Sub....

… I carved the pumpkin today… I used a small paring knife that doesn’t match the knife-set in the wooden block on the counter…. I wondered how it got there as I butchered the vegetable.... all of the knives have pressed-resin handles… and the one that I used simply had a smooth handle of wound steel….

… in other words, we’ve lost a knife from the set…..

… I had forgotten just how disgusting it is to pull the innards out of a fresh pumpkin…..

…. but all was not lost – even though I have not yet been roused by a trick-or-treater ringing the doorbell – for the Jack O’Lantern seemed somehow familiar when I placed it outside with a candle tucked inside it….

… they do say that our deepest fears are only fully uncovered when the subconscious is allowed to bloom… hypnotherapy, and such…. The mind, a fickle, tricky beast at best, is allowed to fully function when the higher side is distracted…. I do believe my paring knife duties distracted my brain just enough – just that itsy bit – to have a True Fear to be manifested…. Check it out…..

nork_small.jpg

…. I didn’t really notice it right off, but after closely looking, well, I think it kinda looks Korean…. North Korean…. probably the scariest pumpkin in the neighborhood.....

… oh, and before I sign off for the night, I would just like to say that I would absolutely love to punch John Kerry right in is big, elongated noggin…. Hard….

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Waspers....

…. good morning, Children…. and happy Halloween to you all….

… I sincerely trust that each of you is getting exactly what you deserve today… goodness knows that I’m not…. Indeed, I have spent the better part of the morning reenacting the Battle of Agincourt with a buzzing cloud of angry wasps… substituting a flyswatter and a can of Raid for longbows and caltrops and you get the picture… it ain’t been pretty…… they played The French, of course....

… this time of year they are looking for a hidey-hole to surf out the Winter in…. but hey, not on my watch, people…. my vinyl siding shall remain varmint-free….

… anyway, I’m off to town to have a civilized lunch with my Sainted Mother…. which is always a barrel of laughs..... so Y’all have a nice day….. I'll be back later with tales of my culinary adventures.... yeah, yeah... I know, I know... you guys can hardly control yourselves....

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Island...

… the last time that I posted this song, well, I dedicated it to Acidman…. but tonight it is speaking to me again…….

…. Listen closely, gentle readers…. Listen very closely….. the new Jimmy Buffett stuff?.... no…. search backwards, people…. search backwards….. his best stuff is from the 70s and 80s….

… listen closely….. "I don't want to live on that kind of island."..... absolute perfection.....

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Flags....

…. I spent yesterday afternoon at a burial of a WWII Marine….. I had never met him, but his name was Ted…. I stood with three generations of my family and looked out at the mountains while the preacher worked and the widow sat quietly…...

….. Ted had served with my Great Uncle JR on Iwo Jima, Tarawa, and Saipan…. Mike Battery, 4th BN, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division….. Marine artillerymen that never fired their pieces….. but acted instead as infantry….

… I never knew Ted…. But I knew that my Great Uncle would be there… having made the drive down from Kentucky with is wife….. it was something that I did for him, and for my own conscience….

… the widow walked past us at one point before the burial began… Great Uncle JR patted her on the back as she slowly moved by – leaning on her walker…. “He was a good man and a good friend, ma’am”, he said to her… and once she was a few feet away, he leaned towards me and whispered, “Ted always did get all the girls. You should have seen his wife sixty years ago…Mercy! “… it was pretty funny...

…. Uncle JR looks rough though…. He is aging fast and is on dialysis now after his latest heart attack…. and for all counts, he will be dead soon too….. but wow, he sure has lived one helluva life….

…. Y’all should have seen the Honor Guard make such a fuss… it was beautiful….. after they finished with the 21-gun salute, the flag folding, and the rest of the ceremony, they got a huge kick out of talking to JR…. little did they know that they were not only working the funeral of a fellow Marine…. BUT that Marine had been in their same unit and watched the flag-raising on Suribachi… and that a SURVIVOR was there among them as well…… from their same artillery unit?.... they could hardly believe it… just as Great Uncle JR could not believe it….. those young Marines were face-to-face with history and Marine Corps legends….

…. there is nothing more sacred to a band of Marines than meeting a fellow Jarhead who fought on The Islands during WWII…… you guys will just have to trust me on that one….. because it is true…… “Uncommon valor was a common virtue”, indeed…

… anyway, I woke up tired this morning…. the weather was beautiful for the burial yesterday….. and the bugler did an outstanding job…… and it was a treat to see all of my Marine-vet family members again…..we don’t get together nearly enough to suit me….

… today?.... well, I’m off to sit outside and have lunch…. If anyone needs me, I’ll be here….

patio_small.jpg

... enjoy your day, rubberneckers.. we only go around once....

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Complaints....

… you know, I tour through some pretty shady online places to find suitable blogfodder for you guys…. And hey, I do it as an absolute Labor of Love…. I like to keep you guys entertained…

… and believe-it-or-not, I find that ‘Agony Aunt’ type places are always THE BEST to find bloggy ideas… I mean, what is more fun that reading some mumbling whiner’s pleas for help?... especially when the ‘advice’ is being doled out by someone named ‘Aunty Peggy’, ‘Uncle Dave’, or some crap…

… but on certain occasions, well, you find someone’s ‘problem’ absolutely amazing… and mixed among the “is it ok for my girlfriend to suck on my toes?”, the “my sister is dating a total Playa – how do I tell her to ditch The Pig?”, and “dear Uncle Dave, is it normal for me to dream of jackhammering that hot pre-school teacher as I drop off little Jenny.. even though I am happily married?”, you get things like this….

… the woman’s ‘problem’?..... check this out…

… that’s right, boys and girls…. her husband lays the whoopee down on her SO GOOD that she loses consciousness…. Uh huh… her partner gives her such an incredible orgasm that she actually passes out from sheer, toe-curling pleasure…

… good God…. I mean, here is a woman who goes to bed with The World’s Greatest Lover every single night – a man who makes her cum like God himself had his tongue on her coochie– and she STILL finds a reason to complain….. unbelievable….

… I guess what they say is true… some people just cant be satisfied…

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Damp...

…. the Sun is out now and the clouds have cleared a bit…. but the leaves are still too damp to rake… bad luck, I suppose… as they surely do so need a good raking…. and then a good burnin’…. but they'll just have to wait for more favorable conditions.... patience is, after all, a fine virtue...

… so what should I do when labor isn’t possible on a Saturday morning?... why, head to Maryville for beer and pasta at Aubrey's, of course.… and then catch a movie….

… I tell you, it’s hard to have fun in a place like this, but I do endeavor to give it my very best shot….

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Movement...

…. I woke up this morning to the sound of a train’s whistle in the distance… far off…. heading slowly South, I knew the sound… it was blowing at the crossing in Englewood… and I knew that in three minutes I would hear it again as it crossed the county road a mile from my house….

… I slowly wandered through to the kitchen and was nearly finished preparing the coffee pot when the whistle blast came a second time…. and in my head, the lonesome sound of the train formed a word and I subconsciously said it out loud… movement…

… finishing what I was doing, I silently made my way back to the bedroom and slipped on my pajama bottoms and sat down on the bed…. movement…. the Sound and the Idea were still rock-solid in my mind…

… I lay back in the bed – on top of the quilt – and wondered about that train… where it had come from… where it was going… was it hauling goods, coal, or chemicals… even if one of the boxcars contained a sleeping stowaway…. (I saw one, by the way, at the beginning of this month… a hobo… at that very crossing waiting for the train to pass by, an open door to a boxcar revealed a sleeping passenger on its floor… I pointed him out to the Missus as the train slowly trundled by

… there is romance there, no?... in the idea of The Wanderer?… I like to think that there is…

… that man – asleep on the cold floor of that train car – was he comfortable?.... was he an adventurer amazed at the sight of the beautiful autumn landscape that was passing by his open door?... was he happy in his Freedom?...

