Shame....

.... trekking out to visit the dentist always fills me with a deep sense of dread.... and - truth told - it is a completely unfounded terror.... my Dentist is a saint and always takes very good care of me... and apart from the five years I served the Corps and the further eight years overseas as a civvie, he has been the only dentist I've ever visited...

... he was my very first Dentist... when my first little deciduous tooth sprouted, it was he who took care of me from that day forward... fortunately I didn't need much work as a child... being relatively free of cavities and such.... but on the other hand, my Brother's dental expenses probably paid the tuition for both of the Dentist's daughters at Vanderbilt...

... I arrived slightly early for my appointment... just as the hygienists and assistants were returning from lunch... and each of the young ladies offered a fine hallo and a slight smile as they entered the front entrance and passed me... I was sitting on the comfy couch trying my best to look calm and failing miserably... so I must have been quite a source of amusement to the girls....

... but after a few doleful minutes, the game was set afoot.... the moment to flee was no longer available, and I was led gently to the surgery room... once there, I was reclined back into the chair by the helpful assistant...

... after she prepped me, she began discussing the joys of convertible travel - she having witnessed me arming the alarm on Sylvia - and I did my best to extol to her the absolute wonderfulness of driving topless Audis... (which is harder to do than you imagine when you have two pencil-sized numbing-sticks protruding three inches forth from your lips)....

... in any case, the Dentist appeared and began injecting... and knowing from past experience what a complete basket-case I become, he kept injecting... and injecting.... and then he turned on the nitrous oxide for good measure... here it is nearly 9:30pm and the numbness has only now completely passed... my appointment was at 2pm....

... the procedure took just over an hour and a quarter.... and I was completely worn out by the end of it.... every muscle in my entire body had been completely flexed for an hour and fifteen minutes.... even with the gas... even though I wasn't in pain.. and even though I knew it was completely irrational, I just could not relax...

... I closed my eyes and focused on keeping my jaws opened wide.... I opened my eyes and stared at the light... I cut them to the left and watched the serene expression of the assistant as her hazel eyes focused on the Dentist's nimble fingers.... I looked to the right and directly into the pale, robin's egg blue of the Dentist's eyes as he worked.... I closed my eyes again.... rinse and repeat....

... every fiber that holds my 200lb, 6'1" body together was taut with fear... and I could not get past it... I was as rigid as a damn surf board and I wasn't even in pain...

.... the Dentist sensed it... after thirty years in the trade, he could just tell... he stopped for a minute and asked if I was alright... I took a deep breath and said I was sorry... that I was fine.... but I just couldn't make myself relax.... he nodded and said that he understood and that he would try to finish quickly....

... I guess I can now add shame' to the list of things that I feel when I darken the Dentist's door...

... and the really messed up thing is this... I've had broken bones... I've had serious injuries.... fights, scrapes, falls... rugby tackles that have nearly killed me... been beaten unconscious... beaten others.... hunted wild and fearsome beasts... I'm no stranger to pain or fear... and I have a pretty damn high tolerance to pain....

... so why in the great living HELL am I so spastic when it comes to a trip to the Dentist?.... in the Great Scheme of Things, it is a walk in the park....

... it is really starting to piss me off...

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Rubber....

.... the two kitties have their yearly appointment with the veterinarian today... fortune shined last night, and whilst being fed their evening meal the garage door was lowered.... they've both been locked in the garage all night and are currently pacing round and round in a great, looping circle like tigers in a zoo...

... I do not envy the Missus her allotted task of actually caging the little rascals for the ride to town....

... Fred is a pushover, of course, and easily manhandled... but Ginger... Ginger morphs from drowsy feline to Tasmanian Devil at the mere sight of his pet carrier... word up, he scratches too...

... amazing how such a cuddlesome beast can be so completely spun up - and out of control within seconds- with the production of a simple piece of plastic and rubber...

... as for me, well, after a wonderfully dreamful night, I am off to the dentist to have my own fangs doctored.... I'm channeling Ginger just a bit..... but rain and wind - likely the remnants of that punk, Ernesto - blessed the lawn during the darkness.... so even though my destination is slightly worrying, the trip there over steamy, damp roads will be a joy...

.... I guess, in a roundabout way, me and the kitties are in the same proverbial boat....

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Weird...

... you know, I am forever surprised by reading my "friends"..... behold the latest....

... look, my total, bowel-loosening fear of Zombies is well documented here on this humble blog... and up until this morning, well, I imagined the scariest Zombies of all were that really, really FAST ones from the latest remake of "Dawn of the Dead".... (... and whoever thought them up should be double-tapped gently with my 9mm and whisked off to the sweet land of oblivion... )...

.. see, somehow the idea of a slow-moving Zombie shuffling around - while terrifying - at least afforded me the chance to run away loping and screaming like a little sissy...

... but a Zombie who imitates Jesse Owen is just plain mortifying... reanimated dead human flesh isn't supposed to be able to tackle you like a crack-addled linebacker.. it is just wrong....

... thanks to the warped minds of Elisson and Velociman though, I now have another nightmare to contend with... Zombie ass-rapists... Jesus Christ, people.... why I hang with you degenerates, I'll never know... perverts.... and hell, I've had dinner with those two guys...

... the only shred of hope that I can possibly glean from this is that I be attacked by a horde of female Zombies who wish to be pummeled internally and repeatedly by Petey while he is at full protuberance.... Thus satisfying their evil Zombiegirl butt-lust.... but even the thought of that is incredibly off-putting...

... I mean, sure, Petey is capable of mighty tasks on occasion.... and while I might be able to satisfy five or ten Zombiegirls, a whole horde would be beyond my abilities.... I'm a man, not a machine... and even I am not capable of handling that many Zombiegirls..... and if I couldn't perform, those horned-up Zombiegirls would turn on me and eat my brains....

... damn, what a way to wake up to a Wednesday morning..... I can't believe I just wrote that....

... oh, and on top of everything, my old friend Mark back in Scotland sent me a religious primer of sorts the other day in a warped kind of compliment....

... I tell you, boys and girls, the internet is really heading down hill these days... it really is... y'all should be ashamed of yourselves....

... I sure am...

UPDATE:... ok, boys and girls... it's official... RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!...

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Anticipation....

... wow..... autumn is almost here....

... I woke early today and brewed a pot of coffee.. taking care to be quiet while the Wife lay sleeping in bed....

... it rained last night - a slow, steady rain.... and this morning a thick mixture of smoky fog and steam is laying thick in the woods outside my window... slowly lifting towards the treetops as the sunlight filters through the clouds...

... soon it will be burned away by the rising Sun... the day will be hot again, most likely... but the mornings and evenings are showing the first signs of cooling.... ever so slightly, the season is changing....

.... in a few weeks, the leaves will begin to color... and the shades of green will be replaced by reds, yellows, and orange....

... I do so love these cusps.... these times when all is mixed... not fully one or another - a season in motion....

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Praise...

... word up, gentle rubberneckers.... I have been sorely remiss in singing the praises of Mr. Kees Kennis.. a Real Man - and fellow traveler - if there ever was one...

... so go now and suckle at the teat of a man who knows the many hidden mysteries of the marrow of life.... Rock on, Kees... you da man....

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Cross-eyed....

... thumbing through my copy of Schott's Sporting, Gaming & Idling Miscellany while I waited for the local Mexican restaurant to open, I found a marvelous little piece of horse-track info...

... and hey, since I am an incredibly sharing fellow, I thought I would pass the tip on to you - my darling and gentle readers... you know, just in case you ever visit the tracks to play the ponies....

.. checkit...

To meet a cross-eyed man on the way to the track is very bad, but to meet a cross-eyed woman is very lucky. However, to meet a cross-eyed man of swarthy appearance foretells the best kind of luck.

... see?... alls you gotta do is find yourself a cross-eyed black guy, and you're in the money...

... honestly, you really can't make this stuff up.... anyway, I am off to buy some nachos... I'm famished...

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Toleration...

... good God, what a day...

... ever have one of those days that should just be bronzed?... or maybe dipped in chocolate and frozen or something?... to be taken out and nibbled delicately over the course of many weeks.... enjoyed over and over..... the kind of day that you want to have videoed.... so that years down the road when you are feebled by old age and the ravages of Father Time, you could slip the DVD out of its dusty cover, toss it in the player, and get lost in the memory of long ago?....

... so yeah... today rocked....

... come to think of it, the only real downer about the weekend has been the heat and humidity.... mid-90s and steamy... mercy... weather that is fit for neither man nor beast... I even witnessed a local hound and a small herd of cows and heifers all sharing the tiny shade of a small crabapple tree... a lone tree in a vast field that had been picked clean by the cattle was their only respite from the blazing Sun.... and the momma cows - who would normally have run off the mutt - were too hot to budge... so the hound's horrible presence was tolerated.... grudgingly, sure... but tolerated...

... and THAT s how you know it is truly miserable out of doors, people.... when it's too damned hot to fight, it's pretty damn hot...

.... this only works for beasts though, of course... people will still want to kill each other regardless of the weather... our ability to focus on a task is greater than that of the local fauna, I guess... either that, or the local wildlife is a lot more civilized than we give them credit for....

... anyway, I'm losing my point.... Oh yeah, my day was killer... I hope you guys and gals had one HALF of the fun I did today....

