Pets....

… as a child years ago, I’d occasionally be gifted a pet by my Father…. a puppy, usually…. Occasionally a fully grown dog…. and on one instance, a Shetland pony…. I was even given a black and white spotted rabbit once…. (the rabbit holds the family record for shortest-lived pet, actually, the poor little guy…. Dad arrived home from work with the rabbit in a shiny woven-wire cage, I ooohh’d and aahhh’d, opened the cage, held said rabbit for all of 15 seconds, watched psycho rabbit claw, spin, and leap from my little 8-year old arms, and screamed as my neighbor’s flea-bitten Alsatian rushed from underneath my Mother’s maroon azalea and ate that rabbit whole in two large bites.. )

… that Shetland pony was another miserable failure, now that I come to think of it…. white, short, and barrel-chested, a meaner beast never trod a field…. and there I was at 80lbs soaking wet…. a scrawny, shy little stack of red hair and freckles who was expected to boldly ‘enforce his will’ upon that cantankerous creature…. That thing would stand perfectly still while I mounted it…. and trot perfectly around the field while my Dad watched…. but as soon as his back was turned, the pony would buck and jump until I was ejected…. it’d then return (rider-less) back to wherever my Father was…. he’d staunchly grab it by the reins and begin marching off in search of his dusty, crumpled son and wondering why the hell I'd "fallen off" again….

…we ended up selling that evil pony to one of my cousins about 25 years ago…. I heard that it finally died a few years back at the age of about 32 and having gone totally blind for the last few years of its life…. (probably from having all of that 100%, pure meanness building up in its system with no young children around to vent its unkindness towards..) ….

… come to think of it, most of the dogs & puppies that I was given never really lasted that long either…. They all ran off, were put to death for some infringement, or became smelly smears over by the local highway…..

…. I guess that as a result, I really haven’t been a “pet” person…. Life and circumstance having schooled me early on that it’s probably not a great idea to get too attached to a pet when you live out in the countryside….. oh sure, there were a few exceptions – like my dog George….. an ancient, arthritic English sheepdog…. He was a crackerjack……

… anyway, to cut to the proverbial chase, I just wanted to let you fine people know that our cats, Fred and Ginger, now have a new playmate, Bob….

…. I suppose that owning two cats for the past 5 years has softened me up…. I mean, in the past, there was a time that if a stray, starving, mangy, flea-infested cat wandered into my yard it would find itself in mortal danger of being put out of its ‘misery’….. but now?.... well, that exact scene played out nearly a week ago…. And instead of bopping it in the noggin with a shovel, I found myself wandering around in the back yard with an open can of tuna and making “here, kitty” noises…..

…. So, yeah… he’s been officially adopted now…. Fred, Ginger, and Bob…. And trust me, folks… “Hope” has everything to do with it…..

… two fat eunuchs and very young tomcat who is soon to be saying goodbye to his own “goodtime boys”….. rough stuff, sure, but it comes with the territory….. you want to stay in my backyard and enjoy an inexhaustible supply of kitty pellets & the random tin of tuna?.... fine, be my guest…..

… but the only set of cojones allowed around here are mine…..

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Prine...

…. music ranks among the very highest forms of art, communication, and storytelling for me…. I love it in just about any form actually, just as long as the lyrics are interesting and engaging…… in all honesty, I think that is the main aspect that draws me to so many of Tom Waits’ wild songs… his use of language and metaphor is unique and amazing…..

… on the night that I first met Acidman, he played and sang songs while the rest of us drank, listened, and lit’em up in that “non-smoking” cabin…. It was an incredible night – the first ever Jawja Blogmeet.. and, of course, it was hosted by Rob Smith… hell, he was the reason that we all showed up…. we had to meet this enigmatic man who we’d visited with daily via his blog….

… one song that he played & sang that night was a John Prine song that I have now come to love…. When Rob died last year, I put up a copy of the song as a tribute to him… I did that for a couple of reasons… mainly, I’d heard him sing it before and knew that he was a huge Prine fan…. Secondly, the song’s lyrics reminded me so much of Acidman….. but once I arrived at his Mother’s house in Savannah for the wake, I never dreamt that I would be hearing it again that night… played by Rob’s brother, Dave, as a tribute himself….

… I was sitting out back by the pool with the rest of the bloggers who had showed up…. Denny and a few other bloggers were wandering around inside the house or listening/performing with the huge group of musicians who were playing…. And then I heard the first notes of that familiar song, “Souvenirs” … I rushed through as quickly as I could and started videoing it….

…. The file had been sitting on my hard drive for a year, and I honestly didn’t know what to do with it….. but after emailing Dave, he suggested that I put it up for everyone to see & hear….. so, that is what I will do….

…. A funny thing about the song, though, is something that I found out while listening to an old Prine interview from the 1980s….that song – one of his favorites as well as a favorite of many of his fans – was written in 20 minutes while stuck in traffic on I-285 outside Atlanta…. I was floored when I heard him say that….. I mean, he wrote that song in 20 minutes to take his mind off of a trafficjam…. Pure genius, people… that’s what that is….

Broken hearts and dirty windows make life difficult to see.
That’s why last night and this morning always look the same to me
.”

John Prine, “Souvenirs” …. written while stuck in traffic….

… anyway, here is the video as promised…..

… y’all enjoy your evening…..

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Railroadin'....

…. Today, in a relaxed fit of adventurous abandon, we’re off to ride a stretch of recently revitalized rail….. indeed, we’ll be riding the lunchtime run from Etowah down towards Georgia that follows the mighty Hiwassee….. here’s the link….

… I tell you, folks, us people from the Tennessee Overhill certainly know how to have fun….. oh yeah….. most of the afternoon will be spent fondling a bag of Lay’s potato chips and sipping a RC Cola as the mountains slide past my air-conditioned cabin……

…. We’ll lunch in the scenic mining community of Copperhill, Tennessee….. which is of note for many reasons, but mainly in my mind because one of my 1920s era relatives lost both arms there in a little oopsie involving dynamite, copper ore, and a fuse that was just a bit too short.….

…. I’m sure y’all are just as excited as I am, so I will make a point to take lots of photographs….

