Re-make.....

... saw it tonight, folks....... and it was sooooo cool to watch "the transformation" ala 2010......

...... nice, eh?.....

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Local...

..... I spent most of yesterday sitting on the couch exercising my sneezing muscles and watching the Olympics on NBC while surrounded by huge piles of damp tissues.... it was not a pretty sight, I assure you.......... but I swear, I watched the women's 30K cross country and was absolutely amazed.... it was a honest to goodness "photo finish"....

.... and I even found myself - albeit in a Sudafed clouded haze - completely digging the women's pursuit skating team finals.... all dolled up in those crazy, skin-tight body suits with bulging thighs and mirrored sunglasses.... and then to watch them glide around the rink in unison?... it was surreal.... all I could think of was the sensation of watching geese in flight..... at one point between body-rocking sneezes I even caught myself gently swaying from left to right.... sorta like a charmed King Cobra in one of those 50's Stewart Granger flicks where he's marching through some African jungle in search of treasure... Sudafed and team skating should not be mixed, folks.... and when that German lady fell and "swam" across the finish line?.... good lord, I could hardly believe my eyes..... hey, it's no wonder that they make crystal meth out of Sudafed.....

.... anyway, I do seem to be feeling a bit better today..... which is good since today seems to be fully booked.....

... one of the interesting side effects of watching the Olympics has been that we've tuned to our "local" NBC station to catch the programming.... and as such, we've been bombarded by thousands of advertisements that we normally never catch - local advertisements - ranging from Billy Bob's Contracting Company, to new restaurants that we'd never even heard of....

.... so today we're off to lunch at a new French restaurant in Cleveland, TN called "Le Place".... and then off to the movies to catch a matinee of "The Werewolf".......

..... I plan on leaving a trail of soggy tissues to and from both establishments.... hey, having a cold can be the perfect example of Mind over Matter, you know?..... if you don't mind?..... then it doesn't matter......

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Repost.....

.... no words tonight, folks...... I have been too sick over the past two days to sit at the keyboard for any length of time without coating it with a thick sheen of mucus from my hyper-frequent sneezes to do anyone any good....... but still, I have been reading.... and I stumbled upon this missive from September 2007 tucked away in the archives, and I thought it fitting.......

..... and so, since I am sick, please humor me........ and so, I give you "Shelled" from 2007......

. during the course of my latest travels, I visited many beautiful and intriguing places. but really & truthfully I only had one true mission for this trip. and that was to visit a tiny German village that sits just across the border from Luxemburg where my Grandfather was captured on December 16th, 1944. Actually, it was the whole reason that we visited the Ardennes & Low Countries instead of doing like we usually do and just hitting Scotland.

. So after a restful day and night in Bastogne, the whole family, sans the Mother-in-Law, daytripped out in Duncans Mercedes to try and find Winterspelt. with me navigating in the front passenger seat..

the Michelin map that I had was a bit old, and it wasnt long before I realized that the easiest way to the dot on the map was by taking B-roads instead of the looping, interchanging, dull-as-hell motorways.

. And it did make for a more interesting journey taking those roads less traveled.. and we spent the better part of two hours speeding through the rolling countryside of Luxemburg dodging cows, tractors, and logging trucks.. at one point, we took a right instead of a left and ended up winding down a steep gravel road through thick forest and crossing a wooden bridge at the bottom of the hill that spanned a small stream. which, as luck would have it, that little creek represented the border.

. and as we slowly climbed out of the creek-bed & rattled across the rickety bridge, we were then in Germany.. and Winterspelt sat half a mile away on the top of the nearest ridge..

there wasnt much there, really. a row of farm houses, a catholic church, a hotel, a pub & restaurant, a pre-school not even a gas station there was a roadsign though pointing the way towards St. Vith I took a photo.

. My Grandpas name was Carl Hull and he was 20 years old when he was captured he died in 1988 and I only remember a few of the stories that he told me when I was a kid.but I always remembered the name of the towns where hed been when he was overseas.. I guess that I was just curious about the war and tried to pry the history out of him. But either way, I always remembered what hed told me. each little story stuck in its own little way..

