Saturday, February 23, 2002

I am going to buy another guitar today. Four is not enough. I played the one I want at my birthday party last weekend and I liked the way it sounded and the way it fit my hand. It's an acoustic with a nice "bug" that plays well through an amplifier so it sounds exactly like a fine acoustic guitar, only louder. I want it and I'm going to have it.

I just hope my pride and joy, my 1964 Martin D-28, doesn't become jealous and warp her neck when I bring the new babe home. I know the Guild, the Tacoma and the Fender Telecaster can live with another roommate, but I'm not sure about the Martin. She and I go back a long way and she has the scars to show it. A lot of beer, sweat, smoke and stage-dings, plus about ten quadzillion hours of playing time give her a character that few guitars have. She rings like a bell and feels as comfortable in my hands as a familiar lover. Through all the refretting, heat-pressing, bridge replacing and neck repairs, I never stopped appreciating her beauty and uniqueness. I remained loyal and so did she.

The central difference between a guitar and a woman is that a guitar will be faithful forever if you love it. And I love my Martin. I just hope she forgives me for what I am about to do.

Considering everything else she did to get out of our marriage, I believe my ex-wife would have KNAWED HER ARM OFF in this situation.

Friday, February 22, 2002

In my younger days, I backpacked frequently in the Appalachian Mountains. When I mention that fact today, most people ask, "OOOH! Did you hike the Appalachian Trail? I always answer, "Not unless I had to."

My friends and I avoided the Appalachian Trail except for a few times when we had to hike a part of it because the trail we WERE hiking intersected the damned thing. I saw more scary beasts there than I ever did in the middle of nowhere. We carried a .357 Magnum pistol on those trips, not for bears or panthers, but for the two-legged goonies who reside along the Appalachian Trail. We encountered a few people who had been hiking the trail for months and resembled missing members of the Charles Manson family searching for a reunion. We never had to whip out the hogleg and start blasting away, but more than once that weapon gave us a warm, fuzzy feeling just because it was there. Some people enrich their spiritual sides when they spend time in the mountains; others go coo-coo for Co-co Puffs.

We took turns packing the heat because that rascal was HEAVY and weight you carry for three days or more up and down a mountain trail is something a good backpacker always considers before he sets off on a trip. I learned through experience to be fully equipped and light. I was good for any kind of weather, any kind of trail and one extra day beyond what we planned with 40 pounds on my back, and that weight included a quart canteen of good Kentucky bourbon in case of snakebite or night time campfires. The only time I actually WISHED that I was carrying the pistol was when we found ourselves on the Appalachian Trail, which begins right here in my beloved state of Georgia and crosses Blood Mountain shortly thereafter. On our first trip up Blood Mountain, I thought I might have to use the pistol on myself.

The hike up Blood Mountain is not difficult. My son has hiked it three times, and he just turned eight years-old in December. Of course, the first time, his mama hauled him to the top in her belly, the second time, I hauled him to the top in a papoose-type pack and the third time, he hiked it by himself at the age of six. He hiked back down, too, then slept for two days straight, seldom moving the entire time.

Okay, the hike up Blood Mountain on the glorious Appalachian Trail is short, but STEEP. It's only 2.2 miles from the trail head and parking is available right next to the Wikki-Wachhi tourist/backpaker ripoff joint, where they sell anything you forgot to bring for triple the price you could have paid if you only had remembered to buy it from Wal-Mart before you left. They make a killing. A lot of people hike that trail because the view from the top is spectacular. I've been there a dozen times and I still find it beautiful.

The first time I climbed Blood Mountain, I was in really good shape, accustomed to hiking much tougher trails and surprised at how quickly my friends and I reached the top. A primitive shelter built from mountain stone with a shingle roof is on the left just before the crest of the mountain. We counted eight bloody, dead rats laying just outside the doorstep as we passed by. I've never stayed in one of those squalid hovels anywhere I've hiked, even when told to do so by the park rangers. Those shelters may as well have golden arches out front, because every vermin, vector, critter and thief within twenty miles knows to GO THERE for food. I always preferred to find a couple of worthy trees, stretch my hammock between them and sleep comfortably off the ground.

Which is what we all did on this trip. Setting up my hammock always took about five minutes. I tied it between two worthy trees, ran a cord just above it, threw a lightweight tarp over the cord, threw my sleeping bag in the hammock and had my bed made. I then picked one of the worthy trees with a branch at the right height, chopped the branch off with my Bowie knife and hung my pack there. My friend Steve always did pretty much the same thing, which was why he and I were always busy for the next hour or so gathering firewood and rocks, making a fire-pit, building a fire, setting up a cook-spit and generally doing squaw work while Rick, the regal camper, built his Hilton In The Woods.

