Gut Rumbles

July 31, 2007

Tree rats

Originally published March 8, 2002

I hate TREE RATS, better know as "squirrels" to people who believe these disgusting, destructive pests are "cute" because they have fuzzy tails. I have waged a constant, merciless 10-year war on tree rats, and the only thing I have accomplished is to grow a grudging respect for my worthy foe. Like its first-cousin, the gutter rat, and its brother, the wharf rat, tree rats are clever, resourceful and unbelievably determined to go places you don't want them to go and to do things you don't want them to do.

I first declared war when I put a couple of bird feeders in the backyard of the first home I shared with my ex-wife. I bought some galvanized pipe, fashioned a nice T-bar at the top of a 10-foot stick, and sunk the stick a couple of feet in the ground, where I anchored it with concrete. Then, I hung a big bird feeder loaded with all sorts of bird-goodies on each end of the T-bar. I barely made it back inside the house before both feeders were swarming with fuzzy-tailed tree rats, who raked all the small stuff out onto the ground to get at the sunflower seeds they preferred. Within two hours, they had emptied both feeders, knawed one of the wooden bird-roost bars in half and ruined my entire day.

I grabbed my cap and car keys and headed off to buy a pellet gun, but my ex-wife protested vociferiously about me shooting any of those cute little creatures, especially in the neighborhood where we lived, which was in a wildlife protection area. I could go to jail. I might miss a squirrel and put a child's eye out. Why would I want to kill a cute little squirrel, anyway?

I've always been amazed at some people's capacity to bleed straight from the heart and drip compassion like tree sap when it comes to a squirrel, then turn around and treat people the way that twisted sister in Fort Worth did the homeless man she brought home as a hood ornament and left stuck through the windshield of her car for two days until he died. My ex-wife is a lot like that.

But I acceeded to her wishes. Instead of a pellet gun, I bought a can of heavy-duty, water-insoluable grease, and I put a thick layer of it all over the pole. The squirrels were bamboozled. They would run up and jump on the pole, then slide down no matter how hard they worked their climbing muscles. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, they would run away and fall off power lines or out of trees because their greasy little paws could find no purchase. Finally, they stopped trying to climb the pole. I declared victory until the bastards learned to climb the pine tree nearby, run to the end of a limb about ten feet away, and take a wild, batman-like leap at the feeders. If they couldn't hit and hang on, they hit and rattled things enough that a few sunflower seeds fell out on the ground and they could eat them there. I sawed the limb off and they immediately figured out that they could do the same thing from the roof of my house. After that, our placid family life was interrupted constantly by the sound of little tree rat claws scurrying across the roof, followed by the crash of a bird feeder. Since I didn't believe sawing off the roof of my house was a good idea, I moved.

We bought a home in Effingham County, and this time I bought a pellet gun BEFORE I put up bird feeders. I was out in the country now. I had nothing but five acres of woods behind my house. Those arguments about putting out a child's eye and being arrested for slaughtering protected wildlife didn't apply anymore. I hung the bird feeders where I had a perfect shot from the laundry room doorway if another tree rat invasion occurred.

It did, of course, even more intense than before. I thought the tree rats were bad in a subdivision. Now, I had FIVE ACRES OF WOODS behind my house. The tree rats came in swarms. I shot many of them. But every time I killed one, two came to take its place. I must have killed over 100 of them, but thousands remained when I moved away from there, too. That's when I bought my mini-farm and learned that there are things worse than squirrels with which to contend when you plant a half-acre garden. I never stopped hating tree rats. But I learned to hate deer, too.

That's why I find this article refreshing to read. Okay, they might be rats in pajamas instead of tree rats. But rats they are.

Music man

Originally published February 24, 2002

I lied. I didn't buy a guitar yesterday. I bought TWO guitars! I couldn't help myself. I got the one I wanted and saw a lap steel that was reasonably priced, so I bought it, too. I've managed to get the lap steel tuned dobro-style and make some incredibly terrible noises on it, but I'll figure it out soon enough. The new acoustic plays great and it's already immortalized in pictures. I went down to Clyo with some friends this morning and posed in front of what I think is the old railroad station, a dilapidated wooden building that appears ready to collapse at any moment. I took my new guitar and struck some artistic poses in front of the station, then sat on the railroad tracks for some more really bohemian shots. I hope the pictures turn out well. I'll put them on the cover of my Third Greatest Hits albumn.

July 30, 2007


Originally published Februaru 27, 2002

Today I was invited to join a class-action lawsuit. A totally selfless, crusading law firm is determined to protect my rights as a consumer by extorting all the money it can from the company that manufactured my son's Big Jake battery-powered kiddie-truck. I remember the recall that was issued after my son, along with several of his friends, had been riding Big Jake's or similiar vehicles for about two years. Some defect in the wiring created the possibility that the battery could catch fire, although I never saw that happen, and the manufacturer offered to replace the defective unit for free at a toy store I passed on my way to work. I dropped off my son's vehicle and a neighbor's vehicle, then picked them up repaired the next day. Problem (if there WAS one) solved, as far as I was concerned.

I'm not sure what sort of damages I am supposed to have suffered to make a lawsuit necessary. My son doesn't want another Big Jake because he outgrew that ride a few years ago after putting about 100,000 fire-free miles on the thing. My only complaint about the toy was the fact that my son would ride it so hard and so far that he would run the battery dead at the end of the road where we lived. Then he would walk home and I would have to go load Big Jake on my truck and bring it home for recharging.

I am NOT going to join the lawsuit. I am surprised that anybody asked me, because I was a victorious party to a class-action against Providian Bank that I didn't even know about, until I received a check for about $8.00 in the mail. That one involved Providian's insidious practice of sending customers a low-interest credit card and later (gasp!) RAISING THE INTEREST RATE! It never cost me a dime because when Providian raised their rates, I cancelled my card and went with another low-interest provider, one of many who were sending me tons of applications every year. Evidently some people believed the Providian card was surgically implanted near vital organs in the body and, screaming RAPE!, paid the higher interest rate because they honestly believed they had no other choice. I don't know the particulars, but I received $8.00 for my pain and suffering, just as every other plaintiff did, and the selfless, crusading lawyers walked off with a cool $28 million. Justice was done.

Now, Food Lion MVP card-holders are eligible for TWENTY-EIGHT CENTS in a settlement of a class-action over sales taxes paid on discounted purchases. The one really crucial piece of information missing from this article is: How much did the lawyers make?

I'll bet it was a lot more than twenty-eight cents.


Originally published March 2, 2002

I wish I could blame it all on this. [Ed. Article no longer exists.] But impotence is not a laughing matter to me, and I know exactly where mine came from. The surgeon who removed my prostate told me that I had about a 60-40 chance of complete recovery, including continence and potency after my operation. I no longer wet my pants the way I did for the first few months, but my sexual wherewithall remains dormant. I don't like that.

One of my musician friends observed that "You used up your quota a long time ago. You slept with more women in five years than most men do in a lifetime." Maybe so, but I intended to keep on truckin'. That's one of the big reasons my divorce hurts so badly. Yeah, my ex-wife was a real shit to me, and she picked exactly the right moment to abandon me and rip my guts out. But I really wouldn't mind running the streets again, looking for love in all the wrong places. I liked it a lot when I was a young man. But I am not that young man anymore. If I chased a woman and caught her, I wouldn't know what to do next. I've been through this once since my divorce, and I'm not certain I want to do it again. My semi-girlfriend grew weary of the sometimes platonic, or sometimes oral, or sometimes "fix-a-flat" injections that marked our relationship. I charmed her britches off, then couldn't follow through without the aid of a hypodermic needle, which isn't the most romantic thing in the world. She went off to find a normal lover.

I'm a nice guy, I'll play songs just for you, and I give a tremendous back-rub. If I only had my former wherewithall to match the rest of the package, I would be quite a catch. But I don't. And I don't know how I'm going to handle that for the rest of my life.

July 29, 2007

These are the days

Originally published february 17, 2002

What do you call a rash of rashes?
[Ed. Article no longer exists.]

The good news is that it doesn't appear to be deadly flesh-eating bacteria. The bad news is that it's probably exacerbated by energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly school buildings which are buttoned up tighter than a Fort Knox vault. Long ago, when I went to school in south Georgia, we had windows that stayed open during hot weather (which was most of the time) because we had NO AIR CONDITIONING. You might stain a test paper with drops of sweat from your brow, but you didn't break out in mysterious, contagious rashes from breathing the same recirculated air over and over again.

I didn't have air conditioning at home, either. I remember many a hot, humid night when I crawled out of my bed and lay on the cool tile floor to sleep, just to find relief from the heat. We had only three television channels in black and white, which you could access only by physically twisting a tuning knob on the set, and if you wanted popcorn, you cooked it in a pot on the stove. You baked potatoes in the oven and it took a LONG TIME. When you wrote a term paper, you typed it on actual paper on an actual typewriter and ran through a lot of white-out and eraser strips correcting mistakes. Fresh laundry hung out on a line in the back yard to dry. Birds would crap on it and it had to be washed all over again.

Of course, a Coke cost a dime, a hamburger was fifteen cents and you could still buy penny candy back in those days. And we had drive-in movies, too. Were those the good old days? As a newly-minted senior citizen, I feel qualified to say HELL NO. I like air conditioning and satellite TV and remote controls and microwave ovens and computers and washer-dryer combos. I wouldn't go back and live the way I used to for all the tea in China.

But I miss the drive-in movies.

And kids who sweat in school today probably have grounds for a lawsuit.

Homegrown likker

Originally published February 17, 2002

Back when I was a happily married man, I used to brew my own beer. My wife bought me the equipment as a birthday present and I spent about two years experimenting with it. I became pretty doggone GOOD after a while. I brewed pilsners, wheat beers, stouts, bocks and a host of different ales. Once I got the hang of it, they ALL turned out quite nicely.

Of course, I probably have the talent in my DNA because I am descended from a long line of moonshiners. That's how you made good cash money in the hills of Harlan County, Kentucky, when my grandfather was a young man responsible for feeding and clothing five head of younguns. He farmed and grew enough food for everyone, and my grandma was a fine seamstress, but shoes and decent Christmas presents didn't grow in the dirt and couldn't be made on a pedal-powered sewing machine. So, my grandfather converted some of his corn crop into alcohol, aged it thirty days in a charcol keg and sometimes sold it. He learned how to make liquor from HIS father, who learned from HIS father before him. And my grandfather taught ME. I believe I am the last of that line.

I finally grew bored with making beer and decided to step up to the big leagues. I made a five-gallon jug of good mash, bought ten feet of copper tubing and attempted to turn my turkey cooker into a still. When I was ready to boil it down, everything worked exactly as planned until the pressure inside my makeshift still blew the lid off the turkey cooker and everything caught on fire in a gigantic blue flame. Most of my whiskey burned off in the conflagration, but I managed to save about a quart.

If you've never tasted good moonshine, you probably don't understand how remarkable it is. No liquor in the world is comparable. My quart jar was still warm when I rescued it from the blue fire and I took a slash from it just to see what I had accomplished. There it was: the pungent, smokey taste followed by an atomic explosion in the belly which spread right down to the feet, causing toenails to curl, which then bounced right up the spine to make the scalp sizzle. Once I had a sip, I wanted to cry over all the rest that was wasted in the fire.

I put the jar in the freezer for a few days, then invited some friends over to sample my wares. After a couple of shots, they agreed to split the cost of a really well-made still crafted in a legitimate machine shop, so that the lid could not blow off and waste such precious elixir. I drew up a good design and contracted with my brother-in-law, a machinist, to build it. But he never did and I believe I became divorced from him when his sister ran me off for another man. That's a crying shame, because that still would have been PERFECT.

The turkey cooker is in my garage and I was eyeballing it today. With some C-clamps and a little less heat, I believe I can keep the lid on it next time. I can make it work.

Of course, making moonshine is ILLEGAL and I would never even CONSIDER such a thing. This entire blog is an exercise in rich fantasy, not to be taken seriously. SO FORGET EVERYTHING I'VE WRITTEN HERE!

I'll let you know how this thing I'm not going to do turns out.

July 28, 2007

Status ho'

Originally published February 18, 2002

As someone who was born and raised for a number of my formative years in a coal mining camp in Harlan County, Kentucky, I can identify with Senator Robert Byrd's eloquent words, which he whipped out like a switchblade knife against Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill during a recent confrontation, about growing up in simple circumstances with an outhouse in the back yard. But I believe my family loses in the dueling poverty battle because we had a TWO-HOLER OUTHOUSE. For all you spoiled rich twits born with the silver spoon, allow me to explicate. A regular outhouse is a shack built over a ten-foot-deep hole in the ground. Inside is a crude bench with a round hole cut in it. A single light bulb dangles from the ceiling and it can be activated by means of a pull-cord with a knot on the end, where flies come to fall in love. A TWO-HOLER OUTHOUSE, on the other hand, is exactly the same except the bench has two round holes cut in it and a splintery board nailed across one to keep young butts from falling through and into the ten-foot-deep hole in the ground. That extra hole with the board nailed across it was a true status symbol where I grew up. Yes, we would have LAUGHED at Robert Byrd and put him down as the white trash he was for not having that extra hole in HIS outhouse.

Of course, he moved onward and upward in life to the ultimate outhouse, the US Senate, where he has served his country selflessly for about a quadzillion years. And all the HUMBLE PUBLIC SERVANT has to show for it is every building in West Virginia named after him.

When I bought my new house, I had a port-o-let in the front yard for about three weeks. I went outside one evening with a magic marker and named that outhouse after me. The sanitation people came and hauled it away the very next day.

Now I no longer have the only three bathroom house in the neighborhood. And NO building is named after me.

Sorrow and sweet old ladies

Originally published February 18, 2002

Sweet Jesus! I LOST IT in Wal-Mart today and really don't know why.

The cupboard was getting a little bare, so I went shopping this morning. I picked up the sundries I needed and cruised over to Sporting Goods, where I found a basketball goal and a Rawlings ball that I thought my son would enjoy. I threw the ball in the buggy and wrestled the heavy box with the goal and backboard off the rack and into the buggy, too. Then, for no good reason at all, I started to cry. And I COULD NOT STOP.

The sight of a 50-year old man leaning on a Wal-Mart shopping cart and weeping uncontrollably in the Sporting Goods section of the store is probaby unusual, even in the back woods of southeast Georgia where I live. A couple of silver-haired women came over, patted me on the forearm and asked, "Honey, are you all right?" I wanted to throw my head back and scream at the top of my lungs, "HELL NO, I'M NOT ALL RIGHT! WHY DO YOU THINK I'M STANDING HERE IN SPORTING GOODS CRYING LIKE A BABY? IF I WAS ALL RIGHT, I WOULDN'T DO THAT!"

But I didn't. I told them that I was just fine and simply had a really sad thought all of a sudden. They nodded understandingly, as if that babble made perfect sense to them. Then I asked them where I could find the little Clorox tablets that you drop down the back of your commode to keep your toilet water fresh as a daisy and they gladly led me right to the spot. I threw two twin packs into the buggy and thanked them profusely. They went away and I cried some more among the plungers, toilet-wipers and Clorox tablets.

I was warned ahead of time that my prostate surgery would carry some pretty heavy emotional aftereffects, but that was four months ago and I believe I should be over the worst of it by now. Either I'm not, or I'm about to snap like a dry twig and go stark, raving crazy. I don't know.

But isn't it great to live down South, where silver-haired women will come to see what's wrong when they see you crying in Wal-Mart? Isn't it great that when you ask where the Clorox tablets are, they take you by the hand and walk you right to them?

Yes, it is.

July 27, 2007

Camping with Steve and Rick (and a skunk)

Originally published February 22, 2003

In my younger days, I backpacked frequently in the Appalachian Mountains. When I mention that fact today, most people ask, "OOOH! Did you hike the Appalachian Trail? I always answer, "Not unless I had to."

My friends and I avoided the Appalachian Trail except for a few times when we had to hike a part of it because the trail we WERE hiking intersected the damned thing. I saw more scary beasts there than I ever did in the middle of nowhere. We carried a .357 Magnum pistol on those trips, not for bears or panthers, but for the two-legged goonies who reside along the Appalachian Trail. We encountered a few people who had been hiking the trail for months and resembled missing members of the Charles Manson family searching for a reunion. We never had to whip out the hogleg and start blasting away, but more than once that weapon gave us a warm, fuzzy feeling just because it was there. Some people enrich their spiritual sides when they spend time in the mountains; others go coo-coo for Co-co Puffs.

We took turns packing the heat because that rascal was HEAVY and weight you carry for three days or more up and down a mountain trail is something a good backpacker always considers before he sets off on a trip. I learned through experience to be fully equipped and light. I was good for any kind of weather, any kind of trail and one extra day beyond what we planned with 40 pounds on my back, and that weight included a quart canteen of good Kentucky bourbon in case of snakebite or night time campfires. The only time I actually WISHED that I was carrying the pistol was when we found ourselves on the Appalachian Trail, which begins right here in my beloved state of Georgia and crosses Blood Mountain shortly thereafter. On our first trip up Blood Mountain, I thought I might have to use the pistol on myself.

The hike up Blood Mountain is not difficult. My son has hiked it three times, and he just turned eight years-old in December. Of course, the first time, his mama hauled him to the top in her belly, the second time, I hauled him to the top in a papoose-type pack and the third time, he hiked it by himself at the age of six. He hiked back down, too, then slept for two days straight, seldom moving the entire time.

Okay, the hike up Blood Mountain on the glorious Appalachian Trail is short, but STEEP. It's only 2.2 miles from the trail head and parking is available right next to the Wikki-Wachhi tourist/backpaker ripoff joint, where they sell anything you forgot to bring for triple the price you could have paid if you only had remembered to buy it from Wal-Mart before you left. They make a killing. A lot of people hike that trail because the view from the top is spectacular. I've been there a dozen times and I still find it beautiful.

The first time I climbed Blood Mountain, I was in really good shape, accustomed to hiking much tougher trails and surprised at how quickly my friends and I reached the top. A primitive shelter built from mountain stone with a shingle roof is on the left just before the crest of the mountain. We counted eight bloody, dead rats laying just outside the doorstep as we passed by. I've never stayed in one of those squalid hovels anywhere I've hiked, even when told to do so by the park rangers. Those shelters may as well have golden arches out front, because every vermin, vector, critter and thief within twenty miles knows to GO THERE for food. I always preferred to find a couple of worthy trees, stretch my hammock between them and sleep comfortably off the ground.

Which is what we all did on this trip. Setting up my hammock always took about five minutes. I tied it between two worthy trees, ran a cord just above it, threw a lightweight tarp over the cord, threw my sleeping bag in the hammock and had my bed made. I then picked one of the worthy trees with a branch at the right height, chopped the branch off with my Bowie knife and hung my pack there. My friend Steve always did pretty much the same thing, which was why he and I were always busy for the next hour or so gathering firewood and rocks, making a fire-pit, building a fire, setting up a cook-spit and generally doing squaw work while Rick, the regal camper, built his Hilton In The Woods.

Rick never was content with a simple hammock with a tarp over the top. No, his mountain bedroom had to have bells and whistles, glitter and glitz and all the comforts of a five-star hotel. He spent the hour or so that Steve and I spent doing squaw work doing, well... SQUAW WORK of his own. He ran cords and wires and fixed his tarp with an awning that could be raised and lowered by means of a pull-string. He set up some sort of battery-powered heater in EXACTLY the right position so that it would warm his lazy ass if a cold wind blew that night. He fussed and futtered, futtered and fussed, taking precisely as long to set up his wherewithall as it did for Steve and me to finish our squaw work. The he would bitch, "Hey, you guys don't have that fire going yet? I'm ready to eat!"

Why we didn't throw him off the mountain and split all his food is still a mystery to me.

