Forgotten....

… I once spent a month in the Cote d'Azur region of France exploring…. a tiny village south of the city of Draguignan was where I planned my excursions and recharged afterwards….. I had a wonderful time prowling around pubs, cafes, and ancient Roman ruins….. eating figs and olives right off the trees…. getting to know the locals over a few hands of pinochle and a couple bottles of wine in the spring evenings…

… I was a young man….. 22 years old….. with a buzz-cut hairdo, a weathered pair of khaki pants, and a coarsely woven wool sweater….

… I remember cobblestone streets and a great plaza bordered with open-air cafes that served the strongest coffee imaginable…. and beer…. Stella Artois in gargantuan mugs….

… I don’t seem to remember the name of the village though…. but I am sure I knew it once….

… and I never learned to speak French….. and yet I never missed a meal or went without a drink when I was thirsty…..

… in retrospect, I suspect that they just really, really enjoyed the fact that I was horrible at pinochle…. then again, my sweater kicked ass… so perhaps they were putting up with me until I let slip the name of my haberdasher in Aberdeen…….

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Documentaries.....

…. There are those people among us who are called “watchers”….. people who sit and – with OR without purpose – simply observe the world that surrounds them…. amazed by the completely surreal sights that they are being given window to…..

… tonight on the dandy television, BBC America’s “Planet Earth” series finished….. and it closed with a “cameraman’s documentary”…. Extolling the great hardships that the intrepid camerapeople (men AND women, don’t you know) endured to get “just the right shot”….

… I have to admit, I am totally amazed…. 100%, color-me-taken-aback, I “bow to your gigantic sense of obligation to the biological and botanical community”-impressed……

… the documentary began with fellows swimming in open water with man-eating sharks…. Ok… that was impressive….. anyone who has read this blog already understands the deep-seated fear that I bear about being consumed alive… particularly by either sharks or Zombies…..

… secondly were their night-time excursions with lions that were capable of ganging up and taking down fully grown elephants….. good God…..

… and after playing with the penguins in 100mph winds and being stranded in Antarctica for 10 sun-less months capturing footage of THOSE stinky beasts, they cut to a grizzled 30 year old who spent THREE YEARS trying to catch (on film) the feeding behavior of the Snow Leopard……

… I mean, just imagine squatting on a mountainside in China for three years hoping to catch a glimpse of an endangered Snow Leopard regally claiming His Prize and only managing to catch him getting the once-aside from a nimbler-footed Ibex….

… me?... I’d be red, white, and BLUE pissed-off…. the grizzled cameraguy?..... he was as pleased as punch….. and hey, I have to admit, the footage was incredible…..

…. But three years on a rock ledge in a valley in China eating granola bars?..... I just don’t get it…. I mean, I do believe that the very experience would make my desire to begin hunting Snow Leopards with a high-powered rifle instead of a camera would become quite overwhelming…….

…. stand by, folks…. ok, just now, right behind me, a guy with a Liverpudlian accent just said “sitting in a hide for 8 to 12 hours a day, well, after a year, it starts to get really, really tiring..)

…. Words cannot describe my amazement……. They simply cannot……

…. Don’t get me wrong, of course….. I am thankful that those individuals did what they did for all of our educations……. But I have to say, they are ALL absolutely nuts…… every single one of them……

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Weird...

…. Sunday afternoon winding down….. and the computer’s JBL speakers are warbling out “Waiting For A Train” by Jimmie Rogers….

… meanwhile the television booms through from the sitting room… an odder collection of sounds would be seriously hard to find…. as best as I can tell, the show is about the Irish Republican Army and a very strange transvestite….

… no, really… you honestly can’t make this shit up….

…. Indeed, here it is in all of its glory…. ‘Breakfast on Pluto’….

…. and to top off the evening?.... I’ve just been smilingly informed that dinner tonight is “sausage casserole” ….

… what a strange, strange world….. I’m off to sit on the patio, think deep thoughts, and eat a turkey sandwich….

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Flooding....

…I rolled out of bed early this morning and found my way into town…. I breakfasted at a small, Mom & Pop type joint and carried home a huge Styrofoam box of gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and sausage for The Missus…..

… she was incredibly pleased…..

… her love of bacon is so complete and abiding that it really should be under the study of a team of neurologists & biochemical engineers…. I’m quite sure that they could – given sufficient time, funding, and an infinite supply pork bellies – probably find a cure for a shitload of diseases just by tapping into her noggin as the endorphins flood it…..

…. it is an amazing thing to watch, trust me…. and hell, I don’t even have any equipment…

…. she tells me that I have a very similar reaction when given a bottle of Glenmorangie….

… anyhoo, I’m off to enjoy the cloudiness of today and attempt to prune the magnolia… it certainly needs it..... and it is an excellent excuse for bagging on hitting the gym today....

