Work....

…. I am a fickle listener of tunes…. but there are certain musicians that completely move me….. and they take me to places where my mind is absolutely oblivious to everything else but their voice…. my subconscious mind needs their complexity – their puzzle – otherwise, I get bored…….

…. and for the most part, it has very little to do with their prowess with an instrument, these musicians….

…. the exception, I suppose, would be Stevie Ray Vaughan….. he had a way of overpowering you with his guitar that was almost mystical….. when you’d listen to his playing, you had to surrender yourself to the power of his production…. the might of his sound….. but his lyrics?.... well, they left a lot to be desired….

… but Tom Waits is the exact opposite…. He is a mystery and a present…… and even though he is an accomplished musician on many musical instruments and has a five octave vocal range, his lyrics are his best suit….. they are his hook…

… tonight I have been revisiting an old piece of music of his…. and I just can’t get enough of it….

here it is…..

…. I can’t help but hear this song and feel sad for the singer….. to me, it sounds like he is missing out…. but I have a mixed feeling on the song…. It is complex…. because, well, there is a thankfulness present too… a glorious thankfulness……

…. Waits isn’t for everyone, and that is for sure…… he is an acquired taste…… but trust me, people….. no collection of music is complete without at least two Tom Waits albums….. I recommend Small Changeas a starting point…..

.. PS….. Tom, don’t sue me, man….. I’m on your side…. Honest…..

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Bangers.....

… the movie tonight was a bust…. I didn’t get a chance to see it….

… after a fine lunch with The Veterans, we tooled over to the theater to discover that they only do matinees on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays….. and not on Wednesdays….. so it looks like I will be watching Mr. Bond tomorrow instead……

… anyway, we bailed and headed back home….

… I changed clothes and commenced to grill a turkey sausage, boil up a four-cheese batch of mashed potatoes, and knock the top out of a tin of Heinz beans for dinner…..

….so we had ‘bangers and mash’ for the evening meal, as the Brits call it….. “bangers and mash” is actually pretty good…. even if you do have to use turkey sausage instead of a nice, fat, juicy pork one… and even if it does have such a horrible name as “bangers and mash’, it was still excellent…..

… but hey, that is the way it goes sometimes, right?…. expectations get left un-met…. . big or small, it really doesn’t matter…. because, well, you still only have two courses of action… roll with it, or keel over and pine yourself into oblivion……

…. life, often writ large by terrifying battlefields or peaceful woodland glades where hidden tragedy might lay, is still just life…. and challenges, however big or small, are still fought with the same weapons every single day…. in the end, we see the obstacles in our own inner-light…. no matter what they might be, they are our individual antagonists..…

… missed the movie?... lost an arm in Fallujah?.... Momma didn’t kiss you enough and tell you how wonderful you were as a babe?.... wife ran off?..... car won’t start?..... cookies came out of the oven a little too doughy?....

… boil it down, and there are two choices that face you… live or die….

… choose to fucking LIVE…. I’ve heard it said before that life is full of disappointments…. I call bullshit on that one…. Life is full of whatever you put into it…. disappointments are a product of a selfish mind……

… don’t wish for too much… wish for just enough…. And when you don’t get that little bit of “just enough”, shake your head, smile, and say towards heaven….. “maybe tomorrow”…..

… because otherwise, you are going to be one miserable son-of-a-bitch…..

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Bond...

…. In an unusual break from my usual cycle of peaceful existence, today I have decided to actually be semi-productive…

… first, wash the car…. second, lunch at the VFW with a few other old Marines …. and a “sending off” party for a female Marine who is heading back to Iraq for her second tour…. and third, well, after such beaming accolades, I’ve just GOT to watch the latest Bond flick….

… anyway, to all of your wonderful rubberneckers who joined in last night during – as Augsburg Anna put it – “TES” - The Eric Show, many, many thanks…. it really was a lot of fun… you guys rock…..

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TEST.....

... howdy, y'all..... what's up?....

Broadcast Yourself LIVE

... this is a test...

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Dancing....

… the Missus and I re-watched the 1935 version of “Top Hat” yesterday evening while I turned Saturday’s roasted lamb into Sunday’s Lamb Tikka Masala…. and in between dicing onions and chopping up dead lamb, I realized a few things about the dancing duo that I hadn’t noticed before….

… neither one of them are really that pleasing to the eyes, and neither one of them can sing worth a damn….

… yes, I know that these are pretty bold words coming from someone who can’t carry a tune and isn’t exactly stunning himself, but I feel that I have the right to protest… after all, Fred and Ginger were megastars back in their heyday… but why?...

… I mean, just take ole Fred Astaire for instance…. he was painfully thin, bug-eyed, and had a head that was almost the shape of a 60 watt light bulb… and Ginger Rogers made him look even thinner when they were prancing around…. she was one buxom lassie, people… why, I bet that she outweighed Fred by at least twenty pounds… and while I’m on the subject, she wasn’t really that drop-dead gorgeous herself…. they sure could dance up a storm though, I’ll give them that….

