Stand By....

...well, as with most things in life, change is a natural progression... so it is with SWG... I have just changed my DNS server entries to point me to the beautiful land of Munuvia... I have my passport ready... plenty of chewing gum for the flight... and, an old copy of Military History Magazine to read in the departure lounge.... so, if my site acts more fucked up than usual over the next 24 hours, just hang in there... soon, all will be well with the world... that is all...

Hummingbird...

… I have a painted glass USMC emblem hanging from the window of the blogroom… the window faces out towards the woods behind the Straight White House… no one can see the little EGA, so, I really don’t know why I hung it… still, it gives me pleasure to look up occasionally and see it… however, just five minutes ago, it provided me with an unexpected bit of slapstick humor…

…I was just sitting here drinking the morning’s coffee… enjoying my membership in the Congress of Nekkid Bloggers… and reading some blogs… when I heard a faint tapping on the window… I looked up to find an emerald colored hummingbird trying to get to the red and gold USMC emblem… the poor thing seemed a bit confused… he must have thought himself one lucky bird to have such a large red and gold feast all for his own pleasure….heh.. that bird tried from every angle imaginable to suck the nectar out of it… in desperation, he actually threw himself against the glass a few times… and, hummingbirds aren’t exactly built like linebackers… so, the glass withstood each onslaught… but, one thing can be said for hummingbirds… they are tenacious little bastards.. he wanted his nectar, dammit, and he was gonna GET it…. still, he failed in the end… and, even if he HAD breached the defenses… there was no nectar to be had… I suppose a life-lesson can be found in this, children… but, I’m confused as to which one…

… perhaps it is simply, “be careful of what you wish for”…. or, “drive, and motivation are crucial, but you must understand your goals”… hmmm… nahh.. what about, “what you want might not always be good for you”… “the golden ring you reach for is not as shiny as you thought”…. or, perhaps it is something deeper.. and the Stones were right… you can’t always get what you want… sometimes, you just get what you need…

…in any case, caveat emptor, gentle people… as is with this blog… hummingbirds and readers are shipmates here…

Places of Interest....

... Thursday night... after the long drive to Nashville... we didn't venture too far from the Hotel.... fearful of getting too far from our beds, we chose instead to dunk ourselves in the local libations of the cozy Mariott bar... it was quite pleasant... friendly... quiet.... and, we talked till nearly Midnight....

...when Friday morning dawned, the Wife set off to do her business... this, of course, left me alone to do an early morning recon for the upcoming night's festivities... so, I walked around scoping things out.... after checking out Nashville's librarians, I wandered down to 2nd Avenue.... then, up Broadway towards the Ryman Auditorium... and, I came up with a plan... since I had spent 3 hours walking around downtown, I went back to the room to draw a strategic drinking map of the area...

...we began the afternoon by visiting Tootsie's Orchid Bar.... Carley was our bartender, by the way.. and, yes... she IS the "sweetest woman in Nashville"..... anyway, most of the patrons, as it turned out, were former Jarheads... and, I actually had a good chat with a regular named Mike... he'd lost his right arm in Vietnam, but it didn't seem to slow down his beer opening (or drinking) ability one little bit... and, we all had a good time...

...a few drinks later, we arrived at The Stage on Broadway.... there, we found Clay Canfield playing cowboy music... we ended up staying there longer than I had planned... he was awesome.. his ability on the guitar was incredible... I was hooked... so, I went up when he paused his set, and bought a CD... he signed it for me.... people, I just have to tell you... music played live is so different than just hearing it on a CD... and Nashville, my friends, is indeed Music City.... if you want to sample some of his stuff, go over here... I highly recommend it....

...so, three sheets to the wind, we find ourselves at the banks of the Cumberland River.. and, dinner is enjoyed at the Big River Brew House.... afterwards, we stagger past three policemen on horseback... up 2nd Avenue... towards Mulligans... and, a few more pubs that we can't exactly remember the names of... in short, good food... good music.. and, probably a wee bit too much good booze... still, in spite of our over-indulgence, a wonderful night was had by all.... so, if you are ever in need of a recon for drinking venues in any given town, I'm your man... and, I'm cheap... hire me...

The Wind...

....as I started to mention earlier, it is WINDY today... not exactly the kind of day I would volunteer to ride an hour in a 6 seater Piper... but, alas, duty called, and I answered.... still, I suppose it beats the 4 hour drive... but, as I was telling my partner-in-crime today, the drive was actually really nice.... us hillbillies don't get a chance to see cotton fields very often... anyway, to cut to the chase, the plane jumped around the whole damn way back... serious jumpin' around.. SERIOUS... and, I loved every second of it... firstly, I met the pilot this morning, and helped him stow some cargo.. and, he was the kind of guy who immediately instilled confidence.... so, I figured I was in safe hands... and, I was.... secondly, I always figured that as soon as the plane took off, you were "dead"... so, you might as well enjoy it... you aren't going to be "alive" again until the thing lands... so, relax... enjoy the view... I mean, it's not like I could fly the damn plane if the pilot suddenly slumped over the yoke, right?... so, in my mind, why worry?... you're dead till you land... so, just relax...

...well, I was hungry as we boarded the plane... and, I had bought myself some good ole Middle Tennessee healthfood.... 2 corndogs, and a BBQ Pork sandwich from a local gas station... all to be chased down with a Mountain Dew... hey, shut up.. I know how to ride in style.... anyway, as we taxied, I was busy eating... as soon as we took off, I had already eaten the corndogs, and was busy with the greasy pork sandwich... the plane was jumping left.. right.. up...up... down... and, my Boss turns around... almost green, and says to me... "How can you EAT in a situation like THIS??"... what was my reply?..

.."Dammit... I sure as HELL ain't gonna die HUNGRY!"...

...well, that didn't do much to soothe their mind... so, we continued the rest of the flight with me trying to sleep... which I couldn't do... mainly because the shaking plane kept bashing my noggin against the headrest... and my Boss crossing the line between oaths, prayers, and some pretty damn good profanity every 30 seconds... heh... turbulence... you gotta love'em... ya know.. I don't mind being a passenger... but, I sure as HELL would not have wanted to be the pilot today...

Back from the Trip..

...well, here I sit... fresh back from visiting my Bro in Nashville.... he looked really good.... he is coming through his surgery really well.. but, he has one helluva scar.. still, he looked good.... he's back to bench-pressing 245.... and, he can still dunk a basketball left-handed... so.. cancer can kiss his ass, at the moment... two bouts of chemo.... two surgeries.... and, the boy is jumping around like a squirrel on crystal meth.... heh... he continually amazes the shit out of me....

...the drive, once again, was fabulous... Spring is incredible up on the plateau.... wild Wisteria was everywhere along I-40... purple and lilac blossoms the whole way.. my Mother drove her new "French Silk" colored LS, and therefore, she had control of the radio... which, normally is a problem.. but, she had been shopping.... so, we had the Eagles, Billy Joel, and Credence Clearwater Revival on display for the 7 hours we spent on the road...

...in any case, I'm back now... and, I must do my duty... during the drive today, I tried to think up some worthwhile prizes for you bastards who donate to the Glorious Fighting Fusiliers for Freedom campaign... and, I have come up with the following... (as prescribed by the Straight White Wife).... oh, and by the way, they are STILL taking volunteers....

...anyone who can prove that they donated monies.. ANY monies.... from a link on my site to our cause... will be allowed to propose a topic for a post.. all offers will be obeyed.... if you donate money, then request a topic, I will write at LEAST a 100 word post, in your honor... on that topic.... there... satisfied?...

..so.... now.... donate!

donatebutton.jpg


New Tires....

...last week, I had new tires put on the ole buggy that I drive... that means that I only got 20K miles out of my Pirellis.... which sucks... it came from the factory with Pirelli tires...

...so, being busy at work one day, I relied upon my old Cousin, Big Daddy C, to help out a fellow traveler... I, you see, know nothing of machinery, cars, tires, and such... I have always found it easier to take the car to a professional mechanic... whereas; Big Daddy always performs his own maintenance.. it only seemed natural to let him choose my new tires... plus, he is notoriously tight.. so, I figured he'd get me a good deal... heh...

...well, like I said, I was inundated with helpdesk calls that day... and the Mail Server was down... so, I just tossed him my credit card, and directed him to Tirerack.com... told him to pick out some good ones, and go ahead and purchase them online...

...a few hours later, he arrived in my office with a big smile on his face... "I got your tires, Eric... they should be here in two days... I didn't choose those Pirellis, though... the Michelin ones seemed to be a much better tire... so, I got you for of them.. I got a pretty good deal, too... 188 bucks..."

...now, my dear ones, I was overjoyed with this news.... I knew that the Pirellis were almost 150 bucks each... so, having stared a possible 600 buck Vulcanized Rubber bill in the face, I was thrilled....

..."That's great, man! How'd you get them so cheap?"...

..."Well, I called up the dealership, and they wanted $230 for the same tire that was on Tirerack.com at $188... so, I bought you four of them.... I did some looking around, and that is the absolute BEST tire you can buy for your model of car..."

...and, that is when the penny dropped, quite literally... $188 each... yes, I said each... the sweet elation I had felt earlier.... the idea of getting a quality tire at a cheapskate rate.... was crushed by Big Daddy's words.. there was almost an audible "crunch" noise when it died... like the one you hear when placing the heel of a well-polished penny-loafer on a scrabbling Junebug.... then applying a little pressure.....

...but, upon further inquiry, he confessed that he was only looking out for my best interest.... you know what I mean.... the most comfortable ride... best - and safest - in all weathers... least road noise... etc... etc... so, I let him off the hook... but, I did learn one thing about people you perceive as tight with money... they are usually only tight with THEIR money... your money?... well, hey, that's a different story all together

Stuff I Heard Today...

...damn... sometimes, I just LOVE living in the South... and am PROUD to be a Southerner... here are a few snippets of Wisdom I overheard today during my various and sundry travels...

..."He was busier than a three-peckered puppy"... I have absolutely no idea what this means... so, don't bother asking...

..."He's his father's Son... kind hearted, but half retarded".... heh.. I know the kid.. AND the Father... and, yep... that was putting it mildly....

..."people around here?... well, they can be broke down into a few different categories... Creekers, Hillbillies, Knobites, Rednecks, Townies, and Foriegners"... in a simplistic way, it pretty much sums up the denizens of rural East Tennessee... present company included, of course...

Murder Most Foul...

...alright, people... whoever the hell invented the goddam Women's Entertainment Channel should be located immediately, and shot right between the eyes.. or, double-tapped gently with a 9mm... Military style... either way is fine, I don't care... THEN, we need to find the no-good sonofabitch who invented the Lifetime Movie Network... THAT Bastard should get it next... except, with them, they get slowly boiled in a vat of white vinegar first.... then, pulled out at the last minute to have their skin peeled off... out and out Death is too good for that prick/bitch... I want THEM to fucking SUFFER....

...the line for the lynch mob starts on the left, folks... these insidious chick flicks must be culled, and I mean NOW... evil is truly among us now, children..

...all able-bodied troops are ordered to form in the Kitchen at 1900 tonight for a briefing... Operation "Get Back The Fucking Remote Control" will kick off at 1930 sharp... after the victory, all wounded may retire to the Blogroom to await medicinal Scotch....

The Clarinet..

..I did this post back a few weeks ago... and, enjoyed it completely... the music.. the ride... the weather.... wonderful... and, just this morning, I get a message from someone who liked it too....

From Bob's e-mail.... after I told him that I "discovered" Bechet about 10 years ago...

Hi Eric: I've played clarinet since age 13 and I'm 75 now. I "discovered" Sidney around 1949 via his recording of Summertime on the radio program Midnight Special, then hosted by Chicago's Studs Terkel. I recently finished reading John Chilton's book "Sidney Bechet, The Wizard of Jazz" and can recommend it highly to anyone interested in SB's work and life. If he had only recorded Summertime and Petit Fleur it would have been sufficient legacy for music lovers. I came across Leonard's cd while searching on SB's records. I must say that it is a rare find and refreshing in its style. Also for SB admirers is Bob Wilber's Tribute to Bechet at the Smithsonian vhs tape. SB's few movie appearances are not highlights of his life by any means! Best Regards, Bob

..ladies and gentlemen... this e-mail made my day.. proof positive that there is a link between the ages..... I am 31... Bob is 75.... and, both of us can recognize the genius of Bechet... I don't play clarinet... but, Bob does.... maybe musicians like Bob - and I hesitate to call myself a musician - have a propensity for acknowledging THE TALENT.... I ain't got it... but, Sidney did... so, without further hesitation.... here is another selection of Bechet.. enjoy...

..the flirty... seductive... "Blues in the Air"....

..the deep.... crying.... "Blues in Thirds"....

..and, my personal favorite... the "Texas Moaner Blues".... to which, I often imagine is being played whilst I kick ass in my poolroom...

Update:.. all of these songs were recorded between 1940 and 1941... just in case you were wondering..

Good Ole Bugs...

...a lot of reminiscing has been going on over at Velociman's abode.... and, I just read what Acidman had to say... hell... you know what?... both of them are right... Tom and Jerry can kiss my ass... Bugs and Daffy... they were the shit... I was brought up watching them... and, I was just remembering my personal favorite Bugs Bunny episode... Super Rabbit... I dare anyone to find a better episode featuring Bugs.... here is a little tidbit on the episode that I found over here... enjoy, children... enjoy...

The second short of the year was Chuck Jones' Super Rabbit, first released on April 3, 1943. In parody of the influential superhero Superman, who was at the time starring in a series of animated shorts by Fleischer Studios, Bugs gained super powers. This was a result of his consumption of super carrots, developed by Professor Canafrazz. His first mission was to face Cottontail Smith, a Texas cowboy notorious for his hatred of rabbits. This was also the last mission of Bugs as a superhero. In a bit of patriotism prevalent at the time Bugs abandons his colorful costume and proclaims. that "This looks like a job for a real super hero". Then he reappears wearing a uniform of the United States Marine Corps, at the time still involved in World War II.

..oh, and ... here are some quotes.....

..Cottontail Smith.. any relation there, Rob?

Helpless...

... well, I journeyed up to Knoxville this morning... I stopped at the McDonald's on the Airport Motor Mile, and purchased two of everything on the menu.. hell, you never know what people are gonna want to eat... and, I didn't actually know how many people were going to be there... so, I bought a bit extra.... better to have too much... than not enough...

...I arrived at the UT Medical Center around 11:30... had a chance to see him at the 2 O' Clock visitation... man, he was hammered... he's gonna live.... he's gonna survive.. but, damn, he was hammered... broken left hand & wrist... broken left femur.. three broken ribs.. punctured left lung... crushed pelvis... broken hip.. he's one lucky man.... so, yeah.. he's going to survive.. but, learning to walk again is gonna be a real blast... still, he's cut from some fine cloth... and.. he will endure.... that much is in our blood....

...the time before visitation was spent talking to his Mother and Father... they are handling things very well... and, I swear, my Aunt should have a damn blog... when we went out to have a smoke, she ranted to me for almost half an hour about EVERYthing.. from idiots who can't afford to clothe their children for buying lottery tickets... to the difference between a Harley Sportster and a Suzuki Crotch Rocket.... she was pissed... and, she vented... it was cool.. hell, her son was up on the 2nd floor busted all to hell... so, she was given a wide berth as far as I was concerned... my family gets like that, I suppose... we don't start any shit... and, rest assured... 100% of the time... we certainly ain't gonna TAKE no shit.... we've always been fighters... but, sometimes... life throws some shit your way that you can't fight back to... I guess my family just has a hard time dealing with being utterly helpless...

Gratitude...

…I owe one of my Uncles a great debt of gratitude…. He gave me a gift once… one that no one else could have… what was the gift?… well, because of him, we dug my Father’s grave…

…while my Father was battling cancer…. the Men of the family all decided that when my Dad finally passed… we would honor him by digging his grave by hand.. we had everything prearranged… the day after he died, we would all meet at the cemetery, and put in a full days work…. It would beat sitting around the house… it would give us something to do… and, in one way, it would be fitting for us to labor so hard for my Father.. he was always an incredibly hard worker… and was more well respected than any of us ever realized… but, when the day finally arrived, we had a meeting with the Undertaker, he convinced my Mother and I that it was not a good idea for us to dig the grave by hand…

…well… after we left the Undertaker’s office, we decided to drive by the cemetery to see the plot… it was a beautiful, sunny day… and, as we turned onto the little path towards his gravesite, there was my Uncle… digging… all alone… as we approached, he looked up and said… “I sure hope this is the right place…”… I couldn’t tell him that we’d changed our mind about digging… he had the whole grave about 6 inches deep… so, I just nodded to my Mother… told her to start making calls when she got back home… then, I took Uncle Ronnie’s shovel from his hands with tears in my eyes, and began digging…. Within half an hour, there were thirty Uncles, Cousins, and Friends helping dig… some manning shovels and wheelbarrows… some brought sandwiches… some brought drinks… some just came to be part of it…

…so, that was the gift that Uncle Ronnie gave to me… if he had not been there… by himself… digging alone… we would not have dug my Father’s grave by hand… we would have missed that wonderful day of brotherhood… that day of shared grief… that chance of giving tribute in work to my Father’s memory… and, until my dying day, I will be grateful to him for giving me that gift..

…I just received a call from my Mother… it seems that my Cousin has been in a bad motorcycle accident, and is currently up at the UT Medical Center on a respirator… so, we will be heading up there in the morning to relieve my Aunt and Uncle Ronnie for a few hours… but, as I sit here right now… after just hanging up the phone… I remember how grateful I am to my Uncle…. my Father’s Brother-in-law…. for the gift he gave me… we all have some debts that will never be paid in full…

Yesterday...

...things often burst in upon us... be they good.. or bad... life usually is a bull in a china shop.. the key is to roll with the punches.. don't freak out.. maintain your cool... deal with the pressure of the moment... and just maintain, man... yesterday was such a day... coolness was maintained... but, the after effects were very interesting... sometimes, it seems, calmness can be viewed as indifference...

...once I arrived home last night... long after the day's situation had passed... a mood fell over me... I get it sometimes after the pressure is gone, and the mission has been accomplished... kinda like a post-incident boredom... hard to explain...

... what is the cure for me?.... well.... last night, a combination of fine Scotch... relaxing music... and good company... all brought me back to the fore.. as I mentioned here, way back in December, this song depressed me... last night... with the Wife and I singing it together as we cooked dinner, it had the opposite effect... funny, that... same song.. same singer... different outcome.... so... enjoy, people....

Air America??...

...anyone ever heard of Mark Air?...

Wednesday Poolfest...

...here we go again, Boys and Girls.... Wednesday evening is upon us... the Wife is baking some Halibut.... my proverbial last meal of fish before meeting the Roman court... so, I shall at least be well fed before being thrown to the lions and jackals that visit my garage on every 7th day...

...as is the norm, I will post the results of tonight's bloodbath either later today... or.. in the sober light of the morning.. either way, I fear that the news shall not be good.. my pool playing ability, much like my guitar playing, has been in a funk as of late... I just gotta get inspired, I suppose....

Taxes...

...I had my taxes done today... and man, they must have seen me coming... as has happened the past two years, I was raped... viciously... by a sweet, gray-haired old lady named Betty.... of course, it wasn't her fault really.... but, the outcome was the same... I owe 1.5K to be paid by tomorrow's High Noon...

...I don't mind paying taxes... I really don't.... as long as I have enough money to stay warm, dry, keep myself in plenty of Single Malt, and purchase the occasional Porn Website access, I'm cool.... hey, what can I say?... I'm a simple kind of guy... but, what gets me is that after LAST year's fiasco, I thought 2003 would be a walk in the park... and in all truth, Brothers and Sisters, I was mistaken....

...a conspiracy is afoot, I'm afraid... way back in the day, I lived overseas for 8 years... blissfully ignorant of the long arm of the IRS, I never filed my US Income tax... in my simple Tennessean mind, I had not earned any money in the US, so why the hell did I need to file taxes?... well, 8 years after the fact, I begin proceedings to get the Wife's paperwork in order for Legal Alien status... (yeah, I still get loads of mileage out of calling her a Alien... Legal, of course)... and, lo and behold, the US Embassy asks me for my last three years Tax Forms... "Tax Forms?", says I, "WHAT Tax Forms??".... it would be a gross understatement to say that they were not amused...

...so, to cut a long and cheerful story short, I had to file my taxes... all 8 years.... in the same damn envelope.... so, I kinda figure that I am on some IRS Shitlist somewhere...

...last year, being Income Tax Virgins, we filed our first time... and, like most stories of Virginal Innocence being lost, it was a nightmare... the outcome? ...seemingly, neither of us had enough withheld... so, we had to cough up 1.2K... so, being that one painful lesson usually teaches your dumb ass, we decided to get our employers to up the Gov's skimming of our weekly wages... thwart those evil bastards by topping up their coffers 10 bucks at a time... and then, laugh come April next year...

...well, that was the plan... and, unlike Baldrick's, it was not cunning in the least... we let slip our overtime.... raises.... etc.. and even with extra money coming out every week, we STILL fell short... dammitalltohell... so, here I sit.. wondering where my plan fell apart... taxes... damn... the absolute ONLY reason I can think of to hate Spring....

Easter Dinner...

...today was a break from tradition here in Tennessee... as far back as I can remember, the various holiday grubfests were hosted by the great Matriarchs of the family... Great Grandma Delcie.... Great Aunt Louise... Grandma Ruby... but, in the past 10 years, the baton has been passed to the generation of my Mother and her Sisters... today however, a new page was turned... Cousin Scott hosted the Easter Feast.. that's right, children.. this very day, the baton of responsible hosting was passed to MY generation...

...sure, it is one thing to have a party at your house... invite a few friends over, and booze it up... being a cordial host for your extended family during the holidays?... now THAT is different story... I sat there today... watching 5 generations of my kin... fill Scott's home with stories and laughter... maybe we are indeed coming of age, our generation... he and his Wife did a helluva job... no one went hungry... no one got shot.... and Easter was celebrated... sure, the day had it's hiccups... faulty grill... running low on drinks... etc... but, in the final analysis, it was a great day... all problems were taken in stride... no dramas... smiles all around... even though the gentle April rain kept the young Cousins from hunting Easter Eggs... they didn't seem to mind...

...being a good host is an art... today, the job of familial hosting was passed to me and my Cousins.... I hope to handle my task, when assigned, with such grace and dignity...

...Happy Easter, everyone....

Glowing...

...some women just glow…. They radiate…. I know you all have heard people say things like… “she walked into the room, and lit it up”… well, it is true… I have seen it…I see it every day… and, some people do just that… what am I going on about?… well, I just read this, and I agree.. but, only partially….

…I don’t know exactly what it is… and, I’ve tried to pin it down in my mind… but, the old adage of beauty only being skin deep is flawed…. Beauty comes from a deeper place.. you can keep your damn Max Factor commercials…. I have seen beauty… and, no amount of make-up or fine clothes can make it happen…

…what is attractive?… is it the slight pupil dilation that you notice when She looks at you?…. is it the quickening of your heartbeat when you see Her smile?…a smile that is born of complete trust?… of complete joy?… is it the way that She never realizes she is utterly stunning?…. these things are attractive, people…

…beauty is pheromones… beauty is seeing joy reflected in Her face…. beauty is seeing strength of character hidden behind swimming blue eyes… beauty is the courage in Her face as she bites her bottom lip… beauty is the way Her ass sways when she walks.. (and that you are gonna love to watch no matter HOW big it gets).... beauty is an attitude…. beauty just IS… so, what makes women attractive?... I really don't know... what makes them beautiful?... a lot more things than we realize.. it's hard to describe... but, some women just glow…

Hiwassee...

... I'm heading up the beautiful Hiwassee River today to meet some friends... I plan on spending the day playing guitar and drinking beer.... so, no blogging until later tonight... hey, I'm a selfish bastard sometimes... oh, and trout shall be cooked later tonight, and consumed on the riverbank... there will be much rejoicing... so, bye for now, kiddies.... play amongst yourselves....

...damn.. I just realized something.... friends.. music... beer... fresh trout... blue skies... springtime... man, sometimes, my life just really is shit...

Easter...

...you know, as far as holidays go, Easter is one of my favorites... not because of the religious connotations... but, quite simply because Spring is here... I like Spring... I like Autumn better, but Spring will do.... right now, as I sit here, the dogwoods are blooming... two crazy bluebirds are chasing each other around all over the lawn... I'm not sure if one is chasing the other off... or chasing it down... after all, Spring IS the time for love...

...oh, that reminds me.... remember the friggin Easter Bunny?... well, last night "Ginger The Cat" produced the prettiest little bunny you've ever seen... yep... laid that sucker right down in the garage... and then, he looked up at us with those creepy green eyes.. as if to say... "what?.. you had a burrito last night, you bastard... hey, this is the same thing.. except for cats..."... of course, at least my cow-filled burrito was yummy.... the bunny didn't look that damn appetizing...

...so, standing there in my garage... looking at a steaming bunny... freshly missing a head... I suddenly found myself wandering through thoughts of Spring... you know what I'm talking about.... newborn bunnies... blooming dogwoods.... calm and balmy weather.. tulip bulbs... daffodils... and, love in the air... then, it suddenly hit me....

...I guess... as we trundle through our lives.. most of us never see Ginger closing in.... ahhhh... Spring... what a wonderful time of year.... sucks to be a bunny, though....

Rossetti...

...well, what little street cred I had is gonna be GONE after tonight.... this little box just keeps popping out classics... I remember this one so well... She was a beauty, by the way... and, no, I never even spoke to her...

Sudden Light

I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

You have been mine before,--
How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow's soar
Your neck turn'd so,
Some veil did fall,--I knew it all of yore.

Has this been thus before?
And shall not thus time's eddying flight
Still with our lives our love restore
In death's despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Arnold...

...oh, and the hits just keep on coming... for those of you who are anti-poetry, you might not want to come around tonight... because, at the rate I am finding this stuff, we are going to have a steady stream.... heh... this one is a beauty, though... ahhhh... the theme?.... universal... Unrequited Love, baby... I was one sappy 16 year old.... but, upon finding this poem in my stack of papers... I was suddenly moved again... so, with my box of memories open for all to see... I give you Mr. Arnold...

Longing

Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

Come, as thou cam'st a thousand times,
A messenger from radiant climes,
And smile on thy new world, and be
As kind to others as to me!

Or, as thou never cam'st in sooth,
Come now, and let me dream it truth,
And part my hair, and kiss my brow,
And say, My love why sufferest thou?

Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

Matthew Arnold

Poe...

... why? ... because I'm just in that kind of mood, that's why... yesterday, my Mother called me... she asked me to come over for a visit.... when I arrived, she had a box of old papers... letters... newspaper clippings... photos... stuff from my childhood... and, she said that she wanted me to have them... so, I spent most of yesterday afternoon... and all of this morning... going through all of it.... it has been a real trip down memory lane...

...here is just one of the gems that I re-discovered... I had written it down in an old notebook...

To One in Paradise
1834

Thou wast that all to me, love,
For which my soul did pine-
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.

Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from our the Future crise,
"On! on!"- but o'er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!

For, alas! alas! with me
The light of Life is o'er!
No more- no more- no more-
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances,
And where thy foorstep gleams-
In what etheral dances,
By what eternal streams.

E.A. Poe

Sidney Bechet...

...well, I'm fresh back from my journey... absolutely wonderful drive down I-24 from Chattanooga towards Nashville... then, onto I-64 to Winchester... beautiful country... the weather was incredible... Middle Tennessee... near the Alabama border.... Cotton Fields.... Antebellum houses... and, Sidney Bechet sounding out the Bose... one helluva a pleasant drive... both ways...

...for those of you cretins who haven't had the pleasure of ole Sid, let me attempt to educate y'all a little.... Mr. Bechet was born in New Orleans in 1897… by the age of 11, he was playing with Bunk Johnson’s Eagle Band… with permission from his Mother, he played the infamous Storyville clubs up until meeting King Oliver at the tender age of 16… later, he became King among the New Orleans clarinet and soprano sax players…

THIS, for instance… is one of my favorites… Blues in Thirds is the name… and, for your listening enjoyment… I give you… Blues in the Air… an incredible piece of early Jazz…. But, my all time Bechet fav is Texas Moaner Blues…. Listen to it, children.… as I discovered on a two lane road flanked by cotton fields, Bechet was in touch with God…. and God loves the soprano sax….

Wednesday Poolfest...

..once again... Wednesday is upon us... tonight's ordeal promises to be an International Incident... 1 Columbian... 1 Uruguayan... 1 Scot... and a couple of Hillbillies... mix in a liberal dose of alcohol, music, and pool-shooting... then just sit back and watch... as usual, I will give you the after-action report tomorrow....

..actually, I will be going to Middle Tennessee for work early tomorrow, and I might not make it back in time to post... so, you may not get a chance to hear the tales till Friday.... either way, I'm sure you'll be on the edge of your seat in anticipation...

Atlanta 2002...

...a Storm rolled in last night... but, it didn't last very long.... a lot of Thunder... but, not much of a lightshow.... so, instead of blogging, the Wife and I embraced the Storm together on the couch... we watched a DVD of the Rolling Stones doing their 40 Licks concert in London... I cooked up some Spaghetti in between songs.... no pasta, though... just garlic bread for dipping.... and the Storm boomed through "Sympathy for the Devil" as we sat practicing a few of our Seven Deadly Sins.....

..last night we reminisced about seeing the Stones in Atlanta in 2002.... it was an incredible night... we met up with the Gang at the Swissotel.... checked out our suite... had an early dinner at The Palm.... one of the guys had brought a bottle of high-dollar Tequila.... which was passed around the table.... Limo service to Turner Field.... watched the concert of a lifetime... sang "Honky Tonk Women" until I lost my voice.... bought the tee-shirt.... barhopping by Limo afterwards.... back to the Hotel... drinks in rooms... back to our room... and we argued... after all of the fun, excitement, and happiness... we argued... I don't even remember what we argued about... but, we did....

..last night, we didn't argue... we just sat back and watched Jagger twitch his twitch... the Wife would say... "remember when they played that song? It was incredible!".... and I would agree.... indeed, the concert was a blast... but, it is strange what we remember... I didn't mention to her that I remembered us arguing at the end of that fabulous day... .maybe she remembered it too... but, like me, didn't want to bring it up....

...maybe our memories change and morph over time.... we forget the bad things, and only remember the good... I just don't know... but, I do hope that it never happens to me... I want to remember the good with the bad.... I think it is more real that way....

The Storm..

....the storm is coming here... no blogging.... gotta get offline for a while.... see you all in the morning....

Greek Food...

...well, the experimental dinner menu worked pretty well... last night, beef/mushroom/onion kebabs were grilled at Straight White House.... they were a real treat... a lot better than I had expected.... also, a Greek Pasta Salad with Feta Cheese was consumed... along with two excellent bottles of a 1997 Rioja...

...it was interesting because I always cook the same things... Chili... or Spaghetti.... and, anything that needs worked over on the grill... but, normally, that's it... so, this little leap into the unknown was a lot of fun... I think I will start doing it more often..

...anyway, Sunday is always a pretty good day here at Straight White House... morning coffee was devoured while reading blogs... the second pot of the morning was enjoyed while sitting on the deck starkers... one of the nice benefits of living in the countryside is that you can enjoy a spring morning as nature intended... hell, it was 74 degrees by 9:30 this morning... the Wife was up by 10:30, and I prepared a meal of biscuits, butter, cheese, and raspberry jam... we ate it all on the deck...

...the Wife started reading a book, and I got my old guitar out... we spent the rest of the morning getting sun burnt on the deck.. as an aside, I saw a woodpecker that was incredible... that thing was the size of a chicken, I swear... the biggest damn Woodpecker I've ever seen... it landed on one of the Poplar trees, and when it started pecking, it sounded like a Browning 1919 going off... I don't know what kind of Woodpecker it was, but it was friggin HUGE...

...about noon, we decided to get cleaned up and head into town for lunch... my Mother had called last night and invited us to meet some of her friends from California... so, we drove into town and met up with them around 1:30... the Church-going crowd was out in force, and it was nice to see all the Old Men in Suits... and Ladies in Sunday Dresses.. just out for their Sunday ritual-after-church-lunch...

...the Californians were an interesting bunch.. a Mother, Father, and three buxom lasses... talking a hundred miles an hour.. acting as if I was an old friend... instead of someone that they'd just met for the first time... they, like my morning sunburn, were a very refreshing experience....

...Spring is here, people... just as tomorrow is another workday, soon Summer will be here... so, get out there and start enjoying it... in a few weeks, it'll be too damn hot to sit outside.... right now, it is perfect... carpe diem, and all that stuff.. just get your ass outside....

Remembering...

...ten years ago today, I found myself standing in front of 250 people.... while wearing a kilt... a skinny 21 year old with a shaved head... scared out of his mind..... standing in front of total strangers, cat-calling Sailors, and belly-laughing Marines... all waiting on me... standing there in my skirt... to deliver a speech... it was quite a day, boys and girls.... quite a day.... and, sitting here now... a few memories of that day are starting to ooze to the surface.....

...I remember that my Best Man gave a terrific speech... without notes.... without stuttering... AND while totally sober... a real kickass job of public speaking...

...he and my family had flown over from Tennessee three days before the event, and my soon-to-be-Bride and I had given them all the tour of the area... I remember watching my family be shocked for the first time by the everyday happenings in Scotland... Dad's first taste of McEwan's Export.... Mom's laughter at the traffic jam caused by a flock of sheep in the road.... Mike, Calvin, and Joshua's utter contempt for being forced to wear a skirt (kilt), and purse (sporran).... heh... at least they enjoyed having a dagger (sghean dubh) hidden in their knee socks.... traditional Scottish dress... Tennesseans always get happier when they are carrying concealed...

...I remember being banned from ever wearing a kilt again at the end of the reception.... actually... come to think of it, that is the first "Command" ever given to me by new Wife.... "You are NEVER allowed to wear a kilt EVER again.".... I remember it distinctly... I brought it on myself, I suppose... after about 6 pints of McEwan's, I'd had enough of the ole line... "What is worn under the kilt"... so, by the end of the night, when someone would ask, I would lift the kilt in their direction, and say... "Nope.. everything is in perfect working order...see?".... and, just like that, I was banned from wearing the kilt... ahhh... the things drunk Marines will do....

...I remember the little scream of terror that my new bride released at the end of the Cordon... heh.... you ever seen a real Marine Corps Cordon in action?.... it's a sight to behold.... arm in arm, we approached the front door of the church... I heard the Lieutenant give the command... "Arch!.. Swords!!"... we took a step into the threshold of the door, and the first two Marines lowered their swords.. blocking our path..... the Lieutenant then said the immortal words.... "Announcing in public for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Straight White Guy".... the two Marines whispered to me... "KISS HER!".... so, I did.... they raised their swords.... we stepped forward, and two more came down to block our path... "KISS HER" came the whisper again.... this happened all the way along the Cordon of Dress Blues.... until we got to the end... heh.... Sgt. Holland had vied for this position....the last man... the left side.... and, as we started to walk away, he quickly lowered his sword behind us, and bellowed, "WELCOME TO THE MARINE CORPS, MA'AM!!", and whacked her ass with his NCO Sword... heh... she screamed like she'd been shot... the crowd that had gathered on the street to watch were laughing and clapping.... ahhhh... what a day....

...I remember lots of things about that day... a day which changed my life forever.. and, continues to do so every day that I breathe...

...so, tonight I will be celebrating my 10th Anniversary with my darling Wife... how she's put up with me this long ... remains a mysterious miracle to me... so, I will make dinner.... we'll open some champagne.... and we will enjoy this evening with each other.... Happy Anniversary, My Wife... you are incredible...

Impressions...

...you ever meet someone, and know right away what kind of person they are?... walk through a crowded street, and secretly pigeon-hole everyone you see?... Hippie there.. Serial Killer there... WASP... Old Marine.... sometimes you actually CAN tell a lot about people by the way the walk... dress... talk... or, even their attitude...

...well, I used to be a firm believer in this approach... until today, that is... I have a friend that I work with... a young woman... petite... two children... divorcee... always smiling... always upbeat... just generally, a nice young lady... goes to church on Sundays... etc...

...what did I get in the e-mail from her today, children?... a chainletter with fluffy bunnies and angels?... nope... today, I was sent the photo attached below... I'd say it is worksafe, but only just... but, this photo is most assuredly not for the squeamish among you... so... Baby, if you think you can handle it, dare to be grossed out...

....oh, and the text of her e-mail, in it's entirety... consisted of..... "BWHAHAHAHAHAHA Look at this! BWHAHAHAA!!!"

...that's right... this is what she sent me... she's one sick puppy.... I think she must be about to snap at any moment... so, if you don't hear me blogging anymore, it will because she went Postal and machinegunned us all....

...I don't know how this happened to the poor gentleman, but I'd say it ruined his day fairly well... for those of you who really want to see the Big Picture, it can be found HERE at Rotten...

Scar Photo...

...ok, dammit... I just got home... I know I said 5pm EST, but I had to WORK... anyway, it's harder than you think to take a photo of your back... try it sometimes... it's hard... anyway, I have the photo now, and I will be posting it shortly for all you psychotic scar fetishists out there... you know who you are, people.... so, keep yer knickers on... it will be posted shortly...

Update: ..did I tell you it was hard to take a photo of your back?... well, it is... and, I am already stacking up a shitload of excuses for you retards who don't like my photo taking ability.... so, I don't want to hear your shit... first off, from looking at the photo, I can tell that it was much too small of a pendant to have tried branding with... (so, note to self.. if I ever try this fiasco again, do it with something BIG).... the hot gold burned enough to obliterate the cross in the center... after the scab peeled, the cross went with it.. I am not sure of the mystical ramifications of this, but it sounds bad... so... shortly, I shall post the pic... and.. (cue drumroll...)... a closeup with little lines to help you see the star better... after all, it was just a friggin necklace... oh, and I should probably point out that I have freckles.. lots of freckles... every-fucking-where... they are a goddamn menace... so... don't say you haven't been warned, you rubberneckin' bastards....

Update #2: Here it is... you freaks... as I referred to in this post, this is all I have left of the lady in question... enjoy, you pervs.... behold... the Shooting Star of David...

ok, kiddies... here it is... not a word... not a fucking word...

...and a close-up.. I even drew little lines to help you see it... much like kudzu on an abandoned Dairy Farm, my quaint little scar is quickly being overtaken by freckles... being red-headed... and Southern... the sun is not our friend... and, exposed flesh quickly succumbs to the fearsome freckles...

SWG Moment...

...I swear unto all that is holy... there is a frog under a plastic bag of ice... in my garage.. here is the deal...

...the cat.. Fred, in this instance, dragged home a frog.. all legs akimbo... slightly chewed... (one leg was covered in cat hair.. and, I might add, half eaten).... but, there it sat... green... croaking... both in the literal AND figurative sense.. meekly blinking at us... almost as in some kind of disappointment... as if to say, .... please... Meester, Eric... keeeel me now.....

...so, I asked the Wife what she wanted done... a quick size 10 stomp on the bastard?.. dammit... I hate to see animals suffer... and, if you ever own cats, trust me... you are GONNA see animals suffer... oh no, not the cats... their VICTIMS... anyway.... she didn't want the stomp method... so, I asked her what she wanted.... "put it in a bowl.... and microwave it"... she said.... DAMN, girl... that would be torture... you can't microwave a poor frog.... shit, if you think the stomp-method was bad, the microwave method is even fucking worse... so, I said.. "why don't you just leave it for the cats to finish later".... and, she didn't like that outcome either....

....finally, she said... (which, I am impressed with her creativity here).... "fill a plastic GLAD bag with ice, and bring it to me... we'll freeze it to death.. it will be just like going to sleep... as the hypothermia begins".... yeah.... I know what you're thinking... I married a goodun.... so, I did as instructed... and now... as I sit here typing... a frozen, half-eaten froglet is dead in my garage.... both cats have circled many times... but, I think they are afraid of the cold.. in any case, the fact remains.... I was party to a henious murder tonight.. murder by ice.. in a way, it is remarkably Hitchcockian.... then again, maybe it is just warped...

The Star of David...

...I've got one... I take it with me everywhere... I'm not Jewish, but I've got a lot of friends who are, and I read a lot of blogs by Jews... what brought this up?.... I just saw my back in the mirror, and there it was.. on my left shoulder..

...I met a girl in Pensacola once... a Jewish girl from Long Island.. she was doing her bit for Uncle Sam just as I was... her Army, and my Corps.. we hit it off... she was a beautiful, tough, streetwise and aggressive girl.. and, I was a skinny 17 year old country boy, fresh from the tobacco fields... a match made in heaven, no doubt.. so, we dated for a while, and romance bloomed...and then, when I received my orders for the Pacific, we parted ways... I was heartbroken...a bit more crushed than she, you might say...

..but, I must have made an impression of sorts during our 2 months together...because, after 4 months of sitting alone on a rock in the Bering Sea, she wrote to me... thus began my first "Long Distance Relationship"... we'd call... we'd write... but, in the end... it didn't work out... it was entirely my fault.. the idea of caring for someone.. and being so far away that you couldn't do anything about it contained too much agony... so, in the end, I decided having nothing was better than pining... so, I broke it off... but, that's not what I wanted to talk about... so, back to the Star of David...

...one day I received a package in the mail.. from my girl... but, this time, it was a box instead of a letter... when I opened it, I was surprised to find that my girl had mailed me a gold necklace and pendant... the pendant was in the shape of the Star of David.. and a Christian Cross was in the center of the Star... I loved it.. I never wore jewelry of any kind… and our regs said that you couldn’t wear anything unless it was religious in nature.. so, this was perfect.. I wore it every day for almost two years…

…a great Friend at the time was deeply into the religion of an American Indian tribe… I don’t remember which one, but he was hooked… he had a little leather bag of trinkets that he kept with him… it had a little sage… some tobacco… some pebbles… and various other strange artifacts… I thought it was crazy… but, he enjoyed it…

…so one night we were drinking at the club, and he mentioned that he wanted something of mine when I got transferred.. something to remember me by… something that he could keep in that little leather bag… not knowing much about his religion, I thought it was a pretty cool idea… but, when I asked him what he wanted, he pointed to the pendant.. he said that the pendant spoke most to him about how he would remember me.. I was floored… for one, I didn’t want to give it away… after all, it was a gift from my girl… I used it to help ME remember HER… not to mention the fact that if I gave it away, she’d probably kick my ass…

…however, after a few more drinks, as always happens, we began talking about this swap with more and more seriousness… I suggested we fly to Anchorage and get a tattoo of it… but, we didn’t have time for that… I suggested cutting it in two… but, he didn’t like that idea… and then, we came up with THE IDEA… to this day, he still claims it was my idea… which is totally insane.. I KNOW it was his idea… I think… anyway, we decided that since the pendant was made of gold… and it transferred heat very well.. we would hold it over a candle… get it really hot… and then stick it to my shoulder blade… that way, I’d have a nice scar.. in the shape of the Star of David.. with a cross in the middle… and he could have the original in his leather bag of trinkets… heh.. sounds like a plan.. we’d both have our copy with us forever… drunks think up some weird shit sometimes…

..well… that’s exactly what we did… I took off my shirt, and lay down on the floor… that way, I wouldn’t be able to jump away when I got branded.. after all, we didn’t know how long he was going to have to hold the red hot pendant against my shoulder to get some good scar action going on…we figured at least ten seconds for maximum effect.. he held the pendant over a candle with a pair of needle-nose pliers… and then, he did the deed… it didn’t hurt that much… the only problem was… in the process of holding the pendant, he also heated the pliers…. So, when he touched the pendant to my back, the pliers burnt me as well…the effect?… well, the pliers gave the Star a tail of sorts… heh… so, I now have a Shooting Star of David… with a Christian Cross in the center… on my left shoulder… it is indeed a most interesting scar..

…we all have scars of one sort or another.. emotional or physical… our scars made us who we are… I love my scar.. the girl behind it is long gone, of course… but, she is still part of what made me who I am… scars aren’t ugly… scars aren’t something to be afraid of…scars are signposts of where we’ve been… what we’ve done… scars, whatever their source, are there for a reason… I saw my scar again this morning… sometimes I forget it is there… I don’t have very many, but the ones I DO have are worth remembering…

Winds of Change...

...a storm blew in last night... the first thunder of the year... a day of balmy Spring weather was coming to an end... and, just as dusk approached, the wind picked up... the open windows were for Spring scents.. but, they permitted the wind as well.. a day that dawned bright and clear... with a T-bone and fried eggs... ended with lightning being admired from an unlit room while the Storm wind whistled through the house...

...perhaps I need to rethink my purpose here.. I think I am confusing myself.. maybe I need to lift a sheet from Cool Hand Luke's playbook...

.."smokin' it up here, Boss?"

... I just gotta find a way to change what inspires me..

Poetic License...

...I drove up through the mountains today... into the Cherokee National Forest.. the weather was beautiful... no traffic....sunroof open... the scent of the hardwood forest... it was refreshing... but, my little transcendentalist romp fluffed for little.... and so... I find myself still without my Muse... the one I've had in the past has jumped ship now, it appears...

...so, I am going to do as instructed by Mr. Martin, and just "Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter"... I shall polish off the remainder of my Macallan that survived the ordeal last night.. and listen to music...

...as I was driving back, I started thinking of writing a blog about having nothing to blog about... and, dammit, just as I was pulling into the drive, I remembered this post from Velociman.... well, hell.. that killed that idea... so, instead of attempting to fill you all in on my situation, I will leave you with the words of Mr. Crawford... no one could have said it better....

MY KINGDOM FOR A MUSE

Thalmia is obviously making sex romp videos with Shannon's ex. Calliope moved to Starke, where she is cruelly toying with anti-death penalty activists. Erato has been jerking my chain for years. Feels good, but there's little output, if you know what I mean. Clio, Euterpe, Terpsichore, and Polyhymnia are banned from Velociworld for personal reasons, although Clio gets a pass on Nostalgia nights. Urania is an air-head.

That leaves Melpomene, my great go-to gal, and she's in a worse funk than me.

...yeah, yeah... I know it is bad etiquette... or netiquette... whatever.. to link to a post so old, but I'm doing it anyway...

Friday Night....

...what a week... broken servers... broken procedures... broken dreams... heh... par for the course, I suppose... just when you think you've gotten one fire put out, another one rises from the smashed out ashes... heh.. such is life, dammit...

...as for me?... ahhh... 'tis nothing that a fine Ribeye from the grill.. a nice potato from the oven.. and copious amounts of 12 year old Macallan can't straighten out... that combination has the almost supernatural ability to straighten even the most crooked things... and... most assuredly... crooked things have been afoot as of late...

...anyway, right now... I've gotta go and sort some stuff out in my head... marinate the steaks... break the seal on the Scotch... and howl at the World for a while... I guess it's true what the Stones said... "ya can't always get what you want".... bastards...

...Dammit, I'm sorry....

...well.... poolfest Wednesday took a little longer than normally scheduled.. initially, it was just Steve.... and THIS time, I beat his ass... it was the first ever recorded match between Steve and I... at Straight White House, where I had a resounding victory... 7 to 2... in 8 ball... damn.... heh... I rocked... then, Gary and his son showed up... they were a good match.... but, the Macallan was beginning to show.. so, as they prepared to leave, Brad and Jason show up..... I managed to fend pretty well for myself against them... but, the damage was done.... I had missed the REAL treat of the night... speaking with a friend...

...see, I had arranged to speak with a friend tonight.... and, after my schedule was thrown off, I missed their call.... and e-mail... and, for that, I am truly sorry... hell, I was psyched all afternoon... I wanted to hear from them... I needed to speak with them.... but, circumstances being what they were... I could not be rude...... and, now... I sit here... content in the knowledge that I kicked ass tonight on the pooltable..... but, I feel a great sorrow and loss...

...so, as I sit here..... I begin to ask myself.....what is more important?.... taking care of friends... being with them?... if only for a few moments of email or conversation?..... or, playing pool?.... (don't answer that... I already KNOW the answer...and, I chose wrongly)....

....but, don't get me wrong.... I enjoyed tonight.....and still, I have my reservations..... still, a part of me... a BIG part that I don't indulge nearly enough.. is sad... because... I may have hurt a true friend.. while trying to enjoy a "night with the boys"....

...Dear Friend.... I'm sorry... please accept my sincere regrets..

Working Clothes...

... where I work, everyone dresses casually... from the Owner... to the General Manager.... to the Accountant... to the General Manager's Assistant... all of us dress down... it's just the laidback culture and management style of the place... I like it... I get to wear jeans, boots, and tee-shirts every day... but, even though it is comfortable, sometimes it gets boring....

..in my last job, suits were worn.... hell, when I moved back over here, I had four pair of "casual" pants... a pair of OD BDU pants for hiking... a pair of Woodland BDU pants for hiking... a pair of "khaki" denim trousers... and a wore out pair of jeans... that was it... why?... well, I wore a damn suit EVERYWHERE... going out to dinner.. going to work.... going to visit friends... suits, suits, suits...

.. today, I wore a suit to work.. a nice hand-tailored job that I had made while I was in Bangladesh a few years ago... every time I wear it, I remember standing there in the steaming heat.. being measured by Rashid... with the strains of the evening prayer being blasted from the Mosque 100yds away.... and, he never stopped measuring... I guess he was more of a capitalist than a Muslim.... anyway, I picked out the cloth... the buttons... told him exactly how I wanted it... and, 12 hours later, a courier delivered it to me at my Dhaka Club suite... now, that is service.... but, to make a long story short, I wore that suit today... to work...

...Tan suit.. baby blue, tab collar shirt... black crepe silk tie with gold crescent moons on it...black belt... black wingtip shoes... gold tie clasp with the EGA on it.... and gold cufflinks... I spent ages last night... polishing and buffing my shoes.... scrubbing my tie clasp and cufflinks... ironing my baby blue shirt.... unwrapping my tan suit from the dry cleaner's plastic... it brought back memories of the military... carefully preparing your uniform for Dress Blues Alpha inspection... not a thread out of line.... everything to regs... attention to detail....

...I don't know why I wore that suit... maybe I just wanted to see if the suit still fit... heh, maybe... maybe I wanted to make myself feel better in some way.... maybe I did it to see if I could get a rise out of the "management"... maybe I did it to show myself off.... maybe I did it out of boredom.... maybe I did it as a treat... maybe..

...all I do know is this... it felt good to wear that suit today... I'm glad I did... but, tomorrow... I'll be wearing my boots, jeans, and tee-shirt again, and loving every minute of it... but, I will wear that suit again... yes, to work... I think I need to wear it sometimes.... it takes discipline to wear a suit well... and, I need to remind myself of that... from time to time...

A Poem...

..ok, kiddies... time for a SWG Original.. yeah.. I wrote this on Dec 30 1991... hey, I'm in a sharing mood... I found one of my old journals... heh... and, it's torture time, baby...

"Gently"... by ME....

..gently, the music plays a waltz in the shimmering candlelight...
..gently, two lovers twirl together in a dance they are sharing...
..and, gently, the young Gentleman's hair ruffles as his Lady whispers into his ear..

..gently, she turns and glides away across the ballroom...
..gently, the flickering light shines on her face as she chooses another partner...
..gently, she begins to dance..
..and, gently, his heart breaks as the music continues to play...

...so, now that I've suitably depressed all of you with my rejection poem, have a good night...

Periodical Cicadas..

... I was talking to a friend at work about THIS article from CNN... it seems that this year is special... every 17 years, the Periodical Cicada (Magicicada septendecium) emerges from the soil of much of the United States.... mates for a few weeks... then dies... of course, these are not to be confused with 13 year Cicadas... they are only active in the Southeastern US... or, the "Dog Day's Cicada" with emerges yearly.... anyay, I took it upon myself to find some more information on these darling little bugs...

...after surfing the net for literally MINUTES looking for Cicada information, here is what I've come up with.... here are some handy tips to help y'all cope better with your friendly Periodical Cicada neighbors... after all, they are only around occasionally, so, it's best to enjoy them... instead of trying to run them off... or getting mad about all the noise they make... so, here are some random tips... in no particular order...

1. Cicadas are often called locusts, but they aren't.... (locusts are part of the grasshopper family) ...Periodical Cicadas are insects of the order Homoptera, which also includes aphids, leafhoppers... so, when they arrive, don't call them locusts...

2. Male Cicadas make a deafening buzzing noise to attract the females... so, planning an outdoor activity is uaually not a good idea when they are all worked up in a sexual frenzy.. it has been said that females sometimes dive-bomb cars, mistaking the sound of a revving engine for their paramours.... so, if you really get pissed at your Cicadas, go out and start your car... and test this theory... let me know if it works...

