Plumbing....

.... I have spent the better part of today locked in mortal combat with an old under-sink waste disposal system.... and so far, well, it is winning.... but the fight is not over yet, children, and I do plan to win.....

.... I am not a plumber, nor have I ever really plumbed anything before this evening.... not in any way, shape, or form.... but I'll be damned if I'm going to let a Chinese-made gadget smaller than a toaster get the best of me.....

... with any luck I'll have replaced the stainless steel sink with my new, shiny porcelain one and have removed the aforementioned disposal and installed a replacement by sometime around midnight.... the good news is that I'm only bleeding in three places thus far......

... I am feeling confident.....

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Prehistoric.....

.... a lazy fog rolled in last night about dusk and the skies opened up around midnight.... and I went to sleep to the sound of the rain drumming against the roof in hard, patterning sheets.... 38 degrees with wind and rain..... and as the Sandman approached, I turned over and smiled to myself.... feeling the wrap of the flannel blankets, I quietly mouthed, "mmmmm..... camping weather!."

.... and today has been very little different..... hazy and flipping between 'monsoon' and 'leaky faucet'.... everything is wet and muddy and chilled and colorless....

... so, as you do, I am whipping up some chili-stuffed bell peppers to add a bit of spice to what remains of the day.... harsh times call for harsh measures, ladies & gentlemen..... and if tomorrow turns out like today, I'll have to break out the heavy artillery and let a pot roast and a pan of cornbread give a little form & color to The World....

.... oh, and before I forget, I read an interesting little tidbit today about lions and their various subspecies..... check this out... via Wikipedia, of course....

Until the late Pleistocene (about 10,000 years ago), the lion was the most widespread large land mammal beside man. They were found in most of Africa, much of Eurasia from western Europe to India and the Bering land bridge and in the Americas from Yukon to Peru.

... think on that for just a few minutes..... that's a lot of lions!!.... here in the good ole North America, we not only had that Saber-toothed Tiger, but we also had an even LARGER predatory cat.... the American Cave Lion..... and archaeological evidence seems to point to our ancient American Indian relatives having cooked those lions......

.... just imagine hunting down, killing, and EATING a 600lb carnivore 10,000 years ago.... yeah, run that through your noggin for a little while and let if fully percolate, folks.... I mean, how long would you or I last against a modern Zambian lion when armed with only a pocket knife?.......

... in short, we're all a bunch of pussies these days...

.... oh, and the rain is still pelting down here, in case you were wondering..... petering out from time to time and then coming again in sheets of heavy rain - like right now........ there is even a bit of thunder occasionally........ and honestly, I have never heard thunder here in Tennessee after Christmas, but yet here it is.......... lightning too.......

...... what a strange and unusual world we live in........

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Boxing.....

..... my Pa and I watched the Mancini/Kim fight live at my Uncle's house back in 1982...... I remember wandering out across the yard towards the barn a week later and trying to tell him that he'd died....... yeah, Dok Koo Kim would be a name that I would remember for a very, very long time...... it was the end of my youth, I guess...... and I was all of barely 10 years old......

..... we also watched Hearns/Leonard, Hearns/Hagler, and Holmes/Witherspoon over the next few years..... hell, I remember us watching Holmes/Cooney...... what a trainwreck THAT was.... but still, good times.... good times, indeed.....

.... it kinda pays, in the end, to have been taught that there are things to fight for when you are young.... it is an important lesson, after all........ sometimes you win, sometimes you lose...... and sometimes, well, you aren't so lucky as to win or lose...... and you get carried off the playing field on a stretcher with gauze stuffed up your nostrils...... but hey, those are the breaks.....

.... so goodnight, hammerheads...... I'm off to dream dreams of pads, cushioned gloves, and flannel sheets......

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Juice.....

... Santa Claus brought The Missus a juicer for Christmas, my friends.... and I finished assembling that badboy just a few minutes ago.... and as I sit here gently typing this little missive, the air in the house is vibrating and it sounds like a Boeing 747 is taking off in the kitchen.....

