Gut Rumbles

May 31, 2009

Deal 'em

Originally published March 11, 2004

I shot up a deck of cards on Tuesday. I went out to the beautiful six and one-half acres of land that I once owned in Coldbrook Plantation and saw that the young couple who bought it still haven't started building a house there.

Back behind the pond on that land, a big live oak tree lies, either tipped or ripped from the ground, and it's a good place to shoot. The oak came up by its roots and it tore a lot ground with it. So, I had a giant dirt-mound as a back-stop and nothing but miles of wetlands behind it.

Someone had been there before me. I found several casings from a high-caliber rifle on the ground. I figured that some deer hunter knew about the place and came there to tune in his new scope. As I said, it's a good place to shoot.

I had an old deck of Bicycle playing cards in my pocket and a single-shot .22 rifle. I stuck the cards in the roots of the oak tree, walked back about 30 yards and had some target practice. I started with the ace of spades.

I took four shots to obliterate the spade in the center of the card. I shot at the three of diamonds next, and I put one shot right through a diamond and winged the other two down the middle of the card. I like that .22. It's very accurate.

I assassinated all the kings, queens and jacks with head-shots, then replaced the targets with more number cards. I played all kinds of games. After a while, I decided just to hit the card in the middle and be done with it. I fired about 200 rounds, including one that blew away a grackle who had the nerve to land on that oak tree. I HATE grackles.

I kept the ace of spades. If I can get my camera to work, I'll post a picture of it.

May 30, 2009


Originally published November 9, 2003

To go with the post below:

I potty-trained Quinton by teaching him to piss outdoors. He was outside with me one day, and he started grabbing at his diapered crotch as he usually did when he had to pee. "You need to wee-wee?" I asked. I didn't get a response. "Well, I do," I said, and I whipped Roscoe out and let loose right by the back fence.

The next thing I know, my boy half-masted his pants and started pissing right along with daddy. "Feels better than wearing it in your drawers, doesn't it?" I asked. I believe that he figured that part out that day. The only problem we had after that was teaching Quinton to go TO THE BATHROOM. If he needed to wee-wee, he would break for the door and go outside.

That was fine until the day he took a shit in the front yard right when the school bus was going by. I remember Jennifer saying, "See what you've taught him?"

Hell, I figured that shitting in the front yard was a vast improvement over shitting in his pants. We had the message transmitted. Now, all we had to do was refine the translation. That process didn't take long to accomplish.

But my boy STILL likes to pee outdoors.

May 29, 2009

Just what I need

Originally published November 10, 2003

Now I've got some goddam viagra salesman spamming my comments. How the hell do such worms get here?

I drank some more gin yesterday evening. I'm developing a taste for it. If you sip it slowly and savor that flavor, it's not half-bad, especially with a big slice of fresh lime.

I had an erotic dream last night. It involved someone I met at the blog-fest. And the object of my erection WAS NOT one of the guys, although a couple of them have nice asses and pretty mouths.

The Atlanta Falcons finally played like a football team yesterday and won a goddam game. Bejus! They suck AGAIN this year.

I went through over 1,000 emails this morning. I have 3,000 more to go. I allegedly have a really shameless one in there somewhere, but I haven't discovered it yet.

I didn't write a word on my novel this weekend. I played with the boys and visited with my family. I really need to take a tape recorder the next time I get my mama, my grandmother, Uncle Virgil and Aunt Peggy talking at the same time. The stories they tell will make you fall out of your chair laughing.

My family has always been blessed with a good sense of humor. I come from a long line of fine storytellers and even my brother, being the litigator he is today, takes advantage of that fact in the courtroom. We Smiths and Abners can wind a yarn.

We're all ex-hillbillies, but nobody lives in the mountains anymore. I don't know why, but something about that heritage stays in your blood for your entire life no matter how far you travel.

Virgil and I talked yesterday about the old saying I learned as a young boy. "If a stream runs over 100 rocks, the water is good to drink." We both counted rocks in our youth and drank that water, never thinking about the turd floating nearby or the dead dog stuck in the branches by the creek bank. Hell, we're alive today, so maybe that "100 rocks" thing has some credence.

We talked about the word "nigger." When I lived in Lewellen, "Nigger-Camp" was how everyone referred to where the black folks lived. "Nigger Faye" ran a boarding house down there and she had a son that Virgil liked to play with. That boy had no shoes, but he could run and throw and hit a baseball. Virgil walked with him often to the ballfield and they had to cross a railroad trestle to get there. In the summer, the creosote was boiling out of the crossties and the rails were too hot to walk barefoot. So, Virgil had that "nigger boy" hop on his back and he toted the shoeless one across the trestle. He did the same thing on the way home. "I called him a nigger, but I never thought of him as anything but a friend," Virgil said yesterday. "He was fun to play with. Besides EVERYBODY called black people niggers in those days. I don't see the big deal about it today. Hell, people still call US 'hillbillies.'"

My mama confessed that she pitched a hissy in the churchyard a couple of weeks ago. St. Luke's Methodist Church is right behind her house and they run a day care center over there in the afternoons. My dad put up a big privacy fence years ago to screen the back yard from them, but the church installed some wooden monkeybar-tower thing that the kids could climb. The kids started climbing to the top and throwing shit into mom's yard. She was out walking her dog around the yard one day and a brick almost hit her. She got pissed. She walked over to the church and asked, "How much trouble will I be in if I burn that thing down? I need to know, because I'm about to set it on fire!" They dismantled that tower and put it up somewhere else the next day.

That's my mama. Read this blog and you'll see that some acorns don't fall far from the tree.

May 28, 2009

Sleep patterns

Originally published March 11, 2004

I slept about 18 hours yesterday. I re-read The World According To Garp and ate nothing all day. I woke up tired this morning.

I am heading down a whirlpool-- and do you know what? I don't care.

May 27, 2009

Good advice

Originally published November 10, 2003

If you ever are pulled over by a policeman for any reason whatsoever, let me tell you what to do.

1) Sit in the car and keep both hands on the wheel where the officer can see them.

2) When he comes to the window and asks for license, registration and proof of insurance, tell him, "the license is in my wallet and I'm getting the other stuff off the visor over my head." Do so, slowly, so that he can see every move you make.

3) If he asks if you have a gun in the car, DENY IT, unless you have a concealed-carry permit. That's why you don't keep that paperwork in the glove compartment next to to .38. He has no reason to look there unless you are drunk or if you fuck with him.

4) Address the man as "Sir" with everything you say. Understand what this guy does for a living. He deals with a lot of shitballs in his life and he is naturally suspicious of YOU. That's what he is paid to do. The last thing you want is to give him an excuse to treat YOU like a shitball. Look at the pistol, handcuffs, radio and billy-club hanging off his Sam Browne belt. Do you REALLY want to fuck with him? I don't think so. Be polite and be honest about everything except the pistol in the glove-box.

