Saturday, October 15, 2016

Now On Gab!

The alternative to Twitter. All the conversation w/out all the censorship!

My handle is @piraticalbob

See you there!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Weird Idea

A zip line to the bottom of the Grand Canyon?

If the Progs Are Going To Call Trump's Supporters "The Deplorables"...

...can we call Queen Hillary's supporters "The Insufferables?"

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Quote of the Day

"Just like the Republican primaries managed to select the only candidate who could possibly get beaten by the Lizard Queen from Zeta Reticuli, your unDemocratic Superdelegate Logrolling Festival managed to turn up the one candidate in your party who might lose to Cheeto Jesus."

h/t Tam.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Restaurant Review: Midwood Smokeshack, Matthews, NC

Midwood Smokeshack is an offshoot of the very successful Charlotte, NC barbecue restaurant Midwood Smokehouse, which now has several locations in the Charlotte area. Unlike the Smokehouse, the Smokeshack is smaller, with a more limited menu, no table service, and only beer/soft drinks instead of a full bar.

The menu for Midwood Smokeshack can be found here. Basically the Smokeshack saves prep time by only offering items that can be cooked in the wood-fired smokers; none of the burgers or steaks that can be found in the full-sized Smokehouse. The Midwood Smokeshack is, in fact, very similar to the Charlotte location of Q Shack: order at the counter as you enter, take your food to the table, bus it yourself afterwards, just as in a fast-food restaurant.

Today I ordered the brisket sandwiches, which are made with Texas Toast instead of rolls or buns, along with some red onion. You can even get them with cheese, if you prefer. As at the full-sized Midwood Smokehouse locations, you are offered a choice of lean brisket, fatty brisket, or a mix of both. I got the mix. They really load the sandwich up with a lot of meat - - I ordered two sandwiches, thinking that they would skimp on the meat, and was unable to finish both of them. With a sandwich you also get one side, I saw that they offer cornbread, so I got that (no hushpuppies here at the Smokeshack, unfortunately). The cornbread came in individual ramekin size, slightly sweet, and with small pieces of hot pepper tucked inside, so that one breaks out in a sudden sweat from eating cornbread. I quite liked this cornbread.

The restaurant only opened for business last week, so there were still a lot of management types circulating through the place, as well as having important-looking discussions at a couple of the tables. Since the lunch rush was already over when I arrived (2 o'clock hour), the staff actually outnumbered the customers.

I'd say that Midwood Smokeshack is more of a lunch/takeout place than it is a dinner date location, unless you are a really dedicated barbecue fan. It's in a space that was originally used by a Five Guys burger joint, with a Domino's Pizza next to it. There is competition right across the street in the form of Queen City Q, which is bigger, has a full menu, as well as a full bar, so the dinner crowd will gravitate there, presumably. I've eaten at Queen City Q, though, and their barbecue is much inferior to that of Midwood Smokeshack.

I'll give Midwood Smokeshack a 4 on my 5-scale of restaurants: good; tasty, well-prepared food, staff alert, restaurant clean. I'll hold off on giving it a higher score as it is a new restaurant and I need to see how it performs once the new is worn off.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Shipwreck Blog: French 16th-Century Ships, Cape Canaveral

Probably linked to the very earliest colonial efforts by the French in Florida: Fort Caroline, built by Jean Ribault and destroyed by the Spanish.

A private treasure salvage company says it’s found a shipwreck, buried in sand under the ocean off Cape Canaveral, that could be linked to the lost French colony of Fort Caroline.

Global Marine Exploration Inc. has discovered scattered evidence of a historic wreck that includes some tantalizing clues: three French bronze cannons, at least one of which has markings from the time of the colony, and a French granite monument adorned with that country’s coat of arms.

The monument is similar to the one French captain Jean Ribault put near the mouth of the St. Johns River in 1562 as he staked his nation’s claim to Florida. Its whereabouts have been a mystery for centuries.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Day That Heat Left Summer...

...has arrived:

It's today! The annual Day the Heat Left Summer in Charlotte! Once a year about this time, you will have a single day in which the weather goes from summer-normal - - washed out skies, temperatures in the high 90's, high humidity - - to something far nicer - - clear blue skies without a single cloud, temperature down in the 80's, low humidity. It's startling how quickly the change occurs. Oh, this doesn't mean that summer is over, or that there won't be hot/humid periods again - - but the corner has been turned.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fast & Furious Blogger Mike Vanderboegh Dead of Cancer

Mike Vanderboegh, a prepper/III percent blogger who, along with fellow gun blogger David Codrea and CBS journalist Sharyl Atkisson exposed the Obama administration's "Operation Fast & Furious" gunwalking plot, has died after a long battle with cancer.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Copperhead Feeding Behavior

In summertime, it's possible that you might encounter large numbers of Copperheads feeding on baby cicada insects as they emerge from the roots of trees.

Each summer, usually beginning around the first of June and continuing into September, cicada larvae that have spent their developmental period burrowed in the soil around the tree roots on which they feed, begin emerging for their metamorphosis into adults.

The larvae, looking like hump-backed beetles, begin digging their way to the surface around dusk. They emerge from the ground, crawl to the nearest vertical structure (usually a tree), climb a foot or two up the trunk, their "shell" splits along its back and the adult cicada works its way out.

