Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memorial Day Memories-Part 1

Scott and Cristina rolled in about midnight Friday for the long Memorial Day weekend. I was on the porch swing and didn't even see their car lights pass by. All of a sudden the dogs were wailing, signalling "strange" visitors at the front door. I had been looking forward to their visit-it's the first time she has seen the house and the town, but I sensed that Scott was even more pumped up to show her all of our hangouts and haunts and great restaurants. Scott had driven the last half of the trip and Cristina was in a post-nap fog. After the usual exchange of gift and trinkets and T-shirts, she was off to bed and Scott and I made sure the boat was equipped beer, tackle and rods. We were headed up in the marsh mid-morning to try and find some redfish, let the girls sleep in and shop and meet them for a waterfront lunch at 1:00. That done we booze-cruised it down Taylor's Creek (home to a small herd of wild ponies and the Rachel Carson Nature Preserve). There was a brisk wind from the southwest that would be blocked by the island and I also think it's the first time Scott's made the 30 minute no-wake zone trip to the eastern end of the creek which is the gateway to Shackleford Banks. We had promised Cristina wild ponies and dolphins. The dolphins were a no-show, probably a function of the boat traffic but we spotted the first pony grazing early on.
They subsist on marsh grasses and can dig with their hooves to find fresh water. They are the descendants of a herd left by Spanish explorers in the 1600's.
We made it to the end of the creek, made the turn into the wind and had a wet, bumpy ride to Shackleford Banks, a 12 mile strip of sand dunes and salt blasted trees. It is the second most southernly of the outer banks and stretches from Beaufort Inlet to Cape Lookout. It also is the home to a large herd of these wild ponies. The girls and Scott laid on the beach and I hooked up the boat with double anchors so the boats beer cooler would be closer to us. I heard Scott yell and when I pulled my head out of the cooler I saw a pony go galloping past them between where they were and the beach. He couldn't have been further than 10 feet away from them. He ran past them, kept up his trot for a couple hundred yards and then darted into the maritime forest.

It was truly one of those "Chamber of Commerce" moments.
We stayed and drank beer and looked for shells and Cristina fell asleep on the beach for what she said was a first for her. We left at 5:00-another wild and wooly ride down the main shipping channel with boats coming from all directions. Scott and I let the girls out while we put the boat on the trailer and headed home to some hot showers to wash away the salt spray. Had a great dinner at the Blue Moon Bistro, the girls shared a bottle of wine and we hit the Dockhouse where our friends Dicky Scearce and Jack Ketner were playing.

The boardwalk was packed with locals, tourists and the Triangle crowd, the band was fantastic as always and the night was magical. We got back home about 1:00 A.M., had a couple more toddies and awoke to a great sunny day on Sunday.

Scearce and Ketner -At the Dockhouse Saturday nightPosted by Hello

First Horse Posted by Hello

Galloping Horse on Beach Posted by Hello

Cristina and Scott on the boardwalk Posted by Hello

Jane with Glen Rose and wife Cecilia-He is a master boat builder and they were celebrating their 25th anniversary. Congratulations. Posted by Hello

Cristina, Scott and Jane Posted by Hello

Quote for the Day

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand - chocolate in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!

Thanks to Savannah Sam!

Wise Words

"At the end of the day, intentions be damned. Words are left meaningless in the wake of deeds done or left undone." From Christina at Feisty Repartee.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day Laziness-Part 3

Enjoy all the verses-Most folks barely know the first.

Memorial Day Laziness Part 2

Unless it's this! Take out the tissues.

I've Been Detached

Yes, I have been putting things up just to take up space, as I have been of no mind to write.

It has not been work. It has not been blogworld drama.

I have been battling a very difficult decision, one which I only shared with a handful of people.

A year ago this week, I took a foster child into my home.

He was three (almost four) at the time, malnourished, bald (due to lice), and was not potty-trained. He was scared, and he had little to no social skills. He had never been to a ballpark, had never heard of Santa.

It has been a busy year.

We've conquered the potty monster, introduced a boy to an ocean, had a birthday party, played soccer, developed a studly spike hairstyle, had a bountiful Christmas, learned our ABC's, made cupcakes and cookies, and played tee-ball.

He has learned "please," "thank you," and at bedtime, we have shared many an "I love you." And I quickly became "mom."

We faced his natural parents in a court scheduled panel review in the spring, and it became obvious to me that they were no longer a viable option for placement. After nine months, they had not had one negative drug screen. Not one.

And so, I stressed.

He thought he was going back "home." But I knew better, and I wanted to be there for him to pick up the pieces. And the caseworkers wanted to know what had been plaguing me for weeks: if parental rights were to be terminated, would we adopt him?

Problem: This child is not perfect. What child is? He is passive-aggressive. He doesn't listen. He resists schedules and routines. He has nervous habits. The list goes on, but it pretty much goes with the territory. Additional work, love, stress...that's part of the deal.

I wanted a son. I would make the effort. I envisioned a grown man -with character, strength, and humility- calling me mom, opening doors for me, and sharing stories of his success. And of course, supplying me with a multitude of grandchildren to sugar up. ....But this isn't about me.

My husband did not bond with this child. He just didn't. I think he's always wanted a son too, but not this one. They just didn't click. And so I knew that he could not be the father that the boy deserves. And so...