.. or was he not asleep at all… but unconscious from the effects of a bad night of crystal meth?... cold and shivering and hopeless?... jumping on the first train he found and running away from a life of pain?.. a life of loss?… a life with no ties to anything?.... not free, no, but adrift…..

… goodness… I just don’t know…. but I do know what I would LIKE to believe….

…. Movement… how amazing… I need to go back to sleep… this coffee isn’t working….

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Scary...

…. as I have mentioned here many, many times in the past, I simply cannot abide horror movies…. I have a weak and meek constitution, and my mind is easily impressionable…. and as such, the viewing of a horror flick will result in nightmarish dreams for weeks after the fact…. and if it is a Zombie movie?... forget about it… and you people wonder why I carry a sharp knife and a well-oiled pistol everywhere I go….. hell, I already sleep with the lights on – and the last horror movie I suffered through from start to finish was ‘Pet Cemetery’…. way back in 1992….

… but seeing as Halloween is just around the corner AND I am in a charitable mood today, I thought I would point y’all over towards Walrilla’s joint… he, being a complete reprobate and a glutton for punishment, actually ENJOYS scary movies… and he is in the process of asking people to ‘fess-up to those certain scenes which loosened their bowels in movie theatres… and caused them to squeeze the Cheetoh’s just a little too tightly on the odd basement couch back in the day…. hey, it’s cool… however you get your jollies is fine by me… this IS the internet after all…… and I know that you all are total freaks…..

… but for me, well, it is easy…. three or four cinematic moments blaringly stand out…. but hey, like I said, I don’t watch that many scary movies….

… first off, there were two moments in “Pet Cemetery" that totally messed me up…. One was when the little re-animated kid who had earlier been smashed by the Mack truck hid under the bed and sliced the policeman’s feet as he got out of bed…. That was just wrong…. I STILL can't waltz up to a bed and sit down without remembering that scene….. Stephen King is a sicko, and that is all that there is to it….

….. and also – in the same movie - when the old, gnarled woman squirmed and screamed with her spine all twisted…. good God, that was horrible….

… thirdly, just about every 30th second of “Salem’s Lot”… oh yeah…. I first watched it when I was eight…. And I still have palpitating moments about when that discombobulated head was seen looking in the window…… and David Soul was just plain disturbing….

… and lastly, well, the first ‘Jaws” movie….yeah, yeah, I know it is lame….. but the bit where the diver turns over the boat and the severed head spills out?…. word, people…. I remember the first time I ever saw it… I was probably seven years old…. And I screamed so loudly that my Father – who was taking a bath at the time – jumped up - totally naked - and ran through to the living room dripping and cussing and looking for the man/beast/monster that he was to tear limb from limb for accosting his eldest son….

… yeah…. my Mother still talks about that…. we had hardwood floors in that little house on highway 411…. and my ‘Jaws moment’ left a trail of water damage that lasted for years and years afterwards…..

… but nowadays, hey, I don’t watch many scary movies…. I sleep alone quite a bit, and when I am afraid I always take comfort in an Armed Response….. so when I awake from a nightmare, well, the house gets the armed once-over to make sure no boogers are lurking in the closets…..

.. as a matter of fact, the house gets the same response if the air conditioner kicks on or off and wakes me up…

…. In short, I don’t watch scary films…. I mean, really, Life is scary enough…. or just watching the news….

… still, though, Walrilla is asking….. so there you go…… help a fellow brother out……. hey, the man thrives on crap like this… so go and tell him of your horrors…..

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Warm...

… I slipped on a fleece and a pair of boots this morning and padded my way out along the path to the patio… this day is cool and humid and the chill of the metal chair easily penetrated my flannel pajama bottoms…. I didn’t stay outside long… just long enough to finish half a cup of coffee and cuss a few times at the blue jays as they hunted from tree to tree…

… a few took the time to land in the leaves that cover the back yard… red and brown and yellow… dogwood, pin oak, and poplar… the jays tossed the leaves with their beaks and pecked at the damp earth underneath before flying up to the tree tops squawking…

… the light outside today is unpromising… a soft, filtered glow shaped by incredibly high cloud cover… resulting in a shadowless kind of daylight that is neither cheery or warm…. it just simply is… but knowing the dynamics of how such a light is created doesn’t help the mood much…. Meteorology is a cold, comfortless mistress, I suppose…

… I guess I should have built a fire….

… today is definitely a day for flannel sheets and down comforters… and color – bright and warm – from something less spacious than the late-October sky…

… I so hate the blue jays…. especially in the autumn… they are the Mongol horde of the bird-world… relentless and daring…. cunning bullies who are too good at what they do….

… perhaps a steaming bowl of chili with cheese crumbled on top is in order…. something warm… something very warm…

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Wild...

… there has been talk for decades about my family having a ‘mean streak’… and the debate rages between which of the two branches of my Mother’s side is meanest and why exactly it is that they are the way they are…

… one branch is notorious in two or three states for having a little more than their fair share of ‘a violent nature’…. And if you ask them why it is that they are all so vicious and prone to stabbing or shooting you at the drop of a coonskin cap, they will point decidedly towards their Mother’s side of the family and cry foul….

… MY side of this branch, however, looks on with amazement at their craziness and naturally assumes that it was handed down by their Father’s side….

…. being a peaceful and docile creature, I tend to follow the familial party-line and plead innocence to sporting any barbarian genes… and yet they still blame our bloodline for turning them all into wildmen and wildwomen once they get their dander up….

… I can neither confirm nor deny, obviously, and can only rely on my own limited understanding of my lovable inner-child….

… but yet, when I spoke to one of my dear cousins this very evening, I could not help but be aware of his deeply-seated wildness…. It was right there for God and everyone to see… peeking out from just behind those pretty blue eyes… flickering across his broad grin and we swapped stories about knife wounds…. it was undeniable… the boy is on the razor’s edge…

…. we talked for the better part of an hour and caught up on many things… I was introduced to his new wife…. we smoked cigarettes and laughed about old times… and it was only during the drive home alone that I realized the truth about the bloodline…. It DID come from my side of the tree…. It really did… only in MY family we also inherited the ability to cover it up a little better….

…. my family definitely has The Beast, sure, but we can keep it hidden… they, well, they cant do that… at least not enough to run with lesser crowds…. The Beast is there, he’s ready, he’s eager, and they have NO IDEA that he is showing himself so close to the surface…. no clue at all…

… we’re all crazy, people… but some of us are just a teensy bit better at hiding it, that’s all….

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Quiet....

… this evening I venture out to say goodbye to an era… the last of my maternal Grandfather’s siblings has died at the age of 87…. that generation – from that side of the family – is no more… the eldest generation that now remains are the baby-boomers….

…. 87 years old…. Wow… it definitely gives me something to aim for….

… Grandpa died when he was 64… and Grandma finished with this world when she was in her early fifties…. but Great Aunt Ruby just kept on ticking on… through wars, The Depression, and the deaths of her husband and younger brothers and sisters, she survived…

…. Wow… 87 years old… and she was the last of them….

.. so I am off tonight to pay my respects to her and her family at the funeral home.… I’ll be back later…

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Sally...

… there are moths and there are flames… and there are women and the movie “Sybil”…. I swear, I just don’t understand it….

