Gut Rumbles
 

June 30, 2008

thanks, Jack!

Originally PUBLISHED June 30, 2004

I had a dilemma on my hands. My doorbell rang this afternoon and it was Young Jack, all excited and bouncing up and down as if he needed to pee really bad. "Mr. Rob! Mr. Rob! Come look at THIS!" He grabbed my hand and tugged me around to the side of my house. "SEE! LOOK!" I looked. Jack gave me an "I TOLD you so" grin.

Bejus. I had a hornet's nest the size of a pineapple hanging from the eaves of my roof right beneath the satellite disc. I know a hornet's nest when I see one. My friends and I used to throw rocks and dirt clods at them when we were kids. We'd knock one down and run like hell. Then, we'd meet back in the woods and compare stings. (Note to ALL little boys and young men: I don't care how fast you think you are--- you ain't gonna outrun a pissed-off hornet.)

I looked up at the nest. One scout was circling lazily around the hole at the bottom as I calculated what to do. "Let's get a stick and HIT IT, Mr. Rob!" suggested Jack. I grabbed Jack by the neck and choked him to death.

Okay, I didn't choke Jack, but I thought seriously about doing it. Get a stick and HIT IT? Got-dam! That boy obviously never disturbed a hornet's nest the size of this one before. I told Jack to get in the house. "But I wanna watch," he whined. "Yeah, and I want you to LIVE to watch," I replied.

I put Jack in the house, donned a pair of blue jeans, a flannel shirt (it's only 95 degrees outside) work gloves and hiking boots. I grabbed my shepard's crook and a can of Raid. I started to get my damn safety goggles, too, but I wanted to act while the weather was right. A rainstorm was coming and most of the hornets would be back in the nest now. I pulled a camoflage hat low over my brow, and out the door I went. "I'll be back," I told Jack.

I snuck up to that nest and nuked the scout with a Raid-blast. He fell from the sky. I nuked the nest next, and saw some gasping refugees attempting to escape. I nuked them some more. Then, I took my crook and smashed the nest to the ground. Whoa! That's a LOT of hornets! They resembled boiling water! I ran like hell, leaving a trail of Raid-fumes in my wake as cover fire.

I didn't receive a single sting, although a couple of those angry bastards buzzed pretty close to my head before I made the front door. Jack asked, "Did you get them, Mr. Rob?" I told Jack that I thought so, but the most important thing was that they didn't get me. I went out later and set the nest on fire. I am a killer of baby hornets.

And I feel good about it.

water polo

Originally PUBLISHED July 3, 2004


How long can you tread water? How long can you do it with some hairy brute shoving your head under the surface and kicking the shit out of you? Play water polo and you'll find out.

My college team was pretty good because we had Jim Weinzettle as our goalie. Jim was 6' 9" tall and an All-American swimmer at the University of South Carolina before he transferred back to Armstrong State College to finish his degree. Jim set all kinds of ACC records in the breastroke and the butterfly and qualified for the Olympic trials in 1972, where he ran into a guy named Mark Spitz. Jim was good, but he wasn't THAT good. He finished 11th in the trials in St. Louis and didn't make the Olympic team.

But he was one hell of a goalie. That fish-man could tread water with his belly-button showing and spread those long arms so that nobody could score against us. He was a formidable goalie.

I, on the other hand, played only to survive. I'm a good swimmer. I'm not in Jim Weinzettle's class, but I've passed every lifeguard test I ever took and I've never been afraid of water. But when you get into a game of water polo, swimming isn't everything. You're in 10' of water with people trying to KILL YOU!!! You grab a pass and some bastard on defense immediately tries to DROWN YOU! You try to swim with one hand on the ball and OTHER PEOPLE show up with elbows, knees and fists to KILL YOU!!! Pass the ball to a teammate and the sharks will kill you ANYWAY, then swim off to ravage whoever you passed the ball to.

That is one hostile sport. I loved it.

rugby

Originally PUBLISHED July 3, 2004


I almost joined the Savannah Shamrocks rugby team when I was in college. I was still a jockstrap in those days and I played every intra-mural sport the school had to offer. I have trophies for softball, flag football, basketball, tennis and even TWO trophies for water polo. How many people do YOU KNOW who ever played water polo? (The most violent, exhausting game I ever played.)

I liked the idea of playing rugby until I went and watched a game. Holy Bejus! That was like watching a mugging with rules. I enjoyed the party afterward (ruggers DO KNOW how to party after a game) but I decided not to join the team. Instead, I wrote a song about rugby.

The Rugby Blues

One day when I was feelin' mean
I decided to join a rugby team
To test the depths of my athletic skills
I put on a jock and some cleated shoes
And went out to see what I could do
On the battleground of the rugby playing field.

They were one man short on the very first day
So they put me in and they let me play
I was ready, cause I was young and dumb
We gathered up tight and kicked at the ball
The play resembled a barroom brawl
And somebody told me that was called a "scrum."

Hey! I was scrumming!

All kinds of bodies went flying by
I got kicked in the crotch and poked in the eye
There was everybody laying knots upon my head
I thought, "My God! What have I done?"
As I lay there flat upon my buns
Knowing well that I was surely dead.

I was feeling poorly.

All I could do was moan and cough
While everybody else went running off
I crawled away just glad to be alive
I hung up my jock and my cleated shoes
And started to nurse my rugby wounds
And I swore I'd never, EVER do it again.

I learned a lesson...

I've pondered long on that fateful day
And I've got just this one thing to say
I don't believe I'm the rugby playing kind
No, next time I'm gonna stay at home
Sit in a blender and turn it on
Just skip the game and beat MY OWN behind.

(Words and music by Rob Smith, written in 1976)

June 29, 2008

I'll be sorry

Originally PUBLISHED March 31, 2006

I just couldn't stand it anymore. I worked on my garden today.

I took it nice and easy, going slowly and being careful not to hurt myself. I managed to spread another layer of fertilizer and plant four rows of Silver Queen corn, a row of potatoes, and two rows of green beans. I also have 24 okra plants, 12 tomato plants, a bunch of bell peppers, some crookneck squash, zuccinni, cucumber and banana peppers to stick in the ground tomorrow. I think I have room to work some melons in there, too.

Just the little bit of doing that I accomplished today hurt my belly and sent me hobbling off to wash down a couple of Pepcid tablets with some milk to put the fire out. (I save my painkillers for night time, or when I'm hurting particularly badly.) When I walked back into the Crackerbox this afternoon, I kept looking back over my shoulder to see if I was dragging any intestines on the ground behind me. It felt like I was...

I don't care if I WILL be sore and sorry tomorrow. Looking out my kitchen window every day at that tilled piece of land laying bare was driving me crazy. I never did get a load of compost from Mama's house, nor did I ever set all my landscape timbers, but I simply couldn't wait any longer. I declared my garden officially started today.

Once I get the other stuff in the ground tomorrow, I'll set up my sprinklers in strategic locations and just watch it grow. A land of milk and honey! Bounty from generous Mother Nature! Food I grew all by myself!

And best of all, it's all FREE--- except for the $200 or so I spent on seed, plants, fertilizer, cow shit, sprinklers, a new shovel, landscape timbers, a short-handled weeding rake, a "Y" fitting so that I can run two sets of sprinklers at once and the gallon of Roundup I purchased to start the entire process. Other than THAT investment, combined with hours of my own sweat, the garden is free.

I don't want to hear any shit about how I could do a lot better with $200 in the produce section of Kroger's Supermarket. Fuck you for even THINKING such thoughts. My homegrown vegetables taste better than anything you'll ever find in a store and growing them is good therapy for my warped mind. Wanna think clean thoughts? Get your hands dirty in the soil.

Pictures will be forthcoming, if I live long enough to take them.

garden harvest

Originally PUBLISHED June 5, 2006


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I TOLD you folks that I can't take a good picture with my exotic, high-priced digital camera. It's a Fuji S-3100, will all the bells and whistles, including a 6X zoom lens.

Every got-dam picture I take with it turns out blurry. Like this one. I took about a dozen pictures of a beautiful nekkid woman on my last trip to Costa Rica, but those all turned out fucked up, so that you can't tell if the subject is a man or a woman, pretty or ugly, alive or a cheap inflatable love-doll. That's why I never posted any of them.

I HATE that camera.

But I managed to hobble out to my garden today to see if the hailstorm last night destroyed anything. Some of the plants look a little beat-down, but I still had some ripe tomatoes, a bell pepper and a few banana peppers that needed picking.

I took a shitty picture of them, which does NOT do them justice.

I put the tomatoes in the refrigerator, and when they get a nice chill on them, I'm gonna eat them like apples, with just a little salt on them.

I also have a LOT more where those came from.

how 'bout this?

Originally PUBLISHED June 6, 2006


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Okay, I checked my garden again today. All but ONE of those tomatoes will sit on the ledge of my kitchen window for a day or two until they become fully ripe. (I AIN'T putting 'em in my refrigerator!!!) The big 'un, I intend to eat with supper tonight.

I didn't grow the Vidalia onion--- I bought it at Kroger's--- but I just threw it in the photo for the hell of it. Some of the banana pepper look kinda scrawney, but they're ready to eat, so I picked 'em.

But best of all--- LOOKIT THE PITCHER!!! I used a flash, which is what several readers recommended that I try, and it came out IN FOCUS!!! I'll be damned. Maybe I can figure out how to work my camera after all.

BWHAHAHAAA! I just LOVE IT when a plan comes together.

June 28, 2008

jewels

Originally PUBLISHED October 7, 2004

Here's a list of movies that you really ought to watch. If you haven't seen them yet, go rent 'em. Acidman wouldn't steer you wrong. They are fairly unheard-of, but they are damned good movies.

#1-- If, which starred Malcolm McDowell when he was a young man. (I got laid after taking a date to see that one at South PJ Theater at the University of Georgia and admission was $1.00 for both of us. I had seen the movie before, but she hadn't. If she didn't like the movie, she wouldn't have slept with me.)

#2-- Starman, in which I believe that Jeff Bridges does the performance of his lifetime.

#3-- Gristle. It's a ridiculous movie, with more double-crosses than you can count, but you'll laugh your ass off at it. The guy who played "Worf" in Star Trek (Michael Dorn?) can do comedy, too.

#4-- Raising Arizona. I fell in love with Holly Hunter after I saw that movie. She was better than Nicholas Cage and the soundtrack is excellent.

#5-- The Piano. That's Holly Hunter again, but Harvey Keitel stole the show in that one. Very erotic.

#6-- Big Doll House. Okay, that one is a T&A movie starring Sid Haig and Pam Grier. Get fucked up before you watch it. It's pretty good then.

#7-- Something Big. A western that you'll never forget.

#8-- The Reanimator. Bejus! Go rent that one and watch it with friends. You'll love the scene where the nekkid girl is strapped to a table and the headless guy PICKS UP HIS HEAD FROM THE FLOOR AND PUTS IT BETWEEN HER LEGS. Oh, man. THAT is a classic scene.

#9-- A Mighty Wind. Maybe you have to be a musician familiar with the heyday of folk music to appreciate that movie, but I liked it.

#10-- A Boy and His Dog. Don't let the title fool you. That one ain't what you're gonna expect.

Try 'em. You'll like 'em.

star trek

Originally PUBLISHED July 8, 2004

My father gave me both a blessing and a curse when I was young. He taught me to love reading and he also steered me toward a lot of science-fiction books when I was growing up. I read everything Heinlein ever wrote. I enjoyed Bradbury, Asimov and Laumer. I had a head full of stars, and I remember gazing at the night sky while huddled in a sleeping bag and thinking, "I want to GO THERE some day."

Alas, I'll never realize that dream, but I've lived it vicariously a thousand times, through books and Star Trek, which remains to this day my all-time favorite TV program. The introduction hooked me from the beginning. Take some majestic music, show me a picture of a starship and mention "Boldly go where NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE" and I'm a goner. Yeah. I'LL sail with you, captain.

I still watch the reruns on the sci-fi channel. I see now that the sets are cheesy, the special effects suck and the show operated on a shoestring budget. Shatner frequently went over the top in his acting. Not every episode was a work of art.

But it was the SPIRIT of the show and the CHARACTERS that came to life for me. Captain Kirk--- the wild-ass cowboy who bedded wimmen of every alien persuasion. Spock--- ruled by logic and never fully understanding the passions of humans. Bones--- a country doctor at heart, who always had the best lines in the show: "Jim! I'm a DOCTOR, not an archeologist!" Scotty--- loving his ship and tending the engines. ("Coptin! She con't take any more!") Sulu, always reliable at the helm. Checkov, young and full of cum. Uhura, lovely and competent.

I watched The Next Generation, but I felt creepy about a "Federation" that sounded a lot like a communist wet dream to me. No money? No private property? Nobody has to work? Just push the replicator button? Then why the fuck go to Starfleet Academy and bother to achieve anything? It's all FREE, just for the taking. Piss on that idea.

Picard was a much more realistic ship's captain than Kirk (the ship's captain doesn't lead away teams), and I lusted after Commander Troy. But that show never grabbed me by the throat and shook me the way the original series did.

I confess. I've been to six Star Trek conventions. I never dressed up in a costume, but I have a T-shirt signed by James Doohan, DeForest Kelly and Walter Koenig. That's a collector's item. I've never washed it or worn it. I wanted the hot chick who played Yeoman Rand to sign my shirt, too, but I never got past the mob around her.

I'll never ride on a starship, but I still look at the night sky and dream. We CAN go there and we SHOULD go there.

Full ahead. Warp factor eight.

nudity

Originally PUBLISHED June 15, 2005

I am not one bit ashamed of walking around with no clothes on. Hell, I go to "clothing optional" resorts a couple of times every year and my option is ALWAYS not to wear any clothes. I don't have the best body in the world, but I've never seen anybody lean over and puke when I walked by wearing nothing but a towel draped over my arm.

Besides, I've encountered people of all shapes and sizes from all over the world at those places. (and anybody who believes that sex runs rampant there simply has a dirty mind. Sex runs just as rampant at any Holiday Inn in the summer.) Nudity and sex are NOT the same thing.

It's difficult to lie and put on false airs when you're butt-nekkid in front of strangers.

I believe that the world would be a much better place if Congress were required to meet nude. Take away all those $2,000 suits and let's see the person behind the curtain. I wonder if Robert Byrd would still be such a fan of the filibuster if he had to do it with his withered shanks and dried-up dingle in the wind? On TELEVISION, so everybody could get a good look.

How about Ted Kennedy. Now--- KENNEDY nude just might be enough to make you lean over and puke. Or Hillary Clinton. BEJUS! Take her clothes off and I think you'll find a really skanky thing underneath.

But, I digress. My point is that nudity is NOT a bad thing and more people should practice it. Your nekkid body is nothing to be ashamed of, unless you're ashamed of your body already. But I'll tell you one thing for sure: no matter how bad you think you look without clothes, you'll always find someone who looks worse at a nudist resort.

So, Why don't YOU get nekkid, too? I see nothing immoral about it.

June 27, 2008

i might try this

Originally PUBLISHED January 15, 2006

I forgot to mention that I slow-cooked a 6.5 pound Boston Butt on my charcol grill two days ago. Since I'll be gnawing on delicious pig-meat for a while, I ought to make something like this to go with it. I like every one of the ingredients, but I'll add cucumber to mine. A salad just isn't a complete without cucumber.

I haven't posted a recipe in a while, so I'll tell you how I cooked the butt. SLOWLY is how. Now you know.

Okay, okay... simmer DOWN! I'll provide a few details. First, I coated the butt with olive oil and then applied a "rub" of onion salt, paprika, red pepper, black pepper, minced garlic and terragon. I built a charcol fire in the grill and added some wet mesquite chips for smoke when the coals were ready. I put the butt on the grill and closed the lid.

I added a few more charcol briquets and some more wet mesquite chips every 60 minutes, just to maintain the heat and generate more smoke, but otherwise left the butt alone for four hours. When I poked the butt with a long-handled fork and the meat started falling off the bone, I figured it was done.

I took it off the grill, brought it inside and shredded the meat with my bare fingers, which generated an abundant stream of succulent juice. I put the meat in a Tupperware bowl and gave the bone to my neighbor's dog.

I've been eating butt-meat for three days now and I'm still not tired of it. On a plate with long-grain wild rice and corn on the cob or in a sandwich with B.S. Mutha's Barbecue Sauce and french fries, it is delicious--- tender, juicy and well-seasoned by smoke and spices. Yum! Rob can cook!

Now I ought to try my hand at making one of those salads...

pulled barbecue

Originally Published August 22, 2004

Somebody asked how to make it, so here's the recipe:

Buy a couple of Boston butts. Rub them down with lots of seasoning (I use soy sauce, black pepper, red pepper and lemon salt) and cook them on a charcol grill, turning the butts frequently for a few hours.

When the meat starts to fall off the bone and bear a nice, semi-burnt look on the outside, it's done.

Remove the butts from the grill and rip the meat into small pieces by hand. That's not difficult to do, because if you cooked it right, the meat almost falls apart by itself. Feed the bones to your dog.

Dose it with a good sauce. I can buy Johnny Harris or B.S. Muther's where I live and both are very good, but I prefer to make my own.

The Sauce: you can make it in any volume that you want, depending on how many people you intend to feed. It's simple--- half vinegar, half ketchup mixed together. Add hot mustard until the mixture turns orange instead of red. Throw in black pepper, red pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and enough Tabasco to bring a sweat to your brow when you taste it.

