M-14s.......

.... three weeks ago at the local YMCA I found myself chatting to a gentleman in his late 70s about chin-ups....... he was a pleasant enough fellow to talk to, and I continued my chin-ups as he sweated to the sound of a room full of people whizzing ellipticals.......

...... but as things happen in these days and times, my cell phone rang mid pull-up......... I answered and said, "yes", "no", and "ok, I will"...... and then marched over to where Fiona was whizzing her own elliptical........ and upon my return to the chin-up bar, the old codger said, "hey!..... is that your wife over yonder?!"......

...... I replied in the affirmative and mounted the bar...... "well", said he, "she is a wonderful pharmacist...... "....... I chinned a few more times and then caught my breath...... "yeah?..... well, thank you..... I will be sure to tell her that you said so when we're back home....... "

.... about then another fellow codger chimed in and said, "well, yes she is!...... I hear that she is from Scotland!....... how on earth did she end up here?!?"

...... I eyed the pot-bellied pensioner for a minute or so before answering...... and finally, I began.... "I was in The Corps, sir..... she was a souvenir from my stay at a RAF base there.."........

... yes, I know that I was being an asshole...... but hey, who is in the best of moods when they are trying to punish their machine whilst constantly being asked odd and mystical questions?........

..... so, fast forward to today....... I am strapped into the Triceps Crushing Machine when the pot-bellied guy from three weeks ago sidles up to me.....

..... "so", he says.... "good to see you again....... you said that you were in the Marines, yes?....... so, tell me..... do you happen to know how to field strip an M-14?"......

.... "ummmmm, no....... they went out of service in 1968, if I recall from my history books correctly........ do I look like a Vietnam Veteran?....".....

... "oh no!..... I didn't mean that!...... I was just wondering if you knew how to take one a part!..... hell, you don't look a day over 40...... ".......

....... I'm 36, I think.......

..... anyway, I ended up giving him the name and phone number of my gunsmith...... along with a slow, long, evil stare as he wandered off to find an elliptical that he hoped wouldn't give him a coronary...........

..... but really?...... I mean, good god, folks..... I'm an amenable fellow..... but it's so damn hard to be a nice guy these days........ perhaps I am just a bit jumpy?........

...... should I have asked him if he had just recently traded his musket for that M-14?...... or would that just have been mean?......

..... I know that I'm an ass...... and I also know that there is a pull-up bar in hell waiting patiently for me to arrive...........

.... but isn't there one out there somewhere for us all?.....

Read the Bullshit »

Rita.....

...... it is no secret that I am a huge fan of Mr. Robert W. Service's poetry...... hey, he moves me........ but I happened to watch this scene on television earlier today and was quite shocked........

...... although, I must say that I'm glad Mr. Service lived long enough to see Rita Hayworth mentioning one of his characters whilst seductively peeling off a glove & shaking her groove thang during a burlesque'ish Hollywood production...... don't believe me?.... well, check this out...

..... if that doesn't want to make you zip off to Amazon.com and buy "The Collected Poems of Robert Service", well, I figure you're already likely beyond much hope........

Read the Bullshit »

Small......

..... after last night's post?...... perhaps it is time for some renewal.......... and so, well, here you go.......

....... perhaps we should all live in smaller towns?......

.... but the real question?..... when did Zonker start making music videos?...... and why did he start climbing trees?....... and when will he finally learn to properly lip-sync?.........

.. Ice, Ice, Baby......

Read the Bullshit »

Read.....

.... two weeks ago I sat on the couch as the Sun was low in the west and watched the silhouette of a spider climbing up and down his transparent web in front of the living room window......

.... the next morning I made a point out of trying to search for him... but to no avail...... the azaleas offered up nothing but a few wolf spiders and three or four "Bug Assassin".... but no Big Spider.......

.... it's been two weeks since I first saw him, and I saw him again tonight......... but this time?...... instead of waiting until morning, I just traipsed right out and watched it as it made its way up and down the 16 feet from the eaves to the azaleas and back again....... back and forth, back and forth.... and him with a body the size of a nickel......... it really was amazing....

...... I stood out there and admired his beauty for the better part of ten minutes before I wandered back in for dinner......

...... how perfectly designed for a kill he was..... how had nature shaped him so wonderfully to be able to do the almost magical things that he could do?.... he slept, he awoke, he fed, he bred, and the did it all over and over again....... he was splendid...... replete....... beautiful......

....... I must have written about spiders a hundred times here on this stupid fucking blog...... and in each instance I have either used them as a metaphor to prove some point, or I have admired them outright as just what they are....... beautiful predators who surround me constantly.........