… good God… I would rather repeatedly drive ten-penny nails – one after the other - into my forehead with the sole of a fucking Birkenstock than suffer through another viewing of “Sybil”…

… and yet it never, ever, ever fails…. if it is on, then it is watched…. and hey, I do try to flee… I run… I blog… I try to steady my nerves with outside chores or kitchen dish-work…. but the primal, weaning screams of Sally Fields cannot be squelched by mere walls of brick, mortar, sheetrock, the running of tap water, or paint…. no, no, gentle reader…. her nasally whine can penetrate any barrier…. ANY barrier…. and it reverberates through my brainpan each time she squeals and lapses into yet another of her sixteen fictional personalities… it echoes in my head…. reverberating like the sound of a gang of violent midgets busily sawing through the back of my skull with dull hacksaws… and all the while singing “American Pie” at the top of their little lungs …

…. and why that goddamn movie is FOUR hours LONG is a total fucking mystery… hell, after two hours I was personally rooting for her boyfriend to wing the crazy bitch off the top of that housing block and be done with it….and that is mild, people… after only twenty minutes of attempting to hide from the dialogue, I was ready to sneak into the nearest closet and drain a vein with my Cold Steel…..

… and on top of everything else, and in a vain attempt to maintain my sanity, I looked her up on Wikipedia while the flick blared in the background…. and guess what?... most of the movie is fictionalized!... Sally Fields should be dragged off and shot…

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Failure...

… I was taught to cook by an Italian…. and he gave me only a handful of rules to play by… no measurements… be creative.. and remember that herbs and spices create a deeper and more complex flavor the longer you let them simmer together…

… and for the most part these rules have stood me well.. I have lived these thirty-four years with very, very few complaints ever rising up from the visitors to my dinner table…

… I will admit, though, that I created the most hideously monstrous meatloaf last night that has ever been baked by man or beast… so while some others were off hobnobbing with the sweetened, upper-crust of Atlanta’s finest, I was humbly sitting in my meager home staring down a badly boiled ‘porcupine meatloaf’… and both it AND I ended the evening stewing in our own juices.. rejected and dejected…

… it all started harmlessly enough, I suppose… some television show was on the tube and the Missus overheard “the meatloaf is a distinctly American dish!”… this, of course, prompted her to query as to why I had never made her a steaming plateful of such a ‘distinctly American dish’ in all of our long years of marriage … hey, I thought it was a pretty good question myself…. so I gladly took on the task and began searching the nooks and crannies of the internet to find a suitable recipe….

… I settled on a fine one that included stirring minute rice in with the ground beef and allowing the fat and other mollified liquids to perk the rice to plump perfection… (thus the ‘porcupine’ reference in the recipe… which, I must admit, seems exceedingly strange to me… I mean, what in the Great Livin’ Hell does a porcupine have to do with minute rice?)…

… anyway, I had no minute rice… but I DID happen to have a bag of Mahatma and figured that would do just fine… well, Brothers and Sisters, I was wrong…. Very, very wrong…. and add to this miscalculation that I only read the recipe once (due to my Italian teacher’s rules), and you can see where this trainwreck is headed….

… in a nutshell, well, I added too many diced onions, I didn’t have an egg and used some olive oil instead (for the binding, you know… meatloaf has gotta bind evidently), I added too much ketchup and decided at the last minute to throw in some Heinz 57 sauce as well, and then I made my second-biggest mistake…. I didn’t add enough breadcrumbs….

…. anyway, I mixed all that stuff together, spread it into a casserole dish, and tossed it in the oven at 350 for an hour and fifteen minutes… and as I sat on my couch reclining in contentment at having kicked my first meatloaf’s ass, I was at peace with my gin and tonic….

… indeed, even the normally quiet Missus remarked half-way through the cooking at how glorious my latest achievement smelled…. I nodded in silent acceptance of such well-earned accolades and sipped my drink….

… if we could have eaten “the smell”, we would have been alright… for when the oven was finally opened and the dish removed, the sight was both ghastly and nauseating….

.. the meat – now brown and lumpy – was covered in small volcanic-looking craters… and among the craters were bits of charred onions… and between the fire-curled onions lay the rice…. rice that had not had time to cook… rice that protruded from the burnt, warty surface of the loaf like hundreds of tiny broken bone fragments from some decaying, repeatedly run over by logging trucks, July-in-South-Carolina roadkill…

… yes, it was that bad… here, have a look….

meatloaf_small.jpg

.. did we work up the courage to eat it?.... of course we did…. we are, after all, adventurers at heart… but will I attempt a meatloaf again?... probably not….

… but take it from me, people… if a recipe calls for minute rice… make sure you use minute rice…. Your stomach, your teeth, and your pride will thank you….

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Longing...

… my Brother in Law has momentarily ceased his world travels and is back at the familial nest… after quite a number of years away, he has finally made the break from Bangladesh and is now back in bonnie Scotland… just in time for winter, I might add…

… I had occasion to speak with him briefly a few days ago over the telephone, and as you do, we immediately began comparing recipes… both of us being men who know our way around a kitchen….

.. and as our tales escalated while the minutes ticked on, we shared our collective woes… me bringing up my failed curry attempts… and he bemoaning the lack of quality pork in Muslim nations… but it was his last tale that left me speechless…

… see, it seems that no matter how far away you remove a Scot from their native land, the deep desire to eat haggis can never be fully stifled…. I was amazed, but not shocked… I mean, after five years in the US of A, I myself have been forced to scrounge Our Glorious Nation via the interweb for the rich delicacy…. all in the name of satisfying a hungry Wife… and in the end, I found my haggis in New Jersey… for the dear Brother in Law though, he was not so lucky…. so he did what any stranger in a strange land would do when hankering for some haggis…. He made it himself from local ingredients…

… and from the sound of it, it wasn’t half bad… of course, he had to use a goat’s stomach instead of a sheep’s, but he made-do…. And as he was rattling off the ingredients, it sounded rather yummy… ground beef, black pepper, rice (instead of oats ala Scotland), green chili peppers (everything in Bangladesh has chili peppers in it), diced onions, garlic… all stuffed inside a goat’s disemboweled stomach and boiled for a few hours…

… he even remarked that – apart from the copious amounts of fat that he had to floatingly skim off of the boiling tureen – it turned out quite tasty…. and even though it didn’t really please the palate like authentic Scottish haggis, it was just close enough to slake his jones for the homeland…..

… while not really my cup of tea, I can see where he is coming from… the moral of the story?... who knows?… but perhaps it is this… never, ever, EVER underestimate the power of alcohol and homesickness combined…. with enough jars in you (and a powerful enough pine) you’ll find yourself traveling down some weird and stony paths, rubberneckers….

… and that, my dear, dear friends, is The Truth…

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Loops...

… from my secure perch here high in Tennessee, I have observed a disturbing trend in the manufacturing community… to many of you, this Great Failing will have went unnoticed… and to many, many more of you, well, you could probably care less one way or the other…

.. but in My World?... it is one of the few ruffles in my otherwise stayed feathers….

… for instance, the jeans that I am wearing right now have a hole the size of my fist on the left calf area…. The hole was there when I purchased them and I didn’t mind – they fit… the name-brand is missing from the jeans as they are most definitely of ‘second’ quality… again, no biggie… they fit and are comfortable, and so they were purchased for ten bucks at some bargain basement bazaar outside of Nashville when I had nothing better to do a few months ago….

… the size on the jeans?... 36X32… and therein lies the problem….

… jeans are my staple… on any given day I can be found wallowing in the Joy that is Wearing Denim… but I am finding it increasingly difficult to find jeans that properly fit… and hell, I’m a fairly averagely sized fella…

… I just checked my closet and found – among my seven pairs of jeans – the following sizes… 32X34, 33X34, 34X34, 34X36, 36X32, 38X30, and 38X32…. and all of them are Levis… and with the exception of two being button-fly 501s, the rest are straight-leg 505s…. so, what gives?.... you buy the same jeans – model and size – and they are off in both inseam and waist by 2 to 6 inches?...

