Reliability....

….. I’m a huge fan of reliability… huge… I mean absolutely enormous… in machines, in software, and in human beings, I just adore reliability… as a matter of fact, it is probably one of the greatest traits that one can possess… but I’m not talking about “ole Roger?.. yeah, he’ll be on time.” reliability…. I’m talking about emotional reliability… as in, “yep, ole Roger?... when he reads this he’s gonna flip out”…. and what does Roger do when he reads whatever it was?... HE FLIPS OUT!.... see?... THAT is the kind of reliability I’m talking about….

.. and that is precisely why modern actors piss me off so much… like Dustin-bloody-Hoffman…. One minute he is a gimpy New Yorker dying on a bus to Florida and the next minute he’s a hand-wringing middle-aged autistic guy…. the whole thing just pisses me off…. sure, sure, it may be High Art and he may be Talented, but what it screams to me is unreliability!...

… give me John Wayne any day….. sure, he may not have been the greatest of Actors, but by God, you knew what you were going to get when he walked across that big screen…. nobody was going to push him around…. he’d probably pull out his musket/knife/pistol/boxing gloves and blast/cut/shoot/punch some uppity Mexican/Texican/Indian/Irishman, get the girl, save the city, win the battle, and swagger off into the sunset with a cheesy one-liner as a parting shot….. he did that shit in every single movie…. THAT is reliability….

… I know you guys probably don’t get what I’m talking about… and hey, that’s ok…. but what really got this ball rolling happened last night when my Missus forced me to watch “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”…. good Lord, save us…. I’ll never EVER watch “The Matrix” the same way again….

…. Hugo Weaving, people…. watching him sing “Mama Mia” in drag has forever changed my view of “Agent Smith”… sure, the film was pretty funny and I laughed a lot (in between cringing and plugging my ears every time an Abba tune came on)… but ole Agent Smith just isn’t as scary as he once was….. now?... every time I see Agent Smith, I can’t get that picture of Hugo in his purple frock out of my head…. and let me be the first to tell you, nothing takes the meanness out of a Villain like remembering him in lipstick and pantyhose…..

…. reliability, people…. I miss it….

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Time....

…. whoa…. check this out…. hardcore, if I might add...

.... mercy.... and now there is a statue of him standing right beside Parliament….. time heals everything, I guess…..

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Jumping...

… good morning, fellow travelers…. I hope that this fine morning glows in upon you with the promise of warmth and sunshine…. even if it is raining outdoors…

… as for me, I am happy to report that Mr. Helpful is alive and well and still rocking and rolling…. Go forth and give him a virtual noogie for making us all check his content-less blog for months and months….

.. in other news, I injured my back a bit yesterday while playing basketball at the YMCA… I am sure that my Chiropractor is just going to be all tulips and bonbons when I see them later in the week… oh, well… it’s nice to get a verbal smackdown once in a while…. It keeps you humble…. but still, what he Hell was I thinking?... basketball, for goodness sake…. people aren’t supposed to be jumping around like that…. it’s pure craziness, if you ask me….

… I just need to take a step back and find a more sedentary way of getting my heart rate up… perhaps watching an action movie with lots of suspense would be a suitable proxy for sports?.... hey, it might work….

…. Oh, and before I forget, ole Elisson is asking for a name for the Elissonmobile…. My vote is for ‘Norman”…. I’ve seen his ride and it seems to suit it…. so head on over and give him your two cents worth….

…. I’m off to take a long, hot shower and then stretch, stretch, stretch….. otherwise my doctor is gonna kick my ass on Thursday…..

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Roses....

…. many of you heathens who visit this humble blog enjoy spending a few quality hours a week with a corked bottle… and we here at The Compound are deliriously content with that….hey, a bit of tipple in the evenings can be a wonderful end to a lovely day..

… and as such, my liquor cabinet is stocked fairly well… indeed, I tend to pride myself on being able to produce just about any mixed drink that a guest of mine might require… from the noble, trustworthy Gin and Tonic to the mythic Singapore Sling….

… when it comes to bourbon, I normally only have a single bottle of fairly nice stuff….. and I tend to lean heavily on the owners of the local liquor store in regards to what is “fairly nice stuff” as I hardly ever drink bourbon… but still, I try to always remain semper paratus when it comes to my guest’s comfort & enjoyment…..

… Scotch, on the other hand, is to be found in great abundance at my home…. at the moment, for instance, I have eight different malts and three blends in various stages of drinkage…..

… in short, we loves our spirits around these parts…. And THAT is why I must tell you about my latest discovery…..

… see, while I offer a variety of whiskies, I always leaned towards simpler measures when it came to the less subtle liquors; vodka, gin, and tequila… for me, three liquors = three bottles of booze…. Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, and Patron tequila…. Simple…. but not any longer….

…. I have recently discovered a new gin that is a must for any mixologist’s treasure chest…. Hendrick’s Gin…. It is, by far, the most unusual gin that I have ever had the pleasure to pour…

…. I’m not going to attempt to write a review since my speech and verbiage is not nearly as flowery as the gin’s flavor… instead, I am simply going to say that you should try it…. it’s not for everyone, of course, and it says so on the bottle with the declaration of “preferred by 1 in 1000 gin-drinkers”… but for the sake of pure, unadulterated novelty, you just have to try it…. it’ll build you a gin and tonic like you’ve never tasted before….

