Friday, August 31, 2007

First week of early morning teaching is finally over...

and the long weekend is upon us. I've been beat all week, trying to get used to getting up at 6:30AM after a summer of laying in till 9:30 every day. Life is rough I guess (I know, I get no sympathy). Of course the job has it's perks, or rather perkies; Lots of teenage girls, bouncing around in cheerleader outfits today, the morning of their first football game. Usually they're wearing tight little tank tops and short shorts, looking like they're on the game, and a whole slew of the little wonders are in my classes. It's a good gig if you can get it. So long as I don't get caught leering I'll be OK. Then there's the hot Spanish teacher who looks like she's decided to pick up teaching after a long career in Adult films. All the boys want to take her classes, and all the guys find reason to chat her up whenever possible. Nice way to spend the morning.

I gave the kiddies the day off today. Told them to chat amongst themselves quietly while I caught up on stuff, grading exams from other classes and surfing drudge. The Drudge report is about the only interesting thing I can get on the schools computer. I have one in class that I use to take roll each day, and check inter district emails. So, of course, I use it to surf everything else that the thing allows. No blogging though. Apparently you guys are so depraved, the school won't allow the kiddies to see any of it. Of course, the kids know how to hack into the thing better than the faculty, so I doubt if the checks and balances are having the desired effect. Just keeping me from being able to waste more of the districts time.

While I was grading tests I caught bits and pieces of a few conversations. The seniors were sitting around talking about their summers, and who'd gotten laid, and with whom, and who was still striking out. It was hilarious. At one point one of the girls said that the only thing one of the other guys there had been getting was ass, and called him "Shit dick". They all busted into laughter, and so did I, which made it that much more hilarious for them. I guess very few things have changed since I was in high school, 28 years ago.

When I clicked onto Drudge, I fell onto this little tid bit...

"A new film about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers who also murdered her family stunned the Venice festival, with shocking images that left some viewers in tears.

"Redacted", by U.S. director Brian De Palma, is one of at least eight American films on the war in Iraq due for release in the next few months and the first of two movies on the conflict screening in Venice's main competition.

Inspired by one of the most serious crimes committed by American soldiers in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, it is a harrowing indictment of the conflict and spares the audience no brutality to get its message across."

This is the same douche bag who painted the Vietnam war as criminal and a lot of the Vets as rapist crazies in his old film Casualties of War. Apparently he's planning to do the same thing to the Iraq war, all the soldiers who are fighting it. Typical liberal Hollywood bullshit. Some asshole who probably never saw the working end of a gun, deciding to use his "art form" to brainwash another generation of kids into thinking his way about the war. Where the hell is John Milius when you need him? He's just the next in a long line of film makers, beginning with D. W. Griffith, who feels totally justified in over dramatizing violence and making up the history, just to get his point across. Well, I do the best I can in my history classes to set people strait. It keeps me in a job, I guess.

I found out today that I'll be on the team and playing pool with the guys each Wednesday night for most of the rest of the year, beginning in a week or so. I won't have a Wednesday night class next semester ether (early October to late December), so there won't be anything to get in the way of it. Should be fun, but I'll need to practice a bit. Haven't played in a while, but it comes back to me pretty quick.

Well, tonight is the night I go get dad and we eat Chinese food, so I'll be heading that way soon. He may want to go watch the kids in Academy play football, so we'll see what happens. The rest of the evening is up for grabs, or at least unplanned at this point. You guys have a great weekend, and don't strain anything lifting all those beers and cheering for all those teams. Enjoy. Cheers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


And no, I really don't believe in Ghosts. David has tasked his readers to fess up again this week, so here it is.

I'd LOVE to see a ghost, but never have, and don't really believe I could. I know millions of people have claimed to see them, but I think it's a testament to the minds ability to trick the eye or ear. Folks want to believe, and that's cool, but it don't make it so.

I'd LOVE to see a Bigfoot, or Nessy, or a woman in my bed who looks like Brigitte Bardot at 19, in the flesh...

but I don't think there is such a thing, or ever will be. That shit doesn't happen to guys like me. I know, I need to believe in it to make it happen, but there are some things that just seem beyond the scope of possibility. Seeing a ghost is also one of those things. Boy howdy, would I LOVE to, but I never have, and it doesn't seem possible to me, so I have little faith.

People invest so much energy in these ideas, they end up manipulating themselves into seeing things that aren't there. Happens all the time, even in politics and love, to the extent that I think it must be a totally natural state of the human mind. Next thing you know you're telling yourself that the sweet, plump little woman that makes you so happy is your Brigitte, and that's enough. She's not the total package, but she loves you, and she's probably the best package you're gonna get. Maybe it's a defense mechanism, like that black shield membrane that falls over a sharks eye just before it takes a bite out of a surfer. Easier to deal with than the truth, but who knows what the hell that is?

I love a good scare, like the next person. And of course, being a history dude, I'd LOVE to be able to see someone from the past. I get a huge charge out of people saying that they've walked over something like an old Civil War battlefield and actually seen soldiers marching by. I saw a thing once about a place in England where people see Roman soldiers marching out of one wall into another, where an old Roman road crosses under a house. God, I'd LOVE to see something like that! It would rock!

Now, there are things that happen to people that are difficult to understand or explain. But just because something is inexplicable, doesn't make it spiritual. I hope with all my heart that there's an after world. There's folks I'd like to see again, or for the first time. But thinking about it rationally, between funerals, I don't think there is one. I don't think there are spirits, and that's that. I know, DULL!

And dig this, if there ain't no scary or weepy ghosts, how can there be a Holy Ghost? OK, that's another story. I'm of two minds, and Dave will probably get to that eventually. I don't want to give him the bum rush.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Walked into work tonight...

And folks were joking about goin' into the men's room and tappin' the stall. "Just don't do it" they said. Not even by mistake. I was clueless. Then they showed me the story on the web.

Sen. Craig denies sex charge, says ‘I am not gay’
Lawmaker is under fire for alleged lewd conduct in Minn. airport bathroom.