. He told me that he was captured at daybreak on the 16th of December by a group from the Volksgrenadiers. All between the ages of 16 & 17. He claimed that their ages were the only thing that saved him and the rest of his mortar team.. that if theyd not been children, theyd have killed them instead of taking them prisoner. Looking at the facts now, it seems hard to imagine that a 20-year old is much more or less of a child than someone of 16, but those were the words he said and he was there.. I have a much longer lens to see things from, I guess and truly, I cant even imagine what it must have been like to be there.

. He said that hed been wounded in the foot by shrapnel just before the daylight of his capture no blood, just a smashing wound that broke the arch of his right foot. And that they were marched 90km eastward to the small town of Limburg, Germany and held at Stalag 12. And there they remained until the Russians liberated them in April of 45he said that hed used an M-1 rifle with the bolt taken out as a crutch while he marched through the snow. he said that when he landed in France he weighed 196lbs and when he made it back to Great Britain he weighed 98lbs

it was strange to visit there

. We parked and headed our separate ways once wed arrived I made a bee-line straight to the church and snapped a few more photographs..

.. hed said that theyd been hit first during the initial push and had fallen back into the village from their pickets.. and later they were forced to evacuate from there as well and were captured after running out of ammo and mortar rounds in a ditch on the outskirts of the village..

. The church intrigued me more than any other building, actually. It was built from the huge stone blocks that are typical of the mid 1880s style, and it was pockmarked high and low by shrapnel-scars.. even though every other building was newly-spackled, newly-painted, or newly-built, it was obvious from the tears and abrasions on the church that this little village had seen serious shelling once upon a time. there were few people on the streets as I walked around, but I found the churchs door to be unlocked. A catholic thing, evidently, leaving the church doors unlocked at all hours so that wandering people could meander in and pray.. so I walked in and sat down at a pew.

everything everywhere was calm, serene, clean, and quiet.from the pews to the Saints. to the flowers at the lectern.. it was a typical country-church that one might find in a thousand villages throughout Europe. And yet it mesmerized me more than any of the grand cathedrals that I had visited before a simple place where no doubt my young Grandpa had been long, long ago. scared, angry, and resolute. more scared than anything, I suspect.....

. my goodness I could write more, I guess, but I dont feel like it my inspiration has been silenced for the night but itll be back in the morning..

. But I will post the photos of Winterspelt tomorrow.. with no words there is no need for words, really.. it is just a place. A church with a few buildings surrounding it. but I was there.. and I will show you guys what I saw

...... I guess that I've just had Patton, Hodge, and The Battle of The Bulge on the brain today.......... and, of course, the cold............

.... I feel another sneeze coming on!.......

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Flying......

...... more Townes Van Zandt as played by Steve Earle......... beautiful stuff, if you ask me......and I've been humming it all afternoon.....

..... to live is to fly, folks..... low AND high..........

....... "think of all the poetry and picking down the line..".........

.... good god, I love this song..... .

.... in other news, I have a horrible cold........ my nose is running like a faucet, my sneezes rattle the walls with an incredibly punctual regularity, and my forehead is currently protruding at least six inches out past my nose.......

.... and listen, rubberneckers, that just ain't right........ trust me.....

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Sahara

.... today has been a very, very unusual day around these parts....... I spent the better part of the day preparing three amazing lamb sirloins for the grill, and coaxing the goodness out of my infamous (at least according to Elisson) my Tennessee Taters...... otherwise known as my garlic, onion, and parmesan roasted potatoes......

... in any case, dinner went very, very well....... I marinated the lamb sirloins in a mixture of Worcestershire sauce and rosemary, and then grilled them to medium rare.... and I swear, folks, they were five times better than the normal "chops" that I have been buying for the past few years........ that bone in the chops is just a pain in the ass, if you ask me....... sirloin or leg shanks are much, MUCH better.......