… and what’s more, I have noticed that some have five belt loops while others have the ‘normal’ seven…

.. the whole thing just pisses me off… I don’t know what the hell they are smoking down in Guatemala, but I wish someone would put their foot down…

… I am sick and tired of being forced to try on jeans before buying them… after jerking my legs into ten to twelve pairs of Levis every time I need a new set of jeans, it quite literally becomes a pain in the ass….

.. so explain it to me, people… is 36 inches somehow longer or shorter in Central America, or are they just doing this shit to piss me off?....

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Accomplishment...

… mercy…. what an excellent day… it started perfect.. trailed off a bit over coffee…. arose again at lunch… and idled down to a comfortable ending by dusk….

… I tell you what, boys and girls.. if you guys thought that meeting the vegetarian Rube was a treat, just wait until you meet the New and Improved flesh-eating Rube!.... he’s incredible!..... the man is truly a menace to barnyard animals big and small…. And it was a thing of great pleasure to glut him with meat this weekend…

… sadly though, our shooting excursion today was a bust…. and we arrived at the pistol range just ten minutes after a busload of Polk County’s finest had taken over the range for their re-qual….

…. but hey, we didn’t let that dampen our spirits…. we grabbed ourselves some cheeseburgers, dropped the top on Sylvia, and spent an hour or so tooling towards home with grease dripping from our elbows…

… believe it or not, it was an excellent drive… great weather, good company, and absolutely no place to be….

… as a matter of fact, Rube mentioned that very thing as we were winding up our pool-shooting this evening…. “Eric,” says he…. “do you realize that we have accomplished absolutely nothing today?... how absolutely marvelous.” ….

.. my reply?... “I know, Rube, I know… but it sure was fun, wasn’t it?” ….

… he answered with a wink… but I know what he was thinking…. Oh yeah…. He and I be cut from the same cloth, people…..

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Guns...

…. Rube has requested that we go and play with firearms in a field nearby…. Hey, who am I to deny a guest their wishes?.... so, we’re off to pop balloons and punch holes in paper targets for a while….

… I’ll have some photos later of our afternoon’s fun… it should be quite enjoyable....

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RWS...

….. no one does blogmeet recaps like The Elisson…. no one…. The Man is a genius with poetry…. and I am absolutely humbled by this latest outstanding effort….

… I mean, one of the reasons I started this blog to begin with was to extol the virtues of Robert W. Service’s poetry…. and now such a tribute has been penned for me and all my friends…. I am truly not worthy…. go forth now and read, children… you won't regret it....

... and the original poem that he is spoofing is here, by the way...

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Orange...

… today begins the final process of a monumental Labor of Love… complicated – and chocked with industrial-sized rolls of Red Tape – it has been 18 months in the making since my involvement…. in reality though, it has been 30+ since something should have been done…. but now we are nearing the end….

… and so I’m off for the day down to Chattanooga, friends… and there I will perform my duty as chauffer and Translator of Government Jargon to my Uncle as he visits the VA clinic….

… with any luck, this will be the final leg of a long, hard, and tiresome road… and I have to tell you, I’m pretty damn excited… having navigated the Veteran’s Administration minefield with a modicum of success is quite an achievement….. trust me on that…

… oh, and in other news, everyone’s favorite Eric the Rube of ‘You Bitch’ should be visiting with me this evening once I return… whereupon ribs, Scotch, pleasant conversation, and billiards will be enjoyed….

… terribly sorry, Anna, dear…. we’ll raise a mug towards Germany and wish that you were here….

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Grinding...

.… technology amazes me… be it how to start a fire with a flint stone or how to properly assemble freshwater stills in the middle of the Pacific Ocean….. and I could spend hours and hours sitting quietly and reading about the workings of the space shuttle or Apollo 13…

…. truly, mankind’s ability to technologically soar is awash and unbridled with possibilities….

… but deep, deep down, we are still animals… simple beasts… hairy mammals who really are intent on just one central thing… procreation…

… and today’s fun-filled article just drives that point home, rubberneckers… check it out….

"A South Korean robotics professor who enlisted the aid of over 100 couples developed the chair through a process of trial and error. There are already over 10,000 Korean love hotels equipped with this machine," a spokesman for AD-D tells Shukan Post. "At the moment in Japan, there are 120 hotels with the machines in them. However, the developers are trying to come up with a model for around 600,000 yen to attract individual buyers."

…. Amazing, no?... all that experience in robotics and technology – all that education and money spent – and we get a love chair that is reported to “take the drudgery out of grinding the pelvis.”….

… hey, while I admire their creative engineering skills, methinks that the Japanese and Koreans aren’t doing something just exactly right….

… the day that ‘grinding the pelvis’ becomes drudgery is the day you stop breathing, people….

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5K....

.... go now and visit my homey, Walrilla.... pretty please... leave him a nasty comment about how crazy it is to be calling himself Walrilla or something.... the man is a menace... but he still deserves the love...

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Apples...

… I remember watching my Great Grandmother peel crabapples back when I was a child…. her wizened old hands – bent and twisted from years of farming toil – working an ancient paring knife with perfect deftness…

… she’d sit for hours on a wooden straight chair in the back yard with a bushel of apples on her left, a pail of water filled with freshly peeled apples on her right, and a mountain of green apple-rinds piled at her feet….

… I bring this up because I have been murderously swatting flies lately and was just reminded of her little sentries…. hornets, to be exact… usually two or three at a time… big, yellow and black, bad boys…. it always shocked and amazed me how she would pay them mind….

… one would invariably find its way to her left wrist and take up watch… another would fly air-cover lazily around her graying bun hairdo… and another would settle into the cotton fabric of her dress at the flat part of her seated knee… her ‘little friends’, she called them….

.. and with a quiet serenity, she would peel, and peel, and peel… had it been me, I would have freaked out a hundred ways from Sunday at being swarmed upon by such beasts… but not her…

… there was a method to her madness, of course… that being, mainly, that when an errant housefly ventured near the sweet apples, a hornet would launch from some point on Great Granny and catch the housefly midair… and eat it all up…

… a mutually beneficial compromise in its most pure form, people… she didn’t swat the hornets… they didn’t try to sting her…. her apples were never touched by the flies… the hornets enjoyed munching on the tasty flies… and we all ended up with glorious pints of Great Grandma’s homemade apple butter a few days later….

… well, today I needs me some hornets…. Jimbo brought me some fresh apples from upstate NY over the weekend, so I have that base covered… and having 20-25 bloggers fanning my front and back doors for three days has left me with a slight housefly problem… and thus far, my swatting technique has been found sorely lacking…

… and so, with my ancestors as my guide, I sit and wonder…. should I just run into town and exchange some legal tender for some Raid?... or should I pluck up with the spirits of my forefathers and try a gut-check with some stinging insects?...

… I’ll keep you guys informed… hell, I know you are sitting on the edges of your seats…. I certainly am… just the thoughts of having hornets crawling on me seriously heebies my jeebie….

… I’m thinking Raid….

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Quality....

…. to all of you adventurous men and women who visited my humble home this weekend, I would like to offer a sincere and heartfelt apology…

… see, this drizzly morning I decided to relieve myself in the guest bathroom.. and with coffee, cigarette, and magazine in hand, I was absolutely horrified at the quality of the toilet paper I found hanging from the dispenser once the deed was finished….

… it is weak, flimsy, thin, and completely unacceptable…. and honestly, I had no idea…. usually the paper is luxuriant and quilted… and an exquisite pleasure to work with….