… in other news, I am happy to hear that everyone’s favorite Rick & Georgia have invaded Mexico!... rock on, you two!... once they’ve successfully colonized Panama, I might just stop by to visit them on my way to Crazyman’s blogmeet…

… oh, and before I forget… there seems to be some confusion regarding what was gifted to The Missus for her birthday…. So I had better that that all cleared up lest you hammerheads be left with the impression that I only bought her socks….

gifts: a sapphire & diamond ring, a bag of chewing gum, a bunch of chocolate, the trip that we are going on today, three books from Books-a-Million, three 1lb blocks of cheese, and six pairs of multi-colored socks….

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Footnotes....

…. I’m not a very smart guy, really…. I’m just your average straight, white guy….. but I have heard all my life – as it was before my time – about the Cuban missile crisis and how those evil Commies were trying to sneak nukes right into our back yards…..

… just recently, I read a tiny footnote at the end of an article concerning Khrushchev… did you guys know that about 1960 or so, we dug in some US nukes in Turkey?....

… not too far from Uzbekistan, if I read the maps correctly…. Which, may or not be the case, of course… hell, I nearly failed LANDNAV on more than one occasion…

.. but, you know?... I’m sorry, but just WOW…. how come I’d never heard of the installation of nukes in Turkey in any of the hundreds of History Channel programs before?.... and after the Great Cuban Missile Crisis was over and we nearly went to war while Chromedome continuously circled?.... well, the Ruskies removed their nukes from Cuba….

…. And further to the footnote?.... we got our nukes straight THE HELL out of Turkey and away from the Uzbek border….

… history is a great teacher…. I LOVE me some history….. but every tale is only half-told – even by the greatest and most conscientious historian…. And that’s not really a failing on the historian’s part…. It is just a byproduct of humanity…. As tellers of tales, we get caught up in the action and the story and the drama…..

… but sometimes The Footnotes are pretty damn pertinent…. So remember, children, as you go about your day today…. believe half of what you hear, and none of what you read…. Eat your fiber, exercise, read a good book once in a while, and make your own decisions….

.... everything on Earth has a spin….. even this post.... so be careful

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Respects....

…. 3:30pm here, and the Sun is shining hot…. last night’s thunderstorms passed through quickly and drenched absolutely everything…. so the air is hanging hot and thick outside now… steamy, almost…

…. there is thunder in the distance, too…. barely within earshot…. far away…. and the dark clouds to the southwest have yet to get close enough to douse the sunshine…..

… you can smell it on the breeze if you focus, the promise of rain…. even without the thunder or ominous clouds as indicators, if you close your eyes and inhale, it is there…. the smell of rain that is soon to arrive… rain that we desperately need… cooling rain…. water to heal and soothe the plants from their baking….

…. I changed out of my everyday clothes and put on some brown pants and a starched blue shirt a few minutes ago….

… soon I will be off to pick up my Mother…. a young brother of a family friend has passed, and we’ll be off to pay our respects….. he was suffering, and it is good that it all has finally ended….. and for his family, this evening by the time his funeral is over, it’ll be raining a hot, Southern rain…. We certainly need it…. and I suspect they will too….

… it hardly seems like a year since Acidman left us… my goodness…. I miss that old Georgia boy…..

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Wise....

….. I’ve heard it said before that age brings wisdom…. and it is true enough, I suppose…. (although I do retain the right to call rebuttal witnesses since I know a handful of elderly people who are just plain batshit-crazy..)

…. However, I read this post of Winston’s today, and I have to say that I agree with pretty much every word….

… but at 34 years of age myself, I do have to call bullshit on that 17.2 years of remembrance thing….. there are some people that I'll never forget as long as I live......

... oh, and speaking of age, The Missus just notched up another nick on the Handle of Life by having her odometer click over one more time last night at 0001Z...... she was decidedly not amused, let me tell ya.....

..... my attempt at consolation probably didnt help matters much..... you be the judge.... "but hey, getting older is just what happens!..... it's all cool!... and I bought you socks!!..... and hell, getting older??... it is certainly better than the alternative!"...

... see?... am I a little ray of sunshine or what?.....

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Decisions.....

…. Since when did A-list stars start doing horror movies?....

…. Have I mentioned that I absolutely HATE horror movies?.....

….. so as The Missus and I stood staring in complete & abject indecisiveness at the MEGA-theatre today, I finally caved, took the lead, and said…. “Hey!... There’s a film with John Cusack & Samuel L. Jackson!... We should watch THAT one!”….

…. The movie?.... “1408” ….

…. And there I was – as I handed the spotty fellow behind the counter my credit card – imagining Jackson as some pious Moor on camel-back… and Cusack as some glitteringly-white knight….. my mind adrift in visions of crusades, chivalry, a few decapitated waifs, and The Story of the last crusade…. A bit of blood and gore, but a feel-good movie nonetheless……

… but no… I get a Stephen King horror flick instead about an evil room in some hotel in NYC where everyone who stays there either kill themselves or are brutally murdered or otherwise chased off to Meet Their Maker at severely inopportune times ….

…. Did I say that I hate horror movies?... yes, I did?…. good…..

… and you know something else, friends?.... the absolute WORST thing about going to see a horror movie – even when you didn’t know it was actually a horror movie when you bought your fucking ticket – are the cinematic trailers that they show PRIOR to the horror flick….

… good God, I got werewolves, THREE variations on Zombiemovies, Aliens, AND a goddamn CANNIBAL movie…. hey, Hollywood?.... the damnable hills may have eyes, but I carry a .45........

… goodness, try gleefully nibbling your buttered popcorn with THOSE trailers rolling, people….

… I do believe that at one point my ass had actually grabbed the cushion of my fold-down cinema chair and began ripping the fabric at the seams just a bit…. So, yes, I was a bit tense…..

…. The only good thing?.... well, I enjoyed a marvelous meal before the movie, courtesy of Outback… ½ a pound of succulent Alaskan King Crab legs and an 8oz prime rib that practically gave you a blowjob while you ate it……. a glorious Caesar salad to start, and a side of loaded baked potato……

…. So, word up, rubberneckers….. don’t just wander in and pick at random…… ‘tis the folly of the ages to make completely uninformed decisions…. Trust me…..

Update: ... via Agent Bedhead, here is a much, much better review of "1408"...

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Tombs.....