WASHINGTON - Under fire from leaders of his own party, Idaho Sen. Larry Craig on Tuesday said the only thing he had done wrong was to plead guilty after a complaint of lewd conduct in a men’s room. He declared, “I am not gay. I never have been gay.”

According to the prosecutor’s complaint, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, airport police Sgt. Dave Karsnia, who was investigating allegations of sexual conduct in airport restrooms, went into a stall shortly after noon on June 11 and closed the door.
Minutes later, the officer saw Craig gazing into his stall through the crack between the stall door and the frame.

After a man in the adjacent stall left, Craig entered it and put his roller bag against the front of the stall door, “which Sgt. Karsnia’s experience has indicated is used to attempt to conceal sexual conduct by blocking the view from the front of the stall,” said the complaint, which was dated June 25.

The complaint said Craig then tapped his right foot several times and moved it closer to Karsnia’s stall and then moved it to where it touched Karsnia’s foot. Karsnia recognized that “as a signal often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct,” the complaint said.

Craig then passed his left hand under the stall divider into Karsnia’s stall with his palms up and guided it along the divider toward the front of the stall three times, the complaint said.
The officer then showed his police identification under the divider and pointed toward the exit “at which time the defendant exclaimed ‘No!”’ the complaint said.

The Aug. 8 police report says that Craig had handed the arresting officer a business card that identified him as a member of the Senate.

“What do you think about that?” Craig is alleged to have said, according to the report.

Well hell, I think a person should be able to get laid however, and by whoever they want in a free country. But Christ, if a SENATOR can't get it whenever he wants it, what the hell chance does an average dude have? And why the hell would he pull a George Michael, when there's got to be a few dozen call girl, or call boy rings operating for these folks in DC, all on the down low? I mean, LBJ has got to be spinnin' in his grave, laughin' his ass off at this one. What an fuckin' idiot.

The conversation at work soon shifted to a notorious bathroom on base, long since torn down, out by the old gas station, that used to be a common site where soldiers used to get arrested regularly for soliciting. Supposedly even high ranking NCOs and a few officers. These folks have been around here a lot longer than I have, and a few were stationed here while still in the army. They have lots of interesting stories to tell. I'll try to pry a few more details out of them... historical curiosity of course. Purely academic.

Poor dumb bastards, just tryin' to get laid, ending up screwing their whole lives away. Makes you wonder about the priorities of our criminal justice system. I mean, if they catch someone messin' with kids, it should be an automatic .22 double tap! But stay the hell out of a grown man or woman's business, right? What do you think?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Y'all ever hear of these dudes?

Here's a band that grew from the demise of two other great groups; the lead singer, Scott Weiland, from Stone Temple Pilots, and the rest of the band from Guns And Roses. The lead Guitar player, Slash, is one of the best dudes out there now. Love these guys. Here's the tune that was the big hit from their first CD, Contraband.

It's called Slither. I love this one. The guitar solo in the end is wonderful.

And here's a fun little video showing Slash noodlin' his way into a classic. See if you recognize the riff, when he gets to it.

They just put out a new CD called Libertad. Here's a decent tune from it. So far, my favorite thing off this one is a cover of ELOs classic Can't Get It Out Of My Head, but I couldn't find a video of it. Not out yet. Love it. Check 'em out. Cheers.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Buddy of mine...

A colleague of mine, another teacher out on base, just put in an order for me with the CMP for a service grade M-1 Garand. Should run about $600.00, plus about $25 for shipping. Springfield Arsenal, but with lots of mix and match parts. Now I need to get some decent ammo.

I've always wanted one, and I had a blast shooting Mushy's rifle when I was there. Can't wait.

Breakfast in the burbs.

Aaaaaaw, how cute. So THAT'S where the deer go when I'm tryin' to kill one. Damn.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Went out and watched to pool players again last night.

I'm told now that I'll start playing in two weeks. I told them that I'll be in Austin at a concert that night, so we'll have to work something out. Priorities.

Anyway, Denise and I went to the US Club in Killeen to watch the games, and cheer on our friends, and this time I took the good camera. Mushy gave me such a scolding last time I posted crappy phone camera shots, I figured I was obliged.

Thing is, folks around here don't necessarily take kindly to havin' their picture taken in a pool hall. The guy in the blue hat told me, jokingly, that he couldn't have his picture taken. He owes child support.

I sneaked a few decent shots of Denise, but soon she realized what I was doing and began to frustrate my efforts.

I think she may be in the witness protection program or something. I'll have to quiz her later.

As we watched the games and talked to the folks, I was finishing off one cigar from the last evening, and starting another, and downed three mugs of Michelob Dark Lager. That stuff was stout, and beat the hell out of that Guinness I drank the other night. I was feelin' good, so Denise drove us home after.

She's gonna join me today when I head over to Temple to take dad out to eat. I'll stop in Salado first to get my once-every-six-to-eight-weeks haircut, and she'll get to meet my cousin Peggy. That'll be a hoot. Then maybe my sister will join us to take dad to eat. Maybe mom too. Anyway, it should be a nice evening.

Well, I'm off to class. I have to run through Teddy Roosevelt's era in one class and finish up to 1789 and review in the other. Falling off a log type stuff, all up here in my head. Love the hell out of T.R. . He's one of the folks in history that I'd love to meet and spend time with. Him and Ben Franklin. Anyway, I hope your weekends are calm and lazy. Cheers.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I'm so proud of my mom.

Today was a bit of a bummer, but there were a few highlights.

Rolled home at about 7am and sat down in front of this thing in a funk. Need-to-know kinda shit. So anyway... I popped open OE and read one from Mushy reminding me that he was going to see the Black Crowes in Knoxville Wednesday night with a load of good friends. For a second, I actually thought to myself "You know, If I left right now... I might be able to get there by show time." SHEEEIIITTTT!

I tell ya, I've GOT to get a new set of friends around here. Boring the shit out of me lately. Never want to go do anything, accept go out after work and play pool. Cheeeerist! Have to drag them kicking and screaming to do anything else. The Crowes are playing in Austin and Ft. Worth in a few weeks, and I'm havin' a hell of a time finding anyone who wants to go. Got one ticket to the Austin show, but waiting on word from others about the show at Billy Bobs. Well, I'll have a good time anyway!