Firewood is scarce anywhere along the Appalachian Trail, so Steve and I took longer than usual to gather what we needed. Rick, meanwhile, sat in his sultan's tent and gave us sage advice about what we were doing wrong, while sipping frequently from his scotch canteen. By the time we finally built a fire and settled down to eat, Rick was about fully crocked. His pack was still laying on the ground with half the zippers open when he ate some kind of freeze-dried bejeesus and staggered back to his Hilton in the Woods to collapse.

"Rick," I suggested. "You need to secure your pack"

"Fuck that pack," said Rick.

"Rick, you really need to secure your pack, man," said Steve.

"Fuck that pack," said Rick. Then he began to snore with his elaborate awning still up and his ass-heater turned off.

Steve and I looked at each other and grinned. "Fuck that pack!" we said together.

I went to bed. A few hours later, I awakened to the sound of something rustling the garbage bag I always put over my SECURED PACK in the woods. I slept with a flashlight tucked under my arm, and I figured a raccoon was attempting to rob me, so I whipped out the flashlight, turned it on, pounded my palm on the ground and shouted, "GET OUTTA HERE!"

My flashlight illuminated the business end of the biggest SKUNK I had ever seen in my life. The damned thing was sleek and striped and stretched out as far as it could be trying to grab my pack out of the tree. I swear to God it turned its head and grinned at me. I immediately turned the flashlight off and pulled my sleeping bag up over my head. I wished I had the pistol so I could do the honorable thing if the creature sprayed me, because I knew I would never be allowed in ANYONE'S car after that. I heard the skunk's heavy paws hit the ground, then I heard it sniffing under my tarp. It walked into my mountain domain, put its two front paws on the sleeping bag so that I could FEEL THEM ON MY FACE and proceeded to sniff and snort and give me the olfactory once-over. Then, it went back on all fours, waddled down to the end of my hammock and put its two front paws on the sleeping bag so that I could FEEL THEM ON MY LEGS. I would rather have encountered a bear. I would have been less frightened.

But the skunk was satisfied that I wasn't a sugar daddy and waddled down the hill to Rick's unsecured pack, laying on the ground with half the zippers open. It proceeded to feast, making plenty of noise while it ate. I saw Rick's flashlight come on, then go off. I saw it come on again for a little longer, then go off again. Then it came on and stayed on. We watched the skunk eat him out of house and home. The skunk finally got a belly full and waddled off into the darkness. We never saw it again. But it ate about a pound of salt-cured country ham Rick had in his pack, and it probably went in search of water after that.

The next morning, Rick was the last person up, as usual, timing his emergence from his sultan's tent to coincide with the crackling of a fire somebody else built and the aroma of coffee somebody else brewed. "Did y'all see that skunk last night?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said. "I watched it eat everything but the toilet paper out of your pack."

"Fuck that pack," he replied. "You got anything I can have for breakfast?"

"Yeah, there are eight dead rats outside the shelter just down the trail from here."

Guitars vs. women

Originally published February 23, 2003

I am going to buy another guitar today. Four is not enough. I played the one I want at my birthday party last weekend and I liked the way it sounded and the way it fit my hand. It's an acoustic with a nice "bug" that plays well through an amplifier so it sounds exactly like a fine acoustic guitar, only louder. I want it and I'm going to have it.

I just hope my pride and joy, my 1964 Martin D-28, doesn't become jealous and warp her neck when I bring the new babe home. I know the Guild, the Tacoma and the Fender Telecaster can live with another roommate, but I'm not sure about the Martin. She and I go back a long way and she has the scars to show it. A lot of beer, sweat, smoke and stage-dings, plus about ten quadzillion hours of playing time give her a character that few guitars have. She rings like a bell and feels as comfortable in my hands as a familiar lover. Through all the refretting, heat-pressing, bridge replacing and neck repairs, I never stopped appreciating her beauty and uniqueness. I remained loyal and so did she.

The central difference between a guitar and a woman is that a guitar will be faithful forever if you love it. And I love my Martin. I just hope she forgives me for what I am about to do.

July 26, 2007

Dreamscapes within a nightmare

Originally published February 15, 2002

My son is with me this weekend. We watched some ridiculous movie on HBO tonight as we both sprawled on the couch. He kept his arm around me and his head on my shoulder the entire time. I felt golden.

When the movie was over, he wanted to know about the Roman Empire and why a short sword was such an effective weapon. I tried to explain that the sword was great weapon, but the well-trained Roman soldier wielding it and the tactics used by the army were what made it really effective. Somehow, that conversation led to what our military did in Afghanistan and from there he launched into a tale about Vikings sacking and looting Paris, France a long time ago. I don't recall that event. But I believe it might be a good idea now. We have Special Forces that can be Vikings if the mission calls for that talent.

He is asleep now. Visions of Roman soldiers and marauding Vikings may dance in his dreams tonight, but that's what little boys do. God, I miss what I'm missing by not being with him every day.

Allow me to elucidate

Originally published February 8, 2002

I am seriously thinking about taking a vacation in Europe this spring. I have the money to pay for it and I've never been, so it seems like a pretty good idea right now. I think I'll land in London first, to acclimate myself to the continent in a place where people speak English (or something CLOSE to my language) and see where the wind blows me from there. It could be an interesting adventure and I am about ready for one.

I don't believe I can link to THIS ARTICLE because it has a code symbol I don't have on my keyboard, but I'll try anyway. (I'll be damned. I just checked and the sucker TOOK!) [Ed. Article no longer exists.] Read it and you'll know that I'm not only going to Europe for a vacation. I also am going there to prove to the snotty Brit who wrote the article that I am not afraid to fly, I'm not afraid to visit his country and I'm not the only person in America who feels that way. If I can find the little shit while I'm there, I'll punch him square in his aqualine nose and tell him that I AIN'T Sly Stallone or Bruce Willis or any of the other wimps he mentions. I am not an actor. I am a REAL American. Real Americans don't have make-up consultants, publicity flacks, personal trainers and a script to follow whenever they open their mouths. Real American men have BALLS! Even real American WOMEN have balls, compared to what I see from European men, especially the chattering classes who criticize our war on terrorism. Especially the French, who heard President Bush mention an "axis of evil" and immediately surrendered before they realized that they weren't part of the axis.

I once performed in a Savannah Little Theater production of "Foxfire," where I assumed the role of the mandolin player in the lead actor's band, The Stoney Lonesome Boys. The play was fun. But I didn't come away from the experience with a dizzy adoration for actors. I don't understand why so many people believe that actors are something other than pretty puppets or exotic parrots, because that's all they are when they perform. "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV" is good enough to sell aspirin, and congress even had the nerve to call Sally Fields, Meryl Streep and that other actress chick I can't recall right now to testify about a farm bill because the women PRETENDED TO BE FARMER'S WIVES in movies. Idiot gasbags in congress who wouldn't know a farm from a loaf of bread may take this crap seriously, but I don't. Neither should the British writer.

I don't believe he could write his hit-piece about the action heros I watched on the screen when I was young. Lee Marvin earned his grizzled hostility as a Marine in the Pacific campaign in WWII. James Arness developed that Matt Dillon limp from a wound to the hip at Anzio. Jimmy Stewart flew 29 bombing missions over Germany. Ted Knight, who played the goofball anchorman on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" won five Bronze Stars in combat. Charles Durning landed as a foot soldier at D-Day and was bayoneted.

Today's actors may be frightened at the world, but I'm not. I grew up watching a different bunch of people on the screen. And a whole lot of Americans, including ranks of bellicose women, grew up the same way. And we don't take shit from anybody.

Ask Osama.

July 25, 2007

A random interveiw

Originally published March 28, 2005

#1-- You've been blogging for more than three years now. What got you started and why do you keep doing it?

I started blogging because I was one small step away from suicide and I needed an outlet for a lot of emotions. That was a very dark time in my life. I found that outlet in blogging and it probably saved my life. I met a few people early on who encouraged me and helped keep me alive. I adore those people to this day.

I blog today because I now have a LOT more people who encourage me and keep me alive. I also blog because I love doing it.

#2-- How would you decsribe your blog? Is it a web diary, a political forum, a humor site or something else?

I don't really know. I love to write and I write about whatever crosses my mind. I try to inject a lot of humor into my posts, but I'll get all spittleflecked and angry, too. It just depends on the topic I chose to write about. I DO have a muse, and she dictates a lot of what I do.

#3-- In your archives, you wrote a lot about your "bloodless cunt" of an ex-wife. You obviously suffered a great deal. Are you over that pain now?

No, I am not and I don't believe that I ever will be. I've gotten better at DEALING with the pain, but I don't think it ever will go away. I loved that woman with all my heart and soul. I never expected the kind of betrayal I got from her. It turned my world upside-down and I doubt that it ever will be right again. Some things get broken so badly that they can't be fixed. My heart was one of those.

#4-- You were a supervisor in a chemical plant for more than 20 years. How did that experience influence your life?

Tremendously. It taught me to make decisions, handle difficult people and apply the rules whether I agreed with the rules or not. It taught me to give orders and expect them to be obeyed. It taught me to walk tall because I knew my shit better than anyone else did. It taught me to believe in myself and trust my instincts and my training when the shit hit the fan. That job made me a man.

#5-- Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Probably dead, from alcohol abuse and a poor lifestyle. If that doesn't happen, I'll be relaxing on a beach in Costa Rica. I have enough money to last me the rest of my life if I don't fuck-up and get married again. I don't ever need to go back to work and I don't worry about my bills being paid. I have everything about the American Dream except a woman to share it with, and I've decided that I can do without one of those.

Retired and independently wealthy at the age of 53. Not bad for a coal miner's boy, even if he does sleep alone at night.

July 24, 2007

Life lessons

Originally published January 29, 2002

I am beginning to reevaulate myself. What I once believed were virtues have cost me dearly and what I once considered vices have cost me, too. The difference is, I had A LOT MORE FUN following my vices instead of my virtues.

Once, I didn't care if the sun came up in the morning. I frittered my days away chasing wine, women and song and had nothing to show for those efforts except an occasional hangover and a lot of unforgettable adventures. But I slept well every night.

Then, I became serious, put my nose to the grindstone, tried to do right and eventually found myself on my knees, with my nose poking into empty air, while a person I loved smashed the back of my head with the grindstone. Then, she ran me off for an unemployed, dope-smoking lover who probably is wearing the jewlery I once owned that I never recovered after the divorce. Why not? The prick moved right in and settled his unemployed ass dead in the middle of the life I once had. The bloodless cunt gave him everything I held precious: herself, my son, my home and my bed. The experience sure enough opened my eyes about those silly notions of love, loyalty and friendship that I once believed were important.

No, that's NOT true. I still believe in every bit of that, and I have friends that rallied around me when I needed them the most to prove it. Friends I've had for twenty or more years. Friends that cared, and still do. Friends that loved me the way I love them. Friends that I will never give up.

I simply must be more careful in the future and steer my trust where it belongs, to friends instead of bloodless cunts.

But I don't sleep much these days.

Acidman's State of the Union Address

Originally published January 30, 2002

Every time I see the blank space at the top of the Blogger page, I feel an overpowering urge to write something on it. I can't help myself.

I didn't watch President Bush deliver the State of the Union address last night. I was convinced beforehand that the state of the union was sound, and that the little Texican fucker was doing pretty good job of running things. I remain amazed that when all economic indicators go up, the stock market goes down like Linda Lovelace, and I stay confused about those blithering idiots who still see our war against terrorism as an ACT of terrorism. I am totally stunned that anyone can take Dick Gebhart seriously as a human being from planet Earth. (The robotic bastard has no eyebrows. If you watch carefully, I believe you'll see the pinky fingers on each of his hands pointing sideways, just like the aliens in the ancient television show, "THE INVADERS.")

Of course, I laid out of work today due to lack of sleep, washed the sheets on my bed, fouled them by taking a long nap and blogged whenever the inspiration hit me. I have not worn clothes today. Yes, I HAVE BLOGGED NAKED! ALL DAY! Who am I to judge anybody?

But I live by myself and I don't even have a dog to supervise what I do. So, I CAN JUDGE THE STATE OF THE UNION AND DICK GEBHART, TOO! And if you don't like it, you can kiss my ass.

It's naked.

July 23, 2007

Some days are diamonds. This one wasn't.

Originally published January 23, 2002

I dreamed about my father last night. He died almost ten years ago, but I dream about him frequently and it's a rare day that passes when I don't think of him. He had a lot to do with making me the person I am today, and I'm not always certain he would be proud of that. I suppose I will wonder the rest of my life.

He never saw his grandson, and I will always regret that sad fact, not only because he missed the joy my son would have given him, but because my son missed out on the joy my father would have given him, too. I WOULD NOT have written the story the way it turned out if it were MY SCRIPT. I believe in happy endings. Sometimes, however, life just doesn't go that way.

If I appear to be in one of my down moods, it's because I am. A big shutdown was scheduled at work today and a lot of meticulous planning went into making the whole thing go smoothly. I arrived at work at 6:00 this morning and left at 8:00 tonight. The whole thing was a total goat-fuck. I am tired, I am dirty and I wish I could talk to my Dad about what happened at work. I wish I could hug my son. I wish today had been a better day.

Sometimes, however, life just doesn't go that way.

The smells of love and happiness

Originally published January 25, 2002

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my son leaving with his bloodless cunt mama after "visitation." I wrote that if I closed my eyes, I could still smell him as if he were here. A few of my friends read that blog and asked me, "what did he do, CRAP ON YOUR CARPET? How does your boy smell, anyway?

My son bears the scent of bubble gum toothpaste and Johnson's Baby Shampoo. He smells of dirt, enjoyed enthusiastically, and sweat completely pure of caffene, nicotine, alcohol and cholesterol. He smells of youth and growth and innocence. To me, he smells like the purest love I've ever known. And I declare to all the doubters: ALL OF THAT STAYS IN HIS ROOM WHEN HE'S GONE! I know because I CAN SMELL IT!

I once read that of the five senses, the olfactories are the ones most closely connected to the memory inputs of the brain. I would never have guessed that myself, because hearing certain music can zap me right back to a time and place in my life where the memories are vivid. But I'm beginning to reconsider this nose thing.

When I go to the bloodless cunt's house to pick up my son, she treats me as if I were a stranger. She is polite, the way she would be to any stranger, but it's as if I never played a part in her life, never shared a bed with her for ten years and never fathered HER son. The dogs, however, go nuts. They see me and come running, then take one sniff around my ass to confirm their suspicions and go into tail wagging, tongue flopping frenzies. I am mobbed. I am licked and nuzzled and expected to pet them all, and I do. THEY never divorced me. SHE DID. They remember me and love me and they know by their noses who I am. They have olfactories plugged directly into their memory banks, and they never forget a person who was good to them. I cannot say the same thing about certain people.

The woman who bought our mini-farm had all four of my goats hauled away last Saturday. Yeah, I was divorced from them, too, and I have no idea what will become of them. The fate of the 28 chickens we owned is a mystery to me, but I wasn't nearly as attached to the chickens as I was to the goats, especially after the chickens stopped laying eggs. I am certain that the bloodless cunt doesn't think about it. But I do. Goats and chickens have a distinctive aroma. I can't say that it was pleasant, but it is firmly lodged in my memory. Once upon a time, it smelled of home.

I have no animals around my house now except me. The woman I occasionally sleep with tells me that I smell good. I'll take her word for it and go straight for her memory banks when I have seduction on my mind. But she's not here now. Neither is my son. But I can smell them both, and the memories are good.

July 22, 2007


Originally published January 25, 2002

Sometimes it's difficult to accept the fact that I have been working almost half of my life at the same industrial plant. My job has changed many times over the years, but I'm still where I started out as far as where I go every day, where I park my truck and where I change from sneakers to steel-toed shoes. I am not alone, because a bunch of people pretty much like me came up through the ranks at the same time when the company was desperate for new blood. There was Leo and Mac and Rodney and Callie and me, all hard-working young Turks being trained by what we called the "old farts" at the time.

That was a long time ago. Leo quit smoking, got married and stopped perming his hair when it became thin on top. Mac got married, too, and grew gray hair. Rodney went bald. Callie became fat and I developed cancer and survived it. Now we're training a bunch of young Turks to take our jobs, once we become downsized, retire or get fired. I was talking to the bunch of them the other day and I couldn't resist it. I asked, "Do you remember the 'old farts' who trained us? Well, WE ARE THE OLD FARTS NOW!" Everybody laughed, but everybody knew that it was true.

Being an old fart isn't that bad. We all feel confident that we can keep the Turks from ousting us because we have wisdom and they don't. The Turks may be bright and learn fast, just as we did, but to gain wisdom takes time. That's the trait we always envied in the old farts who trained US. Now, we've spent the time, paid our dues and earned the hashmarks on our sleeves. When the Turks get into trouble, they look to an old fart to rescue them. The old fart has been there, done that. They haven't.

If I can just make a few more years, I will be an OLD, RETIRED FART playing golf every day and pooting around in my garden when I feel like it. Then, the Turks can have it all, until they become old farts and feel the hot breath of a new batch of Turks on their necks.

That may happen. But looking around at the batch I came up with, I just don't think they make Turks like they used to. We set a standard that's gonna be hard to beat.

Just thinking

Originally published January 26, 2002

Country Music TV is having an all-night tribute to bluegrass, and I am enjoying it tremendously. THAT IS MUSIC! They just finished a feature on Bill Monroe. I saw him play once, and I thought he was impressive, for an OLD FART, but CMT unveiled ancient, archeological films and recordings from when Bill was in his prime. He doesn't receive the credit he deserves for being a mover and shaker in our popular culture. That sucker was GOOD and he plied his trade for SEVENTY YEARS!

The one thing I've done correctly in my life is to escape college and retire for six years right off the bat. I was a bar room musician before anyone ever heard of herpies, let alone AIDS. I had many adventures, sowed many wild oats and my 18-year old daughter is the result of the only time I ever even THOUGHT about being serious back in those days. I wouldn't want to go back and do it again, but I wouldn't trade the memories for anything.

Now I'm an old fart, working in a chemical plant. I have two ex-wives. I fathered two ex-children. I believe I've had all the adventures any man needs in one life. I wish I had a companion to sleep with tonight. But as my 90-year old grandmother says, "Wish in one hand and shit in the other. See which fills up first."

Sometimes you end up with two hands full of something you never wished for.

July 21, 2007

Wonder why

Originally published January 16, 2002

K-Mart is swirling down the toilet of bankruptcy just like the piece of crap it has become. On one hand, I hate to see that happen, because my mama worked for K-Mart for about 15 years and retired with a $25 dollar per month pension, along with a wad of K-Mart stock. I don't believe she ever sold any of it. On the other hand, I believe K-Mart deserves to go down the tubes because it became a really terrible place to shop, right when Wal-Mart had them in a fatal chokehold. There is no excuse for that.

I stayed with my mama after my prostate surgery because I had nowhere else to go, and mamas will always allow you to come home again. I needed that. I had tubes running into me where I didn't want them to go, and tubes running OUT of me where you don't even want to think about. I would not have done well by myself. But I was determined to find a place to live, replace all the furniture the bloodless cunt took from me and get back out on my own again. So, when I saw the full-color K-Mart ad in the Sunday paper touting genuine, solid-wood kitchen tables for $199, solid-wood chests-of-drawers for $150, kid's sleigh-beds for $177 dollars and a host of other neat, cheap things I needed, I went shopping.