...... and I suppose that my last sentence is what has bothered me most over the past two days.......because unconsciously or subconsciously........ everyone in Tennessee has been aware of a group of human spiders that have lived amongst us........ and we are all quite heartbroken, shocked, and horrified....... and absolutely fucking pissed....

.... for horrible, horrible crimes have been done in the biggest "small town" in the world, boys and girls........ and two days ago the first of many was convicted...... good god, this is Knoxville, Tennessee that we are talking about!.......

...... I am beyond words right now....... I truly am.......... and I now know that there are real spiders that live among us...... and they walk on two legs........ and they are monsters...... evil fucking monsters......

...... since the story broke - and for well before - I have carried my firearm everywhere that I have went.......

..... it is all just so very, very sad right now........ and it makes me so angry........ so fucking angry that it is driving me insane.......

Read the Bullshit »

Redneck........

.... no posts tonight, boys & girls..... I just finished an enormous spaghetti meal followed by a viewing of the latest "Rambo" flick....... good god........ that boy could rock a Ma Deuce, I tell ya......

..... so, I am off to crawl around in my dewy late August lawn with my Gerber MK II clenched firmly between my teeth.......

... call it "dramatic renewal of purpose"......

.... in other news (before I head off to darker climes), I purchased 5,000 rounds of .223 ammo a few days ago and the local gun shop gave me a bumper sticker as a present........ not being very original characters, it simply says "Got GUNS?"........

.... when I arrived home, I mentioned to The Missus that I had put a new decoration up in the garage....... and after five minutes of scanning she finally found it....... "Good god!", she said.... "you redneck!... it's a wonder that you didn't attach it to Blanche's bumper!".....

..... a little bit shocked and quite a bit appalled, I said, "Redneck?.... Moi?"......

..... I thought she was going to pee herself from laughing so hard......

...... I fetched her a glass of water - as I was quite worried about her sudden growth of a sense of humor - and as I handed it to her, she wiped the tears away and said.....

.... "now THAT is a bumper sticker..."

..... still confused, I inquired as to just what the hell she was talking about.......

..... well, evidently?.... she thinks that "Redneck?.... Moi?" would be a crackerjack of a bumper sticker............ especially in the community/area where we live.....

...... as for me?....... well, maybe....... but then again, most people are absolutely bonkers......

Read the Bullshit »

Description......

.... ceramic, homemade, and approximately two inches tall, he is gazing at me with largish eyes that protrude slightly from his faintly lopsided noggin.....

... each leg consists of a sphere with the final 1/4 flattened removed so that he can balance properly..... and his torso - as rotund as it is - is merely another sphere of greenish ceramic roughly four times larger than each leg......

... there is a thoraxish area between his head and tummy which acts as a sort of "neck", I suppose.......an afterthought by whomever crafted him, no doubt..... although to use the term "him" is purely random, as he/she has no visible genitalia of any sorts.....

.... which, actually, is a very, very good thing....... (but I shall continue to use the term "he" hereafter for two main reasons...... firstly, when I was given him, I was told that he was the "Pea God"..... and since God's are usually male, there you go..... and secondly, he vaguely resembles a very tiny penis if viewed from the correct angle..... so, "he", it is..)

.... his head was once a sphere as well - roughly the same size as his torso.... but unknown hands that sported opposing thumbs and forefingers did a number on that sphere and created a "head"...... I would guess from evidence provided by my own proddings that his "eye sockets" were likely the result of two thumbs being pressed into a soft ball of clay once upon a time........ and, indeed, there appear to be forefinger imprints on the backside of his head..... hey, how better to create a "head" than to take a ball and press it between two fingers and two thumbs?.....

..... as an afterthought, though, The Creator was kind enough to give Mr. Pea God a pair of tiny ears by taking those same two sets of fingers and pinching the outer orbits of the aforementioned eye sockets......

.... the only other details that really are sharable are the eyes themselves, and the arms.....

..... the eyes are simply little flattened balls of clay that have been delicately placed inside the sockets and then jabbed with what appears to be a tooth pick (to create the pupil).......

.... the arms, though, they really do set the scene....... little spaghetti-like things that drape themselves delicately around the "torso" they draw the eye both upwards to the face - and downwards towards the chubby legs at the same time..... creating a weird sort of nodding motion if you look at the sculpture for too long at any given time....

...... funnily enough, the left hand seems to have three fingers while the right has four....... I can only assume that this is a feature of the Pea God - and not a design flaw.......

