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Preview: Ramblin' Ed Abernathy

Ramblin' Ed Abernathy

Ramblin' Ed lives in Florida after returning from 11 years in Yokosuka, Japan where he wrapped up a 26 year navy career. With ties to Japan, Thailand and America's deep south he travels around musing. Musing, muttering... really, what's the difference? Ad

Last Build Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2018 16:07:09 +0000


I think the joint has finally moved

Tue, 08 Mar 2011 22:05:00 +0000

(image) I am verbally nimble, though that won't get you out of the way of a wildly careening truck. I have a sharp wit and a dull ache. They say that after 2 AM there are no ugly women, but in San Diego in the wee early morning hours I have bedded ugly women. I am not proud of it, just guilty. Bucky Katt is my hero.

I have pretty much moved this joint to Facebook now. Much easier to keep up to date in real time. Some say it's a time suck. Even more say it's addicting, but I can handle it. I mean, c'mon man, I can quit it anytime I want to.


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Sat, 29 Jan 2011 18:31:00 +0000

About that technology ...Potential GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says she is worried that the new airport screening technology could lead to nude pictures of her being leaked out, the Minneapolis Post reports. Where do they find these so called "candidates"?I sat today in the front yard, slow burning a stogie and hanging out inside my head. I like to just sit. The neighborhood was pretty quiet, the air was anticipatory. There was a storm off in the gulf and it was rolling this way. The air was warm and sultry, but with that cool, tinny feel that the So yeah, anticipatory.I see a lot of things that I see all the time without. Seeing. Like Nancy's yard. She has a small orange grove in her back yard. Today I realized there were literally hundreds of oranges on the ground. Looked like the water around a sinking ship as they jettisoned everything to get lighter. It was just amazing, the number. OK, amazing to me.Pat's yard looked perfectly orderly. All the plants where they belonged. Uniform in size, straight in their borders. Now this is Florida and in the time it takes you to run inside and get a glass of water plants will jump their borders and wild vines will swallow your fence. At least all of our weeds have flowers, so when you finally give up on trying to control nature it's still pretty. What struck me as pretty amazing is that no one ever works in the yard. Ever. It just kind of stays this static perfect on its own.Been working on this post about 5 weeks now. Type a couple of sentences, then either delete them or move on. you know why, too. Shivagitter's broken. Been visiting with my friend, Ben Gonna. Almost did a lot of things...but didn't. Anyway, I am here today because the wife has gone to that crazy place women go and I am just trying to make myself small. I don't know why God would ingrain so deeply the need to constantly re-arrange the furniture in the house without also endowing them with the upper body strength to satisfy those urges. Those urges which peak at the same time the best ball games are airing. And for some reason are requiring of male assistance all-dang-DAY!Speaking of inspiring ball games, it's a great time to be an NC State basketball fan. Oh, wait. No, it isn't. I keep waiting for Sidney Lowe to turn them around, but he just ain't getting the same quality of folks that Duke, Carolina, Ga Tech and them are getting.Been working mightily on my Spanish. I understand a lot more than I did before. In my mind I can speak pretty well on a couple of subjects. It'll take a while to really grow my vocabulary into anything useful. But I can do directions, introductions, and simple descriptions. I know my numbers, days of the week, and colors. I know right from left from straight ahead. So I am getting there. My accent, however, is a bit of an impediment to being understood. I practiced what I could with the Colombians who were here last week. My reply to the first "Como esta?" thrown my way was, "No bien. Necessito un poco cerveza," which caused smiles all around. Partly because it was a humorous answer, but mostly because I butchered most of the pronounciation. Oh well. It is what it is.On tap for a two week trip to London. This one is firm. Every previous trip to Europe has fell through or been rescheduled. Ought to be downright freezing there, at the end of February. Here,it has been nice. I guess it was around 70 today. I shed the shirt and read the paper outside under the orange tree. Of course, I went in every now and then to help with the great furniture migration. If I don't show at least a token interest in what's going on, well...Loving American Idol. Who knew Steven Tyler would be such a positive influence on the show? I think it is better than it's been for some time. And, while most of you don't know and couldn't really care less, Nigel Lithgow is back to producing the show. Trust me, that is a good thing. So, I'm a fan."Sooooo, Tomo. Tell me 'bout this Godzilla fellow". "Well, actury, Noah-san, it's Godzira. And he's a r[...]

I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who haven't got the guts to bite people themselves.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 13:18:00 +0000

I was probably right at 18 years old. Or 19. But not 17, of that I am sure. She was what I would suppose could best be described as, what?... pre-Goth. Kind of in the direction of what is now Gothic, but without all of the make-up and affectations. Anyway, back then I just found her dark and mysterious. She was Italian-American, as so much of my high school was back in the 1970's I knew her, from around school. Had one of those names that I had to stop and think about before I said it. One of them vowel ending names. It was DiFillippi or Boniocilli or something. Didn't matter since I never spoke to her.Back in high school I was pretty sure that none of the girls were interested in me. Which is surprising, since more than a couple, who were for sure out of my little North Carolina swamp stomping self's league, went out with me. But I was always so surprised to get a yes from them, that apparently I never saw a pattern to it. But, I meander.I was at a party. Or get together. Or bonfire. Or otherwise not all by myself. I believe it was a graduation party for someone who, unlike myself, wasn't going to still be trying to graduate two years past when they should. She was standing near me, turned, leaned into my ear and said, " Hey, let's take off and go to The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Well, hell! Me being all suave and debonaire like I was back then, replied, "Man, sounds good. But I don't really like to be scared that much." She laughed at me and told me I was going anyway. "Trust me, " she said, "you'll like it."And while I had never even considered that there might be a movie about a transvestite Dr. Franenfurter making a gay monster...a musical at that!.... she was right. I did find it enjoyable. And we went another 2 dozen times or so, driving all the way into Tampa every Friday night.In junior high, the pretty girl beside me was trying to strike up a conversation with me because, as we have previously established, I was pretty clueless about things. She ased me if I liked Deep Purple? And me, being all suave and debonaire like I was back then, replied, "I really prefer deep blue. But light purples aren't too bad." Her Dork-O-Meter pegged! "The group. The rock band Deep Purple." I tried, but did not recover so much as just smile back as she laughed. At least she laughed in amusement.I got me some more stories of what all ignorant stuff I have done and stupid things I have said. They run the gamut from eating an omlette I was sure I wouldn't like (but I did), and not only because said cook came out to cook it for me in her underwear. While her mom was not amused squashed the idea in it's infancy, I must say I did appreciate the gesture.I have tried to swim with alligators, but fortutiously was unsuccessful. Got stuck in the mud half way between the Gulf of California, which was much further off than it appeared, and the deserted highway running up from San Felipe, Mexico to Mexicali, CA. Got woke up by CHIPS, after spending the night with a girl in my camper on a hillside near Poway, CA only to discover that we were not as remote as we had thought because we were actually overlooking I-5. (That one continued at a Denny's a little while later when a table full of Troopers were laughing about us. So yes, I have shown my butt to a highway patrolman at least once.)Basically, girls kinda lead me places and I just doofy along behind them.Was driving home yesterday, listening to Outlaw Country on Sirius, and most of what they play isn't even country although I really like it. It ought to just be called Outlaw Music. Anyway, a song kicked off and the first line was, "If you're gonna be dumb then you gotta be tough." Can't argue with that.It was a girl that turned me onto David Allan Coe. And though we've since gone off in our different directions, I will always be indebted to her for that.Y'all can mosey on off if you want. This is the me-centric part of the post where I indulge myself. But if you're still here and you'd like, some videos from a couple of my favorite songw[...]