…. at one point, I leaned over and asked the enraptured Wife which dancer she thought was better – Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire…. She sat back, eyed me long and hard, and replied “Ginger Rogers, of course.” …. and when I asked why, she scoffed and said, “Heh!... She did everything that FRED did… AND she did it going backwards while wearing high heels!”….

… I took a sip of my drink and nodded knowingly…. I mean, how can you argue with a statement like that?.... I’ve never worn a pair of heels myself, but I must admit that watching women move around in them without breaking an ankle or toppling over is a thing of awe and beauty…..

… anyway, as the evening wore on and I got more and more fed up with the sound of tap dancing ringing through the house, I brought up Gene Kelly again…. I’m no fan of dancers, per se, but at least Gene was bulging with muscles… so I wondered how he stacked up in her mind against Fred…

… I tried to needle a decision out of her, but she wouldn’t budge…. evidently Gene is “athletic, handsome, and sexy as hell”… while Fred is “geeky, cultured, so ugly that he is cute, and sexy as hell”….

… I just don’t get it, really…. both of them are “sexy as hell” and it all comes down to one single, solitary thing…… and that thing?.... they both can dance….

… thankfully I pulled myself away from the television screen and the line of conversation before bringing up the fact that I dance like Joe Cocker with eight or ten angry bumblebees down his trousers…..

… still though, there is something mysterious about the attraction of women to men who can dance that intrigues me….

… I must do more research….

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Idiot.....

….. I awoke early this morning and commenced a road-trip westwardly….. and by 7:30am I was safely cradled in the bosom of The Sequatchie Valley munching upon McDonald’s hotcakes and sausages as the morning fog burned from the skyline….

… days like today always hold that little bit of uncomfortability for me… ten times worse than a dreaded visit to The Dentist…. but still, I went…. Duty calls sometimes… and it cant be shoo’ed away…..

… and now?.... well, all is content here at the compound… I’ve just eaten 1/3 of a fairly large sheep’s leg (with a lovely mint jelly) and am satiated beyond all caring….

… amazing how a few mouthfuls of gently roasted flesh can lift the spirits, no?.... well, maybe not, but it always impresses me…..

… I am continually astounded at how richly my body reacts to the very smallest of pleasures…. a mouthful of tasty food, a communication from a friend, a fine Scotch poured into a crystal tumbler…..

…. I’m not 100% on this, but I do think sometimes that I enjoyed being tossed peeled grapes in a former life…. possibly by the delicate hands of Dusky Maidens whose locks were adorned with sweet-smelling flowers… breasts a’heaving and all that…. you get the picture…..

… and yes, gentle reader, I do know that I made up two brand new words in this post…. possibly three…. but isn’t that the point?.... or at least part of it?..... when language doesn’t fit what you are trying to say, can it not be bent?.... is it not just a tool?.....

… sure it is….. and besides, if we aren’t creating anything worth reading here, then at least we can have some fun at the expense of our written medium, yes?.....

… why, just this morning (in the wee hours), I found this beautifully crafted missive in my inbox…. Check it…

From: Greycompound@aol.com To: eric@straightwhiteguy.com CC: Subject: {Norton AntiSpam} (no subject)

ur fucking idiot from a gay black woman.

…. Great Bloody Hell, rubberneckers!.... now, honestly, I ask you!..... how can one argue with an English mastery such as that?..... no, no… it just simply cannot be done….

… indeed, I am depressed…. and while I can't quite put my finger on what exactly the culprit is today, I am filled with a monotonous languor….. I think I need to beat a hippie or masturbate or something…..

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Poem...

... "Dark, But Not Quite Dark Enough", a poem....

… ahhhh….

… dusk approacheth quietly

… the sounds of small arms fire peppers the calmed, darkening air….

… sucks to be a deer around here….

… yea, verily....

... from the comfortable cushions of the blogroom chair, my world is caressed by the sound of Bambi buying it...

... damn, I should probably try to get more of a flow started...... or bust a rhyme or something....

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Friday...

… I drove into town this afternoon with two attainable goals… firstly, to procure a cheeseburger for my afternoon meal…. and secondly, well, to let ole Sylvia stretch her legs a bit….

…. I am happy to report that both goals were reached.... and here’s a short video of me from around 2pm absolutely enjoying the livin’ daylights out of myself….

sylvia.jpg

… that’s right, boys and girls… the day after Thanksgiving and I’ve got Sylvia topless… mercy… the Sun was shining, the birds were a’singing, and I was soaking up the 65 degree weather…

… hey, it’s hard to have fun in a place like this – and I often fail – but I’ll say one thing about it all, at LEAST I’m enthusiastic….

