Gut Rumbles

January 31, 2010

A two-fer

Originally published June 3, 2004

Bejus! I have GOT to go to the dentist today. That sensitive tooth that's been bothering me for almost a year now has gone into a full-blown abcess, and the entire left side of my face is swollen and sore. I can barely open my mouth this morning (which some people might think is a GOOD thing).

But just imagine a visit to a divorce lawyer followed by a fucking root canal. That's an ultimate two-fer.

January 30, 2010

Things you just do

Originally published September 1, 2004

Some people, especially Democrats, don't look at life the same way I do. I've lived 52 years and I believe that I've gathered a modicum of wisdom in that time. I've seen fire and rain. I've seen life as it really is. Here are the lessons I've learned, the hard way.

* Nothing in this world is free.

* People you trust, and even LOVE, are capable of stabbing you in the back.

* The only thing in life that never goes away is a sense of family, if you have one.

* Hard work pays off.

* You're a victim ONLY if you allow yourself to be one.

* Government is NOT my friend.

* Money isn't everything.

* But being broke sucks.

* Everybody makes mistakes. A wise man learns from his mistakes and a fool repeats them.

* It's wonderful to be loved.

* It hurts like hell to be betrayed by someone you love.

* I get along with kids so well because I still remember what it was like to be one. That's a magical time in life.

* Santa Claus doesn't exist, but he should.

* Never stop dreaming. That's where great ideas come from.

Okay, that's it. My brain is full.

January 29, 2010

That was fun

Originally published June 3, 2004

I no longer have an abcessed tooth. In fact, I never really had one to begin with. The tooth is perfectly healthy, with no cavities. It's just fit as a fiddle.

But my gums are not. I have an advanced case of gum disease in spite of brushing, flossing and using peroxide in my mouth as part of a daily routine. The dentist examined me, listened to my complaints and took a couple of X-rays. After that, he grabbed some sort of tool off his tray, told me to hold still and he cut me, right above that tooth that was driving me crazy. I could feel all sorts of blood and corruption draining into my mouth.

Believe it or not, but it was a GOOD feeling. All the pressure went away from my left eyeball and I felt almost human again. That's when the dentist began pressing strong fingers against my sinus cavities and attempting to break every bone in my face. "Ow, doc! That HURTS!" I whined.

"Yeah, and it smells like a dead cat in there, too." he replied. He kept mugging me until he was satisfied with the results. "You can rinse and spit now."

Bejus! I don't want to talk about what came out of me. Just imagine squeezing the biggest pimple you ever had in your life and seeing the results come out of your mouth. It was disgusting. It was humiliating. It was horrible.

But it was one hell of a relief, too.

I feel a lot better now. I DON'T feel good about the fact that I'm probably going to have to do this again or lose my teeth in a few years, or both. Gum disease is no laughing matter and that's another complaint I have with God. If I were omnipotent, I would have made better gums than God did.

Going to the dentist delayed my lawyer appointment until tomorrow. That's a good thing, because the swelling is gone and I can talk to him with a straight face now.

January 28, 2010

Homemade porno movies

Originally published September 1, 2004

I'm not asking for a show of hands here. I'm asking a serious question about modern journalism. How many of you people own video cameras? How many of you people have played around with the thing? Have you ever gotten frisky and taped your performance?

I don't really want to know. I'm just planting a seed in your mind if you haven't tried that yet. Not that I'VE ever done such a thing, but you might be surprised about how watching you and your old lady sport in the sack can be thoroughly arousing. In fact, it's good for a two-fer from me most guys I've interviewed.

Try it. You'll like it.

January 27, 2010

Beer in Costa Rica

Originally published June 3, 2004

Imperial is a damn good beer. A brand called Pilzen also is brewed locally in Costa Rica, but it tastes a lot like Miller Lite. I preferred Imperial.

But be careful when you order a beer in Costa Rica. For some reason, they serve it in a glass over ice if you don't tell them differently. Da mi una cervesa, por favor. Un Imperial, con no vaso y no hielo.

You need to master that bit of Spanish if you visit Costa Rica. That phrase means "Give me a beer, please. An Imperial, with no glass and no ice." Drink it straight out of a cold, frosted bottle. Otherwise, some well-intentioned bartender will pour your beer into a glass full of ice and hand you a saltshaker on the side. Yes, Costa Ricans like salt in their beer.

I wandered into several establishments that might be called "working-class bars" by American standards. They weren't fancy and the crowd wore work-boots and raincoats because of all the lluvia falling from the sky. They sat around drinking beer on ice, with a dash of salt, while they ate arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) from steaming bowls, piled high.

These weren't rough joints, just down-to-earth, and I enjoyed visiting them. With my shitty Spanish, I didn't exactly fit in with the crowd, and I am certain that they knew I was a tourista, but everybody was polite and friendly. The beer was cheap, the music was good and arroz con pollo ain't half bad when you've been walking around in the rain all day. It felt pretty good on a hungry belly.

One other thing to remember: They also put the hot water faucets on the RIGHT HAND side of every sink and shower that I saw there. I knew what "F" and "C" meant on the faucets (That's "frio" and "caliente," cold and hot) but I never quite got the knack of remembering that the faucets were backward down there. I damn near scalded my Cracker ass a few times in the early morning before my eyes were open well.

I didn't get my fill of that place. I'm going back very soon.

January 26, 2010

Notes from the homefront

Originally published June 3, 2004

Katie, the Fertile Rottweiler, is down to two puppies now. Somebody took "Brownie," an alpha male, and the two leftovers are brown females. All the ones who looked like genuine Rotties went pretty quickly.