..... as for later, well, the latter part of the evening rose, tailed off, buoyed, got quite interesting, and then tailed off again and then flopped..... but it mainly involved me standing in the living room waving my arms & hands and giving an impromptu history lesson to The Missus about the three-year history of North Africa during WWII...... ending, of course, with a sweeping set of hand gestures signifying the Germans being bottled up in Tobruk between east/west advancing armies, and how it was all Eisenhower's idea.... I even threw in references to Kasserine, Casablanca, Rabat, The Benghazi Handicaps, Suez, and El Alamein, but it didn't seem to make much difference...... but hey, you can't blame a fella for trying....

..... trust me, she will learn to rue the evenings when Turner Classic Movies is playing old propaganda films from the mid-40s..... tonight she is watching "Five Graves to Cairo"..... but I still say that the best WWII Africa movies are Bogart's version of "Sahara" and John Mills in "Ice-Cold in Alex"... but then, who am I to argue with Turner Classic Movies?.......

...in other news, today was an absolutely beautiful day here...... blue skies and mid 50s as I drove off for my fortnightly massage and back-popping....... it was a distinct pleasure to be alive and walking the planet..... and smelling those potatoes cooking all evening drove me absolutely nuts.....

.... and so, I leave you with this clip....... Bogart definitely knew how to treat a "lady"....... the clip is from "Sahara"....

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Songs.....

..... I only play/sing one Willie Nelson song on guitar, folks...... and after being reminded by a fellow blogger this evening, I offer you Willie's version of one of my most heinous and severe bastardizations....

... it's that high G that gets me every time, you know?.....

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Scents.....

..... so I walk into the mall today, make my way to the second floor, and find an absolutely empty perfume store......... the shelves are lined with hundreds of bottles.... there are displays scattered around the one-room shop, but no proprietor is to be seen..... I take a step inside and I'm instantly bombarded by a hundred different scents........

.. it was eerie......

.... I stood quietly in one place and surveyed the goods decked out on the stacks and stacks of shelves...... Dolce Gabana - 129.00........ Paris Hilton's Funk - 29.99........ Obsession, Mlange, Twist, Kiss, Ewwww....... they had them all........ but there seemed to be no one to sell them to me!....

.... I even turned at one point to make sure that there were other mall denizens wandering about outside lest I had accidentally found myself in one of those abandoned mall Zombie scenes that you see so often, and sure enough, there were plenty of folks waltzing by the door of the perfume shop without a care in the world...... and that did make me feel a bit better.........

..... so I wander a bit deeper into the shop - feeling quite concerned and anxious - only to finally have an attendant jump up out of hiding just as I reached the deepest part of the shop to scare the hell out of me.....

"Oh, my!", says she.... "I had no idea you were in the shop!".....

..... "well, ma'am, I had no idea that YOU were in the shop either!".....

"Well, what can I do for you, young man?"...

... "Ummm, well, that is a good question."....

"Do you know what you want?"...

..... "well, kinda..... then again, I am a bit open to suggestion.... look, here's the situation, ok?.... you tell me what you think that I should do..." ......

"Okay."

... "I need some perfume.".....

"Well, that is absolutely wonderful, sir, since this is a perfume shop! What can I do for you?"

.... "No, you don't understand...... see, I asked my Missus what perfume she wore just prior to Valentine's Day, and she said 'none'..... and when I asked her why, she said that it was The Man's duty to buy perfume for The Woman..... just as it was the Woman's job to buy cologne for the Man....... and that the last time I had bought her perfume was on our honeymoon in Nice, France fifteen years ago........ so, what perfume did she wear?....... None... .because she had been out of perfume for 13 years....... evidently the bottle that I had bought her back in 1994 was a pretty big bottle...".....

"Wait. Your wife hasn't worn perfume in 13 years?"

..... "evidently....... hey, who knew!?!".......

"And she was, what, waiting for you to buy it for her?"

.... "well, that's the skew I was getting from her reaction, how about you?"....

"And she never took it upon herself to buy her OWN perfume?"

...... "evidently not, ma'am...... so, that's why I'm here..... it's February 19th, and trust me, I have JUST become aware of The Problem.... "....

"Wow. But, hey, how sweet that you are buying your wife perfume for no reason, ummm, other than she doesn't actually have any perfume....that's kinda romantic.."

..... "well, hey, I do what I can, you know?........ and when I see a problem, I always try to fix it as soon as possible..." ......

