My buddy Rankin' Rob has finally opened his doors on his new blog. Please go visit him, and wish him well.
Rob is actually my brother Jack Straw's old roommate, college buddy and best friend, and I'm proud to say he's been my friend for 25 years. He's acerbic, brilliant, and misanthropic. I believe he will have fun as a blogger extraordinaire.
So go visit. If you don't, you're probably the kind of person who beats their spouse, and passes exotic venereal diseases to elementary school children and retarded persons. Wait. I believe I have dissed my own demographic.
Belay my last. Go visit Rob. Tell him you care.
If I see the 108 pound nipple-boy named John Leguizamo attempt to play one more tough-shit-gangsta-hood-bad-ass, I will personally drive to
South Central L.A. Malibu his mama's house in Brooklyn and stave his punkin head in with my autographed Lester Maddox mini pick axe handle. He sounds like an emasculated Rosie Perez, for chrissakes.
This is my promise.
I'm ambivalent on whether I'll see "The Passion of the Christ". I don't mind splatter-gore, of course, I just don't like a heaping platter of guilt served up with it. And I do renunciation about as well as I do witness.
I'm amazed, though, at the pure fucking hatred leveled at Mel Gibson for this. For six months I was inundated with bile about the anti-Semitic nature of the film from people who hadn't even seen it. When that got no traction, the tack changed to "Mel's making money off the crucifixion of Jesus". Like any of these cornholers cared about the supposed sacrilege of such a thing.
I DO know no one in Hollywood would touch it with a ten foot whirling wenis, which is why Gibson gambled $25 millie of his own coin to produce it, and a like sum to distribute it.
THAT is a cold, calculated risk. One that is paying off for Gibson, although I don't think he cares if he makes a dime. But this whole thing could have turned south on him quickly, which is what the liberati wanted to happen.
Why the hatred? I didn't see any of these people protesting the rave hit "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", which is packin' 'em in in Cairo.
Christians don't bother me. I consider myself one upon occasion, like on those infrequent mornings when I pass the suspicious urinary discharge. And that whole "I'm terrified of the Religious Right" bullshit? I don't recall seeing Bush handle any snakes at his press conferences, or heal any invalids, nor do I remember Rumsfeld pounding a shot of strychnine at his. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed? They are completely marginalized from the political process. Which is fine with me. Bush wants these guys around like he wants an ulcerated dick knob.
Back to my point. The same scum lambasting Gibson over what was, for him, a very personal, very risky, and incredibly important endeavor should hang their heads in shame. The only thing driving them is bigotry and prejudice. Let the man make his movie. And let the market decide. THAT, of course, is precisely what these sack sniffers are afraid of. Freedom of choice, and the free flow of non-sanctioned ideas.
This whole thing started in 1976, when as a young teenage pup I smoked a joint with some girls while sitting on the old bridge at Chappaquiddick. There's a Bicentennial celebration for you.
I enjoyed that for some reason, and now and then I've had the opportunity to replicate this sort of thing. I roasted at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, and from behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll in Dealy Plaza. I'm not much of a toker anymore, but it seems like the thing to do on hallowed ground, where the mad hunted the made.
Where am I going with this? Oh, yes. My daughter wants to go to DC for spring break. For some strange reason, at the age of 11, she wants to go to law school and run for the United States Senate, so she can throw welfare families out in the street, crack mothers in jail, and parties for Disney Channel producers. She's burned out on Orlando now. DC is her Holy Grail.
So I was thinking, great idea! And maybe, just maybe, I can sneak a one-hitter into Ford's Theater, and pop it as near to the Presidential box as possible.
I know what you're thinking. Damn! I wish I'd thought of that. So think about these three-day-getaways, because I'm planning them all:
A weekend across the street from the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Better hurry. I think they're tearing it down, if it isn't already gone. Take a chef's smock, and pretend you're kitchen staff.
If you take that DC trip you can spin over to Laurel, Maryland. There's a certain strip mall parking lot begging for your attention. For extra enjoyment rent a wheelchair, and take a few spins around the asphalt.
Buffalo, New York. Is the site of that Pan-American Exposition still extant? And how many people get to say "I caught a fire where McKinley caught a bullet"? [Why yes! It's a Historic Site now. - Ed.] The trigger man was named Czolgosz. Czolgosz the Anarchist. That's straight out of a fucking Superman comic, eh?
Another DC coup: The train depot where Guiteau whacked Garfield. I'm going to need three one-hits for this trip alone. Guiteau. It sounds French. Fittingly. The great irony: Guiteau was an incensed seeker of spoils, rebuffed. Namely, the appointment as Ambassador to France. Wheels within wheels, people. Rumour has it the bastard was wearing laced panties at the time.
Bayside Park, Miami. The next time you're in South Beach stalking the Beautiful People with your squirtgun full of urine stop by the Park. In 1933 one Guiseppe Zangara, an Anarchist (another fucking Anarchist), took a shot at FDR. He missed, but successfully eliminated Anton Cermak, Mayor of Chicago. Said Zangara, "I don't hate Mr. Roosevelt personally... I hate all officials and everybody who is rich." Ach. The prototype of a Deaniac, or the Large Head Wearers at G-8 summit meetings.
Milwaukee (motto: "That smell is either the breweries, or Penny Marshall"). Here one John Schrank (Schrank!) shot Teddy Roosevelt in the chest during a campaign stop in the Bull Moose days. TR finished the speech, of course. Nor did he get a Purple Heart or Silver Star, as John Kerry did when he executed a mortally wounded Vietnamese while suffering from a splinter cut.
There's a start for you. Comrades, if you can't have fun at these places, you're just not trying.
UPDATE: Jack Straw comments on some seriously intense getaways. I, personally, want to do the Biograph right now.
This is certainly the best title for a work of fiction in the last 60 years, and at least one person, name of Norman, thinks it's the Great American Novel. It also rather accurately sums up my love life of late, although with the demise of the charnel house in modern America I find the pickings to satiate those particular cravings rather slim.
I must confess to having ploughed through this tome three times, with varying degrees of failure. I simply think it sucks.
If you want to read a first novel that tackles Dostoyevsky, try Soldier's Pay. If you want to read classic fiction exploring the plight of conscripts in wartime, read anything by James Jones. If you want to read a fearless taboo-breaker who writes "fug" instead of "fuck" about 800 times, Mailer's your man.
I don't know why I decided to bust this old fart's balls today, but I woke up pissed off at him for no reason a'tall. And I feel better now.
Fuck Mailer. He's a blowhard Hemingway Lite.
I was supposed to buy tickets to see The Artist Again Known As Prince Monday morning, apparently. Five tickets, to be precise, so the whole fambly with one boyfriend in tow could revel in the magic of the Orgiastic Onanist One.
I must have forgotten. I forgot to self-screen for polyps that day, too.
To be quite honest, if I'm going to watch an over-the-hill androgynous sexually ambiguous black man prance about to falsetto outbursts, I'm going to see Little Richard. A fucking great American.