… anyway, for today’s trivia question, can anyone identify the song that was beaming out of the ole Bose Audio?....

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Packed....

…. good evening, rubberneckers…. I trust you are all well and fine…. and that each and every one of you has enjoyed being treated by The Great Karma exactly as you sorely deserved….

… as for me, well, much like the proverbial Thanksgiving Turkey, I am stuffed… indeed, I ate heartily and with a steady rhythm for the better part of two hours… beasts feasted upon?... pigs, turkeys and cattle…. vegetables munched?... potatoes, corn, okra, beans, pumpkins, and peppers…. fruits tasted?... apples, oranges, grapes, and pineapples…. nuts?... pecans…

… oh, and I ate some bread too… rolls, actually…….

… liquids consumed?... sweetened iced-tea and black coffee…. (and just now? …a tiny tumbler of a Glenlivet which is old enough to buy beer in every state of our Glorious Union – cheers, Denny.. )

… and now I am safely back here at the castle in dire need of a nap… I suspect that if there were any spare room in my distended stomach, I would probably get a dicky tummy…. or at least have some interesting dreams tonight… but as it is, hey, she’s packed tight…. Got no room for gas, people…. just as it should be.…

... Happy Thanksgiving...

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Thankful...

… I just spent most of the afternoon – from 12:30 to 4pm – eating clam chowder and drinking brews with the fine folks down at my local VFW chapter…. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Wednesday afternoon….

… I got the chance to spend about two hours talking with a veteran of our latest conflict who had lost his left leg above the knee…. And quite an incredible gentleman he was, too….

… anyway, I’m freshly home now from my adventure and hankering for some couch time…. so y’all play nice and have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow…. I’m off to smoke a cigar, sip some Scotch, and count all of the things that I am thankful for… which will probably take all evening… yes, I’m just that damned thankful…

… and believe it or not, if we look around long enough, we ALL should be….

... oh, and speaking of thankful, I'd like to thank Richmond from over at One For The Road for being my 12,000th commenter... rock on, Richmond... here's your treat......

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Wind...

…. snow flurries kept my little corner of Tennessee entertained most of the afternoon yesterday…. 36 degrees and cold enough to snow – but not cold enough for the flakes to survive long once they hit the ground… it was quite a sight to see…

.. snow comes so sparingly here in the Winters that I had forgotten how relaxing it is to just sit and watch it fall….

… the flakes were large –about the size of a quarter – and they drifted gently on the a non-existent wind… falling almost vertically…

… I remembered the times that I had stood by the window on the second floor of the Marine barracks that overlooked Clam Lagoon…. The window in my room faced towards Hawaii - three thousand miles to the south…. and it was from the southwest that the winds usually came…. chilling themselves as they passed North Korea and Kamchatka… joining with the icy air of Siberia over the Sea of Okhotsk…

The Birthplace of The Winds, they used to call it…

… I’d stand there and watch the snow come in horizontally over Clam Lagoon like the sliding of a blanket…… you could barely pick out an individual snowflake until they were only a few feet away…. but with everything, there was movement… and the snow seemed to glide across the lagoon, cross the beach, jump the road, and climb straight up past the window where I stood…. disappearing over the building and Mt. Adagdak behind me…. it was almost as if gravity held no hold on the frozen snow and The Wind was its new ruler…

… I thought of that today as I watched the first snow fall in two years… how peaceful it seemed… and how that if the temperature was only five degrees warmer, I would have been watching rain instead…

… and if rain, then what would I have been thinking of in its place?....

…. Temperature and Wind…. they impact more than just driving conditions, I guess…

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Eggs....

… as I mentioned previously, I mixed up a magical mound of tuna salad yesterday evening and made myself a rich sandwich…. and as supper-time rolled around, I was asked to bake some potatoes and dollop them with a large portion of the leftover tuna salad…

… unfortunately, well, I had no potatoes of baking-size, so I ventured into town for a Shock and Awe raid on the local grocer….

… wandering the aisles in search of spuds, I passed a free-range egg stand and picked up a dozen… after all, my ole Daddy used to love to dice up a boiled egg or two into his tuna salad, and I felt the need to get back to my roots..

…. And on the whole, everything turned out just fine… I had my egg-less tuna for lunch and my egg-full tuna on a potato for dinner….

… the problem is that I misjudged the amount of boiled egg that would be required to correctly portion my two-cans-of-tuna tuna salad… I boiled six, you see, and the little container of fishy goodness only required three… so I was left with the problem of how to deal with the three hard-boiled eggs that remained….

… being an industrious soul, I easily solved the predicament by gently peeling the eggs, dashing them with salt, and nibbling away gingerly at them until all three were history….

… now, this means that I ate three eggs as a mid-afternoon snack before then eating 1 ˝ eggs in my portion of the tuna salad in the evening…. y’all can imagine where I’m going with this, can’t you?....