I had to make the call. Then, voice mails unreturned, I walked in to the DFCS office. I announced to the appropriate people that not only would we not be able to adopt this child to whom I have been mom for a year, but we would not be adopting at all. Ever. "We are retiring," I told the head of placement.

She shook her head and was obviously disappointed. "I had heard, but I wasn't going to believe it," she said, "not until I heard it from you."

It has been three years, and we have had six long term placements, and while I know that I could be passionate about children forever, my family is burnt out, and I must respect that.

But I refused to let this child be shuffled back into the system. I know that we are not the only foster parents who have burned out. I also know that there are many, many less than ideal homes out there.

And so...I made a pest of myself. I know that there are classes every year in which new families are approved for foster/adoption. I also know that the psyche coming out of this class is optimal for giving, loving, bonding.

So I demanded that he go to an adoptive couple out of that class. Of course, no one had to listen to me, nor did they want to, as the paperwork on these folks takes months to approve. So other suggestions were made...

"How about placing him with these two ladies? They would like another boy."

And I thought: Yeah, I'll bet the freaks would. I know the mother/daughter pair. They are strange. And they already have two boys, and it actually seems to be working, but one of the boys is an absolute hellion. This I thought, but I said, "No, he needs to be the focus for a while with no sibling rivalry, and he needs a father figure."

The next suggestion was in favor of a single lady who never married, but wanted kids, and already had one placed with her.

Being certain that she already had as much as she could handle, I again reinforced the need for a father figure and inquired about couples having just finished the course.

Sigh. That involved work on the part of the understaffed DFCS office. I understood. I sympathize. But dammit, this is important.

"Well, there is this one couple. Your age, no kids. They have almost all of their paperwork turned in..."

I made her head spin. "Let's call. Now!" We called from her office, and I invited the couple to my foster son's tee-ball game.

They were excited. They came. They took one look at those big, blue eyes of his and fell in love instantly.

And as my heart began to leave my body, I was thrilled that I had saved him from the system. They would adopt, and he would have a mom and dad forever.

And I would have a few weeks to get used to the idea while the couple's paperwork was rushed through the approval process.

Those few weeks and the past few weeks have been one and the same. I couldn't really begin to deal, so being a procrastinater, I simply put off the inevitable.

The call came Friday. "Pack him up; he's ready to go!" And I swallowed hard and mustered a "Wonderful...how's seven?"

And so we came home and grilled burgers and did bath-time. I taped boxes and began filling them, and tried not to cry... not until he left. I couldn't let him see me upset.

He was going to a sleepover with the nice couple he had spent the last two Saturdays with! They were going to the lake!

We had discussed moving, new mommy and daddy, and did he think it would be nice to live with this new couple? He did.

He didn't get it. I looked into his inquiring blue eyes as he watched his possessions pile into a box and I knew... he just didn't understand.

And so they came. And we carried out his things. And I hugged him ten extra times, and told him I loved him over and over, even following him as he was put into the carseat to tell him one more time.

Only then did I let the tears fall.

I made the right decision. I know this. I will see him again. They will need a babysitter, and such precious gems are hard to come by.

But this weekend has been rough. ...It's a "mommy" thing.

From Key at Key Issues-Link on Sidebar

If You Can't Blog, Copy=Part 1

Memorial Day Laziness-But you can't do better that this!

This is Rich...

Oh, boo-effing-hoo. Robby Gordon is dropping out of the Indy 500 because he believes that Danica Patrick, that hot new female racer, has an unfair advantage due to her diminutive stature. Her car will be lighter, see, so he's taking his ball and going home until NASCAR The IRL drives her out or makes her weight her car down. Even though, uh, her car already weighs the pre-established, regulation amount for a racing vehicle in that circuit. Oh, the pain! Oh, the unfairness of it all! Waaah!

You know what, Robby, you big whiner? You just made yourself look like one of the biggest pussies of all time. I mean, here are chicks like Annika Sorenstam, just dying to compete with men in spite of all the God-given physical advantages that men have in sports like golf, even though she's pretty sure she's still going to lose. Do you get that? Sorenstam loves the sport, so she naturally wants to be able to say she's competed with the best, regardless of the fact that she can never be as tall or as strong as the men she competes with. Conversely, here you are, bitching and moaning because this tiny little woman might have a 1mph advantage over you? You abject loser. You total wimp. Yeah, you love your sport. You want to compete with the best - just as long as no wimmen git uppity. Then it suuuuucks.

You think Robby Gordon would be dropping out if Danica Patrick was a skinny little hick young 'un from the Georgia pineywoods with a penis? I doubt it, even if that skinny little young 'un weighed the same as Patrick. Nooo, you'd just hear the commentators going on and on about how cool it was for that skinny bepenised hick that his car was so light, and on the race would run. Why, anyone would feel stupid complaining about a skinny man, right? Right? But, as Robby demonstrates his credo, when you throw in a vagina, all bets are off.

Boo hoo, life isn't fair. I guess Robby hasn't considered simply driving better, competing harder. Or going on a diet, to slim his ass down and reduce the advantage. Oooh, this chaps my arse. Can you tell?

