Caribou...

... as Augustus McCrae once said whilst raising a toast in the film masterpiece "Lonesome Dove"... "here's to the sunny frozen slopes of long ago.. " .... and today, well, I could not agree more...

... Adak Island, October 1991.... LCpl Brown and LCpl Warnick out prowling the tundra in search of the ever-elusive (and quite tasty) caribou...

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... the quality of the photo leaves a bit to be desired, sure... but hey, it was just a wee bit damp... probably from the condensation of sweat from being stored between an inner layer of fleece and an outer layer of Gore-Tex...

... heh... those were the days...

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Arms....

.... well, my two daring visitors have hit the proverbial trail... and once again it has been a pleasure to entertain fellow bloggers.... If the size of my headache this morning was any indicator, I must have had one helluva good time last night.... All in all, Erica managed to get quite cozy with The Green Fairy... while Elisson and I polished off the remnants of an 18 year old Glen Livet, a sherry-aged Bowmore, and put quite a sizeable dent in an 18 year old Talisker.... Ugggggg....

... much pool was played... with winners and losers exchanging names with nearly every game...

.. oh, and I did my patriotic duty this morning too.... in regards to the current conflict in Israel, I personally presided over the arming ceremony of the brand spanking new Tennessee Division of the IDF... yep, you heard that right.... I armed the Jews... well, the only two Jews that I had around.... and it was marvelous....

.... Elisson chose the Taurus AFD-92 9mm sidearm in a shoulder holster with Bushmaster AR-15 accompaniment... while Erica chose the Beretta Cougar .45ACP and a Mossberg 500 extra-souped-up 12ga...

... and let me tell you, they looked downright fearsome... oh yeah....

... all I need now is to get my gunsmith to mount a bayonet lug on my riotgun, and I'll be set.... then I'll be rockin'....

.... nothing says "come and get it" like a shotgun with a bayonet fixed at the muzzle.....

... by the way... the rest of you guys have your tickets yet?.... time is a'flyin'....

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Clean....

... well, y'all ain't gonna believe this.... but this hillbilly will soon be entertaining Mr. Debonair himself AND Miss Sherman... yep, both of them here at my very humble home...

... I've cleaned up most of the dirty laundry and emptied all the ash trays... I even put on a clean pair of socks and brushed my hair!...

.. Miss Sherman has assured me that she is Ace when it comes to billiards... and Mr. Debonair has agreed to referee and drink Scotch... oh, and he has promised to whip up a gourmet Indian meal too...

... I tell you, boys and girls... I feel as if Civilization is finally arriving here in the jungle...

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Orgasms....

.. you know, I just LOVE science.... it's all about the knowledge, people... it really is....

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Oil....

... last night I battened down the proverbial hatches and sunk myself into the latest version of "The Incredible Hulk", creatively titled "The Hulk"... and in a word, people, WOW.... the Hulk is my new homeboy... King Kong and The Hulk are two peas in a pod... and boy, do they speak to me...

... Jennifer Connelly sure is looking thin though... I'm starting to get a bit worried about her.... she doesn't look nearly as voluptuous as she did when Nick Nolte laid the pipe to her in "Mulholland Falls".... oh, and the bit where the Hulk ripped the head off of that giant mutant poodle just plain kicked ass...

... and ole Nick Nolte is looking a big ragged too, for that matter... after seeing his mug shot a while back, I bet he didn't even have to go to make-up for his role as the Hulk's Daddy.... mercy... screw drilling in the ANWR... we should just send a crew of roughnecks to squeeze Nick's head once or twice a day... his hair is an underutilized natural resource...

.... the more that I think of it, the more I suppose that I should probably write a letter to a politician or something...

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Work...

.. it's just fun, fun, fun here at on The Compound today... and boys and girls, I sure wish y'all were here to help.... but what is it that keeps your intrepid, fearless host slavishly busy, you ask?...

... nay, gentle reader... a thousand times, nay.... ask not.. for the response is much too horrific... much too fiendish.... and this hellish existence of mine continues to pump forth devilish task after devilish task... yea, verily.... for is it not written that it is unto the mighty to bear the greatest of tribulations?... as Wizards in fairytales suffered the ugliest of evils so that they may emerge whiter at the end of the trial?.. thus, we must bravely soldier forth in search of our own fiery redemption?....

... but the good news is that I'm making chicken parmesan for tonight's dinner... and that's gonna rock...

... some days you just have to find the silver linings....

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Covers...

... so conversation was flowing as it usually does this afternoon, when the famous song "Wonderwall" by British band Oasis came up.. it seems that some young lady that The Wife works with got it in her pretty little head that "Wonderwall" was actually an old song and Oasis simply did a cover of it back in the 90s... now, having lived in Britain during most of the 1990s, I was incredibly sure that the Gallagher Brothers had written "Wonderwall"... but still, I was asked to verify this info via the world wide web..

... and sure enough, I was right... but wait... check this shit out.... Paul Anka did a swing version of "Wonderwall"... damnation, people... that's just wrong.....

... but to make matters even worse, I checked out his album "Rock Swings" and listened to him crooning through his version of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"....

... you could actually feel the room here in Tennessee jostle just a tad as a portion of Kurt Cobain's ashes came back together suddenly and vibrated like crazy in Ithaca, NY...

... no, seriously.... lookit, peeps.... there are some lines that just should never be crossed... some roads that should absolutely NEVER be taken.... like Duran Duran covering a Tom Waits song... it just should not be attempted... not ever...

... having said that though, I can hardly wait for my copy of the album to get here..... it'll fit into my collection perfectly... right beside the recording of the Soviet National Orchestra belting out "ZEES AH LOOOONG VAAY TO TIPPERAREEEEE"...

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Water...

... the backside of Hell's Halfacre is tinderbox dry today... the grass crunched noticeably as I strode out to the patio this afternoon... two weeks without rainfall must seem like an eternity to those poor plants...

... I suppose I could water the lawn... but that just doesn't seem right... it seems somehow more right to let nature run her course... pick off the weaker ones... dry up the feeble ones... besides, when it comes to my domain, I am a fickle master... a turn of my wrist could let loose cool water from the spigot, sure... and maybe I'll do just that later on... but as for now, I say "let them burn"...

... strange, really.. I am doing the same thing with the crepe myrtle in the front yard too... the Japanese beetles flock there by the hundreds and copulate vigorously on her leaves before enjoying an after-screw leafy-lunch... and I know that I could douse the plant with chemicals to make the bugs go away... but I don't... I let them eat their fill.... and three times a day I steal out to the plant with my trusty spray-bottle and target individual beetle pairs... and I snuff out their lives...

... it is pure selfishness, I know, not protecting the bush... but killing the beetles is mildly entertaining... and I know I won't make a dent in the overall population of beetles next year... but then again, neither would dusting the myrtle with pesticide either... the bugs would simply dine elsewhere....

.... so that is the question, I guess... is it wrong of me to sacrifice the crepe myrtle's foliage for what little glee I glean from massacring the beetles three times a day?...

... in other words, gentle rubberneckers... should I water my lawn, or not?....

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Balance...

... because content is woefully lacking here - and I'm not in the mood to (to steal one of Bitterman's terms) beat the weasels, I'm just going to throw up another photo and then hit the patio....

... so here's a little nugget for y'all to chew on for a while... a color shot of my dear ole Dad at the Gia Le Combat Base back in '68... hey, see that twinkle in his eye?... yeah, that was me... of course, he had to wait four more years for me to arrive... but still, I was in there somewhere....

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(... by the way.. my Pa is the fella holding the rifle... )

... what I can't get over is the look on his buddy's face... looks a tad nervous, if you ask me... then again, Dad had that effect on some people...

... the really cool thing is how he is balancing the unloaded M-14 on three fingers.... those weapons had great balance...

... y'all have a good night...

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Communication...