3. Cicadas are mostly harmless - they don't sting, bite or eat plants.... but, they make one helluva noise...

...and, with all that said... enjoy your Periodical Cicada invasion this year... it's nature in action... I will leave you with the words of Professor Mike Raupp...

"This will be a big, crazy horde of loud insects," said Mike Raupp, a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland , College Park . "It will be an extravaganza."

....and...

"There's nothing that rivals this in North America for scale or grandeur," he said. "You only get a few of these in your life."

Even casual observers will be able to see the stages of development and hear the various mating songs.

"Try not to panic. Try to sit back and relax. Enjoy it," Mr. Raupp said. "It's a unique opportunity to see nature in its glory."

...so, there you have it... don't panic... just sit back, and enjoy your bug extravaganza...

...there... the last thing off my Friday 5 is done... I blogged about Cicadas... heh...

Update on Friday's 5

... well, good Sunday morning, folks... it's a beautiful day here in Tennessee.. the sky is blue, the birds are chirping.. yadda, yadda... anyway, I've got a few updates on my Friday 5...

...I mentioned that one of the things I had to do this weekend was to cook dinner... I said that my chili was working on the stove, so I was cool... well, it was, and it was great... it went down like Gangbusters... but, Saturday morning, I realized why I hadn't made my chili in so long... why?.. well, it came OUT like Ghostbusters... (think ectoplasmic slime)... dayum, people... I came to the conclusion that I should patent my recipe, and sell it to the military.. the Marines in Cuba could feed my lovely Mexicanesque delight to the detainees... they'd grub that shit like it was going out of style.. it tastes so damn good.... then, the next day, remove all water and toilet paper from their cells... give each detainee one single napkin from Taco Bell... and wait... ladies and gentlemen, by 12 O'clock high, those bastards would tell you ANYthing you wanted to know.... you'll just have to trust me on that... hell, I'd rather have my fingernails pulled out than have to suffer another Saturday morning-after session like that... which reminds me.. I think I need a new chili recipe... I'm open to suggestions...

Saginaw... AKA... Lucy...

...today after work, I went to get my hair cut... I keep it really short... and, when the hair starts touching my ears, it's time to get scalped again... so, I called up the barber, and set myself up....anyway, I arrive at 4:30 for my trim... and, halfway through the endeavor, I noticed a dog outside the window.... a pretty black and white lab-mix.... lying on the sidewalk across the street... casually watching traffic, and receiving the passing pat of everyone who walked by...

...now, I knew I was in a small town.... so, I asked the barber whose dog that was.... and they replied... "all of ours... it's the City's dog"....

...I couldn't believe it... so, I kept on with it...

"How is it the 'City's Dog'?, I asked...

"Well, when she was a pup, she started hanging out over at the Fire Station across the street.... and, they kinda adopted her... a few months ago, they paid to have her fixed and everything.."

"wow, that's incredible... so, what's her name?

"Well, originally, they called her Saginaw... but, most of us here in town.. we secretly named her "Lucy"... she looks more like a Lucy than a Saginaw... I mean, who ever heard of a dog called Saginaw anyways?"

"I suppose that's true... I certainly haven't.. but, you said she was the City's Dog... so, who feeds her?"

"Aww... we all feed her.... the Firemen feed her mostly... but, the people at the Post Office do as well... hell, they even let her inside the Post Office when it's really cold outside... sometimes, she even comes over here, and I feed her...

"You mean that you have dogfood somewhere in the back? Here in the shop?"

"Oh, no... I just keep a little bag of doggie treats here.... and, when she comes over, I'll give her one or two... hehehe... sometimes, you'll see her over at the BP Station.. sitting and watching people pump their gas... of course, they all give her a pat on the head.... and, whatever is left over from their food court at night gets given to ole Lucy.... yep... we all feed her... she's a good dog..."

.....still unable to totally fathom the situation, I kept right at it...

"So, does this Lucy... does she actually BELONG to anyone?... I mean... what would happen if she bit someone on the street? Is she just like a wild dog, or does the City have some sort of responsibility?"

"Well now... hmmm... I don't know.... that's a good question, I suppose... but, two weeks ago, she had to be locked up... she stayed locked up a whole week.... she'd went over to the Thompson's... they have a ... well, HAD a big beautiful gray cat.... anyway, Lucy went trompin' over there the other day, and killed that gray cat... boy, let me tell ya... Mr. Thompson was as mad as a wet hornet... he came over here to City Hall, and marched right in there and said.... "That damn dog killed my cat...if I see it in my yard again, I'll blow it's damn head off!".... so, the Firemen got all worried about Lucy wandering over there again... so, they locked her up inside the Fire House for two weeks... I suppose they did that to teach her a lesson... and, I think it worked.... because, she hasn't went farther than 50 yds from the front of the Fire House since they let her out...."

"..wow... so, I guess the penalty for Cat Murder here is 2 weeks in jail... looks like she got off easy...."

"yeah, I guess so... she's a good dog, though... and we all love her.."

....after that, I guided the conversation away from cats and dogs... but, it struck my interest... how many small towns have a town mascot like Lucy?.... what does that say about us as a people.... we become insular at the drop of a hat... all it takes is a lack of a phone call.... or a harsh word, and we slink away into our own world.... but, in the world I saw today, people still were a community... people still shared responsibility... I don't know what I'm trying to say here... but, today while I was getting my hair cut, I felt like I was part of something more than a suburb... I was a citizen of a small town... and, Lucy was MY dog too.... and my responsibilty....

...after years of living overseas... I suddenly had the overwhelming feeling.... "I'm Home"....

Sacco and Vanzetti...

...the World is a small place... I've been reminded of that from time to time... but, one particular instance stands out in my mind... at lunch today, someone said… “WOW, it’s such a small world”… meaning that she knew someone from the next damn county… that someone ELSE at the table knew… sheesh… small world my ass…. Here is MY “small world” story…

...Once upon a LOOONG time ago, I was a barely 18 year old Jarhead... stranded on a barren, moss covered rock in the middle of the Bering Sea..... nearer to Siberia than Anchorage by a LONG shot... and, as you do, I was boozing it up with some friends of mine late one evening.... or, early one morning... I can't remember which.... and one of the guys was from Boston... and, he was of Italian extraction... now, being a Hillbilly from Southeast Tennessee, we didn't have a lot of Italians down our way... so, I was genuinely interested in hearing his story.. I thought he might have a good Ellis Island tale to tell or something...

..well, it turns out like this... his Grandfather had indeed come over from Italy to Ellis Island... and ended up settling in Boston... he set himself up as a mortician... he minded his own business, and was quite happy working with stiffs.. until, one day... Sacco and Vanzetti, two Italian immigrants were wrongfully accused of murdering two guards during a robbery... anyway, the locals wanted to string'em up... and, after a quick kangaroo court, they fried'em in Boston's brand spankin' new electric chair.... needless to say, the Italian immigrant community was up in arms... and, my friend's Grandfather was chosen to get the bodies in shape for the funeral... he did so, and his Son, in front of the gathered funeral mob, spoke publicly about the travesty of justice... and, it launched his political career in Boston...

...now... think for a moment... here was a 18 year old, half-drunk Marine.. listening to this history lesson... hell, I didn't know who Sacco and Vanzetti were, and I could give a shit less... but, to him, they were big potatoes.... so, I knowingly shook my head... said "wow" a few times, and enjoyed his story...

..ok... now... fast forward to Scotland... three years later... I am meeting my Soon-To-Be-Wife's Grandparents for the first time... they had a beautiful house in Perth... anyway, her Grandpa comes out... can tell, obviously, that I'm a Yank, and begins to tell me about his travels to the USA back in the mid 20s... see, he was an Electrical Engineer... and a Freemason... so, he got on a boat in Glasgow one day, and sailed to Boston... hooked up with the local Freemasons, and they landed him a job... he told me of his re-wiring of various American auto plants from Direct Current... over to Alternating Current... etc... hell, he even helped to re-wire the Ford plant... and then, he stalls in his conversation... his tumbler of Glenmorangie in one hand... and he says...

..."one of the strangest things I did while I was in the US.... was to wire up the Electric Chair for the State of Massachusetts... yeah.... they had themselves these two gentlemen named Sacco and Vanzetti... they'd done killed somebody, and the State wanted to fry them... so, I helped them to create their new chair... it used Alternating Current... and, being from Scotland, I knew more about that technology than any of the local Electrical Engineers..."

...well... ladies and gentlemen... I sat there with my chin on the floor... here were two historically significant people... who, three years before, I was blissfully ignorant... and now, I had not only met the person that was directly responsible for them getting cooked... but ALSO the person's son who was responsible for planting them....

..one was met on an island off Siberia.... and, the other, just off the South Inch Park in downtown Perth, Scotland... the World is indeed a LOT smaller than we think...

..oh, and by the way, Sacco and Vanzetti’s innocence was proven in the 1970’s… but, due to my Wife's Grandpa... and his Electrical expertise, it didn't matter a whole helluva lot...

...Tired and Dirty...

...I'm just in from spending the afternoon at the farm of a friend... I am tired, sunburnt, windswept, and reek of oil and gunpowder... there is nothing like spending an afternoon shooting weapons to clear your mind... anyway, all of my babies performed exactly as advertised, and much fun was had by all.. so, now it's off to the shower... some Scotch and Water... and cleaning weapons while reading blogs... perfect evening, or what?...

Update: After the shower, my shoulder hurts like livin'HELL.... THIS BABY rocked my world.. she's a good one, and I love her... but, she bites.. word up, never.. EVER.... shoot 3 inch Magnums with her... she handles the load well, but she'll make you pay, brothers and sisters... she'll make you pay...

Stress Relief...

... yesterday, a good friend of mine came over, and we shot pool all afternoon.... in our normal race to seven in 8 ball, he won 7 to 6... heh... but, I kicked it in our 9 ball race to seven, and won 7 to 5.. it was good to have someone over to talk to about the goings on lately...

...around 5, my Mother came over to visit with the Wife and I.... I grilled some sirloins, and the women baked some potatoes.. simple, but effective... and, instant pleasure.... after dinner, we talked for a while, and when the conversation dulled, my Mother asked me to play guitar for her... I couldn't believe it... she'd never asked me to play for her before.... so, I poured myself a large Scotch and Water, and played her a few tunes.... she even sang along on a few... even the Wife joined in... it was really wonderful... but, I have to say for the record.. if you have never heard "Rocky Top" sung in a Scottish accent, you are missing out... what was it like?... well, there are some things in life that are better left to the imagination... and that is most assuredly one of them...

...but, a good time was had by all... at one point, someone mentioned that Dr. Seuss had just passed on... so, I remarked that we should probably hold some kind of memorial for him... I recommended that I read a few select lines from "The Cat in the Hat"... and, to my shock... my horror... my Mother informed me that she'd like to hear it... because she'd never read a Seuss book before... suddenly, it hit me... all of the strange things in my adult life.. my warped sense of humor... my fetish for librarians.... my love of firearms and Military History.... they are the direct result of having a Seuss-less childhood...

..I went to the bookshelf, and took down my cherished copy of "The Cat in the Hat".... I came back to the couch... and read the little book... in it's entirety... to the two eager listeners.... it only took about 5 minutes to read it cover to cover... and, I think we are all the better for sharing a little after dinner Seuss... so, to all you budding parents out there... consider yourselves warned.... read Dr. Seuss to your kids.... or, they are liable to turn out like me.... and, LAWD HEP US, if that happens...

Dinner...

..heh... be back later... gotta go grill some steaks... damn, seems like that's all Saturdays are now... chores, chores, chores... well, somone's gotta do it... so, once more into the breach, dear friends... heh... life is hard, sometimes...

True...

....further to the last post, I just took THIS TEST from Bill's site... how fitting is this?...

I don't want a toaster.
Furnulum pani nolo.
"I don't want a toaster."
Generally, things (like this quiz) tend to tick you
off. You have contemplated doing grievous
bodily harm to door-to-door salesmen.


Which Weird Latin Phrase Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Responsibility...

... anyone remember that old line from The Shootist?... yeah, you all know the one I'm talking about... when John Wayne tells Opie that he's gotta live by a "code"?... well, it went something like this...

"I won't be lied to... I won't be insulted... and I won't be laid a hand on.. I don't do these things to others, and I require the same from them.."

...words to fucking LIVE by, Ladies and Gentlemen... truly..

...I have prepared this rant FIVE times... each time, a bit more vicious and foul than the last... and, unfortunately for you all, I ain't gonna put it up here.. but, the writing of it was exquisitely pleasant... so, no rant for you chilluns today... but, DAMN, I feel better...

Dammit..

....Everyone else is doing it... and, I'm bored as hell.. so, here goes.... LeeAnn, Harvey, John, Pam, Beth, and Susie.... here I am... in all my lego glory...

Deployment...

...my friend.. and co-worker... David... is getting deployed in a few weeks... he's in the Army Reserve... a Scout Cavalry unit from here in East Tennessee.... he's 25 years old... been married three years... two year old son... and a bun in the wife's oven... it's due in 7 months... he'll have been in Iraq for 4 months by then..

....he asked me a lot of questions before he joined up.... what life was like in the military, etc... I only have a limited experience, but I told him what I knew.. and, he made the decision himself.... he joined...

..I would ask him every couple days - for the past three months - when he was getting deployed... he'd just grin, swallow hard, and say, "I dunno... but, thanks for bringing it up, you bastard".... and, today I asked the all familiar question again, and he said... "next month"...

..we went outside for a smoke, and a heart-to-heart.... he's a good man... he is proud... he is anxious.. and, he's worried about not being around when his second child is born... but, deep down he knows that his family will be fine.. they are surrounded by good people... it seems to me.... that he is displacing his own fears and worries for his own safety... by over-worrying about those he leaves behind....

...all of us at work are worried for him... but, we know that he is doing what he wants to be doing... today, at lunch, it brought home to all of us... exactly what every single soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine is giving up....

..it's one thing entirely... to see the statistics on the TV, or hear them on the radio.... but, we all know and love David... we know is family... we've held his son.. David is one of US.. and, today, for the first time in a long time, we all felt the War hit us hard... a kidney punch of reality....

...in these times of War, we often disassociate ourselves with the pain that we see on CNN or Fox News... sure, they are "our" troops, but.... they aren't our neighbors... well... for all of those people who have managed to complete that disassociation, I know a couple hundred simple folk in Eastern Tennessee who had the nail of reality driven into THEIR eyes today at lunch....

...good luck, David... and God Speed... stay safe... and, thank you....

MCIWS, Baby...

... I was just over at Sam's Brier Patch, and I noticed THIS POST on swimming... it was never an option for me... my Mother can't swim... and my Dad, even though a USMC Vet himself, only learned the basics... but me? I can not remember ever NOT knowing how to swim.... I was at the local watering hole, or swimming pool from before I can remember.... hell, I was swimming in competition from the time I was 8.... but, NOW, I can truly swim with the big dogs....

..after I joined the Corps, I went through the MCIWS course.... it took swimming to a whole new level, folks... you want to talk about badass, that training was rough.. our sessions consisted of 12 to 16 hour days... ALL of which were spent in the water, or on the edge of the pool doing leglifts while the instructor taught "class"... it was hard.. it kicked ass.. and, we loved every minute of it.... as a result, I learned quite a few new tricks... how to swim with my arms tied behind me, and my legs tied together... which, might come in handy if I'm ever in a "Deerhunter" scenario... and, more importantly, how to swim backwards.... hey, don't laugh.... it's a kinda modified breaststroke.... only in reverse... but, for the life of me, I can't understand WHEN exactly in combat I'd want to slowly back away from someone shooting at me...

..regardless, that's what I learned... quick.... to the point.. in your face... training... swimming for 16 hours a day... for two weeks.... sucks ass, people.... I'm here to tell ya... of course, as a result.... trying to drown me is a losing battle, friend.... far.. FAR better to shoot me.... tie my legs, tie my arms, put a sack over my head, and throw me in the river?... you'll be dead by morning after I swim my sorry ass out, and that's a fact.. much better to just shoot me and toss me in the nearest creek....

... a lot of good friends went through that little training session with me... many of whom, I keep in touch with... hell, I've still got the damn tee-shirt around here somewhere...... but, what gets me is this.... sometimes.. differences between people in regards to religion, color, background, social status... are all washed away.... in a heartbeat... by a mutual torture session at the hands of MGySgt Oberhelman... MCIWS rocks, people.... I'd recommend it to anyone..

Poetry...

....ok.... I know that I posted this before... but, that was only in the text version... this here is the ACTUAL poem... you know those fridge magnet poetry sets?.... they are awesome... anyway, after one particularly interesting evening, I placed this one on my fridge.. where, it stayed for almost a year... I STILL think that it is my best fridge magnet poem ever.... I mean, sure, it ain't Byron or Longfellow, but damn... it's from the heart.. gimme a fucking break...

I especially like the last two lines.... but, that's just me...

...Cake....

....anyone want some Cake?....I was just listening to Johnny Cash, and suddenly felt the urge for something different... after all, I'm home alone...

Girl's Night Out...

...well, the Wife, and a wonderful Lady friend from work are out on the town tonight... going to see a movie... 50 First Dates... then catch a meal somewhere... I let them take my car... can you say Thelma and Louise?... heh.. with two ladies that fine driving around in my car, I'll be lucky to have a Wife, a Friend, OR a car by morning... of course, the REAL kicker is that it gets 500 miles on a tank of gas.. and, it was full when I handed over the keys... damn, those wimmin could be anywhere by morning.. I'll keep you posted... on the UPside, I get an evening home alone... peace and quiet... pizza delivered.... the downside? I'm almost out of Scotch.. dammit... I should have stopped off at Dixie Lee Liquors last night while coming back from Nashville... so, it looks like Martini Hour at Straight White House will begin momentarily...

..oh, and before I forget, Geoffrey has got a chatroom/forum now... WHOO HOO!... and, I requested an obscure Ed Hanyes song... from the incredible album entitled... Ed Haynes sings Ed Haynes.... the delightful little ditty, "I Want To Kill Everybody"... and, as if by magic, the song appeared on his Dog Snot Radio... hey, he aims to please... so, go over and check out that song... listening to it will make you a better person... now, Geoffrey, I want to hear "Splash" from that same Haynes album.. you got THAT one, kemosabee?...

Redneck Wisdom...

...more on the lighning ride to Nashville.... we took one of my Bro's friends to see him... Charlie.. now, I've known Charlie since he was 6... he hasn't changed much over the years.. I went to school with his big Sister... anyway, he's an incredible wit, and as "country" as is humanly possible.. his dry humor and satire made the trip fly by... and, during our ride, he said two things to me which I feel compelled to share...

"I was a'watchin' on the teevee the other day that Deeerector of the FBI.. and he sayud - 'Even though we've spent 5 Billion dollars on Homeland Security, the likely hood of theyum terrorists to pull off nuther attack as big as 9/11 still exists'.... well, hell-far.... iffin that's the case, theyun, I want my money back, dammit"

...and...

"whut I want is to feel safe in my own home... an' ta tell ya the truth, I don't... every Summer, I'm afreared to get out of my damn house....you want to fight terrorists? hell, I am terrorized every Spring... I'm terrorized enough to not want to leave my house... the guys are vicious... deadly.... fanatical... well armed... and are already in your country by the millions.. you want to make me feel safe from terrorists? OK, then, what I want to know is why we can't spend a few Billion on gettin' rid of all these dadburn mosquitoes..."

....I have to admit, when he first started the mosquito rant, I thought the punchline was going to be IRS Agents... heh... he's a one-of-akind.. and, trust me... that's a good thing... he probably should have a blog... but, he'd need to get a computer first..

6 Hours with Democrats...

... yesterday, I rode in a car for 6 hours with two insane Democrats.. a good time was had by all... although, on three separate occasions, I was forced to utter a Deanie-O-esque "Yeeeaarrrrhhh"... and, I must have used the term "Hippie" about 6 thousand times between Knoxville and Nashvegas...

...we discussed Mr. Bush being a draft dodger, and having his education purchased by his Daddy, ...WMD or the lack thereof... Homeland Security and the lack thereof.... Foriegn Policy, and who'all hates us... man, it was incredibly entertaining, and I managed to keep my head above water during most of their rants, but they got me in the end... they hit me with one thing that stumped every argument... you wanna know what it was?.... Bush had been a cheerleader in college... I was floored.. how in the hell could I come back at that one?... finally, I feebly said, "Well, at least he was good lookin' enough to be a cheerleader, dammit.... you'd never see that ugly bastard Kerry being a cheerleader!"... I know... sad, really... but, it was all I could come up with at the time... hell, calling Dubya good lookin' is a far reach in itself..

...but, is it true?... was Dubya a cheerleader?.. I haven't Googled it yet... and, actually, I'm scared of what I might find from such a search.. so, any of you kind, gentle people out there have the skinny on Dubya sis-boom-baah'ing?...

Visit to the Bro

...I'm heading back to Nashville in a few... goin' to see my Bro.. he's hanging tough, and keeping on keeping on... It'll be good to see him... plus, I'll be spending 6 hours in a car with my Mother... which is always an interesting experience... see ya'll later...

My New Baby...

...well... as promised, here she is.. fresh from being cleaned with loving care... after having had about 250 rounds fired through her.... ahhhh.... my baby.... isn't she sweet?

...and here is a cool view of my RD 30 scope.....

Caribou and Hailbut...

... last night, I was watching some National Geographic program about Caribou in Alaska... and, I started thinking about how much I enjoyed grilling... damn, I can't wait till summer.... stand around on the back deck... grilling some steaks..... it's always the simple things that I've enjoyed most...

...I grilled Caribou a few times up in Alaska... huge steaks cut by a sailor who had been a butcher in either a former life, or the civilian world... Matt had killed the Caribou from 250yds with a 30.06 a few weeks earlier.... and this was our first chance to sample it... I'd caught a 55 pound Halibut the week previous, and we cooked that baby at the same time.... Caribou... Halibut.... and Beer....

..We cooked them at the old USMC Cabin on Lake Andrew.... near the foot of Mount Moffet.... it was July, and the tundra was green and spongy... like walking on a wet mattress.... Mount Moffet was still covered with snow, and the reflection of the sky and snow cap on the lake, made the perfect back drop to our party.... it was one of the few days that the sky was clear, and the winds had stopped...

...our party was a thrown-together affair... when the sun came out, and the wind subsided, you dropped everything you were doing to enjoy it....so, four of us met at the cabin... Matt with the Caribou... I brought the Halibut.... Brown had a trunk full of beer.... and Todd forgot the plates... so.. we grilled anyway... and drank beer.... and ate our Caribou steaks.... grasped firmly in our fists while marinade dripped from our elbows....

...we washed our hands in Lake Andrew after the feast, and we settled back into the cabin... to poker, more beer, and lies... it was a great party... one of a hundred that we had at the cabin.... but, I think it was my favorite... Caribou... Halibut... and Beer... and Sunshine.... and no Wind... at the time, we couldn't have asked for anything more...

HOT DAMN!!!

....well, I just picked up my new toy today... a Bushmaster AR-15 carbine... heh.. I'll post photos tomorrow... I love it... Red Dot 30 sight and all... Mheh... oh, and for those of you visiting me via the Acidbath, scroll down to find the photos of the blogmeet.... have a nice visit...

Edit'd Photos....

....well, these are the sanitized photos from the Savannah Boozefest 2004.... enjoy...

Here are two VERY free spirits... Georgia and Acidman....

..and of course, some PROOF that we were actually there...

...and, two gentlemen of the highest caliber... Rick and Ken.....

..of course.. the GOOD pictures will have to wait for a while... HA! ....after all... these were taken quite early during the festivities....

To All Concerned...

...time for some more mood music, people... this song goes out to all those crazy people who attended Acidman's Blogmeet.... pictures to follow later tonight.... anyway, on the way home tonight... I, as usual, was groovin' to some Zevon, and I suddenly saw this song in a totally different light... remember.. sing along... you'll enjoy it... I'll not post the lyrics this time... you guys can handle it... and... with that, I give you... LAWYERS, GUNS, AND MONEY... Rob, you made the right decision... enjoy the song..

Savannah...

...more will come about the blogmeet tonight... but, here are some Monday morning thoughts on my first Adventure in Savannah...

1. The view from the Westin kicks ass... we were up on the 9th floor, and watching the lights on the River at night was incredible.. Sunrise was, of course, amazing too... I recommend staying there if you get a chance...

2. Breakfast at Huey's on River Street.... I had the seafood omlette... that sucker was STUFFED with shrimp, scallops, lump crabmeat, and cheese... oh.. and it had a lobster sauce on top.... the absolute BEST omlette I've ever had..

3. Dinner at the Six Pence Pub... well, I had the Reuben Sandwich.... once again, I hate to keep telling y'all about food, but that sandwich was incredible... it had two layers of corned beef... with kraut in between... that was one serious sandwich.. far and away, the best Reuben I've ever had... plus, it went perfectly with the McEwan's we were drinking...

..more later...

The Aftermath...

....well, I'm back.... wow... what a party... I'd love to give you all the details, but, it'll take me a few days to ruminate over which parts are safe for blogosphere consumption... and, which parts should never be mentioned... EVER... heh... let me just say this.... Rick, Georgia, Rob, and Ken.... they are some fine individuals... and, I truly mean that... I'll drive down to Savannah any time you guys want...

...The Wife and I were talking on the way back... I asked her if she had a good time, and she said that she did.... so... there you have it folks... if The Wife had a good time, then I can tell you that a good time was had by all.... but.. in retrospect... I think ordering the shots before we left the bar was not the wisest choice I could have made... but... then again... heheheh..... they just made the whole thing a bit more.. uh.... memorable....

Blogmeet...

See ya later, campers... I will be heading down towards Savannah in a few minutes... where, at noon tomorrow, I shall eat a Reuben Sandwich at the Six Pence Pub on Bull Street... I hope to see Acidman again.. and, also, to finally meet up with the Velociman... It'll be great to see Ken again.. I haven't heard if any other bloggers are going, so I guess we'll just wait and see.. anyway, my suite at the Westin has internet access, but I doubt I'll be sober enough to post... so, have fun... be nice.... and don't break anything while I'm gone..

No Boobies.. dammit...