Rick never was content with a simple hammock with a tarp over the top. No, his mountain bedroom had to have bells and whistles, glitter and glitz and all the comforts of a five-star hotel. He spent the hour or so that Steve and I spent doing squaw work doing, well... SQUAW WORK of his own. He ran cords and wires and fixed his tarp with an awning that could be raised and lowered by means of a pull-string. He set up some sort of battery-powered heater in EXACTLY the right position so that it would warm his lazy ass if a cold wind blew that night. He fussed and futtered, futtered and fussed, taking precisely as long to set up his wherewithall as it did for Steve and me to finish our squaw work. The he would bitch, "Hey, you guys don't have that fire going yet? I'm ready to eat!"

Why we didn't throw him off the mountain and split all his food is still a mystery to me.

Firewood is scarce anywhere along the Appalachian Trail, so Steve and I took longer than usual to gather what we needed. Rick, meanwhile, sat in his sultan's tent and gave us sage advice about what we were doing wrong, while sipping frequently from his scotch canteen. By the time we finally built a fire and settled down to eat, Rick was about fully crocked. His pack was still laying on the ground with half the zippers open when he ate some kind of freeze-dried bejeesus and staggered back to his Hilton in the Woods to collapse.

"Rick," I suggested. "You need to secure your pack"

"Fuck that pack," said Rick.

"Rick, you really need to secure your pack, man," said Steve.

"Fuck that pack," said Rick. Then he began to snore with his elaborate awning still up and his ass-heater turned off.

Steve and I looked at each other and grinned. "Fuck that pack!" we said together.

I went to bed. A few hours later, I awakened to the sound of something rustling the garbage bag I always put over my SECURED PACK in the woods. I slept with a flashlight tucked under my arm, and I figured a raccoon was attempting to rob me, so I whipped out the flashlight, turned it on, pounded my palm on the ground and shouted, "GET OUTTA HERE!"

My flashlight illuminated the business end of the biggest SKUNK I had ever seen in my life. The damned thing was sleek and striped and stretched out as far as it could be trying to grab my pack out of the tree. I swear to God it turned its head and grinned at me. I immediately turned the flashlight off and pulled my sleeping bag up over my head. I wished I had the pistol so I could do the honorable thing if the creature sprayed me, because I knew I would never be allowed in ANYONE'S car after that. I heard the skunk's heavy paws hit the ground, then I heard it sniffing under my tarp. It walked into my mountain domain, put its two front paws on the sleeping bag so that I could FEEL THEM ON MY FACE and proceeded to sniff and snort and give me the olfactory once-over. Then, it went back on all fours, waddled down to the end of my hammock and put its two front paws on the sleeping bag so that I could FEEL THEM ON MY LEGS. I would rather have encountered a bear. I would have been less frightened.

But the skunk was satisfied that I wasn't a sugar daddy and waddled down the hill to Rick's unsecured pack, laying on the ground with half the zippers open. It proceeded to feast, making plenty of noise while it ate. I saw Rick's flashlight come on, then go off. I saw it come on again for a little longer, then go off again. Then it came on and stayed on. We watched the skunk eat him out of house and home. The skunk finally got a belly full and waddled off into the darkness. We never saw it again. But it ate about a pound of salt-cured country ham Rick had in his pack, and it probably went in search of water after that.

The next morning, Rick was the last person up, as usual, timing his emergence from his sultan's tent to coincide with the crackling of a fire somebody else built and the aroma of coffee somebody else brewed. "Did y'all see that skunk last night?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said. "I watched it eat everything but the toilet paper out of your pack."

"Fuck that pack," he replied. "You got anything I can have for breakfast?"

"Yeah, there are eight dead rats outside the shelter just down the trail from here."

Eric Alterman is a typical liberal opinion writer. If he ever had an original thought in his head, it would die of loneliness, so he resorts to the knee-jerk, "conventional wisdom" approach favored by so many of his cohorts. He and Molly Ivans should marry, spawn and raise idiots.

In his latest SCREED he writes about the atmosphere in Europe, which is poisonous due to all the powerful vapors rising from the miasma of indignance expressed by Eric's kind of people, Euroweenies pissed of at President Bush's approach to the war on terrorism. He is shocked, humiliated and righteously outraged by how badly our European allies feel about not being in charge of the entire affair. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer put it best when he said, "The international coalition against terror is not the basis to take actions against someone-- least of all unilaterally."

Yes, how dare we Americans declare a war on terror and actually approve of our president taking action against someone. Action simply is unacceptable in such a delicate situation. Diplomacy, negotiation, begging and naked butt-kissing are much more effective tools than Special Forces troops and big, powerful bombs to resolve this simple misunderstanding. Absolute paralysis is probably the wisest tactic to achieve a win-win scenario, which is the most satisfactory outcome for any disagreement.

The dorks still don't get it. They ATTACKED US! We don't want a win-win scenario as a resolution. We want to kick ass and take names and pound the enemy into sawdust so mercilessly that anyone who survives shits his pants when he even THINKS about attacking us again. This isn't a disagreement. This is a WAR. And we want to WIN IT.