...I was sitting here searching through the family archive of photographs and I ran across some doozies.. I was originally looking for a snapshot for Yabu.. ideally, one that my Pa had taken of a napalm strike near Phu Loc back in 68... I figured it'd be right up Yabu's alley.. but, dammit, I couldn't find it... I'll look again tomorrow...

... what I found instead were a few pics of the first time I nearly had dinner with the Grim Reaper...

... I was sixteen years old and had only gotten my license a few months previously... it was late October, 1989... my sainted Mother was laid up at the UT Medical Center in Knoxville with blood clots in her lungs following some shady back surgery... flat on her back and feeling like death warmed over... my Father had organized for my little brother and I to stay the night with my Uncle Jim and his family while he went up to hand-hold Momma...

... I stopped in Englewood and gassed up the car... and a fine specimen it was for a geeky kid like me... a 1988 Chevrolet Celebrity... man, I thought I was The Man when I zipped around the country roads at the bracing clip of 45 miles per hour...

... but upon pulling away from the Red's Gulf station, I gave it a little more pedal than I normally did... and with my little brother in the seat beside me grinning like a wildman, off we thundered up highway 411 towards Madisonville and the Hiwassee countryside...

... my brother and I made excellent time and arrived at my Uncle's house to find no one home from work yet.... hatching a plan, we decided to motor back out about five miles to town... pick up a video, and be back before anyone even knew we were gone...

... "Major League" was our purchase.... it had just been pressed out on video a few weeks before, and we both loved it... hell, I still love that movie.... anyway, we picked up the flick and headed back out into the country...

.... and this is where the trip got interesting...

... first off, let me just say that I was driving too fast... probably 65mph or so.... and the wreck was entirely my fault.... and I have no excuse other than just wanting the thrill of topping those country hills at high-speed.... so there... I admit it....

... anyway, I was zipping along and caught some air as I went over the hill.... a local woman was tending to one of the graves there and had parked on the leeward side right in the middle of the road... big, black Ford F-150... needless to say, panic fucking ensued.... so as soon as I hit the asphalt, I jerked the wheel and hit the ditch on the right...

... for some reason, I didn't even have time to hit the brakes... I cleaned out the ditchrow for sixty feet or more with my right front and rear tires... and then I hit a rock... well, I guess it was a rock... something in the ditch broke off my right front wheel and tossed me back into the middle of the road....

... this was actually a bad thing... see, while I was trying to get out of the ditch, I had cut my tires all the way to the left... so when I was unceremoniously placed back on terra firma, my tires were at such an angle that I immediately cut across the road and hit the embankment on the left... which was about ten feet high...

... I was probably still doing sixty when I hit the hillside's upward slope.... I actually remember feeling dirt hit my face just before feeling like I was falling.... and then smelling freshly-struck flintrock sparks as the car slammed down from its spiral arc...

... what had actually happened was that I had hit the bank, ripped most of the trunk off, slammed my brother into the windscreen (he didn't have his seatbelt on), climbed the bank, and then climbed halfway up an ancient cedar tree at the top of the embankment, launched the spiraling car another forty feet, and landed it on the driver's side post-portion of the roof....

... the post collapsed and bashed me in the noggin... pressing me back into the seat with such force that my shoulders actually bent the frame.. I had my seat belt on, so I was lucky... my little brother got dinged up pretty good.... he was bleeding from his forehead, nose, and chin... and his bottom teeth had gone through his bottom lip - creating an inch-long wound.... he was a messy little twelve-year old, that's for sure... I was mortified when I saw him after the car stopped sliding at the bottom of the hill.... it was upturned and facing back the direction from which we had been coming.... I'll never forget seeing him lying unconscious and bleeding and covered in autumn leaves and twigs.... in a way, it almost looked at first like the car was resting on top of him....

.... 327 feet... from my first skid mark to where we finally rested... 327 feet.... we were lucky to be alive... and that little grey Celebrity was torn all to HELL....

... anyway, he regained consciousness in the ambulance halfway to Sweetwater hospital... immediately complaining of back pain, the paramedics feared the worst... and no matter how much he complained or cried, there was no way that those heroes were going to unhitch him from that backboard....

... as it turned out, he was alright.... see, he had been wearing jogging pants.. and when I dragged his unconscious body out of the back window, the elastic of his waist-band had scooped up about five pounds of broken glass... the poor little guy.... he spent four hours strapped to a backboard while that broken glass ate away at the cheeks of his lily-white tush... oh yeah, we still laugh about that today...

... the worst part about the whole tale concerns a lack of communication... or a miscommunication...

... upon arriving in Knoxville (an hour away from our humble home) my Dad was greeted with a phonecall from my Aunt... knowing that my Mother was deathly ill just feet away, she kept the message short and sweet...

... "I am so sorry... there has been an accident... Eric and Josh have had a car wreck.... Josh is alright, we think, but he may have some spinal damage... we just don't know yet... you stay there and take care of Sis... I will call you as soon as I know more... "...

... that was it... that was the message... no mention of me being well.... so naturally, my Father assumed that I had been killed...

... so he walks over to his chair and sits down.... fearing the worst for Joshua and grieving for me at the same time... and knowing that he can't tell my Mother for fear of killing her too...

... people, I cannot even imagine what it must have been like for him... those fifteen to twenty minutes of him holding on to the worst news he could possibly give a Mother... and how he must have felt in his own heart at losing his first son.... it shakes me to my core to even BEGIN to think of how inconsolable he must have felt.... how hopeless and helpless....

... but as luck would have it, another Aunt called them with an update... and told them that I was fine...

... the next morning my Mother insisted that they drive us, beaten and battered, all the way up to Knoxville so she could scope out the damage for herself... even if she WAS laying in a hospital bed herself.....

... you know, I had almost forgotten about that little wreck until today.... with no great injuries, it is easy to forget.... but after seeing those photos again, I am reminded again of how beautiful it is to have family... my Dad is gone now, of course... but my ole Momma is still around....

... us kids... good Lord... all of us..... we have no idea how much we tweak the hearts of our parents... even when we are sixty-five, if they are still around, they'll still be worrying and fussing over us... and we'll still be frightening the shit out of them... or breaking their hearts... or making them remember us as slobbering babies who needed a diaper changed or a good swat on the behind....

... it is the nature of things... and it is good.... but tomorrow, dammit, I'm finding that napalm picture....

... anyway, here are the photos I found this afternoon....

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wreck_4_small.jpg

... messed that Celebrity UP, people.... but it was just a car... and cars can be replaced...

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Briefly...

.... today's Quote of the Day comes from the Winona Daily News.... and it is a headline, no less...

"Underwear burglary leads to brief chase, arrest"

... heh heh.... "brief chase".... Ok, I'm sorry... but that's just funny....

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Rope...

... I'm just back in from napping in the hammock... the first time I've slept outdoors in a coon's age.... I do believe I shall start doing that a bit more often... especially after a big breakfast like this morning.... and in the middle of the day, well, the mosquitoes are napping too... so it sets the scene for a bug-free afternoon....

... I do need to braid some twine into a small rope though.... there is a small hickory sapling near the head of the hammock.... and that baby will make a perfect anchor for a makeshift lanyard.... then I can lie back and tug gently on the rope to keep myself swinging....

... hey, it's true what they say, you know... necessity is the mother of invention.... now all I have to do is figure out how to rig some sort of table to sit my libations on, and I'll be jammin'... indeed, spillage is a problem I have not yet conquered... but I'm always searching for an angle...

... gazing up through the branches before I fell asleep, I could just make out the blue of the sky... it really is in a good spot, that hammock.. shade provided from dogwoods, poplars, sweet gums, and a solitary maple ensure that it lies in dappled sunlight nearly the entire day...

.... I dreamt a short dream this afternoon in the hammock as the warm breeze rocked me... I'd go into detail for y'all, but it is Sunday... and it's not good to write about such sordid, steamy, sweaty things on God's Day...

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Breakfast...

.... I was lured once again last night.... Hey, it was unavoidable... plied with strong drink, I was stealthily stalked.... and when I finally was bagged, I was forced happily sat through yet another familial viewing of "Four Weddings and a Funeral"...