…. The tiny community of Philadelphia sits on the cusp of two counties…. Monroe Co. and Loudon Co….. as such, it has always made researching ancestors from that area a tad difficult…… boundaries change, obviously, over time….. and county courthouse record rooms are weird and tangled places sometimes……

…. Jackson Petty, my Great Great Great Grandfather, lived on a small farm just outside Philadelphia, Tennessee until he became too tired and weak from the vagueries of old age and went to live with his son, Robert….. Robert’s daughter married a handsome fellow years later – and it is from her happy union (and fruition) that I am here to talk today…… many times removed, of course…… the family had no idea he was even buried there until I started researching our genealogy back in 1999……

…. So anyway, I decided yesterday morning, for no real reason, to begin my journey by covering a number of the back roads instead of taking a more well-beaten track…. and I was not disappointed….. following curvy, two-laned roads with the top dropped on a convertible is a wonderful way to spend a morning….. and with a country ham biscuit & large coffee from one of the local gas stations deftly positioned in my left paw, I set out…..

… it was a beautiful drive…. Passing fields of corn that were only chest-high since the season is so early, I gently coasted mile after mile…… old grain silos, horses, dairy cattle, duckweed encrusted ponds, the smell of wet soil….. it was nice…..

…. I crossed the railroad tracks and stopped opposite from what once was the main street in Philadelphia and took a few photos….. there really weren’t any “parking places”, so I just slid Sylvia into an area off the road in front of what was once their local furniture store…… here is what I saw when I looked to the east….

philadelphia_affair_small.jpg

… and this was the view to the west…… an old ‘main street’ full of broken buildings with trees growing up through them….

philadelphia_shop_small.jpg

…. And to the south?... kudzu climbing old water towers….. there had once been an old factory at the base of the water towers…. It had kept the people of Philadelphia employed years and years ago…. But it closed down ages back and is now in ruin as well….. the whole place is mostly residential now, and I guess everyone just commutes to Athens for work…..

philadelphia_water_towers_small.jpg

…. Once I took the photos of the graves and noted their information for the replacement stone, I wandered around for a while…. Old graveyards are amazing places, really… here is a view to the south….

philadelphia_cemetery_small.jpg

…. Apart from the stones, markers, columns, and plinths, one grave has always stood out to me in that cemetery…. And it stands out for three reasons…. Firstly, the name of the man who is buried there – John Lavender….. it is an unusual name for around here…. and I don’t recall having ever met another “Lavender”….. secondly, the date of his death…. April 1st, 1814….. 1814 is pretty damn early for Tennessee… sure, the land was settled by then and we were already a state, but it is rare to see graves from so early that are still readable…. (And April 1st always makes me wonder if Mr. Lavender perhaps perished while performing some badly-executed ancient April Fool’s day prank)…..

… and lastly, I just can’t get over the design of his tomb and the final inscription that rests upon it….. the tomb itself is made from roughly hewn granite stacked to form… no mortar is visible, and the weight of each block holds the structure together instead….. time - and the elements - has weathered the joints of each rock, and they are ragged where they touch…. Moss and lichen cling to each gouge of the cracking stones…… it really is quite impressive to see…..

john_lavender_2_small.jpg

… but the best part of the whole scene is his actual “marker”…. It is a thin piece of brown slate that lies on top of the tomb…. Cracked straight down the middle, it rests in stark contrast to the rest of the gray rectangle…. and on it is this simple inscription….

…. “John Lavender….. died April 1st, 1814….. age 52”…..

john_lavender_small.jpg

….. how marvelously elegant…. I just cant help but be intrigued by it….

…. I mean, who was this strangely named man?..... why is he the only one buried with such grand pomp in such a small, poor, and nearly forgotten cemetery?

…. That is what I was thinking about yesterday as I drove back to Athens for lunch…..

…. Everyone gets lost in the mists of time eventually, I guess…. Then again, maybe that’s not right at all…. maybe some descendent of his knows his story…. And knows exactly where he is laid to rest….. perhaps the fact that he is not surrounded by hundreds of other “Lavender” gravestones isn’t a sign – that I have wondered – that he died without family around him back in 1814…..

… I don’t really know, and I probably will never find the answer to that question…… but there is something wonderful about his tomb that I just can't put my finger on….

… it sparks the imagination like few others that I have ever seen….

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Replacements.....

…. I’m off today on a mission of mercy – of sorts… one of my cousins – a Khe Sanh vet – has asked me to go on a little field trip out to Philadelphia, Tennessee….

…. One of my ancient Grandfather’s is buried in a small cemetery there and his headstone is in disrepair… he lies on a small hill to the west of the tiny town with his wife and his brother in law….. he and his brother in law served in the same regiment during the War of Northern Agression…. Co. B, 5th Tennessee Infantry, USA…..

… Philadelphia sits on the edge of Monroe and Loudon counties….. and many men from both counties served in the 5th Tennessee….. and they saw much combat in their home state… most notably at Missionary Ridge outside Chattanooga and then during the horrific battle of Chickamauga……

…. So, I am off to take a photo of his tombstone for forwarding to the VA…. And with luck, they will send us a replacement….

….. y’all have fun today, children….. I’m off to Philadelphia…

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Recycled, again...

.... originally posted in 2003, here it is again.... it was first recycled last year........ but, you know?.... it really is worth reading again... and reading slowly.....

... because I just found this post while trolling my archives for stories about Aunt Betty, I'm going to recycle it... it was originally posted on December 7th, 2003...

E.V. Lucas and Betty

A few years ago, my wife's Great Aunt Betty died... She had never married, and had doted on my wife as if she were her Grandmother... When she died, I helped gather up all of her things from her house in Glasgow, and among her many possessions was a large collection of antique books.

Being a lover of books, my Father-in-law gave me one from her collection that I had been leafing through... it is a tiny little thing...a school primer.... entitled "Modern Poetry"... it was printed around 1920... after we finished clearing out her home, we drove back to Montrose in a gloomy mood. We sat around the dinner table that night talking about Betty and her life, and I began turning the pages of that little primer.... and I found this poem... I read it out loud to everyone at the table as we finished our meal... I don't know why I just remembered this.... but, here it is...

Jack

Every village has its Jack, but no village ever had quite so fine a Jack as ours:
So picturesque,
Versatile,
Irresponsible,
Powerful,
Hedonistic,
And lovable a Jack as ours.

How Jack lived none knew, for he rarely did any work.
True, he set nightlines for eels, and invariably caught one,
Often two,
Sometimes three;
While very occasionally he had a day's harvesting or hay-making.
And yet he always found enough money for tobacco,
With a little over for beer, though he was no soaker.

Jack had a wife.
A soulless, savage woman she was, who disapproved voluably of his idle ways.
But the only result was to make him stay out longer.
(Like Rip Van Winkle).