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Diabetes...

... there is just something about this video that completely cracks me up....

... no, honestly.... I laugh every time...

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Help...

... the internet is littered with heartbreaking tales... and a particularly sad story was brought to my attention yesterday by my ole buddy Matt.... Here it is....

.. if you can find it in your heart to bid on the poor man's crossbow, I would consider it a personal favor...

... having your entire family and peer-group massacred by ninjas is a hard blow to endure... even for a pirate...

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Gravy....

... while the Missus fights off remnants of a nasty chest cold by lounging luxuriantly on the settee, I have been tasked with the creation of a rich, Scottish steak pie - which, I am told, is the ultimate comfort food for a broken and/or ill Montrosian... we shall see, I suppose.... pastry-toppings are not my forte...

... so once again we are off to break new ground... stretching my skills just a bit..

... hey, it's all good... adventure comes in all shapes and sizes... and evidently - sometimes - with gravy and carrots.....

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Fearful...

..... last evening, in a fit of alcohol-induced abandon, I feasted upon the evil Domino chicken kickers again...

.. and as I have mentioned before, I now sit here with fearful rumblings and odors emanating from my bloated midsection...

... woe, people.... woe betide the foolish man who feeds himself recklessly....

... oops... there was another odor-release... good God....

... I know the time is coming to evacuate, gentle reader.... It is drawing nigh - I can feel it... and yet never have I felt such a complete wash of dread passing over me...

... there will be wailing... and probably some teeth-gnashing.... I will sit and wring my hands.... and stare towards heaven with a strained and sweaty brow... woe... it is in my future and it is unavoidable....

... I should have known better.... but remember me fondly if I succumb to the event... and know that each and every one of you held a happy place in my heart....

... I'm off....

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Cosmetics...

... yesterday was spent wandering... a nice drive through the farming country dumped us out just east of Sweetwater... there we decided upon lunching at Hunter's Café on the main square.... I highly recommend it - if you're ever in Sweetwater...

... next, we hit the Turkey Creek strip mall in Knoxville... I bought a pair of khaki pants out of force of habit, but otherwise the trip was uneventful... and afterwards, we backtracked our way towards home - re-stopping in Sweetwater to take the top down...

... today has been a wild one too... up at the crack of dawn to deliver my Mother to the day-surgeon for a quick procedure.. and then, home for lunch....

... now, well, it's time to relax, grab a beer, and ensconce myself on the patio with a book... the past two days have left me in dire need of a nap... in short, I am knackered..

... and on a completely unrelated note, I have a question for you Real Men out there... is it normal for your wife/girlfriend/significant peripheral of the opposite sex to beg to "see what you looked like with make-up on?"... not that it has happened to me or anything... I'm just asking...

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Nunnery...

... today's Quote of the Day comes courteously via the BBC...

A spokeswoman for the home said: "She had a wonderful time and enjoyed every minute of it. She says she would like two strippers next year."

... 102 and still spunky.... I like that a lot... I sense a kindred spirit in that little British Granny...

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Snow....

.... I dreamt last night of Ricardo Montalban... somehow I was transported back in time and into the movie "Battleground"...

.... I shared a foxhole with Van Johnson... and James Whitmore gave me a chew of tobacco....

... my M-1 was hard to disassemble and clean because my hands were so cold....

... Van couldn't sleep, so we ended up talking all night about Ricardo while I cleaned my weapon....

... weird....

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Empty Head....

.... The question of music came up a few days ago between my little Brother and me.... it is funny how the same song can mean different things to different people.....

... he's had a hard row, my Brother.... and he has soldiered on through things which I believe would have broken me.... but now there is a glimmer of light at the end of his tunnel....

... he asked me to download a song for him and I just have.... so as the first sip of Scotch hits tonight, I am closing with a part of him that we've all tried to ignore..... hey, everyone has got to have a way to deal.... but soon - very soon - ignoring will no longer be an option....

.... for me, this song has always been about loss.... but for him it has represented will.... pure will.... faced daily with insurmountable obstacles, he has always just looked Life in the face and smiled.... and in his head, he said "Ride On".....

... it is just as he grinned it through the phone with me today as I broached the subject inquisitively....

.... "why such a song as your theme, man?... it is hard for me to believe that song really lifts you?"....

.... "one line, Brother... one line," he said.... "... I love all of the lyrics.... and some of them have special meaning.... but mostly I love it when they sing I sure am hard to beat.'... because, well, you know that I am... "

.... he laughed through the telephone as I shook my head....

... "you are that, little brother.... you certainly are that.... but boy are you in for a rude awakening... "....

... that boy is something else.... He really is..... and while I don't share it, I do so admire his spirit.... so feel free to grove along with me.... in celebration of a new understanding of an old song..... seen through the eyes of someone else...

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Sinks...

... I am king of the kitchen here in my humble habitat.... I cook 99% of all the meals served... and I'm a pretty dab-hand at it too - even if I do say so myself...

.. but my peeviest of pets - when it comes to My Domain - is seeing the sink dirtied...

... it spins me up like you cannot imagine.... verily, of all the blights to hit a kitchen, I hate dirty sinks the most... you show me a person who has a dirty sink, and I'll show you a complete reprobate... there really is no excuse... I mean, when you are at a sink you are surrounded with scrubbing brushes, rags, and cleaning liquid.... AND water....

... look, a sink and wash basin are a great social yardstick... waltz into someone's castle and spy a pile of dirty dishes cluttering the sink?... a rascal may be found lurking somewhere nearby... probably eating potato chips..

... sure, sure.. I know that there are times when other duties drag you away from the piled dishes... and that is only natural... hey, people get busy.. I can hang.... I understand.... but visiting someone who has dishes from a meal two days ago languishing in crusty, abandoned purgatory is just plain disgusting... and hey, after two days?... I'm sorry to report this to you, but you are a comprehensive degenerate... and desperately need to be dragged off and shot.... multiple times..

... personally, I'd rather see a steaming pile of fresh shit on the rug than a dirty sink... because, well, you aren't going to be eating off the rug... but you use that sink to prepare you meals!...

... a clean, sparkling sink is a sign of a pure heart, children.. and hey, I may not vacuum worth a damn, but by God, my sink is clean....

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Two....

... good God.... the world's luckiest man is alive and well in India....

... sure, I know that humans mutate from time to time... and that we are all continually evolving.... but wow... I wonder which one he'll have cut off?.... t'were it me, well, I can't say I'd part with either of them.....

... I'm off to town to buy some nachos.... holy shit, people... what a strange and interesting world we live in.... wow....

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Musical....

.... conversation regarding a recent version of "The Pirates of Penzance" that was aired last night and watched by me and the Missus....

... babe... you've got to come through and watch this....
... why?... what's going on??..
... Kevin Kline is SOOO shooting his wad from dancing around in a pair of froo-froo tights.... It's amazing...
....great, babe.... I'll be right there....
... oh my God, he just twirled!..

... thirty seconds later...

... hey, isn't that Linda Rondstat?...
... yep...
... wow.. he really IS enjoying himself too much... and just think...
... what?...
... well, I was just wondering if he is exercising Phoebe Cates as much as she deserves....
... judging from his gleeful enjoyment of those tights, I suspect he doesn't...
... damnation.. what a shame... what a waste....

.... on a high note though, the rendition of "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General" was pretty damn good....

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Night....

... a minor emergency with my sainted Mother belayed the chili consumption for a while last night.... a drop in her blood sugar resulted in a late-evening ride over to her house for a few supervised glasses of orange juice... all was well after a while, and as I left to head home I was afforded a new experience....

.... driving at night with the top down...

... in a word?... Wow... driving through the warm, dark air was amazing.... the feeling is completely different than the one you get from driving the convertible during the day.... it was like being naughty, almost - the feeling.... places at night take on a different aura, I guess.... and as you quietly round those country road corners, you just feel... well, wonderful.... like every new curve is a place you have never been before...

... anyway, I just delivered my Mother back home... we had a standing lunch engagement from a week or so previous, and today I paid the bill.... I grilled three pounds of boneless pork ribs, baked some beans, and tossed a salad.... she brought over a dozen or so deviled eggs... and a mighty feast was enjoyed... and just as I pulled the perfectly-sizzled ribs off of the grill, a thunderstorm struck... so we sat at the kitchen table dining on some exquisite grub while lightning flashed and thunder rolled....

... all in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.... and I really, really, really can't wait to drive at night with the top down again....

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Townes....

.... Today has been a slow day here at the compound.... it's been too hot to get much outdoors accomplished... and this naturally resulted in many tasks remaining unconquered... it's all cool though...

... but on top of the heat, I was asked to prepare a batch of my chili for dinner.... it is simmering on the stove right now.... it's not too spicy, so it shouldn't warm us up too much when it is eaten...

... all is quiet here.... the Wife is deeply involved in her latest book and I am working on the guitar attempting to accompany Townes... and soon it will be time for supper...

.... here is the song that is repeating itself as I pick along ... I posted it once before, but I'm not sure how many of y'all gave it a listen...

... it's harder than you think, people.... I so very much need to practice more.... and so far, well, there are lots of places where he loses me.... my thumb just isn't cooperating...