... trust me...

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Plans....

….. the weatherman told me two things a few minutes ago that have seriously harshed today’s mellow…. first, he says that tonight’s low will be 19 degrees…. which, of course, sucks…. secondly, he says that the Sun shall set at 6:02pm….. and my dinner guests will be arriving at half-past 5….

normally?... these two random factoids would not bother me in the least…. And were it not for the fact that my evening companions requested me to grill ribs, I would be supercool….. but they did…. unfortunately…..

… so if anyone needs me, I will be in my garage grilling ribs… in the dark…. with a big jacket on…. and possibly some kind of hat…..

…. Indeed, the only real, honest Saving Grace of the whole deal is that some mystery-person replaced the empty bottle of Tito’s Texas Vodka in the shot dispenser with a 10yr Old Glenmorangie last night…. so I shall be grillin’, chillin’, and swillin’ if all goes according to plan…..

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Packard....

….. I humbly offer, for your Sunday morning reading enjoyment, a wonderful tale from Winston……

... life, rubberneckers.... it is a fascinating thing.....

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News....

…. according to Fox News this afternoon, parking ticket writers in San Francisco are being taught “verbal judo”…..

… my goodness….. y’all be careful out there…. we live in a dangerous, dangerous world……

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180lbs....

…. Today’s workout included free weights for the first time…. and people, Just Damn…. seriously, wow…. what a difference it makes to lift loads that can actually fall on you and crush your fat ass flat instead of just pushing a nice, safe bit of metal on a machine…..

…. anyway, after doing chest for ˝ and hour, my workout partner decided that we should head downstairs and work our biceps with the dumbbells …. Haha!... I did six sets of 8 with the 25-pounders and he did six of eight with the 45s…. I honestly think that some of the guys watching him were just a little bit frightened by the display…. especially since he is 6’3” and 180lbs….. the boy is solid….

… anyway, that’s how I spent my Friday…. and now I’m off to whip up some Chicken Parmesan… mmmm…. Chicken and pasta…..

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Birthdays.....

… today marks 248 years that the world has known the genius of Robert Burns, the Immortal Bard….. he was born on this day in 1759 in Ayrshire, Scotland, and his poetry has touched the hearts of millions…. including my blackened, shriveled ticker…..

… one of my fondest memories of Burns’ poetry happened nearly ten years ago…. I sat on my sofa in Scotland and heard his song “A Man’s A Man” being sung at the opening of the first session of the new Scottish Parliament back in 1999…..

“A Man’s A Man For A’ That”

Is there for honest poverty
That hings his head, an a' that?
The coward slave, we pass him by -
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an a' that,
Our toils obscure, an a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an a' that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine -
A man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, an a' that.
Their tinsel show, an a' that,
The honest man, tho e'er sae poor,
Is king o men for a' that.

Ye see you birkie ca'd 'a lord,'
What struts, an stares, an a' that?
Tho hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
His ribband, star, an a' that,
The man o independent mind,
He looks an laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an a' that!
But an honest man's aboon his might -
Guid faith, he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an a' that,
Their dignities, an a' that,
The pith o sense an pride o worth.
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may
[As come it will for a' that],
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree an a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world, o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that.

…. Happy birthday, Rabbie….. you were a man that I’d like to meet….. oh, and a happy birthday shout-out to Matty of Blackfive as well……

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Bacon...

…. after having fortified myself with a chewy granola bar and 1/2lb of fried bacon, I am off to the YMCA in my pajama bottoms to work up a sweat…..

…. I look at it as a public service, really…. for as I trot around that track sweating and wheezing, the bacon shall course vigorously through my veins and create an uplifting aroma for the other out-of-shape patrons… and before they know it, they’ll subconsciously pick up their pace and “follow the bacon”….

… hey, it might work…. we’ll all get fit together….

... damn, I do so love crispy bacon.....

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Color....

…. I took a different route into town this morning…. the road, barely two lanes wide, only saw its first paving about ten years ago…. before that, it was either dusty gravel or a muddy gravel road…. depending on the time of year and the weather…. It is the kind of old, country road where it is impossible to pass on…. there are hardly 50 straight yards all the way to town… and the entire five miles is one long, continuous series of curves and hills….. blind spots everywhere……

…. I drove slowly and took my time…. I wasn’t in a rush…

…. after I picked up my bag of biscuits from the shop in town, I took the same road back towards home….

… one of the farmer’s fields was bordered on three sides by stands of mature hardwoods, and cattle huddled together halfway in and halfway out of the field near a weather-beaten old barn….

… the tin roof of the barn was spotted with rust and certain sheets of tin had their tips turned up (bent from the wind or from having limbs fall, I expect)…

…. the boards were grey and streaked black here and there where a long-ago nail had been driven…. On the side of the barn that faced the road there was a strange marriage of plants…. a honeysuckle vine had weaved its way up the boards and had taken a blackberry briar with it… and the evergreen of the honeysuckle hung in clumps around the ramrod-straight briar stalk…. I had never seen a blackberry bush grow so tall as that one had, supported by those twisted vines…. a natural sort of latticework, I suppose….