Prince was not half-bad in his day, but rarely has so little talent been so fellated by so many pimply white boy critics. And a pretentious little fucker, too. Almost as pretentious as Beck's bedhead (for True Genius, of course, cannot be bothered with the quotidian ministrations of self grooming, oui?).
So the pater familias is apparently in the doghouse, where I spend so much time when the doorbell rings I don't know whether to shake their hand or sniff their ass. Sometimes I just do both. Perhaps I can tempt the crushed ones with some savory Lee Greenwood tickets. I hear he's into Phat Pharm threads now, and has some fine ho's doin the bootay shake on that "American" song. Only now I think it's called "I'm Proud to be a West Coast Bitch-Slapping Dawg, My Niggaz".
I had my manicure scissors confiscated at Norfolk International Airport this afternoon. I call them mine because I bought them yesterday. But they really belong to the ages, because I insultingly left them in my garment bag as a test in the War Against Terror.
A bit of background: having a bit of a hangnail on my right foot piggie yesterday, and not having packed my own pedicure apparati for the very reason I mentioned above, I broke down and shoveled three whole dollars (US) at the Holiday Inn Select crack maven cum toiletry purveyor for the aforementioned item. After trimming said piggie, my intention was to dispose of the offending artifacts (yea, friends, toenail and fingernail clippers were included for that magnificent sum, along with tweezers), their usefulness expended. But I demurred. Why?
Mulish recalcitrance, I suppose. See, I literally threw away over an ounce of primo Jamaican bud before leaving Mobay last summer, and I'd been feeling like a puss about that for some time.
So I packed the weaponry in my toiletry kit, inside my garment bag, and vowed to see it through. That was before I found myself in the inevitable position of driving 97 MPH from Richmond to Norfolk to catch my flight today, and after tunnel traffic I was on the cusp of missing my flight unless I had an event-free security check.
I breeze through security as a rule. I have it down to a mad science of shoe tossing, cell phone flipping, pocket excavating genius. I have been knighted by TSA officers with their magnetic wands (both shoulders!) for my formidable checkpoint skills.
And I forgot about the damned nail scissors. Not as exotic as having 2 pounds of plastique cached up your rectum, but to the spittle-flecked savages of the Ridge Regiment I was a Person of Suspicion (actually, I was a Person of Suspicion with a Flight about to Secure the Jetway, but I could not press that point).
So my garment bag was strip searched, and they cavity-searched my Samsonite's sweet spot, to my trembling rage, and produced my scissors, in high fettle, like a Guatemalan shaman with a river leech tumour excised from a peasant woman's abdomen.
I could claim them, and go check the bag, or I could lose them. I was screaming TAKE THEM! of course, but they wanted a few witnesses to their highwayman tactics. Photo Ops if possible. Instead I proffered the toenail clippers to sweeten the pot, but they had their daily moment, their trophy for the glass wall of Items, Confiscated from Screwheads.
I was the last one on the Southwest cattle call. Praise Allah my town is a shit destination, for I still obtained an aisle seat.
I shall put the clippers and tweezers on Ebay, along with this story, and a $40 reserve, because somewhere, somehow, P.T. Barnum lives.
I get a nice link from Acidman and I'm out of pocket. Well I just staggered in from the airport and the only thing I can think to blog about is Kill My Customers.
Let me have a whiskey and finger my Muse. I'll come up with something directly.
First time visitors, feel free to scroll the archives. The better shit is there. Long time readers, you already knew that.
Off to Norfolk and Richmond tomorrow, off to Kingsport, Tennessee next week, off to New York the week after that. A little handholding is in order. Service sucks, the customers are pissed. Welcome to my world. Blogging will be light, so you get something out of this, too.
My mother passed away a little over four years ago (has it been that long?). I still on occasion reach back for those moments we shared untainted happiness, or commonality, together. I certainly disappointed her at times, indeed perhaps devastated her at times, but I think I also brought her joy. My girls would be evidence of this.
In the spring of 1968 she was into The Grapes of Wrath, and also into being the social service unit of Upper Effingham County. I can't tell you how many Saturdays my brother and I spent in the car going from the library to the courthouse to the housing authority. There simply was not a social safety network in place, not in a segregated county, and Mom did what she could. She felt, for want of a better word, obliged.
My mother grew up poor as dirt in southeast Georgia in the Depression, and my father didn't fare much better in Atlanta, although he was considered upper middle-class. His parents still had to send him back to the family farm in Pine Mountain every summer to fatten him up (walking distance to the Little White House, by the way).
So it's strange that Mom took such a shining to Grapes. Even after the Old Man got his Senatorship, both of my parents remained virulent anti-Rooseveltians, because although they were relatively poor, they had no truck for hand-outs. Those were for "white trash" and "niggers".
But Grapes fascinated her. She'd read a chapter and tell me, "We lived just like that!". Sad, indeed. And also Uplifting. Mom really related to the Joads, and their plight, and she just saw the trek to California as something that Must Be Done, and the Department of Agriculture waystation was just Socialist bullshit.
See, Mom related to Grapes, but she considered Federal Gummint help wrong shit. Grapes was an uplifting story to her, not a cry for help.
I still read it that way. I can't help it. You don't ask the feds to help you out when the white trash tries to run you out of town, you fuck them up. You take charge of your life, your circumstance, and you deal with it.
Steinbeck raised more questions than I think he would like answered. And for that I glorify him.
I'm sure most guys want to do the Ricola girl, because she has a pulse, but I have to ask:
What's the relationship with the goat? And does the goat have an agent? Does he make scale? And why is her compadre dressed in tinfoil? And who carved that ten foot horn? And why do they say "Ree'-ko-lah" but the voice-over says "Ri ko'lah"?
Most importantly, why am I obsessing over this?
Remember that scene in Quest For Fire when the more socially advanced primordials teach the protagonist to do it missionary style?
I think that's where the human race went wrong. I find the very idea of looking at someone when you're having sex with them very disturbing.
I mean, some things are just too private to share. It's, it's almost like you're sharing the moment. Very unsettling, I say.
Of course, this is just one man's opinion.
I really like the new Pine-Sol:
Very efficacious stuff. And in a bit of marketing genius, it closely resembles Power Ade, especially at 3:00 AM to a blurry-eyed blogger.
It also doubles as an excellent emetic.
Lookit! A Boris Badenov action figure!
Probably made in China, too. I don't know about you, but I like a little irony with my globalism.
Tony speaks of a gigantic diamond. In fact, a crystallized white dwarf star that would rate at about 10 billion trillion trillion carats.
Perfect. Guess who jumped to the front of the line at the International Star Registry and named that particular star after their Bride? Anniversary gift, solved. Who can top that rock? Of greater import, who's the cheapest bastard in the Western Hemisphere?
I don't know why people hate mimes. I suppose it's because they're too stupid or lazy to come up with their own hate list.
Mimes don't bother me. Why hate someone who keeps their mouth shut?
Me, I hate barbershop quartets. Fuck the Patriot Act, John Ashcroft should be shot for the simple reason he harmonizes with Jim Jeffords. That is some sick shit. The mere mention of Sweet Adeline has been known to throw me into epilectic seizures.
