air-conditioned cab following his GPS system and he really doesn't give a shit what happens to the wheels or the engine or ANYTHING below him. He just drives.

But let somebody turn a high-speed drill loose in that cab on him, and he gets concerned rapidly. He pisses his pants and whines like a little girl. He can't drive the tractor anymore. IT HURTS!!! He goes from "Macho Man" to "Tender Pussy" in less than 10 seconds. He ends up curled in a fetal position in the chair with the dentist, dazed and confused, sitting on the floor.

Neither one enjoyed that experience. Both suffered nightmares later.

Don't get me wrong. That shit doesn't happen to ME. I was just sayin'... a trip to the dentist can be rough sometimes. For OTHER people. But not for me. I've learned how to park the tractor. I gas that sumbitch in the cab now and knock his whining ass out.

Nitrous Oxide is a wonderful thing.

November 20, 2006

Ed, a pig, and fishin'

Originally published June 8, 2002

My friend Ed once played linebacker for Eastern Kentucky University and won a Division II National Championship ring while he was there. He also injured his neck, and subsequent surgery left him with a weakness in his right hand, which is odd, considering what a hoss he is through the chest and shoulders. Ed is a large fellow. When he needed someone to drive nails on a fence-hanging project, or perform other right-hand tasks around his mini-farm, he called me. When I needed someone to help move a refrigerator, or wrestle a 400-pound pot-bellied pig off my back porch, I called him.

I am not making up the 400-pound pot-bellied pig. My ex-wife (the bloodless cunt) and I bought our mini-farm from a couple who built another house, now known as "The Governor's Mansion" around the old neighborhood, less than a quarter of a mile away. They moved all their animals to the new home, but the animals never forgot where they once lived. They came to visit their old abode frequently. The occasional runaway goat or stray rooster never bothered me. But the pot-bellied pig did.

"Bacon" was a female pot-bellied pig that resembled an overloaded, warped fifty-five gallon drum on four short pegs. One summer day, she went in heat, dug her way out of her pen, and showed up at my house, looking for love in all the wrong places.

I learned that if you point your finger down the road and yell "Go Home!" to a 400-pound pot-bellied pig, the pig pays no attention whatsoever. It lays on your back deck, grunts contentedly and goes to sleep. I tried to poke at her and get her to move, but she only grunted, then farted at me really loudly, so I stopped poking. I thought the giant fat-bag would get hungry and go back home in a day or so, but Bacon seemed happy to be back at her old homestead. After four days of pig-occupation, I set out to evict that squatter from my land.

The neighborhood posse got together and even recruited a guy wearing a shirt with "Roy" over the front pocket to help. "Roy" was a contractor installing a sprinkler system at the Governor's Mansion that day. I don't believe he really knew what he was getting into.

Bacon was asleep on the deck, as usual. Our game plan was to approach the pig, have one person assigned to grab each leg, then drag the grunting lard-bucket over to the rescue truck, where EVERYONE would help lift Bacon into the bed. That plan went to shit when Bacon saw four people grabbing her legs. She didn't like that. She arose on her pegs and took off running, scattering her grabbers in her wake.

You wouldn't think so, but a 400-pound pot-bellied pig has some elusive moves that would put the best broken-field runner in the NFL to shame when the pig really doesn't want to be caught. We chased that bloated bitch around the yard for at least ten minutes before we finally cornered her. That's when she showed us her tusks. And she had some TUSKS.

Sue, Bacon's owner, assured us that Bacon wouldn't hurt a fly. "She's just scared," Sue said. Well, SO WERE WE, looking at 400 pounds of tusk-baring, hostile, PMS-ridden, bitchy pig. We finally decided that Bacon couldn't kill us all if we attacked in a human wave, so we did, and once Bacon was "hog-tied," she simmered down and returned home peacefully. I don't know if "Roy" received any bonus payment for his intrepid extra-curricular work, but he deserved one.

I don't know how that story sprang from my memory banks. It just DID. I was mentioning my friend Ed, then one thing led to another. What I STARTED OUT to do was share this email Ed sent me:

Is Fishing Better Than Sex?

* A big, juicy worm always gets a fish excited.
* You don't have to eat a fish while it's still flopping around.
* You can take a leak in the bush anytime you want.
* Stroking your rod won't piss off a trout.
* Sipping a beer and scratching your balls is all the foreplay expected of you.
* Anything you stick in a fish's face, it eats.
* A fish will never gag, choke, or come up for air.
* A red snapper won't cry if you call it a flounder.
* You wear rubbers on your feet, not on your dick.
* If you want a bigger pole, you can have a bigger pole.
* A smart fish knows when to keep it's mouth shut.
* It's okay to cook a fish to make it taste good.
* Fish bite for a guy of 60, same as they do for a guy of 20.
* You're never called a jerk when you throw back an ugly fish.
* Fish are real happy when you pick up your gear and go home.

Common sense

Originally published April 5, 2002

I have ranted before about the fact that the most neurotic, anal-retentive, overly-sensitive, ungracious, discourteous and downright hostile mutants in our society today are making THEIR RULES the ones WE ALL have to live by. In OVERLAWYERED today is the story of a woman who was evicted from her apartment in Denver because she screams at lot, and "FIRE!" at the top of her lungs, at all kinds of odd hours is her favorite thing to scream. Her neighbors thought her behavior disrupted the peace and tranquility they expected in their homes, especially when trying to sleep at night, and they complained. The landlord attempted to toss the screamer, and the lawyers moved in for the kill.

The woman has Tourette's Syndrome and therefore cannot control these screaming outbursts. She has special rights under The Americans With Disabilities Act, which means she is very likely to win her lawsuit and stay in her apartment. The neighbors, just common, everyday working stiffs, who want only a quiet home and a good night's sleep, probably will be told to put up with it or get out themselves. Her special rights trump everyone else's. If all the tenants move away and the landlord loses his property, all because of a screaming banshee that nobody can stand to live around, that's just tough. That's the way the Law of the Lowest Uncommon Denominator works.

People have sued under the ADA because they had horribly stenchful flatulence and the boss had the unmitigated gall to mention it to them. The basic reasoning behind the suit was, "Yeah. I SMELL LIKE SHIT! But you and everybody I work around better get used to it, buy some nose-plugs or find other employment, because I have the RIGHT to smell like shit and YOU DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT to complain about it. So there!"

Guess what? Under the ADA, they have the right to smell like shit and you don't have the right to complain about it, any more than the neighbors of the woman who screams "FIRE!" all the time. This recent explosion of special rights created for twisted people may reward them, but it punishes everyone else. The more rights we grant, the less free we become.

Philip Howard, author of (I know this should be italics, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet) "The Death of Common Sense" puts it succinctly: "Intending to check the abuse of authority, we transferred power to every angry person to bully society." And bully they do.

If I had horrible flatulence and someone mentioned it to me, I would not hire a lawyer. I would go see a doctor and attempt to cure the problem. But I suppose I'm a crusty old troglodyte. I was raised to have manners and a modicum of consideration for the feelings of those around me. That's a very passe attitude today.

If the woman screaming "FIRE!" is cured tomorrow, moves to California and starts smoking cigarettes, she may find herself staring down the other end of the gun she pulled in this case. She can scream "FIRE!" all the time and live anywhere she wants. But if she adds a little smoke to offend a delicate bully's nostrils, SHE'S OUTTA THERE!

Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

November 19, 2006

Makin' music

Originally published February 28, 2002

I didn't watch the Grammy Awards last night. One reason is the fact that I have a Dish Network system and out here in the boonies where I live, they don't offer the Big Four commercial channels. I've never bothered trying to hook up my antenna and seek out the local stations, but even if I had, I would not have watched last night. I was certain that a bunch of manufactured, shuck and jive pseudo-musicians would win the awards.

I was stunned when I saw the winners today.

For my party two weekends ago, my sister-in-law brought a cake that had a picture of me, about twelve-years old, sitting on my back porch playing a Sears & Roebuck Silvertone guitar with heavy-gauge Black Diamond strings. I remember it well, because the damned thing had a neck like a pine log and those heavy strings would kill a cornshucker's fingers after thirty minutes of playing. But that is the instrument I utilized to teach myself to play guitar. When I saw the cake, I said, "Y'all can eat the cake, but I want that picture."

"Rob, uh... I mean Acidman, you can't have the picture because it's not a picture. It's icing."

"Bullshit," I responded. "I want that picture of me when I was fucking young and fucking innocent and playing a fucking Silvertone guitar." Acidman had been celebrating his birthday with several dozen other musicians for about six hours by then. I was going to peel that picture off the cake and save it whether they wanted me to or not. I went to grab it. And my finger slid under the edge and came up with nothing but icing on it.

They weren't lying. Computers can scan a picture right into the icing on a cake now. I'm still amazed by that fact, which shows just how pathetically unsophisticated I am when it comes to computers. Hell, just look at this blog site for further evidence.

But I remember being that twelve-year old boy, armed with that hand-killing Silvertone and a Mel Bay chord book. I was bound and determined to learn the guitar, and I did. I managed it the old fashioned way: practice, practice, practice. By the time I was seventeen, I was a fair finger-picker, thanks to Paul Simon. I put Simon & Garfunkle albums on my turntable and played them at a slower speed so I could listen to the finger licks done slowly. (you could do that a long time ago) The technique worked, and I became a legend in a small circle of friends when Mason Williams released "Classical Gas," because I slowed that rascal down and learned to play it when even the GOOD musicians wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole.

People often ask me, "Can you teach ME to play?" I always say yes, because anybody can learn to play guitar. But I also say, "I'll show you what you need to know to get started, but the rest is up to you. Practice what I show you, then come back and see me in six months." Not many people have the want-to to do what it takes. They want to play guitar the same way they want buns of steel and killer abs-- as long as there is some electronic device you plug in to a wall socket that does the work for you and in one week, you've got it. It just doesn't work that way.

I KNOW that anyone bound and determined to play guitar can do it, because my college roommate did. When he started out, he couldn't even tune the piece of crap Yamaha he had, but he shopped up quickly to a fine Epiphone that he still owns to this day. He couldn't tune that one either, at first, but it sounded a lot better out of tune than the Yamaha did. He knew basic chords and if I showed him a lick or a run, he would retire to his room and do it over and over and over again until he had it. On many occasions, I listened to his diligent practice as long as I could stand it, then kicked open his door, snatched the guitar from his hands, tuned it, and gave it back. "Yeah, that's better now," he said, picking and grinning.