5) Take the ticket like a man. If you disagree with the officer, fight it in court, not on the side of the road. Don't argue.

Recondo 32 and I agree on this subject. So does my cop-cousin in Florida.

May 26, 2009


Originally published March 9, 2004

If I have one lesson from my life to pass on to my boy, it would be the will to win. Quinton doesn't have that hot, burning desire etched on his soul right now. He's been enrolled in too many sports by the ex-wife. SHE is the reason he is there and SHE is the ultimate soccer mom. Quinton could give a shit.

I do not believe that I'm looking at a healthy situation here. I do not believe that Quinton needs a 24-7 job of going to school and playing sports when he's just 10 years old.

Quinton could have won the State Championship in wrestling last year if he gave a shit about winning. But, he didn't. And he doesn't today. Losing doesn't bother him. He went out there on the mat and acted as if he wanted the whole thing over with, as quickly as possible. His mama was in the stands cheering her ass off (she is a vocal soccer-mom) and she provided refreshments for the entire team when the match was over. She never saw a hint of what a pussy she is making out of my boy.

Quinton got pinned because he LET the other guy do it. He didn't give a shit about that wrestling match. He just punched his time-card, showed up and put on the show. I wanted to vomit.

I've wrestled with my boy. I know how strong he is (pure muscle and bone) and I also know that nobody in his weight class could touch him if he were fired-up and determined to win. But he doesn't care. He's got no reason to.

Sports are work-sites his mama sends him to after school.

I see so much potential in my boy that will be totally wasted because he doesn't care. I had to WANT what I got in life and try harder than anybody else. Quinton just thinks "oobalhdee, ooblahdah" life goes on, yeah, and he couldn't care less about any sport he plays.

Right after I recovered from prostate surgery (actually, I wasn't recovered. I still wore a hand-grenade, which vacuumed about a quart of pink fluid from my guts every day and I had a cathater bag strapped to my leg) I took Quinton to a soccer game. His mama didn't show up for the kickoff, because she was spending the night with her new lover and must have over-fucked and overslept that night.

Quinton scored the first goal of the game. Jennifer wasn't there to see it. She pulled up about ten minutes later and staggered out of her sports car with a Burger King cup in her hand. I don't know what she was drinking (probably iced tea) but I knew that it was a beverage bought from desperation. Jennifer NEVER went to Burger King.

She walked up to me and asked, "How's the game going?"

"We're ahead 1-0 right now and Quinton scored the goal," I replied.

She let out a "GOOOOO QUINTON!" yell and started to walk toward the grandstands. I stopped her. "Jennifer, would you please go to the bathroom and wash the cum out of your hair? If I can see it, other people will, too. Either you've been eating glazed doughnuts, or you've been sucking a dick all night long. Go look in a mirror."

She went to the bathroom and returned a few minutes later. She missed Quinton's second goal while she was washing cum out of her hair. But her hair looked good when she finally returned to be a soccer mom.

And you wonder why I call her a bloodless cunt? There's the real soccer mom.

May 25, 2009

I remember this one

Originally published November 10, 2003

I was visiting back "home" in Harlan County, Kentucky, sometime around 1965. My cousin Ernie and I rode bicycles on a paved road to the top of a big hill. It was a hard slog to the top, but we made it. Then, we decided to race DOWN the hill.

That road was about one mile of twists and turns, with a mountain on one side and a cliff on the other, and it dead-ended at the main thoroughfare through town. We didn't think about anything except who could win the race to the bottom. We took off.

I was ahead about halfway down the road, and flying like Moody's Goose, but Ernie tried to make a move on me, so I kicked everything I had into high gear. That's when the chain came off my bicycle.

I didn't have hand-brakes. I suddenly had no brakes at ALL.

I was flying down that mountain with the wind in my face and the pavement buzzing by below me when I realized that I COULD NOT STOP! (Don't tell me about dragging your feet. That shit won't work on that kind of grade) I started looking for a place to bail, but there was nothing but mountain on one side of me and 50' of free-fall through the trees on the other. I became just a little bit frightened.

I concentrated on keeping that bike in the road as I went faster and faster down the mountain. At the bottom, the road REALLY went steeply downhill right before it hit the stop sign before the main thoroughfare. I got there and said a silent "Oh Fuck!" in my mind as I saw all the cars passing below me. I couldn't stop. I couldn't bail. I was locked into my adventure.

I held onto that bike and closed my eyes as I got ready to die. I shot through that intersection during a miraculous break in traffic, I steered toward a red-clay trail that I saw over the my left and I laid that bike down in the middle of the biggest kudzu patch you ever saw. I rolled and tumbled for a long way before I became tangled in kudzu and went no farther. I looked down and saw the Cumberland River just below me.

Damn!, I thought. That was one hell of a ride. Rob, you almost ended up in the river.

It never really dawned on me at the time that I almost ended up dead, too.

Ernie was on the edge of the highway (that sumbitch had brakes!) yelling, "Hey, Rob! Are you okay? You won the race! What happened to my brother's bike?"

I crawled out of the kudzu, found the bike and dragged it back up that slope to the highway. "The chain came off, " I said. "I had no brakes." We put the chain back on the sprockets and rode together back to my cousin's house.

Slowly. I was in no mood for racing any more that day.

May 24, 2009

Making my way

Originally published November 10, 2003

I've gone through a lot of stages in my life.

I lived at home for 18 years and depended on my mama and daddy to take care of me. That fact was a given. Then, I got a wild hair and moved out on my own. Man, what a surprise that was! If I didn't do my own laundry, it DIDN'T GET DONE! If I didn't cook my own supper, I HAD NOTHING TO EAT! Bejus! Life became serious all of a sudden.

Well, it wasn't THAT serious.

I had two room-mates at the time and we were more interested in partying 24-7 than doing laundry or eating supper. Rent was $33 per month, per person. We had plenty of dope to smoke and wimmen to hang out with. I played guitar on weekends and made more money doing that than I did flipping hamburgers the rest of the week. I learned that I could get laid by playing guitar and NOW, I had a place to take the wimmen to lay them. Life was good. I received a college degree.

I went on to the University of Georgia, to graduate school, where I lived a lot like I did back in Savannah. I never needed much money to have a good time. Hell, I don't need a lot of money to have a good time today. But I came out of there with a woman in tow, moved back to Savannah and tried to be an advertising copywriter while I wrote my first novel.

That woman and I fell out after a while. She left me to go home to mama. I was starving to death writing ad copy, so I picked up the guitar again. I was off to the rodeo for the next five years.

I lived in a one-bedroom duplex apartment and I don't believe that I've ever been happier in my life. I didn't care if the sun came up in the morning. I made enough money to cover my bills and had more pussy than most men ever dream about. I was a bar-house entertainer, and that's a life that will get in your blood if you do it long enough.

Then, I met Samantha'a mom. She started living with me, and she got pregnant.

I married her, knowing that I was making a mistake.