Yeah...after all, women have such an unfair physical power in this sport. That's why they've won so many Indy 500's, right, Robby? It's also unfair that you have to race against older, more seasoned guys, since they have the advantage of experience. We should eliminate them, too. And while we're at it, it's unfair that some guys have better pit-crews. So everyone has to do their own pit work. Yeah, it will really slow down the action, but everything will be fair. And since we're going there, I guess it's unfair that some racers make more money than others, when everyone races the same race. So we'll just do a little good old fashioned income redistribution - divide the pot amongst all the racers, so it will be fair. Because as everyone knows, it is the ultimate principle that nobody gets an advantage. Somebody winning gives their team more money to work on better and faster vehicles. That would weight other races, and well, all hell would break loose!!!

This line of thinking, ladies and gents, is What Is Wrong With America.

Gaah. I've steamed up my monitor...but it does rankle. A no-contact sport, waged in machines. The one place that a woman could attempt to compete on a level playing field without reducing or watering down the pre-existing rules of engagement for that sport, those sorts of compromises in excellence being a topic I hear guys bitching about all the time. This playing field in racing is one of mental stamina, quick reflexes and a different kind of physical endurance. A sport in which we really might be equals - and Robby stalks off because there's a chance he might get beat by a girl.

It's 2005, Robby, you sad, scared little man. If Danica Patrick's vehicle didn't meet regulation weight, I would totally see your point. Since it does meet all of NASCAR's The IRL's requirements, your point just makes you look like a jerk.

UPDATE: Many thanks to Phin and Terry Reynolds for pointing out that I should have been referencing the Indy Racing League or "IRL" instead of NASCAR. Whoops!

From Suburban Blight-Link on the sidebar!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Texas "Hold 'Em"

Make sure you check out the actual arrest warrant below the story summary!

Oops, Wrong Victim

Nude Banker Busted Near Beach

May 27, 2005 6:43 am US/Eastern

UNION BEACH, N.J. Monmouth County authorities say a nude banker wearing a condom jumped out of the woods and tried to sexually assault an off-duty female police officer who was out for a jog.

The woman grabbed a can of pepper spray and called police on her cell phone as she chased the man in Union Beach on Sunday. Authorities say the woman got the license plate number to a rental car, which authorities traced to John Kelly.

The 39-year-old surrendered to police yesterday. Officials say the Jersey City resident is a vice president for Chase in New York.

Kelly is charged with attempted sexual assault and lewdness.

Prosecutors would not release the female officer's name or say what department she works for.

Redneck IQ Test

Redneck IQ Test

I am sick and tired of hearing about how dumb people are in the South. I challenge any so-called smart Yankee to take this exam:

1. Calculate the smallest limb diameter on a persimmon tree that will support a 10 pound possum.

2. Which of these cars will rust out the quickest when placed on blocks in your front yard?
(A) '65 Ford Fairlane
(B) '69 Chevrolet Chevelle, or
(C) '64 Pontiac GTO.

3. If your uncle builds a still, which operates at a capacity of 20 gallons of shine produced per hour, how many car radiators are required to condense the product?

4. A woodcutter has a chainsaw, which operates at 2700 RPM. The density of the pine trees in the plot to be harvested is 470 per acre. The plot is 2.3 acres in size. The average tree diameter is 14 inches. How many Budweisers will be drunk before the trees are cut down?

5. If every old refrigerator in the state vented a charge of R-12 simultaneously, what would be the percentage decrease in the ozone

6. A front porch is constructed of 2x8 pine on 24-inch centers with a field rock foundation. The span is 8 feet and the porch length is 16 feet. The porch floor is 1-inch rough sawn pine. When the porch collapses, how many hound dogs will be killed?

7. A man owns a Tennessee house and 3.7 acres of land in a hollow with an average slope of 15%. The man has five children. Can each of his grown children place a mobile home on the man's land and still have enough property for their electric appliances to sit out front?

8. A 2-ton truck is overloaded and proceeding 900 yards down a steep slope on a secondary road at 45 MPH. The brakes fail. Given average traffic conditions on secondary roads, what is the probability that it will strike a vehicle with a muffler?

9. A coal mine operates a NFPA Class 1, Division 2 Hazardous Area. The mine employs 120 miners per shift. A gas warning is issued at the beginning of the 3rd shift. How many cartons of unfiltered Camels will be smoked during this shift?

10. At a reduction in the gene pool variability rate of 7.5% per generation, how long will it take a town which has been bypassed by the interstate highway to breed a country and western singer?

I betcha thought that test was gonna be an easy one, didn't you? It's okay if you didn't do all that well. Just goes to show you... There's a hole heap of things that big city book learning don't prepare you for in this life.

As an added bonus for taking the "REDNECK CHALLENGE" here's some Southerly advice that may come in handy down the road a piece... Next time you are too drunk to drive, walk to the nearest pizza shop and place an order. When they go to deliver it, catch a ride home with 'em.

Shamelessly pilfered from Neil Boortz

Math Trick

Grab a calculator:

1. Punch in the first three digits of your phone number (not the area code).

2. Multiply by 80.

3. Add 1.

4. Multiply by 250.

5. Add the last four digits of your phone number.

6. Add the last four digits of your phone number again.

7. Subtract 250.

8. Divide by 2.

Recognize the number?

Submitted my crazy legal assistant pictured below.