I also hate A Prairie Home Companion. Well, let me be specific. I hate Garrison Keillor. That smarmy, condescending cocksucker can kiss my ass. And he sings. Much worse than a barbershop quartet, too. I can't stand motherfuckers from Minnesota and Wisconsin who think they know jazz, and would like to lecture me on race relations.
Garrison Keillor can suck my knob. No, wait. He can't. That would make me gay. I have enough issues without gaydom afflicting my world.
Question: if I let Keillor kiss my ass, does that make me gay? How about if I put a wig and some lipstick on him? Damn. This is complicated. If I shoot him, does the penetration signify latent homosexuality?
Perhaps I should go look at Jenna Jameson stick her finger up her butt. Level my soul, so to speak.
Glenn, at Hi, I'm Black!, a good guy, and a good blogger, has taken umbrage at a comment I left on his site, because I used barnyard profanity to further my case.
Fair enough. I attempt to keep profanity confined to my site, but I FUCKED UP this time.
The deal? Glenn dissed my guestblogging work at Suburbanblight this week, and dissed my previous guestblogging work at Kelley's and my two stints at Acidman's. To be fair, though, he lumped all the guestbloggers into one smelly sack of boring ineptitude. I'm just one of the impugned.
I'm okay with criticism. Personally, I think 70% of what I write is shit.
I disagree with Glenn's criticism, of course, because I think I'm a misconstrued genius, but I take the fall on using the F-U in his comments. I figured he'd read me before, and understood my humor. Hubris on my part, for sure.
My take on Glenn's site? I'll save that for another day.
I swear I could start an entire blog devoted to the
transients homeless dispossessed lunatic bums that accost me behind the Bellsouth Tower when I cop a smoke. It's my fault, really. I could smoke in the front of the building, but I'm already forced into a Needle Park scenario, and 95% of my peeps eschew the golden leaf, so I go out back like the junkie I am.
The problem is the back area is only about 100 feet from the exit doors of the Greyhound station, so when the Fugitive Interstate Bailjumpers stagger into the bright Florida sunshine, eyes rolled back amok, like Leon in Dog Day Afternoon, the first thing they see is, well, me.
Today's guest was special, though. He approached in full battle fatigue, with a black beret on. He was older, obviously an Army-Navy surplus shopper, with a grizzled grey beard. He looked like a black version of Poopdeck Pappy.
I didn't catch his name, but not to worry. He'll be back. They always come back.
And I want him to. He was hilarious, and entertaining. Obviously mad, but I wouldn't give him the time of day if he wasn't. I shun the drunken, the fetid, the foul-mouthed, the jonesing. Mental incapacity, sans violence, does not bother me. We're all crazy, of course.
So Pappy has this laugh, which erupts at the end of every sentence. "DI, HI HI HIIIII!" Mere script does not do it justice. It was a violent barking guffaw, full of mirth and contentment. And he'd get right in your face to issue it. It was so egregious it made Dean's ejaculation sound like Miss Manners stifling a hiccough.
And it worked for him, to an extent. A great bellow like that, with head quivering like a Parkinson's case study, should be used judiciously. As I said, it erupted after every, single, sentence.
He spoke about Moses on the Mountain a lot, and the fact he had no girlfriend a lot, and how I was his tight 'un a lot.
He shook me down for a light (he had a smoke), and 50 cents for a cuppa. I gave him three dollars. He smelled clean, he had no symptoms of addiction. He was just synapse-impaired. Personally, if he'd asked, I'd have bought him a pint. A little brown liquor can mellow the vibe of the schiz, I've found.
When he finished his smoke, he left. Like the gentleman he was. The highly insane gentleman he was.
I hope I'll see him again. He was funny as ten hells. You see, it has come to that. Remember when you had a crush on someone at work, or school, and the weekends were interminable until you could see them on Monday? The Bride frowns on extracurricular dating, so I only have my back door home skillets to brighten my day. It's still better than being in the field.
I try to stay off the political here. Not because I dislike politics, but because I do, and here be my getaway.
I must take issue, however, with the "groundswell" out there, in both the blogosphere and the corporate-shill media, about "Disaffected Republicans Staying Home on Election Day".
What a bunch of bullshit. A story conjured from the thin vapours, like the Dean Phenomenon. The same people supposedly grousing they're staying home on election day are the same people labeled "broken-glass Republicans" in 2000, who would crawl over said glass to the polls to defeat Al Gore. Now I want all twelve conservatives staying home on election day to cry "Huzzah!", then go belt some pissrot whiskey and polish Pat Buchanan's Mercedes tire rims. The rest of us will be voting.
Here's the deal: Conservatives are curmudgeonly by nature, only they bitch about their own, instead of bitching about how they can't rip right-wing reactionaries' minds out of their skulls and paint them with the rosy hues of True Belief Socialism.
Let me tell you about W: he's not nearly as liberal as certain conservatives lament (spend your tax refund on Jimson weed seeds again, boy?). I think steel tariffs are stupid, and anti-competitive, but they're going to collapse under WTO sanctions, anyway, if they haven't already. The bloated farm bill was bullshit, but at the very least I hope a true honest farmer or two benefited, and not a pseudo-farming peanut-subsidy-sucking whore like Jimmy Carter. That education bill was a sop. Remember how W said he was going to change the tone in DC? REMEMBER? We fucking voted for him after he said that, so please try to remember. I don't think W envisioned the War On Terror when he laid that in Kennedy's lap. Unfortunately, it went down. At least I don't remember any bilingual bullshit in it, so it is what it is. Money spent, unnecessarily.
I damned sure know W isn't a right-wing reactionary, as the left savages him. Kyoto? It was killed by the United States Senate 99 -0 during Clinton's term. John Fucking Kerry voted against it. The rest of the world repudiates it, or keeps it on the back-burner. Who's implemented Kyoto?
ANWR? I thought we were supposed to get out from under the boot heel of the Saudis. I recall a pretty consistent theme of energy independence in every Democrat's platform. Let me clue you in: my car isn't running on seaweed, or windmill power (don't you know conservatives put up those windmill farms to kill bald eagles? Yes! I was at the secret meetings. It was beautiful). The War in Iraq was for oil? Why didn't Bush just lift the sanctions, cut some sweet contracts, and start pumping? Oh, you mean he was going to steal it? It's been a year. I read a lot about new schools, and textbooks, and local governments, and reliable electricity, and running sanitary water, but I haven't read about any stolen oil. I thought Halliburton was the most corrupt, venal organization on the planet. And they forgot to steal the oil? Fuck. They're all fired.
Here's the deal on Bush. He's a moderately conservative guy who's ten feet taller than anyone running against him. He makes a lot of decisions based on his gut, not his pollsters, and he's wrong sometimes. Like every freaking one of us. But he's taking it to the mad bastards in Islamoscrotum, and that's his primary job. As far as I'm concerned that's his only job. That and step away from the economy.