Pour that over the meat and serve on hamburger buns or by itself on a plate, with plenty of beer. Good side condiments are cole slaw and potato salad, with whole Vidalia onions cut into slices and served raw. A Claussen's Kosher Dill pickle or two also go well with the meal. If you know what Brunswick Stew is, make some of that, too.

Try it. You'll like it.

June 26, 2008

The Guitar Man

My Friend 8.jpg


Who draws the crowd and plays so loud, baby it's the guitar man
Who's gonna steal the show, you know baby it's the guitar man
He can make you love, he can make you cry
He will bring you down then he'll get you high
Somethin' keeps him goin' miles and miles a day
To find another place to play.

Night after night who treats you right, baby it's the guitar man
Who's on the radio, you go listen to the guitar man
Then he comes to town and you see his face
And you think you might like to take his place
Somethin' keeps him driftin' miles and miles away
Searchin' for the songs to play.

Then you listen to the music and you like to play along
You want to get the meaning out of each and every song
Then you find yourself a message and some words
To call your own and take them home.

He can make you love, he can get you high
He will bring you down then he'll make you cry
Somethin' keeps him movin' but no one seems to know
What it is that makes him go.

Then the lights begin to flicker and the sound is getting dim
The voice begins to falter and the crowds are getting thin
But he never seems to notice he's just got to find
Another place to play, either way got to play
Either way got to play


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Two years since Rob left

Wow....Hard to believe that itís been 2 years already since Rob left.

Scary how the time passes so quickly. Depending on your own particular spiritual beliefs, you may think him already reincarnated as a small baby or toddler, (and probably already a precocious handful!), or sitting with St Peter, sipping blackberry wine and discussing the finer points of theology. For us, his spirit lives on in the legacy of his writing, and the memories.

One of the best reflections of Robís spirit can be found in his vivid descriptions of daily life and recollections from his past. Like a handful of precious stones pulled from his pocket, heíd carefully select a moment from his day or the memory of a past adventure and hold it up for us to see like a sparkling gem shining in the bright sunlight.

Whether he was describing the beauty of a mountain stream seen along some well worn path he hiked long ago, the "perfect silhouette" of a nekkid woman on a starlit beach wearing "nothing but a smile", the culinary attributes of the blue crab, a cherished memory from childhood, or a raging thunderstorm enjoyed from a lawn chair positioned in an open garage door, he made sure we could clearly see and feel what was in his mind as he posted.

Some of his best writing could be found in his artful descriptions of of those calm, quiet ďplacesĒ we can all find in life. Thoughts, images, or moments frozen in time. In his careful narrative, he sought to share a part of his own joy and amazement at the simple beauty and peace of just "being", and experiencing the purest elements of life and nature, as in this post he wrote shortly after rising with the sun early one summer morning in 2003:

ďI like where I live.

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

Pure Rob, pure poetry. Ö just one side of a complicated, complex, sometimes tormented, but often times soaring spirit. Happy, sad, venting, or lamenting, he made us think, laugh, marvel, wonder, sympathize, disagreeÖ.but he let us share - some of his soul, his world, his thoughts. He approached what life could throw at him with a laugh, or a growl, and yeah, sometimes a raised middle finger.

Through it all he maintained his pride, sense of humor, and keen eye for life's crazy, ironic twists and turns. He carved a place in the hearts and memories of many, many, countless readers.
Heíll always be remembered in the hearts of friends and loved ones.

Thank you Rob, and may your spirit continue to find peace in that early morning, misty calm just after sunrise, with the sound of that mournful train whistle in the distance.

June 25, 2008

I just noticed

Originally PUBLISHED June 23, 2006

I'm not very far away from hitting the THREE MILLION VISITORS mark on my blog. That's even WITH my Cracker ass being banned by Google.

I'm kinda impressed by that number. Hell, I'm probably well over FIVE MILLION "HITS" by now, since I didn't have a Site Meter on my blog until it was almost six months old. I also am very flattered, too.

That ain't bad for a decrepit old Cracker in the teeming metropolis of Rincon, Jawja, which ain't exactly a real hot-spot for commercial blogging. I may never be a Tall Dog in blogdom, but I haven't done too badly, considering that I've never spent ANY time behind-the-scenes here on shameless self-promotion, blatant ass-kissing on other "big-time" blogs or trying to pass myself off as a Serious Journalist by joining a circle-jerk outfit such as Pajamas Media.

Okay... I DID hand out (for FREE!!!) 250 bumper stickers, some of which ended up in trash cans all over the WORLD, but I don't consider that act to be anything close to some of the serious whoring for attention that I've seen lots of other people do.

I built it, and y'all came.

I get to write the way I've always loved to do and I actually have people who enjoy reading my words. That is VERY flattering to me and I thank everybody (except the got-dam spammers) who ever visited my not-so-humble site and deemed it worthy of a return visit or two.

Thank you, folks. And I hope to keep doing this "ceaseless quest for adoration" a lot longer, too. Every time I get depressed and think about quitting, I get a clever comment or a friendly email and I realize just how much fun this silly, self-aggrandizing exercise has been--- and still IS--- for me.

If y'all are still willing to read, I'm still willing to write. And thank you.

I really MEAN that!

a golden oldie

Originally PUBLISHED May 28, 2004


The earliest memory I have is catching a butterfly with my bare fingers in the front-yard flowerbed by the fence in my Old Kentucky home. I may have been four year-old at the time. I remember a lot about living in the coal mining camp and I remember being very happy there, except for the trips to Dr. Begley's office for typhoid shots and polio shots and smallpox vaccinations, things my son will never know (unless terorists have their way).

I remember listing to my grandmother tell stories about her childhood (she was about 45 at the time, but she was OLD to me) and I recall vividly thinking about a path through the wildflowers on the other side of the railroad trestle where we lived, and how she had travelled a long way down that path where I was not allowed to go. I envied the memories she had.

I am five years older than she was then. I have travelled FAR down that path in my lifetime, not only through the wildflowers, but into the weeds, the briars, the poison ivy and the quicksand, too. I look back now and I really don't understand how I went from being Beaver Cleaver (although a lot of those traits still survive), to a high-school jockstrap, to a dope-smoking bohemian English Major in college, to an advertising copywriter, to a six-year professional musician, to a 23-year employee in a chemical plant. I had about one hundred "girlfriends" along the way and never contracted a single STD during my swashbuckling days. I never cheated on a wife. I am loyal, if nothing else.

I have two ex-wives and two ex-children to show for it. I really don't know whether I have been blessed or extremely unlucky. (BAH! As my late Daddy would say, "You make your OWN luck, son!") I have more stories to tell than the average man, whatever THAT is, but all the stories aren't pleasant ones. I don't like what the prostate surgery has done to me. I once swore that I could never become a heroin addict because I HATE NEEDLES! Now, I have a prescription for them, and I get all I want. And I use them, too.

Who would'a ever thunk THAT? Not ME!

I like living by myself now. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. The Crackerbox is a nice home (Joan? What would it cost to buy this place on 1/2 acre of wooded land where YOU live?). I own all the toys a man my age should own (except a trophy younger woman). I'm not rich, but I have more money than I know what to do with. I spend it freely; that's what it's for.

But I keep looking back and wondering how I fucked up everything in the rear-view mirror. It's too late to go back now.

I hate that.

(originally written almost two years ago.)

mountains

Originally PUBLISHED August 18, 2004


The APPALACHIANS look small to me after seeing the Cascades and the Rockies. The old hills of Kentucky appear worn, weathered and weary compared to those robust mountains that seem to reach up and puncture the sky out west. Yeah, those mountains are taller and more impressive than where I grew up. I loved seeing them.

But those hills, those old, old hills where I come from still hold a majesty to ME that no other place on this earth can duplicate. I look at them and feel as if I'm still sitting on Grandma's knee, listening to her sing a sad coal miner song while she sews shuck beans and hangs them in long bunches on thread.

I like the way those mountains smell, and I like the taste of cold water from a spring that flows straight from rocks older than time. I've hiked all over those mountains and I've spent many a night around a campfire with a swift-running creek singing me a serenade at night. Water rushing over rocks sounds like rainfall when you pull your sleeping bag tight around you and drift off to sleep in the woods, in the mountains.

The Cascades and the Rockies are like me when I was young--- They are vigorous and bold, rough and ready, tall and strong. The Appalachians are like me NOW--- tired and worn-down, ready for rest and not in a big hurry anymore. Those mountains are peaceful.

I like that quality in mountains.

June 24, 2008

my dad's '57 chevy

Originally PUBLISHED February 18, 2005

I suppose the reason I love the 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air so much is because my father had one when I was a boy. That was the first new car he ever owned and when he drove it off the dealer's lot, unmodified from the factory, it was the fastest car in Harlan County, Kentucky, and that's saying something--- a lot of moonshiners and bootleggers were very proud of how their road-rockets would run. My dad was still young back then (27 years old) and he handed a few people their bloody asses when they wanted to race him.

That car would nuke anything else around.

Even the cops were interested in that car. My dad got pulled over a couple of times just because the trooper wanted to look under the hood and drool over the vehicle.

Once, he had a cop stop him coming back with a load of beer from Cumberland. My dad wasn't doing anything wrong, but the cop liked the car. He wanted to see how fast it would go. So, he gave my father a blue-light escort back into Harlan at speeds in excess of 100 MPH on those twisting mountain roads. At the end of the ride, the cop said, in admiration, "Not many people can keep up with my cruiser."

My father told the cop, "I coulda passed you any time I wanted to."

I don't care what anybody else has to say about other muscle cars. The '57 Chevy was the first of its kind and it would HAUL ASS!!! My father was young enough to enjoy such a car back then.

When my brother was diagnosed with diabetes and placed in the hospital for a month or so, mama pretty much stayed with my brother and dad and I went to visit every weekend when he didn't have to work. Once we went in a bad snowstorm. The roads got really bad while we were there and on the way back home we saw something ugly.

The road took a big climb up a hill just past Ova Lawson's Texico gas station and cars were in the ditch and halfway down the hill all over the place from sliding off the road. My father asked what was going on and somebody told him, "Robert, nobody can make it up the hill. The road is iced over and everybody who tries ends up in the ditch or down the mountain."

Here is where I became a victim of child abuse. My dad said, "I can make it. Get everybody out of the way."

He told me to get in the back and lay down in the floor. Then, he backed that car up about 100 yards, floored the pedal and went roaring up that hill. I don't know how fast we were going when we hit the ice, but we had enough momentum that dad just kept his foot solid on the accelerator, negotiated the fish-tails we performed and made it to the top of the hill.

When we were on top with a clear road home, he stopped, honked his horn and waved to the amazed people down below. He told me that I could sit in the front seat again. He had the only car in the county that made it over that hill that day.

Yeah, he coulda killed us both. But I enjoyed the ride, I was proud of my father and I felt like a Tall Dog riding in the front seat of that car.

I think that's one of the reasons I LOVE '57 Chevys so much.

big storm

Originally PUBLISHED April 22, 2005

A totally magnificent thunderstorm rolled over the Crackerbox between 6:30 and 7:00 this afternoon. It was a hum-dinger. Wind whipped the trees like a giant hand shaking the limbs and for about five minutes, hail the size of marbles fell. Lightning lit the sky and the thunder rolled. Rain poured in torrents.

I LOVED it. I didn't want it to stop.

Is that weird, or what? I really LIKE violent weather as long as I'm not hunkered down in a ditch when it happens. I went outside in the middle of that crap and stood in my yard after the hail quit. Whip me, wind! Wet me, rain! C'mon, God--- show me what you've got! Now's your chance to hit me with a lightning bolt! I'm giving you a good target!

God passed up that opportunity, the storm went away and I walked back inside, wet and wind-blown, but still alive. Rain continues to drizzle now, but it's nothing like it was earlier today. I wish that the wind, hail and thunder had kept coming for hours. I like that stuff.

I ain't right in the head, am I?

June 23, 2008

bearding the lion

Originally PUBLISHEDAugust 14, 2005

I'm going to do something I've never seen done on a blog before. I'm going to Fisk the Gettysburg Address. It is taught in school as one of the greatest speeches ever made, but I call bullshit on that. If you put it into historical context, it was a razzle-dazzle political smoke-screen worthy of Bill Clinton, or someone even more craven than he is.

I am NOT a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln. I can understand a lot of what he did and why he did it, but that fact still doesn't make it right. Did he REALLY "preserve the Union," or did he demonstrate that the federal government was powerful enough to crush any opposition that dared to question its authority?

Think about it. Lincoln didn't "free the slaves." In fact, he was quite the racist if you read what he really thought about negroes. He wanted them all packed up and shipped back to Africa. He believed that they were a sub-human race, incapable of being civilized. His Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the South only, which he had no authority to do but did anyway, hoping to stir up a slave rebellion as a weapon of war. The guy was a fucking politician.

I can understand why Lincoln opposed the South leaving the Union, although I believe that the states had the right of secession. The South formed a very loose "Confederacy" and they wouldn't have lasted long as a nation without England or France getting a foot in the door on this contenent. I know why Lincoln didn't want that to happen on his watch.

He saw bad things happening somewhere down the line.

He thought it was worth fighting a long and bloody war to stop it. But I think the man is deified today FAR beyond who he really was.

In MY humble opinion, Abe Lincoln was a master politician and a man who put his personal desires far above the US Constitution. He was President, and he didn't hesitate to preserve his power.

Just read this and think.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Yeah, except for slavery and treating wimmen as chattel. "Equal," my ass. And YOU showed that "liberty" was what the federal government said it was. More than 600,000 men died proving your point.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

YOU made sure we had no choice, Abe. I live in Georgia. People here still remember what Sherman did when his yankee ass came through. Did you enjoy receiving Savannah as a Christmas present?

We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

A lot of people died so that Old Abe could have his way. I agree that it was "fitting and proper" to honor the dead soldiers, but they wouldn't be dead in the first place if Abe Lincoln hadn't decided that preserving his precious Union was worth any cost in life and limb.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Lying bastard. That last line SHOULD read: "This nation, without regard to what YOU think, will BECOME GOD, dictate every aspect of your life and even tell you how much water your toilet can flush, once we invent flush toilets. GOD--- excuse me... GOVERNMENT will tax everything you do, take your property if you don't pay and irritate the living shit out of you by being mostly incompentent in handling the "services" it is supposed to provide."

Honest Abe? My ass. He shit all over the Constitution. Although Andersonville gets all the bad press, he allowed Elmira to exist, and there was NO fucking excuse for that. Confederate soldiers in the field didn't live much better than prisoners at Andersonville.

But... at Elmira, the Union DELIBERATELY starved rebs in the middle of plenty. The guards were well-fed and fat, while the prisoners picked through horse shit, looking for corn.

In case you don't know already, I'm NOT a big fan of Abraham Lincoln. I believe that his assassination hurt the South, but we never would have had Reconstruction if Abe had been as "honest" as he claimed to be.

In MY humble opinion, he's the most over-rated President in history.

groupies

Originally PUBLISHED June 16, 2005

I have to agree with THIS POST. I got more pussy with a guitar than I ever did with money. Back in the 1970s, if you played on stage, it was easy to get laid. YOU didn't have to seduce wimmen. THEY wanted to seduce YOU, which in my case wasn't a difficult task.

I remember waking up in bed one morning with a school-teacher after a night of delightful frolic. She laid her head on my chest and said, "I"ve always dreamed about doing this."

I wasn't certain what she meant, so I asked her to explicate. "I've always wanted to go home with a guy in the band and then ball his brains out," she replied. My response? "Darlin,' do you have any OTHER fantasies you'd like to explore?" She was a sexy wench.

I thought about this for years, and I'm pretty sure what causes that attraction now. Wimmen are hormonal creatures and studies have shown that a male singing voice makes them produce phermones that are like opium in the brain. They start to feel real good and become aroused.

Second, just look at a guitar. It's a phallic instrument. Watch some guy running his hand up and down that long, stiff neck while he wears the double-round part around his waist. That is very suggestive of a well-hung man with a set of big nuts. It's all symbolic, but wimmen are sensitive creatures and they pick up on those signals. They get horny and they want to get laid.

Men are all swine (I'll admit that) because we think with the little head instead of the big one sometimes. But men don't go completely out of their minds when they visit a strip club. Wimmen DO when they see a musician they like.

Fairer sex, my ass. I know better.

June 22, 2008

organic farmers

Originally PUBLISHED July 23, 2005

For several years, I tilled and planted 1/2 acre of land, where I grew all kinds of crops. If you don't know how much land 1/2 an acre is, go pace it off some fine day. It's bigger than a fucking football field.

I collected chicken-shit, goat-shit and cow-shit--- PLUS some horse-shit to till into my land and I STILL had to buy fertilizer to make the crops grow right. I worked my ass off doing it, while I still held a full-time job at the chemical plant, but I enjoyed seeing that sandy piece of shit land produce beans, corn, squash, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, zuchinni, and almost anything else I stuck into the ground.

I hoed, I pulled weeds and I fought every kind of crop-eating pest you can name. I want to know how many "organic" food-eaters ever did that?

NONE is my guess. Most of those fuckers think produce grows in a grocery store. I'm here to tell you that it DOESN'T! Why do you think I'm on a first-name basis with the owners of the Seed & Feed store? I FARMED, that's why.

If YOU haven't (and I don't call growing a few tomato plants in pots "farming") then just shut the fuck up about something you know nothing about.

