Nuts!.....

.... driving into town this afternoon in search of potatoes for baking, I happened by the decrepit office that had once been Doc Kincaid's old stomping ground.....and I was immediately reminded of the time, years ago, when he offered to castrate my brother and I - free of charge...........

.... once upon a time Mr. Kincaid had been the local go-to guy when it came to any livestock emergency that might befall the McMinn County citizens....... your priceless Holstein down with the gas?.... he was your man...... your horse acting funky?..... just call ole Doc..... your sow having trouble brooding?....... Kincaid would come a'running to sort it all out...... puppy swallowed a thumb tack?.... Doc had a magnet and some lube....... he truly was quite remarkable.......

... on the other hand, he was also quite disturbing in his physical appearance as best that I can recall...... rather short and slim, he had swarthy skin and thick, wiry grey hair that stuck straight out all over his head..... and with a dribbling trail of brown tobacco juice trailing steadily through his grayish-blue beard, he was always quite the sight to behold..... especially if he had a scalpel in his hands......

... Mother, of course, had absolutely nothing to do with him in any way, form, or fashion......

... I guess that the ways of a backwoods veterinarian left him wanting in both the fragrance and self-grooming departments..... and besides, during the few times that I ever clapped eyes on the man he was forever coated in a fine sheen of some type of mammal's dung......

.... I suppose that the whole manure thing AND the tobacco juice beard was just more than my poor mother could bear, in retrospect......

.... anyway, I was reminded today of the last time that I saw The Doctor...... my Father had built a pen out of 2X10s that he'd scavenged off of the old Sweetwater trestle.... and my Godfather had donated four little piglets from his farmyard collection as a birthday present for my father....... and so, within the span of a weekend, my small little family became pig farmers for the summer.......

.... if you've never raised a pig, well, consider yourself quite lucky...... and even though our family foray into pig farming only lasted a few months, I quickly learned enough about pigs to know that I only wanted to eat them..... the whole raising, feeding, watching, and processing was something meant for far stronger beings that either me or my little brother......

.... it's a bit convoluted, really, this story and those poor piggies lives..... but I will cut to the chase.... see, originally we'd been slated to raise these pigs - in their little pen - from the summer through to the following autumn - 18 months hence, when the pigs would have been at their most tasty weight for butchering..... but due to the fact that once they'd grown for a month they could now leap easily out of my Father's fancy pen, the met their fate much sooner than originally imagined......

..... my Father worked away from home all week and was only home on the weekend...... and meanwhile, my Mother basically was a working single-mom of two for the rest of the week..... and the LAST thing she wanted to do with her spare time was to help her two children chase escaped pigs around the undergrowth of the sprawling country countryside....... so, that first autumn while dad was at work, she made the call...... the butchers came and slaughtered all four of the underage hogs right there in the back yard..... and when Dad returned home that weekend, she made a point to fry up a large tray of sausage for him at breakfast..... and that was the end of my Father's toe-dipping into being a pig farmer....... Momma was pissed....

... but back to Doc Kincaid and the piglets........ I remember Dad making the call the VERY next day after Mr. Jennings had given him those four piglets.... he called up the Doc and told him that he had three little boars that needed castration so that he could raise them for pork..... well, Doc was on the job..... and he arrived the following Saturday morning with a handful of rubber bands in one hand and a scalpel in the other....... I was completely unable to understand what he was about to do..... until I saw him put the bands around the testicles, twist the rubber, and place the taught bands around them a second time.......

..... today on my way into town for lunch, I passed his abandoned old shop and remembered that story...... and how we all stood there watching him as he prepared those three poor boar hogs..... how their flesh bulged as the circulation was cut off..... how the sack changed colors and the veins above the rubber bands bulged as he waited, waited, and waited...... and how he stoically glanced back at Joshua and I, spat, wiped his nasty beard on his sleeve, and said, "you boys pay attention now...... it may look painful, but trust me, it really isn't..... and if either of you want me to spare you a lifetime of pain, disappointment, mistrust, jealousy, and hate?..... well, I can do the same to either of you in less than five minutes....... and I promise you that you won't feel a thing....... "

.... I was shocked and awed.....

... just then the piglet squealed bloody murder as his blade slid silently between the two orbs, and Doc giggled...... he took a quick look back at me and smiled.... "well, it may smart just a BIT, but you'll be grateful to me in the long run!"......

