Gut Rumbles

December 28, 2010


Originally published October 6, 2002

I live out in the country in Effingham County, Georgia. I am surrounded by crop land, cow pastures, dumpster-farms, roadkill and dogshit. It is a veritable housefly heaven. But if I leave my front door open for five seconds, every housefly in the state abandons the outdoor paradise to invade MY ABODE! Then, the silly bastards knock their brains out by banging against the windows in a futile attempt to get BACK OUTSIDE! Fucking idiots.

I have a Martha Stewart flyswatter. It is green, and it matches my curtains and the lampshades in the living room. It is a very efficient smasher of flies, and I killed eight today, after Quinton and young Jack left the front door open when they ran outside. I kid you not: the door was open for no longer than FIVE SECONDS. A squadron of flies entered before I could close the door. I killed eight of them, so far. I have at least two more fat, bloated, disease-carrying, multiple-eyed, shit-dippers still buzzing around the house.

I am on the hunt. I got the dumb ones first. I have only the smartest flies remaining. But if they were REALLY smart, they never would have flown into my home in the first place. Dumbasses.

They will die.

December 21, 2010

My kind of tools

Originally published September 28, 2002

I am not a dexterious, jack of all trades, mechanically-inclined person. In fact, the most sophisticated tool I ever wish to utilize with my actual hands EVER AGAIN IN MY LIFE is a corkscrew, the kind with the built-in levers that pop open a wine bottle in nothing flat.

I'm GOOD with one of those.

I am NOT GOOD at fixing broken stuff, putting unassembled things together or building ANYTHING from scratch. I suck at that.

I believe that I developed a deep aversion to such activities as a young boy, because my father WAS good at all of that crap. He wanted to pass along his knowledge of woodworking, bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing and general handyman stuff by teaching ME on SATURDAY MORNINGS when HE had a project in mind. While all my friends were out playing, riding their bikes and having a damned good time, I was "learning" valuable skills from my father.

And when he started a project, he didn't quit until it was finished. And I wasn't allowed to quit, either, even if I was reduced to the role of holding the flashlight while he finished up in the dark at 10:00 Saturday night. I learned to HATE wrenches, hammers and tools in general. I learned to DESPISE those incoherent instructions included with everything you have to "assemble."

I once bought a shotgun, brought it home and executed a half-assembled barbecue grill in my back yard. I AM NOT MAKING THAT UP!

I didn't have to "assemble" the shotgun. I had thrown in the towel on the grill hours earlier. It was a mercy killing. I took mercy on myself.

That's why I own a truck today. I don't buy anything that I can't haul, fully assembled, to my house and simply set in place where I want it. If it will not fit in my truck, I pay to have it delivered, assembled and set up by professionals, who know what they are doing.

If I want something and it comes with a plastic bag full of nuts and bolts and a goddam instruction book, I reconsider whether I really NEED the sumbitch or not. If I can't buy it assembled, I KNOW that I don't need it.

I am a simple man. Pass me the corkscrew...

December 14, 2010


Originally published September 24, 2002

After a very calm tropical storm season through the summer, Mother Nature has decided to show her nasty side as fall begins. Three named storms are churning in the ocean, and at least one of them has a fair chance of affecting my life.

Isadore, after meandering around the Gulf of Mexico like a drunken bag-lady, finally may stagger ashore as a hurricane near where MOMMIE JOIE lives in Louisiana. Unless Joie is foolish enough to go to the beach and watch the waves when the storm hits, she'll probably be okay, as long as she has lots of canned food, plenty of liquor, flashlights and batteries, a propane grill and a few full bottles of propane, a chainsaw and all the baggies and milk jugs of frozen water she can manage to store. And a portable radio with fresh batteries.

When Hurricane David hit Savannah in 1979, It was a pretty weak hurricane, but I was without electrical power for three days. My parents, who lived on the south side of town and possessed a BIG FREEZER full of meat, had no power for nine days. I ate well as all the steaks and roasts and ribs defrosted and my dad cooked them on a gas grill before they spoiled. There's not a lot more that you can do.