…. I don’t know if it was the tuna, the mayonnaise, the volume of eggs, or the sweet pickles that added to the mixture, but something was definitely off… and were it not for my iron-like constitution, I feel quite assured that I would have definitely have needed to have worn underwear to bed last night… the rumblings were mighty, people… mighty….

… but thankfully, all is well…. I tell you, I am continually amazed at how well my body can so easily tolerate the daily abuses it endures at my hands….. I really am…. I bet that if I actively took care of myself, I'd rival Methuselah.....

.. but hey, who wants to live forever?....

... for lunch today?... three Krystal chilli-cheese pups and a Taco Bell chalupa.... just call it testing a theory.....

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Age...

… back when I was a chipper, wee lad skipping merrily through the jungles of eastern Tennessee, I often wondered if I would be able to recount the many adventures of my childhood once I became an adult….

… today, delicately sipping coffee from the mighty vantage point that is my blogroom chair, the answer was clear…

…. I cannot

… there is something important which is lost in the recollection…. sure, I can wind out the tales with Flourishes of Language, but the adventures are left that teensy bit lifeless in the end….

… time marches onward… the brain gets steadily wizened more and more each day…. and the stories of youth get shellacked with more and more layers of The Adult Viewpoint…. dates are forgotten and memories softened… as Age and Experience reshape and add newly-found meaning to the old adventures….

… hidden meanings are superimposed onto the fondly-remembered events….

… I can’t help but wonder if it is ever possible to get back to that original, pure dazzlement… then again, maybe it sucked back then…. running around and acting crazy and never truly realizing how the time was flying…. never seeing the importance of the passing childhood whimsies…

…. ahhh, Hell….. who knows…. but I do have a feeling that memories of youth get better over time…. and they get better because of a clearer understanding…. Besides, what frolicking child wants to stop in the middle of catching frogs or skipping stones to get all introspective…. that would defeat the whole purpose of being a kid....

… anyway, I’m off to make a tuna sandwich….

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Candy...

… I was really going to post something a few minutes ago… but I thought the better of it….. I am really enjoying that photo of Donna Reed being so readily viewable when I open up the old blogpage…..

.... besides, the football is on and I’m in the process of cooking two stuffed chicken breasts…..

.. priorities, children… you have to maintain perspective….

Update: ... I suppose that I do have something to point all you fine readers towards today... I was asked to play in This Fine Game Here.... so please go and read the stories... or listen to them... and vote for your favorite... everyone did an excellent job....

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Donna...

…. I was shocked by a small discovery last evening….truly shocked…. see, yesterday I was unexpectedly lapped at by the Waves Of Lust while watching Donna Reed in “It’s A Wonderful Life”….

… and yes, before you ask, I do feel quite ashamed that I got all excited while watching such a movie, but I couldn’t help it… those cute doe-eyes.. her perfect, tiny lips… the long, flowing chestnut hair… I’m going to Hell for having naughty thoughts during “It’s A Wonderful Life”, aren’t I?.....

….. so anyway, as you do after such a shock to the system, I’ve just spent a bit of time this morning scouring the internet for topless 1940s shots of Miss. Reed…. (so far, no luck at all, by the way) … but hey, I have found out some new information…. I mean, did y’all know that she played Miss Ellie on ‘Dallas’??.... goodness, I had no idea….

…. But I will say this, the fact that bony ole Jimmy Stewart got to lay a liplock on her a few times back in the 1940s just doesn’t sit right with me…. I tell you, people, there is no justice in this crazy, crazy world…..

…. I had SO totally overlooked that little bit of information – the Miss Ellie part….. but hey, don’t blame me … I mean, hell, I was only 10 or so when J.R. got shot…..

…. I will tell you this though…. Donna Reed was one hot mama back about 1946…. Holy Shit… check her out....

donna_reed.jpg

… and seeing as how my search for nudie shots of Donna has been a complete shambles, I’m off to Cleveland to buy myself a hotdog….

simple pleasures, boys and girls…. you just gotta find them every day and hang on like a bear-dog…. otherwise you're doomed.....

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Awake...

… the meal last night was a success…. but on the down-side, it is just past 6AM and I’ve been up since 5…. I suppose that I should really go back to bed…. After all, it is November… and that means that the good ole Sunshine won’t be around for another two hours or so… and what is the point of being awake in the dark?.....

… there were mutterings last night that I might be asked to make the trek to Cleveland tomorrow for a fancy hotdog today….. we shall see….

…. I’m going back to bed…

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Sauce....

… well, the World Travelers have finally made their way back to their old Scottish nest after six years of living and working in Bangladesh…. the Brother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law have completed quite a safari by all accounts…. and the word on the street is that they are planning to pay a visit to The Compound here in the next few months…

… maybe, maybe not… the plans are pretty fluid…. but hey, we’re all about the flexibility around here lately… so it’s all cool….

