June 30, 2006

Good Heavens, Mr. Smith.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:08 pm

St. Peter: “Good morning, Mr. Smith. May I call you Rob?”

Rob: “Sure. Rob will be just fine. And, who are you?”

St. Peter: “I’m St. Peter, but, if you wish, you may call me Pete.”

Rob: “St. Peter? Well, I’ll be damned!”

St. Peter: “No you weren’t. These days we save the damnation thing pretty much for murderers, rapists, child molesters, crooked politicians, and, of course, comment spammers.”

Rob: “You’re telling me that I’m in … Heav—-”

St. Peter: “Yep. Where’d you think you were? Jersey?”

Rob: “No. I am just a little confused. The place looks just like Georgia on a beautiful spring day.”

St. Peter: “Yep. We’re pretty good at arranging such things here. I thought I’d give you a bit of an orientation. I do that for the new arrivals. Let’s start with your new house over there. What do you think?”

Rob: “Nice place. It’s a lot bigger than the Cracker Box, but that will mean that I have more to keep clean. The Cracker Box used to get pretty grimy, Pete, but I have a feeling that you already knew that.”

St. Peter: “Yep, we knew that, but you needn’t worry. This place cleans itself while you’re sleeping. It also has a huge, fully stocked library, and we already know the kinds of things you like to read. But, if you want something you don’t find there, just let us know. Oh, and it also has a recording studio, which we’re certain you’ll find to your liking.”

Rob: “So, you already know that I’m a guitar player?”

St. Peter: “Absolutely. In fact, there is another room in the house that contains a couple dozen guitars, acoustics and electrics. If you want something that’s not in there, just let us know, and we’ll take care of it.”

Rob: “Heh! How about a pre-CBS Strat, or a twelve-string Rickenbacker?”

St. Peter: “Both already there.”

Rob: “Speaking of guitars, I believe I hear guitars playing now.”

St. Peter: “Yes you do. That would Chet Atkins, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. They’re at Chet’s place down the road, warming up. They heard you were coming, and they thought you might like to do a little pickin’.”

Rob: “Chet Atkins, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash? All right: I’m calling bullshit here! Oh … wait… am I allowed to say ‘bullshit’ here?”

St. Peter: “Frankly Rob, we don’t give a shit about that. After all, they’re all just words, aren’t they? And, I assure you that Chet and the boys are waiting to have you join them, whenever it is convenient for you, of course. I told them you most surely would want to visit with your parents a bit first.”

Rob: “My parents? They’re here?”

St. Peter: “Sure. Ha! You didn’t think they’d be anywhere else did you? In fact, they’re right here in the neighborhood.”

Rob: “I’d like to see them right now, please.”

St. Peter: “No need to rush, Rob. There is plenty of time here. You’ll get used to it. Besides, I’ll just be a couple more minutes.”

Rob: “Damn, I sure am anxious to see them. I’m sure you understand that.”

St. Peter: “Certainly. Don’t worry. They know that you have to get the brief orientation first. I should let you know that there are also plenty of fine looking, well-spoken women who are anxious to ‘meet’ you, if ya know what I mean. I understand that many of them have been painting their toenails red.”

Rob: “Bejus! Wimmen? Red toenails? And, yeah, I do know what you mean. Is, uh…, that permitted here?”

St. Peter: “Yep, that is most definitely permitted. Here we’re big on the consenting-adults-in-privacy thing.”

Rob: “Well, that sounds great, but I had this operation where they installed this bionic di—.”

St. Peter: “Look south, Rob. You’ll see that we’ve replaced that pump thing with original equipment.”

Rob: “Bejus on a bike! A new dick!!! Oh, sorry, Pete.”

St. Peter: “No problem. I can understand your excitement.”

Rob: “Damn, nice house, books, guitars, wimmen with red toenails and a new Johnson! Next thing you’ll tell me is that you allow beer, wine and booze here too.”

St. Peter: “Absolutely. People seem to forget that my Boss was and is quite the wine guy. Drinking is not a problem here. The bar in your house remains fully stocked with anything you’d like.”

Rob: “Well, Pete, I have to be honest with you. I love to drink, but I had a bit of a problem with it. It even sent me to the hospital. What’s more, when I drank I sometimes would write things or say things that I regretted. Maybe you should 86 the bar.”

