Laughter.....

.... Hoosierboy is feeling blue, ladies & gentlemen..... and the old boy needs a bit of cheering up........

.... well, I recommended Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein........ but they might not work for him..... so what say you?..... what is it that gives you the giggles when you've reached the end of your tether?.....

... and by the way, this is possibly the funniest line in that film.... no, really...... well, apart from that blind Gene Hackman line...." wait!... wait!..... where are you going?..... I was going to make espresso!"......

.... heh.... I found it!....

.... and with that, I'm off..... the leg of lamb in the oven requires some tender ministration......

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Recycled.....

..... in between watching football games this afternoon, it was advertised that "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" will be showing soon on a channel near you.... and since that particular Christmassy cartoon has always been a favorite of mine, my ears perked right up.... it's the whole package, really..... you've got the brooding villain, the happy little Whos, that forlorn little puppy, all tied up with a neat little bow of complete redemption at the end ....

.... with a quick search of the archives, I realized that I had already written about The Grinch back in November of 2005..... wherein I wondered about the REAL reaction that the Whos might have experienced once ole Grinchypants' conscience started bothering him and he returned penitently back to town with all of their stolen goods.......

... anyway, and since I don't imagine that I'm going to have any new content this evening, here is a blast from the proverbial past..... with a poem, even!.....

... so, peace out, y'all...... I've got games to watch and potatoes to fry......



Originally posted November 15, 2005

Whoville.....
... re-watched the old animated version of "The Grinch who stole Christmas" last night... and, man, that poor dog of his really had it rough...

... I've always loved that movie... something about the Grinch just jabs my curiosity.... Misunderstood old curmudgeon living alone with his beagle in a cave on top of a mountain overlooking a sea of seething Whomanity...

... kinda like blogging when you think about it...

.. anyway, at the very end of the show when the Grinch had gotten all warm and fuzzy after burgling the Whos, I imagined what would really happen when he came down the mountain with all their stuff in his buggy...

... so with sincere apologies for Dr. Seuss, here goes..

The Grinch entered town and told the Whos he was sorry
His intent was to steal, after all, not to borry
His heart was a'glowing with fine Christmas Spirit
But the Whos didn't care, they didn't want to hear it.
The called on the constable to arrest the foul Grinch
"You stole all that was stealable and didn't even flinch!"
"You stole and you're mean and you're green", said The Marshal
"So you're going to jail with no bail and no parcel."
So they locked the Grinch up in the Who County Slammer
With shouts of "Let the fool rot! He's worse than a spammer!"
For robbin' on Christmas is just wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong
And returning the booty in your sleigh with a song
Won't make up for badness once you've proved you are evil
and we're pretty damned sure you've been abusing that beagle.

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Stars......

..... Bette Davis & Joan Crawford, I just don't get it.... one of the classic movie channels is airing back to back flip-flops of their movies today.... one Davis, one Crawford, one Davis, etc.....

.... it is now 2:39PM and I have heard The Missus snuffling in the living room as the credits roll at least twice now.... as I said, I just don't get it....

.... currently playing is 'Possessed' and it's a real humdinger.... lots of screaming, shrieking, maniacal laughter, and crying...... I happened to walk through just as that Osborne fellow was laying out the pre-movie scoop.... "This performance - of a woman driven insane - is thought by many to be Joan Crawford's greatest role," he said.....

.... so on the one hand we have that egghead, Bette Davis.... no chin, completely popeyed, and over-pronouncing everything she says...... and on the other hand we have a woman with caterpillars stapled to her forehead, the square jaw of a lumberjack in drag, and whose best performances come from the fact that she was a psycho in real life and happened to be given roles that allowed her to let it loose on screen.....

.... Bette Davis & Joan Crawford, Jesus...... I just don't get it..... now Jane Powell, Liz Taylor, or Rita Hayworth?..... infinitely more watchable, if you ask me..... and with a lot less screeching....

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Sniffles!.....

..... I hope that everyone had a wonderful, yummy, calorific, and family-filled Thanksgiving!..... as for me, I bailed on the usual tri-generational family gathering this year for the very first time since moving back to Tennessee eight years ago....

.... not to worry, though, my Sainted Mother arrived at dinnertime with a basket of leftovers and treats from the Annual Colossal Feast..... I missed everyone's company, sure..... and while I love'em dearly, it truly was best that I stayed home today...... see, we feast together communally...... over a gigantic table laden with twenty or thirty dishes of homemade goodness....... and I just happened to wake up this morning sneezing every two minutes..... add to that a nose that is trying its best to mimic a leaky faucet, and well, it was best that I not be around healthy, appetite'd folks today...... not only would I probably have put them off their mashed potatoes & gravy..... but I'd likely have given them whatever it is that I have come down with.......