When Hurricane Opal hit the Florida panhandle in 1995, I was in a small, A-frame cabin on top of Blood Mountain in North Georgia. I happened to hear about the storm on my truck radio while I was driving back from an afternoon in a Biergarten in the pseudo-Bavarian village of Helen. The damned aftermath was coming my way, but I figured that by the time it reached north Georgia, it would be pretty well played out. I stopped and bought a couple of flashlights anyway, just to be on the safe side.

That night, about 4:00 in the morning, I awoke to what sounded like gunshots and noticed that the cabin, the rear of which stood on stilts overhanging a severe downslope, was rocking with a very strange, rhythmic motion, almost like a boat on the ocean. I was in the loft, and I heard the noise of a bunch of dwarves with hammers banging on the roof.

I went downstairs, grabbed a flashlight and started to open the sliding glass doors to the deck. That's when I noticed that the doors were BREATHING! The glass bowed in for a moment, then straightened back out. I put my palm against it, and I could FEEL it move. I opened the door and stepped outside.


Those weren't dwarves on the roof. The noise came from sticks, branches, small animals and bejus knows what else flying through the air, banging off the A-frame and rocketing off into the night parallel to the ground. The gunshot sounds were trees snapping off large limbs and breaking at their trunks. I was dry where I stood, without a roof over my head, and I saw why when I shined the flashlight straight up. EVERYTHING, INCLUDING THE RAIN, WAS GOING SIDEWAYS! I went back inside, careful not to close the sliding glass door all the way.

The tempest raged for hours, with winds in the 60-70 MPH range accompanied by tons of rain. When I heard that the storm was coming, I neglected to consider that my cabin was 3,000 feet above sea level and tropical storms have higher winds at higher elevations. Opal damned nearly blew me and my family off that mountain. At the time, Blood Mountain Cabins consisted of eight units. Three had trees fall on them and do various amounts of damage, including one that was damned near severed in two by a huge, uprooted hemlock. Those were the only cabins not occupied that night.

The electricity went out, and without that, the well pump was kaput, so none of the cabins had water. We might have stayed anyway and just roughed it, but Quinton was a mere pup of 2+ years at the time, so we decided to leave, which we did, after waiting over six hours for the road off the mountain to be open again after all the fallen trees were removed.

I have a healthy respect for high winds and incredible rainfall. That was a spooky experience.

Good luck, Joie.

December 07, 2010

Discipline vs abuse

Originally published September 23, 2002

I have a real problem with any parent who BEATS UP A CHILD. If I recall correctly, I have spanked my son three times in his eight years of life. Every time, I warned him beforehand that if he didn't stop what he was doing, I was going to whup his butt. He didn't stop, so I whupped his butt, just like I promised that I would do.

I didn't beat the shit out of him. I didn't pull his hair or hit him in the face. I didn't abuse the boy.

I walked up to him and said, "What did I say I was gonna do if you didn't cut that out?"

The bottom lip started trembling ahead of time. "Spank me," he replied.

"Did you cut it out the way I asked you to?"

"," with tears beginning to well in his eyes.

"What happens now?"

I...I...I GET A SPANKING!" And yes, he did, knowing full well what it was for. I laid a couple of slaps on his ass, sent him to his room to contemplate the error of his ways, and forgave him immediately thereafter. He got what was coming to him, but once he paid toll to the troll, the unpleasantness was over. He's a good, smart boy, and I don't have to spank him anymore, because he knows that I WILL, and a word to the wise usually is sufficient to correct unacceptable behavior anymore.

I spanked my boy to teach him right from wrong. I spanked my boy because I want him to grow up straight and strong and SOMEBODY has to set the rules and enforce them in his young life; otherwise, he'll grow up like wild grass and have no grounding to work from when things get tough and life deals him the bad cards that come to everybody. I spanked him because I love him.

I didn't spank him because I am bigger than he is. I didn't spank him to take out my frustrations because I had a bad day. I didn't spank him just because I COULD.

The woman in the video did what I consider to be an unforgivable sin. She beat up HER OWN child, for no good reason, just because she could. She's a sick puppy.

And I feel sorry for the child.