Henry got kicked out of his house by the darling wife, came over to the Crackerbox in search of beer, told me his sob story, but charmed his way back in one day later. That guy makes ME feel sane.

I haven't seen THE JOGGER for a while now. Maybe the running bastard dropped dead of a heart attack the way Jim Fixx did on his way to perfect health.

The FAT LADY might not be singing, but she's walking several times up and down the road every day. She does that ridiculous power-walking thing that makes me want to run over her with my truck. Maybe she ate THE JOGGER. (Side note: never trust a woman with a belly bigger than her tits.)

A grackle attacked me in my back yard today, then had the nerve to hang around and squawk at me. I shot his ass dead with my pellet rifle.

I don't trust one of my neighbors. He has three things going against him. His ass is wider than his shoulders, he smokes brown cigarettes and he has an electric lawn mower.

I have an Effingham County sheriff's deputy living on my street. He knows me by name. I'm not certain whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

I ate lunch at Weisenbacker's Restaurant today after my visit to the dentist. I must be going there too often. As soon as I sat down, the waitress came to me and said "The Killian's Red is on tap again, Rob." That tap has been broken for a couple of weeks, and that's what I always ask for. I had a Killian's, with a meal of BBQ ribs, mashed potatoes, fried okra and corn and tomatoes. It was good and I tipped my waitress generously.

I cut my grass. And I didn't use an electric lawn mower.

As you can tell, it doesn't take much to excite me anymore. That's one of the reasons I love living in Effingham County, Georgia.

January 25, 2010

Old lovers

Originally published September 1, 2004

Do you ever think about people that you once had relationships with? I've never had an etch-o-sketch mind, so I am unable to erase memories just by turning the box over and shaking it. I remember those wimmen, and it bothers me a lot sometimes.

I can smell the scent of a certain perfume and I remember Holly Beth. That's what SHE wore, and I'll never forget those blue panties she liked to strut under nothing but a T-shirt at night.

I hear certain music and I remember Cheryl, in Jamaica, when we were both young and dumb. We stayed for a week in a place with no electricity and one cold-water shower outside. We had a blast.

Vonnie was a waif in need of rescue, so I helped her out. I have NEVER regretted being her lover. If I saw her tomorrow, I would call her "Yvonne," and never mention the past, but I would still like to give her a big hug.

The most cruel thing I ever did in my life was leaving Dora the way I did. She deserved better, and if anybody wants to call me a sumbitch, just point to that incident. I can't argue.

Then, there's Jennifer. You know a really sad fact I must admit? I still dream about her. I sometimes believe that she's still in my bed. I don't know if I'll ever get over her. That woman was my One True Love and she shafted me. I remain stunned.

I don't know... sometimes I just think too much.

January 24, 2010


Originally published June 4, 2004

I don't know what kind of statement some parents try to make when they name their children after fruit. That question puzzles me.

I grew up with the name Robert Smith. I had two strikes against me right off the bat because I have the most common name in the USA. You can't shake a got-dam bush ANYWHERE in this country without a dozen or so Robert Smiths falling out of it. Try using that name if you want to perform music on stage or write for a living. You won't exactly stand out in a crowd.

When my daughter was born, I named her Samantha because I liked the alliteration in Samantha Smith. The first name was unusual without being ridiculous and I always had a secret lust for Darren's wife on "Bewitched." I remain proud of the name I chose for her today.

When my son was born, I named him Quinton Robert Smith. That way, he could share the Robert that my grandfather, my father and I bear, but he could have a unique identity of his own. Quinton also is a fine Southern name. I'm proud of that one, too.

But I don't believe that in my wildest, drunken, dope-fueled delusions I could EVER name a child "Apple." Or "Moon Unit." Or "De Wonton." What the hell are parents thinking when they curse their children with horrible names that they'll have to lug through life like a millstone around their necks? Names count for a lot, and what you think is "cute" now may backfire later.

Face it. If someone in a Human Resources Department is sifting through a stack of job applications and sees "Rainbow," "Dewberry," "Toyota La' Trelle" and "Gary" in the mix, who do you think gets first shot at the job? It'll be Gary every time. The other names just sound too flaky. Even a Robert Smith stands a good chance when faced with competition from "Placenta," "D'Andre Lawanna Shithead" and "Blossom."

Graham Nash said "Teach Your Children Well." I say name them well first.

January 23, 2010

Hurricane Floyd

Originally published September 1, 2004

I'm getting a few comments from tough-assed BROADS who think I'm full of shit for saying that wimmen hyperventilate and get the vapors when a big storm comes. Well, I didn't make my opinions from ether.

When hurricane Floyd was supposed to hit Savannah a few years ago, I invited my mama, my grandmother, all my in-laws and everybody else I could think of to come stay at my house, the mini-farm. They got there a lot quicker than I got home from work. I was one of the last people out of the plant (that was my job) and I spent almost two hours on the road trying to get home.

I had a generator, propane, plenty of food and water, flashlights, batteries and lots of room. To ME, my house seemed like a good place to hunker down.

But the wimmen started watching the Weather Channel. Hyperventilation occurred. Like chickens, one started to squawk and the rest took up the cry: WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!! Got-dam!!! What is it about you wimmen that make you so assholey sometimes?

