Naptime.....

..... no posting tonight, children, I is tired...... it appears that one helluva morning has worn me out completely...... and mercy, I need a nap!......... but I will leave you with a blast from the past to gnaw on until further content arises....... here's one from way back in March of 2006......

... Pensacola......

... nearly six-foot-two, and all of 165lbs...... I was one scrawny little pup.......

..... here's to the sunny slopes of long ago!.....

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Lorrie....

.... I woke up this morning feeling the tendrils of The Past resting just beneath the surface....... I'd dreamt all night long of running with my old mates from Alaska..... with LCpl Smith singing cadence...... and me second in 2nd squad following the back of LCpl Wells' head as we bobbed and sang all the way around Clam Lagoon......

... it was evasive at first, as I only remembered the rhythm of the cadence..... I knew that it had been a country song...... and I knew that I actually owned it here among my hundreds of old audio cassettes, but it still never came to me........

... it was noon before I finally remembered what we'd been screaming as our lungs burned for more oxygen all those many moons ago........ "TELL LORRIE I LOVE HER!".....

.... good god, we certainly had some creative cadence callers up on Adak..... and I've scoured youtube for the past while to see if anyone had posted a cadence version of the old Keith Whitley song, but no, no one has.......

... but still, if you are interested, the lyrics to his original version are well worth your time and effort...... actually, I like this version a helluva lot more than the version that we ran to....... enjoy...

...... in the original youtube entry for this song, a commenter said the following... "I play this on guitar. This was on a cassette in Keith's personal effects, recorded in his bedroom, listen close, you can hear the television in the background."......

...... what a treasure, eh?...... the version of this song that appears on his "Greatest Hits" is THIS version...... recorded in his home while Lorrie was out on concert and he was home alone.....with the television playing in the background....... wow......

..... I think that I was already in Scotland when he died....... I wonder if he ever imagined that there would be US Marines off the coast of Siberia singing his love song to Lorrie as a cadence while they ran in the sleet and snow..... somehow, I think not...... and yet, we did...

... anyway, I woke up humming this tune, folks..... and as always with earworms, they are best to share, yes?......

Update.... no, I was not already in Scotland by the time he died....... he died in 1989..... I was a senior in high school....

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Hysterics.....

.... up early this morning sipping coffee.... my goodness, what a weekend!.... it was a pleasure to have so many bloggers and good friends again in my house..... and the weather even cooperated better this year than it ever has before!.... no blogger popsicles in tents in the back yard on Saturday morning!....

... good food, good football, good company, good conversation...... what more could anyone ask for?....

.... as usual, I am honored and humbled that so many fine folks would travel so far to stand around in my garage, back yard, and living room for a weekend.....

.... thank you all for coming..... I could not have asked for a better birthday party........

.... and the gifts this year were astounding!.... a samurai sword, two bottles of single malt, a handmade stained glass work of art, a graphic novel about zombies, a fine bottle of port, a telephone call from a foxhole in Afghanistan, a bag chocked full of Trader Joe's finest, a song performed for me that I love, AND all of the wonderful company & conversation that each attendee gave to me...

..... oh, and thanks as well to whomever remembered to take the inflatable sheep Love Ewe with them when they left Sunday morning...... mercy..... you guys are amazing........ and I loved every minute.....

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SEC....

... you know, trust me to invite a bunch of bloggers around to my house on the weekend when the Volunteers play the Number 1 Number 2 ranked college team, Alabama.......

.... Saturday should be a festival of tears and cordite....... oh, and ribs & beans........

.... good lord, Bama is gonna eat UT for breakfast......... but still, Go Vols! Beat Bama!.........

.... every little bit helps, right?....

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Savior.....

..... well, I performed my Good Deed of The Day just a few minutes ago....

... the sunlight was slanting low in the west, the air was cool and crisp, and the ground crunched loudly everywhere I walked due to the thick covering of autumn's fallen leaves..... and mid-rake, I noticed Fred the Cat on the deck looking suspicious.......

..... and upon closer inspection, here's what I found........

.... that's right, boys & girls..... ole Fred was preparing himself for an early evening snack of baby rat snake......

..... I intervened, of course, as any civilized man would do, and saved the poor little fellow the embarrassing injustice of being eaten alive by a pussycat..... and I admit that afterwards I felt quite pleased with myself........ not that I'm overly fond of serpents, per se, it's just that everything has a time and a place..... and as I watched the foot-long snake attempt his escape, well, it just pulled at my heartstrings...... it just didn't seem like it was his time.....