I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 12:39:00 +0000

Hola, peeps.Took off about 4 AM on Black Friday. The crowds at the Super Target on Bloomingdale Ave were large and restless. It was a sea of people, who for some reason, needed a 32" TV at 4 AM. Luckily, I was driving past them on my way to Miami. Yep, another South Florida fishing trip in search of the not so elusive Peacock Bass.Just past the Super Target we jumped on I-75 Southbound, setting a blistering 65 MPH pace all the way down to Naples. The road turned to the east and we turned with it, paying our two dollar and fifty cents toll to drive across a gatorless Alligator Alley, which means, I suppose, we paid a toll to drive through what would merely be an alley. Wait a sec. We were pulling a boat trailer. No extra axles for free on a toll road. I must ammend this to read that the road turned to the east and we turned with it, paying our five dollar toll to drive across a gatorless Alligator Alley, which means, I suppose, we paid a toll to drive through what would merely be an alley. FIVE DOLLARS & NO GATORS!! What a ripoff. (And $5 back, too.)Turns out that the new lake DRE wanted to try was literally in the only neighborhood in Miami that I am completely familiar with. We were fishing at Airport Lake/Blue Lagoon which, coincidentally, was right beside the Airport. I work at airports! So I am fishing in the back yard of the hotels I stay at when I'm there for work. Had I known they had the peacock basses in the water there, I'd have brought along a rod on previous trips. I will next time for sure. I have been sitting around the pool, shirtless, enjoying a cigar when I could have been sitting out on the rocks, shirtless, fishing and enjoying a cigar.From the lake, a bunch of canals went thisaway and that. So once you get to fishing, you can just meander all over the place. Normally we fish out in the woods, so it was cool to look up and see a plane looking like it was going to land on you, or to be cruising from neighborhood to neighborhood while fishing. It was a lot like the boat rides through Bangkok's canals, except we didn't have to pay and we never encountered a floating market. But we did come face to face with a surprising number of the wild urban iguanas. Miami is a lot of things, many just a bit surreal and not all of them pleasant, but it is never dull.At one point I noted that we were in a boat, fishing beside a railroad track that ran between the runways and a freeway. Although, it was not a freeway since it charged a toll, a distinction I just snapped off as I typed that. So I will leave the quote I made unmolested. By the way, I just thought about the signs we have at all of our retention ponds in the Tampa Bay area that say do not feed or molest the alligators. I always think that the warning to not molest the alligators should be removed so as to not to upset the Darwinian balance of the universe.I am on a learning kick. I hope. I tell people all the time, but while they hear, they never listen. I am surrounded by people who reach a level, any level even a bad one, and get comfortable. But I tell them, once you get here, look to see how you get there, then learn what you need to reach it. And if your employer will pay for it or subsidize it, all the better. Then I'm done. I mean, you can lead a dope to water, but you can't make them think. But me, I'm going to at least try.So, I got the company to purchase Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America). Except they didn't. They had me research it. Twice. They had me write up a proposal that included cost, coverage, and licensing information. Twice. They told me we were going to do it. Twice. Then I was ultimatly informed that Spanish For Dummies was only $29 and that's the way they'd decided to go with it. I imagine that at some point, while we are down in Latin America trying to grow our business opportunities, one airport manager is going to turn to another and say something like, "Their Spanish makes them sound kinda like dummies".So anyway, I just bought my own Rosetta [...]

Beg Peace

Sat, 20 Nov 2010 14:00:00 +0000

Beg Peace 20 Nov 2010

When I called you
I had fallen in a bad place
Reaching for a memory
that the haze of time had shaded
Shadows lay a softness
and had worn away the edges
Never mind they're lying
They were all the lies I needed

When you picked up
I could hear that you were smiling
More than I remember
Or that you believed you'd ever
In time our crooked questions
Brought us all these twisted answers
It seems you've found your sunshine
Without knowing where you're headed

So I'll move on
Always been that kind of restless
I find my peace
without seeking understanding
It's too late
for me to die too young
We fade slow
While believing we're still giving



A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 12:45:00 +0000

I can make things better than they are. It's a mostly true statement. I definately believe it. I am kinda like a bona fide, living and breathing spell check. A lubricant for getting things done. I am an idea guy. Or, as I like to put it, a de-gooberizer. So where am I going with this? Besides a healthy pat of my own back. I am going to China. Or rather, I am NOT going to China and should be.We have customers who want and/or need our services. By having the poor foresight of being born in one of the countries on the ever expanding list of them that we figure are all trying to kill, maim, or at the very minimum, highly inconvienence all us patriotic Americans who just want to sit peacefully in front of the TV, munching our tater chips, these folks have all manner of difficulty getting a visa. Nearly as much trouble as I had finding an ending to that last sentence. So we schedule, cancel, repeat. It's not their fault. It's just the way it is. And it's been like that for a long time now.So I said, "Then why don't we just go there?" And I sat down and looked at what we do. Then I figured out what could be exported. Then I looked at what they would not need, as it is a domestic requirement, and swapped those things for information they would need that we get locally but they probably don't. (Sorry to be vague, but I don't like to do details when it comes to my work.) I thought about how to get the materials there and how long to clear customs in the various parts of the world. Then I wrote a syllabus, lassoed all the lessons into one place and sent the email to my boss that we had a new product to offer, there was a real need for it, and go out and make some money with it. To which he replied, "Nobody will want that. Too expensive." Not exactly, the thanks I had wanted, but more or less the thanks I have come to expect.One week later, he calls me up and says that China wants that new training. And a little something else, too. So it's a good thing that "we" have developed that training and for me to give it to this other guy so that he can go there and deliver it.Exactly like when I saw a need for on-site refresher training for our field techs. Despite the loud protestations of my former manager that he would never allow training to take place anywhere but the factory, I developed the course anyway and just sat on it. A year later, things change, TSA writes us a new contract that includes....wait for it.... a provision to allow on-site refresher training for our field techs. It is quickly pointed out that luckily "we" have developed just such a course, but TSA will have to pay for us to hire another trainer. TSA agrees, we interview for the position, hire a new trainer and then give him my course to run.I can no more resist tinkering with the way we do things than porcelin can, ....doing things ...... that are glass-like. Anyway, I see ideas like the spooky kid sees dead people. I've got crazy mad energy in the mornings, so I pound these things out. And I'm already working on my next idea. Because we'll eventually hire someone else.So, kinda a segueue from there to here, though more humorous and less bitchy. And just as true. It concerns my ship, the USS Antietam, her Commanding Officer, and the 1MC. The 1MC provided helpful reminders throughout the day to help us sailors, as I used to point out, do more before 8 AM than we had wanted to do all day. Here's an example: "Sweepers, Sweepers, man your brooms. Give the ship a clean sweep down both fore and aft! Sweep down all lower decks, ladder wells and passageways! Dump all garbage clear of the fantail! Sweepers." Ah yes...the glitz and glamor of the seagoing life. So, the story begins....We were the pre-commissioning crew for Antietam, which means we moved onto the ship when it still belonged to (what was then) Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi . Later we sailed her to Baltimore (Antietam Battleground is landlocked, m[...]

Letting people do what people do

Fri, 29 Oct 2010 12:09:00 +0000

Living life, waiting for fall, planning the holiday gift purchases. Don't give many Christmas gifts these days. Nobody has buckets of money any more and not so many kids to do for. Never been a giant fan of buying things "just because" anyway, although that comes off as pretty bah-humbug if you say it out loud. A better idea would be a beer and a barbeque, followed by dragging the big screen outside so we can both a) sit around the fire pit digesting burgers and hot links, and b) watch the football game. (Note to self: If this were a real plan of action I should better also drag out couches and easy chairs.) But that's just me. Oh, and just so we're clear, there would be a fire in the fire pit I mentioned earlier. I figured that was understood.They say a picture is worth a thousand words, although I'm more a wordsmith than photographer. Still, my pictures are worth a good 650 - 750 words each. If I augment them with captions, I figure we break somewhere near the standard 1k threshold. There are pictures both this post and last post. Some are not so good, but others are simply Mahvelous!, in the alternate reality, best case mediocre way in which I use the word.I think I have not posted a picture of self since I lost me some weight. Will rectify that here (Rectum? Dang near killed 'im! Hahahaha). Had a big mirror and a digital camera. Was sitting there wondering, "what to do....what to do...", when it hit me. Heck, why didn't I think of it before? I can take a walk down to Crystal City. But first, let me take a mirror shot or two. And yes, the hair was my idea. I had me some mousse, I had me a black stripey shirt, and I had me some gold chains and such. Haven't done my Jesrey Shore look in, well, ever. Yep that's me. Since "The Situation" was already taken as an awesomely cool, Guido-fabulous if you will, self-imposed nickname, I will call myself "Compromising Position". Almost as catchy, slightly less chick magnet. But it goes nicely with my pony keg abs.I would love to comiserate with some of you about the local races here and our bizarre political culture. But unless you live with the obvious lying, blatant stealing, and the tortured logic eminating from everybody in Talahassee, from the interns to the Court of Appeals (yes, even our judiciary is proudly on the take) that is presented, all straight faced and serious, to justify abberant behavior, you would never believe the stories. Here in the Sunshine State it's true, you can't make this stuff up! We are mostly mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. We want change and want it now, so we are going to throw the bums out and replace them with people who are exactly the same. That'll show us, er....them.But I digress. I devolve. I may even .... Where was I?See the pictures below. Buy a Todd Snider CD. Pictures below. Videos first. Ciao.We learn from history that we learn nothing from history, outRamblin' Ed Note the genuine smile. I believe in everyone. I could not catch a picture that showed the beauty and quiet of this place, although I came close to showing the quiet. This is SW Washington State, 25 miles north of Portland up the I-5. Obviously, I had left the Interstate. Fun fact: I-5 from San Francisco and north, does not have very many gas stations. It's like they built a highway but forgot the gas. I liked this bridge. It made me think of like if I was on one side of the river but needed to get to the other side. And I couldn't fly. Because I was a train. Fun fact: Despite the moniker, "Bullet Trains" cannot fly. Pumpkin patch in WA. Fun fact: Barb wire does little to impede vegetation creep. I wanted a picture of this awesome set of bridges back into Oregon. But the traffic was heavy and for over a mile there was no place I could pull over that also had a view of them. So, this is what they looked like from behind the wheel. Fun fact: This is kinda like dash cam, without the criminals and heavy T[...]