... ahhhh, and lest I forget the rest of the "face"!...... I must admit that it is so very, very serene...... so much so that it almost reminds you of those lemurs off of "Madagascar"..... and the eyes!.... those large, soulful, peering eyes!........ and those two flaring nostrils and that wisp of a mouth!.......

..... did I mention that the entire thing diarrhea green?.......

.... anyhoo..... any artists out there?..... feel free to send me a sketch and I will gladly post it........ my digital camera is on the fritz...... then again, perhaps the Great Internet is not ready to be introduced to The Pea God just yet........ goodness knows that I certainly wasn't when he was given to ME....

Read the Bullshit »

Bikes.....

..... visited the gym again today after a trek out to the chiropractor for a good tweaking.... and I swear, she seemed absolutely horrified by my lifestyle....... she took one look at me and said, "many chili-cheese dogs over the past two weeks?"....

.... just recently she "promoted" me from once a week to twice a month...... so when I arrived today, she scanned me over - all slump-shouldered as I am - and said, "so, what have you been up to?"..... I straightened slightly, and then dove straight in to the various labors and adventures that I'd been dragged into over the past two weeks..... she laughed and told me to "assume the position."......

.... after various twists, cracks, creakings, and thumpings, she asked me to sit up straight and produce an arm outstretched so that she could work her mumbo jumbo voodoo crap on me and tell me how badly I needed to be buying stock in acai berries.........

..... I left her with three recipes after she'd finished....... hell, what is a man to talk about when having the voodoo hands laid upon him other than recipes?........

...... in other news, yes, I am still in quite a foul mood........ my day-laborers are all currently incarcerated - and I have chores that need done, dammit.........

.... still, though..... tomorrow is another day.......

...... and so, I will leave you with this to chew on as you bed down for the night.....

.... exercise bikes are evil, folks....... they were in the 80s..... they were in the 90s....... and they certainly are now.......

..... good god....

Read the Bullshit »

Stars....

..... "The Asphalt Jungle" was on in the living room last night, and I spent the better part of the evening eavesdropping on conversations of crosses, double-crosses, and triple-crosses courtesy of John Huston's directing prowess......

..... what a tangled world we live in, eh?...... and what an even more tangled world we can imagine if we really put our minds to it....

...... but as for imagining?....... well, I'd like to imagine that if I were one of the actors in Huston's stable that I'd either have been James Whitmore or Lee Marvin......

...... the problem is that I have read Marvin's biography and I haven't read Whitmore's...... so, I am a bit biased...... and I tend to lean a bit more towards Whitmore.... Whitmore can be gritty when he needs to be, of course..... but he is still mostly loveable around the edges in most roles..... Marvin?...... he was just a bit too mean for me..... I'd like to have had a beer or two with him, but not share a bottle of tequila, if you know what I mean.......

..... one of us would have most assuredly gotten cut by the end of the night, I feel quite certain..... besides, both he and Whitmore were combat vets........ I'm sure that they both had great stories to tell if given the chance.......

.... but, I digress....

..... but isn't that always the way with things?..... you get a peek here and there?.... you watch the movies, listen to the interviews, and read the stories in the tabloids?........ hear the gossip..... pour over the documentaries......

.... we somehow find our celluloid heroes alter egos and then work so very hard to know more, and more, and more about them..... as if us knowing their wife's name and their wedding anniversary will somehow make us feel closer to them the next time a flick of theirs is shown on the tube......

.... hell, isn't a whole industry built on such long-distance rubbernecking of our "Stars"?......

.....ahhhh, I know that I am grousing....... I've actually been in an epically bad mood for the past two days, so I suppose that I should be given a bit of slack......

..... but really?.... the only problem that I have with Mr. Whitmore is his politics......... otherwise, he and I are square on......... but Lee?......

...... well, how can this make any man anywhere not want to wake up and realize that he is Lee Marvin.....

...... old movies, I swear.......... sometimes "the rest of the story" is what "the story" was all about to begin with!.....

Read the Bullshit »

Django....

.... Friday again?....... earworm time...... and I swear, I woke up humming this song.........

...... it was only broken a few times by "Sweet Georgia Brown" busting loose...... thank goodness it is nearly bedtime!....... my feet are tired of tapping.......

Read the Bullshit »

Casting.....

..... good god..... I just saw Humphrey Bogart pretending to be a Mexican bandit in the movie "Virginia City"..... well, maybe not a "Mexican bandit", but he did have a pencil-thin mustache and was riding a horse..... I walked through the living room just as he was talking saucily to Errol Flynn

..... I think that I'm traumatized..... Bogart shouldn't be in westerns..... ever......