.... still, though...... it was a beautiful day here.... the leaves have all fallen now and the trees are bare....... the sky was blue.... and the weather was mild.... and when my Mother pulled up in the driveway, I stuck my head out the door to see if she needed any help in bringing the basket in from the car - and of course she said yes....... so as I walked along the path in my tee-shirt and socked feet, the stars were out in force..... and brighter than I think that I've seen them in years...

..... another Thanksgiving laid by..... another Winter just beginning..... and another day of searching for the things for which we are thankful...... it was a good day...... even if I did sneeze 75,000 times......

.... in other news, echoes of "Sweet Transvestite" are ringing through the house right now...... which, of course, means that The Missus is singing along to Dr. Frank-N-Furter and wiggling herself all over the couch in the living room...... I guess that this evening is going to be capped with a showing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"....... hey, worse things could happen......... besides, I'm down with Rocky Horror...... Brad Majors and I could be clones.......

.... Happy Thanksgiving, everyone........ and to all, a good night.....

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Targets.....

..... I awoke this morning to the crackle of small arms fire off in the distance.... 8:15 AM, frosty, calm and bright, and some hammerhead is hiding in the woods shooting at my deer......

... if my well-trained ears are to be believed, I figure that there are two different hammerheads at work this morning..... and neither of them seems to be a very good shot....

.... as I stood in the kitchen with coffee pot in hand this morning, I heard the distinct thunder of a high-powered rifle off to the left...... ".. BLAM..... BLAM, BLAM!"..... I laughed to myself and poured the dark liquid... heh... three shots means they missed.... and by the time I made my way back to the quietness of the blogroom, four shots rang out from the right..... "POW!.... POW!, POW!...... POW!"..... heh..... the deer around these parts are truly blessed....... those of us who can hit a target at 600 yds don't even get in the woods these days.....

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Meme!.....

From Elisson comes this snazzy little Meme. Simply indicate the things youve done (or claim to have done) in boldface...


1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band
.... yeah.... twice.... and we sucked both times.......

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland
..... my parents took me down to Florida to visit when I was 12.....

8. Climbed a mountain
.... many, many, many mountains......

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
.... no..... but that is only because they hadn't reopened it when I was there two years ago......

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train
.... took the sleeper from Montrose to London and back many, many times.....

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitchhiked

23. Taken a sick day when youre not ill

24. Built a snow fort
... built them and then slept in them!....

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
.... my last year of little league?...... I hit 32..... never hit a single one while in high school though..... I think I must have used up my freebies......

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing
.... I taught a bunch of guys to climb when I first moved to Scotland...... a friend of mine had taught me while I was in Alaska......

40. Seen Michelangelos David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa
....no, but good god, I certainly WANT to.....

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing
..... did the Gulf a few times...... and the Bering Sea four times..... caught a very yummy halibut while fishing off of The Kuluk Clipper off Adak.....

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone SCUBA diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia
.... only if skirting their airspace counts......

60. Served at a soup kitchen
.... no, never served...... but I have donated to them quite often since moving back to the USA....

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching
..... Alaska, 2004..... took the Alaskan Railway out to Whittier and then cruised out to see the whales......

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
.... no.... but it IS on the horizon......

66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar

72. Pieced a quilt
.... hey, what?.... I'm from Tennessee....

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone
..... all of my fingers at least once..... playing baseball for fifteen years - as a catcher - well, your fingers are going to take a beating.....

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
..... and I never intend to do it again....

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
..... many, many times...

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someones life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous
.... hung out and had a few beers with Sam Elliot once at DFW....... shook James Taylor's hand backstage in Edinburgh once after his concert...... enjoyed both experiences very much.....


92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one
....my Dad died back in 2001....

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone
.... only once I started attending blogmeets and needed to be guided in via a friendly voice.... but now?...... it is a vital communication tool......

99. Been stung by a bee
.... more times than I can remember... and hated it every single time...... my three top fears?.... Zombies, sharks, and bumblebees......

100. Read an entire book in one day
.... most definitely....

...... life is a puzzle and a journey, or so I am told....... I see that there are a LOT of things that I still need to do before I pop my proverbial clogs and check out....... and that is a GOOD thing.....

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Surrounded.....