I vow: I will personally sow the broken glass across the elementary school parking lots, and churchyards, and fire-stations, just so I can laugh at the naysayers when Bush voters crawl over it to vote in November. Caveat to voters: bring your own tweezers and Band-Aids. I don't do Concerned Mommy worth a shit.
Three Windows reinstalls, four calls to a quite nice batch of technicians in the glorious State of Gujarat, two screwed up Winsock "patches" that were so fucking ragged I called 'em Clarence, and a savage dump of Ad-Aware and I'm cruising.
Remember when I said my leisure time was worth $250 an hour? I could have bought three new laptops for the time I've spent hedgehogging this issue.
But I crammed it throught tonight. Hell of a way to spend your 25th anniversary.
And I pulled out the abacus, and I must have been 12 when I got married. The abacus never lies, after all.
P.S. And quit giving me shit for still using 98. I'm used to that spavined, cleft-palated operating system. Besides, that's like saying your '71 Gremlin doesn't have anti-lock brakes or a driver's side airbag. Of course, it doesn't, hammerhead! But aren't you missing the big picture? I've got a fucking Gremlin!
One year on the 7th. Of course, that was the old Velociblog site on Blogsplat. I moved into fancier digs in May. If having a picture of Harry Crews' mug could be considered fancy. I think I'll have a cocktail and celebrate.
Oh, that other anniversary? That's Tuesday. Better not forget that one.
I'll give those fucking Nazis one thing. They dressed to the nines. Thinkit. Whether Gestapo or SS or Afrika Corp or Alpin Corp those bastards had sweet uniforms, and heavy gauge underwear.
Those Commies had shit. Heavy woolen crap that was off-color olive drab. So sad, really. No runways in Milan for those boys. But they fought the Germans like a motherfucker. No flies there. The Eastern Front is a scene we like to forget, but watch Cross of Iron. The Great Patriotic War, indeed. Sorry. This post was originally going to be about Barbie's breastage. I digress.
Of sorts. Don't expect the maudlin from Velociman, but this is special to me, at any rate.
When The Bride and I were engaged, in, uh, 1978, she lived in the Chatham Apartments. Her grandmother got her the "in" there. The Chatham was affixed to the old Candler Hospital, downtown, and used to be the dorms for nursing students. The Bride had her Grandmother get her an apartment there. The Bride had an efficiency on the 9th floor. $90 a month, utilities included, $100 in the summer (supply your own air conditioner). They got me in, too. My one-bedroom was $120 a month, plus $10 in the summer. Very sweet.
The Chatham was the highest residence in Savannah, and overlooked Forsythe Park, Savannah's version of Central Park. In other words, the best view in the city. 10 blocks from River Street. Across the street was Clary's Drugs. They had a diner inside. You saw Clary's diner in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Everyone had breakfast in Clary's. A full park across the street, The Bride and I could both walk to work, it was youngster heaven.
The Chatham was hard to get into. It was full of old people. There were a few young couples in there like us, grandfathered in by some way. We had a DOORMAN! Ninety bucks a month and a doorman. Too cool. And the best view in the city.
The Chatham was so bitching when my mother got pissed at my father for binge drinking she moved in. On The Bride's floor. Stayed for 4 or 5 months, I forget. The old man begged her back. After he proved himself at my wedding (he was my Best Man), and foreswore liquor in any form, she moved back home. She was so unobtrusive about living in the Chatham I'd forgotten she'd done it until The Bride reminded me tonight.
Mr. Hamm, a bald old queen, was the resident manager. He ran a tight ship. So tight he called the cops on us one night after a good-natured fist-fight, after we started heaving the Yamaha speakers at each other.
Four to six old ladies always populated the lobby. When you walked in with groceries (M&M was right across the street) they'd insist on poring through your groceries to make sure you weren't smuggling in Liquor, or Beer. Then they'd call you a Fornicator behind your back. But The Bride's grandmother was a commanding presence, and had Game, and generally shut the old harpies up.
The best part? We were in love. I was going to law school in the fall, The Bride already had a radiologist job locked up at Emory.
This was our story tonight. This was the Past we relived, and enjoyed.
I love The Bride, and she tolerates me pretty well.
An intellectual exercise: When the first Europeans came to America, they looked around and decided they needed slaves to do their dirty work. They also looked at about 2 or 4 million aborigines and made a decision: let's kill them, and import our slaves from Africa.
What the fuck?!? A handy slave population, waiting to be exploited, and you kill 'em? Then you pay freight to ship new ones in? I don't get it. All morality on the enslavement of peoples aside, I'm stumped. I'm in the transportation business. I know what freight costs. And with mortality rates of around 20% on a transatlantic slave hauler, an African slave must have been a dear investment.
Any one know why a Congolese was more valuable than a Cherokee? Anyone know why someone fleeing persecution thought it would be a grand idea to persecute others?
And here's the ugly question: would any African-American be willing to live on a reservation for a year or two?
Been to see this fellow recently? You should. He obsesses on Deliverance like I do the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Which, as Martha says, is a good thing.
Ah, a fine repast tonight. Sushi, delivered to my door. Tuna, yellowtail, octopus, with California rolls for Skeeter. I must submit that when you can get a Chinaman to deliver Japanese food to your door you do, indeed, live in the land o' plenty, and the land o' guilt. Don't get me wrong. My purveyor of bait definitely got the better of me, and I have the receipt to prove it. And I don't believe Chinaman is a racist term. He was male, he's from China.
I go round and round with these illegal aliens. My main beef is they let their two-year-old drive his Big Wheel all around the strip mall parking lot. I've almost clipped him twice. With a video store, a Chinese take-out, a liquor store, a tanning salon, and a Huddle House, that shopping center is a one stop fuck me shop. (Yes, I indoor tan on occasion. My theory is it's better to get your Vitamin D and ultraviolet rays in measured doses. It cuts down on sunburn, which is the true culprit in skin cancer. Of course, right now I look like the seedy underside of that octopus I just ate).
So I raise hell with these Chinese shitheads for letting their kid play Deathwish v.2004, and they pretend to not understand English, while I know they're putting me on their spitlist ("smartass American cocksucker! Watch this! Fucker don't tip, neither!") That's my other gripe. You go in for a take-out, they expect a tip. I have their tip: learn the fucking language, learn you don't get a tip on take-outs, and keep your kid out of the street. Oh, and quit spitting on my food.
The tuna was excellent, however. Thanks, my yellow peeps.
Internet Explorer keeps crashing on me with the insidious "illegal operation" prompt. Any idea what this means?
EXPLORER caused an invalid page fault in
module USER.EXE at 001e:0000166c.
EAX=00046000 CS=16d7 EIP=0000166c EFLGS=00000292
EBX=0a6b8a38 SS=5bbf ESP=00008a28 EBP=0a6b8a38
ECX=00000004 DS=0177 ESI=c0110001 FS=480f
EDX=00000000 ES=5bbf EDI=00008a2c GS=0000
Bytes at CS:EIP:
67 66 ad ab e2 fa 67 66 a5 c3 67 66 ad ab 85 d2
16b72f97 0a6b6000 00040000 16d72d8c bff714d9 0a6b016f 0a6bea48 81f20177 0000480f 00030000 00002214 0a6beac6 0a6beaac 08f878be 4b48a318 00000000
I'm starting to get pissed off. I feel like that muskrat sinking in Deputy Dawg's creekmud.