.. in other news, I am currently two hours deep into the six hour slog which is my spaghetti sauce… oh yes…. the house is literally alive with the thick aromas of garlic, parmesan, basil and oregano….. it cheers the soul, people…. I highly recommend it to anyone… especially during these wet, windy, overcast days of November…. whip up something hot and colorful and wash it all down with a liter or two of red wine…. I promise you, it will make the evening seem a whole lot warmer…..

… but me, being a chaste and sober man, I can only halfway follow my own advice…. you guys though?.... rock and roll….

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Meat...

... this, boys and girls, just ain't right.... and while I admire his enthusiasm, I have to disagree with him just a bit...... the main thing?.... well, there ain't enough milk and cornbread in all of Dixieland to purge a possum well enough for my liking....

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Eat....

…. my old Scottish pal from over at The Groanin’ Jockstrap has been doing some pondering…. and I have to say, the boy has an extremely valid point… I agree with him unreservedly that too much of our Scientific Brainpower is being spent on trivial things…..

… we live in a mighty nation, us Americans … and indeed, the World at Large is filled with genius minds….. but where we fail is, for lack of a better characterization, in our ability to focus on the REALLY important stuff…..

…. and I have a feeling that Boudicca might agree… especially after reading this….

…. grass roots, people…. that’s what we need… we need us a politician who can promise us that we CAN have our cake and eat it too….. we need to organize… get the word out… Hell, I’ve got some magic markers… and if anyone has some cardboard, I’ll happily draw up some placards for us to hold over our heads as we march…

.... Power to The People!...

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Cheesy....

… this morning for breakfast I was craving cheese…. and not just any cheese either… but the rich, pungent, creamy, salty, crumbly goodness of a bleu cheese….

… so at 10:45AM today I whipped up a batch of homemade (bleu) macaroni and cheese… and I have grazed on it for most of the day…. just now, in fact, I had another bowl full after having revived the hardened cheese/pasta combination with the help of some warm milk and the microwave…

…. I reckon that I have consumed at least a pound and a half of cheese today… and at least two pounds of pasta…

…. so If I I don’t post by midnight tomorrow, y’all can just assume that I had a stroke…. or developed a blood clot whilst trying to make a movement in the morning and died….

… but hey, at least I died happy…..

… I think that I’ll dash the leftovers with a few table spoons of garlic salt and some ground black pepper and reheat it for dinner… I’d sure hate to see the leftovers go to waste… and God knows that the cats won’t eat it… and I’m not about to leave it in their dish for the possums to eat… all the rednecks in a three county area already know that my back yard is home to the tastiest, well-fed possums on earth…. and hey, while I am quite proud of it all, being a host to gourmet varmints is not something I ever originally aspired to….

.. so no…. I will soldier on through the evening… some days, well, you just gotta be tough….

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Dark....

…. the drive north from Atlanta yesterday evening was incredible…… after a late lunch with Elisson and his lovely bride, the Missus and I finally hit the trail towards home around 4:30…. and for once, the traffic flowed smoothly on I-75…

… and as much as I enjoyed doing 90mph, we decided to hit 411 just south of White, Georgia, and say our goodbyes to 75…. and that was most definitely the correct decision….

… we slid up towards Etowah with the Sun setting in the west and the first ridge of the Appalachians on our right – perfectly highlighted by the fading light… the road in front was shaded, but the crest of each autumn-jeweled mountain absolutely blazed… and as we became closer to home, the oranges, yellows, and reds faded along with the sunlight into a deep purple…

… and then it was dark….

…. US Highway 411 in the dark is not much fun… trust me...

… but it was worth the aggravation to have had those 45 minutes or road-show….

… typical though, right?... 45 minutes of pleasure and 30 minutes of horror…. That’s pretty much par for the course, I guess.... just as long as the percentage always falls on the good side, I suppose we’re winning…..

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Sunday...

… well, boys and girls, I am back again safe and sound from Atlanta – a city which does not like me….. but hey, I still had one helluva time….

… I met up with a crew of wonderful people and enjoyed many drinks, laughs, and long, in-depth conversations on philosophical, political, and religious matters which I had no business conversing about, but it was still all good…..

… and now I am back, tired and smiling, wondering just how all of you beautiful creatures spent your November weekend.. (mine, of course, was spent thinking of you guys.. )

... ahem....

.. in other news, Tennessee got the smackdown from Arkansas on Saturday night… and Georgia beat Auburn…. Great Bloody Hell, people…. talk about depressing…. the reason that the SEC seldom wins National Titles is because we all hate each other so damn much that we keep dragging the teams back down!... for Christ’s sake, people, Florida nearly got beat by South-fucking-Carolina (damn Spurrier to Hell) … it’s like those restaurants that have live tanks of lobsters with no lids…. Hey, there is no reason for a lid on a lobster tank!... the jealous bastards wont LET their brother lobster climb out…. the losers at the bottom keep tugging the ones that manage to rise… tugging them right back down into the briny funk that is the SEC….