I was not supposed to drive. I still had tubes running in and out of me, a piss-bag strapped to my leg, and I still felt as if I had been kicked in the belly my a full-grown mule. But I went to K-Mart to take advantage of these blue-light specials on furniture. I crab-walked into the store and picked out about $1,000 worth of stuff I wanted to buy. But I couldn't lift any of this stuff and load it onto a buggy. My belly was still full of staples. Hell, I wasn't even supposed to BE THERE by myself. So, I looked for a salesperson to help me. After a while, I became tired of looking and decided to sit down on one of the genuine wooden chairs I wanted to buy, since it was a floor model, right next to the genuine wooden kitchen table I wanted to buy, too. I tried to appear really pathetic, which I was, but that was no help, either. Finally, I crab-walked up to the Service Desk and asked the woman behind the counter if I could please have some help in the furniture department. I also told her that I wanted to spend about $1,000 in her store. She assured me that she would find me some help, so I crab-walked BACK to the furniture department while she keyed her Service Desk microphone and announced over the intercom: "Whhaaanatentionfurndehelpelmo!"

I waited another fifteen minutes with my butt parked on the same wooden chair and I never saw a solitary soul, except for a silver-haired old woman, who was pushing a buggy and appearing very puzzled about the variety of feminine hygene products available on the asile across from me. I finally gave up, crab-walked back to the service desk, and asked the woman behind the counter: "Do you own stock in this company?"

"Yes, I do," she replied.

"Sell it," I advised. "I'm leaving with over $1,000 dollars in my pocket that your store could have had, if only ONE HUMAN EMPLOYEE had waited on me." I left. When I got back to mama's house, I advised her to sell her stock, too, but she said it wasn't worth diddly-squat anymore and selling it wouldn't amount to a hill of beans. Diddly-squat and not worth a hill of beans. I couldn't have described K-Mart any better myself.

I ended up paying over $4,500 for the furniture I wanted. But I walked through a store simply pointing at what I wanted, with a salesperson jumping through hoops to please me. Once we agreed on a price, they delivered everything to my new home, put it all together for me and set it up exactly where I wanted it. They even threw in the free vacuum cleaner I asked for.

That's service. That's what keeps retailers in business. K-Mart forgot that principle somewhere along the way. Wal-Mart sells the same stuff for lower prices and you can find MORE THAN ONE HUMAN EMPLOYEE willing to help you any time you walk in the store. Where do you think I'm going next time I want to buy something cheap?

K-Mart deserves to die.

Why "Acidman"...

Originally published January 17, 2002

I write under the Nom de Blog "Acidman" because I don't want anybody who may wield great influence on my career or my personal life to "Google" me and discover all the deep, dark secrets I sometimes disclose on my posts. The name has nothing to do with illegal drugs. I once supervised the operation of a 900-ton per day sulfuric acid plant when computers first hit the manufacturing scene, and "Acidman" was my password for everything I did on the computer at work. I kinda liked it back then and I kinda like it now.

I don't mean to say that I have anything against illegal drugs. I did lots of them back in my college days. But that was long ago, when I was young and ready for adventure; now, I am older, wiser and subjected to random piss-tests at work. My entire perspective has changed.

I still believe that the "war on drugs" is one of the most stupid, insane, lunatic brain-farts our government ever had. Someone may as well have declared "war" on human nature and expected to be victorious.

Wait a minute! That has happened over and over again. We still have laws against prostitution (not called the world's oldest profession for nothing), laws against gambling (while states that forbid gambling run their own lotteries), laws against consuming alcoholic beverages (except when purchised at state-licensed red-dot stores), laws against littering (when did you ever hear of ANYBODY actually being caught and forced to pay that $1,000 fine on all the signs that stand there by the side of the road so threateningly in their bed of litter?), laws against speeding (Good God. EVERYBODY breaks that one), and laws against breaking any of the aforementioned laws if you broke them by violating someone's civil rights, whatever the hell that means anymore.

I routinely violate, ignore or scoff at laws I believe to be stupid, and I consider myself to be a good American citizen. From what I see around me, I believe a lot of other people behave the same way. What does our government do in response? It passes MORE stupid laws that MORE people will violate, which only provokes the government to pass MORE stupid laws that even MORE people will violate, until finally, everybody in the country is a goddamned criminal.

When that happens, nobody is a criminal. And law doesn't matter anymore.

The "war on drugs" has made criminals of many people who are not real criminals. It has locked these non-criminals up in prison cells to serve harsh mandatory sentences that forced wardens and parole boards to free murderers, rapists and thieves to make room for the non-criminals to serve their time. The "war on drugs" has given police departments the right to dress out in full riot gear, take a battering ram to your front door with no advance warning, then shoot you dead in your own living room even though THEY BROKE INTO THE WRONG HOUSE. They don't go to jail. But if you survive the attack and they find a pot seed embedded in your carpet, they can seize your home, your car, all your property and your bank account and then pour all the loot into their own coffers to finance more troops and more break-ins and more property seizures, which then finance more troops for more break-ins and .... well, you get the picture.

All I know is this: 25 years ago, a gram of good cocaine cost $100. One week ago, I had someone offer to sell me a gram of good cocaine for $100. I didn't buy it (I am subject to random piss-tests at work) but I did the math. Adjusted for inflation, the multi-billion dollar war on drugs has managed to make cocaine as readily available as it ever was (maybe even more so. Hell, I don't hang out in bars anymore) at one-fourth the price it used to be. Along the way, the government has locked up a lot of people who don't belong in jail, gave law enforcment cretins the power to behave like the Gestapo, and poured billions of dollars down a rat-hole with the only real result being a problem that is bigger than it was when the government decided to declare war on it.

Now you have the under-reported scandal down in Texas, about the couple of dozen huge cocaine busts the police pulled off with the help of an "informer," where they roughed, cuffed and arrested numerous people only to discover that the "criminals" were guilty of possession of sheetrock dust. No drugs. Just bullshit. The police appear to have been taken for a ride by their "informant," who is probably long gone by now. The innocent citizens arrested are simply collateral damage. After all, this is a war. A stupid, shitty loser of a war that has corrupted more people than it ever will catch, but a war just the same.

I personally believe that taking a piss-test at work is a humiliating, degrading invasion of my privacy, especially when I am chosen by a random drawing. If I show up on the job obviously impared, then I have no business working in a chemical plant where I would be a hazard to myself and anybody else working around me. If I come to work fucked up, then I deserve to be fired. But this lottery crap is un-American.

Plus, it is totally illogical. I can get drunk as a pissant tonight, go to bed at eight o'clock and wake up hung over, feeling like shit and very under-equipped to do my job. But I can pass a piss-test in the morning, no matter how badly my hands tremble and no matter how foggy my head may be. If I had smoked a nice joint 20 days ago, however, and go to bed sober as a judge tonight, wake up at my best and my brightest in the morning, I could well light up a piss test like a Roman candle and be fired for it. It makes no sense. The whole rule is nothing but an on-your-knees, slavering blow-job to the government, just to show how you're on their side in this war. It is ridiculous. It is stupid. I would love to shit all over this rule just to prove my absolute contempt for it, but I can't.

Well, I COULD, but I've had this job for 22 years. I like what I do and it pays well. So, I'll blog about it here and piss in a bottle whenever they ask me to.

Outsourcing jobs

Originally published October 27, 2004

Little children, and all ye others of dimwit understanding, gather around and let me tell you why large companies "outsource" jobs today. Two reasons: Unions and government.

Unions have mutated into a drag on EVERY company that has one, because the Union mentality is "Pay us MORE for doing LESS." The typical Bull Steward doesn't have the nickname "Coffee Break" for nothing. That "I get paid by the hour" bullshit won't fly anymore, either. You can't compete in the modern business world that way. Unions are tearing down their own temples and they don't see that fact.

The government makes it almost impossible to expand an industrial operation today. We have the EPA, the EPD, OSHA and hoarde of environmentalists with their lawyers in tow to scream "NO!" every time a company wants to build something new. I know what I'm talking about.

I once supervised an existing steam plant. We had old, inefficient, highly-polluting boilers there. We wanted to install a new unit, with the low-NOx burner and all the clean-air controls available at the time and the PERMITTING PROCESS cost more than the goddam boiler did, and it took five years to accomplish.

I could have gone to Mexico and built a brand-new steam plant for less money than that one boiler cost. I could have done it in less time, too. The company I once worked for spent $100 million every year for Superfund costs, for cleanups that never end, on land that they never polluted. What utter bullshit.

When a company has to spend $100 million a year jumping through hoops of government regulations, where do you think that money comes from? It damn sure didn't fall from the sky. It comes out of wages, medical benefits and head-counts. That's NOT free ice cream.

John Kerry is gonna fix THAT problem? Yeah, right.

We're cutting our own throats every day and Unions and government share the knife.

July 20, 2007

Monday, Monday...

Originally published January 8, 2002

Monday was a pretty shitty day except for two things: the "Service Engine Soon" light went out on my truck about halfway to work that morning, and it has not come on again, and when I arrived home, someone had come and removed the Port-A-Potty that had been in my front yard since I bought my house more than two months ago. Since I have NOT serviced my truck engine, I can only assume that the light is no longer nagging me because either the problem healed itself or the bulb burned out. Whatever happened, I'm delighted that it did. But I'm having ambivalent feelings about the missing Port-A-Potty. Hell, I had the only THREE BATHROOM HOME in the neighborhood as long as it was there. Besides, I had an easy time giving directions to my friends when they couldn't find my house-- "Turn right, go about 100 yards down the street, and look for the shitter in the front yard. THAT'S WHERE I LIVE!." I believe I am going to miss that thing.

While I was pumping my first cup of coffee down my throat this morning, CNN was engaged in one of those navel-examination grief-fests about the pitiful nerd who flew the plane into the high-rise bank in Tampa. They were busy interviewing teachers, classmates, the guys who picked up the family's garbage and anybody else they could find to repeat the same mantra, that the boy they all knew and loved would NEVER do a thing like that. He was so sweet. We never saw it coming. We can't believe it happened. BWAA-BWAA-BWAA!

I never knew the misguided little twit, so I'm not going to cry into a CNN microphone about him. But I know exactly what I thought when I saw the first pictures of that airplane hanging off the side of that building like a bug stuck in a roach motel. I thought of Wile E. Coyote and another one of his mail-order, Acme, Inc. devices guaranteed to finally catch the Road Runner. The only thing missing was the sound effect of "ziiiiiiiiing......BOOM!" as the coyote falls to the pavement, breaks into small pieces, then reassembles himself and goes back to his Acme catalogue for a better idea.

I fully understand what a lonely and spooky place your very own head can be when you are incredibly upset and see no light at the end of the tunnel of pain you're travelling down. I can understand the desire to end it all. But if you decide to take that ultimate step and are determined to do it gloriously in a 9-11 copycat scheme, AT LEAST HAVE A BRAIN IN YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU PLAN IT!! That pathetic dolt probably intended to make a spectacular crash into a tall building, take as many innocent souls as he could along with him on his demented journey to glory, and end up pushing the Columbine Killers off the front cover of Time Magazine as the MANIAC OF THEM ALL!! Instead, he stuck his plane through a window so that it hung there like a bug in a roach motel. He didn't even manage to start a fire. The poor bastard couldn't have fucked the whole thing up any worse if he had tried, except by maybe living through it.

Can you imagine that? What would he say to CNN? "BWAA, BWAA, BWAA?!!"

I also saw another reference to President Caligula, Bill Clinton, regretting that he never had a "defining moment" in his presidency the way George Bush does with his war on terrorism. I have news for you, Bill: IF YOU HAD BEEN PRESENTED WITH A "DEFINING MOMENT," YOU WOULD HAVE FUCKED IT UP, just the way you did the rest of your presidency. You would have agonized over details while never making a decision. You would have tried to micromanage while dodging responsibility. You would have waited on opinion polls to tell you what to do, because you always wanted to be loved a lot more than you wanted to be respected, and even after reviewing the poll results you would have waffled, delayed and parleyed rather than actually DO SOMETHING. The only thing you were ever good at was getting elected to offices you didn't deserve and screwing a lot of women, which is the real reason you wanted to be elected in the first place. It was a good way to pick up chicks.

Jimmy Carter was once governor of my state before he went on to become a really rotten president. I never voted for him as governor nor president, but I never disliked the man as a person. I believe he meant well, but he was a perfect example of the Peter Principle, and he actually achieved his level of incompetence when he was still governor. But he had a wide smile, lots of teeth, and he was anything but Richard Nixon. The much-ballyhooed "American People" fell for him, only to regret it later.

On the other hand, President Testosterone, you filled me with disgust the first time I saw you on the campaign trail. Not dislike, mind you, but DISGUST! And you went on for eight years to prove my gut instincts entirely correct. Thank God for blessing America with the good grace that you are not in charge when we need a true leader instead of a slick, professional politician. Take my advice: GO FUCK YOURSELF FOR A CHANGE. You've done it to everyone else. And who could possibly love you more than you do?

Whew, I feel better after that....

I was still right

Originally published January 2, 2003

I just won a bet with Jack's Mom and Grandma. I invited them all over to the house for Hoppin' John and greens, and they came, expressing great wonderment over the vittles, because they are from Texas and never heard of eating Hoppin' John and greens on New Years Day. They bet me that Jack wouldn't touch the stuff and I bet them that he would eat it for me. I fixed him a big bowl of blackeyed peas and rice and he scarfed it down like a hungry dog. Then I told his mom and grandma that they could pay off their bet by cleaning the rest of the white zinfandel residue from my kitchen floor after the wine box disaster from Saturday night. They laughed and went back home. So, I'm still stuck with doing that job myself. You can't see the pink quagmire anymore, but stocking feet make a "thuck, thuck" sound with every step and it feels like walking on matching Velcro strips that try to snatch your socks off when you walk across the floor. I've mopped it twice, but I believe it's going to take lots of cleanser and detergent to make my floor whole again.

I think I'll watch football for a while. The kitchen floor can wait. After all, it is New Years Day and all the bowl games are on television. If the games aren't entertaining, maybe I'll call Willie to make sure he didn't drown face-down in his bucket of Bloody Marys this morning. Maybe I'll invite him over for some Hoppin' John and greens.

July 19, 2007

Gut Rumbles- Take two (there an echo in here?)

Originally published December 28 & 29, 2001

I really want to congratulate the human septic tank who hacked Blogger on Christmas day and destroyed my ability to access my previous blog-site. I sincerely hope the pimply-faced geek with the shit-stained underwear is proud of himself. I hope he pisses his bed tonight. I hope his dick falls off.
8:02:00 PM


I really want to congratulate the human septic tank who hacked Blogger on Christmas day and destroyed my ability to access my previous blog-site. I sincerely hope the pimple-faced geek with the shit-stained drawers is proud of himself as he sleeps on the rubber sheets his bedwetting requires him to use. I hope his dick falls off.
8:14:00 PM


The real reason the bed-wetting, butthole, couldn't-get-laid with a $100 bill wrapped around his wanger hacker really screwed me up on Christmas day is the fact that I can't get my e-mail system to work properly and I am too stubborn to call the help-line and ask for advice. Therefore, I can't find the new, altered, adulterated or deleted password to open my original Blogger site. Perhaps that's just as well. I wrote some stuff in there that I'm not sure I want a lot of people to read, although I had 179 hits on it as of this morning and it's only a week old. Only a few people know how to get there, and even though they are good friends, I don't believe they visited the site that many times.

I may mention my bloodless cunt of an ex-wife a lot, but I'll leave all the stuff about my bank robberies, dope-smugglings, child-molestations, bribings of judges and congressmen, phony land deals and serial killings out of what I write here. That stuff could get me in serious trouble.

I made up my mind about what to do this morning. I opted for coffee and a lumberjack breakfast instead of the large Bloody Mary to start my day. I think I may go buy a hot tub.

Just some "crackers"

Originally published May 4, 2006

* Tomorrow is my mama's birthday. If she were still alive, she'd be 76 years old. Just damn, but I miss her. It's strange, though--- I still dream about my father a lot, and he's been gone for 13 years. I don't remember dreaming about Mama since she died, just over a year ago.

* My garden may not produce a got-dam thing this year, but I have another bumper crop of blackberries growing wild around my house. I've picked a little more than three pints of berries over the past three days and I still have plenty more that aren't ripe yet.

* I killed a copperhead snake this morning. I was picking blackberries when I saw the sumbitch, curled up under the condensate drain for my home heat-pump unit, about a foot from my hand. I don't know if he was wetting his whistle or hoping for some prey to come along for a drink, and I didn't wait to find out. I used a stick to drag his ass out of the bushes and cave in his head. That little fucker was less than a foot long, but it still scared me half to death and made me hurt my shoulder beating on its head.

* Whatever is wrong with my shoulders is getting worse every day. My range of motion in both arms is pathetic now and I ache like hell, except when I forget and reach for something. Then, I get a blinding, knife-like bone-pain that makes me see stars. (And I ain't talking about Roscoe, either.) I don't see the orthopedic guy until next week, if I can last that long before I'm totally crippled.

* I haven't seen or talked to my son since January. I've been writing him letters, but I don't know if he ever sees them or not. A great sadness settles over me if I let myself think about it. I try NOT to think about it, but it happens anyway.

* Michael Crichton makes another good point in his "Author's Message" at the end of State of Fear. "The 'precautionary principle', properly applied, forbids the precautionary principle." BWHAHAHAAA! Proponents of the precautionary principle don't see the inherent contradiction, which doesn't surprise me, looking at the proponents.

* I'm an English Major and I don't do math. I sometimes don't do spelling very well, either.

* There's a got-dam BIG difference between "tolerance" and "indulgence." It's not politically-correct to notice.

* this guy has an Excel spreadsheet with 468 synonyms for "vagina." If I really tried, I think I could come up with that many synonyms for "testicles." (Balls, cojones, jewels, eggs, stones, nuts, cods, marbles...)

* I believe that I learned more science in the seventh grade than most high school graduates do today. Or COLLEGE GRADUATES, for that matter. I know what chlorophyl is. Do you?

* People who think they're gonna get something for nothing from government should remember what my daddy always said: "Rob, nobody in this world is gonna give you something for nothing except me and your mama--- and even THEN, you'd better wonder what WE get out of it."

Breaking the law

Originally published May 31, 2004

I believe that Martin Luther King wrote an essay when he was locked in the Birmingham jail during the civil rights movement that pretty much sums up my philosophy about being a law-abiding citizen. I may go Google the speech to see if I am correct, but I don't really care. No matter where I read it, it is the way I live my life.

I am a free man. Government puts certain constraints on me through the threat of overwhelming force, which means that the faceless assholes can seize my assets, throw me in jail and TRY to humble me, but nothing they do to me will change what I believe.

I remain a free man.

I don't obey laws that I think are senseless. I also don't consider myself to be a criminal for doing so. I consider myself to be a free man. I carry a handgun in places with strict gun-control laws. I exceed the posted speed limit on the highway. I gamble on illegal games of chance. I have rented a prostitute.

If I were your neighbor, you would like me. I would never break into your home, steal your belongings or molest your children. If you needed help with a home-improvement project, I would be the first to volunteer assisstance. If you went on a two-week vacation, I would collect your mail and pick up the newspaper from the driveway every day, and keep an eye on your house while you were gone.

I don't behave that way because of any laws. That's just the way I was raised. I don't NEED laws to make me act like a decent human being. And I won't obey laws that I think are stupid.

We have way too many laws in this country now. Government has taken a nation of free men and women and transformed them into sheep through excessive regulation, excessive taxation and excessive intrusion into things that are none of government's business. I sometimes believe that if our Founding Fathers could see what their ideal of freedom and a true republic has become, they would be twisting like windmills in their graves.

You can heed the shepherd if you want to. But I won't.

(ADDENDUM: I didn't write this post lightly, nor am I drunk. I am a free man staring right into the maw of the monster, and it is poised to take everything I own. I expect to go to jail for "Contempt of Court." I will be guilty, because I hold divorce court in total contempt. But I WILL NOT DO what that Court Order says that I'm supposed to do. That is a law that I refuse to obey. And I'm willing to back up my words with my actions, no matter what price I have to pay. That's a true American attitude, if you ask me.)