..... Dad thought the whole scene was quite the riot, and he kidded us about it for years........ but I will tell you this.... neither Josh NOR I thought it was funny in the least........

.... country boys, folks.... we aren't HALF as dumb as you think we are..... and you can TRUST me on THAT one.....

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Shutters....

.... woke up this morning humming Buffett's "Trying to Reason with the Hurricane Season" ...

.... my back was sore and tight from yesterday's chores, and I wandered into the kitchen for coffee and a handful of ibuprofen..... standing at the kitchen window looking out at the springtime fog rolling in from the jungle behind the house, I suddenly remembered a line from the song....

.... "well, the wind is blowing harder now - fifty knots, or there abouts..... there's whitecaps on the ocean, and I'm watching for water spouts....... it's time to close the shutters.... it's time go go inside...... in a week I'll be in gay Paris, and that's a mighty long airplane ride..".....

.... man, back in the day I was a Parrothead of the highest order....... I remember when the compilation Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads came out back in 1992..... I played those cassettes until they literally fell apart, and I knew the lyrics to every single song by heart...... even now, some snippets still find their way back into my life from time to time....

.... anyway, I'm off to get the day started and just thought I'd share....... after all, in a week I certainly won't be in gay Paris..... but I will most definitely be Out Of The Country......

.... believe it or not, there was a lot of good poetry in some of those early Buffett tunes......

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Newspapers...

... hindsight is, as they say, 20/20....... we have the benefit of having history books to read, but those who actually lived through those times had no idea what was around the next corner...... and I am continually amazed to catch The Perspective of History from new sources who were actually there.....

.... HBO has been running a marathon of The Pacific today in the run-up to tomorrow's debuting of episode 7, and I have been enjoying re-watching them.... so far I have watched episode 2 four times...... and I continue to see or hear something new each time I watch any of them.......

.... but there is a scene in episode 2 that absolutely chokes me up every time.... it did it again today - for the 4th time....

.... the scene begins with the weak, starving, resolute Marines slowly climbing up the cargo nets on the side of the ships..... and near the top - and likely near his physical breaking point - a hand reaches down from the railing to help..... it then cuts to the filthy Marines visiting the galley in search of coffee.... they are met by a sailor who replies that the galley is closed.... they ask for coffee, and he sheepishly replies, "Shit, I can definitely get you boys some coffee........ cream and sugar?".....

.... after being abandoned, desperate, starving, AND fighting the Japanese so viciously, the looks on their faces at being offered "cream and sugar" is both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time..... it drives home just how desperate they had been.....

.... as they inhale the aroma of their fresh coffee - almost lost in the joy of finally being safe AND having a nice cup of hot Joe - the sailor asks them, "So, how bad was it?"...... none of them say a word, but there is a tension in the room...... the sailor turns away saying, "I'd heard it was bad."...... and just as he turns to leave the Marines alone with their thoughts and their coffee, one of them speaks up.... "Who?... Who told you that?.... I mean, before you came here, had you ever even HEARD of Guadalcanal?!".....

.... the young sailor turns back to them and says, "What? Guadalcanal? Hell, everybody's heard of Guadalcanal.... you boys are on the front page of every newspaper in America..... You guys are heroes.".....

.... those Marines had held on.... surrounded.... abandoned.... starving..... and they had no idea that their desperate fight was being followed by every family in the United States.... those "Raggedy-assed Marines" with their uniforms rotting off were winning the first victory of the war for the USA....

.... they had thought no one cared that they were fighting and dying in a far away jungle.....

... that scene gets me every single time...... I cannot even imagine how hearing those words must have made them feel......

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Aurora....

.... reading Elisson's post today, I was reminded of one of my old party tricks from back in the day before I discovered the poetry of R.W. Service........

... and yes, as cheesy as it sounds, I used to entertain bore the hell out of my fellow Marines by reciting this song as a poem while we camped in Alaska.... of course, I think it is actually better without the music - and just the voice of someone pretending to remember........

..... still, I do enjoy it...... even after all of these years....

.... "memories are like starlight.... they go on forever...".... you gotta love that....

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Jays.....

.... every spring for the past ten years we have had the hummingbirds here..... emerald and ruby-throated, they have always formed two camps - with our hummingbird feeder providing the focus of both of their nests.......