Some of the highest-volume movements of cicada larvae are to large oak trees on lawns. These nocturnal emergences of cicada larvae are like the opening of an all-you-can-eat dinner for some wildlife. Yellow-crowned night herons are one of the species that regularly prey on emerging cicada larvae. Copperheads are another. And when the cicada dinner bell rings, it can draw a copper-colored, fanged crowd.

Amazing that this wasn't known before now. There's still plenty to learn in this old world of ours.

Thanks to Brock at Free North Carolina for linking it.

Blessed Are the Cheesemakers...

...there are so few good ones.

Thomas Merton put them on the map. Their fruitcakes are definitely not the kind to re-gift. And their fudge is just about as heavenly as fudge can get.

But the Abbey of Gethsemani, near Bardstown, Kentucky, is dropping one of the products whose sale has supported the monastery for years.

Because of the dwindling number of monks, the production of cheese recently came to an end, according to a report by WDRD.

Founded in 1848, Gethsemani is one of the oldest monasteries in the United States and attracts visitors from all over the world.

They may be attracting visitors from all over the world, but they aren't attracting vocations. People view monastic retreats as a spiritual vacation, not a life that they want to live. There are many reasons for this - - secularization of the US population, the catholic priest pedophile scandal, inability to come to grips with social media and the need to advertise their existence, strict bars to entry. Where are the 21st-century Mertons to draw the vocations?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Restaurant Review: BarBee's Bar-B-Que, Peachland, NC

Haven't done a barbecue joint review in a while, time to get back into the habit since I have a reliable car again. BarBee's is a small country barbecue restaurant right off of US 74, the main highway from Charlotte to the Carolina coastline and Wilmington. BarBee's is in Peachland:

It's easy to miss the turn-off coming from Charlotte, and I did so, driving nearly to Wadesboro before turning around and approaching from the other direction. Here's the road sign:

No other signage is in evidence, so the place can be hard to notice; since they have a regular local crowd, that may be what the management desires. There was a portable smoker parked out by the road sign:

There was a half-dozen cars in front of the place, a pretty good-sized crowd for a small place like this. As I looked for a parking slot I noticed several cats in evidence around the restaurant; don't know if they were restaurant cats or feral. Around back was a large, fresh woodpile, a promising note:

There was also a large propane tank, which may or not mean the use of propane smokers:

Menu. In addition to barbecue, the restaurant offers hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and fish. The menu states that the barbecue is cooked over hickory, but this doesn't mean that gas or electricity aren't the primary heat source, with wood being used only for flavor. The waitress, a teenager, professed not to know.

The interior was handsome, with a narrow dining area, booths along each wall, a couple of small tables in the center. The walls were paneled and roofed with 4" boards stained a honey color. Three windows looked onto a second dining room the same size as the primary, but with glass windows and a view of the parking lot. I didn't photograph the interior, not wanting a flash to disturb my fellow diners.

I ordered a large pork plate, with red slaw, fries and hush puppies. It came out in about 10-12 minutes, presumably the time it took to cook the fries and hush puppies.

The barbecue was chopped fine, with no outside brown in evidence, all interior meat, not much of a smoke smell or taste, and in fact the meat was served Lexington-style, with vinegar-based "dip" already poured over the meat before it's brought out. It was properly hot, temperature-wise. The red slaw had been ladled onto the plate with an unslotted spoon, and thus was sitting in a small puddle of vinegar/brine. Normally a slotted spoon is used to ladle slaw onto the plate so as to not risk spillage. The fries were straight-cut and seasoned (they can be ordered seasoned or plain), and it was a a relief from the usual BBQ joint crinkle-cuts, which I rather dislike. The hush puppies were the size of shooter marbles and tasty, just the right size to pop into the mouth. The drink I ordered was diet Pepsi, which comes in cans at BarBee's.

The tables in the restaurant weren't fully stocked with sauces and napkins. The waitress brought sauce to some of the tables while I waited for my food, but not to all of them; mine went without, so I can't comment on the sauces. One of the tables went without napkins, which were a roll of paper towels on an upright spindle.

The customers were seemingly all regulars; at one point a female, presumably the manager, came out to banter with three men at one of the tables; apparently one of the men was fortunate not to be getting his leg amputated. Another man who came in was wearing a stained white t-shirt with prominent dark armpit stains, he went to a table in the outer dining area.

I'll give BarBee's Bar-B-Que of Peachland, NC a 3 on my 5-scale for food quality (average) and a 2 on my 5-scale for service (desultory).

Friday, July 15, 2016

Re-Open Devil's Island!

France still owns the colony of French Guiana in South America, and could conceivably ship all of the malcontent Muslims in France to the place - - rebuild the old prisons to hold the Muslim criminals, and exile all the non-criminals there as undesirable citizens. Let the jungle diseases, insects, and South American wildlife take care of population control.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Brawl At NC Country Club - - Whodunnit?

If you read The Washington Post's account, you come away with the impression that it was a bunch of white peckerwoods. Read the comments, you'll see time and again the Lefty commenters sneering at rednecks, only to have readers who have done more research at UK NEWSPAPERS point out that the country club had rented to the Usual Suspects - - and suffered the usual consequences. Presumably the statement by country club representatives about tightening up standards will be defined as "no blacks under 60 years old" from this point forward.