.... so I nipped him up by the tail with my thumb and forefinger and carried him into the woods beside the house..... woods where, hopefully, he will find a nice place to bed down for the winter.... and then drowsily wake next spring to a new season, a new year, and a new outlook on life.... one filled with the promise of snaky pleasures hidden around every bush and under every leaf......

..... may we all be so lucky, eh?....

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Wicked.....

.... today's earworm?...... mercy, folks...... I've spent most of the day toiling in the yard and riding around on the lawnmower humming this one........... and even tonight, well, I just can't completely get it out of my head..... good god, the mulched leaves in my back yard are more than tired of hearing me hum this tune today, trust me!....

.... it reeks of angst, sure, I know....... but trust me, back in the day?..... I was THERE........ but it has been on my mind today..... I think that the steady diet of old Judy Garland films that I have been fed lately by The Missus has jaded my vision!....... Judy Garland?.... Chris Isaac?........ there is just something inherently Not Right there, if you ask me......

.... anyway, feel free to sing along, folks.........

....here are the lyrics if you feel so inclined......

If the world was on fire and
No one could save me but you.
Strange what desire will make foolish lovers do
I never dreamed that I'd meet somebody like you
And I never dreamed that I'd lose somebody like you

No, I don't want to fall in love
[This love is only gonna break your heart]
No, I don't want to fall in love
[This love is only gonna break your heart]
With you
With you

What a wicked game you play
To make me feel this way
What a wicked thing to do
To let me dream of you
What a wicked thing to say
You never felt this way
What a wicked thing to do
To make me dream of you
And I don't wanna fall in love
[This love is only gonna break your heart]
And I don't want to fall in love
[This love is only gonna break your heart]

World was on fire
No one could save me but you
Strange what desire will make foolish lovers do
I never dreamed that I'd love somebody like you
I never dreamed that I'd lose somebody like you

No I don't wanna fall in love
[This love is only gonna break your heart
No I don't wanna fall in love
[This love is only gonna break your heart]
With you
With you

Nobody loves no one

.... the really crazy thing?...... I always thought that any given Airman could beat the snot out of Mr. Isaac with one hand tied behind their back........ even if the Airman had just chugged two pints of amaretto at the seedy gay bar next door to where Chris was gigging, Isaac would have been doomed.........

.... and as a former Marine, I find it gloriously juxtaposed that I find this Chris Isaac song remotely pleasing..... but hey, there you go......... who knows what tweaks the strings of men's hearts?.......

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Early.....

..... today, like many other autumn days, dawned peaceful and damp, and I spent much of the morning looking forward to a day of SEC football..... Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, and Vanderbilt....... it promised to be quite a day!.....

..... then imagine my surprise when I heard from the Velociman today saying that he and Key Monroe were just around the corner!........ that's right, friends, He and Key got their dates mixed up....... and instead of arriving next week for the Annual SE Tennessee Blogmeet, they showed up today!.....

.... actually, it was a pleasure....... we watched the Georgia/Vandy game together..... I mixed up a few gin and tonics (and even an appletini for Key), and a grand time was had by all........

.... you know, blogmeets are nice, they truly are..... it is great to have a bunch of "online journalists" camped out in your living room, or back yard....... but there is nothing like spending time with your fellow bloggers where you can actually have a True Conversation with them.......

.... nothing beats one-on-one time, I guess..........

.... so tonight I have been blessed....... I had a good few hours with some folks that I have known for a long, long time....... and next weekend I get the pleasure of the Horde of bloggers that I have known for a long, long time......... what an unexpected gift!.... .

...... carrying a blog, folks, there truly isn't anything else like it for providing a life filled with unexpected gifts.....

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Dolly.....

.... what a way to kick off my 37th year on this beautiful planet, eh?...... torrential rain, mist, wind, and mud for the past three days...... my poor convertible, Blanche, is certainly hating life right now.....

.... however, I will say that there is something amazing about swishing a car around the back roads around here.... especially one that was designed and engineered to originally be driven on the autobahn...... I swear, that baby has some lines...... AND she corners like she's on rails.......

..... Audis are just plain fun....... and she's a true treat.......

... in other news, The Missus found herself possessed by some cleaning demon this afternoon and has managed to throw a thorough cleaning on the old refrigerator..... and she only broke one glass shelf in the process!..... and since there were originally FIVE glass shelves, I'm quite proud of her!...... besides, who needs a fridge with five shelves??..... exactly.....

..... anyway, out of guilt for not buying me a birthday present, great wafts of homemade lasagna smell are billowing from stem to stern here at The Compound........ and so, I am off...... lasagna beats a birthday present any day anyways.......

