Originals.....

.... dug up from back in 2005..... maybe I should dust this thing off again and start writing......

"... I had the windows open last night, most of the lights turned down.... I was enjoying the smell of the damp forest entering the house.. springtime is mild here in Tennessee, and an evening of rain had created the perfect night... a night for letting the sounds and smells of a new season creep into my home... I turned off the television, and began reading a book in the blogroom... The Wife was reclining on the sofa quietly devouring her latest booty - courtesy of the McMinn County library... after a few minutes of quiet, we both became acutely aware of the outside noises... whippoorwills calling in the distance... the wind in the dogwood trees... even the dripping of rainwater from the damp leaves...

... the whole aspect was calming.. therapeutic... even the breeze was full of perfume.. and then, without warning, something changed...

... a true silence descended in an instant.. I am sure that the other noises actually continued... but something close - and almost unheard - drew the focus of my hearing away from all other sounds.. a steady feeling of dread and a whisper of something outside my window... close... and dangerous... as my ears strained to gather more facts, I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand-up.. part of me knew this feeling well... I have felt it before while hunting predators.. luring hungry coyotes with a screaming rabbit... if you let yourself go, you can hear the panic... the terror in the pleas of the prey... and you, as you watch the prowler come close, understand that you are being hunted....

... I eased out of my chair, and approached the open window... leaning forward for a better view into the darkness... just then, the neighbor's Labrador gave a mighty bark from across the road... and from just below my open window, I heard the familiar yelp of a coyote as it bounded back into the woods...

... the call of the coyote echoed through the house, and the Wife appeared at the door of the blogroom... "Eric?.... What in the Hell was that?", she said.. open book still in hand....

... "Nothing, dear... just the dog from across the street... are the cats in the garage?"...

... "uh huh... they are both in"... she shifted her weight, and walked over to the window... "what a beautiful night"...

... "it sure is, babe", I said as I found my way back to my chair... "let's open a bottle of wine"... "

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Blogmeet..... the 9th.....

.... two weeks, folks......... good lord, I cannot wait to see every again......... you guys have made this a great little run....


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Reminder.....

.... originally posted in May of 2005, I was recently reminded of this story for a completely different reason........

A Gentle Man

... when I was about six months old, my Mother and Father were living in a small, rented house just outside Niota, Tennessee.... my Dad was fresh back from the Vietnam War, and had managed to land a job with Southern Railway as a laborer on a Maintenance of Way gang... Southern was big into hiring disabled and wounded vets at the time, and his wounds gave him a leg-up... it was a good job for 1973... hard work, but good pay.... the downside was that he traveled with the gang... Bristol.. Jellico.. White Pine... way up in the northeastern corner of the state... as a result, he was gone all week and returned on Friday evenings... tired, hungry, and wanting to spend the weekend with his family...

... the row of basic, clean houses were painted white.... all of them faced onto a rural road that snaked down the hillside towards highway 11 and the town... the other side of the road was dominated by a large brick mansion with a 2 acre front lawn... the owner of the row of houses lived there at the crest of the hill...

... one evening when my Father arrived home, he noticed that there was a small fire burning in a 55 gallon drum... the drum was in a small drainage ditch that separated our lawn from next door.. when he came in the door, he asked about it... Mother said that the owner across the street had brought his garbage over and burnt it... she had asked him what he was doing, and he had replied that he had "always" burnt his garbage there... so he lit the fire, and left...

... now, the problem with this scenario is that it was late Spring.. unseasonably hot... and the house had no air conditioning... so to combat the effects of the heat on her new child, she had to open the windows... when she did, the breeze carried the smoke straight into the house..

... my Father did what anyone else would have done, I suppose... he turned on the water hose, and doused the fire in the barrel... then he walked up the long driveway towards the brick house... after knocking on the door and waiting what seemed like an hour, the gentleman opened the door with a Scotch & water highball in hand...

... "Excuse me, sir", he began... "I've just got back from working away all week, and my Wife tells me that you brought your garbage over here to burn at our house... is that right?"...

... "yeah, that's right", was the polite response... he took a sip from his drink, and continued... "I've always burnt my trash in that ditch there.. is there a problem?"...

... "well, I didn't know that when I rented your house... and yeah, yeah, there is a problem.... I've got a 6 month old son over there who is breathing that smoke... it's too hot for us to keep the windows closed, and the smoke is coming right into the house... so, here's an idea.... I leave out every Sunday night heading to White Pine... if you sit your garbage at the end of your drive, I'll be happy to haul it off on my way to work once a week... that way there is no smoke, and you get rid of your trash... sound like a deal?"...

... the Landlord stood in the doorway eyeing up my Father... 6'2.. 210lbs... short blonde hair.. sky blue eyes.. a bone-deep suntan from working outdoors his whole life... and more recently, from the Southeast Asian sun... "Sure, my man.... not a problem at all.. I didn't realize the smoke was bothering your baby... think no more of it..."

... feeling that a compromise had been reached, Dad walked back to the house and ate dinner...

... the following Sunday evening, he was putting his work clothes into the back of his beat-up Impala... he looked over at the mailbox of the mansion... there were no bags of garbage....

... he arrived home late the next Friday to find a smoking barrel in the ditch... after hosing it down and extinguishing the smoldering papers, he looked up the hill towards the Brick House... the cars were not in the drive... he went inside and sat down at the kitchen table and wrote a note....

Sir,

I spoke to you last week regarding the burning of trash around my child. I offered to take your trash away on Sunday evenings. I am still willing to do this service for you, but I wanted to make myself clear. There will be no more trash burnt in my yard. I am returning your barrel. If you would like, please feel free to talk with me about this matter. I am sure that you and I can work something out.

regards,

MHS

... after finishing a now cold meal, my Father rolled the old 55 gallon drum up the hill to the house... he placed the note on the front door, and left...

... all day the next Sunday, he watched out the window... hoping to see the Landlord toting garbage bags to the road... but when the time arrived for him to leave, there were none... with a feeling of sadness, he drove the long hours to work...

... the week's work had been hot.. the kind of heat that boils up from the blackened crossties and steel rails - exposed to the eternal sun - and bakes a Man... the life of a laborer on the railroad is modernly akin to slave labor, and he was tired... wanting rest, his eyes caught the wispy smoke as he eased into his small driveway...

... covered in the grime of a day spent driving spikes and lining rail, he opened the trunk of his old Impala and retrieved a tie bar.. six feet long and an inch and a half thick... this solid steel bar is used to hold the rails in line near switches... he approached the smoking barrel slowly... methodically... and with a mighty slam, he knocked it into the street... ashes and sparks flew... but he continued... with another blow, it spun across the street and spilled garbage against the mailbox of the Landlord... again and again... the barrel spun closer and closer to the Brick House... a trail of embers and half-burnt pieces of the Chattanooga Times snaked across the 2 acre lawn... and finally, he was there.. the dented, rusty drum was resting on its side by the welcome mat...

... but for some reason, he didn't stop... he pounded and pounded the barrel with the heavy steel rod... only stopping when it had been beaten flat on the doorstep...

... he stood in the lawn for a long time... breathing heavily from the exertion.. his arms burning with pain from flailing the heavy bar... he looked to his right... yes, the cars were there... yes, they surely must have heard him outside.... yes, they were watching him through the window... he stood, and waited...

... but nothing happened... as his breathing became normal again, he turned towards his house... "typical", he thought to himself... "you just can't be fair with some people"....

... he walked down the hill towards his little home leaving the littered lawn and smoking barrel behind... once inside, he ate his supper and played with his child.... we lived in that house 18 more months after that... and no one ever burnt garbage in that tiny ditch again...

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Art...

..... years ago when I was just a child, I once found a terrapin lumbering across the lawn......

..... our home was a mere blip of civilization in thousands of acres of woodland, but my brother and I still sparkled with glee each time some wandering woodsy creature would make its way onto our Little Domain..... but this little terrapin was different......

.... we'd caught mud turtles, snapping turtles, and terrapins for years before we ever came across one like this little fellow.... and unlike his predecessors, he was easy to catch..... he moved slowly as he crossed the lawn....... I watched him as he exited the brush, crossed the road, and ambled under the cross-tie fence that my dad had put up years before that marked the border of our property...

..... my brother and I raced each other to see which would snatch him up first.... I remember looking back at my dad as he eyed us from his squatted position in the flower bed where he was spending his weekend grooming it for planting..... He was away from home all week working on the railroad, but when he was home on the weekends his focus was on house, lawn, and two stringy sons..... and mom, when we were outside playing.....

... my little brother caught the beast first, and he ran to me as hard as he could to show me his prize....

..... instead of closing up, like most tortoises do, this one lagged and sagged....... and even in the jangling hands of my spastic little brother, the little reptile never withdrew into its shell...... and after a few moments, my brother smelled the stench and sat the little box tortoise down by the edge of the house where the water hose connected........

..... it was only after a close inspection that I realized that the poor tortoise had a crack in the center of its shell..... and worse, there was a steady stream of piss ants making their way up and down his legs and back and then disappearing back down into the inky crater in his shell...... I was horrified...... the ants were actually living in the space between the reptile's body and its shell..... I cried for my father to come and help the poor thing, and he came to me as quick as he could..... he, too, stood there for many minutes not believing what he was seeing...... he was mesmerized and dejectedly sickened by what he was seeing..... I watched as this man who had been in War took pity on the poor creature......

..... my father snatched me up by the arm and told me to run inside and fetch the peroxide that mom kept under the bathroom cabinet.... and I did as I was told....... and as soon as I returned, he coaxed the bottle from my traumatized hands and dribbled some of the liquid into the hole in the back of the tortoise's shell....

..... the entire scene then erupted in chaos and horror...... as he held the little beast in his hand and applied the medicine, it stretched out its neck and clawed the air with its hang nailed feet........ it wanted to get away, but he held it firmly aloft..... and another pour.... and another..... and soon the ants were piling out of the cracked crevice with little while balls clamped in their jaws....... their babies....... the eggs of the ants yet to come....... they were abandoning their movable feast and seeking to survive themselves......

..... you will not believe me when I say this, but it is true....... that tortoise stayed in my front yard for three days and never moved more than two feet from the space where my father sat it down... on the morning of the fourth day, we found that it was gone...... and we spent a lot of time that year wondering if it had recovered, if it was happy, and if it appreciated what our dad had done for it.........

.... in the years that have followed, I have begun to feel more and more like that little tortoise that my brother and I found in the lawn on that long ago summer day.....

..... we all have those things that are eating at us..... figuratively or literally....... and we all need someone to step in and take care of us from time to time........ me?....... I probably need a little bit of both........ as for the blog, which has lasted almost 9 years now, I feel that it is limping along...... and it may limp for some time to come........ in a way, I think I lost the heart to blog about sunrises, sunsets, and fancy meals when The Missus was diagnosed with cancer two years ago next month......... and I found that the color of the World changed from vibrant to grey when reality set in........ the birds singing their songs didn't sound the same...... sunlight on my face and coffee on my tongue were equally repellant........

..... and this month sees me in University for the second year in a row......... Art Appreciation, no less......... hey, who would have thought that I would be writing an essay tomorrow entitled "What Is Art?"......

.... for, what is art, indeed........ is a blog art?.... is a life art?...... is love art?....... what is art, indeed........ perhaps a broken terrapin?...... fuck, I am so screwed when I finish this essay tomorrow.........

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Writing.....

.... so, so, soooooo very much like blogging.......

....... it makes me wish that I could play the piano....

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Nine....

.... 9 years ago today...... 9 years ago I wrote my very first, virginal, snow-white blog post........ 9 years ago.... when 99.9% of the population thought that a "blog" was probably some sort of European toilet......

... heh.... and after 9 years?..... in a time where nearly everyone you know has a blog?....... those uneducated technophobes back in 2003 weren't too far off in their definition of blogs....

... that said, I have loved every minute of it.... and I have met - and continue to meet some truly amazing people..... many of whom I now consider my very good friends... and, of course, I now host an annual October blogmeet AT.MY.HOUSE...... good lord, what a strange and wonderful world we live in.......

... you guys and girls rock the house.......

E

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Views....

.... a nice read with the weekend coming on........

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Motivational.....

.... well, I just watched a bunch of guys in a desert kiss the corpse of Gene Hackman..... "March or Die" just finished, and it was - as usual, awesome...... and it does happen to have the best final line of any movie I have ever watched....... the quote?....

.... I'm adlibbing, but here it is......

"Some of you will try to quit.... Some of you will try to run..... I warn you, none of them has succeeded.... If The Legion doesn't get you, then the desert will..... When the desert doesn't get you, the Arabs will...... and when the Arabs don't catch you...... I will....... and I don't know which is worse....."

..... if you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it.....

.... in other news, I'd like to thank the collective crew of Crazies who attended this weekend's blogmeet...... I swear, I had THE BEST time...... and I am already counting down the days until next year's Gathering.......

.... so to Elisson & his Bride, K-Nine, Big Stupid Tommy, Jimbo, Erica, Teresa, Boudicca, Jerry, John Cox, Richard, Eric, Anna, Rick, Georgia, and Denny?..... you guys are the Salt of The Earth, and I had the most amazing time...... thank you for making the trip!....

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Webcam?.....

.... and so, it begins....... the 6th annual Hysterics at Eric's is officially underway....

..... if the parties who are partying consent, perhaps I will use my stickam account to live stream some of the festivities.... hey, that'd be something new, eh?..... besides, how many blogmeets have a live webcam for webby voyeurs to spy on from afar?.....

.... if the Elderly Brothers start a concert, we might just go live........

... and speaking of the Elderly Brothers, go here for a seriously good laugh (for all of you Shakespearianly challenged brothers and sisters.)

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Hysterics.....

..... you know, it amazes me that in two days I will have nearly 20 bloggers roaming around The Compound, sipping drinks, and eating ribs..... good grief, I can't wait!.....

..... The World is one Strange Place, rubberneckers.....

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Bruises.....

.... after a weekend spent with Steve and his Wife in Middle Tennessee, I offer this humble video...... and say to Steve, eh?......what trouble?.......

... rock on, big man....... we have the medals, the tee-shirts, and the bumps and bruises..... and those are commemoration enough.......

.... thank you for coming with me.......

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Blogiversary.....

.... eight years ago today, I started this blog..... and man, what a ride it has been.... come to think of it, I attended my first blogmeet just a little over a month after beginning.... and since then I've never looked back.... now?.... hell, I HOST an annual blogmeet at MY HOUSE!.....

.... good grief, I must be crazy.....

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Badges....

.... I've said it before, gentle rubberneckers, and I shall say it again.... no one tells lies like ole Tommy does......

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Alive....

..... well, I'm not dead..... the tornados didn't blow me away - although they did give it the ole College boy effort..... the Sun hasn't fried me...... and the rain hasn't washed me away....... sure, I'm a bit soggy, but otherwise unscathed...... as for the blog, well, honestly I just haven't felt like saying anything to anyone for quite a while..... after all, I've been at this little endeavor for going on eight years now...... and the way that I figure it, I've pretty much earned the right to sull up and play possum once in a while.....

.... anyway, I'm still around...... I'm just quiet...... trust me, it is not you.... it is me......

.... in completely unrelated news, I have enjoyed having my Father in Law in town for the past few weeks.... so far we have managed to sample the wares of nearly ALL of the nearby 27 restaurants with the least inedible food with nary a stomach cramp - to date - reported.... which is actually a much better show than when I dine on my own, so perhaps he is Good Luck....

... oh, and before I forget, get thee forth and read BST's latest..... I swear, the boy just ain't right...... but I do happen to agree with most of his list.....

... as for me, I'm off to shoot some pool and let a few waves of Dean Martin wash over my bare, tender soul......

... and with, I am off..... I do hope you are all faring well.....

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BST

... you guys do realize that Bea was a Marine, right?......

.... so get on over and give Tommy a big toast of birthday wishes...... he certainly deserves it......

... hey, happy birthday, big fella........ and many, many happy returns!.....

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Climbing.....

..... "I ain't never seen'em..... but my common sense tells me the Andes is foothills!..... and the Alps is for children to climb!....... take good care of your hair!...... these here is God's finest sculpturings... there ain't no laws for the brave ones..... and there ain't no asylums for the crazy ones.... and there ain't no churches - except fer this right here.... ".....

..... two years in a row, and he has inspired me once again........

..... there is nothing like humping a ruck up into the mountains, camping, watching the snow fall, eating heartily..... and being absolutely comfortable the entire time.......

.... if you can't leave home - regardless of the weather - and be comfortable in the wilds, well, then you need to brush up on your skills....... because, really, you never know when you are going to need them.........

..... snow is a part of nature, folks........ and freezing weather is just a part of life........ I LOVE it......

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38

.... I found this from a few years ago, and thought I'd put it up again just for giggles....... have a happy and safe New Year, rubberneckers!....


... orignally posted January 9th, 2007....


Hoosierboy asks a very good question over at his blog I read his answers with great enjoyment. He simply asked, who are you?, and began to answer.. so I will give it a try myself....

hello.

I am Eric. I am 34 years old. I was born on a Saturday morning in October at Bradley Memorial Hospital in Cleveland, Tennessee I have been told that my maternal grandparents were in attendance in the waiting room and that they lit cigars when the nurse told them Id arrived at 2am. the idea of them doing that makes me very happy for some odd reason

I was born without any hair on my head but I began sprouting wispy red locks as I crawled slowly towards toddlerdom. and by the time I started kindergarten I had a huge shock of Vivaldian hair.. since I was semi-bald during my young years, my parents developed a phobia of sorts. In retrospect after having heard their stories I call it Sampsonophobia.. once my hair started growing, they were afraid to get it cut lest I remain like a cue-ball for the rest of my days. thus, I entered into my first scholastic endeavor in need of a ponytail-clasp

fortunately, time and circumstance cured them from their phobia and I finally got a decent haircut just in time for the 70s fads of gigantically collared shirts and horrible, polyester plaid pants.

nowadays, well, it has ceased to be so shockingly colorful and is more of a dulled copper with blondes and silvers thrown in for extra curiosity. the hair that covers the rest of my body though, is quite long and ranges from gold-colored to almost translucent.. I have no hair on my chest or back and I cannot grow a mustache if The Survival Of All Humanity depended upon it. something about having had some Indian genes thrown into the familial mix back before Jackson had them all rounded up and whisked away to Oklahoma..

. I am 62 and pale with a smattering of freckles across my body and face Nordic in appearance, almost.. and I weigh just under 200lbs. that is, of course, depending on what I consumed for dinner last night and how enjoyable my last movement was. weight, in the end, is a fickle measurement to go by.

. My hair is short and parted from the left to the right, but I dont own a comb so all of the parting is done by using my hands as I leave the shower in the morning. the cut itself is just outside of military regulations.. I have an unfortunate nose that is at once noticeable as too small for my face. My head, while not fat, does appear to be just that wee bit rounder than most noggins that I have seen

. I have no degrees and have never been enrolled at a place of higher learning. I graduated from high school on a Friday and arrived at MCRD Parris Island, SC the following Monday after having night-tripped all of Sunday evening to get there. I was high shooter for my series when I graduated. The Commanding General gave me a certificate from The Marine Corps Association (..who evidently thought it quite smart that I qualified one point off of perfect)

. I served in the Corps for nearly five years and loved every second of it. Ive been to quite a few exotic locations and managed to find what was worth seeing in all of them even under the worst circumstances. many of the men that I met there are still counted among my closest friends even though we may only talk once or twice a year.

I have been a network engineer, a systems analyst, a technology consultant, and an IT Manager

. I am, and have been, many things to many different people. son, husband, brother, friend, lover, enemy, confidant, defender, workmate. and probably many more that arent coming to mind right now.. but that is alright it is as it should be. as we live our lives, our roles change daily so it is ok to forget some of them sometimes.