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Another....

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

Express Yourself LIVE

... this is a test...

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Newborns....

…. the leaves that Spring has coaxed from the trees are small and fragile still…. newborns, as they are…. vibrant and green…

… and as I sit here with coffee and cigarettes, to the West a storm looms on the horizon… dark and brooding and speckled with flashes of lightning…. Thunder rolling and booming and shaking the window panes….. It will be here soon to dampen the warm, swirling air…

… the dogwoods and poplars are swaying outside my window – being pushed by the steady, forceful wind that trumpets the thunderstorm’s approach….. they are lucky, I suppose, the leaves….. their smallness will help them weather the weather…..

.. yesterday it was in Texas and Mexico as tornadoes…. and today it is here to challenge my lawn’s baby leaves….

…. The First Thunderstorm of Springtime is here, and it is beautiful…..

…. a frost came through a week or so ago and laid many of the leaves low…. and these small ones that have sprouted since are bracing for their first test of the year…..

… I hope that the wind doesn’t get them….

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NSFW.....

.... there has never been - nor will there EVER be - one who cuts to the chase like the Goose.....

... no.... not EVER.....

... I am sure that much of our active duty military could squeeze out much of the same story as he reports........

... did you hear his first remark at the beginning??.... "second place is a fucking joke"....

... I could not agree more...

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Trojans....

… you know, some days just depress the livin’ Hell out of me…. like today, for instance….. I began the day by wandering through from the bedroom to put on a pot of coffee – a modest task for my meager morning abilities, but I managed…. and then I flip the switch on the trusty television to hear Harry Reid saying that “we’ve lost the war”….

…. bloody hell..... well, there you go…. I guess someone should probably tell the troops or something…. what a load of horseshit….

… and THEN I go through to relieve myself… only to read in the latest issue of Military History that archaeologists and historians are now poo-poo’ing the idea of the “Trojan Horse”…. Yeah, that’s right… no Trojan Horse…. It was merely a poetic metaphor for how the sneaky Greeks wiggled their way into Troy…

… what a day…. I need a nap….. the known world is crumbling down around me….

… hell, they even went so far as to nix the idea of Helen’s charms!.... oh! The Horror and Blasphemy!.... check this shit out….

A Greek named Eurypylus, son of Euaemon, killed Priam’s son Axion. Menelaus began his revenge by killing Helen’s new husband, Deiphobus, brother of Paris and son of Priam. But the Greek with the reputation for scoring the most kills during the sack of Troy is Achilles’ son, Neoptolemus. Among his victims, besides Agenor, were Astynous, Eion, and Priam himself, either at the altar of Zeus – no doubt the Storm God, where the Trojan king had sought shelter – or; as some say, at the doors of the palace because, not wanting to violate a god’s altar, Neoptolemus was careful to drag his victim away first.

As for the Trojan women, tradition assigns Andromache to Neoptolemus and Cassandra to Agamemnon. Locrian Ajax had attempted to seize Cassandra but violated the altar of Athena or a Trojan goddess, which made the Greeks loath to reward him and thereby earn divine enmity.

Prudent Bronze Age warriors knew better than to insult an enemy’s god. For example, when Hittite King Shuppiluliuma I conquered the city of Carchemish around 1325 BC, he sacked the town but kept all his troops away from the temples of Kubaba and Lamma. He bowed to the goddess instead.

Priam’s daughter Polyxena was, according to the Sack of Iium, slaughtered at the tomb of Achilles as an offering to the hero’s ghost. Little Astyanax, Hector’s son, was murdered by Odysseus – thrown from the walls, in one version – lest he grow up and seek vengeance.

And then there was Helen. The Little Iliad states that Menelaus found her at home, in the house of Deiphobus. Menelaus’ sword was drawn to seek vengeance on the agent of his humiliation and suffering, but Helen had merely to undrape her breasts to change his mind. It is the sort of story that we can only wish is true.

*excerpted from Barry Strauss’ book The Trojan War….

….. mercy…. see what I mean?.... all this AND slander of Helen's incredible breasts on the same morning that we “lost the war”…..

….. you know, I’m no scholar, but I do believe that we either need us a Menelaus, a Neoptolemus, or maybe even a Helen or two… I guess it all just depends on what angle we wanna shoot for…..

…. one thing is for sure, though…. someone needs to tell Harry Reid to shut the fuck up….. quickish…..

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Food....

….. on Sunday night, the Travel Channel had an interesting show that caught my interest…. A subject near and dear to my heart – and one which I have written regarding to here on occasion – hotdogs….

… the presenter gleefully chewed & downed ‘dogs all across the continental United States for the sake of the viewing public – i.e. Me – all evening…. boiled ‘dogs in NYC and deep-fried ‘dogs in New Jersey…. And even some crispy-skinned grilled ones in Hollywood….. made the old mouth commence a’waterin’, it truly did….