….. I have no idea how this gross oversight happened, but I assure you that it will not happen again… I am, above all, a man of simple pleasures… and the thought of my honored guests being subjected to such nightmarish toiletries makes my hosting heart shudder…

… I always aim to please, people… and I feel I have let you down during your most delicate moment of need…. I promise that I will do better next time…

Sincerely,

The Management

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Clean....

… a slow, autumn drizzle is upon us here…. it started last night along with high winds… but the wind has died down now and there is just rain left…. 50 degrees and quiet… just the rain on the roof and the trickling sound coming from the downspout outside the window…

… today is trashday – the day when the little men in their big truck trundle through my neighborhood.. so the monstrous pile of blogmeet detritus will get schlepped down to the mailbox once I’ve gotten cleaned up and moving this morning….

… that’s always the way with parties, though…. you never want them to end… and when they’re done there is a void….

… anyway, the rain that flooded Texas over the weekend has arrived here now…. a bit gentler though as it approaches the mountains… and a bit more welcome than it was in Texas… my deck definitely was in need of a bit of ‘cleansing’… and what better way to wash away the cigarette ash, dust, and broken leaves of a wonderful weekend than a nice, unhurried, steady rain…

…. I’m blessed, really… for as I vacuum, spray glass cleaner, and rip up the discarded cardboard beer boxes in the garage…. Miss Mother Nature herself is helping me with the clean-up…. I take it as an omen, fellow bloggers… a kind of validation – this assistance from above – that we’re all smiled down on after such a weekend of treats….

… either that, or God is crying because we heartily enjoyed such unabashed decadence… but I like to imagine it is the former….

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Attitude...

…. Trouble over at Dubious Wonder has it going on… and it is a beautiful thing….


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Wrong...

…. in truth, I am not a skeptic at heart…. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt until I am proven otherwise… sure, I can be as cynical as the next guy, but it takes some hard work to push me that far…. and on top of all that, my ability to forgive is both deep and broad…. but I must admit… I am having some serious reservations about this….

… hat tip to Miss Christina….

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Math...

… blogmeets…. Wow…. you really can’t make this stuff up, rubberneckers…. and that, sweet reader, is the God’s Honest Truth…

… it is inevitable, really… I mean, if you get a group of twenty opinionated, intelligent, and creatively gifted ladies and gentlemen together…. all the while liberally mixing in food, laughter, and alcohol, well, The Magic just happens….

… and hey, how many people do you know in the good ole USA that can say “my house has now survived a rocket attack”?... not very many, I’d wager…. and yet, it is half-way true…

… see, after a hugely successful launch from the roadside in front of my house, the parachute deployed…. and the little rocket drifted peacefully back towards Earth… all was well until the wind caught it just right – and changed its descent…. it landed heavily – and quite unceremoniously - with an almighty thwack on my roof…. there was much rejoicing… and the ever-talented Johnny Oh scrabbled up onto my roof and retrieved the missile…. sure, it wasn’t much of an ‘attack’, but the house DID get hit by a rocket… and as you guys know, we here at SWG are the Kings of Hyperbole… mountains out of molehills and all that jazz… hey, it keeps us entertained….

… and most of the usual suspects were here, of course… The Mighty Men: Velociman, Zonker, Elisson, Jimbo & The Bodyguard, Recondo32, Grouchy Old Cripple, Redneck, Johnny Oh, Big Stupid Tommy, Yabu, Dax Montana, That 1 Guy, RSM….

… and The Lovely Ladies: Boudicca, Caltech Girl, Georgia, Morrigan, Sissy, SWMBO, Teresa, and The Missus….

… I’m telling you, people… those guys and gals are awesome…. what a crowd…. that crew rocks… and it was a pleasure and an honor to have all of them in my house, hanging in my garage, and wandering around in the back yard at all hours of the day and night (and climbing on my rooftop)…. seriously good people, one and all….

… there were lots of other shenanigans too, but they are just too hard to pencil down right now.. I power-napped most of the afternoon but it hasn’t helped to clear my head much…. but you guys know the drill… just sit back and wait for the photographic evidence…. But hey, judging from the mountain of garbage bags in my garage, we must have had quite a time…..

… note that, ladies and gentlemen… there is Math hidden there… and hey, remember that you heard it here first… the amount of garbage produced in a hedonistic blogger-frenzy is directly proportional to the amount of fun that was had….

… and from the look of my garage, we had an absolute whale of a time….

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Ouch....

... ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.....

... whoa.....

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Visiting....

... wow.... Friday the 13th... hot damn....

... and The Gathering begins.....

... Lord, helps us all....

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Vindication....

… last December I mentioned a little game that the Missus and I had played one winter evening when the strong hands of boredom had taken us both in a stranglehold… basically, we spent a few hours trying to decide just which big-screen stud got the most rack-time with the ladies… (with great help from the various movies being shown on Turner Classic Movies and American Movie Classics)

… back then, well, I laid my money firmly on Vincent Price… and yes, I still do… and I use to reinforce my initial conjecture, the wonderful flick, ‘Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine'… and I am currently allowing the movie – in all its incredibly sexist glory - to fully, slowly, and artistically sink in….

… first off, only a man of Vincent’s caliber could have pulled off such a role… and in a word?... wow… and secondly, he played an evil scientist who surrounded himself with dozens of anatomically correct bikini-model robots that he could program as he saw fit….

… I mean, just imagine… good God… the man must have had the libido of a rutting rhinoceros…. and hey, even with Frankie Avalon as a co-star, it was still ole Vince that caught the doe-eyed, quick-breathed, slightly dampened gazes of the bikini-clad starlets…

… the man truly had it going on…. from the crest of his plucked eyebrows to the soles of his highly polished wingtips…

… and there was something else, too, that was only noticed because the movie was in color instead of black and white…. oh yes, children, there was a very, very noticeable sheen on Vincent’s pencil-thin mustache…. all through the entire movie….

… and with that little bit of jetsam, I rest my case….. hey, draw your own conclusions, gentle reader, but Vincent was a stud hoss… absolute and complete…..

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Downfall....

… good morning, fellow travelers…. I hope you are all well and getting exactly what you deserve…. Me?... I’m more than just a little disturbed this morning…

… yes, I said disturbed…. but what is it that has unearthed my internal funk so early today?... what brilliant piece of journalism has harshed my mellow?.... behold…..

AGEING Playboy millionaire Hugh Hefner has confessed he is bored of bonking — and would rather have a game of DOMINOES with his glamour girls.

Entrepreneur Hefner, 80, is famed for bedding thousands of babes and holding hedonistic bunny-girl parties at his Beverly Hills mansion.

But the publisher who turned his men’s magazines business into a worldwide entertainment and fashion empire said he no longer had the energy.

He said: “I’m bored of the hanky panky. I’m still active but it’s different — I like to play dominoes with my girlfriends

… Hef, oh Hef… why has thou forsaken us?... at 80, you are were a shining beacon of how a perfect world could be….

… and now, dominoes?....

… some days the news is just too damn depressing…. I’m going back to bed….

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Ears...

…. winding down here.. winding down… it’s been a hectic day…. and I do believe it is time to visit with the 16 Men of Tain for a while…. with just a few pieces of ice thrown in…

… anyway, I’m just in from escorting the Sainted Mother to and from the local emergency room… she’s fine, of course… and me – the worrywart – caused all of the kerfuffle… for t’was I who screamed “mini-stroke! mini-stroke!” ala Chicken Little... when everyone else is lilting through their laid back drawls, “no, no no… she’s just got her one of them inner ear infections.. “…

… and of course, they were right…. which is wonderful… but my overzealousness to throw Medical Muscle in overwhelming numbers has resulted in five hours wasted, much gnashing of teeth, and the demise of a huge shot of Adavan into my Sainted Momma’s backside…

… ahhh… better safe than sorry though… you only go around once, so they say… best to try to stick around as long as possible….