I have a keen ability to memorize things, but I dont utilize it nearly enough I am too easily distracted to actually toss my brain towards something of importance.. I seem to be always busy with a tedious thing while my mind treads water. but I do see patterns in words and I have a great love of poetry lowbrow and highbrow.. and I view that as one of my most prized possessions so I dont feel that Im losing much there.

. I play a few chords on guitar but cant sing. I picked up my first guitar from one of my old Uncles who used to sing old BeeGees songs from way back before they went Disco How Do You Mend A Broken Heart, etc it was a Yamaha FG-340 and was a complete sweetie. but it was stolen while I lived overseas The Missus replaced it with the Fender acoustic that I own now and adore.

.my first name is David and my little brothers first name is Joshua.. both of our middle names are Nordic Eric and Leif, respectively.

funny, really, my first name means beloved and my middle name means king. My surname means one who brings gifts or one who grants wishes.

.. so, my whole name? beloved king who grants wishes.. sounds pretty groovy, if you ask me

. I smoke unfiltered Camel cigarettes and love Scotch. particularly the Islay malt, Bowmore. When I lived overseas, it was impossible to get Camels that werent made in France (they used un-toasted tobacco and the flavor was totally off), so I smoked Marlboros with the filters ripped off for years until I moved back to Tennessee.

I try to be an honest and good man and I am happy with where I am in my life most of the time.. I like to watch everything around me. I smile a lot and I laugh easily mostly at myself

politically, I am a mixed bag.. I believe in a strong military and personal choices remaining Personal

. I love college football, Rugby Union, and competitive swimming I believe that the Tri-Nations are evil but I still wish that I owned a Springboks jersey.

I have never picked a fight in my entire life, but I have been in quite a few. not always winning, I might add. Ive been cut, shot at, punched, kicked, gouged, twisted, choked, stomped, and bitten in the course of my life thus far.. and I have no regrets about any of it.

. Ive never been a braggart either, as I am at my core a shy, delicate fellow. and I greatly disdain acts of arrogance and cockiness that are genuinely believed by the perpetrators.

. Oh, and I look like an idiot if I ever wear a hat but I still own about thirty of them.. I just cant help myself

... so, hello... and welcome to my blog.....

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Writing.....

..... if you don't read anything ELSE this week, read Big Stupid Tommy's latest....... the man is a machine...... and one helluva writer......

... behold this, and this...... gaze upon his works, ye Mighty, and despair.......

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Creepy....

... and by the way, rubberneckers, if any of you want to get into the true spirit of Halloween (just passed), I recommed giving this a read...... best Halloween post I've read in years........ and hey, feel free to add a tale of your own once you've finished reading......

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2010!....

.... well, boys & girls, I am happy to report that another successful Hysterics at Eric's has gone down without a hitch...... as a matter of fact, I may cease doing ANY cooking since I now know the True Caliber of Pure Cooking Power that many of my guests possess.... honestly, I think this Saturday's meal was the best that has ever been served when I've hosted a blogmeet - and my happy little hands were banned from the kitchen AND the smoker all weekend!.... Mr. Elisson and Bou owned the kitchen this weekend......

.... the Intrepid Travelers began trickling in early Friday afternoon, and they were immediately greeted by 40 degree temperatures and a rain/hail/sleet storm.... needless to say, we didn't bother with a campfire on Friday night..... Saturday broke cloudy, though, and after the usual breakfasting at The Tellico Junction Cafe, a roaring campfire was raging out back until, well, quite recently actually......

... as always, it was a pleasure to have so many interesting, colorful, friendly, humorous human beings wandering around my property for a weekend..... I enjoyed every minute that you guys were here..... and I cannot WAIT until next year!.....

.... here's a quick list of those that braved the cold weather and partay'd this weekend.....

Denny

Elisson & SWMBO

John Cox

Jerry

El Capitan

Bou

K-Nine

Big Stupid Tommy

Rick & Georgia

Teresa

Erica

Leslie

Jimbo & Da Bodyguard


.... you guys are the best...... thank you for coming!....

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Butts...

... the smoker has arrived, gentle people....... the hickory arrives tomorrow morning........ and the chicken, sausages, brisket, ribs, and butts will be entombed within it come Saturday morning...... it's November, of course..... but all I keep thinking is, "damnation, I do so love October.." .....

... where are you this weekend?....

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Vincent....

... I was suddenly reminded today just how many times I've mentioned Vincent Price whist blogging...... it's actually quite scary.....

... so, in reverse order, here are a few examples.......

... remember the Western that a bunch of us crazies wrote many years ago?.....

.... and a story of my youthful jaunts......

.... and mentions of Mr. Price's sex appeal have been mentioned, here and here...

.... and a post about his ability to inspire?....

...and one with a mention of The Tingler AND Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine in the same post...... good grief...

.... and lastly, well, one about birthdays......

..... I'm a Vincent Price fan... yes, oh yes, I am.....

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Seven....

..... on this day - waaaay back in 2003 - this little blog was hatched over on blogspot..... two months later she moved over to her own domain..... and only a mere month from her birth, I found myself atop Blood Mountain, Georgia at my very first blogmeet ..... good god, rubberneckers..... SEVEN years.... 7 years... s.e.v.e.n y.e.a.r.s..... it still seems unreal no matter how you type it......

.... and now with many, many blogmeets under my belt, I'll be hosting the fourth fifth annual Hysterics at Eric's in November..... I swear, I must be insane...... (thank you, Bou, for the correction...)

.... thank you all for swinging by every so often to steal a peek at my little slice of Tennessee.... meeting many of you has changed my life in ways that I never imagined back in September of 2003....

.... mercy, boys and girls..... 7 years...... to quote Augustus on his deathbed, "By God, Woodrow, it's been quite a party, ain't it?"....

.... and yes, it certainly has been quite a party.... this blogging thing is pretty damn cool sometimes........

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Promotions....

..... after watching Dax's latest video post, this song latched itself violently onto my brain and I've been humming it ever since....... and so, I dedicate this to ole Dax..... congrats on the promotion, sir....... but that cut is not NEARLY short enough, you hippie.....

.... a toe-tapper, non?...... and if you watched his video as well, you will recognize that Mr. Montana has excellent taste in beer.....

.. in other news, I was given the chance to peer into the depths of my own septic tank this afternoon...... and I have still not fully recovered from the experience..... suffice it to say that a Human Being should never, ever be introduced to ten years worth of his own emissions all at once like I was today when the happy Septic Tank Sucker-man arrived to work his magic......

.... It was odd, seeing all that shit clogged in one poor, tiny concrete box..... and yet I couldn't help but imagine that I was feeling the exact same sensation that Koontz must feel every time he walks by the horror section of his local Waterstone's......

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Paddled.....

... I was given the pleasure yesterday of hosting Bou & her Boys for lunch, a few hours of rafting down the Hiwassee, a dinner of ribs, beans, and garlic biscuits.... and an evening of Zombie carnage (courtesy of her boy's PS3) until nearly dark.... and a good time was had by all..... well, except for the Zombie carnage...... somehow her little men think it quite funny that I harbor an unnatural fear of The Walking Dead.... as a matter of fact, this is the second year in a row that they've insisted on playing the game right in the middle of the living room..... and, of course, squirming all over my couch making high pitched squeaking noises with the destruction of each Zombie noggin......

.... I watched them for a while, but then retired to the safety of the kitchen where "The Adults" could converse..... but it was too late, unfortunately, as the damage had already been done.........I woke up at 4am and lumbered through to the kitchen for a glass of water and suddenly heard a floorboard creak in the living room.... I immediately was wide awake and cursing that damnable PS3..... but after a thorough going over of all the locks, I felt it safe enough to wander back to bed believing the house to be safe, secure, and Zombie free.....

... we rendezvoused again this morning for breakfast at the Tellico Junction Cafe (those of you who have breakfasted with me after the October blogmeet will know that locale pretty well.), and then they went on their well-fed way towards the rest of their vacation obligations....

.... it is always such a pleasure to entertain Bou and her three little men.... and if you are ever given a chance to do so, please take it.... trust me, you have my word..... you'll have a lot of fun, and I know from six years of experience that you will certainly NOT get bored.... each of her boys are a slice off the ole Bou-block.... so just imagine spending a day and a morning with three slices of Bou and a WHOLE Bou, and well, how on Earth could you NOT have fun?....

.... I will say, though, having read her post on the whole "rafting" adventure that we were completely doomed from before we ever even dipped a toe in the river..... sure, it was very, VERY fun, but it was also very tiring and very, very hot..... that said, I will point out to those who might be thinking of rafting in the near future that when they say a raft needs a "minimum of four", what they mean is that you need a minimum of four paddlers..... two adults just ain't gonna cut it, folks... no matter how hard you paddle your little tail feathers off, all you really can do is make sure that your raft is drifting with its nose in the right direction.......

.... but, be that as it may, we still had a good time..... Life is, after all, all about the new experiences...... and who doesn't enjoy leaping from a stuck raft into chest-deep water, bashing their knees, and heaving a raft around while trying not to drown?!..... not me, rubberneckers!..... I'm all about that kind of gig..... heh..... but Bou, though?..... well, she's hardly bigger than a minute, so while she did jump out and tug, push, and heave for a while, her heart was certainly in the right place..... and we all pulled our share of the weight.....

.... oh, and I nearly forgot the two "floaters" that we had drifting along behind us...... good god, were I Superman and she Supergirl, we STILL could not have moved that raft faster than the river's current with SpongeBob and Squidward (Mr T and Ringo) lashed to our forecastle like they were......

..... but, yeah..... there you go..... sometimes it's better to be floating down a river on an inner tube eating beef jerky than to be paddling like Hell and getting no where fast, but still, we survived...... and actually, it WAS a lot of fun... in a soggy, sunburnny, aching shoulder, lots of laughing kind of way.....

..... so next year?..... I wholeheartedly agree with Bou..... we'll give the rapids a miss and spend a day in the shade skipping stones on the Tellico river......

... you need much less chiropractic time after skipping stones......

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Linking?.....

..... Ooom Keesie evidently needs a link and thinks that we have been somehow shortdicking him for a while..... and for that, I am sorry....... but, rest assured that it was not ME who was shortdicking him, as that is not my forte at all......... which means that it must have been Velociman doing the deed, yes?.......

..... that's the best that I can figure after reading Keesie's drivel anyway.......... right?....

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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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Wow.....

... in other news, Big Stupid Tommy is most decidedly insane.......

.... here......

.... what say you?..... I mean, I love the guy, and I love to watch the man eat nachos, but that post?........ methinks he is borderline...... and not in the Madonna kind of way......

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Porlock....

.... for T1G.... who just happens to be in a Coleridge kinda mood lately...... behold...


..... the story goes that he was busily penning the above poem whilst completely bombed on opium when a certain "person from Porlock" came along and snapped him out of his concentration/vision/dream/hallucination and the rest of the poem was lost..... thus the secondary title of "A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment"......

... still, though..... pretty rich imagery for a stoner..... and hey, lately?... it seems that a person from Porlock is camping out by the woodpile behind my house..... and they've worn a grove in the path from the patio to my back door to ask about basketball scores...... after all, if IS March......

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Lies...

.... man, I just LOVED this post by Big Stupid Tommy.........

... and it so reminded me of the time that I caught Mr. McDowell staring at The Missus' breasts last year at the DragonCon in Atlanta...... (which reminds me, after searching the archives, I just realized that I never wrote about the incident.... hmmmm... I need to rectify that, I guess....)

...... honestly, you can't make this stuff up..... well, not me, I mean..... but Tommy certainly can......

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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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Fears......

.... most bloggers that I know (and have met) absolutely hate clowns....... Jimbo, Elisson, Blackfive, they all hate them........ and tonight I read Big Stupid Tommy with great glee........

.... there is nothing like unintentional trauma, folks..... and when it comes to clowns?..... well, this is one of the classics.......

.... follow the link and click on the YouTube........ trust me, it is worth it.....

..... and for the record?..... I hate clowns too.........

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Romance....

..... too tired to post, folks........ and actually, well, never mind........ just watch this instead.......

... here are Jimbo, Moogie, Eric of YouBitch, Recondo32, Catfish, David, Acidman, Denny, and Christina's friend Susan all in this shot.... oh, and Mr. Helpful himself.........

..... my goodness, what a night that was......

... and what a great, great song........ the fellows did it perfectly......

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Afterwards.....

...I'd like to thank Elisson and his lovely bride for inviting us down this past weekend... folks, the man and his friends know how to cook, drink, entertain, and make a Tennessean feel welcome.... goose, roasted beef, beautiful desserts, fattened duck liver, barrels of wine..... good grief..... and stories, and laughter to boot..... Captain Aubrey would have been most proud.... hell, we even had a few broken glasses to add to the effect!.... it was also wonderful to see Denny the GOC again as well....... man, those fellows certainly know their wines......

.... it was a wonderful and welcome weekend of good company and festive excess..... which, I do believe, was exactly what they were aiming for...... Elisson, sir, you hit another home run......

.... in other news, I was just channe lsurfing looking for one of those creepy ghost shows that seem to be on everywhere these days and I ran across 24 midgets strapped to a DC-10 trying to out-pull an Indian elephant that was strapped to its own DC-10 airplane.... I was shocked, appalled, and weirdly fascinated by the whole scene, so I just had to watch it...... and yes, the elephant won....... but NOT before the well-coifed announcer screamed, "WOW!!!... just watch those LITTLE PEOPLE PULL!!"...... I nearly snorted a mouthful of tea out my nose.....

.... so yeah, anyway.... that "Man Vs Beast" show is just wrong...... I wonder where they found so many midgets who were that excited about pulling a 203,000lb airplane...... nevermind..... if you know the answer, don't tell me.... I just don't want to know....

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Off.....

... well, boys & girls..... we're off to spend the weekend in Atlanta and enjoy some time with Mr. Elisson & Company...... y'all have a great weekend!.....

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Chatham......

..... you know, we really need to get this guy to a blogmeet where the Artillery Punch is flowing....... personally?.... I think he'd lose his ever-lovin' mind.....

..... besides, everyone knows that us bloggers - when WE get together?.... well, we really ARE the most interesting people in the world......

... right?...

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Blogroll.....

... I'm cleaning off the old blogroll, boys & girls...... if you fall off and don't like it, just give me a yell...... and hey, if you think you should be on it and aren't?.... give a holler..... and I'll see what I can do..... I seem to have been de-linked by quite a few of those on the "Bloggers I'd Like to Drink With" blogroll......

.... anyway, it is time for some housekeeping...... and I guess I'm a bit grumpy from spending the last two days raking leaves and climbing ladders..... I need a scotch and water..... and a back massage.....

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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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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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Bitterman.......

... and by the way, this shit just aint right....

..... check this out....

.... thank you, Bitterman..... you certainly know how to push my buttons....

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Thoughts....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Visitors....

.... I've had the pleasure of showing Elisson & SWMBO around my proverbial neck' O' the woods for the past two days...... and I have to say, I have certainly enjoyed myself...... good food, plenty of drinks, great conversation, and lots of nice scenery....... hell, we even threw in a little bit of History.....

.... it's hard not to have fun when you're around those two, boys & girls....... and if you're ever given the opportunity to hang with them for a few days?..... cancel whatever else is on your agenda, and watch.... and learn...... for they are both a 100% pure class-act, folks.... replete with freshly grilled filet mignon, crme caramel, poetry recitations, and fart jokes.....

... and that, rubberneckers, is what it is all about.....

... hell, anyone who can't truly enjoy a filet steak, recite a few lines of off-the-cuff poetry, and tell a decent fart joke really isn't worth spending much time with!....

..... and don't get me started on the Negroni's or the Highland Park....... OR the Texas Hold'em......

.... mercy.... I need a nap.....

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Riverside...

.... I had a wonderful time yesterday entertaining Bou & Her Boys up in the mountains... the weather was glorious and the chili-cheese dogs were just as tasty as they are every year.... but, wow.... I swear, I just don't see how she keeps up with those three little whirlwinds....

... ended up throwing a few steaks on the grill last night just before sundown.... a pretty fitting end for a day spent splashing in the headwaters of the Tellico River.... I was definitely needing some protien!.....

.... sipping coffee now, and watching the day wake up here.... The News says that thunderstorms are scheduled on and off for the whole day.... and hey, that's just fine by me!..... a rainy day will give my tired old bones a chance to recover from a day of skipping stones & jousting wits with three young firecrackers and their wonderful mother!......

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Change....

.... finally.... some change I can agree with...... heh heh.....

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Pasts.....

..... due to a series of wily circumstances beyond my control, I actually managed to get well & truly dirty today...... grass clippings, sweat, motor oil..... hell, even a bit of blood..... the scary thing is that I enjoyed every second of it..... I even hillbilly-engineered a cunning way to swap out the blades on the riding lawnmower..... and I've only a few nicks, scratches, and a bit of a sunburn to show for my efforts.....

..... anyway, enough of all that....... back to something a tad more interesting..... for instance, I happened to read this at Dax's site in between taking water breaks and switching out the cord in the weed eater and just couldn't help myself..... (evidently he was a squaw, by the way...) .. here's what the Almighty, All-knowing Internet has to say about my past life....

Your past life diagnosis:

-------------------------------------------------------

I don't know how you feel about it, but you were male in your last earthly incarnation.You were born somewhere in the territory of modern East Australia around the year 1825. Your profession was that of a philosopher and thinker.

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Your brief psychological profile in your past life:
Timid, constrained, quiet person. You had creative talents, which waited until this life to be liberated. Sometimes your environment considered you strange.

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The lesson that your last past life brought to your present incarnation:
Your main task is to make the world more beautiful. Physical and spiritual deserts are just waiting for your touch. Keep smiling!

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.... hmmmmm.... iiiiiinteresting...... feel free to get your own right here, if you're interested.......

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Chops......

..... pork chops, heavily coated in black pepper & a little sea salt...... sauted in a dab of butter & a splash of Worcestershire sauce until brown on both sides...... and then gently lowered into a casserole dish filled with cream of mushroom soup, a cup of double cream, a cup of diced & sauted onions, and two cloves of crushed garlic...... with a plan to bake that at 375 for 45 minutes..... my goodness.....

.... steamed baby Dutch potatoes, and fresh corn on the cob courtesy of my houseguest for the past two days, Mr. Sam......

... that, boys & girls, is what's for dinner....

.... there's nothing like a properly gravied pork chop to drive the horses of normality back to their stables, rubberneckers....... pork chops feed the soul just as much as the satisfy the paunch...... and whipping up a batch that are 'just like Mamma used to make'?..... well, it's a balm to sooth the thorniest of attitudes.....

.... in other news, I happened to see my first toad of the season today..... marbled with grays & browns, he looked exactly like a hopping gravel....... a itty-bitty little fellow, he was, and were I not a man of such keen senses I'd likely have trod on him.... but he was fortunate to have caught me on a day when my rapier like skillz & karmic radar were both at maximum power.....

.... had I met him this Friday past?.... after lunchtime?..... well, he'd be laying out back with his lower intestines peeking wetly from his lipless mouth, I reckon.....

..... thus the world goes 'round, right?..... one day you're the windshield, the next day you're the bug........ or perhaps The Stones were right..... and if you try sometimes, you just might find that you get what you need?...... hey, I'm down with that as a Bit of Wisdom.....

...... trouble is, most folks don't really want what they need...... me, though?..... I certainly don't have that problem.....

...mmmmm...... pork chops ......

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New!.....

..... two tasks before I am off to bed, folks..... firstly, I would like to wish a very happy birthday to Lou's daughter, Skybag..... many, many happy returns, ma'am!......

..... and, as I promised, here's Blanche......... exactly the same as Sylvia with the following changes - slightly bigger engine, a slightly brighter shade of white, fancier shoes, and a better Bose audio system....... other than that, she feels just exactly like Sylvia did........ which, I might add, was very nice, indeed..........