… anyway, all is well here…. all pigs are fed, watered, and ready to fly in the morning…. just as always….

… and to the crew that I hung with this weekend, well, you guys rock…. Except for those of you who didn’t rock, but hey, that is cool too…. I still love you….. and thank y’all for everything it is that you guys do when you are with me…. it is always a pleasure….

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Leaving....

… to all of those who have served our great nation – and to the families who stood behind them at home – thank you for your sacrifices…..

… I wish I could buy each and every one of you a beer and shake your hands….. you men and women make me proud to be an American…. your courage and commitment inspires me every single day…..

… this Veteran’s Day I want to dedicate to my Great Uncle J.R….. a man that I have always looked up to my entire life….

me_and_jr.jpg

… a veteran of Mike Battery, 4th Bn, 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division, he served on Iwo Jima, Tinian, and was wounded on Saipan…. And he is one of my few surviving ancestors who served in World War II…..

… that said, today is a sad and a proud day for me…. sad because of so many of my beloved relatives who were vets have passed on… but proud because I knew them and their tales…. and how much they loved their country… and I am proud to have known such wonderful men….

… as for me?... I am headed off south today towards Atlanta with The Missus… and there I will eat, drink, and be merry among good company…. and honestly, well, I think it is a splendid way of enjoying Veteran’s Day….

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Pride...

… Happy Birthday, Devildogs…. And here’s to 231 more years!....

Semper Fidelis

... here is a repost of what I said last year... and it still holds true today....

.... last year while us USMC vets were celebrating the Birth of our Corps, many of our active duty brothers and sisters were storming the streets of Fallujah... this year too, finds them in harms way doing what Marines do... in Afghanistan and Iraq.. Malaysia and the Horn of Africa... at hundreds of United States Embassies around the world... afloat with MEUs or flying high with a MAW... in garrison at Lejeune, 29 Palms, or Okinawa... or training throughout the World... they are standing tall....

... this is always a strange week for me... with the Birthday of the Corps and Veteran's Day... every year I get blasted with the double-barrel of military service... an overwhelming pride and true sadness at the same time.... this year is no different...

... so Happy 230th Birthday, Marines.... two years ago I wrote this on my blog... and not much has changed since 1775.. well, except for the buttock pinching...

... 228 years ago today, like minded men got together in a bar in Philadelphia. The name of the joint was Tun Tavern, and the year was 1775. After much drinking, political conversation, pinching of the serving wench's buttocks, and a few bar brawls, the gentlemen present created the Marine Corps..

....and Marines around the world continue to follow in the sterling footsteps of their forbearers...


... so with that, thank you, Marines... thank you for doing what you do - and doing it so well...

... I'll cook dinner tonight just as I always do on November 10th... grilled steak and potatoes, just like always.... and just as always, my Wife will have forgotten that today is my birthday.. and then, as she puts the dressing on her salad, she will notice that the table is set for three instead of two... and she'll suddenly realize what today is... we'll talk about Warnick and Lomosad, Lou, Nico, and Miles and Dustin and all of the rest of the crazy jarheads she met through me... and then we'll raise a toast.

... Semper Fi, my mates... may there be a Marine Corps for another 230 years!..

.. and today is the day to truly throw your money at Valour-IT... the Army and Navy have met their targets, but we have not... we may be "The Few".. but we're "The Proud" too...

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Emulation....

… the high today was in the mid-70s…. incredible for a November day, really…. no wind, blue sky… but unfortunately, most of the vivid leaves that the trees have been showing themselves off for in the past few weeks have fallen now…. leaving the naked trees to stand around confused and looking slightly malnourished… bony and thin against the cloudless sky….

…. only a few of the trees are able to still peacock their leaves… the pin oaks and the Bradford pears, they still can… but all the rest are naked… which strikes me as pretty funny… I mean, most critters put on a thicker coat or fatten up when the chill starts drifting in… but not the trees… no way… they get stripped down and retreat into the bosom of Autumnal Sleep…

… if you ask me, the trees definitely have the right idea….

… Nature knows best, I suppose…. it all just depends on which phylum we choose to emulate….

... I think that I was a tree in a previous life... possibly an Elm....

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Soup....

…. I arose this morning craving mushroom soup for breakfast… mushroom soup, buttered toast soldiers with the crust cut off, and hot, black coffee….

Update: ... it was very yummy.... and in other totally unrelated news, well, I think I look pretty handsome....

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Colors....

… you know, there are days when you awaken to find yourself feeling exactly like The Duke of Marlborough after the Battle of Ramillies…

… then again, these days are few and far between…. and most days you just wake up feeling like yourself… which is a long damn way from John Churchill’s silver-buckled shoes….

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Cheese....