... damnation... if I ever meet Hugh Grant in person I'm going to pop him with the hardest Glasgow Kiss ever delivered... word, people... it'll be on...

... anyway, as it came to pass, halfway through the flick the Missus tables a question... "Babe... which of the morbidly self-absorbed and inane characters in this movie is most like you?"...

... I could smell a trap... and I baulked... ever the cautious creature that I am...

.... "oh, I don't know... which do you think?".. said I whilst sipping my Scotch.....

... "well, sometimes you are like the jovial fat guy who has Oscar Wilde's fax number.... loud and over the top... but most of the time you are more like his boyfriend.... the one played by John Hannah... the quiet guy... always around... but not overpowering... caring... sentimental"...

... "whew... thank Jeebus (yes, I say Jeebus out loud) you don't see me like that dweeb who choked on his tongue every time Andie MacDowell walked into the room... " ....

... "no... no... you have your moments, but you really aren't that spastic.... Sometimes you are even like Tom... always hopeful... always bumping into things... figuratively and literally... but still well-meaning and happy " ...

.. "hmmm... interesting... so whom do you see reflecting you?"....

... "... good question.... good question... fetch me another glass of wine, Tom, and we'll figure it out... "

.... You know... as much as I hate to admit it, this is a sign that the end of American Society is near... see, when we begin communicating with - and psychoanalyzing - our mates and peers by using a cheesy Hugh Grant vehicle as our moral/spiritual/societal vantage point.... well, it's all downhill from there....

... but goodness, what a little smoking hottie Scarlett was....

... but I digress.... and as with most things, I have no point.... so I'm off to have breakfast with Laughing Wolf.... you know, as you do....

... y'all have a nice Sunday...

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Mother...

... today is my sainted Mother's birthday.. and in celebration of this shining day, we are off to broaden our horizons a wee bit... and being hillbillies, it's not that hard to do.... see, each new encroachment of civilization brings with it new opportunities to stretch our limited cultural references..

... in short, we're off to eat at a new Japanese restaurant... hey, it should be fun... I've heard tell that them Nips juggle your shrimp and steak and stab it with their wakizashis right there at your table... hell, I can hardly wait to see that... I mean, what could be nicer than having a bunch of ninjas serving you dinner?...

... besides, entertainment around these parts is pretty scarce...

.. anyway, I've heard they have sake too... so today is going to be a lot of fun... copping a buzz and watching swordplay over lunch... do I know how to have a good time or what....

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Limbs....

.. oy vey!.... Abraham in an ascot!...

... goodness..... the storm that charged through last night has done a bit of pruning for me.... the tops of two dogwoods have been completely ravaged... and the patio umbrella (which I forgot to reel down and close) resembles one of Wile E. Coyote's parasols after a nuclear explosion...

.. me?... I slept through the whole thing...

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juice....

.... upon further reflection, the swatting of the occasional gnat, and the sipping of some gin, I suddenly remembered my darling Christina's fine words....

.... hey, perhaps I should follow Lizzie's cue and whip some Rosetti on this evening's funk.... I don't have a silver penny, no... but I have a sizeable stack of gold sovereigns in the safe... and these days, well, you never know... the goblins might just be game...

... hey, at least it would be something different..... now all I have to do is sit back and wait for the voices...

... and you people thought reading 100 year old poetry was pointless... you guys have absolutely no idea....

... oh, and as an aside... it IS raining here now.... storming, actually.... which might have scuttled the plans anyway.... I doubt even goblins would venture out in weather like this... sheesh.... it figures....

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Wilted...

... today has been the type of day that just hangs.. it's almost as if the sky is pregnant with a soon-arriving thunderstorm but the weather refuses to breech... hell, it's almost depressing... no blue in the heavens and no clouds either... just a white-grey haze and oppressive humidity... even the mosquitoes are too lethargic to bite....

... on days like this, it is impossible to get excited.. not even about beer... the wishy-washy weather has created a lackadaisical day... decisions remain empty... and focus is hard to find.... and much like a shot-up B-29 over Berlin, attitude is hard to maintain....

.. and on top of everything else, I had a salad for dinner... that's right... no roast beef and gravy for me... no heaping tureen of mac and cheese sitting steaming on the stove.... a damn salad.... filled with green, leafy, heart-healthy vegetables...

... and nothing wilts my spirits quicker than a salad as a main meal...

... I can now fully sympathize with the parched and crumpled leaves on the dogwoods outside.... they look just about like how I feel... limp.. barren, even.... and more than just a little bit dejected...

... dammit, I sure wish it would rain tonight.....

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Sylvia...

... I had to say farewell to my old Audi friend today... I'd known him since 2003... he was a great pal, and he'll be truly missed.... his name was Doug and we'd shared many, many fine moments... moments that I'll long continue to remember with a smile...

... but today I had to pass ole Doug along to greener pastures... let him rest and be buffed and prepared gently for a pre-owned Audi parking lot somewhere in the southeast... so with great sadness, I tell you all that he is no longer with me.... he is gone... my little, quick, handsome silver companion is away....

.. and in a way, I am quite sad... I really am going to miss him greatly.....

... however, having said that, his replacement whispered sweet nothings in my ear all the way back from Knoxville... and guys, her voice is as sweet as honey..... her name is Sylvia... and she has the whitest, smoothest, most perfect skin...

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... and so far, well, I'm not letting the fact that she likes to go topless once in a while bother me too much... after all, it takes time to truly bond with a vehicle... and she and I are just now getting to know each other.... Me and Sylvia, people... I think we're going to hit it off just fine....

... you know, I really never thought I'd ever own a convertible... mercy... wonders never cease...

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Buttons...

... wow... speaking of "reactions" in the last post, I couldn't help but feel the pain of this Liverpudlian man when I read of his plight this morning....

... takes "pushing someone's buttons" to a whole new level, doesn't it?....

... seriously, you really can't make this shit up....

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Kiss....

.... the long drive up to Erwin, TN today was interesting.. I learned, for instance, that an ancient post of mine was one of RMS's favorites... the monumental perv that he is... I mean, c'mon... what grown man digs Prince?... oh, and it gets better... he let it slip that he owns EVERY SONG THAT PRINCE EVER RECORDED... great bloody hell.... what a bombshell...

... personally, I think that is just inexcusable... however, I will admit that my post back then was 100% true... and the reaction was undeniable...

... so as I have nothing else to post about now and am currently sweaty, tired, and have any number of elderly aches after driving 500 miles today... well, it somehow seemed appropriate... so here it is...

.... admit it... no, go on... admit it... your backsides are suddenly grinding themselves snugly (and with a certain falsetto rhythm) into your reading chairs... and you have absolutely no control.... go on, admit it...

... you people should be ashamed of yourselves... but hell, I do so love it.... not the song, of course.. but the reaction......

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Off....

.... off to the mountains to set two fearless hikers on their trail....

... I'll be back later...

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Sausage....

... my OCD side often forces me to completely submerge myself in whatever I am doing... I tend to latch onto things until I know them inside and backwards.... replaying the same DVD, CD, or video over and over until I know every nuance.... and with music, there are certain phrases, rhymes, or rhythms that catch me instantly...

... this morning, for instance, I woke up with snippets of lyrics from Waits' classic "Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)" bouncing around in my brain....

....It's two for a quarter - a dime for a dance.
Woolworths rhinestone diamond earrings and a sideways glance.....

... it's not just the lyrics, but how he syncopates the words as they roll out... I am hopelessly addicted...

... It's a cold caffeine in a nicotine cloud....
..... but the touch of your fingers
.. lingers burning in my memory...
.. I've been 86'd by your scheme
... and now I'm in a melodramatic nocturnal scene...

... that's some brilliant stuff, right there...

... anyway, I'm just back from a late lunch in Knoxville at Aubrey's.... and I've been informed that RSM is stopping by for a few games of pool in a bit... not sure if he's a Tom Waits fan, but we'll soon find out.... heh...