Of course, Alterman suffered a great deal of psychological trauma when Bush was elected president. Right up to 9/11, he was unable to write a column about ANYTHING without at least two references to our illegitimate president and the stolen election. He stopped whining about that in print after the WTC disaster, especially after subsequent polls showed what an out-of-touch dipstick he was in his opinion of George Bush. He stopped accusing Bush of being illegitimate and started ranting about Bush being incompetent.

He's at it again, and nobody is listening except for his European friends.
Every time I log on to Blogger, I check the "Blogs of Note" to see if mine is listed. So far, no such luck, but I believe I could be a contender, at least until I run across one such as THIS, which depresses me terribly. But I think mine competes with THIS ONE and THIS ONE. What the heck, maybe Ev just hasn't seen mine yet.
The arrogant, unilateral, shoot-from-the-hip Bush administration announced that it will abandon the "negative security assurances," established by Jimmy Carter in 1978, which promised that the United States would not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries. An anonymous spokesman for the White House said off the record that, "Maybe we will, maybe we won't. You just have to ask yourself one question, punk. Do you feel lucky? Well, DO YA, PUNK?"
Ugh! Some news stories are simply too repugnant to believe, but THIS is about as ghastly as they come. Some deviant, maladjusted sicko showed up at an Atlanta elementary school and pounded a little girl in the head with a hammer, imbedding it in her skull. She is still alive and I hope she suffers no permanent damage except for the bad dreams that are bound to occur. Authorities have the perpetrator in custody and I hope they stake him to a fire ant mound as quickly as possible.

If this story reaches the national news (which it probably will), my beloved state of Georgia will have an ugly three-fer of disgusting developments to convince uppity yankees, west-coast snotwads and Olympic tourists from all over the world that Southerners really ARE backward, inbred semi-humans. First we had the crematoriam revelation,, where a really unscrupluous entrepreneur decided that the way to make REAL money from cremation was never to light a fire, throw hundreds of dead bodies in the woods, and hand out urns full of cigarette ashes, dirt and the contents of vacuum cleaner bags to greiving relatives. (There is now a GAG ORDER issued for this investigation, as if one wasn't already) Then we had Thor of Atlanta descending on an elementary school to smite a child in the head with his mighty hammer. Then Jimmy Carter got up at Emory University and showed his cracker ass AGAIN by deploring Bush's axis of evil.

Good grief. This stuff will set the state of Georgia back further than the time we elected the stick-swinging, redneck segregationist Lester Maddox as governor. Of course, once Lester was elected, he simmered down, actually built himself a fair amount of support among black Georgians, and was a much better governor than Jimmy Carter. Go figure.

I just hope that little girl is okay.

Hmmm... Blogger must be bogged down again. Five minutes after posting the blog below, I'm still waiting for a chance to publish it. Wonder how long it will take THIS time?

Answer: not THAT long. A trip to the mailbox, a trib to the bathroom and a trip to the refrigerator for a glass of wine and presto: I'm ready to publish.
Wouldn't you just know that JIMMY CARTER doesn't like President Bush speaking about an axis of evil? Echoing the words of the Euroweenie elite, Carter finds the term "overly simplistic and counterproductive," which is exactly how I would describe HIS one term as president. Carter defied the Peter Principle. He reached his level of incompetence as governor of Georgia and still managed to rise to the highest office in the land. He botched that job, too, but still never hesitates to voice his opinion about matters that he couldn't handle when he was in charge. Considering Carter's track record, I believe that if he doesn't like it, then it's probably something a strong leader would do.

We're supposed to be witnessing the death of irony today, but when Carter says, "I think it will take years before we can repair the damage done by that statement," the irony hits me like a Louisville Slugger right between the eyes. We are beginning to take the proper steps to repair the damage JIMMY CARTER did years ago with his handling of the Middle East. The seeds of 9/11 were planted during HIS ADMINISTRATION when America first became the Great Satan to the mullah-minding masses of Islam. Did Carter handle the Iranian hostage crisis expertly enough to earn creedence when he criticizes Bush now?

I don't think so. Hell, he couldn't handle an ATTACK RABBIT, let alone terrorists.

Thursday, February 21, 2002

I owe this blog to KEN LAYNE who encouraged others to start their own blogs and said, "Want to see how easy it is? Go HERE. I did, and here I am.

I put that link in not only because Ken is a good, two-fisted writer, but because I'm hoping he has one of those link-identification things on his program that might lead HIM back HERE one of these days. It never hurts to try.
Terrorists don't need hijacked airplanes, anthrax or shoe-bombs any more. A little bit of New Orleans GUMBO IN THE BATHROOM can throw everybody into a panic today. It must have been aromatic stuff, too, because the bomb-sniffing dogs liked what they smelled. Must have been the sausage.