...... and on today's episode of Mutual of SWG's Wild Kingdom, I give you the view from the blogroom this morning...... behold, ladies and gentlemen, the graceful bark-bashing of the Pileated Woodpecker searching for his breakfast in typical woodpecker fashion.....

..... busy little fellow, isn't he?..... noisy, too..... I suspect he's more than a little hungry.....

.... and after a short walk to the living room?..... why, there are three young Whitetail deer happily munching on acorns in the front yard!..... I swear.... everyone had breakfast this morning but ME!....

..... I never did get the chance to photograph the Sasquatch that hangs out by the patio, but I do remain eternally hopeful......

..... hey, y'all be careful..... it's a jungle out there....

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1959......

..... I just finished watching the old 1959 version of 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' again.... and damn, I do love that movie..... serving wenches, murders, monsters, lonesome howls out on the moor.... I swear, it is a wonderful movie...... forebodings, Sherlock Holmes, curses, and Christopher Lee as Sir Henry.... it just doesn't get much better than that.....

.... TCM and AMC tend to show it every few months and I always end up tuning in just before the tarantula scene... (where Christopher Lee is about to be bitten in the face and Peter Cushing wicks it off with his cane and beats it to death in the corner)...... but today I watched it from the very beginning.......

.... good god, I was shocked and amazed..... I mean, can you believe that in the "Leave It To Beaver" world of 1959 they aired a movie that opened with a concerned Father being beaten, burned, and tossed into a moat by The Lord of The Manor?..... and then dragged back in - dripping and screaming - to be jeered at, punched, and laughed at by a crew of aristocratic, would-be rapists?.... all while his poor, tightly-corseted daughter cried into her bedchamber's pillows as the gangbangers laughed about their upcoming melee in the hall below?..... I was shocked...... Sir Arthur Conan Doyle must have had a twisted streak two miles wide......

.... I had always imagined that in 1959 the censors had everything pretty much battened down..... no foul language, separate beds for husbands and wives, no kissie-poo with tongue, no smooch to last longer than 10 seconds, etc...... but wow, the beginning of Baskervilles is just plain bawdy....

.... I remember reading Lee's biography a few years ago and loving every word.... it was titled "Tall, Dark, and Gruesome", and I highly recommend it, by the way........

.... the funny thing is, Christopher Lee looked remarkably like a young Nicholas Cage in the flick.....

... anyway, if y'all get a chance to sit through that movie, do yourselves a favor..... Peter Cushing is absolutely fantastic as Holmes..... way, way, WAY better than Rathbone, if I do say so myself...... and hey, it was also mildly refreshing to see Lee in a scene with a buxom lassie that didn't involve blood dripping from a neck or set of fangs.... sure, she still tried to kill him once or twice, but that wasn't really the point....

.... oh, and did you know that Vincent Price and Christopher Lee were both born on the same day?.... the 27th of May..... and Peter Cushing was born on the 26th?..... wow..... all three were close friends, from all accounts...... my goodness..... can't you just imagine what a birthday party THAT must have been?...

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More....

.... no posting tonight, hammerheads...... I spent the day shopping, cooking, listening to the Vols on AM radio, and attending birthday parties........

..... so chew on this puppy for a while........

..... that's right, folks.... more Zevon..... this song absolutely inspires me.......

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Ashamed.....

..... to do my best to combat this horrible thing, I give you something to scrub your head out with.........

..... those unfortunate readers of The Glorious Reader who do not also read MY site, woe betide....... I cast out my arms to assist, but you do not listen......... so, be it upon your own souls, folks......

..... Jihad Gene, you are a helluva man...... but for posting that song?...... you should be completely ashamed of yourself........ or selves.......

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Driving....

..... the Missus and I idled south to Cleveland, TN around lunchtime today and braved the crowd to lunch at a little deli downtown..... I've written a few times about what a treat that little deli is, and today was no exception..... I had their 'special' sandwich.... which consisted of smoked turkey, mayo, mustard, lettuce, onion, cheddar cheese, and a thin layer of cranberry sauce on sourdough bread..... sweet iced tea and a quartered kosher dill finished off the lunch nicely.....

.... if you ever find yourself in Cleveland with a growling belly, do yourself a favor and hit the Green Market Deli downtown.... just trust me on that..... and hey, when it comes to eating, drinking, and just generally making merry, I've got it in the bag..... and I would never steer you wrong.... hell, I'll drive the 45 minutes down there just for one of their hotdogs - they're just that good.....

.... I also finally broke down and purchased a copy of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations at the local bookshop..... so I am now officially dangerous..... hot damn!.... I've wanted a copy of that thirty pound monster since I was twelve years old....