Of course, one night I listened to him playing the same thing over and over and over again out of tune and I snapped. I kicked open his door, snatched the guitar from his hands, and beat the living shit out of him with it until he lay dead in a bloody pulp on the floor. Then, I hauled the corpse off threw it in the woods outside Noble, Georgia, where it has not been found to this day, but may be found tomorrow if they dig deep enough around the creamtorium.

Okay, I didn't ACTUALLY do that, but I thought about it more than once. Today, my old roommate is an accomplished musician who has electronic devices with which to tune an instrument. He does well.

I started playing semi-professionally in 1974 on River Street in Savannah. My brother and I formed a folk duo and sang exquisite harmonies together. We weren't half-bad and took our act to Athens when we attended the University of Georgia together for two years. Making music beat flipping hamburgers, and we actually supported ourselves fairly well playing the motel bars during that time. I left journalism school in 1976 and became an advertising copywriter. My brother stayed, went to law school, and became a maggot.

I was starving to death writing, so I went back to River Street, auditioned for a job as a solo entertainer and launched a five-year career as a one-man barroom band. I didn't intend it initially, but I had more fun, made more money and met a much better variety of people in the bars than I did writing copy, so I quit my REAL job and pursued music full-time. It was one hell of a ride. Looking back now, through the filter of time and my current miserable condition, I believe those were the best days of my life. I know I must have been unhappy a time or two, but I can't recall a single instance now. I remember keeping vampire hours, running through women the way Sherman went through Georgia and generally not giving a damn if the sun came up in the morning. It was a time of irresponsible, glorious bliss and I wish I could go back and live it all over again. Of course, I would require my young body back again to make it worthwhile.

Two things happened to drive me out of the bars and into the chemical industry. First was the "Band in a Can" phenomenon that erupted around 1979. I knew a musician on River Street who played in the same place for years and he filled the room with music all by himself by picking a "guitorgan," which put organ chords on top of whatever he played on his guitar, pressing a set of bass pedals with his bare foot and using a beat box to provide drum beats and various percussion behind his songs. He could sound like a six-piece marachi band all by himself. I was impressed. So were others.

The "Bands in a Can" came next. These were guys who RECORDED all their background music, including harmony vocals, then plugged some giant boom-box into the PA and basically lip-synched their entire show. It was loud, it was fancy, and the crowds loved it, drunken swine that they were. A goddam stage-hogging Karioke Show was all it amounted to, and the bovine public thought it was great.

I remained a purist, playing an unbugged Martin D-28 through a microphone, writing my own songs, telling jokes, juggling tennis balls and generally doing what worked well five years earlier. But my time was running out. The last job I played was at one of the prestige places in Savannah at the time, and I worked there for three months. During the last two weeks, Margie, the bartender, began receiving threatening phone calls from her ex-husband. On one of my breaks, I listened to her tell him to leave her alone before she took out a warrant on his ass, and I asked her what was going on.

"That man is crazy," she explained. "He's already killed two people and got sent to Milledgeville (the biggest mental hospital in Georgia) instead of Reidsville (the Big House) where he belongs. He's out now, and he's scaring me to death. He's crazy!" I didn't think much about it at the time. But I rethought a lot when I read the newspaper the week after I left the place.

A woman who played piano and sang like a bird took over as entertainment when I left. She started on Monday and lasted until Friday, when the ex-Milledgeville nut-ball walked into the bar at 1:00 in the morning (last set!) with a shotgun and a pistol. Using the shotgun, he shot the piano player, shot her husband and shot two people at the bar. He aimed at Margie, but his pump shotgun jammed. She ran out the back door of the bar, which led to the swimming pool area of the motel. He followed and shot her six times on the cool deck. The piano player's husband lived. Everyone else was killed. The nut-ball was arrested and SENT BACK TO MILLEDGEVILLE! He may still be a free man again one of these days.

If you think I'm making up this story, think again. It happened.

I still hate "Bands in a Can," which is why I despise the Backstreet Boys and N-Sync and all the other twitching, spastic, non-musical hockwads who don't play instruments, don't write songs and don't do anything except look good, dance frenetically, spew crap that was spoon-fed to them by some asshole promoter, and make teenyboppers cream their jeans. As a former semi-professional musician, I can say: That Aint Workin'. (with apology to Dire Straits)

That's why I LOVE IT when bluegrass rules at the Grammys. I know I am a former hillbilly who evolved into a genuine Georgia cracker, and I may be prejudiced. But "Bands in a Can" took a backseat boys, un-sync drubbing in this event. And I love it.

Almost as much as I love my Martin D-28.

I don't mind

Originally published November 17, 2004

I'm always surprised when I write about my experience with prostate cancer and receive a lot of emails (well... four or five PRIVATE emails on one post are a lot to me) from guys going through the same thing I did or just getting ready to face it. That's some pretty spooky stuff for a guy, and I damn sure don't mind talking about it if I can help anyone else through a rough time. I wish I had known someone to talk to when I was going through it.

Breast cancer gets a lot more publicity, but prostate cancer kills more people than breast cancer does every year. That's a fact, and the treatments for prostate cancer are myriad. I suggest that every man past the age of 40 have a PSA test done every year, and if you come up positive on a subsequent biopsy, do a lot of reading before you make a decision about what to do. Once you make that decision, there's no turning back.

Talk to more than one doctor. If you're an old fart with a slow-moving cancer, tell everybody to kiss your ass and wait for something else to kill you first. That's a good bet. If you're 48 years old, the way I was when I was diagnosed, you have to weigh your options and select the best one. There IS no good one, but you can choose the lesser of several evils.

I made my choice and it appears to be the right one, because I'm still at a zero PSA more than three years after a radical prostatectomy. The doc killed my dick, but he saved my life. I consider myself to be a lucky man.

Yeah, I wish none of that shit ever happened to me. But it did, and I was stuck with it. Knowing what I know now... if I had it all to do over again... would I make the same choice? I've spent more than three years thinking about that question and only recently have I made up my mind about the answer.

Yes. I would. I did the right thing.

Guys... don't hesitate to write me about this problem. I don't claim to be an expert, but I'll tell you what I know from my personal experience. I won't lie to you, either.

I may not be much more than a candle in the dark, but that's more light that I had when I walked into that tunnel.

November 18, 2006

Jesusland

Originally published November 9, 2004

I live in Jesusland. In fact, if Jesusland were a human body, I would be part of one of the really vital organs--- maybe not the heart or the brain, but at least the liver or pineal gland.

In Effingham County, Georgia, we have more churches than we do 7-11 stores. People take their God-fearing seriously here. I don't see anything wrong with people exercising their freedom of religion and as long as they don't come knocking on my door trying to recruit ME, and except for a few misguided Jehovah's Witnesses, they don't.

People get along well here. We don't have much crime, people are polite to one another and little children mind their manners. We get to know our neighbors and if somebody needs a hand with a project, you offer yours without being asked. They do the same for you. I live around a lot of nice people.

The fact that I'm an athiest never enters into that equation.

The bowel-plugged yankee whinebuckets who tear their hair and scream about the ignorance in Jesusland don't know what they're talking about. Those prick-fiddles have a lot more in common with the French than they do the people of Middle America. They claim to be "intellectual" when they don't have a lick of common sense. They claim to be "compassionate" when they spew hatred at anyone who disagrees with them. They claim to worship "diversity" when they scorn anyone who thinks differently than they do. They claim to be "tolerant," which is a cosmic joke.

I may live in "Jesusland," but it sure as hell beats that "Bizzaro World" those deluded fucknuggets inhabit. I'll tell you an honest truth. You'd have to scour Jesusland far and wide to find a fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist preacher more sanctimonious and intolerant than a northeastern liberal. And the preacher is one hell of a lot more honest about his beliefs, because he doesn't try to pretend to be something he's not, unlike a liberal.

We like to keep things simple. We like God, guts and guns. (Pickup trucks, good dogs, pretty wimmen and some of the best cooking on the planet aid in our struggle against the oppressive forces that other people see closing in on our country when we don't. We're more concerned with killing fire ants than we are with Global Warming. After all, we have hot weather ALL THE TIME down South.) Yeah, we are a quaint, provincial bunch.

Just a note from Jesusland, where I live, and where I am happy in my blissful ignorance of important issues.

Verily I say

Originally published November 9,2004

Wisdom from Jesusland:

*Don't name a pig you plan to eat.

*Country fences need to be horse high, pig tight, and bull strong.

*Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.

*Keep skunks, lawyers and bankers at a distance.

*Life is simpler when you plow around the stumps.

*A bumble bee is faster than a John Deere tractor.

*Trouble with a milk cow is she won't stay milked.

*Don't skinny dip with snapping turtles.

*Words that soak into your ears are whispered, not yelled.

*Meanness don't happen overnight.

*To know how country folks are doing, look at their barns, not their houses.

*Never lay an angry hand on a kid or an animal, it just ain't helpful.

*Forgive your enemies. It messes with their heads.

*Don't sell your mule to buy a plow.

*Two can live as cheap as one if one don't eat.

*Don't corner something meaner than you are.

*It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

*Don't go huntin' with a fellow named Chug-A-Lug.

*You can't unsay a cruel thing.

*Every path has some puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

*The best sermons are lived, not preached.

*Most of the stuff people worry about never happens.

Yeah. We sure are ignorant in Jesusland.

November 17, 2006

Random thoughts

Originally published January 9, 2004

I believe that I have a broken bone in my left foot. I'm trying to walk it off, and I ain't being really successful. The sumbitch hurts. My foot is too swollen to fit into a shoe. I'm going to give it a good soaking later today in hot water and epsom salts and see what happens.

Farm-fresh eggs are NOT pasturized, which is why you need to check the coop every day. Have a hen nut-up and start "setting," and she'll hide the eggs, roost on them, and you may find embryonic chickens in your "fresh" eggs when you drag them out from under her ass. That's just life on the farm.

Goats are fascinating creatures. They stink, they are horny all the time and they shit little pellets just like a rabbit. But they can keep your grass cut, your trees trimmed and they have individual personalities, too. I miss my goats.

Grow your own corn. Watch it come from a seed and grow tall and green. Then, go pick the ripe cobs and count the number of worms you have eating that corn. They make excellent fish bait, but I always wondered how they got into my crop. I always fed the stalks to my goats. They would eat those corn stalks like a yuppie eating sushi.

Teach your son how to skin a catfish.

Learn to kiss well. To me, one of the most sensuous things I enjoy doing with a woman is kissing her neck and nibbling on her ear lobes. I believe that the thrill comes from prehistoric instincts. Men are dogs and wimmen are cats. Men are hunters and wimmen are nurturers. If a woman allows me to kiss her neck, she is showing a form of trust, combined with surrender, that I find highly erotic. Maybe I'm all fucked-up, but I see a lot of symbolism in that act.