UPDATE: Thanks for all the help, folks. I still don't know what was going on with IE, but I'm currently accessing through Mozilla, and the Richest Man in The World can kiss my fucking ass.
Along with local pharmacists and milliners, I lament the passing of the stationer. We used to go to Cargill's in Savannah when I was a kid. Old Man Cargill went to our church. A kindly old gent, he made a decent living off office supplies.
The stationery business certainly isn't exotic, but there was a certain air of professionalism and acumen in a place like that. It took forever to get a nice embossed portfolio delivered, but when you did get it there was sense that it was a unique piece of work.
I think certain boutique industries are making a comeback. I know for sure there are buggy whip manufacturers who are making a killing in a certain market niche.
P.S. Is Cargill's still open? I have no idea. I just know I can't find a stationer around here.
It's hard to concentrate at work lately what with all the layoffs and such, but it's certainly easy to think about summer vacation. So where to go?
Negril was nice, and I'd love to go back, but I figure there's only so much time on this planet, and I crave the unknown.
Which made me think: what about Haiti? Rebel insurgencies, death squads, Aristide on the ropes, rampant AIDS and poverty. I figure the exchange rate must be bitching.
I don't think they have officially sanctioned excursions there, but I'll wager an abduction and torturing by the Tontons Macoute would rank right up there on the Unforgettable Moments roster. The girls could get the "Hispaniola" tattoos they've been wanting, I could party with zombified canefield workers, I smell win-win.
I could wrap perhaps six analysts and eight "pron" promoters around Anna, but at what cost? To the blogosphere, I mean. Well, actually, to her coterie. Well, actually, to me.
Would that I had the stomach for this wet work.
Well, besides the fact he's the most stand up guy I've ever met, and we've been through a time or two.
He feeds me red meat. It's actually pretty simple. Find the sick, the venal, the afflicted, feed it to Velociman. In some countries, that's a crime. In others, you're rewarded with a replica of Khadaffi's uniform. All in all, I guess it's a taster's choice. So: for you reading pleasure...
Blue Ridge Parkway
Ranger Ben Hansel came upon a truck parked in the roadway exit of the Chestoa view overlook with its lights off on the evening of January 23rd. He stopped to check it and found that it was occupied by a naked man covered with baby oil who had a pair of womenís underwear at his feet. Hansel asked for identification, then noticed what he believed to be a crack pipe in the driverís side handle compartment. When Hansel reached for the pipe, the driver, Marvin Buchanon, grabbed and crushed it, cutting his hand on the broken glass. Buchanon then attempted to start the truck and drive off, but Hansel pulled the keys from the ignition. A struggle ensued. Hansel ordered Buchanon to keep his hands on the steering wheel, but Buchanon refused to comply and kept reaching under the seat. Hansel used OC spray on Buchanon, then handcuffed him. Hansel searched the vehicle and turned up pornography, drug paraphernalia, and several suspected narcotics, including crack cocaine, several different unidentified pills in plastic bags, and sugar tablets in small tin boxes that may be LSD. Buchanon was treated for lacerations and the effects of the OC spray. Ranger Brian Stackowicz assisted with transporting the prisoner to a local jail, where charges were filed. Hansel was not injured in the incident.
Stevie has an interesting horse story which, honestly, makes no sense to me, because I obviously missed an earlier storyline, but the bottom line is she posts some new lyrics to The Beat Goes On.
My feeling on the matter is that is a fucking great song, and the only beatnik song to outcool the rock 'n' roll of its era.
I love the Fabs, but given my druthers, I'd take a 19-year-old Cher over just about anyone born, or unborn.
That Current Cher Creature, of course, is anyone's game.
So I'm watching a Bellsouth commercial of some sort (my eyeballs were rolling from alcohol abuse, I have no idea what the actual product was) and I looked at the grandfather figure I suppose was talking to his grandkid and thought "I know that fucker". He was in a Delta commercial about ten years ago, when he still had a little middle-aged savvy business traveler edge working. I remember him because, after the attendant gave him a pillow, he did a double take on her ass. Now he's Happy Transcontinental Granddad jabbering like an idiot after a microburst of pinstrokes to his grandchild who was transplanted 3,000 miles away from him because his son-in-law is a no-good cocksucker.
Which is my point. I already know this guy. What are these marketing turds thinking? You can't recycle commercial actors. They don't have the talent, the chops, to suspend my disbelief. It takes skill for a Sean Penn to convince me he's a different drooling spazfuck in each film he makes. That's why he makes the big bucks.
Lay off it, Madison Avenue. I can't buy your product if I don't believe that guy is a weary business executive looking at a mid-life crisis and a certain down-sizing with outdated skill sets and a hungering need to pound down five vodka tonics on the red-eye and try to score some pussy off a flight attendant half his age. I bought into that character. That's why I flew Delta. Now I learn he's a hack who's pretending to be some holographic nonexistent baby's grandaddy. Bullshit, says I.
And the American Express girl, who toothsomely told me she could take it right over the phone? I'm the proud owner of a Green Card, a Gold Card, and a Blue Card because of those ads. So imagine my rage when I saw her pop up as a detergent whore the other day.
Listen: Commercial actors are the slop-bucket fetchers of the acting world. A nickel a dozen. I expect fresh meat when you're trying to foist your half-assed products on me.
Get with the program, nutsacks.
In a dress rehearsal for my retirement years many years hence I removed 5 interior doorknobs this evening with the intention of lubricating them with Tri-Flow, the flagship lubricant of effete bicyclists (hey - why do you think we wear all the multi-colored Lycra? To attract chicks? Hell, no. We do it so we can get stomped by bikers at remote convenience stores).
No reason other than the fact I wanted those bitches to mesh like the gearbox of a Lamborghini Diablo. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered the can was empty. So, in a tight, I lubricated the innards with suede cleaner (any port...). Not too bad, not too good. Better than sheepishly screwing them back together with no treatment at all.
Why was this important? Because I refuse to die on the toilet like Elvis. I will have at least crawled my way to the litterbox before myocardial infarction rids my progeny of the pain of my existence.
It's the least I can do.
The most telling sign of Old Age? Day by Day bores you, but you find Earl in Pickles hilarious.
Fire at will.
LT (j.g.) John Kerry's personal valet interrogates the laundryman over the starch levels in the Lieutenant's shirts.
for Kerry. He's lucky. Hillary must like him. He won't suffer badly, but he will be deemed unelectable and have to pull out. Edwards, on the other hand, will be mercilessly destroyed on the eve of the convention. Poor bastard. He'll never even see it coming.