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Dysfunctional....

.... people, listen up..... if you don't own a copy of Brother Void's "Daily Afflictions" you are missing out... y'all know you can trust Uncle Eric... so be good to yourselves... toss yourself a treat.... buy a copy today... I mean, how can you go wrong with logic like this?.. checkit....

The Boot Camp of Life

"We delude ourselves that we want to imbue our children with honesty; instead what we want is to imbue them with our particular form of dishonesty"

Sidney Harris


Some of us are so damaged by our dysfunctional childhoods that we cannot unlearn everything our parents taught us. When this happens, you must make your dysfunction work for you. A good way to begin is to remember that your family is a boot camp designed just for you. In the heat of battle every brutality and indignity that soldiers have suffered in boot camp becomes an immediate reflex that helps them fight, kill, and survive. This is how you should feel about your family. As you move out into the adult jungle, you're prepared for battle. Not only are you ready on a hair-trigger to detonate a flexible array of adult issues, but you've been rigorously trained to handle the operational system of adult institutions, including passive-aggression in the school system, guilt bartering in organized religion, and domination-submission patterns between corporations and government.

As you look back on your unhappy childhood, you realize that your dysfunctional family has prepared you to survive in a dysfunctional world.

Thanks to my dysfunctional childhood, I am ready to kick some adult ass.

Brother Void

... I'm telling you right now, children... you guys are much, much poorer for not having a copy of "Daily Afflictions".... not that my childhood was dysfunctional, of course... but we're all a bit wobbly in our own ways....

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Bravery...

... all of my life, it seems, I have been surrounded by fearless people.... and in a way, I have never been able to fully understand them.... they have always inspired me, sure... but I have to admit that they scared me just a bit, too.... their seeming ability to be bold in the face of danger or doubt.... but me, myself, well, I've never been fearless.... I have always been the cautious one.....

.... I remember watching my little brother dive off the side of a rock quarry when he was ten years old.... our usual back-country swimming hole... I was fourteen at the time and felt a huge tinge of guilt as he hit the water - having completed a flawless 1 flip.... I floated there - bobbing in the wake that his dive left and surrounded by my cheering friends - and knew that I would never have the courage to do what he had just done....

.. years later while on leave from the Corps, I jumped from the high-dive at the local pool with my hands tied behind me and my feet tied together... surrounded by the community swim team, I demonstrated my newly found skills.... they were impressed, sure... but it was not a show of bravado.... it was merely an example of something which the MCIWS training regimen had given me... I had the confidence of training behind me..... there is a big difference...

... these days I search around me for bravery.... I continually search.... and I find it in the most unusual of places.... waking each day, I look at myself and the people that I surround myself with... I read and watch.....

.... I was wrong when I was a child, you know....

... courage has absolutely nothing to do with being fearless.... it is the exact opposite, in fact.... courage can only really be brought to the surface when you are truly afraid.....

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Dinner...

.... you know, if I ever caught a rattlesnake that was nine feet long, this is exactly what I would do with it..... hey, I'm just sayin'.... 90lbs is a lot of meat to just chuck into the nearest ditch...

... much, much better to snuggle in with an iron skillet, a few cloves of garlic, and a sharp knife... and get your "one with nature" groove on....

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Pineapples....

.... ensconced on my meager patio as the afternoon breeze fanned my furrowed brow, I found myself pondering upon pineapples....

... for instance, those fancy pineapples that you see at every grocery across the world - with leafy uppers and crocodile-esque lumps and bumps - those are one-offs..... did you know that?.... each growing season one plant will bear the large, meaty fruit... but only one.. the rest of the season, the same plant will only bear much smaller fruits... it is these which get ground up, chopped up, etc, and canned... but the big one?... only once per year per plant...

... maybe it is just me, but I am suddenly in absolute awe at the sheer number of pineapple plants that must be dotted around this great planet of ours...

... all year long there are fresh pineapples in the grocery store... shipped from Guam, Hawaii, Costa Rica, and a hundred other places... and not just to my tiny hometown either... but to millions of shops all around the globe...

... holy shit, people... that's a lot of pineapple plants...

... think about that for a while...

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Sunday...

.... grilled chicken has been requested for dinner tonight... so I am off shortly in search of fine, white breasts and baking potatoes.... peas and carrots have also been asked for, but the jury is still out... I cannot in truth say that I am a huge fan of peas...

... nothing against peas, really... they just don't suit my fancy... I am apathetic when it comes to green vegetables... well, except for spinach and lima beans... oh, and brussel sprouts.....

... anyway, be all that as it may, I thought I would give you rubberneckers a glimpse into the world I will be living in come 12 O'clock high....

... enjoy your Sunday, gentle reader... I sure am....

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Safe...

.... today has been one weird day.... I can't exactly put my finger on it, but there is a noticeable disturbance in The Force.... the natives are restless or something like that... things are quiet.... too quiet... so as you do, I'm off to hide on the patio with a six pack of Newcastle Brown and let the wind chimes sing me to a nap....

... y'all be careful this weekend... something is definitely afoot in the wind... I don't know if it is my Cherokee genes, my Choctaw genes, or that bad bunch of nachos I had for lunch... but regardless... something is twigging my delicate sensibilities... remember that Indian dude in the first "Predator" movie who stood around rubbing his medicine bag and gazing purposefully out into the jungle?...

... yeah, that's the kinda thing I'm talking about... so watch yourselves...

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TV...

... a few weeks ago the telephone rang here at the compound... upon answering what I assumed was a telemarketer, I was thrilled to find myself asked to participate in the famous Nielsen Ratings System... so for the past few days I have been religiously scribbling down each and every television show that has been pumped into my cozy living room....

... and you know, it's starting to piss me off.... sure, at first I got all warm and fuzzy with the thought that I was "part of something big"... but now it is just tedious.... I mean, times, channels, program names, are the Missus AND I watching said show or is it just me or her alone.... this crap is getting old...

... the only upside to the whole shooting match is that in my attempts to derail The System, I'm definitely getting a fine opportunity to catch up on the daily cycle of pay per view porn movies....

... there is some pretty weird shit on at 3am, people.... just trust me.... again, boys and girls, your humble weblogger plumbs the depths so you guys don't have to....

.... I wonder what percentage of the Nielsen demographic I'm going to get shoehorned into... the mind, wow... she does boggle....

... and speaking of boggling, congrats to Skippy for hitting 100K hits...

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Rivers...

... yesterday was a blast.... nothing says "Summer" like watching three young boys playing in a mountain stream....

... yep, I met up with Bou and her boys at their hotel and treated them to a healthy breakfast ala' McDonalds... hey, it was my intention to ensure the crowd was met with nothing but the best all day... so there were cinnamon rolls all around... oh yeah, we started the day off on the right foot...

... once snacks, drinks, boys, and Bou were safely tucked into the Audi, we split for the mountains... and deep into the Cherokee National Forest we drove.. the road we followed hugs itself against the Tellico River as it winds through the forest, so there were plenty of chances to stop for exploring... and explore we did.... from nearly the North Carolina state-line all the way back to Tellico there was hardly a stone left unturned in the search for a crawdad... alas, they failed in their search... but they sure tried hard... and I do believe that Bou would have stroked if they HAD found a mudbug to take home... so I guess it all worked out for the best....

.... we toured the back-roads for a number of hours before finally hitting The Bistro by The River for lunch... and you know, I am continually amazed at how Bou's little gentlemen carry themselves... those kids are going to set well-tanned, long-legged Florida hearts a'fire in a few years... and that is a fact.... just two or three bats of their long eyelashes, and the waitress was putty in their hands...

... planning to hit the local museum fell through as soon as lunch was over though... so we went back up the river to allow for one last-ditch attempt to catch a crawfish instead... and I do believe they would have caught one too, if it weren't for the fact that they got distracted by some baby fishies... again, luckily for all involved, their efforts netted nothing but happiness.... and wet feet... .