Math whiz responsible for above quiz! Posted by Hello

Summer's Finally Here

I just took a boondoggle down to the waterfront to find some T-shirt gifts and to look for some other stuff and it's already hopping. With the shitty weather we've been having and the good forecast for the long weekend, the tourists are here in droves. We've got a great weekend planned with Scott and Cristina-some men's fishing and girl's shopping in the A.M., followed by an outside waterfront lunch, a four-hour booze cruise, back for showers then back to town for a five-star dinner and live music on the boardwalk. This Saturday night on the boardwalk is typically the wildest of the year-the people watching will be unparalleled. All the characters from town will crawl out of their holes tonight when the music starts and wander the boardwalk. There will always be a ton of folks seeing Beaufort for the first time and when I see their wonderment at the beauty and quirkiness of my town, I always feel lucky that come Monday, I'll still be here. Have a great one and drive safely!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Now That's a Talented Writer

I'm always amazed at the writing talent in the blogosphere-thousands of people who could not possibly jump through the hoops to get something published now have an outlet for their creativity and an audience to enjoy their work. I found this from one of my links, A Swift Kick, and thought it deserved some further dissemination. Here it is:

Character: Lin Lin

Lin Lin was the type of woman that still considered herself a girl. Her life resembled a rollercoaster, but never the kind that gains top billing at the amusement park. She was the roller coaster that people rode when the line was too long for the one they really wanted to ride. The loops were not exhilarating enough and the drops not frightening enough to thrill the true fanatics. Her highs burned bright but brief, like a shooting star. They were recognized by only a few and very rarely ever the same few twice. Her lows were long and lasting, like an endless winter that promises to block out the sun for more months than the calendar says it should. Nothing too tragic ever happened to her so this extreme too went generally unnoticed in the world. She was too average to be great and too fortunate to be worth sympathy, leaving her to fall through every crack life afforded to society.

Her trust in people had waned so far that she trusted people whom she'd never met far more than she trusted those who dared say they love her. Those were the worst kind of people. They used it as an excuse for everything. They were always asking her to forget the wounds they had caused because they loved her. It wasn't the strangers who had betrayed her; it was always the ones she told herself never would. But somehow, she continued to let them. All the while she knew deep down that she couldn't ever completely forgive their transgressions, no matter how many times she told herself that she had.

Tonight, as she stood in the bathroom waiting for the shower to heat up, she felt more lost than usual. She stood in front of the mirror but she was in a daze and never saw her reflection looking back at her. Suddenly she realized that there was no reflection to see because hot steam had filled the room and completely fogged the mirror. She undressed, tied her hair in a knot, and stood at the edge of the tub, attempting to cool the now scalding water. Finally she was able to touch the water without yanking her hand away in pain and she climbed into the lonely enclosure.

The water that had burned her fingers just moments before somehow felt cold as it landed on her skin. She hugged her arms close across her breasts with her back to the water, begging her body to warm against the chill in the air. Her pleas went unanswered no matter how many times she turned the knob to release more hot water. The temperature rose but her body remained numb to the heat. She wanted to cry but no tears would fall. Resigned to a lackluster experience, she abandoned her hope for a relaxing and refreshing escape. She ran the soapy sponge over her body but hardly felt its touch. She rinsed away the bubbles and let her hair down, motionlessly standing under the water for a long time. The need to wash her hair finally occurred to her and she complied with the urge to do so. It felt tedious and monotonous. Once she was finished she wasn't even sure she had done it. Maybe she had just dreamed it so vividly that she believed she had done it. Either way, she ran conditioner and a comb through it before rinsing it once again.

She knew that she was clean, the basic purpose of taking a shower had been satisfied, but she stood under the water hugging herself again. She twisted left and right at the waist, forcing the water to dance down her back in new patterns as she tried to come up with a legitimate reason to remain so secluded. Nothing came to mind. She turned off the water, wrapped herself in a towel, and stepped out of the shower with new emotion in her heart. Now, instead of hopeful that she had found a brief shelter she felt disappointment. Even the shower had let her down today. But still, no tears escaped from the place that they hid in deep inside her soul.

Tackle That Grackle Update

I have had no problem with the stupid birds for the last two nights. I found this link today-If the bird is smart enough to steal money from a car wash change machine, how come it can't find an open window?

Click on link for photos and story.

Coaches Motivational "Tool" Backfires

Gulliver Prep coach Lazer Collazo resigns


Gulliver Prep baseball coach Lazer Callazo officialy resigned Wednesday, a week after his alledged involvement of improper behavior towards his players came to light.

''I am doing it for the kids and I am doing it for the school,'' Callazo told the Herald Wednesday morning. ``I am not going to coach anymore at the high school or college level. I am going to stay and work at my Hardball Academy and that's all I have to say.''

School officials said Tuesday Callazo had agreed to resign as coach at the beginning of June.

''This is a resignation he is fully aware of,'' Gulliver public relations director Jen Vaida said Tuesday.

According to a Coral Gables police report, Collazo dropped his pants, took out his penis and accused his players of not having the testicular fortitude it takes to play baseball after a loss to Florida Christian on April 7.

''He then,'' according to a Coral Gables police report, ``pointed to his penis, testicles and asked the team if they had a set of these or were they equipped with a vagina.''

Collazo, who led Gulliver to the Class 3A state championship last season, did not comment on the allegations.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Do You Live To Work or Work To Live?