.... the one who usually nests in the back yard has always chosen the lowest boughs of a tulip poplar not far from my patio, and he is usually the most aggressive...... and in the front - closest to the feeder - his sister and son-in-law have always chosen the leafy folds of an aging dogwood to build their home for the summer.....

.... it has been a great treat to watch them tangle as they joust for the first tastes of sugar-water that our little 1.5 acres affords them as they travel north-to-south...... in truth, the feeder is actually just three feet from the living room window, so I can easily see them as they feed......

..... this year, however, something new has happened........

..... the backyard usual has arrived and pitched camp..... but the family who normally sets up in the dogwood out front is not present.......... dead, most likely...... victims of any number of scary things that might have happened to them as they made their way from Tennessee to Mexico last autumn........

..... but instead?..... a brand new family of birds that I have never seen before have taken up residence..... and while not hummingbirds (they actually fly like normal birds, but are just about the size of hummingbirds) they have built a bowl-like nest near the top of the same dogwood that the hummingbirds used.......

.... the difference is, I suppose, that the hummingbirds only created a nest the size of half of a chicken egg...... and these little fellows are guarding a nest the size of half a baseball........

.... two weeks ago I had been working on a piece of cedar in the front yard when I first noticed the commotion above me...... and as I glanced up from my carving, I saw the two tiny birds.... they were chirping at each other..... and at first I imagined that they were arguing......... spring it was, after all...... but after an hour of watching, I realized that they were talking...... and that they were each arriving on their branch with stuff to build a nest......

.... over the last two weeks, I have watched them through my binoculars attempt, work, and complete the nest that they were aiming for..... and I have been very impressed with what they have done....... good god, can you imagine what a chore it must be to be driven by nature to work, work, work, stress, and toil in such a way?...... and hell, these are just Beasts of The Field........ I cannot imagine how much I would toil if it were my OWN children that I were building and working for......... but, that is another mater.......

..... in any case, as I sat watching zombie movies today, I noticed that a blue jay had zoned in on the tiny birds nest........ and he/she was sitting on a branch not five feet from where their freshly laid eggs were being cuddled by that little nest of theirs......

..... I immediately got up and fetched the shotgun that I use for turkey hunting, slipped a round from the stock- holder into the magazine, and stepped out onto my front lawn..... I looked up at the blue jay, and it gazed down at me......... and while I knew that it was at such an angle as to not be safely fireable (due to my neighbors), I pressed the release and racked a round into the chamber....... as soon as I did that, the evil, predatory, cantankerous bird took flight.......

..... I stood there for another ten minutes - watching it wander from branch to branch just of out range - while the little parents of the eggs/birds that I was defending flitted too and fro between me and my blue jay.......

.... the blue jay eventually left, and the parents came home to their child/children, albeit unborn.......

....... two things stuck me most, I guess, as the day passed as I described above........ number one?...... the looks on the faces of the drivers of the two cars that passed through my cul-de-sac as I stood in the middle of my lawn with a loaded 12 gauge - peering up at the oak tree that borders my property to the north......... god, they must have thought that I was nuts.......... and it must have made them give a second thought about who it IS that lives with them in their little community.....

.... and secondly, well, just how much I hate blue jays......... they are bullies, thieves, and murderers....... I do believe that I wrote about how many I killed one year when I was just little...... but, wow, how I do so hate blue jays and all that they represent.......

..... predators are not allowed on my property....... around here, I am the only predator..... and I get to choose........

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Focus.....

...... for those of you who think that I can't shoot, I offer you this little clip from a few years ago........

..... the balloon was about the size of a grapefruit.... and it was stapled to a cross tie at thirty paces....... there were three balloons stapled to the cross tie...... I was aiming at the one in the middle...... watch closely.... and hey, the "maximum effective range" of the weapon I was firing is only listed at 50 meters...... I call that bullshit....... I can ding a torso (or scare the living hell out of it) at nearly 100 meters with that little gun......

..... anyway, I was sporting a Taurus AFD-92 at the time..... the "click" that you hear before the round goes off is me dropping the slide and chambering a round....... I reckon that the whole video only lasts about two seconds........

.... check this out.... a 9mm in action.....

.... god, it makes me want to go out to the range again........ it truly does.....

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Shallow......