"Indeed, sir. 13 years, huh? Wow. So! What shall we choose today?"

...... it was at this point that I remembered distinctly buying that vial of perfume in Nice back in 1994......

.... "De Issey for Women, please!..... " ...

"An excellent choice, sir, it is always quite popular. Here, here it is! That'll be 97.50."

.... I handed her my credit card and she began processing the transaction....

"you know, David - (looking at the name on my credit card), it really is quite nice that you are buying your wife perfume for no particular occasion.... really, that IS quite sweet...... she should be so lucky to have 'romance' back in her life after fifteen years!"...

..... "Well, I don't know about romance, ma'am...... I'm just trying to give her something that she wants.... and honestly?...... well, I thought that the smell of fabric softener and shampoo smelled just fine..... if I'd known that she wanted perfume before, I would certainly have bought it long before now!..." .....

"Well, David, this calls for a celebration! Let me gift wrap it for you so that she'll know how special the occasion is! After all, today is just Friday the 19th of February..... and there is nothing special about today except that you are thinking of her!".....

.... "ok.... and hey, no one calls me David....... my Grandfather was David..... I go by Eric...."

"Ahhh, ok. Here, we're almost finished, just let me wrap this up."

.... I stood there not knowing what to do while she gift wrapped the hundred buck bottle of fragrance....... and then, in a blink, she was finished....

"You know, David, I was just reading about you when you walked up.".....

..... "Excuse me?........ what did you just say?"....

"I said that I was just reading about you, David.... in the Bible.... I was sitting over there in the corner reading the Bible when you walked in. I guess I was so engrossed in reading that I didn't hear you walk into the shop. But, yeah, I was reading about David. See?"....

.... at this point she whips out a Bible from just below the little scanner where she swipes the credit cards and points to a passage: "See! Saul has just killed himself and David is just about to become King of Judea!"...

... "Wow, ma'am..... that is just too cool....... but, hey, I go by 'Eric'.... as I said, my Grandpa was David......... "....

"Oh! That's ok!. I just thought it was a weird coincidence!"....

..... I left as soon as possible, and made my way back to the car with my loot.......

...... so, tonight when we get home I present the bag to The Missus......

.... she opens it up and sees the little bottle of Issey Miyake's finest and then looks straight back up at me - who, I might add is smiling widely.......

"Wow", says she....

..... "I know!!!!..... you said that you were out - that you didn't have any more! - and I bought you some!... don't you like it!!??!!".....

"IT IS ISSEY MIYAKE, dude."

.... "yes!!... just like I bought you in Nice 15 years ago!".....

"Did it never cross your mind that I might want something different after all these years?"......

..... "ummm...... no, not really........ oh, fuck....... I'm sorry... ".....

"No, no.... it smells nice.... Thank You.".....

...... folks, men need to be TOLD things, ok?........ if you want something, tell them.... if you don't want something, then say that as well...... hints are good and fine..... JUST as long as you remember that hints are just that.... they are "hints"...... if you want not to be disappointed, then do more than just hint...... even after 15 years, we can't read your mind.......

..... not even with the help of a bible-reading perfume saleswoman.......

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People.....

.... once upon a time, I played on the same little league baseball team as a fellow named G...... he played third base, and I was the catcher...... I also pitched from time to time, but I was a far better catcher than I was a pitcher......... and I was more than just a little bit of a geek back then, but so was he.....

..... I remember our last year of Dixie League only because he brought it up to me years and years later....... I remember him telling me that I'd hit 38 home runs my last year of little league, and he hit 32..... he'd evidently kept count, but I hadn't......

.... at the time that he told me that - after a late night poker game where lots of booze and stories were swapped - I thought it amazing that he had remembered that from so long ago........ hell, I'd been out of the country for the past ten years, and he had since worked himself through university - via being a Navy corpsman - and was then into nuclear medicine........ why on earth would it have crossed his mind to have told me about homeruns when we were both thirteen?..... it still puzzles me to think about it.....