The next thing I knew, I had a rebellion on my hands. Every woman in the house wanted to flee. I had just come in from the roads and I knew that nobody was going to flee ANYWHERE, not with that traffic-jam on the highways. But try to expain facts to a hysterical, hormone-driven bitch. You may as well go piss up a rope. They don't listen. They begin to "feel," and you'd better watch your codsack when wimmen start that "feeling" shit.

You believe that men think with their dicks? Watch a woman when she starts to "feel" things. Tell me what SHE'S thinking with. It damn sure ain't her brain.

I managed to quell that rebellion only after the wimmen called every motel chain in the phone book and learned that there wasn't a vacant room within 500 miles. (As if you could have GOTTEN THERE in the traffic.) Then, they all settled down and prepared to die, giving me hairy eyeballs for getting them all killed.

I liked my grandmother's attitude. "I ain't going nowhere. If Robbie says I'm safe here, I'm gonna trust him. I am too old for the kind of car ride you people are suggesting. I gotta pee a lot."

Floyd missed and went up the coast to pummell North Carolina. The wimmen never forgave me for being right when they were wrong. Wimmen are like that.

But NOBODY better tell me that they don't hyperventilate and get the vapors. I've SEEN that happen.

January 22, 2010

Unheard of greatness

Originally published June 4, 2004

A lot of my readers become bored when I blog about music, but music is an important part of my life. Lately, I've been playing guitar a lot and I worry that I'm developing arthritis in my fingers, especially in my left hand. I am not as supple as I once was and my knuckles start to ache after about 30 minutes of playing.

The thought that I might reach the point where I can't play anymore scares the shit out of me. Sweet Bejus! You took my love, you took my son, you took my job, you took my dick, you're after my money and you left me where I'm liable to piss my bed on any given night. Isn't THAT enough of a price for one man to pay? You want MY FINGERS, too, you rotten bastard?

Excuse me. I'm getting off on a rant here.

I'm going to post a list of my TOP TEN seldom-heard songs, that didn't make gold records, didn't rocket anybody to stardom and lay now in the discount bins of many record stores. You can buy 'em cheap today, and I recommend that you do.

10) "Freaker's Ball" I'm not sure who wrote it, but I believe that it was Steve Goodman.

9) "Pancho and Lefty" as performed by Townes Van Zant before he killed himself.

8) "I'm Alive" by Mac MacAnally on his first album.

7) "The Dutchman" by Mike Smith (who I met and sang with once in my life)

6) "Free Man in Paris" by Joni Mitchell

5) "Hello in There" by John Prine

4) "I'm Alright" by Kim Ritchie

3) "That Bitch" by Fat Yankee Jack (you have to go to Key West to see him.)

2) "Pamela Brown" as performed by Leo Kottke on a 12-string guitar.

1) "Mother of a Miner's Child" by Gordon Lightfoot.

If you've never heard these songs, you need to make a special effort to do so.

January 21, 2010

Young Jack

Originally published September 1, 2004

I meant to write about Jack earlier. He came to visit me on Sunday and spent about an hour at the Crackerbox. I can't see my son, but Jack still loves me and he never misses a chance to drop by. Go figure what kind of terrible person I am.

Jack is playing football this year and he's very excited about it. "Mr. Rob, the coach says I'm the best player on the team," he announced proudly. I KNOW Jack and he tends to exaggerate sometimes (something I would NEVER do), so I wasn't certain about this "best on the team" thing.

"What makes you the best?" I asked. Jack went off on a rant about being fast, tough and tricky, and then he said, "I did just what you told me to do. I hit people so hard that they pee their pants."

Oh. My. God. I could imagine how his mother would respond to that statement. But, that's what I told him once and that lesson must have stuck in his boyish brain. Little pitchers have big ears.

I gave Jack the nickname "Hurricane Head" a few years ago. I've washed his hair before and he has the thickest blonde locks of wire-like hair, all curled around the crown of his head, that you'll ever see. That boy's got hair like a Brillo pad. It resembles a whirlpool if you look down from the top.

He got ready to go back to "nanny's" house and I told him that I would walk with him. I like Jack a lot. He really IS like a second son to me. He put an arm around my waist and babbled the entire time we walked. I put my hand on his shoulder and enjoyed listening to a little boy BE a little boy.

I cannot believe that Jack trusts me the way he does and I am an unfit father for my own son. But that's what happens when you marry a bloodless cunt.

When Jack arrived at "nanny's" house, he went inside to play a video game. I talked with nanny for a while. She told me Jack REALLY IS the best player on his team. He's the QUARTERBACK!!! She also said that the coach was convinced that Jack had played organized football before because of how well he performed in the tryouts.

"Jack didn't know what a football was three years ago," I said.

"No, he didn't. But I watched you play with Quinton and Jack in your yard. You taught him what he knows and that's something his father never took the time to do. Jack thinks you should be in the football hall of fame."

I am proud of myself now.

January 20, 2010


Originally published June 5, 2004

My daddy was a Navy man. He enlisted when he was eighteen years old and found himself leaving the hills of Harlan County, Kentucky, to end up stationed on Guam, halfway around the world. He was a "scaly-back" sailor, because he crossed the International Date Line twice during his service.

He was proud of that fact until the day he died.

I must have been somewhere around Quinton's age when a submarine docked on River Street in Savannah and the Navy opened it for tours. My daddy took me to see it. Bejus! It wasn't what I expected.

I was accustomed to thinking all submarines were like "The Seaview" from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which was one of my favorite television shows at the time. You know... wide-open, spacious, brightly-lit and very comfortable. The REAL submarine I saw was NOTHING like The Seaview.