…. I only caught a quick glimpse of it though…. otherwise I’d give y’all a better description….. but one more thing before I go off to eat biscuits and jam….. the planks that made up the walls of the barn had been bleached to the exact color of the bark of the trees by the wind and seasons…. It really was quite unusual…… the barn and trees shared the same color scheme perfectly…. ashen grays, sooty browns and blacks, and pale green and white moss….. the only real color came from the deep, holly-green of the honeysuckle’s leaves…..

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Highlights....

…. this morning as I toiled over my gently-frying link sausages, I couldn’t shake one of yesterday’s statements out of my head… the original collection of words was offered matter-of-factly by one of my 15 year old male cousins without a proverbial ‘batting of an eyelash’….

… at the time he said what he said, I simply nodded my head knowingly and let him keep on talking…. But now, having slept soundly on it overnight (and having cooked breakfast as well), I STILL can’t fully understand The Statement in all of its various intricacies….

… he said, and I quote: “during my freshman year – last year – I had these awesome blonde and red highlights in my hair…. It was sooooo cool..” ….

… is it just me, people?.... please tell me that I am not the only person that thinks a 14 year old boy going to a beauty shop to get ‘highlights’ is not just completely off the weird-shit-o-meter…. and I’m not talking about some Big City kid here…. this kid comes from some of the most primo shit-kicking, redneck, bumpkin’ish, down-to-earth, Salt O The World, Hillbilly country on the planet….. which is right in my back yard!.... LITERALLY!....

… I just don’t understand it, really….. I’m not out to be judgmental or anything… Hell, the little guy can do as he pleases as far as I’m concerned…. But I still don’t really get it…. I mean, sure, I don’t have much hair to begin with, but I don’t even own a comb…..

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Friends.....

…. good God, people, I feel like I’ve been to a blogmeet…..

…. Yesterday a group of my Brother’s childhood friends came to visit…. It was an incredible thing to sit and watch eight 30 year old men morph back into high school seniors over the course of six hours, two large pizzas, and a case of beer, but I witnessed it happen….

… and now?.... everyone has left…. all brave souls are safe and accounted for…. the pool table is covered back up, the balls stowed, and the garage has been swept out… and I am bone-tired…..

… time to nuke a Stouffer’s frozen lasagna, mix up a gin and tonic, and try to regain my senses…..

… I ain’t as young as I once was…. and that, gentle reader, is a stone-cold fact…. but hey, it sure was fun to pretend for a little while…..

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Days.....

…. tomorrow has been a long, long time coming…. it has been a struggle for everyone involved…. now it is finally over…. but with this ending, a new adventure is about to begin….. a life is about to get back on track…..

… no one knows what the future holds in store for any of us… no one can see forward into time….and in the end, all that you can really do is live the moment you are in to the best of your ability…

…. I plan on doing my very damnedest to have the best weekend ever – starting tomorrow.….

ReturnOfTheProdigalSon-Batoni.jpg

.... tomorrow, after more than ten years away, my brother comes home......

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Skating.....

…. today I was afforded my first opportunity ever to inspect a set of ice skates up-close and for any great amount of time….. and a helluva thing they were, people…. hard, polished leather…. form-fitting heel…. a shiny, sharp blade on the bottom…. they were a size 8 set of fearsome implements…. Honestly?... I never would have imagined that they would be so hardcore….. those babies were designed for one thing – function… and I watched The Missus use them - just as they were intended - this afternoon…..

… and I have to admit another thing as well…. I have always held figure skaters as a wee-bit weird…. a strange lot that I just didn’t understand…. and just how could ice skating be a ‘real’ sport anyway?.... but not anymore…. Nope, consider me converted…. Hey, you show me an ice skater, and I will show you one really, really fit athlete….. physically fit, wonderful balance, graceful with every movement, and with a sense of space and timing that would rival any sportsman in any sport…..

… I think that it is one of ‘those things’ that you really just have to see in person… feel the ‘whoosh’ as the skater zips by… hear the ice being shaved as their legs propel them forward…. watching some guy, girl, or couple curve around a rink on television just doesn’t work…. You sit there on the couch eating your Pringles watching it all and think, “hey, what’s the big farookin’ deal?... I could do that shit!”… (trust me, I thought that very same thing myself on occasion) … but oh, how wrong you would be….. oh yes…..

…. So take it however you wish to take it, but know this now….. anyone who can ice skate is a complete badass……

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Introspection.....

…. you know, were I ever to be a Little Debbie snack, I will always believe what my heart tells me…

…. and as I listen to it – in its still, small voice – it gently warbles the same phrase over and over…. musically, almost, it still varies in tempo and volume…. but the answer is always the same…. Always….

… of course, I haven’t had one in years, but I do know that in my most influential decade I munched on many of them…. so perhaps that is the source of this meditative discovery… a unconscious yearning to be lightly folded back into Momma’s awaiting arms, spared the slings and arrows of our outrageous existence, and given two chewy cookies with a light, creamy (crčme’y?) filling…..

… either way, were I to ever be somehow cosmically shifted by some intergalactic despot from human to lunchtime snack and you happen to want to have a chat or something, I’ll be easy to find… tucked right between the Twinkies and the dingdongs… and up just a bit from those nasty raisin-encrusted shortbread thingies that no one eats…… and just below the pink, coconut & marshmallow Sno-balls…

… indeed…. for in my deepest, darkest soul, I am somehow one with the Oatmeal Crčme Pie……

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Farming....

….. I ask you all honestly…. when, oh when will the madness stop?..... that pig sure looks happy though, doesn’t it?....