Will Schuster is trying to make the world a better place

Mon, 04 Oct 2010 16:57:00 +0000

OK, sorry kiddies. I finally sat down to the keyboard and I ain't stopping for anything, otherwise another 2 months may pass between posts. The following photos are all from my BlackBerry, which for some reason has no flash like my last one. I have some pics from a real camera, but the data card is in my computer at work, so I'll have to post those pics later. They are mostly Portland and Washington State anyway.Waiting for Hank III in St. Pete. Look who else was coming. My heros, all. Well, maybe not Assjack. San Antonio's River Walk. Beautiful, in an old people's sort of way. The band at Tootsie's. She sang to me. I tipped her. It was all a blur..... I had heard of Hank III had also mentioned it. This was outside one of the Broadway dives. Nashville, TN. Home of endless Johnny Cash and Jack Daniels kitsch, by the way. Ooooh... a hat band! I was impressed with the combination spare tire/subwoofer. That's ingenious. My Nashville rental. The one with the spare tire and subwoofer. Enough said.Yeah, kinda gleeky. Sue me.My how time flies. Been a while since I posted and I feel a little bad about that. But I have been on the road nonstop. I made it to my fishing trip in So. Fla, but then TSA changed all of their schedules that I had negotiated and I missed my ship's reunion in Jacksonville (and I had been one of the requestors of an east coast reunion). When I was home for one week, my wife was in the hospital for the duration. Not so much a major problem as a drawn out one.So, as a child of North Carolina in the 60's & 70's, I found this to be interesting. If you look at the comments in my last post, you will find comments posted there from none other than The Nature Boy, Ric Flair. Who, you ask? He was a wrestler (or, in SE N.C., a wrassler) back in the day. Had not thought about him in years, and I am not sure how he wound up visiting my blog, but this isn't the kind of thing that you can make up.In the last 5 weeks I have been in San Antonio, which was cool enough but not as cool as I had envisioned it. I thought the river walk would be better than it was. It was beautiful, but kind of boring actually. I thought about a quick side trip up to Austin, then I thought about it a couple of more times. But the work schedule made me wary of getting too far down the dusty trail lest somthing happen. And I really, really, really want to go to Austin. It will be my pilgrimage. Would love to be there for SXSW, but....Then I was home a week, followed by a trip to Nashville. I had a ball in Nashville. Visited a record store that was run by a fella who played in Bobby Bare, Jr's band, Bare, Jr. Yeah, I actually have the Boo-Tay! CD. So I went ahead and picked up his latest, A STORM – A TREE – MY MOTHER’S HEAD, some DBT outtakes, Todd Snider, and Justin Townes Earle. Then I hit Tootsies and all the dives on Broadway...repeatedly. My hotel was, once I figured out the back way downtown, very convienient to doing some honky tonkin'.As an aside, Justin Townes Earle continues my infatuation with the offspring of my teen year heros. Shooter Jennings, Hank III, Bobby Bare, Jr. etc. But Earle has more points on the compass, if you will. I absolutely idolize his father Steve Earle, whos song Guitar Town was my theme song forever. I just found out this morning that his mama was Allison Moorer whos Alabama Song CD is a hauntingly beautiful favorite of mine. (And she's a red head!!). Also...yes, there's more, Jason Isbell (previously of DBT) plays on his latest. Yeah, I know.I left Nashville for Portland, OR (go back and hit the link. It's not there for my health) which has been my favorite trip in quite some time. It's no New Orleans, but I think it could easily be my second favorite U.S. city. I could get around by rail. The city is very alternative friendly. I met a number of bona fide characters who made me smile as we talked[...]

The South Florida Catching Trip

Sun, 22 Aug 2010 12:13:00 +0000

And....we're off. Hello. Welcome to my home, meat. The gator above was about 20 yards away across this water hole. I never let him out of my sight. I could hear them in the water behind me, too, but DRE was facing that direction. The air plants on the trees were just breath takingly beautiful. They lent a whole surrealism to the scene. Fish not so impressive and was released. But looka at how much I was sweating. Pants and shirt soaked, sweat dripping into my eyes. And, just to make this the perfect example of some of the things you will read below, a biting fly (aka: mean little bastards) on my elbow. As you can see, the canal is straight and narrow. As soon as you see it, you know there will be no hiding from the sun. One of the peacock bass what got iced and then eaten. C'mere, my pretty! Must...vainly...attempt...escape!! DRE with an eating fish. Me with an eating fish.The narrative part:Usually we go fishing. A lot of the time for me, its a sitting and tanning trip. A bait throwing trip. A "When you get the chance we need to go over and get my crank bait out of the tree" trip. Sometimes, suffering heat induced hallucinations, its a trip trip. But last weekend, sitting in what was basically a big ditch running between ocean and swamp, we were on a catching trip.Me and DRE have always talked about a trip to Venezuela. We wanted to go fishing for peacock bass. Although its basic shape very closely resembles that of the largemouth, it is not actually a member of the largemouth family. Peacock Bass belong to a family of fish known as "cichlids", a group that boasts more than 1,000 species worldwide and is well known to tropical fish enthusiasts. Like the largemouth, the cichlid prefer to ambush unsuspecting prey from a stealthy vantage point and demonstrate a gluttonous appetite. The similarity ends there. However, the Florida Peacock bass, colorfully adorned in varying shades of green, blue, orange and gold, is much more eye appealing than the largemouth bass. Don't let this appearance fool you though. It's one of the toughest freshwater species in the world, with bone-jarring strikes, aerial acrobatics and line-stripping runs that make it the ultimate quarry for both the fly and plug angler. It routinely breaks line and destroys tackle.We left Friday morning, but never made it into the canal. Canal C-111, for those of you keeping score. "Eleven", as the locals in the bait shop called it, is in Dade County, just a hair north of the Monroe County line. We found the canal, about 9:30 PM or so, but did not put in. We had planned to, but we found ourselves, flush with adventurous spirits, time to kill, and without the wifely encumberances, wandering about in the Big Cypress following every dirt trail we encountered. While we didn't get to the canal 2-ish as planned, we didn't really care. We had a grand adventure full of airplants, insects, alligators, heat, fishing, more insects, more alligators, debilitating heat, and bugs. Friends, you haven't lived until you've been 2 miles down a dirt trail into the swamp, getting out to "stick check" the depth and mud content of the big puddles BEFORE you drive through them (a lesson it took me well into my thirties to learn) and decide that it is, shall we say, imprudent to continue. Turning the pickup truck, with boat in tow, around in such tight quarters is.... well, it's another story to tell entirely.First thing Saturday morning we slipped past the ROAD CLOSED signs at the exit off of US 1 and drove far enough along the canal access road that we figured we would either not be seen, or at the very least, might have some degree of plausible deniability concerning ROAD CLOSED signs and us being in there. Hey--- we drove a pretty long way to get here.We got out of the truck and were absolutely swarmed by the biting flies. We almost did not get the boat in the water, w[...]