A snippet from Robert Heinlein:

I saw all around me this enormous plant, cities, farms, factories, churches, schools, homes, railroads, luggage, roller coaster, trees, saxophones, libraries, people and animals. People that looked like me, if what I was told was the truth. But what did they appear to be doing? 'They went to work to earn the money to buy the food to get the strength to go to work to earn the money to buy the food to get the strength to go work to get the strength to buy the food to earn the money to go to -- ' until they fell over dead. Any slight variation in the basic pattern did not matter, for they always fell over dead. And everybody tried to tell me that I should be doing the same thing.

....from "They", a short story by Robert A. Heinlein

A Hat Tip to Thunder and Roses

Sharks, Beer and Friends-5/20-5/22

Got to Scott's house at the appointed hour of 5:30. The trip took the usual 6.5 hours and I made it despite getting turned around in Elisabethtown which cost me about 20 minutes. I made up for it on the 160 mile stretch of I-95 South by setting the cruise at 82 (it's a 70 mph zone but if you're not doing at least 80 mph you end up with folks riding your ass and gigging you to get you out of the left lane). I hit a monster thunderstorm just after I passed Florence and when I crossed the bridge over Lake Marion it looked as roiled as the Cape Lookout Shoals on a bad day. I've rarely seen a lake with 5 foot breakers but there they were, crasing against the concrete pilings and sending spray almost up onto the road. It was still sprinkling when I got to Scott's place and I scooted inside. Cristina dropped by after work about 6:15 and had a couple of beers before heading home-she said it was a "guys weekend" and didn't want to "interfere." We'll see her and Scott this weekend in NC.
Jason and Kevin were coming in at 7:30 from Columbia and they finally fulled up at 8:30. Buss and his dad showed up for an hour or so and we pounded back the beer and ordered a pizza. Jason brought his first effort at rodbuilding-a stout rod for cobia, tarpon, etc. and I brought some of my rodbuilding stuff to help him repairs some small mistakes. We messed with some pigments, then went crazy with the pink and silver colors, a function of the beer and the audience we had attracted to the turning rod. He's now the proud owner of a black, silver and hot pink fishing rod. (Pictured Below)

Jason's pink and silver fishing rod.

Sharks, Beer and Friends, Cont'd.

Scott and I were the last to "bed" on Friday. Jason had dragged a sleeping bag into the dining room and sprawled out on the hardwood floor while his fishing rod turned on the dryer above his head. I took the couch in the living room and Kevin took the single fold-out in the guest bedroom. The plan was for Jeff, Jason and Kevin to take Jeff's boat out to Combahee Light and for me and Scott to meet them out there in Buss's 35 foot Egg Harbor, which would serve as the "mother ship." When Jason and Kevin left for Jeff's, the air temp was in the low 60's and the wind was starting to kick up. Scott and I left the house at about 9:00 and made a stop at the Publix for beer, ice and rations. Kevin had made a bag of sandwiches, Jason had brought some Bubba burgers and hot dogs and Buss had a bag of frozen mahi-mahi. We kept pulling cases of beer out of the store cooler, finally stopping when the cart could hold no more. Going without catching fish-maybe. Running out of beer-never. When we got to the mother ship docked at Lady's Island Marina, the wind was honking out of the north. The wind chill was probably in the high 40's and the boys in Jeff's boat had a haul down the Coosaw River directly into the wind and the current. They called and said they couldn't hack it-they were coming in and would go out with us on the big boat. We waited till they got there, loaded all of their stuff on the big boat and about 11:30 we decided our best course would be to head out Port Royal Sound and fish the Broad River. By noon we were underway-tunes were cranked up and beer tabs were popped. We had a 90 minute cruise to the rip in the Broad River where the cobia are supposed to be thick this time of year. The state record was landed there the week before.

The "Mother Ship"-35 Foot Egg Harbor Posted by Hello

Gray day Posted by Hello

The "booty"

Sharks, Beer and Friends, continued...

Buss and Jeff set the hook (anchor for you landlubbers) and the bow of the boat swung into the wind. A boat with a bow anchor will (unless there is little wind or an outrageous current) cause the boat to face into the wind, which is a good thing. The bow is designed to deflect the waves to both sides and provide the most safety and stability. With the bow facing into the wind, the cockpit was shielded completely and was relatively warm. We put out the ourtriggers and set out about six to eight rods at one time. We had come "loaded for bear"- a weighted chum bag filled with the stinkiest, oiliest menhaden available was dropped behind the boat to attract our prey. We had two buckets of eels in various stages of friskiness, more dead menhaden and some squid. Cobia fishing requires nothing more than getting the lines weighted, baited and in the water. Set the clicker to signal a strike, put the rod in the holder and drink beer until the clicker buzzes and the rod bends. Then grab the rod, set the drag and give it a yank. A cobia will just take the bait and go-there is no nibbling or pecking at it, just brute speed and force. A cobia looks like a huge catfish and although it's not the easiest thing to clean and filet, the meat is white, flaky and mild-tastes like chicken as they say.
Nothing bit all day except the small sharks-two to five pounders, either spinner sharks or blacktips. Not bad for the occasional pull, but not what we wanted. After a few dozen, they were deemed pests and their re-entry into the water no longer was a casual toss but became more violent and original. Jeff mastered the "shark slam," bouncing them off the transom. He considered the catching of a shark to be a personal affront to his fishing ability. Jason heaved them skyward with an occasional incredible "hang-time." Scott was more of a thrower like Jason. Kevin and me just watched as the sharks were dog-cussed and sent flying back into the water. We probably caught thirty of bastards-all day and up until midnight.

