Gut Rumbles
 

January 31, 2008

Weight loss

Originally published December 17, 2003

Obesity is the new boogie-man that lawyers wish to exploit to enrich themselves save mankind from itself. I firmly believe that "saving mankind from itself" is a totally futile cause, and I especially believe that going after obesity as somebody else's fault is the wrong way to attack.

The theiving bastards holy jihadis got away with the shakedown of tobacco companies, because smokers are a minority in this country and the tobacco companies caved under pressure from the government. I don't believe that extorting large sums of cash from McDonald's and Wendy's will be as easy.

Do you know how you get fat? It's a really simple process. You stuff your pie-hole with more calories than your body burns every day. That's it. Wanna lose weight? Eat less and exercise. This ain't rocket science.

And it damn sure ain't the fault of McDonald's or Burger King if you sit on your double-wide ass and stuff your pie-hole with junk every day. That's YOUR FAULT.

Anti-smokers would love to see R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris go belly-up. They HATE cigarettes and they outnumber the smokers in this country. But do fat people REALLY want to bankrupt KFC and Burger King? I don't think so. Get twelve fat people on a jury trying one of those idiotic lawsuits against fast-food companies. You know what's going to happen when the lawyer pleads his case? He is going to make those people HUNGRY, that's what.

Goddam. They'll eat THE LAWYER before the trial is finished.

Maybe it's easy for me to take this stance, because I am not fat. I don't eat a lot, but I eat whatever I want when I want it. I've maintained the same weight for 25 years now. If I can do it, anybody can.

Of course, if it was easy, any asshole could do it.

More on snakes

Originally published June 21, 2003

The Differential Theory of US Armed Forces Snake Model: upon encountering a snake in the Area of Operations (AO)

1. Infantry: Snake smells them, leaves area.

2. Airborne: Lands on and kills the snake.

3. Armor: Runs over snake, laughs, and looks for more snakes.

4. Aviation: Has Global Positioning Satellite coordinates to snake. Can't find snake. Returns to base for refuel, crew rest and manicure.

5. Ranger: Plays with snake, then eats it.

6. Field Artillery: Kills snake with massive Time On Target barrage with three Forward Artillery Brigades in support. Kills several hundred civilians as unavoidable collateral damage. Mission is considered a success and all participants (i.e., cooks, mechanics and clerks) are awarded Silver Stars.

7. Special Forces: Makes contact with snake, ignores all State Department directives and Theater Commander Rules of Engagement by building rapport with snake and winning its heart and mind. Trains it to kill other snakes. Files enormous travel settlement upon return.

8. Combat Engineer: Studies snake. Prepares in-depth doctrinal thesis in obscure 5 series Field Manual about how to defeat snake using counter-mobility assets. Complains that maneuver forces don't understand how to properly conduct doctrinal counter-snake ops.

9. Navy SEAL: Expends all ammunition and calls for naval gunfire support in failed attempt to kill snake. Snake bites SEAL and retreats to safety. Hollywood makes fantasy film in which SEALS kill Muslim extremist snakes.

10. Navy: Fires off 50 cruise missiles from various types of ships, kills snake and makes presentation to Senate Appropriations Committee on how Naval forces are the most cost-effective means of anti-snake force projection.

11. Marine: Kills snake by accident while looking for souvenirs. Local civilians demand removal of all US forces from Area of Operations.

12. Marine Recon: Follows snake, gets lost.

13. Combat Controllers: Guides snake elsewhere.

14. Para-Rescue Jumper: Wounds snake in initial encounter, then works feverishly to save snake's life.

15. Quartermaster: (NOTICE: Your anti-snake equipment is on backorder.)

16. C-17 Transport pilot: Receives call for anti-snake equipment, delivers two weeks after due date.

17. F-15 pilot: Mis-identifies snake as enemy Mil-24 Hind helicopter and engages with missiles. Crew chief paints snake kill on aircraft.

18. F-16 pilot: Finds snake, drops two CBU-87 cluster bombs, and misses snake target, but get direct hit on Embassy 100 KM East of snake due to weather (Too Hot also Too Cold, Was Clear but too overcast, Too dry with Rain, Unlimited ceiling with low cloud cover etc.) Claims that purchasing multi-million dollar, high-tech snake-killing device will enable it in the future to kill all snakes and achieve a revolution in military affairs.

19. AH-64 Apache pilot: Unable to locate snake, snakes don't show well on infra-red. Infrared only operable in desert AO's without power lines or SAM's.

20. UH-60 Blackhawk pilot: Finds snake on fourth pass after snake builds bonfire, pops smoke, lays out VS 17 to mark Landing Zone. Rotor wash blows snake into fire.

21. B-52 pilot: Pulls ARCLIGHT mission on snake, kills snake and every other living thing within two miles of target.

22. MinuteMan Missile crew: Lays in target coordinates to snake in 20 seconds, but can't receive authorization from National Command Authority to use nuclear weapons.

23. Intelligence officer: Snake? What snake? Only four of 35 indicators of snake activity are currently active. We assess the potential for snake activity as LOW.

24. Judge Advocate General (JAG): Snake declines to bite, citing grounds of professional courtesy.

25. Signal: Tries to communicate with snake...fail repeated attempts. Complains that the snake did not have the correct fill or did not know how to work equipment a child could operate. Signal Officer informs the commander that he could easily communicate with the snake using just his voice. Commander insists that he NEEDS to video-conference with the snake, with real-time streaming positional and logistical data on the snake displayed on video screens to either side. Gives Signal Corps $5 Billion to make this happen. SigOps abuses the 2 smart people in the corps to make it happen, while everybody else stands around, bitches, and takes credit. In the end, General Dynamics and several sub-contractors make a few billion dollars, the 2 smart people get out and go to work for them, and the commander gets what he asked for only in fiber-optic based simulations. The snake is forgotten.

(from an email sent by Roy Aldersebaes)

January 30, 2008

Skipping rocks

Originally published December 17, 2003

One of the skills I honed as a boy was the ability to skip a rock on the water. I learned to do it at an early age in Kentucky, and I was really chapped when we moved to Savannah and there WERE NO ROCKS around here. Boys like throwing rocks. In this flat, sandy area of the country, you can't find anything to throw except dirt-clods and "brick-bats," a Southern term that I never heard before I came to Georgia.

A brick-bat is a chunk of concrete, a shard of brick or a piece of a cinder-block, which are about the only forms of rock you'll find around here. They are no good for skipping on the water because they are rough and irregular in shape.

A good skipping rock is smooth and round and flat. You discover them on the riverbank or in the shallow water, where they probably lay for centuries before you found them. Get a pocket-full and go down to a quiet place in the creek. Fling them sidearm, with lots of spin, then count the number of skips they make off the water before they go under and sink. If you're really good, you can skip one clean to the bank on the other side.

Surface tension on the water and a flat, spinning rock make a good team.

My boy knows how to skip a rock because I taught him up at Clarke Hill Lake, where we once vacationed every summer. He knows the right kind of rock when he sees one and he was getting pretty good the last time I saw him skipping them across the lake. "Look at THAT, Daddy! It skipped EIGHT TIMES!"

Skipping rocks. It doesn't take much to enterain a young boy.

More cognitive dissonance

Originally published June 21, 2003

The company brought in a guy from Australia to fill a vacancy in upper supervision. His name is Sean, and he is of Indian descent. He speaks with a Paul Hogan accent.

So, I now work with a guy who resembles the Son of Ghandi, has an Irish name and talks like Crocodile Dundee. No wonder I stay fucked-up. He blows every profiling circuit in my brain.

From what I've read and seen on TV about Australia, that country has every kind of kill-ya-dead critter on the face of the planet. They've got snakes that give you two steps after a bite before you die. They've got Great White Sharks. They've got posionous sea-eels, poisonous spiders, posionous insects, posionous duck-billed attack-killers and evil shit EVERYWHERE!

I want to go there, but I am afraid of that place. But, I digress.

Sean saw his first Georgia rattlesnake the other day. (Yeah, those fuckers are out and about now) He saw this "strange reptile" crawl out of the swamp and go under a "runabout." (That would be a four-wheeler to an American.) He went over to make sure no one hopped on the runabout four wheeler, took off and injured the snake. He got a piece of pipe, dragged the snake out and "trapped it."

Any red-blooded Cracker would have used the pipe to stove in the snake's head at that point, but Sean is an Indian with an Irish name who comes from Oz. He didn't know what he had, but he didn't want it to get away. He kept it trapped until somebody native came by and told him, "That's a fucking rattlesnake!" and killed it.

Afterward, he suggested a safety meeting. "Mates, I don't know your snakes here. But the fact that one like that, which I am assured is posionous, can crawl into the plant is a point of concern to me. Was that a large one? Do they all look like that? Do we need to warn the operators of the dangers? Is it common to find a snake in the plant?"

Boy, did he get an earfull. That rattlesnake was a baby. The BIG BOYS come slithering in this time of year, especially at night. The plant is lit up like a World's Fair after dark. The bugs are attracted to the lights. The frogs are attracted to the bugs. The snakes are attracted to the frogs. People find the snakes and kill them. It's Mother Nature at work.

YES, we kill a lot of snakes in the plant. We're in the middle of the fucking marsh and woods next to the Savannah River with LOTS of excellent snake habitat all around. NO, we've never had anyone bitten, but it's a wonder, considering the snake-rich environment and the number of them who crawl into pallets and boxes that are stored outdoors.

When I was running the Acid Plant, which was WAY back from the rest of the plant, I came to work one Monday morning and noticed a lot of people in the control room that usually weren't there. I said, "'Morning," went to my office, opened the door, turned on the light, picked up my status sheet from the desk and walked back to the control room.

"Goddam! Somebody told you about it!" I heard.

"Told me about what?" I asked.

"The goddam snake in your office!"

I went back to look and my heart almost stopped in my chest. Those fuckers had killed a six-foot rattlesnake the night before and coiled that sonofabitch up RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY DESK, hoping to scare the shit out of me when I came to work. That snake was as thick as my calf with almost a dozen rattles. He was a full-grown nasty bastard. I don't know how I didn't step on it when I was gathering my paperwork.

If I had stepped on that snake, looked down and seen what was there, I just might have shit my pants. That's what everybody was hoping for.

I said, "Get that dead meat out of my office. And if you fuckers ever do anything like that again, I'll fire every goddam one of you."

I don't like snakes.

And Sean needs to spend some time on the internet learning about rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and corals. We've got 'em all.

January 29, 2008

Fatherly advice

Originally published December 16, 2003

I never heard my father use foul language around me when I was a child. I learned later in life that he was a proficient curser, but he hid that stuff from me when I was a boy. Yeah, he tried to raise me right, too.

I believe that the first time I ever heard him use foul language was when I was about 15 years old and going through my first three-a-day summer camp practices for football. When we finished the morning practice, I was beat-up, tired and just about ready to quit. The temperature was 103 degrees and I was supposed to be back on the field in an hour. My father was there to watch.

"Dad, I ain't real sure I can do this," I said. "This is the first day and I'm ready to drop right now. I've got three more weeks of this crap staring me in the face."

My father grabbed me by my shoulder pads and looked me in the eye. "If it was EASY, any asshole could do it," he replied. "How much do you want to play on this team?"

If it was EASY, any asshole could do it.

I've never had a finer piece of advice in my life. I don't care what you go after in this world. Good things never come easy. If you want success, achievement and respect for what you do, you have to work hard to earn those things. I learned the virtue of busting my ass, getting up when I didn't believe that I could and taking just one more step because another guy was still on HIS feet. I learned to work for what I wanted.

Life isn't easy. I believe that most people chart their own course in life, and sometimes they end up on the rocks. Shit happens. Sometimes the wreck is caused by random fate, but usually, if you examine the situation closely, the finger of blame points squarely at your own face in the end. You pilot your own ship. YOU put the boat on the rocks through the choices that YOU made. I know very few innocent "victims."

That's the way life works. If it was easy, any asshole could do it.

Rules

Originally published June 16, 2003

When I took Jack and Quinton to the beach Saturday, I made them recite the rules before I let them go in the water.

#1) I will put two fingers above my belly-button and imagine a big, red line there. I will go NO DEEPER THAN THAT into the water.

#2) I will check in with Daddy every thirty minutes to let him know what we are up to. If I don't know whether it's been 10 minutes or 30 minutes, I'll go check in just to be on the safe side.

#3) You boys stay where I can see you. The current is gonna pull you down toward the rock jetty. If you can't look straight up the beach and see me, you're drifting away. Get out of the water, run up the beach and get back where you belong.

#4) If I have to rescue either ONE of you from drowning, I will kill you both and bury your dead bodies in the marsh by that fishing pier we passed on the way here. You got that?

#5) Have fun. Just don't piss me off.

I brought a book to read, but I didn't make three pages the entire time I was there. I kept an eye on Quinton and Jack. They minded me well, but twice they got carried away riding boogie boards and kept edging toward the rock jetty. Both times, I went down to the water and asked, "Do you know where you are? Is that where you're SUPPOSED to be?"

They jumped out of the water and ran back to where they started from.

Little boys are natural hellions and they believe that they are ten feet tall and bullet-proof. They minded rule #1 very well, but kept having trouble with that check-in and know where you are stuff. That's why I had to keep a close eye on them.

I dragged them out of the water once. "Get out!" I ordered. "It's been 35 minutes and I've had no check-in from either one of you. What was Rule #2?"

"Daddy, we saw you up there. You were talking to that lady in the black bathing suit."

Oh, yeah, I was. That was a black BIKINI, too. She was one of the true babes I met that day. I was being flirtatious and about to ask for her phone number before I decided to be a dad instead of a slut-muffin Lothario. "That don't matter," I said. "Y'all get out of the water."

As punishment, I made them spend two hours building the sand castle that the yankee vandals destroyed. By the time we finished the castle, the lady in the black bikini was gone. Oh, well.

"Can we go down to the jetty now and murder fiddler crabs with mud-balls?" Quinton asked.

"Sounds good to me." I replied. So we walked down to the jetty and murdered fiddler crabs for a while. (Take THAT, PETA!) Quinton swore that he saw an eel-head bobbing in the surf.

"What does an eel-head look like?" I inquired.

"Like an eel with his head cut off!" Quinton responded. We looked and looked in the surf and never did see anything that resembled an eel with his head cut off. "It was THERE, daddy! I SAW IT," Quinton insisted. The boy has a vivid imagination.

That's when we went back to find the yankee vandals smashing our sand castle and I was "rude" to the little shitbirds' mama. She doesn't know how lucky she was. My gut rumble was to grab one ear on each little vandal and bang their heads together until they fell unconscious on the sand. Then, I could drown Mama in a tidal pool at my leasure and let the crabs have them all. Asswipes.

I believe in rules. I don't believe in STUPID RULES (NO SMOKING ANYWHERE!)or rules just for that sake of rules (55 MPH speed limit), but good rules make sense (Don't smoke around the propane storage tanks. Wear a full acid suit when breaking an acid line. Stop for school buses.) and you should enforce them. Otherwise, they are merely suggestions, not rules.

I try to keep my rules simple and sensible. And I enforce them.

That's what daddies and bosses ought to do.

January 28, 2008

Concussions

Originally published December 16, 2003

Have you ever been knocked unconscious? I have, four times in my life.

The first one came when I was hit square between the eyes with a softball thrown by my Uncle Virgil. He tossed me a high fly ball and it got tangled up in the leaves of a sycamore tree so that I didn't see it until it whopped me right in the head. I never knew that I was out until I opened my eyes and saw all my family, scared to death, hovering around me. Lights on, lights off, then lights back on.

I was knocked out twice while playing football. Both times, I had no idea about how long I was in the dirt, but I always remembered what happened to put me there. I knew my name and what day of the week it was when I woke up with an ammonia capsule broken under my nose.

I saw other people have the same thing happen and they didn't know what PLANET they were on when they woke up. I must have a hard head.

My last knockout blow came in a car wreck on Highway 278 on the way to play golf at Rose Hill Plantation in South Carolina. I took out the windshield of a 1986 Chrystler LeBaron in a T-Bone crash at 55 MPH. I was fortunate to survive that one, and I believe that front-wheel drived saved me that day. The car was totalled, but I was okay, except for being unconscious for a minute or so.

I saw a segment of Real Sports on HBO that other day that reported a link some doctor has found between repeated concussions and chronic depression. Now I have an excuse for being depressed a lot of the time. Forget the BC, the loss of everything I ever cared about and the prostate cancer.

I simply was hit in the head one time too often.

Sounds about right to me

Originally published June 16, 2003

Last month we spent Mother's Day together as a family at the top of a mountain, basking in the sun and peace and live music and good vibes.

Today we spent Father's Day together as a family cleaning out the garage and building a privacy screen for our backyard, basking in the roar of power tools and the tap-tap of our kids hammering and the blare of the stereo and the feeling of teamwork and accomplishment.

That's why one is called "Mother's Day" and the other is called "Father's Day." Mother's Day is a feminine day, one that comes with frilly toilet seat covers that prevent the the lid from standing up by itself. Father's Day is a Tim the Toolman day, celebrating manhood and swinedom.

Nothing would have pleased me more yesterday than to tell my son, "let's crank up the chainsaw and get rid of that f-ing pine tree I've been meaning to cut down before it grows tall enough to fall on the house."

We could put on boots and blue jeans, work up a righteous sweat, smell of gasoline and two-cycle engine oil and have sawdust in our hair when we were finished, with that pine tree laying in pieces on the ground. Then, we could sit in lawn chairs on the back patio and be proud of what we accomplished. I would drink a beer and he would drink a big glass of lemonade. We would belch and fart.