Meanwhile, At Fort Sumter, South Carolina...

maintenance is desperately needed, as in so many other places in the National Park Service.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tift Merritt

Part 6 of my series on female vocalists features my beloved Tift Merritt. I've featured her here before, but it never hurts to get her more exposure. She's a military brat and a NC native, although I believe she lives in NYC now. She's incredibly talented, being a great songwriter, singer, guitarist and keyboard player. She has a feminine vulnerability that the other women I've linked don't. She does a lot of soul/Motown-influenced pieces.

Jolie Holland, Be Good Tanyas, Po' Girl

Part 5 of a series on female vocalists. I group these all together because the music is similar and they've all played together. Jolie Holland has a quirky, affected vocal style that can be irritating, as it sounds a lot like a send-up of backwoods twang. She was a member of the Be Good Tanyas before embarking on a solo career:

After Holland left the Be Good Tanyas, Frazey Ford took over the majority of the vocal chores in BGT:

Po' Girl was originally a spin-off project from the Be Good Tanyas, allowing some of the other Tanyas to step out of the huge shadow that Frazey Ford casts:

Beth Orton

Part Four of a series of posts on female vocalists more people should be aware of. Here's Beth Orton, the only UK vocalist among this group:

Kathleen Edwards

Part 3 of a series of posts featuring female vocalists I think more people should be aware of. Here's Kathleen Edwards:

Neko Case

Part 2 of a series on women singers. Here's Neko Case, who has the best set of pipes among the women I'll be linking:

Has that honky-tonk Patsy Cline vibe really working, huh?

Eilen Jewell

Here with the first in a series of posts of favorite female vocalists. These are women that don't get much radio airplay on broadcast radio, but probably do pretty well on the satellite channels. I'd be willing to bet most of you haven't heard of them before.

First up is Eilen Jewell. She has some great drawling vocals, smart songs, and a great band behind her, especially her guitarist, who is playing a Gretsch Eddie Cochrane guitar in these videos:

Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Perfect Trumpian Nickname for Obama

Donald Trump is well-known for giving his political opponents derogatory nicknames: "Crooked" Hillary Clinton, "Lyin'" Ted Cruz, "Little" Marco Rubio, etc. Now President Obama is injecting himself into the campaign, so Trump needs to come up with a nickname for him. How does this sound?

Imam Obama, the Defender of Islam.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Time To Water the Tree?

I Smell Jackboots

"DHS Secretary: Gun Control Should Be Handled By Homeland Security"

The DHS is turning into a Gestapo or KGB, and Jeh Johnson reeks of Beria and Himmler. Time for the DHS to be disbanded.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Fight We All Lose In the End

Muhammad Ali, the boxer who dominated the sport in the 1960's and 1970's, is dead at 74 of respiratory illness.

Sadly, he developed Parkinson's Disease shortly after his retirement and disappeared from the limelight, so many younger people have little clue how much a dominating force he was in his heyday. He won the heavyweight title three times - - which means he lost it twice, of course, mainly due to hubris and complacency - - lack of confidence was never a part of the Ali package, nor was humility.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Some Graves Can't Be Visited or Decorated

In cemeteries throughout the US this day people will visit to pay their respects to our honored dead who paid the ultimate price to defend our country, and that is right and good; but I hope you'll take a moment to reflect on our dead who never made it home to be laid to rest in US soil; the men of USS Wahoo (SS-238), a US submarine that went down with all hands on a war patrol near Japan, for example:

Wahoo wasn't even located until 2004. One of the most successful of our WWII submarines, she went down with all hands in combat with the Japanese. Her crew deserve to be remembered just as much as our war heroes in Arlington, though, and I hope you'll take the time to think of them for a few minutes.

The story of USS Wahoo can be found at Wikipedia.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Authors Drawn As Owls

J.K. Rowling is a natural, isn't she?

Found here.

When a Man Surpasses His Human Potential

In New Zealand, A man built a church from living trees.


On Facebook where I first saw this, there were very quickly mentions of Tolkien, as one might expect. Author Tom Kratman, who shared the story on Facebook, remarked in comments, "One suspects that God would be there, if anywhere." I can't disagree, and if an order of druid-monks was needed to help care for this masterwork, I'd happily apply.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

That's How Anti-Venom Is Made, You Know

Do you know how anti-venom for snakebite and other venomous creatures is made? A sub-lethal dose of venom is injected into a subject animal - - a horse or sheep, usually - - and, over a period of weeks, the dosage is increased. The animal manufactures antibodies to cope with the venom, and after a while, the animal becomes totally immune to the venom, at which point blood is drawn from the animal to manufacture into anti-venom. Herpetologist William Haast did the same thing by injecting himself with a cocktail of sub-lethal snake venoms until he became immune to most snakebites (he lived until nearly 100, also, which might say something about the therapy).

Why am I mentioning this? Because it's the approach that the MSM is mistakenly taking in attacking Donald Trump. It's been well known that the MSM is sitting on plenty of dirt that they have dug up on Trump, and teams of journalists (the Washington Post alone has assigned 50 reporters to dig up dirt) busy 24/7 digging up more. They intend to trickle this dirt out a little at a time, thinking that Trump will suffer from an extended attack, rather than release it all at once. Well, think about it. All they are really doing is making Trump, and the voters, immune to the venom (stories) that they have dug up. Will it work? We'll see on Election Day.