.... but anyway, after little league, we hit high school wide open....... I played one year on the high school team as the back-up catcher (behind a senior) and then had to bail on athletics all together once my mother had surgery that year...... (she had back surgery and I was too young to drive..... and my dad was away working all week, so, there went the sports.)....... he tried out for HS baseball, but was rejected..... and I suspect that he had his own family things going on just like we all did.........

.... anyway, when I moved back to the United States, he was still in my local area - having relocated back to his home town via his stint at Vanderbilt........ and after several barbecues, socials, and evenings out, he asked me to attend his upcoming wedding as a groomsman..... I accepted, of course, and we had a grand old time......... myself and his other groomsmen even planned his bachelor party around a series of visits to titty bars in Johnson City, Knoxville, and Boone, NC..... and we had a blast....... poor ole G hadn't been ground on like that since his last visit to the Philippines........ trust me.....

.... the thing is, though, I never really connected with this fellow all that much..... sure, he was a pleasant enough of a fellow, but I never really knew him that well...... we'd been hunting together when we were kids.... and we'd played ball together...... we'd rode horses.... we had gone fox hunting together..... and we'd went frog gigging..... but really, we meshed on ONE level, but never really on any other........

.... and so, after ten years away overseas, I find him back in my life once again....

.... after his wedding we began to meet as couples (he and his new wife - and me with mine) on a semi-regular basis....... they'd cook dinner and invite us over, and we'd do the same later in the month....... and all seemed well.....

..... but about eight years ago, I ended our relationship.......

..... a friend of mine from Scotland had come over to visit The Missus and I, and I had invited G and his Wife for dinner to meet him....... all went well for a while, but then I asked my Scottish friend, James, to sing his song - a song that I dearly love to hear him play - the "Loch Tay Boat Song"........ and midway through the song G started trying to ask questions and cut-up while my friend was playing and singing the song for me on guitar.....

.... I was embarrassed that G would show such disrespect for me... AND for James..... and I asked him to sit, shut-up, and listen...... my admonishment only silenced him for 30 seconds or so before he was at it again....... I began to let my embarrassment for his rude behavior turn to anger, and I quietened him more forcibly with words..... and again, thirty seconds later he began again.......

.... it was at this point that I tapped James on the shoulder and asked him to stop playing...... funnily enough, when he stopped playing, G stopped talking..... I've always thought that was odd....... I told G that he was being rude and that I wished him to change his behavior, or leave...... he seemed to think that I was kidding him right up until the point where I went to the closet and retrieved his wife's purse and jacket.....

... when he realized that I was seriously telling him to leave my home, he turned angry..... I simply opened the door, turned on the porch light, and said "good riddance.... a man who doesn't know how to be respectful in another man's home does not get invited back.".......

.... and, as they say, that was that...... I haven't heard a peep from G in 8 years.... of course, I hold no ill will for the man or his family...... I've heard that he now has a young child who is poor in health..... but I still have no desire to have him in any part of my life.... he was a pleasant enough fellow, I guess.... and I do hope that he is making a good husband and father.....

... I do still think of him from time to time though.... I suppose that he piqued my curiosity about humanity on one level or another.... both by amazing me at what he remembered - and by shocking me with how we'd turned into men so different after having had nearly identical childhoods....

.... James and I remain good friends, though....... we get together with the gang every time I revisit Scotland, and it is like we never parted - none of us.......

.... and, damn, if I still don't ask him to play that song for me every time I see him near a guitar....

... people, folks..... we're all a weird damn bunch, aren't we?......

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Buffalo......

..... I love me a good Western movie.... and having said that, I must have watched Lonesome Dove at LEAST fifty times over the past ten or so years.... and in my mind, it is THE best Western movie ever made....... the cast, the dialogue, the locations, the story?...... well, it just doesn't get any better than Lonesome Dove.......

.... for those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure, here's one of my favorite scenes from the movie....... Augustus and Pea surveying a herd of buffalo........ I love the conversation.....

Gus: Pretty, aint they?

Pea: I reckon

Gus: Let's chase'em, you want to?

Pea: To shoot us one for our supper?

Gus: No, I mean chase'em just for the sport of it...

Pea: Wha?.. To, to run'em off?

Gus: No, you don't get the point do you, Pea... I mean chase'em because before long there wont be any buffalo left to chase!..