It was dark. It was cramped. It smelled of farts, diesel fuel and body odor. The racks where the sailors slept were mere cots, spaced in stacks about 18" apart in the crew quarters. I learned that TWO MEN shared every rack--- they just staggered shifts so that one man had a bed to sleep in while the other one pulled duty. I was allowed to look through the periscope, but even there, a 10 year-old boy had to be careful not to bump into something.

Any ideas I ever had about being a submariner went away that day. I am NOT claustrophobic. I spent a lot of my working career crawling through narrow boiler steam drums filled with cyclones and chevrons that made turning around in there impossible, even for someone my size. Doing that never bothered me.

But thinking about living on that boat, under those conditions, for months at a time just gave me the willies. I remember my dad saying, "Now you've seen a real submarine. What did you think about it?"

"I didn't like it, Daddy," I replied. "It's just too... I don't know. It's just not what I thought it would be."

That wasn't the last time I had that reaction to something I had never seen before.

January 19, 2010

Sports trivia

Originally published August 31, 2004

College football kicks off in earnest this weekend. So, for you football-heads out there, riddle me this:

Can you name SEVEN division 1-A college teams that have nicknames that DO NOT end with the letter "S"?

January 18, 2010

The Dutchman

Originally published June 5, 2004

I was sitting around a swimming pool in Costa Rica and some English-language music was playing on the hotel stereo. I wasn't paying a lot of attention to it, because I reading a good book called The Naked Detective by a writer named Laurence Shames. I traded a book I brought with me and finished the day before for that one. It's set in Key West and I know a lot of the places referenced in the story.

All at once, my ears homed in on these words from the stereo: "Sometimes I see my unborn children in her eyes."

I sat up and put down my book, thinking THAT THIEVING BASTARD! HE STOLE THAT LINE! It's right out of "The Dutchman."

That song is about a senile old coot whose daughter takes care of him, despite the fact that he's pretty far gone in the head. The words bring tears to my eyes and the melody is beautiful. With two guitars (finger-picking, or course) and some harmony, that song will make a crowd of drunks shut up and listen.

The Dutchman's not the kind of man
To keep his thumb jammed in the dam
That holds his dreams in
But that's a secret that only Margaret knows.

Amsterdam in summertime is golden
Margaret brings him breakfast
She believes him
He thinks the tulips bloom beneath the snow
He's mad as he can be, but Margaret only sees that sometimes
Sometimes she sees her unborn children in his eyes.

There's the evidence and I rest my case. Mike Smith wrote that song, Steve Goodman recorded it, and it's been around for AT LEAST 25 years. Did the bastard who clipped that line think some old fart ex-musician such as I am wouldn't RECOGNIZE his plagarism?

I don't remember the name of the song I heard or who sang it. But he damned sure stole that line.

January 17, 2010

My younger days

Originally published August 28, 2004

I was watching a Monday Night Football game when I heard a knock at my door. I thought maybe somebody I knew was coming over with a six-pack to watch the game with me, so I opened the door and was surprised to see Dora standing there under my porch light.

"I need a place to stay," she said. "I've had my last fight with Cecil. I'm not going back there again."

Cecil was a burly, hairy fucking troll that I never liked. I never understood what Dora saw in him in the first place and he beat her up a couple of times. I have NO RESPECT for a man who beats his woman. I knew that Dora was better off without him.

I also knew that Cecil would come looking for her. He might not come to my place first, but he'd get there eventually.

I told her to come on in. She had all her possessions that she had managed to flee with in two grocery bags. I carried them inside for her. She spent that first night on the couch but ended up in my bed for the next two.

Dora was a true redhead and one of the most gentle and sexy souls I've known in my life. I knew that she couldn't stay with me much longer without either Cecil or me ending up dead on my front porch, so I called Vonnie. Vonnie had her own apartment by then and was constantly bitching about making the rent and paying the bills all by herself. I asked Vonnie if she would like a roommate.

I took Dora over to Vonnie's place the next morning. They knew each other because they both were bartenders on River Street at the time and it was a match made in heaven. They got along well and set up efficient housekeeping. I believed that I had done a good deed. Dora took a week off from work to hide from Cecil.

I came home from the bar one night at 4:00 in the morning about a week later. I made a sandwich, opened a beer and sat down on my couch to eat. I heard a knock at my door... not so much a knock as a POUNDING on my front door. "Open up, you sumbitch!" I recognized Cecil's voice.

I put down my sandwich, grabbed a pistol, checked the load and opened the door and stepped back, with the pistol held in one hand, but behind me. "Go away, Cecil," I said.

"Where the hell is Dora? She's HERE, isn't she?" Cecil was drunk and fired up on something else, too, in MY humble opinion.

"I don't know where Dora is," I lied. "But she ain't here and you need to go home."

"I'm coming in to look for her!" Cecil shouted and he took a step forward. That's when I whipped up the gun and pointed it at his chest. Cecil stopped in his tracks.

"Cecil, Dora isn't here and you AIN'T coming in to look for her. You go home now if you want to see sunshine tomorrow. You take one more step and I'll put your guts all over my front porch." I meant it, too. Cecil was a BIG guy.

Cecil went away and I don't remember ever seeing him again. He and Dora never got back together, which was a good thing. Ten years later, I ended up living with Dora for almost two years, until I left her to marry Jennifer. That's the biggest mistake I ever made in my life.

I was 26 years old when this incident occurred.