So, I stuff it all, like usual, shower, dress and head to work to teach my lunch time classes. My mom calls me about half way through class and tells me that she's bought a new car and needs me to come over to Temple to help them go get it.

Mom and dad have been talking for a long time about replacing the old Grand Marquis. With about 120,000 miles and lots of little dings and creeks, mom was worried that it would start to cost them money on repairs. So I was trying to get them into something. I wanted to take them out to look at a used Camry, but never could get mom to go with me to look.

Thing is, dad always handled these sorts of things in the family. He always got the cars fixed, and decided what they needed, and did all the talking with the dealer. And of course, the cars were always in his name. Dad did everything, to the point that I didn't know anything about buying a car till I did it for myself the first time, buying this Solara. Dad even put gas in the cars for years, with mom never having to worry about it. It was like he saw this as his job as the provider, and the boss, to do everything, and felt hurt if we wanted to do anything or make any decisions on our own.

This time, dad couldn't do anything. He's beyond it. Usually doesn't remember the last thing he said fifteen minutes ago. Tells the same stories over and over, and says things to me like "Did I ever tell you about taking my father to see your house?" His dad's been dead for 45 years.

So this time, mom did it all. She looked in the paper and decided what sort of car she wanted, went out to the dealership and found the car she liked, and then made the deal to get it. There was an unexpected wrinkle though. In stead of trading in the old Grand Marquis, she ended up getting a fat check from the insurance company.

About two weeks ago, driving dad to the VA for his morning exercise, she was back-ended by another elderly lady. The car was drivable, but with the age and mileage, the insurance company decided to total it. They would never have gotten much from the dealer in trade, but USAA ended up giving them $4000! Mom put the money down on the new car, and we went over today to pick it up.

It's a 2007 Buick Lucerne, with about 20,000 miles on it. Beautiful! The colors are perfect (I think it's called Sagemist Metallic). I was amazed and so proud of her. I told her it was beautiful, and that she'd done a great job. She was relieved, hanging on my words, thinking that maybe I wouldn't like it. I told her how proud I was of her, gave her a big kiss and she hugged me really tight.

We went into the office so that mom could sign all the paperwork, and dad sat to the side, next to the wall. As mom signed all the papers, the car being in her name this time, dad spoke up saying that he felt like crying, like he was unnecessary. We all told him not to be silly, but it broke my heart.

I looked out the big glass pane window at the blue sky and billowing white clouds and almost started crying myself. Then the finance guy gave dad a little box, and told him "This is for you." He fumbled with it but couldn't open it, so I got up to help him. I was thinkin' it might be a cool little pocket knife, but it was a cheap little Buick key ring and emblem. It was like giving a shiny toy to a little kid to give him something to play with.

My heart broke again as I remembered how strong and authoritarian this little old man once was. He used to be in control, to the point that the rest of us were left unprepared for life. God, I used to hate him. Now, at 85, he has just enough memory to now how things used to be, and how much fun it was being in control, but not enough to be able to function on his own on any real level. It's a terrible limbo to watch him walk around in. I find myself some times wishing he'd die quietly in the night, so he wouldn't have to deal with the indignities of his age and ill health, but that's not the way life goes.

I took the Marquis back to their house while mom drove dad home in the new car. I took the old DOD stickers and plates off the old car and emptied it of all their gear, and parked it out front of their house so the USAA folks can pick it up tomorrow. I got all this done just in time to jet back to Killeen to teach my 4:45 PM class. I didn't have any time to relax at all, and all I could think about on the drive back to the base was my poor old dad, and my buddy in Knoxville, havin' a great time.

In about two hours and a bit, I took my students from the Boston Massacre to the end of the Revolution in 1792, and then after class I headed over to the local Chinese food place to meet Denise and a mutual friend from work. Some of you, who read this thing regularly, may know that Mushy's cousin Kay works here on Ft. Hood. The three of us met at The Great Wall Cafe and had a great dinner. I sat and listened to the two of them solve all the schools problems, and it was a hoot. I was forbidden from taking any pictures.

Afterwards, my sweetie and I retired to the house in our individual cars, and while I sat down here to check email, she made a trip to the grocery store. She knew I was feeling down, and that it'd been a crappy day, so she got me a present. When she got here, she busted out a six pack of Guinness Draught! The bottles, with the little doohickey in them. Her English family drinks this stuff, and from what I'd heard, it's supposed to be pretty stout shit.

Usually I'll start to feel a little buz after a few dark beers, especially if I chug 'em. Well, I've downed two of these so far tonight without even a hint of a buzz. Kind of a let down. Tastes like stale root beer, without the sweetness. Not really BAD, but not all that ether. I dunno man. Maybe it's not hittin' me because my gut is loaded with the generals chicken and shrimp fried rice. Who knows? Maybe I need to kill off a few more. Well, I'll save the binge for later.

Mushy briefly called me from the concert a little while later, and it sounded like he was being jammed by the NSA. I called him a bit later and he told me that the concert was a bust. Lousy sound system. Go over to his site when he posts the review and he'll lay it all out for ya. I was very disappointed. I love the Black Crowes to death. I saw them in about 1995 in Austin, in a little intimate venue, with Government Mule as their lead-up band. They knocked my socks off back then, touring to support their wonderful Armorica album. Well, I'm hopin' they fix the issue, whatever was, by the time they get to The Backyard in Austin, because I'll me layin' on the lawn, cuttin' class and chillin' to the tunes.

Well, that's enough for a Wednesday night. Have a great day, and I'll see ya later. Cheers.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Have some Thin Lizzy on a Monday afternoon.

Love the hell out of this band. Here's a clip of the guys, with Gary Moore as lead guitar, and the late Phil Lynott on base and singing part of the lead. I think this is really Gary Moore's band, with Phil standing in for a jam. Moore was the lead guitar in Thin Lizzy for years, joining the band in 78 when Brian Robertson left to band, and played the lead on this first video. Lizzy was famous then for their twin lead guitar sound, which was employed at the same time by bands like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Enjoy.