… so yesterday I decided to make hotdogs for dinner….

… back when I was a little boy itching to cannonball at the local public pool, my Sainted Mother would religiously stop at a small market in Englewood and buy us a bag of hotdogs before hitting the pool….. 2 for a dollar and deliciously addictive…. The shop was called “Reedy’s Market” and it was a bit of a local landmark…. run by a jovial, white-haired keeper named “Mr. Reedy”, his magic hotdogs were the stuff of local legend…. No one could ever pin down just exactly what his secret was, but I always suspected that the true hook was in the way that he made his coleslaw…. It had that teensy bit of sweetness that good Southern Coleslaw always has, and it was just that wee bit too juicy as well… which perfected the whole “Reedy Dog” picture by subtly soaking the bun that surrounded the wiener to juuuuust the right level…. fortifying the whole chilidog with a gentle tang…… chili, hotdog, coleslaw, and just a hint of yellow mustard…..

…. my youthful summers were spent dining upon such brown-bagged, soggy treats…. and I must say, I have been a huge fan of good hotdogs ever since….

…. Old man Reedy closed up shop a few years ago when The State decided to widen Highway 411, sadly…. His old place was flattened and a new BP station was erected in its place….. the soul of Englewood withered just a bit that day….. and hell, I almost cried when the bulldozer pushed over the sign that read “Reedy’s Market – Home of the Reedy Dog – Over one million served”…

… since that day, though, I have always been on the lookout for a good hotdog…. And I have enjoyed them all over the world…. ones draped in fried onions – bought from a street vendor between the statue of Boudicca & The House of Parliament in London… and ones slathered with sauerkraut and diced onions near the Bull & Bear on Wall Street in Manhattan….. and a million in between….

… and I’ve loved them all……

…. Say what you will about the humble wiener, folks…. But hey, in the right hands?..... an unassuming sausage can be a thing of beauty, indeed…..

Update: .... meandering Michele has photos of some fairly intriguing hotdog accessories.......

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Visitin'....

….. well, ladies and gentlemen, I have just had the pleasure of cooking ribs, boiling up some beans, and kneading biscuits for the proprietor of Back Home Again…… indeed, I sent him on his way this morning after a healthy breakfast and an incredibly pleasant conversation…….

… Jerry, you are good people….. and don’t think that I didn’t feel a huge tinge of guilt this morning as we parted….. mainly for me whipping your tail mercilessly at 10-ball last night…. but also for us stiffing the waitress from her pocket money this morning at Shoney’s….

..... sure, I know that you footed the bill and left her a tip on your credit card….. but man, it just don’t seen right to not leave cash at the table…….. and yes, I know that both events were entirely my fault, but I still feel guilty for not leaving her some green…..

…. in short, I should have been a better host……. But still, you are always welcome to visit again…… hell, I might have cash next time!..... so just give me an hour or so head’s-up so that I can correctly proffer some boneless ribs for the grill, and I will always be set…… seriously, the Wife and I had a wonderful time…..

... and I am proud of the way that you dug into my beans, man...... dude, I was impressed.....

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Parmesan....

…. Well, the job is done….. the “decorative” gravel that was piled unceremoniously out back is now decorating an enormous swath of my grassless wasteland bordered by impenetrable jungle vibrant lawn…..

…. I’d like to thank all y’all though…. each and every one of you…..

… and while I noticed half-way through my ordeal that none of you rubberneckers had shown up to assist me, I did imagine that each of you – in your own way – were sending me fluffy, bunny rabbit thoughts and great tidings of good cheer, hoisting a beer, break-a-leg, and Git’r’Done….. indeed, that very thought buoyed my flagging spirits as the rivulets of perspiration snaked down between my laboring shoulder blades all afternoon….

… I even noticed a renewed quickness in my step because of your imagined thoughtfulness, and I gripped the handle of my shovel with a remarkably healthy vigor…. you guys should have seen me in action while I was spiking on the overdose of good vibes that I just knew y’all were tossing in my direction…..

…. So, thanks for your kind assistance – however mild…. but when it comes time to move our “boulder” into its new nest in the ‘Zen rock garden’, you bastards had better show up to help in person.….. sending kind brainwaves and chuckling while sipping your drinks from far away just isn’t going to cut it, ladies and gentlemen…… that damn rock is HUGE….

… I’m off to have a gin and tonic and lather myself in some sort of mentholated ointment….. and the chicken parmesan is almost ready to be freed his oveny confines….. so it is definitely “feet-up” time….. see what y’all missed?..... sheesh……

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Duty....

... you know, as a "Big Brother" myself, stories like this just cheer my heart to no end.....