Cheese dogs! Posted by Hello


We cooked dogs and everthing else on a Foreman grill set up on a ledge in the cockpit. Cheesedogs were the appetizers while the mahi-mahi marinated and defrosted. Buss's father and uncle were out in two smaller boats and they tied up to us for a while, came aboard and drank some beer with us. We had given them a bunch of it before we took off and we could see them throwing them down from a distance. They got ready to take off before dusk and we did a quick beer inventory and started to panic. Our coolers looked a little low for some reason-we had brought along scads of the stuff. We plundered the small boats for all their stash before they left and the coolers were full again. The only booze aboard was some gin but the only mixer we had was Coke and we had no takers for that concoction.
The sky was slate gray all day and cool-not a peek of the sun until just at sunset.

First sight of the sun Posted by Hello

Sunset Posted by Hello

Jason wearing my bibs Posted by Hello

My Reckless Kelly koozie Posted by Hello

Sharks Posted by Hello

Rods out Posted by Hello

Now that's some wood! Posted by Hello

The dangers of alcohol Posted by Hello

Phil Spector on trial for murder. He was initially famous as a record producer for his "wall of sound" production technique. His trial coif is the "wall of hair." Posted by Hello

Mylar Bag to Cover Head- $12.00
Orchid to put inside bag-$35.00
Emaciated runway nymph suffocating in her own costume-Priceless Posted by Hello

Doggy Style

I know that the average 17-year old male is essentially a "penis with feet," but this kid's got some issues.

Spartanburg County Teen Accused Of Having Sex With Dog
Teen Already Facing Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges From Different Incident

CAMPOBELLO, S.C. -- A Campobello woman says she witnessed her neighbor doing the unthinkable.

Cory Michael Williamson’s neighbor told sheriff’s deputies that she saw the teen having sexual contact with her 6-month-old dog over the weekend.

Williamson, 17, is now in the Spartanburg County Detention Center charged with buggery.

Last year, Williamson was charged with criminal sexual conduct against a 4-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl.

The solicitor's office said Wednesday morning that it has petitioned a circuit judge to revoke bond for Williamson.

The hearing is scheduled for next Friday.

119 Reasons That the Public Hates Lawyers

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

New Traffic Sign Needed-Fake "Johnson" Ahead

Suspicious package indeed: Device that forced I-75 and Daniels shut was a prosthetic penis

The suspicious object that jammed traffic Monday on Interstate 75 and Daniels Parkway was not an explosive pipe bomb, according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office -- it was a prosthetic penis..

There's no word yet on whether the device — found on the side of Daniels under the northbound I-75 overpass — was designed to serve medical or recreational needs.

A motorist called the Lee County Sheriff’s Office shortly after 3 p.m. about the suspicious package on the side of the road under the northbound Interstate 75 overpass.

The cylinder was more than a foot long in a plastic bag and wrapped with duct tape. It looked like pipe bomb.

Deputies arrived and alerted the bomb squad, which used a robot to disable the cylinder. The north- and southbound lanes of Intestate 75 were closed for about an hour between Alico Road and Colonial Boulevard. Traffic was blocked on Daniels Parkway at the overpass for an hour while the device was removed.

The closures leaft the heart of Lee County's road system without any vehicles as rush hour approached. After the drama ensued there were back-ups for about 15 minutes, but then traffic cleared to its normal levels.

I-75 is the main north-south artery in the region and Daniels is one of the major east-west corridor in south Fort Myers, connecting Gateway, Lehigh Acres and Southwest Florida International Airport with the region's retail power centers and tens of thousands of homes along the way.

Gigantic Fish Story

Tackle That Grackle

Grackle- \'grak-ul\n-Any one of several large American blackbirds having glossy, iridescent black plumage. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary.

My definition would differ slightly-"A large, dumber than shit, black-winged menace that has turned my upstairs room into a nightly Hitchcock scene."

I opened the door to walk upstairs last night. I had a fishing rod to finish turning-it was midnight and I had cracked open a bottle of Bacardi Anejo Rum from Mexico and had to get this job finished before the rum kicked in. At the top of the stairs there is a chandelier, nothing fancy, just a hanging five-bulb fixture from Lowe's. As I got directly beneath it and started to turn the corner into the room, I heard a loud flapping noise and saw a black object come flying at me. It smashed its head into the light fixture so hard that it fell onto the stairs below me. I went back down the stairs to close the door to try and keep the bird in the room and away from the dogs and cats that awaited below. It would be easier to do battle with the bird myself rather than be "assisted" by two barking dogs and two curious, swatting cats. The slamming of the door stirred the bird back to life and it flew into the light again, banked off of it and flew straight into the glass window. It then settled onto the ceiling fan which luckily was turned off. I surveyed the room. There was birdshit on the bed covers and in the bathroom. There were white flakes all over the floor near the window from where this thing had repeatedly smashed into the plastic lampshade on the nightstand light. Instead of confronting the bird and spooking it into another frenzy of destruction, I opened the window and removed the screen, giving the bird an obvious escape route to the outdoors. I then retreated back down the stairs and closed the door. I would give the bastard a half-hour to find the window, then I would go back up, close the window and finish the rod.
It seems that an open window is obvious to every species except the common grackle. When I returned to the scene, I heard no flapping and saw no sign of the bird. Good-mission accomplished! Wrong. The son-of-a-bitch was inside the shower stall just sitting there. I opened the stall door and instead of flying out the gaping opening, it smashed its head four more times against the shower stall glass. I took a towel and swatted wildly at him, driving him towards the open window, which he continually missed, smashing into the wall, the window sill and the lampshade, which was now destroyed. I chased him around for about ten minutes until he got back into the bathroom hit the mirror head-on and fell between the sink and the wall, stunned by his last collision. I took the towel, grabbed him firmly, took him to the window and tossed him out. His wings started flapping and he finally took off just before hitting the ground.
This is about the fourth time this spring we have had to chase these birds from the house. They have nested in the bathroom fan vent for five years but have never made it into the house. I just thank God that they didn't traumatize Vin last weekend when she slept in that room. Dumbass birds!

