30th.....

… (written into my trusty old Moleskin last night in the dark…)

…. another string of storms is blowing through right now…… and they are just that tiny bit closer to us than the past day’s were….. the result was not only that the rains is here, which is good, but also that the power has been knocked out for most of the evening….. so I am writing this on paper….

…. my goodness…. In this day and age, it is such an odd feeling for a modern house to suddenly be without power… lamps, ceiling fans, and even the LEDs of VCRs and DVD players cease their glowing and allow the subtle natural light of overcast skies and the angry yellows & fierce whites of lightning strikes to take their place in illumination…..

… sounds, too, are new as the electric buzz of every appliance trails off with a sigh…. thunder, rain, wind in the leaves outside, pages of a book being turned, the pulling of a cork, liquid splashing down into the bottom of a glass…..

…. The water of Mother Nature is viewed with a generous quantity of the Water of Life…. in the dark…..

…. Its certainly a different world when the power is lost….

Read the Bullshit »

Unconnected....

…. I wonder what the hell was going through Burt Lancaster’s mind when he accepted the role of Dr. Moreau in “The Island of Dr. Moreau”….

… if you ever want to rent a phone to take with you on an overseas trip, you’ll need to provide most cellular providers with proof of identity, copies of the front & back of your major credit card, a signed 8-page document that you have to print out yourself and fax back to them, three pints of blood, one kidney, and three hundred American dollars as a deposit…. just trust me....

… black cats are like the “blondes” of the cat-world…

…. The Bravo channel should be banned from every household on the planet immediately….

…. Hummingbirds are mean…. and they do not like to share…. At all….

Read the Bullshit »

Nothing...

... ladies and gentlemen, I give you a short clip from "Coupling" so that I dont have to actually come up with true content here tonight......

... I hope that y'all enjoy.... I certainly did...

..... there is a deeply strange wisdom in what that young paranoid fella had to say....

.... goodnight....

Read the Bullshit »

Baseball....

…. Back when I was a kid, I loved the game of baseball…. and from the ages of 7 to 13, I was a catcher for our little league team, the “Dodgers” …. Looking back, I find it pretty funny that a small town in Tennessee with a population of less than 5000 had little league teams named after organizations in New York City, Los Angeles, and St. Louis…..

… our arch-rivals were the “Yankees”, of course…. coached by my best friend William’s father, they whipped the tar out of us with a dizzying regularity for years…. My team was coached by my Uncle Bob, a lifelong farmer who tried his best to instill his passion for The Game into us children….and for the most part, he did….

…. I remember idolizing Steve Sax and Fernando Valenzuela…. And absolutely worshipping Mike Scioscia…. He was my idol…..

… good God…. The way that he could block the plate was both awe-inspiring and suicidal… and Uncle Bob made sure that we followed our namesake’s team all season long…. I remember getting picked up & dusted off by the umpire after pulling a Mike Scioscia during our all-star game in Riceville when I was 13…. I tagged him out, but the way he rung my bell was one for the ages….that was in the sixth inning of a double-header that I had caught that day….. in my own scrawny little way, I WAS Mike when I put that sweat-soaked mask on my face…..

…. I actually watched the game where Chili Davis ran over Mike (that they talk about in his wikipedia article)…. And I was sitting on the floor of my parent’s home glued to the television when he hit that homerun off of Dwight Gooden in the 1988 National League Championship……

… but now, well, I haven’t watched a baseball game in years…. Sure, I have stopped for ten minutes or so while channel-surfing or caught the ESPN highlights…. but I’ve not sat through one all the way from start to finish in probably nearly twenty years…

… time ticks, I guess…. And passion fades….

… I bring this up only because of something that my Mother told me yesterday over the phone….. she’d called just to say hello and mentioned that one of my little cousins had spent the day with her….. I said, “that is great that he wanted to spend the day with you…. was he much trouble?”…. “no”, she laughed, “I hardly knew that he was here….. he just turned on the baseball game and sat there all afternoon watching them play…”

….. and I’ve been thinking about what she said ever since….

Read the Bullshit »

Rinse....

…. A fierce rain thundered through this morning and washed the world clean…. everything outside had been hazy before – bleached & discolored and coated with a fine dust of drought…. and now all of the leaves are green and shiny again….. even the hummingbirds are clambering for position at the feeder with a renewed vigor and violence….. my goodness, what a difference a little water can make, eh?….