And I was small time compared to the REAL farmers. They plowed HUNDREDS of acres, and I went to them for advice. They had little use for environmentalists or "organic" farmers, either. They FOUGHT the land and mother nature. That's how they made their living.

I call bullshit on anyone who hasn't done it and doesn't live around people who have been doing it for generations. Drink your bottled water, eat your organic carrots and kiss my Cracker ass.

Farming is some of the most difficult work a person can do.

palmetto bugs

Originally PUBLISHED August 25, 2005

Doesn't the term "Palmetto bug" sound sweet? Almost "cute?" Well, you can forget that shit right now. A palmetto bug is a giant fucking COCKROACH, about the size of a nice cigar butt and capable of flying, too.

I read this POST ABOUT "EM and it send shivers up my spine. I came home from a night of playing guitar on River Street and went into my bathroom. I'll admit that I wasn't perfectly sober at the time. When I turned on the bathroom light, a saw a MONSTER palmetto bug crawing on the mirror.

I was gonna KILL that sumbitch.

I slipped off one of my shoes and took a swing at it. I missed. The damn thing flew off the mirror, hit me in the face and scared the shit out of me. We were in an immediate bug-tussle.

We went at it tooth and nail, with no quarter on either side. The palmetto bug was flying around the room, I was swinging at it with my shoe and things were getting hairy.

I ended up tearing down the shower curtain, breaking one end off the towel rack and putting one hell of a knot on my head when I fell into the bathtub, but I finally got that bastard. He crunched like fresh celery when I slammed my shoe on him.

I picked him up and flushed his broken body down the commode.

I won that war. But it was one hell of a battle. I looked like I had been in a pretty good bar-fight when it was over.

I HATE palmetto bugs.

June 21, 2008

a secret

Originally PUBLISHED July 22,2005

For anybody who wants to pick a ripe watermelon in the field, I'm gonna tell you something that not many people know. You don't need to "thump" the watermelon to tell whether it's ripe or not. (although that method works if you know the right sound.)

Look at the back end of the melon--- the part on the opposite side of the stem. You'll see a little green thingy growing out of there. (We call those "pig tails" in southeast Georgia.) It will be green and stiff until the melon is ripe, then it will shrivel and curl up--- like a pig's tail. Once you see that, the melon is ready to eat.

Most farmers knock those off before they haul their melons to market, so you won't see "pig tails" in the store. But I AM NOT MAKING THIS SHIT UP!!! Go look at watermelons growing, if you live anywhere around a farm. Look for the "pig-tail" and tell me I'm mistaken.

I'm NOT mistaken. I'm a country boy.

I'd like to sample

Originally PUBLISHED July 29, 2005

I haven't traveled all that far in my life, but I've been far enough to know a good hamburger when I taste one. I ate a regular McDonald's hamburger the other day, and I would have enjoyed sawdust more. That burger SUCKED!

Here are supposedly THE 20 BEST HAMBURGERS IN AMERICAI've never tasted one of them. Piss on that list--- I'll give you the top five of my own.

1) "The Congress," from the Exchange Tavern on River Street in Savannah. That is a two-fisted burger-eater's burger that has all the essential elements--- grease, meat, fixin's, and juice that runs off your elbows. Get extra napkins when you eat one of those. Absolutely delicious, and they'll still cook it bloody in the middle, unlike some other wussie places.

2) "The Monsterburger" from Chips Drive-in in Savannah. That place is closed now, but they made a burger with THREE side-by-side meat patties on a hoagie bun, dressed with everything and soaked in a "secret sauce" that made you sweat and say "YUM!" at the same time. You had to sit down to eat a Monsterburger, and then rest afterward.

3) "The Rodeo" from Billy Bob's Restaurant in Savannah. That thing weighed a POUND and it had chili, cheese and even refried beans on the side. I used to order one cut in half to feed me and Jennifer both. We usually still couldn't eat it all.

4) "The Bison Burger" that I ate at some diner in Montana. HOLY BEJUS! That waitress need a fork-lift to deliver it to my table, and I needed four hands to eat it right. It was bison meat, about 2" thick, covered with lettuce, tomato, onions and with some genuine Idaho home-fries on the side. I almost killed myself gnawing on that thing.

5) "A Krystal." Call me Southern. Call me provincial. Call me anything you want to call me and I don't care. A sack full of hot Krystal burgers is STILL a taste-treat for me today. I've eaten those little burgers all my life and I still like 'em today. They are the best "gut-nuggets" I ever shoved down my throat at 3:00 in the morning when I was really hungry. And drunk.

Besides--- anybody who thinks he can judge the best hamburger in America has his nerve. It all depends on what you like.

June 20, 2008

sign language

Originally PUBLISHED August 20, 2005

I read long ago that the gesture of a handshake was started to mean that you meant peace and you had no quarrel with the other person. You offered him your empty right hand to show that you didn't intend to pull a sword or a knife to try to kill him. That sign language goes back a long time in history.

The American Indians did something akin to that gesture. They raised an open right palm to show that they didn't have a weapon. That meant that they wanted to talk rather than fight.

The "flipping finger" (meaning FUCK YOU!!!) was invented by the British after their masters of the longbow became feared by their opponents. If longbow archers were captured by their enemies, the captors frequently cut off the middle finger of the bowman's right hand, so that he could not shoot a bow anymore.

Shooting "the bird" was a sign that you could still fight with the best of them. You still had your middle finger, so you were good to go.

Look at pictures of Winston Churchill during World War II. He was always showing that "V" for victory sign. I learned later that if he did it with the palm of his hand pointed AT the camera, that meant nothing but a "V" for victory.

But if he showed you the BACK of his hand with two fingers raised, it was just like shooting the bird. It meant, still have my fingers and I'll shoot you if I get the chance. That gesture came from people who fired longbows.

I tried shooting a longbow once. Just STRINGING the damn thing is one hell of an effort and I was in good shape back at that time. It was damn nearly as long as I was tall, and I had to wrestle with that bastard for a while before I got the bowstring on it.

It had a 170-pound draw and it would fire an arrow an incredible distance, IF you could draw the device all the way back and hold it for more than ... oh, about two seconds.

You have to be a bad-ass to handle one of those. It's like doing a 170-pound sideways bench press.

I like reading about such things. I've attended several supervisory training seminars that were designed to teach me how to read "body language." I paid attention and discovered, with experience, that most what they taught is true.

I've just been piss-poor at reading wimmen in my life.

strange dreams

Originally PUBLISHED October 8, 2005

When I was sick the other day--- I must have been REALLY sick, because I thought today was Friday until I saw the kids playing in the neighborhood while I was trying to fix my mailbox--- I had the strangest dream.

I was riding in a vehicle like a jeep or a Volkwagon "Thing" that was open-air with no roof on it. A grill was sticking out on the front--- not a car grill, but a barbeque kinda grill, and bacon was sizzling on it. The bacon was nowhere nearly done, but the tires of the car were throwing black specks all over the bacon. I knew nobody could eat bacon cooked like that.

We were headed down Bay Street in Savannah, going right by the post office. Jennifer's mama was driving the car. Jennifer was sitting in the seat behind me. She started kissing the back of my neck.

"Your mama is so proud of the award you won," she said. I had no clue what she was talking about. WHAT award? Where was I and what was I doing there?

Jennifer kept kissing on me and said, "I'm starting to like you again. Why don't we get together and talk after you pick up your award? It comes with a lot of money."

You wanna know the damndest thing? In that dream I WANTED to stop and talk with her. I remember thinking, "this can't be real," but it seemed real enough to suit me at the time. I just wondered how to ditch her mama and where we were gonna go to talk. I even thought about making love to her again.

I woke up sick as a dog and had to avail myself of my bedside puke-bucket for a while. I was running a pretty high fever at the time, and I always nut-up when I run a fever.

But what really disturbed me was the fact that I WANTED HER BACK. I could never do that in real life, but in my dream, it seemed perfectly acceptable.

Okay, all you psychologists out there. Explain THAT one to me.

June 19, 2008

good point

Originally PUBLISHED September 23, 2005

I've called North Carolina a "hurricane magnet" for years. I've watched too many hurricanes predicted to hit Savannah that just kept drifting north to slam NC to believe any differently.

The past couple of years has turned Florida and the Gulf Coast into target areas. I feel sorry for those people, but I resort to my virtue of selfishness: better THEM than ME.

I believe that Savannah is positioned in a fortunate place. We have the "Georgia Bite" to protect us. Just look carefully at a map of the southeast United States. It looks a lot like a sandwich that somebody took one bite off of. Savannah is right in the middle of that bite-mark.

The Gulf Steam is 50 miles offshore here. The Gulf Stream is a strong current of warm water that affects the paths of hurricanes. It tends to steer storms north of where I live.

The Georgia Bite also makes a clear line in the water, and you'd know that fact if you ever rode a boat from here to Key West (I did). Somewhere off the coast of Florida, about 20 miles out, you can see the line in the water where the sea changes from green and skanky to clear, blueberry-popsicle beauty.

I am NOT making this shit up.

The Georgia Bite protects Savannah from hurricanes. I've lived here for more than 40 years and I've seen seen TWO hurricanes in that period of time, and both were CAT 1 when they hit. We dodged Hugo and Floyd. The Georgia Bite did that.

Read THIS THEORY about hurricanes. It throws some more meat into the stew.

Sam is correct about what he says. We have NOT experienced the usual hurricanes blowing off of Cape Verde this year. Ours have been home-grown, right near where we live.

Any rhyme or reason to that? Damn if I know. Mother Nature works in mysterious ways. But she's not always cruel.

She gave me the Georgia Bite.

costa rica

Originally PUBLISHED July 19, 2005

I've been to Costa Rica three times now, and I've spent a grand total of 31 days there. I'm going back again next month for at least ten days and maybe longer, depending on how I feel and what I run into. I really like that place.

I received this email today:

Rob -

You often talk about Costa Rica, her people, culture, etc.

What places would you recommend? Do you have any info on immersion Spanish courses held there?

Thanks.

I've already googled 'costa rica' and limited it to gutrumbles.com

Posted by brian at July 19, 2005 12:05 AM

On my trips to Costa Rica, I've been pretty much all over the country, from both coasts to both borders. I know what I like, but I hesitate to recommend anything to anybody I don't know. What I like might not please you.

My two favorite places in Costa Rica are Jaco Beach and La Fortuna. Jaco is pretty laid-back, with beautiful Pacific water and surf, and you can find some really good food there. Plus, Jaco is more of a "live cheap" destination than places such as Tamarindo or Manuel Antonio.

La Fortuna is beautiful, right at the foot of the Arenal volcano. That sumbitch shook me out of bed at 3:00 AM the first time I was there. That's ALSO where I was mugged by a mango in total darkness after a night of singing Spanish karioke in a local bar.

The difference between Jaco and La Fortuna is like the difference between south Georgia and north Georgia. One is the beach, and the other is up in the mountains. BOTH are wonderful places.

If you visit the Caribbean side, you're entering "hippie heaven." The beaches are okay and the people are great, but you might not have hot water in your motel room. Of course, you can find a place to stay that's clean and decent for $5.00 a night there. And if you want to buy any kind of dope known to man, that's the place to do it.

I recommend that everybody spend a day or so in San Jose, just to walk through the market area in the morning when it first opens. That's quite a sight to see, and the noise is glorious. But I wouldn't stay there long. Get out of there and see the rest of the country.

Almost every town I visited had Spanish classes offered. I don't want to spend my time in Costa Rica sitting in a classroom, so I bought a phrase book, refreshed some of the Spanish I learned in college and spent a lot of time taking "lessons" from cab-drivers and bartenders.

I suggest you ask this guy for more information. He knows more about Costa Rica than I do, although I am determined to catch up with him some day.

Just go. Wherever you end up, you won't regret it.

spanish lessons

Originally PUBLISHED July 17, 2004

It's a three-hour drive from San Jose to Jaco Beach. My driver today was Jose, who is the fellow who picked me up at the airport on my first vist to Costa Rice. Jose speaks pretty good English, but when I saw him in the hotel lobby, I spoke nothing but my pidgin Spanish to him until we were well on the road. He told me that I had gotten much better at espanol than I was the first time he met me.

I told him... Yo hablo espanol porque quiero ser major como su lingua. That was supposed to mean, "I speak Spanish because I want to be better with your language." I don't know if I said what I meant, but he understood me. "Bueno," he replied.

I took a Spanish lesson for the next three hours and it was a good one. I also gave him English lessons, too. I now know that a racoon is a mapache in Spanish. I also know the difference between a calle and an now. A camino is what we call a trail, or a dirt road, in English.

I learned a lot of other words, but my favorite part of the trip came when we passed a couple of typically good-looking Costa Rican wimmen walking down the road. "Dios mio, I said. "Muchas chicas bonitas aqui, todas con grande tetis."

Jose asked me, "Como se dice in English 'tetis'?

I said, and I am quoting to the best of my recollection: "Breasts is the polite word. But usually, hombres call them Boobs, Jugs, Tits, Nay-Nays, Melons, Ta-Tas, Bazongas, Headlights, a Rack..." and Jose stopped me there.

"Iraq?" he asked, appearing very puzzled. I had to explain that I didn't say "Iraq;" I said A RACK, as in a rack of lamb or a deer with big antlers. He nodded his head, then gave me about a dozen Spanish words for the same anatomical appendage. Then, he pointed to his groinal area. "Como se dice in English 'peni'?"

I said, "Penis is the polite word. But Dick, Cock, Pecker, Meat, One-Eyed Monk, Trouser Snake, Tube Steak, Roscoe..." and Jose cut me off again. "Roscoe?" he asked. I told him to forget about that one because that was the name I gave my personal anatomical appendage. He grinned. Then, he gave me about a dozen Spanish words for the same thing.

We discussed a woman's... vagina... with the same results. We both could come up with ABOUT A DOZEN WORDS to say the same thing. Isn't that an interesting thing about language? A bird is a bird, no matter what language you speak. But tits, cocks and pussies have dozens of names, and I'll bet that's true all over the world.

Not much of a post, but the discussion sure made the time fly.

June 18, 2008

another good deed

Originally PUBLISHED August 19, 2004

I took the dirt road behind my house to Randall's Liquor Store today because I was running low on beer and cigarettes. I needed to reload.

Old Augusta Road is one of the best-kept dirt roads I've ever seen. Even after all the rain we've had lately, the road was in great shape, until I turned the corner and passed the sign from Effingham to Chatham County. (Randall has a great place for a liquor store--- right on the county line between Baptists and drunks.) The road goes only about 100 yards farther, but that sumbitch looked like the army had been using it for heavy artillery practice. It didn't have potholes. It had CAVES in it.

What did I see? A red Chevy Cavilear buried up to its radiator in one of those holes and a woman standing on the side of the road with her hands clasped under her chin as if she were praying to God. I stopped and asked if I could help her.

"Do you have a cell phone?" she pleaded. "I belong to AAA they'll send a tow-truck out here if I can call them." I told her that I didn't have my cell phone with me, but I thought that I could pull her out. I keep a tow-strap behind the back seat of my truck and I fished it out. I pulled my truck up as close to her car as I could.

Only THEN did I realize that to hook her front axle to mine, I was going to have to swim through a mud-hole to do it. Her car was sunk DEEP in that slime. I took off my shirt and handed it to her along with my wallet. "Hold these for me, darlin.' I think I'm gonna have to get dirty."

This WAS NOT a pretty woman. She was older than I am and she didn't arouse me at all in a sexual nature. But she was a damsel in distress and I am a Southern gentleman who believes in chivalry. I crawled through that mudhole, hooked our axles together with my tow-strap and got covered up with shit doing it. I looked like Fido's ass by the time I was finished. I had mud running out of my ears.

"I need to ask you to do one thing for me, darlin," I said. "I can't do this all by myself. You're going to have to get in that car, put the gear in neutral and steer while I pull you to high ground. Just give me a thumbs up when you're ready."

She already had mud on her damn near up to her knees, so she didn't hesitate. "I can do that," she replied, and she waded through the mud and climbed into her car. I got in my truck and she gave me a big thumbs up. I pulled her out of that mudhole.

When her car was high and dry, I crawled through the dirt again and disconnected my tow-strap. I retrieved my shirt and my wallet. The woman offered to pay me, but I didn't want her money. I told her that it was my good deed for the day and maybe somebody will do that sort of thing for my mama if she's ever stuck on a dirt road in the future. She thanked me again and went on her merry way in that little red car.

I drove my truck through that mudhole and made it to Randall's. I walked through the door and people said, "My Gawd, Rob! What happened to you?" I looked as if I had been wallowing in a pig-sty.

"Nothing happened," I replied. "I look this way all the time anymore. Gimme some beer and cigarettes."

I bought beer and cigarettes and drove back home. I DID not take the dirt road this time.

field trip

Orginally PUBLISHED August 28, 2005

I need to go to Circuit City tomorrow. I require a couple of devices to finish off my recording studio. I don't need much, but it's the kind of stuff that Willy doesn't sell. I'll have to go commercial to get it.

You know the weird thing about this situation? I can get pretty much anything I want today NOT by going to a store, but simply by calling several people I know. If I want a gun, I can get one. If I want musical equipment, I can get it. If I want a piece of ass, I can order it.

Hell--- I probably could buy all sorts of illegal drugs if I were so inclined. Just push the right buttons on the phone. If I don't know somebody who sells them, I'll bet that I know somebody who DOES know somebody who sells them. It ain't that difficult to do.