.... y'all think on that while I'm toiling today.......

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Turkey.....

… tonight I am tentatively exploring the strange world that is ground turkey meat…. Yeah, I know….. I’m a bit ashamed of myself for even hazarding the thought….

… but still, there you go…. the main menu item this evening is ground turkey in a tomato and chili sauce…. with kidney beans, loads of garlic and onions… the general idea being that the turkey concoction eventually gets ladled onto two steaming baked potatoes….

… will it work?... I honestly have no idea….but I will say that – since I am a relative newbie to mashed-up turkey flesh – minced turkey is some weird shit to cook with….. with a sticky consistency almost like that of foie gras, I had some serious trouble trying to keep it from wadding up on the wooden spoon while I was “browning” it…. oh, and turkey doesn’t brown, by the way… it eventually just goes from a pale pink color to a “hey, honey!... once it is cooked it is the color of human flesh!”…. yeah….

… so even as the pot is bubbling away in the kitchen, I’m currently giving tonight’s dinner one out of five stars….

… and that is being absurdly optimistic…..

… in other news, I now own a giant, 5 ton pile of “decorative” gravel…. $247.43….. and tomorrow I will be found spreading it around the northeastern side of the house to expand the “path” out from the deck to the patio…..

… anyone with a shovel and a healthy back who is within a 100 mile radius of The Compound here and wishes to help, just shoot me an email….. I’ve got beer…. No, honest….. I do…. and quite a few spare shovels too….. but hey, if you have a favorite shovel or something, feel free to bring it along…..

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Flowers...

…. prior to this latest cold snap, The Missus received four large parcels in the mail…. various bulbs and seeds buried in three or four large clumps of soggy sod…. (.. the envelope in which they arrived was plascticized for the sake of the clean-handed mailman.) …… and she was beside herself with excitement…..

…. So I took a break from holding down the lawn furniture with my narrow backside and fetched six large flower pots from the garage for her… taking time, of course, to shake the withered husks of last year’s dead plants out of the pots as I skirted between the edge of the house and the jungle which borders our property…. (the property line is littered with six year’s worth of half-grown potted plant corpses still clinging to their dried rootball/potting soil tumbleweed..)

… as I rounded the corner with the pots and a bag of topsoil, she beamed..... and dug into her task in a gleeful fury…..

.... I watched in awe as she poured, patted, scooped, buried, and watered….

… that was three weeks ago….

… and each morning for the past three weeks, I have watched her morning ritual unfold… blearily staggering out onto the deck to check her six sacred pots for signs of activity…. shooing Fred the Cat out of his nest that he made in the largest of the them… testing the containers for dryness, wetness, or evidence of pestilence…. and then cursing silently over her cup of coffee about “those bastards at the Arbor Day foundation” sending faulty flowers…..

… this morning as she snoozed, I wandered out to the patio in my pajamas….

… sitting there with coffee and bagel, I broke from wishing all blue jays a horrible, lingering death, and chanced to look down… and there – just at my feet – were three sprouts peeking up from a painted terracotta bowl… just over an inch tall with two leaves each, they proudly jutted skywards…. holding aloft two munching caterpillars per baby plant…..

…. I lit a cigarette and used the butt to singe each fuzzy critter into oblivion…..

… coarse?.... sure…. I'm as civil as the next man, I guess, but I do have my moments...... and, hey, life is cheap sometimes….. and in general, I’m a huge fan of Mother Nature… but some things are worth protecting…. Even if the odds of them surviving her initial onslaught aren’t very good…..

… still, though, a day without Hope is a dark day indeed…..

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Dogwoods.....

... I was reminded of an old tale the other day... a complete fabrication, of course, purporting that wood from the venerable dogwood tree had once been hewn into the cross that ole Jesus Christ was crucified on...

…. in the legend, it parlays further that the dogwood remains stunted to this day as a curse... you know, so that it could never again grow large enough to be fashioned again into a crucifying-post... and even more whimsically, it claims that the very springtime blossoms of the poor tree are so-shapened to reflect the tree's bloody, savior-killing past...

... have y’all heard of that story?.... I certainly have heard it all my life….. but who makes up that malarkey?... I mean, just because the blooms are white and sport a cross-like shape?... and because it blooms here in east Tennessee around Easter?...... and because of its genetic, lordosis-twisted trunk, you think that Almighty God has cast forth punishment from the Sequined Seat of His Golden Throne in Heaven?.......

…. that’s just bullshit….. I tell you, I’d love to see the damnable dogwood that could survive a stretch in Jerusalem….. it’d have to be one hardy sumbitch…… and that’s a fact…..

… shit, the ones in my quaint half-acre get all of the sunshine, rain, bug-spray, fertilizer, and fair winds that they could possibly want, and they STILL end up covered in mangled, rotting branches by the time they’re 30 feet tall…..