..... every day that you turn on the television, what do you see?..... crime, corruption, devilishness, sin, evil, lust...... and after a while, you get the feeling that you are incapable of escaping the Trundling Machine of Evil..... where is God when you need the fellow?.......

... it seems to be everywhere... in the streets, in the towns, covering the countryside... and what do you do?...... you either arm yourself and prepare for the worst, or you retreat into your inner sanctum and pray that it will all just go away....... perhaps some superhero will arrive, Mr. Smith will be dug up by a musty old Frank Capra, or The Politicians and Criminals will suddenly grow a conscience and Make Things Right....... but, whatever happens, you know that you will always have your own little slice of normality behind your own closed doors.......... your haven........

.... but just then?..... just when you feel safe in your soft, warm, comfy inner sanctum, you stroll through the living room to find scenes such as this, and your heart just drops.......

robbery_small.jpg

.... indeed, folks, after the new floor install a few days ago, I caught Bobafett robbing E. A. Poe at plasma-rifle point in the sanctity of my own living room.......

...... what IS this world coming to, folks?........

.... I love Boba, of course, and his fanatic loyalty to The Empire, but damn.... hell, I've been there........ but one cannot help - in these economic climes - to wonder just how far The Empire will go to silence such voices as Poe and others..... our world does need free-thinkers, after all....... without poets, writers, and artists, would we not be dead?....... figuratively, if not literally.......

.... it's hard to believe that this scene actually took place in MY house, of all places....... and yet, it is in store for all of us if we aren't very, very careful......... VERY careful........

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Turns.....

.... invited The Sainted Mother over for dinner this evening, and everyone ate their fill happily...... slow roasted ham, Amish green beans canned from last year, mashed potatoes, and a fresh salad with crumbled bacon, olives, and sliced grapes........

...... God only knows the bowel movements we'll all have tomorrow, but the grub was certainly good here tonight........

..... I have to admit in being slightly evil today, though....... for as the hour of Sainted Momma's arrival neared, I muted the television and guided the channel setting to SyFy.... you should have seen the look on her face as we parlayed our pre-dinner talk in the silence of the newly re-floored living room - our voices echoing slightly as we spoke..... and all the while "deranged West Virginian cannibals" slashed throats, wrists, and just generally gnawed upon a diverse group of Waspish urbanites who had taken a "wrong turn"......

...... of course, she still ate a hearty portion of the baked ham though....... even in spite of me filling our salad-preparing time with silenced images of freakish ghouls......

.... ole Mom, she is a trooper...... how she has put up with me all these years is a Mystery for The Ages.........

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Cliffs.....

... it has been my experience that young men are often fearless, reckless, and quite mistakenly imagine themselves bulletproof, indestructible, and capable of almost anything....

.... add in the thrill of being away from home for the first time, some military training, and a liberal dose of alcohol and you have yourself a recipe for mischief that knows very, very, very few bounds....

... Oom Keesie recounted a story a few days ago of being lowered into a blowhole in search of lobsters.... and I must say that I was fairly well impressed by his adventure... I noted in his comment section that I had experienced a cliff adventure myself - and he quickly asked me for my story.... and so, here it is....

.... years ago as a young US Marine stationed on the barren, windswept, Aleutian island of Adak, I performed one of the most stupid stunts of my life..

.... back in the early 1990s there were actually two groups of US Marines stationed on Adak Island.... there were the "downtown" Marines - Infantry types - barracked in downtown Adak..... and then there were the "uptown" Marines - Intelligence types - barracked 8 miles away sandwiched between the the foot of Mt. Adagdak and Clam Lagoon.... I was an "uptown" Marine....

.... in 1991 the "downtown" marines - actually a Security Forces Detachment - began slowly
removing their presence from Adak due to their mission there no longer existing..... as a result, we "uptown" Marines began to receive a steady stream of gifts and goodies from our downtown brethren... it was mostly stuff that they weren't going to ship back stateside.... gym equipment, etc.....

... now, most units on Adak had communal cabins dotted over the countryside to allow some form of escape from the grind of work, and the mental abuse of the foul weather there.... our cabin was on the shore of Lake Andrew on the northern end of the island..... well, just before the last of the Security Forces left, they smiled and tossed us the keys to their cabin... and their cabin was a lot better than ours ever was....