Pea: Well, them bulls'll hook you.

Gus: yeah

Pea: You remember ole man Barlow?... that buffalo hooked him bad.

Gus: Ole man Barlow was a slow thinker... kinda like, uh, somebody else I could name...

Pea: Well, he was a slow walker too when that buffalo got through with him.... I wonder whatever happened to him?.....

Gus: He married a fat widow over on the Blanco River and had a passel of kids...now you might as well have done the same thing yourself since you don't want to chase buffalo!...

Pea: Well, I don't believe I'd want to chase buffalo even if I was married...

Gus: Forget I even mentioned it.

Pea: Well, I like being a bachelor, Gus.

Gus: Well, that's good, Pea...... and I'm sure it's all part of God's plan that you ARE one!....


..... that was just lovely....

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Valentine's.......

.... it snowed off and on all day today, but it never stayed long..... and being Valentine's Day, The Missus and I ventured into town in the snow-swirl to have lunch at one of the local Mexican places in Athens - and not a bad meal it was........ the waiter even called me "amigo" when he asked me if I was ready to order........

.... it struck me as quite odd, actually..... hell, I haven't been called "amigo" since the last week of The School of Infantry when my Puerto Rican classmate asked me if I knew where he could find a loose "punta" before we did our three-mile boots & utes run.....

.... anyway, the evening ended up going quite well........ we hit the grocery store after lunch and stocked the shelves for what she had asked for to celebrate this Valentine's Day.... namely, home made chocolate chocolate-chip muffins...... and after a quick jaunt out to allrecipes.com, I produced the chocolate chocolate-chip muffins......... she'll be taking the leftovers to work with her tomorrow evening, I suspect....... I mean, NO WOMAN can eat twelve chocolate chocolate-chip muffins in the course of a week, right?...... much less in the course of three days?..... (I figure that they only have a shelf-life of about three days.)..... so she has to share them with the co-workers, or they will be wasted......

.... in other news, the cold weather sleeping bag that I ordered for her last week arrived yesterday......... she unwrapped it on the floor, climbed in, and sat there drinking warm tea with milk while "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" played on the television...

.... when the movie ended and Mrs. Muir died - and her ghost wandered off with Captain Gregg - she shed quite a few tears as the credits rolled..... I crept down from the couch and asked her what was bothering her, and she simply said, "I always loved this movie..."......

..... I was ok with that at the time........ but personally, I think that she is horrified that I bought her a cold-weather sleeping bag........ and two days before Valentine's Day?........

.... damn, it must suck being married to me...... heh......

..... good god, I can't wait for Easter.......

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Ireland....

..... originally we had planned to make our way up the mall in Knoxville today, just to refresh our closet's inventory, but that plan failed........ snow, icy roads, and the fact that Ireland was playing France in the Six Nations Championship nixed just about everything this afternoon......

.... but alas, Ireland lost..... soundly beaten by France....... a familiar outcome for the past ten years, actually, but still, there you go......... but hey, can you believe that the mascot of France's Rugby Union national team is really a giant male chicken?...... a cock of gigantic proportions?...... a rose-crested male Chicken with his comb ablaze and his breasts looking juicier than anything you would EVER find in your locally sourced greengrocer?.....

.... I tell you, seeing that logo emblazoned across those men's chests just makes you want to swear off Hooter's hotwings, Domino's chicken-kickers, AND Uncle Tom's BBQ'd chicken breasts for the better part of the next fifteen years......

...but, God, I can't believe that France beat Ireland...... maybe those clover leaf embroideries on Ireland's Lucky Charm jerseys this year aren't all they're cracked up to be.......

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Quiche.....

.... folks, I made a quiche today..... and while I am only a little bit ashamed that I made one, I am telling you guys anyway..... and you know what?..... it was quite damned tasty...... even if I DO say so myself...... and, it was very, very easy....... and no, I am not posting the recipe.... for if I DID, then all of you out there would be making wonderfully tasty (and easy) quiches, and then where would I be?.......

.... exactly......

.... but, I suppose that I can divulge the flavours of the quiche, yes?....... or does "Flavours of The Quiche" sound a bit too "Naughty European"... hmm... perhaps a different phrasing would work much better....