.... I've always been good with animals....

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Fire....

… the rain that has been terrorizing all points west of here has finally arrived…. 50 degrees and a slow, steady, gray drizzle is busy knocking the last of the hanger-on leaves from the oak trees outside… everything is hazy… damp…. dripping…..

.. the bark is noticeably peeling from a few large dogwood limbs not twenty feet from my chair…. I need to trim them before they fail of their own accord and shatter when they hit the lawn….

… I cranked up the heater three times this afternoon… from 72 to 73, 74, and now 75…. I put on a long-sleeved shirt around 3-ish and I think I am finally warmed… of course, it isn’t the actual cold – as it is well above freezing – but the mere appearance of foulness out of doors….. all that is missing is the wind, I suppose….

… the color of the world is stonewashed by opaque skies and a fine mist…. I wish that I could see the bright, licking orange of a fire dancing in a fireplace…

….. that is one of the small, absent pleasures in the life of modern man, I believe….. Grog and Krogg sitting around in their primeval cave, kicking back, living large, roasting freshly dismembered venison or mastodon, still could count on the dazzling colors of their campfire to call them away from the frigid, dreary weather outside…. and Hell, they probably hadn’t even invented language yet…. but with that fire and that flesh there was contentment rivaling the deepest, most articulated Zen….

… damn, I really need a fireplace….

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L....

…. 100 words….

.... with a few L-type colloquial expressions thrown in…. loosely entitled as: “Me And My American Friend Out On The Town Watching A Gunner’s Mate From Eyemouth Chat Up A Chick Who Probably Murdered Him Later That Night Before He Left For Home Port With His Shipmates”…..


We were laid to the bone in Liverpool by midday, Johnny and me. Lambasted and lethargic, we held up one corner of the polished teak slab that ran north to south.

The bar was open 24/7 and the musicians buzzed like gangbusters non-stop. They were steering clear of the booze and were chewing street-corner lid-proppers instead. Landowners for sure, they were likely to be if they kept that up for much longer.

The bartender re-charged our Laphroaigs. “See that limejuicer with that lady in the corner? He’s really in for it. She left the laughing academy just last Tuesday lunchtime.”

... goodnight, y'all..... and remember.... slang is fun.....

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Loincloth....

... in regards to the previous post, well, this shit just ain't right.....

.... I don't look nearly that good in leather....

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Crom....

… after breakfast this morning, I slipped my worn, faded copy of 1982’s “Conan The Barbarian” into the VCR and settled in for a bit…. feet up on the ottoman, coffee in hand, laundry tossing in the dryer and another load soaking in the washing machine…

… oh yeah, some days Conan the Cimmerian just speaks to me on a level so deep that I hardly have words to express it…

….. "he did not care any more….. life and death….. the same…. only that the crowd would be there to greet him with howls of lust and fury... he began to realize his sense of worth... he mattered… in time, his victories could not easily be counted... he was taken to the east, a great prize, where the war masters would teach him the deepest secrets…. language and writing were also made available, the poetry of Kitai, the philosophy of Sung; and he also came to know the pleasures of women, when he was bred to the finest stock….. but, always, there remained the discipline of steel"….

see?.... ole Conan was, at his very core, a renaissance man…. sure, he might chop your head off with a big scary sword, but later he'd write a few sonnets about the whole experience..... and hey, that's just plain cool.....

… as for me?.... well, I just watched Arnie lop James Earl Jones’ head off and fling it to the masses….. and I’m away to fold the sheets….

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Spiders...

… I spent the early morning in the kitchen reading and drinking coffee…. and as I read, I rediscovered a gem…. Lookit….

A Noiseless Patient Spider

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the goassamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

Walt Whitman

… how marvelous……

… y’all enjoy your day…. I’m off to read a bit more and then eat biscuits with bacon and jam….

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Hide...

… it is once again the lunching hour here and I’m stoked…. I’ve been hankering for some Krystal chili…. and I plan to be found snacking upon six Krystal Chili-Cheese pups very, very shortly….

… hey, we’re all about the health food lately… and as of right now, my body is beginning to rebel against the salad avalanche that has hit here since Boxing Day….

… hard times, people…. hard times…. woe betide the bringer of green veggies….

… so the plan for today – since the Missus is away – is to jam as many chili-cheese pups down my throat as I can in the quickest possible time, hide the wrappers, and be angelically awaiting her broccoli & cheese soufflé come dinnertime like a good boy…..

…. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to pull it off…. for a while, that is....

... and for those of you who are unfamiliar with Krystals?.... Velociman spoke of their effects once upon a time.....

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Smokin'....

…. I wonder what the hell Steve Miller was smoking when he wrote “Jungle Love” back in the 70s…. I mean, just check this out….