.... anyway, it is beginning to get dark here now, and the sky has clouded over a bit...... the trees are bare and stark.... and the temperature is steadily dropping.... but earlier today it was absolutely stunning.... 60 degrees, crisp blue sky, bright sunshine...... I was almost tempted to slip on my jacket and drop the top on Sylvia..... and the leaves south of here - along the Hiwassee - had not yet fallen..... and the colors were intense and vibrant...... and for a long time there were no other cars on the road.....

.... I also picked up two huge "Iowa" pork chops from a fancy little fresh market.... they are currently playing together nicely in a large bowl with some of Emeril's Southwest marinade.... they'll soon be gently grilled and served with English mustard & my parmesan roasted potatoes.....

...... all in all, not a bad day to be driving around daydreaming.....

..... I'm off to check on the potatoes and mix myself a tonic & gin......

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Nothing....

..... no post tonight, gentle reader........ just me looking back and thinking....... it has been a day of quiet introspection around here.......

..... homemade Salisbury steaks, homemade mashed potatoes, and a nice salad for dinner........ and after a few drinks, I am off to bed........ I'm tired today...... and I've been tired for the past three days.........

...... the one year anniversary of a project that I started here is nearly complete...... and with each word, I get more and more nervous......... more and more anxious...... not for the story, really, but for how it will be received........ time will tell, I guess..........

..... but tonight, I am tired....... mentally and physically......

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Violence.....

...... I awoke this morning in the throes of a horrible dream..... violent, close, sweaty, and bone-crushing...... joints were broken with that familiar pop....... primal anger..... whisky...... yet remarkably controlled & focused...... and by the time I had a pot of coffee down, I was left with one impression that kept running through my head...... Clint friggin' Eastwood.......

.... if you have ten minutes to spare, give this a watch.......... it is the closest that I have come to finding my dream on YouTube.....

..... the scary thing?.... well, I am pretty sure that I was Ned.......

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Vitamins.....

.... I simmered a pot roast for most of the day yesterday in between being pelted by occasional squalls of fine sleet..... and after 7 hours of percolating, that chuck roast had disintegrated into a wonderfully dark, rich, and tasty pot-liquor..... absolutely perfect for soaking a nice hunk of cornbread in while those little ice pellets bounced on the deck out back.....

..... warm, steamy, earthy food, boys & girls...... and with the addition of a side of homemade coleslaw, it was downright heavenly.....

... tonight, however, the dinner plans are a bit more exotic..... oven-roasted fillets of pepper-corned mackerel & a Caesar salad.... evidently the Powers That Be reckon that I need a healthy dose of Omega-3.....

.... as for me, I remain apathetic to the many vitamin & mineral deficiencies that I have cultivated over the course of my youngish life..... I mean, when was the last time that your general practitioner saw a good, honest case of rickets, beri beri, or scurvy?..... exactly..... hell, at the rate my writing project is going, making some physician's medical journal is likely the only way I'll ever get 'published'.....

.... anyhoo, just rambling here..... thoughts cascading, rivulets, tangents, etc, etc..... I wonder what would happen to a body if they subsisted purely on cheddar cheese and water for a year or two?...... hmmm.... I'll have to do some research into that.......

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Bond.....

.... today was dreary & gray.... and coolish too, with a heavy fog that hung on with an amazing tenacity all day long..... It dawned more than just a little bit depressing...... so, as you do, I motored up to Knoxville with The Missus for lunch & a show.... we ended up catching the latest James Bond flick out at the cinema near Turkey Creek.....

.... there were good points and bad points.....

..... Daniel Craig may have shocked us all with Casino Royale..... but today's movie was just more of the same old, same old...... a big, brusque, violently unfettered version of James Bond, he is, folks........ and he looked like he enjoyed every second of his role..... and that made all of the difference......

... in truth, I kinda like his version.......

..... after all, violence is good when handled right....... and ole Daniel brings some serious violence to the screen....... but what shocked me most, I suppose, was his remarkably sensitive duality....... I doubt that any other Bond would be able to bust heads one minute and then touchingly cradle a rape victim the next with as much honesty and caring as Craig does....... and that is quite a feat.......

..... he may be a lot of clichs, sure, but he is definitely interesting......... and I suppose, in the end, that is what we all wish to be, isn't it?........ when all is said and done, if nothing else, we wish to be interesting......... or if not truly interesting, then at least to be THOUGHT of as interesting....... and as James Bond, I think Daniel Craig pulls that off in spades......... he is, perhaps, the most human version of Everyone's Favorite Secret Agent that there has been to date.........