.... if you're in the market for a new car?......... well, you cannot go wrong with an Audi, rubberneckers......... and y'all can trust Uncle Eric on that one......... yea, verily......

blanche1_small.jpg

blanche2_small.jpg

....... and with that, boys and girls, I am dark until morning!......

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Blogging....

..... good evening, rubberneckers........ I'm going to have to check my archives, but I am pretty damn sure that squirrels mate in June around here...... why?.... well, because two have been chasing each other up and down the tree outside the blogroom window for most of the day....... and one of them looks absolutely terrified.... and the other one looks, well, you know....... up to something, if you catch my drift..... but so far, I've (thankfully) yet to bear witness to actual squirrel coitus (as I traumatically have in the past - thus the need for re-checking the archives to find a date.)...

.... anyway, apart from a quick jaunt to town in the new ride - Blanche - I have little to report...... except that the last two days have absolutely rocked, and I have enjoyed both of them immensely.....

.... oh, and Hoosierboy deserves a serious pat on the back...... so go on over and congratulate him....... hell, anyone who keeps a blog for four years deserves some sort of lifetime achievement medal.... so congratulations, Hoosierboy...... keep on punchin' those keys........

.... and hey, keep your chin up...... at least you don't write about the sex lives of squirrels.......

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Ham.......

.... as soon as I return from my vacation in The Olde County, I'm definitely going to do my very best to emulate The Maximum Leader......

.... good god..... nothing says "The South" like a salt-cured country ham... and after a jaunt overseas, I figure that a day spent cooking a ham would be the perfect "welcome home"..... besides, I reckon all that delicious saltiness will be just about perfect for cutting the grease from my veins after feasting on haggis, smoked sausage suppers, and deep-fried Mars bars for 11 days.....

... in other news, I spent the better part of today washing the gravel from the path that leads from the deck to the patio..... damn, that was weird to type, but it is 100% true...... and no, I don't mean that I was washing the gravel FROM the path like something you'd imagine Thoreau would pen .... I mean that I was physically removing the gravel from the path with the help of a shovel, dumping them into a wheelbarrow, and then using the hose to wash the gravel free of a winter's worth of soil accumulation..... trust me, today would have killed a bird-watching, lake-walking, quill-penned transcendentalist....

.... it's odd, I guess...... a day of honest labor has left me tired, sunburned, a bit sore, fairly dirty, and smelling more than just a little bit like a well-ridden horse..... yeah, think lather, sweat, and extremely bad breath..... I imagine that my smell alone would have caused most members of Emerson's entourage to have run for the hills at first whiff......... but the good news is that the next two days are predicted to be equally as beautiful as today has been..... and two more days of hard labor should just about finish the repairs to the path.....

..... I think I should write a poem tomorrow about washing gravel....... hell, I'm pretty sure that such an endeavor has never been attempted before in the history of mankind (for a very good reason, no doubt.).......

..... I just don't know....... but as of right now?..... I leaning towards a limerick.....

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Failure......

...... for those of you who read the previous entry about the explorers and the trout, allow me to extrapolate a wee bit.......

..... while we all had a GREAT time, we were, in all actuality, a complete failure in our venture to catch/lure a fish into Glad container subjugation......

..... however, all was not a total loss......... we (the Royal We) DID manage to catch five healthy naiads.....

.... and if you have to Google "naiad" to figure out what they are, then consider yourself very, very lucky........ for they are nasty looking creatures.....

.... who knew that they lived up here in Tennessee in crawfish country??..... but hey, they definitely do..... and nary a crawfish OR trout fry was seen anywhere while on our fieldtrip.....

.... The Explorers didn't seem to mind much, though, and had a whale of a time throwing rocks into the river and/or bashing them against boulders to "see what was inside" once they fractured.... my goodness, what would I give to have so much boisterous energy!.... thanks for a wonderful visit, Bou!...

.... anyway, today has dawned bright and warm, and The Missus and I are off to visit the tally-man to get our annual tax refund..... and if the weather holds, I suspect the backyard hammock will get a bit of exercise this afternoon!.....

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Mountains.....

.... I'm off to the mountains tomorrow with a few intrepid explorers in tow..... and we have high hopes of panning up a baby trout with nothing more than a Glad container and some crumbled peanut butter crackers....... it should be quite interesting, to say the least.....

..... more later as it all unfolds...... pray for hungry fish, people........ and fair weather...... pray....

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Clean.....

.....I read this earlier this afternoon, and I could not agree more...... as head chef cook and bottle washer around here, I run a pretty tight ship...... not that I am a clean freak at all, but I do tend to lean towards the "tidy"...... both bathrooms are cleaned every Saturday (due to the fact that my Mother is currently enjoying a standing invitation to Saturday dinner here every week)..... and the rest of the house gets a once-over every couple of weeks..... and every October before all of the bloggers arrive, the entire house gets a complete scrubbing.......

.... but as with any household, there are exceptions to The Rules.... as an example, the blogroom/manroom is hardly ever cleaned.... that said though, I really don't do much in the blogroom that will cause the accumulation of much nastiness...... I will say that there is an absolute beauty of a cobweb in the northwestern corner between the wall and the side of my gun cabinet - and it is off limits to all cleaning..... after 8 years of growth, it's practically a buddy of mine now..... and quite pleasant to look at while pondering various complexities - or when you're just of the mind to pause and wonder.....

.... the other exception is my kitchen sink..... you show me someone who'll let fungus grow in their kitchen sink, and I will show you an absolute waste of oxygen..... dishes in there overnight?... no problem... sure, I've been known to do that from time to time...... BUT, once a day my kitchen sink gets a complete scrub-down..... year before last, Santa Claus even brought me a sparkling new ceramic sink to replace the old stainless steel one..... I suspect that he did that hoping to curtail my sink-washing activities.... (I washed that damn stainless sink at LEAST three times a day because it just always looked dirty..).....

... El Capitan is right about another thing, as well..... it is simply Not Cool to visit someone's house and comment on the state of their baseboards.....

... anyhoo, go over and pat El Capitan on the back for not wanting to scrub too hard...... I suspect he needs a hug.....

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Numbers....

..... the snow is slowly melting around here.... and I have a huge pot of spaghetti bubbling away on the stove..... and courtesy of ceiling fans and central heating, the entire house smells of warm oregano, basil, garlic, and parmesan......

... I logged on earlier to check my email and just happened to notice that my sitemeter has ticked up to 776,776.... and since that is a pretty cool looking number, I figured I'd snoop around and see who ole 776,776 was....

.... a Googler, of course..... a poor, lost soul who searched for "Ogden Nash Tibet" and found his proverbial Pot O'Gold happily perched at the end of this rainbow....

..... so to you, gentle Googler, I offer you a "you're welcome..... I am most happy to be of service..."

... in other news, there were a few of The Regulars who narrowly missed the cut.... indeed, hits from Oddybobo, Grouchy Old Cripple, Parkway Rest Stop, Irish Whiskey, My Pet Jawa, and Boudicca's Voice all were within 5 hits more or less than the coveted 776'er...... ahhhhh, sigh..... another happy day in blogland......

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Handwriting.....

..... I'm absolutely and completely ready for springtime to come..... in fact, I remembered today a post that I quite literally "penned" nearly two years ago...... and since I plan on watching The Game tonight until time for bed - and there will not be any posting tonight - I thought a refresher might be in order.......

.... so here's one from late-March of 2007.....

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... as for the game, I don't have a dog IN this race..... but it'll be interesting to see how it all pans out.......

... oh, and the original scribbling that I nabbed that photo off of is here.......

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Boogie?.....

..... it is true that The Internet is a wonderful, wonderful place.... stuffed full of gems and dross, you just never know what the next clickety-click is going to give you....... and while hope springs eternal every Friday around here, today was not as I expected......

.... and once again The Great Reader has fallen grossly inadequate in trying to convince me to dance on a Friday......

.... sir, WTF?..... KC and the Sunshine Band?..... 'Boogie Shoes'?...... have you been sniffing the uranium again?....

.... brother, that stuff isn't even music, is it?......

..... anyway, here's a little something that blipped across my radio on the way out to town today....... not really danceable, no.... but it beats the hell out of 'Boogie Shoes'......

.... and for those of you who wish to sing along, feel free.....

ZZ Top I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide

Well I was rollin' down the road in some cold blue steel,
I had a bluesman in the back, and a beautician at the wheel.
We're going downtown in the middle of the night
We was laughing and I'm jokin' and we feelin' alright.
Oh I'm bad, I'm nationwide.
Yes I'm bad, I'm nationwide.

Easin' down the highway in a new Cadillac,
I had a fine fox in front, I had three more in the back.
They sportin' short dresses, wearin' spike-heeled shoes,
They smokin' Lucky Strikes, and wearing nylons too.
'Cause we're bad, we're nationwide.
Yeah we bad, we're nationwide.

Well I was movin' down the road in my V-8 Ford,
I had a shine on my boots, I had my sideburns lowered.
With my New York brim and my gold tooth displayed,
Nobody give me trouble cause they know I got it made.
I'm bad, I'm nationwide.
Girl I'm bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, I'm nationwide.


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Disorder....

..... I read this a few days ago and, well, I just couldn't help myself..... clicken to embiggen, of course......

books_small.jpg

.... my humble living room is home to two massive book shelves junk repositories that are chockablock with stuff.... so hey, Erica!.... I hope that this suitably tweaks your OCD!.... just like pets & small children, you have to FEED a good mental disorder to keep it happy!.... and I really hope that this helps!.....

... oh, and the magazines down near the bottom-right are mainly old Military History, Civil War, and Jane's Defence Weekly....

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Green.....

..... we live in a world of wonders..... and beasts....

.... whilst checking the blogroll this morning, I happened to notice that Oom Keesie was displaying a nice photograph of a strange creature that had visited him recently.....

.... and while not quite as impressively camouflaged as his, I couldn't help but remember the day that this guy wandered into the garage here last summer....

mantis_smalla.jpg

... here's another view......

mantis_small2.jpg

.... and yes, that is a full-sized bottle of beer in the background..... looking back now, I'm pretty sure that he was after our hummingbirds..... a few years ago, I actually watched a mantis sit in the driveway and crunch its way through a struggling field mouse..... and it was not a pretty sight.....

.... but that's life..... sure, it's not like watching a lion rip the guts out of a gazelle, but still.....

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Meme!.....

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


1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

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

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

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

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

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

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

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

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

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitchhiked

23. Taken a sick day when youre not ill

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

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

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

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

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

40. Seen Michelangelos David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

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

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

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

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

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

51. Gone SCUBA diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

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

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

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

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

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

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

66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar

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

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

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

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

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

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

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someones life

90. Sat on a jury

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


92. Joined a book club

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

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

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

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

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

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

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Superior.....

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

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

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

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

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Lunch.....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Floral....

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

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

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

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Next.....

..... you guys aren't going to believe this, but I have absolutely ZERO photos from this weekend's blogmeet..... (except for the one that Teresa sent me....) ..... bad, BAD host!..... how the hell can I have a blogmeet and completely forget to take photos!?....

.... I do have a video, though..... a surreal, spiraling, tangly sort of vodka-induced bongo/back-of-a-guitar showdown between Jimbo and John Cox...... good thing that Zonker gave me a pith helmet.... it went perfectly with the African beats that those whiteboys were churning out in my living room......

... but anyway, sorry about everyone's hotel catching fire..... hey, it wasn't MY laundry, but still..... I should have been out there with a bucket and a hose trying to keep all of y'all safe instead of snoring peacefully in my bed three miles away!.... although, Dax managed to keep a fire all night long in my back yard without the slightest singe....... so, perhaps I should just provide tents for everyone next year!....

.... so thank you all for coming to visit.... it was wonderful having you guys and gals here......

so, Jimbo & The Bodyguard
Denny
Zonker
Bou, Morrigan, & Stephanie
Jerry
Dax
Oddy
Richmond
Teresa
Erica
Johnny-Oh & Jennifer
Tommy
John Cox
Elisson & SWMBO
Redneck
Rick & Georgia

... and Confabulator, Yabu, & T1G for the phone calls!.... all of you rock..... oh, and those stains came out of the carpet just FINE!......

.... I'm off to stuff some bell peppers with my Secret Formula bolognaise and bake'em for dinner........ but, my goodness..... next October can't get here quickly enough, folks...... and yes.... according to The Missus, there will be another meet-up here next year..... so mark your calendars and start stockpiling ammunition........ and firewood..... and vodka......

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Bedtime.....

..... been cleaning weapons for the better part of the day, folks...... hey, you gotta have your AR-15 ready, waiting, and freshly cleaned these days, right?......... my goodness, looking back now, I should have recruited y'all to assist on Saturday afternoon!..... then again, that would have been a serious downer for everyone involved......... it's hard to eat ribs when your fingers are covered in Balistol & gun oil........ but hey, it was great to watch you guys and gals plug away with firearms.......

...... but anyway, I am TIRED..... I suspect that three nights of going to bed at 3 and 4 in the morning have laid my sorry bones low........ and hell, I've found myself caught in one constant, repetitive yawn since 5pm today...... so links, a recap, and photos will have to wait until tomorrow........ I'm worn right the hell out......

.... by the way, have any of the other recipients of Recondo32's 'birthday present' been actively searching for info on that 'porn star'?....... not that I have, or anything..... I'm just asking for asking's sake........ and to see if any of you guys have some handy URLs........

.... blogmeets, good god..... you - quite literally - can't make this shit up.......

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Quiet....

...... well, brothers & sisters, the last of the bloggers have departed........ and you know, there are times when parting really IS a sweet sorrow...... and this old house just doesn't seem the same once everyone heads for home......

.... still, though, thanks to everyone who attended this year...... ladies and gentlemen, wow...... what a party.......

.... oh, and I now finally own a real pith helmet........ oh yes, I most certainly do...... mercy......

.... more later once I've IV'd some orange juice.......

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Drumroll......

..... The Gathering has begun....... and it's raining...... mercy......

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Wood....

...... ladies and gentlemen, I am very, very, very happy to report that there is now a large stack of firewood currently residing in my back yard quite near the fire pit...... I know that there has been much worry over last year's lack of firewood, and as a beneficent host, I aggressively rectified last year's oversight.... I did, however, ensure that the kindly, toothless gentleman who delivered it placed each stick in a direct line between the fire pit and a fairly good-sized fire ant mound.....

..... hey, what?... after all, rubberneckers, nothing is truly easy in this world, is it?..... every pleasure is joined with an equal and opposing pain....... that's just life.... and since we'll all be toasty out next to the proverbial woodpile, at least those fire ants will keep us cosmically balanced...... karma requires that, you know?..... besides, I'm giving you all fair warning that they're there....... so, hey, my conscience is clear!.....

..... I did nuke the remaining un-trapped horde of yellowjackets, though...... y'all can just consider that one a 'gift' from an incredibly excited host..... after all, I do I want y'all to have a great time!.....

... so with that, boys and girls, I'm off to whip up some meatloaf for The Missus & pour myself a G & T........ good lord, I'm itching all over waiting for y'all to get here........

..... oh, and my first visitor arrives tomorrow afternoon...... so I seriously doubt that there will be any posting from me between now and when I throw everyone out at Sunday lunchtime........

.... ZULU!!!!...

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Bernard.......

..... I'm not one for the arts, really, but I will say that watching this gentlemen perform this once was a high point....... he was magnificent.......

.... here's a small clip of it....... the dialogue is beautiful....... and O'Toole is incredible........


..... I'm off to watch 'The Mummy' again....... for the fifteenth time.......... I hope that you ladies and gentlemen have a wonderful evening!...

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Mumbling......

...... many thanks to everyone who wished me well on my birthday yesterday...... and honestly, I am quite touched..... hey, you guys rock..... and Zonker, well, thank you too......... you're a helluva guy.....

... things were mildly festive around here for the occasion of me turning the ancient age of 36...... I supped upon chili, baked potatoes, and pineapple upside down cake....... 35 was great..... and I suspect that 36 will be even better.........

.... but really, I think that this clip from The Fast Show probably tells a better story of yesterday than anything I could possibly throw together tonight......

...... oh, and since Helen was just a few days ago, I imagine that most stories told after 10pm at ANY blogmeet sound very much the same.......

..... oh, and for the record?....... for the last two days, I have been mostly eating Brazil nuts..........

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Naptime.....

..... back from Helen safe and sound...... the drive over - crossing the mountains - was amazing.... beautiful colors, bright sky, calm lakes & sparkling rivers..... and lots and LOTS of curves for Sylvia to enjoy....

..... many thanks to Richard for organizing it this year AND being head chef...... the steaks that he grilled out by the river were awesome..... and RSM's green bean casserole rocked the house.....

.... and it was great to see everyone again.... Rick, Georgia, Richard & his bro, Michelle, Kelly & The Senior chief, Zonker, Denny, RSM, Velociman, Key & daughter, and Dax.... it is impossible NOT to have fun when you're having a few beers with that crowd of people...

.... you know, Helen exists in its own surreal little world, ladies & gentlemen...... hell, just like a lot of us bloggers, really..... and in weird, late-night bullshit session, alcohol-doused ways, well, bloggers & Helen, GA are as natural of a combination as a leaf bobbing along the Chattahoochee......

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Helen....

... off to Helen for Blogtoberfest..... be back Sunday...... y'all have a nice weekend!.....

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Beasts......

..... I've spent the better part of this afternoon researching pain and trapping yellowjackets.... I've run the subject pretty much to ground, I think...... thresholds, volumes, modes, types, etc..... it's been an eye-opening experience.......

.... so far, my favorite quote regarding pain still comes from 'The Princess Bride'... but that's another story...

.... however, I did read of a scientist from the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center that curried my curiosity..... one Justin O. Schmidt.....

.... it seems that old Justin enjoyed spending his time researching the venom of various stinging insects and working out how it operates when interacting with humans...... AND how it feels..... mesmerizing stuff, to be sure..... hey, who among us hasn't been zapped by a bumblebee, wasp, fire ant, or hornet before?.... want to know the difference between the pain of a Bald-faced hornet's sting pulsing through your forearm or those little raised pustules you get from stomping on a fire ant nest?.... just ask Justin.... he's been there and done that......

...... anyway, it seems that Justin created the Justin O. Schmidt Pain Index to help us all rate our stinging-insect experiences...... it is a sort of pain scale for what different bites feel like - and the level of pain that is experienced.....

.... of course, this is all good and fine, and I applaud Dr. Schmidt for his good labors..... but as I actually READ his descriptions - ala wikipedia - I found myself thinking that either Dr. Schmidt was a complete masochist, or he was a little bit off his rocker...... or perhaps a little of both... here is an excerpt from the wikipedia article.....

Subsequently, Schmidt has refined his scale, culminating in a paper published in 1990 which classifies the stings of 78 species and 41 genera of Hymenoptera. Notably, Schmidt described some of the experiences in vivid and almost synesthetic detail:

* 1.0 Sweat bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.
* 1.2 Fire ant: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet & reaching for the light switch.
* 1.8 Bullhorn acacia ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.
* 2.0 Bald-faced hornet : Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door .
* 2.0 Yellowjacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
* 2.x Honey bee and European hornet : Like a matchhead that flips off and burns on your skin.
* 3.0 Red harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail .
* 3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
* 4.0 Tarantula hawk: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.
* 4.0+ Bullet ant : Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel.


..... quite a descriptive fellow, that Dr. Schmidt, eh?..... "like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel?"..... that's hardcore, folks........ I hope that I never meet an angry crowd of Bullet ants anywhere....... but in my neck of the woods?.... I've been dealing with the hot, smoky, almost irreverent types all day long.......

..... see?..... my goodness, rubberneckers.... y'all have no idea the lengths, trials, tribulations, stings slings & arrows that I put up with, dodge around, and go through to make sure that My Backyard in October is a suitable location for a festive blogmeet!...... next year I'm making Yabu come down a WEEK early just to help me beat all of the woodland creatures into some semblance of civilization..... doing this shit by myself isn't that much fun......