.... various experiments are currently taking place, folks.... and fruits, root vegetables, and drupes which had imagined themselves being gingerly fondled by delicate fingertips as they we dragged towards waiting mouths, well, they are being sorely, sorely disappointed one at a time.... their voluptuous, fleshy bodies - heaving with heavenly goodness - are being violently and remorselessly torn into oblivion.... reducing their once-proud shapes to thin streams of pale juice....

.... good God, people....

... you know, I once spent an afternoon pondering the True Woe of what it must be like to be a demure forest creature skipping down your game trail one day, and then wind up as a formless hunk of sausage or pate the next.... but let me tell you, I have truly been schooled today.... juicers are an even a worse fate for some poor vegetable.... I mean, at least if you get turned into a sausage, you're still a hunk of flesh..... but a juicer is much more discerning rendering device.... all of what made you YOU gets cast aside and only the dribbly essence of what you ONCE WERE is left....

UPDATE: ... bhhwhahahahahahah!!.... there evidently is no such thing as "banana juice".....

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Harvest.....

..... I have nothing, really....but hey, that is par for the course these days........ but I will say this, truth, trust, friendship, and love are four things which have always made my heart sing.....they have made me believe in the humanity that surrounds me... trust it, see it, feel it...... and they just always have..... and tonight I ended up watching Neil Young sing a full concert (on TV) of his old "Prairie Wind" album......

.... now look, I am not a huge fan of Mr. Young......and I have not actively followed his career.... nor do I think that he is the Incredible Immortal that everyone else seems to think that he is........ but I do occasionally enjoy his music.... "Powder Finger" is still a staple of my pool nights and yes, it still brings a tear to my eye.... hey, watching grown men stand around a pool table playing air-guitar with their cues every time that song comes on, well, it just effects you after a while........ but other than that, he tends to leave me a bit cold....... that is, until tonight......

.... and this evening, well, I watched him sing a version of "Harvest Moon" that just tore me up...... tore me up in the primeval sense......violently..... angrily.... soulfully......gently..... heart-warmingly..... you just have to let yourself truly listen to the art that he creates and not actually watch him while he sings, folks...... watching him detracts a bit since he tends to make horrible faces when he hits the high notes, but that is just Neil Young... but to "hear" him is amazing.....

..... so close your eyes and give him a listen.... if is ok if you "peek" to hit the "play" button...... but after that?.... relax and focus......... and keep your eyes closed...

.... there..... that wasn't so bad, was it?...... awww.... thank you for playing along......

.. and so, as the night progresses and the moon wanes, I hope that you enjoyed a version of one of his songs that will surely fold you into a glorious sleep - subtle and sweet...... especially since it is so late......... a song - free from such thoughts as your co-worker's misdemeanors or your daily travails, so that it might just show you that beauty does exist....... such as you need at this time, most likely.... which is fine, as we all do need that affirmation from time to time....... and if not?....

.... hey...... I hope that you enjoyed it anyway..... and then just went your own way and did your own thing......shooting some craps, blogging, making a call, visiting a friend, doing a particularly wonderful crossword puzzle, wrapping a Christmas present, reading a book..... either way, it is no big deal.... it really isn't..... just so long as you drank deeply from whatever it is that you enjoyed tonight....... and that you drank so deeply that you became drunken with the beauty that Just Is all around you......

..... as for me?..... I'll still be here in the morning... drinking coffee and admiring "Harvest Moon".... and waiting for The Missus to wake up so that I can get the bacon and biscuits on........ so Merry Christmas, everyone, I am off to bed.......

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Noel.....

..... the evening is drawing down here at The Compound and a heavy frost is expected for the morning...... so while we batten down the metaphorical hatches and prepare for Santa's late-nite arrival, I shall leave you with an interesting rendition of my most favorite Christmas carol.........


.... Merry Christmas, fellow travelers...... we all have so very, very much to be thankful for this Christmas.... life, love, happiness, beauty, friends, family...... they are all around if you look hard enough...... and personally, I could not have asked for a better Christmas.....