I ditched the bar life and took a straight job. My "career" took off, but my first wife spent that money as quickly as I could earn it. I actually played a few times on the side to earn some extra cash back then, but if Debbie came with me, her goddam bar tab was usually more than what I made that night. She always said, "I'm worth it."

No, she was not.

I finally got out of there and found myself sleeping on a bare mattress in a sleeping bag on the floor of a rooming house. I had an alarm clock, my guitars, some clothes and my truck. I actually enjoyed living there, because it reminded me of my college days. It was a six-bedroom house and everybody had a separate room. I made a deal with two of the wimmen that I would cook a big pot of something (beef stew, chili, spagetti, or something like that ) and feed everybody once every week if they would do my laundry. They agreed. They liked my cooking.

Life really wasn't bad there. I struck up an intimate relationship with one of the wimmen (I AM a charming rascal!) and after a while, we left there with another couple to find better living arrangements elsewhere. We moved to a nice three-bedroom house with a Jen-Aire range in the kitchen. Hot Damn! We were civilized! We were in high cotton.

Then, along came the Bloodless Cunt. She set me up, fluffed her attractive tail feathers and handed me her phone number on a small piece of paper at work one day. I didn't call her that night, so she called ME the next day to complain.

"Do you know what I gave you yesterday?" she asked.

"Yeah, I know what it is."

"If you're not going to DO ANYTHING with it, then give it back. I don't hand that out to just anybody!"

"I'll call you."

I called her that night and set up a date, fully intending to run her ass off by being my obnoxious self. But my plan didn't work the way I intended. Jennifer is SO GOOD at charming anyone she wants to charm. I
didn't know that at the time, so she worked her wiles on me with no problem. I ended up in her bed that night, and I was smitten.

All of a sudden, I had a problem. I was living with Dora and sharing HER bed, while Jennifer occupied all my thoughts. The weird part of the story is that JENNIFER KNEW about Dora, but Dora didn't know about Jennifer. I thought that I had to make a choice.

I did. I made the wrong one, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

That bloodless cunt set out like a shark to get what she wanted, and she got it. She ran through nine years of my life feeding on me, and when she was done, she dropped me like a hot rock. I never meant to hurt Dora when we broke up, but there was no way to help it. I tried to make the end as easy as possible and I still think about how badly I treated her today.

The BC didn't care. I know WHY now. She went out of her way to hurt ME when SHE ended our marriage. Scorched earth. That's all the cunt knows. And she never even thinks about what she does to people. In fact, I believe that she ENJOYS inflicting pain on people who trust her. She's just that bent.

I did not share a child with Dora. I was not IN LOVE with Dora. But I was in love with Jennifer and I gave her a child. I wish that I had not done that. If I could take it back, I would. I love Quinton with all my heart, but I wish I that had never sired him, not with THAT woman.

I can't miss what I never had. And I miss Quinton right now. Dora would never have treated me that way. Dora was a lady.

Jennifer is NOT, not matter how good she is at playing one for an audience.

That's pretty much how I got to where I am today.

May 23, 2009

The wind in the trees

Originally published March 8, 2004

Today has been a beautiful day. The sky is cloudless and blue and the sun is shining brightly. I made a big bowl of shrimp salad and ate it on the back porch while I listened to the wind chimes ringing like church bells.

The wind was up and the trees were all doing that magical dance that they do when they twist and sway under Mother Nature's hand. I like this kind of weather.

I now have more than a dozen doves who land in my back yard every day. I've been tossing birdseed outside for a while now and they like to hunt and peck for it. Every time I walk outside, they all take off with that fluttering and cooing that they do when spooked, but if I just sit there for a while, they come back, timid and suspicious, but they come back. I like birds.

I believe that if I keep charming them, I'll convince one to eat out of my hand before long. They don't trust me yet, but I'm working on that project. There's an Alpha male in the bunch who will come close to me if I hold still. He's thinking about eating seed from my hand, but he's not convinced that it's a safe move yet. As I said, I like birds, and this kind of game gives me something to do in the mornings and evenings.

The birds do not like cigar smoke. They'll land in the yard and hunt and peck for seeds, but they won't come close to me if I'm smoking a stogie. Well, that's just how it goes sometimes.

That's how my blog goes, too. I ruffle a few feathers sometimes, but I still like the birds. I'll smoke a cigar when I want one. The birds will just have to get used to it. That's who I am. Besides-- it's MY goddam yard.

And I don't care who resents it. (Scroll down a couple of posts to see what I mean.) I should show my balls by saying I'm sorry for what I wrote? Kiss my Cracker ass with that idea.

No apology-- not ever.

May 22, 2009


Originally published November 10, 2003

I can't help it.

I should know better by now, but I don't believe that I'll ever learn my lesson. When I see a good-looking woman, I am immediately attracted to her. I'll go flirt with her in a heartbeat and see where things go from there. I don't fear rejection (Bejus knows I've had plenty of that!) because I don't fear wimmen. The fact that they have a pussy doesn't frighten me. That fact INTRIGUES me.

I don't consider myself to be a pick-up artist or one of those body-building, well-coiffed, mouth-spray-using stud-muffins who strut the bars and the dance-places while wimmen drool over them. I am an old fart who isn't all that handsome. I am not big and muscular. I don't resemble the guy with the rippling biceps on the cover of the romance novel that a lot of wimmen read around swimming pools at vacation resorts.

But I am not shy, and I am a natural flirt. I learned a long time ago that it isn't always the best "looking" guy who wins the lady.

Personality counts for a lot, but you've got to be willing to show it. It's the same thing I learned playing poker years ago: "Never up, never in." I don't see anything wrong with asking an attractive woman if I can buy her a drink at the bar. There're no strings attached and she can say no if she wants to. She can accept the drink and there STILL are no strings attached. I just want to introduce myself.

Too many men are afraid to do that. Why?

Wimmen won't bite you (well, they WILL if you get really lucky) and they're probably sitting there alone at the bar waiting for someone to talk to. Walk up, say hello and offer to buy her a drink. What's the worst thing that can happen? She tells you to get lost and go piss up a rope, you replusive bastard, because she wouldn't fuck you if you were that last man alive on the planet? Big deal.

Yeah, that could happen, but be prepared to just smile and walk away in that event. Or, her weightlifting boyfriend could emerge from the bathroom and suddenly beat the living shit out of you right there at the bar while she screams "Kill him! Kill him!"

Okay, forget that second scenario. That one doesn't happen often and it certainly does not reinforce my point. I was digressing there...

I forget what my point was because I'm enjoying some more gin tonight. I think I meant to say that a lot of ships pass in the night because neither the man nor the woman had the nerve to just walk up and say hello. How many potientially beautiful relationships were lost because of pure cowardice?

Don't let that happen to you when you see someone attractive. Take a chance.

Just walk up and say hello.