Guy Clark, 1941-2016: R.I.P.

This cursed year in which all our best music artists die claims another legend:

NASHVILLE — Guy Charles Clark, the gravel-voiced troubadour who crafted a vast catalog of emotionally charged, intricately detailed works that illuminated and expanded the literary possibilities of popular song, died in Nashville on Tuesday morning after a long illness.

Clark, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer, had been in declining health for years, including a lengthy cancer battle. He was 74 years old, and the author of 13 compelling studio albums.

Clark lived in Nashville but wasn't really a country artist per se, he dwelt in that land that isn't quite rock, isn't quite country, isn't quite folk, that has become known as alt-country or Americana music. Quirky stuff; here's a sampling:

And a concert favorite, "Randall Knife," about a knife owned by his father which, at this moment, probably is still on his home workbench, momentarily forgotten:

He had a workbench because he was a working man in addition to being a working musician; he was a skilled luthier, and made his own guitars.

Let's hope he's greeting his father in Heaven right now, and giving a hug to his old friend Townes Van Zandt, who proceeded him by a dozen years.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

It Lends An Air of Authenticity

"Police Apologise After Fake Suicide Bomber Shouts ‘Allahu Akbar’ During Training Exercise."

It'd be sort of like yelling "Yoiks, Tally Ho!" at a faux fox hunt, or "Timber!" at a faux tree felling, or "Fore!" at a faux golf game.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

The Day Wimpy's Brother Snapped

"Authorities: Man kills brother in fight over cheeseburger."

ST. CLOUD — Authorities say a 25-year-old St. Cloud man faces murder charges, accused of shooting and killing his older brother over a cheeseburger.

You'll pay me today, motherfucker. No more of this "Tuesday" shit, yahearme?

Friday, May 06, 2016

Musical Interlude - - Carrie Newcomer

I've been listening to Carrie for a half-dozen or so years now. She has a beautiful deep, rich voice, one that producers and industry insiders call a "brown" voice. She's a devout Quaker, and her songs are gentle and spiritual without being overtly religious, for the most part. Here's a new favorite, from a tale in the Bible:

Here's the lyrics:

LAZARUS (Carrie Newcomer)

Now that he's gone
Now the world has moved on
Since he called my name nothing's the same
As my sisters cried he said, "Lazarus rise"
To love and anoint or just prove a point

I'm the one that he saved
I'm the one that he raised
From the dark quiet sleep from the peace of the grave
I'm the one who owes much but that no one will touch
Mothers see me and cry
Dogs bare teeth as I walk by

I don't see a veil between heaven and hell
The truth is there's nothing but warm light and singing
But here in between a voice haunts my dreams
Martha does what she can, but won't look at my hands

I'm the one that he saved
I'm the one that he raised
From the dark quiet sleep from the peace of the grave
I'm the one who owes much but that no one will touch
Mothers see me and cry
Dogs bare teeth as I walk by

I love the cool mornings, I love a hot meal
The pulse of the street, night, jasmine and clean sheets
I cant sleep or rest I feel lost and hard pressed
I wander these rooms still looking for you

Now I ought to be grateful to drink from the grail
But I don't belong either side of this veil
I look down at my hands that I clasp in my lap
When he left this world I thought he'd take me back

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Meanwhile, In Gastonia, NC....

Gastonia Man pees in the ABC store parking lot and won't show his hands to the police afterward.

A Gastonia man was wrestled to the ground on Wednesday after he urinated in the parking lot of an ABC store and refused to show a Bessemer City police officer his hands.

It's a shame Merle Haggard has passed, this one is a natural for an "Okie From Muskogee" parody:

We don't piss on the street in Gastonia,
And we always show our hands to the BCPD;
We don't shoot our homies down on Main Street
We like living right and holdin' our pee.

Well I'm proud to be a groaner from Gastonia,
A place where you don't pee against a wall;
We still wave our weiners IN the restroom
And wash our hands as we leave the stall.

It's Better Than the Hairbrush

The people who are dumbfounded at Trump's success continue to bitch and moan. Why, they ask. Why did you pick this phony?

Let me explain. No. It would take too long. Let me sum up: Trump put himself forward. The Republican field, although well populated, wasn't composed of world-striding, instantly recognizable individuals. Although there was some competence there, there wasn't any excitement. They were oatmeal, and Trump was Lucky Charms. You know in your heart that Lucky Charms are candy and not real food like oatmeal is. Now, who eats oatmeal? Old folks do, and children with strict parents do. For some kids it's a choice between eating the oatmeal or being whipped with a hairbrush by your mother. After you reach adulthood, the threat of the hairbrush isn't there, so you choose the Lucky Charms. To Hell with the oatmeal. And that is what the non-Trump candidates were: oatmeal, and bad memories of hairbrushes.

So Trump won, and we're given a choice of the Lucky Charms candidate, or the hairbrush candidate. Yah, we know that Trump is bad for us. We know he's P.T. Barnum, who'll promise us the Feejee Mermaid and deliver a shriveled sea creature made of sewn-together parts. The alternative, though, is the mean woman with the hairbrush who wants us to eat our fucking oatmeal.

