October 31, 2004

At the End of My Rope.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:20 pm

Every time I hear John Kerry or his surrogates try to explain how his position on Iraq has been “consistent all along” I could scream. You’ve heard it all already (“I voted for the ‘authority’ only, but Bush ‘rushed to war’ and lied about WMDs…blah, blah”), so there is no need to lay it all out again. He has spent the last year in the enviable position of being able to sit on the sidelines, criticize the entry into the war and carp at the President’s every move to prosecute the war.

Let’s just suppose that when we took Baghdad, we had found 20 warehouses full of nuclear weapons. Here’s my question. Does anyone think that John Kerry wouldn’t have elbowed his way to the front of the line to brag about his vote FOR the war? [/rhetorical question]

October 30, 2004

Firing Both Barrels.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:32 pm

Take a read through the open letter that Kat, of Middle Ground, wrote to the guy who was given the Red Carpet Treatment at the democrat convention.

Way to go, Kat.

Via The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler

Cat Lover’s Cake.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:39 pm

Here is a cake that will definitely be a show stopper at the next P.T.A. meeting, covered dish party, or, most definitely, at the next Cat Fanciers’ Meeting. Take a look.

This is a real cake, and the recipe is under the fold.


Thanks to my friend Brian, the Air Force Vet.

Saturday Reading Assignment.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 2:18 pm

Go read “The Combat Life Saver”. It is an amazing piece of writing that tells a terrifying and heroic tale.

Laughing Wolf sent me there, and for that I am grateful. And, as LW advised, be sure to read the final three paragraphs of the Update. If you’re anything like I am, reading this will leave you pretty well drained.

October 29, 2004

The Mouth of the Gottdamned South.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:35 pm

Kelley kicks some serious ASS!!!

Go read.

Beside the Point.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:03 pm

Have you ever had a conversation with two people (almost always a couple, usually married or dating) that goes something like this?

Assume, if you will, that you are talking with a husband (Dick) and a wife (Jane) about their trip to visit Dick’s brother Tom, who resides in another state, and whom Dick has not seen in many years.

Dick: “I was really excited about seeing Tom. I was on pins and needles for the last 50 miles of the trip.”

Jane: “No, Dick. You started getting antsy just outside of Spotsberg, and that’s at least 75 miles away from Tom’s house.”

Dick: “No, Dear. I didn’t really start getting anxious until we hit Daltonville, and that is just about 50 miles from Tom’s house.”

Jane: “Wait a minute. I remember you saying how excited you were just as we entered Spotsberg, and I know it was Spotsberg, because I remember seeing the Home Depot and telling you that we have to remember to buy paint when we get home.”

Dick: “Jane, the Home Depot was in Daltonville. I remember you saying something about paint, but it was about 15 minutes after we left Daltonville. I remember. We were passing a Wendy’s when you said that, because I remember thinking how hungry I was.”

Jane: “No, the Wendy’s was in Spotsberg —- “

ME: “So, how did it go with your brother?”

Dick: “Oh, …. yeah. So, we finally pulled up to the front of the house at about 4 o’clock and I saw my brother looking out the front window.”

Jane: “It really was closer to five.”

Dick: “No it wasn’t. But anyway, my brother saw us and —“

Jane: “Well actually, he really couldn’t see us that well, because we didn’t actually park in front of the house. We parked in more toward the front of the house next door.”

Dick: “Jesus, Jane. Of course he saw us, because we pulled up directly in front of the house.”

Jane: “No it wasn’t. I remember the apple tree being on the lawn, just in front of the picture window. We passed that apple tree. We were much closer to the neighbor’s house and that is where we parked.”

ME: “Sure sounds like your brother was glad to see you. What did you guys talk about after all these years?”

Dick: “Well, right off the bat we sat down at the kitchen table and started looking at old photographs. It was great.”

Jane: “Dick, I wouldn’t call it the kitchen table. It was really more of table in a dining area off the kitchen, and you didn’t start looking at pictures until after about an hour.”