That's one thing government doesn't seem to understand, or refuses to admit. There has ALWAYS been an underground economy and it'll ALWAYS be there, because people are people and they enjoy their vices. You can outlaw it all you want to, but it won't stop people from doing it.

I learned that lesson when I played guitar in the bars. You CANNOT legislate human nature. You can try, but you'll fail every time.

That's why I hate "dry" counties. You think such stupid laws keep people from drinking? Hell, no they don't, and that's why Randall's Liquor Store is a got-dam gold mine. He's perched right on the edge of the Chatham-Effingham county line. Ya can't buy liquor in Effingham County.

Guess who 99% of Randall's customers are? They don't drive all the way across Chatham County to visit his store.

In 1974, I went to visit my cousin Ernie in Kentucky. His mama (my Aunt 'Netta) had a wildflower garden in her back yard on the bank of the Cumberland River. Ernie and I went off to shoot guns, and Netta asked us to bring back some good, round creek-rocks for her garden border.

Ern and I fired off all the ammunition we had, then threw all the guns in the back seat of my 1968 Javelin. After that, we selected some really choice creek-rocks that we thought would look good in the flower garden and put those in the trunk of my car.

I was riding low when we left and we didn't make it ten miles before the State Patrol pulled me over. I was on the road back from Cumberland, and most cars riding that low were carrying bootleg alcohol into a dry county. That's what the cop thought I was doing.

He never paid a minute's attention to all the guns in the back seat. He asked me what I had in the trunk. (Strange law in Kentucky back then---you could have one case of beer and one bottle of liquor PER PASSENGER in the car. If you had more than that, you were assumed to be a bootlegger.) I told him I had rocks in there and he laughed.

"You mind showing me?" he asked.

I popped the trunk for him and, sure enough, I was hauling a load of rocks for my aunt's flower garden. He fucked with us for a few minutes, then let us go. I am certain that he was frustrated that he couldn't charge us with SOMETHING, but hauling rocks is no crime in any state that I know of.

The weird thing is, he never asked us about all the guns in the back seat of my car. I suppose that sight is pretty normal in that part of Kentucky. No big deal. (Can you imagine what would have happened to me in New York?)

If I ran this country, that would be my motto, except for serious crime: "No Big Deal." Oh, I'd fry murderers, rapists, child-molesters and thieves, because I consider those to be "serious" crimes, but otherwise, I'd let people be people.

They're gonna do that anyway.

sheer terror

Originally PUBLISHED July 21, 2005

Today, I remembered the night of my Junior Prom in high school. I was 16 years old and just got my driver's license. I didn't have a fucking clue what I was doing behind the wheel of a car. I was absolute danger on four wheels.

But I asked a girl named Becky to be my date that night, she accepted, and I went to the "Men's Quality" store to buy my duds for that date. I spent two weeks of my own pay for my outfit, but it was worth every penny. I looked like James Bond.

I also bought a $5.00 orchad coursage for her. (That was a LOT of money back in those days.) When I came to pick her up for the dance, her mama answered the door and welcomed me inside. I was still frightened to death by wimmen in those days, and when Becky emerged in a long, flowing green dress, I almost shit my pants. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL!!!

Plus, that dress had a plunging neckline and I had never noticed before that Becky was blessed with a set of bodacious ta-tas. Her mama wanted to take a picture of me pinning that flower on her dress.

I tried, but I chickened out. The closer I got to those lovely boobs, the more my hands started to shake and I knew good and well that I couldn't do it. I'd stick her in the tit and ruin the entire evening. I thought of an alternate plan. (It was those BOOBS, goddamit! I never knew that Becky was so stacked!)

I asked her mama to pin the flower on Becky. She did, and then we had our picture taken. I managed to drive us both to the dance and then to Shoney's afterward for some Hot Fudge Cake. I got her home safe and sound and got a really nice good-night kiss in the bargain.

Heh. The difference between then and now is amazing when I think about it.

June 17, 2008

he stuck it in his ear

Originally PUBLISHED January 10,2005

Have you ever been fishing, reared back for a mighty cast and found your rod going nowhere when you came forward? Sure, you have. Usually, you look behind you and find a bush or a tree that snagged your line, so that's no big deal. Just part of fishing.

But once, I didn't snag a bush or a tree. I stuck a hook right through a friend's ear. I didn't catch the little hangy-down part, either. I got him in the upper lobe and the hook went clean through to the other side. I almost threw him out of the boat when I followed through on my cast. Trust me. You'll GO where your ear leads you in that situation.

He screamed. I screamed. It was a bloody, screaming crisis. When I saw what happened, I knew that I couldn't just pull the hook out, so I told my friend to hold still. I grabbed a set of wirecutters and snipped the barb off the end of the hook; then, I pulled the hook out of my friend's ear, poured some Jim Beam on the wound and stuck a band-aid on it.

We kept on fishing, although I was called "bastard" and "cocksucker" for the rest of the day. But I didn't take offense. I could understand his behavior.

His EAR was hurting.

sharks

Originally PUBLISHED July 14,2005

I know that some of the coastal natives who read my blog have dealt with sharks before. But for all you flat-landers and know-nothings, I want to tell you something about sharks.

#1) They usually don't bite people. But they are VERY nearsighted, and they MIGHT mistake you for something else. That's when they bite people.

#2) If you ever catch a shark on a fishing rod, you'll think you've got a monster on your hook. The damn thing starts swimming in circles and fights like hell. If you managed to haul it in to the beach or your boat, you'd better be ready to kill it, usually by beating the life out of it with a sawed-off baseball bat, or that fucker will try its best to kill YOU.

#3) I was talking about three-footers in the previous line. If you hook anything bigger than THAT you need a shotgun on board to make him stop trying to bite you. I recommend TWO slugs to the head, too. (Do that BEFORE you put him in the boat.)

#4) Shark meat is very good grilled. Cut off the tail right below the asshole, cut the meat about 2" thick and it makes really good steaks. Tastes almost like swordfish if you cook it right.

#5) Did you know that a shark can't stop swimming? It's true. They are such primitive animals that they have to MOVE to keep water pumping through their gills. That's one reason why you never see a picture of a shark with its eyes closed. They don't sleep as we know it. Plus, they NEVER shut their eyes anyway.

#6) Wanna KNOW that you're safe from sharks in the water? Just get a bunch of dolphins swimming around you. They'll scare the shit out of YOU when they come up and bump you with their noses, but they are just curious, and a set of water skis must fascinate the hell out of them. They want to know what in the world you're doing and they'll chase you for miles down a salt-water river. But they run the sharks away.

#7) I am more afraid of jellyfish than I am of sharks. If you ever get a jellyfish sting, you'll FEEL it right away. I know only one remedy. Urine and wet sand. Piss on it and pack it. Then, suffer.

#8) Ain't salt water a wonderful thing?

fishing

Originally PUBLISHED July 18, 2005

I LIKE to go fishing. Whether it be from the creekbank, in a boat or from the surf, it's something I enjoy doing. I don't consider myself to be an expert at it, but I've caught my fair share of fish.

Deep sea fishing is a real hoot. If you haul up a fish around the Snapper Banks off the coast of Georgia, you're gonna have something BIG on your line. I've hooked Red Snapper, Grouper, Trigger, Dolphin (the FISH--- not "Flipper), Tuna, Barracuda, Shark, Amberjack and all sorts of other intriguing critters out there.

Heh. Get a good-sized sting ray to bite and that bastard will wear you out before you drag him up to the boat. Feels like you've got Moby Dick on your line. I usually throw them back, but I kept one once and tried what somebody told me I could do. Skin him, and cut the meat into small cubes. Tastes just like scallops.

My friend was correct. That ray DID taste just like scallops.

I like fishing for bream, too. That's a good excuse to sit on the bank of a river, drink beer and snooze until you start getting a few hits. I've lucked-up and found them "bedding" before and caught fish as fast as I could re-bait my hook and get it back in the water. That's a lot of fun.

Bream are boney fish and some people I know don't like to eat them. I do. They are a pain in the ass to clean, but pan-fried, I think they are delicious. I like to eat fish.

If you have a young boy in your life, do him a big favor. Take him fishing. He'll never forget the lessons you teach him and it's something he can do for the rest of his life.

And it's a lot of fun, too.

(UPDATE: Black sea bass are as good as any fish I've ever tasted and if you ever get into a school of them, you can catch a BUNCH. I never much cared for salt-water trout. Flounder are more fun to catch if you gig them in a creek at night.)

June 16, 2008

the chattahoochie river

Originally PUBLISHED October 19, 2004

nipples.jpg

That water is cold!


the eyes of winter

Originally PUBLISHED April 4, 2005

I don't like cold weather and the area around Savannah is busting out in the colors of spring right now. Beautiful dogwoods, multi-colored azealias, Bartlet pear trees, legustrums, and one of my favorites, that nasty weed know as wisteria.

Bejus, but I love wisteria. Those purple flowers smell wonderful and they'll attract every bee within 50 miles. I believe that wisteria juice intoxicates the bees and you can walk right up and catch one in your hand. He won't sting you. He just wants to go back to the wisteria bar.

My first ex-wife used to jump all over me for doing that. "ROB!! You are allergic to honey bee stings! Stop messing with those things!"

I never listened and I never got stung.

I've found some wisteria growing in the woods not far from my house and I'm thinking about diggng up some and planting it in my back yard, just for the color and the aroma. That stuff is a parasitic plant that will kill everything else around it if given a chance, but I want some.

It blinds the eyes of winter.

stupid man tricks

Originally PUBLISHED May 23, 2005

Some time around 1977, some friends and I took a backpacking trip to Joyce Kilmer State Park in North Carolina (not far from Robbinsville). We hiked the Big Fat Gap trail, which is a real bitch if you walk it all the way to the top of Hangover Mountain, which we did. Never has a mountain been more appropriately named.

The first night, we camped on the banks of Slickrock Creek, a very beautiful mountain stream with lots of small waterfalls and big rocks all over the place. Close your eyes and listen to the water and your hear the sound of pouring rain all night long. But my friend Steve Hamby and I didn't go to sleep that night.

No, we split a 4-way hit of blotter acid and got really fired up about the time the sun went down. We were with three other people and they all crawled off to go to sleep just when Steve and I were at our best and our brightest. Sleep was the LAST thing on our minds.

In fact, we were so lit-up "bright" that we remembered a goatskin full of wine that Steve had in his truck. We decided, quite lucidly, to hike back and get it in the dark of night.

With a pair of flashlights, we hiked the two miles back to the parking lot, drank the wine while sitting on the tailgate of Steve's truck, and then staggered all the way BACK down the mountain, fucked up as a pair of worms. I think we did Indian dances around the campfire that night, before I kinda lost track of everything.

I woke up the next morning on a big, flat rock in the middle of Slickrock Creek. I do not recall how I got there or when I went to sleep. I didn't have a sleeping bag or even a blanket with me on that rock. I just picked out a nice rock and went to sleep on it. Had I been semi-conscious, I think I would have frozen my ass off that night, but I was burning high-octane fuel at the time. I wasn't cold when I woke up, even though the creek had icicles in it.

I walked 10 miles, steadily and steeply uphill the next day, while burping that wine and what tasted like MY rotten liver with every gasping step I took. I felt like Fido's ass. Steve looked okay, but we both consecrated Hangover Mountain by puking on it when we reached the top.

Those were the days. We did a LOT of "stupid man-tricks" back then, when we were both in our 20s. I kinda miss those times, because I had a lot of fun doing that crazy shit. Steve is dead now, and I'm just too old and stove-up for that crap anymore.

But I still like the memories.

June 15, 2008

lotta fun

Originally PUBLISHED February 25, 2006

magine a place waaaay back in the woods in Bumfuck, South Carolina. Add what appears to be an old barn, converted into a concert hall upstairs and a U-shaped room, perfect for THREE sit-and-pick groups downstairs. Put it a half-mile down a dirt road on the bank of a blackwater creek. Have about 100 people show up with guitars, mandolins, fiddles, banjos, dobros and other instruments on Friday night. Imagine LOTS of good music.

Well, such a place exists, and that's where I went last night.

My friend Willy hauled me up there and I probably couldn't find the place again without a damn good map. It's in the middle of NOWHERE. An elderly couple owns the property and they provide coffee and snacks for the musicians--- they pass a hat for "contributions" to pay for that--- and I had a GREAT time. Bluegrass is the preferred genre, but you probably can pick just about anything except rap and have people play along. (Shit. As if you can "pick" rap music anyway.)

Some of the musicians are damned GOOD, too. I hate it when I encounter a 13 year-old boy who can pick rings around me, but I met one last night. That little fucker could tear up a banjo, too. A one-eyed man with silver hair was as good a mandolin player as I've ever heard. A little old lady who resembled Barbara Bush played the hell out of the fiddle. I even saw some clog-dancing.

I played until my fingers hurt. In the downstairs area, pickers and fiddlers wandered from group to group so that I got to play with a LOT of different people, most of 'em fine musicians. I liked the atmosphere. Somebody would say, "You know such-and-such?" and the answer would be, "What key ya do it in?" "I play it outta 'G.'" "Just hit it and we'll follow you." And off we would go, winging it into the wee hours.

I've gotta go back there. If I can ever find the place again.

damn! That's like work!

Originally PUBLISHED April 2, 2006

I felt pretty good yesterday morning, so I went back to work on my garden early, before the sun got too hot. I was having a nice time until I managed to stir up a bunch of insurgent fire ants, who ambushed me mercilessly and bit the living shit out of me. Damn! Those are some mean little bastards!

I had to postpone gardening for a while and root around in my garage for the 100# of Diazanon I bought after the EPA announced that the perfectly safe and effective pesticide was being banned for no good reason other than some environmentalist's whiney whim a couple of years ago. I purchased two 50# bags and stored it for future usage before the stuff vanished from store shelves. Fuck the EPA. I hope fire ants bite the shit out of them, too, the buncha Chicken Littles.

I found my stash and launched a chemical attack against the implacable, six-legged terrorists infesting my yard. My preemptive strike must have been effective, because I didn't see ANY ants in my garden today. All the mounds appear to be abandoned. But past experience has shown me that I didn't kill the bastards. I probably just ran them off into my neighbor's yard for a while. Like the Terminator, they'll be back.

But I was able to finish my planting today, unbitten and unbothered, so I am happy. Sore and tired, but happy. I set up my big Rainbird sprinkler and created my own rainstorm to wet everything in good. The damn plot of ground already looks like a garden, except for one small detail: I still have room for more stuff out there.

What the hell. I already have tomatoes, corn, potatoes, green beans, okra, squash (crookneck AND zuccinni), bell peppers, banana peppers, cucumbers and sugar snap peas planted. If I'm able to get out of bed tomorrow, I'm gonna go buy some more squash, okra and cucumbers, plus some watermelon and cantelope. No sense in letting any tilled ground go to waste.

After that comes the fun part--- trying to keep the tree-rats, the potato bugs, the cutworms, the corn grubs and other nasty predators from eating me out of business. "Delicate" environment, my Cracker ass. It's a got-dam hostile world out there. It's already put a whipping on me, and I just got started.

Gardening---call it a hobby if you want, but it sure seems a lot like work when you actually DO IT.

a sunday post

Originally PUBLISHED August 21, 2005

I went through a RELIGIOUS PHASE when I was in college. I read all the holy books and the writings of holy men. I was Baptised in the Church of Christ, but that didn't last long. When the water dried up, so did my religion.

I never could decide whether I wanted to be a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddist, a Zorastrian, a Hindu or something else, so I finally settled on being an athiest. It was a difficult life-choice, but I finally made it.

I kinda like the idea of God running a place called "heaven" that's a lot like Key West, but with beer-spewing volcanos and Big Rock Candy Mountains, where everything is free, the wimmen all wanna get laid, the weather is nice and YOU end up toting God back to his cloud and pouring him into his holy bed one evening, because he's drunker than YOU are.

I wouldn't mind going to that kind of heaven, where the fish always bite, ALL wimmen swallow instead of spit and nobody wears any clothes. Yeah. No mosquitoes or fire ants, either. Sunshine all day and gentle rain at night to help you sleep. Fighting is not permitted, but fucking is encouraged.

I could join a church that fed me THAT line of superstition.

June 14, 2008

my daughter

Originally PUBLISHED July 4, 2004

Samantha and Stacey made it to mama's house shortly after 9:00 last night. I went to visit this morning. I don't really mean to brag (Oh, yes! I DO!), but I have a beautiful daughter. She got a lot of her looks from her mama, but I'm still proud to call her the spawn of MY loins. She's a looker.

I like Stacey a lot, too. She and Sam make an odd couple because Samantha has always been petulent, tempermental and quick to fly off the handle. Stacey is laid-back, mellow and the kind of person I feel comfortable around without being able to decide exactly why. Stacey is just good people. We had a nice, long visit today.

We're going crabbing on Wednesday. I checked the tides today and we need to leave early in the morning to catch the water right. I told them that I would pick them up at 7:00 AM and they both promised to be ready. I have no doubt that Stacey will be, and she'll probably bog a foot in Sam's ass to get her out of bed on time, too. I look forward to the adventure.

I hope we catch every crab in that creek.

THINGS I LEARNED ON JEKYLL ISLAND WITH MY SON

Originally PUBLISHED July 21st, 2002

1) It's a beautiful place. You really don't want to leave when your time is up. You also can spend a lot of money really fast there.