.... with the possible exception of Michael Myers and his version of Austin Powers...... but then, that is apples and oranges, right?.........

.... Daniel Craig creates the most human version of James Bond that has ever been made......... and he doesn't need gadgets, pithy lines, or mad scientists stroking white cats to prove it......... he is the real deal.........

.... and while a purist Bond fan might wish back for the days of Brosnan and Connery, I find that Craig is refreshing in a whole new way...... the kind of way where when one is wronged they don't reach for an ejection lever or Super Secret watch accessory...... but instead reach for the nearest shovel, rake, ladder, or walking cane and use it to beat a Bad Guy flat in thirty seconds or less.......... hell, I admire that......

..... say what you will about the latest James Bond, folks..... but one thing is for sure........ he is like no James Bond that we have ever seen before........ and he knows how to lay a beatdown on a bad guy........ and you just HAVE to love that..........

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Cheering.......

.... good evening, everyone....... I've spent the better part of the last two hours being forced (by The Missus) to watch the Georgia High School Association's State Cheerleading Championships in Columbia...... and it has been quite an evening.....

..... and truly, you really can't make this shit up.....

.... and while I did sit dutifully through much of it, I finally tore myself away a few minutes ago and am here now trying to make sense of it all....

..... as an aside, of course, it's just not right for a grown man to watch high school cheerleaders, is it?....... I don't think so......... sure, it is fun to watch them twitch, twirl, get tossed into the air, caught, and then spin around and squeal- after all, they ARE athletes - and that is to be respected.......

... but really, there is no perv factor in that for me now......there might have been back when I was twelve, but there is none now..... in fact, they don't do much for me on any level.... any level whatsoever ...... and in reviewing this post, I am sure that my last statement probably gives most cheerleaders great, great comfort.......... but in truth, I find their routines amazing, pleasing, and magical..... but there is no sense of sex anywhere that I can see........ they are just pleasant tumblers in miniskirts.... children, really..... amazing toddlers tumbling like there is no tomorrow.....

..... but hell, I've never dated anyone who was ever younger than myself..... and I'm no spring chicken...... I've always seemed to be drawn to those who were more experienced than myself......

...... anyway, that is all water under the proverbial bridge..... and it is of no importance....... but speaking of chickens, (crossing the road leapt to mind), Elisson has a beautifully twisted rendition of a Joyce Kilmer vehicle that is more than worth your time to read........ it is here.... and it is beautiful.......

.... but, wow.... it is a sobering day when one is more infatuated by the written word than one is by young ladies in lycra doing the splits somewhere in darkest Georgia........... but hey, that is most assuredly true today...... and you know?...... I think that I made the better of the two choices....

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Superior.....

...... I have always loved the music of Gordon Lightfoot..... last year I even made the trip up to Knoxville to watch him perform at the Tennessee Theatre........ but he, Croce, Prine, Van Zandt, and James Taylor have always amazed me...... their songs were magic......

..... and to that list, I must now add El Capitan........

.... why?..... well, because this is just plain beautiful, folks......

.... now all we need is a youtube vid of El Cap singing it.......

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233rd.......

..... today is a very special day to all of my fellow Marines out there..... for today we celebrate the birthday of our Beloved Corps....... 233 years and counting, folks.......

.... 2006's post here still stands..... and I offer it to you once again as I prep myself and the grill this evening.......

.... Semper Fi, my brother and sister Marines..... and happy birthday to you all.....

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Lunch.....

..... the missus and I drove down to Chattanooga today and had a beautiful lunch with Richard of Shadowscope and his missus, Holder...... their two lovely daughters were in attendance as well, and they were a true pleasure to meet...... I have a feeling that both of them will end up being artists - judging by the coloring books that Big River provided them with as we ate our meal......

.... between listening to Big Folk talk, coloring, and eating, their enthusiasm (and anticipation) for hitting the Tennessee Aquarium had both girls itching to get going...... his eldest daughter had even busied herself during the meal by drawing pictures of all the critters that she hoped to see once lunch was over!....

..... so after a healthy meal and a few beers, we left them to go on their way...... it was a very civilized way to spend an autumn Saturday afternoon...... and I hope they make it up again soon.....

.... I then hit the jewelry store to pick up a piece that we'd left to be adjusted..... and then, on to the mall at Hamilton Place..... I'll tell you one thing, boys and girls..... the kind folks at Jared's definitely do not skimp when it comes to taking care of their customers..... in Knoxville, we usually frequent Carlyle & Co..... but when in Chattanooga?.... I highly recommend Jared's....