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October.....

..... so, like, does everyone remember how to get to my house, or what?..... no one has asked for directions yet, so I am assuming that y'all are good.......

.... oh, and remember, turn left at the pillar with the eagle on top...... then follow your the road until you see all of the interesting people milling about in my front yard......

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...photos.....

.... you know, I've been at this blogging business a long, long time..... hell, it'll have been five years when September 10th rolls around this year...... and I can honestly say that I have done my fair share of photoshopping some of my fellow bloggers... and in turn, I have been photoshopped quite a few times myself.........hey, it's all in good fun.....

..... but one never knows where the mind of Oom Keesie is going to wander when it comes photoshopping...... he of crocodile manglings and lion maraudings...... I mean, how on earth could someone take this photo of me as a spry 19-year old Lance Corporal (taken from this post, incidentally), and morph it into the lewd, crude, and absolutely rude photoshop'd version here?.......

.. good grief, folks..... and me with my War Happy Face on!?...... I swear.....

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Bingo.....

...... you know, I do so love me a good story..... especially when it involves Southern Grannies, loyal Southern Grandsons riddled with guilt & angst, Bingo, and happy, happy endings......

..... and just where might one find such a dizzying combination whilst surfing through blogdom?...... well, at The Bitterman's Place, of course......

.... so go now, and enjoy...... his Granny sounds a LOT like MY Granny......

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test

.... test...... the blog is acting weird....... well, weirder than usual.....

.... for anyone else having blogwoes, Joan has the scoop...... good luck, ladies and gentlemen.....

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Fears....

..... you know, things have changed over time, my gentle rubberneckers......

.... once upon a time a Man could voice his fears, bear his soul, and cast his frail heart out into the vast openness of the mighty blogosphere without nary a peep of indignation, consolation, or trepidation......

.... and indeed, many moons ago I was such a passenger on this anonymous cyber-Greyhound Bus of Life.....

.... and a blissful little fellow I was, too.... merrily skipping along through cyberspace with my long, flowing locks of red hair (metaphorically speaking, of course) braided into exquisitely proportioned Auburn Pigtails of Innocence, Trust, and Happiness.... but ooooh, how things have changed in my nearly five years of blogging......

..... to what do I refer, you may be inquiring?...... how have my bared soul, my sharing of fears, and my imbibing of adult beverages at blogmeets thanked me for these five years of perseverance, fortitude, and occasional angst?....

..... Knine is writing fiction about me and my most feared nemesis, that's what.....

.... I tell you, there truly is no justice in this world of ours...... sure, there was that whole chipmunk fiasco, but I could have sworn that he'd have forgiven me by now....... but to hit a man with zombies when he is least expecting it?..... well, that's just plain mean...... go over and tell him to quit it, please..... I frighten easily these days......

.... I'm off to field strip and clean my Bushmaster and sharpen my Cold Steel...... one can never be too prepared these days.....

.... damn, I hate zombies.....

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Boys.....

.... today at 2:47PM Eastern Standard Time, I assisted in the capture of a wily, quick & cunning woodland/forest/mountain/river creature.... and as of right now, I could not be more proud of me and my partners in crime.....

.... that's right, folks..... I, a man who is known far and wide for his non-fishing abilities, was instrumental in assisting Bou's Boys nab a 1-inch baby trout from the Tellico River while armed with only a plastic Glad container, three rambunctious (and steely-eyed Missile Men) boys, and a packet of peanut butter crackers.....

.... what a RUSH!....... Great White Hunters all, and that's a fact..... for it only took 89 attempts and ten dollars worth of crackers to finally lure a minnow to our awaiting bowl..... but the result of our persistent perseverance?...... the tossing of a few pebbles into the bowl for "habitat" purposes, poking at it with a dampened finger a few times, much "ooh"ing and "aahh"ing..... and then a quick return to the murky depths with hand-wringing and a splash.......

..... I tell you, folks, I've never worked so hard - and been so creative - for such a short-lived victory in all my born days!.....

.... but having said that?...... WE DID IT!.... and I'm in awe of all of Bou's younguns....... they worked like little Energizer Bunnies all day long building stone dams, flipping rocks over searching for crayfish, and chasing minnows in the shallows..... but in the end, WE DID IT!.......... it only took three years, but we finally did it....... we caught a minnow....... in a plastic Glad container......

..... Bou and her boys teach me something new about myself each and every time I take them to the mountains...... and today we caught a minnow..... and it rocked.....

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Blogdom.....

.... there has always existed a great, random, tragic, whacky equalizer in Blogdom....

..... always has been, always will be.....

..... you find something today that irritates you, you write about it, and then all of a sudden you find yourself with the bi-polar abstract raining down upon you from a thousand angles...... it is in The Nature of Bitching, actually..... it is somewhere buried deep in The Rule Book..... you complain, you get more and MORE of what you were complaining about....

......this salient fact is the very reason that I seldom bitch on my blog..... it just courts Bad Karma like a bloated corpse draws blowflies.......

.... that said, I have to admit that yesterday's flippant remark about my cats being too lazy to hunt has borne grizzly fruit today..... indeed, bloated & fly-encrusted corpses bracketed my humble home fore and aft when daylight dawned this morning.......

.... needless to say, it is quite frightening to see yellow jackets harvest protein while you have your breakfast.... it truly is....

.... and on the front stoop?..... a tiny, chewed, and spittle-dampened shrew that had definitely seen better days....... and on the deck (amidst a pile of peanuts - hey, ask the Missus) a juvenile rabbit with its throat torn out....... Bob was crouched, chewing, while I made the second pot of coffee this morning........

..... I swear, guys....... if each cat weighed twenty more pounds, I would definitely be on the menu....... thank God that I always carry a pistole and a sharp knife..... petting them is one thing...... but turning your back on them to water the garden is another feeling all together.......

...... but perhaps I am just projecting..... fortunes won and lots, and all that...... but I will tell you this..... sure, they have yet to take down a deer....... but one thing is for certain...... nothing is safe around here if it weighs less than thirty pounds....... nothing.....

..... damn, I need a vacation.......

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Summer....

.... time ticks slowly sometimes, folks.... especially during these holiday-soaked, beer-fogged, frankfurter-gobbling, Hot Days of Summer..... it seems that all one ends up doing is eating, drinking, sweating, clapping at fireworks, and then sweating some more whilst waiting for blessed darkness to fall......

.... as for me, well, it is no small coincidence that I am a Libra...... Generous God, in all his forbearance, saw fit to see me hatched out as the leaves changed colors and a mood of general pleasantness flooded the world....... I am a child of frost and misty mornings....... but now, it is Summertime...... and add in a liberal dash of pure redheadedness and, well, a Great Friend of Summer I most certainly am not..... I'm a pastel and Autumn Breeze kind of fellow.... a kindred spirit of those hushed undertones that they talk about on those cheesy 2am make-up commercials.... Earth Colors, Gentle Air, and Calming Weather......

.... Eric the Red, I am, it seems...... either by natural selection or by sunburn, I am destined to be forever red.......

.... in other news, I spent a considerable amount of time watching the cats laze on the deck today.... two more relaxed beasts I have never beheld......... and as I watched them snooze, two deer walked by the birdfeeder in the backyard and sniffed at the nuts, seeds, etc that the birdfeeder held....... I tell you what, it is a sad state of affairs when a housecat is so well fed that it doesn't even rouse from its korma-induced lethargy to perk its ears up at a whitetail that's less than ten feet away.........

... that said, well, I can't complain too much..... I haven't exactly been burning up the proverbial track around here lately...... but hey, it IS Summer...... and I've been watering the lawn a lot....

.... I would, however, like to point you over to K-9's crib this evening...... he has been playing around with the old "100 Word Stories" and has hit a real dinger...... give him a look...... he had me at "simian eyes"....

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Cups.....

..... I'm not really sure who instigated that dinner meet-up in Knoxville when I first met Winston, but I suspect that it was me.... I feel sure that he must have left some funny comment to one of my posts that prompted me to fire off an email saying, "ha!... next time you are within a hundred miles of Knoxville, give me a yell and I'll buy you a beer somewhere!"..... as it turns out, I ended up buying him a few glasses of red wine instead....

.... it's funny..... I remember him standing up to greet my Wife as we arrived.... he introduced himself, shook her hand and gave a little bow, looked over at me and said, "wow!... I expected you to be OLDER!"...... I laughed, sat down, and said, "that's ok, Winston.... I expected you to be YOUNGER!".....

..... we sat out on the patio of a nice little restaurant just off Kingston Pike.... he had a steak and I had some sort of Alfredo/parmesan pasta with shrimp..... we talked about The Vols (he'd come to watch a game the next day), Acidman, Elisson, Jimbo, and the rest of the gang.... we talked about the annual Helen Blogmeet, blogging, writing, his wife's Southern Literary Journal, his life, my life..... he was perhaps the easiest person to 'talk to' that I have ever met.... he had an ease about him that was charming and convivial.....

.... we talked and talked and told stories as we ate and drank... he even re-told the "Styrofoam Cup" story to us after dinner once the cocktails arrived.....

.... I remember that when the night was coming to a close and we sat replete as the Sun went down, he looked at me and said, "you know, age really doesn't matter when it comes to blogging..... when you read what someone writes, you get a feel for them.... and something instinctive kicks in.... age, politics, religion, they really don't matter.... and you just know that if you ever met that person, you'd have a great time... life is life - and there are more things that we have in common than things that make us different...... thanks for making the trip, you guys, I've had a lovely time.." ....

..... that's how I will always remember Winston, I suppose..... telling stories and watching the sunset.... his eyes twinkling when he got to the best bit of a tale.... his gravely voice and salt & pepper hair... how he seemed to enjoy everything that surrounded him - from the filet on his plate to the autumn pre-game air.... he was the kind of man that it was a true pleasure to be around....

... Winston Rand, folks..... HE WAS A PRETTY GOOD GUY..... and he will definitely be missed.....

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Peace.....

.... times, places, people, things, moods, sounds, smells, tastes....... these are the things that our lives are made of, folks....... and this is beautiful.....

..... there is nothing quite like reclining beside a lazy riverbank and having yourself measured by an inchworm.......

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Content....

.... my ancient Egyptian figurines are seriously letting me down..... all three of them are sitting here staring at me..... and not ONE of them is offering a SPECK of creative thought..... it's pretty dire.....

.... Horus is particularly disappointing.... I always had such high hopes for him....... Sekhmet?... she was always a bit hit-or-miss, really..... and truthfully, well, I never held out much hope for the scarab beetle.... but Horus?.... I thought for sure he'd be one helluva go-to guy.... so much for renewal, I guess...... it is more than a little disappointing......

..... in other news, an old pal of mine dropped by this afternoon for a few games of billiards and a tuna sandwich.... and I am happy to report that I held the table well..... and in spite of him being a fairly accomplished shootist, I managed to only concede two games out of seven........(unlike a few days ago when I played ole Big Stupid Tommy and beat him like a rented mule.... sorry, Tommy, but 0-8 is just rough..... feel free to come over any time!...) ....

..... anyway, I'm off to rummage for something to eat for dinner..... it's quarter til 7 and I am hungry!....

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Africa.....

.... color me jealous.... very, very jealous...

.... oh, and in spite of me having culled the 'herd', there is another damnable squirrel on the birdfeeder this morning..... but hey, at least I don't have the same trouble as this intrepid fellow..... you rock, JT.... hit'em once for me......

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Gone....

..... hey, does anyone know what the hell happened to Donnie/Bejus?......

..... which direction should we send the search party?......

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Success.....

..... as I tended to my flowerbeds and preened the garden path to the patio today, I did so with a heavy and aching heart..... I tugged at weeds with a furrowed brow.... I daubed the sweat on my freckled forehead with the crushed heart of a wake attendee.....

.... why so glum when surrounded by the Wonder of Nature and bathed in the sweet, sticky fragrance of the climbing honeysuckle?...

.... well, I read of Winston's shattered dreams this morning before venturing out with my pesticides and weed killers......

.... so go now, gentle rubberneckers.... go now and offer your cheery thoughts to that brave, talented man... I too once aspired to goat counting as a profession...... so I know that his pain is real...... and it is at times like these, that we must all demonstrate to Our Fellow Man that we have hearts filled with sympathy.....

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Busy....

..... nothing tonight, children...... been doing laundry, snacking heavily, writing, and daydreaming.......

.... but feel free to chew on this one for a while in lieu of other content....... I'll be back tomorrow with photos, videos, and tall, tall tales from the latest Scotland trip.....

..... vintage, folks..... vintage.....

... more tomorrow!... the stroganoff is almost done!....

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Hmmmm...

...hmmm... there doesn't seem to be anybody home... nothing on but a couple of nite-lights... nobody been 'round here for at least a couple of days... guess that 'splains the bird poop all over the chairs on the back deck... wonder if this key from under the doormat... yeah, i'm in...

...hmmm... doesn't look like they left in a hurry so it must have been a planned thing... that or the missus is a cleanup freak... the type that feels compelled to clean house before the house keeper arrives... she impressed me as neat and clean, but not to that extreme... oh, well... oh, several bottles sitting out on the kitchen table... and a few used glasses... [sniff sniff]... hmmm... scotch, maybe a single malt...

...uh oh... somebody in the next room... [hiding behind the fridge] [peeking out] ... damn, there's a weird guy with a ... wtf? ... a colander on his head... and he's talking to somebody on his cell phone... sombody named betterman? no, bitterman... yelling at him now something about No, I ain't your damn pal so quit saying that...

...he hung up now and is heading off to another room, so i best be outta here while i can get out the back and sneak off into the woods... but i've seen enough here that interests me... be back when the coast is clear...

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Fruit.....

..... good afternoon, gentle reader..... I hope that you are well....as for me, well, I'm just peachy...... and hey, that reminds me, I'm actually going to have peaches this year.... I'm stoked.....

... last spring I planted a little peach tree at the edge of the patio between two dogwoods..... the lady in the garden section of Lowes said that it would "look nice" with pretty pink blooms each spring.... and being in a rather delicate frame of mind at the time, I imagined that having a tree blossoming in pink set betwixt a bunch of white dogwoods would be just the springtime ticket.... so, as you do, I bought that baby and planted it the same day.... little did I know that peach trees and dogwoods bloom a month apart... (... I know that now, but hey, it's all good..) .... and what's more, I had NO IDEA that it would produce fruit after just one year!.... hot damn, I am excited... that little trooper is only four feet tall and it already has about twenty five little peaches about the size of acorns dotted all over it.....

.... and the grapevine I planted two years ago?..... oh yeah..... for the past two years it has steadily crawled across the railings of the deck near the steps...... I checked it yesterday and it is dripping with tiny little clusters of soon-to-be-grapes..... so I'm going to have peaches AND grapes this summer.... I can hardly wait....

.... I've always wanted to laze on my deck in the shade, find myself suddenly a bit peckish, and simply lean back, pick something off of a vine/tree/bush and slake my appetite in the most slothful way that I possibly could...... and this year, ladies and gentlemen, that hedonistic wish is just about to come true.....

.... anyhoo, speaking of hedonism, I'm off shortly - as in on Tuesday of next week - for my annual trip to Scotland to visit the in-laws at The World's Smallest Hilton.... as such, I shall be out of pocket until mid-month..... yeah, yeah, yeah.... I know that y'all are going to miss me terribly... but hey, I promise to come back with lots of stories about eating fancy sausages, photographing sheep, and sipping delicious adult beverages in the shadow of The Cairngorms... and probably at least one story about rain, fog, wind, etc.....

.... but yeah, since I will be offline, I hope to blackmail, bribe, coax a few bloggers into dropping by to post once in a while...... hell, I'd certainly hate to have you guys bored......

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Ancient.....

... I'm continually amazed at how quickly the world spins by..... it seems like just yesterday I sat here and peered out into the woods outside the blogroom and marveled at the blooms, naked trunks, and scaly bark..... and now?..... it is completely green.... almost overnight, the trees have sprouted leaves...... even the sunflowers that The Missus planted a few days ago are already three inches tall..... one of them even has the 'shell' of the seed from which it sprung clinging to one of its leaves...... amazing.... that shell is gripping that green little leaf like there is no tomorrow......

.... in other news, I was playing around with some dialogue today and stumbled up on something that I found incredibly interesting..... around here, in the foothills of Appalachia, I often hear people use the word "hit" instead of "it" when speaking..... I had always just assumed that it was merely a product of the basic hillbilly accent..... but as I was digging through the dictionary today, I happened upon this little nugget from Webster.com..... check this out....

"Our Living Language : "I told Anse it likely won't be no need." This quotation from William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying demonstrates a use of it that occurs in some vernacular varieties of American speech. It is used instead of Standard English there when there functions as a so-called existentialthat is, when there indicates the mere existence of something rather than a physical location, as in It was nothing I could do. Existential it is hardly a recent innovationit appears in Middle English; in Elizabethan English, as in Marlowe's Edward II: "Cousin, it is no dealing with him now"; and in modern American literature as well. Although most British and American varieties no longer have this historical feature, it still occurs in some Southern-based dialects and in African American Vernacular English. Use of existential it may actually be increasing in some places, such as Smith Island, Maryland, a historically isolated community. While older Smith Islanders sometimes use existential it rather than there, younger islanders almost always do. In some American vernacular dialects, particularly in the South (including the Appalachian and Ozark mountains), speakers may pronounce it as hit in stressed positions, especially at the beginning of a sentence, as in Hit's cold out here! This pronunciation is called a relic dialect feature because it represents the retention of an older English form. In fact, hit is the original form of the third person singular neuter pronoun and thus can be traced to the beginnings of the Old English period (c. 449-1100). Early in the history of English, speakers began to drop the h from hit, particularly in unaccented positions, as in I saw it yesterday. Gradually, h also came to be lost in accented positions, although hit persisted in socially prestigious speech well into the Elizabethan period. Some relatively isolated dialects in Great Britain and the United States have retained h, since linguistic innovations such as the dropping of h are often slow to reach isolated areas. But even in such places, h tends to be retained only in accented words. Thus, we might hear Hit's the one I want side by side with I took it back to the store. Nowadays, hit is fading even in the most isolated dialect communities and occurs primarily among older speakers. This loss of h reflects a longstanding tendency among speakers of English to omit h's in unaccented words, particularly pronouns, such as 'er and 'im for her and him, as in I told 'er to meet me outside. This kind of h-loss is widespread in casual speech today, even though it is not reflected in spelling."

... emphasis mine, of course, but wow!..... all this time I have assumed that my Grandparents were just speaking with an accent..... but actually, it is just an ancient (and correct) form of English......

.... that's just plain cool.....

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Beauty.....

...... not a whole lot going on around here this evening...... I spent most of the day reading, writing, and committing horrible acts of genocide against the various fire ant mounds out back while the lawn pixies mowed my yard.......

..... so since I have been so otherwise withheld today, I will take my leave and find comfier climbs than may be found here at the computer desk..... the patio is beckoning...... having said that, though, I can point you in the direction of a few interesting folks who definitely have things going on..... for instance:...

.... Sugar Britches has backslid.... and it is a beautiful, beautiful thing....

.... Boudicca gave me a splitting headache....... FIRST thing this morning....


.... Oom Keesie thinks I'm slothful..... hey, brother, I ain't slothful...... I'm just misunderstood...... I assure you that I am quite vigorous.....

..... The Piper is polishing his poetic side to a fairly bright luster...... brighter than usual, actually.....

.... Elisson has returned safe and sound from Nippon.... AND he has photos of himself in some odd silk dress and with matching waistcoat.....

.... and The Bitterman has an interesting post about 'being Southern' that definitely strikes a chord...... yes, sir, it surely does.......

..... there, see?..... plenty of lovely reading for y'all to do without me having to turn the proverbial finger!...... slothful, indeed...... humbug!....

..... so, with that, I'm off to sip a lovely 28 year old Dalmore and hold down the patio furniture......