...anyone get the latest Sports Illustrated?... the Swimsuit Edition?.... personally, I like the idea of painted-on bikinis on hot babes... I'm for it... hell, those wonderful folks at SI even threw in a free CD with a Jimmy Buffett song on it.... hot babes and Buffett... win win.... until you try to load the damn CD... somehow, AOL got their dickfingered little hands on the situation, and managed ... totally... to fuck up a good thing.... it seems that you can't just pop the CD in and oogle hot chicks in painted on bikinis while kicking back with some Buffett.... ooohhhh.... no... a prompt comes up and asks you to install AOL on your PC.... if you say no, what do you get? ...that's right, children... the program closes... no AOL?, then no pert jiggling boobies for YOU... those bastards..... just another reason to hate the bejesus out of AOL... and Sports Illustrated should be ashamed of themselves...

A Nickname...

....ever had a nickname?... I never did... at least, not in the real sense of a childhood-moniker.... sure, I've done crazy stuff before, and gotten a "nickname" for a while... but, they never stuck.... in reality, I didn't like having a nickname... my name is Eric, dammit, and that's what I want to be called.... of course, the NATURAL Southern nickname for me would be "Red"... and, if you wanna piss me off, just call me "Red' and see what happens...."Eric the Red" is different... I don't mind that one so much.... hell, I'd even deal with "Carrot Top" before I put up with "Red"....anyway, I was just over at Lawren's Blog, and I read her post about Bed Bugs.... it got me to thinking about an old story... my Grandpa told me once...

...a good friend of my Grandpa's was "Karo" Wilson... well, maybe not a "good friend", but an acquaintance... hell, I don't know... it doesn't matter... anyway, he lived on the next-farm-over.... and, he'd come over to visit my Grandpa from time to time.... they'd sit on the back porch and tell old tales... sip some sweet tea... chew some King Bee twist tobacco.... and just generally act like happy old dirtfarm Hillbillies.... one day, just after Karo left... I was sitting on the back porch soaking up Grandpa's country wisdom, and I inquired about "Karo's" nickname.... Grandpa started laughing.... now, for those of you who are uninitiated with "Karo", it is a sweet, thick, clear corn syrup.... we used to use it on our pancakes instead of Maple Syrup...

....He told me that the whole community had been calling Karo that for 20 years or more... it seems that Mr. Wilson lived alone... and, sometimes he had a wee bit too much of the 'shine.....evidently, he also had a bedbug problem.... one night, after a hard day of drinking, he stumbled home and fell into bed.... after a few hours, he wakes up to find himself covered with bedbugs..... in a fit of drunken rage, he heads to the kitchen, and produces a jar of kerosene... which, he pours around the edge of his mattress... thinking that he has killed the menacing beasts, he slides back under the ragged blanket, and goes back to sleep... it was not until morning... in the clear, sober light of day... that he realized he had poured Karo corn syrup all over his bed... and slept in it all night...

..he recounted that story to someone in town... and the legend began... and Mr. Wilson was known as "Karo" from that moment forward...

...some days, I think I missed out by not having a nickname... then I think of Mr. Wilson.. and I'm glad I've never earned a nickname... yet..

My Brother, Joshua...

...my little Bro... Joshua... he's the man... my given name is David.... Eric is my middle name... I guess my parents wanted to give us good Christian sounding names, so, their two sons were David and Joshua.... heh... my Dad, on the other hand, being a noble warrior in some previous life, decided that we needed strong and formidable names... Viking names.... to see us through life... so, I was Eric... and my little Bro was Leif.... David Eric, and Joshua Leif.... sometimes, I guess parents are a bit crazy.... anyway.... that's my Bro... Joshua....

... I was just sitting here thinking about him... I suppose C.W. McCalls was right... memories ARE like starlight.. they go on forever... anyway, I remember this about him.... he went off the "high dive" at the local swimming hole when I was too much of a coward to jump... and, hell, I'm four years older than he.... *although, in my defense, I did go off a couple years ago with my hands tied behind me, and my feet tied together... training I'd gotten from the Corps... impressed the little bugger, THAT did*...

..I remember a thousand things about him that I love.... and loved...

..once, he told me that I was his hero.. that I'd been a Marine... been round the world... done well for myself.... but, in my mind, he will always be one of my heroes.... I was taught by a Drill Instructor and a swift kick in the ass to have self-confidence.... self reliance..... Joshua had it handed to him naturally.... he was fearless from day one....

..tomorrow morning, he gets gutted like a fish.... on the right side... to remove a cancer from behind his lung.... near his heart... as soon as he heals, he'll be gutted on the OTHER side to get the cancer.... heh... all this, and a few doses of Chemo thrown in between.... yep... it should rock his world pretty good..... is he worried?... of course he is... what did he tell me tonight?...

.."look at it this way.... at least I'll have matching scars on both sides..."

...he's indeed cut from a fine cloth... I hope, someday, to have such courage...

Last post on V-Day...

... alrighty... for those of you who read my humble blog, you'll recognize a few things right off... I like Zevon.... I like Sinatra... Dean Martin.... and George Thorogood... I know that you may think they are an unusual combination, but they really aren't....

…Hell, eclectic is as eclectic does...

…anyway, in my "About Me" page, I have my favorite song of the moment listed as "Hostage O" by Zevon... now, most of you retards probably haven't heard that pervvy little song, but I love it... it is STILL in my CD changer after 6 months... and, since this is Valentine's Day, I am going to treat you all.... Zevon himself described this song as "a Victorian song about sadomasochism and unrequited love"... personally, I think he was giving it a bad rap... how many of you have been willing to sacrifice everything... give everything.... take everything... for your love?... that, my friends, is the spirit of living... and the spirit of Valentine's Day... hell, remember those cards in 3rd Grade? "I like you... do you like me?.. check Yes or No"... heh.... to me, THAT is Valentine's.... uncertainty... surrender... love.... so, I leave you tonight with Zevon's "Hostage O".... and... anyone who says that they can't identify with this song... has not attempted to live life with wild abandon... as usual, the lyrics are just below... so you can sing along... Happy Valentine's Day... I sincerely hope that each and every one of you ends up a hostage or hostagee tonight... heh... "creepy masks" are, of course, optional...

Hostage O... by Warren Zevon...

I can see me bound and gagged
Dragged behind the clownmobile
You can treat me like a dog
If you make me feel what others feel
You can train me, you can drain me
If you make me lose control
I will be your prisoner
I will be your hostage-o
I will be your prisoner
I will be your hostage-o

All you have to do is ask
I'll be happy to say yes
I'll put on the creepy mask
If you'll grant me some forgetfulness
You can strain me, you can maim me
You can chain me to the floor
I will be your prisoner
I will be your hostage-o
I will be your prisoner
I will be your hostage-o

And this loneliness--
Unbearable
And it all goes by so slow
I will stand in line
For the sacrifice
For the shamefaced love
Of the ugly vice
I will pay the price to see how far you'll go
Let me be your prisoner
Let me be your hostage-o

I can see me bound and gagged
Dragged behind the clownmobile
You can treat me like a dog
If you make me feel what others feel
You can sprain me, you can blame me
If you make me lose control
I will be your prisoner
I will be your hostage-o
I will be your prisoner
I will be your hostage-o

MREs...

...Meals... Ready to Eat... yeah, right... I was just over at Dog Snot Diaries, and their post about MREs got me to thinking... which, at 7 on a Friday night, is probably NOT something I should be doing..

...one of my most interesting memories about bootcamp involved.... not MREs... but the sack lunches they gave us at the Rifle Range...

...first of all, let me just say this... I love to eat... no, you don't understand... I LOVE to eat... I've never been overweight.... but, I eat like a horse....when you break it all down, I am a visceral person... food... drink... life... I love it, and I want to do it.... that being said, USMC bootcamp was a bit of an awakening to me...

...first, going through the chow line at Parris Island was in no way akin to "dining"... you lined up... you got your chow and a plastic glass of water... *our Platoon was not allowed milk or "bug juice"... so, for three months, I drank water...*....anyway, you went to your table... sat at attention, and ate... that was it... hell, you were too damn tired to worry about taste anyway.... well... I started to get used to this way of eating.. as much as it sounds crazy.. but, we had too much on our minds during training to be worried about taste bud’s.. or, enjoying the meal... in some ways, it wasn't even a meal... it was energy.... energy that we would NEED come tomorrow.. so, we sat... at attention.... and ate...

...ok... proceed to the Rifle Range portion of training... they handed out sack lunches to the recruits.... of course, our Platoon was ALWAYS late for something.... heh... which Platoon WASN'T?....anyway, our sack lunches consisted of..

1. a ham and cheese sandwich wrapped in cling film....
2. a piece of fresh fruit.... apple, orange, or banana....
3. a boiled egg...

...like I said, we were always being forced to do everything quickly, so.. our lunch consisted of this... the DI would yell to all the seated recruits... "Reach into your bag, and get your sandwich!.....Eat it!..... One... Two... Three.... Four.... You're DONE!.... put it away!.... get your fruit..... Eat it!... One... Two... Three... Four..... You're DONE!... put it away".... and, ladies and gentlemen... 40 guys in Plt. 3072 would eat lunch in less than 45 seconds... pretty slick, from one point of view.. but, damn infuriating to me... so... I devised a plan....

...I'll not go into details here, but just let me say... when asked to produce the boiled egg, I'd hold it up as instructed.... when told to eat, I would smash my hands together.... smashing the shell... rub them together furiously.... and then, cram the remnants into my mouth..... heh.... I could.. and still can... eat a boiled egg in 10 seconds.... peel it? ... fuck that... I ain't got time to peel.. but, I NEED that egg....

..much the same can be said of the fruit.... I can eat a banana whole.. and an orange... peelings and all... hell, I'd have three big bites gone before the DI yelled for us to stop....... it was at this point that I got my nickname "Coon".... because, I assume, I would eat ANYTHING... every DAY, I prayed that God would allow me to be gifted an apple in my sack lunch...

....I NEVER got a damn apple....

...Chocolate...

...a few days ago, I gave the Wife her Valentine's gift... yeah, I know I should have waited, but, what-the-hell.....and both she AND I have been pretty damn happy ever since....... roses?... no way, man... a box of chocolates.... you can't go wrong with chocolate, no matter WHAT women tell you.... I purchased some of the finest that I've ever eaten.... Thornton's European Collection, folks... 885g of finest Continental Chocolates... yeah, you read that right... 885g.... with shipping and tax, it ends up being about 50 bucks per box.... but, she's a lot happier with her chocolate than she'd have been with a shitload of wilted roses in two weeks.... the downside to Thornton's is the distance... you can't just pop round the corner and pick up a box.... you gotta order them from Europe... which means that you have to plan AHEAD.... at least 7 business days ahead... so, I ordered my boxes on February 1st online, and they arrived on the 10th....

I bought a box for the girls at the office as well.... went round to each desk and gave them the opportunity to pick one or two out.... wished them all a happy Valentine's Day.... I ended up carrying the box into the conference room.... I sat it on the conference table where we all have lunch....well, by lunchtime, I noticed that there was only three pieces of chocolate left.... all the women seated around the table were eyeing each other.... all of them had had more than one piece..... so, I walked over and looked in the box....I said "wow! only a few pieces left.... but, none of these are my favorite...".. and, I pulled off the first layer of chocolates to reveal 36 MORE virgin pieces on the lower level..... heh.... you should have seen the reaction around that table when I did that... squeals of, "There's ANOTHER LAYER!!!" reverberated around the room.... I think it is safe to say that they enjoyed my gift to them all.... but, I still wonder who would have won in the brawl... you know, the one that would have taken place if one of the girls had tried to take those "last three pieces"... I have an idea, but, with women, you never know... it's usually the scrawny ones that bite the hardest..

Poolfest 2004...

...First off, let me just start this little missive by saying that I am BUSTED!! ...yep, my Cousin found my blog... oh, the SHAME!.. the SHOCK!.. The HORROR!!....heh... dammit, I guess I'll have to stop using so much foul language and gratuitous sexual innuendo.... nahh... screw it... I guess it'll just remain the same... a few stories about mountain climbing... news articles about foot fetishes.... columns about stupid people who mail themselves places.... and, of course, the occasional Robert Service poem... all in all, not very exciting stuff... but, it is MY stuff... I'll not be changing, I think...

...anyway, back to the point of this post... Poolfest 2004 Continued.... Steve is coming over in a few minutes to beat the crap out of me on my own damn table again... so, I need to go and brush it off, mix a Martini, and do some yogic pool shooting exercises to get my mind right... I will... someday... beat him... dammit...

...I'll post the results later... heh... oh, and welcome to my new blood-related readers, I hope y'all enjoy the ride...

Neil Young Trivia...

..ok, kiddies...I was just listening to some vintage Neil Young.... and, let me tell ya, he musta been preeeeety fucked up when he wrote some of his songs... so.. you guys and gals fill in some of these blanks and see if you can guess either the song, or the correct lyrics... damn, but he IS entertaining.... oh, and no googlin', ya cheating bastards...

1. "I'm gonna ride my ______ from _____ to _______"

2. "It was then I knew I'd had ______, Burned my _____ _____ for fuel"

3. "Down the windy halls of ________, To the _____ clipped by the bullwhip, The motel of lost ____________ waits with ______ ____ and bar."

4. "I wish a was a ______, I would give thousand ____ to sleep with __________ and find out how she ____"

and, lastly...

5. "Welfare ______ make better ______"

c'mon, people.... don't be shy...

Because I'm In the Mood..

...I've read this many times... and, I just wanted to share a bit tonight... Byron is da Man, folks... and, I've always had a thing for brunettes... escpecially ones that wear glasses.... but, hey, that's just how I'm wired... damn..."raven tress"... get's me revved each time I read it...

She Walks in Beauty by Lord George Gordon Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Credit Where It Is Due..

...I am a lucky man... truly lucky.. I have had the honor - so far, in my short life... to have had the pleasure of meeting some people who are the genuine article... some black... some white.... some men... some women.. but, outstanding individuals all the same... people that, when I talk to them, I'm inspired.... people who, as I watch them work, play, speak, or write... make me want to be a better person... hell, I try to live my life as best I can... and I, like most, never really think I've hit the nail on the head yet...

..then, I see these people who are my idols... my ideal.. my heroes... and, suddenly... as I stand in awe of them, I realize that they have cracks... just like me.. cracks in their shells of life... gaps in their armor... we aren't perfect, no matter what others may think of us... and neither are our idols... they are just men and women... teachers and musicians.... friends and lovers... and, they have their own devils to deal with... just like us...

..I guess it all has to do with degrees, maybe…

..when I was growing up, one of my heroes was Mike Soscia… he played Catcher for the Dodgers… at the time, my Little League team was called the Dodgers.. and, I played Catcher…hell, every kid I knew wanted to play Baseball in the Pros.., heh.. I wanted to be just like “Mike” back before it meant Jordan…. later, when I was in the Corps, Chesty Puller and “Red” Mike Edson became my heroes… but, in a different way… deep down, I knew I’d never have the guts… or the opportunity… to do anything remotely like they had…

…I suppose, as we age, we begin to respect different qualities in our “Heroes”… Puller’s son joined the Corps as well… lost his legs in Vietnam… Chesty was the man, but he had some cracks…. Edson? He went into the fire… life took too much from him, I guess… Are they still my Heroes?… oh, HELL yes….but, lately, I have come to be inspired by different things… not by leading a Division… not by charging a machine gun nest…. but, instead… by different displays of bravery… the little bits of everyday bravery that I see in my life all around me….

.today, I saw someone handle the personal stress of a situation so well, that they now rank as one of my Heroes… what did they do? ….they faced a situation that was uncertain… a situation that, with a roll of the dice, could change their life… and they didn’t buckle… they maintained a steady course, and got the job done… I sat right there and watched it all unfold… and, it was a magnificent thing to watch… truly incredible... I was prouder of them at that moment… than I have been for ANYTHING or ANYONE in a very long time…. Thanks for the show today… you have inspired me..

Loch Tay Boat Song...

...I am learning a new song.. THIS IS IT.... a great friend of mine in Scotland is heard playing and singing in the recording... if he knew I'd posted this, he'd have a stroke.. he was a bit too close to the microphone, and the vocals are kinda garbled...but, for all you hardcore people, I'll be posting the lyrics at the bottom for your enjoyment...also, I'd just like to dedicate this song to all the gorgeous Red Headed Wimmin out there...you ladies are gems… all of ya...

...anyway, he and I always played guitar together every Saturday.. he has a totally different finger-picking style than I do, and we sounded pretty good together.. of course, he was a much better singer than I... still, I could play a bit better than he...but, for some reason, trying to sing this song is kicking my butt... he sings it with such feeling... such sadness... such love…

...this song...in my mind...is the BEST example of unrequited love that I have ever seen...basically, the singer is a ferryman rowing his boat across Loch Tay.. everyday, he ferries a girl with beautiful red hair...the love of his life.. known in the Gaelic as "nighean ruadh", or "Red Haired Girl"... he is deeply in love with this girl... but, she does not want him... it is a tragic, Scottish tale.. and, I love it.. I truly do...

...having spent time in Tayside, I know well the mountain called Ben Lawers ... as I do Killin (pronounced Kill-een) and Aberfeldy... two towns on either side of Loch Tay.. dammit, I WILL learn this song... or kill myself trying... it is too wonderful NOT to learn..

The Loch Tay Boat Song...traditional...

When I've done my work of day
And I row my boat away
Down the waters of Loch Tay
As the evening light is fading
And I look upon Ben Lawers
Where the after-glory glows
And I think on two bright eyes
And the melting mouth below
She's my beauteous Nighean Ruadh
My joy, my sorrow too
And although she is untrue
I cannot live without her
For my heart's a boat in tow
And I'd give the world to know
Why she means to let me go
As I sing ha-ri ha-ro

Nighean Ruadh, your lovely hair
Has more glamour I declare
Than all the tresses rare
'Tween Killin and Aberfeldy
Be they lint, white, brown, or gold
Be they blacker than the sloe
They are no more worth to me
Than the melting flake of snow
Her eyes are like the gleam
Of the sunlight on the stream
And the songs the fairies sing
Sound like songs she sings at milking
But my heart is full of woe
For last night she bade me go
And the tears begin to flow
As I sing ha-ri ha-ro

The Adak Rat Killin' Episode...

...for those of you who have ever been stationed in remote and/or desolate places, you might understand a little of the psychology behind this story...for the rest of you, this story will be a journey into the ultimate boredom...

..once upon a time, I was a young Marine stationed on Adak Island... to say that it had an inhospitable climate is like saying the surface of the fucking Sun is "a bit warm".... anyway, we had a McDonalds downtown... a bowling alley... a club... a shooting range.. and not much else... usually, the weather was sideways.... which means, it was either raining, sleeting, or snowing horizontally... on the times that it was not raining, sleeting, or snowing sideways, the weather was STILL sideways... only there was not frozen water in it...

...Adak was great if you liked to be rained on, and continually walk around with that "windswept" look...

...but, I'm not going to blog about the weather, I want to tell you about the Rat Killin...

...all of the Marines lived on the second floor of the barracks.. the sailors lived on the first floor...something about climbing stairs and PT or something.. anyway, we had a ladderwell at either end of the second floor that lead directly down to an external door... this door's lock was damaged, and it was always open just a wee bit... of course, there was another door at the top of the ladderwell.. anyway, at the top we had our communal microwave.. many a happy half-hour was spent standing in the hallway beside the microwave waiting for your "Ramen Noodle and Vienna Sausage Surprise" to be sufficiently nuked..

..just outside the door at the bottom, the Seabee Det had placed a dumpster...

...being from the country.. and not having had much to do with dumpsters before, I was unaware of their attraction to rats... until, one day, whilst nuking my evening meal, I walked over to the ladderwell door, and peeped out the window.... and right there... sitting on the top step... sniffing the fragrant smell of my simmering meal... was a rat... a big, nasty, fat bastard... and I was NOT going to give him any of my Ramen Noodles...

..so, I ran back to my room, and told my roomie about the rat.. instantly, an idea flashed into his mind, and... like a flash, he was up, and out of the room... running the opposite direction of the microwave, he disappeared down the North Ladderwell... I thought to myself, "Dang, he must not like rats very much.." and I walked back towards the South Ladderwell.... where my dinner was cooking.. as I got close to the microwave, I heard a huge "SLAM!".. once again, I peeped out the tiny window in the door, and saw that the outside door had been shut... thus, trapping the rat.... seconds later, my breathless roommate appeared.. sporting a grin so evil it would have made Genghis Khan shudder....

.. now, it just so happened... that word spread quickly through the Marine Barracks of our new hostage... before I knew what was going on, LCpl Lomosad was already organizing... "Get the keys to the Gear locker!" was heard... followed by "Oohhraa!"... and various other sounds of glee...

...I checked my noodles....almost done... I peeped into the ladderwell....yep, there sat Mr. Confused Rat....

...next thing I know, Lomosad walks up to me with a softball bat.... thrusts it to my chest, and says.... "You found him...you and these two are gonna charge from the top...me and these guys will come up from the bottom....just remember...CLOSE the DOOR, and wait for us to come in before you start..."

...needless to say, boys and girls, that rat didn't stand a chance...he was trapped in the ladderwell with 6 extremely bored Marines armed with Louisville Sluggers... the charge lasted less than 10 seconds once we were all in position... Marines 1, Rats 0...

..after that, the weekly Rat Killin became a vital part of the morale and welfare of Company I, Marine Support Battalion... sometimes, if no rats would dare venture into the ladderwell... and we had sufficient snow... we'd go out and SHAKE that dumpster... when the rats scampered out, the Rat Killin would begin... I'm sure that... not only were we providing a vital public service, but, it was quite tiring after a while... and, it probably could have been classified as PT..

...what is the moral of this story? ...I don't know... except... keep your Marines busy... otherwise, you can't even GUESS what kind of things they'll get started... oh, and just the other day, Lomosad sent me a PHOTO of us all in the ladderwell with our bats... I hadn't remembered a camera being there.... my Grandchildren will be so proud of my time in the Service...heh.

SWG Book Review...

...I know you weenies don't come here for art and culture, but you're gonna get my two cents worth today... the subject? "Cold Mountain"... I've heard that a movie has been made with that Jude Law guy... so, am I going to review the movie? HELL NO... why? ..because I'll never watch the bastard... I was given the book as a gift two years ago... I tried to read it... TWICE I tried.. I loaned it to the Wife to read, and she couldn't finish it... I loaned it to the Mother, and SHE couldn't finish it... folks, that book was the crappiest, slowest moving, most boring piece of shit that I've ever not-fully-read... I HATE it when I don't finish books, and for that reason, I HATE "Cold Mountain" for being so damn boring.. will I watch the movie?.. nope... unless I hear that Kidman gets her knickers off.. then, maybe I'll just fast forward to the appropriate bit...

..the fact that Hollywood has made a movie out of the book just goes to prove that they are all masochists... why are they so perverted?... well, the movie will, more than likely, be a huge hit, and millions of people will run out and buy that godforsaken book.. they will do this so that they can act superior to their friends... their friends will say, "Wow! I just saw the greatest movie ever! It's called Cold Mountain".... and the poser will say, "Oh, that? Hmmm, I haven't seen the movie, but I LOVED the book!"

...so, if you ever hear that, just remember... you heard it here first... those people are LIARS..and, if anyone ever says that to you, smack'em hard, and yell at the top of your lungs, "LIARRRRR".... ladies and gentlemen, I had a dedicated panel of hardcore readers attempt to read that damn book, and we ALL failed... "Cold Mountain" is not for me..

Savannah and Stuff...

...I40 is a beautiful drive.. the sun was shining and the sky was clear.. a gorgeous little stretch of road lies between Nashville and Knoxville, people.. seriously.. if you are ever in Tennessee, do yourself a favor... drive it..

...I got back late last night, and found an e-mail from The Bartender in my inbox... it seems that he has fixed my Trackback problem.. so, now that this is corrected, I can once again be the sociable little link pimp that I so desire to be.. with that said... here goes...

..The Acidman is planning a party in Savannah on Valentine's Day.. I am gonna try my best to be there..

..The Velociman has a tragic tale from his childhood.. I suppose we all get a wakeup call in one form or another.. some earlier than others..

..Geoffrey is packing up, and moving house... and finding that setting up a new blog is harder than you remembered.. good luck to ya, Bro..

..The Dramaqueen, a recent addition to the SWG Blogroll, is a real cutie from Oz...she tells us what she'd do if she had a million bucks... a Harley for the Hubby?... what a gal...

..for a little heavier reading, The VRWC Inc. has a wonderful essay on Gun Rights..

A Visit to the Bro...

...I'm off to Nashville this morning to visit my Brother.. I haven't seen him in about a month, so I'm driving over.. He called me a few days ago, and we talked about his situation.. much more lightheartedly than before.. I guess we all handle things differently as the mood hits us..anyway, after talking for a while, I suddenly remembered my Zevon... (by the way, this is NOT worksafe) .. I stuck it in the CD player, and we had a good ole laugh.. sometimes, all you CAN do is have a laught at life and the little curveballs it throws ya.... my Bro is one hard dude... hard in the way my Father was.. heh.. he got a tattoo a few years ago on his forearm that says "Soldier".. When I asked him why he got it, since he'd never served, he told me that... to him, the word Soldier meant someone who can "endure".. I guess looking at his arm helps him steady his keel sometimes... kinda like the last verse of that song... "Ya just can't quit"... anyway, I'm off to Nashvegas after I finish this pot of coffee..

..as usual, I am including the lyrics in case you kiddies want to sing along to my Bro's new themetune....heh...

Warren Zevon, Zevon Music BMI

Well, I went to the doctor
I said, "I'm feeling kind of rough"
Let me break it to you, son
Your shit's fucked up."
I said, "my shit's fucked up?"
Well, I don't see how--"
He said, "The shit that used to work--
It won't work now."

I had a dream
Ah, shucks, oh, well
Now it's all fucked up
It's shot to hell

Yeah, yeah, my shit's fucked up
It has to happen to the best of us
The rich folks suffer like the rest of us
It'll happen to you

That amazing grace
Sort of passed you by
You wake up every day
And you start to cry
Yeah, you want to die
But you just can't quit
Let me break it on down:
It's the fucked up shit

Been There....

....well...not ACTUALLY....but, I can certainly relate to THIS.... of course, I have a very long list of people that I'd LIKE to mail a copperhead....

"Bob Sam Castleman, an attorney and former city judge in Pocahontas, Arkansas, and his son, Jerrod, were charged with mailing a cardboard box containing a venomous copperhead snake to a neighbor with whom they had feuded. The two pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday.

The wife of the man to whom the poisonous package was addressed opened the box and saw the snake, about 28 inches (71 cm) long, slither out. Police soon arrived on the scene in Pocahontas, about 140 miles (225 km) northeast of Little Rock, and shot the snake dead. "

Driving...