.. but I still marvel at how he begins the song by simply stating that "Loop and Lil were parakeets".... I just love how a songwriter imprints a little bit of himself in his song.... it completely makes the song for me.... that little bit of trivia from his life that made it into the lyrics....

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Itching....

... something weird is going on... the scar from the knife wound on my left arm has begun to itch two or three times a day..... and if I rub it, I can feel my middle and ring fingers flex a bit as the tendons respond to the pressure.... it's strange..

... it's closing in on two years since I got cut.... and all this time, the five inch scar has given me no trouble at all... and now it is starting to itch.... weird....

... anyhoo, I'm off to drink coffee on the patio and watch the Missus swing in her hammock.... enjoy your Saturday, boys and girls!... play nice and don't feed the animals!....

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Zombies...

.... of all the genres of film, horror is my least favorite.... I hate being scared.... I'd rather watch Rosie O'Donnell pull a wild, juicy hump on Snoop Dogg rather than sit through a horror flick.... and while I am as mildly superstitious as the next guy, the Great Unknown World of spooks, souls, demons, devils, ghosts, ghouls, monsters, and zombies, well, it just freaks me out....

... one reason, I suspect, is that my normal means of protection will not save me from said Spiritual Boogers... those ephemeral haints that lack substance..... indeed, you can't very well shoot a ball-and-chain sportin' ghost with your .45... it just doesn't work... at least not in the movies.. and I highly suspect it wouldn't work in real life neither...

.. so you are left to rely on some kind of Spiritual Warfare when met with scary things under your bed... and Spiritual Warfare has never really been my bag.... so unless it is a Vampire or Werewolf or King Kong, I'm screwed... but if it IS one of those boys, then some garlic, Holy Water, and a few silver bullets in the trusty old .45 will do the trick....

... but try that shit on a Zombie and see where it gets you... whew... they are the worst.... and believe it or not, I have put considerable thought into why it is - just exactly - that Zombies are the worst... ready?... one word, rubberneckers.... trust... it all comes down to trust... and Zombies are the ultimate trust-breakers....

... the way I see it, a dead guy is a dead guy... and in a way, well, dead=safe... unless you are a ghost... but then you aren't a "dead guy" at all.. you are now a ghost... and besides, nobody knows what ghosts are anyway... they might not even be the spirits of dead people... they could be any number of religious manifestations of evil... perhaps a demon in disguise?... but I'm losing my train of thought here....

... Zombies and trust.... Sure, no one would trust a ghost or a ghoul.... but a dead guy?... you can trust a dead guy completely... a dead guy is a DEAD GUY!.... so imagine you are with your best buddy (with whom you have enjoyed many, many years of kind friendship and camaraderie) out fighting monsters somewhere and he gets shot/bitten/stabbed/etc by a ghost/ghoul/devil/etc... you look over and think to yourself... "damn!.. my buddy is dead now!... this sucks!... I'm going to be fighting evil all on my own from here on out.... but, boy howdy, he sure was a good friend".. and then the next thing you know he rises from the dead and wants to eat your brains.... Trust=broken!...

... I mean, if you can't trust dead people, who can you trust?... and THAT is why Zombies are the worst monsters ever... Zombies just have no Code, man... no Honor... and you just can never be friends with a Zombie.... Zombies are just going to get you and there is nothing you can do about it... and even if you managed to blast one Zombie there is always another one ambling along right behind him just as intent on causing your demise!....

... freaky, no?... yeah, exactly.... Zombies twig something deep, deep down in our cores.... The very vision of mindless, uncontrollable masses dead-set on one goal.. eating your brains.... and as you try to defend yourself in whatever meager way you can muster, you see your Momma - all these many long years dead - staggering towards you with arms akimbo... salivating at the idea of eating your brains.... talk about heartbreaking... you want to run to her and give her musty, animated corpse a hug!... but you cant because she'd rip your skull open and suck out your brains as your eyes rolled back in your dying head!..... Zombies, damn I do so hate them...

... I simply cannot reiterate it enough, people.... Zombies are just plain wrong.... you should always, always, always be able to trust dead people..... end of discussion....

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Hips....

... BREAKING NEWS!... I just heard on Fox that Barry Manilow has had to cancel a bunch of his shows in Vegas because he has torn the cartilage in both hips...

... I immediately thought, "huh?.... what has that bad, bad boy been up to?"... I wonder if it is true what they say about the size of someone's nose in relation to other parts....

... scratch that, I don't want to know.... but both hips??... wow... that must have been one helluva session....

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Arrows...

... good afternoon, gentle readers.... I trust you all are well and fine.... Me?... I'm just wonderful, thank you... absolutely wonderful.... as a matter of fact, if I were any better it would probably be against the law...

... anyway, I was just reading about how King Richard I of England - Richard the Lionheart - died of gangrene in 1199 after being shot by a guy named Pierre Basile - a handy guy with a crossbow.... I mention this only in passing, of course.... but since I have only recently come to know the story of Mr. Basile, I feel like sharing...

... well, that and I believe that Pierre got a bad deal...

.... See, once Richard knew he was about to check out, he asked to see the man that had whacked him... Pierre was summoned to the deathbed of the king....probably expecting to get an almighty smackdown, I bet he was quacking in his loafers.... but instead of getting The Chop, Richard the Lionheart forgave him... what a guy!... so after Pierre cleaned the crap out of his chainmail, he set off to do his thing in peace..

... at least for a little while....

... a few days later, King Richard I met his maker... and then the proverbial shit hit the fan... incensed at the death of his Fearless Leader, an angry fellow named Mercadier hunted down poor Pierre and had him flayed to death just on principle...

.... damnation, people... flayed to death... and then hung!... and after having The King grant him forgiveness!.... bloody hell... the ultimate PSYCHE!.. I can picture it all now in my head.. except that Mercadier shows up at Pierre's house and has a California surfer-dude accent...

... "shhaa, Pierre!... you thought you were off the hook, didn't you?... HA!!... as IF!" ...

... the only really happy part of this tale is that Mercadier got himself murdered too the next year....

... but still, I do believe that Mr. Basile got short-dicked in this whole affair..... and I have no idea where that surfer accent came from either....

.... and in the end, Richard's corpse left this world by getting diced up and scattered all around France... his heart is entombed at Rouen.. his body was laid to rest at Fontevraud Abbey... and his gangrenous guts were shipped up to the place where Pierre shot him....

... how amazing.... you know, history is just crazy... you really can't make up shit like this....

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Air...

... dropped the top on Sylvia this morning and eased my way into town.... 77 degrees and the mountains were just beginning to lose their smoky haze to the morning sun.... it was a postcard moment...

... I think I'm beginning to see the benefit of driving a ragtop... it certainly is growing on me....

.... after hitting the drive-thru at McDonalds, I made my way back home through the country... now it's 10:30 and I'm freshly fed and watered....

.... what a way to start a day...

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Music....

... ladies, if you own an iPod, I'm sure you'll enjoy one of these.... especially during those "lie back and think of England" moments.... hey, at least you wouldn't get bored..... you'd truly be 'rockin'.... at least in one sense of the word....

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Names....

... wow... via T1G and the name thing, I get this....

There are 16 letters in your name. Those 16 letters total to 78 There are 6 vowels and 10 consonants in your name.

Your number is: 6

The characteristics of #6 are: Responsibility, protection, nurturing, community, balance, sympathy.

The expression or destiny for #6:
The number 6 Expression provides you a truly outstanding sense of responsibility, love, and balance. The 6 is helpful and ever conscientious, making you quite capable of rectifying and balancing any sort of inharmonious situation. You are a person very much inclined to give help and comfort to those in need. You have a natural penchant for working with the old, the young, the sick, or the underprivileged. Although you may have considerable creative and artistic talents, the chances are that you will devote yourself to an occupation that shows concern for the betterment of the community.

The positive side of the number 6 suggests that you are very loving, friendly, and appreciative of others. You have a depth of understanding that produces much sympathetic, kindness, and generosity. The qualities of the 6 make the finest and most concerned parent and one often deeply involved in domestic activities. Openness and honesty is apparent in your approach to all relationships.

If there is an excess of the number 6 in your makeup, you may exhibit some of the negative traits associated with this number. There may be a tendency for you to be too exacting and demanding of yourself. In this regard, you may at times sacrifice yourself (or your loved ones) for the welfare of others. In some cases, the over zealous 6 has difficulty distinguishing helping from interfering. You may have difficulty expressing your own individuality, because of involvement with responsibilities and causes. Like all with the Expression of the number 6, it's quite likely that you worry much too much.

Your Soul Urge number is: 3

A Soul Urge number of 3 means:
With the Soul Urge number 3 your desire in life is personal expression, and generally enjoying life to its fullest. You want to participate in an active social life and enjoy a large circle of friends. You want to be in the limelight, expressing your artistic or intellectual talents. Word skills may be your thing; speaking, writing, acting, singing. In a positive sense, the 3 energy is friendly, outgoing and always very social.

You have a decidedly upbeat attitude that is rarely discouraged; a good mental and emotional balance.

The 3 Soul Urge gives intuitive insight, thus, very high creative and inspirational tendencies. The truly outstanding trait shown by the 3 Soul Urge is that of self-expression, regardless of the field of endeavor.