Jack had a big, black beard, and a red shirt, which was made for another.
And no waistcoat.
His boots were somebody else's;
He wore the Doctor's coat,
And the Vicar's trousers.
Personally, I gave him a hat, but it was too small.

Everybody liked Jack.
The Vicar liked him, although he never went to church.
Indeed, he was a cheerful Pagan, with no temptation to break more than the Eighth Commandment, and no ambition as a sinner.
The Curate liked him, although he had no simpering daughters.
The Doctor liked him, although he was never ill.
I liked him too - chiefly because of his perpetual good temper, and his intimacy with Nature, and his capacity for colouring cutties.
The girls liked him, because he brought them the first wild roses and the sweetest honeysuckle;
Also, because he could flatter so outrageously.

But the boys loved him.
They followed him in little bands:
Jack was their hero.
And no wonder, for he could hit a running rabbit with a stone.
And cut them long, straight fishing-poles and equilateral catty forks;
And he always knew of a fresh nest.
Besides, he could make a thousand things with his old pocket-knife.

How good he was a cricket too!
On the long summer evenings he would saunter to the green and watch the lads at play, and by and by someone would offer him a few knocks.
Then the Doctor's coat would be carefully detached, and Jack would spit on his hands, and brandish the bat, and away the ball would go, north and south and east and west, and sometimes bang into the zenith.
For Jack had little science:
Upon each ball he made the same terrific and magnificent onslaught,
Whether half volley, or full pitch, or long hop, or leg break, or off break, or shooter, or yorker.
And when the stumps fell he would cheerfully set them up again, while his white teeth flashed in the recesses of his beard.

The only persons who were not conspicuously fond of Jack were his wife, and the schoolmaster, and the head-keeper.
The schoolmaster had an idea that if Jack were hanged there would be no more truants; His wife would attend the funeral without an extraordinary show of grief; And the head-keeper would mutter, "There's one poacher less."

Jack was quite as much a part of the village as the church spire;
And if any of us lazied along by the river in the dusk of the evening - Waving aside nebulae of gnats,
Turning head quickly at the splash of a jumping fish, Peering where the water chucked over a vanishing water-rat - And saw not Jack's familiar form bending over his lines,
And smelt not his vile shag,
We should feel a loneliness, a vague impression that something is wrong.

For ten years Jack was always the same,
Never growing older,
Or richer,
Or tidier,
Never knowing that we had a certain pride in possessing him.
Then there came a tempter with tales of easily acquired wealth, and Jack went away in his company.

He has never come back,
And now the village is like a man who has lost an eye.
In the gloaming, no slouching figure, with colossal idleness in every line, leans against my garden wall, with prophecies of the morrow's weather;
And those who reviled Jack most wonder now what it was they found fault with.
We feel our bereavement deeply.

The Vicar, I believe, would like to offer public prayer for the return of the wanderer.
And the Doctor, I know, is a little unhinged, and curing people out of pure absence of mind.
For my part, I have hope; and the trousers I discarded last week will not be given away just yet.

E.V. Lucas.

... the world needs more people like E.V. Lucas in it, ladies and gentlemen..... it truly does......

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Brotherhood.....

Silent
Still
Awkward at first
Nervousness comes
You speak
He answers
More silence
Worried
And then, with a nod
All is well
Sometimes it is good to just be
And quiet
Isn’t feared
It is enjoyed

… my little brother came over late last night and I threw a couple of burgers on the grill….. he sipped a beer and watched me as I worked….. his silence struck me and I tried to make conversation…. But it just kept ending in one-word answers, so I stopped…. Eventually, he smiled and said “it is beautiful here”……

…. we both just ended up sitting in the garage and looking out at the trees….

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Debt....

..... alrigtht, Erica.... here you go...... damnation!...


WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
…. A bit yes, and a bit no….. my Grandfather was David Jonathan….. so my Pa chose the David and my Ma picked the Eric…… so that’s me… David Eric…..

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
…. Last week.... I was just watching a video of Nanci Griffith singing…..

DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
…. I’ve been told that I have nice handwriting….

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
… smoked turkey sliced so thin that you can almost see through a piece of it if you catch the light just right…. . then, of course, it must be piled high and thick between two pieces of toast - one piece slathered with mayo & the other with Golden's mustard.... oh yeah....

DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
…. Nope…. Although everyone claims that one of Big Daddy C’s kids is mine….. not guilty, though….. honestly

IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
… sure…. hey, I’d definitely buy me a beer…..

DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
.. hardly ever…

DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
…. Hell, no…. and I can’t believe how many of y’all still have yours……

WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
….. no…. but I will probably end up doing a parachute jump before the end of the year….. can’t say that I’m really looking forward to it though….

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
… the kind of cereal that looks, smells, and tastes just like bacon and fried eggs…. with a side of biscuits & gravy….

DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
… yes… my H.S. Trask’s fit in such a way that they require the laces to be untied if you want to get them off…..besides, not untying your shoes is just plain slovenly… what the hell is wrong with you people?....

DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
…. As compared to what?..... sure, I’m strong, I guess…. Physically, emotionally, and mentally….. but I do get a bit fragile when I’m crying to Nanci Griffith songs…..

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
… Mayfield’s Butter Pecan…. Unless you’re going to make me a milkshake…. then, I’ll have pineapple, please….

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
…. their eyes, most definitely…. and then their mouth… I have a bit of a hearing problem, so in pubs or restaurants, I tend to focus on the mouth of the person speaking to me…. otherwise the background noise breaks up what they’re saying…

RED OR PINK?
… pink…. all day long….

WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
…. my temper…. once I get really, really angry, it is not a pretty thing to see….

WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
…. My Father….

WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
…. a pair of Levi’s blue jeans…. and white New Balance….

WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
…. a bowl of diced-up honeydew melon...

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
…. The sound of a lawnmower mowing my lawn….. and this

IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
…. Midnight blue….

FAVORITE SMELLS?
…. The honeysuckle that is growing over the railing of my deck….. new leather…. a Camel cigarette just before I light it….newly cut grass that I didn’t have to cut….

WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
… my brother…. he’s outside now mowing my lawn…. He called to tell me that he was coming over…..

FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
…. Rugby Union, college football, billiards…..

HAIR COLOR?
… strawberry roan…. See?...

EYE COLOR?
… hazel…. a green & brown mix….

DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
…. I have never needed to wear glasses…..

FAVORITE FOOD?
… my spaghetti after I’ve babied it all day…. ribs, nachos, baked beans, steak…. pasta… and absolutely anything that is covered in cheese….

SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
…. I hate scary movies with a blinding passion……

LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
… “Zulu!” …. I so totally love that movie…. I have to take it out and watch it at least once a quarter for dramatic renewal of purpose in my life…..

WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
… red.....

SUMMER OR WINTER?
… winter….. I’ve spent a lot of time in some really cold places…. and I always managed to find a way to get warm… I’ve also spent a lot of time in really, really hot places…. and I hardly EVER find a way to keep cool….. so yeah, I choose winter…. I’d rather be bundled up than sweating….

HUGS OR KISSES?
… kisses….

FAVORITE DESSERT?
…. Pineapple upside-down cake..

MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
… all memes come here to die… consider my humble blog as the internet’s equivalent of sheol for all meme’s that fate guides here…..

LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
… see answer above….

WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
… “We Were One: Shoulder To Shoulder With The Marines Who Took Fallujah” by O’Donnell…. I highly recommend it, by the way….

WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
… a Big Dog brand logo of their St. Bernard leaping forth from a broken computer monitor with “Byte Me!” typed above his snarling face….

WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT?
…. Fox News… and then I went and logged onto the net…

FAVORITE SOUND?
…. Guitars being fingerpicked by someone who knows what they’re doing…. That little ‘pop’ that the cork makes when it is gently taken out of a bottle of scotch…. Rain….

ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
…. The Stones, obviously….

WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
… Bangladesh is the farthest that you can geographically get from Tennessee….. been there a few times….

DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
…. I can sometimes be remarkably creative…

WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
… Bradley Memorial Hospital, Cleveland, TN….

WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK?
…. Done…..

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Spinach....

.... you know, I hope that they are right.... I truly do.... goodness, what a crew.....

... I'm off to sip my drink and sup upon miniature 4-cheese spinach pastries.... and dream that I was a Highwayman...... hey, it's what's for supper.....

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Things....

… you know, there is something deeply, deeply satisfying about going to the YMCA in a pub-advertising tee shirt to Punish Your Machine and then lighting up an unfiltered Camel afterwards in complete hedonistic celebration of your having survived another session at the hands of their torture devices…… or maybe that’s just me…….

… and I saw all types of patrons today, as well…. hey, at 3pm on a Monday, you get the full menu – appetizers, entrées, salad bar, and dessert ….. crusty, wizened & bent octogenarians dimly pushing against the weights of upright machines….. young, spry, perky little college students pedaling like mad men and women on stationary bikes…. middle-aged business men swatting racquetballs in a flurry of sweat through gritted teeth and bulging veins…. blue-collar workers sweating on treadmills right beside of the local gentry…. and little ole me hiding in the corner doing sit-ups….

…. I couldn’t help but be amazed at the sheer, overwhelming variety of humanity that was laid out before me in my small town’s YMCA…. Fat people, old people, fit people, pretty people, ugly people, rich people, poor people, healthy people, sick people, recovering people, angry people, driven people, egotists…..

…. I did my sit-ups, lifted the weights, and hit the treadmill for a while….. and just as I was catching my breath on one of the weight machines, this old guy walked past….. Izod shirt wet with sweat….. his back hunched from the onslaught of years of work & worry as a Father, Husband, and possibly banker…. white knee-socks pulled taught up to mid-shin…. tanned, veiny-legs poking out from his white tennis-shorts……

… I watched him leave the exercise room…. He moved steadily and slowly – head held high…. He touched the doorknob, gave it a twist, and was gone……

…. I checked everyone else out in the room after he’d passed…. and I found that each soul was lost in their own worlds as they worked … well, with the exception of a few young studs who were trying to catch eyes of a girl or two on the step machines….. hell, I doubt that any of them even noticed that old guy sweating in his Izod shirt….

… I laughed a bit and moved over to start my sit-ups again…

… people just don’t get it, you know?..... everyone looks for all the wrong things……

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HBO....

…. Whomever decided to do a remake of “The Avengers” and cast Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, and Sir Sean Connery in the leading roles needs to be dragged off and shot…. As a matter of fact, the storyline was so monumentally lame that it wouldn’t have mattered WHO you would have cast, the movie would have still sucked giant monkey balls….. but Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman?... gimme a break…..

… hell, the only saving grace through the entire movie was the scene where Connery was beating the shit out of Fiennes with that big metal stick of his… but even that didn't last long.... after five minutes or so, Fiennes got the upper hand and killed Sean…. talk about a letdown? …. yeah, that one was major….

… oh, and I watched “The Weatherman” last night….. and I’ve gotta give props to ole Nick Cage… the man can certainly take a chocolate Frosty upside the head with true grace and bearing….. of course, even watching Nicholas being continuously pelted over and over with various fast-food beverages wasn’t enough to save the picture…..

… indeed, a more dire storyline would be hard to imagine….. and trust me, I’ve got a pretty vivid imagination…..

…. The only good thing about “The Weatherman” was that I saw it on HBO and not in the theatre…. I mean, had I actually paid money from my own pocket to see it, I would have been royally pissed…. As it currently stands, I can almost rationalize the fact that HBO put the “The Weatherman” on primetime for my viewing pleasure…. almost…. But hey, I do have 249 more channels….. so I can’t blame HBO fully…. I could have hit the channel button at any time…..

… actually, I’ve kinda gone off Uma completely now…. she’s still a beauty, but she’s just that wee bit too scrawny and stick-like…. waspish….. but goodness, she was just about perfect way, way back when John Malkovitch “tutored her” in “Dangerous Liaisons” …. Come to think of it, I suspect that movie had a greater impact on me that I realized back then…… Uma’s heaving breasts, John’s malformed grin, groping hands, petticoats, and me a stumbling, fumbling, wide-eyed 16 year old more akin to Thurman’s character than any of the others….. and my goodness, 18 months later and I was at Parris Island becoming a Marine….

… how the time does fly….

… anyway, I seem to have wandered a bit and lost my thought-train….. oh yeah, I remember…. Don’t bother watching “The Weatherman” or “The Avengers”….. even if you like Uma or Nicholas, just trust me…. both of those flicks are wretched…

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Father....

.... for Father's Day, read this........ I certainly liked it..... his father sounds a lot like how mine was...

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Legs......

..... I know that some people hang things for McCartney, but DAMN... there are better fields farther afoot..... right?.....

..... good God, people, do I have to draw y'all a picture?.....

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Speyburn.....