That's what guys do. And good fathers like to teach their sons to do manly things, like cut down trees, build fences and belch and fart. Quinton isn't old enough to handle a chainsaw yet, but his time will come. He's got the belching and farting down already, so I just have a few more things to teach him. He's on the right track.

I believe that the Broad at Bat is, too.
[Ed. Blog no longer exists.]

It happens

Originally published June 16, 2003

I almost wish that I never read this post. It reminds me too much of what I go through twice every month.
[Ed. The blog he referenced, The Colorado Compound, no longer exists.]

"And I'll pretend that my life is normal, that eating an Almond Joy and some carrot sticks for dinner while working on my laptop are things I've always done. And I'll stay out of grocery stores for another two weeks. Grocery stores are for families, for women with people to cook for, care for, people who need them. Grocery stores depress the Hell out of me."

For almost 10 years, I cooked every meal that my family ate. That was my job and I looked forward to doing it. I grew a lot of my own food after I started serious gardening, and I learned to pickle, preserve and freeze my bumper crops. I learned to cook exotic things... Italian, Japanese and Mexican. I also made a lot of meat-and-potatoes, fish-and-rice and noodles-and-sauce dishes. I enjoyed doing that.

Now, I live on Hot Pockets and frozen dinners if I eat at all. Going to the grocery store depresses the shit out of me anymore. My family unit is ME now, and I don't feel a lot of obligation to cook for me, nor do I get much satisfaction out of it when I do. That's why I'll let the boys eat cereal and french fries for supper when they're here. Why not?

It's as good as the pizza I would order if I didn't make cereal and french fries.

Divorces are too easy to get for the shit that comes afterward. The fact that divorce can be accomplished preemptively and unilaterally is horribly wrong. I've held the shit-end of that stick and I didn't like it. I lost something irreplaceable and it all was ripped from me without mercy with no questions asked, and a big "fuck you" issued by the judge when I tried to bitch about it.

If that ain't a goddam stacked deck, I've never seen one in my life. And I've played LOTS of card games.

I miss my son. I miss having him around all the time, even when I sometimes told him to "Go away! I'm trying to watch the football game!" I miss having him come crying to me when he was hurt and telling him to "Rub some dirt on it! You're okay." I miss being his daddy all the time.

I am missing a lot and I know it. So does he.

I see it every two weeks.

Buttermilk

Originally published December 16, 2003

I needed some groceries this morning, so I went to the store to lay in some supplies. I bought a half-gallon of buttermilk.

I'm on my third tall glass of it now. If I don't drink the whole half-gallon first, I may make some cornbread this evening. I love the taste of buttermilk.

Golden Flake is the best, because it has the little pieces of butter floating around in it, but I had to settle for the generic Kroger's brand today. That's all they had. I couldn't believe that they don't sell a variety of buttermilk here in Effingham County. That seems like a goddam sin to me.

I bought a big chunk of ham and a couple of sweet onions, too. I have a pot of pinto beans simmering on the stove and some very nice new potatoes for making home fries. I intend to feast tonight, even if I don't make any cornbread.

Bullshit! I'm going to make cornbread before I drink all the buttermilk.

January 27, 2008

Money talks

Originally published June 16, 2003

A man went to church one day and afterward he stopped to shake the preacher's hand. He said, "Preacher, I'll tell you, that was a damned fine sermon. Damned good!"

The preacher said, "Thank you sir, but I'd rather you didn't use that kind of language in the Lord's House."

The man said, "I was so damned impressed with that sermon I put five thousand dollars in the offering plate!"

The preacher said, "No shit?"

Bible study

Originally published December 16, 2003

When I was going through my religious phase during college (I don't know what I was seeking at the time, but I never found it), I became really intrigued by three stories in the Bible that led me straight to athiesim. I still ponder those stories today.

The first was the Book of Job. Just step back and read that story, not as some kind of word of God, but as a simple story about human nature. God comes across as a real dickhead. Satan tempts GOD!

The gist of the story is that God is really proud of Job's devotion and considers him to be a dedicated and obedient servent of the Lord. Job also happens to be rich and prosperous, so Satan tells God, "Take away his worldly wealth and Job will lose his faith."

God replies, "No, he won't"

Satan says, "Yes, he will. I double-dog dare you to do it. Go fuck mercilessly with Job and see how fast he drops you like a hot rock."

Like some dumbfuck kid in a sandbox, God fucks mercilessly with Job to prove Satan wrong. Not only do I believe that using Job as a pawn in some etherial bet between God and Satan was morally wrong, I have serious doubts about an all-knowing and all-seeing Omnipotent God who didn't know from the beginning how the bet would go.

Satan goads God to keep fucking with Job for a long time, and God sucks that shit up like a Hoover vacuum cleaner. Job ends up broke, sitting on an ash-heap and covered with scabs. God smiles when he sees that picture. "See? He still loves me," he says to Satan.

Satan finally concedes the bet and Job is given back everything he lost, except the many years he suffered while God fucked with him like a six year-old boy pissing on an anthill on a fucking dare from someone God KNEW was evil. I can't worship a God who operates like that.

I never understood the story of Abraham and Isaac, either. Abraham is asked by God to go sacrifice his beloved son, just so God can test Abraham's faith. Didn't God already KNOW? WTF? We've got the creator of heaven and earth, who did all of that work in six days, and he doesn't know whether Abraham is faithful or not? That's not God. That's a government bureaucrat wanting some fucking paperwork to justify his job.

I also never understood why people praised Jesus for raising Lazarus from the dead. If a good man goes to heaven when he dies, where he sits in a land of manna, milk and honey, why in the hell would you thank someone for dragging you from paradise and putting you back into a really shitty world? If heaven was a reality, Lazarus would have risen from the dead and punched Jesus right in the nose, while screaming, "WHY COULDN'T YOU JUST LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE? I WAS IN HEAVEN, YOU ASSHOLE!"

I have a lot of problems with the Bible.

January 26, 2008

Female bloggers

Originally published June 15, 2003

I never liked going to my ex-mother-in-law's house.

After my ex-father-in-law died, she turned that house into a museum piece, meant to marvel at and not to live in. It was lacy and feminine and spotless, with one of those fluffy toilet seat covers in the hall bathroom that prevented the lid from standing up by itself. I had to piss two-handed, with one hand on my Roscoe and one hand holding up the commode lid the few times I didn't say "fuck it" and piss in the azalea bushes outside.

I hated that house. I was afraid to fart in there, for fear that a china cabinet full of never-used dishes (they were to look at, not eat off of) would fall on me and crush my skull. It was just too... PRETTY! It gave me the creeps.

I see a lot of blog sites that give me the same feeling. You know what? THEY ARE ALL RUN BY WIMMEN! Bells, whistles, skins and silky curtains on every window, plus toilet seat covers that don't allow the lid to stand up on its own seem to be hallmarks of a female blog. THEY have cabinets full of nice china that are there to LOOK AT, not eat off of.

I am a steak and potatoes kind of guy. I like to keep things simple. I don't have a damn thing in my house that exists just to look pretty. As a matter of fact, I have a lot of things in my house that DON'T look pretty. Just enter my kitchen and you'll see what I mean.

Some blogs run by wimmen are just too pretty to read. I recognize all the time and effort that went into the design, which changes about once every week, because they never finish redecorating, and I realize that content is a secondary concern when you run a "pretty" blog.

When I find those places, I go outside to piss in the azalea bushes the way I did at my ex-mother-in-law's. Then, I sit on the grass, smoke a cigarette and pet the dog that's not allowed in the house.

I don't belong in there, either.

Mama tried

Originally published December 15, 2003

I know good and well that my mama sometimes thinks about me, shakes her head and wonders where she went wrong. I grew up in a stable household, I had a loving family and food on the table every day. I had clean clothes to wear. I was given fewer ass-whuppins than I really deserved, and I never was abused.

Still, I grew up to be the Black Sheep of the family.

I suppose that every family needs one, and I assumed that role. I was the rebel, the non-conformist. I drove my parents crazy when I took the first college degree ever earned by ANYBODY on either side of the family and used it to wipe my ass while I played guitar for six years. They couldn't understand how I could squander my future the way I was doing.

Hell, I didn't give a shit about the future. I was having a good time. I had wanton, rampant sex with lots of wimmen and slept past noon every day. I did every drug invented or discovered by mankind. I had no responsibilities and no obligations weighing me down. I was a free man.

I lived my live backward. I retired at the age of 22 and did pretty much what I wanted to do until I was 28. How many people get a chance to do what I did? Be young, dumb and full of cum in the 1970s, hang out in the bars every night, play guitar and have wimmen throw themselves at you. Is that paradise, or what?

I didn't give a shit if the sun came up in the morning. Usually, I was awake to see it when it did. I made enough money to pay my bills and I lived on junk food and amphetamines. I had more pussy than I could handle. I had more dope than I could smoke. I was living in high cotton by my standards.

I don't remember what burnt me out and made me go straight when I did. I believe that I was playing guitar one night and just had a flash about what I would look like and where I would be in ten years if I kept going the way I was going. I went to work in the chemical plant one month later.

I quit smoking dope, quit taking amphetamines and started doing shiftwork. I married twice, sired two children and provided well for my family as I moved up through the ranks. I worked my ass off. I still played guitar with my friends, but I stopped doing it in the bars. I tried as hard to live the straight life as I could.

But I fucked it up. Now, I have two divorces under my belt and a totally fractured family. I seldom speak to my daughter and I see my son twice every month. Neither ex-wife wants anything to do with me. I sleep alone most of the time and I'm beginning to like it that way. I lost my career because of my blog.

I've managed to be the Black Sheep almost all of my life. I seem to be good at that job. But it's all my own fault.

Mama tried.

January 25, 2008

My father's face

Originally published December 12, 2003

I always took after my mama's side of the family. I was short and stocky, I had the bow legs and that "Abner nose" that everybody in the family was proud of. I was convinced that I was a chip off mama's block.

Five years after my father died, I got a wild idea up my Cracker ass and had my hair buzz-cut. I am talking about a Marine-boot-camp haircut. Jennifer hated it, but I kinda liked the way it felt at work in the summer. I could brush my hair with a towel. I didn't need a comb. It felt GOOD under a hard-hat in the Southern summertime.

I decided to take things one step further. I came home one day and shaved off
my moustache, too. I didn't really look at anything except what I was shaving when I got rid of the 'stache, but Jennifer and Quinton had a difficult time recognizing me after that. I remember Quinton saying, "Daddy, you don't look like daddy anymore."

I knew that my hair would grow back any time I wanted it to grow, and I enjoyed the change. I did all of that stuff on a hoot, just to make something different in my life.

That night, I was brushing my teeth before I went to bed. I looked in the mirror and the toothbrush froze in my hand. MY FATHER was looking back out of that mirror at me. I had his eyes. I had the shape of his face. I had his same crooked smile. I had ears just like his.

I never realized how much I resembled my father until that night. I stood in front of that mirror for at least ten minutes noticing things that I had never seen before. I was amazed.

I don't believe that Quinton looks a lot like me. He takes after his mother. But every now and then, I see him at the right angle or in the right light and I see myself in his face. I am pleased when I see him that way.

I wonder if he'll ever look in the mirror some day and see ME looking back at him.

From my comments

Originally published June 13, 2003

Yep, I am still picking thorns out of my feet from walking barefoot through the blackberry vines the other day in pursuit of the snake on my back porch, but I have another thorn that I just can't get rid of. It is IN MY ASS and it becomes really inflamed every time I read shit like this:


Wellfare or no, some hard working people depend on that "refund". It's what allows us acushion at the end of the year to actually do something nice for our kids and it's a hell of incentive to keep working harder. Not everyone who gets a tax break is sponge. And not every person who makes 100-150K works hard. Remember, that corporate America gets more "refunds" and "tax breaks" than anyone else.

Anybody who depends on a "refund" of somebody else's money to "do something nice for our kids" is a goddam parasite. I don't give a shit if you "need" the money. IT ISN'T YOURS! You didn't earn it. And how the hell getting something for nothing inspired you to "keep working harder" is a mystery to me. You should be cheering, goading and demanding OTHER PEOPLE to work harder. After all, they're doing it for YOU.


I do know that my tax refund goes straight into the economy as soon as I get it, whether to pay of a bill, or buy my wife something nice, or even to buy something nice for myself, someone else just got my tax break.
Whether you get a check at the end of the year or not, everyone benefits in some manner from tax rebates.
BTW, do elected officials pay taxes on thier salaries? Just wondering.

Cassidy probably wonders why he never won "life's lottery." I'll tell him right now. CASSIDY, YOU ARE AS DUMB AS A CAN OF DIRT. YOU HAVE SHIT FOR BRAINS!!!

"I do know that my tax refund goes straight into the economy." My aching ass. That money was already in the economy and it would have stayed right where it was except for the fact that GOVERNMENT TOOK IT AWAY FROM THE PERSON WHO EARNED IT AND GAVE IT TO YOUR SORRY ASS. You think people who earn their own money don't spend it? Only fucking deadbeat parasites like YOU put money into the economy? Bite me, you asshole. You suck on the teats of the government sow. You don't put money into the economy. You TAKE!


Also, I know that as I progress in my career, I make more money. I make more money, no tax refund. This motivates me and people like me to work harder to pay off as much as possible, so that the tax break is utilized in the most effective way possible. As of now, outside the cars, I'm less than 5K in debt. The tax refund is a godsend. My last tax return paid of 4-6 bills completely (I forget how many). It is a good thing for honest people.

Yes, I can see how you and people like you are motivated by free money to work harder until there is no more free money for you, and YOUR money starts going to pay parasites like you are now, when you're not a parasite anymore. That makes perfect sense to me. If you are $5,000 in debt (outside of the CARS), you are living far beyond your means and you expect ME to pay for your personal lack of discipline. "Honest" people don't demand handouts to pay for their personal fuckwittery. You do. And I resent that money you get for free being taken from ME at the point of a gun by the Federal government. Kiss my Cracker ass, you parasite.

I've got to take this missive apart piece by piece:


Like I mentioned earlier, I don't know much about the upper ranges of the tax code.

Don't bother your pointed little head. Trust me. You'll NEVER have to worry about the upper ranges of the tax code.


I would like to pose a question, though, just for thought. (Outside of the ones I allready asked, just looking for information)

You wouldn't recognize a thought if it walked up and slapped you in the head with a two-by-four. The "thoughts" you thought you already posted prove that fact.


I get taxes taken out of my paycheck every month. I get a refund every year, that usually exceeds what I paid in over the year, which I've allready explained.

That makes you a PARASITE, which I've already explained.


Millions of Americans use that for good.

Millions of other Americans could use it just as well, for just as much "good" because it was THEY'RE FUCKING MONEY before you got your parasitic hands on it. It's better because YOU spend it instead of them. You NEED IT more than they do? Fuck you.


Now, is the problem here with wellfare in general or in how the system is set up. I don't like the current state of wellfare.

Why not? You collect other people's money from it, being the leech you are.


I've said before about my opinion on the majority of Americans. Objectively, though, it would be ethically repugnant and socially shortsighted not to help those who are less fortunate. My personal problem is how the system is utilised and manipulated, but a wellfare system to me is a good idea.

OF COURSE a "welfare system" is a good idea to YOU! A welfare system is ALWAYS a good idea to the parasites to collect without paying into it. The worker bees, on the other hand, who see 38% of their incomes vanish into the federal maw only to be shit out in little "refund" pellets collected by dung beetles like YOU find the system "ethically repugnant and socially shortsighted."

Would you have a problem with it if the system was set up to encourage job training and contribution over lifestyle sustainment? Just a thought.

You don't have thoughts. I believe we already covered that issue. I have no idea what that last incoherent sentence was supposed to mean, but I know what it really means. I DESERVE YOUR MONEY. GIVE IT TO ME!

You don't deserve a fucking dime of MY MONEY, Cassidy. The fact that you get it chaps my Cracker ass.

Besides, I thought I told you to get your parasitic, blood-sucking, welfare-taking ass off of my blog. Ain't no free money here. What are YOU doing still hanging around?

Pole vaulting

Originally published December 15, 2003

When I was a kid, one of the things my friends and I liked to do was pole-vault across the big drainage ditch at the end of the road. We trapped crawfish and gigged bullfrogs down there and vaulting from one side of the bank to the other was a nice trick, performed using your 10-foot gig-pole.

We all became very good at vaulting across the ditch, so we looked for greater challenges. I found one.

We were deep in the woods, almost all the way to the Gun Club Lake when I saw a spot in the canal that never had been vaulted. It was wide and steep, but I thought I could make it. I took a shot at it and barely cleared the opposite bank. Finn Moffett came right after me, and he made it, too. Art Salter went next and we had to grab him to keep his ass out of the canal. He almost didn't make it.

Michael Moffett tried, too. Michael was Finn's younger brother and he was afraid of nothing. He'd try anything once. He probably weighed about 60 pounds at the time and when he took a good run-and-go to vault the canal, his pole stuck in the mud and he didn't have enough ass to push it to the other side. He ended up hanging onto his pole, which stood straight up, stuck in the mud, as he found himself marooned in the middle of the canal.

"Help!" he yelled.

"Mike! Just start rocking the pole. If you can make it lean this way, we'll grab you!" I suggested. Finn, Art and I lined up on the bank to grab him.

Michael started rocking the pole. He was doing good at first, but the more he rocked, the deeper the pole went into the mud and the lower his hands slipped on the pole. When his feet were touching the water and the pole was stuck as if a pile-driver had laid it in there, he said, "I don't think I'm gonna make it."

"You can make it! Keep trying!" we yelled from the bank.

We watched as the inevitable happened. Michael couldn't rock the pole anymore. He couldn't hold on anymore. He was ankle-deep in the canal and fading fast. This happened in January on a very cold day. Ice was floating on the water when we first arrived that morning. You really didn't want to end up in that water.