... peace be upon you all..... oh, and before I forget.... hey, thanks for all the corn information you guys provided in the previous post...... I ate very well last night thanks to y'all.......

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Corn.....

.... another day winding down...... and it has been a very good day...... I'm off to sit on the patio and treat myself to a gin and tonic.......

..... and hey, hammock weather has finally arrived..... and brothers & sisters, it has been sorely missed..... of course, this lovely weather has arrived on purpose..... nothing ever happens without some sort of Divine Good/Evil purpose around here..... indeed, Mother Nature is just teasing us with this 80-degree weather.... she knows that in a week or so we'll be knee-deep in the sub-Arctic Scottish springtime..... so yeah, she definitely likes to play her jokes...... and come to think of it, nobody ever brings anything small into a bar around here, either......

.... for the uninitiated, I stole that last line..... 'Harvey' was on yesterday and I re-watched it..... what a great, great movie..... and I quote:

Harvey and I sit in the bars... have a drink or two... play the juke box. And soon the faces of all the other people they turn toward mine and they smile. And they're saying, "We don't know your name, mister, but you're a very nice fella." Harvey and I warm ourselves in all these golden moments. We've entered as strangers - soon we have friends. And they come over... and they sit with us... and they drink with us... and they talk to us. They tell about the big terrible things they've done and the big wonderful things they'll do. Their hopes, and their regrets, and their loves, and their hates. All very large, because nobody ever brings anything small into a bar. And then I introduce them to Harvey... and he's bigger and grander than anything they offer me. And when they leave, they leave impressed. The same people seldom come back; but that's envy, my dear. There's a little bit of envy in the best of us.

Elwood P. Dowd, 1950

.... kinda reminds me of blogging..... no?

... by the way, anyone know how long you're supposed to boil corn-on-the-cob before it is ready to eat?......

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Re-post....

.... The Missus has requested bbq'd pulled pork sandwiches and my garlic baked beans for dinner tonight..... and since I have been a complete slacker today and not posted, I figure that it is just about time to start mining the archives.... hey, content is content, yes?.... besides, I've got to go and cook dinner..... so here's one from late-January 2006..... (and yes, I wish that I were at the blogmeet in New Jersey instead of standing around here stirring beans..... ) .... I hope that you enjoy.....

... last night was spent tossing and turning... two distinct dreams woke me in the early hours... around five, the most erotic dream of my quiet, simple little life was experienced... mercy sakes.... I nearly had a damn heart attack.... I drank some water and had a cigarette as one does, and then returned to sleep...

... the second dream was more confusing... it involved an old barn that my Great Uncle owned... an ancient and weather-worn structure... bleached gray from years of enduring all-weathers, it stood at the edge of his tobacco patch beside a stand of hardwoods...it was tall and had a stone foundation... each end was open as to allow tractors pulling wagons to enter or exit from either side...

.... many was the day that I rode on the back of a tractor laden with thousands of pounds of freshly cut tobacco.. late August usually... hot sun and dust... hands caked with the sticky dried tobacco juice...

... once in the barn, all of us workers would take our places... climbing higher and higher into the rafters of the barn... stopping at our allocated places and balancing ourselves on the beams.... Then the tobacco would start moving... the man on the wagon would take a runner full of stalks and pass it to the first man... then up and up until the runner reached the top man... on and on this would be repeated until the barn was slowly filled - from top to bottom - with an entire field full of tobacco...

... the top man was probably fifty feet off the ground... I was always one rung below him... see, the higher you were, the less work you had to do... and as I was very young and the Top Man was very old, we took positions higher up.. lots of times I would hear his head thump the tin roof as he tried to straighten himself or swat a wasp... I'd laugh and he'd cuss... which ended up making me laugh even harder... (I wasn't old enough yet to be allowed to cuss)....

... anyway, the point of all this is to get to the dream... after all, if I could afford therapy, I surely wouldn't be writing and telling these stories to YOU people.... so, on to the dream...

... the guys on the wagon were acting up... they seemed to think that the Top Man and I were having it too easy... not pulling our weight, so to speak... but unknown to them, he and I had a problem...

... now, here are the mechanics of the situation... all of us, as we fill up our rows, are slowly backing up all the time... legs spread wide with our feet balancing on a old, slow-cured sapling that had been worn smooth by years and years of use... it was a precarious situation, to be sure.... but here is where it gets worse.... as we inched backwards, our backs were getting closer and closer to the other wall of the barn.... and it just so happened that a group of wasps had built their nest in the very top of the barn where the tin roof and wall met... the Top Man was backing up to the nest and he wasn't really too happy about it...

... so the guys down below are giving us grief... me and the Top Man were eyeball to eyeball with those wasps... the nest was a large one... about the size of a grapefruit... and it literally crawled with probably 150 red wasps...

... I asked the Top Man, since he had more experience, what we were going to do... he winked at me and said... "those fellers down on the wagon had better shet up... they're bout to see why I'm REALLY the Top Man... but don't you worry about them bees, boy... we'll be just fine up here... "

.. I watched in amazement as he took off his battered John Deere baseball cap and gingerly turned himself around on the spindly rafters.... deftly holding on to the tin, he moved both feet to the same support, spun himself, and then balanced again facing the opposite direction... and in one movement, he cupped his baseball cap over the entire nest and squeezed it hard.... he pulled it away from where it was attached to the wall and then released it... as long as I live, I will never forget watching that cap fall... it was almost in slow-motion...

.... it was like watching Slim Pickens ride that A-bomb.. the cap dropping directly towards the wagon... the doe-eyed farmboys looking up at us and laughing....

... sheer pandemonium erupted when that cap hit the wagon.... grown men and boys leaped from the wagon as a cloud of pissed off wasps began swarming... hardened, tobacco-chewing workmen loped like schoolboys and screamed like girls...

... me and the Top Man... we watched it all as it happened... safely perched as chaos ensued...

... so here I sit this morning.. half a pot of coffee down me, and I still can't figure out why I dreamed of the Top Man... and I shudder to think of the wasps..

... goodnight, rubberneckers!....

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Writing.....

.... no content tonight, hammerheads (or for the past week/month, actually)....... and I am terribly sorry....... been working on some other stuff instead....... but I will leave you guys & gals with the song that has been on repeat here at The Compound while I've worked...... I've found that Prine in the background allows me to be quite productive.......

..... and there is just something about fingerpicking that soothes the soul....... I posted it about a year ago, I think, but it still calms me...... so, enjoy..... or not.....

.... either way, tomorrow is the 14th anniversary of my being wed to The Missus...... so just prepare yourselves for photographs.... lots and lots of photographs........ 14 years, my goodness...... I was seven months away from turning 22 at the time we got hitched......... now I'm closing in on 36 with a vengeance........ how the time does fly......

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Joining....

.... long, long ago I was broken from the urge to "join" just about anything...... but having said that, this right here sounds like a pretty damn good idea.....

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Visits...

.... I was graced with a visit from The Blogson yesterday evening, and an enjoyable visit it was.... ole RSM stopped by for some pizza & drinks before continuing his northeasterly amble.... we dined on a Domino's Hawaiian Feast pizza with extra provolone.... and then sat on the couch, sipped a beautiful 28-year old Dalmore, and swapped a few hours worth of military tales.... all in all, not a bad way to spend a few hours..... excellent conversation and an extraordinary scotch...

..... as for today, well, I have a cauldron of my bolognaise sauce simmering away on the stove..... so this cool, gray day will be splashed with a giant dollop of yummy color this evening....

.... trust me, folks, gray days seem much less gray once you apply a proper spaghetti sauce to them.....

.... no, really.... you should try it some time and see.... then again, some sort of pie might work as well.....

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Movies.....

.... Hell hath frozen over, I'm afraid.... since I am about to do a dreaded meme.....

.... Elisson has tagged me - and since I am absolutely and completely without creative juices this afternoon, I'll play along..... here goes... according to Big E, here's the "drill"....

Heres the drill: Look up 15 of your favorite movies on IMDB.

Take a quote from each and post them for your readership to properly identify.

As your movie-savvy readers correctly identify the quotes cinematic origins in the comments, strike out the quotes and name the commenter who answered correctly.

If the commenter also identifies the name of the speaker (the character or the actor), he or she gets bonus points in the form of a link to his or her site.
Simple, huh?

OK, lets see what kind of Movie Buff you are. Oh, and no fair using IMDB or other Internet-related sources. Its more fun if you try to figure these out from memory:

..... here you go, rubberneckers...... guess away.....

1. "Trouble? Eh, what trouble" Robert Redford - "Jeremiah Johnson" ... reader Leelu

2. "I'm trying to be a gentleman here. Now, get on your knees, put your ass in the air, and don't move until I say to." "The Two Jakes" - Bou from Boudicca's Voice...

3. "Why, by God, girl, that's a Colt's Dragoon! You're no bigger than a corn nubbin, what're you doing with all this pistol?" True Grit - John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn - Snuggharbor

4. "My darling girl, when Ramses destroyed Syria, that was an accident. You are a catastrophe!" "The Mummy" - Sandy

5. "My dad wanted me to be a baseball player" "The Natural" - reader TBird....

6. "Jesus Palomino, a Nazi. I knew it, you're all in cahoots. Well let me tell you something, Mr. Heinie Kraut, I fought your kind in the great war, and we kicked the living shit out of you!" "1941" - Captain SQL!...

7. "I can't stand these things... it's like drinking coffee through a veil." "Charade" - Teresa of Technicalities...

8. "You don't like it, do you Rocco, the storm? Show it your gun, why don't you? If it doesn't stop, shoot it." "Key Largo" Jean from Beauvoir Glass....

9. "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges." "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" - Primordial Slack

10. "Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me." "Harvey"..... Beauvoir Glass....

11. "What the hell do you mean "cowardly blacks?" They died on your side, didn't they? And who the hell do you think is coming to wipe out your little command? The Grenadier Guards?" "Zulu" - Hoosierboy

12. "Then he showed those men of will what will really was." "The Usual Suspects" - Reader Tommy

13. "All your life you live so close to truth it becomes a permanent blur in the corner of your eye. And when something nudges it into outline, it's like being ambushed by a grotesque." "Rosencrantz And Gildenstern Are Dead" - The Bitterman from The Smoking Toaster...

14. "With a bit of a mind flip." "Rocky Horror Picture Show" - Eric from YouBitch!...

15. "Well, he should have armed himself if he's going to decorate his saloon with my friend." "The Unforgiven".... Joe, Mr. Beerbrains....

.... good luck, hammerheads!....

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Legs....

..... you know, when seeking Truth, it is always best to first consult the Internet.... especially blogs..... even after more than four years of propping this beast of a website up every single day, I am still continually amazed by the wonders that I discover....

.. like this, for instance.......

.... good god, ladies and gentlemen, I do so love the Internet...... and hey, I look pretty good in a kilt!....

.... (but for the record, I have really only worn a kilt once..... and was banned early the next morning from every wearing one again due to behavioral problems the night before....) .....

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Bloggers.....

.... I let Sylvia stretch her legs yesterday and piloted her up to Knoxville to have dinner with a few local bloggers there.... and it was a very enjoyable evening that unfortunately ended too soon, but I am glad that I went..... it was nice to meet a few new bloggers AND to finally put faces with some names that I've read in cyberspace for years and years....... say what you will, but blogging is one helluva interesting social experiment.... and it is always surprising......

... blogging may be a time-wasting hobby, but blogmeets are never boring!.....

.... in other non-related news, I have just been informed that I am to spend the larger part of today loafing in and around the vicinity of Cleveland, Tennessee with The Missus.... evidently there is some sort of "Fresh Market" that has just opened up down there and it has been slated for an "exploratory visit" by our ever-vigilant recon team..... oh, and she wants to watch the latest Nicholas Cage vehicle at their cinema, too....

.... so, gentle rubberneckers, that is my Plan Of The Day.... peruse some fresh broccoli, pick up a salmon steak or two, and wallow in a juicy conspiracy theory movie while The Missus lusts silently for Mr. Cage.... hey, it could be worse, I guess..... I could have to sit through another Daniel Craig flick..... and really?.... I truly dig watching the clientele of high-priced fresh markets pick and choose their organically grown papayas..... it is a wonderfully grounding experience....... I just wish that it were warm enough to drop Sylvia's top for the ride..... but spring will be here soon!....

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Jobs....

.... this song has been an earworm for me all day long..... ALL DAY LONG.... enjoy, rubberneckers.....

... personally, I blame Velociman...... but hey, I did get a haircut just the other day.... so there is that.....

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Alive....

...... Wow...... happy New Year.......

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Thaw.....

.... as strange as it sounds, my humble home will be the focus of my family's Christmas celebrations this season.... and due to scheduling conflicts, prior engagements, and working rotations among all of the participants, tonight has been deemed to be The Night.... gifts will be exchanged and a meal - cooked by my own hot little hands - will be wolfed down..... and I'll probably end up downing a few gin and tonics myself....... so that is today....

.... last night, however, I was roped into watching back-to-back Seinfeld episodes until time for beddie-bye.... of particular note were the "Festivus" episode and the one where Elaine sends out those Christmas cards where she was accidentally baring one of her nipples..... somehow I can't help but find the irony in "Christmas" being at my home on the annual date of "Festivus"....

.... and depending on how well dinner goes down, we may or may not end up having an "Airing of Grievances" ..... I did buy some kickass gifts for everyone, though, so that might keep them distracted from the quality of the roasted potatoes & grilled pork loin.... hey, getting lots of free stuff once a year tends to leave people distracted, so it might just work....

.... I will confess one little thing though - I had initially been tasked with roasting a turkey for Christmas dinner..... and I had one too.... a nice, big, fat hen..... the problem was that she was also frozen stiffer than a damn anvil..... I never knew that turkeys could freeze that hard, folks...... so my 12lbs of rock-hard turkey did not thaw out in the two days that I had allotted... thus the pork loin substitution at the last minute.....

.... so I have a question for Mr. Debonaire about the proper thawing of turkeys.....

... see, the label says that letting the frozen bird thaw at room temperature is strictly verbotten and will likely cause all of your holiday guests to die of some weird intestinal ailment before New Years ala Monty Python's "Meaning of Life"...... BUT keeping the damnable bird in the fridge to let it soften up takes aproximately 18 fucking months.....

.... and so the question is, what is the simplest way of thawing a frozen turkey in the shortest time possible?.... or do I just have to practice my Russian accent, open the fridge every so often, poke it with a trowel and pretend it's a Siberian mammoth?...... the label lied, Mr. Debonaire..... so what's the scoop?....

... oh, and Happy Festivus!.... no turkey tonight, friends..... we be eating high on the hog instead.... but that was not the plan....

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Tree'd.....

.... well, boys and girls, the tree is up and decorated..... but I had to put my foot down and drew the line at draping tinsel from ceiling fan to ceiling fan..... how weird was that idea?....

... anyway, the living room is pretty damned festive, if I do say so myself.... white Christmas tree decorated nearly entirely with penguin ornaments, but hey, at least the tree is up..... let the present wrapping commence!....

... in other news, I see that both Erica and Big Stupid Tommy have joyously tagged me with a Christmas Meme..... and as I sat down to complete the dastardly thing, I suddenly remembered that I was off the hook since I was gang-tackled by a beauteous group of ladybloggers LAST YEAR and forced to do that meme..... so there, Erica & BST.... consider my meme obligation paid in full.... muahahahahha!!....

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Thanks....

... you know, in his own wonderful way, I do believe that the Velociman has paid me a huge compliment....... roowr, indeed......

.... who knew that me and Roy had something in common?......

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Pantyhose....

..... an interpretation, please?....... this song has been playing nearly non-stop through The Compound tonight, but I still have no idea what the hell Mick is saying........

.....even when I saw them perform this at Turner Field back in 1992, all I could muster up to scream towards them as they performed was something about "you took the shot away" as I sloshed my beer and waved my Rolling Stones baseball cap........

.... "Forty Licks", indeed........ I think Jagger was sweet on one of those black lasses who were doing the back-up singing, if you ask me......

.... alas, however, I still have no idea what in the Great Living Hell that he was talking about in this song..... but still, 'tis a bit funny that a song can be found so enthralling to one's psyche when one has no earthly clue what the singer is even talking about.......

... I suspect that fans of "classical" music suffer from the same form of snobbery (or psychosis)...... they don't understand it, but they still love the hell out of it.......

..... human nature in action, I suspect...... or not, I guess..... it depends on how you look at it....

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Links....

.... good evening, rubberneckers, I hope that you are all well...... as for me, well, all is running smoothly......

.... and since I am not in the mood to write at this very moment, I thought that I would point y'all to a few wonderfully written posts that I have enjoyed over the past few days.... talented people, all.... and well worth your blog-reading time...... so humor me.....

.... Sugar Britches has a post that almost all of you will identify with.....

.... Boudicca has a wonderful post that is full of her Humanity, and is well worth reading.....

.... Jimbo is off his meds again (or perhaps ON something very nice)... and the result is exquisite.....

.... The Bitterman from The Smoking Toaster is showing off his well-polished gift of gab and it is a beauty to behold..... even when in one's underwear.....

.... and Elisson is showing off the work of a few wonderful artistes...... and hey, I WANT one of those laptops.......

... and Kathy has a GREAT post up about remembering a Mule (and a Grandfather)..... hey, Southern Writing is alive and well, folks.... and living in Franklin, Tennessee....

..... but as for me, that is all you are going to get tonight....... enjoy the creative juices of others tonight, I'm dry......

..... more tomorrow after lashings of coffee and microwaved Krispy Kremes!....

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Grilling...

... well, folks, today is one of those days where grilled lamb chops and roasted potatoes are on order..... perhaps even some mulled wine..... Elisson is bringing the mint sauce, so it should be quite a meal....

... cruising around blogville this morning, I see that Jimbo is busy frightening his readers....

..... as for me, I am off to sweep out the garage in preparation for a bit of billiards while the chops sizzle this evening..... so y'all play nice.... I'm off....

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Sidebar......

... I am the little guy on the sidebar, by the way...... that is my Pa on your right.......

... good god, I will never forgive them for that little white suit with the brown buttons.... no matter how much they begged......

.... fuck, kids these days just have it so easy...... they have no clue....

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Secrets....

to all who have served our Great Nation and worn The Uniform of our services, thank you. enjoy your Veterans Day however you see fit. As for me, my Sainted Mother (who is coming along nicely with her physical therapy, by the way) has offered to whip up a batch of chicken casserole for our lunching pleasure..

and thus, I am off to sup with family this afternoon.. a simple day of simple pleasures is unfolding around me, it seems..

. Oh, and a quick shout-out to the inebriated bloggers who drunkdialed me at 1:25AM from the Las Vegas BlogWorld Expo. Semper Fi, brothers.. I got your back.. and hey, Ive already deleted the voicemail and yalls secrets are safe with me. but still, you guys should be ashamed of yourselves.. I wish I had been there!...

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Give.....

.. today is the blessed day where we celebrate the 232nd birthday of my beloved Corps last year I said this......

and I am deeply touched this afternoon. especially today and this has caught me off-guard, really I have spent most of the day watching football instead of praying for my brothers and sisters who are in harms way tonight.. and for that, I am truly sorry. Holly Aho emailed me last week about Valour It and Soldiers angels.. and I am sorry to say that I did not participate in the campaign fund-raiser. And hey, that is purely my own fault.. the cause is good, of course but I just didnt have it in me to write about such a sensitive subject..

. I support them (and all of you have chosen sides, of course), but it overwhelmed me to write for such a noble cause at that time.. I just wasnt ready. The whole thing just rocked my world.. and that is MY failing and not that of my brothers. so, behold

. Happy birthday, friends, brothers, and warriors you guys and gals make me so proud.. and on some level, I wish I could help you more. Perhaps not by Soldiers Angels but maybe due to some other medium

I think of that every single day.. and I am sorry.....