... the time ticked by at a faster pace than usual, and I finally had to say my goodbyes in the early afternoon.. I dropped them off at their hotel and wrote down directions on how to get back to civilization... and then we parted...

... take it from me, gentle readers... if you ever get a chance to meet up with Boudicca and her boys, don't let the opportunity pass you by.... you may end up tired as hell when it is over, but you'll have enjoyed a great time.... Bou, you and your family are welcome to visit with me and the Missus any time you wish... consider this an open invitation....

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Yarns....

... you know, I've said it once and I'll say it again.... no one can lie like Big Stupid Tommy... nobody...

... seriously.. the guy has a gift...

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Waterfalls....

.... good morning, rubberneckers, I'm off to the mountains to entertain my esteemed guests.... so y'all be careful while I'm away... as we all know, well, it's a jungle out there......

.. and a little birdie just told me that I am to assist in the capture of various cricket/grasshopper type beasties today.... cue "Ode to Joy" on all of your iPods.....

.... I suppose I should find a meadow somewhere during today's jaunt....

... ahhh *sigh*.... good times, people... good times..... and yes, I'm taking lots of pictures.....

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Porch...

.... last night whilst caught up in a particularly gruesome episode of Cold Case Files", my attention kept getting disrupted by a quiet tapping on the front door... initially I just poured another G&T, attempted to channel Ed Poe, and turned up the tube... but the persistent pecking persisted.... who could this be rapping on my chamber door?... anyway, I finally had taken all I could.... so, fearing Zombies were trying to lure me out into the open (it was dark after all, and you just never can be too careful) I racked a round into my .45 and flipped on the porch light to investigate....

... Jesus, people.... more stinking bugs.... some sort of brown - and almost opaque - beetles about the size of shucked peanuts.... my commentary on the flighty prowess of beetles and moths is well documented in the archives in as much as they have very little prowess... but these beetles took the cake.... see, there were no lights on in the casa, so I can only assume that the flicker of unsolved mysteries coming from the television was attracting them... but instead of battering themselves against the window, they were almost politely knocking on the door... and yes, for you purists out there, I fully realize that they were not knocking on the door... but merely too aerodynamically-challenged to actually fly their bulbous bodies into the window screen...

.. be that all as it may, I sat myself back onto the couch and tried to get my Case Files groove back on.... Zombies being now out of the question..

... but the whole time I reclined, I could not help but focus on the scrabbling noises that thousands of tiny feet were making just a few steps away...

... after a few minutes I stole to the kitchen to fetch my handy dandy Wasp and Hornet juice....

... and opening the door just a pinch, my lanky arm slipped through the crack and doused the porch light with long, thick streams of pesticide... once I was finished, I turned on the front porch light.... Heh....

... almost immediately, hundreds of bugs of various sizes, shapes, and social backgrounds were drawn to the newly blazing "Sun"... a sun dripping in Quick Death...

... hey, it worked like a charm... no more tap, tap, tapping.. no more rap, rap, rapping..... peace and quiet reigned supreme once again in my humble home....

.... however, in this warm light of day, I am now faced with a mighty pile of life-bereft exoskeletons on my doorstep.... goodness.... woe betide the Country Gentleman, people.. one truly cannot win for losing... country life is a battle... day in and day out......

... and shortly I will be entertaining guests for dinner... and here I sit with pounds of euthanized varmints - their husks alternately heaped on my welcome mat or glued to the sticky light fixture....

.... mercy... I better get this all hosed off before Bou and her boys get here..... such a sight is liable to put them off their cheese burgers....

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Art...

... wandering the streets of my small town today blissfully active in husbandly duties, I noticed a strange vibe from everyone who came near to me.... sure, most of the housewives know me down at the local Ingles grocery now... we're all on the same sheet... them in their flowery day-frocks and me in my tee-shirt and jeans.... we've bonded... Hell, I even occasionally share a joke and a laugh with the cashiers from time to time as they ring up my daily purchases... I've been just one of the crowd' since day one....

... but today as I rounded aisle after aisle in search of bacon, apple tarts, ale, and potato chips... greeting a fellow shopper with a smile and a fare-thee-well, I was shocked to see them cast their eyes downward and scurry past with their trolleys... by aisle number three, I could have sworn that Velociman's Mutant must have been secretly peeping over my shoulder as I greeted each pony-tailed soccer mom....

... but then it dawned on me.... instead of being decked-out in my normal white cotton, inoffensive, Banana Republic tee, I was wearing my black Roy Troll artistic shirt...

... wow... I'm gonna have to start being more careful out in public... I don't think those shoppers have the same sense of humor that I do...

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Sweet!...

... oooohhhh yeah... I'm back from town!...

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Town...

... hot damn, I'm gong goin' going to town...

... no, really....

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Suits....

... this certainly is an interesting group.. a'hem....

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Voicemail...

.... I gently fell asleep on the sofa last night to the light pattering of rain.... dreams of clouds, rainbows, and waterfalls peopled with scantily clad nymphs were enjoyed throughout the long night.... It was wonderful.... so I wake, slightly groggy but happy, at 4AM to find my cellphone buzzing away on my hip...

... "weird", thinks I to myself... "why would someone call me at such a late hour... 12:43AM... probably some blogger drunk-dialing my saintly ass from a bar somewhere.. "...

... so as you do, I checked the voicemail... and here is a rough transcript...

(slightly slurred East Tennessee redneck) .... "Eeeeeeerick... I've got your dog over here... give me a call at 519-XXXX when you can... like I said, your dog is over here and he's KILLED A BUNCH of my CHICKENS... and I'm pretty PISSED OFF... so you just call me tomorrow so we can settle this with a COURT DATE.... Your name and number is on his collar.... We'll settle this in court with you and your chicken-killin' dawg.... thanks".... *click*...

... ladies and gentlemen, to say that this message harshed my sublime mellow in a big, big way would be the understatement of the century... I was fucking livid.... and it is never a good thing to anger me first thing in the morning... most of the time, I am the epitome of Zenned-out Libran Calmness.... but when jolted awake by anger, threats, and haughtiness... well, I can get pretty mean...

... first off, let me preface this whole tale with the salient fact that I don't own a fucking dog... and even if I DID own a dog it wouldn't be wandering around the neighborhood at night killing chickens... and even if it WERE wandering around at night killing chickens, then the chickens probably needed KILLING... and they had probably offended it in some way and deserved to die... if I did have a fucking dog I would stand by his moral judgment to kill chickens as he saw fit....

... anyway, once my eyes stopped glowing red, I phoned my fellow hillbilly for a chat.... 4:30AM and the phone just rang and rang.... typical... so I waited.... and waited.... and waited... 7:00AM I called again... just ringing.... and ringing...

... my third attempt was at 8 and it was successful...

(slightly sleepy/drugged/hung-over voice of the same asshole who left the message for me at 12:43AM) .... Uhh... hullo?...

Me. .... Good morning... I'm Eric... you left a message on my phone last night about my dog....

Hillbilly: .... Huh?...

Me: ... you said that my dog had killed your chickens... you left a message giving me this number...

Hillbilly: .... Who is this?.... I didn't leave a message for you...

Me: ... my name is Eric.... how did you get my number, Sir?...

Hillbilly .... Huh?... I don't know what you are talking about...

Me: ... do you own chickens?... is my dog there?... are we going to settle on a court date or what?...

Hillbilly... Eric?... COURT DATE?!... I don't own any chickens...

Me: ... well, that's a good thing... because if you did, I would drive to your house and shoot every goddamn one of them... THEN we could set a court date, motherfucker.... Never call me again... and I'd watch about huffing on that pipe and then calling people you don't know and threatening them... as a matter of fact, I'll bring my State Trooper neighbor with me when I come to shoot your fucking chickens so he can help us with the court date after I'm done.... where the fuck do you live, asshole?...

Hillbilly: ... Mister, I'm sorry... please don't call the cops..... *click*...