... peace on Earth, friends...... and goodwill towards each of you..... may your Santa bring you whatever it is that you desire the most.....

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Thaw.....

.... as strange as it sounds, my humble home will be the focus of my family's Christmas celebrations this season.... and due to scheduling conflicts, prior engagements, and working rotations among all of the participants, tonight has been deemed to be The Night.... gifts will be exchanged and a meal - cooked by my own hot little hands - will be wolfed down..... and I'll probably end up downing a few gin and tonics myself....... so that is today....

.... last night, however, I was roped into watching back-to-back Seinfeld episodes until time for beddie-bye.... of particular note were the "Festivus" episode and the one where Elaine sends out those Christmas cards where she was accidentally baring one of her nipples..... somehow I can't help but find the irony in "Christmas" being at my home on the annual date of "Festivus"....

.... and depending on how well dinner goes down, we may or may not end up having an "Airing of Grievances" ..... I did buy some kickass gifts for everyone, though, so that might keep them distracted from the quality of the roasted potatoes & grilled pork loin.... hey, getting lots of free stuff once a year tends to leave people distracted, so it might just work....

.... I will confess one little thing though - I had initially been tasked with roasting a turkey for Christmas dinner..... and I had one too.... a nice, big, fat hen..... the problem was that she was also frozen stiffer than a damn anvil..... I never knew that turkeys could freeze that hard, folks...... so my 12lbs of rock-hard turkey did not thaw out in the two days that I had allotted... thus the pork loin substitution at the last minute.....

.... so I have a question for Mr. Debonaire about the proper thawing of turkeys.....

... see, the label says that letting the frozen bird thaw at room temperature is strictly verbotten and will likely cause all of your holiday guests to die of some weird intestinal ailment before New Years ala Monty Python's "Meaning of Life"...... BUT keeping the damnable bird in the fridge to let it soften up takes aproximately 18 fucking months.....

.... and so the question is, what is the simplest way of thawing a frozen turkey in the shortest time possible?.... or do I just have to practice my Russian accent, open the fridge every so often, poke it with a trowel and pretend it's a Siberian mammoth?...... the label lied, Mr. Debonaire..... so what's the scoop?....

... oh, and Happy Festivus!.... no turkey tonight, friends..... we be eating high on the hog instead.... but that was not the plan....

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Tree'd.....

.... well, boys and girls, the tree is up and decorated..... but I had to put my foot down and drew the line at draping tinsel from ceiling fan to ceiling fan..... how weird was that idea?....

... anyway, the living room is pretty damned festive, if I do say so myself.... white Christmas tree decorated nearly entirely with penguin ornaments, but hey, at least the tree is up..... let the present wrapping commence!....

... in other news, I see that both Erica and Big Stupid Tommy have joyously tagged me with a Christmas Meme..... and as I sat down to complete the dastardly thing, I suddenly remembered that I was off the hook since I was gang-tackled by a beauteous group of ladybloggers LAST YEAR and forced to do that meme..... so there, Erica & BST.... consider my meme obligation paid in full.... muahahahahha!!....

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Thanks....

... you know, in his own wonderful way, I do believe that the Velociman has paid me a huge compliment....... roowr, indeed......

.... who knew that me and Roy had something in common?......

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Completed....

... well, after an entire year of furrow-browed procrastination, thumb-twiddling, and second-guessing, today was the day.... and by sunset this evening all Christmas gifts have finally been purchased..... and the Great Cycle of Bah Humbug shall begin anew with the coming of the morning.... with any luck, I might even put the Christmas tree up before Christmas Eve!....

... the scene for today's wallet-cleaning atrocities was the vast complex of buildings, shelters, marquees, and Quonset huts that constitutes the "Turkey Creek" area of Knoxville.... various peddlers, merchants, hawkers, gawkers, bell-ringers, haberdashers, tobacconists, grocers, perfume salesmen, Indian Traders, and Episcopalians enjoyed burrowing through my linty pockets today.... hell, I even had to give three dollars to a woman sitting outside "Border's Bookstore" who had an ancient Labrador retriever sprawled out on the concrete while the lady held a sign saying "Labrador retriever rescue! Please help us on Christmas to save these poor, discarded creatures!".... the dog looked pretty happy to me, but The Missus insisted that I let the sign lady fleece me too......