Don't trust anyone who offers you something for nothing.

Read every book that you can get your hands on. Don't listen to people who call the book "trash." I've never read a book in my life that I didn't learn something from.

Go for broke. Take a chance every now and then.

Love the one you're with.

Dumbass me

Originally published January 2, 2004

I did something today that I know good and well that I should never do. I went to the grocery store when I was hungry.

I went there to get the Notary Public who works behind the Customer Service counter to stamp my got-dam retirement papers, so I could send them back to the corporate weenies who Fed-Exed them back to ME today, but she was out sick. I needed milk, bacon and eggs, because I'm out of those items and I have Quinton this weekend. I decided to shop.

I didn't make it through the produce section before I realized that I was in trouble. The cucumbers looked good, so I bought four. Those grapefruit looked REALLY GOOD, so I bought a dozen. The sweet onions were on sale, so I bought a couple of those. What the hell, I might want a BLT sandwich, so I bought four tomatoes.

I went to get a pound of bacon and saw jumbo hot-dog weiners on sale, two packs for the price of one. Who's going to pass up that kind of deal? I grabbed two packs, then back-tracked to the bread aisle to get a couple of packs of buns. I returned to get my bacon and noticed a really handsome roast beef in the deli display. "I want a pound of that," I told the lady behind the counter. "And while you're at it, go ahead and give me a pound of that smoked ham, too."

I went by the seafood counter and heard the shrimp singing to me. I bought a couple of pounds. I bought five pounds of hamburger patties just to spite the Mad Cow scaremongers, and then I had to backtrack to the bread aisle to get some buns for them. That's when I saw the doughnuts that really needed to be in my shopping cart. I put them there. Quinton and Jack will make short work of them. (I bought those for the boys, NOT for me!)

I bought a gallon of milk and decided that I needed some more buttermilk, so I bought a half-gallon of that, too. I bought a pound of real butter and a pound of sour cream. I have no idea why I bought the sour cream, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I got 18 eggs and a bottle of Bloody Mary mix. Hell, since the dairy aisle is right next to the alcohol bin, I picked up a box of white zin and a six-pack of Killian's Red, too.

$140 later, I was out of the store, with the milk, bacon and eggs that I came to buy, plus a whole lot of extra shit. I know exactly what came over me to make me buy so much stuff.

I went to the grocery store hungry. Don't do that.

November 16, 2006

Charleston

Originally published July 20, 2003

The drive from where I live to Charleston is about an hour and a half, and it's pretty where Highway 17 curves through the salt marshes and tidal creeks. Lowcountry Georgia and South Carolina is beautiful, and I love the fecund smell of salt, marsh grass and mud.

When you cross the bridges, you almost always see a small boat with somebody on board casting for shrimp, dipping crab nets or fishing. Sea food is "WE FOOD!" around here. The water is our garden. GAWD! I love it.

I found Charleston just fine, but I couldn't find the goddam hotel, so I made a fool of myself asking tourists who were just as confused as I was about where the hell this place was. I finally stumbled upon it, walked in the front door and heard a voice.

"Good morning to YOU, Rob Smith." It was Ken.

The most amazing thing occurred. After 25 years, we picked up a conversation just where we left off. It was as if no time had passed, as if "as I was saying..." had been hanging in the air all that time. We just picked up the thread and went from there.

Damn! That was fun!

We went to his room and drank a bottle of really good wine, talked for a while, then prowled the streets of the Historic District of Downtown Charleston. That city reminds me a lot of Savannah, with the Greco-Roman architecture and the cobblestone streets. It is a very pretty place. If you've never been there, I recommend that you go.

It ALSO HAS TO BE the pretty female, red-toenail foot capitol of the world. Just DAMN! I never saw so many pretty red toenails in my life. It was better than Key West. Ken said, after I put him on RED TOENAIL alert about 50 times, "At least you are honest about your fetish."

I said, "What fetish? Is there something WRONG with liking pretty red toenails?"

We went down around the Old Slave Market and ate an excellent lunch of fried shrimp and whatever-the-fuck-came-with-it, drank some locally-brewed beer and staggered back to the hotel for a dip in the pool. Ken made reservations at "The Hominy Grill" for dinner that evening. He said I would like it because they served "genuine Southern food" there.

I am always suspicious about a place that claims to serve "genuine" Southern food. My mama cooks "genuine" Southern food. I've seen very few restaurants that did.

We got out of the pool just before a frog-strangler rainstorm descended, and it flooded the streets so badly that we almost didn't make it to the restaurant. Ken, using the driving skills he learned as a young man in Boston, hogged the road, dared anybody to ram his rent-a-car and got us there via the back roads, right on time. I NEVER want to drive in Boston.

Get this: I had a meal of catfish and okra with fried green tomatoes. Ken had shrimp and grits. KISS MY ASS, BABY! That was "genuine" Southern food. It was damn good, too.

We drove out to The Battery after that and watched a tremendous lighting storm over Fort Sumter. Yeah. I stood right where the first cannon shots of the Civil War were fired and watched Bejus hurling thunderbolts from the sky. I cussed myself for never going there before.

We went back to the hotel and listened to a pretty good guitar player in the lounge while we imbibed a couple of nightcaps. I told Ken, "That guy is a better guitar player than I am."

Ken said, "But YOU were a better ENTERTAINER."

We made it back to the room, talked for a while and then slept. We took a morning dip in the pool. Then I drove home. Ken is probably on a plane back to Maryland right now.

I am delighted that I made this trip.

I grow maudlin

Originally published July 20, 2003

Perspective is an amazing thing. As I grow older, I care more deeply about certain things than I ever did before, but others don't matter diddly-squat anymore. I've probably had my last bar-fight. There was a time when I would take no shit from nobody and rather absorb an ass-whuppin' than walk away from a challenge.

Today, I'll walk away and never even look over my shoulder. I KNOW who I am now. I don't have to prove it to anybody else.

After my visit with Ken, I've been thinking a lot about the concept of love. Not LOVE itself, but the idea of it. Ken is quite the philosopher and he put an eggbeater in my head. Don't drink a lot of wine and sit around talking with him. He'll make you decide:

*Love comes in lots of flavors. If you don't know what I mean by that, you don't understand love.

*You can love someone and still get very pissed off at them. If you STAY pissed off, you never loved them to begin with. Love is tough sometimes.

*Loving someone is better than being loved. I cannot imagine a better feeling than to look at someone and think, "I love her." Even if she doesn't love you back, you are the better person. You grew a soul.

*Kids love you because they are supposed to. If you gain your child's RESPECT when the child is grown, you've been a good, loving parent.

*You can love someone without doting on them. Sometimes you have to love from a distance.

*If you love someone, TELL THEM that you do. Otherwise, they'll never know for sure.

*Be selective about where you spend your love. Love isn't alms for the poor and it isn't charity for the needy. It is YOUR LOVE, which is a precious commodity that you share only with those who deserve it by YOUR STANDARDS. You never GIVE it away. You REWARD someone with it.

*Love also is something that you'll never run out of, no matter how much you give. In fact, the more you give, the more love you have to take its place.

Love. The best and most dangerous four-letter word I know.

Up at 5:00 am... again

Originally published July 28, 2003

I don't sleep much.

I remember when I COULD and I DID and I miss the hell out of those days. I took most of my classes in college in the afternoons because I hated to get up early. Oh, man, the bed was my friend back then and I could sleep ALL DAY if I was in the mood. I frequently declared "Wonderful Wednesdays" and cut every class I had just to lay in bed asleep.

I don't do that anymore. I wake up at 4:30 whether I want to or not. I can't go back to sleep. I get up, grab a Mountain Dew and check on the boys asleep on the couch. I see them asleep, with bare feet sticking out from under the covers. They played hard yesterday. I cover them up, tuck those bare feet in and they remain comatose. I go outside to listen to the frogs and the crickets.

I like where I live.

At 0600 every morning, I can hear the freight train let loose that mournful whistle as it roars down the tracks ten miles from here. I like that sound. It carries well in the early sunlight. Mist hangs in the air and you know that by noon it'll be another hot summer day, where sweat drips off your nose and always finds a way to burn your eyes. There's a good chance of rain this evening, because there ALWAYS IS when the weather is like this.

A big, fat toad, bloated from a night of bug-catching hops onto the patio. He looks at me and I look at him. "Good morning, you ugly bastard," I say. He does not reply, but he doesn't hop away, either. The toad and I enjoy the morning together.

I am out of milk and out of eggs. When the boys wake up, we may have to hit McDonald's or the Waffle House for breakfast. They WILL be hungry. Hell, they are ALWAYS hungry. Mr. Toad looks as if he did just fine on his own last night or I would take HIM to the Waffle House, too. Seems like a pretty good toad to me.

It would be really nice to go back to bed and fall asleep right now. But I know that it's not going to happen. It never does anymore.

November 15, 2006

Farts

Originally published August 24, 2005

Why is it that kids, especially little boys, think farts are funny? If they can't fart naturally, they'll learn to make the noise with their armpits, or any other way they can figure out.

I once had Quinton and Jack over at the Crackerbox one night and they both fell asleep on my couch while watching a movie. I covered them both with blankets and left them where they fell.

I awoke about an hour before they did the next morning and made myself a pot of coffee. I was sipping on a cup when I saw the boys begin to stir. AND I SWEAR THAT I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!!!

They saw each other, stuck a hand under the armpit, pointed fingers at each other and started making fart-noises, like gunshots fired with reckless abandon. "I GOT YOU!" "NO! I GOT YOU FIRST!"

Poot-poot-poot-poot they went.

It just so happened at the time that I had a good one coming on. A REAL one. A big-time Daddy-fart.

I walked over to the couch, bent over and let 'em both have a blast that must have recovered some refried beans I ate in a Mexican restaurant a year earlier. It was a WONDERFUL fart. LOUD. LONG. STINKY. I could not have choreographed anything better.

"Now," I said. "I killed you both."

The boys ducked under their blankets making all kinds of gagging and retching noises until Quinton stuck his hand out with a napkin from last night's pizza supper. He waved it like a white flag. "We surrender, Daddy! Don't do that again!"

"You guys stop the fart-wars and I won't nuke you again. Whadda ya want for breakfast?"

In answer to some female questions about whether little boys ever outgrow thinking farts are funny--- no, they don't.

Not ever.