..... I don't think I'll be able to watch The Maltese Falcon the same way ever again.....

Read the Bullshit »

Missing......

..... I remember being taught snippets of the Marine Corps' history when I was in bootcamp..... and the acronyms that they used to help you remember complex answers to questions...... JJDIDTIEBUCKLE, MOOSE MUSS, SMEAC, BAMCIS, and BIGOT...

.... BIGOT, though, I already knew from listening to my Great Uncles and Grandparents tell stories.... BIGOT was the acronym for the major Marine Corps assaults in the Pacific during World War II..... Bougainville, Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Okinawa, and Tarawa......

.... Great Uncle Robert had been a Seabee on Peleliu and Okinawa..... and his brother - my Great Uncle Frank had survived five major assaults in 13 months with the 14th Marines...... Roi Namur, Tinian, Saipan, Tarawa, and Iwo Jima.... he was wounded in the foot on Saipan by a shell fragment but was never taken off the line....

.... I remember when I told Great Uncle Robert that I was joining the Corps.... he could not even say the word "Marine" without getting a tear in his eye........ as an old, old man, he told me once that he had spent a week picking up their bodies on Peleliu after the battle..... and all he could think of was his brother, Frank....... the word "Marine" was almost something holy to him.......

.... I remember listening to Great Uncle Frank and my Grandfather talk one Easter at my Great Aunt Sue's house after everyone had been fed.... Grandpa was talking about The Battle of the Bulge and just how cold everyone had been hunkering down in the Ardennes..... almost to the point of turning blue...... and Frank had immediately launched into how most of the Marines who had landed on Iwo Jima WERE actually blue...... the Marines had been issued some sort of blue cream that acted as as sun screen and a flame retardant.....

.... you can see a blue-faced corpsman tending to a wounded Marine at 55 seconds here in this clip if you wish.... how odd it must have been to have run into battle painted blue......

... hell, how odd must it have been to have exited your LST and seen that wall of black sand?..... just knowing that mortars were soon to be on the way....... good god.......

.... after I graduated from bootcamp and was sent out into the fleet, I called Great Uncle Frank often..... I really didn't know him that well, come to think of it....... and I can probably count on both hands how many times that I actually conversed with him face to face as an adult.... but there was always something so absolutely disarming about him.... he smiled readily, laughed at the drop of a hat, and could make anyone feel like whatever they were saying was well worth listening to...

.... when I'd get lonely for my family, I'd always call him to chat..... whether I was in Alaska or Scotland, he was the friendly voice that I always enjoyed hearing...... I guess that since he had left Tennessee for Ohio himself after the war, I kinda felt that he might be a little homesick just as I was.....

.... but whatever the case, he always listened to me...... and he always cheered me up...... he told me once that I called him more than his grandchildren did - which, of course, made me feel like a complete shit for not calling my OWN only surviving grandmother more often than I did........ then again, perhaps that was it?..... both of my own grandfathers had already died...... had I somehow latched onto him as a sort of surrogate grandfather and brother Marine all rolled into one?.....

..... I just don't know, really...... but I do know that he was a pleasure to talk with..... he was quick-witted and sly..... always ready with a joke or a challenge to a game of pool.... and he was always, always smiling....... I've got a photo around here somewhere of he, my cousin Tommy, my Father, and I all out in the back yard of my Mom's house..... three generations of jarheads all standing underneath a dogwood tree...

.... two years ago I asked him about his fire missions on Iwo Jima - knowing that he was an artilleryman by trade....... I was shocked to hear that all of his battery's cannons were lost before they ever made it ashore..... the LSTs carrying the men & cannon were either hit, capsized, or swamped before ever reaching the beach....... he and others swam ashore and then spent their time on Iwo fighting as infantry......

.... he told me once that he was less than 500 yards from the famous "flag raising" on top of Mt. Suribachi..... and that he saw it go up........ hard to believe that a young Marine like myself would have a relative who was there.... AND who chanced to meet the nephew of Ira Hayes - one of the five who hoisted the flag that day........

..... sadly, though, I hate to report that one of my heroes is dying........ after having fought off many different illnesses over the past decade, word came down through the family that he has been taken off dialysis due to being diagnosed with cancer in both lungs and in his spine..... he is 85 years old....... a good long age, I guess........ but still too short, if you ask me........

.... I called last night and spoke to his wife for nearly an hour...... she was strong, he was asleep, and I cried like a baby trying to tell her all of the things that I wished she would say to him when he awoke.....

.... he is a relative, of course......... and as I said before, I really don't know him that well........ but knowing that he has less than two weeks to live has tweaked something in me........ he was a good man - I do know that....... and he was a kind man......