Jesse Walker has an interesting article about SOCIAL PANIC in "Reason" magazine. We've seen a lot of it over the years in this country, usually over no real threat, but laws passed to deal with the problem remain on the books even when everybody admits that there never was a problem to begin with. Americans don't panic en-masse. "For true hysterics, you have to look to the political class" and the idiots in the press who fan every fire they can find. That's where truly dangerous things such as the PATRIOT act are born. And that invasive, un-American law will live on long after every terrorist in the world is dead.

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

After I wrote my previous post, I checked SAMIZDATA just to see what was afoot there (actually hoping to see another picture of the luscious Croatian babe) and I found a very nice tribute from an Irishman about the anniversary of John Glenn's space trip. I sent them an e-mail about my reflections on John Glenn. Then I got REALLY CARRIED AWAY and e-mailed The Professor, too. Hell, I may go down my links list and e-mail EVERYBODY about my thoughts on this matter because I feel so strongly about it.

The first piece of writing I ever had published was in 1962, when I wrote the classic story "The Day I Substituted For John Glenn" as a simple fourth-grade essay assignment. It ended up winning a creative writing award and I thought I was famous, deserving a ticker-tape parade through the streets of New York with Walter Cronkite doing the narration. That was probably the acme of my writing career.

From there, I did the Ken Layne antichrist act of attending J-school, then whored as a copywriter, collected a wall full of rejection slips from the leading publishers in the country, wrote a shitty novel that did not sell (but at least I FINISHED IT) and established a true claim to fame by being a humor columnist for the Effingham County Herald for nineteen weeks until I was fired from a job that DID NOT PAY ME for being too offensive. Some people just can't take a joke. So, I gave up on writing and went to work manufacturing chemicals until I started this blog. Now I would rather do this than work.

I blame John Glenn for it all.
Today should be a GREAT DAY IN HISTORY for me. Forty years ago, John Glenn became the first man to orbit the planet in a spacecraft. I was thrilled to death when it happened and John Glenn was my hero for a number of years. He performed his mission four days after my tenth birthday and I still remember not only his flight, but the ticker-tape parade he took through the streets of New York afterward while Walter Cronkite narrated in that great, stentorian voice I loved from all those "You Are There" movies I saw in school. When John Glenn fell in the shower and damaged his inner ear and was disqualified from the space program, I wanted to cry.

And I should have.

John Glenn went into politics after that and rode his fame like a rocket ship to the US Senate. There, he mutated over many years and finally sold out every value I ever believed the man held. He was a member of the Keating Five. He totally stonewalled the "Chinagate" investigations for a chance to go into space again, and he received his payoff when his geriatric ass WENT, allegedly to do scientific research about how an old fart is affected by weightlessness. Then he came back to earth and bragged about his contribution to the team.

I have learned since my younger days that many of heroes fell from grace when faced with the real world. Some, like Johnny Unitas, my absolute, ultimate, all-time football hero, just didn't know when to quit. He played past his prime, got beat up a lot, ended up being benched in San Diego for Christ's sake, after all the glory years in Baltimore, and finally retired when he could not postpone the inevitable anymore. Today his golden arm that threw so many touchdown passes is crippled and useless. But he earned those wounds in battle and never stopped being the man he always was. A champion. A winner. And an idol to boys who lived, breathed and PLAYED football every day they way I did. I still admire Johnny Unitas to this day.

John Glenn, on the other hand, warped himself into the kind of person I absolutely despise. He went from the "Lucky Lindy" of my youth to a corrupt politician with a "for sale" sign strapped to his butt by then end of his career. And his rotten self still appears on television and radio frequently. I want to puke when I see or hear him. That's because I was once naive enough to believe that the man was the next best thing to God. I lost that fantasy a long time ago.

But I still believe it about Johnny Unitas.

Sometimes on the very same news page a reader can discover identical stories told from totally different viewpoints. Did we callously murder thousands of civilians when we bombed Afghanistan? Did we fly into battle with veins in our teeth and murder in our hearts and drop death from the sky willy-nilly all over the countryside? Should we be contrite now?

That depends. Read THIS VIEWPOINT and you may think so.

But READ THIS and you might have a different opinion. I tend to put greater stock in story #2, because it sounds more like American fliers to me. But you be the judge.

The Captain DENBESTE has an interesting opinion about GAME THEORY that puts both stories in perspective. I believe even America's warriors see themselves as the good guys when they fight. The nattering reporters who write about them definitely consider themselves to be saints. So, we have saintly warriors judged by saintly reporters in a war against unscrupulous sinners. In basic game theory, the sinner wins every time because the saint is UNWILLING TO FIGHT ON THE SINNERS TERMS.

We've got to stop thinking that way. Civilian casualties happened in Afghanistan. That effect of an intensive bombing campaign was impossible to aviod and we should have been prepared to accept those consequences going in. All this hand-wringing and self-flagellation about it now is the sort of saintly behavior that gets you killed by a sinner. We didn't firestorm cities the way we did in WWII. We kept innocent casualties to a minimum. It was all very saintly behavior, but perhaps by doing so we allowed Osama and the one-eyed mullah to escape because we weren't willing to PLAY DIRTY ENOUGH to deal with the sinners we were fighting.