July 18, 2007

Old friends

Originally published June 28, 2003

How many people still own a copy of Simon and Garfunkle's Bookends? I do, and I listen to it every now and then. It sails me back in time and makes the song "Old Friends" sound more poignant every time I hear it.

I recently was contacted by someone that I haven't seen or heard from for more than 20 years. He was a good friend who dropped out of my life, moved north and disappeared.

I am going to see that Old Friend again, in Charleston on the 18th of July.

I found his phone number when I spent a weekend with Steve Hamby when it was obvious that Steve was dying. Cancer was killing him slowly and we started talking about Old Friends. A name came up. We did an internet search a got a phone number.

I called and left a message. I called again a few weeks later and left another message. Well, I didn't leave MY number, so that ghost from my past had a difficult time finding me. But he finally did.

I am going to see an Old Friend soon. We have a lot to talk about.

July 17, 2007

"Err on the side of caution"

Originally published July 29, 2005

Somebody barfed that line in my comments. I thought about it for a while. The more I thought about it, the more disgusted I became.

"Err on the side of caution."

Damn! Doesn't that sound like profound philosophy until you think about what it really means? It's LUDDITE thinking.

Little Org runs into the cave to see his father. He is proud of himself. "Look, Daddy!" he says. "I have found a rock that makes FIRE if you strike it with another rock!"

Org's daddy takes the stone away and throws it as far as he can. "No, little Org. Fire can be dangerous. Now, shut up and eat your food raw in the dark. We must err on the side of caution."

Yeah. The same thinking would have demanded that we destroy ANYTHING new. After Little Org was told not to build a fire, he invented a wheel.

"Look, Mama! If we use this, we can ROLL things around instead of dragging them! Do you like it?" And mama said, "Throw that away!!! You'll hurt yourself or put your eye out. We don't need such dangerous things as wheels. We must err on the side of caution!"

Bejus. That's the thinking of sheep, cowards and idiots.

A bet I lost

Originally published July 29, 2005

When I was about 18 years old, I had a friend named Keith. He was tall and skinny, but he could eat like a horse. Looking back now, I'm pretty sure he must have had a serious tapeworm or a stomach that should be donated to medical science.

We went to a Burger King one day and he bet that he could eat five Whoppers (with cheese), a large order of fries and drink the biggest milkshake they had in the place. And he could do it in 30 minutes.

The bet was $5.00 and the loser picked up the tab for his meal. My buddies and I pooled our resources and scrounged up enough money to call Keith on that dare.

The sumbitch did it. He ate FIVE Whoppers, scarfed the french fries, drank the milk shake and then took his winnings to buy TWO fried apple pies, which he ALSO ate, ALL within 30 minutes. I've never seen another episode of such gluttony in my life.

Bejus! I don't know how he did it, but he did. And this is a TRUE story!

I'd like to sample

Originally published July 29, 2005

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

Here are supposedly the best 20 hamburgers in America. I've never tasted one of them. Piss on that list--- I'll give you the top five of my own.

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 16, 2007

A close one

Originally published December 5, 2005

I THOUGHT I had an AA meeting to attend in Statesboro tonight. I left home in a pouring rainstorm, made it to what I THOUGHT was the proper location 30 minutes early and couldn't find the meeting. I asked a sweet young thing on the first floor if she knew where the meeting might be, and she sent me to the third floor of the building.

I went there and didn't see anything resembling an AA meeting in any of the rooms. No coffee pot anywhere was a dead giveaway. I started back to the elevator when I met a nicely-dressed, dapper-looking man in the hallway. Hell--- he looked like he COULD be a drunk (drunks will fool ya that way), so I asked HIM about the meeting.

"I think that's on Tuesday," he said. I showed him my list of meetings, and it damn sure said Monday AND Tuesday on it. I was in the right place, too. "Well, they meet on the second floor. If there's a meeting, you'll find it there."

I thanked the guy and went to the second floor. No meeting there, either. I waited around until five minutes after the meeting was scheduled to start before I gave up. I left the building and drove back home.

I wasn't really pissed. After the rain quit, I had a pleasant drive to Statesboro, and the trip got me out of the house. That's always a good thing.

But I almost had a terrible wreck on the way home.

I was all the way to Highway 21 between Springfield and Rincon when I saw a bunch of tail lights and warning flashers on the right side of the road ahead of me. A cop car with blue lights flashing came tearing across the median and sped toward the scene. I slowed down and eased over into the left lane.

About the time that I realized there was a terrible wreck up there, the jackass in front of me stood on his brakes and STOPPED in the left lane, right beside a car that was stopped in the right lane. I was looking at a roadblock.

I hit my brakes and started sliding and fishtailing on the wet pavement. I wasn't certain I could stop before I slammed into one of the cars in front of me, so I started looking for a place to bail as I fought the wheel to keep from going into a spin. I saw a guardrail to my left and another car to my right.

Nowhere to go.

Just about the time I made up my mind to eat the guardrail rather than hit another car, I got everything back under control and stopped a good two feet from the car in front of me. I was perfectly calm---downright SERENE--- except for a burning desire to drag that rubber-necking sumbitch out of the car in front of me and beat the living shit out of him for stopping in the road the way he did.

I was almost home before I wondered... could I have done that bit of stunt-driving if I had been drinking? If not, my happy ass would probably be in jail right now, with a fistfull of tickets, a DUI and a potential lawsuit for whiplash on my hands. Bejus! That would be pure ugliness on the half-shell.

I think my Higher Power was sending me a message tonight.

Can you hear me now?

Originally published December 1, 2005

I remembered where I parked the car. It was right over there under the streetlight in the parking lot. I arrived at twilight and it was dark now, but I could see the car plain as day. I walked up to it and hit the "unlock" button on my keyless remote.

I heard a "click," and I tried to open the door. No go. The door was still locked. I hit the "unlock" button again. No click this time and the door still wouldn't open.

Hmmm... WTF was this?

I hit the "lock" and "unlock" buttons a couple of times and heard the distinct sound of a car door locking and unlocking. I tried the door again and it remained stubbornly locked. I stepped over under the streetlight to examine the remote to make sure I was pressing the right buttons. I was.

I turned around to go back to the car and try again when I saw it.

THERE was MY car, two spaces away from the one I was trying to steal gain access to. The clicks I heard were coming from OVER THERE! Evidently, my keyless remote has at least a 10-yard range on it.

I looked around furtively to make sure nobody was a witness to my colossal brain-fart. Quickly, I stepped over to MY car, got inside and drove away.

Bejus! That episode was no anomaly, either. I am stuck on stupid anymore. The feeling is quite disconcerting.

But it's better than being stuck on drunk.

Don't ask me why

Originally published December 2, 2005

You're probably wondering why I am blogging at such an ungodly hour. I am wondering the same thing.
[Ed. 4:24am, on the original post.]

During my 38 days of rest and relaxation at the Willingway Health and Beauty Spa, I developed a distinct sleep routine. I went to bed early and woke up when the nurse barged into my room to take my vital signs before sunrise in the morning. Sometimes she tied a piece of rubber tubing around my arm and took a blood sample, too. About the only thing she DIDN'T do at least once was run a finger up my brown-eye to check my oil.

I became accustomed to this routine and I decided to keep it up once I came home. So, it's been early to bed and early to rise for me all week long, even without the blood-pressure cuffs and the hypodermic needles rousing me from sleep. I was doing pretty good with it, too--- until tonight.

I went to bed at 11:00 PM. I couldn't get comfortable. I tossed and turned for a while. My legs started to ache, with a deep, annoying throb that seemed to come from the bone, just like the "growing pains" I experienced as a boy. My back itched in a place I couldn't reach with either hand. My feet felt cold.

I finally said, "To hell with THIS," and got up to watch a movie on TV and drink some apple juice--- the very same juice that my grandmother gave me on Tuesday--- the stuff that packs a very powerful laxative effect if you drink a lot at one sitting. (Do THAT and you'll be soon be sitting, all right, listening to the sound of a covey of quail flying right outta your ass!)

I wasn't paying much attention to the movie when I suddenly realized what was bothering me. It wasn't my aching legs, my itching back or my cold feet.

I was craving a drink of liquor. And I mean REALLY craving.

That's happened to me only three or four times since I came home from Willingway, and never in the middle of the night like this. But it was a bad craving.

I'm glad that I don't have any liquor in the house, because an evil voice was whispering bad things in my ear. "Nobody will know. Just take ONE drink. Just ONE, that's all. Then you can go to sleep. You WANT to sleep, don't you? Go ahead. Just one LITTLE drink."

I now know how Odessus felt when he was tied to the mast of his ship listening to the Song of the Sirens. If I had a bottle stashed around here I would have been sorely tempted to take a slash. Or two. Or three. Or an entire quart.

Instead, I went to my computer, surfed a few blogs and threw up a couple of posts just to keep my hands from becoming the devil's playthings. That craving is pretty much gone now.

But I drank three glasses of apple juice. I may be riding the stone pony before long and listening to sound of fluttering quail wings.

The bad part is, I'm still not sleepy. The good part is, I AM still sober.

July 15, 2007

I dance like a fucktard

Originally published August 31, 2005

I'll confess--- I really DO dance like a fucktard, so that's why I seldom dance. I have to be pretty drunk and totally uninhibited to get up and show my ass on a dance floor.

I envy people who dance well. It looks like so much FUN and I wish I could do it, too. But I can't. You wanna picture ME dancing? Just try to imagine a monkey fucking a football. Then--- picture the monkey displaying more dignity than I do when I dance.

I've never understood why I was so cursed.

I'm a MUSICIAN, for crying out loud. I can play several different musical instruments and I've been in a lot of different bands. I don't have any trouble keeping time or picking up a beat when I play, but I get all discombobulated when I try to dance.

Jennifer asked me once when she watched me play bass guitar with my old rock & roll band, "What are you doing with your feet?" I didn't know what she was talking about. "You're up there on stage tapping your toes in TWO DIFFERENT beats, neither of which matches the music. How do you do that?"

I wasn't aware of doing that. I just felt the music and my toes started twitching. I wasn't paying any attention to my feet. But she damned nearly ruined my bass-playing because I STARTED watching my feet and almost forgot how to keep up with the band. Instead of playing, I was dancing.

Some people just need to accept their limitations and be content with what they CAN do. Thinking too much is not good for you. After that night, I made peace with the facts.

I can play, but I dance like a fucktard.

A trainer again

Originally published August 31, 2005

Let me tell you how a sulfuric acid plant operates. Very simply, and I'm not going into much detail.

You start with a giant blower that pulls in outside air and runs it through a Drying Tower, where 1,800 gallons per minute of 93% sulfuric acid cascades through a maximum contact ABSORBTION system that removes any moisture from the air. The dry air is then fed into a Sulfur Furnace, where it provides oxygen to combust molten sulfur, carefully melted and heated to 380 degrees F before it is atomized in the furnace.

It burns and produces SO2 gas.

The SO2 gas is passed through a converter filled with vanadium pentoxide catalyst that converts the SO2 to SO3 gas as rapidly as possible. Maintaining temperature control is essential to make this reaction happen. Therefore, the gas passes through a series of waste-heat boilers and gas-to-gas heat exchangers before it hits the Interpass Tower, where the gas is ADSORBED (not ABSORBED) in a steam of 98% sulfuric acid, pumped at a rate of up to 3,600 gallons per minute.

The temperature of the recirc acid is just as important as the temperature of the gas. Interpass acid MUST be between 170 and 190 degrees F or it won't ADSORB, and your fumes go right out the stack.

As your 93% acid keeps ABSORBING moisture from the air, it gets weaker. As your 98% acid ADSORBS more SO3, it gets stronger. So, you cross-breed the 98% with the 93% and add water through dip legs that extend almost all the way to the bottom of a pump tank. That's how you ADD WATER TO ACID without causing an explosion. You do it from the bottom in a brick-lined tank.

The gas leaving the Interpass tower makes one more pass through the converter, where any remaining SO2 is converted to SO3 and ADSORBED in another acid-bath. Ideally, at the end, you have nothing but nitrogen leaving the stack with a trace amount of unconverted SO2 gas (less than 3 pounds per ton of acid, according to our operating permit, and we ALWAYS beat that standard if things were working right).

If you don't believe me about this shit, just ask catfish. He operated the acid plant for a long, long time. I was his boss for several good years.

It's been a while since I trained anybody on how to do this (it's a complicated job), but I still remember how.

Some things you just don't forget.

It's over for me

Originally published August 31, 2005

I've been invited to a couple of blog-meets this fall. I ain't going.

I talked with Catfish today and he agrees with me. The first two were a lot of fun. After that, things became political and I don't like that shit. As I asked Cat today, "when did you ever go to one of these "meets" when you DIDN'T end up giving money to somebody?"

The answer was "NEVER!" and I've had enough of that crap. I'd rather drive down to the Catfish Manor and shoot alligators than go to another blog-meet. I bring my own beer when I see Catfish. I don't ask Cat for a fucking dime, but I know I always have a bed to sleep in there.

And when I depart, I leave all the beer or liquor I brought in HIS kitchen. That's called good manners Down South. Usually, he feeds me, and I like to pay my own way. He and Nancy are good people. I like having friends such as those two, even if Joe's cats DO love me.
I hate the fucking cats.

But I'm done with blog-meets. Reminds me too much of cats.

July 14, 2007


Originally published June 1, 2006

When I was in high school, I thought that having a LOT of "friends" was IMPORTANT. In fact, I had the bizarre notion that popularity equalled worth back in those days. And I tried very hard to be worthy.

As I grew older, I changed my mind. I realized that TRUE friends are few and far between, and "friendships" had nothing whatsoever to do with popularity or whether you dated a certain cheerleader or not. Friendship came from trust, and a certainty that you could count on THAT person when you were down and out.

True friends accept you as you are, warts and all. THEY know your flaws better than you do yourself, and they still believe that you're worth having as a friend. I'm very lucky to have a few of those people in my life today. I've known them for YEARS, and they've seen me at my very best and at my very worst, too.

THEY would never turn on me, kick me when I was down or slander my name all over the internet, even if they thought that I deserved it. Friends just DON'T DO THAT.

My ex-wife got all pissed off at me when I received a phone call at 2:00 in the morning from two of my REAL FRIENDS who were stranded on the road with car trouble on Highway 25, somewhere between Savannah and Augusta. I crawled out of bed and went to rescue them, while my darling wife harped at me, saying "YOU have to go to work in the morning! Let 'em find their OWN way home!!!"

I drove through the darkness up Highway 25 until I found them. Then, I gave them both a ride to their homes. THEN, I went to work, two hours late, but I called my boss and TOLD HIM ahead of time that I would be "a little late" getting to work, because I had "personal business" to conduct at 2:00 in the morning.

He asked no questions. Hell--- I NEVER missed work and I NEVER showed up late, so I had a lot of markers in reserve for me to use in a situation such as that one. I cashed a few of 'em that day for my FRIENDS. That's what I was saving them for.

When I got off work that day, I picked up one of MY FRIENDS, drove back up Highway 25 until we found his dead vehicle, hooked his car to my truck with a strap, and I TOWED his defunct vehicle all the way back to Savannah. I didn't get home again until well after dark.

The wife continued to bitch at me. "Are you outta your MIND, Rob? You spent half of last night and most of today doing something STUPID!!! Do you think that those guys would have done that for YOU???"

I didn't answer that question, but I knew the answer. The ex-wife simply could not understand the concept of friendship the way that I did. (She never had many friends--- I wonder why?) I thought, YES!!! Those guys WOULD have done the same thing for me, with no questions asked. That's what friends DO.

Those guys also know some of my deepest, darkest secrets, and they've never "shared" those with ANYBODY else that I'm aware of. Friends don't do that kinda catty, cuntly stuff. It's that pesky TRUST thing that makes friendships difficult to maintain for untrustworthy people.

Trust is the one thing in this world that can't be repaired once you break it.

If I received the same call tonight, I would do the same thing again. I also have no doubt in my mind that if I were stranded on the road and I called THEM, they would come and get me. Those guys are MY FRIENDS, and they would be there if I needed them. I haven't played that card many times in my life, but when I DID, my friends were there when I asked for help.

I suffer a lot of physical pain now, but I can cope with that. Hell, a human being can become comfortable with HANGING if he dangles from the rope long enough. But there's one thing that hurts worse than any physical pain you'll EVER experience in life.

That's BETRAYAL. When you trust someone and they betray that trust, it creates a wound that takes a long time to heal, if it ever does heal at all.

Jennifer did that to me, and I'm still reeling from it. Somebody else just did it, too, but I really didn't expect anything different from her. If you put your trust in a despicable person, you're just asking for trouble. I shoulda known better.

But I LOVE the soap opera brewing now. It's VERY interesting to see the people who defend what she did. I damn sure don't want THOSE assholes as "friends," because they are about as trustworthy and reliable as a screaming Global Warming freaktoid.

If I catch THEIR drift, it pretty much says, "You SHOULD fuck your friends!!! Especially if it's ROB!!! We never liked him anyway! There ARE no secrets in this world and YOU are the victim here because Acidman is pissed off!!! GOOD FOR YOU!!! Any sane, logical person woulda done the same thing that YOU did, given the chance!!! Don't be ashamed of being a big-mouthed, lunatic shitass!!! Be PROUD of it!!! He had it coming to him!!!"

As I said before, "with friends like that, I don't need enemies."

And anybody who applauds a vicious, vindictive bitch for being a vicious, vindictive bitch is NOT someone I want for a friend anyway. Y'all have fun together. Birds of a feather, and all of that.

Just be careful about "sharing" any secrets with people who have a trust-quotient below that of a rabid racoon. They'll BITE you, and it'll make you feel VERY STUPID when that happens. You'll kick yourself, because you shoulda recognized a Charles Manson personality when you saw it.

Oh, I SAW it... but I didn't heed my own good sense. I told her things I never should have said to a person so unstable and so fucked-up in the head. She is absolutely correct when she says that it's ALL MY FAULT!!! It is. I trusted someone who didn't deserve it. I ignored all of my good instincts and tried to be nice to a very un-nice person. But I'm gonna try my best NEVER to make that same mistake again.

Ask me again why I just want to be left ALONE. When I'm by myself, I KNOW who I can trust.

Bejus knows that I can't say the same thing when other people get involved in my life. I don't know about YOU, but I don't like it when people stick knives in my back. And I ESPECIALLY don't like it when other people cheer the stabber.

Y'all have some really screwed up values. Don't have many FRIENDS, either, do ya?

I'm sick of everybody

Originally published May 31, 2006

I have not been well for almost two weeks now. I'm talking about SERIOUS, FEEL-LIKE-I'M-GONNA-DIE sickness, and what I've managed to do during that time, other than cling grimly to survival, is make a few "friends" HATE ME because I didn't properly appreciate how much they "cared." At the risk of pissing those folks off even more, I have one thing to say:

With "friends" like YOU, I don't need enemies.

I KNOW that I have at least three wimmen pouting right now because I wasn't properly appreciative when they called me at fucking MIDNIGHT to ask me how I was doing when I quit blogging for a couple of days. Two of them are DOUBLY-PISSED because I didn't even bother to answer my phone when they called. In THEIR minds, I should have jumped right through my Cracker asshole and TALKED to them, no matter how inconvenient or painful it was for me to do at the time.

Somehow... I OWED them something.

What? WHAT do I OWE you? I am NOT unaccustomed to having a woman demand a check from me every month, and I've been paying THAT toll to the troll for five fucking years, despite the fact that I haven't seen or talked to my son since January. Talk to ME again about got-dam debt.

I became badly ill. I did not have a single ONE of the people who "cared" so much show up at my door and offer to nurse me back to health. Oh, no. I got fucking PHONE CALLS and I PISSED OFF some "caring" people when I said that I wasn't in the mood to talk, IF I answered the phone at all. They became very angry.