...my car was due for a service on Monday....so, I called the dealership, and scheduled an appointment for my baby on Thursday...at 1pm...at Harper's Audi in Knoxville... the Wife drives over to where I work this afternoon, and I give her a tour of the plant... she's never visited before, and my co-workers are all freaking out about getting to meet her....heh....she enjoyed the attention.. anyway, we drove into town and had lunch... and she dropped me off at work, and we exchanged keys... she would drive my car to Knoxville, and I'd drive hers home in the afternoon....

...as she pulled away in my A4... with 6-speed Audi Tiptronic Transmission, I suddenly realized that her car was a 5-speed manual.... it hit me like a brick wall.. I've not driven a manual transmission car in 5 years!.. I wonder if I'll stall at some redlight and look like a weenie... oh, the horror... but, at the same time, I realized that it didn't matter... I had no choice...so, I might as well give'er a try...

...Damn, people, I had FUN on the way home... I had totally forgotten what a pleasure it was to drive a stickshift.. especially on the curvy backroads of East Tennessee...I ragged her little car out on every curve...down-shifting and punching her little wagon, with wild abandon, into each bend....hell, I've said before that I drive relaxed and calm...and slow....and, I enjoy it...but, that's in MY car....it is a pleasure to sit in it...smell it...feel the leather...hear the Bose audio...my car is a dream... you WANT to drive slow and enjoy the ride...

..HER car, on the other hand, is a nightmare.. empty potato chip wrappers are piled chest-high in the passenger seat.. the passenger side floorboard is cluttered with empty Reeses Cup wrappers and old bean dip containers.. even the occasional Vogue magazine lies amongst the flotsam somewhere....but the shifter?... it's there... and the racing steering wheel?... it's there... that car SCREAMS to be thrashed...

..the last time I drove a manual car, it was my old A4 back in Scotland.. the steering wheel was on the OTHER side...so, I had to adjust my shifting techniques to my other hand.. I got used to driving like that... and today, it was an awakening.... it reminded me of my first "newish" car... a 1987 Mustang.... I'd had two cars before it... my first was a 1951 Merc... my second was a 1951 Ford... I threw a rod on the Ford, and my Mother told my Father and I that we'd reached the end of our "old car tinkerings".... so, I bought the Mustang... anyway, today, driving along and changing gears with the CORRECT hand, it took me back to my old Mustang.... wow....what a blast....

...so... I get home tonight.. and my freshly groomed A4 is sitting in the drive sparkling like a new diamond... I walk inside, and the Wife is washing dishes that were left over after our guests left last night.... and, she looks up at me with the most mournful eyes you've ever seen...

"What's wrong?", I ask..

"Your car....I'm afraid I'm fallling in love with it...it has so much power....and it just glides...and it's so quiet.", she says...

"Wow! That's funny! I was just going to tell you how much I enjoyed driving YOUR car today! I really liked swinging into those curves! I'd totally forgotten how much fun it was to drive a stick-shift!"

"Wanna swap?", she grins...

"heh, not on your life, baby..."

...She threw a handful of soap suds at me.... but... I really DID enjoy driving her car today...I guess variety really IS the spice of life....

G'night....

...sorry, folks....I had a big ole linky fest that I was working on....but, I got distracted by a phonecall from my Brother....now, I'm depressed as hell, and I can smell lasagna in the kitchen....I can't blog tonight....I want to, but I can't ...all I can say is go... right fucking now, and buy Staind's "Outside"... and Three Doors Down "Here Without You"....I'm gonna get hammered and eat lasagna...my Bro is in a very dark place right now...darker than most of us could imagine....and, I want to be with him, but I can't.....I've blogged before about "long distance relationships"...."helplessness"..... "distance" ....and a lot of other shit regarding feelings and pain... ..but... that's all just candy.. you and I.... we REALLY don't know what pain and loss is... sometimes, we THINK we do... but, until it is squatting in YOUR backfuckingyard, I guess we'll not understand... hell, I don't understand now.. but, I want to.... but I can't... so....there....no bloggin tonight... g'night, campers....

You've Got Mail...

....a few nights ago, The Wife and I watched "Sleepless in Seattle"...a few days later, we watched "You've Got Mail"....word up....don't watch those two movies that close to each other...it will throw a major mindjob on you...sitting here now, it is STILL hard to remember which was which...

..anyway, last night, we watched "The Shop Around the Corner"...with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan...the "You've Got Mail" story was based on this one....and, friends and neighbors, I'm here to tell ya...Tom Hanks doesn't deserve to wipe Stewart's ASS...that movie rocked...

..the down-side was that the movie came on TCM kinda late...so...I was Scotched-up enough to begin to equate their "letters" to blogging...and, even to stuff I wrote back when I was a pup in high school...I told my wife about a journal I kept way-back-when...back then, I was madly in love with a girl named Lisa the whole time I was in school....she was incredible....cheerleader, of course....I had the same college-bound English class that she did...although, I never actually went to college, but that's another story....

...I never even spoke to her directly the whole time I was in school...she was the unattainable....she was the shining jewel on the pedestal....at least to me....in retrospect, if I'd had the balls to walk up to her and ask her out..take my chances, so to speak...I might have whisked her away on my arm....but, that is not the point of this, and it was NOT the point of it then....I wanted her to be the unattainable prize...I NEEDED her to be the thing that I couldn't get....couldn't have....I don't know why, but I liked our one-way relationship better that way....

..I wrote poetry about her...for her...beCAUSE of her....and she never knew....I filled a notebook with poems of her....and she never knew....but, more importantly, I didn't WANT her to know at the time...Hell, I'd been reading the classical romantics at the time, and maybe I was getting a little too inspired by them...but, I found comfort in worshipping her from afar.....and, on the last day of school...before we graduated....I wrote her a note...anonymous, of course....and left the journal in her locker...

....two days later, I was bound for Parris Island...and, I've never spoken to her to this day...

...while watching "The Shop Around the Corner", I mentioned my little journal to my Wife....earlier in our courtship, I had written poems to my Wife as well....but, as I told her about my story, she smiled and asked....."what did you write?", ...I suddenly stumbled to find the words..."I wrote about the Elm trees in my back yard....once, I had a dream...and I woke up, and wrote...'I sometimes see you standing in the moonlight...beneath the Elms'"...she raised herself onto her elbows, and said.."mmmm....I know those Elm trees.....how did the rest of it go?"....

...and....there I sat....I didn't remember the rest of the poem....I don't remember ANY of the poems that are in that little journal...I would give anything to have that journal back now...I WANT to know what I said...what I felt...what I imagined....but, it is gone...

What did Lisa do with that handwritten note book?…the one that was mysteriously found in her locker on the last day of school?....the one that no one signed their name to?...did she discard it?....did she keep it?....did she even READ it?...ahhhh......oblivion....

....if you have not seen the original "Shop Around the Corner"....do yourself a favor...rent it...wait till it is on TCM again...whatever....but, make SURE you see it....two people "met" via letters....and the truth of their souls were bared to each other over the written word...none of us have any idea of the power we hold.....sometimes, our words have a deeper impact than we can possibly imagine...sometimes, they have no impact at all, except upon ourselves...but, regardless....our words are OUR words....and we should keep them....if only to remind ourselves later of where we have been...

Mission Status: Failure

...last night, I saw the culmination of months of planning...result in Total Mission Failure...the Mission? Go to the movies....sounds simple, right? ....well, evidently not...

...the Wife loves to go to the movies...I prefer to wait till it comes out on video...anyway, she decides that she will ask a friend of mine from work to go with her...here is where the fun began...the Wife normally works every second weekend...the Friend has her children every other week...so, it takes them two months to finally get a date nailed down to go out....the date duly arrives, and last night, they met at Straight White House at 5:45pm....the doorbell goes, I wander through and open the door...the Wife rushes out of the bedroom, fresh from finishing her make-up....I exchange a few pleasantries with the ladies...compliment them both on how nice they look...advise them to be safe, and enjoy themselves....and..I also ask them to bring me back a slice of Key Lime Pie from wherever they have dinner...I then, very gently, boot them out the door...

...perfect, thinks I...a night to myself to blog, drink Scotch, and just have a helluva Friday night by myself...and, when the blogging is done, I'll have a nice piece of pie as a midnight snack....I was wrong...

...they decide to have dinner before the movie instead of after...the arrive at Applebee's to find it packed with Friday Night Flotsam...but, they persevere...after 30 minutes, they are seated and eating...they finish their meal, and inquire about my Key Lime Pie....and, Applebee's informs them that they don't have Key Lime Pie...doing their best in damage control, they procure a slice of cheesecake with caramel drizzled over it....

...so, off they whisk to the nearest theater....approaching the aging attendant, they are told that the movie has been playing for 45 minutes....they ask about alternate viewing times, and all are unacceptable...so, they hop into the jeep, and zip over to the other theater across town....heh...the teenybopper attendant told them the same thing...the movies are all half over, and they'll have to wait an hour before the next showing...

...just finishing my first Talisker of my gloriously quiet Friday night, I wander through to the living room...where, I see headlights in the drive...."Could they be back already? Hell, it is only 7:30"....and sure enough, here comes the Wife walking up the path.....

...so, I sat and listened to the drama that had been played out....I poured her a glass of wine, refilled my tumbler with Scotch...and we kicked off our Friday night together...blogging was terminated for the evening...but, now that it is morning, I am amazed when I think back on it...the old BAMCIS acronym comes to mind....it took two months for two women to Begin the planning, Arrange recon, Make recon, Complete the planning, Issue the order, and Supervise....the mission? Go watch a movie, and bring back pie....the result? Total Mission Failure...heheeheh....but, you gotta love those two gals...

Men and Women...

....at work today, an email containing a spreadsheet was sent round the office...when you opened the attachment, it asked you to type your name in one of the columns...if you did this, it would display your "perfect job"....I know...pretty cheesy...but, bear with me....you put in your name, and it says things like...."Dog Grooming Specialist"....."Office Snitch"...."Professional Boxer"...and a million and one other things.....so, I put my name in, and it listed my "perfect job" as "Vibrator Tester"....can you believe that?

...anyway...I took this little test about 5 minutes before lunch break...so, I go walking into the conference room for lunch, and all of the women are sitting around the table unwrapping their Subway Sandwiches...discussing THEIR "perfect jobs"....when, behold, one of them asked me what that spreadsheet had told ME....so, I replied, "It hit me RIGHT on the head..my perfect job is "Vibrator Tester"...

....cackles...squeals...half-eaten Subways spewed across the conference table...tears were being wiped away from eyes....it was the total scene, people...

..I just stood there...I couldn't figure out why they thought that was so funny...and THEN, I got it...but, only when one of the girls asked, "So, WHERE were you TESTING the Vibrators?!?! BHWHAHAHA"....

....but...y'all would have been proud of me...I kept my composure...

"You Ladies have it all wrong...when that spreadsheet told me my perfect job, I immediately had a flash-picture in my brain....like a snapshot of me at my perfect job..."....some of the laughter had calmed down, and they were starting to pay attention....

I continued..."I suddenly saw myself in a white lab coat....with a clip board in my hand...and a pocket full of buzzing devices....I was walking down a long line of hospital beds...buxom young female librarians were enjoying the fruits of modern technology....faces buried in their pillows, and their asses in the air...

…as I approached the first one, I took the pen from my pocket and inquired thusly:

Me: Ahhh, I see you chose the Purple Passion with the new rotating function...how do you like it?
Librarian #1: unhhhh .....unggghhhh ....mmmmm... uhhh... ooohhh...
Me: I see, I see....very nice....thank you very much...

...I take a few steps...

Me: Wow….I see you chose the titanium Orgasmatron 200 AND the Pocket Egg....QUITE a combination...I'm impressed....How do you like the results so far?
Librarian #2: oooomigod... oooMIgod.... oooomiiiiGOD... OHHmiiiiiGAWD....
Me: DANG!...How can your legs quiver so much without you actually falling over?...uh...never mind...thanks for your ....uh...input...

I wiped my brow, and said to the rest of the long line of panting librarians, “Remember to drink lots of water...I don't want any of you to be less than fully hydrated for the experiment….and…be honest with your answers….this IS for posterity, you know"

...that’s what I told’em….heh…that was what I pictured…..so...how is it that the minds of Women and Men can grasp something as SIMPLE as "Vibrator Tester"...so differently?...

..I actually think they liked MY version of "Vibrator Tester" better than the one that each of them had imagined...but, I'm not 100% sure....although...I DO believe that dang spreadsheet knows me pretty well...

Robert Burns Night...

..my first Burns Night.....ahhhh....I remember it well....you see, in Scotland, most towns have an annual Burns Night to celebrate the life and poetry of Rabbie Burns...many towns..of any substantial size, have three or more Burns Suppers..the town I lived in...Montrose...had MANY Suppers....some were held in local pubs...some in the townhouse....and, a few were held in local Hotels....THE Burns Supper to ATTEND, was hosted by "The Montrose Burns Club"....of which, the father of my girlfriend had been a former President....He was a Dentist..and a member of the 41 Club...Doctors, Lawyers, the CO of the nearest Naval Base, etc, were invited to THIS Burns Supper....and, it was a high honor to be invited...the Club would offer three or four tickets to the Brass of the base I was on...and the rest had to do without....anyway....to make a long story short, after my soon-to-be-father-in-law invited me, I contacted my SgtMaj to ask his advice....he, of course, reported my invitation to the CO of my Company....who, incidentally, hadn't been invited....and, the report was passed down to me that I would have to dress in full Dress Blues...including sword...as this was a "high" function in the "local" community....and Marines were not often invited...

...my soon-to-be-father-in-law explained the situation to me....he and 8 of his friends would meet at his house...dressed in their kilts and other finery....and have a few drams...we would then have the women of the family drive us to the Hotel....where we would partake of the festivities.....afterwards....on a cold, January, Scottish night...we would WALK through town...and back to our homes...this, evidently, was the tradition of which I was being initiated...fabulous party, plenty of drinks...entertainment...loads of food...some brogue poetry...and then, hypothermia awaited for the walk home...heh....trust the Scots to come up with THAT particular mix of pleasure and pain...

Anyway...that was the plan.... and, at the end of the day...Five US Servicemen attended the Supper that night...A USN Captain...he was commander of the WHOLE BASE I was on...his XO.... and some suck-up LTCDR Chaplain guy...and me...ole Cpl Straight White Guy...and my SgtMaj.... *I convinced my soon-to-be-father-in-law to invite him.... he AND my STBFIL were BOTH happy with this idea*...of course...the OTHER three sat at the top table.... and I was down in amongst the Doctors, Lawyers, and Indian Chiefs....with the SgtMaj...well....we all sat down for our appetizer....haggis, of course....complete with the piper playing the bagpipes, and marching in front of the chef as it was hauled in....and THEN, the recitation....of "Tae A Haggis"...by one of the Soon-To-Be-Presidents....and...Just at the moment of the climax of the poem, he slit open the glorious pudding with his sghean dubh...there was much applauding.... much Scotch consumed.... and much haggis eaten....

Next came the meal..Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding....and then....the speeches....the President called upon someone to give a "Toast to the Lasses"...and then upon another to "Reply on behalf of the Lasses"...of which, I am very sorry to say, none were present....it was a male-only function, you see...Burns having died of Syphilis and all....and the speeches continued...."A Toast to Burns Clubs the World'oer".....inevitably, followed by a "Reply".....and then....the entertainment....while the whole host of party-goers were getting toasty on Rusty Nails and Single Malt, other individuals squirmed their ways through "Holy Willie's Prayer"...the most insightful poem of Human Nature I've ever read.....and "To a Mouse"....a tale about how fragile we all are as humans...

all in all, my first Burns Supper was one of the greatest nights of my life...I really miss the annual January Burns Supper..and, THIS year...I'm having the First Annual SWG Burns Supper here in Tennessee......I miss the comradeship....I miss getting dressed up in a Tuxedo and hobnobbing with the local "gentry".....and, I really miss hearing Burns' poetry being read in the Scottish tongue...it was one of those incredible little bonuses of traveling....that you just happen upon...a true gem..this year, I will be hosting my own little gem....but, I digress....

...later that night....as we walked home through the darkened streets of Montrose...we came to Rose Hill...a small bridge crossing a stream...bordered on one side by a small housing district...and on the other...by a graveyard dating back to the 1600s....I...being me....and armed with a USMC NCO Sword...told the elderly Scotsmen present...that...in our drunken state, we MUST take that BRIDGE....so...drawing my sword from the scabbard, I whirled it over my head like Nathan Bedford Forrest must have done with 2 pints of Scotch in his belly...and yelled..."To Robbie Burns!!!"....and, without thinking, 7 drunken, middle-aged Scotsmen cheered...and suddenly followed me across the stone bridge...

...Exhausted...drunk...and extremely pleased with ourselves after our assault, I sheathed my sword...the police car had just passed, and wasn't likely to turn around at that hour of the night....and, each of us congratulated ourselves for surviving our brave charge across the Rose Hill Bridge at 2AM on January 25th, 1992...a date which will SURELY live in the minds of all present....after we steadied ourselves, we walked the rest of the way home....we arrived to find the women adrift in a sea of wine...seemingly, they had their OWN Burns Night while us MEN were at the Park Hotel....but, they welcomed us, nonetheless...and we went to bed....and, we had sausage and eggs the next morning...

..what I want to get across to you..is the feeling.....I felt so welcome that night...never before have I been so wholeheartedly accepted into a community than I was that night...I attended The Montrose Burns Club's Burns Night for the next 8 years....one more time as an "outsider"...and the rest as that great man's Son-in-Law.....I never missed a meeting....I will miss it this weekend...and for that, Duncan, I am sorry....Absentibus Amicis, Duncan....I wish I was there, my friend...to lead you...John...and Glenn..once again, across the bridge at Rose Hill....

Jeremiah Johnson

There are very few movies that I remember watching with my Father...we usually spent time outdoors instead...building fence...working in the barn...tinkering with a thousand half-broken things in his workshop...but, for some reason, sitting down with him and watching a movie...or TV...just never happened...he was always busy with his hands...always moving...always working...heh, I believe he was an artist at heart...even if some of his "art" was a little on the intimidating side...he made it for himself...and gave it away gladly to admirers at the drop of a hat...every member of my family has something that he made with his hands...he made stick men out of railroad spikes....he twisted copper wire into hearts with arrows through them...he made huge Conan-the-Barbarian-esque swords and battle axes out of broken railroad rail......he made a giant copper ashtray once...I still have it....it looks more like something a Viking would carry into battle to bludgeon the enemy with...than an ashtray....but, in their own way, each thing he made was beautiful...each thing he made...contained a bit of his essence...

..One of the few times that he’d stop what he was doing…was to watch Jeremiah Johnson...together, we watched Robert Redford build his first greenhorn fire...under that fateful hemlock tree many, many times....each time that clump of snow fell on his fledgling fire, Dad would quietly say...just under his breath...."Damn.."....it was like he was there with Redford...freezing under that tree...knowing that with out the fire, he would surely die that night....and with fire, he would survive....I think that is the way my Dad lived his life...I think he understood...in a way that I will never be able to, exactly how Jeremiah Johnson felt at that precise moment...

That movie, in so many ways, tells a story of pain, loss, endurance, will, freedom, love, self-denial, self-reliance ..hell ..I've been close to death...I've climbed mountains...I understand...and love...cold, vicious, deadly weather...but, I have always understood the need for preparation... planning... and good equipment.... Johnson and my Dad...they had it differently...my little adventures have been just that...adventures...my Dad, on the other hand, did it because it was his job...he fed his family...he did it because he loved us, and that was the only way he could provide for us...I did it for kicks...it is a totally different thing, to go out to work on the railroad at 20 degrees...all day....in jeans, steel-toed work boots, and a Carhart jacket...because, that's all you had....and ME to go out dressed in REI, North Face, Gore-tex, Marmot, Patagonia, etc...and think I'm hard...I'm not....I'm prepared...not hard....my DAD was hard...Jeremiah Johnson was hard...we push ourselves now...out of boredom....not out of necessity....now, to do it everyday?...for years?...because you HAVE to?....that, my friend, is true courage...true grit...one could almost say "heroism"...

...this morning, as I was having my cigarette, I noticed the snow on the mountains...far off in the distance....I suddenly felt very lonely....I remembered my Dad...and watching that movie...for some reason, I just couldn't shake the image of Redford bent over that tiny fire......later, I was speaking with a friend...and without even thinking, I suddenly said..."You know, one day I might just disappear into those mountains, and never come back...hell, all I'd need is 15 minutes to pack my gear...I could live up there for years"....they didn't say anything right away...and then, they looked at me...and said...."I know you could do it...but, you'd be missed"....

...One of my most prized possessions is an original 1972 movie poster of Jeremiah Johnson...framed, and on the wall in my living room...I know it is just a movie...but, sometimes, movies aren't just movies...The characters guide us – in ways we cannot understand – to a place we want to be….maybe even...to people we want to be..

About ME!

This is being done so that I can get rid of my old blogspot page...so, don't gimme no lip...

I first saw this method of telling someone about yourself on Acidman's page...and later I saw that Dax Montana had also used something similar....so.....I'm gonna steal their idea and do this for MY page too...

Name: Eric
Nickname: Eric
Astrological sign: Libra
Age: 31
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 195lbs
Occupation: MIS
Birthplace: Cleveland, Tennessee
Marital status: Married
How many children: ZERO, but my wife has two cats.
Do you drink (alcohol): YES, usually Scotch
Do you smoke: Yes
Favorite outdoor activities: Going Inside, looking at the moon, hiking, going to the range....
Favorite indoor activities: Playing guitar, Entertaining Friends, Shooting pool..
Favorite colors: Blue
Favorite type of music: Folk, oldies, and stuff from the 40s
Favorite musical groups/performers: James Taylor, Jim Croce, Nanci Griffith, Jimmy Buffet, Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, Warren Zevon, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Cake
Favorite song at the moment: "Hostage O," by W. Zevon
What's in your home CD/Casette player right now: a homemade recording from a bar band in Scotland called "Grapefruit Matters"....Ally, if you read this, call me..
What's in you car CD/Casette player right now: I have a 6 CD changer....Warren Zevon - Life'll Kill Ya, Jimmy Buffett - Songs you Know by Heart, Rolling Stones - 40 Licks, Warren Zevon - Greatest Hits, Tommy Santelli - Songs Recorded at Rafferty's
Do you play an instrument: Yes. I finger-pick Guitar - badly
What kind of guitar do you play: acoustic custom Fender
Have you ever gone skinny-dipping: many, many times
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up: A Zooligist or Botanist, but at age 11 it changed to US Marine.
What would be your dream job now: Emperor of the Universe
Have you ever been convicted of a crime: Nope
Places you'd most like to visit: Spain, Northern Africa
Your first car: 1951 Mercury 4-Door...Black
Dream car: 1950 Mercury 2-Door Converible...Black
Car you Drive now: 2003 Audi A-4....Silver
Favorite season: Autumn
Favorite holiday: Halloween
Favorite hobbies: playing guitar, writing, traveling, shooting
Favorite sport to play: Does shooting pool count?
Favorite sport to watch: Rugby Union, College Football
Least favorite sport to watch: Ice Skating
Most humiliating moment: My Mother was a beautician....she liked to practice new hair-do's...a 10 year old red-head has ENOUGH problems without having to go to elementary school with a perm...need I say more?
Do you have any siblings: One younger brother, Joshua
Do you get along with your parents: My father died of lung cancer in 2001. I got along great with him..he was one HELL of a Man...I get along great with my Mother.
Favorite place to chill: On my back deck in the evenings.
Favorite place to visit: My friend Matt's house in Alaska
What is your bad time of day: I dont have one.
What is your good time of day: Sunrise
Favorite flower/plant: Honeysuckle
Favorite subject in school: History
Least favorite subject in school: Math
Favorite authors: Anne Rice, Robert Service, Hemingway
Favorite book genre: History, Biography
Favorite book: "Rhymes of a Red Cross Man", by R. W. Service
Current book I'm reading: "Chesty" by LtCol Jon Hoffman
Favorite magazine: Military History, Smithsonian, Harpers
Favorite movie of all time: Jeremiah Johnson
Other favorite movies: The Usual Suspects, Battleground, Sands of Iwo Jima, Lonesome Dove, Casablanca, Kelly's Heroes, Parenthood, Evolution, The Princess Bride, Blazing Saddles...
Favorite actors/actresses: John Wayne, Morgan Freeman, Robert Redford, Katherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Bacall
Favorite cartoon character: Johnny Bravo, Elmer Fudd
Favorite food: Spaghetti..my own recipe...I LOVE it...
Chocolate or Vanilla: Vanilla
Favorite alcoholic Drink: Scotch and Water...particularly the single malts from Islay - Bowmore, Laphroaig, Lagavullin, etc.. I lived in Scotland for 8 years and picked up the taste for it..now-a-days I drink blends...I'm a cheap bastard unless company is coming over..
What is your bedtime: 11:30 PM
Worst enemies: So far, I don't have any..
Interesting fact about your childhood: My cousin Dennis ran over me once with a 3-Wheeler....
The first thing you think of in the morning: A Cigarette
Favorite thing to do when you're home alone: Play Guitar, surf the net, read a good book
Things that make you feel good: Sunrises, Coffee on a Saturday morning, watching Scotland crush England at Rugby, Making Martinis, or other mixed drinks for friends
Things you don't like: People trying to tell me what to do and how to think, fat women in lycra, fleas, warm beer, airports, never having enough time, intolerant people, gardening, people who whine, piss, and moan to get their way, Fat Democrats..
Worst feeling in the world: Watching someone die and knowing you can't help them.
Scariest feeling in the world: Being in love.
Best feeling in the world: Being loved back.
Do you get motion sickness: Only once...in the Bering Sea, but the weather was horrible..
Roller Coasters - Deadly or Exciting: Deadly
Thunderstorms - Cool or Scary: Very Cool
Pen or Pencil: Pen
Do you like to drive: I like to drive, but I drive slow....
Do you sleep with stuffed animals: No. But my wife has an entire spare bedroom stacked with stuffed toy penguins.
Did you have imaginary friends or a blanket as a child: Hell no, I had a little brother to beat on/and/or/be my buddy..sorry Josh....
What is on the walls of your room: Some photos, a few military unit photographs and awards, a signed photo of Robert Duvall as Augustus McCrae from Lonesome Dove.....
What words or phrases do you overuse: DANG, DAMMIT, WOW
Coolest things anyone ever gave you: hmmmm, I'll have to think about that one...
How would you characterize your political leanings: Right Wing Republican for the most part, but it really depends on the issue being debated.
If you could pick one super-human power, what would you choose: Invisibility

Favorite Quotes/Lyrics/Poems:

"Don't let us get sick
Don't let us get old
Don't let us get stupid, alright?
Just make us be brave
and make us play nice
and let us be together tonight"

Don't Let us Get Sick - Warren Zevon

"If I ever live to be an old Man, I'm gonna sail down to Martinique
I'm gonna buy me a sweat-stained Bogart Shirt, and an African Parakeet
And I'll sit him on my shoulder...and open up my trusty old mind...
I'm gonna teach him how to fuss..teach him how to cuss..
and pull the cork out of a bottle of wine..."