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Winter...

…. 46 degrees last night and today all of the dogwoods are sporting bright red and burgundy leaves….

… yowza, people… Persephone has left the building….

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Meals...

… the soon-to-be Viking-helmeted Sissy from over at And What Next? sparked my interest this morning with a question… and believe it or not, it is something that I have never actually let run loose through the vacant lot of my mind….. and yet the question is remarkably simple… “what would you choose to eat as your last meal”… and as I stared at the screen waiting to make a comment, I realized that I honestly had no idea….

…. and so, with more time to think of the subject, here are a few of my possible answers…. Although, I do think that the final decision would hinge upon what time of day my execution was scheduled for… I mean, I wouldn’t really want to have my favorite breakfast food served up at 10pm… execution time is very important to me….so, without further hesitation, here goes….

… Last Meals as proposed by Eric (according to the time of day at which I am to be dispatched) …

6:30AM – just shup up and shoot me… I won’t feel a thing….

7:30AM – a pot of Maxwell House Colombian blend coffee and three unfiltered Camels…

8:30AM – two fried eggs – over easy… buttermilk biscuits with strawberry jam, and crisp bacon on the side…

9:30AM – three link sausages, buttermilk biscuits smothered in meal gravy, and three scrambled eggs with garlic, blackpepper, and parmesan cheese…

10:30AM – freshly squeezed orange juice, three slices of buttered toast with pheasant pate, and a large black coffee….

11:30AM – a foot-long coney dog from Sonic with chili, cheese, and onions… and a chocolate shake….

12:30PM – a bacon sandwich on white toast… with extra-crispy bacon, thickly sliced cheddar cheese, lashings of mayonnaise, and sliced onions… and a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale….

1:30PM – a large tub of Pistachio Delight from the local delicatessen here….

2:30PM – a bowl of milk with a giant slice of my Mother’s cornbread crumbled in it… and a glass of fresh lemonade…

3:30PM – shrimp salad on a baguette… and a cup of lapsang souchong tea with cream and sugar..

4:30PM – homemade macaroni and cheese (with a hint of mustard and bleu)… and garlic bread..

5:30PM – a bowl of clam chowder with garlic and cheese biscuits… and a cold Sam Adams (or two

6:30PM – bbq’d boneless ribs, baked beans, and cole slaw…

7:30PM – three gin and tonics and a medium rare filet steak wrapped in bacon….

8:30PM – king prawn korma, a garlic and cheese naan, and two tiger beers…..

9:30PM – chicken tikka, a garlic and cheese naan, and more tiger beers….

10:30PM – freshly-battered and deep-fried Atlantic haddock and a mountain of chips… and homemade tartar sauce…

11:30PM – the last two inches in the bottle of 18 year old Talisker… with a few pieces of ice and just as splash of water…

12:30AM – it’s too late to eat now, and I’ve got to watch my figure… hey, I’m getting shot sometime tomorrow and I have to look my best….

… you know, I just realized something else too… I do believe my choices would be seasonal as well… I mean, chicken tikka is ok for 9:30 in the Wintertime… but would just be completely wrong for a Summer killin’…

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Womanhood...

... whoa.... Dax is in the groove... or at least imagining that he is..... and it is a thing of beauty, people.... even if it is unshaven....

To everyone else they are two senior workers, but to me they are flower children fuck princesses.

... what a beautiful sentence to wake up to this morning....

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Time...

… today has been awash in guilty pleasures….. and what’s more, it’ll be finished off with my famous spaghetti bolognaise… hey, it doesn’t get much better than that around here… trust me….

… but in reading a few blogs today, I see that North Korea now has newclear weapons….. happy news, no?....

…. yeah, well anyway, I spent a bit of time today tossing out old magazines and periodicals that have accumulated around the house here…. and I found some absolutely fabulous magazine cover art…. one from Military History Magazine and the other from The New Yorker…. both of which will probably sue me if they ever find that I have shared their cover art with you darling, smiling people….

… so as I sat pondering the great universal wistfulness of it all, I took a meager form of solace in the images that were portrayed…. Hey, what can I say?... I do that from time to time….. so join with me, dear reader…. and let the mind wander just a teensy bit….

… behold a mighty Tuareg warrior (which I have mentioned here a while back)… the bane of the Colonial French… the master of the desert…. man, this picture just speaks to me.. from the slightly disgruntled look on his camel’s face to the way his left leg is tossed over the beast’s neck…. the man is just incredible….

taureg_small.jpg

… and next, we have King Kong squirting a herd of New Yorkers with a vaguely-banana shaped squirt gun while they gleefully enjoy the deluge…. Check it out….

newyorker_small.jpg

… so there you have it… we’re all doomed – we’re all gonna die…. Or maybe not, I haven’t decided yet as I have been cleaning weapons this afternoon…. but still, there you go… three brilliant images for you…. three wonderful parallels for you to chew over as you sip your Scotch tonight and enjoy the evening with kith and kin….

… a fierce warrior who refused to change, fought brutally, and was eventually quashed…. King Kong with a squirt gun and cheering New Yorkers holding their giggling toddlers aloft…. and Kim Jong Il with nuclear weapons…..

… don’t look to me for answers, children… only questions.. and don’t inquire as to how my mind arrived at the strange place it has… a place where parallel, politics, societal loss, monsters, apathy, decadence, patriotism, and my choice of yearly periodicals all coalesce into nightmarish hilarity…. don’t ask, because it just is….

… one thing is for sure though… I am in need of a serious recharge…

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Singing....

…. the window is open in the blogroom tonight…. and the crickets are going nuts trying to drown out the frogs in some sort of wildlife melee/shouting contest… the undeveloped lots that lie on either side of my property are absolutely vibrating from all the racket… and damnation, people, what a noise….

… I don’t really get it though… I mean, don’t froggies sup upon crickets?... I always assumed that they did…. and blasting earsplitting cricket-noises while the frogs are in such close proximity doesn’t really seem the parsimonious thing to do… especially when Life & Death are only a few quick hops away….

… either way, they are at it hard tonight…. Hard… singing their little crickety asses off…

…. funny, really, when you think of it…. perhaps by allowing their mating calls to rise to such a cacophony they are somehow hidden?... lost in a sea of thick noise and confusion…. somehow dumbfounding the hungry frogs?.... then again, maybe the horny toads are too anxious about finding Mister Right or Miss Right to be worried about a late dinner…

… I read somewhere once, that the desire to procreate would overwhelm just about every other necessity… and I am sure that I saw a program on the Discovery Channel on Sub-Saharan lions that pictured some pretty raw-boned male lions at the end of their mating season…. they just looked so tired…. fighting and mating, fighting and mating… hardly even stopping to crunch on the occasional gazelle corpse…

… ahhh, hell… I just don’t know… besides, it is too late in the evening to be thinking such deep thoughts… but I will tell you this, boys and girls… I know some gentlemen who are planning to kip a few nights in my back yard next week… and wow… Just Damn, indeed…. they’re going to have front-row, center-stage seats for quite a concert by the Turned-on Side of Nature….

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51...