While reading Kelley's tale of her grandfather's hossly self-preservation I started thinking about Paw Paws in general, and pawpaws in specific. See, four or five years ago I began wondering (workplaces being sublime venues for this) what the hell a pawpaw was. I vaguely knew they grew in patches, down yonder, and that at some point someone had been down in that patch, but the cataracts of my memory were clouded, and I could recollect no more.
So I went a googling, and discovered that the pawpaw (Asimina triloba) was an edible fruit growing naturally in the states, as far north as New York and as far west as Nebraska. It's also known as the American Custard Apple, the West Virginia Banana, and the Indiana Banana (I like that one. Sounds like a Midwest porn star). They were apparently a big favorite of the Injuns, but fell out of favor around the turn of the last century.
There's plenty of research going on with the pawpaw. Kentucky State University has 1,700 trees from 17 states they are testing, trying to find the best varieties for consumers through seeding and propagation studies, orchard management, and storage techniques.
This is all wonderful information, but some years later my basic question is still unanswered: where can I buy a fucking pawpaw? I want to taste one. I'm always up for a new fruit. Let's face it: I like my citrus trees, but I need some diversity. I still have a whole veggie bin full of Ponderosa lemons (the size of Kong's balls), and 40-odd ounces of frozen key lime juice. Scurvy Watch has been cancelled in the Velocihovel, and Curious George is back in town.
So I figure if I like them, I'll plant a couple. Hell, I'd even drive to Orlando or Tampa to fetch them. Actually, I could take the girls, the mutinous heathens, so the return trip could be a cracker reenactment of Bligh's ill-considered breadfruit caper, only this time Bligh wins. A simple victory would suffice; no sense explaining to them the lessons of Bounty of perserverance, duty, and the Darwinian nature of impressed sailors to prefer bare-chested Polynesian women over sodomy and the lash. They got enough of that from the Babysitters Club books.
So I'm blegging you, as the "hip" pundits at The Corner say. Who's holding out on the pawpaws?
Well, actually, this isn't about reverse engineering per se. True RE is like when godless heathen communist Pole-rapers get their hands on three of your sweet B-29's in Vladivostok in 1944 and then flaunt the bastard clone Tupolev Tu-4 at the 1947 Moscow Aviation Day parade.
Now we can drop the atoms bombs on you too, pigs, as soon as Ethelina and Julianovich and Klausovich delivers the plans! And then we gets Moose and Squirrel!
No, this is that special breed of reverse engineering, courtesy of Detroit.
I have a 2000 Blazer with 82,000 miles. Yep, I'm a 20k a year guy on a vehicle. Just can't help it. Places to go, man. So at about 40k I start asking my "mechanic", Tire Dude, to start checking the brakes when he rotates. No problem with them, I just figure, shit, I'm used to going through some pads. I tend to brake hard.
S'okay, dude, I'm told and told. Plenty of life on those things. Four-wheel disc brakes are da bomb, man.
Now at 80k I'm getting some vibration on braking, so I figure Tire Dude's fucked up. I go to Brake Dude. Brake Dude informs me Tire Dude's right. Still have 20k left on the pads. But the ROTORS are worn the fuck out. Got that? The PADS lasted longer than the rotors.
"Shitpiss, dude, them hunnert thousand mile pads. They's like cubit zircumference. Cain't wear them shitpissers out!"
Seems GM got the brilliant idea to make their pads out of some exotic polymer of ceramic, kryptonite, and venom-of-mother-in-law, and they last forever. While they're steadily chewing through your discs like those freaking time-munchers in The Langoliers.
Nice. So instead of burning through a $50 set of Raybestos pads once a year I get to replace my front rotors for $260. Rear rotors will be $460. They can wait, at least until I go back to Tire Dude next week to second-opinion Brake Dude's work. Imagine. I ingest pharmaceuticals into my body without a second opinion from another physician, but I must have a second opinion from one retard on the professionalism of another retard on my fugging truck.
In the old days I would have just jacked the thing up, pulled the tires, had a looksee. Not that that would change anything, other than the fact I'd be prepared for this tomfoolery. But I don't do that crap anymore. I pay Tire Dude and Brake Dude to do that for me. I may only be worth 50 bucks an hour professionally, but my leisure time is worth at least $250. If I were working on restoring a C2 convertible 'Vette, that'd be one thing. That would be fun. But to spend that time getting all fucked up on a weekend over a mere beast of conveyance? A criminal waste of my time.
What an asinine concept. Pads that outlast the rotor. That's like having an indestructible bar of soap that won't wear out, but it removes three layers of epidermis every washing. Wait. They have that. It's called Lava.
See the X-Ray of the man to the left, the one with the knife in his skull? Local fellow. He survived that incident, and was in fact conscious during the extraction process. That story made an episode of one of the emergency room trauma shows a couple of years back. Then he sued for using his story.
I would call that kind of story public domain, although I was not blessed with a noggin that fricking hard, or brain tissue that insolent to intrusion. If I were, I'd probably want to do a Joseph Merrick thing, and charge money at the Coastal Empire Fair so people could see someone drive a blade in my skull, then leave the last one in while I went spree-drinking.
It wouldn't be the first time I'd made a poor choice.
I'm blessed with an inordinate number of female visitors, so I must ask: What be this Winter Pussy? And is there a cure?
I have to tell you I'm a huge fan of the Land's End all-weather moccasin:
They are all-weather, too. I eschewed my rubber gumsoles for these puppies most every day in Whistler, and trudged through a foot of snow without issue. The snow just fell away. Five days of abuse and they looked brand new.
Can we speak comfort? Sure! I'm becoming an old curmudgeon, anyway. In a few years I'll quit talking about the great bars I hit on my travels, and instead issue diktats on the best early-bird specials. Then I am open game. Then you can shoot me.
I digress. So the moc is awesome. $29. Comfort and ortheopedic support beyond belief. I would pay $100 for these all day. I just ordered two more in black and gray to go with the taupe.
Now if Bean or REI would just come out with a line of Gore-Tex underwear that wicks away urine I could just pee myself all day long, instead of fumbling through four layers of clothing, and give the person sharing my lift chair a knowing wink and a nod.
One other thing: these shoes are almost culture-proof. I don't care if you're 4 or 74, you look okay in these. Unless, of course, you're one of the .001 percent of the population that's Goth, and still shove hatpins in your forearm while touching yourself to Morrisey and Cure CD's.
I saw some good people get whacked yesterday. I saw some good people get their job titles compressed, as well. But I mostly saw some jackasses get what they deserved. Which is what they'll say when my turn comes in 45 days, no doubt.
I awoke to the news of the discovery of Carlie's body today. She was my Caroline's age. I simply cannot imagine that kind of grief, and therefore being enmeshed in a mere work-related contretemps was more of a sideshow than anything. My only consolation is this crime happened here in Florida, where there is, shall we say, a certain appetite for capital punishment. An appetite whetted by the monsters we catch, or, sadly, attract.
As far as gainful employment goes: I was looking for a job when I found this one, as they say, and I remark the fact I haven't seen anyone leave this company in the last five years who didn't better themselves in the process.