... so it's 8:32 now and I'm feeling a bit better.... that man must have been stoned to the Moon to have dreamt up a whole flock of chickens and a chicken-killing dog.... but coffee and nicotine are balming me nicely... so how was your morning?....

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Heat....

... a thunderstorm is rolling in.... and the sky has taken on that strange shade of grey that you only see when a storm approaches near dusk... the wind is up a bit as well... the trees swaying outside my window with a gentleness that hides the coming theatrics....

... even the rain is slow... fat drops landing hard but with ample time in between each strike on the leaves and stones....

... it's a strange moment.... seeing the trees move and the dry soil suck up each drop of moisture as it lands... as if the limbs are happy to be dancing again and the Earth is thirsty... but in a while, the full force will be here.... and it will be violent....

... noise and lightning... wind and rain.... limbs will be lost and dirt washed away.... ferocity will be visited upon this acre soon.... and I can see it coming... you can smell it in the air... feel the heaviness of it as it weighs down upon you through the heat....

.... but right now, it is quiet... calm... I don't imagine it will last much longer though....

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Thumbs...

... as some of you may remember, I've got my failings... sure, sure... I know that comes as a complete surprise to some of you people, but hey... it's true... I have my weaknesses....

... when it comes to opposite sex, there are certain cues that definitely tweak my inner-perv.... dark hair... shining eyes hidden ever-so-slightly behind prescription eye-glasses.... hair coiffed up in a ponytail so that the delicate back of the neck can be seen.... good God, people... that'll do it every time..... clinically, it is known as a Librarian Fetish... (depending on what kind of clinic it is that you attend) .... but wow... give me a brunette in a button-up shirt and I'm down for the count... or up for the occasion... iffen you know what I mean....

... as a fine example, for instance, does anyone remember that scene in "Dogma" where Salma Hayek is stripping?... well, yeah... that pretty much nails it... curves, glasses, dark hair, pig-tails, ripping that shirt open at just the right moment.... oh, and the chewing gum... mercy sakes.. the chewing gum was a very nice touch... and the thumb sucking... that friggin' rocked..... of course, while I am thinking of it, she looked pretty damn smokin' in those pantaloons in "Wild West" too.... but that is a subject for another day.... I don't want to get too worked up here right now....

... see, today is Joe's 39th birthday... and I happen to know that he shares my fascination with Salma....so in celebration of his latest lap around the Sun, here are some photographs that I dug up while surfing the internet....

... hey, they certainly pleased me... I hope they please him too....

... Happy Birthday, big guy.... now start posting on your damn blog again....

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.... just gaze upon that look of sheer abandon... wow....

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.... notice the sweeping curves of the hips...

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... that's it, babydoll.... shake that thing.... slowly...

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... oh yeah.... smile for daddy....

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... I love it when she teases me like that... damnation...


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... three words, people... oh.my.God....

... and the final knife in my heart?.... Joe has already bagged it.....

joe_birthday2.jpg

... truly, there is no justice in this world.... Happy Birthday, Joe.... you stud....

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Fertilized...

... the wild, oriental beetle pleasurefest that has been taking place in my ferns has spilled over... they are no longer content to have me massacre them by the bushel basket in only one location....

.... this morning the blooms of the climbing pink rose at my front door were coated with munching, writhing, humping Japanese beetles.... and my crepe myrtle isn't faring any better... little bastards...

... one would think that the Birds of the proverbial Field would at least be trying to help me out by filling their little gizzards with freshly fucked fertilized beetles... but no... the birds are too busy preening themselves in the birdbath to worry about helping out the likes of me....

.... so I must go once more, girt for combat... and armed with my trusty Windex bottle filled with dish detergent-impregnated water... and lead the squirming masses onward towards their buggy oblivion....

... gah!... bah humbug!.... it's almost enough to make me spring for paving the lawn... it really is....

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Breakfast...

.... at night around here, I leave the light on in the blogroom... I hate waking up in the middle of the night in a pitch dark house... so, since the blogroom is the farthest room from the master bedroom, it is the best room to leave lighted.... the result of leaving the light on is that a variety of creatures from the neighboring woods get drawn to the window... moths, millions of flying bugs, and sometimes frogs... they can usually be found in the morning's light clinging to the metal screen of the window watching me come to life in front of the computer's monitor with a cup of joe....

... as I was sitting around this morning, I was watching, as I have a million times, a wayward moth attempt to camouflage himself against the glass... casually sipping my coffee and pondering the Great Scheme of It All, a large, colorful blue bird appeared just outside... it hovered for a split second... and then delicately plucked the poor beastie from the screen...

... quick and painless... but still, he was breakfast for a fellow traveler.. breakfast at the blogroom window... I can certainly think of worse ways to go...

... strange, eh?.... see, I was talking to someone the other day about my current age and I said something off-hand... a remark that I have thought about quite a bit since.. the party involved asked me how old I was... and without giving them a number, I simply said... "I'm the same age as Jesus."... crazy how that just rolls off the tongue, right?...

.. damn... never mind... that train of thought was heading no where...

.... but hey, I was just watching a show on Trekkies (or Trekkers depending on how bent you are), and I was laughing.... knee-slapping, belly-emptying, knee-crawling laughs.... it was a horrid scene....

... but it's all cool... it seems that when viewed out of context, we see them all as freaks... dressing their Chihuahuas in engineering uniforms.... learning to speak Klingon... wishing they had the cash to have their ears doctored to look like Spock's... the Wife and I were having a good ole time laughing at them until the sudden realization hit.. WE are TREKKIES... we love the shows.. sure, we don't have a million collectibles hanging around, but we can tell you what a damn Jeffries Tube is....

... and damn it, it wasn't so funny anymore... instead, we felt an unusual but strongly poignant pang of self-awareness....

... as with many things, though, there is a problem... somewhere in this post, there is a point.. be it getting older, comparing yourself to Jesus, laughing at your own foibles, or forgetting what the hell you were talking about... hey, just pick one... that's what we always end up doing anyway, right?..

... wait.... don't answer that... it is most definitely a trick question...

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Sticky...

... my only blogson, RSM, provides today's Quote of the Day.... good Lord...

Pain in the ass. Well, at least that part wasn't all lubed up when we were done. In a way I felt kinda cheap and lonely. There was a lot of "stretch up, yeah, hold it, now flex your abs, yeah that's nice, now twist to the left... on your side..." but in the end I was left with a sticky stomach and a towel to clean myself up while she left the room.

... the boy ain't right, and that's a fact.... no wonder I only have one male blogchild and all the rest are girls.....

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Mighty...

... and now, in the sterling spirit set forth by legions of self-absorbed bloggers everywhere... behold the back of my head...

back_of_head_small.jpg

... quite a pelt, no?... destined to reside on a lodge-pole in the fairly near future, I am sure....

... word up, rubberneckers.... some days Ozymandias is a homeboy..

Update: ... it appears that I am an inspiration... heh heh...

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Monuments...

... feeding time is over now and The Wife is swinging peacefully out back in her hammock... the last time I checked, Ginger was curled up on The Wife's stomach as she read her book... funny, really.... out of the two cats, Fred is the most fearless... and Ginger is spooked by everything from people's voices to rustling leaves... and yet it is Ginger who enjoys the hammock... while Fred won't have anything at all to do with it...

... anyway, I grilled two nice flounder fillets around 6:30... steamed up some potatoes and mashed them... adding in some crushed garlic, bleu cheese, sour cream, and butter... and I even boiled up a few roasting ears just for color.... fish, potatoes, and corn on the cob... now it is time for a gin and tonic....

.... as I was cooking, I couldn't help thinking about the Confederate monument I photographed today... especially the inscription... I mean, I must have passed that thing a thousand times and it never struck me like it did today... right there at eye-level in bold-faced, simple words....

... "MAN WAS NOT BORN TO HIMSELF ALONE BUT TO HIS COUNTRY." ....