Pfew! Loved that, but here's my favorite. Loved this song for ages. In high school we all got a charge out of the killer guitar sound, and the fact that he spoke about the girls in Texas. We were all too aware of their qualities, from a distance.

Phil sings this one. He was way ahead of his time I think, and it's too bad he left us so young, from some stupid drug overdose. Imagine the music he'd be making now. The live vids of this song on YouTube don't do the tune justice, so here's the studio version with someones photo montage. Crank this one. Enjoy.

OK now, go back to work. Cheers.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

New rounds, and a great lazy Sunday.

Went to a gun show in Austin Sunday morning. Buddy of mine wanted to head down, so we left early and got there soon after it opened. I saw a few old friends there, folks who I'd bought guns from in the past, and fondled a few nice pistols. I'm always thinking about getting a stow away piece for the car, but just can't find the right one. Saw a nice Kimber .45 ACP, smooth black finish with the sights ground off and a groove down the top, but it had one of those short handles. Those things just don't fit in my hand. I love the look of it though. I'll have to think about it. Don't have any money in the budget right now for a new toy, but did manage to find an ATM and get some loose currency and picked up some new ammo.

On the left, we have armor piercing .30-06, in an M-1 Garand clip. I don't actually have a Garand, so I guess this means I need to get one, right? I bought five clips of the stuff. The rounds on the right are East German 7.62x39, stored in a plastic battle pack. The dude said they were AP too, but I don't think so. They look like standard rounds.

This is how the East Germans stored their rounds, and how they arrive in the tins when the soldiers cracked them open to load their magazines. I'd seen other, lacquered rounds in the plastic packs before, and blanks, and I'd bought several hundred rounds of each, but I'd never seen these regular rounds in these packs.

Went to Rudy's BBQ in Round Rock on the way home and got 6 links of their hot jalapeno sausage and a half gallon of their cream corn. I love that stuff to death, and will be eating on it all week.

Bein' lazy around the house today, we watched a few DVDs, beginning with an old favorite that I own; Zulu, starring Michael Cane. We both saw this one in the theater in England back when it came out, but of course we didn't know one another then. Pitty. Here's a taste, if you haven't seen it.

Denise is part Welsh, and knows that song, Men Of Harlech, and sang along with the flick. Killer! I tell ya, those Zulu warriors chanting and beating their shields just chills me to the bone. Imagine seeing that in real life. Seeing things like this as a kid made me a history teacher today. I'm sure of it. You can still get one of those old Martini Henry rifles. They're so old now, they're considered antiques. That means they'll send them to you in the mail, and there are no friggin' rules to hinder it.

Later we watched a few flicks she'd rented; K-9, P.I. (Belushi and that dog are a great teem), and The Queen, with Helen Mirren. Loved that one too.

After she turned out that wonderful pot roast, taters and such, and Yorkshire whatevers last Sunday, I decided it's my turn to cook dinner this weekend. After getting home at noon and finding her still tucked in, I took a trip to the store and got the fixin's for my famous (or infamous) "Bachelor Pasta Thingy".

Here's the process; You take a package of ground turkey, and a package of chopped beef (chopped into little bitty pieces), two cans of diced or petite cut tomatoes (I use Del Monte; one with garlic and onion, and the other with basil, garlic and oregano), a package of medium heat pico de gallo, and finally a jar of tomato sauce. Whatever brand or flavor you like is cool. This time I used Prego, Chunky Garden.

Place a good sized pot on the burner, turn on the heat and pour a nice amount of wine into it, and about a third of a stick of butter. As the wine and butter begin to heat, put the ground and chopped meat in and begin to season to taste. I put all sorts of stuff in there. Lots of different kinds of pepper, and a good daub of honey.

As the meat cooks, stir it regularly so that it all gets cooked through and through. Then open the cans and put all the other contents into the pot. Stir it all up and put it aside, covered on a medium burner. Take another pot and cook the noodles in water with salt and more butter. This time I chose to make it with Rotini. I love that stuff.

When the Rotini are cooked, drain the water and pour them into the sauce. I like to mix all the stuff together and then let it simmer for a few hours. Let it acquire that great leftover taste that pasta dishes have when they're taken out of the fridge for the second day. I think these things are almost always better the second time around, the flavors having mingled a bit more in the fridge.

Here's what it looked like in the pot. Tasted damn good after simmering for a few hours...

And on the plate. Drinks were a Flying Dog Pale Ale for me, and her noxious lime juice and beer mixture (not with my Yuengling this time, by God). It was all good. After we finished, I cleaned the kitchen, put the leftovers in the fridge, filled the dishwasher and turned it on, and then I busted out the fruit. Denise whipped up a desert plate a while back, cutting up a cantaloupe and some strawberries, and we've been grazing on it all weekend.

We finished it off tonight. We'll probably walk tonight, to give ourselves the illusion that we've made up for all this debauchery with a little exercise. After finishing her fruit plate and putting it in the sink, Denise gave me a squeeze and asked me if I had any other talents she hadn't heard of. I told her I was pretty good with a paddle. A few seconds later, with her giggling, I let her know that I meant in a canoe.

It's been a good day. Hope your weekends were all as good. Cheers.

Here we go....

I've been set to a dismal task; Dredge up some humiliating memories from long ago, and lay them out here for all to see. So, of course, I'm jumping at it! What normal blogger wouldn't?

David McMahon over on the other side of the planet, has asked his readers to spill their guts about the first girl that dumped them, and wants to know what I'd say to the lady if I ever saw her again today. I think I've already mentioned this little drama in a previous post, but here goes nothin' again anyway.

Her name was Marsha, and we were both about 8 or 9 years old. Se lived next door to me in England when my family was stationed there in the late 1960s. Her folks had the other half of the duplex we were living in, base housing for Americans in a town called Carpenders park, north of London. That place was a snake pit. We moved in there when I was about 6, and all the older kids went after me because I was big enough to be about 10. I didn't have a big brother to show me how to defend myself, and dad was too busy playing golf to notice and teach me a thing or two. Useless bastard!