As my football coach used to say, "Go big or go home." We shouldn't fight a war and a PR battle at the same time.
Dr. DAVID SUZUKI has a few metric tonnes of global warming gas to spew about President Bush's greenhouse emission reduction plan. Calling it a "slap in the face of the scientific community" (meaning Dave and his friends), he waxes wroth with all the usual scare tactics and lies about how we're all gonna die in a wrecked environment if we don't ratify the Kyoto Treaty RIGHT NOW.

As a 22-year veteran supervisor in the chemical industry, I'll admit that environmental regulation has done a great deal to clean up the planet and force companies to leave as small an impact as possible on the land, water and air. Today, being environmentally responsible is simply good business; nobody can be a careless polluter and stay in operation very long. If the government doesn't shut you down for your sins against Planet Earth, the community will run you out of town, and all the jobs you take with you be damned. Well-run businesses understand this fact and rank careful environmental stewardship at the top of their core values. They seldom receive credit for it, thanks to the eternal harping and carping from people such as Dr. Suzuki, but it is the truth.

It is expensive to comply with government regulations and protect the environment through the use of best available technology pollution control equipment. The price comes right off the bottom line of the company that pays for it. It doesn't increase production, it doesn't improve quality and it doesn't contribute a dime to profits. It costs money.

When Suzuki says that "another report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (a radical, whack-o group of educated idiots who never made a payroll in their lives--probably Dave and his friends) found that developing a clean energy policy in the United States could save every family $350 per year..." I am forced to warn the man to STOP DRINKING THE BONG WATER. That is the most insane, environmentalist drivel I've ever heard. My company budgets $100 million dollars per year for "remediation" projects that involve nothing but shoveling dirt from a "polluted" site to a "certified" hazardous waste landfill. To retrofit SO2 scrubbers and electrostatic precipitators cost $10 million per smokestack where I work. This is money that could be used to reduce our unit costs. This is money that could be used to pay dividends to stockholders. This is money that that we spend on environmental stewardship and everyone who buys our product picks up a piece of the price. How implementing the Koyoto Treaty and forcing businesses to completely BUY into a "clean energy policy" at a savings of $350 per year for every family in the country is completely beyond my comprehension. It's beyond Suzuki's, too, because he doesn't know what he's babbling about.

I left the hills of eastern Kentucky in 1958 and one of the first memorable experiences I had in my new home in Georgia was a ride up the Savannah River in my uncle's boat. I saw giant culverts spilling raw sewage into the water. That was the city's waste treatment plant. I saw all sorts of smoking, stinking chemicals pouring from the huge Union Camp paper mill. I believed that the river could catch fire, but I was sure I could get away because I could leap from the boat and RUN TO SHORE bouyed by all the crap and drek and assorted flotsam on the surface.

Now I can stand on my company dock and watch shad fishermen string their nets and harvest fish in that same river.

I don't believe we need to panic over global warming and do something as silly as signing the Kyoto Treaty and I believe President Bush feels the same. I certainly hope so. Suzuki warns everyone, "don't succumb to the bleating cries of an increasingly isolationist administration." The only bleating cries I detect in this affair fly from HIS neck, muffled as they are by the increasingly isolationist position of being issued from his buttocks, where his head resides.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

For a while there I was worried that my beloved state of Georgia was about to embarrass me terribly by allowing that crazed alien nutjob Mike Tyson to fight Lennox Lewis in Atlanta. My not so beloved governor, Roy Barnes, actually grew a set of cojones on himself for a change and put a stop to this nonsense after the shameless whores on the state boxing commission granted Tyson a license. I believe it was Ken Layne who observed that we soon would learn who wanted the money badly enough to ignore the sociopathic tendencies of the ear-chewing troglodyte and allow him to fight on their turf. NOW WE KNOW where they are: Washington, DC, of course, where shameless whoredom is a way of life.

I don't believe anybody should allow Tyson to fight again, except in an alley, a bar or on the street, which I'm certain he surely will do again based on his past behavior. But no one should honor this deviant creep with a boxing license because he is NOT a professional boxer. He is a malevolent thug who has disgraced his sport and brought the most unprofessional behavior imaginable into the spotlight through his inability to control his primitive temper. He should be banned forever.

But some well-qualified NUT ANALYZERS checked him out and pronounced him okay. I just want to know who is going to check THOSE NUTS OUT.
Let's see if I can remember what I wrote before Blogger ate it last time...