St. Peter: “Not necessary. We arrange things such that people can drink whatever they like and they become friendlier with each drink. We see to it that there are no traffic accidents. There are no hangovers either.”

Rob: “How about smokes?”

St. Peter: “Same deal. Smoke all you want. It won’t make you sick, and the people who don’t smoke won’t see or smell anything.”

Rob: “Listen, Pete. I don’t mean any disrespect here, but I figure that there must be a catch. What is it?”

St. Peter:

Rob: “Ah! I knew it. So, what’s the deal?”

St. Peter: “This is no catch, Rob.”

Rob: C’mon. Don’t shit me. There absolutely must be a catch. Do I have to work 23 hours a day cleaning toilets? Shoveling shit? Babysiting cats? What is it?”

St. Peter: “No catch.”

Rob: “No catch?”

St. Peter: “No catch.”

Rob: “Damn, I’m blogging this.”

June 29, 2006

An Online Celebration.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:10 pm

Many of my Jawja Blogger friends are in Savannah today to celebrate Rob’s life. There will be songs, stories, and, as Rob would have liked, a lot of laughs. I am with them in spirit.

Everyone who is unable to be in Savannah, but who would like to join in the celebration is invited to do so here. Please follow the rules, as the server is being slammed by Rob’s many friends and admirers.

May he rest in peace.

June 28, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:03 pm

Nothing tonight. I just don’t feel much like writing.

Maybe tomorrow.

June 27, 2006

The Yankee and the Cracker.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:16 pm

Rob.jpgIt was a most improbable friendship.

I was born in New Jersey and, except for a couple years courtesy of the U.S. Army, I’ve lived in Jersey all my life. Rob was born in Kentucky, but was raised in “Georgia”, and he was “Georgia” down to his bone marrow. I grew up playing in the streets and ate Taylor Ham and Italian hot dogs. Rob played in the woods and ate cornbread and boiled peanuts. We sure as hell didn’t sound the same when we talked. I’m a lawyer, and I think we all know how Rob felt about lawyers. He would unleash his verbal flamethrower at the mere mention of the word “lawyer”.

Despite all that, we were friends. Go figure.

I, like others, was drawn to his words, and few people used them more effectively and eloquently than did Rob. Even back when he was working, every day he would manage to produce writing of a quality and in quantities that anyone would envy. I became a fan shortly after embarking on my blogadventure in late 2002. I don’t remember exactly when I received my first “Acid Bath” and ultimately ended up on Rob’s Blogroll, but I was honored and even more surprised to be there.

Ultimately, though, I think it was the music.

I always particularly liked Rob’s posts about music in general and playing music in particular. Rob spent a few years making a living with his guitar, his voice, and his gift of gab. I’ve spent a good portion of my life playing everywhere from grimy saloons and American Legion Halls to a slew of wedding mills and places like the Waldorf Astoria and the Sands Hotel. As such, I recognized him immediately, not just as a guy who played guitar and sang, but rather as a PLAYER.

I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to know many musicians but only a handful of PLAYERS. The difference is that lots of people can make an instrument produce music, but PLAYERS are much more. PLAYERS don’t necessarily have to be technical masters – indeed many, perhaps most, are not. But they do have music buried deep inside their DNA. It just shows.

I knew in my gut that Rob was a PLAYER, and I wanted a chance to meet him and play with him. I never thought it would happen. Hell, I had never met a blogger – any blogger – in person. Then in 2004 the Blogtoberfest in Helen came along.

By this time I had gotten to the point to where Eric and I would occasionally shoot the breeze on the phone. He asked me if I was going to Helen, and told me he was bringing his guitar, and asked if I might like to go and bring my guitar. I knew that Rob was going to be there, and it was something that I didn’t want to miss. Of course, it wasn’t easy trying to explain to non-bloggers why I was planning to fly to Atlanta and rent a car to drive to Helen just to meet a bunch of people I had never met before. My friend and “bodyguard” Ken, always one to enjoy a good party, agreed to accompany me on the trip.