Anyway, I spent the first few years trying to avoid other people, and the constant fights, and didn't start to go out till I got a bit older and eventually found a set of friends to hang with. By the time I was 8 or 9, I began to find my place there and have a better time. Marsha moved in at about that time, and she and I began to hang out together. Her folks were DOD civilians, while mine were Air Force. We were having a great time, going everywhere together, and playing around, but there was never any kissing or anything involved in it. Then one day, out of the blue, she lowered the boom on me.

I went out to play one summer day and saw her sitting on the edge of the playing field where we kids used to play kick ball. She was sitting with another girl and watching the guys play. I walked up to them and started to talk to Marsha, but she cut me off coldly and told me that she wasn't going to play with me any more. I was devastated. Felt like someone had shot me. I walked home and climbed to the top of the little fence that divided the front yards of the two living quarters and I cried my eyes out.

Here's a shot of that fence, to the right of my folks there. That's my mom and dad, and our dog Missy, making home-made ice cream out in front of the house on some Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, I cried my eyes out for a good while. At one point her father came out their front door and asked me what was wrong. I told him, through the tears, gasping for air, that "Marsha doesn't love me any more!" He made some sort of face and turned and walked back in the house, and probably cracked up laughing after closing that door.

I have no memory of Marsha after that. I moved on to other things, and other friends. I have no idea where she is now, or what happened to her after all that, but I have no feelings of ill will toward her today. Hell, we were babies, and her folks probably put her up to it, thinking we were spending too much time together. I hope she's had a great life, and has lots of kids, and now a few grand kids.

I never had another girlfriend in school. There was never any fumbling in the dark in the back seat of a car, or French kissing at dances, because I never got a chance to try anything in the back of a car, and I never went to any school dances. I tried a few times to get close to a few girls here and there, but none of them ever responded. there were too many cooler, smoother guys around for them to choose from.

I was always the big geeky new kid, and soon learned to avoid the humiliation and stay to myself. The choices I made then impacted the rest of my life. I chose to hang with friends who didn't date, and we all stayed home on Saturdays, watched Saturday Night Live, confirmed in how much smarter we were than all the others, and together avoided the possible humiliation of demonstrating otherwise in public. I read a lot of books, and learned to love the things that made me the educator that I am today. But you could fill the encyclopedia with all the normal things I never learned. I kick myself for that now, but there's nothing I can do to go back and change any of it.

It's a long boring story that none of you need to hear. Frankly, I'm tired of thinking about it. The good news is that now, at this late stage of my life, I'm finally trying to catch up on a few things and work out a few of those lingering issues, and things are going pretty well. Enough said.

So Marsha, if you're out there, I hope you're happy and healthy, and I hope you've had a big family, a great career, and a happy life. Cheers.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Went to a breakfast in Salado this morning to see my folks and meet one of my fathers long lost cousins.

He's the old gentleman in the middle of this picture. Turns out he wasn't really lost though, just living in California ever since he got out of the Marines after World War Two.

He grew up around Bell county, and had lots of wonderful stories to tell about growing up here, knowing my father and his other cousins back when they were all young, and my Grandfather and scary old Great Grandfather, nether of whom I ever got to see.

I wish I could have sat with him alone and taken all those stories down, but all these octogenarians kept elbowing me out of the way, wanting to reconnect with their long absent relation.

My parents last saw this man, James Wilson, when they drove through San Fransisco 57 years ago, when they were on their honeymoon. Dad was stationed in Moses Lake, Washington then, and they were on their way back there. He supposedly showed them a great time, taking them to a club called Finoccio's, which was a famous night club there from the 1930s to it's closure in the 1990s.

Found a blurb on the web talking about the place...

Joe Finnochio opened his famed San Francisco nightspot at 506 Broadway after a customer, drinking in his father's speakeasy, performed an imitation of the legendary Sophie Tucker. This gave Joe the idea of a nightclub with men performing with all the glitter, sophistication and glamor of sophisticated women. He opened the club June 15, 1936.

There was little trouble at the club over the years, though military authorities declared Finnochio's "off limits" for selling liquor to WWII military personnel outside of authorized hours. That temporary sanction was lifted New Year's Eve 1943 after Joe Finnochio and other bar owners signed an agreement to limit liquor sales to military personnel to between 5 p.m and midnight. Beer could, however, be sold between 10 a.m. and midnight.

Finnochio's was a favorite tourist spot in San Francisco from the 1930s to the 1990s, but as cross-dressing became less unusual, the crowds dwindled.

The nightclub was the long-time venue of LaVerne Cummings, and Lucean Phelps, the legendary "Male Sophie Tucker," who appeared there for 27 years.

Eve Finnochio, widow of the founder, decided to close the club in late 1999 because of a major rent increase and dwindling attendence. The club closed November 27, 1999. Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti's only comment upon hearing of the closure was, "What a drag."

Cousin Jamie served in the Marines, in the field artillery, until he was wounded on the island battle of Tarawa. When he got out he got married and ended up raising 5 sons there in San Fransisco. Two of them were there at the breakfast Friday. One is a diplomat serving in Afghanistan, and the other is a retired supermarket executive. The guy on the right of this picture is my dad's other cousin, Wilson Moon. He's another grizzled old vet. Guys like these lived really interesting lives, and I love hangin' around with them, tryin' to get some pointers.

I really enjoyed talking to this man. He told me a few things about my Grandfather that I'd never heard before, including his favorite dirty joke.

"A woman who had just celebrated her 100th birthday was being interviewed by a reporter. When asked how she thought she had made it to such an age, she claimed that she had always been blessed with good health. The reported asked if she'd ever been seriously ill or bedridden. She answered 'Oh yes, at least a thousand times, and twice in a buggy' ".

I tell ya, I really missed out on somethin', not being born early enough to to get to know and talk with that old geezer. He looks like a bear in all the pictures, strong and tough like the old farmer he was, though he really wasn't any taller than my father. Here's one of he and my grandmother in the 1950s.

Well, it was a great little get together today, and I hope I get to see these folks again some time.

Out again last night.

Was out with the gang again last night, at a local pool hall/ bar called Deja Vous. The pool teams are gearin' up for actual games that will start in a few weeks.