Jungle Love” by Steve Miller

I met you on somebody's island
You thought you had known me before
I brought you a crate of papaya
They waited all night by your door
You probably wouldn't remember
I probably couldn't forget
Jungle love in the surf in the pouring rain
Everything's better when wet

Jungle love it's drivin' me mad
It's makin' me crazy
Jungle love it's drivin' me mad
It's makin' me crazy

But lately you live in the jungle
I never see you alone
But we need some definite answers
So I thought I would write you a poem
The question to everyone's answer
Is usually asked from within
But the patterns of the rain
And the truth they contain
Have written my life on your skin

Jungle love it's drivin' me mad
It's makin' me crazy
Jungle love it's drivin' me mad
It's makin' me crazy

You treat me like I was your ocean
You swim in my blood when it's warm
My cycles of circular motion
Protect you and keep you from harm
You live in a world of illusion
Where everything's peaches and cream
We all face a scarlet conclusion
But we spend our time in a dream

Jungle love it's drivin' me mad
It's makin' me crazy
Jungle love it's drivin' me mad
It's makin' me crazy

Jungle love it's drivin' me mad
It's makin' me crazy
Jungle love it's drivin' me mad
It's makin' me crazy

… see what I mean?..... crazy stuff, if you ask me…… “you swim in my blood when it’s warm”?.... mercy…..

… anyway, I’m finishing up dinner prep around here and the spaghetti sauce is bubbling away contentedly in the kitchen… so you’ll find nothing readable from me this afternoon….. if you are so inclined, however, I highly recommend reading this article on the true lyrics to Steve Miller’s classic “The Joker”… because, you know, I too speak of the pompatus of love….

… hey, what can I say?.... I’m just cool like that……

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Hello...

… Hoosierboy asks a very good question over at his blog… I read his answers with great enjoyment…. He simply asked, “who are you?”, and began to answer….. so I will give it a try myself....

hello….

… I am Eric…. I am 34 years old…. I was born on a Saturday morning in October at Bradley Memorial Hospital in Cleveland, Tennessee… I have been told that my maternal grandparents were in attendance in the waiting room and that they lit cigars when the nurse told them I’d arrived at 2am…. the idea of them doing that makes me very happy for some odd reason…

… I was born without any hair on my head… but I began sprouting wispy red locks as I crawled slowly towards toddlerdom…. and by the time I started kindergarten I had a huge shock of Vivaldian hair….. since I was semi-bald during my young years, my parents developed a phobia of sorts…. In retrospect – after having heard their stories – I call it Sampsonophobia….. once my hair started growing, they were afraid to get it cut lest I remain like a cue-ball for the rest of my days…. thus, I entered into my first scholastic endeavor in need of a ponytail-clasp…

… fortunately, time and circumstance cured them from their phobia and I finally got a decent haircut just in time for the 70s fads of gigantically collared shirts and horrible, polyester plaid pants….

… nowadays, well, it has ceased to be so shockingly colorful and is more of a dulled copper with blondes and silvers thrown in for extra curiosity…. the hair that covers the rest of my body though, is quite long and ranges from gold-colored to almost translucent….. I have no hair on my chest or back and I cannot grow a mustache if The Survival Of All Humanity depended upon it…. something about having had some Indian genes thrown into the familial mix back before Jackson had them all rounded up and whisked away to Oklahoma…..

…. I am 6’2” and pale with a smattering of freckles across my body and face… Nordic in appearance, almost….. and I weigh just under 200lbs…. that is, of course, depending on what I consumed for dinner last night and how enjoyable my last movement was…. weight, in the end, is a fickle measurement to go by….

…. My hair is short and parted from the left to the right, but I don’t own a comb… so all of the ‘parting’ is done by using my hands as I leave the shower in the morning…. the cut itself is just outside of military regulations….. I have an unfortunate nose that is at once noticeable as too small for my face…. My head, while not fat, does appear to be just that wee bit rounder than most noggins that I have seen…

…. I have no degrees and have never been enrolled at a place of higher learning…. I graduated from high school on a Friday and arrived at MCRD Parris Island, SC the following Monday after having night-tripped all of Sunday evening to get there…. I was ‘high shooter’ for my series when I graduated…. The Commanding General gave me a certificate from The Marine Corps Association (..who evidently thought it quite smart that I qualified one point off of perfect…)

…. I served in the Corps for nearly five years and loved every second of it…. I’ve been to quite a few exotic locations and managed to find what was worth seeing in all of them… even under the worst circumstances…. many of the men that I met there are still counted among my closest friends… even though we may only talk once or twice a year….

… I have been a network engineer, a systems analyst, a technology consultant, and an IT Manager……

…. I am, and have been, many things to many different people…. son, husband, brother, friend, lover, enemy, confidant, defender, workmate…. and probably many more that aren’t coming to mind right now….. but that is alright… it is as it should be…. as we live our lives, our roles change daily… so it is ok to forget some of them sometimes….

… I have a keen ability to memorize things, but I don’t utilize it nearly enough… I am too easily distracted to actually toss my brain towards something of importance….. I seem to be always busy with a tedious thing while my mind treads water…. but I do see patterns in words and I have a great love of poetry… lowbrow and highbrow….. and I view that as one of my most prized possessions… so I don’t feel that I’m losing much there….

…. I play a few chords on guitar but can’t sing…. I picked up my first guitar from one of my old Uncles who used to sing old BeeGee’s songs from way back before they went Disco… “How Do You Mend A Broken Heart”, etc… it was a Yamaha FG-340 and was a complete sweetie…. but it was stolen while I lived overseas… The Missus replaced it with the Fender acoustic that I own now and adore….

….my first name is David and my little brother’s first name is Joshua….. both of our middle names are Nordic… Eric and Leif, respectively….

… funny, really, my first name means ‘beloved’ and my middle name means ‘king’…. My surname means ‘one who brings gifts’ or ‘one who grants wishes’….