…. the weatherman predicts scattered thunderstorms for the next few days…. I hope he is right….. about the rain, that is, not the thunder…

…. The front porch has been left positively steamy from the sunshine drying up the puddles… bake, broil, and steam….. rinse, repeat..... a typical Southern summer……

… thank God for air-conditioning……

Read the Bullshit »

Change.....

… I nipped into town today to cash in some coins that I had laying around and to see if anything on the grocery aisles looked interesting for dinner…. I was disappointed in the first instance (regarding the coinage) and am happy to report that the choice of tonight’s victuals will be homemade burritos…. Did you realize that those conniving vultures charge you a dime on the dollar to turn your change into folding-money?... oh yeah, they surely do…… I tell you, people rob you right, left, and center these days….

… and the pull?.... $162.17…. mercy… it’s a good thing that I’ve been hitting the gym at a fairly regular pace…. Otherwise, hell, I’d have never been able to lug that much copper & zinc across the parking lot……

… anyway, today has been a wonderful day and I can hardly wait for the evening to settle in… days are like that sometimes, you know.....

… oh, and that reminds me…. I have a wee vacation coming up shortly….. I’ll be touring Belgium, Luxembourg, and southwestern Germany from the 5th to the 16th of September with the Missus, the In-Laws, and Uncle Ian…… so if anyone would like to guestpost here while I’m off sipping Stella & gazing at Rubens' artwork, feel free to step right up…. otherwise, well, I will have to let this little light of the blogosphere go dark for awhile until I return….

… so, what say you, rubberneckers?.... care to help a fellow traveler out when he’s in a bind?...... lest I blodge inebriated from somewhere in darkest Belgium via a shaky European barroom connection?......

Read the Bullshit »

Fluids....

…. This morning finds The Missus and I skirting northwards to Knoxville….. it’s time (after 15,000 miles) for Sylvia to have all of her various juices measured, changed, and refilled by the tender hands of the Audi dealership’s elegantly-smocked technicians….

… and as glorious fate would have it, there is an excellent chop-house just across Kingston Pike from the dealership that specializes in lamb chops & steaks… so while my little white buggy is getting her servicing, I hope to enjoy the flame-kissed flesh of a few baby mammals while I wait….

… it’s funny, really….. while Sylvia is having her needs attended to and her necessary fluids checked, I will be 100 yards away doing pretty much the same thing…. except with mint sauce, Newcastle ale, and grease instead of engine oil & windshield cleaner….

… I wonder what it all means when viewed through the lens of this post?....

Read the Bullshit »

Alphabetized....

…. I have been reading with great pleasure about the new adventure that Holder & Richard’s son has just set out on… and I must say that I am very happy to see that he is passing through Marine Corps boot camp with flying colors… in his latest note home he is talking about his time at the rifle range… it certainly twangs the memory, folks…. especially since I’ve laid in the same sand as he… and that little experience, among many, many more things will make him my brother in a few weeks…..

… so, as is my wont these days, I’ve been digging through the dusty corridors of my graying-noggin for boot camp stories…

… last night I found an old James Taylor song that took me straight back to Parris Island and platoon 3072…. which, as luck would have it, is the same platoon in 3rd Battalion that Holder & Richard’s son is in…. albeit separated by 17 years….

…. It truly is funny what you remember when looking back over the span of nearly two decades…..at the time, of course, I was stressed, terrified, exhausted, sore, baked, sweaty, and completely out of my element… a scrawny, 17-year old freckled farmboy who probably weighed 145lbs soaking wet & who got sunburned at the drop of a hat….. but at other times – like now – I can see the humor, fun, frivolity, comradeship, and entertainment of that long ago June, July, and August…

… I also remember that it was one of the first times that I was absolutely and completely alphabetized….

…. I was bunked – on the top bunk – with a Slabberkorn below me and Ryan and Shaver to my left.... and Smith and Stokes to my right…. and a few bunk beds away lay a North Carolina boy named Tart….

…. I remember him as having large, round blue-eyes…. and a pasty face that looked just that wee bit too swollen for the rest of his body…. and full lips that gave his shaved-headed visage an almost cherubic expression….. but what I remember most is the night that I heard him singing…..

…. We were berthed on the top floor of an old red-brick building across the quarterdeck from the 3rd Bn chowhall….. I had managed to dodge the roaming firewatch, slip down from my rack, and was taking a piss out of the second-story window when I first heard him….. (no one dared to approach the heads after light’s out… and we’d been forced to drink three canteens of water just before bed…so hey, you gotta do what you gotta do)….