Fart Stew

Originally published August 23, 2005

When I was supervising the Acid Plant at work, we had a custom. The Acid Plant contol room had a mini-kitchen in it, because the operator couldn't leave that place. Bad things could happen quickly there. The operator had to mind the store for his entire shift.

So, we occasionally made a big pot of "Fart Stew" down there.

We had a custodian who cleaned the Acid Plant control room at 8:00 every morning. We bought all the basic stuff and left it in the mini-fridge. If we let her know a day ahead of time that tomorrow was "Fart Stew Day," she would brown a couple of pounds of hamburger meat, toss in some minced onions and bell pepper and let that stuff cook while she cleaned.

After that, a few cans of tomato sauce entered the mix, and if you wanted to EAT any, you brought something to add to the pot. ANY kind of beans (the more beans, the better!), whole kernel corn, diced tomatoes, salted ham, or even just some dry crackers to go with it. Just as long as YOU contributed something.

When we started a "Fart Stew Day," we had a damn good meal ready to eat by noon. All you had to do was drop by the Acid Plant when you got a chance and pig out. Hell--- I even had my acid loaders drop off go-cups of that stuff on their way to the lab with their samples for people who couldn't make it to the acid plant.

If you put something in the pot, you ate from the pot.

On the other hand, if you didn't contribute--- fuck you. You could smell it (and it always smelled GOOD at a place where real, hot food was unavailable), but you couldn't eat it. You didn't do your part, so you got no reward.

We called it "Fart Stew" because after two hours of digesting all those beans we threw in there, it would turn your asshole into Gabriel's trumpet. You could blow down the walls of Jericho with your wind.

We actually had moments of silence when somebody felt one coming and said, "Be quiet! Listen to THIS ONE!!! BRAPPPPPPTH!!!" We gave scores based on athletic pose, noise level, length of fart and hang-time of the resulting aroma.

See? Working in a chemical plant ain't ALL bad.

more toilet humor

Originally published August 24, 2005

This is another true story. I was backpacking with my late friend Steve Hamby when he went off in the woods with a roll of toilet paper in his hand one morning. I was cooking breakfast at the time and I figured he was just taking a nice morning constitutional.

A few minutes later, I heard his plaintive moan, "Rob! Look in my backpack. Get my Swiss Army kinfe. It's in the top left pocket."

I found the knife and asked, "Do you want me to bring it to you?"

"Not yet," he replied. "Open it up until you find the thing that looks like needle-nosed pliers." I did, and I found it.

"Got it, Steve," I said.

"Good. Now come over here and pull this turd outta my ass. I think it's stuck!"

I would have sacrificed my life for Steve. I would have done almost ANYTHING he asked me to do. But this was one time he was on his fucking own. I was NOT going to use a Swiss Army knife to pull a turd out of his hairy ass. Friendship goes only so far.

"Pinch it off or live with it, ya prick!" I yelled into the woods.

I was greeted with silence.

Steve eventually emerged from the bushes with toilet paper in hand about 15 minutes later. "Did it all come out all right?" I asked.

"Yeah. Once I blew that first plug out of my ass, everything was fine. YOU were no fucking help. And all along I thought you were my friend."

We laughed about that incident right up until the day he died. I think about it and laugh today.

Toilet humor.

November 14, 2006

Words

Originally published April 28, 2004

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that I am totally fascinated by words and the impact they have on people who read them. I just watched some shit-ass black comic on HBO whose entire act consisted of "niggah," "whoes" and "mutherfucker." The crowd went wild.

I wrote a post about the notorious N-word and a lot of people ceremoniously de-linked me, and called me a racist bastard to boot. I wonder why? It can't be just the word, because that fucking dead-beat comic makes a living calling people "niggahs." Why don't people ceremoniouly boycott his concerts?

That's because it's not the word that matters. It's the PERCEPTION that counts. I am a Southern white male. I can't say "niggah." If I say that word, I am branded a racist. Let some jive-ass fool on HBO with black skin say the same thing over 100 times in a 30-minute stand-up act and he's fucking hilarious.

I don't like double-standards.

I also don't like a lot of words in the English language. Take "penis," for example. That's about the most obscene-sounding word I ever heard. It's even worse than "ointment." I LIKE Roscoe, but I don't claim to have a "penis." Penis sounds like some kind of intestinal parasite you pick up in a Third World country because you didn't boil the water before you drank it.

How about "vagina" or "clitoris?" Those words sound like medical conditions where the doctor calls the family in to inform them that the patient has less than 24 hours to live. "The vagina has spread and we can't stop it. Plus, a case of clitoris has set in, also. I'm afraid that our most powerful antibiotics won't do any good."

Got-dam!

Try "cock." Yes, if you want to see my cock, I'll show it to you. It hangs right between my legs where a "penis" is supposed to be. But I don't have a penis. I have a cock.

I don't want to see your "vagina" or your "clitoris." Let me see your pussy and let me play with The Man in the Boat. We can make beautiful music together as long as we get our language straight.

Words. If you want to detect a true liar and a con-artist right away, just check the language. That's how "gender" came to mean sex, a "woman's right to choose" came to mean abortion and "moderate Rebublican" came to mean a fucking RINO. Dishonesty made stone.

And all you people who de-linked me can kiss my Cracker ass. As Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men: "You don't want the truth! You can't handle the truth!"

A lot of people can't.

I thought so

Originally published February 29, 2004

I figured that I would receive a few nasty comments about my last post. I dared to use the forbidden "N-word" and I was called a piece of white trash in return. I expected that kind of reaction.

I give a shit, too.

When I went out for football, my daddy told me that I was a "natural" and that I could excel on the field. But he also told me that I was too weak, too slow and too small to play the position I wanted to play. He was correct. I started for four years on championship teams.

"Rob, the only way you'll make it out there is to play smarter, work harder and be tougher than the bigger guys. You've got to want it more than they do. If you can't do that, then your ass will ride the bench forever. You are not blessed with the physical ability to play the game as well as other people can. You have to outsmart them."

As someone once said on this blog, I had to learn to play "above my weight."

If my son were black, I would give him a similar speech. I would tell him that life ain't fair and life ain't easy. If it were, then any asshole could do it. But assholes don't succeed. Hard workers do. And when you start out playing against a stacked deck, the LAST THING you do is make matters worse for yourself by acting like some fucking moron at the drop of a hat.

Why don't so-called "black leaders" give the same kind of advice today? Yeah, son. Life is going to be tougher for you than it is for the rich white boy down the street. But don't bitch about that fact. Become determined to overcome the odds, work harder, be smarter and want it more than he does. You're never a loser unless you decide to be one. You can win if you believe that you are a winner. That's your choice to make.

I hate NBA basketball. I see too many thugs and hoodlums on the court showing their asses like monkeys for me to tolerate the game. But these pricks are the role models for young black men today. Fuck sportsmanship. Fuck controlling your temper. Fuck the fans. Fuck the game. Hoo-ray for you.

I don't like Tiger Woods, either, but not for the same reasons. Tiger is just so got-dam good that he has unbalanced the world of professional golf. When he is on the beam, no one else on the face of the planet can compete with him. I would like to see a more level playing field instead of one golfer standing head and shoulders above the rest.

But I'll give Tiger credit for one thing. He ALWAYS comports himself as a gentleman, he plays by the rules and you NEVER see him nigger-up and do something ghetto-like in either his personal or professional life. Do you think that, just maybe, he heard a speech from his father a long time ago a lot like the one my father gave me? "Yeah, son, you can do it. But it's an uphill climb. You have to try harder, work longer and want it more than the other guys do. But you can do it."

Why isn't that philosophy preached to blacks in this country today? Why can't someone stand up and tell them to stop walking around with their hands out, begging for something for nothing, and learn to walk with their heads held high?

Never mind. We do have people giving such speeches and they are roundly condemned by the black community. Clarence Thomas is a perfect example. That man came from Pinpoint, Georgia and made his way to the Supreme Court of the United States. Now THAT is an uphill climb. I know Pinpoint and I know what opportunities Clarence had to start with. He learned to play above his weight.

Anybody can do it. You just have to want it badly enough. Too many people don't.

And I brook no excuses for the crime, the unwanted babies and the crack-alley ghetto-behavior of far too many blacks. That's not a racist comment. It's goddam realism, and if you can't handle the truth, go to work for the government. You'll fit in just fine there.

I know the truth when I see it. Don't piss down my back and tell me that it's raining.

I would tell Quinton that he'll get some bad licks in life because of the color of his skin, but he can overcome that handicap by being smarter, working harder and being tougher than the bigger guys.

November 13, 2006

Gross story

Originally published June 16, 2006

The Time: late spring, 1970.

The Place: Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Suspects Involved: Acidman, Cop 3 and Junior Walker.

The Reason: Friday night. No female dates.

Contributing Factors: 2 cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (in bottles), four boxes of exotic fireworks, plus 3 young male adults with subhuman brains.

The Instigation: Hunger. DESPERATE HUNGER, because those two cases of beer weren't ALL we brought with us for the purpose of mind-enhancement.

The Situation: Shot up a bunch of fireworks on the beach. Drank a lot of beer. Took medicinal herb by smoke inhalation to calm us down after all that excitement. Became VERY hungry.

Solution: Go get something to eat.

Options: One VERY EXPENSIVE restaurant at the entrance to Sea Pines Plantation --- or a local 7-11 store.

Choice: 7-11 store. We figured that we would not be arrested just for showing up in there smelling like burnt gunpowder, with sand in our hair, and eyes that glowed red in the dark.

Purchases: Six Twinkies. Eight Slim Jim sausages. Two bags of M&Ms. One pack of Zig Zag rollin' papers BIG, honking bag of Lay's Waves potato chips. A bag o' Frito's corn chips. One tin of jalapeno bean dip and one tin of sour cream and chives potato chip dip.

Last-Minute Good Ideas: Three ice cream sandwiches, six grape popcicles and a quart of no-name coconut-vanilla ice cream.

SUPER Last-Minute Ideas: Three pickled eggs and a bag full of pickled pig's feet. Plus a jar of regular whole pickles.

(****RED ALERT!!!***--- I am NOT making this shit up!)

We returned to our primitive cottage on the beach and ate EVERY BIT of that shit, including drinking the brine out of the pickle jar, which went well with semi-warm PBR beer we were drinking at the time. We sat back on the a moldy old couch (that smelled exactly like sweaty feet) while we belched and farted in appreciation of such a fine feast.

Cop 3 was the first to start turning green around the gills. He clapped a hand over his mouth and muttered, "MMMGATTABURFROOM!" and off he went. His intended destination may have been the bathroom, but he didn't make it.