.. so, my whole name?… ‘beloved king who grants wishes’….. sounds pretty groovy, if you ask me…

…. I smoke unfiltered Camel cigarettes and love Scotch…. particularly the Islay malt, Bowmore…. When I lived overseas, it was impossible to get Camels that weren’t made in France (they used un-toasted tobacco and the flavor was totally off), so I smoked Marlboro’s with the filters ripped off for years until I moved back to Tennessee….

… I try to be an honest and good man… and I am happy with where I am in my life most of the time….. I like to watch everything around me…. I smile a lot and I laugh easily… mostly at myself…

… politically, I am a mixed bag….. I believe in a strong military and personal choices remaining Personal…

…. I love college football, Rugby Union, and competitive swimming…… I believe that the Tri-Nations are evil but I still wish that I owned a Springbok’s jersey…….

… I have never picked a fight in my entire life, but I have been in quite a few…. not always winning, I might add…. I’ve been cut, shot at, punched, kicked, gouged, twisted, choked, stomped, and bitten in the course of my life thus far….. and I have no regrets about any of it….

…. I’ve never been a braggart either, as I am at my core a shy, delicate fellow…. and I greatly disdain acts of arrogance and cockiness that are genuinely believed by the perpetrators….

…. Oh, and I look like an idiot if I ever wear a hat…… but I still own about thirty of them….. I just can’t help myself…

... so, hello... and welcome to my blog.....

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Dry......

… you know, words are beautiful things…. and finding just the right word for a description or an act is an art form….

… and some words are so incredibly evocative that they just ooze meaning as they roll off the tongue… and the mouth feels warmer and softer for having uttered the phrase….

… Elisson even mentions how certain words catch the mind and give it an unexpected spin for amusement….

… indeed, language is a gorgeous thing….

… yesterday, while mundanely choring around the Compound here, I happened to spy one of the Missus’s potted houseplants in the guest bathroom…

…. and, well, I just could not help but take a photo….

…. It was once a small collection of hardy desert plants… an aloe, perhaps, and a tiny cactus…. maybe even a drought-resistant fern of some kind…. behold, rubberneckers…..

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.. ladies and gentlemen, I give you today’s word…. ‘succulent’……

… the mind, while mighty and broad, still boggles at the sheer amount of will power expended upon a potted desert plant to kill it so very, very dead…..

… hey, around here?... we take ‘gross negligence’ to whole new heights…..

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Cutlery....

… a good pocket knife has always been a required piece of equipment for the men in my family…. that is just the Country Way….. I was given my first one when I was five or six, and from that moment onwards I was expected to have a blade on my person at all times…..

… my first knife was a Case XX two-bladed whittler… given to me by my Grandpa…. It was a kind of baptism into Southern Manhood, I suppose…. for with that gift, I was given an option I had never had before…. I could run around jumping, screaming, and being a kid… or I could join the men’s whittling circle and listen to the tall tales that the patriarchs spun while their cedar sticks got smaller and smaller…. It was an option and an honor… more times than not, however, I just ran around screaming and being a little hillbilly kid…..

… as I got older, my taste in knives changed….. and for reasons known only to the mind of an adolescent, I no longer wanted a whittling knife…. no, I wanted a tool…. and about 1988 I shelved my whittler and began carrying a big Shcrade folding knife with one single heavy blade….. it served me well.. and it was damned near indestructible… and a few years later I was one of the first guys to eagerly jump on the Leatherman bandwagon… I eventually owned many different brands of multi-tool… finally settling on a Gerber….

… while I was in the Corps, I kept a Ka-Bar taped to my left backpack strap… and then later I chose a Gerber MkII…. Here they are…..

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… when I suddenly found myself respectable and sporting a suit everyday to work, I still managed to carry a pocket knife… albeit a much, much smaller one, it was in my pocket daily… and what a beauty it was…. I had bought it in a sporting goods shop in Anchorage one time while I was visiting friends…. it was slim and sleek and serrated, oh my… a Spyderco “cricket”… here’s a photo to give you an idea…. I love this knife so much that it now stays locked up in my gunsafe…. It’s a collectable now…. the new “crickets” no longer have the metal handles… Spyderco discontinued the metal and chose polymer grips instead…. not nearly as elegant, if you ask me…. here she is.... opened and closed....

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… I bring this up only in passing, though… sure, I still carry a pocket knife…. and it is a beautiful tool… but my Mother gave me a box of my Father’s things a few days ago and I went through it last night…. in the bottom of the box were some of his old pocket knives…. And as I looked at them, I was struck soundly by their similarity to the choice of knife that I carry today…. not in design, really, but in size… my Pa sure liked him some big blades…… and life Father, like Son….. here are three of his old, worn out pocket knives… and my Cold Steel….

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… the way I look at it, everyone should carry a pocket knife…. even if you wear a suit every day….. they’re useful things to have around…. so, tell me, people…. do you carry a knife?... and if not, WHY not….

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Music...

… I woke up this morning humming a tune and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head all morning…. and I would love to hear it ‘for real’ right now…. however, I only have an old copy of it on cassette tape and I can’t even manage to find that at the moment….

.. so as today is Sunday…. and since I know that everyone who reads this page is not only a civilized and cultured person, but is also filled with generosity, kindness, and a Love of Their Fellowman, I ask that y’all help a brother out….