The scenery in this place was much better than the last place we were in. Encouraging...

And I took it upon myself to smoke another cigar, while sipping a few mugs of something dark and cold. This is the place that has the collection of different beers from all over locked away in a glass case along one wall. They have a bottle of Yuengling Traditional Lager in there, but they don't have it behind the bar. Ha! I wonder how much they'd pay me for the stuff I brought home from Pennsylvania?

I smoked it down to the paper, and then I just chewed on it for a while, watching my buddies play. I'll start playin' next week, probably.

Here's my buddy mark, sizin' up a shot. We teased him a bit, with all the times he's been scratchin' lately. "Stop sinkin' the damn white ball! This ain't GOLF!" He takes it in stride. One day you're hot, the next you're not. Alas, ain't life like that?

I'll head over to Salado soon to meet the folks and others for that breakfast, and then it'll be back to the base for class at 11:30AM. Tonight will be Chinese food night with dad, as usual, and then I'll head back here to see what my sweetie wants to do. New routine these days. Anyway, I'll see ya later. Cheers.

Oh, and be sure and check out this Friday feature, and if you want to read some real truth, check this dude out. He tells it like it is. Later.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Out with the fellas last night.

Yep, and other bad phone camera shot, taken in the darkness of a pool hall/bar, with no flash. I touched it up a bit so that you can see the ash on the end of that cigar. We were watching some friends play pool, which is a favorite past time during the week. The dark beer is some sort of Shiner. Not sure. It was cold and good off the tap. After my second mug I went to order pizza, and ended up agreeing on my return to join their team.

I like playing, but usually have a late night class and can't be there for the games. This semester though I have a window; no 7:30pm to 10pm class on Monday and Wednesday nights. So we'll start playing for real in mid September. What happens when the next semester begins in mid October is up in the air. I can always let my folks out early on Wednesdays and be their closer. It was a good evening. Anyway, the ash fell off on the floor right after I took the shot. Well, that's what they make vacuum cleaners for.

I have to be in Salado early tomorrow morning for a sort of family reunion. My fathers cousin from California is going to be at the Stagecoach Inn for breakfast, and he's invited all the relatives over for a meet and greet. No one has seen this guy in decades.

My folks last saw him in the late 1940s, when he was living in San Fransisco and they visited him on their way to Washington State after they were first married (Dad was stationed at Moses Lake then). The breakfast will be at 9AM, and then I'll have to be back on base for class at 11:30. Shouldn't be a problem. Should be interesting. I'll take the good camera.

Oh, and here's a little more Junior, along with some folks you should recognize.

And if this one don't draw you in, you just can't be had.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I got nothin'...

I'm busy as hell, with this new semester and my newly busy social life. I could rant about something, but not about anything that I want to put out in the street, so I got nothin'.

Thing is, I can hook you all up to a good rant on another blog. This guy's got a good one that all of you should read and think about.

I see these kids every day in class, most of them veterans from Iraq. They've been there once or twice, and some are headed back a third time. I have a huge amount of pride in these men and women, and admire the fact that they voluntered to do something that I didn't have the courage to do at their age. They make me proud to work here, and I try my best to open up their minds and educate them, while they educate me.

So, I'm pooped. Maybe later I'll be able to work up something serious, but not right now. Enjoy. Cheers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Man, you should have heard the squealin' when I put BBQ sauce on the roast and butter on her Yorkshire puddings. Hell, they look just like biscuits! relationships are all about compromise, right?

Monday, August 13, 2007

So, what sort of sexy girl vibe do you have?

Apparently I'm just a whore, ready to drop trou as soon as the fleet gets into town. Shocking, I know.

Your Vibe is Super Sexy

You feel 100% sexy at almost any moment
And this inner sexiness really does boost your appeal
You're confident, playful, and outgoing
You know what you have to offer - and you're proud of it!

And here's another shot of ol' Junior, for your morinin'.

I mean, that's just brilliant!

Took my sweetie down to Austin Sunday for Mexican food.

We laid around till mid day, thinkin' of what we were gonna do, other than lay around and have a lazy day. At some point I thought of food, and thought about how long it had been since I'd been to Austin and gone to Papasito's. Love that place. She was game, so we got cleaned up and I drove us down in her car, down 195 to I-35, towards the goodies.

We ran by this dude on the way. Loved those kayaks. The one on the right has a rudder. Can't imagine where he gets to use it around here though. Our lakes and rivers are still full to capacity, and mostly off limits. Would love to try one of those things one day.

At one point I switched the radio to a local Austin channel, KGSR, and this blissful little tune spilled out. This one's for the Goddess.

Love it! Junior Brown rocks baby! He plays the hell out'a that, whatever the hell it is. Tell me your toes weren't tappin' at that one? Oh bullshit, they were too!

Papasito's is a great little spot. They have them all over, and the food is great at all the spots I've been to. My favorite thing is the Brochette Shrimp, but I forgot to order that this time.

We got there a bit late in the day, so we had to wait about ten minutes for our table. We headed to the bar, and my sweetie ordered the drinks.

Her choice was a Seven 'n Seven, and mine was a Shiner from the tap.

When we got to the table, I ordered a bowl of the special spicy beef Queso dip. You really need to try this stuff if you get a chance. They do something special to the ground beef and then mix it with the cheese dip. It's to die for.

Eventually Denise went for a delicious strawberry margarita, and I had another Shiner.

My dinner choice was the chicken and steak fajita enchiladas...

And hers was the chicken enchiladas. Both were delicious, but having downed about two and a half bowls of chips and dip, we ended up taking about half our dinner home in a to-go box.

The place was jumpin' for a Sunday night, and the service was a bit slow, but the quality of the food more than made up for all that.

Afterwards, we went up 183 to a marble slab ice cream place I know, and I had my usual; cheese cake ice cream with heath bar crunchies mixed in. She had some chocolate thing. I wasn't paying too close attention by then, fixated as I was on my own feed, and not getting any of it on me in the 100 degree heat. Later we walked over to Whole Foods, and she checked out some of the British tea and food they have there. Then it was over to the Barnes & Noble book store across 183, where I plunked down about $80 on a few new CDs. Found some Allman Brothers that I didn't have, and a few other things.