January 16, 2010

More on names

Originally published June 5, 2004

I once interviewed a guy for a job, and I almost burst out laughing when I saw the name on the application. His first name was "Shithead." I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!

I figured that it had to be some kind of misprint or spelling error, so the first question I asked him was, "Is this the proper spelling of your name?" as I showed him the application. He confirmed that it was. "How do you pronounce it?" I asked.

"Sha-THEED," he replied. Okay. Here I have a guy who appears to be in his mid-twenties who has gone through life being named "Shithead" and he sees nothing wrong with that name. I gave him a test that Quinton could ace in 10 minutes and he made a whopping 20% score. I don't know who filled out his application for him, but he obviously didn't do it himself.

I didn't hire Shithead.

January 15, 2010

What did I do right?

Originally published August 29, 2004

I've had more than 2,000 visits on a Sunday, without being linked to anybody in the Tall Dog category. That happenstance is most unusual. Bejus! Do you realize what a problem this causes me????

Now, I can't blame all my visits on people fucking off at work.

January 14, 2010

Ronald Reagan

Originally published June 5, 2004

I've been watching some of the tributes to Ronald Reagan on TV this evening and I've found a lot to think about and a lot to remember. I truly believe that he was the greastest President I've seen in my lifetime, and that's 52 years.

Was he perfect? Not hardly. But who is? I didn't believe that we should have cut and run in Lebanon after the barracks bombing. I didn't believe that Reagan should have listened to lying Democrats and signed a back-door tax hike on the promise that Congress would cut $2 in spending for every $1 in increased revenue. I didn't believe that he handled Iran-Contra very well, although I see that affair as a tempest in a teapot and far less damaging to the country than Bill Clinton giving nuke material to North Korea, selling secrets to Red China or ignoring Osama Bin Laden the way he did.

I also remember the reign of Jimmy Carter. Those were dark days for this country. Double-digit inflation, a stagnant job market, 18% interest rates and a general "malaise." Carter laid the groundwork for the problems we face in the Middle East today with his neglect of the military, his policies of appeasement and his total betrayal of the Shah of Iran. But he personally booked the White House tennis courts. Whatta man.

Reagan was like a breath of fresh air after a long time underground. His optimism, his wit and his patriotism were refreshing to me. I also agreed with his idea that "a rising tide lifts all boats." During the brief recession of 1991, Bill Clinton mastered the ability to curl his lip and sneer about "trickle-down economics" as if someone were pissing on every taxpayer in the nation. But trickle-down economics worked and Bill Clinton floated HIS boat on Reagan's tide.

I've read Reagan's letters and I know that NO ONE could write such eloquent words without believing them. He was an intelligent man and a wonderful speaker. Sure, he was an actor and trained to perform before a camera, but he also performed from the heart. Bill Clinton performed like a TV evangalist.
If you can't see the difference between those two, I feel sorry for you. You have no soul.

Reagan restored the United States to greatness. He ended the Cold War, and when he told Gorbachov "Tear down this wall," he meant it. The wall fell and so did the Soviet Empire, which WAS EVIL, even if nobody but Reagan had the balls to say it.

Maybe that's what I really liked about Reagan. The man carried a full set of stones and that fact was obvious to me. I believe that the fact was obvious to other world leaders, too. Reagan said what he meant and he meant what he said. That quality scares the shit out of some people because they are so unaccustomed to seeing it in a successful politician. Reagan could schmooze with the best of them, but he always let people know who was Tall Dog.

He brought back respect to this country. He brought back prosperity. He resurrected American pride. He will have my eternal gratitude for making me happy to say that I voted TWICE for him.

I loved the man.

January 13, 2010


Originally published June 5, 2004

When I played guitar for a living, it didn't take me long to understand that the only music a bar owner gives a shit about is the ringing of the cash register. If I couldn't draw people inside and make them sit down and spend money, my music wasn't worth a damn. So, I learned to be an actor.

The music I played was good and it was the most important thing to me, but that music didn't keep me working for six years as a solo act. I taught myself to juggle, tell jokes and introduce most songs with a funny story. I interacted with the crowd, handled hecklers and generally had a damn good time on stage. Even when I WASN'T having a good time, I acted as if I were. That was part of the job. I developed "Stage Presence."

But I never believed that the fact that I could handle a crowd in a bar made me any smarter than the next guy. Whatever celebrity I enjoyed at the time didn't make me smart. I learned a craft, that's all. Intelligence had nothing to do with it.

So... I always wonder. Why do some "celebrities" believe that their opinions count for diddly-shit in this world? Especially ACTORS, who gained their fame pretending to be people that they aren't and parroting words that they didn't write? WTF gives THESE PEOPLE the right to opine on ANYTHING and expect to be taken seriously?

I give you Danny Glover:

"We all know Reagan's legacy, from the Iran-Contra affair to the funding of the Nicaraguan military in which over 200,000 people died. The groundwork for the move steadily to the right happened with the Reagan administration. People want to elevate him to some mythic level; they have their own reason for doing that." - actor Danny Glover, at an anti-war rally in Los Angeles.

Danny, you dickwit. Read some history instead of your next script and you might understand Nicaragua, and what actually happened to the country under Daniel Ortega, which you obviously don't now.

No, I have a better idea. Just shut the fuck up, asshole.

January 12, 2010

Dead truck, new neighbors

Originally published August 29, 2004

I wanted to go see my mama today. I loaded up a bunch of pictures I intended to show her, and I even remembered to stick a pocketful of Costa Rican coins in my cut-offs to leave for my Uncle Virgil's collection of international coins.