May 21, 2009

Just so you know

Originally published March 8, 2004

Every time a sheriff came to visit me without warning last week, do you know what they DIDN'T find when they knocked on the door? They didn't discover me cavorting with nekkid wimmen (I'm sorry about that), they didn't see me whacking off to a porno movie, they didn't find me passed out drunk on the floor and they didn't catch me sucking on a bong-pipe.

They found me working on the computer or watching the news. They DID see a messy house with a lot of paperwork scattered on the floor, which is where I threw every new warrant as soon as it was served. It's a considerable pile now.

I probably ought to read some of that stuff, but I said to hell with it. I told my lawyer to settle everything, find out what the cunt wants and give it all to her. I can't win this fight and I am tired of the hassel. I just want to get the fucking I'm about to get over with.

Oh, yeah. My dog ran off, too.

May 20, 2009

An addendum

Originally published November 11, 2003

I don't spend as much time with my son as I wish that I could. When he's around, I encourage him to BE A BOY. Run, jump, catch a football, haunt the woods, have fun, play your ass off.

But I also try to teach him RULES.

He does what I tell him to do, or unpleasant consequences follow. He knows that fact. That's why he obeys me without question. (He may outgrow that attitude when he becomes a teenager, but I've got the right roots planted so far.)

I didn't inculcate that response in my son because I wanted to break his spirit. That's the LAST thing in the world I ever want to do. But he needs to understand RULES. He needs to understand that ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES. He needs to understand that there are some things out there that you JUST DON'T DO. It's my job to teach him those things.

If my boy ever walked into a classroom and beat the shit out of a teacher, I would ask the cops to give me a minute with him before they hauled him off to jail. I would use that minute to beat the shit out of HIM, then I would hand him over to the cops, while telling Quinton, "You made your bed. Now sleep in it." Goddamit! I taught my boy better manners than that.

Too many parents don't do that elementary job of raising a child. Far too many BLACK PARENTS don't do it. I know that it's politically incorrect to say so, but when 12% of our population is responsible over over half the prison inmates in the country and they enjoy a 70% illegitimate birth rate, somebody needs to say STOP IT! Sweet Bejus on a bicycle! Stop excusing this shit. Stop blaming it all on racism and poverty. Put the responsibility where it belongs.

Those two 16 year-olds who beat up that teacher did so because they are a pair of animals who do not understand how to behave in polite society. They belong in jail. I don't want assholes such as they are attending school with Quinton. My boy will not receive an education if he is surrounded by thugs in school. I want them GONE, out of there. And I don't say that because they are black.

I say it because they are undisciplined savages.

I've spent 30 years of my life watching and listening to people excuse this sort of behavior and even ENCOURAGE IT with their failure to admit that personal responsibility starts with YOU. It's about time people got fed up and called a halt to it.

When a 16 year-old mau-mau invades a classroom, beats up a teacher and has a STUDENT IN THE CLASS help him kick the man when he's down, that's not a racial problem. That's a self-discipline problem. That a problem for CIVILIZATION. And I can think of NO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER for that kind of behavior.

If I were black, I would be appalled by that story. If you are black, you should be, too.

No, I take that back. EVERYONE WHO READS IT should be appalled by that story, because that's exactly what 30 years of diversity-indoctrination and racial set-asides have given us: A generation of thugs, with chips on their shoulders, no respect for manners and no self-dicipline.

Government works wonders, doesn't it?

May 19, 2009

Sounds like my ex-wife

Originally published March 8, 2004


One day, the wife comes home with a spectacular diamond ring.

"Where did you get that ring? " her husband asks.

"Well, she replies, "my boss and I played the lotto and we won, so I bought it with my share of the winnings."

A week later, his wife comes home with a long shiny fur coat.

"Where did you get that coat?" her husband asks.

She replies "My boss and I played the lotto and we won again, so I bought it with my share of the winnings."

Another week later, his wife comes home, driving in a red Ferrari. "Where did you get that car?" her husband asks.

Again she repeats the same story about the lotto and her share of the winnings.

That night, his wife asks him to draw her a nice warm bath while she gets
undressed. When she enters the bathroom, she finds that there is barely enough water in the bath to cover the plug at the far end.

"What's this?" she asks her husband. "Well," he replies, "we don want to get your lotto ticket wet, do we???"

May 18, 2009

Famous last words

Originally published November 11, 2003

When Recondo 32 and I were driving to Blood Mountain, I kept noticing those little crosses and flower garlands on the side of the road, where someone had died in a car wreck. "Did you know that those monuments are against the law in the state of Georgia?" I asked.

"WHAT?" Recondo responded. He's damn near deaf now.


"Oh, those things. I try to be really careful when I see them. I figure that it's a sign of bad stretch of road ahead."

"What do you think are the last words most people say before they die in a car wreck?" I asked.

"What?" Recondo replied.


Recondo smiled. "The right answer is probably "OH, SHIT!" but I know what I said as a boy in South Carolina in a souped-up hot-rod doing crazy things on the road at night."

"What was that?" I asked.

"Hold my beer and watch THIS," he said.

I couldn't argue with that one. Been there, done that too many times.

May 17, 2009

Do you trust a lab?

Originally published March 6, 2004

I damn sure don't. I once received results from the plant lab telling me that I had a batch of fines with a .998 specific gravity. I asked the lab supervisor, "was the sample white?" She said that it was, but they ran the sample three times and came up with a number lower than pure water.

"That cannot be possible," I responded.

"We ran it three times and that's what we got," she replied.

I went into the field and ran a gravity myself, using a weigh scale and a hydrometer. I saw 1.280. I asked my operator. "What do you see here?"

"It's a 1.280, boss."

"Okay, treat it as a 1.280 and pump it when you're done. Fuck the lab. Nobody in their right mind would issue such obviously bogus results. It's my call. Go ahead and do it.

Are the same people running your piss-tests?


May 16, 2009

Dumbfuck names

Originally published November 12, 2003

I've lived my entire life being named Robert Smith. I have always hated that name. I didn't hate it because I wasn't proud of it. Hell, that was my daddy's name and the name of HIS DADDY before him and they both were fine men. I hated it because the name was just so goddam ordinary.

I get mail and phone calls all the time from people looking for a "Robert Smith" who isn't me. I wish I had a different name. I like "Acidman."

When I named my son, I picked a distinctive, Southern name for him. He is Quinton Robert Smith. His initials will never embarrass him (QRS) and he will never sit in a row of THREE Robert Smiths the way I did in school, when we were seated in alphabetical order by MIDDLE INITIAL, for crying out loud. I hope that I spared him some of what I endured in my life.

Plus, I never expected the world to change to suit my boy. I expect HIM to adapt to whatever the world throws his way. I just tried to start him down the proper path by giving him a good name to go by.

That's why I don't understand ANY parent who inflicts a HORRIBLE NAME on a newborn baby. Why would any sane person name a child "Abdul-el Jazzarra?" WTF were you thinking when you cursed your child that way? Want him to go far in life? Want him to succeed? Then GIVE HIM THAT FUCKING NAME, YOU IGNORANT ASSWIPE!