.... I’d just eased my y-fronts down and was in mid-flow when he began…. And at first, it scared the hell out of me…. it was low and soft, but he was in tune…. And by the time I’d made it back to my rack, I was enthralled by his singing… everyone else was asleep except for he, I, and the firewatch, I suppose, and I listened until his song was through and we both fell asleep….

… I tracked him down a few years ago via telephone and told him about me hearing him singing…. We laughed for a bit, but I think he was slightly embarrassed….. he’s now a state trooper somewhere in the wilds of deepest North Carolina, and I guess he has a tough-guy attitude to keep up with….. but for me, I don’t see it that way at all…… actually, looking back now, it was probably one of the most human things that I remember from my little vacation on Parris Island…... it was a moment of absolute honesty, terrible longing, and raw hope… all wrapped up in a beautiful song…. which, at the time, I am amazed that he could muster it – even in the alone-time darkness of a 2am squad bay....

…. It’s a bit like those John Prine lyrics from “Donald & Lydia” … “bunk beds, shaved heads, Saturday night….. a warehouse of strangers with 60-watt lights..” ……

….. anyway, I am rambling now…. and it is time for me to go and get dinner started…….. so I will leave you with the song that Recruit Tart was singing the night that I heard him…. A night that gave me a memory – a gift - that I’ll take with me everywhere I go…. forever….

Read the Bullshit »

Choosing....

…. There is sadness in life, and then there is true tragedy…. Mind-strangling, life-crushing, soul-bruising tragedy…. And no, I’m not talking about having your home swept down the Mississippi in some Huricane-induced mudslide….. I’m talking about music…..

…. Around here?.... well, it is usually pretty thin on the ground….. but tonight I have allowed myself to be swept into a deep, deep, dark & gloomy depression……

… see, whilst scouting YouTube for blogfodder, I chanced to find a few of the wonderful oldies…. James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Jim Croce….. and as I listened to tune after blissful tune, it suddenly occurred to me that the only song of EITHER musician’s that I had bothered to learn to play was “Roller Derby Queen” by Mr. Croce…..

…. Sweet lord, the humanity…..

…. And for those of you who are uninitiated in just how shameful it is to not learn “Time in a Bottle” (and no, that's not Jim, but it is a damn good version) and to choose “Roller Derby Queen” instead, just listen to ole Jim singing it here….

… yes, I know… it is a catchy tune….. but looking back now, I really wish that I’d spent the time learning “Operatorinstead…..

…. But hey, you live and learn….. that’s just the way that the cookie bounces…..

Read the Bullshit »

Class....

…. Good morning, rubberneckers…. I hope that you are all well…. as for me, a day of simple pleasures lays fruitfully in store…. Mainly, well, Krystal chili-cheese pups….. sure, it’s not exactly Beef Wellington, but they far make up for their lack of class with their ease of purchase and their sheer yumminess…..

… also, I woke up this morning with a phrase from one of my favorite movie scenes of all time running through my bed-haired noggin….. Captain Weaver’s misinformed lines from Lonesome Dove….

… “I’m requisitioning that hoss…” …. Yeah, right

… check this out…

… I must have watched that movie 100 times… and I’m still undecided over which character I enjoy most… Augustus or Woodrow

… anyway, I’m off to town for some miniature hotdogs and a backrub…. Y’all have a nice day, now, hear?...

Read the Bullshit »

Spirit....

…. I enjoyed the wonderful pleasure of hosting my Mother and Brother over this afternoon for a sampling of my freshly-baked steak pie….. and I do believe that they enjoyed it…. was it up to Edinburgh pub quality?... no, of course not….. but for around my neck of the woods, well, it’s just about as good as you’re going to find…. True rednecks, after all, are horribly allergic to filo pastry and immediately slip into anaphylactic comas when attempting to cook with the stuff….. so I guess that means I’ve slipped a bit from my upbringing….. but hey, life is growth…. so there is that goin’ for me….

…. In other news, still no word from Anthony Bourdain about him coming down to Helen for the Southeastern Writer’s Conference for a sampling of Velociman’s Chatham Artillery Punch….. and even though it didn’t bounce, I suspect that I might have used an email address that he doesn’t check very often or something…. Then again, he might have read “Straight White Guy” in the To: Field and deleted it immediately thinking it was spam…..

… anyway, I’ve spent most of the afternoon reading about the 1536 Inca uprising in Peru and have become quite fascinated….and in the course of my research, I noticed that the emerald-colored hummingbird that has been frequenting the feeder on my front porch looks almost exactly like the artist’s interpretations of one of Quizo Yupanqui’s fancy headdresses… the colors, that is, not the shape….