2) Every restaurant has a chef in a big, white hat and his job is to drench everything you eat with exquistie, garlic-laden sauces. The food is delicious, and my son and I ate it all, then raced for the bathroom afterward to see who could make the loudest "barking fish" noises on the commode. Damn! That's good stuff, but four days of seafood will make you believe that a covey of quail is flying out of your ass every time you have to fart. I wouldn't recommend that experience to everybody I know. Only the really staunch can survive it.

3) The weather was perfect. We went and ate the breakfast buffet at around 9:00 in the morning, lounged around the pool for an hour or so, then went to the beach, which doesn't exist at high tide. The waves come all the way to the big granite breakwater (which didn't exist the last time I was on Jekyll Island), so you have to wait for the tide to ebb before the beach becomes visible. Once my son saw a foot of sand, we hit the Atlantic Ocean. We collected sand dollars and hermit crabs and sea shells and we built the most exotic sand castles on the strand. My son attempted to make friends with some of the yankee boys in their clown-like costumes (you know-- the water shoes, the fins and goggles with a shark's fin on top, the jiggling, white, jelly-bellies and the SWIMMING GLOVES, for crying out loud) and Quinton finally asked me, "What's WRONG with those guys?" He stood there knee-deep in the surf, barefoot and bare-backed, looking tanned, muscular and altogether comfortable as the waves broke around him. I told him, "They're YANKEES and they can't help being dorkles. They don't know any better. Just try to be nice to them." He did, but he learned the EARLY WARNING SIGNS of a yankee and identified them left and right from them on. "DADDY! LOOKY THERE! THAT'S YANKEE FOR SURE!" Uh, Huh. Water shoes, doofus water toys, snorkel, mask and a bad attitude. "Don't point," I told him. "That's bad manners."

4) We returned past the Tiki-Bar at around 5:00 every afternoon. I bought my son a cherry coke and a frozen marguarita for me. We went back to our room and waited for the evening fireworks, which happened on schedule every day. Around 6:00, thunder, lightning and cosmic rainfall fell from the sky for about two hours, then we went out to eat. We did rent three movies that we watched during the rainstorms. The Scorpion King is one of those entirely witless, highly-entertaining movies you really want to watch during an early-evening thunderstorm. I LOVED IT. Bwhahahaha! I insisted on watching Blackhawk Down because I read the book, and the movie was excellent, except for the fact that Quinton couldn't keep track of all the characters and kept asking me pestering questions all the way through it. I shut him up when I told him that he was acting like a YANKEE! I made a mistake last night by renting Blade II which was a shitty movie filled with more fucking F-words than the fucking law should allow, and I didn't like all the fucking dialogue, which was mainly, "Fuck you!" "Oh, yeah? Fuck YOU, TOO!" My son didn't like it either, and asked me, "Why does everybody have a potty mouth in this movie?" I said, "They're yankees. They can't help it."

5) My son wants to start his own blog. He wants to tell scary stories on it. I think it's a great idea.

seems clear to me

Originally PUBLISHED August 15, 2005

A lot of people simply DO NOT read history. A lot of them are spoon-fed leftist or "politically correct" cant and that's all they know. They are either too lazy or too fucking dumb to go read about what actually happened in the past.

History fascinates me, because people haven't changed in 10,000 years. TIMES and TECHNOLOGY have changed, but people haven't. The same things motivate people today that motivated a cave-man: Money, sex and power.

I honestly ask you to find ANY significant piece of history that can't be traced to those three things. The Civil War was no different.

Yeah, it's politically correct today to say the war was fought to end slavery, but that's not true. Very few Southerners owned slaves. Most of 'em lived a hard-scrabble life trying to make a living off a dirt farm. They damn sure didn't go to war to protect some plantation owner's right to own his "nigras."

The abolitionists and the "fire-eaters" were out there, but they were a mouthy minority. A lot like some leftist assholes today, who blame every problem blacks have on racism, no matter what the actual evidence shows. The "black community" has a lot of problems. But a legacy of slavery is NOT the root cause of that.

You don't end up with a 70% illegitimate birth rate and 50% of the prison population because your great-grandfather was a slave. Somebody made some personal choices along the way. The choices were the wrong ones, but we don't dare say that today for fear of being branded a racist.

I'd like to ask my darling troll, BETH, who seems to have a Master's Degree in everything, to explain the impact of the cotton tariff on the South right before the Civil War. That may not have involved sex, but it surely was about money and power.

Cotton in the South wasn't called "King Cotton" for nothing. It was the life-blood of the Southern economy. Northern politicians decided that they could dictate what a bale of cotton should cost and the federal government could take a slice of that money right off the top.

Southerners didn't like that idea.

There's a great, two-volume book that you can buy at historical museums (it's on display at Fort Pulaski) called The Blue and the Gray. I recommend that ANYBODY with an interest in history read both books.

It's a compilation of diary entries, old letters written to loved ones, and journals written by people who FOUGHT in that war. You want to know the strangest thing? Almost NOBODY mentions slavery in their writing.

States rights and the Union are mentioned frequently. Love of country and state is very evident (you have to understand--- we were only 60-odd years from the American Revolution at the time). The South fought for their "rights." The yankees fought to subject Southerners to a federal government.

I'm being simplistic here, but you have to understand one thing. A LOT of those soldiers in the war had fathers who fought the British for independence. They simply disagreed about rights.

Slavery was a minor side-issue. And anyone who says differently is a fucking liar

dogs

Originally PUBLISHED August 17, 2004

I went to visit a friend yesterday who has a golden retriever named Robert E. Lee. Ole Bobby is a damned fine dog. He's BIG, but smart, affectionate and well-behaved. "He got better after I had his nuts cut off," my friend said. I really didn't want to hear that shit.

I like dogs and I don't like cats. I'm a DOG person. I've been to several people's houses who were amazed when I rang the doorbell and they didn't hear a dog barking first. The dog usually was at my side, trying to sniff my balls and my asscrack. Dogs do that kind of thing, but I let 'em and they appreciate my courtesy. I get along even with mean dogs.

But dogs do some things that just piss me off.

They dig holes. BEJUS! When I was working my ass off on the mini-farm trying to grow grass on all that barren ground, Bud LOVED IT when I spent a couple of hours laying sod and watering it into the ground. As soon as I turned the sprinkler off, he went out there and dug like a fucking BACKHOE. He could fuck up a good day's work in five minutes.

Did you ever have a dog that liked to eat cat-shit? GOT-DAM! Even before we GOT a cat with a litter-box that Bud thought was a buffet table, Bud went outside and DUG UP catshit to eat, that mangy hound. I've seen him many a time looking like a big, hairy bastard with a cigar hanging out of his mouth as he munched a cat-turd. THEN, he wanted to come lick on you after eating shit. Dogs do that kind of thing.

Dogs read body language better than most people do. Bud had a vocabulary of about 50 words and he knew EXACTLY what you were saying if you used any of those words. ("Bacon," "Cat" and "SICCEM" were his favorites. All three made him hungry.) But he got the message loud and clear without a sound being spoken sometimes. All I had to do was GLARE at him. He knew when he fucked up and he knew when he pissed me off.

Dogs feel guilt. Cat's don't.

Did you ever have a guilt-ridden dog try to suck-up into your good graces again after a fuckup? Is that an award-winning performance, or what? The dog will grovel, thump it's tail on the floor and BEG for forgiveness with big, trusting eyes focused on you as if you were GOD. You know good and well that you love the dog and you're gonna cave in the end, but SOMETIMES you just have to make the dog ratchet up that acting to a higher plane.

"NOPE. That's not good enough. I'm still pissed at you." Then... turn your back and refuse to look at the dog. That sumbitch will turn into a Slinky on you and worm all over the place until he gets your attention. Dogs do that kind of thing.

Dogs remind me of little boys. Cats remind me of ex-wives.

June 13, 2008

Fire ants

Originally PUBLISHED April 13, 2005

I left these little bastards off my list of pesteriferous things we deal with every day Down South. I shouldn't have done that, because they are worse than sand gnats, mosquitoes and chiggers combined.

They are small, red ants but they have the temper of a PMSing woman and the sting of a wasp. You never get bitten by ONE fire ant. The sumbitches come boiling out of the mound by the thousands and cover you up. They raise a white-head blister everywhere they bite and several people die every year in Georgia after being attacked by those things.

I remember when Quinton was about two years old, and he was playing with a ball in the back yard while I sat on the porch and read a book. All of a sudden, he started screaming. I ran to check on him and found him standing RIGHT ON TOP of a fire ant mound. Those vicious killers were tearing his little ass up and he didn't know what was happening.

I grabbed him and ran to the water hose, dusting ants off all the way, where I was able to wash him down and get those fucking things offa him. But they had done their damage.

He must have had 100 bites on his legs and he ran a fever for two days. He looked as if someone had burned him with a lit cigarette all over his legs for two weeks after that. Fire ants are nasty bastards.

I've been waging war on them ever since that day. I've probably killed a billion of them, but they just keep coming back. You can run them from one place to another, but you'll never get rid of them. They are hardy as well as vicious.

I've tried everything anybody at Webb's Seed and Feed ever told me to use, and all I've ever managed to do is run the bastards out of my yard into my neighbor's yard. He took the same advice and ran them right back into MY yard. It's an unending cycle.

Fire ants are the most disgusting creatures I know of on this planet.

more today

Originally PUBLISHED May 17, 2005

In about 30 minutes, I picked two pints of blackberries today, and I could have gotten a lot more if the rain hadn't started falling just as I wading into the Mother Lode. Bejus! I have a true BOUNTY in my back yard. Those berries are EVERYWHERE!!!

I wish mama were still alive. I'd take her a bunch of these and help her make a cobbler out of them. Or some blackberry muffins. Left to myself, I'll probably just eat them raw. They are sweet and juicy and I can probably pick all I want for another week or so.

Back when I was a kid, what I have in my back yard would NOT have survived until now. As a kid, I would have found that blackberry patch LONG before an old fart like me found it, and I would have picked it clean every day, even if I had to sneak into a stranger's yard to do it.

Kids just don't do that kind of thing anymore, and the country is worse off because of it. Most kids today don't know a blackberry when they see one, unless it comes in a package from Krogers. That fact saddens me. Most kids don't run the woods the way I once did. They'd rather play video games.

Picking blackberries makes me feel young again.

I'm Back

Originally PUBLISHED June 10, 2004

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If you looked for me yesterday in Charleston and couldn't find me, that's because I didn't stay there. I went out to Folly Beach instead. I didn't remember that the spoleto festival is in full swing this time of year. Downtown Charleston was pretty much reoccupied by invading yankees and I couldn't find a hotel room.

I enjoyed Folly Beach. It's a nice little beach town with lots of good bars and restaurants. It's laid-back and informal, the way I like things to be. The beach itself is beautiful, too.

I couldn't resist taking this picture. It's TRUTH IN ADVERTISING if ever I saw it.

(No, that's not a photoshop effort. That Folly Beach law office really DOES have a Great White Shark over the door. It also shares a building with "Beach Bums" restaurant and souvenir shop. I really liked that image.)

June 12, 2008

Vacation ideas

Originally PUBLISHED August 20, 2005

Savannah made THIS LIST and I agree. River Street isn't what it once was, but if you like history, excellent food and friendly people, visit Savannah. You'll enjoy the parks and watching those weird-looking SCAD students walk by. (That's the Savannah College of Art and Design. I think the students specialize in wearing strange garb, and getting a lot of tattoos and piercings.)

Visit the Old Colonial Cemetary and take a trip on one of those tour buses that'll ride you all over the place with a guide to tell you what you're seeing. Eat at the Exchange Tavern and try one of their Bloody Marys. Go piss in the Savannah River (I've done THAT plenty of times!). Buy a copy of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and read it.

Trust me... if you come to Savannah, you'll LIKE it.

As for elsewhere, I would recommend:

Costa Rica. Get out of San Jose as fast as you can and see the rest of that country. Beautiful, and it's a fairly cheap trip.

Key West, Florida. I've had some true adventures there. It's about as laid-back as the world gets and it's chocked full of pretty wimmen. Unfortunately, about half of them are gay.

Lake Tahoe, Nevada. That is a BEAUTIFUL place. Go in the winter after a nice snowfall.

St. Augustine, Florida. That's only about a three-hour drive from where I live and the beaches are great. If you go there, eat at "Saltwater Cowboy's" restaurant, but be prepared to stand in line to get in the door. The food is worth the wait.

Just drive across the country. If you've never done that, you should. You'll never really appreciate just how BIG the United States is and how much different landscape we have without seeing it for yourself. It is an awesome experience.

Just my two cents.

the mini farm

Originally PUBLISHED January 24, 2006

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Here's a picture of an alpaca standing in what once was my yard. You can see the chicken coop and the barn off to the right, and the beach-house-in-the-woods manor directly behind the alpaca. That fence is made of vinyl and it never needs painting--- but it's an all-day job to pressure-wash it.

I believe that I liked that place better than anywhere else I've ever lived. I had 5.5 acres of land, goats and chickens, a 1/2 acre garden and good neighbors. What more could you ask for?

I miss it.

A Savannah icon

Originally PUBLISHED APRIL 15, 2006

One thing I liked about my years spent playing guitar on River Street was the opportunity to get to know many of Savannah's street characters, of which the city has an abundance. One of the more interesting characters was the "Picture Man," a wizened black man who ran around with a Polaroid camera and charged people $5 a pop to take their picture. Hell, I still have two pictures that he took of ME and a lady companion back then. (I bargained him down to $2 each for those pictures. If I could figure out how to operate my scanner, I would post one.)

I saw in the newspaper where HE DIED Thursday. I never knew that his real name was Robert Hall until I read it today. He was always Picture Man to me.

The guy had skin the color of a pecan shell. Looking at him, I could never decide whether he was 40 or 400 years old. But he hustled the street with vigor when he wasn't vending cold drinks in the stands at Savannah Sand Gnats baseball games.

His obituary was short, with no mention of kin. Picture Man was 71 years old when he died.

RIP, Picture Man.

June 11, 2008

what charlie?

Originally PUBLISHED August 14, 2004

The area where I live is remarkably lucky about dodging hurricanes. Hugo missed, Opal missed, Floyd missed and now Charlie missed, too. I woke up this morning to clear skies and no wind. Charlie was off to the east, getting ready to chew up the National Hurricane Magnet of North Carolina.

Don't get me wrong--- I'm not complaining. I like storms, but I DON'T like the hours without electricty, the downed trees and the other crap that goes with a hurricane. When David hit in the late 70s, Savannah was on its knees for a week. I was without power for three days, but my parents lived in the dark for NINE DAYS, while they watched a couple of hundred dollars worth of meat defrost in their freezer. That ain't no fun.

I ate like a king because my folks had a gas grill and they decided to COOK all those steaks and briskets and chops before they spoiled. We pigged out by candle-light every night and drank luke-warm beer until power was restored. Once I had power, I froze three one-gallon milk jugs of water every day and brought them to my parent's house. That way, they could keep some milk cold and have some kind of refrigeration for other perishables in an Igloo cooler. As my dad said, they were "roughing it."

I don't care to do that kind of thing anymore. I hope the hurricanes keep missing.

coffee snob

Originally PUBLISHED February 1, 2006

A few years ago, I quit drinking coffee because it upset my stomach. I didn't give up caffeine (which is one of the essentials in the Four Basic Food Groups--- the other three being nicotine, alcohol and cholesterol); I just switched to getting my required daily joltage from high-octane soft drinks such as Mountain Dew instead of java. Plus, I could put vodka in Mountain Dew.

But a stint in alcohol rehab and bunch of AA meetings put coffee back in my life. Big time. Hell--- I think AA would cease to exist if coffee were banned at the meetings. The unwritten 13th Step in the program is learning to clamp your bladder until the next bathroom break.

So, I drink a lot of coffee now. I started out with my customary Maxwell House or Folger's, but with my addict's proclivities, I soon graduated to The Hard Stuff. I blame CATFISH. He got me hooked.

Cat offered me a cup of coffee while we were sitting around the bonfire at his blog meet a month ago. I accepted and REALLY liked the way that coffee tasted--- kinda like regular coffee with chocolate and nut flavors mixed in. Later, I learned that it was Don Francisco's Vanilla Nut gourmet blend coffee.

I made a special trip to the grocery store to buy a can of that stuff. I also purchased some Hawaiian Hazlenut, Columbia Supreme and Kahlua Vanilla Creme, too. That's what I drink now, in a cup the size of a beer mug. (Speaking of which, I need to take a picture of my coffee cup and send it here. Mine is BIGGER than their's.)

Yes, I have become a Coffee Snob. A fucking Java Yuppie. The next thing you know, I'll be buying triple lattes from Starbucks, wearing Birkenstock shoes and driving a Beamer. I should be ashamed of myself.

But I'm not. I'm a coffee snob.

If you haven't, you should

Originally PUBLISHED August 8th 2005 2005

*1) Go crabbing. Catch a bunch of 'em, take them home, cook 'em and eat 'em.

*2) Make a Low Country Boil and eat it outside on a picnic table with your friends.

*3) Learn to throw a cast net.

*4) Do some target shooting with your buddies. Argue about who is the best shot. Sit around, bitch and cuss and clean the guns when you're finished shooting.

*5) Start a blog. It just might change your life.

*6) Take a kid fishing.

*7) Plant a garden. I'm not talking about a couple of tomato plants in pots. Till some ground. Work your fingers into it. Plant some stuff and watch it grow. Fight the bugs, the pests and the weather. Then pick your bounty when it's ripe and eat it all. That's the best food you'll ever taste.

*8) Hug your mama the next chance you have.