...... give this a listen, though, as I woke up humming it and it has driven nuts all day long.........

... I'm off!...

..... you know?.... I think Fiona is starting to get a bit pissed off by me saying "This is LOUIS, DOLLY!" so much.......

.... so if I end up poisoned tomorrow, it was the lasagna..... and it is partially Louis Armstrong's fault........

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Hours....

.... in just over four hours, I will no longer be in my "mid-30's"....... I will, as I was told today, be in my "late-30's".......

..... but how do I feel?........ mmmmm...... ready for more of the same, I guess........... ready, ready, ready for much more of the same.......

....... good god, tomorrow is my birthday....... and I cannot wait.....

.... tomorrow I will be 37......

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More....

.... woke up singing this song.........

..... too bad they broke up, really........

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Time....

.... just got a quick phonecall from The Missus telling me that a tornado was on the way towards our house......... she's busy at work in Athens, and evidently the tornado is set to move through Englewood in the next half hour....

..... no place to run to, is there?.... besides, after a day of toiling around here on Hell's Half-acre?....... good god, I'm in the mood to greet it......

........ hang on, folks..... it looks like it's going to be a bumpy night!........

... if a tornado wants me, then let it have me....... I am not moving....

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Haircuts......

.... last week The Family decided that it would be best if we lunched in Ennis, a town only 15 minutes drive from where we were staying.......and everyone agreed.....

.... we'd been in Ennis earlier in the week, and had enjoyed ourselves for the afternoon..... but after having visited Limerick and Galway on the two prior days- both bigger-ish cities - it seemed like a trip back to a smaller town would refresh our love of the Original Irish just a bit.... and so the die were cast....... (not that there is anything wrong with the larger towns in Ireland, of course..... it's just that the smaller towns appealed more to our collective tastes...we all being parochial types ourselves...)

.... anyway, I am rambling...... and I bring this up only because it has stuck with me for the better part of ten days now.... and since it doesn't seem to be readying itself to leave any time soon, I'd best get it off my chest now before it morphs into something that will remain unshakable for the rest of my life..........

.... after wandering around Ennis for an hour or so, I decided that I needed a haircut....... did I really need a haircut?..... no, not really, I guess....... but it was the appearance of things that needed adjustment, I guess, not a mere clipping of hairs........ besides, I knew that I would be back home soon (three days hence), and figured that I should look my best when returning home........

.... in any case, I wandered around the village in search of a barber......... and after dodging the ubiquitous noon-time Catholic Schoolgirls in their sweaters, ties, and plaid skirts, I finally found what I was searching for in a close not far from the ruined abbey....... a shabby sign that simply said, "gentleman's barber"......

.... I opened the old door and was immediately met with a set of steps that led up to a second-floor, one-room Victorian-era space that housed an old Irish barber, three pump-chairs, an ancient well-worn church pew for the waiting customers, and a tarnished ceramic sink....

.... it was odd...... the spindly old guy took one look at me and my two-week old crew cut and said, "are you sure that you need a haircut, sonny?".......

... I slipped off my old fleece jacket, straightened my shirt, and sat down..... "oh yes, sir...... I definitely need a haircut..... you should see the folks that I am rooming with this holiday!........ do your best, sir....... can you tell from how I look now how my normal barber cuts me?"......

..... "aye", he said...... "you have a remarkable cowlick in the back.... but he has cut is quite short and in just the right angle to hide it...... and you have quite a big one in the front as well, it appears........ but again, he has hidden it quite well......... so do you just want me to trim you up, then?"....

..... "yes, sir.... just a trimming up will do....and it was not a "he", but a "she" who normally cuts my hair."....

..... "Good god, man," he stammered as he reached for his comb and scissors, "you let a WOMAN cut your hair?"......

.... he said those words with a twinkle in his eyes - as if he were trying to draw me somehow out into conversation......... I simply smiled and nodded my head as he began his work.........

..... we talked and talked...... sports and history, mostly........ nothing that might cause too much discomfort for either he or I..... no religion.... no politics..... just geography, as if it were an afterthought...... and sports and history.... but I have mentioned that already......

.... and then I asked him the most simple of questions......

.... I asked him how long he had been a barber...

...... the question itself seemed so benign that I never really threw much weight into it when it left my lips, but his answer blew me away........