...... and he was a warrior, a brother, and a friend when I needed one....... he must have thought that I was crazy when I called him from so far away to talk about history, Tennessee, my Grandfather, and The Marines.........

.... I don't really know what he thought..... but he always let me ramble....... and he always listened....... and he always laughed and shook my hand at every family reunion...... and I always called him sir.....

..... I am going to miss him so....... and it breaks my heart..... it truly does......

.... there are some people that I have met that I truly wish could live forever...... and he was one of them......

Read the Bullshit »

Matter.....

..... on Thursday we took the proverbial plunge and re-joined the local YMCA....... and after they took our wad of cash & we'd signed the paperwork, she used the elliptical machine for 40 minutes and I lifted weights........

..... on Friday, I was sore...... very sore... Monumentally Sore........ I slept that night feeling like a ninja had beaten me with a rattan stick for the better part of the day.......

... on Saturday we wandered off to the river for an Afternoon of Rafting that turned into an "evening" of rafting......... needless to say, it was an epic of waiting, sweating, and prepping for sunburn, and frantically dodging rapids.......... our 2pm reservations turned into a 4pm sweat lodge in a 1964 bus whilst waiting for the rafts to be loaded..........

... and as the circumstances dictated, I ended up being chief paddler for nearly three hours.......... in a five-man boat..... but with two women, two children, and me?.......... well, I did the rowing.... and by nightfall my shoulders need a doctor...... BAD........

.... and yesterday, due to circumstances (again) beyond my control, I had to mow my lawn four days too late.......

..... no big deal, really, in the great scheme of things.......... 91 degrees with 96% humidity....... glorious sunshine all afternoon long...... 6-inch piles of grass clippings with each pass of the mower..... and since my rake had mysteriously disappeared, I combed them into little rows with my fingers and scooped them into a wagon.....

.... it was the oddest thing..... wearing long sleeves, long pants, and a big floppy hat to protect me from the sun, I was completely soaked after fifteen minutes..... and after collecting the first big pile, I stood up and laughed out loud..... I was alone in the front yard at midday..... no neighbors stirred..... no traffic in the cul-de-sac..... no insects buzzing...... far, far off in the distance someone's dog was barking...

..... I put my hands on my hips and laughed..... looking out at the acre that lay before me, I knew that I had two more hours to go....... I couldn't help but smile all the more wider...... was it hard work that I was setting into?.... no, not really..... just bend at the hips, scoop up a handful of grass, raise, twist, drop, repeat..... repeat..... repeat, repeat, repeat......... there wasn't anything physically challenging about the actual chore..... no, it was the weather that had me laughing.....

... my eyes burned from the salty sweat that ran into their corners.... my lips took on that chapped feeling from having been licked too much.... my clothing clung to my body as if I had been hit by a fire hose..... the air was so heavy that you almost had to chew it before each breath...... and the smell of the grass clippings we damp and sweet in the heat......

..... when I finished and came inside, The Missus was quite horrified...... she watched me from the couch as I peeled off the layers of dripping clothes and tossed them into the washing machine....

..."you do realize that you are quite insane, right?", she said....

... "what's that?", I replied, trying to hear her over the sound of the filling washing machine....

.. "I heard you laughing..... I went to the window and saw you standing out there soaking wet in the middle of the yard - with not a stitch of shade - laughing.".....

.... "yeah.... I looked around and it was funny.."

....."THAT was funny?"

..... "yeah.... I was remembering what my Dad used to tell me when I was growing up..... you know, about mind over matter?"......

..... "okaaaay...... what about it?"...

...... "well, he'd be out building fence in the middle of winter.... or push-mowing the lawn in the heat of summer..... and when he'd come inside afterwards, he would rib me about not coming out to help him...... I'd always say, 'are you nuts?.... it's twenty degrees outside!..... or, are you nuts?.... it's 100 degrees outside!'..... he'd always just grin and say, 'hey!... it's mind over matter!.... if you don't mind, then it doesn't matter!'..... I was remembering him saying that, I guess..... and it just seemed funny..."

.... "you know that you're turning into your Dad, right?".....

.... I laughed again at what she'd said and then headed off to the shower......

.... I admired my Father for what he was capable of when I was a little guy..... but I still thought he was a little bit nuts....... and now it seems that I'm just a little bit nuts myself......

.... and you know, I think that's a good thing..

Read the Bullshit »

Paddling.....

.... good morning, rubberneckers........ I trust that you all are preparing for a lovely, pre-back-to-school morning of quiet reflection and/or fun frolics with your kiddies or significant peripherals.....