But Michael did. He turned loose of the pole and fell flat on his back into the canal. We stuck a pole out for him to latch onto so that we could drag him out, but the damage was done. He was as wet as a drowned duck and shaking from the cold. "We need to get you back home," I said.

"He can't go home like that," Finn replied. "Mama will kill both of us. We're not supposed to be playing in the canal." I understood where Finn was coming from. I wasn't supposed to be playing there either. I could see a disaster in the making. If we took Michael home, his mama would kill both of her sons, then call MY mama, and my mama would kill ME.

Nope. We couldn't allow that scenario to occur. That one was way too unpleasant for everyone involved. "Just stay here," I said. "I'll be right back."

I vaulted back across the canal, hopped on my bicycle and rode home. I sneaked in the back door and stole a book of matches from my parents's cigarette drawer. Then, I headed right back to the woods and we built a fire to dry Michael out. That process took several hours and a lot of pine straw and wood, but we got the job done. He was okay before the sun went down.

"Walk down to the drainpipe and cross the canal there," I said, when I figured that Michael was fit to return home. "I'll get your gig for you, but you're not jumping this canal again. And don't tell ANYBODY about what happened today."

He never did, we got away with it, and now I am the one letting that cat out of the bag 30 years later.

January 24, 2008

Yeah, but it helps

Originally published June 13, 2003

The Baptist

John and Marie went to the same Baptist church. Marie went every Sunday and taught Sunday School. John went on Christmas and Easter and, once in a
while, he went on one of the other Sundays.

On one of those Sundays, he was in the pew right behind Marie and he noticed what a fine looking woman she was. While they were taking up the collection, John leaned forward and said, "Hey, Marie, how about you and me go to dinner next Friday?"

"Why Yes, John, that would be nice," said Marie.

Well, John couldn't believe his luck. All weeklong he polished up his car, and on Friday he picked up Marie and took her to dinner, the finest restaurant in Raleigh. When they sat down, John looked over at Marie said, "Hey, Marie, would you like a cocktail before dinner?"

"Oh, no, John,"said Marie. "What would I tell my Sunday School class?"

Well, John was setback a bit, so he didn't say much until after dinner. Then he reached in his pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. "Hey, Marie," said John, "Would you like a smoke?"

"Oh, no, John," said Marie. "What would I tell my Sunday School class?"

Well, John was feeling pretty low after that, so he just got in his car and was driving Marie home when they passed the Holiday Inn. He'd struck out twice already, so he figured he had nothing to lose. "Hey, Marie," said John, "how would you like to stop at this motel with me?"

"Sure, John, that would be nice," said Marie.

Well, John couldn't believe his luck. He did a U-turn right then and there across the median and everything,and drove back to the motel and checked in with Marie. The next morning John got up first.

He looked at Marie lying there in the bed. "What have I done? What have I done?" thought John. He shook Marie and she woke up. "Marie, I've got to ask you one thing, said John. "What are you going to tell your Sunday School class?"

Marie said, "The same thing I always tell them.............. You don't have to smoke and drink to have a good time."

When Quinton was born

Originally published December 12, 2003

The doctors induced labor on Jennifer because she was losing ambiotic fluid and they began to worry about her and the baby. They kept her in the hospital overnight and started administering the labor-inducing drug at 5:30 in the morning. I was there at 4:30.

I was scared shitless. I wanted to be there to hold Jennifer's hand and comfort her through a difficult time. She was hooked up to a fetal monitor and everything looked okay until the doctor came in for about the fourth time to up the dosage of the GET THE BABY OUT drug. Jennifer went into serious labor right in the middle of a "Star Trek--The Next Generation" episode that we were watching on TV at the time.

Things got ugly after that. Quinton did one of those get-hung-up-against-the-spine things that I learned about in childbirth classes. Evidently, when that happens, a woman experiences incredible pain and the husband in the room with her goes apeshit. I went out of the room and almost tackled the doctor when I found him in the hallway.

"You've got to give ONE OF US some drugs," I said. "If you won't give them to her, give them to ME. I can't take this shit any more."

That's when they gave Jennifer the epidural, and all the pain went away. We just sat together and watched the fetal monitor for a couple of hours after that. I kept checking that sweet coochie that I loved so much until I saw something that resembled a little boy's head starting to crown out of it. I ran to get the nurses.

Dawn Olsen [Ed. Blog no longer seems to exist.] made me remember this very strange day. I discovered that neither one of the nurses on duty had ever delivered a baby before. "We've studied how to do it. We're trained," they told me.

Yeah. If I want to build a house, I'm not going to hire a contractor who never built a house before. I don't give a shit if he has been "trained" in how to do it. I want to see a piece of his work first. "Go get the doctor," I suggested. "I believe that things are happening fast now." The doctor arrived and said that everything was going smoothly. He picked up a very large pair of sissors and...

Then there's the episiotomy. Which is a common procedure in most vaginal deliveries. It's a cut they give between your vagina and anus to make room for the baby's head, you don't really feel it during labor and delivery because of all the pressure, but once the pressure is gone and you are stitched up - it swells, itches and burns - especially when you pee, which is all the time since your bladder doesn't work anymore.

That doctor cut my darlin's sweet cootchie with those sissors and it made a sound like a sailmaker cutting canvas. I couldn't watch. I thought that I might pass out. But Quinton came corkscrewing out of his mama right after that and the doctor asked for sutures. "Is she going to be okay?" I asked.

"She'll be fine. I'll even put in a couple of extra stitches to shim it up for you."

Quinton was fine. Jennifer was fine. I was staggering around as if I had been drinking in a bar all day. I was exhausted. I felt like a wrung-out dishrag. Jennifer looked better than I felt.

Both families were out in the hallway waiting to see the new youngun' and I finally carried Quinton outside. Got-damn! That must have been a traumatic experience! Spend nine months in the warm darkness of mama's belly, then be thrust into bright light with about 20 strangers pawing at you all at once. No wonder Quinton cried like a banshee.

He got over it. He is growing up to be a fine young man.

I never will forget that day.

January 23, 2008

Speaking of laughing

Originally published December 12, 2003

Have you ever seen something so funny that you literally doubled over laughing, holding your gut while tears streamed from your eyes and snot blew from your nose as you felt a small trickle of piss running down your leg? I am talking about serious laughter here.

I had that happen to me once in my parent's back yard. The entire family came over for a Sunday dinner and we went outside after the meal to play a game of lawn darts. I had my loyal companion, Wiggles, with me at the time. He probably was the ugliest dog ever created by genetic mutt-mutation, but I loved him and he loved me. I tied a red bandana around his neck when we went visiting, and he really was proud of dressing up that way.

My brother brought his dog, Plato, over to the house that day, too. Plato was mostly a hound dog and totally eat up with the dumbass at that stage of his puppy-life. My brother had tied a bandana around Plato's neck, too, but the dog kept running around as if it's ass were on fire and we had to stop pitching lawn darts a couple of times for fear of stabbing that crazy dog. The dumbfuck just liked to run while Wiggles curled up in the shade. My father was getting angry because of Plato's antics.

Plato finally ran fast enough and long enough that the bandana came off his neck and fell on the ground. Plato didn't notice what happened and just kept running, but Wiggles saw it. Wiggles got up, moseyed over to that bandana, hiked his leg and pissed all over it.

My father turned to my brother. "I believe that Wiggles just said what he thinks about your dog. The only reason he pissed on it first is because he beat me to it."

Yeah. I laughed about that.

Questions

Originally published June 11, 2003

Andrew Sullivan is still doing that begathon about "keeping this site alive" as if it costs a great deal of money to run a blog, even with the traffic he receives. I might send him some money if my shit-decector wasn't ringing like a car-alarm right now. I don't like the pitch he's throwing.

Anybody who sends that begging asshole money either really worships his ass or doesn't understand a goddam thing about "bandwidth." If the asswipe was honest enough to say, "I WANT TO MAKE MONEY FROM BLOGGING," I might send him $100 dollars. But I believe that he is being dishonest and acting like a goddam time-share condo salesman with all his whining.

Andrew, fucking admit it. If you didn't get get a penny out of anybody, your blog would continue. It ain't gonna quit. It ain't gonna shut down. You just decided to be some kind of Amway distributor with what you do.

This kind of whining really pisses me off. I wish that every good blogger could make money off blogging. Hell, I would LOVE to make money off my blog. What a wonderful world this would be.

But it's NOT a wonderful world and the things you whine about are RIDICULOUS to anyone who blogs WITHOUT ASKING FOR A GODDAM DIME FROM ANYONE. Andrew, I hope you become a fucking millionaire. Lie your pathetic ass off along the way. Whatever works.

Go on with your begging. Meanwhile, I'll go to my day job EVERY DAY and post MORE than five gems of wisdom on my blog in my "spare" time. "Professional writer," my ass.

Andrew... BITE ME! I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire.

Lying bastard.

Quinton

Originally published June 11, 2003

Young Jack dropped by this evening to borrow some salt and to make sure that Quinton was coming over tomorrow. My boy is, and Jack is invited to spend the weekend with him. Jack is excited.

If I can get permission from Jack's mom, I think I might spend the weekend at the beach. We'll go there Saturday morning, spend Saturday night in a room somewhere and just go beachy for a day or so. We'll eat seafood and get salt water and sand in our hair. Build sand castles. Ride the boogie-boards in the surf.

I believe that the boys would like it, and I'm ready to go OFF for a weekend. I just don't know how Jack's dad (never around) feels about Father's Day. I know how I FEEL about it, and I am damn glad that Quinton is staying with ME this weekend. I want it to be something special and he's welcome to share it with his friend. I want to spend the weekend at Tybee Island and go native. No shirt, no shoes... NO PROBLEM!

If I don't blog this weekend, that's why.

January 22, 2008

Snakes

Originally published June 11, 2003

I went to my truck with the porch light on this morning. I never do that, but I wanted to see where I was going for a change. It was dark outside and I looked for snakes with every step.

I SAW snakes all day at work. WTF IS THAT!? Oh, a just a crooked stick on the ground. WTF IS THAT!? Oh, a piece of pump packing coiled in the weeds. Damn if they didn't look like snakes to me at first glance. I am fucked up from finding that rattler on the porch yesterday.

I don't do well around snakes. They trigger some kind of deep, primitive instinct buried in my medulla oblongata that says, "SNAKE!! KILL IT OR SELL THE HOUSE AND MOVE FAR AWAY!!!"

The only reason I went outside barefoot yesterday was to KILL THAT SUMBITCH BEFORE HE GOT AWAY! If I had farted around putting boots on and donning all sorts of combat gear only to approach my patio and find the snake GONE, I would never go out my back door again. I would never let Quinton play in those woods again. OR ever go out the back door.

So, I did what I did for a damn good reason. And I believe that I think calmly in a crisis, because the golf ball retriever was an excellent idea and worked like a charm to get the snake where I wanted it without ME ever having to come near it. I fucking HATE SNAKES, especially big, fat, ugly poisonous ones.

The shotgun did what it was supposed to do, too. (Yes, I DID drop the golf ball retriever before I shot.) I had .00 in it, and that's hell on a snake's head and a few inches of neck, too. He was moving, so I led him about 3" and ruined his entire day.

A dead rattlesnake stinks. I'm not saying that just because snakes freak me out. A dead rattlesnake really does STINK, like rotting garbage. They may be polite snakes, because they'll let you know where they are before they bite you, unlike copperheads and cottonmouths, but they suck just the same. I've got no use for ANY of them.

I've seen something resembling a snake everywhere I looked today. I am getting a severe case of the creeps. I keep checking my patio every 15 minutes, looking for snakes.

Bejus. I may never recover from this trauma.

Sex post

Originally published December 11, 2003

I've had sex in a lot of different places (and YES, I include a woman's anatomical construction among those places). I have a lively imagination and very few inhibitions.

* I made love in a hammock in broad daylight down at Lake George one day.

* I did it on a picnic table at George L. Smith State Park before a blazing campfire one night.

* I did it in the bushes on top of Blood Mountain. Twice, with two different wimmen.

* I did it on a pool table in the old Port Royal Bar on River Street, with the night reciepts as the pillow under her head. Fucking on top of a pile of money is fun.

* I did it in a car going 75 MPH down the interstate, if blow-jobs count.

* I did it in a hot tub.

* I did it in the sand dunes at the beach, and had the mosquito bites on my ass to prove it the next day.

* I did it in the back of a 1974 GMC Suburban parked on the side of a mountain road in North Carolina. I had a pile of sleeping bags back there and curtains on the windows.

* I've done it in bed, with candle-light and wine handy.

I believe that I like the last way the best.

January 21, 2008

Stay out of the orchard

Originally published December 10, 2003

I was told to "stay out of the orchard" when I was visiting Aunt Chassie's farm one summer. The orchard was fenced and it served as a cow pasture, too. The apple trees were heavy with fruit and the limbs were bending almost to the ground under the weight. My cousin Ernie and I couldn't resist the temptation. We hopped the fence and ran to pick some apples.

Aunt Chassie had a bull in that pasture. He was a BIG BULL, with a ring in his nose, horns on his head, and a set of balls that dangled like a pair of grapefruit in a gunney-sack between his legs. That bull was very protective of his cows. He saw Ernie and me jump the fence and he came charging at us.

We climbed the first apple tree we could find and quivered in the limbs while the bull butted the tree, pawed the ground below us and blew incredible amounts of snot from his nose. We picked a few apples and threw them at the bull in an attempt to run him off. All we managed to do was make the bastard more pissed off than he was to begin with.

"He'll get tired and go away before long." I said. One hour later, Ernie and I were still in the tree with the pissed-off bull underneath us. That's when we started yelling for help.

My grandfather walked into the pasture. He was carring a chain with a clip on the end of it. He walked right up to that angry bull, grabbed it by one horn and hooked the clip through the ring in its nose and then pulled the chain. He led that bull away from the apple tree and it followed him as docile as a child. He hooked the other end of the chain to a fence post and walked back to the apple tree.

"Get down out of that tree," he demanded. We complied immediately. "Now pick a switch to take back to the house. You both know what you have coming to you."

We both tore off a nice, supple branch from that apple tree, stripped off all the leaves, followed my grandfather back through the gate and took a good, old-fashioned ass-wuppin' from our mamas as soon as we hit the front porch. Those apples didn't look so good after that experience.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. If you hop the fence, be ready for what's on the other side.

Holy Bejus!

Originally published June 10, 2003

I just walked back into my trashy, unwashed kitchen to get myself another glass of wine. As I passed by the elegant, although plastic, imitation French doors leading out to my luxurious 8' X 8' concrete patio, I glanced outside and saw something that didn't look right. I took two more steps toward the wine box and stopped dead in my tracks.

Do you ever have those moments? You know, when your mind takes in a rapidly-changing scene and ONE detail jumps right to the front of your brain and screams, "THIS AIN'T RIGHT!" That happened to me today. Something on my patio didn't belong there.

I retraced my steps and and saw it. It was...

GODDAM RATTLESNAKE! BIG, COLD-BLOODED, SCALE-COVERED, UGLY-ASSED, FANG-EQUIPPED, SERPENT-EYED, VENOM-CARRYING, BELLY-CRAWLING, NASTY, NASTY NASTY!

I went to the bedroom and picked up my shotgun, checked to see that it was loaded and started out the FRONT DOOR, because I was gonna sneak up on that bastard from behind. Then, I thought about it. If I shoot that sunbathing shitass where he is, I'll damage my patio and probably blow half the windows out of my artificial French doors from the ricochets off the concrete. That plan wouldn't work.

I went to the garage and got my golf ball retriever out of my bag. I extended that sumbitch to maximum length, opened the garage door and launched my attack.

I went out the garage door and rounded the house. I crept on stealthy, bare feet, right through the goddam blackberry vines. (I'll be picking thorns out of my feet for a week now.) I had a fully-extended golf ball retriever in one hand and a shotgun in the other. If a neighbor had seen me, a 911 call would have been an immediate response to the Crazy Man in the neighborhood.

But I reached my point of attack and used the golf-ball retriever in an attempt to rake the snake off my patio. All I did was piss him off. The bastard coiled up and started striking at the end of the retriever, and he was singing with his rattles to beat the band. I interrupted his nap, and he didn't like that.

I had to step a little closer to get some more leverage (Acidman fears very little in this life. But he IS NOT COMFORTABLE around snakes.) I finally hooked him and tossed him out onto the ground. He tried to make for the woods, but I got close enough to his fleeing ass to blow his head off. I dug a hole and buried him deep in the back yard. I used the shovel to rake his disgusting ass into that hole, too. I don't touch snakes. He was about 4' long with six rattles and a button on his tail.

I'll probably have nightmares tonight. I HATE SNAKES.

But that's one that'll never bite Quinton.

January 20, 2008

Boys and girls

Originally published December 10, 2003

I stayed at a very nice house in Augusta one year when I went to watch The Masters golf tournament. We left the course that evening and took the long way back to the car so that I could see all of the golf course. I saw the greenskeepers spraying green food coloring on the grass to make it appear better on the TV cameras than it really was.

I stopped and told Jennifer, "Look at that. They are PAINTING the greens."

"So?" she replied. "It looks really pretty."

When we got back to the house, several couples gathered on the back porch for drinks and conversation. One couple had a five year-old daughter. She found a hammer, a pot full of dirt and a small gardening tool. She went down the stairs, picked some flowers, and planted them in the pot full of dirt. She used the little gardening tool as she hummed a song. She ignored the hammer. She made things look "pretty,"

I watched her work and told Jennifer, "You know what a boy would do in this situation? He would go for the hammer first, break the goddam pot, then see how far he could throw the pieces off this porch. If there was an animal running around in the yard, he'd see if he could hit it with a good throw. He wouldn't be planting any goddam flowers. Plus, he would end up with every bit of that dirt on him or in his drawers before he was finished playing."