….. well, I’m just back from another lightning raid on the city of Knoxville…. The old place never knew what hit it… I zipped in, grabbed all the loot I was after, and was half-way back to Sylvia before the dinging of the cash registers faded…..

… among a few of my more interesting purchases was a monstrously large bottle of exceedingly cheap single malt Scotch…. Hey, it might not be any good (and I will be sure to let y’all know one way or the other.. ), but the way I looked at it, hell, I’d have given 20 bucks just for the bottle even if it’d been empty….. Speyburn, it is called…. And the bottle?.... it’s a 1.75 liter behemoth, friends….. I mean, just check this bad boy out…..

speyburn_small.jpg

….. oh, and I also finally managed to track down the cologne that The Missus likes for me to wear….. good God Almighty! …. I had no idea that it was so damn thin on the ground here in the rustic, scenic, provincial backwater that I live in…. but after hitting every shop in Chattanooga and coming up with nothing, I finally managed to track it down in the Giganto-Dillards that they have up in Knoxville….

…. So after suffering through the ordeal of smelling like soap and shampoo for the past month, I am now happy to report that I am right back to smelling the God always intended for me to smell…. sell, that’s what The Missus is forever saying, and she’s always right.….

…. Now that I’m smelling good, I suppose that I should break into that bottle of Speyburn and see if I can find a piece of patio furniture to hold down…… after all, after having spent the last few evenings creating toe-curlingly good meals in the compound’s kitchen, I’ve been let off the hook this evening….. indeed, after evening meals consisting of fillet steak & roasted potatoes, pot roast, and grilled ribs & baked beans, tonight’s gnoshfest has been requested – Gorton’s fish sticks and Heinz beans left plain……. Not exactly my idea of a good time, no, but it certainly breaks the latest trend of spending hours working on a meal…..

… actually, I’m pretty sure that it’ll still be yummy… just on a different level….

....You gotta feed your inner-child once in a while, I reckon…..

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Jewels....

… good morning, rubberneckers…. I trust that you guys are enjoying another fine Friday…. As for me?... fuggeddaboutit…. I have my silk goomba shirt all pressed and Sylvia already has her top down….. and The Missus & I are anxiously awaiting the Chosen Hour for a quick trip to Chattanooga…. For, lo, gentle peeps, there is a jewelrysmith 60 miles south of me who is poised, ready, and quivering in the anticipation of our arrival….. hell yeah, brothers and sisters, it is Jewelry Time…..

.. in other news?..... you know, I am completely shocked AND stunned at the amount of people who are blogging about still having their tonsils… good God, people…. don’t y’all realize that just isn’t safe?..... get thee hence to a doctor who owns a sharp scalpel before y’all’s heads fall off…. what the hell is the matter with you people?....

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Casting....

…. I read with great pleasure this morning the story of GuyK’s continuing fishing odyssey…. and I left him a comment that pretty much said “you catch more fish in a single day than I have in my entire life.. “…..

… the truth is, I have never been much of a fisherman…. Personally, I blame my Father… he was a man of constant activity – always a flurry of motion – and the idea of sitting in the shade of a sycamore near some grassy creek-bank just didn’t do it for him….. sure, like any young hillbilly, I had lots of “fishing trips” out with my Dad….. but usually after sitting by the creek for twenty minutes and not even getting a nibble, we’d both get bored and end up making spears from saplings or skipping stones instead…… the whole “sitting and waiting” thing just wasn’t our style…..

… but now?... boys and girls, just let me tell you, I can sit and wait for DAYS…. I have hit my mellow stride with the full weight of a truly dedicated mind…. but back then, well, we were both just too easily distracted…..

…. As an adult I fared a bit better in the fishing department…. I’ve caught halibut and ling cod in the Bering Sea…. shark and sea bass in the Gulf of Mexico… rainbow trout and pike by the bucketful in pristine Alaskan lakes…. and bream, bluegill, crappie, and catfish from rivers and ponds all over Tennessee…… but I still don’t consider myself much of a fisherman….. it isn’t something that I actively seek out as a hobby….

…. having said that, there are a few “catches” that I will always remember….. fishing is funny that way, I guess….. like those “perfect” golf shots that you hit once per 18 holes……

…. I hooked a baby bluegill once when I was about 8 years old…. It wasn’t much bigger than a silver dollar, but I was thrilled….. I wrote about it once a long time ago… I will never forget that catch….

…. another time I was fishing off The Kuluk Clipper out in the Bering Sea and hooked a cod while trying for halibut….. I remember that when I reeled it in it was already dead from the change in pressure – me having hooked it while it was so deep in the water….. the poor beast’s eyes had popped from their sockets and its stomach was poking out of its mouth…..a helluva way to go, for sure….

…. I remember hooking a hellbender while fishing in the Tellico River…. Damn thing scared the bejesus out of me when I reached down to pick it up….. 12 inches long with beady little eyes….

…. I think that you have to have a certain mindset to truly be a fisherman… it’s not like hunting, really….. for with every cast of your line, there is hope….. and with every twist of the reel’s handle, there is anticipation….. and that is the thing, you know?..... there is an overwhelming beauty in having the capacity to be so hopeful, optimistic, and unswerving… and so incredibly steadfast as to keep on casting….. cast after cast……

…. I don’t have that…. but I do admire it….

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Swimming....

…. Just down the road from my quiet neighborhood, there is an area that has been claimed by a local population of beavers……timid creatures though they are, they chose to build their lodge near the side of a road I often travel….. so even though they are quite shy, I still randomly catch glimpses of them as they go about their daily beavering…

… now the fellow who owns the land that the beavers squatted also keeps swine…. I see these occasionally too…. usually knee-deep in the muddy backwaters of the stream that the beavers dammed up….

… anyway, like I said, that man has a few hogs in there with the beavers…. And even though I hesitate to call them ‘his’ beavers – as I am not sure of the properties of ownership when wildlife is concerned (which, incidentally, is a great question now that I think of it!) – they are definitely “his” pigs….

… so today as I was driving to the gym, what did I happen to see?.... three muddy piglets swimming around with two big beavers….. right out in the middle of the little pond that those beavers had created….

… I swear, people, you can’t make this shit up…. I mean, I had no idea that pigs could even swim…. And what were they doing out there with the beavers?... were they chasing them?... just curious?... wanting to be friends?.... the scene, while surreal, certainly seemed peaceful enough… but then again, how exactly do you tell if a half-submerged beaver is behaving aggressively?.... or a half-way sunken, dog-paddling piglet, for that matter!?..... do beavers ever attack anything?.... were the pigs looking at the beavers and thinking, “Hey!.. a hot meal!... let’s catch one!” ?.....