On the negative side, you may at times become too easygoing and too optimistic, tending to scatter forces and accomplish very little. Often, the excessive 3 energy produces non-stop talkers. Everyone has faults, but the 3 soul urge doesn't appreciate having these pointed out.

Your Inner Dream number is: 3

An Inner Dream number of 3 means:
You dream of artistic expression; writing, painting, music. You would seek to more freely express your inner feeling and obtain more enjoyment from life. You also dream of being more popular, likable, and appreciated.

.... my goodness...

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Acidman....

... tonight I have been doing a lot of thinking - which is a rare thing for me.... and I really don't give a shit if you like this post or not....

... I read Catfish's post earlier today and it broke me up.... honest and earnest, it was..... it seriously broke my heart again....

.... I remember that first time that I met Rick and Georgia and Acidman..... and the rest of the crew... Denny, Kenny, Adam, Dax, Key, and darling Kelley... and some bloggers who have gone and bitten the less-figurative dust themselves.... either way, it was a great treat to meet The Founder of the Jawja bloggers... and watch Kelley singing alongside Georgia while Rick rolled his eyes as the booze flowed on Blood Mountain.....

... it has been a long time coming, this post.... but back in June I, along with a lot of other bloggers, attended Rob's funeral... and my cell phone rang while I was downtown with a bunch of The Crew by the banks of the Savannah River.... It was Adam... he was up in Virginia and had just heard the news.....

... how do you handle a phonecall like that?.... having just been at a funeral and then the after-get-together.... You've dealt... well, you think you've dealt.... but then to hear from a friend who has JUST HEARD... good God.... It is like going through it all again....

... but blogging is like that, isn't it?.... you check in once or twice a day to find out how your buddies are doing... see what they are up to..... and then a week goes by... and a month.... and they are still on your sidebar.... You even get a google hit once in a while and wonder what the fuck some dipshit is checking out... so you go over and see the post that they found.... And lo and behold, Acidman was your first commenter..... good God...... a voice recorded that will NEVER die....

... ok... lookit.... most of us repress... or we forget... or we just plain go into full-blown denial.... But that isn't possible in this medium....

... we are a group... we are a collective... a community.... We play off of each other... we taunt and joke and poke fun at every post..... and one of our members is gone... and that dynamic is missing......and quite frankly, it totally fucking sucks.... and we are constantly reminded of that loss every time we logon.... and it weighs... it truly weighs....

.... sorry, people... I rambled.... Yes, yes... back to Adam..... Adam - whose blog is now defunct until he finds a new job devoid of politics, sent me a type of Eulogy for Rob.... I got it about a week after Rob's funeral.....

.... Adam, who Dax and I spent the early hours of a late October morning chatting together in our cabin at Blood Mountain, took the news of Rob's death badly.... as did a lot of us....

... like him or hate him, he is dead.... and he left a great void in his wake...

... here is what he wrote..... complete with some cheesy poetry at the end....

"I learned of Rob's passing about five minutes before his memorial service was to begin. A friendly blogger emailed me because she rightly knew that I would want to know. Immediately, I grabbed my phone and wanted to call a half dozen people to find out what had happened. I didn't. I didn't because I knew that these friends of Rob and I would be at the service; it would be an inappropriate time to call.

I did call the Spinning Belle. Some of you may recognize the name from my temporarily "dark" blog. It was five minutes before a staff meeting I had called. In a parking lot in Rock Hill, South Carolina, I told her the news and began to cry. I cried for a while. Rob was a friend and I thought I would get to see again.

Like most of us, I first met' Rob through his blog. In the fall of 2003, I was temporarily transferred to Atlanta and emailed a couple of Georgia bloggers I had become acquainted with online to see if they would like to meet up in person. Those two bloggers, Kelley and Dax, met me at Mexican restaurant, and we had a grand time. During this meeting, we broached the subject of journeying to Dahlonega, Georgia, to meet this online star and perhaps journeying on to the infamous cabins on Blood Mountain. Dax had surprised Rob by showing up on Blood Mountain the year before and assured us he was not some axe killer and with strength in numbers, we would be okay regardless of who showed up. At that time, all of us were still a little hesitant about "meeting someone whom we had met online."

When the Jawja Bloggers meet up day had arrived, I met Kelley at a restaurant north of Atlanta, hopped in her car, and we journeyed to Dahlonega to meet the famed, Acidman. I remember clearly when we arrived, how sparse parking was with all of the Atlantans who had driven up to see the fall colors in the mountains. We parked a few blocks away and walked to the restaurant.

Rob recognized us both immediately as we entered the room where the Jawja bloggers had gathered. He greeted us both so warmly; he was always such a charmer. I will not belabor the story any longer as you can find it in his archives and the archives of all that joined us that day. I will add this; that was the night when I met so many new friends with whom I still talk to this day. Rob did that. Despite his occasional tendency to drive people away, one of his lasting legacies is his ability to bring people together.

Rob was a friend. We were not as close as others he had known off and online. Still, I always respected his willingness to say exactly what he thought. I respected even more his willingness to pick himself up when either he had done wrong or he had been wronged. He had been painfully wronged in the last years of his life by those who should have loved him the most.

Rob Smith was accurately described by my blog-sis as a man who "played above his weight." With his no-holds-barred approach to writing, he won as many readers as he lost. I cannot claim to have always agreed with him, but he led me to think and to explore things I had never thought of engaging. A quick example is when I decided to learn how to go crabbing. His posts on the art of crabbing in the Lowcountry inspired me to give it a shot. His words on crabbing, and his emails to me turned me into a pretty good crabber (good enough to have to give away the excess of my bounty last fall).

Though this may be a rambling account of the man so many of us know as "Acidman," it is a small report of the friendship I was blessed to have with a man from Harlan County, Kentucky. I remain humbled to be the second link under his list of bloggers he has met. He passed far too early for me, and all of us for that matter, to have learned all that we could from such a special man and unique American.

With Rob's passing, I was reminded of a lesson I had only recently had burned into me. My grandfather died in May. I went home to bury him and over and over and over I faulted myself for not taking the time to record his stories or commit them to memory. Grandpa Hollis was one of those great Southern storytellers. Rob was also a great Southern storyteller. We are fortunate enough to have many, but not all, of his stories because he wrote them for all of us to read. Whether we read them because we were fascinated by the impending train wreck or because we loved him despite his faults, there remains a body of work that only one man could conjure.

That man is Rob Smith.


I could not be there for his wake, memorial, or funeral, but the following is my toast to Rob Smith.


When times were tough,
He often took it rough.
He told us all about
The many things he had to bout.
Though struggles got him down,
He always found a way to rebound.

Rob was a friend,
And an agitator.
He had his bends,
And gave us new friends.

Rob spoke the truth
As he knew it.
And was often willing
To admit when he blew it.

He was not prefect,
Verily he had his flaws.
But when he realized them,
He told us all.

So let's all raise a glass,
For the old Acidman,
Gone, he is alas.
May we all remember to say
No, Sir, and Yes, maam.
And always have something raunchy to say
to the old CrackerAss.

To Acidman!


Adam Harris of Single Southern Guy"

.... I'm off to sit on the patio for a while and read....

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Flesh....

... I seem to be sensing the emergence of a trend here at home.... and I don't totally understand the possible ramifications.... but I'm surely going to nip it in the bud...

... see, for the past three days, I have supped entirely upon the flesh of aquatic beasts only...

.... Monday - smoked salmon sandwiches for lunch.... and wild Atlantic salmon pinwheels stuffed with lobster for supper... Tuesday - tuna salad sandwiches for lunch and crabcakes in the evening... and today I have grazed on a fine Cajun crab-dip for hours.... steadily sliding my buttery crackers across the chilled dip at every trip past the fridge since before noon....

... and yesterday the Wife suddenly got the urge to go swimming at the YMCA and ended up doing 65 laps....

... coincidence?... I do wonder.... And damn, what was the name of that show back in the 80s that had that guy from "Dallas" as an Aquaman-type of guy?... I always hated that show... Mom always wanted to watch it when "Simon and Simon" was on the other channel....

... nevermind... it doesn't matter.... But I'm definitely grilling up some chicken for dinner tomorrow though... and maybe some nice pork sausage and biscuits for breakfast in the morning.... Hell, if I had this bad boy, I'd have it on the grill in no time flat... GuyK, my man, you is just tooooo squeamish....

... it's never a good thing to get stuck in a rut, people... be it a funk borne out of political bantering, lackadaisical days of being creatively bereft, or simply the blues from eating too much fish... break it up, mix it up... throw some shit around once in a while.... give ole diversity a poke in the ribs now and again....

... it's as Emerson once said... "Whoso would be a Man must also be a nonconformist.." .... Or something like that.....

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Thanks...

... damn, you people are perverted.... I knew it all along, of course, but the post below just slammed it all home....

... but hey, that's I love you guys so much...

... so anyway, yeah... I went to the Dentist yesterday to have two crowns fitted... part of the procedure consisted of the assistant sticking a mouthpiece filled with green, slimy stuff to my top teeth for a casting.... When the darling lass pressed it upwards firmly - but gently - the green, slimy stuff squeezed out the back of the mouthpiece and half-way down my throat... thus the gag...