… if anyone has a copy of “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” as sung by Harry Connick Jr. lying around on their computer or CD collection, I would be hugely thankful if you could find it within your abilities to send it over to me…..

… I’ll gladly repay you with any Zevon or Tom Waits tune of your liking….. and of course, as an added bonus, you will be blessed with my eternal gratitude…..

… and besides, this is The Internet… we’re all about sharing, aren’t we?....

Update: ... three cheers go out from the Compound here towards RSM and The Bitterman for reaching out to a brother when he was in need....

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Time...

…. Today is the epiphany….. to you all, goodnight...

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Coastlines....

… I once lived at the mouth of a beautiful river…. at #4 Ferry Street, Ferryden, Montrose, Scotland….

…. my front lawn consisted of about ten feet of grassy sod… and then another five to twenty feet of stony beach (depending on the tide’s phase)…. Indeed, when the tide came in, the northern side of my clothesline was unreachable except by boat (or hip waders) ….

… the river was the River South Esk… and it emptied into the North Sea via the Montrose Basin not 100 yards from where I was living in that 2nd floor walk-up apartment on Ferry Street….

… I remember it being very cold in the winter months… the wind seemed to always arrive angrily from the west or northwest and scream through the space where our latchkey went… and the wind often forced the mail-slot to fly open with a bang….

… the entire small apartment was sheathed in wood…. wooden floor, walls, and ceiling…. a pine of some sort, I believe… Norwegian or Swedish most likely… and there was a blue, porcelain-tiled fireplace where I learned to build coal-fires for the first time….

… the harbor was literally a stone’s throw away….. and it was always quite a treat to stand in the living room and watch the ships pass by the bay window….. day or night, they were just as beautiful….

…. there were dolphins in the straits sometimes, too…. and a few times I saw seals chasing the random homecoming salmon…. Oh, and always a hundred jellyfish gasping their last on the rocky beach….. the first time that I ever saw a jellyfish was there, actually…. and I poked a hole through it with a stick because I wanted to see what kind of resistance it’s clear body would show….. karma will probably catch up to me on that one, I guess….. but it was beached anyway, so I suspect I might be safe… still, I did kill it….. so there is that……

…. I lived there for just over a year and loved every second of it…. even climbing those twenty icy steps at night when I was returning from watch on base…

… it is funny, really, as I never imagined that I would have enjoyed living by the sea… but there I was…. just about as close as one could live to the sea and not actually be in it..

…. The Missus and I moved out just before Christmas and rented a larger house higher up on the hill overlooking the basin….. but we kept paying the monthly rent on that little house as well….. I figured that since my parents were arriving in March for our wedding, we might as well keep that place as a home for my Mother and Father to stay in…..

… as I was writing this post this evening, my Mother rang me up.. and after a short talk, I asked her what she remembered about her two weeks in that tiny apartment…..

… she said that she remembered my Father jamming old newspapers into the mail-slot on the front door to keep the wind out… and how in the morning she would come down the stairs to find him sitting on the countertop beside the oven with the door open and all the eyes on – contentedly smoking a cigar in the warm gas-glow… and how he marveled that first morning when the milkman showed up on the doorstep with two pints of fresh milk that I had ordered for them….. and how pretty the ships were when they passed by the bedroom window…. and how they both bumped their heads against the angled ceiling of the loft-bedroom each morning when they got out of bed….

… amazing, really, how everyone sees a place differently…. how memories are selective......

… I asked her if she remembered the fireplace or the wooden floors and she said that she didn’t…..

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Rain...

…. I understand that when many people read blogs, they imagine that the blogger is taking certain liberties with the stories that they weave….. after all, how can one read every word a blogger utters and completely believe that he or she is not embellishing the facts a little?.... flexing their ‘poetic license’ a tad?....

…. Hey, we all do it from time to time… but more times than not, the fluff that you read here is 100% true…. Sure, sure, I know that y’all might find it hard to believe, but really and truly, weird shit just happens around me continuously… me, I’m just in the fortunate position to be your handy scribe to My World….

… many people will have read – way, way back in The Post That Will Not Be Linked – my tale of blithely sitting at my humble desk and watching squirrels mate outside my window… and many of you will have wondered why I would have made up such a sordid tale of lust, buggery, and animalistic neck-biting… indeed, as I wrote the story, I though to myself, “they’re all gonna think that I made this shit up.” …. but nay, gentle reader…. It really happened…. and today it happened again…. and today, as you do, I happened to get photographs of the tree-rat foreplay…. and luckily for everyone everywhere, a heavy rain-storm ran the lovers to seek shelter before the scene got kinky….. and before I recorded it for posterity….

… so anyway, here is proof… well, maybe not actually PROOF, but as near as I could get to actually witnessing them doing the deed….. behold

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... can't see the 'action'?... click the image to reveal the fit of steamy, primal, impendingly violent-whoopee about to take place just outside my God-fearing window..... in the photo, the female is just above the male... the male had been sniffing her backside with great vigor just prior to me snapping the photo.....

... it's true what they say about blogging, you know... you really can't make this shit up....

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Sin....

.. via RSM, I find that I am in pretty bad shape.... well, worse shape than I had imagined.... heh, imagine that.....