… welcome to my Sunday, gentle rubberneckers…. all is quiet here on The Eastern Front…. and dinner with the Sainted Mother is about to be prepared…

… I’m grilling up three nice filet steaks…. and the rest is potluck…. it should turn out quite interesting…. since my Mother is notorious for jumbling together the strangest menus imaginable…

… no biggie though, right?... I mean, in the right hands a filet steak IS a meal in itself…. right?... right…

…. anyway, it has been a nice, quiet, relaxing weekend here at the compound… but before I sign off for the night, I feel the need to reach out to my Jawja friends… show a little of the Brotherly Love….

… enjoy….

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Wax...

... it is a true thing that ˜each day brings forth new challenges'.... and today is no different.... only weirder....

... but for the life of me, I really have no idea how to tackle today's journey....

... so does anyone know how to successfully remove red candle wax from white carpet?....

.... and before you ask, no, it wasn't my fault...

... honest...

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Teachers...

.... I telephoned the lady this morning who cuts my hair and scheduled myself for an appointment.... she only works a few days a week, and even then, only for a few hours each day.... so to secure her services, one must be both lucky AND preferred.... today I was both in equal measure... she slated me to get snipped as she worked through her lunch break...

.... and so, with homemade cheeseburger in one hand and clippers in the other, she worked her trade on my melon.... and a fine job she did, too.... of course, as short as I keep my hair, her work is more akin to sculpting than what normal people would call a hair cut.... but there you go...

... I parked just around the corner from the bank and slowly strolled along the concrete sidewalk toward her shop.... the door was open when I got there, and a number of elderly ladies were nodding off to sleep... gently propped-up under those hairdryer/chair combinations that you see in the old-style beauty shops...

... I recognized the woman who was sitting in the swivel chair when I walked in... Mrs. Borden... my 3rd grade English teacher... Eva looked up from Mrs. Borden's gray, thinning hair, and smiled... ".. hello, Eric... take a seat and I'll be right with you... " ....

... it was alright with me, of course... I was ten minutes early anyway.... So I just sat and watched the ladies do their thing - mainly, well, being senior citizens.... talking and joking about people that I had no inkling of, and who most likely died years ago... bringing up the news and the politicians who were advertising at each commercial....

... I sat in silence and watched their interaction.... they were familiar and loving... that kind of comfort that only knowing - and liking - someone for forty years can produce.... It is always such a treat to get my hair cut and watch the ladies......

... but today was a bit different... for when Mrs. Borden rose from her chair freshly hair-do'd, she proceeded to say her goodbyes to each of the old ladies in turn... all the while making her way to the door.... and I was right at the end of her route - sitting beside the open door....

... her walk took her from the regimented line of hairdrying machines, past the coffee table laden with Southern Livings from 1984, and deposited her perfectly at me.... and when she arrived, she looked down and smiled.... "Hello, son... you look familiar... but I don't remember your name." ....

...I nodded and sat forward... "yes, ma'am, Mrs. Borden.... I was in the same year as Eva's son... I'm Eric.. "....

.. her eyes widened a bit... "oh, yes!... you were Mike's best friend, weren't you?.... I heard you married overseas and were in the military.... It is good to see you looking so well after these twenty years, Eric." .... and then she bent herself down.... so that her face was only six or seven inches away from mine... and placed her hand atop my head and patted it like I was a puppy...

.... "I've had so very many, many students," she said to no one in particular while patting my noggin and closing her eyes.... "but I loved each one of them... each and every one of them, I loved them all... "....

.... she locked eyes on me one more time before making it to the door and exiting... and then with a flourish of her 85 year old wrist, she eased down the sidewalk and was gone...

... truthfully?... I am not bothered in the least that she didn't remember me... I didn't expect her to... but for a young pup like I was back then, she was a formidable being... and hey, I saw her whip Davy Campbell with a yardstick once back in third grade and she definitely had some moves.....

.. and now - me a grown man, slightly balding - I get a sweet, Southern Granny patting me on the head and mistily dreaming of the halcyon days of her middle-agedom.....

..... if she only knew how I murder the English language on a daily basis for you retards, she'd have slapped me hard, I just know it..... hard... and probably multiple times, too...

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Art...

... BHWHAHAHAAH....

... if you are going to set the hook, set it deep.... I must admit, he got me....

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Filtration...

.... in a sweeping charge of Shock and Awe yesterday to impress the Missus, I actually did something obliquely useful around the house.... I screwed up the courage, set my shoulders back, and changed the refrigerator's water filter... you guys would have been so proud of me... it was awesome....

... no small task, actually, as it is set deep back in a remote corner of the fridge - just beside the bottle of Goldschlager...... but I persevered and won that day... I owe it all to my years of military training and a bloodline chocked with ancient Pioneers.... It's all about The Spirit, you see....

... anyway, as I was standing there reading the box that the filter came in, I was amazed to find a truly excellent word.... Turbidity....

... you know, turbidity is a word that just isn't used in conversation enough... in fact, I do believe that - apart from yesterday - I have only heard it once.... And even then it wasn't actually ˜turbidity'... but ˜turbid'....

... so I was standing there enjoying the feel of how the word turbidity just rolls off one's tongue when I remembered my Robert Service.... particularly a line from "The Law of The Yukon"....

... "and it swept like a turbid torrent" ....

.... marvelous, no?....

... hey, language, people.... use it, or lose it... now go ahead and say it with me.... turbid... tuuuuurbid... TURbid..... goodness, how absolutely wonderful....

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Sniffing....

... whilst observing a hummingbird approach, back-off, and re-approach an empty hummingbird-feeder on the front porch this morning, I was gently reminded that I am again falling victim to the craving...

... hello, gentle readers, my name is Eric... and I am hopelessly addicted to Indian food.. and it has been nigh-on three months since I have partaken of the velvety sauces, pungent meat, and buttery, garlicky, cheesy naan bread which I so dearly love....

.... but the ethnic desert in which I reside offers little in the way of slaking my primal longing... sure, sure... I can mix potions and elixirs here at home... chop up some lamb... don my silk Punjabi and mix up a pitcher of 50/50 gin and tonic.... but there is something magical that will be missing... I know if before I even try....

.. for it is not just the meal on a plate that I am yearning for... but the broken English... the lilting, staccato voice and smiling eyes that greet your hungry heart as you gaze up from the cheaply printed menu.... and the hand-polished brass ashtrays on the table... the gaudy, Bengali-embroidered tapestry that drapes the wall behind your booth.. and the twangy sitar music that softly coats everything in a memory of old, black and white photographs of the Taj Mahal at Agra....

... but today I plan to safari northwards with pure and perfect purpose.... see, a little birdie told me that the Knoxville now sports a Restaurant of India.... I nearly swooned when the news entered my delicate ears... but now my soul is buoyed and itching to search the place out... I don't even actually have the directions or an address, but that is of little consequence...

... after all, any Indian restaurant that is worth it's salt can be sniffed out from a five-block radius... and hey, Knoxville isn't that large... so the plan is just to drive around with the top down and let my nose guide the way... bird-doggin' at a whole new level, people... and I am stoked....

... so wish me luck... while I am still fairly full of youthful exuberance and a quiet confidence, I still need all the help I can get...

... and that reminds me... a big Happy Birthday shout-out to my homeboy Elisson... rock on, bigman... you may be closing in on That Ancient Age, but you still have the heart of a twelve year old.. and long may it continue to be so....

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Lunch...

... in these trying, difficult, often forlorn times we live in, comfort is often found in most unlikely of places....

.... today, believe it or not, I found it Ÿ of the way down in a can of Gordon's Downeast Lobster Bisque....

... no, really...

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Home...

... Trevor is coming home... Godspeed, Trevor... and thank you for your service....

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Hair...