Jennifer didn't believe me at the time (she's a woman--what can you expect?), but after Quinton came along, she saw my wisdom. My boy was all boy and he came out of the box NOTHING like a girl.

Quinton was two years old when I reminded Jennifer of that conversation we had in Augusta. "Watch this," I said. I laid out a rubber hammer, a teddy bear and a book on the floor. "Okay, Quinton," I said. "What do you want to play with?"

Quinton picked up the hammer first, beat the shit out of the teddy bear with it, while making TEE-YAH noises, then pretended to read the book. I turned to Jennifer and said, "I rest my case."

Men are from Mars and wimmen are from Venus.

Blogging

Originally published June 9, 2003

I had someone email me this evening to say that she thought about starting a blog because she likes the ones she reads now. I told her to do exactly that, and I recomended BLOGGER as a way to get started.

I trash BLOGGER a lot now that I've moved on to greener pastures, but it remains the best way to decide whether you want to do this crap or not. It's unreliable and frustrating, but it's free. I wouldn't recommend that ANYONE deck out with all the bells and whistles, extra bandwidth and a domain name until he or she has tried it for a while. Blogging is something you become addicted to or you become tired of quickly.

Stick your toe in the water first. BLOGGER is the way to do that.

But if you become addicted, get your ass away from there as fast as you can. Get a reliable host, and even if you don't believe that you'll need it, BUY THE EXTRA BANDWIDTH, because I've seen too many people fuck up by trying to go cheap. If you can afford $5 per month, you can afford $15 per month, and it makes all the difference in the world.

I am a computer nitwit. I don't know how any of this crap works, and I couldn't redesign my page or create "skins" if my life depended on it. I just know that I write a lot and I occasionally get "lanched" by somebody huge. I paid the kind of money I would stick in a stripper's G-string and never think twice about it for the extra bandwidth. It was worth every cent. My host has almost NEVER let me down, and it's taken some large hits.

I consider myself to be a serious blogger now. I've done it almost every day for more than a year and a half now and I intend to continue. I don't expect to be the next Glenn Reynolds or a begging whiner such as Andrew Sullivan. But I DO expect to have my place open for business every day. That's what I pay for, and that's what I want.

BLOGGER can't give you that. Other places can, and it isn't expensive. If you decide that you really enjoy blogging, go explore those places. Some people are offering to move you FOR FREE now. I paid $400 for that service. But that happened a long time ago.

I wonder what blogdom will look like ten years from now. That idea is scary in a good kind of way. I'll miss the old days, but I won't miss them much. I like what Glenn calls the "horizontal communication" network. It has damned sure introduced ME to people I never would have met otherwise. It's growing like Topsy every day, too.

I'll still cuss and rant on this blog as long as I write it. I'll let it all hang out. That's what I do. There's room for me here, and there always will be. The great thing about blogging is that there is NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT! Go with what works for you. Be yourself. Write... Bejus, but I hate to say this... Bite me, Joni... write from your heart and let the chips fall where they may.

Believe it or not, that's what I do.

January 19, 2008

Sheriff Cody Long

Originally published December 9, 2003

I always liked Cody when I was a kid. He wore a big badge and toted two pearl-handled .45 revovers on his hip. He sat on the "gossip bench" outside the pool hall most of the time, and seldom spoke, but when Cody talked, people listened.

Cody had a reputation in Harlan County. He was a big man, well over six feet tall, and he probably weighed about 260 pounds. Cody killed a lot of people. Everybody in Loyal, Kentucky, told me--- if Cody come after you in the mountains, you ain't coming out alive. He'll shoot you. Cody went into the mountains and brought out a dead body many a time in his career, all of them killed in self-defense.

You didn't have a lot of crime when Cody Long was around. I'm not saying that we need more cops like Cody, but he damn sure got the job done.

Memories

Originally published June 9, 2003

My parents believed in corporal punishment. I got my ass whipped a lot as I was growing up. The Weapons Of Ass Destruction used on me were (not necessarily in order of frequency or effectiveness):

1) Bare hands. My parents tended to spank with the right hand, but my mama was ambidexterous. She could spank with both hands at the same time if she had two sons that needed it at once.

2) A Belt. Yep. That was Dad's baliwick and you knew you had fucked up bad when the belt came off and was applied to your butt-cheeks. Getting the belt was the a death sentence around my house. That was reserved for crimes so terrible that Mama just looked at you with tears in her eyes and said, "We'll discuss this when your father gets home." But dad was a man, so he used the belt he was wearing at the time. You sorta knew what to expect. That's the way men do things.

3) The Switch. Oh, Bejus, THAT was the worst, especially if you had to go out and select the switch yourself. You better pick a good one, or Mom will choose a two-by-four to use on you, but you don't want to choose TOO WELL, because that thing is going to rain carnage on your ass. The switch was the female-applied Death Sentence. It's perverse, too, because they made you select the bullet they were going to kill you with. That's just plain FEMALE!

4) The Bolo-Paddle from hell. Remember Bolo-Paddles? Remember that stupid toy that had a rubber ball on a rubber string? The one where you slapped the ball around for about 10 minutes before the rubber string broke and you lost the little rubber ball? And Mama kept the paddle part and whipped your ass with it? Maybe YOU don't, but I DO!

I have spanked my son twice in his entire life. I used my bare hands both times and he deserved what he got. (I had to show him who was Tall Dog.) I think back on all the spankings I got and wonder... is he that much BETTER BEHAVED than I was as a child, or am I a slack disciplinarian?

He's a good kid, but NO BOY is that good. I think I'll spank him next weekend whether he needs it or not. Then, I'll tell him, "See? That's what you get if you screw up. I just wanted to remind you not to do that."

Parenting is confusing work.

Aunt Chassie's farm

Originally published December 9, 2003

Aunt Chassie was my grandmother's sister and she kept the family farm after everybody else moved away and got "real" jobs. She lived there and ran the place until she had a stroke at the age of 90. She taught me to milk a cow when I was six years old.

I remember how much I loved visiting that place. It was 'way back in the mountains. If your vehicle couldn't ford two creeks along a rocky dirt road, you weren't going to make it to the farm. But if you got there, it was a wonderland for a young boy.

Aunt Chassie had a HUGE barn and chicken-house, an apple orchard and every kind of animal you might expect to find on a farm. My cousin Ernie and I got in big trouble one day for eating a mess of fried fatback on the porch and feeding the rinds to the dogs. Chassie came after us with a broom. "Don't you feed those dogs table food," she yelled. "They've got a job to do around here and you'll ruin 'em feeding them fatback scraps."

The same thing went for the cats that lurked under the porch and seldom came out in the daylight. The dogs were there to run off predators coming after the livestock and the cats were there to kill rats. Aunt Chassie NEVER fed any of those critters table scraps. Table scraps went in the slop for the hogs.

I always liked feeding the chickens in the morning. I enjoyed taking a bucket of feed out there and broadcasting it one handful at a time while I watched the chickens peck and scratch. But Chassie had a bad-ass rooster who resented my presence in the coop, and one day, that bastard attacked me. That sumbitch came out of nowhere and was on me like white on rice. He pecked and spurred the shit out of me in a frenzy.

I dropped the bucket of feed and tried to get away from that rooster while he was tearing my young ass apart. (Note: a six year-old boy CANNOT outrun a full-grown rooster) I was losing that fight when Chassie suddenly appeared in the coop. She caught the rooster with one hand, did this incredible flick of the wrist and broke its neck. The rooster hit the ground, flopped a couple of times, then gave up the ghost.

We had chicken and dumplings for supper that night.

After I saw Chassie do that incredible trick, I tried to wring a chicken's neck a few times myself. I never mastered the technique. I believe I created a few elongated-necked chickens by whirling them around by the throat, but I never learned to snap their necks the way Aunt Chassie could.

She was a genuine farm-woman.

January 18, 2008

Rats in the basement

Originally published December 9, 2003

When I lived in Kentucky, I saw a lot of homes with earth-walled basements. Usually they had a coal chute leading to the coal bin, where I got my ass whupped more than once for using that chute as a slide and landing in the coal and getting all dirtified the way my daddy looked when he came home from the mine.

But, I digress...

Those earth walls were made of rocks and red clay, and they turned out pretty and smoothe if you wet them down and sculpted them. A lot of people did. The clay hardened like a brick and the rocks helped keep the wall nice and solid. I learned to love the smell of an earthen-walled basement.

But nobody could keep rats from burrowing into the basement. I remember all the rat-tunnels I saw back then and I remember more than once being in somebody's basement and hearing dirt hit the floor. I'd turn around and see a rat poking his head out of a freshly-dug tunnel in the wall.

I don't know if this story is true or not, but I heard my father and my Uncle Virgil tell identical versions, years apart. Several miners got likkered up on moonshine one night and saw a rat stick its head out of a freshly-dug tunnel in somebody's basement. The miners became pissed at the audacity of the rat and decided to get even.

They put together some dynamite (which was always readily available in a coal mining camp), hooked it up to a long fuse and shoved it as far as they could down the rat-hole. Then, they lit the fuse.

When the explosion occurred, it blew six outhouses right off their foundations. The rat tunnels were all inter-connected to the outhouses in the camp and the tunnels were filled with methane gas. That crap-gas went up in a blue flame that lit up the mountains. It made a noise louder than coal-trains coupling in the switchyard. People had fire and brimstone flying out of their basement walls. Rats with their asses on fire went running everywhere in the night. The Sheriff woke up and reached for his pistol. Widow wimmen pissed their beds. Little children started crying in fear.

According to local lore, no one ever confessed to setting off the dynamite that night, but everybody had a pretty good idea about who did it. They kept their mouths shut, however, and they never were arrested. Nobody got hurt, so the investigation was short and sweet, then forgotten.

I'm just glad that I wasn't sitting in one of those outhouses that night.

small tall dogs

Originally published June 9, 2003

When I attended the Universtity of Georgia, I lived in a two-bedroom mobile home about a mile from the school. I walked back and forth every day because student parking was such a pain in the ass. Besides, it was good exercise on those hills. I was 23 years old. I NEVER got tired back then.

I left my house, cut through a patch of morning glories, hopped the back fence and went down the neighbor's driveway to hit the main road. About 100 yards from there was a small bungalow, very close to the street. It had a small fenced yard with two maniacal chihuahuas running around barking, yapping and damn near foaming at the mouth every time I walked past. I ignored them because they were rat-dogs and they were behind a fence, too.

But one day when I was walking home from classes, the devious little shits had an ambush planned for me. They dug a hole under the fence, and when I passed by, they came charging out like like a couple of crazed weasels, shot through the hole back-to-back and attacked me on the street.

One of the bastards would attack me from the front, and while I was busy trying to punt him through the goalposts of life, the other one would run up behind me and nip my ankles. If I turned to kick at THAT one, the OTHER ONE started biting my ankles from behind. They were FAST, too.

I did a weird, high-kicking, whirling dervish voodoo dance in the street for about two minutes, then finally gave up and ran for my life with BOTH of the rats nipping at my ankles. The turds drew blood in several places and ripped the cuffs of my blue jeans to shreds. I was humiliated and angry.

I went home, got my Bowie knife and cut me a switch about 5' long off a sycamore tree in the front yard. I peeled it so that it was the thickness of my little finger at the base and it tapered down to a needle point on the other end. It make a nice "WHITT" sound when I whipped it though the air.

I had my ass whipped with something similar when I was a child, so I knew EXACTLY how painful that instrument could be. I propped it up against the back fence for retrieval in the morning.

On my way to school the next day, I hopped the fence, reached back over and fetched my switch and headed down the neighbor's driveway. I had my books under my left arm and my switch in my right hand.

The rat-dogs were waiting for me. As soon as they saw me coming, they shot through the hole under the fence and tried the same tactics that worked so well the day before. The howling and yelping began immediately.

They never saw the switch. They just saw my right hand move and suddenly felt incredible pain in the face and eyes. I could whip that thing around pretty fast, they quickly became tired of being stung in the face, and the switch worked just as well on their asses when they were trying to retreat BACK through that hole under the fence and they got jammed up in there by hitting it at the same time. Two mean, quivering doggie asses that couldn't move. What a target. I wore them out.

About that time, the front door of the house opened and an elderly woman came out on the porch. "What are you doing to my dogs?" she yelled.

"Paying them back for yesterday," I said, never missing a lick. WHITT! WHITT! WHITT! The dogs finally managed to squeeze through the hole and run up on the porch, where they stood next to the woman and whined.

"If you hurt my dogs, again, I'm calling the police," she warned.

"Call them now," I suggested helpfully. "They can get Animal Control over here. I've got bite marks all over my ankles and a pair of destroyed blue jeans I want to discuss with them. Do your dogs have their shots?" They were both wearing nice collars with shiny silver vaccination tags.

"Of course they do. But my dogs don't bite."

"Yeah, right. They won't bite ME again, you can bet on that. Once was enough. If you don't want me beating the crap out of them every time I come down the road, you'd better cover up that hole under your fence and keep them in the yard. You calling the cops, or not?"

She turned and went back inside, taking the dogs with her. I propped my switch against a tree about 50 yards down the road where I could find it on the way home. I picked it up that afternoon, and sure enough, the dogs were outside in the yard again. As I walked by, they barked their asses off at me, after they ran up on the porch and stood quivering by the door.

They never offered to attack me again, and I stopped carrying the switch after about two days. That one episode of stings coming from something they couldn't see was enough for them. They recognized me as a dangerous man. I was a Tall Dog and not to be messed with.

Almost all dogs get this kind of message really quickly. That's one thing I really like about dogs.

Convince them once, and they STAY convinced.

We're getting there

Originally published June 8, 2003

Summers in Georgia are hot.

My parents never put an air conditioner in their house until after I moved out. I remember many a night when I crawled out of the puddle of sweat in my bed and slept on the tile floor of my bedroom to get some relief from the oppressive heat and humidity. I sweat like a car wash to this day.

Believe this:

YOU KNOW YOU ARE IN Georgia in the SUMMER when...

*The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.
*The trees are whistling for the dogs.
*The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.
*Hot water now comes out of both taps.
*You can make sun tea instantly.
*You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.
*The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a little chilly.
*You discover that in July it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car.
*You discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.
*You actually burn your hand opening the car door.
*You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 a.m.
*Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?"
*You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.
*The potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add
butter, salt and pepper.
*Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.
*The cows are giving evaporated milk.

Yeah, you piss steam, too.

But I would rather sweat than shiver any day.
[Ed. Amen, A-man.]

January 17, 2008

Tall dogs

Originally published June 8, 2003

I like dogs and I don't like cats.

Dogs are pack animals and they understand who is the "Tall Dog." That's the alpha male who rules the pack. He's the boss. He always takes the lead harness when he pulls a sled and he wins every fight when he's challenged. The other dogs know who he is, and they treat him with the respect he deserves.

I miss Bud.

Bud is the 90-pound chow/lab mutt I lived with for ten years while I was married to the BC. He's got gray silver hair around his muzzle now and he's not half the dog he once was. Hell, he's 15 years old now, and that's ancient for a dog. He's arthiritic and can barely see anymore, but he's still alpha and good for about 30 seconds worth of fight before he wears out. With him, 30 seconds is usually enough. He's still a bad-ass.

I got my bluff in on Bud shortly after I started dating Jennifer. I am good with dogs, but Bud didn't like me at first. One day, when I was in Jennifer's apartment waiting for her to come home from work, Bud growled at me. I was wearing a cap and I whipped it off my head and proceeded to beat the shit out of him with it. I quit when he rolled over on his back in a posture of submission.

I never had another problem with Bud after that, and he loves me to this day, the grizzled old fart. I showed him who was Tall Dog. He understood immediately.

I would have had one hell of a fight and a lot of stitches in my immediate future if that dog had decided to make a serious issue about who was in charge that day. But I ran a newspaper route when I was 12 years old and I dealt with really mean dogs back then. I carried a sawed-off baseball bat in a holster on my bicycle and I bashed many a biting, barking dog with it. Once was always enough. They got the message fast.

You gotta let them know who is in charge.

When we moved to Twin Oak Drive, I was warned about "Nemo," a dog as big as Bud who was the terror of the neighborhood. That ratty bastard came to shit in my yard every day, and he bit Cathy when she tried to run him out of her yard in mid-shit. I finally had enough of him.

I KNEW how aggressive MY dog was. I saw Nemo in the yard, all hunched-over, pinching another loaf on my grass, so I said, "Bud! Lookee here!" and I opened the door. Bud saw Nemo and he went nuts. "Gittem!" I said, and Bud did.

Bud had a real good technique for a dogfight. He ran full-tilt into his opponent and hit them like a linebacker in an NFL football game. That impact usually knocked them ass over teakettle, and Bud went for the throat after that. He did the same thing to Nemo, and the two dogs went tumbling into the ditch in my front yard with Bud on top and Nemo in big trouble.

I ran out, wearing nothing but gym shorts, to break up the fight. Bud wore a choke-chain around his neck that could support the anchor of a large boat, and I grabbed that to pull him off of Nemo. Blood was all over both dogs. Bud was still growling and snapping until I pulled the chain tight around his neck and got him to calm down. Nemo jumped up and ran away.

I checked Bud from head to toe, cleaned him up and discovered that he wasn't wounded. All that blood came from Nemo. I took Bud back inside and gave him a handful of doggie-treats, petted him and praised him for a job well done. He laid down on his favorite rug and munched contentedly. No big deal. All in a day's work.

Nemo never came back in my yard again. I watched that dog start down the road, come to my house and cross WAAAYYY over on the other side of the street as he went by, eyes ever watchful for the demon who got him there before.