... I tried to tough it out, but the poor assistant nearly heaved herself while watching me retch.... So she ran off to fetch the Dentist who promptly tilted me back, said "open wide.. this is going to sting a little" and jabbed the back of the roof of my mouth three or four times with his needle... two minutes later and I was gagless.... It was pretty damn weird.... the casting was made without further kerfuffle... and an hour later I was back home safe and sound...

... so now y'all know the whole story....

... thanks for all the sexy tidbits and innuendo though.... it had never crossed my mind that Novocain could somehow be used - in however warped and kinky ways - as an aid to achieving Wild Monkey Sex Nirvana....

... in short, you, my commenters, absolutely rock....

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Professionals....

.... well, today's New Experience was pretty exciting... and y'all would never guess in a million years what it was... so, I suppose I should just come out and tell you... for today, at the hand of a highly trained professional, I had my gag reflex numbed...

... yeah... just mull that little bit of info over for a while...

... the reflex is back now, but wow... it is true, you know... you really don't know what you've got until it is gone.. but in the right hands, a few injections of Novocain can work miracles...

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Reading....

... tis a wonderful Monday evening here at the compound.... and I feel it is time to discuss crap blogging.... Hey, most of us have done it.... we've all given it a try from time to time..... most notable was, obviously, Acidman.... and, of course, Velociman, Elisson, and The Neanderpundit..... Kings, all, I'm sure.... Bastions of Bombastic Bullshit Blogging...

... but it has just come to my attention that Mr. John Updike took a hand at writing about clogged orifices from time to time as well....

... hereafter stands a quote - direct from his novel "A Month of Sundays".... And people, it rivals the fabled bloggers I have already mentioned....

.. check it.....

My most physical religious experience occurred in college, those first nervous years, when my poor adolescent body, just seeking to straighten and throw off its acne and stomach cramps, was cruelly loaded with the wisdom of the ages and the languages of the world. I caught colds; I had insomnia; my teeth ached; I became constipated. Days went by; six times a day I would sit on the hopeful porcelain oval and wait; nothing. My over-solicited anus hurt; my lower abdomen became as hard as bricks; I tottered from class to class along the leafy walks in a daze of disbelief; my Christianity, never muscular, seemed a febrile useless fancy. Then, one morning, sweating over all my body, I pushed out perhaps an inch of dried compacted turd, knobby as a narwhal's tusk, and stalled; my eyes filled with tears; how could I waddle to class with this extrusion? I bent forward far as my torso would go, driven to homemade yoga in this extremity, and in my soul confessed my desperation to whatever powers they be. And a great force as if manually seized my bowels, and my body, like a magnificent animal escaped from its keeper, savagely and so swiftly the dilation of pain passed in a flash thrust out of itself a great weight of waste. It was a thrust from beyond, a release into trans; a true Lutheran experience, and my only. Ever since, through stress and strain, trial and tribulation, I have remained regular, as I think I bragged quite early on in these pages.

I expect my expulsion from this happy place will feel rather like that. Unless you come and love me.

.... and you guys thought you could shit-blog....

.... Personally, I am quite humbled by the Lutheran throw-in....

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Aspiring....

... behold the mighty words of Charles Dickens, children... for there is great wisdom there....

Mr. Thomas Idle and Mr. Francis Goodchild.... Were both idle in the last degree. Between Francis and Thomas, however, there was this difference of character. Goodchild was laboriously idle, and would take upon himself any amount of pains and labour to assure himself that he was idle; in short had no better idea of idleness than that it was useless industry. Thomas Idle, on the other hand, was an idler of the unmixed Irish or Neapolitan type; a passive idler, a born-and-bred idler, a consistent idler, who practiced what he would have preached if he had not been too idle to preach; a one entire and perfect chrysolite of idleness.

... wow... how completely marvelous..... a Neapolitan Idler...

... oh, and that there is from "The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices".... circa 1857 or so...

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Variations...

.. I've spent the last five hours whipping up an evening meal for the Missus... initially I had offered to boil up a big pot of beef stew for tonight's dinner and she had agreed... but then my imagination got the better of me and I decided to work a variation on the theme...

... so this evening, the vittles will consist of delicately boiled new potatoes... and Beef Bourguignon ... yeah, I know.. I surprised myself too...

... anyway, the mixture is simmering away in the oven now... and should be ready in about three hours... I'll be sure to keep you hammerheads informed as to just exactly how much hedonistic pleasure I gleaned from the whole culinary adventure later tonight....

... as for me, it's time to rest on my laurels and enjoy a cocktail...

... if you gentle, kind readers have enjoyed your Sunday only half as much as I've enjoyed mine up until now, well... you guys are definitely living right....

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Stung...

... whoa.... this sunny Sunday morning brings shocking news from Akron, Ohio....

.. be careful out there, people....

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Shopping...

... I was dragged all around town yesterday in search of a new pair of swimming trunks... evidently the old Umbro soccer shorts I normally swim in are deemed unseemly at certain angles... especially when not actually in the water, but sitting sprawled on a comfy chair beside the pool.. anyway, I was asked - ever so gently - to find myself a pair that had some sort of integrated internal knickers...

... finally finding a suitable pair at the fifth shop I entered, I'm now confident that all bathers far and near shall be spared the accidental injury of glimpsing The Boys as I sip my Gatorade by the local swimming hole...

... there was one thing of interest in my search yesterday though... namely that I laid eyes on a young woman who was a complete work of art.... Sapphire blue eyes that were wide and confident and seemed to pierce your soul when you fell under her gaze... bronze, flawless skin... and long, dark hair that slightly curled - pulled back in a ponytail and tied with a red ribbon... a small, straight Caucasian nose... pink lips.... And not a hint of make-up on her mannequin-like body...

... I entered the shop and approached the counter she stood behind; she smiled sweetly, tilted her head inquisitively, and asked if she could help me.

... the Wife and I inquired about swimming gear to no avail... they had sold out... so in less than 30 seconds, we had turned and were outside walking towards the car...

... I bumped the button to unlock the car, and the wife spoke. "What a striking young woman that was.. did you see how blue her eyes were?".... "uh huh.... And her skin and hair were so dark... an incredibly odd combination.... " ....

... "I know.. but her face gave away no hint of ethnicity... she didn't look Italian, Eastern, or Hispanic.." ...

... "do you think it was a tan?"...

.... "no, I think that is her natural skin.." ...

.... "well, she certainly is unique... I've never seen ANYONE who looked like that before.. "...

... ".. me neither... she reminded me of Halle Berry in that X-men movie.. the one where she has perfect brown skin and those crazy eyes "....

... "heh heh... perhaps she's a mutant then?"...

... "I wouldn't doubt it one bit... it's just not natural for a woman to be that beautiful right out of the box... "....

.... ".. we're all created differently, that's for sure... but beauty is subjective, isn't it?.. " ....

... buckling her seatbelt, the Wife flashed me a grin and punched me in the arm... "you totally missed that, didn't you?...

... "OW!... what?"...

... ".. Men... wow... that stuff doesn't even register to you, does it?... see, you were supposed to tell me that I was prettier than her.. "..

... " ... you know you are... " ...

... "nope... nope... too late now, buddy.. just drive, big guy... " ...

... and with that, we pulled out onto the road and continued our search for the elusive swimming costumes.... I wonder if the helpful clerk in that shop realizes that innocent husbands are being punched because of her...

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Angry....

.... I'm off to grill some ribs... the beans are simmering on the stove... and I was just handed a nice sapphire gin and tonic... but even with all of this, I'm still a bit pissed off... I've been on a low steam all afternoon because of this...

... no, I don't care what Malkin says... she can say whatever she wishes... I don't do politics here.... but when Helen starts getting DEATH THREATS from some ultra-rightwing nutjob, that is a bit too much.... and to beat it all, the waste of skin is from Tennessee....

.. yeah, someone from Tennessee who reads Malkin's blog wants to slit Helen's throat because of her beliefs... sounds a bit like a terrorist, if you ask me.... well, guess what?... Helen lives in the UK, bubba... and you know what?... I'm pretty right-wing myself... and I happen to have quite an attachment to ole Helen.... Regardless of her politics, I think she is a fine example of an outstanding woman.... Oh, and by the way, I'm in TENNESSEE, friend....

... so, please consider me, your fellow Tennessean, a suitable proxy.... You like threatening a woman?... you are a cowardly piece of shit... bring it to me, motherfucker.... I guarantee I am as mean as you are... and I like knives too... and I am pretty efficient with their use....

.. OR, should Helen choose to send me your details, I will make sure that the local authorities know your name and that you like trying to intimidate women via the internet.... I'm sure your friends down at the pub will think you quite the fellow for offering to kill an unarmed woman in faraway England.... just because of something you misread because you are an idiot...

... then again, anyone who threatens violence on a woman around here is usually a disgraceful pile of shit... so I doubt your pub friends will be privy to your emailed attempts at pretending you've got a pair... either way, there you go.... I'm a lot closer to you than Helen is... and airfare is pretty high these days....

.... Your call, shitheel.... leave my friends alone.....

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Ouch....

... today's Joke of the Day is courtesy of a Tall Cool Drink of Water....

... and wow... it's a doozy....

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Pigs...

... the Internet is one amazing place, people.... it really is... where else could someone read my blog and then see a reclining piglet and immediately think of lil' ole me...

... and after looking at the photo, I do so see a kindred spirit....

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Hair...