The more things change, the more they remain insane

Sat, 31 Jul 2010 12:38:00 +0000

Enjoying a little bit of Red Hot Chili Peppers and planning out my weekend. Two weekends in a row I was going to post and, as far as I know, didn't. My goodness, what a slacker I have become. But life is short, and doing things against your will only shorten it. Doing things against your better judgement, however, quickens the pulse. Which may lead to a shorter life, incrementally speaking, but really, who the heck cares? So just remember, against your will = bad. Against your better judgement = whatever.If I died and came back as John Prine, it would not be so bad. I would have Smells Like Teen Spirit as my life's background music. (So why not just come back as Kurt Cobain? 2 Words...Courtney Love.) And I'd be quick to strike a pose. ....With the Lights out it's less dangerous. Here we are now entertain us. I feel stupid and contagious. Here we are now entertain us. A mullato. An albino. A mosquito. My libido. Yay.....I saved some military themed stories on my other computer and intend to add them somewhere on this post. Probably at the bottom. Yep, since if I add them to the top, by this point you've already read them and this explaination would be made somewhat ridiculous. And before the thought gets away from me again, I just want to say that the coolest thing about living in the Tampa Bay region is how often you can be watching COPS and recognize the area they're pulled over in.Switched to a mostly fruit and veggie diet. No, I'm not a vegan, I'm not cool enough for that or owning a Mac. I put meat in my crockpot with the beans and corn, and all. And when we take the class out to lunch on Friday's I have a big, ol juicy burger. I just decided that I had to cut back on how much I was eating because I was getting fat, fatter, fattest. The biggest I had ever been. So I dropped my intake down to about 600 calories a day for a while, shed a hair over 50 lbs, and have had success maintaining that by keeping my calories to around 1200 a day. However, my body did react for a while with displeasure at the loss of it's customary pepperoni based diet. Peaches that went in all sweet and tasty, exited all spiteful and angry. But now, all is peace and harmony in Temple Ed.RWH Rhyme #1Didn't know that I hadn't been watchingtil I didn't know where I'd beenCan't really say if it's a mess or problemthis here fix I'm inI never was one for better judgementit was seldom against my willwhat don't kill you gonna make you strongerif you're still standing, friendWhat I've got leftIs what I hold hereKnock back the ruston what I hold dearSo hard to figure what I've been sayingBut I'm talking all the timeSave me the whip smart, pop tart theoryone mouth, I know...two eyesMight tote every loving thing I would give youin a kitchen bag wrapped and tiedhot like my my intentions...and plastic as I feel sometimesAll I've got leftIs what I hold hereKnock back the ruston what I hold dearNow I carry those scars most everywhereeverytime I've touched someone elseSo hard to keep foolin' all them peopleso easy as you fool yourselfBut I've never been one for better judgementAin't nothing against my willwhat don't kill you gonna make you strongerif you're still standing, friend RWH Partial Rhyme #2Had me a girl and her hair was redShe never was nothing like what I saidCalled her my lover. Called her my friendI got up one day and never called againSometimes we're funny. Sometimes we ain'tSometimes we ain't even walking straightSometimes we rhyme and sometimes we're pissedSometimes it comes to thisNavy Stuff:New Navy Missile Could Hit Global TargetsJuly 08, 2010Military.comby Craig HooperAs the venerable Tomahawk missile loses the battle against modernized air defenses, observers have long wondered why the Navy isn't racing to fill the U.S. surface fleet's nearly 8,000 Vertical Launch System cells with [...]

The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues

Wed, 14 Jul 2010 13:30:00 +0000

So I liked the new Hank III so much I went out here, in the vast metropolis of West Des Moines, and bought two more recent albums. Plus music from True Blood becasue I saw CC Adcock and Allan Toussiant were on it. Plus I ordered the new Ray Wylie Hubbard CD, since I have looked for it in 3 states now and cannot find it in stock. And Borders needs to buy better inventory software.I asked the nice plump lady, who insisted on helping me although I am perfectly capable of typing in a search term on my own, to see if they had the new R.W. Hubbard CD. She did the search and told me that the computer says they might have it. The computer says you might have it? I knew walking in the door that you might have it. Just like I knew you might not. The purpose of inventory tracking software is to.....oh, never mind. Customer service in the US is not dead. But it is brain-dead.Anyway, might not have it was the order of the day, so I made the order of Wednesday to have it brought to the store via, I suppose, a truck. Yay giant carbon footprint for an eclectic artist's 12 new songs. (10 he wrote, 2 he co-wrote though. That should stand for something.)Looks out the window that we're fixing to blow up a storm here on the plains. I think Iowa is the plains, right? I mean, I know it is the midwest, but that just says where in the country we are. It hardly describes the features, or lack of features, of the ground. Or, if you will, the topography. Anyway, I am interested in what's going to blow in and what it will drop.I rode out a couple of storms in Denver and was very surprised by their intensity. I think I have heard that plains states storms can get pretty furyful...furyistic...ah, furious. I guess I'll see. But I think the plains states also attract tornados. I am only truly afraid of 4 things, because all are painful and sneak up on you unexpectedly. Plus you can neither predict them (I guess that's what unexpected means, huh?) nor control them. And those things are 1. Sharks (not a huge concern here unless there is such a thing as corn sharks) 2. Submerged water moccasins (I was told when I was a kid that they can't bite underwater, but if that was true, why would they hang out there?) 3. Hard work (Mine, really more than yours) and 4. Tornados. I am really afraid of tornados because they are hurricane strong without the courteous 2 week notice you get from a hurricane. You've got time to name hurricanes. All tornados are named "It was really big and it sounded just like a train a'coming".Update: No tornado. Heavy rain and thunderstorms? Well, not them either. Just a muggy night with a heat index of 102 (when I went to bed). But the crawler had dire storm warnings all night. That was exciting.I grew up in a region (the South East) that didn't really value education. Still doesn't really. Not to the extent that a lot of other places do. And, of course, I am a product of my enviornment. I dropped out of high school, although I did return and graduate so I could enlist, and that all turned out OK in the end. Being a HS graduate didn't really make my resume a "must read" as I eventually figured out, but I was never without food and a roof.I don't know why, really. That my beloved south has such an anti-intellectual bent. Other than my region was agricultural and in many cases brawn was more in demand than brains. You could reason with the "help" or you could whip 'em into line. And if you owned a big old spread with a lot of crops to tend, you didn't really want your sons figuring out that they could make a decent living elsewhere pushing numbers around with a pencil without all the sweating through their hand me down overalls you had in mind for them. You get the picture.North Carolina has a lot of big name colleges, 3 of them up near Raleigh are literally within spit[...]