….. one thing more, though, before I go for the evening….. Francisco Pizarro may have been a complete and total bastard, but at he was one hardcore sumbitch….. reports of his assassination are sketchy, but aged somewhere between 65 and 70, he still managed to kill two (perhaps three) of his would-be assassins with his sword before being overcome and stabbed by multiple bad guys…. and ultimately popping his clogs a while later from complications of his being gigged.....

…. Not bad, eh?..... look, friends, I don’t care who you are – be you a conqueror of lands or a prize-winning cage fighter – tapping out like that is a sign of you being a consummate badass… I sure hope that I can swing my rapier with such vigor when I’m pushing 65……

Read the Bullshit »

Kudzu....

…. Driving into town yesterday to get my fortnightly haircut, I had to slow nearly to a crawl to let a large whitetail doe and her twin fawns cross the road in front of me…. I was shocked to see then, initially, as my appointment with the Eva was scheduled for noon…. it’s always slightly odd to see deer at midday around here…..

… they crossed the county road and paralleled the CSX railroad tracks for about three hundred yards before reaching a thick stand of pines that dripped with kudzu… it was like watching those guys go through that portal in Stargate…. The kudzu shimmered in the stifling heat … the leaves were reflecting part of the sunshine and it almost made them glow… and as each of the deer trotted to within ten feet of the clump of trees, they’d leap into the wall of vines and disappear….

.. it was beautiful and mesmerizing at the same time…. like a magic trick or some kind of slight of hand…..

… my goodness…. How my ancestors managed to whip the Indians around here, I’ll never know…. the undergrowth in the woods is nearly impassable in mid-summer… it is a beast that we struggle against as it steadily encroaches on my house from three sides… trying to imagine what it was like 300 years ago just boggles my mind….. I suspect that there was common treachery on a grandiose scale… especially since I doubt that my ancestors were even half the warriors in this terrain that the Cherokees were…..

… and yet, here we are…. driving along on paved roads, crossing intercontinental railroad tracks, and watching a family of whitetail scamper towards their watering hole on a blistering summer day….

… ahhh, hell, I guess I’m just amazed sometimes at how I view change…. It catches me napping sometimes and smacks me back awake….

…. no matter how much we alter everything around us, it is always nature that truly abides…. and that, rubberneckers, is just the way that it is....

Read the Bullshit »

Votin'.....

.. by the way, gentle readers, please go here and vote for our buddy Richard ala Shadowscope…….. he has a damn good entry…… and as it stands now, he is lagging a bit…….

…. Read’em all and then vote….. he’s entry number 9, by the way…..

…. And as that Bartle's and James' guy said back in the 80s, “thank you for your support”……

Read the Bullshit »

Glenn....

.. you know, I have a million stories…. I have lots of stories…… lots…. But I don’t feel like telling a single one of them….. not tonight, anyway…..

…. I suppose that I could talk about the time that I watched a killer whale follow our fishing boat out of harbor and out into the Bering Sea….. or I could talk about cutting my finger with a pocket knife when I was five…… or maybe I could talk about what I had for lunch today……

… but no…. not tonight….. tonight I’m going to slip The Right Stuff into the DVD player and wish that I was Scott Glenn ….. hey, we all have heroes……

Read the Bullshit »

Absent....

… you know, I’m starting to worry about Brother Rube… hell, he left to go do some drinking on the 7th and still ain’t back…. I mean, sure, I know he likes to get in his cups, but a 9-day bender is a bit much, no?....

... no one should go out on a drunk for more than four days, it just isn't civilized.....

... oh, and since I haven't had a chance to dedicate it in a while, I guess I should point this song towards Brother Velociman.... I've heard he's a Dean Martin fan...... hell, for all I know, he is on a 15-DAY bender.... bender being the operative word, of course....

... you two need to get back in the allegorical saddle.... don't you guys leave me, you bastards.....

Read the Bullshit »

Minions....

… East Tennessee is absolutely smoldering this fine evening…. the weatherman forecast a high of 97, but the little digital thermometer on Sylvia’s dash read 106 when she and I skidded towards town for a fried-fish lunch…. So either way, believe whom you will… but rest in this fact, children, it be HOT… hell, I even broke out in a fairly juicy sweat just going out to check the mailbox….

.... Sure, I’m not exactly the fittest tool in the box, I know, but when a man only walks 200 feet and is drenched, well, there’s something bad goin’ on…

… anyway, all this heat and discomfort has caused me to begin pondering upon Beelzebub and all his hellish, soot-encrusted minions…. Indeed, I’ve spent the better part of the afternoon alternating myself between watering the lawn/deck/porch/patio, and then running inside, plopping down next to the nearest air conditioner vent, and furiously scouring wikipedia for information on whether all of this ‘dog days’ hookie is some sort of signal of an upcoming overrunning of us all by Hades’ inhabitants….