WTF was THEIR problem? THEY weren't puking their guts out and running a high fever. THEY weren't sweating, shivering and hallucinating at the same time. I WAS. But...

I should have leaped from my bed of affliction and shouted, "I'M CURED!!!" because somebody woke me from blessed sleep with a phone call. I should have said, "Thank Bejus you called!!! I feel MUCH better now!" ???? Gimme a break.

I've gotten along quite well by my own got-dam self for a while now, and I am convined that I can do it a little while longer the same way. If I need YOUR help, I'll ASK for it, and it will be a cold day in hell when THAT happens.

Some of you people MEAN well, but you're fucked in the head if you try to apply your version of "love" to someone like ME. I don't need it and I don't want it, especially when it's something that looks and smells a lot like fish food. I ain't a got-dam guppy in a fresh-water tank. I don't become hysterical over seeing crumbs in the water.

Plus, I have to wonder how much you really "care," when you become as angry as a wet wasp when I don't reciprocate with undying love for YOU over your "caring." What FOR??? Making a phone call ain't exactly like BEING THERE when I needed SOMEBODY.

When I had a hole in my gut and I KNEW that something was BAD wrong, I had to call 911 MYSELF and summon an ambulance to get my ass to the hospital and be rushed to emergency surgery. Who "cared" about that? Nobody but ME.

Just what the hell do you wimmen WANT, anyway?

I've got a sneaky feeling that it ain't ME, so let's fuggedaboudid. I could use a nurse, or a maid, but I don't WANT, CRAVE or NEED another wife. I would rather have a filthy kitchen than put up with another hormonally-crazed bitch in my life. I've TRIED that route. It was a bumpy road.

What I want most now is simple--- LEAVE ME ALONE!!! I'm okay taking care of myself without hauling any excess baggage around with me. And I ain't all that interested in sex anymore, which is bound to confuse some wimmen, because they still believe that THEIR pussy is the most precious commodity in the world. I should be willing to sell my SOUL for a piece of it.

Fuck that idea. I've SOLD MY SOUL already, in TWO marriages. I'm STILL paying CASH to a pure-ass CUNT for one of those failed attempts at normalcy, too. Pussy has been the cause of the greatest downfalls in my life, and I was taught to learn from my mistakes. I'm trying to now.

So... all you empaths, phone-sexers and pussy-peddlers can just kiss MY Cracker ass. I don't WANT what you're pushing, and I don't NEED it in my life at this moment. Hell, my sex drive is so low now that I don't even masturbate anymore. Besides, I've already had enough pussy to last most men five lifetimes. I don't REQUIRE any more.

And I damn sure don't require the head-problems that go hand-in-crotch with pussy. And I ain't talking about MY head problems, either, although I'll admit that I have plenty of 'em. It's just a simple fact that I have discovered through YEARS of research (and TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MY OWN DOLLARS spent on the discovery).

My conclusion is: ALL WIMMEN ARE CRAZY!!!

When you meet a woman for the first time, the only questions you need to ask yourself are--- "HOW crazy IS she?" (It's not a question of "IF") and "HOW MUCH will this one COST me for the pussy?"

Do I sound jaded and mysogonistic? Good. I MEANT to sound that way, because I AM jaded and sick and tired of pussy-toters. {Pussy always comes with a woman's head attached, and unless she's performing fellatio, that head is one spooky place.) Most wimmen make fire ants seem tame by comparison.

A lot of guys I know aren't much better, but at least they can pee outdoors while standing up. I'm sick of THEM, too.

Just leave ME the fuck alone.


Originally published May 31, 2006

Did you ever notice that people who call themselves "empaths" are anything BUT that? Did you ever notice that they profess their "love" for you by threatening to kill you? (out of empathy, of course) Did you ever notice how they leave shitty comments about you on other blogs, trash you own their own blogs and then get all pissed off when you mention their obvious assholery?

Did you ever WONDER about such people when they started to make phone calls and email other people that they didn't know, warning of orgies and threesomes that YOU never thought about but THEY "empathed" in their fevered imaginations before a blog-meet? Did you get a lot of flak from OTHER PEOPLE about what the "empath" had done?

Good. Neither have I.

But I'm not an "empath," so what do I know?

(And dear empath--- if you think I'm talking about YOU, you're just wrong, wrong, wrong. You're imagining things, the same way other people do when they call YOU somewhat... bizarre, like when you rant about ME and then say that you're NOT ranting about ME because you didn't mention any NAMES. But you still want to shoot ME. Just Dayum! Being an empath must really be rough, with that problem of keeping fantasy and reality all sorted out.)

Just try some more bananas and pancakes for breakfast.

(By the way... be sure and check the comments on this post to see how a REAL "empath" behaves when confronted with her own assholery. She STRIKES LIKE A SNAKE!!!! Calls me a drunk!!!! SAYS THAT I'M DRUNK NOW!!! TELLS THE WORLD that I'm drunk ALL THE TIME anymore. But that's just because, being such an empath, she FEELS MY PAIN!!!

See what I meant in that post?)

July 13, 2007

I like this joke

Originally published June 26, 2003

Why not?

Two dwarfs go into a bar, where they pick up two prostitutes and take them to their separate hotel rooms. The first dwarf, however, is unable to get an erection. His depression is made worse by the fact that, from the next room, he hears his little friend shouting out cries of, "Here I come again...ONE, TWO, THREE...UUH!" all night long.

In the morning, the second dwarf asks the first, "How did it go?"

The first mutters, "It was so embarrassing. I simply couldn't get an erection."

The second dwarf shook his head. "You think that's embarrassing? I couldn't even get on the bed..."

Personally, I think that dwarf #2 should have used the floor or the coffee table. And I think dwarf #1 should see my urologist. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!

13 days and counting...

Something personal

Originally published June 26, 2003

Yeah, I'm making a big deal about getting a pump installed in less than two weeks. If I sound as if I am obsessing about it, I am.

I've always been a vigorous man. I played every kind of sport, including water polo, did a lot of outdoor activities, including hiking to the top of Hangover Mountain FIVE TIMES, and once up that trail usually is enough for anybody. I became at home in the woods and enjoyed shooting firearms from an early age. I was a writer and a musician. I was willing to try anything once.

I also liked wimmen. A LOT. I was quite a swordsman in my guitar-playing days and after I read some Wilt Chamberlain-type claims of incredible bedding, I tried to make a list of the women I have pleasured in my life. I ran out of names to go with the faces. I remember the times and the places, or at least 85% of them, but I was heavily into the vampire life in those days. I drank, drugged and debauched, stayed up until sunrise and slept until dark. I wish I could go back and do it ALL over again in that 20-something body I had back then.

When I settled down and went straight, I thought those wild days were behind me. I thought I would become Ward Cleaver. But I didn't. I became an ex-guitar player with a wife and a child and a real job. It didn't work out the way I planned it.

I was ambitious. When I first made supervisor, I knew how ignorant I was about things I needed to know. So, I put in incredible amounts of unpaid overtime just to learn from the guys who DID know. If I had a problem on my shift that I couldn't resolve, I stayed over to watch what happened when the seasoned foreman took over. I learned a lot that way.

I remember not seeing my father for a week once, when I was eight years old. He was pulling sixteen-hour shifts 1500 to 0700 and he slept while I was at school and was gone back to work by the time I got home. My mama praised him for that.

"We've been living tight, boys, and daddy is making money while it's there to be made. He does that because he loves us, and don't you ever forget that. Your daddy is a HARD WORKER. And where I come from, if you ain't a hard worker, we say "PFFFTTTT!" on you."

Mama would have said "SHIT ON YOU," if she wasn't my mama. She is a hillbilly lady. She thinks it, but she doesn't say it. That's the difference between her and me. If I think it, I say it.

And PFFFTTTT! on you if you don't like it.

But she and my father taught me to work hard if you expect any results. Hard work has given me everything I ever got in life, including this blog. I post a lot, and that is hard work. I was raised to work hard.

My first ex-wife didn't think that way. She declared that I was putting my job before my family, which I thought was hoot because she became the QUEEN BEE, unable to work anymore, but capable of putting me in $17,000 worth of credit card debt in two years. Her response? "I'm worth it."

Trust me. She wasn't worth it.

My second ex-wife was my one TRUE LOVE and understanding her is difficult, after seeing all of my shit stacked in boxes, with labels on them, and about two week's worth of my clothes piled in my truck. She is efficient. She is very good-looking. She's a bloodless cunt, too, which helps with that efficiency quotient. Her outstanding bloodlessness is much admired at work. My company WANTS people like her.

She is an attack-hound now, and she is perfectly matched with her job.

I've had to put up will all the shit she gave me, all the snotty crap, all the fucking around for 20 miserable months, and it's about to change.

Some women find me attractive, but I don't court and spark when I know that my dick is dead. Mine is. As dead as a dick can get, when the nerves that do the good stuff are severed. I have a couple of wimmen who simply enjoy my company, and I've used fix-a-flat on both of them. I also told them both that I wouldn't do that anymore.

They didn't run screaming. They still come over to visit. Hell, I may have a dead dick, but I've kept my tongue in shape. BWHAHAHAHAHAAA! Yes, I have become a cunning linguist in the meantime.

If I can talk them BOTH into coming over at the same time to check out the bionic dick, I will be a happy man.

My life is about to CHANGE! And I am goddam ready for it.

How I met my neighbor

Originally published June 26, 2003

When I went back to my urologist six months after my surgery and complained about a dead dick, he suggested the fix-a-flat option. My late friend Steve Hamby told me all about THAT after his surgery, so I said, "Hell yeah! Why not?" I was really missing a genuine hard-on by then.

A very businesslike nurse came into the room, grabbed my limp dick, stretched it out nearly as long as its former length and said, "Pay attention. You need to learn to do this." Then she picked up a needle and loaded it from a vial.

I paid close attention, as least as much as I could with my eyes closed and every muscle in my body tensed tightly enough to strike a kitchen match on. She gave me the shot and it didn't hurt much.

Then she said, "Watch this video and we'll check back on you in ten minutes." She plugged the video into a 12" VCR and I expected PORNO! What I got was a guy using a suction pump and a rubber band to simulate an erection.

That didn't matter. The juice was taking effect. The nurse told me that I might need to "play with myself" to get things going right, and I've never had a problem with THAT, so I did. Roscoe got hard. Roscoe started to resemble his old self. Roscoe also started to hurt like hell.

I stopped playing with him. I pulled two chairs together and assumed a fetal position while I broke out in a cold sweat. It was like having a terrible phallus-cramp that hurt badly enough to make me want to puke. I thought I was going to pass out. THAT'S how bad it was.

I was curled up that way when the doctor and nurse came back to check on me. The nurse said, "Let me see what you've got there," which would be a GREAT LINE in a bar, but not so good in the doctor's office. She grabbed that blue-steel boner of mine and shook it, saying, "Oh! You'll have no problem achieving penetration with THAT."

I screamed and told her to turn it loose. It HURT to have a woman touch my dick. I knew that something was terribly wrong.

The doctor said that I would need to adjust the dosage to fit me through trial and error and he gave me a bagfull of Celebrix to take before a shot and set of muscle relaxers to take if things went wrong. I could tell right then that this fix-a-flat science was really precice.

I waddled out, paid my bill and drove home, praying that I wouldn't have a wreck and be required to explain the throbbing, painful hard-on I had at the time. I could see some asshole EMT looking at my burned, dead body on the highwayand saying, "He must have died happy! Look at his boner!"

That thing had a mind of its own.

I got home, put on a pair of gym shorts and sat on the couch. That's when my doorbell rang. I answered it. Sherry, my across the street neighbor, came by to visit. She wanted a glass of wine a place to get away from her grandchildren. I told her that she was welcome but I might not be good company. I was in pain.

She asked, "Why?" and I half-masted my shorts and said "THIS IS WHY!" The damned thing was about to crawl out on its own anyway, so I showed it to her. She was fascinated with my problem. She saw no problem at all. She said "If you don't mind me saying, every man should have a problem like that."

That's when I had to explain that this was a medically-induced, artificial and not granted on a guarantee basis thing that I really didn't like. She said, "I can handle that. Can YOU?"

No, I couldn't.

That's why I'm about to never have to do it again.

I tried every bit of that shit. I didn't want to be impotent. I wanted to fuck when I felt like it, just like the good old days.

I may be able to do that again, finally.

July 12, 2007

Home early!

Originally publishd April 16, 2003

The training class ended at 1:30 this afternoon, I went to pick up my new derringer and I am home before 5:00 for a change.


I shook hands with the CEO of my company before breakfast this morning and he chatted me up as if we were old friends. He knew what job I held, my son's first name and how long I had worked there.

That's why you are required to wear a name tag at these meetings. The CEO receives a short bio for everyone in the room (all 30 of them) and he memorizes them all just for this kind of small talk. It's impressive as hell to watch him do what he does. He might not be able to pick my face out of a crowd of three people, but when he saw that name tag, he knew what to say to Rob Smith, just as he did with every other person in the room.

I find that amazing.

Strange things I do

Originally published April 16, 2003

After breakfast with the CEO today, he held a question and answer session. He does that every time he visits one of the production sites he governs and he has rules for this exchange. He brings out a baseball and asks if today is anyone's birthday. If today isn't someone's birthday, he goes for the next upcoming birthday and tosses that person the ball. You'd better catch it.

If you catch the ball, you get (ARE REQUIRED) to ask the CEO the most important question on your mind about the company. If you DROP THE BALL, he reaches under the table, picks up a beach ball with a map of the globe on it, and tosses THAT ball to you. Catch it, and you get (ARE REQUIRED) to ask him two questions. Drop the beach ball and you get to ask THREE questions.

This was a "communications session," which is a really good idea, although it can be most intimidating in that format. This guy is the MOTHER OF ALL BOSSES where I work, and he is the MOTHER OF ALL BOSSES around the globe in his company empire. He is not a person you wish to piss off for no good reason.

After the CEO answers YOUR question, you are required to announce the name of another person in the room and toss the baseball to him or her. I had five good questions written down on paper before I entered the room this morning. I've been to one of these sessions before and I know that if you don't get the ball early, someone else will ask your "good" question and you will be stuck, sitting there with a thumb up your ass, when the ball comes your way. I took precautions to assure that I WOULD NOT be caught with a thumb up my ass in front of the CEO of my company.

I had a deal with my friend and fellow coordinator, Leo, that if the ball came to me, I would call him next, and if it came to him, he would do the same for me. You really want to get this shit over with before all the good questions are asked. Plus, we can both toss and catch.

Leo got the ball first. He asked his question and got about a 10-minute reply from the CEO. It was a good question. Then, he said, "Okay, ROB!," and tossed the ball to me. I caught it.

I may write a blog entry about the question I asked and the answer I got, because it involves Iraq and oil prices. My company is heavily invested in Oil and Gas as one of it's core businesses. The CEO is an old wildcat oilman. He spoke about 20 minutes on my topic and I was very comforted by what he had to say.

I own a lot of stock in my company.

Then, it was my turn to toss the baseball to someone else. I stood up. I don't know what came over me, because almost everybody in the room (a few imports from cross-country may have been out of the loop, but the CEO and everyone else there knew that I was in the room with my ex-wife-- they had seated her as far away from me as possible) but I saw her, looking away from me, but still at a perfect throwing angle.

I said, "Jennifer!" She turned my way, surprised, and I gave her a nice, easy, underhanded toss that she caught. "Good catch," I said, and sat down. She gave me the strangest look from those beautiful blue eyes of hers, then turned and asked the CEO her question.

After the meeting was over, I went outside to smoke a cigarette and she walked up to me. She looked puzzled.

"Why did you do that?" she asked.

"Do what?" I responded, while she lit a cigarette of her own.

"Throw the ball to me and make it easy to catch," she said.

"You were easy to throw to where you were sitting. Plus, I know that everybody likes to get their questions in early before somebody else steals them. Call it Professional Courtesy."

"Rob, you did it because that's YOU. You ALWAYS try to do the last thing anybody expects you to do. That was your way of telling the whole room to kiss your ass, wasn't it? I should have known you would throw me the ball. That was SO YOU! (Did I mention that I wanted everybody in the room to KNOW that I could handle being there with my ex-wife? Did I mention that I threw the ball the HER because that was the LAST THING anybody expected me to do? Sorry. I should have mentioned that.))

"By the way, I need you on a team I'm forming to track steam usage and costs in the plant. I would never have been tasked with this job if I hadn't listened to you talk about it for years. That's how I know what I know. But I don't know what YOU know. If it makes you uncomfortable, you can say no, but I really need your knowledge on this team."

Oh, the things I should have said! Oh, the things I THOUGHT ABOUT saying! But I didn't do any of that. This was about work. I said, "If it's about steam, you know I'm in. Other than Zeigler, who else in the plant knows diddly-squat about it? And I taught him most of what HE knows."

We ate lunch together. I enjoyed that. It was really nice to talk to her again, in complete civility, even if it was all strictly business. I have as much passion for my work as she does for hers. We've always had that in common.

But I remain an ex-husband to her. I am a "resource" and a "subject matter expert," for this project, and that's it. But I'll be exactly that if she needs me to do that job. She knows where to go to find the right people to make herself look good, but I wouldn't turn down the assignment if it came from someone else.

I'll do it. That's my job.

But somebody in my comments nailed the situation just right. I don't hate her. I still love her. And I will for a long, long time.

Bore blogs

Originally published April 15, 2003

* I changed the battery in my truck in the middle of a rainstorm in the Wal-Mart parking lot last week. I left the old battery in the bed of my truck. It's been banging around back there like a wild caribou in heat every time I turned a corner for almost a week now. I took it out of my truck bed today. I got my hands dirty. I went inside to wash my hands and left the battery in the driveway.

* While I was washing my hands, I noticed that my house was dirty. I decided to blog.

* I noticed tonight that my back door hasn't been locked since Saturday. I may lock it tomorrow.

* I got up to do something, then went to find my reading glasses. I walked by a mirror and saw that I was wearing them. I was happy to find my glasses on my face. They weren't lost after all. I was.

* I don't have to be where I usually am in the morning until an hour later than I usually get there. Should I reset my alarm clock? If I do, I'll just have to reset it AGAIN tomorrow. I'm really confused about how to handle this problem.

* Think about the UGLIEST PERSON YOU EVER SAW. I can top whatever you came up with. That's one of the real detriments about living in a tourist town. Some really ugly people come here. I was taking a seminar at a tourist hotel. I saw a lot of ugly people during my breaks. Do ugly people have more money than pretty people? Just wonderin'.

* When they turned me upside-down by hand in that training class today, I liked it. But I don't like roller coasters. Why am I that convoluted in my thinking? I am a sick man.

* I don't want to be President of the United States. If I were, I would lobby for a recall vote, then veto it if it ever came to pass. THAT'LL fuck 'em up! Bwhahaha!

* I don't sleep much anymore, but I want to go to bed now. When I DID sleep a lot, I tried my best to stay awake as long I could. Those were the days. Now I go to bed early, wake up in the mornings and stay awake whether I want to or not. I TOLD you that I am confused.

* I'm bored now.

July 11, 2007

It's a training thing

Originally published April 12, 2003

Our Training Department just got a wild boost of inspiratation from on high, with a little help from our sister plant in Australia (which I hope to visit some day, when I have a week's vacation to burn along with the business trip). They tested my operators for "Job Competence" and a mere 45% of my operators passed.

The operators are pissed. "THEY SAY I DON'T KNOW HOW TO RUN MY JOB!", they screamed. I disagreed, saying that obviously they could run the jobs, but the tests showed that they didn't have a clue what they were doing when they THOUGHT they were running the job. They didn't like my take on the matter.