Do not remove a fly from your friend's forehead with a hatchet

Sun, 27 Jun 2010 18:16:00 +0000

I opened the newspaper today, the same as I do almost every non-work day (except in late Jan and Feb), which is to say sitting in the sun that dapples down through the branches of the orange tree, shirtless and shoeless and with the dogs napping nearby. There I found a nice spread about my office in St Petersburg and the $31 million contract we have just begun to execute for TSA. Nice way to start the morning, I thought.If it wasn't for the steadily increasing thunder and the rain about to blow in on the rapidly cooling breeze I would probably still be out there. Albeit, by now I would be napping since the paper is done and I have finally finished off the backlog of Time magazines (some dating all the way back to the end of March) that had been sitting around. Yep. I have been sitting outside a lot. Jelling. or, perhaps that should be chilling. Either way, aggressively loafing outside has been the norm and blogging has lately been relegated to the most convienent time I could think of....tomorrow. Today the rain that makes the flowers grow will also let the blog be, um, blogged.The wife will be home next week. Been overseas for 2 months and I think she is ready. But when she was here on a green card she had to watch how long she stayed out of the country or how many times she left or it would lead to closer scrutiny when she applied for citizenship. This was her first chance to just go and hang out. Glad she got it.I moved to Tampa when the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team was the only pro sports team here. Of course, the town was a fraction of the size it is now, too. We went to a couple of games including when the NY Cosmos (?) came to town. The Cosmos had Pele, who was a big deal. We also went to see them play the Chinese National team, but that was before China, you know, owned us.I remember trying to watch the Rowdies games on TV. It was kind of tough because the station took commercial breaks even though the game didn't. So after an ad for tires, a quick round of tastes great/less filling, and then one more ad for something or another that was totally manly, we'd return to the game. Sometimes to find that the score had changed.I am not a huge soccer fan, but the US was in the world cup and expected to do well. I mean, well for America anyway. So I watched the games. I had to miss the Algeria game though. Partly because I was working, but mostly because I got sidetracked and forgot that it was on. It took a while for it to sink in, but then it hit me. ABC was not cutting away from the action for commercials. Good deal. Then Ghana kicked our butts and I'm out of the World Cup now.When I was growing up near Wilmington, NC the local rock n roll station only broadcast 8 AM to 8 PM daily. On the one hand, there was not a lot of repetition going on, like you get nowadays with a few songs in heavy rotation. But still, the station would go off the air and then I had to change over to the country station. I didn't mind that. I love country music. The twangier the better. Oops... let me side bar real quick before I forget.Just bought Hank William III - Rebel Within. As you may or may not know, Hank 3 vascillates between hard twang country and hard core punk. The country stuff I like. The punk stuff, well, the lyrics have their merits but the songs are a bit too un-melodious for me. So anyway, the new album is OUTSTANDING. He mashed up the punk and the country right smartly. Most of the songs are about drinking. Except one is about heroin and another is about his mom dying from crack. Yeah, I know, for most of you that probably ain't a real ringing endorsement for buying it. But still, not in spite of but because of the rough edges, I found this to be more "real country" than any of the good ol' boys in their pick em ups and Kenny Che[...]

Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.

Sat, 12 Jun 2010 12:44:00 +0000

(image) Been lazy. Soaking up a few weeks of "me time". Wife is still in Bangkok and it is just me and the ranch animals. They are, on one hand, very needy, but on the other hand, fairly easy to please. Thus an afternoon of us all laying around in the shade, watching the world go by and napping without apology fits the bill for all concerned. Plus we watch a lot of TV.

One lesson I recently learned is that when you take a 3 year old fishing and tell him that he might see aligators, he is only excited for as long as it takes him to really think about it, which is the far, far side of wherever you are. Then he whines more than I thought humanly possible. As an added treat, said whining 3 year old will also deduce that fish and turtles inhabit the pond as well and are assuredly lying in wait to munch upon him. Ratchet up the whimpering. At least I was smart enough not to point out the snake that swum by behind us.
Work is good. Machines are flying out of the factory. New airports are being built. Foreign sales are strong. I lucked into a good gig. Yes, I said lucked into. I mean, I wouldn't have gotten the job if I didn't have skills. And I would not have done well at it if I wasn't good at what I do. But as with many things in my life, the planets aligned just so, I was casting a shadow in an opportune place and space in time, and somebody said, "You ever?"...."Nope, never"...."You wanna?"...."Sure, why not". The things I have most desired in terms of jobs, qualifications, duty stations, or warships, have brought me nothing but annoyance and tribulations. But every time I have just shrugged and said "Why not?" I have begun a new adventure. Go figure.
My brother is now working for the Seminoles out at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. Good on him. He went a long time between jobs and now everybody can breathe easier. It's about time for my sister to road trip up here from South Florida, too. Which has not a lot to do with Indian tribes or gambling dens. It just popped into my head, I assume on a sibling thread.
My next exciting adventure is up to....wait for it.....Des Moines. Whoo hoo. White people and corn fields. Cream of wheat. Whatever. I am hearing all kinds of rumors about Egypt and Colombia, and I look forward to that. But I was scheduled for Moscow, Amsterdam, and Erbil, too and I have still never been to Russia, Holland, or Iraq. So I tend to wait til I get on the plane before I get overly excited anymore. What I do know is that Egypt has already contacted us about the training package they want, so it would seem that if anything is a sure bet, that trip is pretty close to it.
Nothing said so far, and nothing more to say.

We who are of mature age seldom suspect how unmercifully and yet with what insight the very young judge us, out
Ramblin' Ed

I wish people who have trouble communicating would just shut up

Sun, 23 May 2010 18:07:00 +0000

Things from previous blogs first. To our left we will find the dash readout that confirms an entry from an earlier post. The tach is reading 1.75. The speedo is reading straight up and down 60 mph. And the trip calculator is showing 33.o mpg for the trip. While I am many things, an embellisher of my gas economy is not one of them.I am not exactly some kind of save the planet fanatic. But I try not to be head in the sand about things either. I do not have, but would consider an electric car and home solar panels. As long as things perform similiar to what I have now, I am willing to go green. I think about water consumption and try not to be wasteful. I bring my newspapers and drink bottles home from work and toss them in the recycle bin. I don't drive fast or make unnecessary trips to save gas. That, however, is based on a principle of money green as opposed to enviornment green. I do not believe I was put on God's green earth to see how many gallons of gas I could buy. I hate paying for gas, so I use as little as possible. Call it a quirk.I do not have a canvas bag to carry with me to the store. I am not against them, per se, but I prefer plastic bags. I know. About as un-enviornmentally friendly as you can get. And it means I am, indirectly, buying even more petroleum, which I already said was anethma to me.(Probably too late to try and use the enigma defense, right?) But I have two cats, two well fed cats, and a large litter box. You need a large litter box for large poops. So I find that having plenty of plastic bags on hand at all times is a good thing. Heh heh heh.... he said "large poops".Wife is still in Bangkok. While the news coverage faded as the troops went back to their barracks, the wife says things are harder for them now than when the protesters filled the streets and squared off with the army. The curfew keeps getting extended. Everything closes around 5 PM. She says finding an open bank is hit and miss. The black market can't get money for the underground money exchanges either. The supermarkets are running low on everything. She says that the only good thing is the trouble was inching closer and closer to her family's home in the Din Daeng area of the city. She is happy that she can see what is going on and talk to her family in real time rather than follow the news on the TV and internet and worry if everybody was alright. The elusive reindog in mellow repose. What a magestic creature. Few are held in captivity. Out in the country, about an hour fifteen minutes northwest of Bangkok. I always liked these chicken baskets. Seems I would probably like them less were I a chicken. Jimmy Buffett sang a song that I often thought about as I wandered off the beaten paths in SE Asia. I'd get way off in the provinces, boots and jeans. And I would have Buffett's "Cowboy in the Jungle" playing as the soundtrack in my head. This shot, however, invokes a different track. Makes me hear "Life is Just a Tire Swing". Word. The path well traveled. This little dude was my bud. While he doesn't speak a lick of English, nor I of Thai, he laughed at ALL of my jokes. And you know, that's what I really look for in a friend. This old farmer come walking across a winding path through the rice paddies, nodded and smiled as he passed by me, and moseyed on down the path towards wherever it was that he was going. As if he passed unfamiliar white guys sitting under the tree smoking a cigar all the time. Cool. Hey guys, thanks for bringing me here. This is where my flip flops brung me. Massom's sister was afraid that the farm house was too hot for me, which it wasn't, so she brought me here. She carried a cold beer and told me to hang out here where it was cool and relax while they were[...]