Life is all about risk-taking, although I thought I'd channeled my risk-taking to my occasional excursions to the Dominican Republic (motto: "If it doesn't fall off in 24 hours, it's not our fault").
I've covered my back, and I have a second career underway discreetly. I cannot be compromised. And THAT, friends, is when you do your best work. I've been in the position of needing my job, and that creates a cautious, timid, recalcitrant employee. When you're free of that corporate tit, and that need, you can do brilliant work. You can poke, cajole, question, ridicule, beseech. You can do what they paid you for in the first place, in other words.
And now I'm going to light a candle for a little life lost.
Rankin' Rob is on a tear, I swear. For your viewing pleasure:
Incestuous couple locked up
Carroll Ferdinandsen and his daughter, Alice, discovered together at motel despite judge's order
By KAREN TOLKKINEN
A father and daughter who created headlines last year after marrying each other in Mobile County were arrested again this week after police caught them together at a Saraland motel.
A Mobile County Circuit judge voided the marriage in December and ordered Alice Ferdinandsen, 30, and her father, Carroll Ferdinandsen, 53, to maintain separate residences after they pleaded guilty to incest. They were released from jail Jan. 22. On Monday, they checked into the Bamboo Motel for two nights, according to a motel clerk.
Saraland police said a tipster told them Tuesday that the couple was at the motel. The department sent two officers.
"The lady opened the door and there they were together," said police Sgt. Steve Stafford. "She opened the door wide enough and they saw him, too."
They were charged with violating probation.
The couple's battered white Toyota pickup was still parked at the motel Wednesday afternoon. Long-stem silk red roses sat on the dashboard and a large Bible rested on the front seat.
Last May, the couple were married in Mobile County Probate Court. At the time, they were living in a run- down trailer home in Theodore. They were indicted in June and arrested in July on incest charges, as well as charges of cruelty to animals and forgery.
It's not the first time the Ferdinandsens have been accused of having an improper relationship.
In 1989, Carroll Ferdinandsen pleaded guilty to second-degree rape in Mobile County Circuit Court.
"Accused of raping Alice," says a note in his case file compiled by his attorney, Claude Patton, said.
Alice Ferdinandsen was 16 at the time.
Ferdinandsen spent almost a year in jail.
Patton said Carroll Ferdinandsen is mentally ill and that he was taking "nerve pills" that he ran out of while incarcerated.
"They need to leave that poor old man alone," Patton said. "He needs mental health treatment. He cannot read. He cannot write. He cannot drive."
Circuit Judge John Lockett ordered Carroll Ferdinandsen to get mental health treatment, according to court records. It was unclear Wednesday whether he had done so.
Ferdinandsen lost his disability benefits while he was incarcerated, Patton said.
Alice Ferdinandsen's attorney, Deborah McGowin, could not be reached for comment.
In January, when Alice Ferdinandsen was sentenced, Lockett told her that if her probation team thought necessary, he would order mental health treatment for her.
Incestuous relationships are banned in all states because of concerns about child abuse and genetic mutations.
Katherine Ferdinandsen, married to Carroll Ferdinandsen's estranged son, David, said she believes the couple ought to spend more time locked up.
"They only got six months," she said. "You get more than six months for a traffic ticket around here."
Some executions, and some wing-clippings today. There was blood let, but not enough to slip on the decks. All not fired are sworn to silence as to what it all means until the "Town Hall Meeting" tomorrow at one. What the fuck? I hate that Town Hall Meeting bullshit. That's what the U.S. Marshall has before he hunts some fucker down and strings him up.
I gots the down low through nefarious sources, though, and believe I will live long and prosper under the new regime. If "prosper" is the correct term.
My brother-in-arms Rankin' Rob (aka Hannity's buddy) sent me this shot from my erstwhile Effingham town:
GUYTON, Ga. -- Seventeen-year-old Laura Williams didn't see anything wrong with working at Hooters for class credit.
But her school's superintendent did.
Williams, a senior at Effingham County High School, has been working at the restaurant as a hostess for about a month, leaving school early to earn credits.
Superintendent Michael Moore has asked her to stop, saying working at Hooters is not appropriate for a school work-study program. The restaurant chain is famous for waitresses clad in low-cut tank tops and tight shorts.
"I have questions in my mind because of the advertising and sexual connotations," Moore said. "People can make choices about where they want to work, but when the school system gets involved, it is my decision that we should not be involved."
As a hostess, Williams wears a neck-high Hooters T-shirt and long khaki pants. She escorts customers from the restaurant's front door to a table without taking or serving orders for beer.
The student's father, Larry Williams, said he doesn't have a problem with his daughter working at the restaurant.
"I went to Hooters for an hour, and six families came in for supper during that time," he said. "This is a chain restaurant with high standards."
The restaurant's manager, Aaron Sharp, also said the superintendent is overreacting.
"A lot of people have misperceptions about Hooters, but we try to appeal as a fun place for everyone," Sharp said. "We give balloons to children; we have a kids' menu. Our staff is told to cater to wives and children before the husbands. This is not an inappropriate atmosphere for a family meal."
Laura Williams had a job earlier in the school year cleaning homes and businesses, but was encouraged by a school adviser to get a job where her performance could be better monitored, her father said. So she accepted the job at Hooters.
Larry Williams said he was surprised when school officials in this county north of Savannah questioned his daughter's job. He said some work-study students work at restaurants that sell hard liquor, and others have worked at Hooters in non-school-related jobs on weekends and summers.
Williams said he will appeal to the school board and argue that his daughter should be allowed to keep her job at the Hooters.
I forget I changed my e-mail address for reasons of anonymity, therefore I reasoned my lack of correspondence was due to bad writing and malodorous feet. I DID read two weeks of e-mail today. Worst 4 minutes of the new year.
I received a reply to an e-mail I sent Neil Cavuto. Only two problems: 1) Neil's reply was blank save for the cryptic header "Type 2.63" and a phantom attachment, and 2) my outbox is empty, although I know I sent the e-mail Friday night. Very problematic, as I must confess I was a bit toasty Friday night (Friday being my Sabbath), and I don't recall precisely what I said. I do remember inviting Neil to go deep-sea fishing. Unfortunately I may have also proffered to Indian leg-wrestle him over shots of Wild Turkey 101. I'm not sure. Nor am I sure of the nationality/age of the strippers I'm sure I must have promised.
Fuck it. If he hangs with me long enough he'll understand these are not personality disorders, they are endearing quirks.
So tell a technophobe: is "Type 2.63" geekspeak for "You are banned from this mail site forever, and Tom Ridge has your cell phone number?"
Hey. I was only trying to keep him in touch with his het side.
The Commissar guides us to a Benighted Boreass who has the most blessed of curses: he has been able to channel his rage into more or less one topic: bloggers. Usually Mucous Munchers like this bounce all over the place, so long as they eventually get back to Bush=Hitler. Not our Loathesome Lad.
My favorite part? Our Bellicose Boy rages about how all blogs talk about the same things:
Open source software
Now, say what you will, but most First Worlders, bloggers or not, consider those first three topics pretty damned important. So what does our Fractious Friend spend the rest of his post talking about? Blogging and open source software.