..... "ahhhhh", the old man said, "I reckon that I have been cutting hair here in Ennis for 56 years......... 57 years next week, I reckon....... when The War started I was a young man..... and after The War I went over to London for a few years looking for work...... but with all the service men arriving back, there was no work to be had......... England was hammered...... and so was Ireland, I guess......... so after a few years of living over there, I came home and started working here...... in Ennis........ Mr. Shanahan had cut hair here since 1875....... and when he died I had saved enough money to buy out his locale....... and I have been here ever since....... "

..... I sat there for the rest of the half-hour that it took him to finish my meager haircut just letting all of what he said sink in........

.... and now, a week later, I really don't think that the magnitude of what he said to me has truly sunk in just yet........ but it IS starting to........

..... 56 years........ good god........ 56 years of walking up the same flight of stairs to the one-room barbershop...... to stand in the same place, day after day, and prune the everyday Irishman.... day, after day, after day....... after day....... for 56 years..... it just blows my mind.......

.... years ago I was told by a boss of mine that most modern people change jobs every three to six years......... the days of the "cradle to the grave" job at Ford Motor Company was a thing of the past........ and that everyone changes, moves, upgrades, downsizes, or gets pretty well fed-up after a few years and makes a Major Life Change..........

.... at the time that he told me that?..... well, I thought he was nuts........ but meeting my Irish Barber has given me a bit of a chance to examine my life again........

.... I am 36 years old, and I have never worked in the same job for more than six years......

..... as a kid I worked as an apprentice to a carpenter after school....... at 17, I joined the US Marines and served for 5 years...... at 22 I started working for a IT firm in Scotland and worked there for five years....... at 27 I landed a job with the Department of Trade and Industry with the UK government and worked there until I moved back to the States.... once in the States, I worked as an IT manager for a manufacturing company for five years........... three, four, five, six......... three, four, five, six.......... is that really the norm?.......

....... he has been on my mind all week - that spindly, pale-skinned little barber in Ennis - and I do not know whether to pity him or admire him...... I truly don't......... perhaps I should do a bit of both?.......

...... 56 years of walking up the same flight of steps...... good god, can you imagine?........

.... at this moment, I certainly can't........ but there are parts of me that wish that I could........ I talked to him as he cut my hair and I felt that there was something wrong with me..... something broken..... something missing......... and there are parts of me that YEARN to understand just how that man could walk up those same steps every morning for 56 years........

.... Ireland, folks...... even the bloody haircuts cause you to lose your mind if you aren't careful....

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Young....

.. no posting tonight, folks....... been burning the candle at both ends for a long, long time... at least it certainly seems that way....... but I WILL leave you with this morning's earworm...... hell, I sang most of it out on the deck this morning as the sun came up with a cup of coffee in hand..... wet socks & flannel pajama bottoms & cold air....... and steaming coffee...... and changing leaves.......

.... I think I'm getting moody.......

.... oh, and I think that I frightened the squirrels......

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Goblins....

.... sadly, the weather in Ireland was neither "bright", nor "sunshiny"...... but it was quite tolerable for October........ we even managed a few days of kayaking out on the private lake that bordered the property without freezing to death, so that is something.....

.... this song on the other hand?....... it was the earworm that everyone was humming the day that we all departed....... two bottles of champagne and 1/2 a bottle of gin could not scrub it from our innocent little heads that next morning........

..... but hey, in other news, I bought a volume of Christina Rosetti's poetry in a bookshop in Limerick the day before we left and spent most of the lay-over time reading and re-reading her words from the late 1800s... and in a word?.... it is amazing to me that such a "devout" woman could be so downright kinky when she writes certain poems........

.... then again, I guess that most true writers surprise us from time to time......

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Home....

.... tired, sore, and ready for sleep - but home...... photos to come shortly of the various places & things that I've experienced over the past few days.......

..... but Ireland?..... Ireland is just a hunk of land much like many others..... there were hints of Scotland occasionally...... and yes, there were parts of it that were quite unique..... but really?...... Ireland is Ireland because of The People......

..... never have I visited a place more laden with characters, poets, musicians, psychotics, mystics, entertaining drunkards, and unintentional comedians than when I have visited The Emerald Isle......

.... Ireland is just a bonny piece of land..... but The Irish?..... they're dizzying in the ways that they can stun you....

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Snoring....

.... in honor of yesterday's quick roadtrip over The Shannon to Limerick, I humbly offer you a beautiful ditty from Mr. Ogden Nash......

ARTHUR

There once was a man from Calcutta,

Who coated his tonsils with butta,

Thus converting his snore,

From a thunderous roar,

To a soft, oleaginous mutta.

.... and this time tomorrow I will be waiting for take-off.....

.... what an unusual trip this has been.....

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