Dick: “That’s baloney Jane. I remember, as he was brining out the photo album, I said how glad I was that we got there just then, because we missed the rush hour.”

Jane: “You didn’t say that. You asked him when the traffic was the heaviest.”

ME: “I don’t think that this is really import——”

Dick: “No, dammit. Jane, I distinctly remember looking down at my watch when I asked him that question, and I remember that because I was admiring his Nike running shoes.”

Jane: “They were Sauconys, Dick.”

ME: “Well, … uh…. listen you guys. I have to run along. Dick, please tell your brother that I was asking for him. See ya.” (leaves room)



Jane: “Well, isn’t he the snooty one?”

Dick: “Damned right.”


A Small Favor.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:43 pm

Mamamontezz is asking for a small favor. Granting her request is really quite easy. Head over to her site for the details.

October 28, 2004

Helluva Gift. (Updated)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:15 pm

Basil Hayden Bourbon.jpgDaughter and her husband took time out from getting their new house in order to buy me a most excellent birthday gift. In addition to giving me a bottle of Maker’s Mark Bourbon, my regular brand, they also went a little wild and gave me a bottle of Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Bourbon. I have been sipping it (neat, of course) since the weekend as my “End-of-the-Day-Calmer-Downer.”

Although it is a bit pricey for regular consumption, it sure is nice to receive as a gift. It is most flavorful, and downright smooooooooth. The professional reviewers agree, as do the regular bourbon drinkers who have tried it.

Damned fine whiskey, that. To the bourbon drinkers out there, I recommend that you put it on your Christmas list, as I’m sure you’ll enjoy it more than another sweater, and size is not an issue. 750mL will fit just fine.

Update: I would like to thank everyone for the birthday wishes. However, lest I mislead, I want to mention that my birthday was actually Saturday, October 16, and I spent it here with a group of hard drinking, heavy smoking, loud talking, gorilla-stompin’ party animals fine folks. I actually even remember some of it, including the part where everyone sang “Happy Birthday,” even though some of them may not remember singing it. It was, after all, a day that was capped off by copious amounts of deadly Georgia “wine” cocktails.

I had visited daughter this past weekend, and they (she and husband) gave me my excellent gift at that time. I only got to posting about at after I enjoyed about 1/3 of the bottle.

Thanks again. Helluva gift, helluva birthday, y’all.

Reaching Across the Aisle.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:40 pm

Wanna know “Why liberals, leftists, Democrats, hippies, peaceniks, commies, socialists, educators, union members, hollywood idiots, the mainstream media, terrorists, tree huggers, feminazis, and you should vote for George W. Bush?”

The Patriette will tell you.

October 27, 2004

Let There Be Drums.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:06 pm

I suppose it started about a zillion years ago when I was in kindergarten. The teacher handed out various rhythm instruments (e.g. claves, maracas, tambourines), which included one drum. The idea was that we would form up and do a little parade around the classroom. I got the drum.

I have been told (and I also vaguely recall) that all the other kids randomly whacked, clacked and banged their instruments, but I grabbed the sticks and played a rudimentary march lick. After that, I always got the drum for these little “parades.” The next time my mother had occasion to come to the school, the teacher said, “You should really buy this kid a drum.”

Following the teacher’s advice, my parents bought me what could only be described as a toy drum. I fooled around with it, but I was too young to take it very seriously, and I never sought or received lessons. However, they tell me that for years thereafter I tapped on everything in sight in time to whatever music I was listening too, and I was always listening to music. It was also during this time (about age 7 or 8) that my dad taught me a few chords on the guitar, which provided the foundation for learning a bit more about playing guitar from guitar players I played drums with in bands in later years (but that’s fodder for another post).

I got de-railed for a few years when, after listening to Myron Floren (a famous accordion player who was a regular on the Lawrence Welk Show) do his stuff, my mother (with a Polish maiden name) decided that I should take accordion lessons. I spent the next four or five years (at least it seemed that long) trying to convince my parents and myself that I liked playing the farookin’ accordion, all the while “drumming” in my mind and on any horizontal surface I could find while music was playing.