... needless to say, we could hardly wait to begin partying at the new cabin every chance we were afforded...... the only problem with their big, beautiful cabin was that it sat at the edge of a 250 foot cliff overlooking Kuluk Bay.... the cabin was, quite literally, only twenty or so feet from the edge....

.... one particularly calm evening weather-wise found myself and three other Marines standing on the edge of the cliff admiring the view of the sun setting, and nursing a few beers..... I'm not 100% sure of the early details, actually, but legend has it that it was LCpl Teeman who first noticed the "trail" wandering off through the clumps of tundra.... well, it wasn't very long before four Marines and two cases of beer were happily sitting at the foot of the cliff, drinking those beers, and listening to the waves of the Bering Sea crash on the rocky shoreline.....

... we were having a wonderful time.....

.... after an hour or so, the temperature began to drop.... and since there was no way of building a fire on the rocks, we knew that we had to get back to the cabin or freeze...... of course, the problem was that it was now pitch dark, cold, and we were all standing drunk at the bottom of a 250 foot tall cliff.....

..... needless to say, I did not die that night...... and yes, we all made it back to the cabin safely..... but we did not go up the same route that we had come down...... after clawing our way up the cliff using clumps of tundra, we lost the trail and veered way off course....... so much so that there were moments where we were actually free-climbing 10-15 spans of bare cliff-face at a time while 100 feet in the air....

.... but none of us fell.... at one point I even slid off my leather jacket and used it as a makeshift rope - with myself and another holding onto the taut, outstretched arms of the jacket....

.... looking back, it truly is a miracle that we survived that climb....

... oh, and I was wearing cowboy boots.....

.... absolutely amazing, now that I am remembering all of it...... and as far as I know?..... there's still a case of Milwaukee's Best sitting there at the foot of that cliff..... and it can HAVE it.....

..... young men, folks.... hell, it's a wonder any of us ever survived to adulthood......

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Wooden......

..... it has been a busy slip of a day around The Compound today, and my living room is now sporting a brand spanking new door, side light, and frame..... and I must say that I do like it so far...... hey, it's nice to have a few sheets of stained glass to gaze upon while one lounges on the couch with cocktails in the evening.....

... and tomorrow the hardwood pixies show up to install my new oaken floor..... and they should be finished by Friday afternoon..... the late evening light coming through the cut glass of the door and side panel was beautiful today......

.... I'm tired though..... weary, even...... I'm finding it increasingly difficult to write offline or on, and time keeps ticking...... I fear that my muse is curling, drying up, and wishing the wind would catch her up and take her farther away from me and my keyboard than she already is....... and I honestly don't understand what I did to run her off........ oh, and I keep catching myself whistling that Vedder song that I posted a few days ago.... whistling the lyrics, not the tune..... I want, I want, I want......... damn....

... I think I need to throw a party.....

... or blow something up.......

.... or maybe both?.....

.... before I know it, I will be back in Scotland driving across the Cairngorms in search of ham & cheese paninis, a warm corner of a pub, and baguettes filled with Candy's Cajun turkey, cheese, and diced onions......

... man, I really need one of those Candy's sandwiches tonight....

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British.....

..... yesterday The Missus and I day-tripped up to Fort Loudon in Vonore, Tennessee..... a handful of re-enactors were pretending to be soldiers and civilians from the French and Indian war era, and it was quite fun..... they fired weapons, manned the cannons, drilled up and down the square, and generally had a fine old time..... as for me, I just sat back and soaked it all in.....

... it was a beautiful spring day and the cherry, dogwoods, and red buds were all blooming healthily as we picked our way around the compound and down the hillside..... scattered here and there were barefoot colonial women doing laundry, children jogging to and fro, and buckskin-clad civilians cat-calling to the drilling troops... "you've found a home in the army, you fool!", they yelled...... it was an education, to be sure...... and hey, not much has changed in three hundred years, I guess......

..... but as we prepared to leave, I couldn't help noticing one of the young lasses sitting in a doorway - her bonnet high atop her head, and her bare feet toeing the dust to the rhythm of the drummer boy's snare....

.... she was a youngish girl, perhaps 16, and a young soldier squatted beside her at the doorway..... he was obviously either her boyfriend or her older brother, and I simply could not resist the temptation to inquire further......