He didn't clear the corner of the couch before barely-digested Twinkies, Slim Jims, pickles and ice cream, all bubbling in PBR foam, came shooting outta his neck in a steaming, stinking blast. Not only was the sight totally disgusting, but the smell would have knocked a buzzard right on its ass.

I was okay until I saw and smelled THAT display. I didn't get much farther than Cop 3 did before I was hurling my guts, too, doing even better than HE did, because I hacked up a pickled pig's foot that was still kicking when it came out as if it were trying to run away, all by itself.

Desperate cries for "RALPH!" and "HUEY!" and "URK!" rang throughout the room.

Meanwhile, Junior Walker sat on the moldy, stinking sofa and laughed at us, while eating handfuls of M&Ms. "Damn, boys!" he said, "Want summa THESE to settle your stomachs?" That bastid even took a Twinkie, stuffed it FULL of M&Ms and ate it like a hot dog while he laughed. "Buncha pussies!" he announced.

But he grew silent after a moment. A SWEAR that I saw his complexion change from healthy pink to sickly green in a matter of seconds. He muttered, "Oh, Shit!" and started to go somewhere, but his words came true before he could reach his destination. He took about two steps and stopped cold, because running served no purpose anymore.

He was wearing a semi-wet bathing suit, and suddenly his legs turned from slightly sunburned to mustard yellow. Then to a darker brown with what appeared to be tiny, strange, lumpy insects skiing down his thighs and falling off his knees to splash wetly on the floor.

The stench was BEYOND horrible. Junior got his full payback for being a smartass then--- he started to puke just like me and Cop 3, but every time HE upchucked, he shit himself some more, so that HE was making "URRG! POOOOT! SKURSH! FLLLLLPPPT! URRG!" noises, while forming a puddle of liquid shit between his legs as he puked on the floor in front of himself.

I finally gained enough control over myself to stagger out of there, all the way down to the beach, where I threw myself in the water and hoped that a hungry shark might bite my head off and put me out of my misery. But after smelling some salt air, accidentally drinking some salt water, and bobbing in the surf for a while, I started to feel okay again.

I went back to the beach house.

But I never made it back inside. The unmitigated STENCH comin' outta that place was more than I could stand. I ended up sleeping in a lawn chair on the porch that night--- a SCREEN porch with enough fist-sized holes in it that I lost a pint of blood to mosquitoes that night, all of which probably flew off and died of alcohol poisoning after biting ME. But that was still better than being inside. Greyhound bus station bathrooms smell better than that place did.

I think Cop 3 slept on the back porch that night. I'm pretty sure that Junior Walker passed out on the floor and wallowed in his own vomit and alien-like shit all night long. I'm not certain about that, but I DO know that we didn't clean that mess up until the next day, and even then we didn't have the nerve to deal with it in hand-to-hand combat.

After sunrise, as hung-over and disgusted with ourselves as we could be, we washed the place out with a water hose, then went and napped on the beach until the floors dried off. It was a horrible experience.

But when we got back to the house and discovered that we could stand the smell again, Junior Walker went to the refrigerator, opened a beer, and got himself a pickled pig's foot, which he commenced to eat with lip-smacking gusto. "I'm from TEXAS, boys," he announced proudly. "And where I come from, you gotta climb back on the hoss that threw ya."

To this day he doesn't know how close I came to killing him. Right THEN. With my bare hands. But I was too weak to fight at the time.

Now... was THAT story gross enough?

Manners

Originally published June 11, 2006

When I was a child, I wasn't expected to say "yessir!" or "yes, ma'am" to my mama and daddy. I was expected to say it to other adults, but home was different.

We never said grace at the table before a meal.

Mama was very religious, but Daddy wasn't, and he worked shiftwork for a lot of his life. Bejus! If my brother or I EVER woke him up when he was working midnight shifts and sleeping during the day, we could DEPEND on a rude visit from Mr. Belt and that wasn't any fun at all. You paid for that mistake because you had been told better.

I think back, since both of my parents are dead now, and I remember seeing my father come home from work in the morning, eat a plate of bacon and eggs, go to sleep and arise at about 7:00 in the evening to eat ANOTHER plate of bacon and eggs before he went back to work. He liked breakfast, even late at night.

Mama loved him, and I did, too. But when he slept after working a midnight shift, Gawd help you if you woke him up. THAT was a really bad no-no.

The most miserable week of my life came when I was 10 years old and Mama went into the hospital for a hysterectomy. I didn't know what the hell that was... and when I asked Daddy about it, he started talking about wimmen's internals and samouri swords and I became all confused. It sounded spooky as all get-out to me. I was worried that Mama might DIE!!!

She didn't. But my brother and I almost did from eating a week of Daddy's cooking.

That man was a fine person... about the very best I've ever met in this world...but he couldn't boil water right on a stove. HIS idea of a gourmet meal was chicken a la king on burnt toast. Or tomato soup and crackers. Or TV dinners still half-frozen because he never put them in the oven long enough.

He couldn't make a decent peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

He fed that crap to me and my brother and tolerated no bitchin' about it. Shut up and eat, or go to bed. Pick one option.

I always loved my mama, but I REALLY wanted to hug and kiss her when she came back home from the hospital. Bejus! I tasted REAL FOOD again, and it was good. Biscuits! Gravy! Home fries!!! Pork roast! Fried chicken! Y'know... HOME COOKIN'!!! Just damn!!!

My daddy was a good carpenter, a jackleg electrician, a decent brick-layer and he could handle explosives. But he couldn't cook for shit. It's a damn good thing that mama was fairly healthy for most of her life, or my brother and I would have starved to death. My daddy could build model ships from 1,000 tiny parts in a box, but he never learned to boil an egg in his life.

Maybe that's why I like to cook today. It's survival instinct.

November 12, 2006

Effective Cussing 101...

Originally published January 10, 2003

While Blogger was sick last night, I visited a site where the blogger wrote of being worried about going home to see his mama. He was afraid that he would say the word "fuck" in front of her and cause her to drop dead of a heart attack at the shock, or else slit her wrists with a kitchen knife because of her failure to raise a decent son. He had a "comments" button at the end of his blog (HEY, SCOTT? HOW ABOUT A COMMENTS BUTTON FOR ME?), so I sent him an e-mail about how to explain any slippage of the lippage he might experience. I learned this in college, and I am not making this up.

What makes a good dirty word a good dirty word is its linguistic structure. The ones that express your feelings the strongest, that feel the best tripping off the tongue and give you the most satisfaction to say are built exactly alike. They begin with a strong plosive sound, such as the letter "F," and end with a hard consonant abruptly cut off, such as a "K." Try it. Say "FUCK!" You have the plosive beginning, followed by the abrupt hard consonant at the end, and the word is perfect. Admit it; when you're angry, frustrated or at a loss for any other word, it feels good to say it. "SHIT" and "CUNT" fall into the same category. Just parse them, using the rules outlined above, and you will see what I mean.

"BITCH," on the other hand, is close, but it does not measure up to the ideal because it has a plosive at each end. It's a good dirty word, but it will never reach the realm of "FUCK" because it lacks the last hard consonant to throw the knockout punch. If you intend to use strong, effective dirty language, close enough is not good enough. The same problem occurs with "PISS," which starts out with a great plosive, but then peters out, for lack of a better expression, into slow, sibilant sounds at the end.

Forget "SONOFABITCH" or "MOTHERFUCKER." A good dirty word has only one syllable.

"DICK" and "COCK" would qualify as excellent dirty words, because they satisfy the criteria, but they can't really be considered good dirty words because we once had a president named Dick and a rooster is a cock. The double meanings take away from the effeciveness of the words. You would never vote for a guy named "FUCK," and you would never eat anything called "FUCK." But a lot of people voted for Dick and don't think twice about eating cock, even if they are not into oral sex. In certain situations, where the context is clear, both are excellent dirty words. But an ideal dirty word needs no context to be dirty. That's why "FUCK" stands alone as the best dirty word of all time.

If you don't believe what I am saying, just think about the substitute words people use when they don't want to offend anyone or be considered a potty-mouth: "DRAT!" "SHOOT" "DANG!" "HECK!" They all fit the formula.

I told the blogger that he should just walk into his mama's house and scream "FUCK!" at the top of his lungs. That would relieve all of his anxiety, get the problem out in the open and make for a much better visit.

Especially when she reacted by saying "SHIT!"

A Tuesday tongue-lashing

Originally published January 8, 2002

Monday was a pretty shitty day except for two things: the "Service Engine Soon" light went out on my truck about halfway to work that morning, and it has not come on again, and when I arrived home, someone had come and removed the Port-A-Potty that had been in my front yard since I bought my house more than two months ago. Since I have NOT serviced my truck engine, I can only assume that the light is no longer nagging me because either the problem healed itself or the bulb burned out. Whatever happened, I'm delighted that it did. But I'm having ambivalent feelings about the missing Port-A-Potty. Hell, I had the only THREE BATHROOM HOME in the neighborhood as long as it was there. Besides, I had an easy time giving directions to my friends when they couldn't find my house-- "Turn right, go about 100 yards down the street, and look for the shitter in the front yard. THAT'S WHERE I LIVE!." I believe I am going to miss that thing.

While I was pumping my first cup of coffee down my throat this morning, CNN was engaged in one of those navel-examination grief-fests about the pitiful nerd who flew the plane into the high-rise bank in Tampa. They were busy interviewing teachers, classmates, the guys who picked up the family's garbage and anybody else they could find to repeat the same mantra, that the boy they all knew and loved would NEVER do a thing like that. He was so sweet. We never saw it coming. We can't believe it happened. BWAA-BWAA-BWAA!

I never knew the misguided little twit, so I'm not going to cry into a CNN microphone about him. But I know exactly what I thought when I saw the first pictures of that airplane hanging off the side of that building like a bug stuck in a roach motel. I thought of Wile E. Coyote and another one of his mail-order, Acme, Inc. devices guaranteed to finally catch the Road Runner. The only thing missing was the sound effect of "ziiiiiiiiing......BOOM!" as the coyote falls to the pavement, breaks into small pieces, then reassembles himself and goes back to his Acme catalogue for a better idea.

I fully understand what a lonely and spooky place your very own head can be when you are incredibly upset and see no light at the end of the tunnel of pain you're travelling down. I can understand the desire to end it all. But if you decide to take that ultimate step and are determined to do it gloriously in a 9-11 copycat scheme, AT LEAST HAVE A BRAIN IN YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU PLAN IT!! That pathetic dolt probably intended to make a spectacular crash into a tall building, take as many innocent souls as he could along with him on his demented journey to glory, and end up pushing the Columbine Killers off the front cover of Time Magazine as the MANIAC OF THEM ALL!! Instead, he stuck his plane through a window so that it hung there like a bug in a roach motel. He didn't even manage to start a fire. The poor bastard couldn't have fucked the whole thing up any worse if he had tried, except by maybe living through it.