*9) Be loyal to your friends, but understand who they really are. I once thought I had a lot of friends. But as I grew older, I realized that I had a lot of aquaintences and very few friends. There's a big difference. Learn to tell them apart.

*10) Have at least ONE DAMN GOOD DOG in your life. A good dog is one critter who loves you unconditionally, who will obey your commands and give up his life for you out of pure loyalty. Any boy who never has one is missing something important. No fucking cat will ever do what a dog will. Cats are aristocrats. Dogs are good ole boys.

That's MY humble opinion.

June 10, 2008

A confession

Originally published November 5, 2003

Do you remember that cop I talked about in Oliver, Georgia? The one lurking with the radar gun behind the gas station? Well, he caught Recondo 32 on our way TO Blood Mountain.

I had about two fingers left in a bottle of vodka when I was packed and ready to go, and I worried that it might spoil while I was gone. So, I drank it with a Mountain Dew before I drove to South Carolina. I had a pretty good buzz when I got to Recondo's house. "Why don't you drive," I suggested, as I tossed him my keys. "I had a nip this morning."

"Yeah. THAT surprises me," he said. He took the keys and off we went.

I've been to Key West several times with Recondo, and I've never known him to have a wreck. But he DOES NOT pay attention to speed limit signs the way he should. He likes to look at YOU when he talks instead of looking at the road. He was holding court about something pontifical as we shot through the crossroads at Oliver going 57 miles per hour in that fucked-up 35 MPH speed zone. Officer Opie roared out from behind the gas station in hot pursuit and pulled us over.

The speeding ticket was well-deserved, but we ALSO got one for having an expired license sticker on my rear plate. I looked, and sure enough, Officer Opie was correct. My sticker expired in February of 2003. I KNEW that I paid the taxes and affixed the yellow sticker to my plate back in February, but it wasn't there right then. Officer Opie was polite about the matter and said that we had a month to take care of the legal business, so we continued on our trip.

Today, I dug out my registration, the cancelled check for the taxes and I rode down to the tag office. Sure enough, I am legitimate. But I now have to go the the Effingham County Sheriff's Office, file a "Missing or Lost Tag" piece of paperwork, get a receipt, then go BACK to the tag office and pay $8.00 for my missing sticker. THEN, I have to drive all the way to Oliver to get the charge against me dropped.

I went to a Huddle House in Springfield to eat breakfast. Rain started to fall while I was there. I thought, "What the fuck? I've got a month to get this job done." So, I drove back home with all the paperwork in hand. I watched CNN and Fox News. I took off my pants to let Roscoe breathe and blogged an entry or two. At noon, I opened a bottle of wine I bought in Dahlonega.

I may go see the sheriff tomorrow. Or I may not.

Being a man of leasure has its advantages.

Chinaberry trees

Originally published November 5, 2003

If you've never played in a chinaberry tree, you missed something growing up. I don't see many of them around Savannah anymore, but I remember them being everywhere when I was a child.

I see them every time I drive the back roads coming home from north Georgia. Usually chinaberry trees are growing large and wild over some abandoned, dilapidated outbuilding on a farm and their branches seem to be hugging that old, weathered wood the way a mama hugs a baby. This time of year, the berries are yellow.

The berries are no good to eat (I believe that they are poisonous), but they make damn fine ammunition. Get a pocketfull of chinaberries and a slingslot, and you're fixed for war. If my mama knew half the shit my friends and I did with chinaberries when I was young, she'd have a heart attack.

I wrote a song about a chinaberry tree. Here are the words:

I remember Grandma's porch swing
It swayed with a squeaky noise
I must have heard that a thousand times
When I was a little, bitty boy
She had a bird bath in her back yard
Where I always liked to play
And a chinaberry tree for climbing
That I remember to this day.

My grandpa was a carpenter
And his old workshop was filled
With hammers, nails and scraps of wood
For the treehouses we would build
With a little imagination
Me and my friend, Lamar
Could defend a fort against Indians
Or fly a spaceship to the stars.

CHORUS:

(I get to wishing every now and then
That I could go back to way back when
I was a kid in a chinaberry tree
And life seemed simple to me)

My mama always warned me
That I was gonna put out my eye
But I never could resist the thrill
Of a good chinaberry fight
Those berries stung like BBs
When they hit you good and hard
But I was John Wayne with a slingshot
Waging war all over the yard.

(CHORUS)

That tree blew down in a hurricane
Some 40-odd years ago
When grandpa died, they sold the house
And grandma just grew old
Me, I'm growing older, too
With a wife and a family
But sometimes in my sleep at night
I dream of a chinaberry tree

Yeah, I get get to wishing every now and then
That I could go back to way back when
I was a kid in a chinaberry tree
And life seemed simple to me.

It's really a pretty good song.

Racism again

Originally published April 2, 2004

I suppose that some people will take the post below as another racist rant on my part. Take it however you wish, but I learned to admire and respect the Jewish bosses I had back then. They treated me fairly, they paid me what I asked for my services, and they invited me into their homes. They fed me, watered me and never mentioned that I was some kind of uncircumsized infidel. They treated me as Rob Smith, someone they actually liked.

I did a good job for them, and I was treated well for doing it. I didn't make a lot of money at the time, but I learned a lot about a different culture. I'll probably go watch The Passion of Christ just to see what all the rhubarb is about, but there's not a damned thing in that movie that will change my mind about Jews. And that movie won't "fuel" any anti-semitism that doesn't already exist.

Fress mine tuchas, schmuck. Yentza ca mumsa.

Being Jewish

Originally published April 2, 2004

I am not a Jew, but I have worked for several of them back when I did advertising copywriting for a living. I was impressed by three things about the way they behaved.

1) The people I worked for had a strong sense of family. Even if they had a fuck-up in the bunch, blood was always thicker than water. They stuck together, which is also how hillbillies believe.

2) They worked. They educated their children. They instilled a drive to succeed in their offspring. One company I worked for had the founder die at a ripe old age. He left behind a trust fund that paid his grandchildern $25,000 per year (and that's in 1976) with one simple codicil in it. They had to keep a steady job, or they didn't get paid. They became school teachers, real estate agents or insurance salesmen, but they kept a fucking job. I admire that kind of attitude.

3) I liked the traditions. I learned to cuss in Yiddish, I wore a yamulka on a few occasions and I knew a mazusa (spelling might not be correct) when I saw one on the front door (that's god in a box, by the way). They knew how to eat, drink and be merry. I met several elderly people who still wore the tattoos from Nazi concentration camps. I would have been mesmerized to hear their stories, but I never asked them to tell me. That was none of my business.

I attended two Jewish weddings and I had a blast at both of them. Man, they can put the Greeks to shame when it comes to pitching a party, and that's really saying something. Food, drink and dancing out the wazoo. I never developed a taste for gifilte fish, and I always thought matzo bread tasted like unsalted Saltine crackers. But some of the other food was delicious.

Other than the weddings, I never attended a Jewish religious service. I wish now that I had. We have Habersham Woods subdivision in Savannah, which is nicknamed "Little Jerusalem" by the locals, where I often saw families walking to the synagogue to worship. I admire people with that kind of fiber.

That's exactly why the Arabs hate them.

June 09, 2008

Cherry-picking

Originally published April 2, 2004

When I was court, my ex-wife's attorney pulled out four copies of posts from my blog. All four were very insulting to Jennifer (which she well deserves) and all four were vitriolic rants.

"Would you look at these pages, Mr. Smith? Is that your writing?"

I had to confess that it was. I could have attempted to lie my way out of the situation by saying five other people have access to my page and maybe one of them wrote that stuff. But they didn't. I did.

I told the judge: "What you have here is four pages from a blog that has almost 6,000 posts on it. The page has run for two and a half years now. You can't read four pages and understand what my blog means. My ex-wife's attorney is cherry-picking to make me appear as evil as he possibly can. Unless you are willing to look at the ENTIRE BLOG, I submit that this evidence should be dismissed."

He didn't listen. He threw the book at me.

Bejus on a bicycle! I write a lot of things that offend people with delicate sensibilities. I write some things that make people cry. I receive a lot of hate mail from trolls, but I also receive a lot of mail from people who say that I changed their lives for the better. Some people actually like what I write.

All I asked of the judge was to READ MY FUCKING BLOG, not just four pages from it. He wasn't interested in that proposition. He had never heard of a blog before and he wasn't about to learn.

That's why I'm in the situation I'm in now. I have a very vindictive ex-wife who wants to destroy me. She almost got the job done once, but I survived. She's making a second pass to kill me for sure this time.

I remember when I first met her. I had run through a lot of wimmen and I really wondered if an essential part of me was missing. I wasn't certain that I possessed the capacity to truly love anyone. But I fell in love with her.

She was my partner, my lover and my best friend for almost 10 years. When she lowered to boom on me, I was astonished. I couldn't believe it. I managed only barely to live through the pain, grief and humiliation she heaped on my head. She fucked around in front of my friends. She convinced my family to have me locked up in a nut-house for 45 days "for my own good" while she plotted a rape of a divorce.

That's the woman I married. She hasn't changed a bit, except now she makes a lot more money and she has my son to use as leverage against me. She's still a bloodless cunt who's no better morally than her bank-robbing brother. Never get involved with anyone named "Shearouse" in Effingham County.

They are bad news.

Heroes

Originally published November 4, 2003

I read a lot of history and biographies when I was growing up. Three of my favorite people to read about were Daniel Boone, Jim Bowie and Teddy Roosevelt.

I liked Daniel Boone because he was smaller than I am and he explored places no one had ever gone before. He settled Kentucky, where I was born. He outwitted Indians and fought in numerous minor wars. He got his ass screwed off by lawyers and land-agents in Kentucky and ended up dying in Missouri, with not much to show for all that he had done. Reading his biography instilled a distrust of government in me from an early age.

Jim Bowie was a badass. He was a successful businessman, a dreaded duelist and the inventor of a knife that still bears his name today. I own one of those knives. Bowie did some incredible, fearless things in his life, but I have no respect for a fearless man. A fearless man is a crazy man. Doing fearless things when you FEEL FEAR is the mark of a hero. I'm not sure where Bowie was coming from. I know that when he died at the Alamo, he had nothing more to lose. Why not go out in a blaze of glory? Bowie is an interesting character in American history.

Teddy Roosevelt set the tone for what the United States is today. "BULLY!" The Panama Canal was built on his watch, and he knew how to handle pirates, too. He liked to put on boxing gloves when foreign dignitaries came to visit and see what they were made of. I believe that he may be one of the most important Presidents we've had in the history of this country. He was a trust-buster and a visionary. And I like "Talk softly, but carry a big stick."

Just damn!

Does this blog reflect the heroes I had as a boy?

Kung-fu fighting

Originally published April 2, 2004

Back when I was working the Relief Supervisor's job and eating a steady diet of 3-to-11 shifts, I developed the habit of watching full-contact karate on ESPN after I came home from work. I watched it closely and I learned one fact very quickly.

The guys who won the fights were usually ex-boxers who got their seven kicks out of the way, then backed their fancy-dancing opponent into the corner and pummelled the dog-shit out of him with fists. A good right cross is better than a flying side-kick in a fight any day. The movies make martial arts look a lot more effective than they really are.

I saw an incident at the school-bus stop today. Two boys started a ruckus, and they BOTH were dancing around kicking at each other, as if they were in a got-dam Bruce Lee movie. I suppose their soccer-moms spent a lot of money on martial arts lessons, but their fathers never taught them to fight.

If you throw a kick at me and I can grab that foot while you're doing your martial arts bullshit, the fight is over. I'll have you flat on your back and pounded into pudding in 30 seconds.

Watch Ultimate Fighting a time or two. Who wins the all-out brawls? It damned surely ain't the martial arts expert. WRESTLERS win those matches.

I rate wrestling and boxing skills far above any of that kung-fu shit.

No surprise to me

Originally published November 4, 2003

People at the blog meet kept commenting on how well everybody got along and how we all seemed to be kindred spirits. I have some questions about that.

1) If you've read a blog for a while, do you start to believe that you KNOW the person who writes it, even though you've never met that person?

2) If you met that same person for the first time at a blog-meet, would you be at a loss for conversation?

3) Do you believe that blogging attracts the same kind of people to that medium of expression?

4) Are you afraid to speak in a room full of people that you don't know very well? If so, THEN DON'T BLOG!

5) Do you read some blogs and have this overpowering urge to jump the writer's bones, even though you've never seen that person before? If so, email ME.

I wrote that missive just to say that bloggers tend to get along. Everyone I met at the blog-fest was outgoing, egotisitical and LOUD. I am... uh... outgoing, egotistical and LOUD. Yep, no problems there. The only real difficulty was having only one person speak at a time all day long. That never worked out quite right. We made a lot of noise.

I am convinced now that if you demanded that a room-full of bloggers be perfectly quiet for 60 seconds, heads would explode. Bloggers aren't built to be quiet. If they were, they wouldn't blog.

That's MY humble opinion.

June 08, 2008

Tall wimmen

Originally published November 3, 2003

I've always been short (or "vertically challenged" if that's the correct term now) and I think I'm shrinking fast. I am one inch shorter now than I was at this time one year ago, according to my last physical. At this current rate of dimunition, I'll disappear altogether in five years.

I didn't mind being the shortest guy at the blog-fest. I've always been short, so I am accustomed to having other guys tower over me. I've never taken a back seat to tall guys just because they were tall, and I proved that fact on the football field when I was young. I proved it in a few bar-fights, too. I may be little, but I am LOUD.

But I'm either shrinking faster than I think, or wimmen are getting taller. If you saw a picture of me standing between Georgia and Angie, I would look like a goddam munchkin. Just Damn! Those are tall wimmen. I think they both share Viking blood in their veins.

Kelley is small and petite, except for her bosomal area, which is quite impressive. But she is SHORTER than I am. I could lean down to kiss her. If I wanted to kiss Georgia or Angie, I would have to take a run-and-go and shinny up a leg to get where I wanted to be. That sucks.

I am going to buy some elevator shoes.

Wanting what you can't have

Originally published November 3, 2003

I'll be totally honest here and tell you that I still love my bloodless cunt of an ex-wife. I'll love her until the day I die. I don't own the kind of magic slate that she does to erase memories as if they never happened. I was head-over-heels in love with her and I believed that she was my best friend in the world.

I could never live with her again, because she wasn't content to simply knife me in the back. She had to twist the blade 360 degrees and rub salt in the wound, too. That's her style and she'll go far in the corporate world with that kind of attitude.

I still want her, but I can't have her.

What I fear most in life now is discovering someone else that I want, but I can't have. I don't want to hang my ass out in abandon to have the stump-grinder tear it up again. That shit hurts. So, I have a couple of "fuck buddies" who lay me from time to time and I live alone. I don't commit to anyone and I play everything safe. I keep my ass out of the stump-grinder.

But I miss being in love.

I miss having someone to talk with at night and to snuggle with in the sheets. I miss having someone who trusts me to be strong when I let her know about my fears ahead of time, because I can speak of those fears to her (only her), and I miss having someone who is proud of me when I overcome those fears and succeed. I miss cooking supper for my family. I miss looking up from the book I'm reading or the article I'm writing just to see HER across the room and feel my heart swell just from the sight of her.

I'll probably never know that feeling again. I had it once. But it hurt so goddam bad to lose it that I don't believe I'll ever hazard putting myself in that situation again. I am a gambler, but that's a bet not worth the risk.

Besides, the good ones are already taken.

I just don't do it that way

Originally published April 1, 2004

When I divorced my first wife, I received custody of my daughter and I asked the judge for $5 a month in child support. That's FIVE FUCKING DOLLARS A MONTH, which I wanted as a symbolic effort on her part. The judge turned me down and I got custody of my daughter but NO child support.

Now, I'm hearing lawyers and judges say that state law COMMANDS that I pay child support to a son that I cannot visit and I pay based on income that I no longer earn. That's a bunch of horseshit. I don't know what my over-paid lawyer is doing, but I've searched the internet and found NUMEROUS CASES where the judge waives child support altogether, just as the first judge did to me.

Quinton lacks for nothing in this life. In fact, he has so much that he doesn't appreciate what he has. His Mamaw gave him $20 for his birthday and I found that $20 under a pile of dirty clothes in his bedroom. Got-dam! Do you remember what $20 meant when YOU were ten years old? I do, and I considered it to be a fortune. Quinton forgets about it.

He needs child support the way I need a dick growing from my forehead. I've already paid more than $15,000 dollars in support since the divorce, while I watched my ex-wife buy two new cars, a very nice house and install a swimming pool in the back yard. Now she's suing ME for everything I have?

I have a problem with this equation. Of course, I have a solution, too.

Every equation can be solved.

A letter to my son

Originally published March 31, 2004

Dear Quinton,

I probably am breaking the law for sending this letter, but I donít care. I love you with all of my heart and I think about you every day. I wish you would call me, but I really donít expect that to happen. Mama keeps you pretty busy, doesnít she?

You are my pride and joy, son. I may not be a perfect man, but Iíve always tried to be a good father to you. I taught you to throw a football and how to shoot a free-throw from the edge of the driveway. I was proud of the way you responded to the lessons. Jack comes over almost every day to ask me when youíre coming back to visit. He likes doing that kind of stuff, too.

I donít know when Iíll see you again, Quinton, Iím in a court battle right now, and if worse comes to worst, Iíll be leaving the country for a while. If I leave, understand one thing. Iím not doing it because I donít love you. I will ALWAYS love you. I wish that you were here with me today.