.... A friend of mine turned me on to The Clarks a few years ago.... Not really being into his kind of music, I hadn't heard of them before..... but while scrabbling around through a pile of old cassettes today, I happened upon this little ditty....

... now before you go getting all Freudian on my narrow ass, back up... we're cool.... I just like the way the guitar sounds.... and how he yells "BIIIIIIIG HAIR" in the last verse.... besides, not everyone will have heard this song... and hey, I'm all about broadening y'all's horizons....

... feel free to sing along... oh, and smoke'em if you got'em....

The Clarks - Cigarette

In a black and far off corner of my mind
There's a box of something I can't quite define
It houses circus freaks, temptation and bad trips
In an isolated corner of the box
There's a trap door covered up with dirt and rocks
It opens to the stairs that lead down to the crypt

Do you know where you're going when you've taken your last step
Do you know what you get?
Cigarette

On a dark and lonely road in my hometown
Stands a house that long ago should've been torn down
It reeks of love gone sour, suspicion and bad debt
On a weather beaten transom in the house
Walks a friend of mine that I call the old king mouse
He dances in the moonlight and sleeps out on the steps

Do you know where you're going when you've taken your last breath?
Do you know what you get?
Do you know where you're going when they've paid their last regrets?
Do you know what you get?
Cigarette

In a black and far off corner of my mind
There's a box of something I can't quite define
It houses circus freaks, temptation and the Fayette County Fair
And it reeks of love gone sour, suspicion and big hair

Do you know where you're going when you've taken your last breath?
Do you know what you get?
Do you know where you're going when the devil starts to sweat?
Do you know what you get?
A cigarette

... rock on....

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Chicken...

... drove into town this afternoon after a vigorous workout, and settled in at the local Chinese eatery to quell the beast.... I had skipped breakfast owing to an early-morning appointment at the dentist, and I was hungry..

... I ordered off of their buffet and ate my fill... noodles, fried rice, honey glazed chicken, sweet and sour chicken, a few spring rolls and a crab triangle-type thing stuffed with cream cheese... it was regal.... all topped off with a sweet iced-tea...

... by the time I arrived home, I was down for the count... I could hardly keep my eyes open... so I power-napped on the suede couch in the blogroom for a few hours...

.. now I'm up and my original plans for grilling ribs have been switched to tomorrow... but what gives about lunch?... did I slam my body with too many carbs and sugars because I missed breakfast and had lunch at 1:30?.... or is this a Chinese conspiracy to further lethargicize the population of America?.... the sign outside said "No MSG"... but who can you believe these days?...

.. come to think of it, the chicken tasted exactly like chicken... so, wow... it could have been any number of unknown varmints that I was chowing down on...

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Literally....

... after slathering my head and arms down with Bullfrog SPF-30, I dropped the top and hit the road.... the temperature hovered around 90 the entire drive over, but the AC was blasting... and it was a treat to catch all the roadside sounds and smells as the countryside rolled by...

... we arrived in Dayton around 1:30 in the afternoon and parked in the shade of the gigantic trees which surround the courthouse... the section of street where I parked was dotted with local farmers selling fresh produce from the backs of pickup trucks, and they cast a few strange glances at me as the top latched itself back down... I suppose soft-tops rank along side Darwinism as something the citizenfolk don't cotton to...

... touring the "Scopes Trial" museum was surreal... William Jennings Bryan was fortified as "The Great Commoner"... while Clarence Darrow answered to "The Great Defender".... poor Scopes, though... he certainly got the shaft...

.. it really struck me as I toured the museum and stood out in front of the courthouse gazing up at the life-size statue of Bryan... this was ALL ABOUT HIM... the memorials and everything.... It was all celebrating a guy who literally believed that everything in the Holy Bible was completely factual... a high-ranking official in our government, and he believed - 100% - that ole Adam and Eve started it all....

... for the record, I have no truck whatsoever with someone who believes that God made Adam and Eve... hey, as far as I'm concerned, you can believe whatever you want... even that the world was seeded with alien DNA like in that Star Trek movie where they wanted the Klingons, Romulans, and Humans to get all warm and fuzzy with each other to solve the riddle... I really don't give a shit.... where I DO have a problem is when you try to force your religious views down my neck... then, friends, we have a problem.... and in public schools, science should be taught... not religious literalism.... Religion?... sure, to a certain extent... especially if a broad spectrum of religions are sampled, hey, I'm all for that.... and I do believe that being taught a religion is a good starting place for instilling moral values... but fundamentalism - in any arena - breeds ignorance.....

... so anyway, yeah... I realize that we are talking about 1925 rural Tennessee... and one could almost defend the actions of a few bible-thumping, God fearing, salt-o-the-Earth people who may not have known any better and thought Darwin was the antichrist.... but here's the kicker... people like Bryan are still around....

... in speaking to my own sainted Mother a few weeks ago, she expressed to me that Ezekiel had "preached to the dry bones and they had come alive again.. ".... We talked it over for a while and our ideas separated.... in my view?.... it is a metaphoric example of what Ezekiel is trying to get the children of Israel to see... that if they do what God is saying, then they will become a nation again... but to her?... it was literal.... a proof of God's divine power in jump-suiting some living flesh on a few thousand sets of dried bones...

... crazy stuff....

... it reminded me of a time I shared an airplane ride back from Dubai.... at the time, Emirates Airlines still allowed you to smoke in-flight, but I'm not sure of their regulations now.... but regardless, I sat next to a young Saudi man during the flight... and he was smoking up a storm...

... pretty soon, the meal was served and drinks were offered... I chose the lamb and ordered a Scotch on ice.... When it arrived, my sensitive side kicked in.... and before taking a sip, I wondered if my drinking alcohol would offend my Saudi companion.... So I stopped myself, leaned over, and asked him.... His reply was that he didn't care if I drank or not.... It would not bother him... his faith was his and mine was mine...

... so, as you do, I drank it up... finished my meal, and ordered some more Scotch.... And as the alcohol rolled, I could not help but notice that he was chain-smoking his way across most of eastern and western Europe... finally, after much wondering, I leaned over again and asked him why Muslims didn't drink... I explained that I was just a gentle, uneducated hillbilly from the Wilds of Tennessee and honestly didn't know much about his religion...

... he lit up another smoke, eyed me for a moment, and started to speak.... "it is alright, my friend... you do not know, and it is good for you to ask... the prophet Mohammed forbids his believers from dinking alcohol.... The Prophet says that it is bad for our health and it is bad for our minds... so those of us who follow The Prophet, we do not drink.. "...

... hey, I could totally buy that... after all, the Christian Bible says something along the lines of "drink not lets you become drunken"... so I could understand.... But it was the whole "bad for our health" thing that got me thinking.....

... so a few thousand miles and a few more drinks under my belt, and I decided it was time to ask another question... ".. so, friend," I began.. "... you know, what you said earlier makes perfect sense... in the Christian religion there is a very similar view on alcohol... but I do wonder why you smoke so much.... Surely it is bad for your health too.... so surely Mohammed wouldn't want you smoking either... right?"...

... "under our law and scripture, friend, there is nothing wrong with using tobacco... "...

.... "but it is bad for you, right?... so in using the logic of Mohammed's rules, should you not refrain from smoking?"...

.... "No. The Prophet said nothing of smoking being an evil act." ....

... sensing he was getting a bit bent out of shape, I let the subject rest for a bit.... But as I lit up my own cigarette ten minutes later, it suddenly came to me... a real "Aha!" moment... so I tapped the gentleman on the shoulder and clued him in on my "Aha!"...

... "Brother.. I have just figured it all out... I really have... see, Mohammed didn't mention smoking tobacco as being harmful because, well, he didn't know it existed... tobacco wasn't brought to the Old World until well after Your Prophet was long gone from this world... so since he didn't know it existed, he didn't know to tell you guys that smoking was bad for you... "...

.. well, that was decidedly the wrong thing to say... his view of religion and mine were completely different.... His view was literal.. mine was figurative... a roadmap to guide me to peace and happiness....

... his look towards me changed and he sat forward in his seat, taking my eyes tightly in his gaze.... "Mohammad knew all that came before him and all that will come after him... "....

.... I knew then that I had offended him... so I asked him to pardon my ignorance... and that if his God HAD allowed him to drink, I would have gladly bought him one to patch things up... instead, well, I just fingered the pack of Camels in my pocket and removed one... handed it to him and smiled...

... "Smoke up, friend," I said.... ".. it's a long way to London, no?" ...

... as usual, there is no point to this little tale... except to say that today's visit to Dayton really messed with my head.... It is a hard thing sometimes - to see your countrymen so blinded by dogma that men who believe differently are punished....

.. in fact, it's downright fucking depressing....

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Trials....

.... so, what would you like to do today?...
.. I want to go to Dayton...
... really? ...why?....
... well, I've never been there....
...that's good enough for me... with the top down?...
... uh huh....
... we can do that, yes.... so, what do you want to do in Dayton?..
... I don't know... what is there to do?...
... beats me... I've never been there myself...
... we'll find a place to have lunch and buy some monkey stuff...
... monkey stuff?...
... sure, I bet they have a gift shop...

... and with that, boys and girls, I'm off to the Land O' The Monkey Trial... in search of a hamburger and a gift shop.... I fear I'll be diappointed, though... but I do suspect I'll see a church or two....