But, like most actors in popular commercials, I became addicted to heroin

Mon, 17 May 2010 07:22:00 +0000

I got home on Saturday night and was in bed midnightish. Up on Sunday and out the door for what turned out to be an awesome drive up to Panama City Beach. No traffic. Sunny day. 3 red lights in the whole 350+ miles. And...hold on to your hats...33 mpg in the Lincoln. Whoa baby! I had to snap a pic of the dashboard readout for those of you who would naysay on that. I had the cruise on 60 and the tach sat on 1.75 the whole way.Along the way I had a few observations.For some reason, most or all of the good people of Georgia have been in Florida. It was a mystifying thing, but auto tags and "Dawgs" bumper stickers don't lie. I am happy to report, however, that they were all headed home.I drive through Ocala semi-regularly. At any given time, apparently, most of it is up for sale. 60-400 acres at a time.While I was in Bangkok, I read a humorous, and suprisingly enough inaccurate, headline in the sports section. It was about the NBA playoffs, or in this case lack of NBA playoffs for the Chicago Bulls. The headline read: BULLS FIRE NEGRO AFTER LOSS. Yep, I found that suprisingly blunt, too. But as I skimmed the story, they were reporting that Vinny Del Negro, the white head coach and former NCSU star, was fired after losing the game and as a reward for a couple of crappy seasons.CD selection for yesterday's road trip (Like you even care):Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Weld (Disk 1 with Powderfinger)Chris Knight - Chris KnightDrive By Truckers - The Big To DoLynyrd Skynyrd - Disk 3 of the box setDwight Yoakam - Buenos Noches from a Lonely RoomRolling Stones - Some GirlsLooks good for my new product line. 5 machines to 3 locations in Colombia. Just sold machines to Egypt and they want factory training both here and on site in Egypt. Yeah! I'm all for that trip. I am about ready for some real globe hopping to commence. I am dang tired of domestic travel and all the crap you put up with from the airlines. Sure, I have been to Canada a few times. But that's only "international" in the technical sense. You know, because they are their own country, eh. But still.... Taiwan was international and while some would find it exciting and exotic, for me, someone who lived so long in Asia, I didn't find it particularly so. I found it boring. So basically, Guatemala was my only trip that took me somewhere I found special.I have been to Colombia (read my "bio" at the top of this blog) before with the navy. Cartegena, to be exact. But I was with 2nd Fleet or WESTHEMGRU (Western Hemisphere Group) and while it was run OK for a port call, it came with a lot of strings attached. I would love to go stomping through the countryside with a bona fide license to chill.Left the wife in Bangkok until June 30th, so I got me some quiet time at home. Too bad it's not football or basketball season. I could use a good sports orgy. You know, a big TV, a beer, 9 games in a row. Not a fan of baseball though, so I guess I'll do yardwork and fishing.Killing for peace is like screwing for chastity, outRamblin' Ed(If You) Hold Me Down Tonight 18 Aug 96To you I've never been no more than restlessness and lies.Like lightning bugs in Mason jars, pretty but they can't fly.Yes, I understand the principle, but baby roll the dice...Might understand the randomness that simulates my life.I'll slip into the darkness when that collar gets too tight.Love, life and lies.Now beauty, there's no question girl, the world belongs to you.And a man could go half crazy just to watch the way you move.How I loved your warmth and tenderness, but could not take the lightsyou shined into my eyes to always keep me in your sight.Yes, I'll slip right through your fingers if you hold me down tonight.Love, life and lies.Th[...]

Immorality: The morality of those who are having a better time (Sin is geographical)

Fri, 14 May 2010 01:57:00 +0000

Some more pictures to add to the ones from yesterday. Tense night last night, but despite what it looks like on TV, the violence here is minimal and confined to a very small area. It's not, at least for now, very dangerous for tourists. Well, as long as you don't want to get up close for a picture.There's no such thing as bragging. You're either lying or telling the truth, outRamblin' Ed[...]

It's hard to be nostalgic when you can't remember anything

Thu, 13 May 2010 07:29:00 +0000

They call it "PMS" because "Mad Cow Disease" was already taken, out Ranblin' Ed[...]

I don’t have a license to kill. I have a learner’s permit

Mon, 10 May 2010 05:51:00 +0000

Well, we are back from the south. Back to the familiar streets of Bangkok and much more sane prices. It had been a while since I vacationed in one of the resort areas (Pattaya, Phuket, Samui, etc) and I had forgotten how shamelessly they priced things. Seems reasonable enough if you just got off the plane from Frankfort or London, but not if you're driving in from Bangkok. A plate of kapow gai is 35 baht in Bangkok and going for 150 baht in Samui.We went last night to the final night of the 60th anniversary of the King's coronation. Just us and, according to this morning's Bangkok Post, 20,000 of our friends. It was awesome. A good old fashioned street fair, stretching 10 or more blocks, with food, and music, and geehaws galore for sale. The evening ended with a massive fireworks display. We went to 3 different temples to take care of 3 different things that need to be done each year. Not sure exactly what all that we did was for, but the wife was serious and therefore I was there beside her. And her friend, Ouen (like Owen, but with the oo sound). So, for the first time in my life I got pickpocketed. Well, I have grabbed people with their hands in my pocket before, and always in the Philippines. But I stopped them, so it wasn't really a pickpocketing. This time, also, I snapped off what was going on and put my hands over my pockets to stop the theft. Unfortunately, I snapped off what was going on after they had cleared out my left side pockets. We were 20,000 strong, remember, and pressed all up on one another. I realized that these teens were getting in front of me and then slowing down on purpose. I thought they were trying to piss me off for a second there. Then I said to myself, "Hey. They may be trying to get to my pockets." I wasn't sure, but it seemed a reasonable assumption given the situation andsurroundings. So I put my hands down over the pockets and kept contact with my wallet (yes- in a side pocket) and camera. Feeling their bulk, I was certian that if something was going on, I was already on top of it.I did indeed keep possession of my camera and empty wallet. They were in my right hand pockets. What I lost, and I didn't figure it out until 15 or 20 min later, was my iPhone and 15,000 baht. Now 15,00 baht might seem like a lot. And it is. I had just cashed $500 American, which was 15,905 baht. So they got like $480 or so. Little theiving piss ants. But what's done was done, so we continued our evening and still had a great time.Wife is going crazy because I won't shave and I won't get a haircut. That's OK. Wives need to be defied occasionally. Especially when you're talking the important stuff like haircuts and not shaving. Anyway, I spent $11,000 on this vacation and flew her business class all the way here. She can humor me.Great "Junior Suite" we got here. A living room, bedroom, kitchenette, and bathroom. TVs and DVD players. In room washing machine. I know! How convienent is it to have a washing machine in the room? It's a place called The Royal President. I did try to explain the irony of "Royal President" to the wife, explaining that in the USA we didn't want a king (Royal) so we elected a leader from the people (President). So the two terms would actually be mutually exclusive. She was typically uninterested in my trivia. Anyway, this place is only costing us $77 a night and includes breakfast every day.I have 190+ pictures so far, about 16 of them interesting. I will post 1 or 2 with this blog, but I suspect the free WiFi will be kind of slow, and will just wait until I get home to post more of them. (Note: WiFi is fast. Now my only excuse i[...]

Internet Service 2 Baht/Minute. Minimum 20 Baht

Thu, 06 May 2010 02:28:00 +0000

I will make a lot of mistakes on thisa blog probably. The keyboard sticks a little and I am typing using my fat, sweaty fingers. Sweat is not just beading up on my forehead, it is massively pooling, and running down into my eyes, onto my glasses and down my neck. I am in southern Thailand, on the island of Koh Samui. I think the province is calld Surat Thani, but that could be a city. Or a cola, really, for all I know.

Got no pictures of red shirted protesters, though I snapped a couple of pics of th soldiers and police. It was kinda strange riding the skytrain and passing rifle toting soldiers, in quasi-riot gear, on every platform. There were large amounts of police and soldiers out on the streets, too. Some sandbag fortification, but not much. The only heavy equipment I saw was a single tank dug in outside of what I believe was the television station. But this is Thailand. You party around the unrest and through the coups.So we do.

It took 3 days to get my watch to run. It is one of those Seiko kinetic ones, but I had not worn it for like 2 years. So I basically was just doing things in Ed time until the watch finally seized the plot and began keeping decent time.Wasn't so bad, really. This vacation was all about disappearing from the drudgery for a while. So to that I say, mission accomplished.