Yeah, that'll work if he has an NBA basketball career. Otherwise, you fucked that kid right from the cradle. He'd be a lot better off being a Robert Smith.

Why do some parents come up with names such as "Theron" and "La'Misha" and "De'Wantaine" for their children? Got-Damn! If you're going to give your children a clown-name, why not just call them "Soda Cracker" or "Hood Ornament?" Try "Shithead." Yeah, I saw that one once, and I was told right away that it was pronounced "Shith-HEED." Sure looked like "shit-head" to me. Isn't that one hell of a name to give a child?

I would never name a child of mine "Irving." That name sucks. I've never liked the name "Harvey." I'm not fond of "Corky," either. But I would die and go to hell before I would name a son of mine "Rasheed."

Robert Smith is a common name. But I'll bet that you find more "Rasheeds" in prison than you do Robert Smiths. I don't know that for a fact, but I'm willing to bet you that I'm right.

Robert Smiths have fathers. A lot of Rasheeds don't.

Rasheed sure is a pretty name, isn't it? It's almost as pretty as Shithead.

May 15, 2009

A piss test

Originally published March 6, 2004

Have YOU ever had one? I've had plenty and I bitched about every one.

The Medical Department calls your boss, and it's his job to escort you to the testing ground. You dump everything out of your pockets, then piss in a jar while a security guard watches. The nurse takes the temperature of your urine (to make sure that it's fresh) and then she seals the jar with a red band. She signs one place, you sign another, and the security guard signs the third line.
That jar is shipped off to a lab to be tested.

That shit is the most humiliating thing I've ever been through before prostate surgery.

I know about "drug-free" workplaces and all the Workman's Comp benefits that come with it. I still say that my privacy was invaded. If you find me fucked-up on the job, drag me out of the ranks and fire me. Just DON'T subject me to the dog-and-pony show a piss-test is. I never failed one, but that's not the point.

I don't believe in taking them.

May 14, 2009

Wanting what you can't have

Originally published November 12, 2003

If you haven't noticed, I am in a shitty mood today. I don't care who I piss off and I'm ready for a fight. I don't care where the fight comes from. I'm dying to pick one.

I did a lot of thinking last night and I didn't like where my thoughts led me. I've always seen life as a battle of the good guys versus the bad guys, and I always counted myself on the side of the good guys. Hell, I'll be the first person to tell you that IF EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD BEHAVED THE WAY I DO, THIS WOULD BE A CIVILIZED PLANET!

Suppose you looked around one day and found yourself on the wrong side of the fence? You're suddenly over there with the bad guys and you want MORE of what you found there. When I saw where I was, I knew that I couldn't stay there. I didn't want to be there in the first place and I WON'T go there any more. I am just not built that way. I jumped back to the right side of the fence as quickly as I could.

I look over that fence and I like what I see on the other side. I wish that I could have it. But I have no business being over there. I don't belong on that side of the fence. I know my place and I also know now that I can't be comfortable anywhere else.

I am what I am. After 51 years of life, I understand that fact now.

I'll look over that fence, but I'll never cross it again.

(Yeah, there's an allegory alert here)

May 13, 2009

I write angry

Originally published March 6, 2004

I've had five visists from the sheriff this week. My ex-wife is determined to kill me or drive me to suicide. I am fed up with this crap.

As I have said before on this blog, if you don't like what I have to say, don't come here. I write what is on my mind and I don't write to draw an audience. I don't give a lovely fuck about who I offend.

I am sick and tired of opening my door and seeing another deputy standing outside with a wad of papers in his hand. I am sick and tired of paying my lawyer when I know that I'm going to lose this battle. I am sick and tired of the bullshit I get in my comments when nary a soul knows where I stand.

You fucking try it for a while. YOU eat shit-pie every day. YOU jump through the hoops and fork out the money. When you've done that, get back to me.

Otherwise. fuck you.

May 12, 2009


Originally published November 12, 2003

Another fucking troll.

I really appreciate the ballsy bastard who comes to my site under hotmail names or a yahoo addresses and spreads shit on my page. You are some kind of stud-muffin, to do THAT, you cowardly shitass. Yeah, I am impressed.

I am not afraid of you. If you've got a bitch with ME, then bring it on. I'll give you my address. Drop by any time. I don't lurk in the shadows like a fucking troll. I don't need to know when you're coming. I am HERE any time you want a piece of me. I won't run and I won't hide. But you had better come jocked-up, Bubba. That's the way I play. I spent too many years in bars to be dazzled by you, fuckhead. I've seen fire and rain. Have you?

If you don't like me, why don't you do something about it, asshole? Ain't no fence around my Cracker ass. Come get some, any time you want it.

You pathetic piece of shit.

This was a public service announcement from Acidman Central, directed at one certain troll. Don't you just LOVE such people?.

May 11, 2009

I did it

Originally published March 2, 2004

I had my hair cut short, shaved my beard and changed my looks today. I didn't go blonde. I went with my original hair color. The process took almost two hours and cost me $40, not counting the ten-dollar tip I gave the beautician. She did a good job.

I came home, took a shower to wash away any excess chemicals on my skin and then looked in the mirror. GOT-DAM! I wish that I had someone here to take a picture. I appear to be at least 10 years younger than I was this morning. No more silver hair. It's all dark brown now and I am totally surprised at the difference. I look--- GOOD.

I went to the Huddle House for a late lunch and Nancy, my favorite waitress in the place, didn't recognize me. I gave her my order and watched her write it down on that little note-pad that all Huddle House waitresses carry. She never gave me a second glance.

"Nancy," I asked. "Do you know who I am?"

She paused and stared at me for a moment. "Oh. My. Gawd!" she said. "Rob, you look GREAT! What did you do to yourself?"

I told her that I had my hair cut short, dyed dark brown and all of that goatee shit shaved off my face. I told her that I was chasing after my lost youth and that I almost caught that sumbitch today. "It's still ME, Nancy," I told her. "But, do I LOOK different today, or what?"

"I did not know who you were when you walked in the door," she replied. "I can't believe that one trip to the barber shop can make such a difference. Whatever you did today, keep doing it. If I weren't married already, I would run off and marry you at the end of my shift. You look FANTASTIC, darlin.'"

Well, Nancy always blows smoke up my ass, because she knows that I always tip well when she waits on me. That's why I like sitting at one of Nancy's tables. But she's also a blunt, big-assed farm girl who would tell me up-front and outright if what I did today made me look like Fido's ass. I'll take her word about the fact that I look a lot different than I did this morning. I'll take her word that the changes are an improvement.

I like Nancy a lot. She takes special care of me every time that I eat at the Huddle House. If I looked like shit, she would say so, because she's done it in the past. I've been there for a breakfast on too many hangover mornings.

That woman does not bite her tongue.