... I'll be sure to let you know how it all turns out...

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Sleep...

... up early here, folks... and I'm off to town to get a sensor replaced on the Wife's ride.... But I'm a very bleary-eyed camper today...

... I woke up at 4am drenched in sweat from a horrible nightmare.. I had been a fly on the wall while a rampaging Kevin Spacey ripped the heads off of live kittens and hurled their blood-squirting corpses at a public restroom stall...

... his bellowing - mixed with the gurgled mewlings of the poor kitties - is still fresh in my brain...

... and twice during the morning's shower, I ripped back the curtain fearing a replay of the shower scene in "Psycho"..

.... I think my new vitamins are making me a bit paranoid....

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Lancaster...

... today's exercise in the Continuing Education of Eric has witnessed some wily turns.... ending, funnily enough, with a set of leotards...

... and as is the usual, it all began in complete innocence...... see, while quietly minding my own business in the manroom, I was shocked to realize that Johann Strauss' (The Younger, of course) Blue Danube Waltz had been playing in the living room for the past ten minutes... and not being gigantic fans of haute culture, I sallied forth to turn the damn television off check it out...

... I found the Missus completely absorbed in the movie "Trapeze" with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis... as the infernal waltz played over and over and over, Tony and Burt swung from the rafters trapezes like methed-up monkeys... I was amazed.... I sat down on the couch and watched as they swayed back and forth.... and when Burt released his grip and did his spinning dismount, I nearly puked... I could almost feel that catch you get in your stomach when you fall from a great height.... and as I sat through the other two dismounts.... I got more and more queasy with each drop....

... finally, I could take no more and battened down the hatches in the manroom - away from that infernal music and twirling theatrics... and it took a while, but I finally managed to quell the queasies enough to decide to check out buying a trapeze online for my own personal enjoyment... after all, it looks like great exercise... and ole Burt was just bulging with muscles... besides, I'm scared shitless of heights... so if I purchased a trapeze for exercise, at least I'd have a valid excuse for never using it..

... anyway, so I start googling trapezes... you know, as you do... and I find the wikipedia article explaining everything... goodness, the World would be Dark without wikipedia...

... as it turns out, the "Flying" trapeze was first thunk up by a Frenchman named Leotard... and he had his seamstress whip him up a full-length, skin-tight bodysuit to do his "flying" in.... evidently this suit was meant to show his perfect musculature as he spun from trapeze to trapeze... they even had a picture of him and he looked pretty buff... so I guess trapeze'ing is a pretty healthy form of exercise like I thought... well, except for that whole "falling" thing... and looking at his picture, I tried to imagine myself in a nice set of clean, white leotards...

... showing every curve and bulge probably wouldn't be a good idea for me... after the first swing, there would be a giant bulge suddenly appearing in the seat of my leotards as I shat myself from sheer terror... but, I digress...

... so, totally by accident, I now know of a daring Frenchman who invented flying trapezes and leotards.... Damnation, people!... the internet is just wonderful...

... oh, and I also found this while reading up on ole Johann... I'll bet he is absolutey beside himself with pride wherever he is.... the internet just plain rocks, rubberneckers... it really, really does...

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Updike...

.... The rope that I braided a few weeks ago is being put to very good use... and I could not be more happy with the primitive results.... Indeed, my plans for complete hillbillification of the European Missus continue at pace...

... it has not all gone according to schedule though... the occasional hiccups have happened, of course... but there always are hiccups when one attempts such sweeping societal changes such as this... but I fight each battle in a new and cunning way.... for instance, she continues to loathe pinto beans & diced onions.. and will not touch a pone of cornbread were her very life to depend upon it... but I HAVE managed to force skillet-fried okra and yellow squash down her neck often enough that she now actually asks for it every-so-often... so, as you can see, we are halfway down the gnarly path already....

... but I cannot express fully enough the great feeling of pride I have this afternoon...mercy.... It all happened when, quite accidentally, I chanced to look out the glass dining room door and see my Scottish Lass reclining in the hammock.... absolutely replete.... fluffy cat curled at her sprawled knee while she swayed... tumbler of Merlot sitting just within rocking-reach on the grassy ground... book turned just-so... angled perfectly to allow her to scan the sunlit pages through her Jacqueline Onassis replica sunglasses..... all the while wearing a wonderfully politically incorrect tee-shirt.... Braless... with one arm cast back over her shoulder grasping the braided, twine line... rocking herself in complete redneck bliss...

.... Culture?... I got your culture right here, boys and girls.... John friggin Updike being read - midsummer - by a chick in her first halter-top.... Honestly, you can't make this shit up.... Sunday evenings... wow... you just never know what you'll get.....

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Nests...

... the house was quiet this morning... nothing but the sound of the Wife sweetly snoring and the hopeful gurgling of the coffee pot as it brewed.... And not wanting to disturb the tranquil scene, I wandered out onto the patio in my pajama bottoms - fresh cup of coffee in hand - to watch the morning arrive...

... a few weeks back, as I lolled in the hammock, I noticed a hummingbird zipping around the treetops searching for late poplar blooms... as I lay back relaxing in the Splendor Of It All, he mysteriously disappeared into a cluster of leaves.... I was suddenly perplexed... where did he go?... but upon closer inspection, I saw that there was a tiny nest clinging to the topside of one of the branches.... I had found where he nested!...

... this morning on the patio, a strange notion struck me.... nests... do birds build nests only for raising their little ones?... and once a brood has skedaddled, do they abandon the familial stick-pile?... or do they hang out there all year long until it's time to breed again?.... I just don't know... and to be honest, this is the very first time I have ever put any thought at all into the question....

... so now I'm back inside and preparing for a nice, long, hot shower... and I can't stop thinking about that damn nest...

... so be charitable, people... toss a fellow traveler an answer or two... what's the deal with birds and nests.. are they a static thing?.... do hummingbirds breed in early August?... are nests more than just places to drop an egg or two in the great circle of life?.... I just don't know.... but, as always, I'm sure you knuckleheads will have all the answers...

... no, seriously... this is really bothering me.....

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Pie...

... the Wife has informed me that I am to play chauffer today... that I am to slide Sylvia's top off, exposing her supple, gently curving interior, and direct her towards The Fox and Hound pub in Chattanooga... there, I am told, I may sup upon baked ziti with mountains of cheese... and, with a great boldness of spirit, Newcastle Ale on tap...

.. I tell you the honest truth here - it is a task I shall not shirk.....yea, even though the beastly Sun baketh my redheaded noggin to the temperature of the aforementioned ziti.... and melteth my Maui Jims to my fevered forehead, I shall persevere... it is just the right thing to do...

... it's hard to have fun in a place like this, but I always give it my best shot.. and that, in the end, is all you really can do....

... I think those guys even have Key Lime pie on the menu.... and the promise of pie always makes a hard drive in a convertible a little more bearable...

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Ffffft.....

... morning, rubberneckers.... today's Joke of the Day was stolen from The Confabulator....

A teacher is explaining biology to her 4th grade students. "Human beings are the only animals that stutter", she says.

A little girl raises her hand. "I had a kitty-cat who stuttered", she volunteered.

The teacher, knowing how precious some of these stories could become, asked the girl to describe the incident.

"Well", she began, "I was in the back yard with my kitty and the rottweiler who lives next door got a running start and before we knew it, he jumped over the fence into our yard!"

"That must've been scary", said the teacher.

"It sure was", said the little girl. "My kitty went 'Fffff, Fffff,Fffff'
... and before he could say "Fuck," the rottweiler ate him!"

... now THAT is funny... I like the way that little girl thinks....

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Leather...

... I spent most of the day waiting for the Caddy to get spruced up.... I had it at the shop by 10am, and didn't see it again until 3:30 this afternoon... just over 1300 bucks, it cost me.... four new tires, an alignment, and a 8,000 mile service.... 1300 dollars... good God....

... and now?.... I just heard that Eddie Izzard is performing his "Glorious" act on BBC America... so naturally, I'm off.... I'll leave you rubberneckers to play amongst yourselves....

... watching a well-read British cross-dresser tell jokes in a form-fitting leather outfit just seems like the thing to do...

... hey, what?.... don't ask...

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Light...

.... there is a lawn chair that sits against the wall in my garage quite near a vent... and there you can often find reprieve from the heavy heat of the summer... sometimes... but not always...

... sitting out of the sunlight's reach with the grill simmering a few feet away, you can often catch the cool air whisping up from the air conditioner.... coaxed up gently by the spinning arms of the ceiling fan.. an airflow Archimedes would be proud of....

.... I sat there tonight while the steaks were finishing... Scotch in hand... Zevon pumping out of the stereo on the wall... and I felt the air tease the back of my neck as it rose.... cooler by far than the breeze sweeping in from the driveway....

... I craned my head back and rested it against the wall just as Warren began "Accidentally Like a Martyr" and it jolted me a bit... those lyrics... it seemed like forever since I had played that album.... but my neck flexed and my head went upright - momentarily catching the smoke escaping from around where the top of the grill seals itself... and then, I saw them...

... spider webs glowed all around me in the setting sun... stretching from underneath the pool table to the concrete... glittering from the dark space under the gunsafe... shimmering webs arching and climbing towards the floor from nearly every horizontal surface....