I went outside, hopped in my truck and heard nothing but a "click-click-click" noise when I turned the key in the ignition. WTF? I thought. Did my starter just die on me so quickly?

I did the elementary trouble-checks. The lights work. I tried starting the truck in neutral instead of drive. I rolled the truck a few feet forward, put it in "Park" and tried again. Nothing but "click, click, click."

I thought THEN that I could see a tow-truck or a lot of begging in my immediate future. I took a wild chance and hooked my battery charger up to the battery. The damn thing went straight to zero amps, which told me that it wasn't charging SHIT, because the battery already held a full charge.

I was pissed by then, so I went inside to call mama and tell her that I wouldn't be coming over. I tried to look on the bright side. At least my truck was dead in the driveway instead of dead in the middle of nowhere. I fixed something to eat and started making plans for tomorrow. I figured that I had a lot to do, but the first step was to get that useless battery charger offa my truck.

I did that. On another wild hair, I decided to see if the truck would start. Lo and Behold, it did! It fired up like a tiger. I took it for a 20-mile ride and watched the ammeter on my instrument panel. The alternator was working. The battery was semi-dead.

I took the truck back home and scratched my head. How could the lights, radio and everything else in the truck work if the battery was dead? I am no auto mechanic, but I have a theory: it just takes more juice than the battery had left to turn that engine over. Lights and radio are easy. Kicking that Bendix out on the starter and turning the flywheel on a V-8 engine is difficult.

That's how I met my new neighbors. They moved in yesterday and I saw them sitting on their patio drinking tea this evening. I was sick and tired of fucking with that truck, so I decided that now was as good a time as anytime to go introduce myself to them. So, I did.

They are extremely nice folks and as I bitched about my truck to them, Nathan (the husband) said, "I was meaning to talk to you about that. Did you know that the dome light in your truck just comes on by itself at night and burns for hours at a time?" I told him that I didn't know that. He said, "It does, trust me. I wondered last night if you kept running to the truck and back."

We walked over to my truck to check it out. The dome light was off. I opened the door and the dome light came on. I closed the door and the dome light didn't go off. I said, "It's got a 10-second delay." We waited about 20 seconds and the dome light kept burning. I started opening and closing doors and finally the dome light went off. As we were standing there, the dome light came back on again, all by itself.

I threw a cussing hissy-fit right in front of my new neighbors. "I've got a got-dam short somewhere and I ain't worth a damn at electricity. This has been a goodam good truck and Old Paint never let me down before! I'm gonna get rid of this sumbitch and buy me something else! You better BEHAVE, darlin' because I'm about to pull your fuse." I started to crawl under the dashboard.

Nathan stopped me. "What are you doing, Rob?" he asked. "I'm going to pull the overhead light fuse if I can find it," I replied. Nathan said, "You're looking in the wrong place. The fuses are right here," and he snapped off a compartment on my dashboard that I never noticed before. He pulled the guts out of it and said, "Do you reckon 'Illumination' is it?" I said try it and see.

He pulled the fuse and the light went out. I coulda kissed him. "Thanks a lot," I told him. "You just saved me a lot of money."

"That's what neighbors are for, right?" He just grinned at me.

I introduced Nathan and his lovely wife Victoria to a couple of the neighbors. I don't usually do that kind of thing but I saw the people out in their yards and I wanted my new neighbors to get to know the people around them. Yes, I was Social Director this evening. I kinda enjoyed doing it, especially now that I know what's wrong with my truck. Everybody was polite and friendly, just the way they've always been to me.

Did I mention that Nathan and Victoria are black? No, I didn't think so.

That's the racist in me.

January 11, 2010

I don't feel good

Originally published June 6, 2004

The last time I started feeling this poorly, I ended up in the hospital for a few days. I ache all over and I think I'm running a fever. I want to go visit my mama today, but I believe that I'm going to lie in bed for a while first. I am tired.

Besides--- if I'm coming down with something contagious, I don't need to spread it around among my family.

January 10, 2010

Conservative blogger

Originally published August 28, 2004

A lot of people group my blog in with the "conservative" wing of blogdom. I am not a feces-flinging leftist, but I do not consider myself to be a conservative. I once preferred the Reagan form of Republicanism over what the left had to offer, and I saw a clear line in the sand back then. But the winds of change have obscured that line and I can't see it anymore.

How can anyone call me a conservative when I like to go to Florida and walk around nekkid for a week? Get a baboon suntan on my ass and let people take pictures of me wearing nothing but a sarong? I don't believe that Jerry Falwell would approve of my behavior. Hell, my mama doesn't either, but she gave up on trying to change me a long time ago.

I believe that the war on drugs should be called off as a lost cause. I believe that ANYBODY who wants to amend the Constitution for ANYTHING should be dragged off and shot. I believe that prostitution and gambling should be legal. I disapprove of abortion from a personal standpoint, but I KNOW that no government will ever stop it from happening, so let's be reasonable about it. Abortion is not an all or nothing issue, no matter what shrieking feminists say.

I believe in holding people responsible for their own actions. I DO NOT believe that government is the answer to every problem on the face of the planet, because I read history and government is RESPONSIBLE for most of the problems it desperately wants to "solve" today. Just give them more of your money and they'll fix the problem this time.

Unlike a lot of other people, I know that government can't "give" anything to anybody that it hasn't taken from someone else first. I disobey laws that I believe are stupid all the time, but I am willing to pay the price if I am caught. I make my OWN goddam decisions. I am a free man.