... in short, I've been well & truly shopped.... and I can now report that I honestly own more useless plastic shit than anyone else I know.... no kidding..... fortunately though I will be giving it all away in the next few days to other people who don't really want or need it..... they will, in turn, be doing much the same to me - which is a bit of a bummer......

... personally?.... I do predict early-Spring yard sales in my near future, rubberneckers.... I'm thinking February......

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Pantyhose....

..... an interpretation, please?....... this song has been playing nearly non-stop through The Compound tonight, but I still have no idea what the hell Mick is saying........

.....even when I saw them perform this at Turner Field back in 1992, all I could muster up to scream towards them as they performed was something about "you took the shot away" as I sloshed my beer and waved my Rolling Stones baseball cap........

.... "Forty Licks", indeed........ I think Jagger was sweet on one of those black lasses who were doing the back-up singing, if you ask me......

.... alas, however, I still have no idea what in the Great Living Hell that he was talking about in this song..... but still, 'tis a bit funny that a song can be found so enthralling to one's psyche when one has no earthly clue what the singer is even talking about.......

... I suspect that fans of "classical" music suffer from the same form of snobbery (or psychosis)...... they don't understand it, but they still love the hell out of it.......

..... human nature in action, I suspect...... or not, I guess..... it depends on how you look at it....

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Stockings.....

... this morning has dawned clear, blue, and frosty.... the Sun has just cleared the ridge of Starr's Mountain off to the east.... and from where I sit sipping coffee, only the very tops of the poplar trees are shining with the gold of daybreak..... the rest of the land - and the leaf-covered grass - lies crunchy & still....

... the trees are leafless and bony.... standing brittle against the clear, robin's egg blue of the sky...... resting, quiet, and cold..... with the sunlight creeping slowly down their sides.... slipping further and further towards the ground....

..... I am off to town shortly with my Mother in tow to let her pick out her Christmas present..... she needs a new recliner evidently, so we'll be spending most of the morning bouncing from furniture store to furniture store in search of a suitable replacement..... lately our Christmas gifts have become much less frivolous for some reason.... and now we're all about The Practicality.....

... we are, however, giving rebirth to the custom of hanging stockings this year..... at the bequest of my Brother, we'll be hanging stockings on Christmas Eve and awaiting the magical arrival of various Santa Claus-type folk to sneak into the living room and stuff the stockings full of candy, fruit, & useless trinkets.... it should be marvelous..... we haven't hung stockings in 10 years or more.... I hope that I get a Pez dispenser, honestly..... and a packet of Mach III razor blades....

.... once this frost melts, I'm off to town.....

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Leotards......

.... I've just spent most of the evening reading from my "Gaming & Idling Miscellany" while Gershwin's tunes belted forth from the living room accompanied by gleeful peals of laughter.... "An American in Paris" and Gene Kelly have been the culprits, I'm afraid......

.... but you know, I've always liked ole Gene...... in my mind he was infinitely more masculine that Fred Astaire - that egg-headed Nebraskan who wouldn't have been crapola if it hadn't been for Ginger's fawning all over him..... and hey, while we're at it, Ginger Rogers just never did anything for me whatsoever... she was too square-bodied........ so this gentleman, dear readers, most definitely does not prefer blondes......

... but be that as it may, I was still shocked by the scene I was presented with when I wandered through to refresh my Scotch a few minutes ago..... for on the television was Mr. Kelly wiggling through the final scene of the movie and garnering 1000% of The Missus' attention..... I was shocked and awe'd, folks..... behold what I was greeted with, hammerheads.....

..... I looked at the TV..... I looked back to The Missus...... and no heed was paid to my approach.... instead, she simply sat there with both of her goggles latched firmly onto the glowing screen (and Gene's muscular buttocks as they swayed).......