… so far, well, I haven’t found anything… but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it aint a sign of impending doom!...

…. So y’all be careful out there, rubberneckers…. I’ll keep you informed in case I find out any pertinent information…

… I’m off to force some ice, gin, and chilled tonic water down my gizzard before I spontaneously combust… hey, it’s good for you… I heard that guy talking about body-core temperatures and stuff on Survivorman the other day….

Read the Bullshit »

Screeching...

…. never, ever, ever, ever, under any circumstance underestimate the power, tenacity, and absolute bone-crushing, flesh-tearing violence that a terrified housecat can muster, ladies and gentlemen…..

… y’all just trust me on that one…. Ole Uncle Eric wouldn’t tell you a lie….

…. see, today was the yearly trip to the vet for Fred & Ginger… and the first trip anywhere for Bob….. Fred waltzed into the cat-carrier, laid down, and went to sleep…. Bob was lured into the carrier with a can of tuna fish… (one that he is now dripping in from head to toe after going batshit-crazy once the mesh door swung shut)….. Ginger, on the other hand, is somewhere up near Pigeon Forge – and still heading north – at warp factor 7… and THAT little reaction came from just laying EYES on me toting the carrier thirty yards away…

… good God, I do so hate cats… I mean, you’d think from the way that they react that the Vet beat’em, tried to drown them, and then spent the rest of the check-up poking them with sharpened sticks or something…. Jesus Christ….

… and a more unholy howl than the one that Bob was emitting has never been heard before by human ears, I’d bet….

…. So attention out there to all you heartworms, fleas, ticks, and rabies-infested creatures who read my blog!!.... Ginger is back on the menu!.... that's right, boys and girls!.. have at him!...... there is no way in HELL that we’re catching him now…..

Read the Bullshit »

Huggin'....

… you know, from this description of events, I do believe that The Bitterman’s Father and mine were probably kinfolk…..

Read the Bullshit »

Views....

…. as random chance would have it, I woke this morning and picked up my dog-eared copy of Andrew Boyd’s Daily Afflictions for a quick mental jog with my coffee….. let me tell you, friends, old Brother Void is a wise & learned fellow….. I highly recommend the book….. anyway, I later found myself wandering over to Elisson’s crib and found a lovely poem by A. E. Housman…

… however, I was quite shocked by the disparity of viewpoints shared by the two authors… Housman – in Elisson’s interpretation – seems to believe that poetry has greater virtues in the longer-run of things than does getting three-sheets-to-the-wind in your cups….

…. As for me, I will completely withhold judgment on the matter as 1.) I am too uneducated to be relied upon for sound debunking of anything even remotely literary, and 2.) I have a huge propensity to dive headfirst INTO poetry once I’m getting’ my slash on…. especially bad poetry…. personally, I blame the Marine Corps and my Great Uncle Rob....

… but be that as it may, I figured that you rubberneckers might enjoy a tidbit of Brother Void’s wisdom today regarding drinking, life, love, children, and drinking……especially since the blogmeet in Helen is just around the corner…. behold…..

”Nothing has a stronger influence…. on…. children, than the unlived life of the parent.” – Carl Jung


Some of us have children too early in life. Invariably, we lay our thwarted dreams and toxic disappointments upon their heads, hoping they will live the life we neglected to live. The rest of us figure, why not have our life first and then have the kids? We soon find, however, that this is not so easy. As the world grows more complex and the possibilities for experiencing things multiply, it becomes ever more difficult to work in enough living before the close of our baby-making years. Eventually, you realize that the only way to beat the clock is to live your life as furiously as possible – which means starting earlier, moving faster, and holding out longer. You’ve got to crank through travel fantasies, fringe lifestyles, multiple careers, extreme sports, and designer drugs and gorge yourself on liquor and sex as fast and as hard as you can. How else can you expect to get over yourself enough to really be there for your kids when it counts? So the next time you find yourself power partying, remember to ratchet it up another notch because only when you live your unlived life will your children be free to live theirs.

I binge for my kids

.... hey, it certainly makes sense to me.... but then, I don't have children......

Read the Bullshit »

Bob....