He knew where the Tall Dog lived. And he wanted no more of it. And he shit elsewhere after that.

That's what we should do as a nation today. Be Tall Dog. Prove it. Then tell the pissants and the mean dogs of the world that they can shit all they want to.

Just don't try it in MY yard.

That same theory doesn't apply to cats, which is why I hate cats. They don't have normal brains. They are like really spiteful women. Beat THEM for fucking up and they'll go shit in your bed.

Dogs understand the rules of war. Cats are terrorists.

Uncle Virgil's pig

Originally published December 9, 2003

My uncle Virgil is a good storyteller. Most of my family can spin a pretty good yarn, but Virgil is one of the best. He spent 30 years in the Air Force, traveled all over the world, and has lots of interesting stories to tell. Get a little Scotch in him, and he becomes almost as bombastic as I am.

When he was a boy on my Papaw's farm, a sow had some piglets. Virgil adopted one as a pet. He thought that the pig was smarter and more well-behaved and any dog he ever had. "That pig followed me around like a puppy. If I told it to 'sit,' it sat. If I said 'come here,' it came. If I told it to 'lay down,' it laid down. That was one smart pig."

The pig grew bigger and attracted my Papaw's eye. He put it in a wooden pen and started feeding it corn every day.

"I KNEW that my daddy liked my pig, because he put him in his own house, with a wooden floor covered with straw so that he didn't have to sleep on the ground anymore. He fed MY pig corn. MY pig didn't have to root for slops with the rest of the swine. MY pig was special."

Virgil's pig grew fat and happy.

Then, one Saturday morning, when the time was right, Papaw dragged that pig out of the pen, shot it in the head with a .38 pistol and butchered it. Virgil was heartbroken. "My daddy killed my pig and my family ATE IT."

Virgil wouldn't eat bacon for years after that traumatic incident.

January 16, 2008

Shoulda sent it

Originally published June 8, 2003

Production Report for 6/7/03

It appears that the ritual sacrifice I performed on that screaming monkey yesterday worked exactly the way the root-lady said it would. We had an excellent day, and we have no problems in the plant this morning.

I'm going home to kill a goat next. I was told that if I eat the heart while it's still beating, we'll be problem-free for a week. Does anybody at Corporate know how to remove bloodstains from beige carpet?

Also, will I violate the Code of Conduct if I have a contractor from the plant bring a back-hoe over to my house for free and help me dispose of the eviscerated animal carcasses piling up on my back patio? The flies are getting bad out there and the stench is horrid.

It really is company business, because I wouldn't be killing those animals if the root-lady didn't tell me that ritual sacrifice was necessary to make the plant run well. There is no charge for the knives, hatchets and sporks I used, because I owned them already. But I may need a new kitchen table because that monkey left claw-marks in mine last night.

I bought the goat cheap and used the Company credit card for that purchase, but the guy with the monkey accepted cash only, so I had to use my own money to buy it. Can you fax me the proper paperwork to file for a reimbursment?

I entered a purchase order this morning for a 2,000 pound water buffalo. Can you put that one on a fast-track? It doesn't have to be EXACTLY 2,000 pounds, but the more massive, the more mojo when I slaughter it. The root-lady says that I need it by next Wednesday to avoid incredible disaster.

Production numbers are attached on page 2 of this memo.

Call me at BR-549 if you have any questions.

Yours, from work,

The Weekend Duty Guy.

Do you reckon THAT would get some attention at corporate headquarters?

Christmas jobs

Originally published December 8, 2003

For five years in a row when I was going to college, I worked at K-Mart during the Christmas holidays. I did just about every job available in the store, including running a cash register, doing a "Code Three in the Parking Lot" (go get all the shopping carts scattered all over the place out there) and mopping floors in the cafeteria.

My favorite job was doing night stock. I showed up with a couple of other people when the store closed and the junior manager locked us in the place for the night. We unloaded trucks and stocked shelves until 9:00 in the morning. I saw all kinds of stuff come into that store.

K-Mart had a big, red binder full of fine print that told you what price every item you put on the shelf should sell for. You found the stock number on the item, looked it up in the book to find the price and used a tape-gun to put those crazy 67-cent price tags on a lot of cheap shit. The book also told you how many units K-Mart bought and what price they paid.

I was amazed by what I learned from that book. A lot of those plastic cars and army men were bought in units of over 1,000,000 at .04 cents each. I'm not talking FOUR CENTS each. I mean FOUR-TENTHS OF A CENT. We sold them for anywhere between 27 cents and 98 cents. They sold like hotcakes, too.

I forget what the really "GOTTA HAVE" toy was one year (some kind of talking, pissing Teddy Bear, I think), but every store in Savannah was sold out. Two days before Christmas, we had a truck pull in around midnight loaded to the gills with those things. We unloaded the truck and I checked the stock number in the book. I was astonished by what I saw.

K-Mart paid $28.00 per unit but was selling them for $26.00. They were going to lose TWO DOLLARS on every one of those toys they sold. Those figures didn't look right to me, so I asked the manager about it. That's when I first heard the term "loss leader."

"We have a full-page ad running in the paper tomorrow advertising this toy. We'll be sold out before closing. Most people who come will come for the toy, but that won't be the only thing they buy. You run a loss leader like this one just to get people in the store this time of year. We'll make up what we lose on this toy with the other stuff they buy. But we've gotta get 'em in the store first."

I learned a valuable lesson about business that night. If you're selling something, you've gotta get 'em in the store.

I also learned to HATE Christmas carols for several years after doing those jobs. Listen to "The Little Drummer Boy" about 1,000 times and you'll want to shove that drum up the drummer boy's ass and strangle the baby Jesus right there in the fucking manger. Plus, I wanted to put a "RUM-PUM-PUM" on Mary and Joseph, too, and any goddam wise man who opened his smart mouth. I wanted to stuff sombody's myrrh right up their frankensense, sideways.

Of course, maybe not everyone would have that reaction. Maybe that was just me.

January 15, 2008

Stupid people

Originally published June 7, 2003

I try not to argue with stupid people anymore. They are STUPID! I'm not going to change their minds with a cogent presentation of my argument, because STUPID PEOPLE ARE STUPID!

They don't listen and they don't learn. They LIKE being stupid, the way an infant likes to sit a shitty diaper as long as the shit is warm. Stupid people are happy sitting in their own shit.

We could walk down the street together, and I could show you lots of stupid people. Just walk up to a stranger and ask, "What is the First Amendment to the Constiution?"

That person may have a vague idea about the Constitution, as some sort of document they remember from grade school, but 99 out of 100 people will run away screaming. Law enforcement officers will become involved, and if you ask THEM the same question, your ass will spend the night in jail.

I'll make a bet. Pick ANY city in ANY state and poll 1000 people at random. See first of all if they know what the Bill Of Rights is to begin with, then see how many of the first ten amendments they can name. I'll bet most people can't name three.

Once we've learned that people don't know shit, ask the same brainiacs this question: "What important rights does the government grant you?" From most people, you won't get the answer I would give. Of course, if I were in charge, you wouldn't have smoking bans and a useless War On Drugs, either.

Government doesn't GRANT you rights, people. It TAKES THEM AWAY!. You were born free until government got hold of you. And you let people dumber than YOU ARE do this shit to you.

Look at Washington, DC. That's not a goddam government-- it's the bar scene from Star Wars. Hillary Clinton. Robert Byrd. Tom Daschle. Chuck Schumer. Jim Jeffords. If my son grows up to be like any one of those soulless shitheads, I'll strangle him with my bare hands. But you assholes VOTE for those idiots.

Is THAT what you really want?

Must be. I need to take my Clue Detector and go home.

Pony man

Originally published December 7, 2003

"When it's midnight on the meadow and the cats are in the shed
And the river tells a story at the window by my bed
If you listen very closely (be as quiet as you can)
In the yard you'll hear him, it is the pony man."

That's the first verse of a song about a magical creature who takes children on big adventures at night and manages to get them back in their beds before the sun rises in the morning. It's a great song.

I hate Sunday evenings. After a weekend of enjoying a house full of kids, I find an eerie quiet around the Crackerbox after Quinton leaves. That quiet disturbs and depresses me. I feel as if my life-force is being sucked right out of my heart.

I looked at a picture this evening that made me cry. It's a picture of me playing guitar and singing to Quinton when he was still in diapers. Every time he pitched a fit as a baby, I could make him hush and settle down when I sang to him. His favorite song was "Pony Man," by Gordon Lightfoot. I must have played that song more than 100 times for him. He liked it long before he could understand the words.

In that picture, Quinton has a big smile on his face and he appears to be clapping his hands. He is less than a year old. I remember that day. I'm perched in a kitchen chair and his little ass is sitting on the floor. I am playing and singing "Pony Man." His mama took that picture because she always was amazed at the way Quinton settled down and behaved when I sang to him.

Quinton doesn't care to hear me play and sing anymore. He's outgrown that phase now. He prefers to have daddy throw a football or shoot hoops with him. I don't mind doing those things, but a part of me really misses that little boy who sat on the floor and listened to my music with wonder in his eyes.

Yeah. I miss being the Pony Man.

January 14, 2008

The perfect crime

Originally published June 7, 2003

I once figured out the perfect crime that would have netted about $40,000 in small bills and made a lot of check-writers and credit card shoppers happy at the same time. I once worked every Christmas during college break at K-Mart, when business boomed there.

I freqently was chosen go on a "pickup," where you hit every register in the store and clean out the till. The money goes into a bank bag, and the bank bag goes into a duffle bag. By the time I hit 18 registers, I couldn't zip the duffle shut anymore.

I walked all the way through that crowded store with a gym-bag FILLED with money in my hand. Accounting was right next to the storeroom.

I worked in the storeroom, too.

I KNEW that an enterprising thief could ride up on a 90cc Honda trail bike, get off with a box in his hand, say he was making a delivery from another store, walk right through the storeroom and intercept a dumbshit like me with the bank bag in his hand. I'm making $5.00 per hour. If that guy sticks a gun in MY face, I'm giving him the duffle-bag, no questions asked. NOBODY in K-Mart carried a gun.

He could relieve me of the cash, walk right out the way he entered (about 100 feet) and use a trail bike to escape during Christmas traffic. It was a perfect plan. Keep the cash and throw away all the checks and credit card reciepts. Merry Christmas to everybody!

I am NOT a criminal, but this theft looked so easy that I actually mentioned it to a manager. We're talking a LOT of money here and crack-heads will risk 20 years in jail for $50 by robbing a 7-11 store. I didn't like carrying that duffle bag.

I was poo-pooed and told that "security" had my back. Yeah. "Security" was a retired cop with no gun who looked for shoplifters and couldn't run 100 feet without having a heart attack. I was NOT comforted.

After Christmas, I left and went back to college. On Memorial Day, a guy pulled up on a motorcycle outside the storeroom, said he was making a delivery from another store, walked in without ever taking his helmet off and robbed the Wells Fargo guy picking up ALL the money from the store. He even took the Fargo guard's .45 pistol, along with all the money. He rode away on the motorcycle and never was caught.

The Wells Fargo guy was fired. I know that for a fact because I work with him now. Turk had a .45 in a belt holster that day. The robber had a .38 that he stuck in Turk's face. Turk handed over all the money AND his gun, just as I would have done under those circumstances.

"That guy came out of NOWHERE, Rob," Turk told me. "He stuck that gun in my face and I SWEAR I coulda put my entire head down that barrel. I gave him the money, my gun and was proud that I didn't shit my pants. I've never been so fucking scared in my life."

That's when I told Turk about my robbery plan. He's looked at me strangely ever since.

All he saw, other than the very hostile end of a gun, was a guy about my size wearing a motorcycle helmet. I believe that he thinks it was ME.

Generation gap

Originally published December 7, 2003

I remembered Pearl Harbor today. I don't believe that a lot of other people did.

I saw very little on the news about today being the 62nd anniversary of the event that thrust this nation into World War II and eventually made The United States the only true Superpower in the world. That sneak attack by the Japanese 62 years ago was the trigger that brought us to where we are today.

My parents and grandparents remembered December 7th, 1941 as a day that changed their lives. They remembered where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. I heard those stories often when I was growing up.

We have a bunch of uneducated people in the country today who never heard of Pearl Harbor, nor do they care to learn about it. Hell, they couldn't find Hawaii on a goddam globe, let alone tell you what happened there 62 years ago. That fact saddens me.

I told Quinton and Jack about Pearl Harbor over breakfast today. I bought a copy of the Savannah Morning News and showed them this article. People who remember that day are dying off quickly.

Fuck. More people are interested in the assholery of Paris Hilton today than those who give a shit about Pearl Harbor. That's the kind of nation we have become. We're a nation of nitwits and short-attention-span asswipes who don't have a clue how we got where we are. And we won't stay there long if people don't start pulling their heads out of their asses.

On December 7, 62 years ago, more than 2,000 American servicemen died on a Sunday morning. We suddenly found ourselves in a World War. We had one hell of an uphill fight to get back on our feet and win that war. We did it, but the fight was not an easy one and we have the graves of brave men planted all over the world to prove it.

We won. We kicked Japan's ass and defeated Germany, too. We invented the atomic bomb. We stood toe-to-toe with the Russians after that and eventually wore them down, too, thanks to Ronald Reagan. The United States became the Land of Milk and Honey, and we live better than anyone else in the world. We take our lot in life for granted, too. That's pathetic.

We are where we are today because Admiral Yamamoto launched that attack on Pearl Harbor 62 years ago. NOBODY should be ALLOWED to forget that fact. Today is a day that EVERYBODY should remember and cherish as one of the most important days in the history of this country. A lot of people died to give us what we have today.

Show some goddam gratitude.

January 13, 2008

Good "son moment"

Originally published December 7, 2003

Quinton and I were watching the Dawgs get slaughtered last night when the half-time show began. We watched that guy win $400,000 throwing a football into the hole in a Dr. Pepper can.

The guy did well from five yards away, but when he moved back to the ten, he missed everything he threw. Quinton said, "Daddy, you could hit every ball you threw from there. You're a good passer."

Quinton is correct, too. I call them "Johnny Unitas" passes when I lead him just right and lay the ball perfectly in his hands when he's on a full-tilt gallop. If he stands still, I tell him "This one's coming at your chin," and I seldom miss my mark. I've thrown a football all my life and muscle memory lasts a long time. I throw a good spiral, too.

Quinton asked me if I could have hit the long pass that the guy made last night to win $400,000. I told my boy that I didn't know. "I could make at least one out of three," I said. "I can't say for sure if the first one would have hit the hole."

"It would have," Quinton said. "You pass better than that guy does."

He went to sleep after that and I started drinking Wild Turkey. I thought about what he said and I became all misted up. My boy believes in me. He trusts me. He knows that Daddy can throw a football. He had no doubt in his mind that I would have won that contest.

Bejus. I hope I never let him down.

Improve your vocabulary

Originally published June 7, 2003

Learn THESE new words.

Refundigasm: A "tax refund" from the government when you didn't pay any taxes.

Allthemoneypeea:
the repetitive, melodic sound of politicians and news media talking about your well-deserved "tax refund" when you didn't pay any taxes.

Squank: the combination of pig-noises and chicken-squawks that politicians make when they want to hand out welfare checks and the people who want the "free money" join in on the chorus.

Deficititus:
What happens when taxpayers get to keep some of their own money.

Whoremoniousness: What happens when politicians hand out checks to people who don't pay taxes and call it a "tax refund."

Assholery: Politicians, news reporters and citizens who don't recognize or respond to Whoremoniousness when they see it.

Rapewalletry: What already happens to every taxpayer in America, even BEFORE politicians give your money to people who don't pay taxes.

France: What we are trying to become by redistributing wealth, financing unemployment and allowing Dennis Kochinich to run for President.

Smokewittery:
The maniacal urge to ban things that you don't like.

Dumbocracy: What this nation has become, because we allowed all of the above to happen.

Where is the Carnival this week? That's going to be my entry. (idea shamelessly borrowed but not stolen from here. I didn't copy his stuff, although some of it is pretty cool. "Ignoranus" is a good one! ).

January 12, 2008

Who knows?

Originally published December 6, 2003

Am I living on borrowed time? I don't know. Statistics say that with a zero PSA after my cancer right now, I have a 90% chance of surviving another ten years. The numbers go downhill from there. Is that a comforting thought, or what?

I don't worry about it. I believe that I was born with an expiration date stamped on my ass and when my time comes, there won't be a hell of a lot I can do about it except die with dignity. When I cash my retirement package, I'm going to Jamaica for a week to get a sun tan in January. I'm going to drink Red Stripe beer and eat lobster. I'll have a few bowls of goat soup, too. I might rent me a couple of dark-skinned wimmen and sport with them.

Hell, I might even smoke some ganja.

If I were meant to die before now, that event would be history. I tried to do it once, but the old body just wouldn't quit. I still remember waking up in that ambulance and being very disappointed that the lights were still burning. I don't feel that way anymore, but living through that experience really changed me.

I've been living on borrowed time since July 28, 2001.

Everything I've experienced since then is pure gravy. I LIKE gravy and I want to slather it all over my life from here on out. I don't fear death, but I don't intend to court the Reaper again, at least not until HE comes for ME. Then, we'll dance and I will not be afraid.

I am ready anytime he is and I may have a ticking time-bomb in my body right now. If so, I'll live with it until the bomb goes off. I don't care one way or the other. Whatever happens is fine with me. I'm living on borrowed time.

In the meantime, I intend to slather gravy all over my life.

Now that I think about it

Originally published December 5, 2003

Why the hell did I get a goddam dog?