All in all, it was a great day. Still tippin' the scales at 293, so I figured I could splurge. I'll work it all off later. Hope your Sunday was as good. Cheers.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


So, I'm workin' hard to try to undo even more crap that I've blundered into on this thing in the last day or so, concentrating on not messing anything else up, and I hear the unmistakable sound of a soft drink can being opened in the kitchen behind me.

My sweetie is in there working on a pot roast and fixin's in my crock pot. She's not only turnin' out a nice pot roast, but Yorkshire pudding too.

The smells wafting out of there are amazing.

It's warm in the kitchen, and she's seeking refreshment. Her idea was to abscond with one of the Yuengling Traditional Lagers that I lugged all the way from Pennsylvania, via Tennessee, and mix it with a 7-Up!

She calls it a "Lager Shandy". I dunno. These Brits are weird! The vittles turned out great though!

Roast and taters, Yorkshire Pudding, Brussel Sprouts (eeew!), and all the fixin's. Were gonna have to walk a few miles this evening, I'll crank the blues tunes on the hard drive and maybe bust out another Yuengling and a Mac. Hope all your Saturdays were as pleasin'. Cheers.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday feed is on.

Headin' over to eat with dad, as per usual on Friday, and then later my sweeitie and I will figure somethin' else out.

I finally managed to get a decent shot of her with the Razor last night, as we watched our buddies play pool. I'm gettin' pretty good with the sneaky, "grab 'em and shoot" thing.

I was drinkin' a Coors, and finishin' off a Mac, smokin' it down to the label (friggin' things are expensive!) When the opportunity arose.

My first attempt went off as usual. She's an expert at messin' up a shot. All the women in my life are experts at throwin' an arm or somethin' into the way, just in time. Guess they don't want it known that they hang with the FHB. Anyway, eventually I sweet talked her into calmin' down, and then I pounced.

Think it turned out well, for a crappy phone camera shot.

Well, take care, and be sure and check out the other Friday ritual, over at this place. It's always a trip, and an education. Cheers.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Gotta love folks with skills.

The lady who can do the deed, and the guy who can keep his cool and hold it slow and steady as he drives her in.

Anyway, how do you like the new look? I'm still workin' on it, but I likes it a lot.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Yesterday was a good day.

I'm still not really here. Still on the road, somewhere out there in vacation land, but I'm getting here sure enough. My semester started Monday, but my heart wasn't in it. Only started making out my schedule planner last evening, and handing out syllabi to the students. Oh, my lectures are all cool. That stuff is easy, like falling off a log. I just open up and it spills out, but my heart still isn't really in it.

Funny thing happened Monday at 4:45pm. Every semester begins with the administrative folks coming into class the first day and giving the students a talk on dropping classes and counseling, and not eating or drinking in the rooms. I looked up from my podium Monday and who did I see walking into the room, but Mushy's cousin Kay. She's a counselor here on Ft. Hood, and a great lady. Very well thought of by everyone.

I thought as she spoke that I should get a picture (it's a disease, I wanna tell ya), but I figured it'd weird out all the kids, so I didn't. Then, last night I ran into her in the hall, and this time had no such compunctions. Of course, all I had was the Razor, so the picture isn't all that.

I'm getting pretty good at the "grab them around the neck and take a shot" thing. Kay said she'd been following my trip on the blog, and keeping up with all my adventures in Tennessee with her cousin. Small world eh?

Last night I took the liberty to let my students go early on the first night of my Tuesday/Thursday evening classes. I handed out the syllabi, gave the talk, took roll, and then jetted out to get my sweetie and a stogie, and watch my buddy Dave and his team play pool at a local drinking establishment. I stood by the door, next to my buddy, with a Macanudo simmering in one hand, and a Shiner in a chilled mug in the other, and decided life was good after all.

At one point the last game ended in a win, the folks started to pack up their pool cues, and I figured they were getting ready to leave. I'd just got another mug and didn't want it to go to waste, so I chugged it. I immediately started feeling really happy, so I smoked the Mac down to the label while my friends haggled over scores, and then I let my sweetie drive the Solara over to IHOP, where we all ate a late night drunks breakfast. Had my usual.... A grilled sourdough ham and egg sandwich. Just had the other half of it for breakfast again, after driving home from my sweeties place. Life is good.

This evening, my lady friend and I are going to have dinner with another blogger, who's in town for the week. Holly, from over at Holly's Hystrionics is going to be introduced to the joys of my favorite Chinese food place here in Killeen. I hope the Chinese cooks don't disappoint. This whole meeting bloggers thing is getting to be a fun habit. Turns out her mom lives just up the street from me, practically. Again, small world.

Finally, here's a shot of Mushy and I on the porch, relaxing, listening to tunes piped in from his hard drive and solving the worlds problems, my last night in Harriman. It's one of my favorite shots.

Good times. I wish I was smiling' in it, but I was too worried about the timer going off and getting the shot right. I worry too much about a lot of things. Long story.

Anyway, I hope all your days are sunny, and the rest of your week is painless. I'll be back posting quickie music shots from YouTube in no time, and takin' dad to eat more Chinese food this Friday. The weekend is lookin' like a lazy one. Life is steadily returning to normal, and that's a good thing. Cheers.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Road trip wrap up - back home and posting after a bit of a rest.

I left Harriman early Saturday, after checking out of the hotel and dropping by Mushy's one last time to get my contraband. I was programming Killeen into the GPS system when he leaned in and said "Now get up and give me a hug", so I got up and gave him one to remember. He'd joked before that he's not used to being the short one when he hugs folks (he's huggy). So the night before I'd squatted down so he could put his arms around my head for once. Well, this time, when I squatted down and he put his arms around my head, I grabbed him around the waist and hoisted him up and shook him. He's just a little bitty thing anyway. Light as a feather. It was funny as hell to see the look on his face. I used to do that to my cousin Bob, until his back went out on him and I had to start worrying about hurting him. It's one of the joys of being this huge; I can reach things on high shelves, see over isles in stores, and pick people up and toss folks around for fun.

