Gut Rumbles
 
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This is the blog of Rob 'Acidman' Smith, who passed away June 26, 2006. Acidman was a unique voice in the blogosphere; an extraordinary raconteur with a fascinating life from which to draw his stories, from his roots in a Kentucky coal-mining town through a career as a musician and as a journalist to his years managing the production of a sulphuric acid plant.

Whether writing about the best way to make boiled peanuts, his intense love and respect for his family and friends, commentary on the politics of the day, or blazingly honest revelations about his life's challenges, he had an extraordinary way of drawing the reader in and making them think. He singlehandedly created a massive community of readers, commenters, and friends from literally all over the world and was responsible for encouraging hundreds of people to take up blogging. For an idea of just how far-reaching an effect he had on the world, read the outpouring of comments on the posts from the week he passed away.

Writing about why he blogged, Rob described it as:

an exercise where I stuffed notes in bottles and threw them into a vast ocean where I hoped someone would find the bottle and read the note. But that's not really what I was doing. This blog was my lifeline that towed me to shore when I was totally shipwrecked. It kept me alive for more than two of the worst years I've lived in my life. I wasn't stuffing notes in bottles. I was standing on the shore and shouting frantically for rescue. People came. I WAS rescued. And I will always appreciate that fact.

It was Rob's express wish that Gut Rumbles remain online, especially for his son to read as he got older, and so it shall. As much as possible, the site remains in the state in which he used it. Current posts are drawn from his extensive archives and presented on the front page. To further experience this extraordinary man and his writing, wander through the links to his archives shown at the bottom of the sidebar on the left.

You are missed, Rob.


June 26, 2012

guitar man

Six years ago on this date the world became a less intelligent, less lively, dimmer and more lonely place.

You are not forgotten, Acidman.

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

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

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

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

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


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June 21, 2012

chickens

Originally published October 17, 2003

Chickens are the nastiest birds in the world. They'll shit in their food and water, they will cannabalize their dead and they'll fuck non-stop all day. That's what chickens do. I know. I once raised them.

I had 28 hens and four roosters. "Foghorn" was a Rhode Island Red and cock of the walk. He didn't take any shit from anybody in the chicken coop and he was always willing to drill a hen. I also had "Slick Red," who stayed in the rafters most of the time, until he saw Foghorn occupied with drilling. Then, Red would swoop down and get some, too. If Foghorn noticed him, Red always flew back to sit in the rafters before he got his ass handed to him. He usually got some pussy first, because chickens don't take very long when they are pasasionate. I don't think the hens knew what hit them sometimes.

I miss my chicken coop. I got about 12 eggs every day out of there and a fresh egg is different from what you buy in the grocery store. The yolks are more yellow and they stand up higher when you cook them over-easy. The eggs are more yellow and fluffy if you scramble them.

But be careful. If you have a "setting hen." you may find an egg that you THINK is fresh and crack it to discover an embryonic chicken inside. That's kinda disgusting on a Saturday morning.

It's not as bad as finding your wife in bed with another man on a Thursday night, but what the fuck? We've got roosters, hens and cunts in the world.

They all do what they do.

June 14, 2012

callouses

Originally published October 17, 2003

I've done a lot of physical work in my life and I've walked many a mile in work boots. I played guitar every day for five years and damn near deformed my fingers from that experience. I could strike a kitchen match on the callouses on my left hand back then. My hands still don't seem to belong to the same person today. Left hand and right hand look completely different.

Now my callouses are on the inside. They don't show, but they exist. I've had my heart broken, my manhood stolen and I've looked the Reaper square in the face and lived to tell about it. I live all by myself now, I have lots of money and I fear no consequences. I am more free now than I have ever been in my life.

You know what scares me today? NOTHING!

I like having that feeling. Nobody can hurt me, ever again.

June 07, 2012

mistakes you learn from

Originally published October 17, 2003

I was twelve years old and playing in the woods with my friends. All of a sudden, I really needed to take a dump. I thought about it. I wasn't going to run through the trees, mount my bicycle and ride two miles back to my house. I probably would have shit my pants before I made it all the way home. I decided to shit right where I was.