Can you imagine that? What would he say to CNN? "BWAA, BWAA, BWAA?!!"

I also saw another reference to President Caligula, Bill Clinton, regretting that he never had a "defining moment" in his presidency the way George Bush does with his war on terrorism. I have news for you, Bill: IF YOU HAD BEEN PRESENTED WITH A "DEFINING MOMENT," YOU WOULD HAVE FUCKED IT UP, just the way you did the rest of your presidency. You would have agonized over details while never making a decision. You would have tried to micromanage while dodging responsibility. You would have waited on opinion polls to tell you what to do, because you always wanted to be loved a lot more than you wanted to be respected, and even after reviewing the poll results you would have waffled, delayed and parleyed rather than actually DO SOMETHING. The only thing you were ever good at was getting elected to offices you didn't deserve and screwing a lot of women, which is the real reason you wanted to be elected in the first place. It was a good way to pick up chicks.

Jimmy Carter was once governor of my state before he went on to become a really rotten president. I never voted for him as governor nor president, but I never disliked the man as a person. I believe he meant well, but he was a perfect example of the Peter Principle, and he actually achieved his level of incompetence when he was still governor. But he had a wide smile, lots of teeth, and he was anything but Richard Nixon. The much-ballyhooed "American People" fell for him, only to regret it later.

On the other hand, President Testosterone, you filled me with disgust the first time I saw you on the campaign trail. Not dislike, mind you, but DISGUST! And you went on for eight years to prove my gut instincts entirely correct. Thank God for blessing America with the good grace that you are not in charge when we need a true leader instead of a slick, professional politician. Take my advice: GO FUCK YOURSELF FOR A CHANGE. You've done it to everyone else. And who could possibly love you more than you do?

Whew, I feel better after that....

November 11, 2006

Veteran's Day

Originally published November 11, 2004

smokin.bmp

To you who served your country so that I can live free: THANK YOU!

November 10, 2006

A stacked deck

Originally published March, 25,2005

I was inspired when I read this post. I'm a three-year veteran of divorce court now, and every time I walk into those hallowed halls, I get fucked worse than I was before. I don't expect anything else anymore (I've been the cat on the hot stove too many times. I KNOW now that it's going to burn me.) so I listen to the idiotic verdicts and I write more checks.

I am playing against a stacked deck.

I am a man. I am doomed in divorce court. I made the mistake of marring the wrong woman, having a child with her and working my ass off for ten years to give my family a nice, happy home. When Jennifer threw me out and moved an unemployed dope-smoker into my bed before the door closed, that didn't matter. The fact that she pulled this shit while I was diagnosed with prostate cancer didn't matter.

The fact the she stole ALL of my money, cost me my home and took my son away from me meant nothing. The fact that SHE made more money that I DID meant nothing. She yelled "I WANT A DIVORCE!" and she got one, by gawd, and she left me rolling around like a piece of litter on a wind-blown street. I can sing a "rap" song about that experience. The RAP is the sound of the judge's gavel when he triggers that legal net above your head that dumps two tons of horse-shit on you.

And every time you think that you might be digging yourself out, it's BOHICA time (Bend Over---Here It Comes Again!). I've never endured ANYTHING even remotely as humiliating, frustrating, disgusting, demeaning, painful and pitiless as divorce court. If a woman wants to kill you, that's a handy route to do it. She'll want to make sure that you die BROKE first, and the court will support her in that plot.

Walk in there, guys, and you're up Shit's Creek without a paddle. But our esteemed lawmakers don't want to change this butt-fuck machine. They'd rather send out their impressive brain-farts waves on anti-smoking ordinances. Buncha cowards.

I'm going to convince myself that the pummelling I've received so far is justified. Really--- I'm going to do that. I'm also going to convince myself that all the money I've paid so far was money I DESERVED TO PAY. Really--- I'm going to do that. After all, it's the LAW. I am going to convince myself that it is wise.

And pigs will fly right outta my ass tomorrow.

Bad things

Originally published March 22, 2005

I've had a lot of really evil shit happen to me in my life. I have broken my bones, had some teeth knocked out and experienced the joy of having a skilled surgeon rip out vital parts of my anatomy. I survived two very bad car wrecks. I've had as many stitches put in me as the Frankenstein monster did. I have walked on crutches and found myself totally bedridden, unable to go to the bathroom by myself.

But NONE OF THAT was as bad as a fucking root canal. That procedure just pure-ass sucks.

When I had my front teeth knocked out playing football, I also chipped two others that were capped at the time. I was fitted with a bridge. That was fine for a couple of years, until I developed this terrible toothache one weekend in one of the capped teeth. MUTHAFUCKA! That sumbitch hurt like hell for two days and almost drove me crazy. It was a weekend. All the dentist's offices were closed. I could find no relief.

I've read stories about people who take a pistol and try to shoot out a bad tooth. I know why they do that stupid stuff after that experience. You reach the point where you would do ANYTHING to make that bitch stop hurting. NOTHING seems outrageous to you anymore.

Sunday night, my tooth stopped hurting. All the pain just suddenly went away. I was a happy Cracker boy--- until I developed a swelling along my gum-line that rapidly spread up the side of my face. It wasn't sore to the touch, but I was becoming disfigured from the swelling. I knew that something was wrong, so I made an appointment to see my dentist.

He took one X-ray and sent me off to see an oral surgeon. My capped tooth had given up the ghost and was starting to abcess. (Did you know that you can DIE from that shit?) I had a root canal that morning while some construction crew was working with jackhammers breaking up the sidewalk outside the dentist's office. Those were perfect sound effects for the operation.

Because he was dealing with a capped tooth holding together a bridge, the doctor had to be very careful not to break anything essential while he drilled and probed. He locked my head in a fucking vise, cranked my mouth open with some kind of stainless steel torture device and proceded to use the kind of instruments the priests used on William Wallace when they eviscerated him at the end of Braveheart.

I was party to this special treatment while listening to jackhammers break up a sidewalk outside the office. At the time, I was thoroughly convinced that I had died and gone to hell.

And that first visit didn't finish the job. All he did that day was drain the abcess and prep me for a RETURN VISIT a week later, when he completed his work. After that second visit, I staggered out of that office resembling a zombie from Night of the Living Dead. I took my prescription for codiene to the nearest pharmacy, bought my pills, and went home to stay doped on the couch for a day and have horrible nightmares about people in white coats chasing me around with red-hot hammers and tongs.

I NEVER want to go through that again. Sam, you have my heartfelt sympathy.

November 09, 2006

My Boy

Originally published May 28, 2003

A fellow at work who was my maintenance planner for more than five years stopped me in the plant today. I really like John and respect his work ethic a lot. He said, "I met your most excellent son yesterday." John is 60 years old and he lives in Rincon, not far down the road from me.

"My son?" I asked.

"Yeah, I was in Wal-Mart and ran onto Jennifer. She had Quinton with her and I was really impressed with your boy. He's about as polite as any young man his age that I've ever seen. Hell, Rob, he's a good-looking boy, too."

I laughed and said, "Yeah, he is, John. And he's already smarter than you and I put together."

"I don't doubt it," John replied. "Next time you see him, tell him Mr. John said hello."

I'll do that, and Quinton will remember who "Mr. John" is. My boy is that way. He's always been pretty easy to handle, but I believe that he learned the lesson of minding mom and dad from an early age. We never moved any breakables, or put up with any shit out of him when he was in the curious, crawling stage of life. We taught him the meaning of the word "NO!"

He had to learn the hard way, like most kids do when they learn that word, because he got his hand smacked a lot. But he finally understood that Jennifer and I BOTH were serious and that pain would follow an episode of deafness when the "NO!" word was spoken. The truth is, he picked up on the concept pretty rapidly.

In his really formative years, we lived on the mini-farm, where he was free to run the dirt roads and the woods with his friends. He learned quickly then that no matter where he went, one of the neighbors was watching, and the neighbor would tell on the whole bunch of that roundhouse gang if they fucked up. He learned not to do it, because unpleasant consequences always followed.

I believe that I spanked my boy twice in his life. He deserved both, and I delivered on a promise both times. "If you do that again, I'm going to spank your butt." He did it again, and I spanked him. Twice. After that, never no more.

Yeah, I have a fine son. I am very proud of my boy and I miss him a lot. I see him four days every month now, and that's just not right.

Changing times

Originally published April 30, 2003

I received another email from Smiling Dave that echoed something that has puzzled me for a while now. He wrote:

"One of our guys showed up about a half hour late to work today. As he was about to depart his home, he spotted some trouble on his block. A twelve year old boy had poured something flammable on his nine year old sister and set her on fire.

Our guy got over there quickly, grabbed the girl, and smothered the flames. She had only minor burns (none disfiguring); but was badly frightened). It took the guy a little while to get the child to her mother and to explain what had happened, so he was late coming in. (No problem. We are not clock watchers here.)

He was talking about it to a few of us, and somebody made a comment about the vicious little shit who did the deed. The guy said, "Aw hell. Don't you remember when you were twelve?" He said it in such a matter of fact and accepting way that it sent a chill through me. What's worse, the other guys present seemed to find his comment unremarkable. It got me to wondering what the hell has been done to us that a homicidal juvenile doesn't even upset us much? When did we all stop protecting children and decide that they'd just have to take their chances, when it comes to living long enough to reach adulthood? And why aren't pint-sized monsters like today's detected early and put where they can't do any more damage?"

I see it this way, Dave: A society GETS MORE of the lowest kind of behavior it is willing to TOLERATE.

Too many parents want to be their child's "friend" instead of a mentor and a disciplinarian. Schools teach "self-esteem" whether the kid deserves any or not. We have bureaucratic minions of the State ready to prosecute a parent as a "child abuser" for taking a belt to a well-deserving rump. Outraged lawyers sue when Little Johnny is called a "pint-sized monster," even if he IS one.

We accept unacceptable behavior today because we are taught not to be "judgmental" in a thousand insidious ways. As a result, we generate more and more unacceptable behavior because WE ACCEPT IT, rather than be judgmental.

Yeah, I remember when I was twelve. By then, I had experienced a rich multitude of butt-whippins from both my mother and my father, who used whatever weapon was handy at the time, when they believed that I strayed from the path they expected me to walk. They steered me back on course with blows to my young ass. I had judgmental parents. They had rules.