Oh little toad-frog out on my grass
If you’d been born with wings you’d not bump your ass
Your hopping and jumping gave me great glee
But beware of Black Bob there scratching his fleas!
And when young Bob’s keen eyes you caught
Little did you know the farm you’d just bought
If wing’ed and intelligent, then surely you’d have soared
Instead of globbing through his cat-guts and making them sore meowie

… yeah, yeah, I know…..

…. So, as you do, let me beg your leave and begin sallying forth towards Knoxville for an evening of fun….

…. Y’all behave yourselves & have a good night…. and just remember that in this day and age, well, there’s probably a curious Bob out there for each of us…. metaphorically, of course….

Read the Bullshit »

Astronecks....

…. early-afternoon and the kitchen is clean, the Sun is shining, my spaghetti sauce is slowly percolating on the stove, and a University of Tennessee grad is piloting the Space Shuttle…. SpongeBob and Mr. Crab just finished trying to poison a food inspector with a Krabby Patty that they’d swished around in a commode…. I tell you, gentle rubberneckers, it’s one helluva way to spend a Friday morning….

… anywhoo, I write this post only to quickly point out the creative genius of the writers of SpongeBob… just now, sitting here while the Wife giggled incessantly in the living room, I heard a great little tidbit that I just feel overwhelmingly compelled to share… check this out....

SpongeBob: Oh no, Mr. Crab!... We killed him!
Mr. Crab: What do you mean WE, SpongeBob?! It was YOU who served him that crabby patty!
SpongeBob: Oh no! I didn’t know it would kill him, Mr. Crab!
Mr. Crab: That’s right, SpongeBob! It’s off to the stony lonesome for you!

… good God, how marvelous… “stony lonesome”….. I just love that term…. using language like that is almost as delicious to me as my spaghetti sauce, I swear….

…. And the more and more that I think about that Tennessee astronaut, I can’t help but wonder where they let him hang his gunrack in the space shuttle…

…. I can almost picture it now….. “Uh, Houston?.... Yeah, we’ve got’er docked with the International Space Station juuuuuust fine…. I’m just gonna put her up on some cinder blocks and then I’ll be ready to initiate that ole shutdown procedure… “…. ahhh, I'm just kidding... it's good to see a Volunteer reaching such heights..... figuratively AND literally....

Read the Bullshit »

Truth.....

…. Once again, dear reader, I cease from my aimless bobbing in the Sea of Lost Creativity and swim desperately towards the beckoning shores of YouTube…..

…. What?.... hey, it certainly beats hanging around and waiting for the sharks, no?.....

…. And for tonight?..... a little bit of John Prine….. who, incidentally, I happened to see live with this guy…. Of course, he fell asleep and then bailed on me…

… but in the end?.... well, Prine is right… it IS a big old goofy world…..

…. Goodnight, y’all… there is wisdom in Mr. Prine's song..... trust me...

.... and tonight's Quote?... ".... and if I wrote a song, she'd know every single word...".... beautiful...... that is love, rubberneckers..... it truly is....

Read the Bullshit »

Insects....

… tonight, well, I have nothing… .I am tired & worn out…. but a song from long ago has been haunting me…. an earworm of gigantic proportions…. Courtesy of Bill Bailey from back in the late 1990s.….

… read into it what you will, gentle rubberneckers…… but know this – we live our lives surrounded….. oh yes……..

…. He is a bit slow to start, sure, but hang with him…. He gets there in the end….

…. Tomorrow morning when I am watching those three spiders that hang out in my bogroom window pane, I’ll give them a renewedly skeptical eye…..

... oh yeah.....

Read the Bullshit »

Lasting....

…. The work to continue the widening of US Highway 411 between Madisonville and Englewood is moving at great pace…. Each time that I drive it, it seems that the road has been diverted once again – around a cemetery, over another small stream, or through another flattened hilltop….

Progress, I suppose, but still it is a bit sad….at least to me, it is…..

…. When I was very young, I lived in a tiny house alongside that road…. a wooden-framed clapboard built on the side of a hill that sloped away from the road and bordered in the back by a small wet-weather run…..

I’ve written about it a few times here on these pages… whether remembering holding icicles when I was a child that were nearly as long as I was tall… or of imagining the long-buried piles of Playboy magazines that I stowed away in the half-basement when I was five…. I still even remember the telephone number for the house, burned into my noggin when I was sent off to kindergarten in Madisonville….. 442-4488… after all these years, I still remember…. How odd…. I guess a 5 year old memory is an impressionable place……

… I passed by that house this morning on my way up to Maryville to raid one of their liquor stores……

…. The tiny lawn is overgrown and the mailbox is hanging from its pole…. A mood of genuine abandon could never be more fully realized than that of the poor visage which that small house exuded…. the houses on either side retain clipped lawns and hanging baskets on their front porches….. but that little blue house (it was white when I lived there) is practically falling down from disuse, misuse, forgetfulness, and neglect…

… I thought considerably about buying it as I kept up my drive north today…. but really, that would be pure foolishness…… who’d want to ever live that close to a raging 4-lane highway?..... not me, that’s for sure…. But still, it seems such a tragedy to see a part of my past so disregarded…..