I did well, bucked up against a pine tree and keeping the crap off my bare feet. But I made a horrible mistake once my business was finished. I wiped my young ass with a handfull of SPANISH MOSS.

For those unfamiliar with Spanish Moss, it's that gray, beard-looking fungus that hangs from live oaks all over Savannah. It makes good asswipe except for one small problem. Every goddam redbug and chigger in southeast Georgia LOVES to make a home in Spanish Moss. The only thing they like better is climbing out of that moss to infest a 12 year-old boy's ass.

Did you ever watch a dog drag his ass over the carpet, doing that scratch-ass thing that dogs do? You should have seen ME for the next two weeks after the moss incident. Bejus! I thought I was gonna die. I had more chiggers per square inch around my privates than you could count.

I've never wiped my ass again with Spanish Moss after that day.

May 28, 2012

supply run

Originally published October 17, 2003

I laid in provisions for the weekend today. I went to Wal-Mart and bought a case of Mountain Dew and a fresh box of wine. I also bought a 2" thick ribeye steak, which I grilled and scarfed a couple of hours ago. I selected a big baking pan for the ribs I'll cook tomorrow and a set of knives that just looked really cool. I stopped by Randall's Liquor store on the way home and bought three cartons of cigarettes and a bottle of vodka.

I am set for a while now; therefore, it's time for another recipe: Acidman's Baby-Back Ribs

* Defrost the ribs the day before you intend to cook them, or cook them as soon as you get home from the grocery store. Either way, pour all that bloody, nasty juice that comes out of them all over the meat.

* Preheat your oven to 220 degrees.

* Put a "rub" on the ribs. I use a 50-50 combination of soy and worchestershire sauce to wet them down, then I apply by hand a generous dosage of salt, black pepper, red pepper, garlic powder and Cajun's Choice blackened seasoning.

* When the oven is up to temperature, put the ribs on a baking pan, cover them loosely with aluminium foil and let them bake.

* Let them bake on that low heat all day long. Your kitchen will smell wonderful.

* About an hour before you are ready to eat, light a fire on the barbecue grill and take the ribs out of the stove. Gently lay them on the hot grill and apply barbecue sauce generously. (I make my own, but I highly recommend Johnny Harris or B.S. Muthah's for the true taste of Southern barbecue.)

* Make a big salad, some pork and beans and home-fried potatoes while the ribs cook just long enough to brown the barbecue sauce and pick up some charcol flavor.

* If you follow this recipe, the ribs will try to fall apart as you remove them from the grill. Handle your tongs carefully. GENTLY remove that beautiful meat and cut it into two-rib sections. Pile them high on a big plate, lay the tongs on top and tell your guests to dig in.

* Serve extra barbecue sauce on the side and put TWO ROLLS of paper towels on the table. This meal can be messy, as it should be. It is goddam good, too.

I am going to do that tomorrow. Too bad you're not invited.

May 21, 2012

my door is always open

Originally published October 17, 2003

I wrote this song for the first woman I ever loved. It's a nice 12-bar blues number with a place in the middle for a very weepy lead. It uses the same chord pattern as "Nobody Loves You, When You're Down and Out," but the melody is different. I am proud of this one. It's been known to make people cry in their beer at 2:00 in the morning.

Ran into a friend of yours down at Eddie's Bar last night.
She said you and that man of yours had yourselves a fight.
She said he called you names and he grabbed his coat
And he walked right out the door.
Your friend says that she don't think he'll be coming back no more.

Nothin's changed, I'm still the same damn fool I used to be
But if you're feeling lonely, since your man has set you free
My door is always open and if you ever feel inclined
Feel free to come home anytime.

It isn't like I love you, you KNOW that I don't care
In fact, I've quite forgotten what it's like to have you here
This is only for the old time's sake and the things that might have been
But you remember where I live, so just drop on in.

I only called to let you know that I'm still around
And there's a shoulder here to cry on, if you're ever feeling down
Yeah my door is always open if you ever change your mind
Feel free to come home anytime.

I was 22 years old when I wrote that song. I still like playing it today.

May 14, 2012

my grass

Originally published October 17, 2003

I had nothing but weeds and sand in my yard when I purchased the Crackerbox. It looked like Fido's ass. I went to the seed & feed store and bought five pounds of centipede grass seed and a little hand-cranked spreader.