She'll keep your coffee cup full and your ashtray empty. She hustles the food as fast as she can operate. She's a damn good, hard-working waitress. And SHE told me that I looked good today.

I take that mention as high praise.

May 10, 2009

Alarm systems

Originally published November 12, 2003

Some outfit called ADT or some such made a house call on me this week. They were willing to put over $800 dollars worth of electronic security in my home for FREE, if I let them put a sign in the yard and I then paid a $30 per month service conract. I listened to their spiel.

Then, I reached under the couch and pulled out a pistol. They shrank like spiders on a hot stove. "Do you know what this is?" I asked. Of course they didn't know. "It's security," I said. "It's a Colt five-shot .38 revolver loaded with hollowpoints. I keep it here all the time." I put it back under the couch.

"See that coat-rack over there in the corner?" I asked. They nodded. I stood up and walked over to it. "My grandfather made this," I said, as I reached behind it and pulled out a .22 rifle. "I bought this at K-Mart," I said, as I showed them the rifle. "It stays loaded, too. That's security." I put the rifle back behind the coats.

"Would you like someting to drink?" I asked. "I have some Mountain Dew in the refrigerator. Or water if you would prefer that." They asked for Mountain Dew, so I went to the kitchen and fetched two cans. I also came back with another pistol. "This is a Marlin .22 target pistol with a 9" barrel. It holds 10 rounds and I keep it on top of the refrigerator. I shoot squirrels with it sometimes, but I call it security." They were suitably impressed, so I put the pistol back on top of the refrigerator.

"If you look over there behind the front door, you'll see an aluminium baseball bat. I don't play baseball and that bat does not belong to my son. I call that security." They nodded.

"If you want to walk down the hall, I'll show you the 9mm pistol in the bedroom, the .410 shotgun in the closet, the derringer in my bathroom, the .12-gauge in my OTHER closet and two more baseball bats. I have another .38 pistol in my sock-drawer. I call that security."

They agreed that I probably didn't want to buy what they were selling. I didn't buy and they went away when they finished their Mountain Dews.

Quinton knows where every gun in this house is located. He also knows that all of them are loaded and he's supposed to keep his hands off of them. He's never even thought about violating those rules. I don't find that fact to be amazing. My grandpa's house was FULL of guns and kids just didn't touch them without permission. We were raised that way.

I don't need an electronic security system. I feel secure all by myself.

May 09, 2009

From the book

Originally published March 2, 2004

Matt had seen a lot of head-shrinkers in his life. After his suicide attempt, he knew more psychologists, psychiatrists and councils than he could count. Not a single one ever understood him, no matter how long he talked to them. Those "experts" didn't seem very expert to him.

One woman, who had a very nice set of legs, asked him one day, "Matt, what is the first memory you have in life?" Matt didn't have to think long about the answer.

"I caught a butterfly in my bare hands. I was probably three or four years old at the time, but I remember it clearly. I saw a big, yellow butterfly in mama's flower garden. I walked up to it, stuck out my hand and just picked it up by the wings. It held perfectly still for me.

"My mama was sitting in the front porch swing at the time, so I ran to show her what I had done. She told me that the butterfly was beautiful, but I would kill it if I kept holding on to it's wings."

"Let it go, Matt," she said.

"I let it go and it flew right back to the same flower where I caught it. I looked at my fingers and saw that they were golden. The butterfly had shared its color with me.

"Mama, look at my hand!" I exclaimed. "It's golden!"

"That's the butterfly colors. They'll go away."

She was right. The gold washed off, the butterfly (a Tiger Swallowtail) died and Matt never experienced such a magical moment again in his life. Once, when he was young, he had golden fingers.

But he never had them again.

May 08, 2009


Originally published November 12, 2003

I believe that I was eight years old when my grandfather took me to the dump for the first time. He liked to pick through the trash to find things that he could fix and sell, but it was a great place to shoot a .22 rifle.

We got out of his truck that day and he handed me a single-shot, bolt-action .22 rifle and 50 rounds in a cardboard box. "You go shoot," he said. "Just don't you shoot at me."

I plugged beer cans, a few rats and everything else I saw worth firing at down on the side of the dump. I was shooting up a storm. My grandfather finally came up behind me and asked, "Are you doing any good?" I showed him the three dead rats and the beer cans and all the rest of my targets I'd been shooting. He said, "That's not bad, but I want you to show me that you can REALLY shoot. Is that gun loaded right now?"

"No, Papaw. I just shot that beer can. It's empty."

"Pull the lever back and let me see." I did, and he told me not to load it again until he said so. He had three light bulbs in his overall pockets and he walked down to the edge of the borrow-pit and threw them as far out into the water as he could. Then, he walked back up the bank and sat down next to me. "How many bullets do you have left?" he asked.

"Papaw, I probably have at least 15 left," I replied.

"Take three and shoot those light bulbs."

I put one in the rifle and threw the bolt closed. A light bulb in the water doesn't make a big target, but I sighted on the closest one and hit it. Kaboom! and a big splash. "I got it Papaw!" I exclaimed. Boy, I was proud of myself.

"You've got two more to go," he said.

I took two more bullets and shot both of the other two light bulbs without a miss. I still remember the smell of gunsmoke and tobacco as I sat with my grandfather that day. He wasn't big on praising anybody, but he told me that "I wasn't half-bad" with that rifle. I knew what kind of flattery that was coming from him. I strutted like a Tall Dog back to the truck when he was ready to leave.

"When we get back home, you clean that rifle, you hear me? I'll tell you what to do. If you take care of it, I might let you shoot it again"

"I will, Papaw. I want to shoot it again."

I shot that rifle many times after that day. I learnd to clean it and take care of it. But I never forgot that first time and those three light bulbs floating in the water.

I was three for three, while my grandfather was watching.

May 07, 2009

Time out

Originally published March 2, 2004

I'm taking the next couple of days off. I am just sick and tired of being sick and tired. I've got more shit on my hands than I can handle right now.

I pissed off everybody I dealt with yesterday, including my mama. I insulted her and I never should have done that. Fuck the lawyer and the banker. Fuck my ex-wife. I don't give a damn about what they think of me. But I never should have talked badly to my mama. Respectful children don't do that sort of thing, and I respect my mama.

Mama, I'm sorry.

But the rest of you money-grubbing fucks can ALL kiss my Cracker ass. I will not get on my knees for anyone (except maybe Nichole Kidman) and I will ride whatever wave comes my way. I wasn't raised to be a pussy and I won't be one. Insult me. Sue me. Fire me.

Guess what you end up with? ME, and nothing you can do will ever change that fact.

May 06, 2009


Originally published November 12, 2003

My dad was a quiet man, may Bejus rest him where he lays now. He had one hell of a temper, but he seldom raised his voice. He'd whip my ass in a minute if he thought I had it coming (and I usually did), but he would defend his family to the death if he believed that he was right.