For once in my life, I am AHEAD OF THE CURVE in a new trend. I admit unashamedly that I have been wearing pantyhose for years. Not EVERY DAY, mind you, but during cold weather I have worn them to work, I have worn them in the woods and I have worn them proudly. They keep you just as warm as long-john bottoms and they feel one heck of a lot better. Because they have built-in feet, they don't ride up your shins or bunch up under your pants the way long-johns do. They are great for backpacking because they weigh almost nothing and take up very little room in a pack. And if you misstep on a slippery rock and fall in a creek, they don't soak up ten pounds of water and require hours on a clothes line near a campfire to dry. If I had known someone made them with a fly in the front, I would have purchased several pair years ago.

Besides, wearing panty hose helps me get in touch with my INNER WOMAN, at least until I take my pants off and see all my leg hair plastered flat under the nylon. Then, I have visions of writhing flatworms and other disgusting things.

I'm not ready to shave my legs. I haven't come that closely in touch with my feminine side yet. But I like my panty hose.
Blogger is suffering terribly these days. The post below I wrote last night and finally published it today. The post I wrote thirty minutes ago has vanished into the ether. I may have to listen to the Big Bloggers and pay for a reliable server if I intend to continue what I'm doing.

Monday, February 18, 2002

Did you know that we have a "shadow government" operating the war against terrorism? I didn't, but LOUIS FARRAKHAN is spilling the true beans, or vomiting all over his bow tie, in his latest speech to his adoring masses, which included some celebrities who really should have more sense than to show up at such a function. Farrakhan is busily engaged in "moral teachings," which is quite a stretch for that racist, anti-semetic hate-monger. I'll bet that crazy bastard believes there are monsters under his bed and in his closet every night. There's one IN THE BED where he sleeps, and IT'S HIM! But that's a politically incorrect statement. I'm sorry I wrote that.
Lord have mercy! The EU has decided to IMPOSE SANCTIONS on Zimbabwe after Robert Mugabe, the power-hungry, despotic, insane, murderous thug in charge of that once-prosperous country (who has behaved exactly like the maniac he is for years, without the EU noticing until now) finally kicked the European election monitors out of the country. Now they are righteously pissed and they'll huff and puff and BLOW HIS HOUSE DOWN in a typical blast of European hot air. Yeah, right. Wrinkled brows, downturned lips and glares of distain, joined with harshly-worded letters of protest and threats of sanctions won't affect an incorrigible mass murderer such as Mugabe. A daisycutter laid on his royal motorcade or a laser-guided smart bomb down his chimney while he toasts his feet by the fire might make the proper impression on this nutjob. Anything less won't register with such a dork.

I know we don't practice assassination as foreign policy, but sometimes we really ought to lance a boil when we see it festering. Here is one.
I believe I am fairly well recovered from the emotional turmoil I suffered this morning. I changed the oil in my truck, cleaned my house and put up some interesting wall hangings to add atmosphere to the place. Now I'm listening to Patty Loveless croon "Mountain Soul," and if you haven't heard it, you should. That is one FINE piece of work. Of course, I have a lot of hillbilly in my blood, so that sort of music appeals to me more than it would to some laid-back surfer dude from the west coast or some "street-wise" black gangsta with his hat turned sideways on his head. Well, if they don't like it, screw 'em, because I THINK IT'S GREAT. I had to break out the guitars and the mandolin and play along for a while.

"Where the sun comes up about ten in the morning, and the sun goes down at about three in the day"

She's singing about Harlan County and that's the way it is in the mountains. Patty is a mountain girl herself and I'm sure she knows that the sun shines only when it clears the hills and it sinks behind another one soon enough. She has Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill and Travis Tritt to help her out on this little adventure, and they play well together. Good picking, exquisite harmonies and great songs. There are some really fine bluegrass gospel tunes, too. Hell, MY heathen ass might go to church every Sunday if the choir sang songs like these.
Sweet Jesus! I LOST IT in Wal-Mart today and really don't know why.

The cupboard was getting a little bare, so I went shopping this morning. I picked up the sundries I needed and cruised over to Sporting Goods, where I found a basketball goal and a Rawlings ball that I thought my son would enjoy. I threw the ball in the buggy and wrestled the heavy box with the goal and backboard off the rack and into the buggy, too. Then, for no good reason at all, I started to cry. And I COULD NOT STOP.

The sight of a 50-year old man leaning on a Wal-Mart shopping cart and weeping uncontrollably in the Sporting Goods section of the store is probaby unusual, even in the back woods of southeast Georgia where I live. A couple of silver-haired women came over, patted me on the forearm and asked, "Honey, are you all right?" I wanted to throw my head back and scream at the top of my lungs, "HELL NO, I'M NOT ALL RIGHT! WHY DO YOU THINK I'M STANDING HERE IN SPORTING GOODS CRYING LIKE A BABY? IF I WAS ALL RIGHT, I WOULDN'T DO THAT!"

But I didn't. I told them that I was just fine and simply had a really sad thought all of a sudden. They nodded understandingly, as if that babble made perfect sense to them. Then I asked them where I could find the little Clorox tablets that you drop down the back of your commode to keep your toilet water fresh as a daisy and they gladly led me right to the spot. I threw two twin packs into the buggy and thanked them profusely. They went away and I cried some more among the plungers, toilet-wipers and Clorox tablets.