...... here, let us try........ For She Was an onion, bacon, and Swiss cheese quiche!...... and quite, quite tasty - but a little boring for her lack of garlic - but still, there She Was...... baked perfectly with no discernable "pie crust", she still managed to form herself into manageable slices when the occasion arose....... just as all good quiches do, I am told.......

..... and lest you all begin to think that I am suddenly gone soft and squidgy around the edges from baking a quiche, it will hearten you to know that I plan to begin Spring Cleaning tomorrow by cracking open the armory and giving all of the long-arms a nice clean after having endured such a snowy winter in the garage........

.... Man, ladies and gentlemen..... The Duality of Man is a thing pondered, pondered, and pondered......... but hey, why fight it?....... let us be ALL things when we are given the opportunity.......

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Dallas......

.... back when I was a little boy, I remember being given a Roger Staubach action figure as a Christmas present... I remember it for two reasons...... number one, he had just been the quarterback who had won the Super Bowl...... and number two, because it had elbows....... and up until that time, all of the toy figures that I had been given (Chewbacca, Hans Solo, Luke Skywaler) had only shoulders and hips..... but Roger?..... he had shoulders, hips, elbows, AND knees......

..... of course, I immediately broke off his forearms and shins, but hey, kids are kids....... (I was a Philly Eagles fan then.)......

.... but next came the fully articulated GI Joes'......remember those?....... and hell, even their necks swiveled....... all the more easy to rip their goggled heads off, eh?....... Cobra, GI Joe?... it didn't matter as they were equally as easy to rip apart........

.... and now?..... now we have first-person PC based shoot'em up's, WII maulers, and PS2 bloodbaths....... and groups and Mom's cry foul....... and I certainly see where they are coming from.......

..... it's odd, I suppose..... but violence is a necessary part of our existence, isn't it?.... what little boy didn't own a bb-gun when they were growing up?...... what child did not watch Gregory Peck, John Wayne, or Steve McQueen and think, "that is US....... we're not the ones getting shot!...... we're the hero!"........ but violence is a part of us.... it is in our veins, our genes....... we were BORN to mix it up...... BORN to it, I say........

.... but that's right, folks.. bb-guns started all that!........ and our parents should be so ashamed!........

...... heh..... calm yourselves.... I was just kidding....... our parents have nothing to be ashamed of........ good god, we were all just being normal little kids and playing with our bb guns and watching John Wayne on the TV....... what's the harm in that?.........

...... absolutely nothing....... but, what is it about our youngest that causes such a rise?..... what is it about our own little mini-me's acting just as WE did that causes us to catch our breath so in these days?....... why are video games suddenly the Great Evil of Childhood?.......

... especially when everyone knows that it is The Great Evil That Is Facebook that is coaxing up the Anti-Christ.......

... right?....

.... but for the record, I never actually ripped the head off of Roger Stauback's action figure....... although Mean Joe Green's met an untimely end on more than one occasion........hell, he was just plain scary....

..... fuck a bunch of Pittsburgh Steelers......even if you're twelve.......

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Cannons......

.... on this day in 1763, the French and British (and Spanish) signed the Treaty of Paris - thus ending the French and Indian War here in North America..... of course, in Europe it was called the Seven Years War.......

..... I bring this up only because I've spent the last three days watching and re-watching old war movies here as I have gone about my business....... and it occurred to me today that the only war fought by this country - as far as I can tell - that didn't involve at least one of my relatives was the French and Indian War.......

...... of the twenty or so branches of my family that I can trace, all were in this country prior to 1730...... with the exception of my own namesake, that is...... the earliest SWG that I can track back to was sitting on a jury in York District, SC in 1755.........

..... I dunno, but I just find it funny that all of the other branches have been so easily traceable...... and my own namesake seems so difficult to trace at times..........

....... but anyway, there you have it, folks....... today, in 1763, the French and Indian War was officially declared over.......

...... anyone remember this post?...... yeah, ole George Washington pretty much started the French and Indian war single-handedly......... and then, of course, we elected him once he'd grown up properly.........