What's that, Mr. Trump? This way to the egress? Cool, I've never seen one of those before!

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Yet Another 2016 Presidential Election Analogy: Who Runs the Asylum?

Will it be Nurse Ratched, (D), played by Hillary Clinton?

Or will it be Randall McMurphy ("R"), played by Donald Trump?

If Ratched wins, McMurphy gets lobotomized and the rest of the inmates in the asylum go back to gulping down Thorazine like good little slaves; if McMurphy wins, then the inmates run the asylum.

Choose Wisely.

Last word goes to Maximus, although it might be considered mixing my movie metaphors:

Friday, April 29, 2016


Listen to the glory that is Tift Merritt:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

High Noon. Step Out Into the Street, Because...

...only one of us can be the top dog in car sales.

Who says that ambition and the struggle to the top of the heap doesn't occur any more?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

At the Hotel Tonight...

...I had this exchange of words with a guest:

Guest: I locked my keys and my wallet in my room!

Me: All right. What is your name?

Guest: Dinky McDoodle. (not his real name, to protect his privacy and my job)

Me: What is your room number?

Guest: Room 303.

Me: What is your company's name?

Guest: Spacely's Sprockets. (again, not his real company, same reason)

Me: What is the air-speed velocity of a coconut-laden swallow?


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Musical Interlude.

Melody Gardot.

Basically she's lived two lives, one previous to and one after being struck by a car while bicycling. The accident left her traumatized both physically and mentally, but she's been able to overcome it through music. She's a good 'un:

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Work Ethic x Generations = Privilege. Lack of Work Ethic x Generations = Burden.

A (presumably) black activist pays White America an inadvertent compliment:

“The racial narrative of White tends to be like this: Rugged individual, honest, hard-working, disciplined, rigorous, successful,” she said. “And so then, the narrative of U.S. public education: Individual assessments, competition, outcome over process (I care more about your grades than how you’re doing), ‘discipline’ where we care more about your attendance and making sure you’re not tardy than we care about your relationships … proper English must be spoken (which is just assimilation into standard U.S. dialect), hierarchical power structure, and heavy goal orientation.”

While the traits listed may simply be regarded as positive traits for success in the modern world, Hackman described them as specific cultural traits chosen and emphasized to favor whites to the detriment of non-white groups, who are forced to assimilate white traits such as good discipline and goal orientation or else be left behind.

Hackman’s natural solution, then, is to train teachers to move away from all these aspects of white privilege in education. She routinely touted the benefits of collective assessments (measuring student learning at the class level instead of determining whether each student knows the material), as well as eliminating all school grades entirely.

This is the dirty little secret about "white privilege" and black burden. If whites today are privileged, it is because they receive the benefit of the doubt based on the collective work ethic of generations of whites who lived before them. If blacks today are burdened, it is the result of collective lack of work ethic of blacks who lived before them. The Gods of the Copybook Headings will not be denied.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Mike Vanderboegh Is Dying.

The cancer is killing him. He has medical expenses and will be leaving a widow. Hope you'll consider helping out.

Mike was one of the two bloggers, along with David Codrea, who broke open the Fast & Furious gun-walking scandal by the ATF. That right there is justification enough for all gun owners to help out.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sunday, April 03, 2016

I Finally Figured Out the Perfect Metaphor For the 2016 Election

It's between the Great and Powerful Humbug (Trump):

And the Wicked Witch of the West (Hillary):

Then there's Bernie, who hasn't got a clue...

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Two Gays and a Goat

"The one gay guy fell out, he's back at the hotel room sick as a dog. Other gay guy's here with the goat."

(Karen, watching QVC sell "goat milk" products including a "wooden massager," a baby goat is on the set, along with a salesman, presumably gay)

Jack Russell Got Nougats

"That damned Jack Russell they have still has nougats. When I went over there, first thing it did was go over to my car and hike its leg on my car tire."

"Well, if you neuter them the still hike their leg up when they pee."

"Jack Russell don't need nougats!"

Friday, March 18, 2016

Stuff That Works, Stuff That Holds Up

I happened to join the US Navy during a period when enlisted men wore dungaree working uniforms - - blue denim bellbottom trousers and pale blue chambray shirts - - and I found them to be the most comfortable clothing I've ever worn. I also like the look of the pairing, so I have tended to buy similar clothes for casual wear as a civilian. Having said that, I'd like to draw your attention to the work clothing made by Key Apparel, an American clothing company that's been around for more than a century. I can't claim that the clothing is made in the US - - like most manufacturers, they've shipped the factories overseas - - but they are well made and well-priced. I just picked up a couple of their short-sleeved chambray shirts for summer wear, and they're handsome indeed, with Western-style yokes and pearlized snaps instead of buttons, stitched with the same sort of gold thread seen in Levis jeans. They come in sizes all the way up to 5XL.