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Parallel.....

. zero creativity, folks... I be as dry as one of Ezekiel's biblical bones....

.... and you know something?..... the correlations between this clip from 1965 and my blog (..and 99% of its posts) are too many to completely fathom.. and possibly too frightening to even contemplate.. not that yall dont already know that, of course.

but still, you know?.... what the hell?..... I reckon I just need to dig the old tux out of the closet, dust if off, and recharge my mojo with a martini and an old James Bond flick.. then again, perhaps that old caveman movie where Raquel Welch wears that fur bikini and runs around throwing rocks at dinosaurs.

... I think either option would work pretty well..... not that Im into fur bikinis or anything, I just like watching movies about badly-designed fake dinosaurs chasing proto-hippies..

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Stories....

. Good evening, rubberneckers. I trust that you are each well, happy, and getting exactly what you deserve as for me, well, all is quiet here around The Compound and a cauldron of my homemade chili is bubbling away on the range.. the local news is predicting a freezing-snap to arrive tomorrow thus the chili and all I need now is a big skillet of my Sainted Mothers cornbread and Ill be prepared for the arrival of the frosty morning

. I write this only in passing, though, since I have absolutely zilcho to contribute to the blogosphere this evening all pigs fed, watered, and ready to fly as usual.. and there is a bottle of Caol Ila seductively cooing to me from the kitchen saying very, very naughty things in Gaelic.. so I must go and do my duty..

but before I go, I would like to direct your attention to fellow East-Tennessee blogger Rosies website in particular, her four-part tale entitled The Dark Hole.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
And Part 4

go forth and enjoy, yall. I certainly did..

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Wow....

....and speaking of "terrors" in the last post, I just found this via Lollygaggin and Leslie.....

You Are a Werewolf
You're unpredictable, moody, and downright freaky.
You seem sweet and harmless, until you snap. Then you're a total monster.
Very few people can predict if you're going to be Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.
But for you, all your transformations seem perfectly natural.

Your greatest power: Your ability to tap into nature

Your greatest weakness: Lack of self control

You play well with: Vampires
What Kind of Monster Are You?

..... scary, scary stuff..... and pretty much true.....

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Terrors....

. A more perfect autumn day than the one which just passed, well, itd be hard to find.. practically impossible, now that I think of it

. 72 degrees - the perfect outdoor temperature for my body long-sleeves & jeans weather a cloudless, robins egg blue sky. the slightest hint of a breeze which was pregnant with the smell of burning leaves and damp earth and steaks searing on grills. even the jungle of foliage that surrounds my house is finally bursting with a thousand different colors in celebration of The Season arriving.

. The garbage from this past weekends shindig has been bagged, tagged, and is neatly seated at the end of the driveway awaiting collection by Da Garbage Guyz in a few minutes.

indeed, the only thing which has remotely harshed my mellow today was witnessing this little badboy on the television. Behold, gentle rubberneckers.

zombie_alligators_small.jpg

. damnation!!....zombie alligators!... in FLORIDA!.... .. it made me wish that Jimbo and I could pour ourselves a large tumbler of the INCREDIBLE single malt that Denny gifted me this weekend and suffer through the show screaming like little girls buoy our spirits with a fine spirit and be quaintly entertained by both of our arch-terrors being poked and prodded by the Florida Department of Fish & Game...

that said, though, it has been a very good day.. Im off to find a soft spot on the couch and sip upon a 24 year old Highland Park. It will be the perfect lotion to polish this most excellent day with. trust me..

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Lambasted....

. You know, ladies and gentlemen, some tales that you read about on the internet just get taller and taller as the telling gets more polished but hey, that is what is expected!.... after all, as bloggers, we are bullshitters & storytellers by nature!.... that said, I do have to admit that I was guilty as charged. And while I would love to tell you guys a lovely, touch-feely story about how I actually sprang upon four friendly, frost-covered blogggers while armed with only a feather pillow and handful of peacock quills, sadly, that wasnt the case.. I did, indeed, have a shovel.. (.. and since this incident is becoming a legend all on its own amongst the Jawja Bloggers, I should probably go and fetch it for a photograph. what do you think?..)


. anyhoo, still have no clue what this, your humble, humble servant, is talking about?....

well, behold my ribbing that just keeps on giving.

.. but in my defense?.... well, no one was actually bashed with a shovel. And after all, as the host of the party last year, it was my JOB to provide a bit of entertainment, wasnt it?....

... no?..... well, either way, I was guilty as charged.... meeeeeaaaaaa CULPA!....

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Wonderful.....

the last of the gentle people that graced my humble house with their presence have finally departed. The house is quiet and still and I miss all of you guys already!....

. Two weeks ago?.... I was down with Velociman & Key, Elisson & SWMBO, Richard & Holder, John Cox, Rick & Georgia, Erica, Jimbo & Da Bodyguard, Joan & The Priate, Leslie, GuyK & Sweet Thing, Sam & Barbie, Michelle, Denny, Zonker, Kelly & The Senior Chief, RSM, and Catfish in Helen, Georgia.

. This weekend I was graced with Rick & Georgia, Bou & Morrigan, Stephanie, Denny, Johnny Oh, Erica, Teresa, Jimbo & Da Bodyguard, Joshua, Gary & Connie, Big Stupid Tommy, Jerry, and Charlie

.. good god, people, I do so LOVE October

. Now I just have to vacuum, get the dishes sorted out, take out the trash, and find a corner to collapse in..

.... for those of you who came to my home, thank you..... I enjoyed every single second of having you here....

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Ready.....

. Hmmmm.. well, it looks like we might get a bit of rain tomorrow morning. so those of you who are trekking slowly towards The Compound here, drive safe. the garage has been cleaned out and de-spidered, so if it does rain, well be fine hanging out in there and shooting pool

. anyone who is allergic to cat hair might want to give the garage a miss though.

. the couch in the living room is quite comfy and I highly recommend it. the big chair is nice as well..

.. I am stoked!..... safe travels, everyone!....

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Corruption....

.. I tell you, this right here just made my day.. next thing you know, hell be setting up a still and cooking off some shine. and well, that thought just makes me happy

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Bitten....

for years, folks absolutely YEARS I have been biding my time. sitting patiently, quietly, knowingly. confident in the certainty that karmic payback would eventually be doled out for this post. And last night, justice was finally done.. and it was OH SO SWEET!....

. lookit, please tell me that some of you learned rubberneckers tuned in to the National Geographic Channel last night to watch Brady Barr scream like a little sissy when that python bit him in the ass. Sweet, ever-loving Jeebus, that was awesome.. Ive been excited about seeing it since NGC started teasing us all with the trailer three weeks ago. and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait to see that hammerhead hip-deep in mud, bat-piss, and bat-shit AND gagging due to ammonia-drenched air get popped in the ass by an angry reticulated python. His feeble wailing was an added bonus, too. good god, what a wonderful night..

. I swear, I could hardly quit laughing each time he screamed, ahhhhyyeeee!!!... its got me!... its GOT ME!.... AAHHHUUUEEEEE!!!.... . And then later when he was still wading around in the bat shit?... he blubbed a few more times and then cried, I gotta get OUT of HERE!... I got a REALLY BAD BITE!.

damnation, folks, I nearly peed myself.. and hey, we dont use the term gleeful around these parts very often.. but with every whine that emanated from his cinderblock-like head, the glee-factor in my living room rose by 10%...... and by the end of that hour-long show, I was positively gleeful..

. dont get me wrong, now. I am not the type of person to ever wish ill-will on anyone especially not someone that I have never met.. but I will tell you this, watching him crap his pants and scream like a little girl made me very, very happy.

.. if you ask me, the bastard had it acoming.. so here you go, gentle rubberneckers..... behold a bit of the trailer that made me so enjoyably gleeful....

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Bleeding....

. For those of you who are making the intrepid trip out to my bungalow next weekend, you will be happy to know that my garage (where the pool table is) is serenely free of free-ranging black widow spiders courtesy of my Brother and I breaking our backs to make sure that it was a spider-free zone today..

. Chemical weapons were used, I am sorry to say.. as well as fly-swatters, rolled-newspapers, and an old tile-knife that he found laying around somewhere.. so yes, you guys will be safe when you visit next weekend but just remember the Monumental Brutality that was flexed to make sure that you guys were able to have a good time while at my humble pad..

.. good god, half of my blogfodder got whacked Soprano-style in the course of one afternoon because of you arachnophobic hammerheads.. just think on that for a moment, people.. I crush my blogs livelihood simply to make you guys more comfortable.

.. yall just simply have no idea how much me, my neighborhood, and the environment as a whole absolutely BLEEDS (literally, not figuratively) for you guys

... I should get a fucking Peace Prize or something.....

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Elvis....

. When I was fourteen years old I drew a self-portrait of myself for Mrs. Ealys summer art class.. sporting a Winchester Firearms baseball cap that was frayed at the brim by way too much time spent hunting early-autumn doves, the artwork was a sight to behold. And yes, I drove my 51 Ford all the way in to Englewood to sit at those art lessons I bring this up only in passing, of course.. since even though I wasnt really a fan of The King, my early self-portrait looked a LOT like a pubescent Elvis ala 1955.. less the black eye-shadow.. and the pouty lips. (I have no lips per se.... just bits of skin to cover my teeth...)

.. but those of you who have met me will recognize right off that bat that I look very, VERY little like Elvis.. (I know that this will come as a huge shock to many of you, and I am truly sorry..) .

but yet, there it is.. in my minds little eye (and even though I was more into ZZ Top than Elvis), the picture speaks for itself even unto this day I might post a shot of it later in the week if I can dig it out of the closet.. which, incidentally, is exactly where it belongs.

. But this weekend, of course, I was blessed to meet a True Artiste and have my caricature scrawled by his horny hands.. if you wanna see it, it be here.. (I am down near the bottom..... the guy who looks like he has leprosy..) ....

. But trust me now, boys and girls, there aint no Elvis wannabees anywhere to be seen ANYWHERE in that sketch. as a matter of fact, it looks like a pretty odd collection of weeble wobbles but hey, it WAS a blogmeet after all. and Id imagine that Mr. Coxs drawing is pretty much spot on.. those of us who werent weebling by the end of the night were most definitely wobbling..

. Really, though?.... art dont lie. And evidently I am forehead and evil grin. Hey, who knew!?....

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Stiff....

. Survived another one, folks. Im sore everywhere.. and I can still blast a hanging curveball out of the ballpark good God, pretending that I was twelve years old all day on Saturday made todays birthday morning (at 35) a stiff and sore-muscled one..

. wow..... Just Damn!..... Trust me, fellow bloggers. there is no place on Earth like Helen, Ga when the bloggers come to town

and it just gets stranger and more wonderful each and every year..

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Temperature....

the wind has blown steadily all day here not a very strong wind, but a sort of wind that seems to be everywhere all at once. each leaf on every tree from grass-level to the tip-tops is wiggling, bucking, and vibrating in unison with his companions..

makes you quite dizzy, actually, if you look at it long enough..

anywhoo, I gathered together with a few of the usual suspects (and Bou's charming sister, Morrigan) last night for a fine lunch, enjoyable meal, and very pleasant company.. and this weekend and the annual Helen Blogtoberfest will be upon us before we know it

... mercy, autumn is definitely in the air, folks. College football, turning leaves, and blogmeets.. oh my.

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Gone...

..... off to ATL, boys and girls..... y'all have a nice night......

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Reptiles....

. You know, everything you need to know about The World in General is out there on the internet and most of it is out there courtesy of your local intrepid blogger..

like this, for instance.. go forth and bathe in the fine, quivering illumination of The Honest Truth..

... and remember, folks... everything that you read on the internet is 100% true..... trust me...

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Loss....

... my goodness..... what a night of football......

.... and as much as I hate to do it, it needs to be done..... so, here goes....

.... and I know that Velociman adores this tune......

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Splendid....

good afternoon, rubberneckers.. I trust that you are all well.. as for me, Im splendid. and as it happens, I am off to have dinner at The Parkside Grill/Tavern with Winston from NobodyAsked..

. Yall dont wait up now, yaheah?.....

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Thanks....

. To all of you whove sent well-wishes to my Sainted Mother, a sincere thank you I have passed on to her your kind words and she is deeply touched. Although she still thinks the fact that I have a blog is weird beyond words, she has been moved by the messages of you lovable hammerheads very much.. so, a hearty thank you to you all.. and, for those of you who are curious, she is doing just fine. Healing well, already up walking with the help of a physical therapist and a large brace, and generally looking forward to living a fine life with a new knee

. So if anyone out there is hemming and hawing about getting one (thats you, Raging Mom) quit dealing with the pain, find a good surgeon, and start life anew

. But enough of all that.. knees are not a topic which I am well-versed in discussing as mine both work just fine.. so far.. so, in a random change of topic, I will report that tonight I baked two chicken breasts that were stuffed with extra-sharp cheese, mushrooms, salt, pepper, sauted mushrooms, onions, and garlic and then covered with a thick, savory egg, parmesan, breadcrumb glaze for baking.. and in a word?... wow.. they were pretty damned tasty, folks.. and yet they still maintained that subtle hillbilly quality while pinned closed with toothpicks..

.. so, hey, thats me for the evening.. I spent the morning visiting with my Mother & Brother.. spent the afternoon shopping for dinner-time stuff.. and spent the evening cooking..

.. and now it is cocktail hour and I am off to introduce myself (most cordially) to a 17-year old Bowmore.. ahhh, the sweet, gentle, caramel charms of a freshly un-corked 17-year old.. I can hardly wait.

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Completely......

...... as much as I totally fucking hate Zombies, this clip still appealed to me today so very, very much today.....

... listen and learn, gentle rubberneckers........

..... for today, equally, I hate everyone..... absolutely everyone.... you, and you, and you...... and you in the corner..... and even you over there in the funny hat..... and you.... and you...... and me..... and you on the television..... and you over on ESPN scoring the touchdown.....

.... oh, and you too......

.... tomorrow will be better though.... just trust me...... I'm having a bad day......

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Wishes....

. This morning I drank coffee and watched the squirrels which seem to be much more active lately play a dangerous game of tag with both of the catsI wonder if they can sense that the time for nut-gathering is creeping closer and closer as each day passes. (the cats, I mean, not the squirrels.)

I suspect that they can, those cats.. and the idea of catching something as big as a tree-rat must be the kitty equivalent of a welfare Mom scoring a boon on Georgia Lottery day indeed, most of the squirrels are almost as big as young Bob. Them sitting up in the tree swishing their flea-bitten tails and scrawny little Bob fidgeting his OWN little predator-tail at the base of the tree.it is funny to watch, really.. hell, I bet one of those souped-up little rats would kick his ass if he ever managed to finally pounce on one but there he sits anyway. Waiting and wishing

I wonder if hed be happy if he ever had the chance to grip what he desired. If somehow, through the battle that would ensue, hed find some odd kind of kitty-validation. like Elisson wishing for his roadster.. or Oom Keesie setting his sights on a distant water buffalo.. or me dreaming of subduing the perfect Reuben sandwich.

.... I definitely need more coffee..... good grief....

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Back...

. Well, boys and girls, I survived my European vacation. I know that yall were worried I could feel the disturbance in The Force from time to time. and actually, survived is probably not the best description of my past-weeks station. Indeed, I managed to cuddle most of the seven deadly sins close to my bosom for the better part of two weeks Lust and Anger remained elusive as always but the other five and I had quite a high ole time..

I had a particularly enjoyable ride with Gluttony and Sloth through Luxemburg & bits of Germany but hey, they have always been my great go-to pals..

. So, yes, I am back and thanks to all of the fine gentlemen who dropped in to keep both of you entertained while I was marinating in trappist beer through The Low Countries.

. And later?.... video of dancing Harlequins in Brussels!!.... I just know that you guys are literally bursting with excitement

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Gone....

. well, it is time to set sail, folks.. Im off to putter around a few cities, buy some diamonds, eat a bit or two of chocolate, tour a few battlefields, and sample some Flemish beer while watching the Walloons do whatever it is that Walloons do

.. if anyone needs me, I shall be here. (for a time, anyway) . safely ensconced in the fortified city of Koblenz. by way of Antwerp, Brussels, and Bastogne......

.. oh, and I have also arranged for a few guests to drop by here from time to time while I am wandering. So, who knows?.... perhaps yall might be treated to a tale or two while Im away

. and so with that, ladies and gentlemen, Im off

well see you rubberneckers on September 17th.

.. and hey, it looks like I will miss my own 4th blogoversary!..... September 10th, 2003 this whole wild ride began...... good God..... four years..... no wonder I'm going to Belgium where the pubs have 800 different beer in stock!.....

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Bloomers....

. Ya know, there are mornings where I awake, pour myself a cup of coffee, light a cigarette, and ponder the great mysteries of life. And then there are mornings where I fire up the old blog and try to think of something to post about..

. For some reason, I dont believe that Brother Elisson has those same moments of Gee, I wonder what I should post today.. ..

.. you, sir, are an inspiration.. and I mean that.

. theres nothing quite like waking on a sunny Sunday morning to see a hairy-chested fellow blogger sporting a flaccid, uncircumcised weenie to put you right off of your frosted mini-wheats. Which, of course, is exactly what blogging is all about..

but, wow..... after reading that post about fine art and debasing, I cant help but wonder what Baroque goodies lie in store for me when I hit Antwerp next week

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Unconnected....

. I wonder what the hell was going through Burt Lancasters mind when he accepted the role of Dr. Moreau in The Island of Dr. Moreau.

if you ever want to rent a phone to take with you on an overseas trip, youll need to provide most cellular providers with proof of identity, copies of the front & back of your major credit card, a signed 8-page document that you have to print out yourself and fax back to them, three pints of blood, one kidney, and three hundred American dollars as a deposit. just trust me....

black cats are like the blondes of the cat-world

. The Bravo channel should be banned from every household on the planet immediately.

. Hummingbirds are mean. and they do not like to share. At all.

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Change.....

I nipped into town today to cash in some coins that I had laying around and to see if anything on the grocery aisles looked interesting for dinner. I was disappointed in the first instance (regarding the coinage) and am happy to report that the choice of tonights victuals will be homemade burritos. Did you realize that those conniving vultures charge you a dime on the dollar to turn your change into folding-money?... oh yeah, they surely do I tell you, people rob you right, left, and center these days.

and the pull?.... $162.17. mercy its a good thing that Ive been hitting the gym at a fairly regular pace. Otherwise, hell, Id have never been able to lug that much copper & zinc across the parking lot

anyway, today has been a wonderful day and I can hardly wait for the evening to settle in days are like that sometimes, you know.....

oh, and that reminds me. I have a wee vacation coming up shortly.. Ill be touring Belgium, Luxembourg, and southwestern Germany from the 5th to the 16th of September with the Missus, the In-Laws, and Uncle Ian so if anyone would like to guestpost here while Im off sipping Stella & gazing at Rubens' artwork, feel free to step right up. otherwise, well, I will have to let this little light of the blogosphere go dark for awhile until I return.

so, what say you, rubberneckers?.... care to help a fellow traveler out when hes in a bind?...... lest I blodge inebriated from somewhere in darkest Belgium via a shaky European barroom connection?......

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Fluids....

. This morning finds The Missus and I skirting northwards to Knoxville.. its time (after 15,000 miles) for Sylvia to have all of her various juices measured, changed, and refilled by the tender hands of the Audi dealerships elegantly-smocked technicians.

and as glorious fate would have it, there is an excellent chop-house just across Kingston Pike from the dealership that specializes in lamb chops & steaks so while my little white buggy is getting her servicing, I hope to enjoy the flame-kissed flesh of a few baby mammals while I wait.

its funny, really.. while Sylvia is having her needs attended to and her necessary fluids checked, I will be 100 yards away doing pretty much the same thing. except with mint sauce, Newcastle ale, and grease instead of engine oil & windshield cleaner.