It wasn’t too long after our arrival in Helen before we dragged out the guitars and began to play. (It came as a complete surprise to me that Denny also plays, and he plays very well indeed). It didn’t take but a minute or two for me to confirm my hunch that Rob was indeed a PLAYER. Playing with Rob and Denny was more fun than any person ought to be allowed to have.

At one point, we all moved to a local bar, and Rob asked, “Jim, what the hell ever possessed a guy from New Jersey to come all the way down here for a day and a half?” I felt more than a little silly when I confessed that the reason I had come to Helen was to meet him and play a duet. He waited a beat or two, then smiled his trademark grin and said, “Damn, Jim. I’m flattered. Glad you came.” I too was glad I came. It was in Helen that I “made my bones” as an honorary “Jawja Blogger” an appellation of which I remain exceedingly proud.

I met Rob again at the Blogmeet in Jekyll (The Wreckl in Jekyll), and I got a chance to play with Rob and his brother Dave who, not surprisingly, is also a PLAYER. We played, sang and laughed our asses off for hours. Denny joined in for some tunes, and all of us damned near died laughing when he whipped out the kazoo and played the instrumental part to “Runaway” and later to “Rocky Racoon.” We ended up sitting around taking turns telling stories and generally shootin’ the shit and howling with laughter until damned near six in the morning.

Most recently, I was with Rob in Austin, where we again dragged out the guitars along with Denny, and traded tunes. Rob hadn’t had a drink in months, and he didn’t drink in Austin, but he sure as hell could still play and sing. Hell, I think I would have traveled anywhere, if I knew when I got there Rob would be there with his guitar. In fact, not too long ago, Rob bought some fancy recording equipment, and I suggested that once he figured it all out, we should get a few bloggers together and make an “album” for shits and giggles. That won’t happen now.

So, here I find myself – a Yankee lawyer devastated by the loss of my Cracker, lawyer-hating friend.

It was indeed a most improbable friendship, but it was one that I shall cherish always.

Just keep pedalin’ on “C” Rob. One of these days, I’ll show up, and we’ll finish the tune.

June 26, 2006

Acidman is Gone.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:00 pm

I just learned that my friend Rob (“Acidman” of Gut Rumbles) has died.

On several occasions over the past couple years we made good music together and laughed all the while.

He was a damned good man, and I shall never ever forget him.

My sympathies to his daughter Samantha, his son Quinton, his brother Dave, and his grandma. He loved them all deeply.

June 25, 2006

That’s Gonna Leave a Mark.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:58 pm

“… I salute both of your dimensions, length and width. Depth you must find several lifetimes hence.”

That is but a small slice of a verbal thrashing delivered by Velociman.

Nobody does it better.

With a Little Help From My Friend.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:05 pm

Hamburger.jpgIt was time.

The old grill, from Sears, was about to turn twenty, and it was struggling to manage even a couple burgers and dogs. It served me well over the years, considering that I use it twelve months per year, even though cooking in sub-freezing weather presents some interesting wardrobe challenges.

Actually, it was long past its time, but I had held off making the move for a new one out of a morbid fear of having to assemble the sonofabitch. I recall the nightmare that I went through to assemble the current grill some twenty years ago, when a cousin of mine (as hopelessly inept as I) and I spent the better part of the day reading and debating the instructions, only to assemble disassemble and re-assemble the damned thing a half dozen times. When we were through, we were left with a couple “mystery parts”.

In addition, I knew that these things come in big boxes – VERY BIG BOXES. The boxes are even too big to fit in the trunk of my big, black, capitalist car.

I called upon Usual Suspect Jeff (da “Chef of da Future” – a Jackie Gleason thing), who: (a) has a TRUCK (something most people in Jersey don’t have), and (b) he knows how to do stuff like put stuff together.

We trucked off to Lowe’s where from the collection of grills I picked out this one. It was the only Weber Lowe’s had, but that was OK, because it has everything I need. I didn’t want a grill that looked like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. I need it to cook the occasional burger, hot dog, chicken breast or steak. I don’t plan on roasting any pigs (ewwwwww), or spinning a half dozen chickens on a spit.

We got the big farookin’ box in the truck and brought back to the House by the Parkway, where “we” began the assembly process. Actually, as a first step, we emptied the big farookin’ box, spread all of the gazillion parts all over the garage floor and then unfolded the mondo instructions out on the floor.