Monday, May 23, 2005

All Sharks, No Cobia

Back from another unforgettable trip to the Palmetto state. For some reason, I'm not as tired as I usually am after the slog back to NC. It's not for lack of trying. We drank beer and booze until 2:00 Friday night, got up at 9:00, left the dock at 11:00 and I had a cold beer in hand for the next 13 hours straight. Slept on the floor of the boat in a sleeping bag, woke up and we had some breakfast beers and Bubba Burgers. I limited myself to four on the hour and a half ride in to the dock because I had to drive home. I hit the road at 2:30, made my usual stop at the BP and Wendy's at Point South, pointed it up I-95 and hit the gas. All's well until I took a sip of tea and realized the moron at Wendy's could not understand the word "unsweetened" after I repeated it 3 times. Like drinking freakin' cough syrup. That necessitated an unplanned stop up the road to pour the shit out and get something to wash down a Wendy's double and fries. Back on the road and home at 8:45-a new record.
It was the first time I had fished with all my SC buddies at the same time since November and the lack of edible fish did nothing to spoil the incredible fun. Thanks to Scott, Jason, Jeff, Kevin and Buss for a great time. I'll post some photos later. Back to work for some rest!

Friday, May 20, 2005

See you Sunday night

It's off to Beaufort, S.C. to fish for cobia. We'll have four boats including the 35 foot Egg Harbor "Mother Ship" and we'll stay overnight Saturday on the boat. More party photos and stories next week along with cobia-blogging. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I'm Beat-The Party, Part 5-Zero Hour

They rolled in from all parts of NC and SC. Scott was the first to arrive at about 5:00. The grill was pre-assembled and just needed to be rolled to the porch and hooked up to the tank. I need to take a photo of this stainless steel beast just to do it justice. What a great gift from the boys from South Carolina! The crowd grew slowly. Beer and drinks were flowing freely and the grill was fired up and broken in with about 20 burgers and some dogs. Old friends met new friends and became new friends. Stories were told and re-told. The final wave busted in about 8:30-the group included my great buddy and co-worker Rob Lang, who I had not seen or spoken too in over 5 years, his wife Whitney, Ron Spivey, a Superior Court Judge and his fiancee, Heather. After hugs all around and a few tears of joy, it was on.
The crowd included:
  • 15 lawyers:
    • 2 defense attorneys
    • 2 plaintiff's attorneys
    • 4 assistant district attorneys
    • 2 assistant U.S. attorneys
    • 1 bankruptcy attorney
    • 1 business litigation attorney
    • 1 Superior Court judge
    • 1 trial court specialist
    • 1 corporate counsel
  • 1 State Bureau of Investigation special agent
  • 1 state probation officer
  • 1 police officer
  • 2 court reporters
  • 1 graphic artist
  • 1 corporate human resources director
  • 1 writer
  • 1 teacher
Go ahead-make your snap judgment about this group. Self-important? Pompous? Workaholic? Snooty? Big Egos? Pretentious? Phonies? WRONG!!!

This is one of the most genuine, fun-loving, self-deprecating, hard-drinking, horselaughing crowd ever packed into one room. I had friends who had not met any of these folks before and I have never seen them be accepted so readily or have as much fun. People laughed until they ached. Nobody cared what anyone else did or how much money they made last year or how they were dressed-the only requirement was "can you have a damn good time." If so, welcome aboard. If not, you probably weren't invited in the first place.
The crowd dispersed except for those staying at the house-Scott, Randall and Kate, Vin, Jane and me. Some more laughs, some more new tunes and more alcohol. I was the last to bed-about 2:00 A.M. after a couple of Maker's Marks. I couldn't stop smiling.