So far, she has shit twice on the floor, chewed up my favorite belt, eaten a hole in my favorite pillow, dug trenches in my yard WHERE I HAD ACTUAL GRASS GROWING, climbed up on the coffee table to raid a box of Ritz Crackers, dragged a jar of peanut butter onto the couch and damn nearly chewed the lid off of THAT, left my bathroom mat in pieces and pissed on my couch.

Those are the crimes she committed that I am aware of. I suspect that the sneaky little fuck has done a lot more and gotten away with it.

She stays in a cage now when I leave the house. I would not be surprised to come home and find her loose, with the door chewed off the cage. She acts sweet and innocent, and she's great around kids, but she has the mind of a feral rat.

Why the hell did I get a goddam dog?

Breakfast

Originally published December 6, 2003

Oddball slept with Quinton and Jack last night. They are convinced that she is a wonderful dog. They aren't aware of that mutt's feral capabilities yet.

I asked those two rapscallions what they wanted for breakfast this morning. I had sugar-coated chocolate cereal, Jimmy Dean sausage-and-egg-biscuits and frozen waffles. "Bacon and eggs!" they yelled.

I explained that the cereal, biscuits and waffles were quick and easy, but bacon and eggs would make Mr. Rob have to work in the kitchen. They looked at each other after my impassioned speech and said, in unison, "bacon and eggs!"

I fixed the little rats bacon and eggs this morning. They sucked that meal up like Hoover vacuum cleaners and drank half a quart of milk along with it. Now they are outside playing basketball.

I have the only basketball goal in my entire neighborhood. Being from Kentucky, I find that fact very strange. Basketball goals were nailed on every tree, every garage and every place a person could put one in Harlan County when I grew up. If you owned a basketball, you didn't have to go far to find a place to shoot.

If someone else heard the noise of a basketball hitting the backboard, kids gathered like flies on honey and you had a full-fledged game going before you knew what happened. That same thing occurs at my house today.

Basketball is a great game. Quinton is playing point guard on his team this year and I'm working to make him the best free-throw shooter they've got. Free-throws are "gimme" points and I'm teaching him to drive to the hoop and draw a foul, too. He's proud because he's leaning to dribble between his legs, but I told him to cut that shit out and learn to pass. He is NOT in the NBA.

Practice dribbling without looking at the ball. Practice with both hands. Learn to make a lay-up an easy score from either side of the basket. Shoot 100 free-throws every day. Learn to bring the ball down the court while looking for the open man. Make a pass without telegraphing the move. Take a long shot when you're open, but don't be a shot-hog. Don't bounce-pass into a zone defense.

Damn! I like coaching my boy in sports.

Moon

Originally published June 7, 2003

While I was writing on Microsoft Word yesterday and waiting for my phone service to be restored, I saw the BC's fancy sports car pull into the driveway across the street. Quinton popped out of the car and Young Jack came running out to meet him. They jumped up and a down a few times, then came running through the rain over to my house.

Jack is spending the weekend with Quinton at the BC's place. That woman manages to insert herself into every aspect of my life. I watched her go into Jack's house to socialize. I wanted to shoot her.

I bought the Crackerbox for two reasons. First, when I saw the place, I met Jack, so I knew that Quinton could make friends here and have someone to play with. Second, I had a big yard, so I could plant a big garden.

I didn't plant a garden this year. That's the first time since I moved to Effingham County that I haven't played in the dirt growing things, but I gave away almost everything I grew last year. Why do that again? Tending a garden is a lot of work.

I enjoyed it when I grew my own food and fed my family with it. I enjoyed bartering with my neighbors in garden-swaps, where their melons did well but their potatoes sucked, while the deer ate my melons and my potatoes were bountiful. Trade a 5-gallon bucket full of new potatoes for two watermelons and five cantelopes, and that's a good deal when you've already frozen a bushel of new potatoes.

Hell, sometimes it was a trade between squash and zuchinni. I grew a LOT of fine zuchinni. My neighbors grew a LOT of fine squash. We swapped, one for one, and everybody was happy.

I miss that.

I come from a long line of farmers and I really enjoy working with my hands in the dirt. I believe that it is a genetic trait I inherited. Planting a seed and watching it grow makes me feel... useful. But I can't see doing it anymore just to be doing it. I don't want to grow it just to give it away.

When Quinton got ready to leave, Jack stopped in the doorway and said, "You PROMISED!" Quinton said, "Oh, yeah. I forgot. Daddy, look at THIS!"

He dropped his pants and mooned me, with a little side-to-side twitch thrown in for good measure. Then he hoisted his pants and ran off, laughing with his friend, back through the rain and into his mama's car. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

That boy reminds me so much of me that it's scary.

He's one reason that I don't garden anymore. I don't like to grow it and give it away.

January 11, 2008

Dead musicians

Originally published June 6, 2003

If only the good die young, I should live forever.

I learned buddy holly's music long after he was dead. I still play some of it today. It's good stuff. I do a finger-picking version of "Peggy Sue" that's not meant as a dance song. It's meant to charm the britches off the woman who hears me play and sing it, and it works most of the time.

I like to take other people's music and try it a different way. I worked on a good electric version of "Dixie" for a while, but my ex-band, Call The Cops perfected it before I could. They bring the house down with that song anymore. Hell, they even have a REGGAE VERSION that's a killer.

I do "Dock of the Bay" fairly well with just an acoustic guitar, and I can play almost ALL of Jim Croce's music. Give me a couple of partners, and I'll play my mandolin on a bluegrass version of "Give Me Three Steps." Can you imagine how well that song lends itself to bluegrass?

I also sing "Crazy" a lot. Go figure.

Possum season

Originally published December 4, 2003

I stopped by Mack's Gun Shop yesterday and learned something that I did not know before: we have a "Possum Season" in Georgia. It runs from something like September to May (I didn't really pay attention to the dates) and a license to hunt them costs $5.00.

WTF is THAT about? I see more dead possums on the side of the road than I do dead armadillos around here, and I see a LOT of dead armadillos on the road. People actually PAY to get a LICENSE to hunt those varmits? What do you do when you kill one? Mount its head on the wall as a trophy? Don't tell me that you're going to EAT it. That thought sickens me.

I once saw a dead cow lying under an oak tree. During a thunderstorm, lightning hit the tree and killed the cow, who was standing under the tree at the time. The cow laid there for almost a week in the Southern summertime before the farmer finally hired a back-hoe operator to bury it.

My friends and I cut through that field one day before that burial and the cow appeared to be breathing. It was stinking to high heaven, but it's sides were pulsating. Flies were buzzing around it and maggots were already making their presence known, but the cow was MOVING.

One of my friends grabbed a stick and beat on the cow. After that, we counted six possums retreating from the cow's asshole, right through the way they came in. They had been inside the cow feasting on that rotten meat from the inside out. I don't believe I've ever seen a more disgusting sight in my life.

Now. Do YOU want to go possum hunting?

They caved

Originally published June 6, 2003

The United States Senate today voted 95-2 to make the TAX CUT a WELFARE HANDOUT by giving "government" checks to people who don't pay taxes. I am sick to my stomach.

I am a single man who makes a good living. Well, I would make a VERY good living if I weren't paying child support to my bloodless cunt of an ex-wife. I PAY TAXES ON THE MONEY I GIVE HER!!! But she gets a check from the government, too! (Maybe she doesn't. She might make over $110,000 per year now, so she'll only get SOME of the money.) The woman drives a sports car and put a swimming pool in her yard last month. She is the cat's ass now, by her own choice, and I have to pay her for divorcing me.

Now I have to pay asswipes who don't pay taxes because they have children they can't support. Bejus! I just thought that the divorce court judge fucked me. The US government REALLY knows how to rub my nose in it.

Here's the deal. Work hard. Strive. Achieve. Spend a LOT of hours at work.

After YOU do that, we're going to TAKE your money and GIVE it to someone who "needs" it more than you do.

I am not one bit sorry if I offend anybody with what I wrtie right now. I AM NOT A GODDAM MILK COW! I was not put on this planet to work my ass off supporting someone who will not work. I did not get a college degree so that I could work my ass off to support the ignorant. I do not draw a paycheck intending to GIVE IT to someone who didn't earn it.

I give half of what I earn... understand that concept...EARN... to the government already, and I AM THE ONE who gets up at 4:30 every morning and I AM THE ONE who carries a cell phone everywhere I go so that work can contact me 24/7 and I AM THE ONE who has to work this weekend, because I have the duty.

I am also the one paying for the Senate's "generosity." Fuck every one of them and fuck the reporters who kept calling this welfare check deal a "tax credit." The LAST THING we need in this country is more than 50% of the people believing that the government will give them something for nothing.

NOBODY gives you something for nothing. And the government can't GIVE you anything it didn't take from someone else first. Politicians believe that we are dumb, like cattle, and we require their "leadership."

This shit isn't "leadership." It's leading the herd to slaughter.

And I never read ONE SINGLE NEWS ARTICLE that called this fiasco what it is. My headline? ""Senate votes for gigantic government giveaway program! Will wrestle with defict later."

Pricks.

January 10, 2008

A song I wrote

Originally published June 6, 2003

I keep telling people who doubt me that this blog is "no brag, just fact" (and I'll award a trivia prize to anyone who can tell me where THAT quote came from) and everything I write is true. I may embellish, but I don't invent. My life NEEDS no invention to be really entertaining. I have a novel in me just waiting to come out one of these days.

Unfortunately for me, I think the abcessed tooth will get me before the inspiration to write a novel does.

Anyway, this guy [Ed. Blog no longer seems to exist.] wrote a post soliciting song lyrics. I pondered about sending him lyrics he's never heard before, because I wrote them, but I decided not to. I decided to publish them HERE!

These are the words to the Acidman theme song. It's played out of the key of "D" followed by "G" and "A", and has only one modulation to Bm on the chorus. I believe that any musician worth his salt could pick it up and run with it after just a sample.

It goes like this:

They say I started raisiní hell When I was but a child As soon as I gave up my Mamaís breast I started running wild I was the only boy in the second grade Who could honestly say that heíd been laid Cause there ainít never been no moss growing on me.

They gave me up for lost at home
When I was barely ten
So I hopped aboard a Southbound freight
And I ainít looked back again
That was how I set the stage
For a hoboís life at a tender age
And there ainít never been no moss growing on me.

Chorus:
I ainít got a trace of virtue, but I surely love my vice
Iíve got me a way with the ladies and a hot hand on the dice
Iím the highest form of low degree
A menace to society
But there ainít never been no moss growing on me.

Some folks say Iím a crazy man
But I donít give a damn
Iíve done my share of low-down deeds
But Iím proud of what I am
A self-made case of awful mean
The sorriest sight youíve ever seen
But there ainít never been no moss growing on me

You'll never hear that one on Top 40 radio, but it goes over well in bars.

Political correctness

Originally published December 4, 2003

I'm going to pontificate on a few things that I believe are totally ridiculious in this world, and every one of them has to do with the insane concept of "political correctness."

1) Racial Profiling. People, just stop and think for a minute. It's a policeman's JOB to profile likely criminals. Yeah, I listened to a lot of black guys at work bitch about being pulled over by the cops for DWB ("driving while black,") and I don't blame them for being pissed off about the hassle. No innocent citizen enjoys being hassled by the police. But if black men didn't commit a FAR more disporportionate amount of crime than their white counterparts in this country, that shit wouldn't happen. Got-damn! Clean up your own act, then criticize.

2) Airport Screening.
I've been through that crap-factory a few times lately and I'll tell you what it amounts to as far as security goes: diddly-squat. The LAST thing we needed in this country was the government running that kind of operation. Let government become involved and you are guaranteed the efficiency of the Department of Motor Vehicles combined with the compassion of the Internal Revenue Service.

3) Brainless Bureaucracy. I was asked to remove my shoes the last time I attempted to board an airplane. I did, because I wasn't carrying a gun at the time, but damn if I didn't want to shoot somebody over that shit. Some fat bastard searched my carry-on bag and confiscated my moustache sissors from my shaving kit. Meanwhile, they allowed Abdul-Akeem and Apou-Jamal to walk right through the gate. When is the last time a got-dam Cracker hijacked an airplane using a pair of moustache sissors? Huh? TELL ME and I might see the sense in that shit.

4) Wimmen's Rights.
If that idea isn't a fucking joke, I don't know what is. Go to Divorce Court. You'll get a dose of wimmen's rights there that'll knock your male dick in the dirt. How did wimmen ever become a "minority" anyway, when they outnumber men on this planet?

5) The Greatest Deliberatve Body in the World. Look around the US Senate. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! If you believe that we have a bunch of really smart guys working there, you need to play cards with me. I'll take your money honestly, unlike a politician.

6) Anti-Smokers.
What the fuck happened to this country? I am deadly serious about this gripe. When did we go from "Live Free Or Die" to "You Are Offending Me And I Will Make You Stop Just Because I Can?" I've read the Constitution of the United States many times and NOWHERE IN THERE do I see a Right Not To Be Offended. In fact, most of that document was written to ensure the rights of people who ARE OFFENSIVE, at least as far as government is concerned. Freedom means putting up with some shit that you, personally, do not like.

7) Environmentalists. Bejus on a bicycle. Those Gaia-worshipping assholes make me want to puke. They are anti-civilization, anti-capitalism and determined to make us all return to life in a cave, except this time we can't have fire, because it contributes to "global warming." My aching, Cracker ass. I went outside today in a tee-shirt on DECEMBER FUCKING FOURTH. The temperature was a little bit chilly, but not so cold that I ran back inside to fetch a jacket. Is that a bad thing? I'm not shoveling six feet of snow out of my driveway today and I am delighted by that fact. Bring on the heat. I am accustomed to it.

8) Activists of any kind. I don't know about you folks, but I've a double handfull all of my life just attempting to control my own affairs. What makes some fuckwits so smart that they can't be satisfied by just keeping their own goddam lives in order? They have enough free time to tell me how to live MY LIFE, too? Fuck 'em all.

9) Animal Rights. Give me a break. Anyone who doesn't see the difference between a human being and a rat should be dragged off and shot.

10) Gun Control. I know why most people who rally for gun control laws do so. They are afraid of guns. I see nothing frightening about a gun. A gun is a very simple machine. I've shot 'em all my life and I believe that I was taught well about how to handle them. I own twelve. Not a single one has EVER jumped up on its own and shot at me. I also know that nobody will ever take all the guns away from the bad guys out there. All I ask is a level playing field. If some crack-head thug can keep his gun, then I want mine, too. He'll be less likely to fuck with me if he knows that I am armed. Besides, everywhere that strict gun control has been enforced, crime escalated immediately. Leftist, gun-grabbing idiots ignore that fact, but they ignore the truth all the time.

The truth, sometimes, is politically incorrect.

January 09, 2008

Dry counties

Originally published December 3, 2003

I blame this post for making me ponder this subject.

I know a lot of places in Georgia where nobody can legally sell alcohol. In Effingham County, vendors can sell beer and wine, but no liquor. Randall's Liquor Store is conviently located right on the county line between Effingham and Chatham. The fucker has a gold mine there.

I can be at Randall's in less than five minutes from my house and I take a well-maintained dirt road to get there. No cops, no speed traps and no roadblocks to worry about on that trip. I NEVER see a Chatham County license plate in his parking lot. They are all Effingham.

In the last election, a referendum to allow selling liquor and mixed drinks in Effingham County was on the ballot. The Bible-thumpers turned out in droves to vote that idea down. The dumbasses didn't stop anybody from buying liquor-- they just voted their tax dollars to Chatham County and Randall's instead of their own coffers.

Dry counties remind me a lot of the sheer futility of the War On Drugs. Declare an alcohol-free zone and guess what happens, every time? People buy their liquor somewhere else and bring it home, or bootleggers start selling it illegally. Either way, anyone who wants a drink is going to get one.

Bootleggers don't card anybody, because they already operate illegally. Therefore, the end result of attempting to legislate human nature just to make yourself feel righteous results in making it EASIER for under-age people to get a drink. Where is the logic in that?

Bah! A lot of people don't think logically. People do stupid things all the time and believe that they are smart when they do. They are stunned when 14 year-old Johnny comes home staggering drunk in a dry county. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? WE LIVE IN A DRY COUNTY!

I know how it happens. I've bought liquor in a bootleg joint many times in my life.

Addendum to the post below (well, 'above' now...)

Originally published December 3, 2003

In 1974, I drove back to Harlan, Kentucky to visit my cousin. I made the trip in eight hours, which was a record for back them. I flew down the highway in a 1968 Javelin with Jethro Tull's "Aqualung" playing on an eight-track tape player all the way.

Harlan was a dry county back then and it had been for years. The nearest place to buy alcohol legally was Cumberland, which is 35 miles away. After I said hello to my cousin, he said, "Let's go get some beer."

"Damn, Ern. I'd love a beer, but I don't feel like going all the way to Cumberland to get one. I've been driving all fucking day. I don't need another 70 miles there and back for a beer," I replied.

"Who said anything about going to Cumberland? Go get in the car." I did as I was told.

We went about a mile from my cousin's house and pulled up to a neat little cottage. "You want to go inside or use the drive-through?" my cousin asked.

"What?"

"It's a bootleg place, Rob. We can get anything you want to drink in there."

"I want to see the drive-through."

We rode around a well-kept driveway and pulled up under what appeared to be a kitchen window. My cousin honked his horn. The window opened and a little old lady, who resembled Granny Clampett stuck her head out.

"Hello, Ernie! Who's that in the car with you. I don't recognize him."

"This is my cousin, Rob. He's visiting from Savannah."

"Hello, ma'am," I said.

"What do you boys want?" she asked.

"Two six-packs of tall Buds, please," Ernie replied. She ducked out of the window and returned in less than a minute with two cold six-packs of 16-ounce Budweisers in a brown paper bag. Ernie paid her and drove away.