... as for me?.... no such luck, I'm afraid.....

.... for it has been handed down From Upon High that I am to spend the better half of today practicing my Ben Hur impersonation and manning an oar.....(.. the middle part of Ben Hur, of course.... goodness knows that I'd be absolutely dangerous in a chariot..)

... and so we're off to The Ocoee River where a rubber raft & roiling Tennessee waters shall stage today's scene......

..... my goodness....... were I feeling remotely Shakespearian this morning I would wax on and on about the majesty of Nature's tumult and the beauty of an obscuring turbidity...... but, no.... I'm off to search for sunscreen instead.....

..... hey, at least I know that I am a very, very hard person to drown!..

.... just look at those guys!...... I think the one way in the back at 1:11 even has an "Adventures Unlimited" baseball cap on!......

Read the Bullshit »

Plays.....

..... watched this the other night........ and good god, I think that I was born to forever be an Ophelia..........

....... still, though, Brannagh will always creep me out a little bit.......... I much prefer his Henry VI.......

..... St Crispian is, after all, one helluva rousing speech.........

.... oh, and my pecs hurt........ too much exercise, I suspect......... but hey, I hope that you are all well!......

Read the Bullshit »

Haunting.....

..... this past spring I had the pleasure of visiting, lunching, and enjoying the atmosphere (and a pint or two) at the Kildrummy Castle Hotel in Aberdeenshire....... (a photo of aforementioned pint may be found here, incidentally..)

.... anyhoo, I have been remembering my scant time spent there lately...... see, while enjoying my pint and photographing the amazing decor inside the hotel, I happened to casually ask the matron if the place was by any chance haunted...... an odd question, you might think, but not really..... hell, try finding a place in Scotland that ISN'T haunted and just see how lucky you are....

.... so, yes...... I asked...... and the raven-tressed matron smiled at me, tilted her head to allow her eyes to peek over the top of her tortoise-shell eyeglasses, and replied in the affirmative..... that "indeed, our hotel is haunted..... men have never reported anything over the years..... but many ladies have said that they've felt a pinch on their backsides when no one was around..... or when Their Men had looked away or weren't paying attention.... and since the builder of our hotel - Mr. So-And-So - was known to be a lover of the feminine form?.... well, most people assume that his spirit is still here with us..... and that, of course, he still enjoys the presence of The Ladies..." .....

..... I laughed at the time and made a mental note as I stood at the foot of that regal, polished walnut staircase... I think that I immediately fell in love with the hotel right then and there... the billiard room, library, and bar.... ascots & spats..... single malts, the highlands, and a caddish ghost who spends his afterlife swatting the random shapely unattended backside......

..... since I returned home though, I have spent hours watching the "A Haunting" series on The Discovery Channel..... and I must say that I am more than a little confused.....

..... I mean, why is it that only the tortured souls, victims, and evil people remain behind as ghosts, haints, or spirits?.... why is it that those who hated life, were wronged, or angrily caused pain to innocents are left to walk eternally among us scaredy-cats?.... I'm sorry, but that just seems so incredibly ass-backwards...

.... one would think that if you spent your life thinking it sucked & doing mean shit to people, then after you checked out you would want to get the hell out of Dodge as fast as possible...... right?....

..... and conversely?..... if you spent your life sipping fine whisky and caressing the occasional bosom, why not spend a ghostly millennium doing exactly that in a fine Victorian hotel?...... I just don't get it...... if you had a happy life, then why NOT be a ghost and get to keep on enjoying it?.......

.... don't get me wrong, though....... I'm not saying that I necessarily believe in ghosts...... but I guess what I AM saying is that if there ARE ghosts?..... they certainly must be gluttons for punishment......

..... and personally?..... I think an afterlife spent wandering around The Kildrummy Castle Hotel wouldn't be half bad.....

Read the Bullshit »

Hands.....

.... there was a slight, steady breeze most of the afternoon today.... and I spent quite a few hours out on the patio under the shade of the dogwoods reading and writing - and sweating in the shade in spite of the breeze....... 90 degrees with 95% humidity?...... a breeze only creates a convection for the outdoor oven to all-the-better bake you with....... it's a helluva thing to sit in the shade - drinking cool liquids - and still sweat yourself into a puddle........

...... anyhoo, I found an interview of Paul Cartledge in last April's issue of Military History magazine that I couldn't quit laughing at....... he's evidently written a book about the Spartan's defense at Thermopylae that the critics are enjoying...... he had some interesting ideas in the interview....... but here is a brief quote for your enjoyment......