…. Oh, and while I’m thinking of it, some of the dogwoods around here are more than large enough to make a cross worthy of nailing someone too… y’all will just have to trust me on that one….. the idea has been bandied about now and again around here for the past five years or so but – luckily – no one has been able to find the right kind of nails yet…….

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Imus.....

…. good morning, rubberneckers…. I hope this fine, frosty morning finds you all getting exactly what you deserve…… as for me, it is a orange juice, bacon, and biscuit kind of morning…. which, of course, is exactly what I deserve…..

…. and for your morning reading enjoyment, I would like to direct you over to Skippy’s pad….. as usual, he hits the nail on the proverbial head with a stunning intellect…. For instance, he has this to say:

….I seriously doubt that the Framers intended the First Amendment as a constitutional guarantee of syndication in the lucrative Boisie market, and anyone who uses the words "comedy" and Don Imus" in the same sentence should be forced to climb Kilimanjaro with broken hands and feet. Unless of course that sentence is "Scientists discover Imus is the antidote to comedy." that would be fine….

…. which is quite insightful….. but then, we have the final shot across the bow…..

If America has really been reduced to taking sides in a pissing match between two amoral shitheads like Don Imus and Al Sharpton, maybe the terrorists should win….

… yea, verily…. indeed…..

… go now and read the rest…. my bacon beckons…..

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Lunchtime....

…. I drove northwards yesterday on Kingston Pike further than I’ve ever been before…… all the way through Knoxville until the shops and restaurants gave way to stately homes with manicured lawns…..so I whipped a u-turn and slid back into civilization just as yesterday’s torrential rain started… seeking shelter from the storm for a bit, I stopped at an organic “fresh market” and shopped for a while in the vain hope that the gusts would pass…..

… ended up dropping a fair wad of cash there on what is to be this afternoon’s delights… lamb chops and new Irish potatoes…. And some sort of spinachy tossed salad…..

…. It didn’t work though, about the rain, in case you were wondering…. I ran back to the car with my cutlets in tow through a chilly downpour…. I even had to turn on the defroster once my body heat started evaporating the rain from my Fat Face pull-over….. April, even!... good Lord….. I’ve jetted across the countryside all winter and never needed to touch that button on the console….. but hey, at least I now know that my defroster works….. which is a good thing to know, I guess…..

…. Still no luck on the song that I posted about previously….. you guys have really let me down… it serves me right for having worked up the courage to turn the radio on though….. I suppose it’s a sign that I should quit trying to be trendy and just stick to the trusty CD collection…. Old dogs, new tricks, et al….

… and so, I am off to town to fetch a plate of “hotcakes & sausage” from McDonalds…. I figure that a spoonful of their ultramegamaxisweet maple syrup is just what I need to get jumpstarted…. And once thusly fortified?..... I’ll start marinating those chops and roasting the potatoes…..noon will be here before you know it….

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Moods....

... "shut your mouth and play along"...... oh yeah......

..... man, this stuff is killing me.... I heard a song on the radio yesterday that I have been unable to identify anywhere..... it was all about a girl waking up in someone elses apartment alone and calling a friend..... and the refrain was something like "make me work for a piece of your time" or some such other drivel.... but I want to hear it again, dammit.... and I have no idea who sang it or what all of the lyrics were....

..... and it is pissing me off.... so if anyone has any idea, please put a brother out of his misery and spill it to me..... I just gotta know......

.... the band sounded a bit like the DBTs, but it was slower and more bluesy.....

... later, rubberneckers.... I'm off to keep a'searchin'......

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Marks....

…. as I set about my day today, I lurched towards my car, limped, and spun like a Frankenstein being educated by a vodka-addled Baryshnikov… for in my path, gentle reader, were legions of fuzzy caterpillars….. freshly hatched from eggs cached high up in the local wild cherry trees that bracket the compound……

… problem is, you see, that the local YMCA doesn’t appreciate you trotting down their sacred halls with freshly-squished beasties smeared across the treads of your New Balances…. ( I cant blame them, really… I mean, those carpets must be hell to keep clean this time of year…. And it just would not do to have youngsters slipping on the polished maple of the basketball court while trying to Jordan a lay-up after I had visited before them with my crusty, slime-leaving sneakers…. The little tikes might actually hurt themselves, or something…..)….

… but still, the fact remains that I am currently inundated with caterpillars…… they are everywhere….. and yes, I have already searched the internet for possible recipes, but to no avail….. evidently the loathsome Bluejays wont even hazard a peck at the speckled little fuckers…… and hey, if a Bluejay wont eat it, then it must be some horrible shit…..

… the good news?... I did see three shriveled caterpillar husks near the front door as I returned home tonight….. the victims of some particularly hard-up spiderlings that weathered this past mild winter and burst forth this spring with a feverish hunger, no doubt….