..... America, folks....... what a country......

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Hackett......

..... you know, I've been hunting my whole life...... small game, big game, varmints....... but this little flick from back in my younger days still resonates with me beyond words......

..... and really?.... I haven't actively hunted anything bigger than a breadbasket since..... sure, I've wandered through the woods armed while looking for bigger beasts, but I was never successful..........

.... coyotes excepted, of course......

...... but, god, I miss Buddy Hackett.......

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Adak....

.... the quote of the day today comes from this little video clip...... "and now, we look out on the barren wasteland that is Adak..".... notice the southern wind zipping in his window when he rounds the corner of the building near the end?......... yeah, they didn't call Adak the "Birthplace of the Wind" for nothing..... and no, the "wind" in this post has nothing to do with the burritos that I wrote about yesterday...... ahem........

.... you know, I cannot count the times that I gleefully ate cold cheeseburgers brought back from that now-abandoned McDonalds, folks....... I lived "uptown" (about six miles away) at the foot of Mt. Adagdak.... so we only had McDonald's when someone made the trip and brought us back a bag....... and at the time - even stone cold - those burgers were a treat........

... but in retrospect?.... good god, that place sucked....

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Aromas.....

.... cold, grey, damp day here...... and I'm rockin' the kitchen...... today has been deemed a "comfort food" day by the Powers That Be, and I've picked homemade chili-cheese burritos to try my hand at..... and so far?.... good god..... after taste testing the chili-cheese mixture while it has been cooking four or five times once or twice, I think we're in with a winner.....

.... I plan to spoon that gloop out into a warmed up tortilla, slather it with sharp cheddar cheese, diced onions, and Taco Bell taco sauce, and have one hell of a meal..... I may even add a side order of refried beans.....

... besides, it is supposed to be dank like this tomorrow as well..... and nothing takes your mind off of a dull, cloudy day like randomly walking into a noxious cloud of chili-cheese burrito after effects...... it's hard to look longingly out the window and into the gloom when you are too busy rolling around on the carpet frantically clutching your neck and making gagging noises...... right?......

... right....

.... hey, I DO try to keep this place entertaining.....

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hiking.......

...... oww, oww, oww......... I am sore, boys and girls....... and my thighs are jelly, folks...... for lo, I climbed a mountain yesterday with fellow blogger, Elisson, and he kicked my ass......... the man is a mountain climbing, REI-clad machine........ and we had a wonderful time.....

.... snow, stars, a great dinner, one helluva view, whiskey, firewood and the a camp fire that followed...... all in all, it was one hell of a way to spend one's February 3rd........

.... as he said last night as the fire was beginning to dwindle down, "hell, anyone can camp in the summertime!........ it takes it up a notch to camp in the backwoods, build a fire, and have a GREAT time in the wintertime!"....... and not freeze to death, of course......

...... and you know, he was right..........

..... I am a bit sore today, but hey, I enjoyed every second of the good company, good conversation, and good booze............

...... sleeping outside when it's 26 degrees is a small challenge, sure, but it is a challenge that makes you feel very, very capable afterwards..........

....... and we had a GREAT time......

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Hmmm.....

.... a year ago - in just a few weeks - I posted this little song-drive.... and now that whole area is covered in hardened snow......

.... and tomorrow?..... tomorrow Elisson and I are set to camping above the snowline on Starr Mountain..... and yes, even though taunted so blatantly like this, I have fixed my Petzl....... and no, I had no idea that petzl meant what he said it meant...... I was merely reading the name brand off of my climbing head lamp........

.... good grief..... y'all should be ashamed of yourselves!........

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Petzl.....

..... I just found out today - as I was unpacking my hiking ruck and checking all of the equipment for wear, tear, and functionality - that my trusty old Petzl is broken......

... now, honestly?.... how's a fella supposed to survive life's ups and downs when he has a broken Petzl?...... all this, and we're camping in the snow on Starr Mountain this Wednesday, folks......

..... damn, it's like the lyrics from that old Bee Gee's song........ "oh, how can you mend a broken Peyeyetzl"?

.... oh, wait....... that's not quite right........ nevermind......

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