Hey, Jedediah, if you're not part of the problem, you're the whole problem.
Near the end of our Pompous Pal's screed he lets his slip show. While feebly attempting to refute Kate's (quite valid) point that trashing a blogger's website is no different than tearing up books in a public library, he comes unhinged. But I'll let him slaver on about it:
You've just equated the useless babblings of millions of ostentatious retards around the world to a valuable free source of information available to all.
Now, I kind of like this Philip Guston work (1930). It rather reminds me of a tiny little Acidman attempting to breastfeed off Alice the Goon whilst working his little chubby into No Man's Land. But you may see something else.
Tomorrow another level gets reorg'd. This one is my boss's, and his boss's (they're taking care of VP's and AVP's in one swell foop). It will be interesting, to say the least. My main concern is job compression, wherein my boss walks out of it with my job title, then I have six weeks to figure out my game plan before my level is due for left-sizing. I should have gone for the Torquemada major in B-school. There's job security there.
P.S. Pic by Michael John Morris. Nice work, eh what?
"This is a Remco Monkey Division Bazooka from the 1960's and is still in good working condition and has original monkey sticker. As you can see in the pictures the back end rim is chipped as most of these toys were. The front end rim was cracked but fixed. The sight was split in center and taped. The bazooka also comes with two original blue rockets which one is in great condition, the other is a bit rough, but not too bad. This still is a great blast from the past to have fun with and add to your collection. Show your Family what real toys are all about."Man, oh man. Moneky Division. 1964. Just like I remember it. But this one is beat to shit, and it's already up to $56.00 on Ebay with less than two hours to go.
What in hell are people thinking when they pay that kind of money for something in this kind of shape?
I swear I'm not going over $150.
I often sniff a dissonant scent in the familial abode, much as a properly trained canine will sniff Semtex in a death cultist's drawers, should said cultist's faith allow the wearing of such pretentious garb. I feel a stranger to the aura wafting through my own house, and find it disconcerting.
To wit: The Bride arrived home about six o'clock, like me; I had picked up dinner, because she had two contract counteroffers to write up and pass by her sellers, and three new listings to put to paper. About three or four hours' work. So what does she do? She spends forty five minutes talking to her mother. Because she wants to? No, not at that point. But her mother is a needy, miserable wretch, who is convinced she had a Bad Childhood (Daddy gambled, and cheated, and occasionally lashed out with a coathanger. Sounds rather mundane to me. No drinking?) Now she is determined that her family will spend the rest of her life pandering to her in an effort to make her feel special, a princess grandmother in a dangerous fiction.
That never works, of course, but The Bride feels these efforts will keep the peace. They do not. They extend the appeasement. You cannot make happy a person determined to be miserable. I gave up explaining this a long time ago, lest I be lumped into the cast of ogres, and trolls, and devourers of plump lost Bavarian kindergarteners.
The next half hour is spent on the phone with her father, who must then extract his pound of flesh. He has lived with, and enabled, his wife for so long that his life has become a vicious cycle of appeasement and avoidance. And he wants to talk to his daughter, too. When he's allowed to. When it's his turn.
This is what I mean by the odd olfactory sensation. It doesn't smell like a home should, sometimes. Because I don't understand these dynamics between kin. Now, no family is perfect. Why, Hugh Beaumont was a raving drunkard. But a person should be able to come home, see their children fed and homework done, and turn to buttoning up the day's work. Not keeping someone from going bilious with rage because she or the granddaughters haven't called that day (I'm that bastard. I'm immune because I'm an uncaring heartless son of a bitch. I created that construct years ago, by refusing to the play the game, and it works fine).
I know there is some level of jealousy at work here. I'd love to be able to speak to my parents, just once. So I'm sure I'm resentful on some level. But I wouldn't trade three lifetimes for the nanny The Bride must be for a hoo-there on the phone with my parents.
I feel for The Bride, I really do, but I've also learned these areas are heavily mined, and it's always the third party who loses limbs playing there.
So when I lay me down to sleep, I pray I never have to turn the fourth bedroom into an in-law suite. And when a well-intentioned friend tells me about a job in Savannah, I say "Thank you, no. Fuck no".
The bitter, sad story of Maxine Smith has haunted me for decades. I've started to write about it several times, but it always seemed a callow exercise at best, a James Ellroy exploitation at worst. But she's dead these long years anyway, I doubt anyone gives a shit anyhow.
Maxine was a year ahead of my oldest sister, Class of '68, Effingham County High. The schools were small enough in those days everyone rode the same 1940's era Bluebird to school, from first grade to twelfth. Maxine lived even farther north in the county, near the Screven County line, in Egypt.
I remember Maxine vividly as a fifth grader, because she always saved a seat for me. The Futch clan also boarded the bus in Egypt, and Johnny Futch always got carsick and puked his cooked cabbage breakfast on a seat, meaning the rest of us had to triple up, seats being at a premium. Maxine always let me sit next to her. She was continually studying her Gregg Shorthand textbook. I suppose she had ambitions of being a secretary, and leaving the stinking shithole that was her home in Egypt. There were people with money in Effingham, but none of them lived in Egypt. That hamlet was God's Little Asshole.
So Maxine wasn't really pretty or anything, but she had a certain charm about her. A nice country girl. And she graduated that spring, and I knew I'd miss her on the bus the next year.
There was, and is, a spring that feeds into the Savannah River in Newington, called Blue Spring. It used to be a very primitive carve-out in the woods, where one could throw a watermelon in the frigid waters, or a six-pack, and enjoy fresh cold spring water in a private glade. It is now clear cut, and the lack of shade trees means the water only stays cold around the very center of the springhole, but that's life, and progress. Back then, though, you could comb the banks for arrowheads, and the sun never hit your back.
So Maxine, fresh out of high school, went to Blue Spring one night, a week or so after graduation. With friends or alone, I'm not sure. I am sure her luck ran out that night. An escaped felon by the name of Suggs accosted her, and raped and carved her up, and left her dead by water's edge. I remember my father saying the next day, even before Suggs had been caught, that he was the perpetrator. He knew, somehow. My old man was a criminal defense attorney, and knew every scumbag for a hundred miles.
Suggs was caught, of course, and died in prison a few years ago, in his sixties, with a fucked up pair of kidneys. As I recall he was doing 20 for armed robbery when he escaped, and they just tacked on life for the vicious murder of Maxine Smith. His family was aggrieved when he died for lack of a kidney transplant. Imagine.
Maxine's death was my first encounter with murder, and rape, and escaped pyschotic convicts roaming the land. It was, as they say, an eye opener. All those horror stories I'd been told around camp fires, writ huge and real in one fell swoop.
I think about Maxine, and her hopes and dreams, and the brutal crushing day when her parents were told their little girl was savaged by a madman, off and on. I've never dwelt on it, but it's never truly gone away.
Do I believe in the death penalty? Oh, I don't know. Penalty makes it sound like society is guilty of something. I prefer to think of it as the death reward. Suggs did not get his reward.