.... I slowly made my way over to where they were talking and asked the young man if he'd been in "the service" long...... heh...... he laughed and said that he'd been in "the service of the king since he was fourteen"..... talk about keeping it in character, that spectacled fellow wasn't about to budge an inch...... I inquired further as to his young lady friend, and just what a young woman of her years was meant to be doing on an overhill military base...... he smiled and said, "ahhhh, well, sir...... she's with me...... we're not just a military outpost here at Fort Loudon, sir..... we're also in the process of colonization...... and after all, a fella has to have someone to 'colonize' with, yes?".....

.... the girl planted both bare feet soundly in the dust, flushed beet red under her white cotton bonnet, and smiled sweetly out into space.....

.... I retrieved my cigarette case from my back pocket and tapped the back of a Camel for a few moments.......

.... "Indeed, sir", I replied....... "I actually hadn't thought of that..... but, you know, you're right... although, from the color of your wench's face right now, I'd wager that there will be a distinct lack of 'colonizing' going on this particular evening."......

...I lit my cigarette just as her scarlet turned to purple.... and that little "Y" vein in the center of your forehead?..... yeah, it made an appearance........

..... mercy...... history, folks...... it is often a helluva lot more interesting than you ever imagined.........

.... here's a few shots of the militia mustering and lowering the ensign....

fort_loudon_small.jpg

fort_loudon2_small.jpg

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Mandolins....

..... rainy day here yesterday, but today has been absolutely glorious...... I took the time to hit a few country roads and drive down to Cleveland to retrieve my trusty boots from the cobbler, and the ride was amazing..... of course, the bastard actually shined my boots after he re-soled them, so I'll have to fix that..... they're meant to be understated cowboy boots, and definitely not shiny.....

... anyhoo, I have spent the last few days listening to the lead-up to the latest season of the "Deadliest Catch" advert on the television....... and after a bit of research, I was very surprised to learn that it was actually an Eddie Vedder song........

...... I'm a bit sad, I guess, that I missed the song when I watched the movie Into the Wild....... hell, I never was much of a Pearl Jam fan back in the day..... and really?..... I read Into the Wild ten years ago and thought that The Man in the story was an absolute idiot....... BUT..... and it is a big but........ I also found part of me wishing that he had survived...... don't we all wish The Romantics to bounce out of their problems and somehow show us The Way?.......

....... part of me - when I read the book - was horrified by his story....... and another part thought that he was living the dream that me and a few of my buddies had dreamt years and years ago during those long Alaskan nights........

..... but really?..... I just don't know....... I'm confused, I guess......... but I WILL say that the Vedder song that they play is very, very moving....... and after doing the research and realizing that he actually wrote it, I am even more impressed....... for, after all, I am a lyrics kind of guy....... I love the poetry of language....... I love how we speak...... and I love hearing passionate people express themselves regarding subjects that they love......

..... but, whether you enjoy it or not, I give you "Rise"........ it is beautiful....

.... "burning black holes in dark memories... turning mistakes into gold.... "

.... man, you just gotta love that......

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Air.....

.... so The Missus and I are sitting around this evening watching a program about the terraforming of Mars, and they bring up the fact that it is uninhabitable mainly because of the lack of greenhouse gasses AND that it is just plain WAY TOO COLD......

..... now, she has already read all of the "Mars" series of science fiction books from Kim Stanley Robinson, and she ate every one of the trilogy up with lip-smacking enjoyment.... me?.... I'm just not that into science fiction.......

.... so, fast forward to this evening....... she is sucking on every word from the presenter about terraforming Mars, when they mention that it is way too cold there for human habitation.......

..... I pipe up, "good god!.... if it is too cold, then build a damn FIRE!.... it'll create plenty of carbon dioxide..... and that will help create a warmer atmosphere, supply green house gasses, and make everyone up there feel a bit less chilly!... and with all the ash left over, you could use that as a base for soil and plant some damn TREES!"....

.... ten seconds later, the presenter of the show said that they needed to basically "build a fire on Mars" to create greenhouse gasses so that they could eventually plant Earthborne high altitude conifers to assist with the creation of a breathable atmosphere.........

..... I belly-laughed and said, "see!.... see?!..... Goddamn, woman, I should work for NASA!.... 'It's cold on Mars, people, what should we do??'..... 'Build a FIRE!'....... damn, but I am an undiscovered genius".......

.... anyway, (and to get to the point of this nearly pointless post) she dug into me again during a commercial.....