.... anyway, I'm beat..... and since I STILL haven't gotten the YouTube bug out of my system yet, here's another one for y'all to chew on for a while.....

.... I'm off to pour a Laphroaig, slip my socks off, and make fists with my toes in the carpet for the rest of the night......

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Cleaning.....

..... spent the day with my buddy cleaning out the gunsafe and getting all of the weapons ready for their long winter nap........ I've washed me hands ten times and they STILL smell like gun oil and spent cordite......... but the firearms are all fresh and ready for bed..... so it was a productive day......

...... had some Zevon on in the garage whilst we toiled...... and then later, some Townes Van Zandt.......

...... so, once again, since I have little inclination to actually blog today, I'll leave you with two different versions of one of his tunes....... and a quote that I just love....... I'm off to wash my hands AGAIN.......

.... here's the first version...... a gorgeous song, sure..... and I love the clip of Townes at the very end of this clip.....

.... and after having surfed YouTube for a few minutes, I find a nice lip-sync to the Cowboy Junkies' version of the same song....... enjoy....

.... as a writer of songs, Townes was a one of a kind.......


"Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that."
- Steve Earle

"I've met Bob Dylan and his bodyguards, and I don't think Steve could get anywhere near his coffee table."
Townes Van Zandt.

... you just gotta love a guy with a sense of humor like that......

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Ramparts.....

.... twas an amazingly mild day here today..... so much so that The Missus even crept out to the hammock for a few hours of vegetating this afternoon.... but those days are numbered, I'm afraid.... after Thanksgiving the weather'll change and it'll not be fit for man nor beast until April....... so in the spirit of Enjoying The Day, I did manage to rouse myself enough for a quick walk around the neighborhood in celebration.....

.... simple pleasures, I suppose...... they're like chocolate covered cherries at Christmastime.... from the outside they look like, well, you know.... but once you pop one into your mouth and give it a chew, well, there you are.... tingling all over from the chocolately, fruity sweetness that had been hidden in the most mundane of carriages.....

..... then again, I'm a huge fan of this time of year..... so my perspective is probably skewed quite a bit (ref that weird chocolate covered cherry thing above.) ...... but watching the leaves change with each increasingly cold night just absolutely floats my boat......

... anyway, that reminds me...... stand by for a Public Service Announcement.... the official candy of this blog is chocolate covered cherries....

... and with that, I'm off to whip up some burritos.....

... but before I go, I give you "Winter's Song" by the Cowboy Junkies..... behold a work of art....

She says, 'it's cold where you brought me'
He says, 'Darling, don't worry
you can stay in my arms
until the springtime comes
We'll let the snow drift around us
and wait for the robin and the crocus
to tell us that our love has again found the sun'

Lone oak stands tall,
bare arms scratch the sky,
dry leaves cracking beneath our feet
Hand in hand we've watched
the autumn fires burn -
Summer's dreams collapsing,
chestnuts in need of gathering,
the whole world lies rotting in the street

Soon we will walk with collars high
like ramparts raised for the siege
We'll bow to her beauty,
cower from her fury
sent as a judgment for a slight
long past forgotten
Winter's love once again unrequited
Winter's love once again unrequited

She says, 'Babe are you sleeping?'
He says, 'No, wide awake and thinking
of a dream I just had about the two of us
He takes his hand to her cheek now,
his lips to her brow,
their whispers pile softly
by the foot of the bed

.... I love the line "like ramparts raised for the siege"...... Autumn is the BEST time of year.......

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Lost.....

..... back when I was just a little guy, my mother and father insisted that I attend church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night........ pertinent thoughts on their part, I reckon.... they were, after all, trying hard to make sure that I was not brought up a heathen...... and I don't really see that it ever did me any harm.........

....... but having said that, I did not enjoy getting up every Sunday and trudging off to church...... it was a bother at the time, and it still is to this day........ and being a member of the local Church of God community, well, their doctrine most certainly was not Methodist.... or Baptist....... good god, we were like Baptists on steroids with a stash of HGH hidden in those leather folders on the back of every pew.......

.... and if I want to be truly honest about it, hell, twenty miles from where I am typing this there are Church of God folks handling serpents in the shadows of the Appalachians......... not that there is anything wrong with serpent-handling, per se, but it just isn't MY bag.......... so it is completely safe to say that my early religious upbringing was more than just a little strict............ and while I have not followed their doctrines as an adult, I DID do something that shaped my life early on because it felt like the 'right thing to do'....... so, I enlisted - along with my best friend, Mike - at the age of 11 and 12 respectively.........