I wonder what it all means when viewed through the lens of this post?....

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Votin'.....

.. by the way, gentle readers, please go here and vote for our buddy Richard ala Shadowscope.. he has a damn good entry and as it stands now, he is lagging a bit.

. Readem all and then vote.. hes entry number 9, by the way..

. And as that Bartle's and James' guy said back in the 80s, thank you for your support

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Absent....

you know, Im starting to worry about Brother Rube hell, he left to go do some drinking on the 7th and still aint back. I mean, sure, I know he likes to get in his cups, but a 9-day bender is a bit much, no?....

... no one should go out on a drunk for more than four days, it just isn't civilized.....

... oh, and since I haven't had a chance to dedicate it in a while, I guess I should point this song towards Brother Velociman.... I've heard he's a Dean Martin fan...... hell, for all I know, he is on a 15-DAY bender.... bender being the operative word, of course....

... you two need to get back in the allegorical saddle.... don't you guys leave me, you bastards.....

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Huggin'....

you know, from this description of events, I do believe that The Bittermans Father and mine were probably kinfolk..

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Oil....

. preparing to settle into an evening of shooting pool in the garage, folks. Todays been an absolutely wonderful day and it is time to reflect ..

all of this is by the way of saying that I aint actually posting tonight.. but if youre truly jonesin and simply must have something excellent to gnaw on, then I suggest you check this out.

little brothers, rubberneckers.. there simply isnt anything else likeem..

.. so, with that, I am off. the sound of the break, the gentle fizzing of my tonic & gin, and arguing of the mockingbirds are to briefly replace the clicking of keyboard keys and the dings of incoming mail.

.... enjoy y'all's evening....

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Cooking....

a humble dinner tonight. smoked turkey sausages fried up with diced garlic and crushed peppercorns. creamed sweet-corn. and scalloped sour cream potatoes.. and perhaps a gin afterwards. or maybe a Scotch.....

. speaking of food, I am happy to report that I was given the great joy of taking Boudicca and her boys out to one of my favorite hillbilly eateries yesterday.. good, cheap, honest, excellent, homemade junkfood. eaten at picnic tables on the banks of the Tellico River. It was a wonderful day and I enjoyed the time with her and her family..

. It is worth remarking though, only casually, that she and I both ordered hotdogs. Both of which somehow ended up at the very bottom of the paper-sack-o-food. It was pretty funny and actually resulted in us both having the tastiest AND flattest chilidogs that I have ever been known to man (or woman).

. so come back any time, Bou. You are always more than welcome. Always.

Im off to finish dinner.

I hope you guys and gals are having at least HALF as much fun as I am right now.. although, you know, I sincerely doubt it.....

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Proud....

. The Missus and I enjoyed a wonderful evening down in Atlanta yesterday courtesy of Holder & Richard two down-to-earth, straight-up, genuine Good People. trust me, theyre a lot of fun to talk with. make it to the next blogmeet and meet them, it is worth it.

we ended up sitting outside of an expensive bar/restaurant and watching the Buckheaders buzz by in their BMWs. I can certainly think of a lot worse ways to spend a hot Atlanta afternoon.

. Sorry for boring you guys with so many bootcamp stories I suppose I just got a bit carried away.. and I guess that part of me just wishes I was the age of your son again. you two are going to have one proud, proud young man on your hands in a few weeks..

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Hmmm....

another Sunday evening idling down.. lamb chops and roasted potatoes are awaiting the grill and the oven. Its time for a gin, I do believe lots of ice and a good splash of tonic water sounds just about perfect.

. I heard today that it is going to be 116F in Phoenix, Arizona today. mercy. were I to happen to find myself living there, I would most definitely move away to some point northwards as quickly as possible.. I mean, how many poor Arizonites accidentally burst into flames whilst going out to check their mailboxes each summer?....

its too hot for me here anyway 82 degrees with 56% humidity. and severe weather alerts are slated for the entire afternoon.

.. thats been the norm for the past few days sunny mornings, overcast afternoons, and stormy evenings and the nighttime lightshows have been pretty impressive.if a good, solid storm blows in tonight, Ill break out the camera and shoot some video. Thats what this blog needs, anyway a good hard rain, streaks of feverish lightning, and a hard, humid wind to blow out a few metaphysical cobwebs.

my spring is dry lately. as cracked and parched as an Arizonites lawn, most likely.. perhaps a juicy hunk of freshly-grilled lamb flesh will help.

then again, perhaps I need to dig a well.

. either way, thats just the nature of things, I expect.. ebb, flow, wane, bloom.. one thing is for sure, though. Im beginning to think that creativity is cyclic. and that its governed more by tide, moon, and the occasional sunspot than it is by circumstance, perseverance, or The Actions Of Our Daily Lives.

how weird is that?....

ahhh, who am I kidding.... I just need to shut the hell up and try harder..... but I definitely do need a gin and tonic. it's too damned hot to think....

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Railroadin'....

. Today, in a relaxed fit of adventurous abandon, were off to ride a stretch of recently revitalized rail.. indeed, well be riding the lunchtime run from Etowah down towards Georgia that follows the mighty Hiwassee.. heres the link.

I tell you, folks, us people from the Tennessee Overhill certainly know how to have fun.. oh yeah.. most of the afternoon will be spent fondling a bag of Lays potato chips and sipping a RC Cola as the mountains slide past my air-conditioned cabin

. Well lunch in the scenic mining community of Copperhill, Tennessee.. which is of note for many reasons, but mainly in my mind because one of my 1920s era relatives lost both arms there in a little oopsie involving dynamite, copper ore, and a fuse that was just a bit too short..

. Im sure yall are just as excited as I am, so I will make a point to take lots of photographs.

in other news, I am happy to hear that everyones favorite Rick & Georgia have invaded Mexico!... rock on, you two!... once theyve successfully colonized Panama, I might just stop by to visit them on my way to Crazymans blogmeet

oh, and before I forget there seems to be some confusion regarding what was gifted to The Missus for her birthday. So I had better that that all cleared up lest you hammerheads be left with the impression that I only bought her socks.

gifts: a sapphire & diamond ring, a bag of chewing gum, a bunch of chocolate, the trip that we are going on today, three books from Books-a-Million, three 1lb blocks of cheese, and six pairs of multi-colored socks.

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Wise....

.. Ive heard it said before that age brings wisdom. and it is true enough, I suppose. (although I do retain the right to call rebuttal witnesses since I know a handful of elderly people who are just plain batshit-crazy..)

. However, I read this post of Winstons today, and I have to say that I agree with pretty much every word.

but at 34 years of age myself, I do have to call bullshit on that 17.2 years of remembrance thing.. there are some people that I'll never forget as long as I live......

... oh, and speaking of age, The Missus just notched up another nick on the Handle of Life by having her odometer click over one more time last night at 0001Z...... she was decidedly not amused, let me tell ya.....

..... my attempt at consolation probably didnt help matters much..... you be the judge.... "but hey, getting older is just what happens!..... it's all cool!... and I bought you socks!!..... and hell, getting older??... it is certainly better than the alternative!"...

... see?... am I a little ray of sunshine or what?.....

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Debt....

..... alrigtht, Erica.... here you go...... damnation!...


WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
. A bit yes, and a bit no.. my Grandfather was David Jonathan.. so my Pa chose the David and my Ma picked the Eric so thats me David Eric..

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
. Last week.... I was just watching a video of Nanci Griffith singing..

DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
. Ive been told that I have nice handwriting.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
smoked turkey sliced so thin that you can almost see through a piece of it if you catch the light just right. . then, of course, it must be piled high and thick between two pieces of toast - one piece slathered with mayo & the other with Golden's mustard.... oh yeah....

DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
. Nope. Although everyone claims that one of Big Daddy Cs kids is mine.. not guilty, though.. honestly

IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
sure. hey, Id definitely buy me a beer..

DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
.. hardly ever

DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
. Hell, no. and I cant believe how many of yall still have yours

WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
.. no. but I will probably end up doing a parachute jump before the end of the year.. cant say that Im really looking forward to it though.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
the kind of cereal that looks, smells, and tastes just like bacon and fried eggs. with a side of biscuits & gravy.

DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
yes my H.S. Trasks fit in such a way that they require the laces to be untied if you want to get them off..besides, not untying your shoes is just plain slovenly what the hell is wrong with you people?....

DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
. As compared to what?..... sure, Im strong, I guess. Physically, emotionally, and mentally.. but I do get a bit fragile when Im crying to Nanci Griffith songs..

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Mayfields Butter Pecan. Unless youre going to make me a milkshake. then, Ill have pineapple, please.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
. their eyes, most definitely. and then their mouth I have a bit of a hearing problem, so in pubs or restaurants, I tend to focus on the mouth of the person speaking to me. otherwise the background noise breaks up what theyre saying

RED OR PINK?
pink. all day long.

WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
. my temper. once I get really, really angry, it is not a pretty thing to see.

WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
. My Father.

WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
. a pair of Levis blue jeans. and white New Balance.

WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
. a bowl of diced-up honeydew melon...

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
. The sound of a lawnmower mowing my lawn.. and this

IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
. Midnight blue.

FAVORITE SMELLS?
. The honeysuckle that is growing over the railing of my deck.. new leather. a Camel cigarette just before I light it.newly cut grass that I didnt have to cut.

WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
my brother. hes outside now mowing my lawn. He called to tell me that he was coming over..

FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
. Rugby Union, college football, billiards..

HAIR COLOR?
strawberry roan. See?...

EYE COLOR?
hazel. a green & brown mix.

DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
. I have never needed to wear glasses..

FAVORITE FOOD?
my spaghetti after Ive babied it all day. ribs, nachos, baked beans, steak. pasta and absolutely anything that is covered in cheese.

SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
. I hate scary movies with a blinding passion

LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Zulu! . I so totally love that movie. I have to take it out and watch it at least once a quarter for dramatic renewal of purpose in my life..

WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
red.....

SUMMER OR WINTER?
winter.. Ive spent a lot of time in some really cold places. and I always managed to find a way to get warm Ive also spent a lot of time in really, really hot places. and I hardly EVER find a way to keep cool.. so yeah, I choose winter. Id rather be bundled up than sweating.

HUGS OR KISSES?
kisses.

FAVORITE DESSERT?
. Pineapple upside-down cake..

MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
all memes come here to die consider my humble blog as the internets equivalent of sheol for all memes that fate guides here..

LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
see answer above.

WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
We Were One: Shoulder To Shoulder With The Marines Who Took Fallujah by ODonnell. I highly recommend it, by the way.

WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
a Big Dog brand logo of their St. Bernard leaping forth from a broken computer monitor with Byte Me! typed above his snarling face.

WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT?
. Fox News and then I went and logged onto the net

FAVORITE SOUND?
. Guitars being fingerpicked by someone who knows what theyre doing. That little pop that the cork makes when it is gently taken out of a bottle of scotch. Rain.

ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
. The Stones, obviously.

WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
Bangladesh is the farthest that you can geographically get from Tennessee.. been there a few times.

DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
. I can sometimes be remarkably creative

WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Bradley Memorial Hospital, Cleveland, TN.

WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK?
. Done..

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Father....

.... for Father's Day, read this........ I certainly liked it..... his father sounds a lot like how mine was...

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Legs......

..... I know that some people hang things for McCartney, but DAMN... there are better fields farther afoot..... right?.....

..... good God, people, do I have to draw y'all a picture?.....

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Jewels....

good morning, rubberneckers. I trust that you guys are enjoying another fine Friday. As for me?... fuggeddaboutit. I have my silk goomba shirt all pressed and Sylvia already has her top down.. and The Missus & I are anxiously awaiting the Chosen Hour for a quick trip to Chattanooga. For, lo, gentle peeps, there is a jewelrysmith 60 miles south of me who is poised, ready, and quivering in the anticipation of our arrival.. hell yeah, brothers and sisters, it is Jewelry Time..

.. in other news?..... you know, I am completely shocked AND stunned at the amount of people who are blogging about still having their tonsils good God, people. dont yall realize that just isnt safe?..... get thee hence to a doctor who owns a sharp scalpel before yalls heads fall off. what the hell is the matter with you people?....

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Casting....

. I read with great pleasure this morning the story of GuyKs continuing fishing odyssey. and I left him a comment that pretty much said you catch more fish in a single day than I have in my entire life.. ..

the truth is, I have never been much of a fisherman. Personally, I blame my Father he was a man of constant activity always a flurry of motion and the idea of sitting in the shade of a sycamore near some grassy creek-bank just didnt do it for him.. sure, like any young hillbilly, I had lots of fishing trips out with my Dad.. but usually after sitting by the creek for twenty minutes and not even getting a nibble, wed both get bored and end up making spears from saplings or skipping stones instead the whole sitting and waiting thing just wasnt our style..

but now?... boys and girls, just let me tell you, I can sit and wait for DAYS. I have hit my mellow stride with the full weight of a truly dedicated mind. but back then, well, we were both just too easily distracted..

. As an adult I fared a bit better in the fishing department. Ive caught halibut and ling cod in the Bering Sea. shark and sea bass in the Gulf of Mexico rainbow trout and pike by the bucketful in pristine Alaskan lakes. and bream, bluegill, crappie, and catfish from rivers and ponds all over Tennessee but I still dont consider myself much of a fisherman.. it isnt something that I actively seek out as a hobby.

. having said that, there are a few catches that I will always remember.. fishing is funny that way, I guess.. like those perfect golf shots that you hit once per 18 holes

. I hooked a baby bluegill once when I was about 8 years old. It wasnt much bigger than a silver dollar, but I was thrilled.. I wrote about it once a long time ago I will never forget that catch.

. another time I was fishing off The Kuluk Clipper out in the Bering Sea and hooked a cod while trying for halibut.. I remember that when I reeled it in it was already dead from the change in pressure me having hooked it while it was so deep in the water.. the poor beasts eyes had popped from their sockets and its stomach was poking out of its mouth..a helluva way to go, for sure.

. I remember hooking a hellbender while fishing in the Tellico River. Damn thing scared the bejesus out of me when I reached down to pick it up.. 12 inches long with beady little eyes.

. I think that you have to have a certain mindset to truly be a fisherman its not like hunting, really.. for with every cast of your line, there is hope.. and with every twist of the reels handle, there is anticipation.. and that is the thing, you know?..... there is an overwhelming beauty in having the capacity to be so hopeful, optimistic, and unswerving and so incredibly steadfast as to keep on casting.. cast after cast

. I dont have that. but I do admire it.

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Toothless....

... for those of you who are wondering what I am doing on this fine, humid, sunsoaked evening, my cat is over at Elisson's demonstrating.....

... and in other news, the local spider population around here is now on a rather marked decline... I say this since a fully-grown lizard of some sorts was just spotted running out from under the blogroom table with a hairy spiderleg hanging out of his toothless maw.....

... I definitely need more patio time this evening.....

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Waiting.....

. Well, I am happy to inform you fine, gentle people that the question of the glued mirror has been conquered. ( I know that you guys were at your wits ends worrying and I am sorry that I made yall wait so long). Oh, and thanks for all the helpful tips, by the way. you guys are wonderful

. But in the end?..... yeah, I bailed.. sure, sure, I took the weak-willed route and decided to just tape around it and paint the wall as best I can but it should look alright just as long as I never break the mirror in a fit of passionate angst or anything.. and tomorrow is The Day, incidentally.. so as the Sun rises in the morning, the area around the mirror will get painted.. and hey, with any luck, it should look just grand like they say of old, rubberneckers, we do live in hope.

. Also, I opened my special Bowmore this evening and I have not been disappointed.. the Dawn is truly remarkable.. smoky and with a bit of iodine and citrus.. it truly is a beautiful malt. and one well worth savoring

the thunderstorms missed us again today, in case you were wondering which is a pity, really as we certainly do need the moisture. all light and thunder and no action, once again

ahhhh, but tomorrow is another day.. so well wait and see how that pans out

until then, I am off to sip my malt and ponder just what I should post at Brother Elissons house while he is away vacationing in Cancun..

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Mirrors....

I eased into town earlier today and enjoyed a wonderful lunch with Big Stupid Tommy. It was a great meeting. He even brought me a present!.... of course, it was a book about Zombies, so I oohed and ahhed for a while and told him wonderful, thoughtful, and nice he was. but deep down?.... it certainly threw me right off my Triple Prime Burger even though it was seared to a hardy, well-done consistency

.. still, though, even with the Zombies providing a bit of a mood-kill, we still managed to have a good time. Tommy is a goodun, folks.. and as usual, it is always a pleasure to watch him gnaw on chicken breasts..

in other news (in regards to the destruction redecorating of the Master Bathroom), it appears that the gentlemen who built my humble home glued the mirror a 6ft X 4ft monster to the bathroom wall..

. look, I'm sorry, but WTF? . I mean, what kind of hammerheaded mouthbreather would glue my mirror to my wall?...... answer?... one worthless motherfucker, thats what kind of hammerheaded mouthbreather he is

. So, I beg upon yalls tender mercies (and because you guys are much smarter than me).

Anyone know how to safely take down a huge bathroom mirror without it being smashed into a million itsy bitsy pieces?.... OR, am I looking at the problem all wrong?... is there some secret, magical way that builders hang bathroom mirrors that I am not privy to?....

cmon. be nice and help a brother out.. otherwise Im busting that bastard up with a hammer come Monday and we can just buy a new mirror to replace it

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Music....

.. you know, I really am a man of very few talents.. sure, I can cook, clean, play a bit of guitar, and Im a fair shot with a rifle at ranges of less than 600 yards, but that really is just about the extent of my ability to do anything overly-productive so I am definitely in the market for some new party tricks.

. and stumbling around youtube today, I do believe that I have found the next notch to be carved into my hobby-list. I mean, just check this guy out..

. I dont know about you guys, but I think we should invite him to Helen this year. Hed make a grand addition to The Elderly Brothers, eh Jimbo?.. and Denny could even let him fill in for his kazoo solos itd certainly save him from the ignominy of having me slip it in at either an inopportune time or backwards. like last year. and the year before. and the year before that..

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Mercy...

I see Eric hasn't learned his lesson...he'll just let any old varmint up in here.

Of course, having known the Velocigod for some years now, I'm entirely aware that he might well have recruited one of his legions of "Intrepids" to hack into the Straight White Lodging, providing him plausible deniability for the content of the post linked above.

Since the president of the Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez fan club has seen fit to exhume the Senator's corpse once again, in order to cast disparagement upon mine and Eric's heritage as such:

I'd rather be dead, like a bump on a log,

Than red on the head, like the dick on a dog.

I feel obligated to return fire to the extent possible, always keeping in mind the VelociOne's facility with words, and insults.

Just call me Blondie. Or Reddie, as it were.

I have, you see, witnessed the phenomenon of Velociman hung over to the nth degree, huddled over a gargantuan plate of breakfast in where else? The Huddle House. Not jut any Huddle House, mind you, but the Helen, GA location. Helen, home of waitresses missing many teeth and possessed of more than their fair share of rear end. Yes, rubberneckers, hammerheads, and pinheads...I have the goods on Velocifeller, and I demand a retraction.

Or an extra glass of Artillery punch at the next Helen throwdown.

I know about the monkeys too, Velocifeller. And the spiders. And "breaking left".

Don't make me use it.

Just don't.

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Another....

... howdy, y'all..... what's up?....

Express Yourself LIVE

... this is a test...

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Visitin'....

.. well, ladies and gentlemen, I have just had the pleasure of cooking ribs, boiling up some beans, and kneading biscuits for the proprietor of Back Home Again indeed, I sent him on his way this morning after a healthy breakfast and an incredibly pleasant conversation.

Jerry, you are good people.. and dont think that I didnt feel a huge tinge of guilt this morning as we parted.. mainly for me whipping your tail mercilessly at 10-ball last night. but also for us stiffing the waitress from her pocket money this morning at Shoneys.