… it wasn’t even that great of a house to begin with, I guess….. bare and coarsely built… no central heating or cooling…. And my Dad did most of the plumbing on the spare weekends when he was home…..

… I remember one winter night when I was five years old…. He’d been working in Bristol, Virginia all week and arrived home by the kind courtesy of a ‘65 Impala with bald tires & 100lbs of log chain in the trunk about 10pm….. it was nearing Christmastime, so I’d been allowed to stay up and await his return…..

… at 8pm that day, our pipes had frozen and we were without water or the money to call on a plumber, and so we waited for my Father to appear… tired, dirty, and happy to see us, he burst in the front door… only to hear of the bad news….

… he did not hesitate in his task, and immediately went to work (after insisting that I be bundled in heavy clothes so that I could brave the weather and ‘hold the flashlight’)….

…. He was cutting a 1” piece of PVC when his knife slipped and buried itself into the hand that was holding the frozen pipe….. I was shocked, but kept holding the flashlight as the cold wind blew…. I still remember that like it was yesterday…. how I followed him to the kitchen sink and turned on the hot water for him as he withdrew the knife that had impaled three of his fingers…… cold, white fingers and bright red blood….. no cussing or oaths, just the running of the water and the sound of my Mother fumbling for the hydrogen peroxide in the bathroom behind us….

… we ended up going to bed after that…. and on Saturday morning we patched the line together just as the night’s storm released our water as the Sun came up….

…. I thought of all those memories today as I saw that flea-bitten old house…

…. In all honesty, I doubt that it’ll stand much longer…. Be it because it is so old, or simply because it really was never that well-built to begin with… or because it is now so close to the encroachment of progress….. but either way, I would suspect that its days are numbered….

…. good God, what a day….. nothing lasts forever, it is true…

Read the Bullshit »

Grumpy....

…. A few days ago while wandering around in a soft, velvety haze courtesy of Indian cuisine and a few Newcastle Browns, I happened to find that I had mysteriously arrived at a bookstore….

… I ventured inside and milled around for nearly half of an hour… nothing really caught my fancy, honestly…. I even hit the poetry section in a fit of desperation and was still let down…. my goodness, people, what is this wonderful world of ours coming to?... I searched the (albeit meager) selection of poetry and there was not a single tome by Robert W. Service, Ogden Nash, or Sassoon!... and taking up their rightful place on the shelves of a fine store servicing a college town?.... Henry friggin’ Rollins and Walt fuggin’ Whitman….

…. I swear, folks… the further I venture from my compound here, the more depressed I get….

… all was not lost that evening though, and I finally found a copy of Fodor’s “Guide to Belgium”…. And as I think it quite rude to venture into a selling-establishment, hang around looking interesting for nearly an hour, and leave hundreds of greasy thumbprints on a wide selection of their merchandise without actually intending on buying something, I escorted the little gem up to the cash register and made my purchase….

… since I’ll be in Belgium shortly on holiday, I figured it was an excellent choice of reading material….

…. And I am very, very happy to report that I now know where I’ll be dining on the evening of the 15th of September….. Taverne Falstaff in Brussels…. Here’s what the handy little guidebook has to say about it…

Students, pensioners, and everyone in-between flock to this century-old huge tavern with an Art Nouveua terrace and legendarily grumpy waiters.

legendarily grumpy waiters….. good god, people, I can hardly wait….. and here I've been hearing people say that Belgium was boring!....

Read the Bullshit »

Bose......

…. Well, so much for culture….. by the time that we hit I-75 we had changed our minds and set plans for Shakespeare for this coming Wednesday instead…. So y’all will get a riveting blow-by-blow of the play next Thursday sometime….

…. Anyhoo, since I have company arriving shortly and am feeling inimitably lazy, there’ll be no content of worth here this evening…. instead, I shall give you another cheesy YouTube clip of me flawlessly piloting Sylvia towards a Subway tuna sandwich yesterday….. I stopped filming well before I hit dolphin-free paydirt, of course, but y’all get the general idea….

… ahhhh, Tom Waits…. “don’t you know there ain’t no Devil – that’s just God when he’s drunk..” …… the man is a genius, folks….