Folk singer Guy Clark is also a fan of chambray work shirts, and even wrote a song about them:



I got an ol’ blue shirt
And it suits me just fine
I like the way it feels
So I wear it all the time
I got an old guitar
It won’t ever stay in tune
I like the way it sounds
In a dark and empty room

I got an ol’ pair of boots
And they fit just right
I can work all day
And I can dance all night
I got an ol’ used car
And it runs just like a top
I get the feelin’ it ain’t
Ever gonna stop


Stuff that works, stuff that holds up
The kind of stuff you don’t hang on the wall
Stuff that’s real, stuff you feel
The kind of stuff you reach for when you fall

I got a pretty good friend
Who’s seen me at my worst
He can’t tell if I’m a blessing
Or a curse
But he always shows up
When the chips are down
That’s the kind of stuff
I like to be around


I got a woman I love
She’s crazy and paints like God
She’s got a playground sense of justice
She won’t take odds
I got a tattoo with her name
Right through my soul
I think everything she touches
Turns to gold


Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Prayer of the Order of St. Gabriel Possenti

This prayer is found in Rolf Nelson's mil-SF/space opera book The Stars Came Back. It's written as a screenplay, which is a bit disconcerting at first, but the reader quickly adapts to the format.

In the novel is an order of monks named after St. Gabriel Possenti, presented here as the patron of marksmanship, his unique version of the Cross being the crosshairs of a telescopic rifle sight. The all-male order of monks find their mission in ministering to soldiers with PTSD, Widowers and men who have been traumatized by divorce.

During a visit to the monastery, the book's protagonist, Helton Strom, hears this prayer being chanted, which I find quite touching:

Oh Lord, Give me the wisdom to understand what I have seen
The strength to carry on when hope fades
The honesty to be at peace and face what is
The forbearance to forgive those who have wronged me
The focus to forget the horrors I have been through
To be accepting of what I cannot change
The humility to follow the lead of those who have trod this path before
Grant me respect for those who try, but are imperfect as I am
The fortitude to lead others out of darkness
The clarity to understand the path I must follow
Please forgive me the things I have done
Give me the bravery to go where I am needed
The discipline to not be a burden on others

The novel was Nelson's first, he's writing the prequel, in which the founding of the Order of St. Possenti plays a major role. Available at Amazon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Trump, and the Fate of the Nation

(posted first in Facebook)

Fundamental American fairness and decency would dictate that if Trump goes into the convention with sufficient delegates to win the nomination outright, the Republican establishment should shake his hand, look him in the eye, and say, "Congratulations and good luck, you have our support as the candidate of the Republican Party." Then let him succeed or fail without further attempts at internecine sabotage. If he loses, he loses. If he wins, let's see how he performs, bearing in mind that the Founders set up a good system of checks and balances to prevent him abusing his authority, and with the possibility of removing him from office via impeachment if he won't act like a grown man. Selecting a quality VP nominee will be critical.

Attempting to sabotage Trump at the convention if he goes in with enough delegates to win the nomination outright betrays the Americans who voted for him, and indicates that our votes count only so long as the elites agree with them. I don't think that's what the Founders had in mind.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Summer Jobs In NC, 1950's-Style

Working to preserve mothballed Liberty Ships that were moored in the Cape Fear River. For those not aware of it, US Navy ships that are not "mothballed" in shipyards are often moored in "mothball fleets" in various rivers and bays throughout the US. The Cape Fear River provided one such refuge for Liberty Ships (civilian-staffed cargo ships carrying military goods) after WWII.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Today's Usage Tip

"Witnesses say the hatchet-wielding man didn’t say a word during his grizzly attack, and although the clerk suffered minor injuries to his stomach, it could have ended much, much worse."

Really? A grizzly describes a large bear that is native to the western United States and Canada. It gets its name from its fur, which is a mix of brown and gray. A person who has a grizzly beard has a beard with a lot of gray in it. Not correct usage.

What about gristly? That means "full of gristle," as in a cheap cut of meat; lots of connective tissue, tendons and ligaments. Well, if the hatchet-wielding man had been able to execute a couple of murders and butchered both the clerk and the bystander, it might have been gristly, sure enough, but that is not what the writer intended, either.

What's left is grisly. This means "causing horror or disgust." This is the word that the writer was looking for. Synonyms for grisly include gruesome, ghastly, frightful, horrid, horrifying, fearful, hideous, macabre, spine-chilling, horrible, horrendous, grim, awful, dire, dreadful, terrible, horrific, shocking, appalling, abominable, loathsome, abhorrent, odious, monstrous, unspeakable, disgusting, repulsive, repugnant, revolting, repellent, sickening; informal "gross" "the grisly details of the crime."

grizzly, gristly, grisly. Learn the difference.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Big Ol' Dinosaur Teeth!

"Look at that kid shoot a hole-in-one in front of Tiger Woods! Look at them big ol' snaggle teeth! He's got big ol' dinosaur teeth!"

Monday, February 29, 2016

Justice Thomas Finally Asked a Question In Supreme Court Hearings...

...and his question concerned the Second Amendment.

In a question to Ilana Eisenstein, assistant solicitor general who was arguing about a federal ban on gun ownership for anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, Thomas may have lit a fuse. It was a question transcribed by the Huffington Post and it is a thorny issue for some civil rights activists.

“Can you give me another area [of law] where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?” Thomas reportedly asked.

Wonder if he's been possessed by the spirit of his dead colleague Antonin Scalia?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

They'd Be Disinclined To Acquiesce... Trump's demand to have prisoners tortured:

The former head of the CIA and NSA said that if Donald Trump is elected president and follows through on certain campaign promises, the U.S. military would “refuse to act.”