They were cheered and respected by other parents, too, as well as teachers and principals. If I screwed up in school, the teachers didn't have to discipline me. All they had to do was CALL MY PARENTS. They would handle the problem from there. My parents did not accept unacceptable behavior. As a result, I grew up flying right. About the biggest trouble I ever got into in my youth was a couple of fights on the school bus.

Very few people raise their children that way anymore. The parents aren't judgmental and they don't make rules. They let the kids make the rules.

That's why you have a 12 year-old setting his sister on fire. I'll bet he gets a real, loving discussion about how wrong it is to "act out" as a result, too, and then some anger-management classes.

That'll teach him.

November 08, 2006

Nostalgia

Originally published July 18, 2003

I last visited Harlan County, Kentucky in 1988. My daughter was three years old. I got a wild hair and decided to make a Kentucky vacation for my ex-Texan wife at the time, who had never seen my roots. We drove a mere eight hours to get there, complete with piss-stops for two wimmen in the car.

I remember when that was a sixteen-hour drive and you pissed in an RC Cola bottle if you had to go, then pitched the piss out the window of the car. My dad was a stop-for-gas-only guy an a road trip. We made that trip a lot in my childhood, and always called it "going back home."

I needed to go back when I did, just to know, once and for all, that Harlan was NOT my "home" anymore. I was a certified Cracker by then. I had a Texican wife and a Jawja daughter. They didn't know crap about that place and they didn't need to. But I remembered.

We stayed at my Aunt Jenetta's house, right on the banks of the Cumberland River. Aunt 'Netta was flooded out of that house four times that I knew about. I could see water-marks 6" below the ceiling in every room. The river was AT LEAST 30' below basement level in her back yard until the river became angry. Then, it became angry very fast. She learned to grab important shit and run when the river started to rise.

She kept her album of family photographs and lost almost everything else during the floods.

She was dying of breast cancer when I went to visit. She was in-between the trip to Nashville every two weeks for chemo treatments, and she was feeling weak, but glad to see me. I had a wonderful visit. We went everywhere I wanted to go.

Aunt 'Netta drove, too, and scared the living shit out of my ex-wife. 'Netta had been driving those mountain roads all of her life and doing 70 on a suicide curve with the tires squealing like tortured cats didn't bother her at all. My ex-wife almost shit her pants riding in 'Netta's car.

I didn't. I trusted Aunt 'Netta.

We went to Lewellen, where I was born. The coal mining camp is gone now, but I stood where my grandparent's house once was and I saw a tendril of smoke curling through the trees and into the sky when I looked down Highway 26.

"Netta, is that damn slate dump still burning?" I asked.

"Honey, you KNOW it is. That thing caught on fire before you were born. It'll still be burning when the lights go out on us all."

It probably will. That's a LOT of slate to feast on.

My daughter ran happy in the streets of Loyal, Kentucky that night and caught fireflies in her hand. We put them in a jar and that night in her room, the jar lit up like a Coleman lantern.

She wanted to take them back to Savannah and turn them loose, and we tried... but the bugs didn't make it.

The next day, we went up on Pine Mountain and explored the limestone caves. We also picked a passel of what I always knew as "Mountain Tea," a wild, low-growing vine with red berries on it. Forget the berries. Grab a handfull of those leaves and chew them. It always tasted like spearmint to me.

We left the next day and drove almost all the way across the state to Owensboro, (home of Jim Beam and Red Man chewing tobacco) which may as well be in Indiana as far as I am concerned. That part of the state ain't Kentucky to me.

I am a child of the hollers and I always will be, deep inside. Aunt 'Netta died about the same time my father did, and that slate dump is STILL burning on the side of the mountain in a place once called Lewellen, which doesn't even exist anymore. I'll go in my sweet time, too, but that lonely slate dump will outlive me. My grandson probably could go see it burn with HIS grandsons, and not a one of them would sense ANYTHING about the lives that once were lived in that place that doesn't exist anymore.

That once was my home, and it's all gone now.

But Earth Abides.

Something else I left behind

Originally published July 1, 2003

I read the book then saw the movie Deliverance. (I also met James Dickey, too, but that's another story. He played old Elvis Prestly tunes on a nice Martin guitar when I talked with him. I play better than he did.)

Anyway, after all that Southern input, I took up archery. I shot for about two years with a simple 48# Bear bow. I got pretty good at it. From 50 yards or closer, I was VERY accurate. But I learned quickly to notch the arrow, draw the bow, and aim and fire. I don't care who you are. Keep a 48# simple bow drawn for 20 seconds and your arms start to shake. That arrow may end up in the trees.

I met a gray-headed old man on the archery range one day who was drilling the bulls-eye every time, but his bow had all kinds of pulleys and strange bullshit on it. I walked over to talk to him.

I learned that he had a 100# bow, but it was double-action. That meant that you had 100# of pull for six inches on the draw, then the pulleys kicked in and you had about 25# to fight after that. He also had a telecopic sight mounted on the bow. He let me shoot it.

DAMN! I had to readjust everything I ever learned with a bow. After about twelve arrows, I got good and I had to give it back to him. Otherwise, I would have killed him, stolen that wonderful bow and set mine on fire.

I don't know why I was so surprised. I know the difference between a good guitar and a bad one and sometimes you get what you pay for. My bow cost $50. His SIGHT cost more than that.

I haven't notched an arrow in 20 years and I don't know what happened to my bow. But I once liked walking that archery range and shooting the entire course.

That's something else I want to do again.

November 07, 2006

i don't expect the world to be a peaceful place

Originally published February 6, 2003

The very first story in the Bible after the creation is a murder. Cain killed Abel.
We've been killing each other ever since.

That's not going to stop. Just look at the number of despots still operating and the bullshit happening in Iraq today. When I had my layover in the Atlanta airport, I stopped in a bar that had five guys obviously headed back to Iraq. I called the waitress over to my barstool and said, "Let me buy those guys lunch and throw an extra beer on the tab, too. Put it all on me."

She explained the situation to the young men and one of them came over to thank me. "You don't look old enough for that beer I bought you," I said.

"I'm 23 sir, and my buddies wanted me to thank you for your generosity."

He was a handsome black man making his second trip over there. "Who are you with?" I asked.

"Third infantry. I drive a tank."

"UURRAH! I said. "Fort Stewart in Hinesville. You guys are my homies. You fuckers almost ran over me one night, then shelled me halfway down the road. Scared the shit out of me. Just watch your asses and get home safely. Go for the enemy next time."

"Thanks again for the meal. sir. We'll be back on MREs soon enough."

"The meal was my pleasure. You guys are fighting for my son over there. Picking up that kind of tab makes me proud."

"Sir, it is difficult in desert uniform to buy a goddam thing in this airport. If someone doesn't pick up the tab, the bar does. I am amazed."

"Don't be, my friend. You've got a lot of support behind you. Drive the shit out of that tank and watch your ass."

We shook hands and all his buddies dropped by to say hello, too. I fed them hamburgers and beer, then sent them off to war. I hope they all make it back safe and sound. They were strong, young men trained for battle.

My soul went with them.

I'm a chitlin. Makes sense for Gut rumbles

Originally published February 6, 2004

What's Your "Southern" Sign? Some of us (especially Southerners) are pretty skeptical of horoscopes, and it has become obvious that what we need are "Southern" symbols:

OKRA (Dec 22 - Jan 20) Although you appear crude, you are actually very slick on the inside. Okras have tremendous influence. An older Okra can look back over his life and see the seeds of his influence everywhere. Stay away from Moon Pies.

CHITLIN (Jan 21 - Feb 19) Chitlins come from humble backgrounds. A chitlin, however, can make something of himself if he's motivated and has lots of seasoning. In dealing with Chitlins, be careful. They can erupt like Vesuvius. Chitlins are best with Catfish and Okra.

BOLL WEEVIL (Feb 20 - Mar 20) You have an overwhelming curiosity. You're unsatisfied with the surface of things, and you feel the need to bore deep into the interior of everything. Needless to say, you are very intense and driven as if you had some inner hunger. Nobody in their right mind is going to marry you, so don't worry about it.

MOON PIE (Mar 21 - Apr 20) You're the type that spends a lot of time on the front porch. It's a cinch to recognize the physical appearance of Moon Pies. Big and round are the key words here. This might be the year to think about aerobics. Or - maybe not.

POSSUM (Apr 21 - May 21) When confronted with life's difficulties, possums have a marked tendency to withdraw and develop a don't-bother-me-about-it attitude. Sometimes you become so withdrawn, people actually think you're dead. This strategy is probably not really healthy, but seems to work for you. One day, however, it won't work and you may find your problems actually running you over.

CRAWFISH (May 22 - June 21) Crawfish is a water sign. If you work in an office, you're always hanging around the water cooler. Crawfish prefer the beach to the mountains, the pool to the golf course, the bathtub to the living room. You tend to be not particularly attractive physically, but you have a very, very good head.

COLLARDS (June 22 - July 23) Collards have a genius for communication. They love to get in the "melting pot" of life and share their essence with the essence of those around them.. Collards make good social workers, psychologists, and baseball managers. As far as your personal life goes, if you are Collards, stay away from Moon Pies. It just won't work. Save yourself a lot of heartache.

CATFISH (July 24 - Aug 23) Catfish are traditionalists in matters of the heart, although one's whiskers may cause problems for loved ones. You catfish are never easy people to understand. You prefer the muddy bottoms to the clear surface of life. Above all else, Catfish should stay away from Moon Pies.

GRITS (Aug 24 - Sept 23) Your highest aim is to be with others like yourself. You like to huddle together with a big crowd of other Grits. You love to travel though, so maybe you should think about joining a club. Where do you like to go? Anywhere they have cheese or gravy or bacon or butter or eggs. If you can go somewhere where they have all these things, that serves you well.

BOILED PEANUTS (Sept 24 - Oct 23) You have a passionate desire to help your fellow man. Unfortunately, those who know you best - your friends and loved ones - may find that your personality is much too salty, and their criticism will probably affect you deeply because you are really much softer than you appear. You should go right ahead and marry anybody you want to because in a certain way, yours is a charmed life. On the road of life, you can be sure that people will always pull over and stop for you.

BUTTER BEAN (Oct 24 - Nov 22) Always invite a Butter Bean because Butter Beans get along well with everybody. You, as a Butter Bean, should be proud. You've grown on the vine of life and you feel at home no matter what the setting. You can sit next to anybody. However, you, too, shouldn't have anything to do with Moon Pies.