For quite some time, my “drum” was a plastic box in which my mother stored her bingo markers, and my “sticks” were two 12 inch rulers. I recall drumming my ass off on that box to songs like Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” and “Something Else” and countless other songs that appeared on the albums (i.e. those big, black, vinyl things) that I eagerly bought with my spending money.

More than anything, I wanted to play real drums. I wrote letters to drum manufacturers, requesting their catalogs (this was the pre-computer dark ages), and when they arrived, I would spend hours gazing at the drum sets, imagining that I might some day actually get to play a set of real drums. When I wasn’t catalog gazing I was taking buses into Newark to hang around the drum departments of the half dozen or so music stores that were in a particular area of the city at the time. “Yo, kid. If you can’t afford them, don’t touch ‘em.” I wanted to play a set of drums so bad I could taste it. Furthermore, I just KNEW that I could play those damned things, having played them in my head for years. It was sort of a Zen thing, I suppose.

After a while, I had scored some real drumsticks, enabling me to ditch the rulers. I had gotten them from a friend of mine, who was actually taking drum lessons, but to my ear, he never really got it. Then, one day, I took a deep breath and asked my mother if it would be OK if I bought a snare drum, for starters. “It’s only one drum, mom, and I’ll use my own money.” She agreed, perhaps hoping that by letting me have a drum, the drum thing would soon become stale and fade away.

I had had my eye on a cheap Pearl snare drum (Pearl made low-end, cheap drums back then) that was within financial striking distance of the few bucks I had saved. Once I had saved enough money to finally buy the drum, I took the bus with a buddy into Newark to finally buy it – a real drum. After I picked out the drum, the salesman said, “Of course, you want a stand.”

Damn! I had completely forgotten that I needed a stand. The problem was that I didn’t have enough money for the stand. It sounds silly now, but back then, at about age 15, I was crushed by the seeming unfairness of it all. I had spent what seemed like forever imagining myself playing that drum. Now, here I was, standing in the store with the drum in my hand, and I didn’t have enough money for the damned stand.

Fortunately, my buddy came to the rescue. Between the extra few dollars I had (including my bus fare home) and the few bucks he had (including his bus fare home), I was able to buy the drum and the stand. Neither of having any money for the bus, we walked the several miles home carrying my new drum. I never forgot him for that.

What good is a drum without a cymbal? That was my next purchase. My mother must have finally recognized that any dreams she may have had of my being the next Myron Floren were out the window, so she told me that I could sell my accordion and use the money to put toward a bass drum. I enthusiastically accepted her offer. A couple birthday and Christmas gifts from relatives provided me with an honest-to-goodness, albeit it cheap, basic set of blue sparkle, Pearl drums (for you drummers — bass, snare, 8×12 tom, hi-hats, a 20” ride cymbal and a 16’ crash cymbal, all Zildjians).

I played the shit out of those drums along with records blasting on a Mondo Motorola record player that had a power tube in it the size of a damned cucumber. Hours at a time, I’d play, with my parents somehow tolerating it all. Maybe they had noticed that, after a while, groups of folks would hang out on the sidewalk outside the house listening to me play along with the then-popular stuff (the Ventures, Viscounts, Johnny and the Hurricanes, Duane Eddy, and other early 60’s rock and roll tunes) as well as classic Gene Krupa and Cozy Cole drum solos.

I guess word got around, because, before I knew it, a couple local guitar guys asked me to play in their band. That marked the beginning of twenty-five years worth of playing in various bands (except for two years, courtesy of Uncle Sam), and playing occasionally to this day.

By virtue of spending so much time with guitar players through the years, I managed to learn to play a bit of guitar, and bass guitar, which I also do to this day.

However, I have often said that I play drums better than I do anything else. It’s a Zen thing.

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