I will not be a slave to government, even though that's what government expects and that's what a lot of idiots DEMAND today. I am one of the few people who dare to suggest that the Unholy Trinity of American History were Abe Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. All three wiped their asses on the US Constitution and people PRAISED them for doing so.

As I've said before--- some people are just too stupid to live free. And if THAT'S a "conservative" attitude, then I need to listen to your definition of a conservative.

January 09, 2010

Beggars and choosers

Originally published August 28, 2004

I've been watching the Olympics a lot lately since I learned that all the babes aren't just on the wimmen's beach volleyball team. What can I say? I'm a dirty old man and I enjoy watching lithe, nubile wimmen in skimpy costumes when they show off their skills.

One of the announcers said last night that more than 10,000 athletes are in Greece to compete in these games. That sounds like a LOT, until you consider how many people exist in this world; only then can you realize what a select few outstanding performers you're watching.

I've been GOOD at a lot of things in my life, but I've never been GREAT at anything. It's not that I didn't TRY to be great, but I simply didn't have what it took to get there.

How do you become the BEST IN THE WORLD? I believe in three qualities that I've seen EVERY champion athlete display.

First, you must have the physical ability. That's a blessing of birth and a LOT of people have those blessings and end up in jail. That alone is not enough, but you've got to have that quality first.

Second, a strong work ethic. Physical ability will carry you a long way when you're a big fish in a little pond, but if you're not HUNGRY, the other big fish will eat you alive as you try to move up the ranks. That pond gets bigger every step of the way.

Third, a fierce competetive instinct. Have you noticed how many athletes who didn't win medals posted their personal best scores in the farking OLYMPICS? They went out and DID THEIR BEST, even when they probably KNEW that they couldn't win. To me, that shows the heart of a champion, but it also shows the fact that one slightly missing ingredient in my formula is enough to keep you good, but not great.

Nobody in the Games got where they are today without physical ability, hard work and a desire to achieve. They were CHOOSERS. They busted their asses for YEARS to get to those Games. And I don't care if some guy from some country I never heard of finishes dead last in some event. I'll still cheer him.

He's no beggar.

January 08, 2010

Feeling better

Originally published June 7, 2004

I celebrated the 60th anniversary of D-Day with projectile eruptions from both ends of my body. I spent most of yesterday and half the night curled in a fetal position on my bathroom rug while tumultuous dreams ran through my head every time I managed to fall asleep. Bejus, but that was bad.

I don't know what I did (ate a bad burrito, maybe), but the worst appears to be over now. I'm a little wobbly on my feet and I feel like a wrung-out dishrag, but that's one hell of a lot better than I was yesterday.

I had to be at my new lawyer's office in Savannah at 11:00 this morning to pick up my paperwork for the divorce appeal. I agreed to get it filed at the Effingham County courthouse today to save some cash on lawyers fees. Today was the deadline to file it, too, so I HAD to get that job done. I didn't think I was going to make it at 11:00 last night.

But I felt well enough this morning to drive into Savannah, pick up the papers and drive all the way back to Springfield to get them filed. Mission accomplished.

One thing I worried about while driving into town today was encountering a bunch of G-8 protesters. They've gathered in Savannah and Brunswick because security has Sea Island locked up tighter than a tick on a dog's belly. But I didn't see any goofballs, lunatics or bedwetters on the street (other than the ones who are native to Savannah and are there ALL the time). The only unusual sight I saw was a caravan of about 25 city police cars heading down Oglethorpe Street toward the Talmadge Bridge, which is closed to commercial traffic today.

A lot of locals are worried that Savannah could turn into another Seattle if the protesters kick up their heels. I don't think that's going to happen

It's too got-dam hot for that crap in Georgia this time of year.

January 07, 2010

Boiled peanuts

Originally published August 28, 2004

I've raved on numerous occasions about how much I love boiled peanuts and I bought a bunch of fresh green peanuts today. I intend to boil them, freeze them, and take several bags to the Jawja Blogfest.

I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself here. I've gotta cook these babies JUST RIGHT so that the naifs who have never tasted them before get the right impact. Southern people I know will eat boiled peanuts by the bushel and complain about how shittily they were boiled.

"Not enough salt." "Too crunchy." "Didn't soak long enough." "I'm gettin' a lot of pops, too." (A "pop," by the way, is a peanut shell with no nut inside.) But they'll sit right there and eat them, because even a poorly-cooked boiled peanut is better than no boiled peanuts at all. I'll sit right with them and bitch while I eat, too. ("These suck. Taste like got-damn black-eyed peas. Gimme some more.") It's a Southern thang.

But I really feel an obligation to my Southern heritage, my boiled-peanut expertise and my desire to see the South Rise Again to really do this right. I ain't bringing NO shitty boiled peanuts to Helen. I've got converts to recruit, so I'm bringing the very best ammunition possible. If I fuck these up, I'll just eat them myself and go buy some more and try again until I get it right.

Want some GOOD boiled peanuts? Come to the blogfest.

January 06, 2010

Amusing? Or true?

Originally published June 8, 2004

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. CBS, NBC, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody
cries when they sing, "It's Not Easy Being Green."

Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, "We shall overcome." Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.

Tom Daschle & John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Peter Jennings that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his "fair share."

Finally, the EEOC drafts the "Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act,"retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a discrimination suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients.