But thatís not my choice to make with the plate laid out in front of me. Iím being asked to eat gruel or get up from the table. Buddy, you know me well enough to know what Iíll do when given that kind of choice. You can shove that gruel where the sun donít shine and IĎll eat the table first.

I hope to see you sometime soon.

Love-- and I mean that with all my heart--Daddy

June 07, 2008

Accents

Originally published May 2, 2003

Go read the comments on my "ACCENTS" post a few places down. WHAT you say tells a lot about you, but how you SOUND when you say it speaks volumes about you.

I just want to make a few comments of my own:

1) I once worked for a Chinese guy who was raised in New Zealand. He looked like a waiter at the Hop-Sing Restaurant, but sounded like Crocodile Dundee. I suffered extreme cognative dissonance whenever I was around him.

2) ALL really strong Yankee accents grate on my Southern nerves. Brooklynese is probably the worst (the sound of "youse goys" make me want to KILL) but Bahstanian and Maineiacal accents are a close second.

3) A FAKE Southern accent will get you killed where I live. I've never heard ANYBODY except Holly Hunter come close to the real thing, and I believe that Holly MUST be Southern to begin with. (Let me Google) BWHAHAHAHAHAA!! I KNEW IT!!! Born in Conyers, Georgia, 1958. That's about halfway between Athens and Atlanta. She just speaks NORMAL when she wants to sound Southern.

4) I don't like Black people who fake a Jamaican accent, either. WTF is THAT?

5) Florida is the only state below the Mason-Dixon line that is NOT Southern. It is filled with transplanted Yankees, Cuban refugees, Haitian immigrants, and retired proctologists from Kansas. I HATE Florida. Usually, when I meet someone with an accent I cannot place, I say, "Get your rotten ass back to Florida, where you came from! And DON'T COME BACK, hear?

Y'all chew on that for a while.

Mind-things

Originally published November 3, 2003

I have really cosmic dreams that I recall vividly as soon as I wake up, but I forget them quickly thereafter. I once kept a notebook and pen by the bed so that I could write down some of the crap I dreamed. I quit doing that after a while because dreams make PERFECT SENSE when you're asleep, but they are pure gibberish when you are awake and sober.

After reading a few entries saying nothing but "ATTACK OF THE PISS-MONSTERS!" or "NEKKID HIGH SCHOOL REUNION!" I gave up that journal.

I don't trust my mind. It keeps working when I am asleep and that sumbitch scares me. My mind becomes BORED when I am asleep and it does things just to fuck with me. I know what I would do if I were my mind and I went to sleep on myself. I would fuck with me, too.

I truly believe that my mind is not like the ones most other people carry around. I go to Wal-Mart and just study people sometimes. I see big, fat wimmen in orange stretch-pants and my mind goes "BWHAHAHAHAHAAA!!" I would never do that, because I am a sensitive kinda guy.

But I KNOW why my mind does that. If I were a woman with an ass that needed a Wide Load DOT banner on the back, I wouldn't go to Wal-Mart and I damn sure wouldn't wear orange stretch-pants so that my ass resembled some kind of bloated, lumpy, oversized citrus fruit. Goddam! I would lose 100 pounds. Whatever happened to self-respect in this country? Look in the fucking mirror, you rolling tub of adipose! You think you look good? FINE!

Just don't let my mind see you. My mind conjures fat-jokes and stories about Monroe load-leveler shock-absorbers for the family car. My mind conjures images of Eddie Murphy as the Absent Minded Professor when they inflated him with helium or some other greenhouse gas to blow him up like a balloon.

My mind does not like Stupid Black Guys who wear baseball caps turned sideways, buy pants two sizes too large and pull boxer drawers up under their armpits while the waist of their pants drags around their knees. I, myself, as a civilized, politically-correct individual, can accept that sort of behavior as normal and even sensible.

But when I go to sleep at night, by mind calls BULLSHIT! on that crap. MY MIND says, "You dumbfuck! Do you think you'll EVER get a goddam job looking like that? You want out of the ghetto? You don't like the terrible, terrible N-word? Then stop acting like a goddam nigger, you fucking thug."

I never think that way myself, because I am indoctrinated to ignore such obvious examples of assholery. You can show me a white piece of paper and I'll call it any color you want it to be. I just want to make people happy. But when I am asleep, my mind does crazy things.

I have to sleep sometimes. I cannot control a mind that operates 24-7 when I don't. I believe that labor unions are a good thing. My mind sometimes says "FUCK LABOR UNIONS BEFORE THEY DESTROY THIS COUNTRY!!!" That happens in my sleep, when I have no control over what my mind is doing.

I believe that Bill Clinton was one of the greatest Presidents of all time. My mind sometimes goes off ranting about blow-jobs from fat interns in the Oval Office and how he never did diddly-shit except destroy the Democrat party and absolutely demean the highest office in the land, but that's just that crazy mind of mine. I don't believe any of what my mind tells me.

I just want to be led down the right path. Where is the "off" button for my mind?

My dreams

Originally published November 3, 2003

I dreamed last night that I was back at the Steam Plant at work and a bunch of my clothes were floating in the oil-skimmer pond where all the compressor cooling water goes. My clothes were in a white garbage bag and the bag was making a lazy circle in the water. I KNEW that I had to wade out there and GET MY STUFF before it sank.

I did. I was wearing ankle-high rubber boots, the kind I once wore when I worked the Moore filtration job 22 years ago. The water was way over the tops of my boots, but it looked exactly like the water around Key West. It was crystal clear and tiny fish were swimming around in it. I waded out there and fetched my bag.

As I was slogging out of the water, I saw my ex-wife walking down the road. She had a big bandage across her face and when she saw me, she ducked behind a power pole and tried to hide. I went over to see her. "My God," I asked. "Did you get a NOSE JOB?"

She gave me the same look I saw on her face in court when I signed the divorce papers. It was that combination of smirk and innocence that she is so good at manufacturing. "I'm not the ONLY one, you know. Look around, on your way out," she said. "EVERYBODY is expected to have this kind of nose now, and you just don't get it. That's your problem. You never understood how to plan your career, did you, Rob?"

She was smoking a cigarette. Her nose was bulbous and swollen. Her eyes were blackened. I always thought that Jennifer had a beautiful face and I couldn't believe that she had done that to herself. "I liked your face the way it was," I offered.

"Yeah. And look at where THAT got you," she said, as she pitched her cigarette into the oil-skim pond and walked away.

I woke up at 3:30 in the morning after that dream and I couldn't go back to sleep.

Do you believe that I might find some serious Freudian implications in that dream if I really took the time to analyze it?

Hairy-legged women

Originally published May 2, 2003

I have a confession to make. I once spent the night with a truly liberated feminist who stopped shaving ANY of her body hair several years before our encounter. Once I got her nekkid, she turned out to be a real firecracker, but the hairy legs really JUST DIDN'T FIT with what we were doing and they damned sure felt weird when they wrapped around me.

I liked the sex, but I didn't like the hair.

I really believe that I developed my revulsion for monkeys because of that experience.

June 06, 2008

Amazing change

Originally published November 3, 2003

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

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

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

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

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

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

I miss the mountains.

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.

Things I will not do

Originally published November 3, 2003

I don't believe in the Ten Commandments.

I believe that they are Ten Good Rules to Live By, but I can justify breaking every one of them. "Thou Shalt Not Steal," for example. Damn good rule. I'm not going to break into your home and steal your property. But when I have a garage sale and make $300 selling my junk to strangers for cash, I DO NOT declare that money on my income tax form. That's stealing from the government if you want to get technical about it, but I'll do it and feel totally guilt-free. Those bastards in government steal enough of MY money that I'll screw 'em every chance I get.

"Thou Shalt Not Kill." I don't believe that I am capable of cold-blooded murder. But if someone breaks into the Crackerbox at night or tries to molest my son, I am perfectly capable of performing an execution. Nope, I don't buy that commandment because sometimes, people NEED to be dragged off and shot for the good of the rest of society.

"Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother." That's wonderful advice if you have good parents. But I've listened to too many black guys at work brag that, "I KNOW I'm a MAN, because I've got three chil'ren." Yeah. From three different wimmen, all on welfare and you don't pay a nickel of support or a bit of attention to ANY of them. You're some kind of "man," all right. Why should ANYBODY honor that kind of "father" or the woman who bears his child?

"Thou Shalt Not Covet". WTF? Covetousness is the entire platform of the Democratic Party today. Just listen to ANY speech given by Richard Gephardt. TAX THE RICH! WIN "LIFE'S LOTTERY!" AFFIRMATIVE ACTION! GOVERNMENT GIVEAWAYS! Come one, come all and covet your ass off. I'll steal from THEM and give it all to YOU. COVET! And vote Democrat.

"Put No Other Gods Before Me." I've got a problem with that one. If I were omnipotent and you had the fucking NERVE to put another god before ME, I would smite the shit out of you with my rod and my staff and my Holy Combat Boot. God doesn't seem to operate that way. I believe that he is either incompetent or disinterested.

"Do Not Bear False Witness." BWHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!! We live in a society BASED ON LIES today. Just listen to CNN, for crying out loud. Become a "human resource" for a large corporation. An honest man in THAT shark-pool will have his nuts handed to him in a zip-lock baggie. Fuck that. I am not a good liar, because I don't have a real sharp memory. I prefer to stick with the truth because it's easier to recall. But anyone who tells you that "honesty is the best policy" in TODAY's world is blowing smoke up your naive ass. I still like the line Ernest Borgnine said in The Wild Bunch: "It ain't your WORD that counts! It's WHO you give it TO!" Amen.

In spite of my cynicism and disbelief in "commandments," I still have certain lines in the sand that I will not cross. I would never sell a friend down the river to save my own ass. I will not lie outright to you, but I may fail to tell the entire truth unless I'm pressed for all the details. I may embellish a story here and there, but the nugget in the middle is the truth.

I have never hit a woman in anger (I confess to doing some sport-spanking, but that's different) and I never will. I have never raped a woman, but I don't always take the first "No!" for a final no. I will paw at you and work my wiles until your intentions are clear; then, I'll leave you alone if you are not interested. I like a woman in my bed who WANTS to be there.

I have never even considered molesting a child and I believe that anyone attracted to pederasty should be dragged off and shot. Molest Quinton and I'll drag you off and shoot you myself.

I don't play by a lot of rules. But the ones I DO have are etched in stone.

That way, I keep life as simple as I can.

Goddamit! This is war!

Originally published May 1, 2003

I've received a lot of comments and a bunch of very readable emails (nothing hateful) about accents in America. I must admit that I have learned a LOT about accents in my travels across this country, and I've tuned my musicians's ear to detect them.

I am GOOD at it now.

Some accents, I find very pleasing to hear (those would be Southern, Appalachian and Texan), and others make me want to strangle somebody (those would be all forms of yankee). But we live in a diverse country full of people who talk funny. I have learned to supress my desire to choke somebody who talks yankee (and it comes in many forms).

So.... I ask YOU to tell me.

What accent do YOU have?

What accents please your ear?

What accent makes you want to CHOKE somebody?

Comments are open...

June 05, 2008

notes from the neighborhood

Originally PUBLISHED June 25, 2004

*We had one hell of a thunderstorm yesterday evening. It didn't have the gale-force winds of the one that came the day before, but it more than compensated for that shortcoming with torrential rain and one of the most spectacular lightning shows I've ever seen. I saw three strikes on trees less than 200 yards from my house as I sat in my garage and watched. The storm finally blew away, and only THEN did the electricity go off. I went to bed in the dark last night.

*My neighbor, Henry, fell down at the bank and broke the radial head on his right elbow. He walked in from the rain on flat-bottom shoes, hit the tile floor with the wet soles and did a Buster Keaton pratfall right in front of the tellers. The bank agreed to pay his medical bills, but he's thinking of asking for some gravy on top. I think he'll get it if he tries, too. I loaned him my lawn mower so that he could cut his grass while sitting down.

*Katie the Fertile Rotweiller is down to one remaining pup, and I think that one is going to stay with mama. It's a good-looking, healthy little dog that's going to go up to be bigger than a house.

*My new neighbors are not black. The boys ARE (the young golfer I met the other day has an eight year-old brother), but the parents aren't. I met "Dad" yesterday when we both stepped outside to marvel at the angry storm clouds coming our way. Dad is as caucasian as I am. I don't know whether this is a foster-home arrangement or an adoption, and I didn't ask, but those two boys are NOT the fruit of his loins. Dad seems like a friendly guy and he's doing a good job with the kids. They have manners.

*Henry saw my brand-new, Starship Enterprise, warp-factor-ten carpet cleaner today. "That's nice, Rob," he said. "Who the fuck is gonna USE it?" Okay, he's known me for a while.

I'm still eyeballing that carpet cleaner and wondering...

*

pouring down rain

Originally PUBLISHED March 22, 2005

I'm thinking about turning off the computer and doing a hunker-down in the Crackerbox. One hell of a thunderstorm is raging outside right now. We have a tornado Warning (not a watch) in effect until midnight tonight, with predictions of 70 MPH winds and 2" hail from the storm that is rolling though now.

But from what I see on the Weather Channel, the I-95 effect is going to keep the worst of this one to the south and the east of me. Anybody who lives in southeast Georgia knows about the "I-95 Effect." It is real, too. Mother Nature seems to pick which side of that road she wants to shit on, and she does all of her business on one side and not the other. Ask anybody who lives around here.

That interstate may be a blue line on a highway map, but I swear to Bejus that it's a border on nature's map, too.

the crackerbox

Originally PUBLISHED July 10, 2004

I have the sooper-dooper carpet cleaner out of its box now and the damn thing scares me. I think it might actually WORK, if I bother to load it up and plug it in.

Samantha and Stacey came by on their way out of town yesterday. They stayed at mama's house while they were here. I warned them ahead of time that the Crackerbox was a pig-sty and I wasn't lying. When my doorbell rang, I opened the door to see both girls dressed in surgical masks and latex gloves. "Is it SAFE?" Stacey asked.

I thought that they displayed the cleverness and wit I expect from intelligent people until Samantha looked around and said, "Daddy, you really DO live in a pig sty." I could have done without that.

We visited for a while and I slipped Samantha some cash. I didn't buy her a present while she was here (mainly because I don't know what she has and what she wants) and I told her to buy something with the money. She protested that she didn't need it, but I persuaded her to accept it.

Lemme tell ALL YOU CHILDREN out there. When a parent hands you a wad of cash, TAKE IT!!! The mama or daddy is doing that for one of two reasons, sometimes both at the same time, and they are GOOD reasons. First, the parent has more money than you do, and he or she would just piss it all away on trips to Costa Rica or other such nonsense if you didn't buy yourself something nice with it.

Second, parents sometimes do that sort of thing to atone for past sins. I don't believe that I was as good a father to Samantha as my father was to me. (although he seldom gave me money. He expected me to earn my own.) I can't buy my way out of the past, but I can offer something in the quest for redemption.

On my recommendation, the girls were headed to Jekyll Island for a day, then over to Panama Beach, Florida, then back to Fort Worth, Texas. They should be home sometime tomorrow if all goes well on the trip. I hope it does.

And I might even crank up this carpet cleaner today.

June 04, 2008

I'm back

Originally published November 2, 2003

If the magnitutde of my hangover is any indication, the blogger-meet in Dahlonega yesterday was a rip-roaring success. Buy stock in liquor and beer companies as soon as the market opens in the morning. I believe that those commodities are in short supply now. A severe dent in was put in the national reserve yesterday by a few dedicated consumers.

As one lovely lady phrased it, somewhere around 2:00 AM last night, "I can't believe this! You all seem to be intelligent, articulate people... but you drink like fish, smoke like freight trains and cuss like a bunch of sailors on shore leave. Why do you behave that way?"

"Fuck if I know."

"Hey! Pass that bottle over here, shithead! Stop hogging it all for yourself!"

"Who stole my goddam lighter? I want another cigarette!"

"The bathroom is THAT WAY. Crawl, you drunken asswipe. You might make it if you hurry, but you're NEVER going to WALK that far in the shape you're in."

"If you piss on the floor, I'm going to piss on YOU! I'm paying for this goddam cabin."

"Who stole my fucking lighter?"

You had to be there to appreciate it. At least I think so. I don't remember all of it myself.

A lot of work

Originally published November 2, 2003

I am going to bed shortly and I hope to sleep late in the morning. I've got a lot of pictures from the Most Excellent First Annual Jawja Blogger Meet that I want to post, but three hours worth of sleep last night and a six-hour drive home today combined to pretty well trash my Cracker ass. I'm am too old for this shit.

I used some of my time in the cabin to start my novel on the laptop and I like the way it reads so far. I believe that writing a tragi-comic novel may be a difficult row to hoe, but I think I have the end result all planned out. LIFE is a series of tragi-comic events that befall innocent bystanders. I don't intend to have a tombstone, but if I did, it would read, "SEE! I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK!"

That's tragi-comic.

Having a prostate biopsy was one of the most humiliating things I've ever endured in my life. But I had to admit afterward that I saw a humorous side to it. If you can't find something funny to write about giving yourself an enema, then going to the doctor's office to have three feet of high-tech wonder-wand shoved up your ass while the doctor watches a TV screen and fires off gunshots in your rectum, then you're just a fucked-up person.

Goddam! That's Three Stooges slapstick comedy there. Laugh, cry, or do both at the same time. But DON'T tell that a prostate biopsy isn't funny. It is. It's REALLY funny when it's YOUR ASS getting the gunshots.