.... I tell you, folks.... it's hard to live around these here parts and maintain a shred of dignity with any sense of constancy........ life here, well, it's like The Tide..... it ebbs and flows..... ebbs and flows.....

.... I think I'm going to go and have her go and make me a sandwich just out of spite...... I'm in the mood for a grilled cheese anyway...... but wow, Gene Kelly's ass, indeed....... perhaps I should buy some sort of sand-colored leotards....

..... no, wait.... on second though, I dont really think that is such a good idea...... I think I'll grow a beard instead...... I certainly can't learn to dance..... and I'd look pretty damn funny in leotards.......

.... those girls dancing with their skirts up, though, they were quite interesting on the return trip to the blogroom...... but by then?... well, the damage had been done.....

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Links....

.... good evening, rubberneckers, I hope that you are all well...... as for me, well, all is running smoothly......

.... and since I am not in the mood to write at this very moment, I thought that I would point y'all to a few wonderfully written posts that I have enjoyed over the past few days.... talented people, all.... and well worth your blog-reading time...... so humor me.....

.... Sugar Britches has a post that almost all of you will identify with.....

.... Boudicca has a wonderful post that is full of her Humanity, and is well worth reading.....

.... Jimbo is off his meds again (or perhaps ON something very nice)... and the result is exquisite.....

.... The Bitterman from The Smoking Toaster is showing off his well-polished gift of gab and it is a beauty to behold..... even when in one's underwear.....

.... and Elisson is showing off the work of a few wonderful artistes...... and hey, I WANT one of those laptops.......

... and Kathy has a GREAT post up about remembering a Mule (and a Grandfather)..... hey, Southern Writing is alive and well, folks.... and living in Franklin, Tennessee....

..... but as for me, that is all you are going to get tonight....... enjoy the creative juices of others tonight, I'm dry......

..... more tomorrow after lashings of coffee and microwaved Krispy Kremes!....

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Green....

.... I've never been a fan of guacamole..... never, ever.... not even when hidden amongst my weekly dose of beef & cheese nachos..... but today, for reasons known only to herself, The Missus decided that my crumbling body required a "healthy" snack.... and with great flourish and pomp she produced an avocado...

... good grief.... I now fully understand why I have such a raging dislike for guacamole - the raw materials used to create it are just plain faulty..... bad foundation?... you get a crappy house, children.... thems just the facts of the proverbial matter.... and I refute anyone anywhere who says that they can create something yummy out of a damn avocado.... why?... well, because it IS an avocado!!.... the only way that something worth eating can be created when avocados are the main ingredient is to make it completely taste like anything else than an avocado......

.... I now have a fuller appreciation for the suffering of all those poor starving waifs in third-world South American countries who were forced to subsist by eating avocados.... no wonder they're all trying to get to the Land of Cheeseburgers by any means possible... hell, I dont blame them one little bit..... Land of the Avocados must be an absolute & complete nightmare....

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Cheese......

.... yesterday's meal consisted of homemade stuffed mushrooms.... I didn't have a recipe, but they turned out fairly edible without one..... I started the whole mess by finely dicing five large mushies and frying them with butter, chopped garlic, sea salt, and black pepper until they were nice and soft..... and in a random fit of maniacal frenzy, I grabbed about half a pound of deli-sliced smoked turkey, shredded it, and added it to the sizzling mix.....

... in a separate bowl, I added a cup of cream cheese, 1/2 a cup of Romano & Parmesan, and a few lumps of some off-brand blue cheese... once all of the cheese was whisked, I added the turkey-garlic-mushroom concoction and gave it all a few more stirs.....

.... all of that junk quickly found itself ladled into six extra-large, upturned, hollowed-out Portobello mushrooms that had been drizzled with olive oil and ensconced on a baking tray......

... the final touch was a light dusting of the stuffed mushrooms with some freshly-grated aged cheddar......

.... I popped those babies in the oven at 325 degrees for twenty minutes and then sat back and watched the feeding frenzy that ensued....