“I would be incredibly concerned if a President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the language that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign,” Michael Hayden told “Real Time” host Bill Maher on Friday night.

Hayden noted Trump’s statements that he’d authorize waterboarding as an interrogation tool and kill terrorists’ families.

“If he were to order that once in government, the American armed forces would refuse to act,” Hayden told the host, who seemed taken aback.

“What?” Maher shot back. “That’s quite a statement, sir. I thought the whole thing was that you have to follow orders.”

Hayden explained that the military is “required not to follow an unlawful order that would be in violation of all the international laws of armed conflict.”

Friday, February 26, 2016

Johnny Cash Would Have Been 84 Today.

Here's John from the end of his career, a heart-rending song from the Grammy Award-winning album Unchained:

The Protected and the Unprotected

Peggy Noonan gets the dynamic at work in the rise of Donald Trump:

But I keep thinking of how Donald Trump got to be the very likely Republican nominee. There are many answers and reasons, but my thoughts keep revolving around the idea of protection. It is a theme that has been something of a preoccupation in this space over the years, but I think I am seeing it now grow into an overall political dynamic throughout the West.

There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

I want to call them the elite to load the rhetorical dice, but let’s stick with the protected.

They are figures in government, politics and media. They live in nice neighborhoods, safe ones. Their families function, their kids go to good schools, they’ve got some money. All of these things tend to isolate them, or provide buffers. Some of them—in Washington it is important officials in the executive branch or on the Hill; in Brussels, significant figures in the European Union—literally have their own security details.

Because they are protected they feel they can do pretty much anything, impose any reality. They’re insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions.

Read the whole thing. Along the way she invokes - - possibly inadvertently - - a Warren Zevon song title, bonus points for identifying it.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Still Discussing Hitler's 'Nads

"Hitler had a deformed micro-penis and only one testicle, medical records reveal."

Further research concluded that Goering had two testicles, but rather small; Himmler's were similar, and Goebbels had no balls at all.

Amontillado To Put a Sparkle In Poe's Eye

Versos 1891 Amontillado from Barbadillo.

Manuel Barbadillo (1891-1986), poet, author and historian on Sherry and successful bodeguero was the director of Bodegas Barbadillo for many years. As a christening present he and his four brothers were given one each of a set of five butts known as “Las Botas de los Niños. Manuel’s butt contained Amontillado described as very old in 1891. As some of the wine was drunk the butt was occasionally refreshed with suitable old wine until the 1980s but it still shows massive concentration and is rich and nutty, given that some of it is 150 years old.

It is presented in a high quality leather gift box made by expert tanners in Ubrique (Cádiz) and the bottle is a hand-blown crystal decanter made by Portuguese crystal specialists Atlantis. Only 100 bottles have been filled and no more will be forthcoming for many years so this is an extremely rare wine, the second most expensive Sherry ever, but it will no doubt sell quickly to collectors.

If that's 8,000 UK pounds sterling per bottle I'd want it in a solid silver chest, myself. It's pretty, but only someone seriously rich and seriously into wine can afford it.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Year Everyone Died

2016 is taking a toll, isn't it? I read today that not only has Harper Lee died, but just over the transom is the news that Umberto Eco, the author of The Name of the Rose, has also died.

Addendum: You know, if it were dictators and crap politicians dying instead of prominent musicians, artists and writers, we'd be cheering.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Part Of My Philosophy... that my IRS refund should always be spent on firearms or firearms-related purchases. Thus:

1911 from Springfield Armory in .45ACP. It's a used gun purchased in a local pawn shop. As purchased it came with a full-length guide rod and black Hogue grips; I've changed it to a standard GI guide rod configuration and bolted on some coyote tan Dura-Grips with "wasp nest" checkering pattern. Three-dot sights, Commander-style hammer and beavertail grip safety. It doesn't have the locking mainspring housing that Springfield ships with its new 1911's, so a straight Series 70 setup.

I need to pick up some extras for the gun - - more magazines, a holster and magazine carrier. I'm pleased with the purchase, however.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

White...Um...Well, NOT White Privilege

"Oh, it's a parti-colored Cocker. Let's see if it has a white asshole, too. All of these Cockers have white assholes!" - - my sister Karen, watching the Westminster Dog Show.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Restaurant Review: Johnny's Bar B Q, Rockwell, NC

I'd passed by Johnny's Bar-B-Q in Rockwell several times in travels around NC, and finally made a point of going in for some barbecue.

Here's the sign:

Note that barbecue shares pride of place on the sign with seafood and steaks. That's important, and not in a good way.

The outside of the restaurant is attractive:

The requisite pigs are in evidence:

The inside is attractive, too, with plenty of tables and booths, as well as a lunch counter (no pic of the interior, sorry)

Johnny's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the menu is correspondingly extensive, barbecue being just one small aspect of it, with no pride of place. There is no smell of smoke in the restaurant, nor smoke issuing from any chimneys. Not looking good.

I order a plate of chopped barbecue, with red slaw (both white and red is offered, to Johnny's credit), hush puppies, and french fries.