…. and believe it or not, that was heartening….. I mean, as lowly and manifold as they are, at least there is one beast that is up for placing them on the menu…..

… then again, sometimes I root for the wrong side….. but tonight?.... butterflies are overrated…. Just ask my rhododendrons’ leaves.….

… and I hate forcing myself to pressure-wash caterpillar entrails off of my driveway every spring…. I really do….

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Tamed....

..... I'm sorry, folks.... but this is just wrong, wrong, wrong.....

... people shouldn't even joke about crap like that.....

... oh, and by the way... ole Walrilla is almost there!...

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Annual...

…. the last few mornings have been cold here, and frost has visited each night for the past three days… the giant potted-fern that sits on my deck has gone on to meet its maker….. a pity, really…. It had spent the past two winters snuggled safely in the garage and had made the Eric-assisted trip back and forth from deck to garage quite a few times… the closest that any fern has ever come to performing an annual migration, I suppose…

… but like I said, it is no more…. the frosty night snuck up on me….

… its twin survives, however, safely beneath the eave on the front porch… a stretching orb of leaves.... huge, round, and green… and now – alone….. it’ll have one friendless winter in the garage come October…..

….. everything is pairing this time of year… I drank coffee at the kitchen window this morning and watched a couple of finches and cardinals doing their thing….. one bright yellow with a lightly pastelled orange mate…. and one cinnamonny brown with a flaming red lover…

…. growth, sprouts, buds, pollen, eggs, flowers, babies, Life….

…. wow….

… it looks like it will rain this afternoon…. and that is good…. perhaps that frostbitten fern has some life in it yet…..

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Comfort.....

….. right now, The Missus is buried under a blanket on the couch watching BBC America’s airing of “Cold Comfort Farm” ….. she was thrilled when she saw the upcoming previews as she had just read the book a few months back……. I mentioned to her that I had watched the same miniseries years ago back in Scotland, but she refuted my statement…

…. “this is new!”, said she….. “I had never heard of it until I read the book!”….

…. “nay, nay, Ma’am….. what I say is true blue!”, quoth I…..

… and now, here I sit…. Her having come in twice already to say that she DOES remember us watching this program back in the late 1990s now that she’s watched 30 minutes of the programme…

… anyhow, be that as it may, the real query tonight is to search out the source of “cold comfort”… tonight – for the very first time – it struck me as the strangest of ideas….. the actual phrase, I mean….. it is one helluva interestng jumble of semantic imagery .. cold comfort….. it strikes me as incredibly curious…..

…. I mean, from whence was the term first coined?... probably Shakespeare, but that’s just a guess….. hell, the first time that I ever remember hearing it was in that old Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here” where Roger Waters screamed out “cold comfort for change… did you exchange a walk-on part in a war for a lead role in a cage?”….

… but hey, that was Pink Floyd after all…. I mean, I could have been misinterpreting or overly-sleepy or something, right?.....

…. But the question stands….. “cold comfort”….. what gives?..... what am I missing in trying to determine the meaning?....... and no, I’m not going to search the online dictionaries for some glimmer of import…..

…. After all, that’s what I’ve got you guys for, right?....

….. and if no one reads this?.... I suspect that will be cold comfort, indeed…… and that’ll be just fine……

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Babies....

… not having any children of my own, I must say that this is still pretty damn funny…..

... oh, and this has to be the best Viagra advertisement ever......

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Healthy....

…. Since I am now living such a healthy, clean, spiritual lifestyle (free from all of the trappings of gleeful self-abuse), I am falling back tonight onto an ancient Scottish purification meal….. the immoral “bangers and mash”….

yes, indeedy….

… homemade mashed potatoes (with the skins left on, dontcha know, ‘cause they are good and good for you.) with sour cream, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, un-salted Irish butter, and melted-lashings of ricotta cheese……

…. And “bangers” – smoked sausages – ground down from the healthiest and most athletic turkeys from across thousands of competitive barnyards scattered throughout North America…. none of that pork sausage for MY temple, rubberneckers… .no, sir….

…. and those aforementioned “athletic turkey bangers” shall be gently fried in extra virgin olive oil with freshly crushed garlic (organically grown in hydroponic-pools by the finest Buddhist monks that California contains…)

.. but yes, I know…. babysteps….. I’m not going to get all fit and buff overnight…. And I’m not going to push my crumbling body too-far-too-fast….. so tonight’s gins and tonics will be chilled with frozen Evian instead of that nasty old faucet ice that comes from that slot on the side of the fridge……

… cheers, brothers and sisters….. here’s to healthy living!..

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Invading....