... I was surrounded by webs.... the light was just right, and I could see them all... I could make out the tiny bodies of the spiders as they stood sentry midway between surface and deck... waiting for their next visitor to wander by on the cool concrete... highlighted by the evening angle of the light...

.. on the right, they were dangling themselves between the legs of the antique wooden chairs that I'd been given last year.... on the left, I could make out a new cluster of golden strands at the top of the window... just where the angles meet in the corner...

... it seemed that there were delicate spider webs clinging to everything... chairs, windows... the grill, the table, and even the lawn tools that were hanging on the wall... spiderly homes that would never have been seen when noontime was around.... were perfectly visible in the fading day.....

... I was caught up in the scene... the beauty and the tragedy of it all... and I laughed a bit to myself as the CD switched to the next song... hell, it was time to eat... the steaks were done.... And soon I would press the button that slides down the garage door and blocks out the twilight...

.. it's dark now here... and the garage is buttoned up... the grill has been put away... and a fine meal has been eaten....

.... and I suppose, if you think about it right, many more meals will be had in the garage while I sleep tonight... it's what they do, those spiders.. and it is only natural..... I'm just glad I weigh 200lbs....

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Meat...

... grilled ribeyes, baked potatoes, and a fresh salad are for dinner tonight... and I am currently knee-deep into a bottle of Jon, Mark and Robbo's "Smokey Peaty One"... it's not bad, neither... quite tasty and yet still easy on the olfactories..

... the only problem with my little scheme is that, even though the eveningtime is here, it is still hotter than the surface of the Sun outside... and manning a grill is going to suck mightily....

... and yes, by the way, thanks for asking... I have managed to talk myself down from my earlier knee-jerk reaction to charities being decidedly uncharitable.... hey, live and let live... that's what I always say....

... in any case, I'm off.... my garage and the soothing melodies of gently frying steak beckon me...

... it is the little things that you must enjoy, after all... and that I can cook a steak AND lose ten pounds due to profuse sweating, well, it's a bonus.... not that I need to lose ten pounds, but still.. I'm just sayin'...

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Cash...

... ok... I am a charitable guy... on a monthly basis, I give various amounts of cash to any number of organizations... from soup kitchens in Chattanooga.. to the USO, paralyzed veterans, cystic fibrosis, cancer, diabetes, etc, etc.... and any number of other maladies...

... and the easiest way for a charity to part me from my money is to make me feel The Love... sending me a great, heaping wad of personalized address labels as an incentive gets old after the first time... see, lookit... when you send me a sheet of a THOUSAND labels with my name on it, don't expect me to give you another 25 bucks NEXT MONTH when you send me another THOUSAND labels... why?... because I still have 995 LEFT OVER from LAST MONTH!...

.. pisses me off... and I don't want your stinking calendars either... or your little note pads with my address on the bottom of each page... I'd much rather you just send me a one-line note saying "Please, sir, may I have some more money?".... with a REAL signature at the bottom..

.. you want my money?... fine... like I said once before, do it like those Indians out in Montana... I send them 25 bucks and they send me some .50 cent handmade trinket... and I LOVE IT... hell, just last week they sent me a friggin blanket that Sitting Bull himself would have been proud to park his behind on... and the same goes for the religious charities and soup kitchens I give cash to... at least I get a monthly newsletter from Friar So-and-so who has an incredible sense of humor when he's talking about how much the winos just loved last week's chicken tenders that my money paid for...

... treat me like I OWE you money when begging for charity, and guess what?... you ain't getting anything from me... bite me... and sending me things to try to throw a guilt-trip on me?... fuck you... I've got enough homegrown guilt to do me already...

.. and today - just this very day, MADD sent me a pleading letter and a cheque for $2.50... and you know what?... I'm gonna cash it... and then send it to those Indians...

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Hellish...

.... I woke up this fine, glorious morning with a quote from the Blackadder series jiggling around in my brain...

Baldrick: But then I'll go to hell for ever for stealing!

Blackadder: Baldrick, believe me, eternity in the company of Beelzebub, and all his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me and this pencil.

... the context?... nothing to do with stealing, really... I just enjoy imagining what Blackadder would be capable of with that pencil....

... poor Baldrick....

.. for sooth, rubberneckers... if y'all aren't watching Blackadder, well, you're really missing out...

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Shocking....

... bloody hell, people... I've heard it all now... Electric Beagles..... with a few hillbillies thrown in for good measure.... mercy...

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Tires....

... while grilling up the burgers last night, I noticed that the tires on the Wife's ride were looking a bit worn down.... and upon further inspection, it was clear to see that they desperately needed replacing... front AND back...

.. so as I walk into the house with the chow, I holler through from the kitchen... "hey, babe!... did you know your tires are shot?... what is the mileage on the Caddy?"...

... "what?", says she... "Cary needs new shoes?"... (.. yeah... she named her car Cary... after Cary Grant..) .. "Ummm... I think I've done about 8,000 miles, I think.. "...

... I nearly had an embolism.... jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick, people... 8,000 miles and she wears out a set of tires... it just boggles the mind....

... so today I drive her buggy up to the dealership to get them to do the "once over"... I mean, that's only natural, right?... 8K and her tires are bare, well, something must be out of alignment or broken or some other shit... right?...

... the Service Man duly walks out and rubs the tires thoughtfully for a few minutes... nope... nothing wrong with the alignment...

... "all is well, Mr. Eric", he chirped... "everything is as it should be, but the tires are just worn out.. beautiful car though, isn't it?.. you must really drive her HARD to have smoothed her tires like this in just eight thousand miles.. "

... ".. indeed, it is a beautiful car.... but first off, it isn't a she'... it's a he'... and secondly, it is my little Wife who rags this dude out"...

... the look of sheer amazement that crossed his face was incredible... his jaw even slackened just a tiny bit....

.... I looked back towards Cary, and continued... "so... how much to order a new set of tires and get it all fixed up?"...

... composing himself from the idea that a 40-year old woman had been manhandling one of the fastest cars in the county, he spoke...

.... "just have a seat inside, Mr. Eric.... I'll run the numbers for you.. "....

... half an hour later I dropped the Wife's car back off to her and told her the damage.. and people, it ain't pretty.... It ain't pretty at all...

... but it had to be done... so Friday morning I skip off to the dealership for an oil change, detailing service, and four new tires...

... I can hardly wait to hear how the technicians react to the Spongebob floor mats and the ceramic hula-man on the dashboard....

... and the "welcome screen" on her navigation system?... "Fiona's ZOOM ZOOM".... I shit you not...

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Heat....

... you know, you would think that someone who had been born and bred in The South would know better than to grill cheese burgers when the mercury reads 97 and the heat-index approaches 107.... Yeah, you'd think the idiot would know better....

... and no, I'm not talking about my neighbor.....

... I cracked open the seal on the garage tonight and treated my dear, Sainted Mother to a meal of freshly grilled burgers, tossed salad, baked beans, and ice cream with mango nectar poured over the top.... She seemed to enjoy it.... even though when I was finished manning the grill I looked like I'd taken the Nestea Plunge in a vat of sweat...

... be that as it may, serious things were set afoot during the after-dinner conversation..... namely, well, that her new neighbors (recently moved in from the wilds of Michigan) are going to soon be receiving a serious attitude adjustment from little ole me....

.. it is going to be bad, I tell you truly.... the vile head of Intimidation is being unveiled in my Momma's neighborhood... a neighborhood where I was brought up... a small stretch of road that I watched my Mother and Father civilize over the course of thirty years.....

... and people, this will not fucking stand.. no, Sir.... not at all... some people see my Mother and see a widow... other see her as a middle-aged woman living alone on more land than she can handle.... what they do not see is that, while she is a Southern Woman in the highest sense, she is also a Mother, Aunt, and Sister of some people who are capable of some bad, bad things when provoked....

... I don't know how they grow people in Michigan, but here in Tennessee, well, you just don't act like that.... not without serious consequences....

... so the next few weeks will be interesting to witness, I am sure.... I have a plan... but the more I let my mind ponder upon it, the more I want to ditch the plan and start doing things more forthrightly.... yea, there will be fences built.. farm animals will die.... roaming pets (which in the past were left to roam freely) will be shown the way to Allah.... and some Michiganders are about to find out what a hillbilly is capable of.... and ALL within the law of the county..... God, I love living in the sticks sometimes.....

... it does not pay to fuck with my Mother... especially when her Son lives two miles away.... and I have a lot of numbers in my little black book....

... I am a very nice guy... but if you want a piece, you shall have it...

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Grass...

.... as I sit typing this, the two-stroke whirr of a weedeater is reverberating through the house... yes, that's right, people... today is Tuesday and a fine gentleman is dolling up my lawn... it's a nice sound, really... even a bit angry at times - that buzz... but it is also a comforting sound... and I find so few sounds truly comforting these days.....

... but hey, there is nothing like the smell of freshly cut grass in the mornings... especially when you weren't the one doing the cutting...

... but that is neither here nor there in the great scheme of things... it is, after all, just another piece of weekly upkeep... an early morning signpost that another seven days have passed...

... I'm off to wash off the deck... water the plants on the patio... and head into town to buy groceries for tonight's dinner...

... y'all be careful out there.....

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