... it was amazing, really..... if you tilted your head just right as you chewed, you could actually feel different arteries throughout your body begin to clog..... I figure that it was the turkey that was the culprit.... God knows that much cheese just HAS to be good for you......

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Sneaky....

..... time has sped past and it seems that Christmas is just around the corner.... and since I have been completely immersed in other endeavors for the past few weeks, the tree is neither up nor have I even remotely finished buying the presents that this time of year calls for... 'tis truly a sad state of affairs...... but hey, is it just me, or does Christmas seem to get sneakier and sneakier with every passing year?... one day you are sitting in the sunshine nibbling ribs and baked beans on the 4th of July, and the next thing you know, whammo.... Christmas is here...

.... the only remotely "Christmassy" thing that I have done so far this season is to watch "A Christmas Carol" on TV a few days ago.... and even then, all that stirred in my tender little heart was to secretly smile every time Scrooge growled "bah! humbug!"...... he be a funk soul-brother this year, oh yeah.....

.... anyway, today all of that is set to be turned around..... it is time for Sylvia to get her annual physical at the Audi dealership, and the appointment is for this afternoon.... so after dropping her off to be fondled and lubed by the groping mechanics, The Missus and I will hit the mall in Knoxville to finish begin the holiday buying.....

..... honestly, I am leaning towards buying myself a copy of "The Grinch That Stole Christmas"..... they just dont play that movie enough these days during The Holidays, and I miss it.... hell, the last time that I saw it was back in November of 2005.....

.... so with that, I am off to town to brave the thronging masses of peppermint-crazed shoppers..... it should prove quite interesting....

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Superman....

.... not my style, really, but my Brother requested it tonight while he visited........ and he jammed to it bigtime.....

...... so here you go......

.... kyrptonite?....... wow..... "If I go crazy then, will you still call me Superman?.... if I am alive and well will you be there holding my hand?.... I'll keep you by my side with my superhuman might.... kyrptonite!... ".... I think that my brother needs better drugs..... or possibly a therapist......

... kids these days.... Jeezus.....

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Iced....

.... remarkably mild day today.... 77 degrees with scattered clouds.... you'd never have guessed that it was December had it not been for the nakedness of the trees and the monstrous piles of dropped leaves scattered here and there across the back yard... I even soaked up a little bit of sunshine on the deck in just my shirt sleeves earlier in the afternoon.....

... it certainly made today's news that Oklahoma is currently iced to a stand-still seem pretty strange.... shirt-sleeve weather vs. frostbite weather......

.... and so, it has been one of those days.....raking leaves, enjoying the Sun, preparing for Winter, and wondering at the craziness of it all.... doesnt really feel like hunting weather though, which is a bit suspect if you ask me..... I do need to go though....... it seems like all that I do is clean weapons these days and never get around to shooting them..... that is a problem that I intend to remedy shortly...... either in the woods or on the range...... or both.....

.... but still, today was the 10th of December and it was 77 degrees...... honestly, who wants to sit in a tree-stand and sweat?......

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Doubt....

..... wow..... this is amazing........ it absolutely and completely is........

... and quite disturbing, too........ but art, nonetheless.... disturbing and scary, yes..... but art.....

.... Goblins, indeed.... Laura and Lizzie.... they are so incredible....... hey, if you want to read, read....... it is nothing like you have ever read before, I promise.... but read up and down...... not right to left........ it is how it was meant to be read..

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Grilling...

... well, folks, today is one of those days where grilled lamb chops and roasted potatoes are on order..... perhaps even some mulled wine..... Elisson is bringing the mint sauce, so it should be quite a meal....

... cruising around blogville this morning, I see that Jimbo is busy frightening his readers....

..... as for me, I am off to sweep out the garage in preparation for a bit of billiards while the chops sizzle this evening..... so y'all play nice.... I'm off....

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Stomped....

.... I just finished watching a National Geographic Channel thing on elephants and their possibly having "a dark side".... evidently there are a group of elephants that live in northeastern India that have taken on the hobby of sneaking into villages at night and snatching sleeping Indians out of their beds right through the walls of their homey grass huts and then using the screaming humans as a weird combination of soccer ball/trampoline/piata... needless to say, this hobby is pretty hard on the villagers..... the word "pulp" comes to mind as an accurate description of what is left of the poor fellows.....