.... it was after the bombing in Beirut that we both ripped out advertisements from separate magazines that our middle-school's library held, mailed them off, and enlisted in the Marine Corps......... we were pissed at the current state of affairs...... and did a serious amount of nail-biting before we finally heard back from some Colonel in DC who rejected our applications......... it didn't work, of course, since we were both woefully underage, but we tried........... and we were both very sincere.... both before AND afterwards......

.... so the question remains about where I am going with this line of awful screed.....and I agree....... I am going nowhere......

.... but the Missus switched a channel over this evening after dinner and settled on "The Sands of Iwo Jima" for a bit........ just up until the point where John Wayne got shot, actually....... and we started a bit of a conversation about it.......

.... she watched a bit of the film..... and she could easily discern which was real combat footage and which was Hollywood...... and after a few minutes, she looked at me and said, "my god, how horrible!"......

.... that, I think, is what struck me the most....... the "my god, how horrible".......

..... and that is what brings me to the crux of tonight's rambling........

..... I remember sitting on a hardwood pew in that god-fearing church and listening to a Marine Corps veteran talk about Guadalcanal one Sunday morning...... he stood up and began 'testifying' about how God had protected him, how God had saved him, and how he now owed his life to God....... the whole congregation was moved by it..... he was old, eloquent, violently grey, and completely satisfied in everything that he said.....

.... he mentioned that he'd spent the night of his 16th birthday manning a .30 caliber machine gun by a river on Guadalcanal facing 'human waves'........ can you imagine that for a minute?.... 'human waves'.... in the dark?...... in a steaming, insect ridden jungle?....... at freshly 16?........ and he went on to talk about how he'd mown them down..... right there in the dark by that river....

..... I doubt that I ever viewed religion, life, politics, history, or the Marine Corps the same since I heard him speak that day....... but six years later, I was off to bootcamp.....

.... I look at where we are today, and I cannot forget about that man that I knew so many years ago...... can you imagine?...... Guadalcanal....... Human Waves......... The Jungle....... it just absolutely blows my mind...

.... and then I look to my relatives who served at Siapan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Pelieu, and The Battle of The Bulge........ and the others?.... Hue, Danang, Phu Bhia, Khe Sahn, Phu Loc, and 881....... Monkey Mountain.... Highway 1.......

.... what was it that drove my old friend to enlist at 15 years of age back in 1941?..... love of county?..... pride?..... anger?....... or did he just want to serve his county?....... did he just want an 'out'?.... an adventure?.........

....... I just don't know...... but I do know that these people are my family, my friends, and my ancestors....... and I honor them.........

..... I guess the real question is, who will stand up in the future and take their places?.....

.... I know that there will be folks who will stand up and be counted..... I do....... there will always be those people...... but tonight, I am tired...... and I am lonely........ and I wish that I could sit down and have a drink with my long-dead Grandpa............ he could make a mess of fried potatoes that were the ultimate comfort food.......

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Eaten......

...... well, I dropped the top on Sylvia today and made it out to vote.....

.....actually, it was quite a nice, relaxed experience....... and that wasn't what I had expected, really.... I'd imagined long lines, stressed folks , angry folks, but that was not what I witnessed........

..... the lines were quick, and there was no waiting.... everything was smooth..... easy.....

..... and it seemed oddly perfect that one could make their way to the AREA to cast their first vote for President whilst gnawing on a McDonald's double cheese burger with the sun shining so very, very bright...... in a convertible...... with the top down....... and ZZ Top popping out "Rough Boy" from the Bose......

... good lord, a million trees were blazing as I chose a place to park....... the maples were absolutely on FIRE........

..... but we do truly live in a world of contradictions, don't we?...... especially during an election season?.......

... still, I have my doubts about the ballot that I cast....... after all, it was the first ballot that I had ever put My Name to....... and I seriously doubt that he'll be the winner.....but hey, those are the breaks.......

.... in other news, I cooked a marvelous cut of lobster and herb-baked salmon fillet for tonight's dinner........ and while the lobster turned out amazing and incredibly succulent & sweet, I managed to slightly undercook the salmon......

..... the result was that the inch-long centers of the salmon weren't quite done........ so as Fred and Bob (the two luxuriant pussy cats who inhabit these parts) lapped at the undercooked salmon, I couldn't help but wonder if I was somehow watching a cultural parallel unfold as I snuck off to make myself a Bowmore and ice......... having cast aside that undercooked evening meal......