... "You know what?", she said...... "next October we should get NASA to fly all of the Jawja Bloggers up to Mars instead of having them come here for the weekend....... hey, you could even take your own firewood!...... and I bet that the combination of 25 Jawja Bloggers, the others that come, AND the fact that y'all would have a campfire to watch while you drink your chocolate vodka, well, I am quite sure that Mars would have an atmosphere in less than a week........... for, after all, no one can emit hot air like a bunch of half-drunken bloggers standing by a campfire........ good lord, we've seen it for the past FIVE years!...... no wonder our trees are doing so well in the back yard!!.... it is from their annual mega-dose infusion of blogger-based carbon dioxide emissions!".......

..... and in retrospect, I think she may be right....... after all, her logic is fairly secure...... the dogwoods ARE blooming especially pretty this year after those bloggers spent those two nights camping underneath them.....

...... but, wow.... that means that the next Hysterics at Eric's must be a precursor to us having a blogmeet on Mars....... any takers?....... The Missus assures me that it will be for the greater benefit of All Humanity For Generations to Come.......... so, there is that...... or do I have to go this one on my own?........ hey, I'll bring Scotch and bottle rockets!..... and I am sure that Jimbo will bring the vodka.....

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Easter....

.... today I ate my Easter lunch out of a communal wheelbarrow while the kiddies hunted frantically for Easter eggs............ fuck, I so love Tennessee........ I can't believe that I stayed away for as long as I did........

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Cellophane....

...... have you ever wondered what you'd do if you suddenly found yourself in possession of some sandwich ham, Dijon mustard, a filet steak, a bit of black pepper, half a stick of butter, a large handful of mushrooms, a clove of garlic, some frozen puff pastry dough, an egg, and a piece of cellophane?.....

..... me?.... hey, I often find myself pondering just such eventualities whilst going about my day..... and since I do enjoy being a helpful fellow from time to time, I'll go ahead and share......

... now, if you ever do find yourself in a room with all of those items mentioned above, here is a small suggestion of what you should probably do to keep from being bored.....

... take the garlic, butter, and black pepper and throw it all in a hot skillet for a while..... then mince up your mushrooms until you get tired of chopping..... (my right arm is quite strong, actually, so I spent a considerable time chopping the Hades out of my mushrooms.).... once they are chopped to your satisfaction, toss them in the skillet with the garlic and cook'em.....

... take the piece of cellophane and lay it down nice and straight on your kitchen counter/table/etc... (unless you are preparing this in another room of the house, of course, then you'll just need to find yourself a flat, hard, clean surface.) .... anyway, once it is down, layer your sandwich ham like so.....

wellington1_small.jpg

.... allow your garlic'd mushrooms to cool... once cooled, spread them over the ham like so.....

wellington2_small.jpg

.... pepper down your filet steak and then coat it liberally with your Dijon mustard.... and then position like so.....

wellington3_small.jpg

.... now, ever-so-carefully roll (using the cellophane to help) roll your ham around your steak.... transfer your naked Wellington to a baking tray and drape it with your puff pastry - making sure to wrap it around your naked Wellington entirely..... take the egg and whip it lustily until you are satisfied that it is properly punished..... then coat your Wellington with it...... if you are fairly good at following directions now, it should look something like this......

wellington4_small.jpg

... now, bake that baby at 425 for about 30 minutes......

..... and with any luck, it should look quite similar to this.......

wellington5_small.jpg

.... and the inside?..... mmmm......

wellington6_small.jpg

... nice, eh?..... endless variations on a theme, gentle rubberneckers, endless.......

.... and now you know how to make a Poor Man's Beef Wellington.....

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Jane....

.... an amazing springtime day here, boys and girls, and I've been working like an army mule in a failing effort to pretty-up the flower beds in the front and back yard..... all those snowstorms that found us this winter have certainly done a number on them.....

.... anyhoo, I did manage to take a break from my backbreaking toil to drop the top on Blanche and zip into town for a burger at lunchtime...... and in turning on the radio, I was treated to some vintage Tom Petty that I hadn't heard in a long, long time...... man, I love this song..... and since I enjoyed it so much, I suppose it would be just plain wrong of me not to share..... so, here.....

.... and with that, I'm off to feed the rose bushes and azaleas..... and hum the hell out of that song......

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