…. ‘tis a rainy, cloudy, windy day here, and I have spent most of the morning and early afternoon educating myself on the greater mysteries of cheese….

.. how I slid into this vein of thought this morning, I honestly have no idea… I suppose that, if I were a suitably introspective man, I would lay the cause directly at the feet of Being Mildly Obsessive Compulsive… but, no… being as I do not feel even slightly meditative today, I suspect that the warm, gentle glow of my breakfast cheddar-sandwich is the real cause of today’s research….

… after all, it is easy to want to submerge one’s Self into something a wee bit more comforting on a day such as this…. and in this household?... nothing purrs ‘comfort’ better than a lovely hunk of cheese…

… and so, well, I spent quite a lot of time over at the friendly wikipedia article for cheese….

… and as I read and read, a question began to wiggle towards the surface of my percolating mind…. cheese, of course, is a product of mammal milk…. and I could not help but wonder – since us humans are mammals too – what might a creamy piece of breast milk cheese taste like…

… now, before you rubberneckers go running and screaming off into cyberspace, just relax… it wasn’t that I actually wanted to eat breast milk cheese, but it was just more of a whimsical curiosity… and hey, having never spent much time around lactating ladies, I have very, VERY little information on the whole process…. So as I said, I was just more than a little curious… (and the wikipedia article was notably lacking in any human cheese data)…

… so, as you do, I began searching for the information….. and imagine my surprise, ladies and gentlemen, when I found out exactly what I quested for right on a fellow blogger’s site…. Check it out…. she even has pictures!...

… so how about that?.... see?.... human milk doesn’t curdle… and when it comes to cheese, no curdling means ixnay on the eesechay…. I tell you, the internet is a wonderful and amazing place… it really is….

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Humor....

…. there are days when you wake up and read a blog and immediately think to yourself – ‘I am so not worthy’…..

… today those clarion calls come from two excellent sources… so go now and read here and here…. and here….

… and then go forth and cast your votes…

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Dancin'....

… I tell you, some people just ain’t right…. I mean, just when the Marine Team pulls ahead in the Valor-IT Project, the mighty Sgt. Hook (Army Team, of course) starts spreading dirty lies about my beloved Corps!...

…. that’s correct, ladies and gentlemen… Sgt. Hook is telling porkies…… see, he claims that the Marines were created to provide dancing partners to the Squids for their Saturday night hoedowns…. goodness gracious…. Everybody knows that this just isn’t right…. the way I heard it was that the Marines were created to assist the Sailors with the guzzling of their rum rations way, way back in the day…. but hey, I could be wrong…

… as a matter of fact, I’d say that there is a fairly high probability….


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Dragons....

…. The 1981 version of The Dragonslayer was on the tube this afternoon, and I watched it with glee… what a flick, boys and girls…. I remember - back when I first saw it at the tender age of 9 – leaving the theatre and thinking that Peter MacNicol was a consummate badass….

.. talk about “how the mighty have fallen”… just look at him now…. he went from Dragonslaying to playing that total nitwit on Ally McBeal… I guess if you are going to fall from grace, you might as well nosedive…

… anyway, the only reason I bring up this little bit of childhood misdirection is that I just saw that scene where Valerian – Caitlin Clarke – basically told Galen to stop his climb up towards the dragon’s lair and give her a good seeing to there on the side of that Scottish hill as she ‘didn’t want to die a virgin’….

…. mercy… I had forgotten about that scene… and hey, he played his cards right too… a few gentle kisses and some hair-stroking later and the camera pans out to end the scene…

…. I tell you, that whole part of the movie just went right over my head back then…. But now?... what a wonderful moment… the young lass wanting to send Galen up to kill the Dragon with her virginity under his belt, well, that just tugs at the old heart strings…. and I bet it would have been Galen’s first lay too…

… what a wonderful piece of filmmaking…. I mean, think about it… I certainly felt like I could have slayed a Dragon or two after the first time I got laid… ole Valerian was offering Galen the ultimate ego-boost… but did she do it because she was truly afraid of dying as a virgin?... or did she just want a piece of Mr. MacNichol before the Dragon made him into little MacNichol beatballs?.... OR did she want to send her boy up the mountain with the thrill of a nice, long orgasm under his britches?.....

…. Me?... I have no answers… but I do believe that the question is a valid one…. and hey, either way, it worked…. he’s killed that gnarly Dragon every time that I’ve watched the film…..

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Dead....

… you know, I love you guys…. I really do…. even when you pull crap like this, I will still always forgive you…

… hey, what can I say?.... I’m just a kind soul…

…. the really crazy thing?... I’m probably the only Hillbilly in a hundred-mile radius that actually owns a bonafide cricket bat….

Update: ... here she is.... ain't she pretty?....

cricket_small.jpg

... when the Zombies come, I will be prepared....

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Growth....