..... sure, I know that you footed the bill and left her a tip on your credit card.. but man, it just dont seen right to not leave cash at the table.. and yes, I know that both events were entirely my fault, but I still feel guilty for not leaving her some green..

. in short, I should have been a better host. But still, you are always welcome to visit again hell, I might have cash next time!..... so just give me an hour or so heads-up so that I can correctly proffer some boneless ribs for the grill, and I will always be set seriously, the Wife and I had a wonderful time..

... and I am proud of the way that you dug into my beans, man...... dude, I was impressed.....

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Duty....

... you know, as a "Big Brother" myself, stories like this just cheer my heart to no end.....

.... y'all think on that while I'm toiling today.......

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Imus.....

. good morning, rubberneckers. I hope this fine, frosty morning finds you all getting exactly what you deserve as for me, it is a orange juice, bacon, and biscuit kind of morning. which, of course, is exactly what I deserve..

. and for your morning reading enjoyment, I would like to direct you over to Skippys pad.. as usual, he hits the nail on the proverbial head with a stunning intellect. For instance, he has this to say:

.I seriously doubt that the Framers intended the First Amendment as a constitutional guarantee of syndication in the lucrative Boisie market, and anyone who uses the words "comedy" and Don Imus" in the same sentence should be forced to climb Kilimanjaro with broken hands and feet. Unless of course that sentence is "Scientists discover Imus is the antidote to comedy." that would be fine.

. which is quite insightful.. but then, we have the final shot across the bow..

If America has really been reduced to taking sides in a pissing match between two amoral shitheads like Don Imus and Al Sharpton, maybe the terrorists should win.

yea, verily. indeed..

go now and read the rest. my bacon beckons..

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Tamed....

..... I'm sorry, folks.... but this is just wrong, wrong, wrong.....

... people shouldn't even joke about crap like that.....

... oh, and by the way... ole Walrilla is almost there!...

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Babies....

not having any children of my own, I must say that this is still pretty damn funny..

... oh, and this has to be the best Viagra advertisement ever......

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Elisson....

.... hey, whatever he is gifting, it has gotta be good..... so go over now and visit.... he'll think it was me and I'll get the prize!... (I do promise to share, though.... you guys know how sensitive that I am... and I am always fair...).....

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Hands....

.. I have been analyzed. My goodness..

... everything you ever wanted to know about me and MORE!....

... scary stuff, if you ask me....

Update: .... as is my idiom, I am off to town in search of a hot lunch and a cool beverage. and then, perhaps, a movie. so yall be careful out there. drive safely, chew your food well, and take your vitamins oh, and dont talk to strangers. unless theyre really, really interesting..

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Guns...

... you know, I've never wanted to own a Glock.... but I do know quite a few people that do own Glocks.... and, to a MAN, each of them would agree wholeheartedly with this post..... even right up to the "chambering of the 155mm HE round".......

.... which is kinda sad, really..... but hey, it's good to have customer loyalty..... and Glock has that in spades......

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Twisted....

. A while back, ole Oom Keesie posted a few interesting pictures of metal people that hed found out on the net. whimsical things, they were still quite good so in his comments I mentioned that I once made myself a big copper lizard during a fit of insufferable boredom that I was experiencing a few years back.. you know, as you do.

well, as the internet is one crazy-assed place, Mr. Keesie asked (of course) to be blessed with a photo of my amazing lizard.. and honestly, who am I to deny that poor African a chance to gaze lovingly at my big copper lizard?.... hell, as far as I know, it is a one-of-a-kind. an original piece of artistic sculpturein that I created with my own two little hands, a chisel, a hammer, a drill, a pocket knife, an anvil, and a pair of pliers.

anyway, my lizard is composed of seven pieces of copper.. either wound wire, single-strand wire, or cut piping that had been flattened and shaped

.. one piece of heavy-gauge wire that I twisted and bent to create the main skeleton/structure two more pieces of single-strand wire which wound across the head (creating the tongue) and down the neck and front legs to be bent into the front two feet and two more pieces twisting around the belly. and down the back legs to create the back feet.. the head is an old piece of copper piping that I clipped with a chisel and then beat-to-shape on an anvil. And the final piece of copper is some fine wire that I used to sew the head-plate onto the circular loop of the skeleton.

it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. especially when you consider that the whole design was thought up by me and my Father late one evening while I was drinking gin and he was zoned out on Duragesic patches..

.. and the added bonus is that the whole thing is completely bendable you can twist that badboy into just about any pose you would ever desire for a big, tarnished copper lizard to be in.. but right now?.... hes hanging on the wall near the pool table with his scrawny neck craned around as if hes watching the game.. check it out, here he is..

.... my lizard.....

sure, sure, the lighting isnt all that great. and the angles are a bit funky. But thats him.. my one and only sculpture.. a copper dinosaur-lizardy type thing.. and in my defense, hey, I made this little guy before I ever started a blog. I mean, its not like I wanted anyone to ever actually SEE my work

... oh, and the music in the background?.... Paul Lamb & The Kingsnakes covering "Madison Blues".... just in case y'all were wondering.......

.... mercy, folks... there must be something in the water... Brother Elisson is talking about reptiles too.....

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Posting....

... everyone's favorite Big Stupid Tommy is telling lies again about why he hasn't posted for a week.....

... I tell you, that boy has taken telling porkies to a whole new level..... go forth and be amazed, gentle reader......

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Monkeys....

. growing up in the rural East Tennessee and surrounded by 15 to 20 male cousins all roughly my age I often found myself a lions share of mischief.. roaming the hot countryside with .22 rifle in hand pretending to be Davy Crockett. swinging from the high rafters of the tobacco barn ala Tarzan. If you can think if up, then my cousins and I probably attempted it

having said that, however, we were never afforded an opportunity like the golden one El Capitan wrote about a few days ago..

.. 14 year old boys. mercy. all that I can say is? our poor, poor Mothers and Fathers. and the really funny thing is that I know of quite a few bloggers who have children at (or swiftly approaching) that age. You guys and gals know who you are. and yall are in for quite a ride..

.. trust me.

anyway, as I made my very first pot roast a few weeks back and utterly kicked its ass, I shall be attempting climb that culinary pinnacle once again this afternoon word.. and I am hugely optimistic that it will be out-of-this-world on the tastiness scale. yes, yes, gentle rubberneckers, I am just that fucking good.

so enjoy your Sunday, people. it is absolutely glorious here. Im off to hold down the patio furniture and listen to the birds argue over nesting sites

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Birth....

.... here's a shot from yesterday.... sadly, it's how posts get born around these parts......

posts_small.jpg

.... I need more coffee.....

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Fast...

... what a world, people..... I post videos of lowing herds and The Bitterman throws up a clip of him chasing some curves....

... mercy, I think that I need a more exciting hobby....

.. in other news, I found this over at Amazingly Enough..... my day is just getting better and better..... whoo hoo!....

... I'm off to town to lunch with my Mother and Brother at a new little Italian place that just opened..... I'm thinking veal....

UPDATE: ... according to RSM and this story, perhaps my video was more exciting than I knew!?.... I tell you what, people, I am a lot luckier than I originally thought!...

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Hammock....

. Well, Leesas Blog Battle is almost over. cheers and a big thank you to all who took the time to vote. I appreciate yalls time and effort. Oh, and I promise not to get myself nominated for anything else that requires blogger participation.

still, though, you guys rock. Im running a tight second place and its been a lot of fun Ive enjoyed reading a few new blogs that I had not seen before and that is always a good thing.

. Time is ticking by slowly this Sunday for some reason, and I just cant put my finger on it. Tennessee is scheduled to party-down with Virginia at noon on the tube, and I have two excellent salmon cutlets marinating in a bourbon & pecan mixture that is so good that it makes you want to smack your Momma for never having made it for you as a child..

but other than that, tis just business as usual around my humble, rural acre the grass is greeing, the dogwoods are budding, but it is still a bit too breezy to have some quality hammock time.

. the day is coming though, and it is just around the corner.

after all, soon well all be bitching about it being too damn hot outside.. at least none of the local mosquitoes have hatched out yet counting blessings over here, boss!.... hey, Id rather be forced to lay in the hammock covered in a fleece than slathered with anti-bug spray any day

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Groups....

four whitetail doe skirted the edge of the tree-line out back this morning as I drank my coffee.. they kept close to the tangled woodland and furtively stretched their necks out over my newly green lawn to test the grass with their lips.

delicate things secretive and fragile they moved with precision and there was an overwhelming aura of caution that permeated the air when you watched them move not timid, no, ready to flee or fight, but not resigned to their fate.

individuals, and part of a group. I watched them for nearly fifteen minutes before they disappeared into the gray maze of the budding, leafless oaks and poplars..

you know, its hard to be a voyeur around these parts, but I give it one hell of an effort.

... oh, and go and vote now, dammit.... the wimmins are kicking my tail.....

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Books!....

so Im sitting here tired and sunburned ( tired from the trip to the gym that my Evil Brother forced upon me early this morning and sunburned from my patio time while trying to recover from aforementioned gym trip/saga.. ) and I am at a complete loss for words..

sure, sure, I could tell all you hammerheads about the infamous Claxton Rattlesnake Wrestling Excursion, but where would the fun in that be?... hey, if yall want to know what goes on with the Jawja Bloggers hit town for a blogmeet, then come along!.... dont be expecting yours truly to be dishing out the dirty details for all you sit-at-home types after the fact. you want to run with the Big Dogs?... then get your lazy asses off of the porch and howl a little..

.. so, other than that?.... I got nothing.. hell, Ive got so much nothing that I am thinking of starting up a sale on nothing and offering free, freshly made cupcakes to anyone wholl line up to take a spoonful of my nothing off my hands. Yeah, its that bad. and to top it off, there is a Blog Battle going on while I am woefully content-less!!.... mercy, folks.. woe betide the blog-loafer, people.. hey, vote if you want, but I dont deserve to win..

anyway, as I was sitting around getting burned by the Sun this afternoon, I was casually leafing through an ancient book of poetry that I was gifted a while back by Army Wife Toddler Mom when she visited.. an original Ogden Nash, ladies and gentlemen... and in it, I found these lines which just made my day. behold..



I Must Tell You About My Novel, by Ogden Nash

My Grandpa wasnt salty,
No hero he of fable,
His English wasnt faulty,
He wore a coat at table.
His character lacked the color
Of either saint or satyr,
His life was rather duller
Than that of Walter Pater

Look at Grandpa, take a look!
How can I write a book!

His temper wasnt crusty,
He shone not forth majestic
For barroom exploits lusty,
Or tyranny domestic.
He swung not on the gallows
But went to his salvation
While toasting stale marshmallows,
His only dissipation.

Look at Grandpa, take a look!
How can I write a book!

My Uncle John was cautious,
He never slipped his anchor,
His probity was nauseous,
In fact he was a banker.
He hubbed no hubba hubbas,
And buckled he no swashes,
He wore a pair of rubbers
Inside of his galoshes.

Look at my Uncle, take a look!
How can I write a book!

My other Uncle, Herbie,
Just once enlarged his orbit,
The day he crushed his derby
While cheering James J. Corbett.
No toper he, or wencher,
He backed no horse or houri,
His raciest adventure
A summons to the jury.

Look at my Uncles, take a look!
How can I write a book!

Round my ancestral menfolk
There hangs no spicy aura,
I have no racy kinfolk
From Rome to Gloccamora.
Not nitwits, not Napoleons,
The mill they were the run of,
My family werent Mongolians;
Then whom can I make fun of?

Look!
No book!

. Things are dry, people. very, very dry and hey!... Look!... no book!....

bloody hell.

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Napping...

. Good afternoon, my fine friends. Its a glorious day here in the valley. The woodpeckers are woodpeckering in the back yard, the froglets are singing in the empty lot across the street, and Im just inside from swinging in the hammock on the deck and wishing everything would just shut the fuck up so that I could catch a nap. (it takes more than a mere 24 hours to properly recover and recharge ones batteries after a successful blogmeet, people)

in other news, I see that I have been honored by being a finalist in Leesas Battle of the Blogs endeavor.. Leesa, maam, thanks. Youve put a lot of hard work into it, and you deserve a medal or something or maybe just a really nice BLT on white toast with some ice cold Newcastle to wash it all down. but either way, thank you for including me in your competition.

as for the rest of you rubberneckers, get over there and read some of the fine blogs represented. And vote for the one that you like the bestest..

what am I up to?.... Im off in search of sunscreen and a set of ear plugs. its nappin time in Tennessee, folks..

Update: .... everyone's favorite blogging Hillbilly has a pome poem that all bloggers should read.... that is all....

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Rattlesnakin'.....

... I'm away, rubberneckers..... 'tis That Time once again..... and I have to say, I am absolutely beside myself with anticipation.... see, I have never seen a Miss Rattlesnake before.... I'll be sure to snap her photo for you guys....

... so y'all be careful now... and remember....... it's a jungle savannah out there......

.. oh my....

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Blogs...

ladies and gentlemen, should you feel so inclined this evening, please venture over and have a read (me and my compatriot are in Game Four)..... but hey, I aint much for battlin (unless it is Scotch-induced), but feel free to give my fellow blogger a read and then cast a vote one way or the other..

were all cool, children. and its all in fun. This blogging business is taking psychosis and cirrhosis to a whole new and lovable level.. and hey, it is a very good thing that we let all of our horizons be broadened from time to time.

.. there is room in this here blogosphere for all of us......

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Entertaining....

. It is an unfortunate fact that we all live in a world of free-flowing misconceptions. our news, literature, art, culture - they can all be interpreted differently. point of view, education, morality, and state-of-mind they are all act in concert to form our uniquely personal perspectives.

we witness strange tangents of thought arcing through our lives on an almost daily basis. And they arrive on our plate of daily intake in a glorious myriad of forms. conspiracy theories, half-heard punch lines, misspellings on the CNN tickertape. and in some cases, from blogs.

I mean, just check this out. via El Capitan.

According to a couple of sewing websites, pants can require about 1 1/2 yards to 3 yards of fabric to make. You're a pretty tall rangy guy, Eric, so we'll say 3 yards. We'll subtract half a yard to make up the difference between fabric yards and square yards, leaving us with 2.5 square yards.

Dividing 2.5 by 0.042 sq. yards per dead mole gives us 59.52 dead moles! Add in another half dozen for belt loops, zipper covers and pockets, and we're up to 66 dead moles!

So, it looks like you're walking around with your ass covered in 66 dead moles.

. Moleskins, indeed..

.. have I told you guys recently just how much I love yall?.... well, just because I dont say it very often hey, that doesnt mean that I dont.

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Health...

. further to commenter Rey Bs concerns, I am incredibly happy to report to you all that I managed to keep last nights chops from bursting into flames.. and thus, I kept my luxurious pelt singe-free (my right arm still hasnt totally recovered from last weeks lamb chop related firebombing) ..

. so yall can rest easy, gentle people. I know how each of you dote upon my health and stay up late into the night wringing your hands worrying for my safety.. but I continue to remain happily orbiting around the cusp of Just Plain Awesome and One Foot In The Grave. Yin and Yang, and all that funky stuff. hey, it is the way were supposed to live.

as a case in point, I stopped off at the local Krystals yesterday lunchtime and introduced my Brother in Law to the sensory overload that is the Krystal Chili Cheese Pupladies and gentlemen, he was absolutely awed by the sheer amount of goodness that could be crammed into such a tiny bun. Yea, verily I even heard God Bless America slither forth from between his chili-grease stained lips after only the second bite!....

and after our nutritious meal?... you guessed it, people, I was off to my medical appointment and there the tender hands of a knowledgeable professional kneaded me back into healthy alignment and soothed my knotted muscles.

Yin and Yang.. see?....

anyway, were all off for a nice drive into the mountains this afternoon to try to clear our heads with some fresh air after last nights marathon poker session & smoke-in. after all, I need to rebuild my strength as much as possible the First Annual Jawja Blogger Rattlesnake Wrestling Competition in Claxton is only two weeks away.

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Ends....

.. you know, Im just as fragile as the next guy and to badly quote Shakespeare, if you cut me, do I not bleed?....

.. sure, I know that was rhetorical, but yes, I do

and that is precisely why I cannot stand idly by and let this Africans slander slip by without retort.

.. for it is not for MY honor that I defend, people, but that of my darling Sylvia his photo does not NEARLY do her justice. And trust me, folks, she has a rear end that is sexy as hell. Here is a photo of the real backside of Sylvia.


from_behind_small.jpg

mmmm curves. subtle, soft, and perfect.....

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Delivered....

from time to time Ive been told that when it comes to presents, gifts, or general tokens of esteem, I am a hard man to buy for. but I am here to tell you, folks, that nothing could be further from the truth. for, after all, I am a simple, low-maintenance kind of fellow Im a jeans & a tee-shirt, meat & potatoes guy. and I tend to enjoy just about every present regardless of what it may be..

. today, all of that changed. For now I own a big, brown, hairy, Texas bulls nutsack that has been lovingly fashioned into some sort of be-handled pouch..

. of course, I have Elisson to thank for todays UPS-delivered surprise. And I really wish that he could have seen my face as I dug through the Styrofoam peanuts and blindly laid hands on that fuzzy bag and hey, it took a while before the profundity of exactly what it was that I was holding in my hands sunk in.

. initially I imagined that it was a sort of warning from one of you rabid rubberneckers (like a stallions severed head in the bed when one awakes after pissing off a mobster). a macabre calling card of sorts to show that they knew where I lived and that MY nutsack might be next. but fortunately I found the card that contained the explanation from Elisson that he simply saw it and just KNEW that I HAD to have one!.....

. listen up, dear souls. THAT is love.. it takes a special kind of bond for one to feel so completely uninhibited with ones fellow blogger that it is deemed appropriate to send a sun-dried scrotum across 1500 miles.

I am blessed and awed and humbled and humbled.. yes, I said humbled twice. You should see the size of the satchel, people. sure, the contributor may now be an ex-bovine but if I were a betting man, Id say that his missus was one satisfied cow..

nutsack_bag_small.jpg

... actually, I was quite surprised by how supple the hair was.... I'd have thought it would have been more coarse.... hey, you live and learn.....

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Time....

. whoa. check this out. hardcore, if I might add...

.... mercy.... and now there is a statue of him standing right beside Parliament.. time heals everything, I guess..

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Jumping...

good morning, fellow travelers. I hope that this fine morning glows in upon you with the promise of warmth and sunshine. even if it is raining outdoors

as for me, I am happy to report that Mr. Helpful is alive and well and still rocking and rolling. Go forth and give him a virtual noogie for making us all check his content-less blog for months and months.

.. in other news, I injured my back a bit yesterday while playing basketball at the YMCA I am sure that my Chiropractor is just going to be all tulips and bonbons when I see them later in the week oh, well its nice to get a verbal smackdown once in a while. It keeps you humble. but still, what he Hell was I thinking?... basketball, for goodness sake. people arent supposed to be jumping around like that. its pure craziness, if you ask me.

I just need to take a step back and find a more sedentary way of getting my heart rate up perhaps watching an action movie with lots of suspense would be a suitable proxy for sports?.... hey, it might work.

. Oh, and before I forget, ole Elisson is asking for a name for the Elissonmobile. My vote is for Norman. Ive seen his ride and it seems to suit it. so head on over and give him your two cents worth.

. Im off to take a long, hot shower and then stretch, stretch, stretch.. otherwise my doctor is gonna kick my ass on Thursday..

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Packard....

.. I humbly offer, for your Sunday morning reading enjoyment, a wonderful tale from Winston

... life, rubberneckers.... it is a fascinating thing.....

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News....

. according to Fox News this afternoon, parking ticket writers in San Francisco are being taught verbal judo..

my goodness.. yall be careful out there. we live in a dangerous, dangerous world

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Farming....

.. I ask you all honestly. when, oh when will the madness stop?..... that pig sure looks happy though, doesnt it?....

.... I've always been good with animals....

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