…. Goodness, I just don’t know…. but hey, if you look hard enough and long enough?... you’ll see that the world is full of some pretty strange shit….

.... hell, I'm sure amazed every day....

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Mental....

… lately, two songs have been running through my brain nearly non-stop…. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why…..

…. Both are wonderfully poetic works by Tom Waits and their messages are totally divergent.. the first is “Burma Shave”…. Check this out….

And with her knees up on the glove compartment
She took out her barrettes,
And her hair spilled out like rootbeer
And she popped her gum and arched her back

…. I just love that…..

…. the second song is “Eggs & Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)” ….

…. The line that keeps whistling through my lips when I least expect it?...

It's a graveyard charade, it's a late shift masquerade
And it's two for a quarter, a dime for a dance
Woolworth rhinestone diamond earrings and a sideways glance

… a “sideways glance”…. I love it…..

… the bad part is, of course, that The Missus has told me that if I whistle, hum, or sing anymore parts to those songs within earshot of her she’ll clobber me with a frying pan……

… I suspect that it is time for me to grab some coffee and hit the patio….. lest I end up dented somehow and find myself blaming Tom Waits….

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Intrinsic.....

…. my little brother appeared last night out of the blue and we spent the evening shooting pool in the garage…. I managed to hold my own until two of my cousins spun into the driveway…

… they are both from a side of the family which is renowned across the entirety of Hillbilly Country for their particular form of rambunctious nature….

…. their grandfather was a notorious bootlegger, moonshiner, and all-around cutthroat…. and he enjoyed the pleasure of marrying my Great Aunt Ruby (my Mother’s Father’s sister) back in the day… and between the two of them, they managed to raise a passel of kids way back in the knob-country who were hell on wheels during the 60s and 70s….. and now the next generation is visiting me for drinks and billiards…..

… I tell you, boys and girls, it was quite a night….. hell, it is always a good time when everyone breaks out their pocket knives and begins comparing knifing scars between shots (pool shots & nips of moonshine)…..

… so after whipping my tail sorely on my own table for four hours, they disappeared off into the East Tennessee darkness just as quickly as they had arrived….. with my little brother in hot pursuit for destinations unknown….

…. Evidently they were involved in some sort of boogie-dancing competition somewhere around 1:15AM in a local bar that had a live band…. and actually won….

… anyway, as I was saying, their branch of the family is known far and wide for their tempers and their all-purpose, overwhelming orneriness while my side of the family are held as staunch, bible-toting, God-Fearing saints….. so in the course of chatting with them, I happened to ask one of them about their meanness…. And to my shock, they said that all of their intrinsic viciousness was handed down from their Grandma’s side and not their Grandpa’s!!!.... oh!.... the slander!.... the turpitude! … the sheer gall to point their bony, genealogical fingers at my Grandpa’s side!...... even after I gave them free drinks!.....

… just goes to show you, I guess….. not sure what, but something….. and besides, I know that they’re lying….. hell, I aint got a single, solitary mean bone in my entire body…..

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Roll.....

.... I hate death..... not for the one who is checking out, really, but for those who are left behind.......

.... so tonight is a Jimmy Buffett night.... most definitely..... it has been far too long since I've had an evening filled with Buffett music.....

.... and if you choose to listen to this song, well, the last verse just kicks it for me.....

..... there is a cowboy in the jungle.....

Alone on a midnight passage
I can count the falling stars
While the Southern Cross and the sattellites,
They remind me of where we are

Spinning around in circles,
Living it day to day,
And still, 24 hours - maybe sixty good years -
It's really not that long a'stay

We gotta roll with the punches
Learn to play all of our hunches
Make the best of whatever comes your way
Forget that blind ambition
And learn to trust your intiuition
Plowin' straight ahead, come what may.

... 73 years is not enough for you, my friend...... I'm sorry....

... you were an inspiration... and one helluva man...

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Toothless....

... for those of you who are wondering what I am doing on this fine, humid, sunsoaked evening, my cat is over at Elisson's demonstrating.....

... and in other news, the local spider population around here is now on a rather marked decline... I say this since a fully-grown lizard of some sorts was just spotted running out from under the blogroom table with a hairy spiderleg hanging out of his toothless maw.....

... I definitely need more patio time this evening.....

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Blood....

.... I think I'm going to take up boxing as a hobby......

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Size....

… you know, spiders are curious things……size doesn’t seem to matter to them at all….

… a few days ago when I was grilling those lamb chops in the garage, I noticed a fairly large Carolina Wolf Spider scurrying around…. his body was about the size of a peanut… and with his legs splayed out, he was nearly as big around as a tennis ball….. covered with bristly hairs, he looked like quite the cockroach-catcher as he nipped from the grill to one of the legs of the pool table….

… I stood there watching him for probably five minutes…. He was on the hunt and I couldn’t help but wonder what his victims might feel as they saw him approaching at a dead run….

… but then, just after I had turned the lamb fillets on the grill, he stumbled…..

.. in the process of ducking from one leg of the pool table to the other, he tripped…. It just didn’t seem right, so I knelt down and looked a bit closer….

.. he was struggling…. rolling…. and then I saw the reason…..

…. The pool table is sitting on small, thin slats of wood….. each of the six legs were shimmed for levelness when it was first set up….. and that space between the large legs and the tiny stacks of shims is home to predators…..

… common house spiders, to be exact…. Miniscule little beasts… I’ve mentioned them many times here, as they are seemingly everywhere… even living their lives pressed betwixt the screens and glass of my blogroom window…. But as the grill smoked, the meat sizzled, and I looked on, a tiny spider slid down a strand of his web towards Mr. Wolf Spider…… for demonstration’s sake, just imagine a housecat stalking an elephant…… that is what they looked like…..

… I laughed out loud as the scene unfolded….. for in my mind, that little guy was toast…..

…. But I was wrong… very, very wrong…..

… the little spider touched a long, besieged leg… and then backed away a few inches….. and the job was done in less than 30 seconds….

…. At first, it slowed….. and then it slowed again… until finally there was no movement at all…. and as if were no big deal that David had just slew Goliath, the house spider reeled his victim in…. up and up… until the meal was a good three inches off of the concrete…

…. After that, I really don’t know what happened…. I checked the chops, and they were done…. So I headed inside and had my own dinner - letting the spider have his way with his……

… I walked outside just now and saw his dried husk resting beneath the pool table….