…. in a break from the blissful Saturday tedium here, I am proud to report that I now am in possession of two large slabs of salmon… the plan, should I choose to accept it, is to prepare these lovely slices of fish-flesh for this evening’s meal….

…. and all is well and good, of course, except that I have never cooked a hunk of salmon before…

… hey, we’re all about the Personal Growth here at the compound…. but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated…. The Missus will surely thank you….

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Down...

…. There is a hard frost on the ground this morning…. The first time this Winter that one has come.. it seems so odd to have such a heavy frost in the mornings and then enjoy temperatures in the sixties with the top down by the afternoon….

…the bright red leaves that cover the gnarled dogwood outside my window are falling one at a time in a steady, slow procession….

… it is 8:22 on a Friday and my internet connection is down…. which is kind of funny, I suppose…. I mean, it doesn’t even take a mighty snowstorm to start tumbling the Tennessean infrastructure out of whack… just a slightly-chilled frost is straw enough for our hillbilly, cyber-camel’s back….

… but my coffee is warm, dark, and rich… and the blue, morning sky – the color of a faded robin’s egg – is quietly cheerful…. and no squirrels are leaping and wiggling within my field of vision…..

… I have so very much to be happy about…. I have life and love… health and coffee… and sunshine and Scotch for the evening when it comes…. and smokes stockpiled in the cupboard….

… but no internet, dammit…. sure, sure… Life is good, but it sure ain’t perfect…..

.. heh… well, will you look at that… 8:46 and The Internet is back up!.. my life is now complete……

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Knuckles....

…. mollycoddling the knuckleheads… yes, mollycoddling…. a bad choice of words, perhaps, but it still rolled easily off of the tongue this evening when I was asked by the missus to define the current United Nations policy on controlling 3rd World Despots….

…. you know, it is absolutely amazing to me – as I go about my daily business – that I have not yet been elected to some level of public service…. perhaps a Mayor of a small burgh… or even a representative that is all gussied up to be sent to Washington….hey, that would work….

… I mean, damnation, I’m in my proverbial prime here, people….. Hell, I should at LEAST be an ambassador somewhere….

… in other news, I am sad to report that T1G - from Drunken Wisdom fame - has sent me a Zombie movie on DVD…. let it be known far and wide – yea, shout it loudly from the rooftops - that this unprovoked attack shall not go unpunished….

… I have spoken… goodnight…..

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Menfolk...

… wow…. I was just reading about this study in the apparent dropping of testosterone levels in Massachusetts men, when I found an interesting zinger…. here's a snippet….

They hypothesized that the rising prevalence of obesity as well as the sharp decline in cigarette smoking might help explain their findings, given that testosterone levels are lower among overweight people and smoking increases testosterone levels. But these factors accounted for only a small percentage of the observed difference.

… hey, I didn’t know that!... smoking increases testosterone levels….. SWEET!... maybe if I up my smoking my once-luxuriant mane will start growing back!....

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Probability....

…. there is a moment in each little philosopher’s mind when The Big Question reveals The Big Possibility…. and I distinctly remember exactly when that moment arrived for me….

… my Aunt and Uncle had been camping at Indian Boundary Lake one lazy Summer…. and my Dad had decided that we should pop up and visit with them for a night or two…. It was during the hottest part of August, as I remember, and my cousins and I spent hours down on the small beach and swimming in the roped off area of the lake…

.. and the evenings were spent toasting hotdogs over a campfire while the adults sipped cool Pabst Blue Ribbons, etc, etc… you get the picture…

…. and one night, as I lay in my sleeping bag looking up at the stars, it happened… yea, verily…. with the assistance of a few secretly-liberated Pabsts – and in the midst of irritating the hell out of my Cousin Bradley with incessant questions - he dropped The Bomb from his sleeping bag a few feet away…

… “Do you ever wonder if our entire Universe is just some insignificant piece of dust on a bookshelf somewhere?... and that it is like that everywhere?... that as we step on the sand of the beach out there, well, we might be destroying millions of planets with each step…. Or that each step releases a new Big Bang that sets new Worlds into being?”….

… it blew me away…. it had never crossed my mind to even imagine such a thing before… and, incidentally, it shut me up for the rest of the night and Bradley managed to get some sleep… which is probably what his intention was to begin with….. but either way, it planted a seed….

… the idea of a universe being limitless AND tiny… of how immense we are and yet how vulnerable we could be….. the Original Question of Just Where DO We Fit In?....

… I bring this up only in passing though…. I re-watched ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’ again last night and could not quit laughing at the Infinite Improbability Drive… man, I so want one of those….

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Charity...

…. The wonderful folks from Valor-IT are ringing the bells again…. and just as I have done for the past two years, I have again joined the Marine Corps team…. If you can give a dollar or two, it won’t be wasted….

... none of us do enough to support our wounded veterans... this is an excellent opportunity...

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