I looked at the instructions and almost puked.

Jeff, recognizing the terror in my face, suggested that I make us a couple cocktails. Now, THAT, I can do.

Mrs. Parkway, who has an unmistakable aptitude for putting stuff together (which has served me quite well over the years), came out and jumped right into the project.

I made more drinks and told interesting stories.

As the job neared completion, it became my task to gather up all the packing stuff to be thrown away. No one let me near any screws, bolts, washers or any of the parts that had come in the huge box. I was now the Garbage Guy.

After about 45 minutes and a couple three cocktails, the job was done, and the garbage was all packed up.

We humped the new grill up the stairs to my deck and fired it up for a test run. Everything worked. Sweet!

I poured more Chivas for Jeff, and a cocktail or two for me, and we spent an hour or so celebrating “our” successful assembly of the new grill, generally shooting the shit and having a few laughs.

I may be a helluva Cocktail Guy and an average Garbage Guy, but I damned sure ain’t a Put-Shit-Together Guy.

I’m glad that Jeff is my friend.

June 24, 2006

Bad Boy, Bad Boy, Watcha Gonna Do?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:23 pm

handcuffs.jpgLet’s suppose you’re a member of a 16-person police force in a small, Jersey Shore Town, which, like many Jersey Shore towns in the summer, particularly on the weekends, attracts lots of non-locals (referred to as “Bennies” by the locals). The Bennies (alas, I suppose that I am a Bennie) brave the Parkway traffic to spend some time “Down the Shore” often to frequent the many drinking establishments and, regrettably, all too often to act like assholes.

Let’s further suppose that it is the weekend and you and your partner are on duty when the bars close at 2 a.m. You get a call to respond to a disturbance involving a man (Person “A”) and a woman (Person “B”) outside one of the bars. You both know the drill: You’ve done it hundreds, maybe thousands of times.

You arrive at the scene and see a nasty dispute between Person A and Person B. Once you see that neither of the combatants is injured, the standard drill provides that you and your partner separate Person A from Person B, and you try to determine what the heck is going on. It’s loud, late, and chaotic.

The problem is that, in the midst of all this confusion, a bystander (Person C) decides to tell you his opinion on the matter and how you ought to proceed. You tell Person C to be quiet and get out of the way. Person C refuses to be quiet or to get out of the way. You grab Person C by the arm to move him out of the way, and he resists.

Now, you’ve got to deal with the original combatants and a pain-in-the-ass telling you how you ought to do your job and, in fact, by not getting out of the way and resisting your attempts to get him out of the way, is interfering with your doing your job.

You take the interfering pain-in the-ass (Person C) down and cuff him. During all this his wife (Person D) is telling you what an important guy Person C is. At the moment, you don’t give a damn who Person C is. All you know is that he is being a pain-in-the ass and preventing you from dealing with the matter that brought you to scene in the first place.

Once things are sorted out, you arrest Person C for disorderly conduct. Happens all the time, particularly in the summer when the bars close.

What makes this interesting is that, in this case, Person C happened to be Jerramiah Healy, the mayor of Jersey City, the state’s second largest city. The bar in question belongs to Healy’s sister.

The Mayor’s side of the story is as follows:

As the Mayor (Person C, above) and his wife (Person D, above) were leaving the bar at 2 a.m. after having attended a family graduation party, he saw a man (Person A, above) jumping on the hood of a car outside the bar. Apparently, the “dispute” involved the woman’s (Person B, above) refusal to give Person A a ride. Upon seeing this argument between Person A and Person B, the Mayor (Person C) attempted to intervene and mediate the dispute, specifically urging Person A (the hood jumper) to calm down before the police arrive.

When the police arrived, one of the officers yelled something at Person B (the woman who didn’t want to give Person A the ride), and the Mayor sought to correct the misapprehension on the part of the officer by explaining that Person B had done nothing wrong.

The Officer told the Mayor (Person C) to be quiet and get out of the way. The Mayor, believing that the officer could benefit from his opinion and continued help neither remained quiet, nor did he get of the way. When the officer grabbed the Mayor’s arm to pull him out of the way, the mayor only pulled his arm loose. At that point, the officers sprayed pepper spray at the Mayor, forced him to the ground and placed a knee in his back in order to cuff him. Apparently the arresting officers were not impressed when informed by the Mayor’s wife (Person D, above) that they were dealing with the mayor of Jersey City.