Will be seeing you.
Ramblin' Ed

Trust the man who searches for truth, but not the one who's found it

Sun, 25 Apr 2010 14:07:00 +0000

Today was a beautiful Spring Florida day. A little breezy coming in from the northwest, portending the rain that is to arrive later in the day. But the sun was out and I was in a mind to do just that which needed doing. Now, I can be called a lot of things, and in fact I have. But shirker of doing that which needs doing is not one of them.I received a phone call from my 3 year old neighbor, Noah. It showed as his mama's cell phone, so I suspect there was a bit of cahoots going on. First thing he asks, and yes, this is a completely true story, was, "Hey Ed. Are you at work?" "No, Noah. I'm home watching a movie." [Kill Bill Pt.1] "Ed...come play water with me." So there I was, 11 AM on a beautiful day, running back and forth in the sprinklers like I was 47 years younger. That's right...make me grow up!County fines have been paid and my impending legal troubles have evaporated. I got promoted at work and I have a 2 week vacation in Thailand scheduled to start next Friday. The wife is staying in Bangkok an additional 6 weeks past me, so it's like another vacation when I get home. All is not kumbayah and flutterbyes, but things are better.I may blog from Thailand, especially if I can get some protester pictures, but mostly I intend to go deep underground and push the daily trials and tribulations out of the back of my mind. And I intend to get a daily massage. Word.I am still on 3 types of medicine. But since 2 of them are fun and make the world all warm and fuzzy, I don't consider it work. Anyway, the only "mandatory" prescription I have is for cholesterol and it seems to be working. Egad! I sound so aged. Stop me if I start musing on hip replacements.Y'all are going to see some great pictures below. I ran across this guy's work when googling "Whiteville, NC" and thought to myself, what better way to show my appreciation for his work than to post it on my blog without permission or compensation. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I'm thinking that theft comes in second. 'Sall I'm saying.Anybody who also reads Appalachianist's blog has run across Sage's musings...rambling stories...keen insight...whatever. Anyway, ol Sage used to stomp around my neck of SENCland (South East North Carolina) as the Wilmington paper referred to it. He was familiar with Riegelwood, which is where I grew up. He even mentioned Lake Waccamaw. Growing up I remember hearing about a type of fish (shad, crappie, or perch) that was easy to catch. You just went out on the lake and started smacking the water with your paddle and they would come to investigate. They would school up right on top of the water and all you had to do was scoop them out with a landing net. I searched google and Bing, but could find no corroboration, so you'll just have to take my word for it.One more thing I remember about living in SENCland. The county seat was held in high esteem. I have not lived anywhere since that I have even heard the term "County Seat", much less where everybody knew where it was. But in Columbus County North Carolina, everyboody knew that Whiteville was ours. That culrural awareness of it's place in the scheme of things did not, however, save it from being small and boring.Was going to rhyme for you, but the Rhyme-o-tron wouldn't fire up this morning. However, on the new Trucker's album "The Big To Do" there is a song told from the perspective of a dancer in a strip club. Might take you a couple of readings to see it, but this is one of the most beautiful things I have read in some time. I hope it will suffice:The pretty girls[...]

Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck

Fri, 16 Apr 2010 11:42:00 +0000

Been watching this show called Parenthood. I started because I have been in lust with Lauren Graham since Gilmore Girls and I like most things (couldn't take Cocoon, no matter the story) that Ron Howard gets into. The theme song during the opening credits is Dylan's "Forever Young". And it's even Dylan singing. That song is just so great. Tangled Up In Blue has it beat, and always will, but Forever Young has legs of it's own.So Appalachianist surprised me. Thrice. 1) He's still reading this, which is a shocker. 2) He mentioned Wrightsville Beach to me, which is pretty much where I grew up. In the Wilmington, NC (area) before it beccame the cool mecca for shooting CW teen dramas. And 3) He quoted from "Amber", which means he read the poems, which equates to shocker #2. Way to go App! Keep 'em on their toes.I have been going to therapy. Not the touchy feely kind. Or maybe it is. Don't really have anything to compare. Well, I went through therapy with Tony Soprano for 6 or 8 seasons, if that counts. Anyway story long --> shorter, my mental relief valve is all stopped up. Dang, I hate to hear that. But it does explain a lot. So anyway, a lot of energy going into working on that. I am pretty resiliant, bouncy actually, so now that I see the problem, and the crux of the problem is that people don't do what I want, I should be able to tweak me brain. I asked him if I'd ever be a carefree hippie again, but he didn't answer.Work is going great. I solidified my leadership position in our satellite office. I was meritoriously promoted to a higher pay band, moving from Technical Trainer to Sr. Technical Trainer. Yep, already ordered the business cards. I don't mind working hard, in fact I kind of like the feeling of accomplishment. But that's just it, there has to be that feeling of accomplishment.I think our Governor, the very gumby Charlie Crist, has decided that he can't win a Senate seat as a Republican due to his inability to take a stand on principle, no matter how wrong the principle. He has not said that yet, but he gotten all backboney, whipping out the veto pen and going pure maverick on everybody in sight. It has forced him to do the right thing a few times, which may not have happened if he had kept his cushy lead over the whippersnapper Marco Rubio, who is fast blowing in from his South Florida fan base. So I think he is doing the "in your eye" samba so that in a few weeks he can announce that he has philosophical differences with both the Democrats and his own party, and therefore must (MUST!) run as an Independant. Just my guess. In other news, Alex Sink continues to run for Governor using the mesmerizingly weird strategy of, yeah, I'm running for Governor, but you can't tell I'm running for Governor. I'm in-vis-a-ble.Drive by quoting: I’m waning on awakeGot a brand new this morning rhyme for you below. Hope I post a little more frequently than this.Yeah, I'm posting, but you can't tell I'm posting, outRamblin' EdGrinning Crooked 16 April, 2010I have often gone and donewhat I have never meant to doI have asked for your forgivenessbut I gave forgiveness, tooWe ain't neither one been someonethat nobody ought to trustYeah, water flowsWhat's done is doneYou were pretty as a pictureI still picture you sometimesSittiing in them roadside flowersgrinning crooked, quoting PrineWith the wind from semi-trailersblowing back your auburn hairAin't ours to chooseWhat's there is thereIf I've ever found the easy roadI could not find the rampIf I've ever had the perfect lineI could not find a stam[...]

Better to lose a lover than to love a loser

Tue, 30 Mar 2010 18:48:00 +0000

You know, when we were in our 20s we just did things. I told a girl that we ought to date, so we did. But it stayed pretty long distance most of the time, so I asked her to quit her job. So she did. Then we decided to get married. Just like that. A pinkie shake and it was a done deal. We'll marry now. Then came the tough questions from the family like...when? When? Hmmmm hadn't really thought about it. So I pulled a date out of thin air (kinda sorta - though there is slightly more story to it than that), asked the girl if that date would work for her. Her reply of "Whatever" sealed the deal. We got married. We moved around. We started and quit jobs. Your twenties are so great. You can do whatever you want. And if it all heads south on you, you just pick yourself up and start over. But you don't make so much money though. That's what your fifties are for.So, Coal Miner's Daughter has all these recipes and food concoctions she posts on her blog. I used to do more of that. The high point of my food-centric posts being, in my opinion, being the February 2005 post on the "Hamdog Cheeseburger". I repost it here in its entirety:Hamdog cheeseburger w/ cayenne OK dudes and dudettes. Appalachian kinfolk and Idahosers. Take note, all. I made a cool sandwich yesterday. I do not know that it has never been made before, as it was itself inspired by another sandwich I read about and also it seems to me SOMEBODY else would have tried this by now. But I had never heard of or seen it before so when I thought of it I went ahead and made it a reality. It goes like this here:I took ground beef and made a round, very thin patty. I laid 3/4 of a hot dog on top of it. Alongside the hot dog I laid a goodly sized rectangular piece of Swiss cheese. I sprinkled it liberally (I know, the L word, but in this case "conservatively" would not be the right way to go) with crushed cayenne peppers, although cursed cayenne peppers may work just as well. I covered it over with another very thin patty. [Ed. note - I almost called it a "meat hat", but that sounded kinda gross.] This made for a fairly good sized burger, oh I'd say about a 1/4 pounder size.Then I struck that sucker on the ol' George Foreman for 12 minutes until it was good and cooked and the cheese was starting to ooze out. Mmmm-mmmmm...good eating.You're welcome. You may all benefit from my selfless research.Mmmmmeat, out.Now I have not reached such culinary heights in a while. But I did find an interesting recipe for a quick, yet wonderfully tasty, lunch sandwich. I take Italian sandwich bread, but you could probably use...well, just use what I tell you. I'm directing this joint. So you take the bread and toast it the toaster oven. On the tray, so one side is toasted and crunchy and the other side is all warm, but soft. Italian sandwich bread, much like their wedding vows, got a lot of holes in it, so you gotta work around that. Now, you get a big old gob of crunchy peanut butter. I have been using the stuff from the Dollar Store, but I give you leeway on this. I think you should follow directions, but some folks, for some fool reason, are not keen on Dollar Store groceries. Anyway, spread that big old gob down thick and smooth, the peanut butter making like a tasty brown Spackle to fill in the holes in the bread. Then... yes, there's a then. Up to now it's just a peanut butter sandwich..... you pull out the can of Pillsbury Vanilla Frosting and lather up the soft warm inside of the other slice of bread. Yeah, I know, you already [...]