... but what a way to pop your clogs and check out, eh?.... dozing away in your grass hut after a back-breaking day in the fields.... only to be snatched from your meager mattress by a pissed off elephant intent on stomping you until you're nothing but a greasy, brown & red, lumpy little pancake?....

... I mean, just imagine toiling your entire life away for pittance, weathering months of monsoon every year, fearing malaria, dodging tigers, enduring the weight of bone-crushing poverty, running from typhoid, surviving famine and drought.... only to be snatched out of a well-deserved slumber in the middle of the night by a big, angry elephant and beaten to death while all of your neighbors watched in horror... talk about a complete and utter bummer, wow...... sucks to be that guy..... it's like they say, I guess..... "no matter how bad things are?.... well, they can always be worse." .....

.... I mean, no matter how bad my day may or may not have been.... at least I can peacefully rest my head on my pillow at night with the knowledge that I'll not be jerked head-first from a dream and torn limb from limb by a damn elephant.... unless, of course, it was a metaphorical angry elephant... then, obviously, it might happen..... wait.... nevermind, I am confusing myself.... but you guys get the point.... no matter how bad it is, things can always get worse..... just trust me on that......

... anyway, I'm off to eat a crab salad sandwich and sip some tea..... y'all have a nice evening....

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Teaching....

.... have you ever watched that show "Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares"?...... man, it just totally pushes my buttons.........

.... lookit.... when all the chips are down and hunger is knocking at your door, I am a pretty fair cook..... not great, and not classically trained, sure, but I can manage..... homemade macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, chili, chicken korma, stuffed mushrooms or bell peppers.... or even varying forms of beast-flesh dipped in Worcestershire sauce and then seared on the grill.... in the end, I can usually satiate A Hunger... but honestly, watching that preening cocksucker Gordon Ramsey flail around and bully, demean, and verbally abuse everyone around him makes me want to spend some quality time alone with him and my cricket bat.....

... truth be told, I would LOVE to have that asshole in MY kitchen while I was cooking.... I guarantee that he has never been read the fucking riot act like I would read it to him..... I would put the genuine Fear of God into that lump of grey matter between his beady little eyes..... I promise.....

..... I understand leadership and how to train people.... and believe it or not, it CAN be done without being a complete and utter twat..... it IS possible to get people to follow you, perform their tasks, and obey directions without screaming "what the fuck are you doing you useless fucker?!" in the most annoying British accent ever aired on international television..... leaders and teachers are to be respected, not hated.... and if you have to stoop to intimidation as your only teaching tool, then you are a pretty piss-poor teacher..... but hey, I guess watching him be an ass is where all the "entertainment value" comes from these days, right?......

...well, screw that..... if he thinks that scar on his snaggled chin is cute, I'd be happy to oblige him with one on the other side courtesy of my smallest carving knife...... or my Cold Steel.... or maybe just the side of my ancient wooden cutting board...... the edge is quite sharp......

... good God, but I hate a damnable bully... especially one that is so draped with hair-product, make-up, and cologne that he is practically a girl in anything but name..... and THEN pretends to be Alpha Dog everywhere he sets foot..... I'd break that motherfucker in half..... and then feed him a damn fine plate of spaghetti once he stopped bleeding....... hell, I'd even bandage the wound on the other side of his crinkled lips so that the tomato sauce didn't inadvertently sting his little mouth.....

..... I'm just nice like that.... but good God, I hate that damn show.... watching him bully those chefs makes me want to visit the gym and hit the heavy bag for an hour.... he is the absolute epitome of how NOT to lead....... and we suffer All Of This in the name of entertainment?..... I call bullshit....

.... the only reason that I watched tonight's episode is that I heard he was going to Inverness, Scotland...... I kinda figured that a wily Scot might just knife him...... but alas, he caved just like all the rest.....