But Friday, I had the perfect opportunity to TELL them and SHOW them what this training program is all about. They fought feeding "B" micronizer all night long Thursday. It wouldn't take feed. It kept blowing back. Dust was everywhere and my people worked their asses off that night. I heard every theory about what might be wrong from a slipped venturi to a complete overhaul of the micronizer.

I went to look. The micronizer exhaust blower was pulling 32 amps. It should run 65 with feed on the mills and 75 with feed off. I don't run that job every day of my working life, but I KNOW THAT. I got two guys together who DO RUN THAT JOB EVERY FUCKING DAY OF THEIR WORKING LIVES and asked them, "Look HERE!" Do you see anything wrong?"

They didn't. I wanted to collapse on the floor.

I have people operating jobs where they know what buttons to push and how to turn it off when something goes wrong, but they don't have a glimmer about how ANY of that shit actually works. I ended up giving a speech in the control room after I had mechanics tighten the drive belts on the exhaust blower and put a vacuum back on the mill. The mill ran fine after that.

I told everybody in the room that I wanted to hear NO MORE SHIT from them about the training department calling them "incompetent." If an entire shift spent 12 hours pissing in the wind and I find the problem in five minutes, I've obviously got a bunch of incompetent assholes working for me. Even when I POINTED to the problem, my fucksticks didn't recognize it.

I said that if I were an operator and I needed somebody like ME to bail me out of that kind of trouble because I didn't know what I was doing, I would admit that I was a dumbass. I would SEEK the help of the training department so that I never embarassed myself like that again. I would PLEAD for them to train me.

But my real problem is raw material. You've got to have a brain to start with before you can stuff it full of knowledge. I realize now that I don't have a lot of active brains working for me. No wonder the training department says that I'm in trouble. I am.

But the operators think the training department is picking on them, and they've copped an attitude. I can't have that situation in my ranks.

I may have to shoot a hostage.

All ready

Originally published April 14, 2003

I have to attend a two-day training seminar starting tomorrow, so I finished my state taxes, figured out how to utilize the new printer/copier/scanner I bought two weeks ago and made copies of everything. I made more copies than I needed just because I think my printer is really neat. THAT'S a cool piece of office equipment for $100.

I have all my tax shit in one sock so that I can drop it off at the post office tomorrow morning on the way to class. I really don't like to wait to the last minute in most things I do, but paying my taxes is different. I would just as soon not do it at all. I owe the Feds $40, but I'm getting $360 back from the state (I always underwithold from those thieves. They can't be trusted.) That's more than enough to pay for the derringer I'm buying tomorrow. In fact, I think I'm going to see if Mack has a nice target pistol to go along with it, or I might ask for something very few people will understand.

I want a single-shot, bolt-action .22 rifle, just for nostalgia's sake. That's the first kind of gun my daddy ever let me shoot, and when I became proficient with it, and could handle it safely, he let me go off into the woods with it all by myself.

If you've never gone down to the riverbank with a single-shot .22 and pocketsfull of bullets, then searched through the trash people threw down there to select light bulbs, Miller pony bottles and Barbie-Doll heads, then set those targets up on a fallen oak-trunk and picked 'em off one at a time, you haven't lived. Especially after you had to operate the bolt and stick another bullet in the breech after every shot.

And if you never turned around and plugged fiddler crabs in the marsh mud after that, you damn sure weren't a Southern boy. At least not from South Georgia. Fiddler crabs were small targets and they MOVED! You had to be a good shot to hit them, one shot at a time. That one shot at a time thing wouldn't be a bad idea for Quinton right now.

That stuff teaches you the discipline to make every shot count. It slows life down enough that father and son can communicate better. I want a single-shot, bolt-action .22. I want it because it was a part of my youth, and I want it because my son doesn't need sixteen rounds in a rifle. If I leave him alone with that Marlin, he'll be shooting from the hip as fast as he can pull the trigger like some character on a video game and hiting nothing because he won't know how to aim.

I want a young BOY'S GUN. I want it for for me, but for MY BOY, too. If Mack doesn't have one, he can order it for me. But I remember seeing TWO old ones when I picked out the derringer. I'll bet that he hasn't sold them both.

I'll bring one home tomorrow.

Training day

Originally published April 15, 2003

I dropped off my tax returns at the post office at 0630 this morning. The only reason that I didn't crawl up there and shit down the slot where I put the envelopes is that I couldn't figure out how to assume the proper position. Otherwise, I would have. Take THAT from me TOO, Uncle Sam.

I arrived at the Desoto Hilton at 0645, fifteen minutes ahead of when I was instructed to be there. I wasn't warned about the hour-long breakfast that followed. I don't eat breakfast at 0700 in the morning unless I've been up drinking all night long. I ate a chunk of pineapple and a piece of stringy bacon that stayed stuck between my molars all day, then smoked cigarettes outside while everybody else enjoyed their leasurely repast.

We finally started class at 0800. That's when I saw the untimate insult to my sanity show up at exactly 0801, when everybody else was already one minute into the classroom session.

My ex-wife entered the room and sat down.

Yes, my company thoughtfully scheduled BOTH OF US to attend "teamwork, trust and leadership" training together. Seeing her there put me right off that "teamwork and trust" part of the day.

That episode in Chinese Water Torture lasted until 1800 this evening, whereupon I skipped out on the "happy hour" in the Hospitality Suite and the Group Dinner at 1900. Fuck that.

Needless to say, caught in the Savannah traffic, I was unable to make it to Mack's Gun Shop before closing time, so I can't get my derringer until tomorrow, when all the bullshit is supposed to be over by 1430, so that people the company flew in from out of town to be here can catch their planes home.

Things I did today:

I volunteered to become a Human Gyroscope and be spun 360 degrees, head over heels by my group and set back on the floor in one piece. The only person in our group who weighed less than I do was female, and she didn't want all those hands on her body. I said that I would be the gyroscope. After they successfully twirled me, to demonstrate my trust in my team members, I did it again holding a glass of water. Not only did I not spill a drop, but the guy from HR who was videotaping our games missed it, so I did it AGAIN without spilling a drop. Actually it was kinda fun, even though all the change fell out of my pockets the first time I went upside down.

I would NOT have volunteered for that hazardous duty had my ex-wife been part of my support group.

I learned to carry a set and ready to spring mousetrap all the way across a large ballroom and set it down on a table while using nothing but a table spoon to handle the job. There is a trick to that task, which I finally figured out after dropping a few mousetraps and having them snap at me from the floor. I think I toted about 30 in a row after I learned the secret through trial and error.

My ex-wife WAS part of that exercise, and once I figured out how to carry a loaded mouse trap, I thought seriously about having a tripping incident and seeing if I couldn't "accidentally" hit her in the face with a trap. But I didn't.

I also learned that these all-day classroom and game-playing exercises make me more tired than a regular 10-hour shift at work. My butt hurts, my head hurts and I am exhausted. Plus, I missed getting my gun today because of that crap.

I have to be back at 0700 tomorrow to have breakfast with the CEO of the company. Thirty people attended the seminar today, and I couldn't aviod dealing with my ex-wife in that situation. The breakfast is going to be "interactive," so I probably won't manage to hide from the CEO, either. He likes to have his employees ask him questions. I'm trying to think of a couple of good ones now.

"Why do you spend perfectly good company money sending me to assinine exercises such as this, that I HATE attending, then schedule my bloodless cunt of an ex-wife, who I ALSO HATE, to the same session? Do YOU hate ME?"

That's the question I'm thinking about asking now.

Memories that hurt

Originally published April 15, 2003

One of the exercises that I participated in today (I volunteered for every goddam thing that came along.) Need a volunteer? YA GOT ONE! I usually don't do that, but I did today. By 1400, when Instructor Kate asked for a volunteer she looked directly at me, and I said "I'll do it!" yet again, the same as I had done all day. Kate thought I was a really gung-ho employee, totally with the program. She's probably going to miss me at the dinner tonight.

Actually, I was hoping to aviod being assigned to a team with my ex-wife.

They did a hostage rescue type operation that I volunteered for, before I knew that I would be the hostage. I was taken outside the ballroom, blindfolded and told to wait a few minutes. I did, and almost fell asleep while waiting, because this happened right after lunch. Darkness, quiet and comfort felt pretty good to me about then.

My reverie was interrupted when strange hands grabbed me and a voice said, "We've come to rescue you. Trust us. Follow me." I followed.

The scenario outside was that I was a VALUED CUSTOMER and everybody had to lead me across a sea of sharks and killer blowfish that were waiting to KILL ME. If I so much as got my feet wet in that imaginary ocean, I was dead and the company lost a customer. There were stepping stones set out and I was supposed to be guided to them in the dark, or else assisted by anyone who could touch me.

I had fun doing that. "Rob! Lift your left foot!" I was told.

"If I lift my left foot blindfolded, I'm going to fall on my sightless Cracker ass," I responded.

"Okay! Just take my hand!" I reached out and somebody grabbed my hand. "Now lift your left foot." I did and somebody grabbed it, steered it, plunked it down and said, "Step all your weight on your left foot and raise your right foot." I did, and somebody guided my right foot to the next stone. They worked me all the way across about 40' of stepping stones like that, with somebody holding my hand and other people moving my feet until I escaped whatever danger I supposedly was in.

I learned after I removed the blindfold that they had to lay out the stones from Point A to Point B, then pick 2' square positions from which they could not move to do this job. If they failed to plan and put me in a position where I did not have CUSTOMER SUPPORT, I was lost. They planned well, and I was saved.

But while everyone in the class had a hand on me in that exercise, I recognized one. She didn't guide my feet. About halfway down the walk, one person turned loose of my hand and another one took it.

Even blindfolded, I knew it was her. Immediately.

She didn't speak, but she didn't have to. I remember the touch of her hand and I know her scent. I almost fell into the "ocean" on purpose. But I didn't, because I was doing work-related activities, and I take my job seriously. It hurt like hell just the same.

I took the next step, went on to the next hand until the drill was done, and cheers were heard all around. Mission accomplished.

I wonder ... did she feel anything at all?

July 10, 2007

Acid thoughts

Originally published April 12, 2003

I got the nickname "Acidman" when was General Foreman over the 900-ton per day sulfuric acid plant where I worked from 1987 until 1992. That place never frightened me, although I learned to have a healthy respect for molten sulfur, SO2 and SO3 gas, and all forms of sulfuric acid.

I once walked up on a small rattlesnake at the acid plant one day, and the little shit coiled up and struck at me. He was acting like a real badass, so I walked inside the control room, grabbed a 500-ml bottle of 98% acid, went back outside and doused him with it. Nothing happened. The acid didn't bother the snake at all. Its skin was dry enough that the acid had no moisture to react with.

So, I picked up a water hose and doused the snake with some good old H2O. A cloud of steam erupted and the snake straightened out like a walking stick, cooked to a crisp. We were hell on animals back there.

We also had the largest army of bald-headed, blind rats in the southeast around the old scale house, where we weighed the acid trucks that we loaded. That building was constructed in 1954, and it had seen better days. There was a baseball-sized hole in one corner of the floor, and marsh rats would enter and exit as they pleased through it to raid operators' lunch boxes. I once went in the scale house and discovered a rat bigger than most house cats and with nuts the size of golf balls sitting on the desk and grinning at me as if he worked there.

One of the guys got pissed one day and hung a chicken bone from a string over the hole and armed himself with several bottles of acid. The rats would come out of the hole, grab the chicken bone and wrestle with it until he poured 98% sulfuric acid on their heads. They became bald-headed and blind after that, and when they emerged from underneath the scale house to run in blind circles out in the open, we killed them with pipe-clubs.

Yeah, PETA. I clubbed several myself.

Here's some acid trivia for you:

* It takes acid to make acid. If you burn molten sulfur, it reacts with the combustion air to form SO2 gas. Run that through a catalyst bed and the SO2 reacts with the remaining oxygen to form SO3 gas. Run that gas stream through a cascade of 98% acid and the SO3 grabs the 2% moisture in the acid stream and forms H2SO4, which is sulfuric acid. If you scrub well, nitrogen is the waste gas leaving the stack. (our atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 20.9% oxygen and 1.1% trace gases, of which that global-warming monster CO2 is .03%.)

* We sell acid to paper mills, battery manufacturers and all the other likely suspects. But we also sell to Nutrasweet and Anheiser-Busch.

* You can make sulfuric acid that is MORE THAN 100% concentration. It's called "oleum," it fumes on contact with air, and it can be MORE than 100% acid. Go figure.

* 98% sulfuric acid is less corrosive to metal than 20% sulfuric acid is. Remember my snake story.

* 98% sulfuric acid freezes at +46 degrees F. Lower the concentration to 93% and the freezing temperature drops to -30 degrees F. Lower the concentration further, to 77% and the acid freezes at +10 degrees F. I've read that this phenomenon is caused by hydroxyl ions, but I call it "Pure Fucking Magic."

* If you have dry hands, you can pour 98% acid into your palm and not get burned. DO NOT pour it on the back of your hand, ever. That's a totally different skin surface. Refer again to my snake story.

* Let a black person get hit with 98% acid and he turns pink everywhere he is hit. We ARE all alike under the skin. I've seen proof.

* The worst injury I ever saw in 23 years of work in a chemical plant (other than the time a contractor fell through the roof and landed on concete 100' below-- yeah, that fall killed him. But he was a contractor. He doesn't count.) was sulfuric acid burns to two mechanics who violated every line-breaking rule we have and got covered up with 98% acid. One of those guys still works at the plant and still has horrible scars from that accident. He can't stand direct sunshine anymore, either. See him with his shirt off and you'll cringe.

* That accident DID NOT happen at the acid plant under my watch. It happened inside the plant where I pumped the acid to end-users. I never got anybody burned (other than the gnat bites you feel that tell you there's a leak somewhere) the entire time I ran the place.

* I loved that job. I had a chance to return two years ago, but I turned it down. I'm a white-end guy now, and too accustomed to farting dust to go back to making acid. You don't make pigment at the acid plant. I make pigment where I am now. If I don't eat and breathe about 2.2 pounds of TiO2 dust every day at work anymore, I might go into withdrawal. To me, it's like SPICE on Dune. I gotta have it.

If you have any questions about sulfuric acid, feel free to ask. Acidman probably knows the answer.

More acid stuff

Originally published April 14, 2003

I received a lot more comments and emails than I expected when I wrote my post about how I became known as "Acidman." The subject of acid seems to fascinate a bunch of people. It really shouldn't, because everybody reading this blog deals with acid every day.

I believe that acid is scary because of old black-and-white horror movies, where the hero or heronie in a mad scientist's lab always grabbed a bottle of Hydrochloric Acid and threw it in the monster's face at the end of the movie. The monster screamed, steamed and melted after that. I grew up believing that Hydrochloric acid was the most dangerous stuff in the world.

I'll bet that a BUNCH of people reading this post drank Phosphoric Acid today. If you drank a Coke or a Pepsi, you damned sure did. Read the ingredients on a Coke can. Good old Phosphoric Acid, P2O5, is a vital ingredient of ANY cola drink. (Okay-- quick chemistry lesson here: pH is a measure of alkalinity and acidity and the scale runs from 1 to 14. The lower the pH, the more acidic the substance is. The higher the pH, the more alkaline it is. Neutral (distilled water) has a pH of 7.0, right in the middle. Coke has a pH of about 3.5. When you wash your ham sandwich down with a coke at lunch, you're DRINKING ACID!!!

Sulfuric acid is one of the most commonly used chemicals in the world. It is used in EVERYTHING, from paper processing, to battery manufacturing, to digesting other chemicals to make them work in a process, to cleaning the beer vats at Anheiser-Bush to making nutrasweet and many pharaceuticals. The first written recipe for how to make sulfuric acid was etched on papyris about 5,000 years ago from the ancient region of Mesopotamia, right where we're fighting a war now. If done correctly, this formula would produce about a 15% solution of sulfuric acid, and it's primary use back then was in a formula for a LAXITIVE.

Hmmm... I don't know if it worked, but it HAD to burn either going down or coming out.

Sulfuric acid is a lot more dangerous than hydrochloric acid is, because sulfuric can be made at much higher concentrations. HCL runs out of room to grow stronger at about a 35% concentration. That killer of horror-movie monsters also is known as Muiratic Acid, and if you look at a bottle of Visine (or its competitor, Murine) you'll see that the prime ingredient that you drop in your eyes to "get the red out" is Muriatic Acid.

I've worked around several lime scrubbers, and we always used Acetic Acid to clean encrusted lime off the equipment. You probably have a bottle of acetic acid in your home right now, and if you like Italian Dressing on your salad, you EAT IT. It's called "vinegar."

We just introduced a new slurry product at work, and it gets a heavy dose of Citric Acid in the beginning of the process. Do you like lemonade? If you do, you drink citric acid.

Want to know why environmentalists piss me off so bad and send me off on rants all the time? It's because ordinary people who DON'T make a career working around all types of chemicals are easily frightened by the bullshit the scaremongers throw at them. I really believe that "toxic" is the most misused and misunderstood word in the English language any more.

EVERYTHING is "toxic" if you get too much of it. NOTHING IS TOXIC if you don't allow yourself to become poisoned. I'm not going to rewrite things I've written before here, but I'll tell you this. If you listen without question to the scaremongers, you're allowing yourself to be played for a dupe, a chump, and somebody's bitch. And the people doing it are making billions of dollars, buying politicians and changing the face of this country with their lies.

Joni Electric [Ed. Blog seems to no longer exist.] emailed to ask what was the most danergous acid I had ever worked around. On paper, that's easy. hydroflouric acid is by far the most dangerous chemical I've ever worked around if you just go by the POSSIBILITIES of what this chemical can do. But I handle it in concentrations no higher than 5%. It doesn't worry me, because it's not strong enough to unleash all its wrath.

The stuff looks like green water and has about as much effect on skin as the water in the borrow pits of Effingham County. Maybe less. Those borrow pits grow some nasty shit in them. That's why they turn green.

Full-blown, undiluted hydroflouric acid is one bad mofo. It packs the kind of wallop that doesn't wash off. But when it's dilute, you can wash Never-Seize stains off your hands with it. It ain't the poison, people. It's the dose.

Okay, that's acid lesson #2. Have a Coke, eat an Italian salad and squeeze lemon juice over the fish you cook to go with it.


Clever commenters

Originally published April 14, 2003

I love people like this guy. He thinks he's a wit, and he is half right. He even bragged about this clever litter-box dump on some unmentionable's forum.


I'm in the medical field Acidman, do you have a current Phycologist?? If not I think I can help you with your problem.

You have either the big head or short dick syndrome, either way a head or lack of it is a common problem that can be cured by a course including some electric therapy or a deep medication therapy. I would suggest Lithium twice a day and a shot of morphine to keep you in a good mood.

Call me, I can help!

Al, the last "Phycologist" I visited hauled out some chicken bones, ostrich feathers and a drum made from a departed village elder's skull. When he drank something from a goatskin cup, got all wild-eyed and started his Spirit Dance, I left and went to a bar. For all I know, he's still dancing.

Does your experience in the "medical field" include studying under that guy, or did it come from emptying bedpans, cleaning toilets and mopping floors in a free clinic? Just curious.

I've got a big head, all right. It's full of brains. Your head is full of something else. The contents of bedpans come to mind.

As far as the "short dick" goes, mine is BROKEN due to prostate cancer (which you probably find HILARIOUS), but I have been taught by people in the medical profession other than tribal witch doctors to load a hypodermic needle, plunge it into a certain specific part of my tender anatomy and enjoy one of the finest blue-steel throbbers you ever saw. Wait. You've never seen one of those, have you? You don't own the proper equipment.

I may have to jump-start it nowadays, but SHORT it AIN'T.

I'll take all the morphene you've got. I liked that stuff when they gave it to me in the hospital after my surgery. It gave me a slack jaw and delicious dreams. But I'll pass on the electro-shock and the Lithium. Wine is fine for me.