Jimmy Buffett

"Oz never gave nothin' to the Tin Man..that he didn't, didn't already have"
America

Bad Language Alert...

This was sent to me by Charlie...a good friend of mine from the Corps....I thought I'd put it up...he sounds kinda pissed..

"OK, time for a rant. I've seen Eric post the "14 Leadership Traits" already - once on his old blogspot site, and once here. You can search for them in the archives, if you see fit to understand what I'm talking about. I feel that he should post them again today - not so much as for YOU guys, but for me. These traits were beaten into me at Parris Island, and it is THESE things which I strive EVERY day to try to live up to - not for you, not for my employees, for me. Everyone needs a moral compass, and these are mine.

I TRY to be an example. I try to treat all workers AND management with the same respect and courtesy. Hell, I'm no better than EITHER of them. If my assistant comes up with an idea, I'll be the FIRST person to tell MY Boss that they are responsible It's not my ego, it's my JOB to look out for my troops. However, some people don't seem to function that way.

I am absolutely fucking TIRED of dealing with people who have no regard, care, or sense of loyalty to their "troops". Hell, these assnuggets have no scrap of loyalty to themSELVES, much LESS their underlings. Leadership is a two-way street. But, THESE people are whores on an entirely different level. I mean, if you buy a whore, at least you KNOW what to expect. THESE people are hired as "professionals", and, in reality, they give whores a bad name. I'm serious here. The vast majority of people in this world must be goddamn egotistical lunatics. I am NOT of the bragging kind, but I'll tell you this, I've got more LEADERSHIP skills in my right FOOT than most "leaders" I have ever had the distinct displeasure of working with in the civilian world. They grow up as corn fed idiots, and with a few lucky business breaks in latter life, they think they are friggin' Patton or something. I had a run-in with one of them this very day. I came forward, as a gentleman, after the meeting, and explained my grievance, and, once challenged, the little fucking weinerdog made light, joked, grinned, molly-coddled, and generally behaved as a useless, worthless, characterless little prick. Which, incidentally, is pretty much what they are. If you have the fucking nerve to try to bitchslap me in a meeting, then the LEAST bit of courtesy you can extend me is to talk to me, rationally about it, after the fact.

However, I digress. What I want to know is this; Does it take a MILITARY background to make you honest? trustworthy? or just? Or, is something deeper than that? Is this behavior something that is learned? Or is fairness and respect something which your God-fearing PARENTS should have impressed upon you.

Are you so insecure that you feel the need to belittle other's efforts? Is your dick so small that you feel the need to take the credit from the "little people" who ACTUALLY did the mind-numbing work? If so, then you are pathetic. You make me want to beat you with a lead pipe. You DO realize, don't you? That you are a slimy, filthy, inbred little bastard, right?. If you were ever thrown out into the REAL world, instead of some corporate self-gratifying-circle-jerk, you'd have your scrawny ass handed to you by the first "little person" you tried to snub. You are a sick, cheesedick motherfucker. You make me sorry to be from the same species as you. Wait. I take that back, I don't think we are even in the same damn phylum. You are a lesser evolved beast.

You are truly pathetic, and, someday your day will come...."

Tired..

...ok...sorry for the lack of posting today.....I had obligations in Alabama to take care of....and, getting a chance to post here from deep in Auburn country was too much for me....I just couldn't manage it....so....after leaving home at 6am...and, just NOW getting back...I....to quote from the immortal "Good Morning, Vietnam"...."am in more dire need of a blowjob than any White Man in history"....but, hey....I'll settle for a Scotch...neat....yep...you heard that right...no water...no ice....this is no USUAL evening....tonight it is neat....I'm too damn tired to mess around with ice and water...just gimme a slug...I'm heading to bed...

G'night.....never fear, sweet people....dirty jokes.....and stories about young, enterprising Canadian lesbians will be once again on the agenda...in the morning...

Update: I've had some more ferret comments about Stiller and his bitten lip......great googly moogly....when will this torture STOP???

Close...

I was talking with a close friend of mine this morning.....they are at a crossroads right now....the quandary is all about moving...from the Smoky Mountains to the West Coast......they've never been away from the mountains for very long at a stretch....and they have never lived very far from their family....add to this the fact that their family is very loving and close...and you begin to see the problem.....add in other complications which I'm not going to get into, and it becomes a real mess...but, in a way...I understand where they are coming from....

..the whole conversation got me thinking....I joined the Corps when I was 17....I graduated from High School on a Friday...and was at Parris Island on Monday morning....after basic, and MOS training, I was sent overseas....I did 18 months in the Pacific...and 2 years in Europe...then, I stayed overseas after my time in the Corps was up....I moved back a couple of years ago because of duties I needed to fulfill in my family…I ended up spending 9 years of my life…from 17 years of age…to 28….away from my family…distance never made a difference in my love for my family…or their love for me…

...The world we live in is so small...with enough money, you can be on any point of the globe in 24 hours... Antarctica.... Australia.... the deepest recesses of the Congo river basin...... and, in a couple of years....the face of the Moon... ...distance is quickly becoming less and less important....but, we still hold onto the idea in our minds...."It's so far away..", we tell ourselves....”you’re so far away from me”….we delude ourselves.....we console ourselves with that statement .....but, in reality....you are never really that far away..

...and, I don't mean this in a “you are miles away, but I have you in my heart” kinda way…I mean it in ACTUAL distance…you can be ANYWHERE in 24 hours…to me, that is just an incredible idea…as a lover of history, the idea that I can fly up to Boston for the afternoon…and have dinner, meet some friends, catch a performance of the Boston Pops, and still be back in Tennessee for the Letterman Show…just boggles my poor little mind….In my Great Grandfather’s day, that was a two week horseback ride…up and over Cumberland Gap…and into Kentucky…and on to the North…and then, two weeks back..

It is normal to be afraid of unknowns…moving cross country would have scared the hell out of me too, years ago…but now, I view distance differently…we have e-mail, phone calls...cheap-assed airfares…there really is no excuse…I guess it boils down to this…we are as “close” as we WANT to be….I know people who live a couple of miles away from me now…and we were “closer” when I was overseas…you ARE where you are…and, the people who are close to you…that you want to be close with…are close, regardless of the perceived distance…

So…to my friend…I’m not going to give you advice…but, what ever path you decide…be happy…and once decided, do not regret your choice, regardless of the outcome…damn those torpedoes, my friend…full speed ahead….

Dinner...

OK....a little more stuff about cooking...then I'll stop...I promise...

...last night, the Wife prepared the most ...interesting ...meal... EVER ...it was an incredible journey into a world of tastes and textures ....kinda like a trip to a slaughterhouse...interesting while you're there...but, you really don't want to go back a second time.....

....you want to know what was on the menu?...ok....here goes.....baked sweet potato with butter and cheese....and some kind of tomato-sauce-hotdog-weiners-combination...I'd never put cheese on a sweet potato before....but, in the spirit of culinary adventure, I was willing to give it a go...it wasn't too bad....I'll not do it again, of course...but, it was ok...a new experience chalked down.....now...on to the weiner oriented dish....it was NOT that bad...it was just strange...I ate most of it with a feeling of complete confusion...I'd take a bite, and try to figure out how to describe the flavor...I couldn't...which would force me to take ANOTHER bite...before I knew it, I'd eaten most of it...when I was nearly finished, the Wife asks me if I enjoyed it....

...and here is where the trouble began....I said..."I like it...I've never had anything quite like it before...but, it kinda reminds me of a hot MRE....warm, filling, and with a totally indescribable taste"....I meant that as an honest compliment....heh...but, she didn't take it that way.....so, I had to spend the next five minutes trying to convince her that I actually liked to eat warm MREs...

..seemingly, she had had a moment of inspiration while baking the sweet potatoes....she took a jar of Ragou Spaghetti sauce...added a few sliced up hotdogs...some oregano.. and parmesan cheese... now, I know what you all are thinking...."Hey, that sounds pretty harmless.."....but, you'd be wrong...I ain't finished yet... she told me AFTER the meal that she had thought the dish was too runny....so, she added mayonaise to it in the hopes of thickening the sauce.. at this point, I suddenly realized why I couldn't identify the flavor of the sauce.. anyway, when adding the mayo didn't work, she fell back to one of MY old cooking failsafes.. if something is too runny, add some breadcrumbs... and, this had the desired effect.... the sauce became thick..

....for all of you thrill-seekers out there...always looking for the new sensation.. or the latest wild experience... I highly recommend my Wife's recipe.. so far, she is yet to name the dish..if she does, I'll be sure to let you know.. in the mean time, try making the meal I had last night.. I promise you..it'll be a new sensory rush...

Hamburger Steaks...

Why is it that television Chefs are usually men?....Do guys have some ingrained sense of "adventure"...and it spills over to their cooking style?..I just don't know...I've know some pretty adventurous ladies.....but...in my family, most of the men are the outstanding cooks..now, don't get me wrong..the women can throw together a great meal...but, I'd much rather eat my Grandpa's cooking...than Grandma's....

I remember watching my Grandpa cook hamburger steaks once...he was over visiting us...and lunchtime came, so he volunteered to cook....now...for those of you who have ever cooked a hamburger steak...you'll know that it's pretty hard to screw up....you flatten out some ground beef...throw it in a frying pan...and cook it till it is done...presto...you're done.....but, Grandpa did it differently...

..salt...pepper...tobasco... worchestershire sauce... garlic salt... parmesan cheese... basil...and even a dash of ground cloves....all of these things went onto that pile of beef...I watched as he worked all of the ingredients together with his hands....at one point, he called me over....he took a handful of beef, and lifted it to my nose...and said…"What do you smell, son?".....I could smell the cloves....the garlic....the cheese....he grinned wide when I told him this....and he let slip a bit of wisdom..."Here is the secret to cooking meat, boy...if you can smell the scent of the meat, then you aren't ready to cook it"...that has been the single most useful tip on cooking that I've ever received...and to this day, my spaghetti is the best...you can make your sauce any way you want...but...if you prepare the meat correctly BEFORE you start, then you're on to a winner...regardless of what tomato sauce you use..

I don't know where he learned it....and I KNOW he never saw any of those damn TV cooking shows....but, he was one of the best cooks I've ever met...

Shackleton....

I've just been watching Kenneth Branagh - as Shackleton...lead his men to safety from their abortive trip to cross Antarctica....Branagh is magnificent....Shackleton truly did the incredible....after his ship, the Endurance, was caught in the ice and crushed...he led his men...in boats that were open to the elements...across the ice shelf...and across the water...to South Georgia Island....and THEN, he crossed a mountain range on foot to fetch help....He was one unbelievable guy...even in spite of his business concerns and his pursuit of funds for more expeditions....he, as a Man, was a FORCE....he is one of my heroes....

I've been on the deck of RSS Discovery many times....walked the same paths that he had walked...he had been to the Antarctic with Captain Scott on The Discovery a few years before leading his own mission......The Discovery became trapped in the ice as well...and the Captain and Crew remained locked in for two Winters...I admire those men incredibly.....The sheer guts that those men had....the pure fortitude that they had to possess to go on Antarctic expeditions, is incredible to me....

Here is a quote I found about his epic trip..

"In 1914, explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men set out aboard his ship, Endurance, in pursuit to be the first to cross the continent of Antarctica via the South Pole. Instead, Endurance became locked in sea ice, and for nine grueling months he fought a losing battle to save his ship, which was finally crushed by the relentless pack ice.

Shackleton and his crew then drifted for five more months on ice floes, enduring inhuman cold and violent storms until they reached a barren rock called Elephant Island. Then, he and four members of his crew embarked on a treacherous 850-mile voyage across dangerous open seas in a tiny 22-foot boat and miraculously reached South Georgia Island."

He left behind most of his crew on Elephant Island...they lived under the shelter of an overturned row boat and awaited his return...the fact that he made it to South Georgia is a complete miracle...either that, or a showing off of the best leadership skills ever displayed...so...when he and the other four set off, those left behind must have thought they were goners...his leadership kept those men alive...his example kept them from giving up hope....and, through all of these hardhips, he managed never to lose a single member of his crew....it is truly a story that everyone should hear about....

Shackleton....and men like him....are still around...but sometimes, they seem harder to identify ...their determination, integrity, strength, endurance, and fortitude should be a shining example to us all...

...the strange thing is....that these days, we might not lead an expedition to the South Pole...but, sometimes....leading ourselves can be just as challenging...

I'm DECORATED...

Many of you may have not noticed...BUT...I have been "decorated" for my drinking abilities....I have been awarded the "Bruised Brain Award"...for "drinking above and beyond last call" over at Madfish Willie's Cyber Saloon....hey...what can I say?...other than...get me a SCOTCH and WATER, Bartender...The Corner of the Bar Gang rides again!....

Time To Get Dirty...

Ok, kiddies...today is the beginning of Scotchfest 2004 at Straight White House....and...since I'm in the mood...I just thought I'd put up a little Adult Content..after all, it HAS been a while since I did....so...if you are easily offended by Adult Situations...Strong Language...Gratuitous Sexual References.....or just Me in general...go away now...you'll blush...

Ladies and Gentlemen....I want to talk to you tonight about the beauty of masturbation...for far too long, as far as I'm concerned, getting yourself off has been a taboo subject for most people....everybody does it....some do it once a week....some do it everyday....some do it at work....some do it TWICE a day..some do it MORE than TWICE a day.....wait...anyone who does it MORE than twice a day is probably going to injure themself...they should probably back off a little....

....the absolute FACT that we all do it...is NOT what I'm here to talk about right now.....what I wanted to focus on....was WHY you are doing it....what ARE you thinking about?....and...more importantly.....WHO are you thinking about?....

...Velociman once commented in THIS POST about a scene from the movie Emmanuelle....where a girl fantasizes and masturbates whilst gazing at a photo of Paul Newman...the gist of his post is that THAT is a legacy worth remembering....well..I have to agree wholeheartedly....indeed....that MUST be the greatest of compliments....

I mean...it's one thing to lie back and think of England....but, to lie back...by yourself...and think of Phoebe Cates?...well...that's a whole different ballgame...and...what kind of POWER must Miss Cates feel?... if she thought for one second about the nameless geeks (and hunks) that were tossing off whilst picturing her giving a blowjob lesson in Fast Times at Ridgemont High?...you remember the scene, right?...No?...you big fat liar..of COURSE you remember that scene....why?...because you've wasted napkins and tissue paper in every house you've ever lived in since you saw that scene...and, don't try to deny it...bastards...

But...here is the deal....to be in love with someone is nice....it's great....the best feeling in the world.....to be told you're handsome once in a while is cool....hell..most of us will settle for "you've got nice shoulders"....it's all good...and fine....but....how does this weather in comparison?

"I thought about you last night, and I became so hot and wet....that I couldn't help myself...and I couldn't wait until I saw you next....so, I finger-fucked myself to orgasm....right there in line at the supermarket...".....ok...well, maybe that is a bit much...but, you get the idea.....although, her waiting till later...in the privacy of her own home would probably have been better...either one of the above scenarios will MORE than make your Man happy....I'm sure that it is much the same with wimmin....

Get up early one morning....go off to blog while the wife sleeps....when she finally wakes up...make her breakfast....and say something like..."Darlin'...I woke up this morning thinking of you....I know you had a hard day yesterday...so, I thought that I'd let you sleep...but, I just couldn't get you off my mind...so, I masturbated this morning while fantasizing about you..".....heh...late sleeper, my ass...you'll get RAPED...IMMEDIATELY...Women want to be lusted after....just the same as Men want to be lusted after....it is the nature of things...

It kinda reminds me of Helen telling her readers that she had her way with herself while thinking of old times with Mr. Y....I bet Mr. Y popped the biggest boner of his entire born days when he read that....there is nothing finer than being desired....DEEEESIRED...

....there is a HUGE difference between Life and Fantasy...and, for the most part, never shall they meet...the old addage of "I make love to my wife....but I'd FUCK Cindy Crawford" comes to mind....your Wife..or Husband..is your Love....but, not always your fantasy fuck.....how cool is it when both are the same?.....

Sunday Lunch..

The Wife and I decided to break from tradition, and go out for Sunday lunch.....we asked my Mother to come along......we decided to go to the local Mexican restaurant...the food there is really good, but I never like going to a Mexican restaurant on Sundays...local laws prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sunday...and, eating a burrito without chasing it with a Dos Equis is just wrong....anyway....when we go out to dinner or lunch, I normally drive....but not this time... my Mom had went out and bought herself a new car a few weeks ago....and she wanted ME to drive it......no problem, thinks I...

...as we begin to get in the car, she gets in the backseat.....and then, the WIFE wanders around to the other side of the car...and she gets in the back ...."Why the hell are both of you getting in the backseat?", I said.....and Mom pipes up and says...."oh, we thought we'd let you chauffer us around"....

....bloody Hell....this little trip is shaping up just dandy so far......so...here we go...finally setting off towards the promise of burritos galore sans beer.....I'm minding my own business, feeling like I'm driving Miss Daisy AND Miss Blossom...when I hear from the backseat...."Holy COW! Just LOOK at all that gray hair Eric's getting!!"....of course, this was quickly followed by..."Yeah!! Look! Just the way the light is hitting it? DANG! It's EVERYwhere!"...

.now...the fact that I'm getting some gray doesn't bother me...I don't care....hell, I've had my head shaved hundreds of times...no big deal....I don't even own a damn COMB, for goodness sake.....what DOES bother me is the fact that the two wimmin thought they could get a RISE out of me over something like that....after I didn't rise to the bait, an even CRAZIER remark was made.....something about "you know...they have hair coloring for men in EVERY shade from blonde to black....but, I've never seen a hair color for Redheaded Men..."

...so...I'd had enough...."You guys honestly think I'd EVER dye my hair?!?!.....I don't care if it all falls out OR turns gray...it's just hair...it ain't ME..."

...giggles of delight erupted in the backseat....they had managed to get me....they got TO me....dammit....I lost the battle...and I didn't even get to have a beer with my burrito afterwards...to ease the pain...

Terminator 2 Blog.....

Today was a good day, for the most part....there were a few problems, but they managed to either be beaten into submission by me....or work themselves out on their own while I was busy beating a different one into submission...so..all in all, most of the smoldering fires of my workplace have been extinguished....the only sucky bit that I could NOT escape from...OR beat into submission....was the "Uniform Photo Shoot"....let me tell ya, friends and neighbors..it sucked ass...

We had to do a demo for a photo shoot...we just stood around...in uniform...in the areas which would eventually be filled by REAL models in a few weeks....just so the photos could be sent off to someone who would say things like..."Nice, but we need more lighting"....or...."Hmm...This photo should be shot with the REALLY tall guy on the left, and the weird looking Redhead on the far right.."....anyway....as usual, I drew the short fucking straw...

..four of the guys from work were chosen...not because we were particularly fun to look at....more likely because we didn't have a visible beer gut, or three days beard growth on our jowls....so...each of us wore a different uniform for the photo shoot....we had a Emergency Medical Technician suit.....one guy in a groovy 3 color desert set of Cammies.....one guy in a SWAT uniform....and then, Me...what did I get to wear?....a damn set of dark navy polyester cop clothes....while my workmates looked like they should be sniping bank robbers...saving the lives of crash victims.....or charging through the sands of Iraq....I looked like the melting-silvery-guy out of Terminator 2....It seriously sucked....and I couldn't dodge it....I couldn't beat it into submission....and I couldn't fix it....I just had to stand there like a complete weenie and take it....

..other than that little episode...I kicked ass at work today....heh....time for a drink...

Tom Waits...

I must admit to you all....that I was not a Tom Waits fan before Christmas...now, however....I'm starting to come around...I wouldn't exactly call myself a "fan" yet....but THIS SONG is pretty cool...I got the CD for Christmas, and listened to the first song on the album…politely thanked my Wife...and then threw the damned thing into the nearest pile of discarded holiday wrapping paper...hoping...for the off-chance that it would get mistakenly thrown out with the rubbish....this didn't happen...New Year's Eve, I noticed it sitting on the little table by the front door...under my car keys...with a post-it note attached....reading something to the effect of "Put this in your car, and listen to it, DAMMIT!"....so...ever so reluctantly, I did as I was bid...

...well...like I said...I still ain't a Tom Waits fan...but as I was listening to THIS SONG, I couldn't help but think of two of my blogbuddies....Parkway Reststop....and The Cheese Stands Alone....heh....guys...you are gonna DIG this song...

...I kinda imagined when I first heard it...that it would be like something LeeAnn would post on her site....and then...in a Tom Waits clouded vision, I pictured James diggin' on this groovy tune with his "Usual Suspects" at the local pub..

...of course...I might have this all wrong...if so...just listen to the song anyway, and forget all the crap I wrote above...oh, and before I forget...I was going to post the lyrics for you guys...but...I can't figure them out...and I can't find them on the net....so...just listen to it 500 times, and memorize them, and sing along with Mr. Waits after that....

Update: ...the song lyrics get better near the end.....heh...

Brush..

....I'm tired.....my Mother had all of the Maple trees in her lawn pruned a few days ago...so, I left work a little early today, and headed over there to pile all of the brush....the guy she hired to do it just sawed off the limbs, and left them where they fell....she has a LOT of trees in the front yard....so, it took me two hours just to drag all those limbs to the back yard and pile them up...now, they are ready to be burnt at her leisure....but, I'm tired....

...usually, when I get home from work, my mind is tired...I need to sit down, have a drink, and let my mind rest.....however, today I have been reminded of something I'd forgotten....another of life's simple pleasures that we all let slip by....to be physically tired, but still have a mind which is focused and active....it is something that I miss....

I work with computers all day...I sit in a chair....in an office....I don't GET physically tired from my job...when I workout, it too is a different kind of tiredness...when you exercise, you are focused on whatever muscle group you are doing...you are concentrating on the correct form of lifting the weight....your mind is still working....

When I piled that brush today, I was like a zombie...I'd grab a limb, and walk in front of it like a plow horse...dragging it around the house to the back yard...about 70yds....then, I'd plod back and repeat...for two hours...I must have walked two miles....but, my mind was almost blank the whole time...I was thinking about the grass...how the freshly cut limb felt in my hand...how the tree bark was rough...how the squirrels rushed back up into the tree each time I walked around the corner of the house...my mind was resting...but my body was working...like a plow horse...If you have ever been in the Military, you might understand...it was almost like going on a road march during training....you walk for 6 or 8 hours on a road...and the only thought on your mind...is to keep proper alignment and distance from the guy in front of you....your body is being punished, but your mind is free...

...so....I sit here now....tired...but...somehow tired in a GOOD way....I can feel my weary feet...my hands....my thighs....and tomorrow, I will probably be a little sore....but right now, I'm enjoying this feeling.. Too many of us have jobs that never allow us to see a finished, whole product being delivered...we write a piece of software that, after 100 man-hours, fits on a floppy disk...we sit on an assembly line tightening the same bolt on the same piece of equipment every day....we work like hell, but the "product" of our labor is something intangible....outdoor workers, or farm workers...they don't have that problem...

Today, I created a brushpile...and, I'm here to tell ya...there is something extremely fulfilling about piling brush....I recommend it to anyone...

C'mon 2004....let's dance..

Happy New Year!....last night was the most quite New Year's Eve EVER recorded at Straight White House....after partying like a madman during Christmas, we decided to just secure all the hatches and submerge for a while...I cooked dinner...mixed a few drinks....and we settled in for a night watching the tube...after a year as hectic as this past one, it was nice to usher in 2004 with a full stomach, a gentle Scotch buzz, and a lazy evening on the couch....

2003 is gone now...I will remember it as a landmark year for many, many reasons....new friends...new memories....new places....moments in time...and souvenirs collected... that shall last me a lifetime....I truly wouldn't have missed it for the world....

so...c'mon 2004....let's dance....

A Pleasant Surprise...

Our postman delivered a small package yesterday evening to Straight White House....from none other than Mrs. Beth Donovan!....the package was opened with much anticipation....and inside was found a small metal tin...decorated in a festive motif...upon opening the tin, the smell of heaven filled the room....What is the smell of heaven?....well, it is hard to describe....but, I'll try....

In my world, Heaven smells of cinnamon....powdered sugar.... pecans.... nutmeg... whiskey... and friendship...

...and that was what was contained in that small, festive tin from Kansas...Thanks to you Beth and John! I must say this though, of the two types of homemade candy you sent, I must choose the Whiskey Balls as my favorite....although...sitting here this morning, the Pecan Balls go VERY well with a nice cup of coffee....

oh...and for those of you who are puzzled by this wonderful gift....it was my "prize" for designing the "Congress of Nekkid Bloggers" logo....thanks again to the Donovan Family!

A Cause...if you wish...

Almost a year ago, I got involved in the campaign to get the US Postal Service to issue a stamp in honor of GySgt. John Basilone, USMC. I helped collect signatures on a petition, and then duly mailed my signed petition back to Mr. Jaffe, of the James Paige Det. of the Marine Corps League....well, I have just been notified that many states have decided to name February 19th as John Basilone Day...namely, New Jersey, Maryland, Texas, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia.....it is the goal of the Campaign to get all 50 states to recognize Basilone day, thus putting more pressure on the Postal Service.

For those of you who don't follow the above link, Gunny Basilone was awarded the Medal of Honor on Guadalcanal in 1942....the Corps sent him home to sell War Bonds, and touted him as a hero...he felt guilty that he wasn't helping the troops with the fighting, so he volunteered to go back to combat, and was killed on the first day of the invasion of Iwo Jima in February '45. He was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.

If you choose to sign the petition, please do so HERE...

If you choose to write your Governor/Senator to ask them why your state hasn't made February 19th John Basilone day, go HERE for a sample letter...