The Mayor vowed to file a police brutality complaint.

Yeah, so?

For what it’s worth, other bar owners and citizens in the town who are familiar with the manner in which the police manage these things are not buying the Mayor’s version of the events.

It should be noted (particularly for non-Jersey readers who have stuck with this so far) that Jersey City is the County Seat of the infamous Hudson County. Hudson County had already made corruption an art form before the folks in New Orleans ever heard of the word. Indeed, Healy became Mayor after his predecessor resigned after being convicted of fraud. As such, the people of Jersey City were neither shocked nor concerned about the incident.

After all, these same people elected Mayor Healy in 2004 despite the publishing of a photograph showing the then-candidate Healy naked and passed out on his front porch.

You absolutely cannot make this shit up.

Although this story received a great deal of play in Jersey, an e-mail from Dave got me off my arse to write a bit about it.

June 23, 2006

Sleep Blogging.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:44 pm

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon swinging golf clubs countless times and marveling at my seemingly boundless ineptitude playing golf in the heat and smothering humidity. Afterwards, I spent a considerable amount of time “rehydrating” at the 19th hole.

When I arrived home, I was pretty well “spent”, but I thought I might write a little post about golf.

I put the title, Golf, in the title box and moved the cursor into the “Write” Box. The next time I looked at the “Write” Box, I was able to behold the product of Sleep Blogging before I headed off to bed:


I think it may be some of my best work.

June 21, 2006

Backyard Wildlife

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:20 pm

skunk.jpgThe backyard of the House by the Parkway is not exactly teeming with wildlife. The fauna in our “Wild Kingdom” is largely limited to squirrels and several kinds of birds and an occasional rabbit.

The night before last, I went out onto the deck and saw this longish, “waddling thing” motivating around the grass, stopping between waddles to eat stuff in the grass. It took a couple minutes to get a good enough look at it to recognize it. Holy crap! A skunk! A farookin’ SKUNK! Once it got a look at me (still on the deck, giving this stinker wide berth), it scurried off somewhere.

I was hopeful that the critter was just passing through and that he/she would wander to other yards for dinner and ultimately turn in for the night miles away from here.

No such luck.

Last night I was on the deck enjoying a libation or two, and I saw the black and white furball doing a mondo fast waddle from the neighbor’s yard, and it appeared to go under my backyard shed, which sits on concrete slab.

I did a bit of Internet prowling to learn that striped skunks (the only kind that are in New Jersey) often burrow under homes (and, therefore, under cement slabs, methinks) to make their little dens. Just friggin’ terrific, that.

I found suggestions about how to determine whether the critter has taken up residence in the ground, but all of them involve looking for the hole, waiting for the critter to come out at night and plugging up the hole. Problem is that all sides of the shed except for the front are surrounded by thick growth, and two of those three sides would difficult to access even if there were no growth. Therefore, I don’t think I’ll be looking for the hole. Besides, I read that one shouldn’t plug up the hole between May and August, because there might be little Skunkettes in the damned den, which will pose yet another potentially stinky problem. Skunkettes? Do I need this shit?

How about a trap? Ha! These things can spray their stink-juice some fifteen feet, and they do it when threatened, frightened or pissed off. I know that I once set a “Have a Heart” Trap for a big ol’ rat that was prowling about and I ended up catching a squirrel. That was one frightened and pissed off animal when I got near the trap. I figure the chances of getting spritzed by a pissed-off skunk are just about 100%. I read that one should cover the trap with a “tarp” so as to contain the skunk spritz.

Here’s the thing. I don’t own a farookin’ trap, nor do I own a farookin’ tarp, and I sure as shit don’t want to go buy that stuff only to have to deal with possibly being skunk-spritzed.

Of all the backyards in New Jersey, this critter had to walk into mine. Play it, Sam!

I wish Dash lived around here. He probably knows how to bag these varmints, and he probably even knows how to make a tasty skunk ragout. Or, maybe I could convince Dogette to use some chemical weapons on this backyard invader.

Looks like I’ll be calling Mr. Exterminator.

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