..... so, yes...... today, I voted........ and I am very, very proud of that fact........ but as today showed me, if I am not careful, I suspect that one day my cats will greatly enjoy feasting upon my bones, flesh, and other worldly bits...........

..... and that is quite sad, really....... both in the analogy of voting, and in the social commentary that it implies.......

....and hey, in all truth, I just hope that I am dead when it all sets in - those metaphorical kitties...... I mean, sure, they aren't lions....... but to be eaten by a pussy like that - over such a long, slow, steady period of time - good god, the horror of those little nibbles just boggles the mind.........

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Voting......

...... tomorrow I cast my first vote..... ever......

.... after 36 years of life on this planet, I've never felt The Need to cast a vote..... my goodness, five years in the Marine Corps, and I never felt the need to cast a vote.... not for sheriff, mayor, representative, governor, senator, president, or dogcatcher......

... but tomorrow, I vote....

.... I grew up in a household that consisted of a Democrat mother and a Republican father..... and I listened my whole life to them bicker about driving to the polls and 'canceling out each other's vote'...... I suspect that their playfulness regarding electing officials somehow stuck in my mind...... and while I have been registered to vote many, many times (it was compulsory while in the military), I've never actually submitted a ballot........ after all, what is one vote among so many hundreds of thousands..... millions, even........ besides, someone out there is 'canceling out' MY vote by voting for the opposite candidate...... so what really was the point?......

.... I suppose that I always felt too small when it came to election day..... too insignificant.... too tiny....... humbled by the fact that I am just One Man in a sea of humanity........ figuring that The Powers That Be will never need Or miss my one little vote....... imagining that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people would always, always, ALWAYS have my best interests at heart........ that's what we're taught in school, right?........ but this year, I finally realized that for all of these years, I had been seeing My Right in the most wrong of lights.......

..... my one vote may not matter in the great scheme of things....... but it is The Principle of Voting that has caught me this year...... and that is something completely different......... and I truly see that now....... and casting MY ballot, ticking the box, or un-hanging a chad.... THAT is what matters most.......

.... so tomorrow, my candidate of choice may win....... or he may lose....... but all that truly matters is that I voted...... because The Forefathers intended that a government of the people, for the people, and BY the people...... actually be participated in by you and I.......

..... and I now no longer live with the idea that my government has my best interests at heart...... and if I do not vote now, what right have I to complain later?.......

.... so tomorrow, for the first time in my life, I vote.......

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Floral....

..... parmesan & onion roasted potatoes ala Eric, honey glazed ham baked with pears, and a big pile of Caesar salad...... yep, that's dinner tonight......

.... by the way, is anyone missing an umbrella?.... I ask because I seem to own one now.... which is quite odd, really.... since I most definitely didn't own an umbrella prior to this year's Hysterics at Eric's Shindig...... and not being a big proponent of umbrellage in general, I will be happy to ship it back to whence it came if someone confesses to having lost one....... it's one of those expandable jobbies decked out in a green and yellow floral pattern...... wooden handle, etc....

... and while I am oddly happy about my new umbrella being an addition to my collection of blogmeet souvenirs, I can't - in clear conscience - maintain possession...... so, 'fess up, folks....... and do it quick before it rains.....

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Odd.....

.... well, The Missus donned her blue velvet 'princess' get-up, raked the head-dress into a fine old coif, shook the train back to a jaunty angle, and bounced off to work last night.... leaving me here to face the hordes of 'little angels' whilst sporting my old black tuxedo & paisley cummerbund....

... yep, that was my costume as I handed out chocolates from a tarnished old silver platter with each ring of the doorbell......

.... hey, it's hard to have fun in a place like this, but I usually manage to make do somehow..... besides, that poor old tux has been feeling mightily lonely since I moved back to Tennessee..... I suspect that it misses the Burns Nights with a vengeance....

... but these days, I seem to only sport a suit around here when someone dies or decides to get hitched..... a tragedy, really....... but that gentle old tuxedo has now been relegated to non-essential duties..... such as those that present themselves during the occasional James Bond Marathon that TCM throws together once every couple of years.....

..... but it's alright....... all in all, I'm not really a tuxedo kind of guy anyway....

... the truly funny thing was watching the kids shock back a bit every time their Mothers, lurking in the shadows, zipped up to get a bit of candy from my tarnished silver plate..... it was quite odd to see so many women lining up to grab some candy....

..... I suspect it was the tarnish that caught their eyes..... after all, we're a wholesome bunch around here......

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