I was warned ahead of time that my prostate surgery would carry some pretty heavy emotional aftereffects, but that was four months ago and I believe I should be over the worst of it by now. Either I'm not, or I'm about to snap like a dry twig and go stark, raving crazy. I don't know.

But isn't it great to live down South, where silver-haired women will come to see what's wrong when they see you crying in Wal-Mart? Isn't it great that when you ask where the Clorox tablets are, they take you by the hand and walk you right to them?

Yes, it is.
As someone who was born and raised for a number of my formative years in a coal mining camp in Harlan County, Kentucky, I can identify with Senator Robert Byrd's eloquent words, which he whipped out like a switchblade knife against Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill during a recent confrontation, about growing up in simple circumstances with an outhouse in the back yard. But I believe my family loses in the dueling poverty battle because we had a TWO-HOLER OUTHOUSE. For all you spoiled rich twits born with the silver spoon, allow me to explicate. A regular outhouse is a shack built over a ten-foot-deep hole in the ground. Inside is a crude bench with a round hole cut in it. A single light bulb dangles from the ceiling and it can be activated by means of a pull-cord with a knot on the end, where flies come to fall in love. A TWO-HOLER OUTHOUSE, on the other hand, is exactly the same except the bench has two round holes cut in it and a splintery board nailed across one to keep young butts from falling through and into the ten-foot-deep hole in the ground. That extra hole with the board nailed across it was a true status symbol where I grew up. Yes, we would have LAUGHED at Robert Byrd and put him down as the white trash he was for not having that extra hole in HIS outhouse.

Of course, he moved onward and upward in life to the ultimate outhouse, the US Senate, where he has served his country selflessly for about a quadzillion years. And all the HUMBLE PUBLIC SERVANT has to show for it is every building in West Virginia named after him.

When I bought my new house, I had a port-o-let in the front yard for about three weeks. I went outside one evening with a magic marker and named that outhouse after me. The sanitation people came and hauled it away the very next day.

Now I no longer have the only three bathroom house in the neighborhood. And NO building is named after me.
They never offered classes LIKE THIS when I was in college; if they had, I probably WOULD NOT have majored in English Literature.
Congress and the nation are shocked, SHOCKED, mind you over the tragedy of Enron employees losing their retirement funds when the company stock went down the toilet due to the shenanigans of those in charge. But the same thing happens all the time without a single shenanigan from upper management. The shenanigans come from tort lawyers in asbestos suits and somebody better stop this runaway train before the inevitable wreck affects everybody except those who ride it to riches.

Check the list of companies already gutted by asbestos litigation. Think about the ones in the crosshairs now. And notice also how even plantiff's lawyers are concerned that the process is out of control. Of course, they are worried that the whole cow may be thrown on the grill and eaten at one time when they really would prefer to keep it alive and bleed it slowly for years. This is a truly disgusting situation and more people need to become aware of it.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

I had to deliver my son back to his mother this evening when my visitation was over. But I didn't deliver him to his mother. She is in Germany for a week. She travels a lot on her job and she's off to Europe until next Saturday. Her mother was at the house to greet my son.

I don't know what sort of babysitting arrangements she made for the week because I was not consulted or informed about her leaving the country. I HAVE told her numerous times that when she travels, my son is ALWAYS welcome here with me. But that would be... well, civil and nice and respectful for her to do and you can FORGET THAT CRAP. I may as well be one of those evil DEADBEAT DADS who are such terrible villians in every divorce, no matter what the woman did, or does. Law and justice don't belly up to the bar together anymore.

And if I sound bitter about it, that's because I AM.
Back when I was a happily married man, I used to brew my own beer. My wife bought me the equipment as a birthday present and I spent about two years experimenting with it. I became pretty doggone GOOD after a while. I brewed pilsners, wheat beers, stouts, bocks and a host of different ales. Once I got the hang of it, they ALL turned out quite nicely.

Of course, I probably have the talent in my DNA because I am descended from a long line of moonshiners. That's how you made good cash money in the hills of Harlan County, Kentucky, when my grandfather was a young man responsible for feeding and clothing five head of younguns. He farmed and grew enough food for everyone, and my grandma was a fine seamstress, but shoes and decent Christmas presents didn't grow in the dirt and couldn't be made on a pedal-powered sewing machine. So, my grandfather converted some of his corn crop into alcohol, aged it thirty days in a charcol keg and sometimes sold it. He learned how to make liquor from HIS father, who learned from HIS father before him. And my grandfather taught ME. I believe I am the last of that line.

I finally grew bored with making beer and decided to step up to the big leagues. I made a five-gallon jug of good mash, bought ten feet of copper tubing and attempted to turn my turkey cooker into a still. When I was ready to boil it down, everything worked exactly as planned until the pressure inside my makeshift still blew the lid off the turkey cooker and everything caught on fire in a gigantic blue flame. Most of my whiskey burned off in the conflagration, but I managed to save about a quart.