The bravery, self-sacrifice, and pure heroism of Gunny Basilone is a shining example....in the face of todays world events....of how much we owe to the generations that went before us...a generation that ensured we could live under freedom....a freedom that they purchased with their lives....we all-too-often forget the price that our ancestors have paid....

I MUST Be Irish..

My genealogy is a mixed bag...Scots...Irish ..English..Cherokee...Dutch...Choctaw...and who knows-what-else....but....TODAY, the genes of my Irish fore bearers bubbled to the top....today, I am truly an Irishman....

This morning...I went hunting with a friend of mine..the Wife was back to work today, and I didn't feel like watching more Yuletide Television..and NO ONE is blogging the Holidays....so, I'd decided last week that he and I should escape to the woods for a day....Whitetail season is still open here in Tennessee, but after discussing our failures of the past season, we decided to go out today and thin down the local Coyote population..screw those fickle Whitetails...Besides, we'd be doing the local citizens a service....local cats have been disappearing fairly regularly for the past year in our community...culprits?....Coyotes...evidently, they don't just like Roadrunners....

So, at the appointed time, we met up at 0645 at the local Valley Mart, bought some coffee and biscuits, and he followed me to the undisclosed location.....a location, which now lives in legend....

The frost was thick on the ground when we started walking from our cars into the field....the trusty old Audi said that the outside temp was 21 degrees, and it felt like it...the ground crunched every time we took a step....I knew that we'd be covering some pretty rough territory, so I was carrying my Marlin .44mag Rifle...short, compact, and packs a helluva wallop at close range...he brought along a 30.06 with a scope...I knew the location we'd be hunting...hell, I'd grown up there...and, a scope was not something that you'd need....the undergrowth there refused to give you a shot of more than 15yds....but, anyway, that is of no consequence....now, evidently my hunting partner was a Master at calling Coyotes in real close...close enough to make it exciting when one jumps from a bush 30ft away expecting a wounded rabbit, and instead, gets a 320gr .44mag in the noggin....anyway, "master caller" he may very well be....but he wasn't today....we didn't see, hear, smell, or otherwise get NEAR a damn Coyote....all we saw were tracks and a few recent kills...."master caller" ...my ass...

Here is what we DID see....

1. Within 5 minutes of beginning the hunt at dawn, we spooked 3 Whitetail Doe that had been resting on the trail that I always used to head into this wilderness....when we spooked them, they were no more than 40yds away...we just stood and gaped like idiots as those beautiful white tails of theirs flashed away through the woods....

2. We arrive at the first location, and he begins calling in the Coyotes....5 minutes, nothing....10 minutes....nothing....and then, I see another deer....this time, it is in the next field over...casually walking along....so, I point it out to him...he takes out the binoculars, and says...."Holy JESUS, that's a BIG BUCK"...yep....that's what he said....but, it was over 600yds away, so taking a shot at it was not going to happen....15 minutes...calling....nothing....so, we decide to move....

3. Arrive at third location....begin calling....10 minutes....nothing.....15 minutes...nothing....screw this, let's go somewhere else, Mr. Master Caller...heh..

4. We sneak up a trail to the edge of a dense thicket...the trail was lined with small cedars, and moving along that trail....that was covered with cedar needles was as quiet as walking on a carpet....we set up....me on the left of the trail...25 feet from him......He on the right, looking towards a small stand of hardwoods....and he makes his first call....and all hell breaks loose....a Doe had been resting 50 feet from where we were....when he blows his "animal in distress" call, that Doe goes nuts...she snorts....she stomps....hell, she even ran up to within 20 feet of him...so, for the next 5 minutes, I watch as he plays with this crazy deer....she snorts and runs 10ft....he calls....she stomps, snorts, and runs another 10ft in the opposite direction....she had absolutely no idea what he was....she musta thought his call sounded like a fawn or something....anyway...once she'd ran off, we packed up camp and drove back to my house....

5. On the way to my house....which is LESS THAN FIVE MILES from the undisclosed location....TWO DEER....a buck AND a doe...ran across the road in front of my car....I nearly ran the bastards over......

6. Never in my entire life..have I seen so many damn deer in one day...7 deer...it was incredible....it was crazy...and we didn't even get CLOSE to a damn Coyote...

My Irish side percolated to the top today, Ladies and Gentlemen....I now know the true meaning of "The Luck of the Irish".....If I'd been hunting Whitetails, there would have been a whole damn HERD of Coyotes howling at the moon under my tree stand....but instead....I have to report this sad tagline to my story...

...no animals were harmed in the making of this post....dammit....

Holiday Cheer...

....Christmas morning....ahhhh sigh.....my Mother came over and spent last night here...we stayed up late, and opened our gifts at midnight last night....we did this with the intention of sleeping late on Christmas morning...with no gifts to explore at the crack of dawn, we could leisurely awake like civilized people...that was the plan...

At 0700 this morning, my body clock woke me....I crept through the house to start a pot of coffee...as I passed the door leading to the garage, I peeped out to check on Fred and Ginger....normally, they are coiled into their beds, and as they sense my voyeuristic approach, they look up towards the door with half-lidded eyes....as if to say...."go make a pot of coffee and blog...we ain't getting up till 10"....but, this was not the case today...

...I look into the garage....no cats to be seen....instead, I see a strange sight...it looks as if someone has taken a weed-eater to a blooming poinsettia...clumps of red strewn over the entire garage....I stare in disbelief....trying to focus on the scene....identify something...figure out what I am seeing...and then, in a flash, I see a beak....

Fred and Ginger have managed to EACH catch a Cardinal during the night....red feathers, blood, and bits of beak, legs, and something which remains still to be identified, COVER the floor of the garage.....the Wife's little darlings bastards.....have been up to no good during the night....foul murder has been committed at Straight White House on the Eve of Christmas...I open the door, and the two devils appear from underneath the pool-table...I yell a few choice obscenities at them...which doesn't phase them at all....so, I give up..and resign myself to coffee and reading blogs before everyone awakes...

...Looking back on it now,...perhaps they were just trying to get the garage into the Christmas spirit...their own form of decoration....bright red feathers....dark red coagulated blood.....and the silver of the downy under-feathers of their now-devoured victims....as I sit here finishing my first pot of coffee....and contemplating the waffles I am about to partake of....the garage scene this morning was actually quite festive...

Merry Christmas to all of you, and have a safe Holiday....

For Your Country..

Sam and I have been having a quick commentary in the comments of a post......I know....I know....but, it reminded me of a dream I had during the war....it bothered me so much, that I printed off this poem by Wilfred Owen....and read it out loud to the workmates at lunch one day...

...Every morning....every goddamn morning during the war, I'd wake up and watch the news...hoping...PRAYING ....that no one had used WMDs....especially the gases that Saddam was known to have had....so....ladies and gentlemen..I give you a little Owen....

Dulce Et Decorum Est....

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned out backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!--An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen....first published in 1921...of course, he was dead by then..

This is NOT meant as an Anti-War post....it is meant as an Anti-WMD post....

In the latin...the translation of the title "Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori.....is....."It is sweet and proper to die for one's country."...

The Holidays

....I got a Christmas card today from my good buddy up in Alaska....he included two photographs in the card......I initially put them up on the fridge...but, now they are sitting here on my desk....yep....I took them down....they depressed me too damn much....

The FIRST photo was of him and his family sitting in their Ferret...a big-assed armored car type thing, with a Browning .30cal mounted on top...it kinda looks like THIS....damn....Alaska ROCKS....

The SECOND photo was of him kneeling beside a huge MOOSE that he had dispatched with his 7mm Magnum at 40yds..which, kinda looked like THIS....

...that bastard..I'm so damn jealous I could wring his neck....you AIN'T getting a Chrismas card this year, Matt....

Note: These two photos are just to give you the idea of what he sent...neither of them are actually him....or his family....

Squirrels...

I grew up hunting rabbits and squirrels...small game mostly, like most kids in the rural South....and right now, there are 8 squirrels in my back yard.....8 of them....I was just pouring some coffee, and looked out the kitchen window....and the ground was CRAWLING with them....I must be getting old or something...why are they not frying in a pan with some salt and pepper right now?..why is the Wife not making biscuits and gravy to go with them?...good question.....the first thing that comes to mind, in my defense, is that squirrels are too damn hard to skin...thus, they survive in relative peace here at Straight White House...still....they got me to thinking....

I can remember my Father taking me hunting a few times...well...let me rephrase that....they weren't so much hunts as endurance tests...heh.....one Saturday we'd wake up to the first snowfall of the year, and Dad would say, "RIGHT! Perfect weather for going Rabbit hunting!"...so, we'd bundle up, grab our shotguns, and spend the next 5 hours walking around in the snow looking for "tracks"....yeah...picturing Elmer Fudd yet?....well, I just re-read this, and I'm doing it too...so, it's ok....

We'd end up walking for hours in the snow....I'd end up with frozen feet...and Dad would pick a nice spot under a tree....rake back the snow to uncover the leaves, and build a fire....I'd take off my shoes, and Dad would hang my damp socks over the fire to dry them out....and, we'd sit there in the snow by the fire...and he'd tell me stories about when he was little...and how he and his brother would make rabbit boxes to catch rabbits...which they sold to the traveling peddler for 25 cents each....and then, the inevitable "karate chop" story would be told...you know the one....the two brothers had seen a kung fu fight on some 50's television show...and, the next time they caught a rabbit, they decided to dismiss the poor fellow with a well aimed karate chop to the back of the head...so...one brother holds the hapless rabbit by the back legs....and the other brother swings his knifelike karate hand, and whacks the varmint....then, says with the utmost satisfaction, "heh...THAT oughtta do it..."....to which, the other brother tosses the now-dead-by-kung-fu-action rabbit to the ground....and both brothers watch as the dead rabbit high-tails it away at warp speed....

After the stories were told...and the socks were dry....we would march back home...of course, my Mother would open the door....and laugh at us as we stomped our feet and shook the snow off of our clothes in the driveway..."What? No Rabbit?" she'd say....and Dad would just grin....We never DID get a rabbit....EVER.....but, we both sure enjoyed "hunting" rabbits every time it snowed....

Walking....

The weather today has been cold, wet, and windy......and, it reminded me a lot of the typical springtime weather in Scotland....I mentioned this to a friend today while we were having a smoke....he was huddling out of the wind and shivering...and, I was leaning against a wall...letting the wind chill me...

He said, "DAMN, this is some nasty weather!"...

....I just looked up at him....and said..."THIS is the BEST kind of weather...this is the kind of weather that can KILL you if you don't know how to deal with it...this is weather that will TRY you...to see if you fit..."

He didn't say anything else....he just finished his cigarette and walked back inside...heh..I guess he musta disagreed with me.....but, I sat there for a while....even after I finished mine....and took in the cold...and, it got me to thinking about my "walks" I used to take in Scotland...

First off...Scotland has a totally different slant on "trespassing" laws...basically, there AREN'T any...you can camp pretty much wherever you want, as long as you don't stay longer than 24 hours in one place....now, this causes a lot of gypsies and vagrants to hang around in weird places...but, it ALSO gives the "rambler", or "hiker" a HUGE amount of possibilities...

My Father-in-law owns a condo/timeshare type thingy in Ballater....not too far from Balmoral Estate...where the Royals go to get away from it all...anyway, the whole family would pack into the various cars, and go skipping up there to spend the first weeks in May...now, this place is run by Hilton...so, it is pretty swanky...but, me being me...I always felt that I should PAY a little for getting to wallow in so much opulence...so, I would torture myself for a few days in late April every year....

..so, I walked to Ballater...

...the rest of the family drove the Mercedes...

...and I WALKED to Ballater...

I don't know WHY I did it...maybe it was the old jarhead in me just SCREAMING to come out...or, maybe I just wanted to prove to myself that I still could push myself...lord knows, my JOB sure wasn't challenging me at the time....so, as a result...I would walk to Ballater...depending on the route I took, it would take 3, 4, or 5 days to make the trip...I'd end up sitting on a mountain top overlooking Ballater...coffee brewing on my camp stove...and watching Duncan through my binoculars casually stroll up the trail to collect me....he liked hiking too...but not overnighting it...and DEFINITELY not the 4 day ordeals that I put myself through every year...

It was 55 miles from Montrose to Ballater....I'd get the Wife to drive me up one of the local glens...either Glen Clova, Glenesk, Glen Mark, or Glen Prosen....and I'd set off....just me and my pack on my back....I usually had the route marked out...and, I'd know how many miles I'd have to do every day to make my rendezvous with Duncan....sometimes it was difficult to keep the pace....sometimes, you'd get to the place you had planned on camping...after hiking 12 miles that day, and find it flooded, or covered with snow two feet deep...and you'd make a decision...camp in the snow, or hike 3 more miles to a lower elevation....I usually chose to hike to a lower elevation....but hey, that was just extra penance, so, it was good for me....after all, I had warmth, Scotch, feather pillows, Bose audio, and a sauna waiting for me at the end of the trail....

The wonderful thing about my walks in Scotland....was this..I'd walk for 4 or 5 days...and never see another human being....herds of sheep...or Roe Deer...and nothing else...this wasn't a National Forest or anything....this was private land...usually part of some Lord's estate...but, I had a right to be there....and the experience was tremendous....

Anyway, like I started to say, I'd normally arrive at my final destination at around noon on the last day....there was a GREAT ridge overlooking Ballater...and I'd pitch my tent there...knowing that I was only about two miles from the road, I'd cook the remaining food that I'd brought with me....heh...I always over-packed on the food....so, the final night's supper was a total grubfest...Ramen noodles galore....and, I'd break open the little flask of Scotch I'd brought with me..you know....for snakebites and such, A'hem.....and, I'd have a wee dram up there alone....watching the sunset over Lochnagar.....then, the next morning, I'd tear down the tent....pack up the camp except for the cooker and the coffee....and I'd await Duncan....I'd see him when he first emerged from the woods at the bottom of the mountain....he was still 45 minutes away....and I'd watch him...and drink coffee....until he arrived, and then we'd head off the mountain...

You know, I just realized something....one of the finest pleasures of my life has been offering my Father-in-law a cup of coffee...early in the morning....on an insignificant hill near Ballater....

Turtleneck Blog

Now THIS is going to be a truly RIVETING blog post...heh....

Shopping....not something that I do very well....not something that I do often, either....sometimes, I plan and execute a lightning raid to the local grocery and deli...but, other than that, I don't do the whole shopping deal....but, last weekend, I was dragged, kicking and screaming, to Knoxville shopping.....

But, I think I committed some cardinal sin of Christmas shopping last weekend.....I bought something for MYSELF at a time when I was supposed to be buying for EVERYONE ELSE....ahhh...I guess I'm a selfish bastard at heart.....but, I DID buy for lots of other people too, so maybe it all equals out....anyway, back to the story....I'm really a plain kinda guy....I know pretty much what I'm going to wear everyday....and, everyday, I always dress pretty much the same....brown Justin cowboy boots....jeans....tee-shirt.....and fleece pullover or zip-up.....that's it....everyday....only difference between winter and summer is the addition of the fleece pullover......I did the whole "wear a suit to work everyday" for years....and, I enjoyed it.....but, at my current job, it is casual everyday...and I'm starting to get used to it.....

So...as I was saying....I bought something for myself....I bought a dark-greenish-brown knit turtleneck pullover....I thought it might be a change from the fleece...wait.....nah..that's probably not the REAL reason...I don't WANT a change from the old fleece....so, I don't know why I bought it....I never buy clothes.....and I've NEVER bought a turtleneck before....so, last night, I showed it to the Wife, who immediately said.."wow, that's really pretty, but you'll never wear it."....heh, she knows me so well.... but, after she said that, I was bound and determined to wear it...so, here I sit today...wearing this turtleneck....I don't think I like turtleneck shirts..I just realized that..I don't think I'm gonna buy another one, either....

I guess the older you get, the less you care about trends and "style"....and you just want comfort....so, in conclusion.....turtlenecks suck...and I want my fleece back...

Today Was a Good Day...

First, I get to work, and there is, miraculously, a HUGE tray of homemade candy on the conference room table...I quickly look around...nope, no one to be seen..after all, it IS 6:30 in the morning....so, I snag one..gulp it down..mmmm, a lovely blend of sugar, peanut butter, and chocolate....then another one...DAMN!....they are incredible...finally, I decide that I've gorged myself enough, and I grab another cup of coffee...see, I'd drank my FIRST cup while devouring the candy.....and I head to my office...

Secondly, I get to my office and find that all FOUR of the servers are up...whew.....thanks, O God of technology.....then, I check my e-mail...no problems.......I meet Cal on the plant floor later, and we discuss the capture of the murdering bastard, compare notes, discuss politics, compare notes, talk about the wives, compare notes....

Thirdly, I go outside at 9am to have a smoke, and I see the clearest blue sky, and the fog hanging over the mountains....and I KNOW that today is a good day....and it was...all day long...

After lunch, I tracked down the young Lady who had made the candy, and beat the recipe out of her...awww..don't worry....she'll live...;^)....so, here it is..

B's Butter and Peanut Balls of Heavenly Sinful Delight...or something like that...

4 sticks of butter
1 jar of peanut butter
2 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
1 bag chocolate chips
3/4 cake of parrafin

Melt butter, slowly stir in sugar, then add peanut butter. Stick it in the fridge while you melt your chocolate and paraffin in a double broiler. Roll into balls.. Insert toothpick and dip in melted chocolate. You can place them on wax paper to cool, or do like I do and go ahead and plop them onto the tray I am going to serve them on. If the finish is glossy enough, they won't stick... enjoy

Take it from me...these things are GREAT...

So...what makes a good day?...many, MANY things...

Wrapping Presents

I've just spent the better part of two hours wrapping Christmas presents...I'm not complaining...not in the least.....this is actually my favorite parts of Christmas....I mean, apart from getting together with friends and family and enjoying a huge foodfest....oh, and the lazy, semi-drunken afternoons during the Chrismas break from work....yeah...other than those two things, of course......yip, wrapping presents is kick-ass....actually, I probably need to rephrase that..WRAPPING presents isn't that great...what is GREAT is imagining the looks on people's faces when they OPEN the presents that you've just been wrapping....yeah, THAT's what I actually meant....

As I was wrapping the presents, I began to see a theme emerging.....see if you can spot something strange in my Christmas wrapping adventure today....

Uncle J: 100 rounds of Winchester 12ga #8 shot gameloads...check...
Aunt K: Fluffy stuffed toy Rhinoceros from Pier One...check...
Helpful and Lovely lady at work: Candle stuff and woven basket from Pier One..check..
Lovely and Helpful lady at work: Bath Stuff and wicker bag type thinggy from Pier One...check..
Uncle M: Blaze Orange hunting vest with leak proof/stain proof game compartment...check...
Darling Mother: Can't say, she might be reading this...
Darling Wife: Ditto
Ditto multiple times for Wife and Mother...
Personal Assistant at work: BIG Bath set AND Candle from Pier One..check...
Consultant at Work: Stainless Steel wine pourer...pretty cool, actually...check..

Yep...piece of CAKE, boys and girls....get the wimmen ANYTHING from Pier One that either SMELLS good, or makes THEM smell good, and you are on a winner....if you gotta buy for a guy...get him bullets....something to do with hunting, or something to do with drinking....easy-peasy.....

Candles are cool..

Well, the wife and I went on our final Christmas shopping fiasco of the season today...we drove up to the mall at Turkey Creek....our first visit....and my LAST visit...at least during this holiday season...people Christmas shopping are like a pack of ravenous wolves....there must have been 3,000 people in the Super Target up there...which means that I spent two hours in that damn place doing NOTHING but trying to keep my trolley from being pinned to the wall...it was like some weird demolition derby/bumper car slamfest....everywhere you looked...I swear, I bet I heard "Excuse me", and "Sorry" - followed by squeaking wheels and grunting as people tried to get their gift laden buggies to pass each other - at LEAST 300 times....by the end of it, I just needed to lie down...

Anyway, back to my point....candles are cool...my zippo ran out of fluid a few minutes ago...and, I didn't feel like gassing it back up, so I went through and got a little candle out of the kitchen...lit it, and brought it back to the computer room...so that I can light my cigarettes with it as it burns....now, as I sit here typing, I keep looking at it....DAMN, it's making me feel all Christmassy...just sitting there flickering...it reminds me, for some strange reason, of a conversation I had with a Jewish friend of mine last week....they had e-mailed me a photo of a new menorah that they'd been given as an early Hannukah present....and, being ignorant of the finer points of their religion, I asked if they had a ceremony in which they lit the candles, or if a certain prayer was said, etc....and, I was told it was called the "Blessing of the Candles"....I was struck by that statement...it conjured up so many different images and ideas...

I guess that the metaphors for candles are too many to begin to name on this blog....Jewish, Protestant, Catholic - Roman OR Byzantine, Native American, Pagan, Wiccan, Agnostic, Animist, Scientoligist, Buddist, Muslim, or what-the-hell-ever...it doesn't matter....I bet we ALL have candles in our home...we use them in our religion...to light a room...to set a mood...to celebrate a birthday....to light our cigarettes when we are too damn lazy to fill our lighter....candles are cool...and, as long as we have human beings....we will always have a need for the soothing comfort...and the mental stimulation of the open flame of a flickering candle....

Possum Country...

I live in a beautiful rural area...the mountains of East Tennessee and North Georgia are some of the most picturesque in the country....the predominant industry around here is still agriculture, for the most part...and, as a result of the sparseness of urban sprawl and the closeness of the Cherokee National Forest, we've got quite a bit of wildlife that wanders through our neighborhood..as of late, it has been a large covey of Bobwhite Quail...which, frankly, I'm getting TIRED of cleaning their chewed reamins out of my garage...Fred and Ginger make a MESS after they catch one of those fat little birds...they've mangled one every day now for almost two weeks...so, the covey won't be much of a problem for long...anyway, sorry for rambling...

A few nights ago, there was an "incident" here at Straight White House....

Around 8:30 in the evening, I was reclining on the couch...feet propped up on the ottoman...nursing my second Scotch and water, and watching The History Channel....after I finish reading blogs when I get home, this is my usual position...just relaxing, and mellowing down slowly before time for bed....

The Wife was sitting at the kitchen table reading...totally absorbed in her book....I had remarked to her earlier, as I went to pour myself my second drink, about how engrossed she was in her book...anyway, right beside our kitchen table, there is a door which leads onto our back deck...this door is glass from top to bottom...no big deal, it's just that this is important to the story...now, her chair was about two feet away from this door....the way she was seated, her back was to this door...

As I said, we live in the country...and, when it gets dark out here, it gets DARK...there are no street lights, and all of the neighbors have those track light things pointed towards their homes instead of street lights...

I'm sitting there quite content...beginning to feel the effects of my beverage, when I suddenly hear the most blood curdling scream of absolute terror you can imagine coming from the kitchen....and, I'm not talking short-sharp-shock here, people...I am talking long and SUSTAINED terror-scream...so, I jump off the couch, spill my Scotch, spin around the corner into the kitchen grabbing my 9mm off the book shelf as I round the corner......and there it was....the hideous object that had instantly caused my Wife to transform from gentle reader to quivering mass...and me to go from Laidback-Scotch-Drinking-Man to Combat-Mode-Ex-Marine....a damn possum...

It was standing on it's back legs...with it's front legs resting against the door...that sucker was two feet tall...and fat...and hairy...and dirty...it's hair was a combination of white, gray, black, and brown...with hunks of leaves, dead varmints, blood, and dirt mixed in with it....it was standing there, and it looked just like a little troll-beast...it's jaw was hanging slack, revealing the sharp teeth..those beady little eyes .....you know, it almost looked like it was smiling...the wife was still freaking out, screaming "what IS THAT THING?!"....sheesh...a damn possum...

So, I told her it was just a local varmint....and that it wasn't dangerous....I walked over and turned the outside deck light on...and the beast ambled off the deck and into the night...evidently, it had been standing on it's back legs and scratching the glass door with it's front legs...only a few feet away from the Wife..the noise had gradually torn her attention away from her book, and when she turned around, it was right there in her face....looking at her...with those teeth...heh...it scared the SHIT out of her....

But, hey, where she comes from, they don't HAVE possums.....so, you really can't blame her for thinking it was some kind of Tennessee maneater....what did she learn? She learned what a possum looked like, THAT'S for sure....she learned that if she screams bloody-murder, then I'm coming around the corner armed and ready for battle....and she learned never to sit with her back to that damn door again...

Bedding a Virgin...

This is going to be a hard post....I was reading the Acidman's post, and I followed his link and read it.....so, maybe it is in the stars that I should post about Virgins tonight.....

First of all, I have only had only EVER taken one virgin....and, in retrospect, it was pretty cool, but not earthshattering...hell, it was MY first time too, so we both were pretty fumbly...I DID have the opportunity present itself again though...and, I made a decision...

OK, I'll skip over the FIRST experience...and go right to the second one...I was a young Marine going through Crypto school in Pensacola, Fl....I was 17 years old....just a pup....and, I can remember sitting at the picnic table in front of our barracks playing guitar when she walked up....she was a sailor, and she had seen me at the Marine Corps Ball I had attended a few weeks prior....I had been the youngest Marine at the Ball, and me and the oldest had to ceremonially cut the cake...as a side note, I was the youngest Marine at the Ball for three of my five years in the Corps.....ANYWAY, she asked me out to a movie....of course, being the shy country boy that I was then, I said yes, and we met the next night and went to the movies...

A few weeks passed, and we kept seeing each other occasionally....and then, one night, it happened....I had duty...and, I was in charge of the "runner's key"...this was a master key which would open any door in the barracks...and also, the door to the "Mail Room"....the mail room was located right in the middle of the communal area shared by ALL of the barracks....the Army, Navy, Air Force, AND Marines all had to leave their barracks and walk into an area covered with a a few trees and flowers....which housed a small, brick, one-room building where our mail was delivered....

So...one night, she arrives late..around midnight, just as I am starting to do my rounds...and she asks if she can accompany me....I told her that she could, and we started patrolling the barracks area...as we near the Mail Room, she pushes me into the shadows, and gives me a frantic kiss...she then asks if I can open the door and give us some privacy....Now, fellow Military Bloggers, don't think any less of me for this...I know the whole dereliction of duty story...but, HELL, I was 17 and about to get LAID by a buxom, brunette Virginia Belle...anyway, being that I thought she was incredible, I succumbed to pressure...and, I let us into the mail room....I quickly locked the door behind us....