Your Deadly Sins
Lust: 80%
Envy: 40%
Gluttony: 40%
Greed: 40%
Pride: 40%
Sloth: 40%
Wrath: 20%
Chance You'll Go to Hell: 43%
You'll die from overexertion. *wink*

How Sinful Are You?

.... honestly?... I think the test is broken... I'm as pure as the driven snow....

.. no, really....

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Ford...

…. the passing of President Ford has really been taking me for a trip down Memory Lane…. and now that he’s planted, I figure that it is time to remind you guys of the impact that one of my relatives had on our communal history…. which is, namely, the bullying of George Washington when he was a child…..

… see, his neighbors were the Stephensons…. five boys…. their Momma, Honoria Crawford, had married a Mr. Stephenson after her first husband, Mr. Crawford, had passed away…. and to Mr. Crawford she bore two sons…. So once she remarried Mr. Stephenson, the whole family took up residence just down the lane from Mr. Washington’s home…. and Mr. Washington had only one boy in his family of Stephenson/Crawford playin’ age…. George….

… thus little Georgie grew up as the runt of a fairly large pack of brothers/half-brothers who enjoyed being colonially rambunctious children…. indeed, even in his memoirs, he mentions that one of the things that drove him to become the badass and success story that he was, was the continual beatings and tricks being played on him by the Crawford and Stephenson boys…..

… my Great Great Great Great Great Grandpa was one of those Crawford boys…. Valentine was his name….

… he and George eventually grew up to both be surveyors in and around Virginia during their early adulthood….. and once Valentine’s brother William got himself burnt at the stake near Sandusky, Ohio (by the Sandusky Indians, incidentally), old Valentine’s cordial letters to and from George asking for permission to proceed forthwith towards Ohio to murder Sandusky Indians got well-recorded in the Library of Congress…..

…. What does all this have to do with President Ford?... very little, I’m afraid….. but like Ford (who was never elected President or Vice President), I feel (because I have never been elected to anything either) a certain reverence when I look at Presidents…. mainly, well, because I know that my family was in a unique position way, way back in the day to ensure that the Father of Our Nation grew up tough, smart, mean, and ready for a scrap…..

… I take me some pride in the fact that my ancestor used to give George Washington the 1750 equivalent of a wedgie……

.. it made him the man that he was, you betcha….. and it is also why – to this very day – most of the men in my family don’t wear underpants…..

… end of lesson, children…. I hope you all have a wonderful night…. and my sincere condolences to the family of President Ford….

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Pooka....

… I want a pooka…. preferably not one that is 6’3” ˝, but I still want one…. he’d be named Elvis and would love bacon sandwiches and Newcastle beer….

… toasted white bread, crispy bacon, lashings of mayonnaise, aged cheddar cheese, and a nice slice of fresh onion….

… my goodness…. I’m off to make just such a sandwich in a few minutes and watch re-runs of “Fraser” until it is time to go to town for my massage.…. and then, afterwards, I shall stroll a few laps around the lake at Keefaufer Park and look at the ducks….

…. I cooked the bacon a few minutes ago, and the smell of it is wafting through every room in the house… the cats, Fred and Ginger, are sitting on the back deck peering through the glass door into the kitchen… I suspect that they want some bacon, but I’m not going to give them any…. all that bacon is mine….

… I watched Jimmy Stewart’s masterful portrayal of Elwood P. Dowd in “Harvey” last night, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.… what a wonderful movie… I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it….

hi, my name is Eric…. here, let me give you one of my cards….

… man, I really, really want a pooka….

… what a beautiful morning…..

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Bubbles....

… it is nearly 3:30 in the afternoon and I’m enjoying a glass of champagne…. Why?... well, as wise men once said, ‘waste not, want not’, right?.... besides, the bottle that I uncorked last night survived the initial sippings fairly intact…. and it seemed such a shame to let half a bottle of bubbly get thrown out…. and seeing as I’m a full-blooded Hillbilly, I have no qualms whatsoever about drinking half-day-opened booze…… hey, I never claimed to have THAT much class……

… anyway, I watched the ball drop in Times Square courtesy of NBC last night… and then, as quickly as I could, I popped a cork, took a quick sip or two, finished watching Bruce Willis save the world in “Armageddon”, and then collapsed into bed…

… winter evenings around here are dark, cold, and quiet…. even on New Year’s Eve…. and I was anxious to see what The Sandman had in store for me once I hit dreamland…..

… I wasn’t disappointed either…

… mercy, never underestimate the power of a pleasant dream…. It can change your outlook, focus your sensibilities, scare the crap out of you, and excite you to the point of wetting your pants…. all while you happily snooze under a pile of warm blankets….

.... but I suppose that is their purpose, really…. To allow the mind a free rein to create new worlds and play or relax safely in them…..

….. the first day of a new year, wow…… cool, damp, and overcast here…. but hey, the evening will arrive before we know it… and with it, sleep and rest.… so for those of you who dream – while asleep or awake – I hope that 2007 gives you an opportunity to see at least some of your dreams to come true……

… as for me, this new set of months is going to be quite a ride… many, many new things are on the horizon for me and my family…. and while I’d like to imagine all of the surprises flowing smoothly over us as we live, I know that it will be a rollercoaster instead…. but hey, a rollercoaster is exciting… and it is NEVER boring…..

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Football!...

…. Go Vols!... Go Auburn!.... Geaux Tigers!... Go Hawgs!.... Go Gators!.... GO SEC!!....

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