… there is wisdom there, I guess….. some sort of lesson…. The Circle Of Life… Bravado & Show vs. Action…. Never Underestimate The Little Guy?......
..... Then again, maybe I just need to buy some pesticide……

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References....

…. Happy Monday, rubberneckers….. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m hungry…. and indeed, my humble home is currently filled with wafting, telltale aromas of garlic, onions, and new potatoes roasting slowly in the oven…..

…. the lamb cutlets are happily sitting in a small dish of Worcestershire sauce in the fridge – anxiously awaiting a trip to the garage and the flames of the grill….. the yellow squash is pensive, however…. meekly sulking in a bag full of cornmeal, salt, and crushed black pepper… (it only gets truly excited once I start the frying pan’s vegetable oil steaming..) ….

.. there is salad, too…. but I don’t think it’ll be needed tonight….. we don’t like overkill around these parts…… so dinner tonight shall be the Olde British Ideal (and also a wink & a nod to a lesser-known sexual reference), the marvelous “Meat and Two Veg”….

.. my goodness, children…. I hope that y’all’s dinners are as equally as tasty as mine… lamb, potatoes, and squash, oh my…. Hillbilly fusion cuisine, friends and neighbors…..

… hey, it’s hard to have fun in a place like this, but I do so try my very hardest…..

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Flakes....

…. I applied the first coat of the textured paint to the bathroom today…. and I have not yet decided whether I should repaint tomorrow, call in a professional, or just leave it looking like the insides of one of those derelict houses you see on cheesy crime dramas where that one guy is chewing on the end of his pencil and his partner is drawing a line around the recently deceased with a big hunk of white chalk…..

… see, there must be a trick to decorating walls with paint that is impregnated with billions of itty bitty granite pieces…. And before you ask, yes, I read the directions….. and the geriatric guy at Lowes who sold me the paint said I’d be ‘in like Flynn in no time!”… whatever the hell that means… but I do expect that old Flynn, once you get to know him, is a bastard of the highest order…. And a lying bastard, at that….

… oh, and there is also an added bonus to using uberexpensive granite-infused paint…. Oh yeah, fancy yourself as one of those intrepid Do-It-Yourselfers?... a master home decorator who never spills a drop of paint, or spatters even the smallest amount on anything that isn’t supposed to be painted?..... well, this here definitely aint the paint for you, friend….. indeed, much like a drunken hillbilly pulling away from his favorite fishing hole in his souped-up CJ-5 after having a bad day with the bass and too many brewskies, the paint roller kicks up a cloud of dust…except that the “dust” isn’t really “dust”…. No, you guessed it… it flicks millions of teeny, paint-covered granite marbles everywhere…. And those little babies stick when they land….

… but hey, around these parts we continually seek the ever-elusive Silver Lining that everyone has read stories about…… so the upside of today’s home improvement related frolic is that after two hours of painting, I happened to catch a wee glimpse of myself in the mirror…. and Aha!... I was blue!..... well, mostly…..

… now, as a fellow who has lived with being spotted his entire life, I am used to the mottled, grainy color of my freckled skin…. For it is a dazzling mix of orange, red, brown, sand, pink, etc….. but accidentally looking up and finding oneself suddenly covered in BLUE freckles was a remarkably unique experience…. Not bad, per se….. but not good either….. definitely something new, though…. And hey, new is always fun and exciting, no?....

… anyway, I’m tired now… and I’m off to enjoy a gin and tonic before bed….. I will tell you something, though….. I now know why there were no freckled Smurfs back in the 80s….. my goodness…. anything that is redheaded and covered in blue spots is either deathly sick with some hideous malady, or it needs to be aggressively euthanized for merely being so godawful ugly……

.. luckily, I had lots of warm, soapy water…. So all is well now….. I’m back to my usual pinkish hue…..

.. y’all have a good night…. and remember, cans of paint with granite granules = bad…… you guys have been warned…..

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Waiting.....

…. Well, I am happy to inform you fine, gentle people that the question of the “glued mirror” has been conquered…. ( I know that you guys were at your wit’s ends worrying – and I am sorry that I made y’all wait so long)…. Oh, and thanks for all the helpful tips, by the way…. you guys are wonderful……

…. But in the end?..... yeah, I bailed….. sure, sure, I took the weak-willed route and decided to just tape around it and paint the wall as best I can…… but it should look alright just as long as I never break the mirror in a fit of passionate angst or anything….. and tomorrow is The Day, incidentally….. so as the Sun rises in the morning, the area around the mirror will get painted….. and hey, with any luck, it should look just grand… like they say of old, rubberneckers, we do live in hope…….

…. Also, I opened my special Bowmore this evening and I have not been disappointed….. the ‘Dawn’ is truly remarkable….. smoky and with a bit of iodine and citrus….. it truly is a beautiful malt…. and one well worth savoring……

… the thunderstorms missed us again today, in case you were wondering… which is a pity, really…… as we certainly do need the moisture…. all light and thunder and no action, once again……

… ahhhh, but tomorrow is another day….. so we’ll wait and see how that pans out……

… until then, I am off to sip my malt and ponder just what I should post at Brother Elisson’s house while he is away vacationing in Cancun……..

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Trees.....

….. a row of thunderstorms have skirted the house today from both the North and the South, missing us each time….. but even with the occasional burst of thunder, we have been without rain…. Lightning and noise, yes…. but no storm…..

… I sat out on the patio while The Missus lay swinging in the hammock during most of the fireworks…..

…. There is a feeling that is unmistakable when a summer storm is coming….. you can almost smell the approach of rain… almost feel the warm air as it tries to stick to your skin…..

… and the trees too, they give up…. surrender…. While you watch them, their leaves curl slightly and then boost their tips skywards…. And when the swirling updrafts catch them as the storm begins, their green leaves invert themselves and show their silvery underbellies……

….. goodness…. Trees are supposed to be strong…. The Ultimate Metaphors, so to speak….. the mighty oak, the majestic elm, the tenacious hickory…. And the run-and-hide, beg-for-mercy, absolutely pussified poplar…….

… I don’t know…. hell, sometimes I get confused…. But sitting and watching that storm-that-never-was this evening, I could not help but hold those trees in contempt….. even as I sat under the shade of the weakling dogwoods and sipped my drink…..

…. Storms are supposed to be greeted…. not given in to…… isn’t that the point?......

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