... wow... I do believe that reading that today felt like the very first time.... how amazing... one side reading those simple, powerful words... the other side emblazoned with crossed Confederate flags... and rising up above and standing tall atop the plinth, a solitary soldier with rifle and fixed-bayonet...

... man was not born to himself alone... but to his country..... it's still sinking in.... I understand the sentiment and I happen to agree with it... but I can't stop wondering just how many of my generation do not believe in those words and the idea they express...

... farther around the base of the monument, another inscription reads "TO OUR KNOWN AND UNKNOWN CONFEDERATE DEAD." .....

... people talk about the men and women of the WWII era as being the "Greatest Generation"... and who knows, maybe they were... but one thing is a fact.... The Civil War generation had some unbreakable grit too....

... I just hope we still have that grit this generation...

Update: .... here is one of the photographs I took this afternoon...

cleveland_monument_small.jpg

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Lunch...

... you know, some people might think that forty miles is too far to drive for a hotdog... and well, you know, some people would just be wrong... completely, utterly, wholly, unreservedly, and in all other ways...

... oh, and I skipped out on the Cadbury's Flake and opted for a NYC style cheesecake... the guy has them delivered fresh from The Cheesecake Factory on a regular basis.... Heh... and y'all thought us hillbillies didn't know how to live right.... good God, you people have no idea...

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... I'm here to tell you, the Gardener's Market Deli in Cleveland can do them some dogs... and their sandwiches aren't bad either... trust me... forty miles is more than worth it....

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Hotdogs....

.... in Cleveland, TN there is a small, Yankee-operated deli located on the eastern side of the town square..... proudly serving excellent hotdogs within spitting distance of the old Confederate Memorial statue... it is there, sitting on the street corner and gazing upon the flag-draped stone man, that I plan on having today's noontime feast.... a tall glass of sweet iced-tea... a Cadbury's Flake... and a plump wiener on a soft bun with onions, sauerkraut, and mustard...

... don't wait up for me, children... I may be gone for some time....

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Wow....

... you know, I'm a pretty nice fellow... quiet, shy, retiring... one might even say meek'.... and as I am so sensitive, I am often drawn to sad stories such as this...

... but I do also have a curious side - even in the face of such sad circumstances... so as I was reading the article on the suddenly brain-damaged and sex-crazed young British trooper, I could not help but read these lines and sit in amazement.....

We were told that the brain's frontal lobes play a key role in personality. This was discovered about 160 years ago when a railway worker, Phineas Gage, accidentally drove a metre-long metal pole through the frontal lobes of his brain.

Gage astonished doctors by making a full physical recovery. But his character had changed: he became quick-tempered and foul-natured very different from his former self.

... "foul-natured"??... well, you don't say.... having accidentally driven a metre-long metal pole through one's frontal lobe might do that... no?.... and that 600 pound sterling internet porn bill?.... Alexander, I definitely feel your pain...... I hope those beta-blockers work..... God knows, suing the MOD surely won't....

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Jim Reeves....

... while tripping down Memory Lane a while back with a box of old, unsorted photographs, I found myself singing a song...... well, not really singing, per se... as I only knew portions of the lyrics.... but definitely letting the lyrics of long ago ring some bells in my frazzled brain...

... it was a bit strange, in fact.... since I'm a middle-of-the-road Country Music fan, many of the "classics" are simply lost on me.... but those ancient photographs reminded me of a song that my Father sang many, many times long ago.... it was called "He'll Have to Go"... and my Pa would sing it off-key with a glint in his eye every time.....

... as it happened, I was on the phone with Jimbo shortly after having my little memory-flashback.. and as soon as I mentioned Jim Reeves to him, I got a laugh from the other end of the telephone line... Jim's Dad had sang that very same song too...

.... we bantered back and forth for a while about parents, music, and the soothing, sensual qualities of Patsy Cline's singing before I finally decided that later that day I would download Mr. Reeves' classic....

.. I suppose my Dad sang it because he worked away from home so much... after all, there is definitely a jealousy thing going on in the lyrics..... then again, maybe he just liked the way Mr. Reeves' voice sounded.... Dad, after all, had nothing to be jealous about.... but either way, I listened to the song a lot last night.... and you know, I am growing to like it...

... goodness, I'll bet Mr. Reeves' voice could start knickers sliding towards knees at fifty paces... the man was just that smooth..... well, back in the day he probably could have... nowadays he'd be pointed at and made fun of.... today's chickadees want badboys with tattoos and West Coast Choppers... not be-sweatered crooners making goo-goo eyes and warbling their voices....

... and you know, that's kinda sad...

... damn, I really missed the point with this post... I've wandered too far down the forbidden, mossy path.... but hell, I'd really love to live in a world where Jim Reeves could still get laid....

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Boots....

... I did something yesterday that I haven't done in years.... I fell asleep in my combat boots..... many was the time in the far-off past that it was almost impossible to stay awake in them... pushed mentally or physically through training or missions, you'd often find yourself so incredibly tired that you'd fall asleep at the first moment of stillness... taking a ten minute break during a 18 mile road-hump stateside, most men would change their socks and catch a quick nap before being called back into line.... rest was one of the things that was always most needed... food, water, and sleep...

... these days a forced road-march would kill me... my back and knees are already shot from little time I served... and my left shoulder is pretty banged up too.... but I do still wear combat boots when I am battling the back yard.... there are enough creepy crawlies in the grass to make walking barefoot a highly dangerous endeavor... if you stay on the stone path to the patio or stay on the deck, you're fine in bare feet... but anywhere else and boots are needed...

... the boots I wear are old, standard issue leather boots from the 1980s... no vibram sole... no speedlaces... just about as plain as they come... their only real identifying mark is the date of manufacture... it's lightly stamped into the leather on the outside of the boot just around from the highest eyelet.. I had a pair just like them before, but I finally wore them out... gifted to me by Corporal Shaw when he de-mobbed, I wore them for nearly twelve years... re-soled time and time again, the leather uppers just got softer and softer... until finally the leather just gave up and cracked.... I still have them though, they're out in the garage... but the new ones have taken their place...

... I had a hard time tracking them down actually.... evidently the military stopped issuing them back about 1988 and went with speedlaces instead... which was a pity, really... because the speedlaces did suck mightily.... crap leather that was impossible to shine and plastic soles that did nothing to cushion your foot from the road - the boots were horrible....

... but after lots of searching, I finally found them online in an old Army/Navy surplus store in Juneau, Alaska... the salesman remarked over the phone that he only had two pairs left in my size... so naturally, I bought them both... I figure that in ten years when the new pair wears out, it'll be Hell trying to find them again... so it's best just to sit on the second pair until they are needed... good boots are hard to find... and well, I guess I just know what I like...

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Life...

... a thunderous rainstorm ripped through last night and knocked a few limbs off from around the house... and my internet ISP scuttled his ship somewhere around 3pm and left me bobbing helplessly in the Sea of Incommunicado... which truly sucked.... you know, you never realize how much you'll miss email until it is snatched away from you....

... in other news, I've just heard that Christina and Dash have suffered a huge tragedy... I am shocked and saddened and my doors are open... guys, if there is anything I can do, please let me know.... y'all have my number... please don't hesitate to use it....

... I've been tasked with spiriting some spirits from the Big City to my humble home today... so I'll be setting off shortly for that little adventure...

... damn... every day is a gift, people... and every minute is a pleasure... don't ever forget that.... not ever.... all we really ever have is life...

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The 4th...

... well, the Missus has to work today and I'm here alone... I'm slated to attend an Independence Day feast over the lunchtime hours out in the boondocks of McMinn County.... an annual family affair replete with outhouse action... us hillbillies certainly know how to have a good time... racks of hand-rubbed ribs, cold beers, and relieving yourself outdoors to the sound of laughter and fireworks... it's an unusual sensation for sure....

... anyway, I'll be returning early in the afternoon to begin preparing dinner... my World Famous spaghetti has been requested... and in honor of Wimbledon, strawberries and cream is on order for dessert.... hey, you just never know what the menu is going to be over at my little slice of Valhalla...