Only once in my life do I remember hearing my father make a threat to someone. It's a long story, but I had a five-iron in my hand and I was threatening to kill a grown man who lived next door. We were becoming kind of loud. His juvenile-delinquent son had spray-painted my car and was trying to peek in the windows at night. I almost caught the little shit once, and that's back when I was a weight-lifting football player.

I told that old man, "If I had caught your boy that night, I would have wrung his fucking neck. And if you take one step closer to me, you're going to be wearing this five-iron like a necktie." I meant every word of it, too.

"You don't have the nerve," that fat bastard said.

"Take another step and try me," I replied. I was coiled and ready. I was going to beat the shit out of that man with a golf club. I drew the club back... then I felt a firm hand on my arm.

"Put that that back in your bag, Rob," my father said. "you're not on the golf course now."

"But, Dad..."

"Shut up, put the golf club back in your bag and go inside the house. GO NOW!" I went. When my dad addressed me in that tone of voice, I listened. He was serious.

I was 17 years old. My dad was 40. All the windows were open in the house, so I heard every word my father said. He poked a finger in that fat bastard's face.

"You need to go back into your house right now. I am one second away from kicking your ass all over this yard. If you open your mouth, I'll do it right now. And if you EVER threaten my son again, I'll kill you. Do you understand me?"

I suppose that the fat bastard did, because he turned around and went into his house. Dad came inside with a clenched jaw and veins throbbing in his forehead. He was pissed off.

"Pop, I could have handled that," I said.

"Yeah, and I'd be bailing you out of jail, too. You would have hit him in the head with that golf club if I hadn't stopped you. Right?"

"Yessir. I was getting ready to hit him."

"That's why I stopped you. I knew that you would hit him. You didn't need to do that."

"But, Dad, I heard you threaten to kill him."

"Did I kill him?"


"Then forget about it. This problem is solved."

And it was.

But I believe to this day that my dad was prepared to beat that fat bastard's ass all over the yard, and he meant every word when he said, "I'll kill you." My father didn't fuck around about things like that. He was a Harlan County coal miner for a lot of his life. He told me many times, "Don't ever promise anything that you can't deliver."

If my dad said, "I'll kill you," he meant it. He loved his family like a rock.

And he always delivered on his promises.

May 05, 2009

Job history

Originally published March 1, 2004

When I first hired in at the plant, I took a job as a packer. I stood in front of a machine that spit out pigment whenever I pressed the "GO" button. I took an empty bag and put it on the packer machine spout. It filled the bag up and shut off. I then moved that bag to a weigh scale while I put another empty bag on the fill spout and hit the "GO" button.

I weighed the bag and used a metal scoop to adjust the weight to within .2 of 50 pounds. I threw that bag on a conveyor belt than ran it through a bag flattener and a metal detector. I started the conveyor with a knee-button so that I wore a hole in the right knee of every pair of pants I owned.

By that time, another full bag was hanging from the packer spout, so I moved that one the the weigh scale, put another empty bag on the spout, hit the "GO" button, adjusted the weight on the new bag and threw it on the conveyor. By then, the last bag was back on the end of the conveyor and I stacked it on a pallet.

That was the most mind-numbing job I've ever done in my life. Just the same thing, over and over again, like a trained monkey. Learn to walk that bag-flinging circle and it wasn't that bad a job, if you didn't like to think. I hated packing.

A packer lifted a 50-pound bag of pigment three times before it hit the pallet. Once from the machine, once again from the weigh scale and then again when it returned from the conveyor. The average machine ran between 120 and 200 bags per hour, depending on how the mills were operating.

I was a young man then and the physical part of the job didn't bother me. I could lift and throw 50-pound bags of pigment for as long as the machine was running. I bulked up and became lean and muscular from performing that job. I lost the fingerprints off both hands from handling those bags. The friction wore my fingerprints away. I was paid $8.00 an hour.

Often, at the end of a shift, the supervisor would come by to take his final bag-count and he would hold up two fingers. The packing area was too goddam loud to talk clearly, but everybody knew what that hand-sign meant. It meant that some lazy bastard was laying out of work and the boss needed someone to pull a double to cover the vacancy. I always volunteered.

Hell, I was making $12.00 per hour for that extra eight. It seemed like a good deal to me. I took it every chance I got.

I once pulled five doubles in a row, working from 3:00 in the afternoon to 7:00 in the morning. That's the only time in my life I've ever had a cop wake me up for falling asleep at a traffic light. I was on my way home after that last double and I knew that I was off for the next four days. I just wanted to find my bed and crash. I was 28 years-old and wore slap-out.

I stopped at the light at Skidaway and DeRenne and fell asleep behind the wheel of the car. I must have kept my foot on the brake, but I don't really remember. I fell asleep. All I recall is a policeman waking me up while horns were honking all around me.

"Son. are you drunk?" he asked me.

"No, sir. I just got off work this morning and I've pulled a lot of overtime this week. I'm really tired and I just want to go to bed. I guess I must have gone to sleep at the traffic light. But I'm awake now and it won't happen again."

Those were the days when a cop said, "You look like Fido's ass. Somebody ran you through the washing machine and put you through the wringer, too. Where do you live?" I told him. "Okay, head that way and I'll follow you to make sure you get there safe and sound."

He followed me all the way home. I pulled into the driveway and he gave one toot from his siren as he drove away. I wanted to lay down in the yard and sleep in the grass. I was bone-tired and half out of my mind from fatigue. But I managed to stagger inside and find my bed. I slept for 24 straight hours and still felt like shit when I woke up. I dreamed about packing the entire time I was asleep.

That's one of the reasons that I never put up with whining from operators about being worked "too hard" in the packing area. I did that shit when IT WAS hard work and I did it all, including 80-hour weeks. I don't want to listen to crybabies tell me their troubles. I could have worked them all into the ground back then.

But I still thank that policeman who woke me up and decided to watch me make it home instead of hauling me off to jail that morning. Bless him.

May 04, 2009

New strings

Originally published November 13, 2003

I put a set of new strings on my old Martin guitar (1964 D-28) this morning. Damn, but it sounds fine. I should have taken that guitar to Blood Mountain instead of toting the Guild. But the Guild is my usual road guitar and I don't haul the Martin unless I intend to do some serious playing. I wasn't certain what would happen up there.

I play that old guitar and feel as if I have a familiar lover in my hands. That guitar and I have been through a lot together. We're both kinda dinged-up from life's hard knocks, but in some ways, those hard knocks just made us both better. I can't sing the high notes the way I once did, but that guitar has a bass sound that'll ring for 60 seconds when I put it down. I can thump the back with my finger and it goes "Booooom" and echoes for a while. I don't need to sing the high notes anymore. I just play the old songs in a lower key.

I look at the scars on that guitar and I remember where every one came from. That thing has been soaked in beer, sweat, smoke and whiskey for 40 years. That guitar has been played so many times that the pick-guard is worn and peeling off now. I've had it re-fretted four times and I actually broke the neck off at a party one night. (Somebody knocked it off a stand and it hit the wrong way) Randy Wood fixed it, and you have to look VERY closely to see the faint crack in the neck where it broke.