... Gordon needs a nice, hard head-butt..... over and over.... until he is unconscious...

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Young...

... check this out...... long, long ago, people... ole T1G has certainly blossomed since that photo were taken, no?.... yes..... hell, I hardly recognized him myself...... apart from his trademark scowl, that is....

... as for me, I haven't exactly aged too well either.... a bit wide around the midsection nowadays and my head is a bit rounder.... shoulders have a little more bulk..... but seeing as T1G was brave enough to show us a shot of himself as a younger T1G, I'll show my Solidarity In Decrepitude and play along..... here I am in the summer of 1992 preparing to hit Europe wide open..... the years have not been kind since 1992... not by a long shot....

summer_1992_small.jpg

.... I do still make that face quite a lot though...... even after all these years... it really is a happy face....

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Safari....

... I want to go on safari.....

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Improv....

.... good afternoon, gentle rubberneckers..... I am most happy to report that yesterday evening's entertainment at the Tennessee Theatre was first-class... Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood staged an outstanding show.... and apart from the drunken, bottle-blonde, middle-aged socialite who sat in the seat in front of me and kept yelling "HOT TUB!!" at five minute intervals, all went smoothly...

.... so, Colin and Brad?... hey, if you ever read this, I was the short-haired red-headed guy in the leather jacket sitting behind that inebriated chick who loudly voiced her disdain about "Optimus Prime" during the first half of your show.....

.... anyhoo, at one point during the performance, the audience was asked to pick out a crime that Colin would have to get Brad to confess to..... without Brad knowing what the crime was, of course.... it was pretty funny to watch him try to figure out it was that he had supposedly done..... but hey, you have to hand it to creative minds of a bunch of drunken Knoxvillians..... the crime they dreamed up?...

.... "picking the eye-boogers from Genghis Khan's eyes, and kidnapping a polar bear for his own personal use while in Ooltewah, Tennessee at the Elegant Goth Lolita Clothing Emporium while accompanied by Optimus Prime".....

... yeah, no shit..... and yes, he did guess it correctly..... but I tell ya, folks, the mind does indeed boggle at times when faced with the raw, mighty, awe-inspiring power of alcohol on the brains of Tennesseans...

... braved the rain and wind on the drive south without incident, as well..... although I will say that nothing will jerk your ass into focusing purely on the road better than catching a a herd of grazing deer (10ft from your lane) out of the corner of your eye while doing 80mph on I-75... in the rain.... in the dark....

.. hitting one of those varmints would have slipped it right through the windshield, folks..... great bloody hell.... first time in my life that I ever wished I was driving an SUV the rest of the way home instead of Sylvia.....

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Rain...

... the forecasters predict a cold & rainy night.... thirty-nine degrees with wind and rain...... the perfect kind of evening for hunkering down with a bowl of steaming soup and a stiff drink or two..... but plans made last week are bearing fruit tonight instead..... so the Missus and I are off to The Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville to watch two gentlemen from "Whose Line Is It Anyway" act silly and flex their gargantuan wits on-stage....

... in a nutshell?.... the dreary, colorless day will be replaced by a night of sparkling chandeliers and art deco ceilings... and two talented hammerheads making me laugh..... bracketed, of course, by an hour of driving each way through foul weather fit to chill....

.... the weather actually snuck in Sandburg-style..... the morning was absolutely beautiful with clear skies towards the east at sunrise... but by noon the southwesterly wind had brought the dreaded grayness of Winter... and with it, that weird soft light that doesnt cast shadows....

.... so with that, rubberneckers, I am off to town.... y'all stay warm and dry... I'll certainly be trying to do so myself....

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Defeated.....

..... well, boys and girls, that's that...... LSU emerged victorious over my beloved Volunteers this evening....and good for them..... y'all LSU fans have my most heartfelt congratulations...... and as with every game played in the SEC, it was a slugfest and was brought right down to the wire.... just like good football is meant to be played....... it is wonderful to watch a game where everyone is playing with heart & passion...... it truly is.....

.... and hey, Heart & Passion is the Marrow of Life, folks......

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