If you've never tasted good moonshine, you probably don't understand how remarkable it is. No liquor in the world is comparable. My quart jar was still warm when I rescued it from the blue fire and I took a slash from it just to see what I had accomplished. There it was: the pungent, smokey taste followed by an atomic explosion in the belly which spread right down to the feet, causing toenails to curl, which then bounced right up the spine to make the scalp sizzle. Once I had a sip, I wanted to cry over all the rest that was wasted in the fire.

I put the jar in the freezer for a few days, then invited some friends over to sample my wares. After a couple of shots, they agreed to split the cost of a really well-made still crafted in a legitimate machine shop, so that the lid could not blow off and waste such precious elixir. I drew up a good design and contracted with my brother-in-law, a machinist, to build it. But he never did and I believe I became divorced from him when his sister ran me off for another man. That's a crying shame, because that still would have been PERFECT.

The turkey cooker is in my garage and I was eyeballing it today. With some C-clamps and a little less heat, I believe I can keep the lid on it next time. I can make it work.

Of course, making moonshine is ILLEGAL and I would never even CONSIDER such a thing. This entire blog is an exercise in rich fantasy, not to be taken seriously. SO FORGET EVERYTHING I'VE WRITTEN HERE!

I'll let you know how this thing I'm not going to do turns out.

I have mentioned the lucious Croatian babe, Natalija Radic, several times in my blogs and I have slobbered all over my keyboard admiring pictures of her on Libertarian Samizdata. Now, a bellicose woman has launched a FULL FRONTAL ASSAULT on Natalija's unfair trade practices. The itty-bitty titty committee is in an uproar. I believe a cigarette commercial once said that "It's what's UPFRONT that counts," but I don't necessarily think that's true. At the risk of making an ASS out of myself and being the BUTT of many jokes, I honestly believe that a woman has assets other than lung capacity that appeal to red-blooded American men, of which I consider myself one. So, now that I've had my rant, I'll just TAKE A SEAT and be quiet.
Wow! I thought DUI and drug laws in this country were out of control, but at least we don't administer 4,750 LASHES for anything, let alone simply sleeping with you wife's sister. But true justice prevails in this case because the woman is gonna get a whippin', too. And some snotty yankees say the South is backward?
Las Vegas now offers more than 1,000 STRIPPERS on any given night. Let's see... that has to be more than 1,999 bare bosums parading around on stage. The casinos didn't like it at first, but now it appears that they are joining the party. Sex sells.
What do you call a rash of RASHES?

The good news is that it doesn't appear to be deadly flesh-eating bacteria. The bad news is that it's probably exacerbated by energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly school buildings which are buttoned up tighter than a Fort Knox vault. Long ago, when I went to school in south Georgia, we had windows that stayed open during hot weather (which was most of the time) because we had NO AIR CONDITIONING. You might stain a test paper with drops of sweat from your brow, but you didn't break out in mysterious, contagious rashes from breathing the same recirculated air over and over again.

I didn't have air conditioning at home, either. I remember many a hot, humid night when I crawled out of my bed and lay on the cool tile floor to sleep, just to find relief from the heat. We had only three television channels in black and white, which you could access only by physically twisting a tuning knob on the set, and if you wanted popcorn, you cooked it in a pot on the stove. You baked potatoes in the oven and it took a LONG TIME. When you wrote a term paper, you typed it on actual paper on an actual typewriter and ran through a lot of white-out and eraser strips correcting mistakes. Fresh laundry hung out on a line in the back yard to dry. Birds would crap on it and it had to be washed all over again.

Of course, a Coke cost a dime, a hamburger was fifteen cents and you could still buy penny candy back in those days. And we had drive-in movies, too. Were those the good old days? As a newly-minted senior citizen, I feel qualified to say HELL NO. I like air conditioning and satellite TV and remote controls and microwave ovens and computers and washer-dryer combos. I wouldn't go back and live the way I used to for all the tea in China.

But I miss the drive-in movies.

And kids who sweat in school today probably have grounds for a lawsuit.
Texas had its chainsaw massacres and now my beloved state of Georgia has THIS which is pretty gruesome. If the authorities in charge check the fresher corpses carefully, they may discover a few people who attended my birthday party yesterday. Some of them CANNOT be in good shape today.
I survived my "surprise" birthday party in good shape for a 50-year old coot. A lot of good musicians dropped in to pay well-deserved tribute TO ME and we played up a storm. MY MAMA even ventured into the hinterlands of Effingham County and joined the festivities. I suppose all that sittin' and pickin' I do around the house anymore paid off yesterday, because my fingers aren't sore even after about six hours of guitar and banjo playing. All in all, I couldn't have written a script any better than the real thing.

Was Blogger sick yesterday?