I later returned to the place and went inside. The house resembled a house... except for a bank of refrigerators filled with beer and shelves full of liquor in a back room. That woman had been bootlegging for her entire life. She made a good living at it, too.

The Baptists of Harlan County kept her in business by keeping the county "dry."

Another addendum

Originally published December 3, 2003

I went to Beaver Dam, Kentucky to attend my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary celebration. I believe that it was 1978, but I am not certain. I remember that I was still playing guitar for a living at the time and I had long hair. I met up with my cousin Ernie again and we went to bust a few racks at the local pool hall. Beaver Dam is in a dry county, too. At least it was back then.

I got thirsty and wanted a beer. I asked the proprietor of the pool hall if I could get a drink around here.

"This is a dry county," he replied. "You need to go to Owensboro to buy likker."

"That's not what I asked," I replied. "Can I get a drink around here?"

"You two are Clarence and Halie's grandson's, aren't you?" I affirmed his suspicions. The next thing I heard was the crack of beer cans opening and he handed Ernie and me two cold beers that he poured into plastic cups. "That'll be two dollars. You boys play on the back table and pitch those cups if I tell you to." We did as we were told and had several other beers afterward. Dry county, my Cracker ass.

Prohibition works. Oh, yes, it does.

January 08, 2008

Body language

Originally published December 2, 2003

I took a lot of training classes at work designed to teach me to read body language. You know, that's how you tell a person's attitude and how well they are receiving whatever message you attempt to send.

The "gimmies" are the arms crossed on the chest. That person is erecting a barrier and does not trust you. A person who crosses his/her legs when you ask a question is hiding something. If you wish to encourage trust, then hold your arms away from your body and show the person you're speaking with your open palms.

That stuff is all well and good, and I believe that a lot of it works. But I talk a lot with my hands. I'm not certain how I fit into that body-language picture.
Someone once told me that if I had my hands tied behind my back I would be mute. I agreed.

Look at some of the pictures from the blog-meet. You will seldom see me in ANY of the pictures where I'm talking without making hand-gestures at the same time. I wave my hands. I point a finger. I show my open palm.

I don't know why I do that, but I'm not going to deny the fact. If my mouth starts to run, my hands have to move to illustrate what I'm saying. I believe that my brain insists that my hands are part of the verbal message. I do it without thinking about it.

That's instinctive body language.

No phone, no pool, no pets

Originally published June 5, 2003

My phone line is dead, so that means my dial-up internet connection is dead, too. I gotta get cable in here, or maybe satellite and let the dial-up serve as a back-up. Which is best?

For a dial-up connection, mine is usually pretty good. It runs somewhere between 42 and 52kbps most of the time, which is fast enough for what I do on a computer. I donít download a lot of big stuff or look at pictures, except when I occasionally check out some interesting porno spam. I just blog most of the time. Thatís why I havenít had a burning desire to upgrade to something faster.

I am typing this in Microsoft Word and just noticed that the spellchecker highlighted ďblogĒ and ďspamĒ but DID NOT highlight ďporno.Ē What does THAT say about the internet?

January 07, 2008

Another one from the cuckoo diary

Originally published June 5, 2003

I'm going to quote this one word-for word from my journal:

"I am feeling odd this evening, which may be the result of running a low-grade fever (100.6), probably because of some infection I have from the cuts on my left arm and all the needles I've had poked in me since I've been here. Why do they GIVE you three pints of blood, then turn right around and TAKE IT OUT one needlefull at a time?

"Didn't they check that shit before they gave it to me? Why do they need to sample it again every four hours? If I come down with AIDS from this, NOBODY is going to believe that I got it from a blood transfusion. I'll be branded a faggot for the rest of my life.

"Hell, maybe I outghta try homosexuality. I might like it, and I damn sure keep male friends longer than I hang onto women. But I have a problem, because given the choice between sleeping with a nekkid Kim Basinger or a nekkid Brad Pitt, I'm going to pick BOTH, so Brad and I can play "Spin the Kim."

"If I can pick only one, though, Brad is SOL. I'm just hard-wired that way.

"I've had a difficult time keeping track of days and hours in here. If I hadn't kept this journal, I wouldn't be sure that today is Sunday. Light and dark, or rain and shine don't register in this place, where most of the lights are on all the time and the only sounds you hear are generated by the nutcakes, the nurses and the machines. It must be a lot like what life was like in Hitler's bunker at the end of WWII.

"I don't know where I am. Everything became a big, indistinct gob of ectoplasm days ago, with no seams and no boundaries. It's like being in that big, white room in 2001, A Space Oddessy. You start to believe that this can't be real. I expect to wake up any minute to discover that this whole experience has been a terrible nightmare.

"But I know better than that. I have been here too long and seen too much shit to think I am dreaming. I have a good imagination, but it ain't THAT good. Only a CRAZY PERSON could dream up the shit I've seen for the past nine days. After what I have seen in here, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am NOT crazy. I've SEEN crazy, and that ain't me.

"The thought of getting out tomorrow gives me a nervous tingle, the way I always feel on the last day of vacation, when I know we have to pack and catch a plane the next morning. I have been here too long, especially in the state I've occupied emotionally. It has been rough and almost terrifying a couple of times. If you're not nuts when you get here, the place does the best it can to make you that way.

"Maybe the trip was necessary. In every epic tale, the hero must make some sort of existential journey into the Underworld, where he is tested mightily before he emerges, reborn from the experience. I've made one hell of a descent, that's for sure. Now, let's see how I emerge.

"I'm beginning to hallucinate or anticipate-- I'm not sure which, but some sounds are hitting me as "homey" and it takes a second or two for me to realize where I am. Watching TV in the Psycho Activity Center, I heard the clatter of dishes and thought, "That's Jennifer in the kitchen" before I realized that I wasn't at home. Same thing when somebody cranked up a chainsaw outside today. I was back on Twin Oak Drive for a minute.

"I wonder if that sensory weirdness will continue when I get out of here?"

I wrote that entry with my bags packed, ready to go. The next day, I was told that I wasn't leaving because MY FAMILY vetoed my release. I spent another night in that place and was locked away for 35 more days in a DIFFERENT prison after that, thanks to the actions of my ex-wife, who needed some time with me out of the picture to get her ducks in a row. She conned my Mama for that purpose.

So, I tell all you sensitive, tender-eared, easily-offended people out there that the term "BLOODLESS CUNT" fits sometimes, and I use it when it does.

My ex-wife is a bloodless cunt.

Emotional needs

Originally published December 2, 2003

After years of study on this subject, I have come to a conclusion: Wimmen are fucked-up creatures.

Men are simple. Give us food, sex, liquor and a remote control for the television and we're just as happy as a dead pig in sunshine. We don't ask for much in life.

Wimmen, however, have "emotional needs."

Those "emotional needs" confuse men because we don't understand them. In fact, when a woman starts talking about her "emotional needs," that's when her husband ends up in the woods shooting guns with his buddies.

"Whatcha want to shoot today, Rob?"

"I don't care. Anything. I had to get out of the house. My woman talked about "emotional needs" this morning."

"NO SHIT! YOU, TOO?"

"Yeah. I can't handle that crap. What the hell do wimmen want? I mean, I married her, I provided for her and I make love to her every chance I get. I cook supper every evening. I sired a son with her. I worked my ass off making the mini-farm a good home. Still, I evidently don't satisfy her "emotional needs."

"You want to shoot the shotguns or the rifles?"

"Let's start with the shotguns. I want to make some noise. Plus, I have an emotional need to blow the shit out of that target over there."

Men are from Mars and wimmen are from Venus. That's because the "emotially needy" bitches hired lawyers and kicked all the men off Venus.

January 06, 2008

More tales from the cuckoo's nest

Originally published June 4, 2003

Whoever the reigning King of the Crazies might be, he had a damn fine court around him. First, was Jerry, a black man with no front teeth who walked with an odd, hopping limp so that he made ta-THUMP, ta-THUMP noises everythere he went, which was usually into his bathroom to flush the toilet, over and over again.

He would start that, the nurses would yell, "Jerry, STOP THAT!" and Jerry would reply, "Okay," and keep right on flushing the toilet over and over again. They finally called a maintenance guy to cut off the water in his room to make him stop. They turned the water back on only if he laid a steaming pile in the commode, and then only long enough to flush it.

When Jerry couldn't flush his toilet over and over, he found other things to do. I was watching TV in the Psycho Activity Center when he came ta-THUMPing into the room. He marched all around the place until he found a plastic bottle of spray disinfectant on the counter near the sink in the PAC. He very carefully unscrewed the top, pissed in the bottle, and very carefully screwed the top back on again. Then, he put the bottle back where he found it and ta-THUMPed away, probably to try to flush his toilet again.

I vowed then never to eat in that room again.

Second, was my new roommate after The Judge went away. I never learned the guy's name, so I just called him Demento. He came in riding a wheelchair about 9:30 at night with wrist and leg restraints tying him to the chair. He was wearing knee-length blue socks with no shoes and I noticed all sorts of strange bulges in those socks. At first, I thought that his legs were deformed. Later, I saw some kind of rectangular box protruding from a hole in one sock and realized that he had stuff stashed in there.

The first time I saw him eat a meal (in the room we shared, because I DID NOT eat off a table in the Psycho Activity Center after seeing Flushing Jerry piss in the disinfectant) I watched Demento stuff a knife, a fork, a plastic cup, a straw and a half-eaten biscuit into his socks. He was an interesting one.

He was a moaner, too. He showed me his ability to outdo The Judge about 3:00 in the morning his second night there.

"OOOOOOOHHHHHH!!!!" A pause. "OOOOOHHHHHHHHH!!" I listened to about ten minutes of that shit and got pissed off.

"OOOOOOOHHHHHHH!!!" I moaned, as loudly as I could, hoping to shut him up.

"AYEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" he screamed. Obviously, I had chosen the wrong tactic here.

"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" I yelled.

"YABBADABBAYABBADABBAWHOOOO!" he replied.

I got out of bed and walked to the nurse's station to find someone in charge. No one was there. Great. Wondering if I would be caught if I smothered that crazy bastard with his own pillow, I went back to my room.

Demento was out of his bed, too. He wandered into the bathroom, took a wiz in the trash can (yes, the TRASH CAN) and went shuffling out into the hallway. I hoped that he would stay gone and I could get some sleep, but I should have known better.

I heard a nurse talking to him, then a shriek, accompanied by "Don't you swing at me! I'm not going to mess with you! I'll call SECURITY!"

A few moments later, Demento re-entered the room in the grip of two burly orderlies with a nurse right behind them.

"Stick something in his mouth," I suggested helpfully.

"Oh, we're gonna stick him, all right," the nurse replied. The rest of the conversation went something like this:

"Hold him down!"

"Goddamn it, he's trying to bite"

"Stick him! In the big muscle! Stick him in the thigh!"

"Sonofabitch! Get his feet!"

They finally got him stuck and shortly thereafter he started giggling like an idiot for a moment, then started singing, "Fucked-up, fucked-up, fucked-up" over and over again.

"I see why you wanted to stick something in his mouth," one of the orderlies said as they left the room. Demento went to blissfull sleep after a while.

And he slept all the way until 11:00 the next night, whereupon he woke up full of piss and vinegar again.

The new adventure began with him going, "OOOOOHHHHHHHHH!"

Strange

Originally published November 30, 2003

I saw my son tonight. He and Jack came back from Blood Mountain this evening and couldn't wait to tell me about their adventures. They SAW SNOW while they were there! They picked ICICLES off the rocks! It was COLD! Jack fell in the creek! They built a dam with logs and rocks and then they BOTH fell in the creek!

I believe that they both had a good time. They petted on my shit-ass dog and asked me why she was in trouble. I told them and showed them what she did yesterday. They were really impressed with the peanut butter jar theft.

"How did THAT DOG drag the jar of peanut butter THAT FAR and almost chew the lid off?" Quinton wondered. Hell, I wonder, too, but the dog damn sure did it. Oddball remains in shit-city until she understands the error of her ways. We're going to Wal-Mart tomorrow to buy her a cage. I won't have her doing that kind of crap in my house. I WILL teach that dog to behave.

Quinton ran off, then came back 30 seconds later. "Mama wants to know if she can see your dog."

I said, "Sure. Tell her to come on in."

She did. I felt badly because the house is a mess and I haven't taken a shower or shaved today. I didn't expect visitors. Both myself and the house look like Fido's ass. But there I was, with my ex-wife petting my new dog and two boys who love me enjoying the scene. I wasn't going to fuck up that kind of moment.

"She's screwed up right now, but I believe that she has possibilities." I said. "That's Oddball."

"Awww... she's such a sweet dog," Jennifer replied.

"You not the one cleaning up behind her," I said.

I gazed at Jennifer with the strangest feeling falling over me, like a dark cloak hitting my shoulders. I realized all of a sudden that I have no idea who she really is. I DON'T. I am not certain that she does, either.

The plant installed a "fitness center" in the old R&D lab, after they fired everybody who once worked there, and Jennifer has been excercising. Her efforts show. She's looking more and more like a fucking linebacker every time I see her. She's always been big-boned, with the body of a majorette, cursed with big thighs, thick ankles and broad shoulders.

Let her hit some weights for a while. GOT-DAMN! That woman is looking more masculine every time we meet. Her face remains beautiful, but what in the fuck is she trying to do to the rest of her body? Grow a set of nuts and a goddam beard? Hell... maybe so.

I am finished with trying to figure her out.

January 05, 2008

Big confession

Originally published June 2, 2003

When my ex-wife told me that she didn't want to be married anymore, she took my son and ran off to shack up with her unemployed, dope-smoking lover in his single-wide trailer 50 miles down the road. Whatta woman.

She WAS clever enough to cancel all the credit cards and clean out the bank accounts first, so that she threw me into the street with a sheriff's warrant on my head with $60 to my name. I checked into the cheapest motel I could find. Lots of Spanish was spoken there.

I felt as if I had a feral animal trying to claw its way out of my chest. I never hurt so badly in my life. I drank a pint of vodka. That didn't stop the pain. My One True Love broke my heart. I couldn't believe it. I can't believe it to this day. But she planned it, she did it, and she carried it off exactly according to plan. I remain stunned by that fact today, but I was REALLY disemboweled that night.

So, I wrote three suicide notes, laid my identifications out on a table, broke open a Bic razor and cut myself really bad on every major artery I could hit. I still have the scars to show you from that episode. I did it in the bathtub with the warm water running, because I wanted to die. I still don't know why it didn't work.

I passed out from loss of blood, but I clotted and didn't die. I woke up in the ambulance on the way to the hospital after the maid found me the next morning. I was really pissed about the way things turned out. The doctor who sewed me up was pissed, too, and didn't use any novicaine. I didn't care. The stitches didn't hurt that bad. He kept cussing at me, telling me that my hemoglobin was down to 7 and I would suffer all sorts of organ damage from that kind of blood loss.

Ha! I didn't. Of course, I had collapsed my veins so badly that the three pints of whole blood they gave me had to go in my leg, because that was the only vein they could find to hit. I really should have died.

They threw me into the looney bin for ten days under Suicide Watch, which I found amusing. An orderly was tasked to come to my bed once every hour and ask me, even if I were asleep, "Are you going to try to kill yourself again?" I was hooked up to an IV tripod and wearing one of those assless hospital gowns. "Are you going to believe anything I say?" was always my answer.

I finally got pissed at that idiocy and told him (although the night guy was okay... just doing his job) that if he woke me up again to ask me such a stupid question that I might KILL HIM, because I DON'T GIVE A SHIT! He left me alone and allowed me to sleep after that.

I finally talked the shrink into letting me out of there. He signed all the papers to release me and I was going to stay at mama's house and go back to work to put my life back together.

That's when the Bloodless Cunt got involved. She hit my mama with all sorts of logic about how unstable I was and how I didn't need to go back to work in a chemical plant after attempting suicide, and mama ate every crumb of it. She called the doctor and cancelled my release. My mama once trusted Jennifer the way I did. She knows better now.

I was stopped at the door the next day and told that my release was cancelled. I spent another night in the looney bin while Jennifer managed to get me put in Willingway Hospital, a rehab clinic in Statesboro. My mama paid for it, of course. I didn't really need rehab, because I never needed dexox, but once you're grabbed by those people, you stay there until THEY say you go.

My brother drove me there. I was just happy to get out of the looney-bin, because at least I could smoke cigarettes again, but I asked him, "Dave, did you have a fucking thing to do with this? If you DID, pull the car over right now. I'm going to beat the dogshit out of you."

He said, "Rob, I'm just following orders."

For a high-octaine litigator, he ain't much in a pinch.

I spent 35 days there and got out after I told my councellor that I was going to jump the fence if they didn't let me go. I had prostate cancer. Jennifer was sending me nothing but divorce decrees in the mail while she ran off to rock concerts in Jacksonville with her new lover. I wrote Quinton every day and NEVER got a reply. Jennifer saw to that.

Yeah, I whine. I've got a lot to fucking whine about.

Walk a mile in my shoes, THEN tell me how much you know. As soon as I was safely ensconsced at Willingway, the Bloodless Cunt moved the unemployed dopesmoker into my house. That disease-infected (hepatitus "C") cretin slept in MY bed, saw MY son every day and fucked MY WIFE while I was locked up in a goddam rehab clinic.

When I got out, I had to bring my brother with me as protection against her calling the law on me because of the peace warrant when I picked up my stuff (all NEATLY PACKED, by her) to try and rebuild my life. I had my guts and my manhood cut out 28 days later. She put a swimming pool in her back yard last week.

Don't you fucking people tell ME to be tough. I've hung my head into the abyss. I liked what I saw there. It's better than what I've seen and lived before.