They're so cute when they're apathetic

Mon, 15 Mar 2010 10:49:00 +0000

After I had been in Boston 2 days during a pretty wicked nor'easter, I sent this email back to some friends in Florida :Well, it finally quit raining sideways long enough to try to snow. Failing that, it continued raining sideways a while longer. After 2 days though, it looks like the rain has stopped. The sun is making a cautious appearance and I must say it is quite beautiful as it reflects off of the massive flooding. Wish you were here. EdThat was a true assessment at the time. However, soon after writing that the sun came out good, the wind shifted from the west, and it turned into a gorgeous, gorgeous day. I have to be fair about that.From the St. Petersburg Times recently:A Florida native, Hastings has served in Congress since 1993, when he became Florida's first African-American member since Reconstruction. Earlier he worked as a lawyer and a federal judge, until he was removed from office for bribery and perjury. (Emphasis is mine)We are hooking up tonight (it was St. Paddy's day when I started this post) with a bud from Canada and an old boss who lives here for a double celebration. Seems like my co-worker, Johnny FN, is turning 30 today. Today being St. Patricks Day. St. Patricks Day in Boston. Where there are, I suspect, more than a few citizens of Irish descent. Brian is driving us into South Boston where he says the real Irish pubs are. Then leaving us there. Well, that's harsh. But we are taking the train home.------ Now I am home-----I filled out my census form when I got back from MA. It was waiting on me. I had been reading in the USA Today how some folks chafed at the personal question of "What is your phone number?" Seriously? You have a problem with that? You will give that info to a 19 year old clerk at Tire Kingdom to buy mud tires for your F-150 at 90 days same as cash, but not to the government for help allocating federal funding and congressional seats.Then I read that others had a problem with stating their race, wanting everyone to mark "Other" and write in "American" because, you know, American is now a race and not a nationality. I suspect the information is used for purposes such as identifying the changes in our racial makeup over the last 10 years and probably in some way for ensuring fairness in elections and congressional districts. But what do I know, I'm just a dumb-ass caucasion.I filled the whole form out in 5 minutes, for both the wife and myself. I found nothing even remotely objectionable. And when I was done I remember thinking, "That's it? They didn't really ask anything."And while we are on the subject of the dysfunctional.... It looks like health care will pass. Finally. I think the GOP has been unconscionable in it's opposition and especially its tactics. C'mon--Death Squads for Grandma?? Concerns...debates...parry and thrusts...all OK. Democracy is compromise. But for the greater good.But the (false) alarms and (fake) hysteria by some politicians has been ridiculous. I mean, if the Democrats are all going to pay, and pay BIG, during the next elections for passing this bill, I just don't understand why they haven't just shut up and gotten the heck out of the way. Let 'em pass the bill, and then the right minded and righteous should be able to just take a leisurely stroll into the vacated seats when they all get voted out. I mean, it'll be that easy, right? Or is there the tiniest chance that the changes will improve things? That's the question, I suppose.For three days after death hair[...]

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do

Tue, 23 Feb 2010 12:19:00 +0000

You love something, but still you shuffle along with your life. You wander a little here, hang out a little there. You kinda lose track of time as you race through your life at a leisurely pace. There becomes a separation. A separation of miles compounded by a separation of time. Your passions invariably take on the patina of time, coloring once bright memories with the greens and bleached whites of distant fondness. You are gone and you won't be back. You didn't even know it.I strolled old Mobile last night. I soaked in the quiet charm, wrapping myself in it like an old, soft favorite sweatshirt. As the evening moved from the defiant, blinding last rays of a setting sun, through the dusk and into the nighttime proper, I embrace the rightness of the moment. The pleasure took the edge off of, but could not overpower, the ache that settled over me. It is not by birth that I am a child of the Gulf Coast. But I am that son.My meanderings took me past reminders of days gone by. Times that were more genteel. A neon rimmed sign offering fine furniture and cheerful credit. The brick buildings, wearing their time passed as worn corners and faded colors. The parks. The giant oaks, their branches holding out the spanish moss to dance gently in the breezes that blew softly and randomly off from the bay. And I ached. It was an ache of finally returning home and knowing you could not stay.The gulf coast pulses from music. It is not performed, it is the life blood of the land. I passed a storefront as I walked. I could tell that the building had been converted, though if there had ever been a sign, it was long since removed. There were posters plastered every which way, tattooing the windows as colorfully as the ones on any drunken seaman who had passed by, intent on making the dives and juke joints just a few blocks on. The posters were for bands, some local, some national, that called the stage their home on rowdy, smokey Saturday nights. Tonight there were young people spilling out, leaning up against the wall, sprawled out on the old couch brought onto the sidewalk, and clustering on the curb, smoking and talking. There was a time when I too could just be. Just be in the moment. No worries about what should be. Or could be. Just living for the night. This night. I don't believe time makes you old. But it does steal your youth.I stared at the names on the posters. Drive By Truckers. Southern Culture on the Skids. North Mississippi All Stars. And on and on. Just reading the names I could feel the funk and the stomp, washing over the crowd in hot and humid waves, and wafting out the door to drift slowly off into the warm night air. No, the people of the coast don't just do music. Music lives in them. Does the music live in me? I think it wants to. But Tampa's gulf coast is not that of the south. Geographically speaking it is. But it does not have the tradition, the memories, the drawl.... it doesn't have the soul. It doesn't have that certian crawfish mentality. When I left Mississippi the last time, I didn't know it was the last time. But it was. The music calls me, but the voices are faint. And I ache.A life well lived will still contain regrets, outRamblin' Ed[...]

I like to play blackjack. I'm not addicted to gambling, I'm addicted to sitting in a semi-circle.

Sat, 20 Feb 2010 13:21:00 +0000

There was a bumper sticker on the small car in front of me. The good ones are always on small, old, or old small cars it seems. The big cars tend to have stickers proclaiming either their choice of political candidate or what a great model citizen their little munchkin is at their middle school. This one, in amongst the rocker band stickers, read: America. Love it or give it back. No, I'm not really in favor of giving it back. We have too much invested in strip malls now to do that. But I did appreciate the smile.I watched the Super Bowl in a hotel room next to Boston's Logan Airport. As a guy that basically lives in hotels, I wonder who picks out the furniture. You open the door and everything looks nice. But if you want to sit and watch TV, you are plumb out of luck. Nothing is comfortable. It's all pretty...pretty UN-comfortable. Not to repeat my self too much, but when I am King, things like this will be fixed. ASAP. One of my first decrees will be for every hotel ... OK, it's reasonable enough to exempt some of the seedier motels and any hotel rooms that rent by the hour.... for every hotel room that is on the market to come with a recliner. If not in the room initially, at least available in much the same way as a roll away bed. I'm telling you, elect me King. I am full of great ideas.On the 27th, I'd like to give a shout out to the Red Queen who may or may not be turning a year older.I got a card from some kids on my birthday. OK, it was my sister's kids. The older niece wished me a "Happy Birthday, Hillbilly". Good to see that they're being taught respect. The younger niece, the one who I have the highest hopes for obviously, allowed "Happy Birthday. You're so cool." And yes, I do appreciate her keen sense of awareness. But she needs to get out more, right? Me being the coolest is a lot like looking at the clothes in your closet and saying, "Well, the brown dress is the most colorful." No, don't try to talk me out of it. I have neck fat now. On a scale of None to Not Very, how cool is that?Headed up to Pensacola next week. Have not had a trip within Florida in quite a while. And it is the first one that hasn't taken me down into that third world mess we call Miami. So I am looking forward to it. I have a good friend living in Gautier, MS (basically Biloxi). We try to hang whenever we can. So I am going to drive the 1/2 hour west from Pensacola and he will drive the 1/2 hour east from Gautier and we will meet up on Dauphin Street in Mobile, Bamalama for dinner and some drinks. Dauphin Street is like a smaller, less weird French Quarter. Like Ybor City on a non-Guavaween Saturday night. Anyway, below I added a shot of one of my favorite places to eat when I'm there. I just wish the food was better. I will come out when you calm down and stop using expletives to describe me, outRamblin' Ed[...]