That's the way I see it. My book will have a combination of (I hope) hilarious incidents, punctuated by death and stark reality. I hope to make it read just the way life plays out for most people. It's rib-tickling funny when grandpa drives his Model T into the outhouse and ends up covered with shit, but still alive. It's NOT funny if grandpa falls out of the front seat and drowns in the outhouse pit.

That's a fine line to walk. That's what I am trying to do.

I have a lot of work in front of me.

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?

Ugh!

Originally published May 1, 2003

I was in meetings almost all day at work. I hate meetings.

My brain hurts now. So does my Cracker ass.

June 03, 2008

bun warmer

Originally PUBLISHED May 11, 2005

Okay... I figured out how that thing operates in mama's car. The switch is located on the bottom left side of the seat, right where the handle for adjusting the seat is. I must have bumped it with my knee by accident this morning when I was getting into the car and kicked that sumbitch on "HIGH." I don't want to do that again.

A little heat on the bootie is a good thing when the old bootie is cold. I may enjoy that feature several months from now. But NOT in the weather of southeast Georgia this time of year. You guys know what I'm talking about. You ladies may not.

The drive from my house to Springfield is only 14 miles. But by the time I had completed that round-trip with the bun warmer on HIGH, I almost stepped on my own nutsack when I got out of the car. A man's testicles are a lot like a woman's "read between the lines" gland. They think by themselves.

Specialized organs have minds of their own and testicles like to maintain a certain temperature. When it's cold, they'll draw up tighter than Dick's hatband to stay warm. Get them too hot, and they run away from the body. Mine were almost dragging the ground when I got back home today.

At least I figured out how to turn the sumbitch off. My testicles thank me for that.

he's right

Originally PUBLISHED June 13, 2005

If we don't know anything else down South, we know how to make ONE HELL OF A BREAKFAST. I believe that Southern cooking is the best in the country, even if we DO soak most our food in grease and gravy. It still beats that boiled, tasteless shit called "food" in New England.

Eggs, grits, bacon, sausage, country ham, biscuits, sawmill gravy, and sometimes hoe-cakes, too. (How many yankees even know what a hoe-cake is?) You have not lived a complete life until you've had a good Southern breakfast when you're really hungry. And a home-grown tomato is just icing on the cake.

I don't give a shit if that stuff clogs your arteries and takes 10 years off your life. It's a fair trade for that kind of goodness.

my bowie knife

Originally PUBLISHED May 24, 2005

I bought my first Bowie knife from K-Mart for about $19 after I got my 1-A draft notice in the mail back in 1971 or 1972. The Vietnam War was was cooking full-tilt back then and I expected to end up there. I lost my 2-S deferment and was looking the draft right in the eye.

I took a whetstone to that knife and put and edge on it that was sharp enough to shave hair. I showed it to my father and he was quite impressed. I was MAYBE 20 years old at the time. "Pop, if I get drafted, do you think they'll let me take this knife with me if I get sent to Vietnam?" (You young shits don't remember those days, but I do. I was gonna be John Wayne if I had to go fight. And I fully intended to stick that knife into a Viet Cong the first chance I got. I even practiced THROWING the damned thing.)

"No, they WON'T," my father replied. "Whatever branch of service you end up in will ISSUE you what they think you need. You can't bring your own knife, even if this is a pretty good one."

I never had to serve because I won the draft lottery. (Number 353 in the very first one) Years later, my dad said that he would have sent me to Canada if my luck hadn't turned out the way it did. That was hindsight and bullshit talking. I would have gone if I was called. In fact, I EXPECTED that to happen. I would have no more run to Canada to hide than I would have sold my mama into slavery.

It's a good thing that the military DIDN'T get me back then. I'd probably be dead now, because I wasn't afraid of ANYTHING back then. I was young, and in my mind, ten feet tall and bullet-proof. And I owned a Bowie knife, too.

That knife turned out to be one of the best backpacking tools I ever owned. It was an all-purpose knife that could be used as anything from a hatchet to cut wood to a manicure device to clean your dirty fingernails. I had it for several years before I broke the blade trying to split a stubborn piece of Joshua wood in Pisgah National Forest. I banged on the blade with a rock and the blade snapped.

We named that campsite "Broken Blade." I gave the knife a good burial right there.

I bought another one just as soon as I got back home, but it was never as good as the first one. I never could get it as sharp, nor could I get it to hold an edge the way the first one did. It LOOKED the same, but it just WASN'T the same.

I lost that one in my last divorce, but that was okay with me. I wasn't that fond of it anyway. So, I bought another one, this time a really GOOD knife, made by Buck, and it is supposed to be an accurate replica of the original Bowie Knife. I think I paid about $100 for that one.

It's got a 14" blade, with the brass parry-strip down the back of the blade and the nice 4" cutaway edge at the tip, which I keep as sharp as the front-side of the knife. It looks like a genuine Bowie to me.

That mini-sword was designed for a knife-fight. The brass is soft enough so that if you parried an opponent's slash, his blade would stick in the brass, and you could back-hand his throat with the cut-away blade on the backside of the knife. And YES... if push came to shove, I could shave with that thing.

I've never taken that knife out in the woods with me. I keep it sharp and clean. I just like to look at it every now and then, and maybe watch western movies while I work it with a whetstone and some oil. It's a fine knife.

Heh. And you people thought I was a gun-nut.

June 02, 2008

qualities I appreciate in a friend

Originally PUBLISHED December 16, 2004

Yeah, I'm gonna make another list.

But I find myself THINKING in lists anymore, and that fact really disturbs me. My mind has always been just as disorganized as my house, so I wonder WHY I'm starting to fit things into priorities, shuffle the blocks into the proper order and weigh things on a goddam scale every day.

I never did that before. Sure, I did AT WORK, because that's what I was PAID to do--- but I didn't do it in my personal life. At home, I just rocked along and figured that I could handle any problem that reared its ugly head. I was pretty fast on my feet. I'd fix it after it happened.

Whoa!! I fucked up with that calculation.

Do you know what was really wrong with me in those blissful days? I became COMFORTABLE!!! That's what!!! I see it all now, just as plain as daylight. WE ARE NOT MEANT TO BE COMFORTABLE in life. If you struggle every day, you stay sharp; as soon as you become complacient, you're dead. And the jackals of the world will rend your "comfortable" corpse with their sharp, ravenous teeth while nobody but the buzzards pay any attention at all. THAT'S THE TRUTH!!!

But... I digress.

Catfish and I talked about this subject on our (short) ride TO Athens, not the LONG ride back home. I have many, many dear acquaintences, but very few friends. The friends I DO claim as mine have stuck by me through thick and thin for a very long time. Fire and ice went into that mix. Let me tell you what it was:

1) Loyalty. This may sound stupid today, but once upon a time, I did things that I KNEW were going to cost me personally for the benefit of a friend. Why? Because I knew that if the roles were reversed, he'd do the same thing for me. At least I thought so.

2) Trust. I've always said that if my friends got together and wrote my biography based on what THEY saw, I'd be a fucking outlaw legend. I never hid a damn thing from them, and all have seen me at both my best and my basest. They all know stories that they've promised not to tell, not even to each other, and they HAVEN'T either. Yeah. I trust every one of them.

3) The Gimlet Eye. If you believe that your FRIENDS don't know everything fucked-up about you, you don't have a head on your shoulders. Friends don't ignore your faults. They accept you warts and all. They know your goddam faults better than YOU do. Try lying to one of them.

4) Nostalgia. Okay, he's not the same guy you went to college with. He looks a lot older, he's running his own business now, and he's got the wife and three kids. (Nod over the pictures extracted from the wallet.) We both feel lots of pressure in our jobs, because nobody is a little boy anymore. But for one golden moment, over a burger and a beer, you both remember a time when you were young and invincible, and you both laugh your asses off, thinking about the same moment at the same time. History matters.

5) Track Record. A good friend doesn't ask for many favors. But YOUR good friend won't abandon you when you need somebody. And the best thing about a good friend is that you don't even have to ask. He KNOWS. And he'll be there.

If you don't have friends like that, I pity you.

backpacking food

Originally PUBLISHED September 4, 2005

We didn't have a lid for the pot, nor did we have time to soak the barley before we ate it that night. It was damn nearly dark when we camped.

But over the years, I learned some really good stuff to take backpacking. Here's what I recommend:

*Salt cured country ham. You can toast that stuff on a stick over a fire and it's good to eat all by itself. It makes excellent seasoning in anything you want to cook. And it requires NO refrigeration.

*Lipton "Cup-O-Soup" with some rice and country ham. Pour the Cup-O-Soup mix into the water when you're making the rice and throw some country ham in the mixture. That's a meal fit for a king in the woods. And it's all very light to carry.

*Little Debbie "Star Crunches." Just DAMN! That's the best snack food in the world when you're walking a trail all day.

*Snicker's candy bars. Yes. They are good on the trail.

*Bring a steak. Freeze it solid as a rock and stick it in the top of your backpack. It'll thaw out on the first day of hiking and be ready to cook that night. Hang it on a forked stick over the fire, cook the sumbitch, and then eat it while holding it with your bare hands. Nothing EVER tasted better.

*MREs. They came along late in my backpacking career, but some of 'em ain't half-bad. They are light to tote and the ones with chicken or ham in them taste pretty good. I tried a "beef stroganov" once that tasted like dog shit, but the others weren't bad. Plus, some of them come in self-heating bags. You don't even need a fire for a hot meal.

*Some freeze-dried food. Cop 3 always used to experiment with something he bought from Wilderness Outfitters when we went hiking. Some of it was horrible, but some of it was good. Kinda like MREs. All you have to do with that stuff is pour hot water into a bag and let it soak for a while. Presto! You've got food. Cop 3 bought a bag of dehydrated strawberrys once and they came out tasting as good as the real thing.

*Trail Mix. ALWAYS carry a bag of that stuff with you. The nuts, raisins and assorted protein in there is good for you. Tastes pretty good, too.

*Whiskey. Carry TWO canteens. One full of water and one full of bourbon. Drink the water when you're thirsty and sip the bourbon around the campfire at night.

That's MY humble advice about backpacking.

I did not have sex with that man

Originally PUBLISHED June 17, 2004

Okay, let me set the record straight. And I mean STRAIGHT. I didn't have any homosexual relationships in Key West, even if I DID get up on stage and sing at a gay bar. And even if I DID get totally shitfaced that last day. And even if I DID lose my underwear.

I'll admit that Paul, the gay bartender, pinched me on the ass. But I asked for that, because I told him that I had been coming to Key West for YEARS and wandering into gay bars (hell... pick a door and roll the dice... you have about a 50% chance of ending up in a gay place) and NEVER had a gay man hit on me.

"Are you hitting on ME?" he asked.

Paul is about 6' 4" tall and looks as if he pumps a lot of iron in his spare time. "Shit no," I replied. "I'm just curious about why a gay man has never tried to pick me up. Wimmen do it all the time. Do I have some kind of invisible light shining from my forehead that attracts wimmen and repels gay men? Hell, Paul, I've never even had a gay man pinch me on the ass."

Paul walked from behind the bar and pinched me on the ass. "Ya happy now?" he asked. "This is Key West, where all your fantasies come true."

I tipped him five dollars when I LEFT THE BAR.

Things got pretty confusing after that, but I'm fairly certain that I left my underwear somewhere other than a gay bar. Maybe I pissed myself, shit my pants and threw my drawers away in utter disgust. That might have happened, especially after the tequila.

But my "brown-eyed girl" was just fine the next morning, because a guy's hairy ass just doesn't turn me on. Even after several shots of tequila.

Hmmm... I'm not sure about posting this screed. People may go all Shakespearian on me and say "He doth protest too much." If you're a skeptic and doubt my word, I have just one thing to say to you.

Go eat my underwear, if you can find it.

June 01, 2008

the one that got away

Originally PUBLISHED June 21, 2006

I once took Dora backpacking with me up to JOYCE KILMER STATE PARK in North Carolina. She had never been backpacking before, and I was a damn fool to take her there on her first trip, because that place is one steep bitch to walk. We spent four days in the woods there, and she hung with me like a real trooper all the way.

That's the kinda woman she was.

We hiked the Slickrock Creek trail, all the way to the top of Hangover Mountain. We camped one night at Naked Ground, then went back down the mountain the way we had come. We found a good place to camp on Slickrock Creek and stayed there for three days.

That place is beautiful, but if you go there, you're gonna get rained on a LOT. That place is a rain magnet and it gets more drops per square inch every day than any other place I've ever been. I took a two-person tent with me on that trip, while I usually just tote a hammock and a tarp to keep ME dry. But I pitched that tent and managed to build a fire out of wet wood just so I could dry out MORE wet wood to keep a fire going.

We ate backpacking food, too. Rice and cup-o-soup and salt-cured ham. Snickers bars and Little Debbie star crunches. It was fun, crawling into that tent at night and zipping our sleeping bags together so that we could snuggle up tight and stay warm while listening to Slickrock Creek babble all night long.

We made love in the tent. We made love around the campfire. Hell, we fucked like a couple of wild dogs in the wilderness. Something about camping in the woods brought out the beast in both of us.

The second day at Slickrock Creek, we both admitted that we smelled of sweat, sex and wood-smoke, so we decided to bathe in the creek. I grabbed a bar of soap and we walked a short way down the bank, found a nice waterfall, shed our clothes and jumped into the water.

Holey Moley! That was some COLD water and my dick (that's back when I still had one) shrunk up like a stack of dimes thirty cents tall. Dora's nipples stood out like .30 caliber rifle ammunition. Goosebumps broke out all over both of us.

But we didn't get out of the water. We came there to bathe, and by-gawd, we were gonna do it. We did, too. I soaped her long red hair (which takes a lot of work in a hard-water mountain stream) and she scrubbed my back. Things were starting to get somewhat erotic when a troop of Boy Scouts came marching by on the opposite bank.

I shit you not. Those boys started laughing and pointing at us nekkid in the stream, but I'll give their scout master credit for one thing. (I'll also give Dora credit, too. She just stood there in the water like a red-haired goddess with stiff nipples and didn't try to hide ANYTHING.)

The scout master asked me how far it was to Naked Ground, which I thought was kinda funny, since he was asking a nekkid man that question. I told him that it was only about three miles from where he was, but that he ought to camp at the bottom of the mountain that night and go to the top the next day.

"You can't miss it," I said. "Just follow the trail until you see a creek running off the mountain. The trail heads STEEP uphill from there, and there's no water until you make it to the top. I recommend camping there and hiking the rest of the way tomorrow."

Dora chimed in. "He knows what he's talking about. That is a STEEP trail. It took us six hours to make a little over three miles getting up there."

The scout master thanked us and hearded his flock down the trail, with the boys giggling like maniacs because they saw a nekkid woman taking a bath in the stream. I don't know if they ever got where they were going, but I AM sure that we made memories of that trip that they'll NEVER forget.

I'll never forget it, either. And if I had only ONE CHOICE in my life to take a mulligan on, a do-over, a second chance, it would be ME leaving Dora when I did, the way I did. What a got-dam fool I was, especially when I look now at who I left her for. I need to be dragged off and SHOT!

But I did it. I can't take that back. You don't get mulligans in life.

But I damn sure regret the one that got away.

SLEEPING IN A HAMMOCK

Originally PUBLISHED August 2, 2005

The first time I went backpacking, I did it frontier-style. I picked a spot to sleep, I threw a blanket on the ground and I crawled into my sleeping bag to take my rest. I was totally fucking miserable all night long.

Some kind of root or rock was poking into my ribs, I rolled off my blanket a couple of times and I slept fitfully at best. The next morning, when I was bitching and moaning about my miserable night, Recondo 32 said, "Get a hammock. You can sleep anywhere in one of those as long as you have two trees to tie it to."

He was correct.

You can buy a jungle hammock for about $10.00 at any store that sells camping supplies, and once you learn to pitch one, you'll never want to sleep in anything else again. It's not rocket science, except for the part of getting INTO the hammock and into your sleeping bag at the same time.

I always found two sturdy trees, tied my lines to them and stretched the lines as hard as I could. If you don't tie them tight, your ass will be dragging the ground by morning. Once I had that done, I ran a tarp over where I intended to sleep and hung my pack in a tree.

Even after becoming semi-drunk around a campfire, I learned how to do this: 1) Sit your ass in the hammock and don't fall out. 2) Pull the sleeping bag up to your waist, or higher if you can. 3) Roll into the hammock, without falling out, and then pull the sleeping bag up nice and snug around you.

Trust me, people. You'll sleep like a baby that way.

quote of the day

Originally PUBLISHED August 30, 2005

When Hurricane Floyd was bearing down on Savannah a few years ago (Floyd missed) I had this same conversation with Jennifer. She wanted to haul ass and I wanted to stay.

People are often torn between evacuating and staying to protect their property. The policy of not letting people back in after the storm causes more harm than good. If people are willing to accept "wild west" conditions, let them back in!

Posted by Larry Kephart at August 30, 2005 04:30 PM

I told Jennifer that even if the roof blew off the house, I would stay there to protect what was mine. I had a lot of years and a lot of money invested in my stuff and I'll be damned if I was going to let some thief carry it off. Even if I was sitting in nothing but a pile of rubble at the end, I'd have been there with a few guns to dissuade bad guys from taking what was mine.

Sometimes, in this day and age, you just have to crawl on top of it and claim it. If you DON'T, somebody else will.

I ain't having none of that shit.