Well, Folks, things got pretty hot, pretty quick...and one thing led to another...and suddenly, she was laid back on the Mail Room countertop, and I was about to do the deed....when, I felt it.....I felt that she was a virgin....and I stopped...I had her legs over my shoulder, and I just stopped....I sat there for a few seconds....not knowing what I should do...knowing that I wanted it...but, knowing that she was a good girl too...and, ladies and gentlemen...I HESITATED....well, as my Daddy always used to say.."He who hesitates is LOST"....so, I too, was lost....

I withdrew....and buttoned back up....she asked me what was wrong, and I told her that I liked her too much to do that....I told her that I would be leaving in two weeks for the Pacific...and that if she had waited till she was 20, then she could wait a little longer to find Mr. Right....another couple of years wouldn't kill her...besides....the LAST thing she wanted to tell her Grandkids - if they ever asked - was that she lost her virginity to a nameless jarhead on the counter of the Mail Room in Pensacola....at least...that was what I was thinking...

So, we saw each other a few more times...and then I left for distant shores...

Now...before you all start saying what a fucking SAINT I am...or Idiot, as some of you - I'm SURE - will say....here is the REAL freaky part...

18 months later, I am sitting on a moss covered ROCK in the middle of the Bering Sea, and I get a phone call from her...she is in Yokosuka at COMSUBGRU7....our conversation goes like this....

Her: "Eric! So glad I could track you down!!"
Me: "Hey, my Virginia Belle! How have you been?"
Her: "Just fine! I'm loving Japan!"
..now, at this point, I'm thinking...why in the WORLD has she tracked me down?
Me: "so....what have you been up to since Pensacola?"
Her: ".....that's why I'm calling.....I finally did it...."
Me: "Did what?"
Her: "IT.....you remember......riiiiiiiight?"
Me: "oohhh yeah...I remember....you did?....how was it? What is he like?"
Her: "Ahh...just some Ranger on leave from Korea...nevermind that...would you like to meet up in Anchorage or Tokyo sometime?"

....Now..she TRACKED MY ASS DOWN from a CONTINENT away to TELL ME THAT SHE HAD LOST HER VIRGINITY....

I never met up with her...and I am still torn over my decision that night in the Mail Room...in spite of it all...I think I made the right decision....

The Result

Well...as usual, Steve was a cunning adversary.....but...Diego was not too good...he was good at telling stories, eating, and drinking...but, he was no good at "cut-throat"....so, the final result was....that of 9 games of cut-throat, I was victorious in 4, and Steve won 5....and Diego racked....because he lost every time...however, after the game, Diego proved his worth as a South American Jewish Conversationalist....so, I'll give him two of my games in gratitude for his entertaining us....so...the OFFICIAL score stands at...Steve 5, Me 2 and Diego 2...there....my karma should be balanced now for a good night of sleep...

A Twist in the Story...

At work today....yes, I went to work today...dammit....walking around like an idiot with a handkerchief in my hand all day not knowing when I'd sneeze next..which, incidentally, reminds me to impart this little tidbit of information...sneezes come in groups...often LARGE groups....like little gangs of dwarf nazis...that circle you when you are least expecting it...and then suddenly rush in and kick the snot out of you....

ANYWAY, back to the story...sorry about that "dwarf nazi" thing...lord knows what kind of kinky deviant will find my site by googling THOSE terms...

Yeah..to the story...one of my friends at work was telling me a story today while I was working on their PC....I was listening intently...hell, it was a good story...She started it off like this "I used to know this great man...."....which, always lets you know it is going to be a pretty good story...but, it continued...it was all about how this great guy who had ambitions of being a Hollywood makeup artist....so, he made her and her sister these groovy latex monster costumes one year....then, she says...."When me and my sister started getting older, he sorta moved on...I think he even went and tried out his makeup stuff in Hollywood, but it didn't work out".....hmm, even more interesting...she tells me of how, after many years, she found him again....they had a few weeks to catch up...and, yes, he remembered creating the creepy masks for her and her sisters....Hell, I was getting into this story....when the next words out of her mouth were...

"Then, last summer, he killed himself...hung himself from a tree in the woods behind his house...they didn't find him for three days"...

DAMN!...I was totally floored....NEVER would I have seen that outcome arrive from the story she'd been telling.....Have you ever been happily going along with a story, enjoying the imagery of the storyteller....and then suddenly slam-dunked by an ending like THAT?...

I didn't know what to say...I didn't know whether I should say that "I was Sorry for her loss of a friend"....or "DAMN! WHY'D HE DO IT??"....or "Isn't that nice" and keep working on her PC like I hadn't been paying attention to her story...

In reality, I would NEVER have used the last option listed above...what I did do was this...I stopped working on her PC...hell, her e-mail ain't THAT important...and I started asking questions....I don't know why I did that....I didn't know the guy...never even heard of him....but, I couldn't help thinking that there WAS a REASON she told such a story such as that to me....I think, in a way, it traumatized her....here was someone from her childhood...who was happy, and intelligent...someone who she wanted to find again...and a few weeks after finding them, making contact, and sharing all of their experiences since being separated....her friend hung himself in the back yard...

I guess we all have friends that we loved and have somehow lost touch with...I often find myself thinking about some of my of friends from school and the Corps...

But, I can't help thinking about how much that man's life had touched that woman in her youth....and how joyfully she told the part about finding him again, and telling him how much she and her sister had loved their little scary latex costumes...hell, that was IMPORTANT to her...that was a PART of her childhood that she held dear...and then, the story ended...and there was sadness....

I guess, none of us really know the roles we play in other people's lives...we take it all for granted that OUR problems are greater than the problems of everyone else...I don't know the man or his problems...but, personally, I wish he hadn't done it..

E. V. Lucas & Betty

A few years ago, my wife's Great Aunt Betty died... She had never married, and had doted on my wife as if she were her Grandmother... When she died, I helped gather up all of her things from her house in Glasgow, and among her many possessions was a large collection of antique books.

Being a lover of books, my Father-in-law gave me one from her collection that I had been leafing through...it is a tiny little thing...a school primer....entitled "Modern Poetry"...it was printed around 1920...after we finished clearing out her home, we drove back to Montrose in a gloomy mood. We sat around the dinner table that night talking about Betty, and her life, and I began turning the pages of that little primer....and I found this poem...I read it out loud to everyone at the table as we finished our meal...I don't know why I just remembered this....but, here it is...

Jack

Every village has its Jack, but no village ever had quite so fine a Jack as ours:
So picturesque,
Versatile,
Irresponsible,
Powerful,
Hedonistic,
And lovable a Jack as ours.

How Jack lived none knew, for he rarely did any work.
True, he set nightlines for eels, and invariably caught one,
Often two,
Sometimes three;
While very occasionally he had a day's harvesting or hay-making.
And yet he always found enough money for tobacco,
With a little over for beer, though he was no soaker.

Jack had a wife.
A soulless, savage woman she was, who disapproved voluably of his idle ways.
But the only result was to make him stay out longer.
(Like Rip Van Winkle).

Jack had a big, black beard, and a red shirt, which was made for another.
And no waistcoat.
His boots were somebody else's;
He wore the Doctor's coat,
And the Vicar's trousers.
Personally, I gave him a hat, but it was too small.

Everybody liked Jack.
The Vicar liked him, although he never went to church.
Indeed, he was a cheerful Pagan, with no temptation to break more than the Eighth Commandment, and no ambition as a sinner.
The Curate liked him, although he had no simpering daughters.
The Doctor liked him, although he was never ill.
I liked him too - chiefly because of his perpetual good temper, and his intimacy with Nature, and his capacity for colouring cutties.
The girls liked him, because he brought them the first wild roses and the sweetest honeysuckle;
Also, because he could flatter so outrageously.

But the boys loved him.
They followed him in little bands:
Jack was their hero.
And no wonder, for he could hit a running rabbit with a stone.
And cut them long, straight fishing-poles and equilateral catty forks;
And he always knew of a fresh nest.
Besides, he could make a thousand things with his old pocket-knife.

How good he was a cricket too!
On the long summer evenings he would saunter to the green and watch the lads at play, and by and by someone would offer him a few knocks.
Then the Doctor's coat would be carefully detached, and Jack would spit on his hands, and brandish the bat, and away the ball would go, north and south and east and west, and sometimes bang into the zenith.
For Jack had little science:
Upon each ball he made the same terrific and magnificent onslaught,
Whether half volley, or full pitch, or long hop, or leg break, or off break, or shooter, or yorker.
And when the stumps fell he would cheerfully set them up again, while his white teeth flashed in the recesses of his beard.

The only persons who were not conspicuously fond of Jack were his wife, and the schoolmaster, and the head-keeper.
The schoolmaster had an idea that if Jack were hanged there would be no more truants; His wife would attend the funeral without an extraordinary show of grief; And the head-keeper would mutter, "There's one poacher less."

Jack was quite as much a part of the village as the church spire;
And if any of us lazied along by the river in the dusk of the evening - Waving aside nebulae of gnats,
Turning head quickly at the splash of a jumping fish, Peering where the water chucked over a vanishing water-rat - And saw not Jack's familiar form bending over his lines,
And smelt not his vile shag,
We should feel a loneliness, a vague impression that something is wrong.

For ten years Jack was always the same,
Never growing older,
Or richer,
Or tidier,
Never knowing that we had a certain pride in possessing him.
Then there came a tempter with tales of easily acquired wealth, and Jack went away in his company.

He has never come back,
And now the village is like a man who has lost an eye.
In the gloaming, no slouching figure, with colossal idleness in every line, leans against my garden wall, with prophecies of the morrow's weather;
And those who reviled Jack most wonder now what it was they found fault with.
We feel our bereavement deeply.

The Vicar, I believe, would like to offer public prayer for the return of the wanderer.
And the Doctor, I know, is a little unhinged, and curing people out of pure absence of mind.
For my part, I have hope; and the trousers I discarded last week will not be given away just yet.

E.V. Lucas.

I See a Trend emerging...

Well, the tree is up...and it is one ugly mother, if I do say so myself...this year, we put up a silver tree....a silver Christmas tree is just wrong...but, that's not what I want to talk about this morning.....anyway, I just read this post over at Velociman's, and THEN I read his comments....heh!...I'm talking about the "legacy" section....specifically THIS quote..

"However: I will always remember the young chick finger-fucking herself to Newman's pic in Emmanuelle. THAT is the kind of legacy one aspires to. Meanwhile, life sucks, sometimes, because that ain't happening to us."

It got me to thinking.....I have to agree with the Velociman....what is your legacy?....You designed a skyscraper?....You donated money to build libraries?...You cured cancer?...Or, twenty years from now, girls will get wet by merely looking at a photo of you?....I know which one I'D CHOOSE...but, alas, we don't get to choose...but, we can dream!

A Smile

I was just over HERE, and I read his post about smiling....a good one, I think...so, in the spirit of stealing ideas from other people's blogs, here is MY slant on a smile...

I think he is absolutely right...a bright smile can light up an entire room...a sparkling smile can make someone's entire DAY....SOME smiles can make you feel a little funny in the pants...and SOME smiles can last you a lifetime......a genuine grin can mean a lot of things...hell, a smile can mean just about anything...but, it ALWAYS means that you are being thought about..either in a bad way, or a good way, you are on someone's mind......it could be the old, "I'd love to get you in a dark room with a straight razor and a roll of duct tape...OR, it could mean, I'd just like to get you in a dark room...

Sorry, where was I?...oh yeah...I have been accused of not smiling a lot...I think that mainly it is because as I am walking around, I'm thinking of the next task in front of me, and not just day-trippin' like a lot of people do..you know the ones....the ones who smile, and say "HEY! Howyadoin!?" to everybody they meet? Well, I don't do that very often...I speak to people when I make eye contact, but other than that, if I am looking at the ground and scowling, then it probably isn't a good idea to try to cheer me up..I'm not doing that because I'm in a foul mood, or having a bad day, I'm doing that because I am FOCUSED...I'm in the ZONE, people...so, don't break my concentration by saying "hello", and flashing a false smile...

On the OTHER hand, to give the Devil his due, I have met only two people in my entire life that could wipe me out with their smile...and, I mean WIPE me OUT...a smile, that when flashed, can melt you...y'all know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.....now, children...if you EVER get a smile like THAT, you will never forget it as long as you live.....I'm not talking about a sexy smile....or a jokey smile...or even a naughty smile....I'm talking about a smile that is a window to a soul laid bare....a REAL smile...unapologetic....unassuming...unstaged....unREAL.....if you are ever fortunate enough to see one of those...you can count yourself among the fortunate of this world....I've seen it twice....and I married one of them...so...smile more often...and MEAN it....you never know what an effect it might have on someone...

Talisker

ahhh....tonight, I'm basking in the glow of a exquisite Talisker...from Skye....

.."speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on a wing...over the sea to Skye"...

I treat myself sometimes, after a particularly good day at the office...and today was one...I actually saw some PROGRESS on the project I'm working on...so..you can keep your Miller, baby....it's Talisker Time....

oh...and as a result, blogging will be sporadic and drunken this evening...so, be sure to tune in later tonight..by then, I'll be quoting old lovesong lyrics, R.W. Service poems, and old Ronnie Regan speeches...

Take care of yourself, Donnie....I'll be raising the toast to "Absent Friends" tonight as well..

..and to Sisoflexx and Family and John and Beth, my deepest sympathy....

Money Down the Drain

Guess where I've been?....no?....buying booze?...yep...How'd you guess?...I went on my bi-weekly field trip after work to go stock up on a few bottles of Scotch, and 12 or so bottles of wine....if you buy 12 or more bottles of wine, you can get the "case discount"...."What's wrong with that?", you may ask....well, it takes me TWO AND A HALF HOURS round trip to get my booze....see, for those of you who don't live down South, I live in a "dry county"...what that means is, you cannot buy Liquor or Wine in this county...or the SURROUNDING counties, for that matter...as a result, I have to drive to the outskirts of Knoxvegas to buy a bottle of Scotch, and some Chianti....now, we don't have extravagant tastes...the bottles of wine that I buy are in the $10 to $17 dollar range...and a 1/2 gallon of cheap Scotch, and 2 bottles of Single Malt Scotch are also on the purchase list......the Malts are for drinking first, and then the cheaper stuff is for a bit later in the evenings when the taste buds are sizzled....

What ranks me is this...just because I have to drive nearly 3 bloody hours to get my booze will NOT make me swear off drinking....it will NOT "reform" me...it will NOT make me drink less....what it WILL DO is make me spend $250 to $300 bucks every two weeks in a COUNTY OTHER THAN MY OWN....now, tell me what good that does for our inpoverished county? eh?...Not a DAMN thing....and trust me, good people...I ain't alone....there are LOTS of people who go up to Knoxville to buy it, and drive back home to enjoy it...

People, I think we are missing the boat here....I would love to be able to spend that money here in my county....and why shouldn't I? Surely that money could be used to upkeep our roads, ensure the schools don't fall down, or whatever....nope...instead, Knox County gets my money....and I suppose it is going to stay that way for the forseeable future....

One for My Baby...

As I mentioned earlier...I've been in a weird mood for the past few days...not really sad...kinda like I just don't give a shit.....anyway...tonight has proved, once again, that there are few things that a good Bowmore and some pleasant conversation can't soothe....I feel just dandy-O....but, maybe that's just the Scotch...hmmm...I guess we'll see in the morning...but, seeing as I'm in a sharing mood, I wanted to torture all of you bastards with that damn song that got me so depressed...hell, if I can mess with y'all, maybe I'll force the little devil on MY shoulder up your way instead....hey, nothing personal...but...better you than me, right?...so...here it is..in all it's glory...

One For My Baby

It's quarter to three,
there's no one in the place
Except you and me

So set 'em' up Joe,
I got a little story
I think you should know

We're drinking my friend,
to the end of a brief episode
Make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

I got the routine, put another nickel
In the machine
Feeling so bad, won't you make the music
Easy and sad
I could tell you a lot, but it's not
In a gentleman's code
Just make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

You'd never know it,
but buddy I'm a kind of poet
And I've got a lot of things I'd like to say
And when I'm gloomy, won't ya listen to me
Till it's talked away

Well, that's how it goes,
and Joe I know your gettin'
Anxious to close
Thanks for the cheer
I hope you didn't mind
My bending your ear
But this torch that I found,
It's gotta be drowned
Or it's soon might explode
Make it one for my baby
And one more for the road
Long, it's so long, winding road

Sinatra rocks, pally....if you have got this song in your collections somewhere...either by Frankie, Dean, Harry Connick Jr., or even Robbie Williams...then put it on...pour yourself a large Scotch....light up a cigar....and pretend you are there in Vegas..even if just for a little while....gimme one for my baby...and one more for the road...

Nashville....

My Mother and I went to visit my Brother yesterday in Nashville. She drove...I like it when she drives..it gives me a chance to sit back and enjoy the scenery along I-40...the weather was great, and we zipped right along at a pretty good pace...once we got into Nahsville, the traffic started getting a little rougher...and, as we slowed to get off on our exit ramp, I was surprised to hear my Mother say, "Yeah, whatever, little man..hehehe...c'mon, little man..come on around..Have a nice day..heheeheh"....I turned to look at her, and she was smiling and waving out the window at this incredibly irate man in a beat up Impala..

..you could see him moving his mouth, and waving the "bird" at us as he zoomed past....we exited onto the ramp at around 80 miles per hour....seemingly, he had run up quickly behind us, and thought we weren't going fast enough to suit him....

I looked at my Mom, and said..."what was his problem?"..

She just smiled and said..."I don't know, Honey...some people are just assholes.."...ahhh..that's my Mom...

....We laughed for a little while, and then she said..."You know, a few years ago, if someone had done that, I'd have pulled over and given him a piece of my mind...but, now, I know that it really doesn't matter what that guy says...or what he thinks....he is just an asshole..."

I said..."I know what you mean, Mom...I think you should start a blog..."

She didn't really hear what I'd said, and she continued to drive us along...and then, almost as an afterthought, she said to herself..."besides, my days of being intimidated and angry are over...life is too dang short to worry about assholes"...

...she moved her left hand down to the side of the door, and adjusted her .38 that was resting in the little pocket there..."Eric, I sure do miss your Daddy..he always made me feel safe"....

....."old defenseless widow", my ass..

Thanksgiving Blog...

I'm in a bit of a sentimental mood today, for some reason....I've been thinking about the ghosts of Thanksgiving past...for almost 1/2 my life, I have been the "host" of many a Thanksgiving Dinner....usually because I was overseas and not around any other Americans...so, not being one to miss an opportunity for a party, I would try to introduce some of the locals to the Thanksgiving Tradition....as a result, I've cooked some pretty interesting holiday meals....everything from turkey and dressing, to steak and lobster....as a matter of fact, the last time I cooked Thanksgiving Dinner, it was two years ago...it sticks in my mind....

I would always organize to cook a big dinner on the weekend following Thanksgiving....we'd invite around 10 to 15 people, and throw a big party...I'd cook a feast, and we'd drink wine around the table and tell stories, and laugh, and just enjoy each other's company....I was always the only American present at these shindigs, and I absolutely loved it....to me, it really brought out the REAL meaning of our nation's Day of Thanks....getting together with Friends and Family, and just enjoying life and their company....

The last time I cooked, I let the Mother-in-law help out...she finally convinced me that since Thanksgiving is so near St. Andrew's Day, we should have Haggis as an appetizer.....I was dead set against it...but since I had prepared the feast for the past 7 years, I gave in to her wishes....as a result, I threw my usual menu ideas out the window and decided on Steak and Lobster as the main course.....getting the Steak was no problem...we were only 35 miles south of Aberdeen, so the finest beef in the world was available at every butcher's shop....getting the Lobsters was a bit more tricky...I called up a local fisherman in Arbroath, and asked him if he had any Lobsters...he replied that he had quite a few, but they were only between 2 to 3 pounds....and getting bigger ones might be a problem.....I asked if I could come by and pick them up on Saturday morning....he said, "well, it depends on if I can get them"....he had plenty of them, but they were still in the pots...if the weather was good on Saturday, he'd row his boat out and get them...if the sea was bad, he wouldn't risk rowing out to get my lobsters....so....we all prayed for calm weather...

As it turned out, the weather was fine, and I drove to Arbroath and picked up the critters....there were 8 of them....all blue and white spotted....crawling around in a big box....I put them in my trunk and drove to the In-laws to begin the meal......during the drive over, they escaped the box and dispersed themselves all over my trunk....I spent half an hour trying to catch those varmints and get them into the house...

The meal went great...the pumpkin pie that I made didn't exactly go too well with the Haggis....but the red wine was flowing, and we CELEBRATED another Thanksgiving....where friends and family are, everyday should be Thanksgiving...

My New Toy....

My latest gift to myself.....what do you think?....Mossberg 12ga....9 shots in the tube...folding stock...heh..



The Aftermath

Well, the houseguests left about noon today...We had our spaghetti meal last night, followed by some good guitar playing and bad singing....as expected, many drinks were consumed, and everyone enjoyed themselves...however, something unexpected happened....

After playing and singing for about 4 hours, my fingers had HAD it...hell, they are still sore now...anyway, the guitars were put away, and conversation drifted onto movies...someone mentioned "The Graduate", and how much they liked it.... personally, I've never liked that movie...or Dustin Hoffman for that matter...although, I do like the fact that he dies at the end of "Midnight Cowboy"…and the fact that he saved the world from a nasty monkey virus in “Outbreak” is pretty cool....sorry, back to the point, the Wife mentions that "The Graduate" is one of her favs...the other young lady present piped up and said she'd never seen it....

Well, you guessed it...the Wife walked over to the movie collection, found it, and threw it in the VCR...I spent the next two hours suffering through that damn movie....it's amazing to see three grown people sing Simon and Garfunkel tunes so badly...anyway, after it went off, I managed to snag the remote control...and we finished off the rest of the night with the tail-end of Men In Black...now THAT is entertainment....

oh, and what the HELL is up with those two twits having stupid looks on their faces at the end of The Graduate..you know....when they are in the back of the bus?..is that supposed to be thought provoking or something?...damn, I hate that movie....

Lunar Eclipse

Last night there was an eclipse. The wife and I had managed to drag the old telescope out into the driveway, and we watched the whole thing transpire. It was quite beautiful, and it was the first time that either of us had seen this type of eclipse.

We stood around in the drive staring up at the stars, and watching the moon disapear behind the shadow of the Earth. I had made dinner earlier, so our bellies were full as we stood around the telescope with our evening drinks. The air was crisp and chilly, and the sky was perfectly clear. The Milky Way was clearly visible, too.

As I stood there, focusing the telescope on the moon, I remembered another Space-related news item that struck my interest - Voyager has LEFT the Solar System. Yeah, you heard that right. To me, Voyager leaving our Solar System gives me the same excitement that Lewis and Clark must have felt when they set out on their journey of exploration...

If you missed the eclipse last night, you missed a wonderous event...

Best Meal I Ever Had..

I woke this morning hungry. Starving...I don't know why, really. I mean, I had a normal dinner last night....but, as I sit here wondering what I am going to order for lunch, I can't help but remember the best meal I've ever had...anyone who loves food, will remember their favorite meal...whether it was in a favorite bar, or restaurant....and most people, believe it or not, will remember one particular meal that was their best...Ever...

I remember having a fabulous dinner at The Witchery in Edinburgh....great wine list, and the service is wonderful. When in Boston, I always try to get to Legal Seafood for some Clam Chowder.....but, in reality, I enjoy grilling some ribs on my back deck just about as much as anything...

The "best meal I ever had" memory is easy for me...I remember it vividly.....I know where I was...I know who I was with.....I even remember what I was wearing...and, if I concentrate, I can almost taste that meal again....since I had it the first time, I have cooked that particular dish many times...and I have never gotten that initial feeling back......

This took place about 12 years ago....My friend Sam Williams and I decided that we would climb Mt. Moffett. The mountain had two peaks with one slightly higher than the other, and a long ridgeline saddle which ran between the two peaks...We had worked all night. When we got off work, we headed straight for the chow hall. After a quick breakfast, we grabbed all of our gear that we had pre-packed the day before, and headed off on foot for the mountain about 5 miles away.

Our idea was to climb up to the lower peak, and then retire back to the saddle to pitch our tent and camp. We would then make the higher peak the next morning, and spend the rest of the day hiking down and back to base.....that was the plan....

We started out at about 8AM, and by noon, we were almost to the saddle of the mountain. We rested for about half an hour once we arrived at the saddle, and we discussed our previous plan. A command decision was made. The weather was gorgeous - just above freezing - and we weren't feeling too tired from working the midwatch the night before. A decision was made....we decided to make the high peak first. This was a mistake.

We hiked for another two hours - roped together - picking our way gently up the narrow ridgeline cornice...This was my first time ever climbing a mountain like this...were I'm from, you never get that much snow on the mountains...and the ridges are more rounded off....this mountain was totally different....as we walked along the ridge, you could see for thousands of feet down either side of the ridge you were walking...talk about "exposure"...you felt like you were walking along the edge of a razor...the snow was very deep as well, and I was pretty nervous about avalanches...but we kept going....

Sam was leading, and I was behind.....At about 75 feet from the peak, the weather hit us like a ton of bricks....total white-out....visibility was ACTUALLY zero....so, we sat there and hoped the weather would pass...after 10 minutes of total white-out, we started to feel the effects of the icy wind....we suddenly realized that we were in dire trouble....there was no way that we could put up our tent for shelter because the ridge was too narrow and steep...there was no way we could risk trying to hike down the mountain.......but we HAD for find shelter fast....FAST.....so, I stepped down the ridge about three feet and carved a shelf with my ice axe just big enough for my thermarest....Sam did the same thing about three feet lower on the ridge below me.....and we laid out our thermarests and sleeping bags and got inside them to wait for the weather to break.....We were in our bags for 18 hours before the weather eased enough for us to get the hell off that mountain....

After clearing the most dangerous section of the hike down, we finally arrived below the snowline in a field of huge boulders.....exhausted, hungry, cold, and just plain happy to be alive....Sam cracked open his pack and got his stove fired up....and I opened my pack and got out our meal....it was a plastic container of home-made beef stew...the ingredients were 1lb of chopped steak, 1 can of boiled potatoes, 1 can of boiled carrots, a whole quartered onion, and three packets of Lipton Onion Soup Mix....I put that in the pan with some water, and we sat there while it cooked...that was the best meal I have ever had.....I never tasted food that even comes CLOSE to the first spoonful of hot Mt. Moffett Beef Stew...

Sam told me that when we were stuck on the mountain in our sleeping bags, he could hear me snoring over the roar of the wind.....