.... In another wonderful blast from the past, I humbly offer you a snap of Christmas morning, 1977....

christmas_1977_small.jpg

... mercy, I was a trend-setter.... I mean, just check out that hairdo... George Clooney is paying megabucks for a customized coiffure like that out in Hollywood right now... and, hell, I managed it with only a good night's sleep and dreams of Santa Claus... AND I was only five....

... still, it is good to see that I enjoyed being armed... even way back then.....

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Smells....

.... Sylvia had an appointment at the Audi dealership this morning... and it was a gentle trip.... I tooled across the Fort Loudon dam just as the Sun crested the mountains... and the light on the water was glorious... having the top down as she cut through the mist was great too.... 62 degrees, 65 miles per hour, and the heater on.... how was y'all's mornin'?

... the mechanics doctored her up just fine and sent us on our way around lunchtime... but by then it was 82 degrees and my balding head began to feel the effects of the sunshiney rays... so I donned my Cubs baseball cap and let her rip on back towards home... (.. thanks, Matt... I knew that hat would come in handy one day.. )

... and now I am fed, watered, and ready to settle in for the evening....

... oh, and I had another appointment with the chiropractor today... and I must have had an enjoyable weekend because it took TWO of the little lasses to straighten me out... one holding my torso in place while the other pulled like a madwoman on my various extremities.. but they were dogged and got it done in the end... afterwards they performed my 1-Month exam and concluded that I was indeed on the mend.... which is, of course, great news... soon I'll be able to take back up the sport of alligator wrestling again... I can hardly wait.... I really have missed it...

... I have to admit though, I am still unsure why the doc asked the tiniest girl at the practice to be the one to "hold me in place".... She was hardly up to the task, embracing my chest from behind as I sat on the cracking-table... I laughed a little as the doc whiplashed my shoulders back into place... all the while, that pale, waspish blonde vainly tried to keep me from being jerked off the table.... I suppose she was stronger than she looked... I mean, I didn't hit the ground or anything, so I guess she did her job well...

... it was a funny thing though... while trying to relax my shoulders so that they could get slammed back into their correct slots, all I could think of was, ˜gee... I wonder what the back of my neck smells like".... Strange, yeah... but I had never thought of it before...and I didn't actually have the nerve to ask her once she let me loose...

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Presence...

... I suppose that this story (a part II of this story, if you will) should begin with "it was a dark and stormy night".... but that would be a lie.... For it was, in fact, just a normal, mid-Spring, Scottish evening.... Cool and windy....

... this was my first encounter with a ˜ghost'.. and I use that term loosely.... Because, well, I really have no idea what actually happened...

.... I do remember that it was a very late Friday night... a late Friday that had turned into an early Saturday morning....

... the Missus and I had been fed a late dinner by another couple and we were full and well toasty from the wine when the taxi dropped us off at the small cottage... as I mentioned before, we had lived there for almost a year and had already grown to love the old place...

... we undressed and immediately went to bed.... I was a mere slip of a lad at barely 22 years of age, and I was feeling my oats.... So we hadn't been in the sack long before I was angling for some whoopee... I remember distinctly that an agreement for lovin' was struck - provided that I did all of the heavy-lifting....

... so, as you do, I climbed aboard and was having my way... and two-thirds through the bump and grind, I felt a cold chill run down my spine... and I stopped - mid-pump - and slowly looked down.... the Missus was looking up at me with a total look of horror on her face..... she knew - we both knew - that someone was in the room with us... you could feel it in the air.. and what's more, this someone in the room meant us harm....

... in all my life, I have never felt anything like it before.... a seething anger that you could almost smell... a violent evil that vibrated so loudly that you could almost hear it through the quiet darkness.....

... I turned my head back towards the foot of the bed and the open bedroom door that lay just beyond, and peered into the darkness... there was nothing there but the blackness of the dark hallway.... I looked back down at The Wife... she was gripping my forearms so tightly that I thought her nails would cut my flesh....

... I got up and walked to the doorway... flipped on the light switch and stepped out.... nothing... the hallway was empty and cold.... But the feeling was still there.... I reached down and picked up my discarded jeans and retrieved my pocket knife.... And with a deep sense of dread, I stepped across the hall and into the bathroom.... again, nothing.... my search continued through the entire house, but each room was found empty....

... the frightening thing is that, well, the whole time I searched the house, I was absolutely sure that there was someone in the house... you could feel it... and I was completely terrified as I opened each door and checked each room....

... after clearing the house - each room, door, and window - I returned to bed to see my Wife stiffened with terror.... Which, of course, scared me even more... and as I started to climb back into bed, she spoke... "please close the bedroom door... I don't want whatever is in the hall to be able to watch us sleep." ....

... I did as she asked.... and I don't believe that either of us got much sleep that night.... the fright was such that neither of us even remembered to finish our bout of whoopee....

.... was it a ghost?.... I have no idea... was it real?... 100% and without a doubt... and it continued to happen each year.... for one night only - every Spring that we lived there - whatever it was would come back.... for each of the seven years that we rented that cottage...

... the second time that it showed up, I was in the living room huddled by the propane fire watching Australia play South Africa in a fine rugby match... the Wife had turned in hours before, and I could hear her gently snoring a few rooms away.... it was quite late at night and raining hard.... I remember suddenly having such a strange feeling of dread wash over me... I sat up and felt the hair on the back of my neck rise.... I knew someone was outside the closed living room door... and ten seconds later I heard the quick patter of my Wife's footsteps running down the hall...

... she flung the door open, raced inside, slammed the door shut, sat her naked-self on the couch, and stared at the closed door.... she was petrified... and whatever was in that hallway had awoken her from a peaceful sleep.... We both felt it at the same time - even though we were in different rooms.....

... it happened again, of course.... every year.... and always in the springtime....

.... I never witnessed anything... but I sure felt it... and whatever it was, it definitely had an attitude problem... the Wife actually managed to see a few things on occasion.... A woman walking through the kitchen in a nightgown.... and even the sensation of a child hugging her leg while she washed dishes a few times..... but me?.... never.... I only ever felt the Bad Man in the Hallway.... and he was more than enough for me...

... crazy stuff... but true...

.... Anyway, I'm tired and am off to bed... tune in for the next installment... we have ˜The Mystery of The Slamming Gate'.... or, ˜The Time Eric Was Told to Bugger-off By a Ghost In Broad Daylight' ....

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Football....

... yesterday was a day that was completely consumed by College Football Enjoyment... and I do believe that I have wiped the slate clean of any brownie points that I accumulated over the past year.. indeed, after the fifth hour of sports, distinct rumblings were heard that involved the words ˜tile', ˜new bathroom', and ˜bastard'.

... regardless of the aforementioned static, the Volunteers began the day at noon, and pure, raw SEC goodness flowed until my head hit the pillow.... Unfortunately, I drifted off to slumberland with the blissful dream of Georgia getting punked by Mississippi.... and my dream nearly came true... 5-0, my aching ass.... Next week's game with Tennessee should be very interesting....

... I watched the Alabama/Florida game too.... goodness, people.... Alabama is dangerous.... then again, just because a SEC team isn't ranked doesn't mean that they aren't passionate, mean, violent, and ready to drop the hammer on you in a heartbeat....

... anyway, today is to be a day of rest and recovery.....

... the side effects of my homemade chili are slow and prolonged.. and they usually show themselves 12 to 14 hours after ingestion.... and since dinner was enjoyed a bit later than usual last night, the guttural waves are predicted to begin hitting the porcelain shores very, very soon....

... in other news, ole El Capitan has done me the honor of acquiescing to my plea for a Napoleon and Josephine story... sure, sure, I know he only touches on the subject for a few meager lines... but, hey!.... what he lacks in Napoleonic goodness, he makes up for with home-spun, collegiate tales of debasement...

... you just gotta love that...

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