Question: Was this battle an example of what some historians later defined as "a Western way of war"?

Answer: Yes. The notion is that somehow we in the West are solitary and fight hand to hand. We look the enemy in the eyes, whereas Orientals tend to fight at a distance or from horseback, so they distance themselves from the actual physicality of war. Now guns transformed the notion of courage straightaway, so you have to look quite hard to find is Western tradition of courage persisting beyond the 17th or 18th century. But there is something to it.

...... look to the 17th or 18th centuries??....... good god........ when I was in the Corps, we were ALL taught hand to hand.... and as an adult I learned to fight with a knife...... a knife that I carry every day that I have my pants on....... and I have the defensive scars on my arms and hands to prove that I've played a few hands with blades......

.... I remember my Dad - a USMC Vietnam vet - telling me a story about some Marines trapped on some hilltop in Vietnam calling in for an evac........ the helicopter pilot radioed down to the embattled Marines... "Is the enemy close?"..... to which the grunt on the ground replied, "yeah, sir... hang on just a second and I'll let you talk to one of them."......

..... five years ago a soldier from El Salvador whipped out his pocket knife in Iraq and knifed two Bad Guys who were attacking the rest of his squad with AK-47s......

... 1600s?..... 1700s?..... hardly.... the spirit to get in there and mix it up is still MORE than alive and ready and living happily in the hearts of our warriors.......

..... I will say, though, that I think that I am very glad that the Japanese samurai stayed in Japan......... because that would have blown his theory right out of the water........ (even though there were a couple thousand years between the Greeks, Persians, and the Samurai.).......

...... still, though, all you have to do is to look at the "mission" of every Marine combat unit........ their mission?... words that we all learned in bootcamp......

... "to Locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver.".....

.... catch that?...... "close with"...... for those of you who don't know, that means "to get close, to engage, to pursue, to make contact with. etc"........

....... and as a rule?..... if you meet someone - anyone - who is willing to locate, close with, and destroy you?....... well, it is safe to say that the pretty well mean business..........

.... I might suggest that Mr. Cartledge read some more up to date history...... that warrior spirit is still very, very alive and well.......... especially in the Marine Corps.....

Read the Bullshit »

Service....

...... I was reminded of a Robert Service poem today, and it struck a chord on lots of levels..... it is, and always has been, one of my favorites........

.... "Maternity"......

..... it has been one of those days where I should have stayed in bed......... but still, the poem is worth a listen.........

.... and once upon a time?..... this little blog was all about The Robert Service.......... I think I should resurrect that aspect around here......... hell, I miss him........ I didn't realize until today just how much I missed him......

..... if the .wav file doesn't play, then just trust me and read the poem......... it is worth the effort.....


.... "Maternity", by R. W. Service.....

There once was a Square, such a square little Square,
And he loved a trim Triangle;
But she was a flirt and around her skirt
Vainly she made him dangle.
Oh he wanted to wed and he had no dread
Of domestic woes and wrangles;
For he thought that his fate was to procreate
Cute little Squares and Triangles.

Now it happened one day on that geometric way
There swaggered a big bold cube,
With a haughty stare and he made that Square
Have the air of a perfect boob;
To his solid spell the Triangle fell,
And she thrilled with love's sweet sickness,
For she took delight in the breadth and height--
But how she adored his thickness!

So that poor little Square just died of despair,
For his love he could not strangle
While the bold Cube led to the bridal bed
That cute and acute Triangle.
The Square's sad lot she has long forgot,
And his passionate pretensions . . .
For she dotes on her kids -- Oh such cute Pyramids
In a world of three dimensions.

..... as for me?....... I just love it....

Read the Bullshit »

Buttercup.....

....for the past two nights I have had the most horrific nightmares..... Saturday morning I was sitting upright in bed - fresh from a nightmare - at 4:30am...... and this morning?...... 6:15am.....

.... ghosts from the past, monsters, drowning, plagues of bumblebees, sharks, and zombies........ vampires, shooting accidents, betrayals, creepy Tarot card readers, and car wrecks......... and lastly?...... a dream of a really, really nasty sunburn.........

..... I swear, I just don't know what's up... but I do know this, folks...... if I dream tonight of paper cuts and lemon juice, I'm filing suit against Rob Reiner tomorrow morning.....

Read the Bullshit »

Haircut....

.... up early and out of the house this morning in search of a haircut, I found myself at safely ensconced on a faded lawn chair at Eva's by 8:30..... the door was open to the street and the sounds of small town traffic mingled with the sweet aroma of Dollar Store hairspray as she worked her magic on a berry-brown pensioner...