I'm Beat-The Party, Part 4- A Snafu Becomes a Blessing in Disguise

I had reserved a private room at a local restaurant back in February for a sit-down dinner on Saturday night (May 15th) for 30 or so friends. I was faxed four or five menus to choose from or at least get an idea what was available. I decided on the Tuesday before to touch base and confirm the room. I called my contact, a manager and was answered curtly, "you never sent in your contract or followed up." I told her I had never gotten a contract. The not "following up" was correct, but I didn't realize that I had to. I asked if the room was still available and was told politely but firmly that it wasn't. My usual reaction to things like this is to "go off," but something told me that would not be good in the long run. First, I love this restaurant and I wanted to be able to go back there to eat. Second, this is a small town and being a complete ass to the locals is not wise. Third, I felt a good bit responsible for not making sure the deal was actually closed. Fourth, I didn't have time to chew someone's ass, I had to regroup quickly. I made a couple of calls to other places but they all wanted like $4,000.00 up to cover the room and the food and the booze. I love my friends, but damn.
Jane had been urging me to get the Friday night thing catered by Roland's Bar-B-Q instead of doing a bunch of grilling and cooking but my mind was set on burgers on the new Char-Broil, plus I had bought all the meat and stuff. So why not Roland's on Saturday. I went by and talked to Roland (another benefit of living in a small town is that you know everyone) and can get things done in a blink. I settled on a 60 pound suckling pig, 50 pieces of chicken breasts and a gallon of slaw. All I had to do was pick up the pig-cooker, hitch it to the car, tow it to the house, push it into the back yard and fire it up-the pig was already fully cooked at Roland's while the boardwalk party was going on. The more I thought about this, the more it beat the hell out of sitting in a restaurant at a table-everyone could talk to everybody else and stay as late as possible. Disaster avoided-blessing in disguise.

What is your animal personality?

I'm a Bear. Pretty accurate except for the part about having patience-I have none of that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

"Well, I've Never!

Ann Althouse started this little game-make a list of 10 things you've never done. Here's mine-feel free to play along in the comments.

1. I have never shot a gun.

2. I have never smoked or taken illegal drugs.

3. I have never drunk scotch.

4. I have never stolen anything.

5. I have never traveled out of North America.

6. I have never ridden or driven a motorcycle.

7. I have never watched one episode of Star Trek or seen any of the Star Trek movies.

8. I have never been to a Disney theme-park.

9. I have never "puked" outside the Eastern and Central time zones.

10. I have never gone diving or snorkeling.

So there!

I'm Beat!-The Party, Part 3

Having so many people drive so far for your birthday is humbling and also presents the daunting task of keeping them fed, entertained and adequately plyed with adult beverages during their stay. A five-hour party on the boardwalk leaves a great hunk of time to fill during the course of a weekend. The original plan which was codified by means of invitations was a cookout at the homeplace starting Friday night at 6:00, with the main party from 1-6 the next day, followed by a dinner at 8:00 at one of the great waterfront restaurants where we would have our own room.
February, March and April limped by with some of the shittiest fishing and boating weather ever. May arrived finally and all of a sudden this party weekend was on me like a cheap suit (inside joke with Scott). The thought of having 30 or so people scoping out your house at one time is unnerving and requires a herculean effort to overcome the winter's neglect. The list grew like kudzu-powerwash the screen porch and porch furniture (the latter was avoided by buying new porch furniture), powerwash the mildew off the vinyl siding of the house and the shed, clean up all the rodbuilding crap from every room in the house, i.e. hide it in the attic until the guests leave, scrape the epoxy from rodbuilding off the countertops and tables, replace the kitchen sink and faucets, fix the closer on the front door, arrange for the carpet and furniture to be cleaned, plant the garden and front flower bed, replace all burned-out lightbulbs, nuke the weeds in the natural areas into oblivion, mow the yard to get rid of the dog shit, buy beer and ice, buy plastic cutlery, paper plates and groceries, clean off the fly tying table, wash the car, clean the boat and confirm with the restaurant. It seemed that every chore done spawned three others. I had court the week of the 2nd and I planned to get most of the stuff done following that. The plumber put the sink in on Monday, the 9th and the carpet people showed up Tuesday afternoon to do their thing. I took off at noon on Wednesday and made a 3-hour Walmart run-two carts filled to the brim and it felt like I was pulling a coal scuttle. Got in the wrong line-it was the shortest line by far, just the wrong one. An octogenerian wearing a ball cap with the insignia of a local bank was claiming the checkout lad had shorted him two bucks on his $400.00 pile of stuff. He took the 3-foot long receipt and pored over it item by item like an FBI agent for what seemed like a lifetime until I was ready to give the guy five bucks just to get the hell out of the store. I was saved by a young lady who opened up a new register for me. Three hundred smackers later, I'm out the door with the booty.
My plan was to have hamburgers and hot dogs for the cookout, cooked on the new stainless steel Charbroil beauty that Scott sayed he was giving me as a present from he and Jeff and Jason. I spent all Wednesday and Thursday evening forming 25 lbs. of burger into about 60 patties, making a massive pasta salad and potato salad and a gallon of baked beans. I took my 17 foot Old Town Canoe, pulled it up on the screen porch and made it into the world's largest beer cooler. It took 400 lbs. of ice to fill it up but when the beer was added, it was a beautiful sight. Other ice-coolers were used to chill the wine. It was finally Friday-I looked at the clock. It was 4:30 P.M. and I had time to extract a celebratory beer out of the canoe, take a shower and change into some new threads and wait for the first guests to arrive.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Me with special bean shaker can Posted by Hello

Jane, Me, Judges John Nobles and Ron Spivey Posted by Hello

J.P. and Rebecca check out the array of dogs on the boardwalk Posted by Hello

Odd couple of the year-Ervin Brown and Tom Keith Posted by Hello