A tale from the cuckoo's nest

Originally published June 3, 2003

When I was wheeled on a gurney down a series of corridors to the hospital equivalent of the "Group 'W' Bench," (if you've never listened to "Alice's Restaurant," I wasted that nice simile), the first thing I saw was a large, elderly man strapped to a chair in the hallway with the kind of belts industrial haulers use to anchor a steam turbine on the trailer of a flatbed truck. He was, literally, drooling into his lap. The nurse pushing the gurney had to maneuver around him and said, "That one has issues."

"That one" was Judge Robert Hodges, as I learned the next day. He really WAS a judge, once upon a time, but now he suffered from a combination of dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease. He was about 6' 4" tall when he wasn't stooping like an old man, and he had a head full of silver hair, pale, mottled skin and a vacant look in his eyes.

He also had a temper like a wolverine with its ass on fire and a vocabulary of profanity that impressed even me. He had "issues," all right. He was senile, hostile, insane, profane, mean, obscene and a piss-bottle throwing, shit his diaper and threaten to kill the nurses trying to wipe his ass nutball.

He was my roommate for the next three days.

He didn't sleep much. At night, the staff strapped him into bed with the same kind of belts they used on the chair in the hallway, and The Judge would moan and cuss. All night long.

He started out with simple "UUUHHHHHHHH!!!" noises, which I have used myself a few times during a spectacular orgasm. Then he moved on to "ARRRGGGHHHH!!!" sounds, which I didn't like. After that, he began to cuss.

His cussing was disjointed, because he never could string together a logical sequence of profanity. He went, "Sonofabitch! Shit! Bastard! Sonofashit! UUUUHHHHH!" He did it all night long, too. I realized on my first night there that I wasn't going to enjoy sharing a room with this guy.

The Judge kinda ruled the roost when it came to being the biggest nutball in the place, because he had style. But on my third day there, fierce competition arrived. He was a black man, somewhere between the age of 50 and 500. I couldn't be any more precise, because he was almost as large as The Judge and obviously had done a lot of physical work in his life, because he was muscled, with calloused hands.

I first saw him when he walked up to the phone in what I called "The Psycho Activity Room," lifted the receiver and stuck it into a styrofoam coffee cup. "Hang up the phone!" he demanded. Then, he pulled down his pants and pissed all over the floor. I knew that I was seeing a contender for The Judge's crown.

That night, he woke me up about 4:00 AM screaming, "GET OUT MY HOUSE!" I heard the nurses attempting to explain that he wasn't in his house, that he was in a cuckoo's nest hospital, but he wasn't buying that story. "GET OUT MY HOUSE!!" he repeated. "I'VE GOT A GUN!! I'LL BUST YOUR GUTS!!"

This screaming went on for a while until it finally became loud enough to wake The Judge, who actually had been asleep for about two hours that night.

"UUUUHHHH! UUUHHHH!" moaned The Judge.

"GET OUT MY HOUSE!" came the reply.

"SONOFABITCH!" responded The Judge.

"GODDAM! I'LL BUST YOUR GUTS!" yelled the contender.

"SHIT! BASTARD! SONOFASHIT!" offered The Judge.

This exchange lasted at least fifteen minutes until some male orderlies, armed with additional straps, hauled both men out into the hallway and belted them into chairs while the nurses shot their butts full of wookie-juice. They ended up with heads lolling and puddles of piss forming under their chairs.

The Judge was transferred somewhere else the next day. The new Champion had claimed his belt.

The big black guy shuffled up to me the next day and started pawing at my lunch as I was attempting to eat in the Psycho Activity Room. "GET OUT MY HOUSE!!! I'LL BUST YOUR GUTS!!! I yelled at him. He went away.

My brother was there at the time and he almost freaked. I explained, "When in Rome...."

(By the way, I am NOT writing this entry from recollection. I kept a journal from the second day I was there. I had to use a felt-tip pen and they wouldn't give me my reading glasses, but I wrote this shit down as it happened.)

January 04, 2008

Dreams

Originally published May 2, 2003

It's been a weird week in dream-world, and if you ever looked into Acidman's cerebral cortex, you would understand why. It is warped and sick and misshapen and bent and all kinds of mean, nasty ugly things happen in there.

I dreamed about my father twice this past week, and he was angry with me both times. I think that he was telling me that I was about to marry the wrong kind of woman. He was right. He usually was.

I dreamed about a girlfriend that I haven't seen since high school. I haven't thought about her in 30 years. How did SHE get back in my dreams?

I dreamed that I was making love to a woman at work that I've never found particularly sexy. She looked and felt damned good in my dream. When I met her the next day, she didn't blush. Oh well, it was just me.

Wouldn't it be COOL if two people who aren't sexually connected at all shared the SAME EROTIC DREAM one night? Then met the next day? Wouldn't that be cool? Well, it didn't happen to me.

I had the same, recurring, getting downright boring dream about driving a 1968 Javelin with no brakes. I bounce off a few cars, get really worried about insurance, then I go sailing off a red-clay cliff in Athens, Georgia, where my old car becomes a convertable and I sail off into the air and fly like a bird as long as I hold my mouth right. The car crashes and burns, but that's not important. I am flying.

And I am flying off to bed now. Perchance to dream?

Wet cunt

Originally published May 2, 2003

When I picked Quinton up today, I was in the way of backhoes and earth-moving equipment. Black guys at work there cursed at me when I pulled into the Bloodless Cunt's driveway while some dickhead on a 'hoe wanted to back out through a hole in the privacy fence.

I was very polite.

I got out of my truck. I said "FUCK YOU!!!" as loudly as I could. I said, "I am here to pick up my goddam SON, from my ex-wife and you minimum-wage fuckheads building the SWIMMING POOL in my ex-wife's back yard can KISS MY CRACKER ASS!!! If you think I'm going to change the trajectory of my day for YOU, you can stick that backhoe up your bossy black ass. I won't be here for long, and you can take a Got-Damn time out. I ain't moving."

I reached inside my truck and dragged out the lug wrench. "I'm going to pick up my son, then you can go back to work. Unless one of you wants to come and MOVE MY FUCKING TRUCK FOR ME!"

I was quivering. I actually hoped that one of the mouthy idiots WOULD try to fuck with me. I haven't been that angry since high school, right before a fistfight. But they stopped their work.

Quinton came charging out the door about then.

I said, "Get in the truck, kiddo, and let's go." He did, and so did I.

The BC emerged then, smirking as always, to tell Quinton goodbye. I said, "A swimming pool, huh? Is that my Child Support At Work?"

"Rob, you know I don't need YOUR money to afford a swimming pool."

That's true. She makes over $100,000 a year, she fucked me over to a fare-thee-well, and I have to pay HER every month. She cashes every check, too. There is something incredibly wrong with that picture. But I didn't write the rules. I just have to play by them.

I really hope that Quinton enjoys the swimming pool.

Anger management

Originally published May 2, 2003

I really need to try harder sometimes. I really do. I have a temper.

If I had hit a home run with with a tire tool on a mouthy Black guy's head, in my ex-wife's front yard today, I probably would have fucked up my entire weekend. I am sure glad that I didn't do anything so stupid.

But I am REALLY GLAD that the mouthy asshole stayed on the seat of his backhoe. If he had climbed down, well.... he made a good decision for both of us.

Everything that happened this afternoon just chapped my Cracker ass. I need to stop it.

January 03, 2008

Ever read a P&ID?

Originally published May 1, 2003

How many of my loyal readers even know what a P&ID IS? Well, I'm going to tell you.

That's a Piping and Instrument Diagram. That's the first phase of a giant pain in my Cracker ass that emerges when some engineer has a wet dream one night. Believing that he is Mozart composing a symphony, he draws up plans for the GREAT MANANA and presents them in a meeting.

When I either puke all over them or remain silent, as the meeting goes round-and-round-and-round around me, I become dizzy. Have YOU ever had that "what the fuck am I doing here?" feeling in a meeting? We have 12 people in the room. Eleven of them are talking at once, and the ONLY REASON they are talking is to demonstrate to everyone else in the room just how fucking smart they are.

I've got to run this shit and make it work.

I want to study the P&IDS for a day or so. I want to run these ideas by my operators. THEY work the job. I want their input.

THEN, I'll spout off about what I think.

Maybe I'm crazy... but what I believe makes me a good boss is GIVING THE PEOPLE SOME SAY-SO in what we're expected to do. I don't like edicts from ON HIGH and I don't think the grunts do, either. I'll talk to THEM first, then open my wise-assed mouth in a meeting later.

In the meantime, I've got some thinking to do.

Body language

Originally published May 1, 2003

I was forced by people threatening me with large hammers and red-hot tongs to take "Linguistics" in college. I didn't want to go there. But after I was strapped in my seat with chains and duct-tape holding me there, and made to listen to the professor, I learned a lot.

English is NOT a "Romantic" language. Yeah, I know... we can say "Oh, YEAH! FUCK ME BABY!" with the best of them, but that quality alone DOES NOT make English a Romantic language. English is a GERMANIC LANGUAGE.

That means, once upon a time, we said, "You VILL fuck me baby, or I VILL INVADE FRANCE!" Evidently the women didn't give in, because Germany invaded France a lot after that. That's what a bad case of the blue-balls will do to you.

I also believe that our language evolved into something Germanic, with LATIN&FRENCH&SPANISH&ASIAN parts thrown in because we are NOT the kind of country to get a bad case of the blue-balls. We're too smart and imaginative for that.

How do I know? Our language has mutated to the point that "WHHHAAZZZUUP!" is a word that everyone understands. I am convinced that if you want an accurate and precise evaluation of modern culture, beer sales will tell you everything you need to know.

Just look at beer commercials in this country. What does a man learn? The commercials don't say it OUTRIGHT, but the subliminal message is clear.

If your FIRST pickup line doesn't work, you come up with another. You don't go off and invade France in a snit. You keep buying her beer until she's shitfaced and would take on a herd of goats with a video camera running. You win the bet you made with your giggling buddies by laying her in a puddle of puke after she passes out in your bed.

THEN you go invade France, the next day, when you're in a really good mood from feeling like a conquerer.

You guys have ALL done that, haven't you? HAVEN'T you?

January 02, 2008

Cedars

Originally published September 2, 2003

I met a couple from Minnesota when I was on Jekyll Island. They asked me a lot of questions about the local scenery. I told them where to find Mars in the evening and recommended that they get a cup of coffee and walk down the the jetty to watch the sun come up in the morning.

I saw them one night and I showed them Mars, but I never saw them in the morning before the sun came up. If you ever go there, you should watch at least one sunrise.

They asked me about fall-colored leaves. I laughed. "Around here?" I asked. "Fuggetaboudit." I showed them pines, live oaks, water oaks, white oaks, magnolias and cedars, which are pretty much all the trees that inhabit that island. "They are almost all evergreens," I explained. "Go to North Georgia if you want to see leaves change."

I don't know whether they believed me or not, but I wasn't lying.

I don't know why cedar trees love sandy, salty ground, but they must because they grow all over the place down there. The wind blows constantly off the ocean, so the trees form into bizarre shapes from leaning with the wind all their lives. They almost resemble desperate, long-haired people pointing me to go "THAT WAY!!!" with both arms outstretched.

I have a secret fetish that I'll confess right now. I LOVE to break off a small cedar branch and just smell that aroma. It reminds me of Mama's attic and the time she took me up there to go through her cedar chest, where she had every baby tooth I ever lost, all of my report cards, every letter I wrote her when I was in college and stuff made from crayons and construction paper that I had long forgotten.

Cedar is evergreen because it is forever. Or at least for as long as you live. It smells that way to me.

A boy and his dog

Originally published September 2, 2003

When I was about twelve years old, Missy got pregnant. She was a semi-cocker-spaniel who belonged to Finn and Michael Moffett (of tree-jumping fame). Missy spit out seven puppies and I got the pick of the litter.

I never knew for certain who my dog's daddy was, but I always suspected Old Black Sam from just down the street. He was a night-time courter and a midnight rider and pretty much a Black Lab, with some unknowable other breeds thrown in. He had a head as big and as flat as a coffee table.

He was an outside-dog and didn't take shit from any other dog. My dog resembled him a great deal except for a white blaze on his nose and four white paws. He was jet black everywhere else. I always figued that Sam nailed Missy and produced my pup.

My dog was a fat, grunting little rat. My dad suggested that we call him "Spats" because of his white feet. But my brother and I decided on "Pudgy," because we didn't know anything about spats at the time and we had a fat pup. He was our dog for the next eight years.

I liked to take him out in the woods with me when I went to shoot my BB gun. Pudge was a natural-born bird dog and always liked to fetch my kills. He would hear me shoot, see the bird drop and go get it. Then, he would bring it back and drop it at my feet. I never had to teach him to do that.

I made a bad mistake one Saturday morning in February. I took Pudgy to the Gun Club Lake, where I used to tresspass regulary. That dumb dog took one look at all that water, let out a yelp, and in he went. The temperature was about 40 degrees that morning, but the cold water certainly didn't bother that dog. HE WAS HAPPY!!!

I kept calling for him to get out, but he was showing off his swimming skills and having a blast. That's when I saw the white pickup truck coming around the lake. That was the Caretaker of Death.

All the "NO TRESSPASSING" signs warned of fines and jail sentences, but I heard worse stories than that about The Man In The White Truck. Rumor had it that he carried a shotgun filled with birdshot (or maybe rocksalt... either way, it was a horrifying tale) and he LOVED to shoot 12 year-old boys right in the ass whenever they tresspassed on his baliwick. He'd kill your dog, too.

I looked at the truck, yelled at the dog and realized that Pudgy was NOT going to get out of the water. I couldn't run off, save myself and leave my dog to be killed.

I shucked my clothes, jumped into that cold-by-God-freeze-my-ass-off water and dragged the dog out. The truck was so close by then that I didn't have time to get dressed. I kept the wet dog under one arm, grabbed my clothes with my free hand, dropped one shoe, had to stop and pick it up, then hauled my nekkid, freezing dog-toting self off through the woods. I kept waiting for birdshot or rocksalt to hit my fleeing bare ass.

That never happened, but the blackberry vines I sprinted barefoot through damn sure took a toll on me. I was picking thorns out of my feet for two weeks after that. Plus, I almost turned blue before I could dress myself again, because I had to keep one hand on the dog's collar to keep him from running back to the lake again.

Did I say that he was a GOOD dog?

Well, he was. He was PERFECT for a young boy who loved roaming the woods, even if that dog DID make me believe that I was going to be shot right square in my nekkid ass at the Forrest City Gun Club Lake on one cold Saturday morning in February.

Kids and dogs need adventures like that.

I was in college when he died and I STILL cried for him.

January 01, 2008

New year's day (2004)

Originally published January 2, 2004

I didn't do anything yesterday, except sit on the couch, watch football and eat. I had shrimp and lobster while I watched my beloved Georgia Bulldogs blow a 24-point lead against Purdue and hang on to win the game in overtime. That one almost gave me an ulcer.

I watched Southern Cal manhandle Michigan, which proves the stupidity of the BCS system. We're going to have "co-champions" this year, which is a ridiculious idea to me. Play one more game. Let the winner of the LSU- Oklahoma game play USC for all the marbles. Why not?

The players damn sure want to prove their mettle on the turf, the schools could make a whole bunch of money, some TV network could generate a fortune televising the game and we would end up with ONE champion, outright and clear. That's the goddam American Way. The best are the best, and they should have a chance to prove it.

Bobby Bowden lost to Miami again because of a missed field goal, while I ate corn on the cob and boiled potatoes. How many times has a kicker cost him a game? One thing I did like about Vince Dooley when he coached at Georgia was his ability to have one of the finest pressure-kickers in the nation, every year. Those guys win football games.

Billy Bennett cost us a victory against LSU and Florida during the regular season, but he came through in the clutch yesterday. A good football team needs a good field-goal kicker.

I didn't wear anything other than a bathrobe yesterday. I've got to get off my dead ass and go into the world today. I don't want to.

Yesterday was fun.

New Year's Day 2003

Originally published January 1, 2003

I woke up in my own bed this morning. That wasn't the game plan, but neither my date nor myself became overly intoxicated last night, despite the delicious oysters (which she doesn't eat), the exquisite fried turkey (which she doesn't eat, either) and the assorted fireworks that exploded in unison from several different directions around midnight. Stuffed baked potatos, taco salads, cheeses and crackers (which she DOES eat) were readily available, but I believe she drank enough diet cola that she had no room for the food. I pigged out.

We were sitting in front of the largest of the five different campfires burning in the yard when the sky lit up with rockets and voodoo balls bright enough to obscure the full moon that had smiled down on the evening from the time we arrived. Young'uns set off firecrackers and sparklers, couples kissed, and I almost needed a cable and chain to retrieve my friend, Willie, when his large self overdosed on Scotch liquor and began reeling around dangerously close to the fire. My son knows the "stop, drop and roll!" drill for when you catch on fire, and Willie had everything but the "stop!" down pat last night. His wife took him home shortly after the fireworks display and I pity his head today. I believe he has a bucket of Bloody Marys prepared as a palliative measure for those who overindulged last night, but he may drink it all if he doesn't upchuck in the bucket first. All in all, we welcomed in the new year in fine fashion.

Now, I'm cooking Hoppin' John and turnip greens, which are supposed to bring good luck if you eat them today. My house smells like dirty sweat pants, nasty armpits and stinky feet, which is the aroma that black-eyed peas produce when you cook them with a large ham hock thrown in for seasoning and a pot of greens simmering beside them on the stove. Maybe that smell brings the good luck by driving all the evil spirits out of your life. I don't know, but I feel good, my house smells like an underfunded homeless shelter, and the sky is crystal blue. I love it when that happens.

It's cold outside for south Georgia, but the sky is so clear and blue that it hurts my eyes to look at it.