…. I managed to push Sylvia up to 102 this evening on the drive home from The Family’s Easter Gathering…. there was plenty of accelerator left, of course, but it just wasn’t necessary…… my little Brother’s Toyota just couldn’t run away any faster than that over the short distance where we sped…..

… in other news, I was just watching an episode of “Planet Earth” where the conversation focused on “grasslands”….

…. the narrator (Sigourney Weaver) said…. “and during this time of year, 3,000,000 Mongolian gazelle gather together on the steppes and give birth within ten days of each other..” …..

… just as her sentence finished and the camera cut to milling herds of Mongolian gazelle munching grass and popping out younguns, I couldn’t help but lean over to The Missus and say (in my best David Attenborough voice) …. “and the steppes ran slick for weeks in a morass of juicy gazelle placentas”…..

… I mean, can you even imagine?.... I sure can’t…. three million births in one big, blood-spattered patch of Mongolia?.... with nothing but the hordes of flies, flocks of buzzards, and the occasional foxy-type thing that they have in Mongolia to help clean up all that mess?..... good God, no wonder old Genghis left Mongolia in search of new places to conquer… preferably places that didn’t accrue herds of three million large mammals slinging internal goo and gestational fluid all over the surrounding countryside…… sure makes Prague look hella inviting, no?......

… anyway, ole Nature is one gnarly bitch, folks…. Lovable, sure…. But she does so have her moments…..

… and don’t even get me started on those Arctic Geese……

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Directions....

… ensure that she has had dinner… one that you have cooked…. and two nice glasses of wine……

…… lay her back on the couch and take a seat at the far end…. slip off her socks by tugging at the toes until the tension eventually forces them to give… gently letting the knit cloth slowly scrape against her skin as the garment slips off….

… place one ankle on your knee…..

…. daub a liberal amount of aloe-based skin lotion into the palm of your left hand….. put the bottle back on the ottoman, and bring your hands together – palm to palm…… slowly smear the lotion between your palms… allowing it to warm to your body’s temperature…… and once it is warm, begin….

… place one hand on either side of her upturned foot and press them together as hard as you can…. Allowing the warm lotion to seep from the seal of your palms….. and then stroke….. long, slow, strong motions…. both hands opposing each other as you press with her foot clamped in between……

… swirl around her heel with one hand while the other lotioned-hand works the ball of her foot…… alternate and repeat…… move your left hand to where your right hand had been…. and with every movement, ensure that pressure is kept constant as your hands change position……

… sandwich the foot again between your hands and move each hand in an opposing clockwise/counter-clockwise motion from ball to heel….. slip a slick finger into the crook of each toe as well….. ensuring that every inch is coated and touched……

… and when the lotion on your hand has ceased being slick and the rubbing becomes slightly more labored?.... it is time to switch feet and reapply……

… that's the way you do it, evidently..... or so I am told……

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George.....

…. For those of you who have watched this trainwreck of a blog for a while, you will know a few things…. firstly, that musically Tom Waits is the King…. secondly, well, Dean Martin is The High Priest and Master of Ceremonies…. and thirdly?.... George Thorogood is the Ultimate Altarboy….. not to mention that the rest of the congregation is listening intently to Warren Zevon on their iPods whilst the services here are going on…….

… so without further ado, I offer you a song that has been dear to my heart since I was just a wee nipper and still lusting after the sunglass-clad girlies in those old ZZ Top videos…… vintage Thorogood… courtesy of my blogson, RSM…..

…. and so, I give you, “Blue Highway”…….

…. George, if you are out there anywhere, know that you are loved…….. bigtime……..

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Elisson....

.... hey, whatever he is gifting, it has gotta be good..... so go over now and visit.... he'll think it was me and I'll get the prize!... (I do promise to share, though.... you guys know how sensitive that I am... and I am always fair...).....

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Helmets.....

….. well, I finally found time and watched “300” last night…. And in a word?.... “wow”…. what a trip…..

… and for the record, that charging rhino scared the crap out of me…. seriously…. You can officially add charging rhinos to the list of things that I never want to see in person…… And that big fella with the chains and the filed down teeth?... get outta town…. He reminded me of Velociman at a blogmeet after we’d ran out of vodka….

… I will say this, though…. visually, the whole movie was absolutely stunning…. The look and feel of the cinematography was brilliant…. and the heavy metal music near the end sorta tied it all together…. In a surreal, sweaty, scantily-clad bloodlust way…..

…. Oh, and I bet the Spartans did a LOT of sit-ups… I mean, like a LOT of sit-ups…. Like probably a full metric shitload or something….. either that, or their wives woke up sore every morning from being slammed like a screen-door all night long……

… oh, and their helmets were pretty damn snazzy too….