ARMADILLO (Nov 23 - Dec 21) You have a tendency to develop a tough exterior, but you are actually quite gentle. A good evening for you? Old friends, a fire, some roots, fruit, worms and insects. You are a throwback. You're not concerned with today's fashions and trends. You're not concerned with anything about today. You're really almost prehistoric in your interests and behavior patterns. You probably want to marry another Armadillo, but Possum is another possibility.

November 06, 2006

Men's rules

Originally published June 23, 2002

My mama sent me this:

MEN'S RULES

1) Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

2) Birthdays, Valentines, and Anniversaries are not quests to see if we can find the perfect present yet again! Sometimes we are not thinking about you. Live with it.

3) Sunday sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

4) Don't cut your hair. Ever. Long hair is always more attractive than short hair. One of the big reasons guys fear getting married is that married women always cut their hair, and by then you're stuck with her. (I find short hair attractive on some women--Ed.)

5) Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

6) Crying is blackmail.

7) Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

8) We don't remember dates. Mark birthdays and anniversaries on a calendar. Remind us frequently . . . beforehand.

9) Most guys own three pairs of shoes - tops. What makes you think we'd be any good at choosing which pair, out of thirty, would look good with your dress?

10) Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

11) Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

12) A headache that last for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.

13) Check your oil ! Please - just once.

14) Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

15) If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to look like soap opera guys.

16) If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us. We refuse to answer.

17) If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

18) Let us ogle. We are going to look anyway; it's genetic.

19) You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

20) Christopher Columbus did not need directions, and neither do we.

21) The relationship is never going to be like it was the first two months we were going out. Get over it. And quit whining to your girlfriends that we don't do romantic things for you.

22) ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

23) If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

24) We are not mind readers and we never will be. Our lack of mind-reading ability is not proof of how little we care about you.

25) If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong.

I26) f you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.

27) When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine. Really

28) Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss ;such topics as navel lint or cars/bikes.

29) You have enough clothes. You have too many shoes.

30) It is neither in your best interest or ours to take a quiz together. No, doesn't matter what quiz.

Thank you for reading this; Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch but did you know sometimes we really don't mind that, it's like camping !

November 05, 2006

Trivia

Originally published May 9, 2003

My friend Catfish strikes again with this email:

1. The longest one-syllable word in the English language is "screeched."
2. "Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt."
3. Almonds are members of the peach family.
4. The symbol on the "pound" key (#) is called an octothorpe.
5. The dot over the letter 'i' is called a tittle.
6. Ingrown toenails are hereditary.
7. The word "set" has more definitions than any other word in the English
language.
8. "Underground" is the only word in the English language that begins and
ends with the letters "und."
9. There are only four words in the English language which end in
"-dous":...tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.
10. The longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford
English Dictionary, is: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
11. The only other word with the same amount of letters
is:pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconioses, its plural.
12. The longest place-name still in use is:
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaunga
horonukupokaiwenuakitnatahu - a New Zealand hill.
13. Los Angeles's full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de
losAngeles de Porciuncula" and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size,
"L.A."
14. An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
15. Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
16. Alfred Hitchcock didn't have a belly button. It was eliminated when he
was sewn up after surgery.
17. Telly Savalas and Louis Armstrong died on their birthdays.
18. Donald Duck's middle name is Fauntleroy.
19. The muzzle of a lion is like a fingerprint - no two lions have the same
pattern of whiskers.
20. Steely Dan got their name from a sexual device depicted in the book
'The Naked Lunch.'
21. A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.
22. The Ramses brand condom is named after the great pharaoh Ramses II, who fathered over 160 children.
23. There is a seven-letter word in the English language that contains ten
words without rearranging any of its letters, "therein": the, there, he, in,
rein, her, here, ere, therein, herein.
24. Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.
25. John Larroquette of "Night Court" and "The John Larroquette Show" was
the narrator of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
26. A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.( that is 1 second longer
than a blonde.....sorry dear).
27. It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
28. Cranberries are sorted for ripeness by bouncing them; a fully ripened
cranberry can be dribbled like a basketball.
29. The male gypsy moth can "smell" the virgin female gypsy moth from 1.8
miles away. (But does he CALL? NO-O-O-O-O-O...)
30. The letters KGB stand for Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti.
31. 'Stewardesses' is the longest English word that is typed with only the left hand.
32. To "testify" was based on men in the Roman court swearing to a statement
made by swearing on their testicles.
33. The combination "ough" can be pronounced in nine different ways - the
following sentence contains them all: "A rough-coated, dough-faced,
thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after
falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."
34. The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter
is uncopyrightable.
35. Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as
does arsenious, meaning "containing arsenic."
36. Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian
seal for that reason.
37. Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.
38. The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat,"
which means "the king is dead."

Now you know.

November 04, 2006

They were soldiers

Originally published March 10, 2002

Vietnam was the war of my generation, and I never fought in it. I entered college in 1970 and earned a nice 2-S draft deferment, which kept me safely out of harm's way until the "rich boy goes to college, poor boy goes to war" rant convinced congress to screw EVERYBODY equally and eliminate the 2-S draft classification. I remember well the day I came home and found the change to 1-A status in my mailbox. I was not happy to see it. For anyone drafted at the time, basic training and a subsequent tour of scenic oriental rice paddies were a given.

The military recruitment offices were located in the basement of the Post Office in downtown Savannah. I went there the next day, determined to volunteer, so that I might have some choice about my fate, instead of being snatched by the nape of the neck and cast wherever the long arm of Uncle Sam chose. I came away with an armload of brochures, pamphlets, flyers, and other assorted hand-outs, but I didn't sign anything. I did, however, have my priorities pretty well figured out. My first choice was the Coast Guard, but my father was not a congressman, nor a golfing buddy of a congressman, so I had very little chance of getting in, since all the slots available were taken by congressmen's sons and golfing buddies of congressmen's sons. My second choice was the Air Force. I could cook, I could type and I was fairly literate, so I thought I might enlist and lasso a desk job in Florida, where I could develop a nice suntan while I served my four-year hitch. If THAT scheme didn't pan out, I chose the U.S. Navy as my backup plan. I like the water, I've never been seasick and my father was a sailor. I could wear bell-bottoms with button-up flys and carry on a family tradition, and I would see Vietnam from far offshore, if I saw it at all.

But the government froze the draft until they conducted a lottery, and I drew the lucky number of 353. I immediately tossed all that recruitment literature in the trash can and waited for my 1-H deferment (HIGH lottery number) to arrive in the mail. It did, and I never went to war.

Before my father died, he once said he would have sent me to Canada before he would have allowed me to be drafted and shipped off to Vietnam. I asked him why he thought I would accept that offer. He seemed surprised. Yeah, nobody, least of all ME, wanted to be drafted and shipped off to a war that was looking more and more senseless every day. But I would have gone, or joined the Air Force or the Navy. I would not have run away. I watched too many John Wayne movies during my formative years to live with myself if I did something so cowardly. I often wonder if my life would be entirely different if things hadn't worked out the way they did back then.

Vietnam was an ugly war, but that was because the people who called the shots were ugly people with a totally screwed-up idea of how to fight it. American soldiers fought bravely and inflicted incredible damage on the enemy. Piss-poor leadership doomed their efforts, but the soldiers deserve credit for what they did. They didn't lose the war. Politicians and bureaucrats did.

Read THIS. It's powerful.

November 02, 2006

Doesn't do it justice

Originally published November 3, 2003

mountains.JPG


Trust me. The colors were a lot more vivid and bright than what they appear to be in this picture. When I was standing on the ridge where I snapped the shot, I looked down that valley and I wished that I could fly. I wanted to soar over those mountains like a bird and land again when I was ready.

The wind blew through my hair and I KNEW that if I had wings, I could do it. I set down the camera and spread my arms wide in the wind. I closed my eyes and IMAGINED myself taking off from the rock where I stood and gliding like a hawk all the way down to the bottom of the fall line, more than 100 miles away. That fantasy felt good.

But I finally opened my eyes, picked up the camera and walked back to the cabin. I can't fly, and I'm not a hawk. I'm a man. I walk or ride wherever I go.

Every now and then, however, you need to believe in magic. If you don't, you grow old very quickly. Sometimes, it is GOOD to come as close to flying as you can, on a rock cliff with the wind in your hair and a big valley stretching out as far as you can see below you. CLOSE YOUR EYES and imagine what life COULD BE, instead of what it is.

That's one of the reasons I like being around my son so much. He still believes in magic. And so do I, sometimes.

If I ever lose that part of me, I WANT someone to drag me off and shoot me. My life is over anyway if I never want to fly again.

(There is a metaphor alert in here for someone who may understand it.)

That's more like it

Picture republished November 5, 2003

mountains-2.jpg

Loyal reader Logan took the picture I posted of the mountains, tightened up the resolution, brought out the colors and emailed it back to me. This is the result.

People, THAT'S what I saw up on that ridge. No wonder I wanted to fly.

Amazing change

Originally published November 3, 2003

I could not possibly have ordered weather any better from a catalogue than what I had for six days in North Georgia. The days were warm enough to wear a tee-shirt outside and the nights were cool enough for a fire in the fireplace. The sky was crystal blue every day and the dark was filled with stars every night. Everything was perfect.

On the way up there, I was convinced that the leaves were past their peak as we went through Gainesville and Cleveland. But as soon as we hit the climb up to Blood Mountain, everything changed. The colors were spectacular. The higher we went up highway 129, the better the color. By the time we made the cabin, I felt as if I were in the Land of Oz.

Recondo and I sat in the cabin that first night and discussed the situation. We've been rained on, snowed on, almost blown off the mountain by a tropical storm, seen the leaves green and seen the trees bare. We were about due for a Lucky Seven on the dice. We finally rolled one.

I took Georgia hiking and we saw waterfalls. I ate lunch in Dawsonville at a diner with an ugly artificial pig on the roof and the food was damn good. I got drunk in Dahlonega AND in Helen, where I bought Georgia a bracelet and a silver ring for myself. A little Indian guy at the Tip-Top-Tee store made the Jawja Blogger tee-shirts for me while we ate lunch on the bank of the Chattahoochie River at a place called "Trolls." (It's UNDER THE BRIDGE! Get it?) Then, I met a lot of really nice people at the blog-meet on Saturday.

That was one wonderful week and I regret that it's over.

I awoke to an overcast sky today, and now a pissy little rain is falling. Man, what a change. I'm back in the flatlands, with the sand hills and the pine barrens now. No color in the trees and no breathtaking views to see. This is one boring-assed place. It's where I choose to live, but it sure seems shitty right now.

I miss the mountains.