I tilled my front yard and along both sides of the house. (I decided to leave the woods where they are in my back yard, because I can walk around nekkid without worrying about shocking a neighbor who spies me in the kitchen.) I spread the grass seed. I then watered and worshipped, but the grass seed didn't do shit. My yard still looked like Fido's ass. I gave up on it.

We had a lot of rain this year. I didn't set out a sprinkler all summer long and I have grass growing everywhere now. I'm talking about REAL CENTIPEDE GRASS, with long runners spreading out all over the place. My Fido's ass is turning into a LAWN! The centipede is choking out the bahia grass and the thistles that once infected my property. It looks GOOD.

I went through a spell when I didn't care what my home looked like. I didn't give a shit about much back then. But I'm starting to take some pride in how pretty my lawn is now.

Maybe I'll plant some flowers next spring.

May 07, 2012

sunrise

Originally published October 17, 2003

I like to watch the eastern sky in the morning as a new day is born. The light creeps over the horizon and spills color all over the vanishing darkness of night. Then, the sun peeks up looking huge and bright. Orange at first, it slowly rises and changes to yellow, then to blinding white.

The birds sing and the morning breeze feels good on my face. The diurnal course continues, the way it has since the dawn of time.

A new day. A new adventure. Another page turned in the book of my life.

I like sunrises.

April 30, 2012

shift work

Originally published October 16, 2003

I did a lot of shift work during my career, and most of it was the seven-day Southern Swing rotation. That probably is the worst schedule in the world to work because your internal time-clock stays fucked up no matter what shift you are on.

Start with a 3-11 shift on Wednesday and work that for seven days. Get off at 11:00 Tuesday night and be back at work at 11:00 Thursday night for seven days of 11-7 shifts. Get off the following Thursday morning at 7:00 and be back at work at 7:00 on Saturday morning for seven days of 7-3. Try that shit for several years of your life. It will make you old before your time.

I worked that schedule for a long time and became as accustomed to it as I could, although it always sucked. I had a wife and child to care for, and bills to pay. We needed the paycheck to keep the family unit afloat. I did what I had to do.

When I was promoted to a straight daylight job, the transition to regular hours fucked me up worse than shiftwork did. I had to learn to sleep on schedule and get up early every morning. That shit almost killed me.

Shift work is difficult to handle, but getting OFF shift work after you've done it for a long time is even worse. That's a severe readjustment to endure. I spent a year getting used to it.

I don't believe that I will do shift-work again. I could work the hours. That's no problem. I just don't want to do it. I don't have a wife and children to care for anymore. I have only ME to worry about now. I don't have a whole lot of obligation hanging over my head today.

That makes it easy to say "no" to things you don't want to do.

April 21, 2012

I write better than I talk

Originally published October 16, 2003

I have a Southern accent. I drop the "g" off the end of gerunds, so I say talkin,' climbin,' smokin,' and runnin' instead of speaking standard American English the way Dan Rather does as he lies his ass off on the CBS Evening News.

I say y'all. I have 'druthers. I know how far yonder is. I know how to see 'bout that. Whatchadoon is a real word to me.

That's the reason I don't like to talk on the phone. I sound like a goddam hick. I AM a goddam hick, but I am educated and I can communicate well when I want to. Where I live, everybody understands me just fine when I say, "Whatchadoon? I'd 'druther ya not go 'bout it that way. Lemme show ya sumpin. Thadded be better, doncha think?" That's Southern English and it works well in person-to-person communication.

Try that shit over the phone when you're talking to a yankee. I doesn't work. The yankee gets all nasal, I talk Southern and the next thing you know, we may as well be from foreign countries. That's why I would prefer to write to someone I don't know. I can appear to be halfway intelligent on paper.

I've done a lot of thinking about this communication gap. I COULD be like the BC and talk like a yankee at work and sound like the biggest hayseed on the farm at Quinton's football games, but I'm not a chameleon, able to change my skin color and blend into the scenery the way she can. Everything that woman does is an act and she wears many masks. I'm not built that way. Like Popeye, I am what I am and that's all that I am.

Sometimes, that's not the right way to be. Honesty is not always the best policy.

Just ask a lizard.