... but having said that, enjoy your Independence Days, rubberneckers... be you with family, alone, or among strangers or friends... celebrate the freedoms that our forefathers gave gifted us... and with each firecracker, bottle rocket, or roman candle... remember those men and women who defend this great nation....

.... I'm off to the mountains...

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Safari...

.... well, I said my farewells to Joe about noon.... we lunched on bacon, cheddar, and mayo sandwiches while he packed... mercy... a pound of bacon on each sandwich.. hey, I know how to treat guests, people.... nothing says comfort' like a half-pound of crunchy bacon.... anyway, I surely do not envy the man his journey northwards... 11 hours on the road is a mighty task... and too damn much like hard work, if you ask me....

... but yesterday's safari was damned exciting... we prowled the garage, peeped deeply into the shadowy corners of the house, and lifted various pots, boxes, and lawn implements in search of our wily target... all to no avail.....

... of course, we fortified ourselves for the hazardous duty with some fine 18-year old Glenlivet before setting off... (a gift from Joe that was greatly appreciated)... it was hotter than darkest Africa as we made our way around the lawn... but we eventually sighted the signature web of a black widow down in the front yard by the mailbox.... we were stoked.. closer inspection revealed the dried husks of many a hapless varmint laying scattered on the dry ground beneath the crevice.... it was a moment of high drama, to be sure.... but we kept our nerve.... hey, check it out... here's what a black widow's casa looks like....

black_widow_web_small.jpg

... we finally tracked a large female down, but she had backed up to the very back of an 8-inch crack in the creosote-covered timbers... with the aid of a fairly large twig, we both made attempts to dislodge her for her photo-op... but sadly this was all in vain.... she was simply not in the mood to be trifled with by two buzzing Mutual of Omaha rejects..... still, I took a few photos with the flash on.... but the whole image ended up out of focus.... so there you go... spiders 1, Eric and Joe 0....

.... I will say this for Joe, though.... while the man is a complete nancy when it comes to snakes... he's a veritable "Tarzan on a vine" when it comes to spiders... fear is a four-letter word to that boy... he spent the entire hunt talking about how he wanted to hold a black widow in his hand and have me take a picture.... I tell ya, the boy has nerves of steel on occasion....

... you know, I am continually impressed by the absolute fearlessness of the bloggers who visit my home... I probably need to work on thinking up scarier shit for us to do when they get here....

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Spiders..

... today, just to prove a point, I am off on a mini-safari with Joe of Drunken Wisdom... I promised him a while back that when he next visited me, we'd endeavor to scare us up a snake for the sake of good blogfodder... but being the girlyman he is, he squeaked like a squished mouse and fled into another room... so today, well, we'll safari for something different... the target?... a nice, fat, juicy black widow spider... surely the man isn't scared of spiders too...

.... the goal is simply to photograph a large female in her natural habitat and then leave her in peace... and, of course, gauge the reaction of my fellow blogger whilst we are on the hunt...

... the scary thing is, I feel quite confident... oh no, not that Joe can handle it... on the contrary... I feel quite confident we're actually going to find a black widow...

... I'll be sure to keep y'all posted... and just in case he faints or gets heart palpitations, I laid on two cases of beer yesterday evening... it's chilling nicely in the garage fridge... and it should be tasty and cold by the time he needs medical attention....

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Sickened...

... you know, I really, really love it when Donnie gets his knickers in a twist... I really, really do..... excellent post, big guy.... I owe you a beer...

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The Truth...

.... you know, I am the most law-abiding citizen I know of... no, seriously.... I am a veritable pillar of the fucking community compared with most of the people I hang out with.... trust me, people... I am on NO ONE'S criminal radar.... and for that matter, I never HAVE been...

.... and yet I know there are going to be some stories about my moving violation... especially since there were three distinguished gentlemen in the car with me when it happened... add to that the fact that they are bloggers, and well, there you go... by the time the tale is twisted and blogged, I will have been fleeing the scene of my most recent 7-11 heist at high speed or something....

.... however, believe nothing of what they tell you (if they mention it at all) as their jaundiced views and advice are what contributed to me breaking the law to begin with.... and personally, out of all the ones in the peanut gallery who were egging me on, I lay the largess portion of the blame on Yabu and his Bad Bad Juju.... him sitting in the back seat of my Audi ripping loose with rum-fueled howler monkey cackles broke my concentration....

... anyway, here is the real deal as best as I can recollect it....

The Cast: Me, Elisson, Yabu, and Denny....

Scene: ... pulling away from the funeral home....
Me: .. you guys cool enough back there?... I turned the air down as low as it would go...
In unison: ... I'm fine...
Me: ... cool... so... we make a left, a right, and then a left to get back to the hotel, yeah?....
Elisson: .... That's right... I'll show you where to turn... damn, you are a bumpkin..
Me: ... bite me... I don't like cities with more than two stoplights....
Denny: ... hahahhahh..... Eric is a bumpkin...
Yabu: ... what a service.. it was nice.... Fucking-A, man... Acidman is gone...
In unison: ... I miss him already....

Scene: three minutes later as we approach the hotel...
Me: .... Ok, there is the hotel... so do I circle the block, or what?...
Yabu: ... naaawww, man... just pull a fucking u-ey... I've seen these Savannahites pull that shit all the time...
Me: ... (stopping at the light and ensuring that there is nothing coming) ... so, I just turn around right here?.. is that legal?...
Yabu: ... Fuck legal... I want to get out of this fucking suit... fuck, man... C'MON!...
Me: .. (sitting stoped at the traffic light) ... well, nothing is coming.. is it ok to go?... hey, Elisson... is that a cop car coming in the distance?...
Elisson: ... hmmm... could very well be, my boy... it's still too far away to tell...
Yabu: .... The Fuzz?... Fuck a bunch of Fuzz...
Me: .... Ok... alright... here goes... are you guys sure that guy isn't a cop? ...
Denny... hehheeh... heh heh... heh heh...
Me: .... (pulling a perfect u-turn) ... see?.. I told you this car can turn on a dime...
Elisson .... Dude... that IS a cop...
Yabu: ... BWHAHAHAHAHAHA... he's GOT YOUR ASS!!.... you waited until he was right there, man... BWHAHAHAHAH....
Elisson: ... oops... sorry, Eric.... I just couldn't see that far...
Me: .... DAMMIT!!... he's got his lights on!... Yabu, you dirty bastard....
Denny: ... BHWHAHAHAAAHHA....
Yabu: ... Dude, you are so busted.... Quick, HIDE YOUR GUN!!...
Me... SHUT UP!!... he's at the damn WINDOW... ummm... hello, Officer....
Denny: ... wow.. Eric, you are a monumental dumbass....
Me: .... thank you, Denny... thank you.....

... at that point, well, I had three guys sitting in my car with shades and black suits on laughing their asses off as one of Savannah's finest wrote my ass up.... but at least he was nice about it all.... I mean, I was guilty as hell... and I didn't even SEE that red arrow...

... and that, dear friends, is the whole truth... the true story of how I got my FIRST EVER ticket... I could blame it on nerves... or being distracted by just coming from Rob's funeral.. or just not being used to so many one-way streets... but you know, really and truthfully?... I blame Yabu... his Bad Bad Juju is contagious.... Yabu is the type of guy who can wander down a street at night pulling an arson job on every third house for ten blocks and never get caught... me?... the first time I commit a traffic offense, I get a ticket... that's just not right....

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Tickets...

.... as I am readying myself to slip quietly into re-charge mode, I see that Redneck was sneaky last October.... and he managed to snap a photo of me doing exactly what I'll be doing again in a few hours... but not with pork ribs this time... chicken breasts have been requested instead...

... so I'm off to the grocer to fetch some yardbird.... the past few days have left me needing something and yet strangely content and filled at the same time....

... and I also need to figure out what I'm going to do with this Savannah traffic ticket I have.... can you believe that?... after 33 years on this planet, I FINALLY get a ticket.... Dammit....

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