The drive home depressed the shit out of me all the way through Tennessee and into Arkansas. I didn't really want to go back to my regular life. Same old post-vacation crap I always feel. I took a few pictures of some of the sights of Harriman as I was jetting out of there. Regular readers of Mushy's blog should remember this place.

The Princess Theater. Sure was cool to see it, after Mushy posted about the restoration project. You can tell, listening to him talk about it, that Mushy really laments the decline of his beloved home town. It's suffering the same decline that all these old town centers have suffered, as all the big businesses have moved to strip malls along the interstates, and Wal Mart has outdone all the small mom and pop outfits. It's a bummer, but I think it's part of the same old process of change that took us from living along rivers hundreds of years ago, to living along train lines in the late 1800s, to the suburbs and strip malls along the interstates of today. Still, it's too bad that more of these sorts of communities can't find a way to revitalize their main streets, in the interest of trying to maintain that sense of home and community that guys like Mushy grew up with, and that we're so quickly loosing.

Got to Nashville by about noon, and finally got nabbed by a local twerp. Was going 70 in a 55. About a $50 ticket. No problem. Hell, If I'd gotten a ticket every time I COULD have gotten a ticket, I'd be a hurtin' puppy. I was flyin' low, and thinkin' that I was bullet proof. Shruggin' it off.

Flew low through Memphis about three hours later, and got a shot of the pyramid through the passenger window as I zipped past. Gettin' good at this sort of photography. Filled up the tank in west Memphis, at $2.45 a gallon! Wooohooo! That felt good, and peein' at the washateria down the strip was a close second.

Hit I-30 on the outskirts of Little Rock about three hours later, and stopped at Browns Country Store for my first (only) meal of the day. Was thinkin' about passin' it up though, worried that the big feed might put me to sleep behind the wheel, but then realized in the end that I had to do it. I needed to document this amazing place for you guys. Hell, I had as responsibility to my readers, for Christs sake!

I was introduced to this place back in the late 80s, early 90s, on the return trips from many canoing adventures in the Ozarks. It's like a Cracker Barrel buffet, on steroids. It purports to have a 100 foot long buffet (50 on each side).

It starts out with all sorts of salad stuff...

And then takes you through all the side items...

And then you begin to get to the main items...

And then you get down to the deep fried goodies that I love. Fried shrimp, stuffed crab, fried chicken, and hushpuppies to die for.

I made the supreme sacrifice in the interest of staying awake and not loosing too much time. I usually go for three plates at this joint; salad plate, dinner plate, and then a dessert plate. But this time I stuck with one heaping dinner plate, took a few pictures, and then jetted out in the direction of Texarkanna.

I told you it was like a Cracker Barrel on steroids...

Imagine, two floors full of the kind of crap they sell at Cracker Barrel! A tourist haven, fer sure.

Oh, and here's the dessert table, that I totally avoided this trip. I usually get a heaping plate of vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and nuts sprinkled over it. Damn, what was I thinking? I'm getting hungry just writing about it.

I made it to Dallas by sunset, and zoomed down south off of I-30 onto I-35 in the direction of hearth and home. I was getting more excited about getting home the closer I got. Actually, as soon as I got into familiar territory, outside Little Rock, I started to feel a lot better and look forward to getting back to the house. The worst part of the drive was the stretch from Nashville to Little rock. Bored the shit out of me. But the stretch from Little rock to home has been burned into my brain by repeated canoe trips to The Buffalo National River, up in the Ozarks.

I was ready to get home by the time the Dallas skyline was silhouetted in my rear view mirror. My sweetie was waiting here to welcome me home. Making the turn outside Belton onto 190 west and hitting the button for the garage door about 20 minutes later, felt REALLY good, after 14 and a half hours in the saddle.

This is the final reading on the GPS. Not sure about that max speed reading. Don't remember ever hitting 116. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it, by God! I didn't have the thing turned on all the time, when I was driving around Harriman and Williamsport, so it's not totally accurate, but it was a hell of a trip.

My sweetie met me at the door, and within' 30 minutes I had unloaded the car, showered, and we had hit the sack. The rest is not really appropriate blogger fodder, since I don't want to get flagged by some prick with no sense of humor.

Anyway, here's tangible proof that things here have begun to return to normal.

I took dad to eat Chinese food at our regular place Sunday night. The old dude had been missing me, and had missed out on two Friday feeds while I was away. It was a good time.

And yes, I took a picture. The generals chicken and shrimp fried rice were to die for, but seriously, not as good as the generals sauce on those wings I had with Mushy at Wild Wings last week. Damn, that was a good time. I'll never get over it. You showed me a great time buddy, and I'll never forget how much fun it was. I'll never forget the feeling I almost instantly had of being right at home there with you and Judy. You're both very special folks to me, and the rest of the gang is included in that too.

Can't wait to bust into that wine that Gary and Charlotte gave me. We'll enjoy it, and I'll start to enjoy the cigars when I head out this week to watch my friends play pool after work. They won't recognize me, kicked back, suckin' on a stogie and sippin' a dark beer in a chilled glass. You've trained me well, Obi Wan. One of these days we'll do it again, but you guys have got to take care of yourselves so we can enjoy these times for a long time in the future. I'll come back there and beat your scrawny ass if you let anything happen to you before I can come again.

That goes for my cousin Bob and his family too. I tell ya, I'm blessed with a wealth of friends and family that mean the world to me, who are all interchangeable and solidly embraced in the bottom of my heart. These two big brothers are two of the the best friends a guy like me could hope to have. I love the both of ya to death. You'll never know how much.

Anyway, I want to say thanks to all the folks who clicked in and watched this road trip drama unfold. I love all of you too, and will get back to reading your stuff as soon as the normal week begins and I've got more time. I start a new semester in the morning, so things will be getting back to normal very quickly. Take care everyone. Cheers.

Oh, and I weighed myself today... 291 lbs. I've lost another ten! Don't even ask me how the fuck, with all the food I consumed on this trip. It must be a tumor.