… one problem with the movie?... no War Dogs…. nope, not a single one….. we had War Elephants, War Rhinos, War Mimes, and War Mutants… but not a single drug-addled War Dog in the whole movie…. and that was pretty disappointing…. because, hey, I don’t know about the historical accuracy of some Persian or African riding around on a War Rhino, but I DO know that historically those wily Persians DID have a pack of War Dogs….. I read it in Military History Magazine not two months ago…….

Update: ... as usual, the comments to this post are TWICE as entertaining as my actual post..... bloody hell.... you guys rock.....

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Hands....

….. I have been analyzed…. My goodness…..

... everything you ever wanted to know about me and MORE!....

... scary stuff, if you ask me....

Update: .... as is my idiom, I am off to town in search of a hot lunch and a cool beverage…. and then, perhaps, a movie…. so y’all be careful out there…. drive safely, chew your food well, and take your vitamins…… oh, and don’t talk to strangers…. unless they’re really, really interesting…..

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Open....

… I sat inside today and worked with all of the windows open throughout the house….

….. the sounds amazed me, really…… it is remarkable how well a fine, transparent double-glazing of glass screens you from the rest of the World…. And with all of the windows open, a whole new world sputtered by…..

…. Dogs barked as they played with their masters across the expanse of the subdivision…… Canada geese honked as they stroked the sky westward from their feeding grounds on the Hiwassee…… even an occasional wasp butted its head against the screen mesh from time to time…….

… life is abounding here now….. wasps, lizards, froglets, caterpillars…… every living thing outside is either buzzing or singing…..

….. even the birds, long denied sex for months now, are screaming at each other across the lawn….. some days it sounds like an appealing birdsong…. and other days it comes across as angry, horny taunts with huge threats of impending violence thrown in……. But, hey, such is life, yes?....

… the trees, too, are wild with growth….. curling their newly emerged buds out and skyward….. the dogwoods are in full bloom… both the Pink & the White ones….. and the tea-cup Magnolia is absolutely beaming with blossoms and baby leaves…… the hardwoods though, well, they are slower to wake……. Only the tulip poplars are showing signs of their alarm-clocks having went off…. which is bad, actually, as their slender, tendrilly offshoots drift down and get stuck in between the boards of my deck every morning…….

.... and no matter how nice the train sounds as it drifts along miles away, those poplarthinggys just piss me off.......

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Popping....

….. popping grapefruit-sized balloons at 45 meters with a Taurus PT-92 AF-D 9mm Para…….

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.... hey, it's hard to have fun in a place like this, but I do so try....

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Hard....

.... you know, this is a pretty nifty idea.... I wonder if they could do mine in hazel when I check out?....

"We had to have a blue one because my husband's eyes are blue. I never visualised that it would be so beautiful until it arrived," said Mrs Egan.

.... now, how could you argue with logic like that?.....

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Guns...

... you know, I've never wanted to own a Glock.... but I do know quite a few people that do own Glocks.... and, to a MAN, each of them would agree wholeheartedly with this post..... even right up to the "chambering of the 155mm HE round".......

.... which is kinda sad, really..... but hey, it's good to have customer loyalty..... and Glock has that in spades......

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Happy.....

…. as Bruce Springsteen once crooned in the song Lucky Town, “the sky’s been cleared by a good, hard rain…. And somebody is calling my Secret Name..” …… yeah, I’ve always been a sucker for song lyrics….

… in other news, The Missus is currently in the kitchen creating her redneck lasagna masterpiece and I’m absolutely beside myself with anticipation…. I do so love her lasagna….. one serving is at least 6,000 calories…. With 4,765 of that coming directly from fat…. but, good God, it is tasty….

… so since I am in a festive and excited mood, I thought it significant to point out to all you rubberneckers that today is the lovable Jane Powell’s birthday…. That’s right, friends, today is her 78th trip around the Sun…..

… Happy Birthday, Jane, you little minx, you… many happy returns…. here's to the sunny slopes of long ago.....

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… and while I’m on the subject, do y’all remember that scene in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” when all seven of those young lasses were lounging around in the boy’s bedroom discussing which boy slept in which bed?.... mercy…. and then that little corset-clad catfight that ensued?.... with Julie Newmar & Virginia Gibson?.... I suppose that was just about as racy as a 1954 musical could be…. Goodness knows that I certainly enjoy that scene every time The Missus pops the DVD in…..

… anyway, best of luck to you Miss Powell…. I hope that today was as perfect for you as I imagine you were in that fictional conjugal bed for ole Howard Keel back in 1954…..

… y’all have a nice night, now….. I’m off to sit on the patio with a gin & tonic and sing Keel’s “You’re The Gal For Me” song until the lasagna is ready……

… man, you just HAVE to love a movie with a tagline that reads: “A Lusty, Mirthful, Girl-Stealin’ Musical!... with Seven Great Songs!”…….. that is just about perfect, friends.... it really is.....

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