.... I leafed through a dog-eared copy of Southern Living from 1987 while the two ladies chatted away in the morning heat....

... Eva picked and sprayed, patted and pulled until the tanned face of the old woman was surrounded by a perfectly round dome of silver, curly hair....

.... I waited my turn quietly and took note of the two of them.....

.... Eva - a tiny slip of a woman.... with her straight gray hair and skinny legs..... both ladies sporting that kind of bone-deep suntan that you only see on someone who has tended a garden every summer for the past 55 years.... no make-up on either of them..... just faces beaming with the lines of Time, sunshine, and Life....

..... it was early, though, and the morning air hadn't yet become burdened with the heat it'd have by noon.....

.... horns honked occasionally as the ladies talked about fried green tomatoes and gossip....

.... I believe that they were both genuinely happy as I sat there listening..... Eva doing what she loves to do.... and her customer content with knowing her hair was going to look exactly as she imagined.... they talked of grandkids, coffee, and vacations....

..... I'm back home now drinking coffee and preparing for a trip up to Knoxville..... The Missus is looking forward to an evening of Shakespeare in Market Square..... and me?..... I'm just thinking of how much I enjoy my three-dollar crew cuts every two weeks.....

Read the Bullshit »

Dreams....

.... another reason why I adore The Internet...... things such as this......

..... apart from all that ghetto talk at the beginning?...... I thought this was absolutely great.....

... g'night all!... I hope that you all dream a little dream!......

Read the Bullshit »

Mailbag.....

.... you know, I just LOVE waking up early in the morning, pouring myself a nice cup of coffee, and checking the old mailbag...... it cheers my cold, black, bloggity heart.....

... I mean, just check out this thoughtful note from one of my favorite rubberneckers....

I listened to The Clarks and I have to say.....They suck!!! Ive heard cats mating that sounded better. Just listening for a few seconds made me want to fill my ears with chunky peanut butter so I wouldnt hear it. The sad part is, that nauseating song will forever be imprinted on my mind and I will never get it out. How about that song you used to sing about the drip-dried critters and the space cadet?You remember, Beats the hell outta me Roy. THAT is a song worth posting.

..... nice, eh?..... and as they say, since it is the squeaky wheel that gets the proverbial grease, I can only assume that many of you also wished to jam your ears full of chunky peanut butter after listening to The Clarks.....

.... terribly, terribly sorry, folks..... and yes, in case you are wondering, I CAN sing the entire song "Crispy Critters" at the drop of a hat AND completely from memory....

... hey, it ain't easy being me..... and that's a fact.....

... anyhoo, for those of you who wish to have The Clarks scrubbed thoroughly from your tender noggins this morning?.... I give you the infamous song about "drip-dried critters and the space cadet."..... I do hope that you enjoy....

..... and the line at the end of the song that was cut out?...... "And the mayor was a space cadet."....

..... no need to thank me, folks...... you guys know that you're already "welcome".....

Read the Bullshit »

Sweat....

.... after the past three days of rain, fog, and humidity, today has dawned bright and clear...... and by high noon the grass will finally be dry.....

.... I plan for today to be a day of sweat.... and I am looking forward to it....

.... sometimes a good, hard sweat is just what the doctor ordered..... and today I am getting dirty....

Read the Bullshit »

Thoughts....

... if you haven't read Elisson's latest post on volcanoes, then go and treat yourself..... it is definitely worth the time....

.... when I read it?... all I could think of was "wow.... how amazing it must have been to have climbed up a volcano.... and then gazed over the brim down to the lava below..".....

.... it started me thinking about Mt. Tanaga and Mt. Kanaga - two of the most perfectly conically shaped volcanoes on Earth - and ones that I saw nearly every day for 18 months......

..... when the weather to the west was clear, you could clearly see them out against the skyline - 16 miles west of Adak Island.... and from time to time you'd see a trailing while pall of smoke and ash rising up into the sky.....

.... and in doing a bit of research on those two volcanoes, I suddenly realized that I HAD climbed a volcano before.... two of'em, in fact!.....

.... Mt. Adagdak and Mt. Moffett..... of course, the weather wasn't exactly Hawaiian shirt friendly..... quite the opposite, actually...... pictures of me near the summit of Mt. Moffett were posted ages ago here..... funny, though.... if it hadn't been for reading Elisson's post, I'd never have known that either of those two "mountains" were actually volcanoes......

... so, go now and read his post..... it'll make you think deep thoughts.... and then?.... well, you just never know what will happen...

Read the Bullshit »