It sounds better now than it ever did, and it's ALWAYS sounded good. In a room full of guitars with no microphones, I can drown out everyone else if I want to. That guitar rings like a bell.

I wish that my son showed some interest in playing music. I would like to give him that guitar some day, when my hands are too old to play it anymore, and I would like to see him pass it on to HIS son in the distant future. We'll all grow old, but that guitar will keep sounding better. That's a mighty fine instrument. It should be played by people who appreciate it.

I always have, and I always will.

May 03, 2009

The TV brick

Originally published February 29, 2004

I have a TV brick. It's a foam-rubber piece of shit that looks just like a red brick, except you can throw it at the TV and watch it bounce off the screen without doing any serious damage. I throw that thing a lot. It beats taking out one of my guns and blowing the TV to hell.

*Larry King has been hit in the head more times than he knows, that pussy-chasing pussy.

*What was "Bob" like before he started taking the penis-enlargement drugs? What a pathetic fucker he is. If growing a big dick makes me look like him, I'll pass. Take one look at his idiot grin and tell me what made his dick bigger? You think his brains may have drained away to a different part of his body?

*If I were ever married to that snout-faced bitch who stars in the "Free Miles" credit card commercials, I would drag her off and shoot her. "How about Mexico?" (throw in a little cha-cha motion). "NOOOOO! Hawaii!" (big hugs and kisses all around.) There goes the TV brick.

*I despise politicians. John Kerry could stick a dog turd in his mouth, chew it like a cigar and smile the entire time. Yeah. I want THAT MAN to be President.

*There is a thin line between love and hate. That sumbitch is running right up my ass now and I don't understand why. I would never do to my ex-wife what she is doing to me. Jennifer, I once considered you to be the best friend I had in this world. I guess that I was mistaken.

*How many news reporters do you know? I know a bunch of them, and almost without exception they are ignorant, leftist swine. They are as lazy as a cut dog, too. They are more concerned about their hair than they are about the news. I went to J-School. I know who these people are.

*I am in trouble with the law. Big fucking deal. If you DON'T have people like me in the world, people willing to go broke fighting a bad government, this country is doomed.

*I hit Peter-head Jennings with my TV brick every day. Then, I switch channels.

*I'm thinking about taking my dog back to the pound. She doesn't like me and I don't like her. Dingbat.

*I really don't believe in living the "right" way, whatever the hell that means. I don't go to church. I don't pray. If I can't handle what life throws at me, I deserve to lose.

*And I'll throw a TV brick at you as fast as I can pick it up if you piss me off.

May 02, 2009

Someone asked

Originally published November 13, 2003

I was raised attending a Methodist church. I didn't like going there. I liked to sing, but they always picked shitty hymns to do. Just look at some of John Wesley's work. NOBODY CAN SING THAT SHIT!

I was baptised in The First Independent Church Of Christ, which is not far removed from foot-washing, snake-handling fundamentalist Christians. I was dating a member of the church at the time. It seemed like a good idea to join her church and to go get dipped there. So, I did.

I was in college at the time and well on my way to becoming an English Major. That's when I started studying the Bible. I've read it front to back four times now. I see nothing in there but the superstitious ramblings of a primitive people. God is not consistent all the way through. Jesus is not consistent.
Hell, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all saw the same things in different ways. Don't tell me that shit is "gospel."

I am a heathen unbeliever. But I did my homework before I came to where I am today. I'll be delighted to explain my beliefs in detail if anyone wants to challenge me. But read the entire Bible first. Don't give me quotes out of context. Read the whole thing. Read it four times.

Then ask me why I am not a religious man.

May 01, 2009

'Splain it to me

Originally published February 29, 2004

Haiti has been a fucking sump since the day I was born. I remember Papa Doc and Baby Doc and I see what the country is today. It's worse now than it ever was.

When I was in Jamaica, I took a cab ride from Montego Bay to Negril. Along that ride, you can see scenes of incredible wealth right next to scenes of incredible poverty. The cab driver told me that Jamaica had a 49% unemployment rate.

I asked him how could that be true? Jamaica is a beautiful country, blessed with a lot of natural resources. I saw sugar cane fields that stretched as far as the eye could see. I know that they make excellent rum and grow the finest ganja in the world. The 7-mile beach strip in Negril is lined, back-to-back, with luxury hotels, where rich Americans spend a lot of money.

"I'm paying you $50 American for this ride," I said. "If you get a couple of fares a day like me, you're doing okay. How can so many people be unemployed here?"

"They shut down the bauxite mines, brother mon. No work for the common man. I pay $500 per year for the licence you see on my window, right here. I am a registered taxi driver and I make a good living, because I own my own cab. Not many people have what I have."

But I learned something different just by paying attention.

The cab driver said that he could find a place for us to stay. He did and it was more than acceptable. I paid him for the ride, paid for the room, tipped him nicely, watched the owner of the hotel rent me a room, then hand some money to the cab driver. That's the secret Jamacian economy.

The driver has a deal with the hotel. He gets a cash kickback for every person he brings there. Winston met me 20 minutes later. He rakes the beach at the hotel every morning for no pay. But the hotel allows him to hang around the place and hire himself out as a "guide" to make what he can off people like me. Winston did well while I was there. He was a good guide and he was paid well.

I asked Jenny one morning-- just how many of these people sucking up American dollars with every hustle they can conceive show up as "unemployed" on Jamacian economic reports? Walk down to the beach and let them descend on you. Tell me that you can't buy anything you want down there.

They'll braid your hair. They'll sell you drugs. They'll give you a full body massage. They'll sell you a necklace, a wood-carving, a man, a woman or anything else you want. It's all right there on the beach. Just go ask for what you want. Someone will get it for you.

Then, you see the money change hands.

You pay the man you made a deal with and he turns around and gives three other people their cut of the money. They argue a lot about what's fair, but that was always their business, not mine. I negotiated a fair price and paid for what I wanted. Then I watched them fight over who owed who how much. I stayed out of those fights. That was THEIR business, not mine.

But I know full and well from seeing it myself that Jamaica has two economies. One is controlled by the government and the other one operates on its own. It is an underground economy, run by people who understand graft, bribes and kickbacks as well as anyone in the world. I don't believe that Winston is registered as a tax-paying, employed person. But he made an ass of cash off of me.

That's Jamaica.

Why can Jamaica do so well with that system while Haiti remains an AIDS-infested sump, filled with ignorant, violent people? They live on a beautiful island, with every asset that Jamacia has. But they chose to turn their home into a fucking sump instead of deciding to make money any way thay can. Got-Dam! I don't understand it.

Cuba, I understand. Castro doesn't want his island to prosper. He just wants to stay in charge. But Haiti? There is no reason for that country to be in the shape it's in.

That's MY humble opinion on the matter.