I DO, however, recommend coffee enemas for YOU. I would be delighted to give you one, right out of the steaming pot. You could probably handle about two quarts through a #5 funnel.


July 09, 2007

Government cares about me

Originally published October 28, 2002

Today, my boss handed me a thick stack of papers and said I had until the end of the month to complete the assignment inside. I opened the envelope and saw a stack of OSHA training manuals, with the obligatory tests included. I gave them a quick perusal and said, "I have only THREE DAYS to get this done?"

"YES," my boss said.

Since I didn't do it today, I have only two days left to complete this goddam coloring book the government insists that I do because I work in a "hazardous" environment around "toxic" chemicals. This is mandatory training that I must endure because some fat-assed bureaucrat who wouldn't know a chemical spill from a mud puddle brain-farted this regulation while ensconsed behind a desk in Washington, DC, with nothing better to do that pester me to justify his useless existence.

Here is how it works: The books do a poor job of translating OSHA regulations into plain English, but they DO have certain words highlighted in yellow. The highlighted words are the answers to the test questions. So, you pull out the test, look for the yellow highlights in the workbook, fill in the answers, and be done with this dog-and-pony show in about ten minutes. You score 100% on the test without ever reading a single word of the book that isn't highlighted, and you are trained.

I am SO GLAD my government takes such good care of me.

Natural art

Originally published October 29, 2002

The spider that has lived behind the commode since I moved into the Crackerbox has expanded his (her?) domain. The web reaches all the way to the towel rack by the bathtub now and it is intricacy in its layers are fascinating. It catches a lot of mosquitoes and houseflys, and I'm all for that, but the damned thing needs to know that it can't take over the entire bathroom for itself.

I like my pet spider. It's not a BIG spider, but it's pretty fierce-looking and it's a web-spinning dervish. It has a voracious appetite, which is a good thing, because I like it when it eats pests in my home.

But I'm beginning to believe that it thinks it OWNS the place.

I figure it'll weave my toilet paper into its web in a day or so, then we'll have to come to an understanding about who's in charge around here.

Potential brewmeister?

Originally published October 30, 2002

Rich of BRAIN SQUEEZINGS has decided that he wants to start brewing his own beer and is asking for advice from anyone who knows anything about the subject. Always willing to share my knowledge of the arcane with anyone who will listen, I offer this missive on home brewing.

It is FUN! Making your own beer is like conducting an experiment with a really cool chemistry set and being able to drink the end result without turning into a hairy, murderous freak like Mr. Hyde. You just turn into a drunken, slobbering freak like a lot of fans you see at professional hockey games.

My beer-making tools were a 5-gallon glass carboy, a funnel, a bottle capper, a four-foot piece of 1/2" plastic tubing, a rubber stopper with a hole in it for the neck of the carboy, a long glass tube that fit the hole in the stopper, and a short glass tube that did the same thing. I also had a bubble-counter device that fit the stopper, too. All these nifty things are available over the internet and likely for sale at a brewpub, if you have one nearby. I bought mine at The Mill in Savannah. I also bought 10 pounds of corn sugar, a 3-pound bag of spray-dried malt extract (for dark beers), three packs of various hops (they are rated on a bitterness scale), 1,000 bottle caps, and two cans of kit beer.

I then bought four cases of long-neck beer bottles for $2.00 per case from the bartender at The Blue-Collar Lounge, a bar down the street from where I lived at the time. I poured two cups of bleach into a clean plastic garbage can and filled the can with enough water to sink all the bottles. That will soak the labels off the bottles and disinfect them at the same time.

I started out making kit beers because they are the easy way for a beginner to learn and they usually turn out well. A kit beer basically is beer syrup in a can with a packet of yeast and cooking instructions included. The first batch I made was a "Cooper's Ale" (I think) from Australia.

Step one before brewing is to sterilize all your equipment. Bacteria love the nutrient-rich environment of sugar, yeast grains and hops that you are about to create and they will thrive there, turning the beer cidery and undrinkable if you give them a chance. I ran everything I used through the dishwasher first, except the carboy, which wouldn't fit, so I rinsed it thoroughly with a 5% bleach solution, then filled it with water and added four effervescing denture-cleanser tablets.

I cooked my batches on the kitchen stove. Just put some water in a big pot, bring it to a boil, and add the kit beer syrup. Lower the heat to a simmer and add sugar, stirring constantly to a) keep from "scorching" your beer and 2) keep the damned concoction in the pot, because it will boil over like Vesuvius if you aren't careful.

Most kit recipes call for four cups of sugar. I always used six-- the more sugar you add, the higher the alcohol content of the resultant beer. Mine usually ran around 7% (14 proof!) when finished. With the Coopers, I used four cups of corn sugar and two cups of malt extract. The beer came out a beautiful red color that way.

Cook the mixture for 45 minutes, then empty the carboy. Add about 4" of tap water to the carboy, insert the funnel into the neck of the carboy, and CAREFULLY pour the still-boiling contents of the pot down the funnel. Remove the funnel, fill the carboy to 5" air space with water and cover the top of the carboy (I used a dishwasher-sterilized baggie and a rubber band). Allow it to sit and cool until it is no more than titty-warm to the touch. Then pitch in the yeast.

Insert the rubber stopper in the neck of the carboy. Stick the short glass tube in the hole and connect the plastic tubing to the glass tube. Fill a coffee can 1/2 full of 5% bleach solution, poke a hole in the plastic top, and stick the other end of the plastic tubing through the hole that the end of the tube is beneath the liquid. Set the carboy in a safe place-- I used my laundry room.

Now wait about two weeks. Within the first 24 hours, the mixture in the carboy will begin to bubble furiously as the yeast devours the sugar and gives off CO2 and alcohol. The coffee can will bubble furiously, too, as the gas escapes. By day 2, the mixture is working alive and the coffee can starts making noises like a baby alligator, hissing and grunting. This process continues for a few days, then begins to subside. When you see very few bubbles rising from what is now about 2" of sediment in the bottom of the carboy, remove the blow-off tubing and insert the bubble-counter in the stopper.

The bubble-counter is a small plastic cylinder with a ball that seals the bottom. Fill it with 5% bleach solution and watch as gas forms in the carboy, lifts the ball, and allows a bubble to escape. When you see one bubble every two minutes, the beer is ready for the bottle.

Add 3/4 cup of priming sugar to the carboy. This sugar will give your beer its foam.

I always ran the bottles through the dishwasher on the rinse cycle and bottled my beer with the bottles still in the washer for easy cleanup. The long glass tube with the plastic tubing attached is the siphon. Fill the bottles, cap them, and set them in a cool, dark place for a few days.

WARNING! DO NOT siphon the sediment at the bottom of the carboy. That stuff has truly amazing laxitive qualities and if you don't enjoy shitting your pants, stay away from that stuff. Always leave about an inch of beer in the carboy. You should end up with 48-52 bottles.

The beer should age for two weeks, but I always liked to try a bottle after two days, then another one at four days and then another one after a week, just to see how the process was progressing. Sometimes, I pronounced the batch ready to go in 7 days.

I made more batches of more different kinds of beer than I can remember. But I remember that they ALL were good.

Go for it, Rich!

UPDATE Something ate every comment on this post, and this post only. I DID NOT DO THAT, because I wasn't fucking with anything at the time. At least I don't think I was. If you wanted me to know what you said, try to comment again or email me.

July 08, 2007


Originally published July 4, 2003

I was cutting my grass when the neighbors came home from the beach. They hooted and pointed at their yard. So, when I was finished with mine, I started cutting theirs.

I ended up with my kitchen cleaned. That's what I call barter.

Food for thought

Originally published July 2, 2003

I was raised well by loving parents who instilled a lot of their values in me. Much of that raising and many of those values stuck with me all of my life. But I also walked a crooked path at the same time. I didn't always do what they wanted me to do. I didn't always heed good advice.

I broke my parents' hearts more than once and made them angry enough to want to kill me many times. But I believe that I ended up knowing who I am.

Think about this.

Yeah, yeah,I agree that all arguments must appeal to reason and employ logic or they're not really arguments, just rants. But quite often, the purely rational argument is not the best argument among non-Vulcans. As Chesterton noted the purely rational man will not marry and the purely rational soldier will not fight. If you think the visceral and emotional have no place in political arguments you must live alone on an island. There may good arguments and logical justifications for saying "ick" (or yuck, blech etc) but that doesn't mean we should simply dismiss plain old revulsion out of hand. As a matter of pure objective analysis, the political agent who ignores the role of passion and revulsion will invariably lose against the one who takes such things into account.

I didn't name this blog "Gut Rumbles" for nothing. I'm a visceral guy when it comes to my values. It either "feels" right, or it doesn't. If I think "ick" about something, I won't do it, and nobody can make me. The thought of owning a cat today makes me say "ick," kind of like the thought of eating human flesh does.

I'll draw an "ick" line in the dirt and I won't cross it.

I believe that abortion is icky. Partial-birth abortion is infanticide. I don't care what the pro-choice harridans have to say about it. It's icky to me. ALL abortion is icky to me.

Affirmative Action is icky. How can we have " equal rights" in this country when government stacks the deck in favor of "minorities?" That's just fucking WRONG. I see totally incompetent people getting good jobs every day because of the color of their skin. I am icked-out by that crap.

Blacks have had 150 years and every goddam bootstrap in this country HANDED to them since Lyndon Johnson's Great Society bullshit and they STILL have a 70% illegitmacy rate on newborns and occupy 50% of the prison cells in the country. That's not racism, folks. That ain't "diversity, either. That's a part of society that needs to clean up its act and learn to be responsible. To reward or excuse that kind of behavior just encourages more of the same.

Who are their heroes? Jesse Jackson. Al Sharpton. Maxine Waters. Al Gore. Bill Clinton. What do these "heroes" offer? More of the same thing that has kept Black people on the Democrat plantation since the 60's. Taking a handout may be easy, but it IS NOT freedom. Freedom is a dangerous thing. It offers the possibility of failure.

But it gives you the chance to succeed. I'll take my chances in a fair game. I know that I can do it because my gut tells me so.

No one will ever change my mind about abortion or Affirmative Action. Both are fucking WRONG, period. I won't campaign to outlaw abortion, because I know human nature. Outlawing abortion won't ever stop abortions. People will have them anyway. Rich people will have clean ones and poor people will get what they can afford. That situation is WORSE than what we have now.

But Affirmative Action is inexcusable. ANY TIME the government favors one group over another, government is out of line. The JUSTIFICATION is ridiculious, too. We discriminated against YOU once upon a time, and we realize now that discrimination is wrong. So, to atone for that sin we are going to discriminate against a DIFFERENT group of people now. Two wrongs make a right.

Fuck that.

Stop making excuses for failure. Stop trying to give people something they don't deserve. Level the playing field, make the rules clear, and say, "Grab it and growl." Then, back off and stay the fuck out of the fray. THAT'S what government should do.

Equality of opportunity does not guarantee equality of outcomes. If you don't have the wherewithall, you can't compete. Giving you a leg up when you don't have the wherewithall does you no favor. It dooms you to become a joke around the people you work with. "No, don't give that assignment to HIM. It's a complex problem, as in COMPLEXION, if you know what I mean. He can't do it. Give it to the intern. That kid is bright."

That shit happens all the time, and when a real Black whiz-bang comes along, nobody believes that he did it through sheer ability and hard work. We've been taught NOT TO EXPECT ABILITY AND HARD WORK FROM BLACK PEOPLE! THEY NEED AFFIRMATIVE ACTION! THEY CAN'T COMPETE! He's gotta be just another Black jelly bean because we have SO MANY of them in positions that they can't handle today.

If that crap is doing Black people a favor, there ain't a cow in Texas. It rewards the weak and punishes the strong.

How that philosophy betters ANYBODY is beyond my comprehension.

Rough justice

Originally published July 2, 2003

How about NO JUSTICE WHATSOEVER? I believe that I have mentioned before that people in Canada have frozen brains. Read this and tell me I'm wrong.
[Ed. Link is, of course, borked.]

Saini and friend Ranjit Singh Bassi were sleeping at the convenience store on Sunday night when a pair of thieves pulled up in a van stolen from Montreal.

One broke in through the front door using a crowbar and wheeled in two large garbage containers to haul cigarettes to the truck.

Saini and Bassi, who were in the storage room, surprised the thieves. One, armed with a knife, was scared away by Bassi.

Saini said the other thief took a swipe at him with the crowbar. Saini, armed with an aluminum baseball bat, swung back.

The 45-year-old suspect suffered head, neck and leg injuries, but was well enough to be arraigned Monday on multiple charges including breaking and entering, parole violation, receiving stolen goods and possession of burglary tools.

What did the police do when they finally arrived at the scene of the crime? They arrested the STORE OWNER, of course, and charged him with "assault with a weapon and aggravated assault."

My aching balls. If MY store were robbed three times in a month and I was forced to SLEEP in it to defend my property, you can bet your sweet ass that I would be "aggravated" the next time someone broke in. And you can also bet your sweet ass that I would "assault" the thieves.

But I live in the Southern United States, not Canada. I would have a firearm, not a baseball bat, and the thief might have "head, neck and leg" injuries afterward, but his injuries would be far too fatal for him to appear in court. And I don't believe that his partner would have gotten away, either.

And I would NOT have been charged with anything except good citizenship.

That's what I like about the South. And that's one of the MANY things I don't like about Canada.

July 07, 2007

A floating turd day

Originally published June 30, 2003

This was a long, boring Monday, hotter than hell's barbecue grill and totally worthless. Things were just THERE, with no crises, no challenges and not much to do. This day sucked like Hoover and seemed to last AT LEAST 72 hours.

I cross three railroad tracks on the way home from work. I got stopped by two trains today. The one on President Street was a pain in the ass, but it passed fairly quickly.

Not so on Highway 21. I sat for 15 minutes in Garden City while a 1,000,000 car-long line of freight rumbled at snail-like speed to the Georgia ports and a gully-washing, frog-strangling thunderstorm fell on my truck. Traffic backed up from here to Florida. I finally went two miles down the road and saw pavement as dry as a popcorn fart.

Do YOU ever have those Fleet enema kinds of days? This was one of mine and I'm just surprised that I didn't have a flat tire on the way home. The omens were there. Fate was pissed at me. I was due to be run over by a pulpwood truck while changing a tire on Highway 21 in the rain. Today SUCKED!

I am going to bed early tonight. Tomorrow HAS to be a better day. If it gets any worse than this, I'll THROW MYSELF under a pulpwood truck just to get it over with.

As Mondays go, this one was a real prizewinner.

Something else I left behind

Originally published July 1, 2003

I read the book then saw the movie Deliverance. (I also met James Dickey, too, but that's another story. He played old Elvis Prestly tunes on a nice Martin guitar when I talked with him. I play better than he did.)

Anyway, after all that Southern input, I took up archery. I shot for about two years with a simple 48# Bear bow. I got pretty good at it. From 50 yards or closer, I was VERY accurate. But I learned quickly to notch the arrow, draw the bow, and aim and fire. I don't care who you are. Keep a 48# simple bow drawn for 20 seconds and your arms start to shake. That arrow may end up in the trees.

I met a gray-headed old man on the archery range one day who was drilling the bulls-eye every time, but his bow had all kinds of pulleys and strange bullshit on it. I walked over to talk to him.

I learned that he had a 100# bow, but it was double-action. That meant that you had 100# of pull for six inches on the draw, then the pulleys kicked in and you had about 25# to fight after that. He also had a telecopic sight mounted on the bow. He let me shoot it.

DAMN! I had to readjust everything I ever learned with a bow. After about twelve arrows, I got good and I had to give it back to him. Otherwise, I would have killed him, stolen that wonderful bow and set mine on fire.

I don't know why I was so surprised. I know the difference between a good guitar and a bad one and sometimes you get what you pay for. My bow cost $50. His SIGHT cost more than that.

I haven't notched an arrow in 20 years and I don't know what happened to my bow. But I once liked walking that archery range and shooting the entire course.

That's something else I want to do again.

I am going to play again

Originally published June 30, 2003

I posted a Catfish email about golf and I got a lot of comments, most from people who never played golf. I haven't played since July 5th, 2001. I remember that last round as if it were yesterday. I always remember when I play for money.

I won money that day, with a 205-yard five wood shot over 200 yards of water on the 18th hole that ended up ten feet from the flag. I drilled that fucking shot and then I sank the putt for all the money.

Then, I put my clubs away one week later and I have not picked them up since. My life fell apart.

To me, golf has been the most daunting game I've ever played. It's you against the course. You can't blame anything on anybody but yourself if you fuck up. But if you come into #18 with $80 riding on your next shot and your competitor has carried the water and put his shot on the green 40 feet from the hole, you CAN'T lay up. You also realize that if you fuck this shot up, it's all over but the crying. That's when golf really becomes golf.

You KNOW that you can hit that shot, because you've done it before, and you just have to believe. So, you do it.

When it comes off the club, you know. Before you look up to see the ball you're already saying, "Be the right stick, baby!" It felt crisp when you hit it and it was just right. You watch that sucker headed for the green and say "Get UP, you sonofabitch! Be the right stick!"

When the ball clears the water by five feet, bounces on the rim of the green and rolls up right in front of the pin, you feel almost as if you just had an orgasm. I DID IT!!!

People who don't play golf don't understand that feeling. People who don't play poker don't understand that feeling. It ain't like watching grass grow. It's hanging your ass out there with nobody but yourself to depend on. When you do it right, it is BETTER THAN SEX! Especially when you sink the putt and get called a Lucky Sumbitch by the guy who has to slap leather and pay you $80 because you did what you had to exactly WHEN you needed to.

Golf is a sublime game. It will check your character. Especially when you gamble on it.

July 06, 2007

Southern tradition

Originally published August 19, 2004

If you've never eaten Kryspy Creme doughnuts, you are a complete failure as a human being. I once spilled a cup of their coffee on MY lap and almost scalded my pecker off... and the idea of suing them never occurred to me. I bought the coffee, I wanted it hot and I SPILLED IT!!! What was I going to sue Kryspy Creme for? Giving me exactly what I wanted? Bullshit!

But I DO think I have a legitimate tort case against them. I was about 20 years old and I went to the beach and drank beer all day while I surfed. That combination of beer and salt air will make you hungry as hell when you're young enough to eat a house anyway. I was with a friend and we stopped at the traffic light on the corner of Victory Drive and Skidaway Road.

We could smell the doughnuts from where we sat. A strange mind-meld occurred in the car. Without a word being spoken, we both knew that we wanted DOUGHNUTS!!! A LOT OF THEM!!! RIGHT NOW!!!

We bought two dozen right off the conveyor belt, fresh from the hot grease. Those doughnuts DISSOLVE when you put one in your mouth. You don't even realize that you ATE a doughnut except for that sugary aftertaste in your mouth.
They smell good, they taste good and you can eat a dozen easily when you're half-drunk.

You can also puke your guts out later, but that's a story I don't care to tell tonight. I still think I have a legitimate lawsuit. Kryspy Creme is responsible for making me sick that day.


Martial arts movies

Originally published August 19, 2004

I am sick and tired of watching well-rehearsed "fighers" such as Chuck Norris, Stevie Segal and Jean-Claude Goddam fill young people's heads full of shit about kung-fu and kick-boxing. It looks pretty on the screen, but real people don't fight that way. A heavyweight boxer or a good westler will take those fancy-Dan jumpers apart every day.

I'm not saying that Chuck, Stevie and Jean-Goddam couldn't take MY ass apart, because they probably COULD, unless I had my .38 in my pocket. If I'm toting, I ain't one bit afraid to dance with them. What? You're gonna throw one of those spinning back-kicks at me? Go ahead, buster. I'll pop you four times before your foot ever gets close to me.