… and with that, gentle readers, I am off to sip an exquisitely-aged Bowmore and ponder great and wonderful things until bedtime……

Read the Bullshit »

Spectating....

…. as High Cultural pickings are a bit slim around the casa these days, The Missus has asked that I carry her up to Knoxvegas this evening to catch an open-air performance of old Willie Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”… so if any of your hammerheads in the Knoxville area wish to buy me an adult beverage, I’ll be the guy standing in Market Street Square around 7pm tonight holding a bottle of Miller Genuine Draft and yelling at Prospero to hurry up and get to strangling Caliban…..

… what?.... hey, never let it be said that we Tennesseans ain’t got class, rubberneckers….. we got it in spades…. word....

Read the Bullshit »

Appreciation....

… yesterday evening another thunderstorm rolled through and passed off to the north…. From the living room window, I could see the billowing black clouds miles and miles away… but even at such a distance, the thunder still shook the panes as it missed us….. It was followed by another only twenty minutes later that didn’t miss…. And we were on the receiving end of lightning, wind, and sideways-rain….

…. just before sundown for the past few days, they’ve rumbled in, those storms….

… last night I went out onto the front porch just as the rain began to fall… and as the wind pushed it under the awning to where I stood, I caught myself taking a step back towards the door so that I wouldn’t get wet….

… sitting here now, I guess I should be a bit ashamed of myself… sure, there was a certain comfort level that I was maintaining by retreating…. and it wouldn’t have been a great idea to have let myself get soaked and then return inside…. But there was a time when I would have slipped off my shirt & socks and trotted right out into the grass, sat down, and let the wind and rain wash me clean while the thunder and lightning boomed…..

... but last night I didn’t….

… I wonder what happened to that guy… I suspect that he’s still around somewhere deep inside…. Perhaps he was distracted by a tumbler of scotch or a line from a book he was reading…. Then again, maybe he was asleep….. I don’t think that he’s dead…. But either way, I doubt that he’s grown up enough to not want to wallow around in a big patch of rainy grass….

… but last night, yeah, I stepped back…. that fact does remain….

…. I wonder how many people have actually been truly rained on… out away from civilization or shelter… bare to the elements… perhaps busy with an emergency task that simply must be finished regardless of the weather…. It is an odd thought to me…. most anyone who has spent time in the military has been seriously rained on…. and hunters, as well….. and probably fishermen too….. but most everyone else?.... if it is raining, you stay in, find shelter, or go out with a hat, raincoat, or umbrella…..

…. But something definitely seems amiss here, and I intend to fix it…..

… if the storms come again in a few hours, I’m going out to meet them…..

Read the Bullshit »

Anti-mellow....

…. I eased out the backdoor this morning and onto the deck…. little birds were chirping in the trees that bordered my small property… the day was waking up and the sunlight had not yet baked away the night’s dew…. My coffee was steaming, my cigarette was lit, and the World was at Peace….

… one step forward onto the cool, damp boards, and my toes quivered in delight at the texture of the deckboards…

… I turned my head towards the east and sighed at the first sparklings of sunlight as they danced down through the branches of the highest poplar trees…. I sipped my mug of coffee and closed my eyes as the dark, warm liquid slid thrillingly down my neck…. The first sip of coffee in the morning is such a magical moment, after all….

… and it was in that rapturous moment of Emersonian Bliss that Ginger, my cat, leapt from the high tangle of the honeysuckle which is climbing the southern-side railings of my deck and bounded past me towards the camellia…

… I spilled my coffee, nearly jumped out of my skin just like you see those cartoon characters do sometimes, burned my lip, dropped my cigarette on top of my foot, and shrieked like a little girl all in about 1/5th of a second….

… 2/5th of a second later, and I was standing there glowing bright red with steam jetting from both ears in a coffee-soaked shirt and a cigarette-burnt foot….

…. I’ve often heard it said – and I have always taken it with a grain of salt – but the longer that I live with them, the more certain I am that cats truly are evil…. and they know exactly what they’re doing…..

Read the Bullshit »

Handcuffs.....

….. today’s Quote of the Day comes from this absolutely wonderful YouTube clip…. brace yourselves, rubberneckers, and behold…

… “Damn. They itch.”

… indeed, indeed…. One can only imagine…. I have to admit though, that's some serious leg action Mr. "Bleep" has got goin' on...

… the really funny thing?.... I’m pretty sure that he’s been to at least one blogmeet….. probably two....

h/t to reader "B"

Read the Bullshit »