The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Vote Republican

(Sent to me by Catfish)

January 05, 2010

Synchronized swimming

Originally published August 28, 2004

I occasionally air dirty little secrets about me on this site. I am about to do it again now: I love synchronized swimming today!

I didn't feel that way when I was writing for the Red and Black at the University of Georgia. I was sent to review a synchronized swimming meet in the UGA pool back in 1975. Bejus! The wimmen resembled manatees with Borg implants.

Oh, they swam most impressively, but they all looked like Fido's ass. Those goggles, those nose-plugs, those ear-plugs and those double-wide, unsinkable asses just didn't impress me at all. For years afterward, I couldn't MAKE myself watch synchronized swimming--- kinda like the way you can't face Southern Comfort again after you puked your guts out from drinking too much of the stuff.

But I fell off the wagon last night while watching the Olympics. I didn't switch channels when synchronized swimming started. I am delighted that I didn't, too.

HOLY SHIT!!! Those chicitas are BABES!!! No more goggles, ear-plugs, nose-plugs or other Borg implants. They swim bare-faced and they SMILE all the way through a grueling routine. Gone are those double-wide, unsinkable asses; instead, they all have the nice legs of a gymnast and asses that probably taste like vanilla if you took a bite (and believe me, I WANTED TO!). They still don't grow a lot of titties in the pool, but the rest more than makes up for that very minor defect.

I confess. I LIKE synchronized swimming now.

January 04, 2010

Crisis at the Crackerbox

Originally published June 8, 2004

I MUST go to the store today. I used my last can of Raid this morning.

Yeah, ants made another invasion of my domicile and attacked my kitchen trash can this time. I gassed them until I ran out of ammo. I probably killed 100,000 of the little shits, but my blood was up and I wasn't satisfied.

I went to my garage, opened a 20-pound bag of Ortho ant killer and treated my entire yard. I paid special attention to every mound or ant-burrow I saw. I used the entire 20-pound bag and I imagine that I wreaked enough havoc and devastation on the ant population to keep them at bay for a couple of days. But they'll be back. They ALWAYS come back.

You know what REALLY made spreading ant-killer on my yard just tons of fun? While I was killing ants, the goddamn deer flies attacked me from every direction. Those nasty-assed, flesh-rending bastards tore me up. They had mosquitoes running interference for them, too, and I was wearing nothing but a pair of cut-off blue-jeans, presenting a very appetizing target. I was damn near eaten alive before I got back inside.

Ah... life in the South...

January 03, 2010

Great quote

Originally published August 28, 2004

History does not always repeat itself. Sometimes it just yells "Can't
you remember anything I told you?" and lets fly with a club.

- John W. Campbell

(Thanks to John Cunningham for sending that to me.)

January 02, 2010

Movin' on up

Originally published June 8, 2004

I see another family down the street from me is moving out of their home today. I've seen a lot of that lately. People bought these homes in lovely Hampton Creek subdivision because they were reasonably-priced starter homes. (Hampton Creek, by the way, runs right down the back of my property line. It is a 10-foot wide sandy ditch that stays as dry as a popcorn fart even after a heavy rain. The kids ride bicycles in it.)

I bought the Crackerbox NOT because I was charmed by the house or the name of the subdivision. I met Young Jack while I was waiting for the realtor to come with the keys and when I told him that I had a boy about his age, he was very excited. He wanted me to move in across the street so that he would have someone to play with. He sold me on the house.

The houses here sold in the $80,000-$85,000 range (mine was $82,500) three years ago and every one is now assessed at well over $100,000. Young families are cashing their equity and moving up to bigger and better things now.
I wish every one of them good luck.

I don't intend to sell the Crackerbox. Fate may dictate otherwise if the BC continues to roast me over a slow fire financially, but I like living here. Besides, the boys and I have trashed this place so badly that I could NEVER get $100,000 for it. (Not without a team of Merry Maids, two Stanley Steamer carpet-cleaning trucks, a fully-equipped Haz-Mat team and Martha Stewart along to supervise the Superfund cleanup.)

In my younger and more blissful days, I house-hopped all the way to a BIG home on five acres of land. Jennifer and I bought as much house as we could afford, fixed it up with some elbow grease and a few visits to Home Depot, then sold it for a considerable profit as property values rose and interest rates dropped. We then moved up to something better.

I envy the people I see doing the same thing today. They have dreams and they are working to make them come true. That's the American way.

I don't dream like that anymore. What for?

January 01, 2010

Jawja crackers

Originally published August 27, 2004

When I was young, somebody told me that the term "Georgia Cracker" came from back in the days when Atlanta was still called Terminus, and all the railroads intersected there. Farmers would drive their wagons loaded with cotton and tobacco into town to sell to the factors there.

Supposedly, the people driving the wagons used whips with special tips on the end that make a loud CRACK! when they snapped that whip over their horses or mules. People in the factor houses could hear them coming a mile away. "Here comes another cracker," they said, long before they saw the wagon.

If that story isn't true, it should be. The term "Cracker" today is a racial slur that means an ignnorant Southern red-neck. Or ANY racist bastard with a simian brow, a Confederate flag, four teeth and a chaw of Red Man in his cheek. The same people who are shocked... SHOCKED, mind you, by the notorious N-word don't have a problem calling Southerners "Crackers," and they mean it as an insult.

But that's not what the word means to me. It means good ole boys and pretty wimmen, hot days and languid evenings, sand gnats and mosquitoes, grits and eggs, friendly people and good dogs, pickup trucks and firearms. I LIKE that stuff.

So, I call myself a Cracker. I AM ONE!!!