I see kids doing that shit every day. They dance and kick at each other like a couple of pussies instead of having an actual FIGHT. Quinton wrestles and he's good at it. He went to the Georgia State Finals in his weight class last year. He's also taken Tai-Kwan-Doo-Doo lessons. I've asked him, "In a real fight, which works better?" He answers wrestling every time. You stick your spinning back-kick up in the air and let a wrestler grab your foot, you are dead meat, my friend. He'll shove it up your ass and choke you like a chicken.

Fuck that choreography. It may look good in the movies, but it doesn't win real fights.

(I have no doubt that I'll hear from some umteenth-level Black Belt whatever fuckers who can't WAIT to tell me how full of shit I am and how they could take my gun and shoot ME with it because of their cat-like speed and prowess as they jump and dance like faggots. I'd like to see it happen. I believe that I can pull the trigger faster on that pistol than you can kick me.

You've got a foot and a "TEE-YAH" yell. I've got a Colt .38. I'll take my chances in that fight.)

Relatives you never knew

Originally published August 20, 2004

I received a couple of emails lately from someone named Clyde Benge, who appears to be the son of my mama's cousin. (if so, his grandfather was Newton Benge) He's living in Washington state now and asked me what I knew about the Benge-Philpot feud in Clay County, Kentucky. I met his daddy several times and I heard a lot of stories about that feud. Newton Benge was the first person killed in it, shot through the head with a .45 during a card game at a sporting house frequented by drinking men and staffed with loose wimmen.

Other people heard about it, too. (Just scroll down that page.) It was a lot bloodier and it lasted a lot longer than that pissant fight between the Hatfields and the McCoys. All in all, more than 50 people got killed.

The first woodworking job my grandfather ever had was building a coffin for one of the people killed in the feud. Papaw told me that the man was shot outside a school house in the summer and nobody could retrieve the body for several days because of snipers looking for somebody else to shoot.

"By the time we could get to him, he was swollen up so bad that I had to knock the sides off that coffin and make it bigger. He wouldn't fit in what I first built."

Yeah. I have a fascinating family history. And somewhere in my pedigree, I think I'm kin to both sides now.

July 05, 2007

Dumbass driver

Originally published July 6, 2005

When I went to visit my grandmother last Sunday, I almost got killed on the way home. I was driving down Highway 21 in Port Wentworth when a car in the left lane suddenly just cut into my lane (the RIGHT lane) and damn nearly took my front quarter-panel off, right there on the road.

I stood mama's Impala on its nose, swerved out of the way and barely avioded skidding into a deep ditch. The bastard who made that idiot move just kept going merrily down the road without a clue about what he'd just done.

He was driving a Ford Escort with duct tape wrapped all around both tail lights. The car appreared to have been hammered by a sixteen-pound sledge a few times in the past. In other words, it was a rolling piece of shit.

I caught up with the idiot in less than a mile. He stopped at a traffic light and I pulled up beside him. I rolled down my passenger window, honked my horn and YELLED at the prick. I received no response, even though his window was rolled down.

That little acne-faced jerk was WEARING HEADPHONES and rocking out to whatever he was listening to, with his baseball cap turned backward and a blissful look of PURE STUPIDITY on his face. Yeah, it was a white boy, too.

He doesn't know how close he came to having one of his front tires shot out from under him. I ALWAYS carry a pistol when I travel. He he made one damned tempting target.

I finally got the asshole's attention. He took the headphones off his ears and uttered something brilliant. "HUH?" he said.


"Huh?" he responded.


"Huh?" he said again.

That's someone who needs to be removed from the gene pool before he reproduces. I'll GUARANTEE you that he put the headphones right back on as soon as I pulled away when the light turned green. I should have shot not only his front tire but HIM, just as a service to humanity.

Anybody who wears HEADPHONES while driving is worse than the dumbasses yakking on cell-phones or crazy wimmen using their rear-view mirror to apply make-up while driving 65 MPH down the road. And MADD wants to fry drunk drivers?

I'd rather have a semi-drunk person on the road with me than a prick wearing HEADPHONES. Think he can hear the siren of an emergency vehicle? Think he knows when he almost killed somebody with a stupid lane-change? Think he THINKS at all?

That bastard needs to be dragged off and shot.

Yeah. I sometimes suffer from road rage. That little turd doesn't know how lucky he is.

My bathroom

Originally published July 8, 2005

I have a pretty nice master bedroom in my house. It's got a big bed, two closets and a bathroom bigger than some apartments I've seen. Sam and Stacey fixed it up really nice.

They painted the room, put up borders, changed the shower curtain, laid down new rugs, installed blinds on the window (with a VERY GOOD black hangy-down thing--- it matches the Bulldawg Red on the border) cleaned the place from top to bottom and even installed a nice brass towel-rack/ utility shelf over in the corner where my spider once lived.

Just Damn! I've spent the night in worse places than that before.

Of course, they ALSO put some pink, flowered, feminine-looking sheets on my bed and bought some pillows that belong in a bordello. But I ain't gonna bitch. They cleaned my kitchen, cleaned my carpets and even wanted to paint all my walls before I ran them off to go do something FUN for a change. They spent a grand total of $220 on that project, which put them $20 over the budget I gave them. (I have the paint to do the walls myself.)

The extra $20 came from the painting and frame Stacey bought to hang in my bathroom. It's a series of three black-and-white photographs of old farmhouses with split-rail fences around them. I've blogged before about how much I like driving through North Georgia and seeing places that look EXACTLY like those photos. They are beautiful.

I've been sleeping in Quinton's old room ever since the girls were last here to visit. The single bed in there is fine for me. They cleaned up THAT room, too, so the Crackerbox looks pretty good now.

And I no longer have to fear guests wanting to spend the night at MY house. I can offer ANYBODY a big, clean bed, a FINE bathroom and no shit scattered all over the place (other than guitars and firearms).

It's been quite a while since I could say that honestly.

Good visit

Originally published July 3, 2005

I had a good time at Mommie's house. My Uncle Virgil was there and we sat around and told a lot of good stories. I've said before that I come from a long line of good storytellers, and I'm not making that up. I laughed until my sides hurt today.

Poor Uncle Virgil. To hear HIM tell it, he was just a shit-magnet all of his life. He could be ANYWHERE, just minding his own business, and trouble simply erupted around him. It wasn't HIS fault! He was innocent, pure as the driven snow. OTHER PEOPLE stirred up that shit and he just got caught up in it.

Listen to Mommie tell the same story and you get a slightly different perspective.

For instance, today I heard the "eat your dirty socks" story for the umpteenth time. According to Virgil, he had been out playing in the snow with his two brothers and two of their friends. He was the first one back to the house. He took off his wet shoes and dirty socks and started warming himself by the fireplace. The next thing he knew, without doing ANYTHING to provoke the attack, his brothers and their friends wrestled him to the floor and stuck those dirty socks in his mouth.

Mommie tells the story slightly different. Both sides match right up to the point where the brothers and their friends arrived. But Mommie says that when Virgil's brothers told him to get those nasty, stinking socks out of the room, Virgil said, "MAKE ME! I'll stuff those socks in your mouth."

They decided to accept the challenge, and Virgil carried those socks out of that room in HIS mouth.

I wasn't there, so I don't know who is telling the truth. But I know my Uncle Virgil and I know my grandmother. Which one would YOU believe?

Shit-magnet, my ass. Virgil reminds me too much of ME.

July 04, 2007

Helluva 4th, eh?

Originally published July 4, 2002

My modem died on me last night. Just upped and died, as we say down South. I turned the computer off and hoped that it would do like that Ox beetle and revive itself during the night, but it was still dead as Dillinger this morning.

Well, I was ready for a new computer anyway. I got one, too.

My daughter

Originally published July 4, 2004

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

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

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

I hope we catch every crab in that creek.

Hear him weep

Originally published July 4, 2005

A great line I heard in a movie today: Some young chick comes flouncing through the kitchen wearing a pair of jeans with strategic cut-aways that leave half of HER bare ass hanging out. Her father says, "Put on a different pair of pants. You look like a slut dressed that way."

The girl bows up and says, "I can dress anyway I want to. I have a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO FREE EXPRESSION! I'm NOT changing pants!" And she flounces out of the room with her bare ass-cheeks jiggling.

I wanted to puke.

Honey, I hate to tell you this, but any "Constitutional Right to Free Expression" you once had vanished with the advent of political correctness in this country. YOU may be free to run around with your ass hanging out of your pants, but that's okay--- you're a woman--- and any man who LOOKS at your ass hanging out of those pants is a deviate, a rapist or a sexist.

Let ME walk down the street with the head of my dick hanging out of my pants and see how far my "Right of Free Expression" gets me. Straight to a jail cell is where that path leads.

Just use the forbidden "N-word" when you write. Righteous people will descend on you like a pack of hyenas. YOU CAN'T SAY THAT!!!

Those are the "new" rules today.

Yeah... this is also my thought on "Independence Day." Thanks to corrupt politicians and power-hungry rogues, we've managed to take a beautiful ideal and twist into something grotesque.
[Ed. Link goes nowhere. Was to Kim DuToit.]

Don't get me wrong--- the USA is STILL the best country in the world, but it ain't what it COULD have been. Hell--- it ain't even what it SHOULD have been. We have too many cowards and idiots surrounding us today.

I lost my job because of my blog. I was politically incorrect and what I WROTE scared the shit out of people who run a MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR corporation. They pissed right down their pants legs and got rid of me, lest they incur the wrath of government or an EEOC lawyer.

There's your "land of the free" today.

Jefferson would spin in his grave if he saw what has become of this country.

July 03, 2007


Originally published May 29, 2004

I've been in a really existential mood lately. I spent a lot of time in Costa Rica just examining my life, thinking about how I got where I am today and where I'll go from here. I didn't come up with a whole lot of answers, but I did come to realize one thing.

Most of my life, from the age of six, has been run by schedules, time-tables, deadlines, and the relentless ticking of a clock. I always had to be somewhere on time, do something on time or finish my work on time. I had assignments to complete, classes to attend, "deliverables" to deliver and places I had to be. Bejus! No wonder I have gray silver hair.

When Kerr-McGee fired me retired me, they gave me a nice watch as a going away present. Isn't that ironic? Why the hell would I want a fucking WATCH when I don't have to work anymore? I lived 24 years of my life on a Work Schedule, and I was on call for 24-7 most of that time. I looked at that watch and laughed out loud.

I've never taken it out of the box it came in and I doubt that I ever will.

I like being bored now. I'm not talking about sitting around a twiddling my thumbs. I mean the freedom a person feels when he or she doesn't HAVE to do much of anything. On my trip to Costa Rica, I really didn't plan a goddam thing. I bought my plane tickets, arranged for lodging and transportation, but other than that, I played everything on the first bounce.

If I felt like touring, I toured. If I felt like reading, I read. If I didn't feel like doing a damn thing, I didn't do anything. In Martin Antonio one morning, I was nodding in a lawn chair by the hotel swimming pool and I thought about getting up, walking about 50 feet to the bar and buying myself some fruity rum drink with an umbrella in it. But that seemed like too much work for such a beautiful day, so I just went to sleep in the chair.

I don't fear boredom. In fact, I wrap it around me like a warm, fuzzy blanket today, and I find it very comfortable. I like not needing a watch anymore. My body clock is all the time-keeper I require.

I met two retired school teachers from Colorado when I was in Arenal. ("Recovering educators," as they described themselves.) They were very friendly ladies and I had dinner with them a couple of evenings.

But they did one thing that drove me nuts. They had every waking moment of every day planned right down to the minute. They had a SCHEDULE to follow. That's not a vacation; that's just work by a different name. I got tired just watching them dash after tour buses and worry about where they were supposed to be next.

I'll never live like that again. Anybody want to buy a really nice watch? I have one that I'll sell cheap.

I don't need it anymore.

My boy

Originally published May 28, 2004

I talked to Quinton on the phone last night. He said that he hasn't received any of the letters that I sent him from Costa Rica. I don't know whether the mail is that slow or whether Jennifer got my letters and didn't let Quinton see them. Divorce sucks, and it keeps on sucking long after the initial ordeal is over when a child is involved.

Hell, I suspected my ex-wife of being behind the crash of my blog. It's the kind of thing she would do to me.

But... I digress. I wanted to brag like the proud father that I am. Quinton made the Effingham County All-Star team as a starting shortstop in his age group. I TOLD you people that he was good!

I want to see if I'm any good, too. My blog became quite popular for a while, then I let my posting slide and I took a long vacation, after which I had nothing but a blank page to display. My readership took a nose-dive, which I expected, and now my archives have vanished except for the posts I saved on disk. Can I lure readers back here with what I write when I start from scratch?

I don't know, but I still believe that if I build it, they will come. Long ago, I described this blog 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.

So... I'm starting over now. Can I do it again? I don't know. YOU tell ME.

Feeling depressed

Originally published May 30, 2004

I miss my son. I wanted to talk to him today, but every time I called I got nothing but the answering machine. I left a message for him to call me, but I haven't heard back from him yet.

I wonder where he is?

I have a bag full of goodies, gee-gaws and other things I bought for Quinton in Costa Rica. I want to give it to him, if I can ever track him down. I don't give a damn what the law says--- what Jennifer has done to drive a wedge between me and my son is worse than her slipping off in the dark (and later in broad daylight) to throw her pussy to the wind. I don't give a shit what she does with her pussy anymore.

But I still love my son.

My father made one hell of an impact on my life. We didn't agree on a lot of things, but he was one hell of a man and he helped me a lot through the years. He was my Yoda--- the wise one I consulted with when I wasn't certain what to do next. He drove me hard, and he often barked at me when he thought I needed it, but he never failed to give me good advice. I didn't always follow it, but I'll miss him until the day I die.

I want to have that kind of impact on Quinton's life. I may be a crazy old buzzard, but I've learned a lot through 52 years of fire and rain. A boy needs a father in his life and I still remember what it feels like to be a young boy. I could help him a lot with things NO WOMAN understands, even if she does believe that she's Supermom.

Yeah, I've fucked up. But I don't believe that I'm a bad man and I'll never believe that Quinton is better off without me. I am his father and I always will be. Nobody else can ever change that fact, no matter how many men Jennifer decides to sleep with.

I miss my boy.

July 02, 2007

My dad

Originally published July 17, 2004

I've always wanted to post something about my dad. Many people like to leave comments and bullshit about him when they know absolutely nothing. Here are some things about Acidman that I know some of you out there don't want to read.

I don't care what anyone thinks about my dad, he is an all around nice guy who would do anything for anybody anytime unless they've given him a reason not to.

He's really NOT a racist. Again, I don't give a flying fuck what any troll, or de-linker out there thinks. I know the guy and I've never in my life heard him call anyone the N-word. When he uses the word in a post, he's trying to make a point. If you go back and read a little bit, he never says that blacks are N**s. People seem to only read what they want to read and the one's who were offended, are the one's who have an issue with racism themselves.

Jennifer really is the bitch that he says she is. No over exaggeration there. I lived with the woman for a few years and I myself can say that she is everything that he says she is and more. Not only was she abusive, she was manipulative, a liar, and just plain cruel. At the time, my dad was so infatuated with her that he overlooked me, but I blame her for my so called "childhood trauma". My dad realizes all this now and we've talked. I don't blame him for the past.

I believe this blog has saved my his life. For him, blogging is medicine. It's his anti-depressant, his therapy.

I don't suggest anyone break into his home, assault his family, or threaten his life. He'll do what it takes to protect his family and property.

I only get to see him twice a year and we rarely speak on the phone, but I love him and am proud to be guest blogging on Gut Rumbles.

Posted by: Acidaughter

Three years--- tres anos

Originally published July 18, 2004

I did something last night that I haven't done in a long time--- three years, in fact. I slept like a rock for ten straight hours. I left the windows open on my bedroom and fell asleep to the sound of the surf rolling onto the beach. I believe that the sound rocked me like a baby in a cradle.

I awoke this morning to a beautiful sunlit day. I took a shower, walked down to the tiki restaurant at the hotel and had a fine breakfast of eggs, pancakes, rice and black beans and fresh fruit. I actually woke up HUNGRY for a change.

I went back to my room and watched the final round of the British Open, which was a thriller if you like golf the way I do. Watching that tournament made me remember something that I'll get to in a minute.

After Todd Harrison beat Ernie Els in a playoff, I switched off the television, donned a bathing suit and challenged the Pacific Ocean to a fight. I got my Cracker ass whipped. I thought the surf was something at Tamarindo, but it's pussy stuff compared to Jaco. I got a full body massage from waves that knocked me ass over teakettle more than once. It was fun, but about 30 minutes of that beating was all I could stand.

I went back to the beach, stretched out on a towel and read for a while, until the incoming tide threatened to wash me away. I packed up my stuff and went back to the tiki restaurant, where I had Chef Isadora cook me a hamburgosa grande, with papas fritas and a cold cervesa. Man, that was good.

After I ate, I went back to my room for a brief siesta on my luxurious, king-sized bed. I napped a while, took another shower and went to lounge around the pool, just to check the wimmen in bathing suits scenery. The scenery was very nice.

Three years ago, during the last round of the British Open, I was in a seedy motel room with $60 to my name. My wife, who I loved with all my heart, had just told me that she wanted a divorce and I truly believed that my life was shattered. I KNOW what heartbreak feels like. I had a wild animal caged in my chest that was trying to claw its way out. The pain was more than I thought I could stand. I wanted to die.

So, I tried to kill myself, and I did a pretty good job of it, except for one small detail: I didn't die.

After the British Open concluded this morning, I walked outside in my bathing suit, a towel draped over my shoulder and a book in my hand. I gazed at the Pacific Ocean. Bejus, but it was beautiful. I thought, "I'm glad that I didn't die when I wanted to. I would have missed this."

Three years--- tres anos--- a lot can change during that time. It hasn't been an easy road to travel and that bloodless cunt Jennifer keeps fucking with me every chance she gets, but the worst is over. I can handle whatever happens next. All she can do now is go after my money and deprive me of my son. That sucks, but it's not a wild animal in my chest trying to claw its way out. Life has been rough for the past three years, and it's not going to be a picnic for a while longer.

But for right now.... it sure is nice at Jaco Beach.

Strange dream

Originally published July 17, 2004

Last night I dreamed that my mama asked me to hold services at her church. She told me that the preacher was sick and they didn't have anybody to fill in for him. She had all her hair in my dream and she appeared to be ten years younger. "You're a good public speaker," she said. "Why don't you do it for me?"

I told her that I couldn't. I couldn't get up behind a pulpit and say things that I don't believe. I couldn't lie to those people. She started crying and I woke up. Mama worries that I'm going to hell for being an athiest.

I don't believe in God. I don't believe in life everlasting, nor do I believe that sinning unbelivers spend eternity burning in hell. I believe that when you die, that's it. It's just like being anesthesized for surgery except you never wake up. You don't dream and your "soul" goes nowhere.

I don't see The Hand Of God working in this world. I believe that life is chaos, then you die. You control a lot of your own destiny by the choices YOU make, but you don't control it all. Sometimes, Shit Just Happens through no fault of your own. That's the chaos part of life.

When a Shit Just Happens moment occurs in life, a lot of people try to explain it by saying, "It's God's will," or "God is testing you." I want to upchuck when I hear that shit. Why the hell would God "test" anybody? If he's omnipotent, he already knows how you'll do on the test. And why would it be "God's will" to give a 13 year-old boy a fatal case of cancer when he let Adolph Hitler live to do what Hitler did?

In MY humble opinion, all religions are the result of superstitious people trying desperaetly to explain the unexplainable in life. If religion makes you feel better, fine. I've got no problem with that. But I look at the sex scandals in the Catholic church and the mad mullahs of Islam, and I ain't real impressed.

There IS no God. Frightened people and people craving power INVENTED him.

July 01, 2007

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.


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.

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.