The meat is cold when it arrives. It has no smoke smell whatsoever. So: oven-roasted pork, basically. And cold? Who serves barbecue cold? Johnny's Bar-B-Q of Rockwell, NC, apparently. I didn't ask the waitress, but my guess is that the barbecue is cooked off-site and trucked in; Johnny's might not even make their own, but sub-contract it. It's probably then kept refrigerated and pulled out as necessary, without even going into chafing dishes, warmers or microwaves. Just...cold.

The red slaw is really red. Suspiciously red. "Red" barbecue slaw is typically light brown in color and made with vinegar and a splash of ketchup; any color it gets is from the ketchup. This stuff at Johnny's is so very red that I suspect that red food coloring was used to color it. Taste-wise it is no different than any other red slaw I've eaten. It's just...very red.

The hush puppies are warm, not hot, are properly oblong rather than spherical, and are neutral in taste; no onion or excessive sweetness. The french fries, although advertised on the menu as "home fries," are in fact the standard barbecue joint crinkle cuts.

There are three sauces offered: Eastern-NC-style vinegar sauce, which didn't have much pepper or other ingredients in it, so mostly just vinegar; a red sauce I didn't try; and Texas Pete. The best of the three to perk up this cold, flavorless chopped pork would be the Texas Pete, if you happen to wander into Johnny's and are unwise enough to desire the barbecue, rather than simply driving past it entirely and eating at Wink's King of Barbecue or M&K's, both in Granite Quarry, just a short drive up US 52.

It appears that Johnny's Bar-B-Q is really more of a steak-and-seafood place (deco in the restaurant includes fishing nets on the walls) and offers barbecue simply because they got a lot of requests for it. Rockwell isn't a large town by any stretch of the imagination, and Johnny's likely serves as a regular watering hole/eating establishment for the locals, where they can get eggs and bacon for breakfast, a burger or other sandwich for lunch, and a steak or plate of seafood for dinner. Barbecue is just another menu item here, not the reason that the restaurant exists. Bear that in mind in your travels. If a place doesn't focus on barbecue, then likely the barbecue will only be mediocre, if not worse.

Service was reasonably attentive, tending toward desultory. I'll give Johnny's Bar-B-Q a 2 on my five-scale of restaurant ratings: 2 out of 5: edible, but no effort to impress; staff/management going through motions.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A WHAT On His Head?

Sister just got home, turned on the news, and announced "What's Cam Newton doing with that condom on his head?"

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Words Obama Won't Say

"Gun Control" joins the list of words that President Obama refuses to say.

Other examples include "Islamic Terrorism," "I'm sorry," and "My fault."

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Angus Scrimm, 1927-2016: R.I.P.

The Tall Man from the film Phantasm has passed on at the age of 89.

Entertainment Weekly reported the news of Scrimm’s passing. “Angus Scrimm passed away peacefully tonight surrounded by his friends and loved one,” director Don Coscarelli wrote in an e-mail to EW. “[His] performance as the Tall Man is a towering achievement in horror film history. He was the last in a long line of classic horror movie stars. He was a terrific actor and an even better friend. He will be missed.”

Born Lawrence Rory Guy, he pursued acting for most of his life (he portrayed Abraham Lincoln in an Encyclopedia Brittanica short that appears on Shout! Factory’s PHANTASM II Blu-ray), but found steadier employment for many years as a journalist and author of liner notes for Capitol Records, winning a Grammy for the latter. He appeared in the early-’70s fright films SWEET KILL and SCREAM BLOODY MURDER, but the seeds of his greatest success were sown when he took the role of an abusive father in the 1976 drama JIM THE WORLD’S GREATEST. That movie marked the directorial debut of Coscarelli, whom he referred to, upon his induction into the FANGORIA Hall of Fame at our 1994 Chainsaw Awards ceremony, as “a magician of filmmaking, a man without whom there would be no PHANTASM, no Tall Man, and no ‘Angus Scrimm,’ ” the name he adopted for the 1979 hit.

Sure, they were cheesy movies, but tell me you weren't horrified the first time you saw one of those flying steel balls in Phantasm impale a man's head and drill into his brain?

So long, "Angus." Thanks for all the frights!

Faux Poe Toaster?


Looks like Baltimore, which lost one of its few tourist draws a few years ago when the Poe Toaster retired, is trying to bring back the magic by running in a ringer "faux Poe Toaster." This will end badly, because it is being done for commercial purposes, whereas the original Poe Toaster did it for free, for the fun of it, and for the tiny bit of fame that his anonymous tribute brought.

Myself, the next time I'm in Wilmington, NC, I plan to toast at the grave of Edward Hall "Ned" Adkins, the "Old Man" of Robert Ruark's coming-of-age classic book The Old Man and the Boy. That will probably be later this year.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Criminal Tactics - - The Good Samaritan Ambush

Using a good person's good intentions toward helping the helpless as a pretext to victimize them.

A person with a concealed carry license who is aware of this scenario and still stops to render aid might be looking to engage in a gunfight. Not wise. A better course of action is to drive a safe distance from the ambush sight, call the police, and await their arrival while remaining in one's own vehicle. The 911 dispatcher should be made aware of the possibility of an ambush, and inform the responding officers of that possibility. The Samaritan should remain in the area to give a report to the responding police.