Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Juvenile Humor

A short poem by Phin:

A Cat Named Sparky

I've got a cat named Sparky.
He's got steel balls and no hind legs.

And one from WitNit:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I'm schizophrenic
And so am I

"Piano Man" Looking Mighty Scary

Damn- I knew he had a string of auto accidents but did he get his choppers knocked out? Heck, this almost gave me a heartattack-ack-ack-ack -ack!

"Son can you play me a memory
I'm not really sure how it goes
But it's sad and it's sweet
And I knew it complete
When I had a younger man's teeth"

The eyes are a bit scary too, but not this bad:
Thanks to Sandy for that bit of loveliness!

New Cocktails in Various Stages of Development

Leprous Nephew,
Serbian Paperhanger,
Fat Catamite,
Senior Beatdown,
Tallahassee Fingersex,
Mandy Patinkin's Sack-Lather,
Liquid Divorce,
14 Acorns in a Blue Shoebox,
Slander Sauce,
Hirsute Toddler,
I'm Afraid I Have Bad News, Mrs. Lincoln,
Chinese Brian Wilson,
Soulrending Night of Misery and Horror,
Hello Herpes,
General Amnesty,
Don't Push Send,
Ugly Girlfriend (80 Proof),
Ugly Bride/Wife (100 Proof),
Reconsider Baby,
Green Cyst,
Left Wing Bias (Apple 'Tini' w/sweet Vermouth),
Right Wing Bias (Vodka or Gin Martini, rocks, dry Vermouth),
Caroming Goat's Head,
Fatwa This,
Living Hell,
Suicide (I think there is already a drink by this name),
Slippery Cousin,
French Riot,
Bend Over Jacques,
God's Foot In Your Arse,
Apocalypse Tomorrow,
Constitutional Crisis,
Medina Mudslide,
Naked Muslim,
Hot-Spiced Manbroth

Please feel free to add you own.

Great Site

I know nothing and want to know nothing about fashion, but I do know what looks horrific.
Go Fug Yourself is a site that simply skewers what passes these days for Hollywood fashion with pictures and commentary that is hilarious-check it out and bookmark it for a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

When pipes are outlawed, only outlaws (and plumbers) will have pipes!

"Dammit! When Richard Edgar Henderson, Jr. says pass the stuffing, you'd better pass it."

(click on title for link)

This reminds me of that great Archie Bunker line when he was arguing about gun control with his son-in-law-"Would it make you feel better if they was pushed out of windows?"

$16.00 Bucks an Hour to Flip Burgers!

Sounds great but there is a downside to living in Northern Alberta: It's 40 below, your 300 miles from anywhere, a single room rents for $800.00 per month and there's nothing to do but smoke crack-Here's an amazing story on life in a frontier boomtown, Fort McMurray:

Boomtown faces major social challenges

Fort McMurray is a boomtown on steroids, so much so that it makes Calgary’s boom seem insignificant in comparison.

Pickup trucks continually jam the Tim Horton’s drive-through lane, and long lineups often wind outside the doors of local restaurants. All over the city of 61,000 you see lines of men waiting in their work gear to get picked up by Diversified Staffing buses and driven to the oilsands for their shift. The oilsands are in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, which means there’s always traffic on the roads.

Every small business in Fort McMurray is desperate for employees to serve the continuous stream of customers. The Brick is offering $18 an hour for a sales representative, Dairy Queen is willing to pay $13 to $16 an hour. McDonald’s is offering full-time benefits for those slinging fries, and promises "to work around your schedule." Locals complain about having to wait in long lineups at the grocery store because there aren’t enough cashiers to fill all the checkout aisles.

Fort McMurray is essentially the Dawson City of the 21st century, except instead of gold there is a whole hell of a lot of oil and it’s enticing people from all over Canada, and even the world, to seek their fortunes.

There are many people living comfortable middle- or upper-class lifestyles in the remote northern Alberta city, but not everyone. Hundreds of people live in campgrounds, some year-round, because housing is too expensive for them. An average single detached house cost $430,000 this month. In October, two-bedroom apartments were advertised for as much as $2,500 a month and a single room without a private kitchen or bathroom was advertised for $800 a month. The Regional Issues Working Group estimates 6,000 new housing units will be required in order to meet demand for housing by 2010.

In mid-October when Fast Forward visited a couple of Fort McMurray campgrounds, campers were preparing for winter by taping insulation on to the outside of their RVs or fifth wheels.

Vera Gladue lives in a converted school bus equipped with a wood stove. She is housekeeping at a local hotel and can’t afford to buy or rent anything in Fort McMurray.

"It’s so expensive to live in town. It’s a lot cheaper here," she says.

Gladue and her husband spent last winter in the campground as well, but she says she’s noticed more campers planning to stay year-round this year.

"Sometimes I’m sick of living here. There’s not a lot of space. It’s pretty cluttered," says Gladue. "It’s all right to live here in the summer, but not year-round. I hope it’s my last winter."

Karen Charlton lives in the same campground in a 24-foot RV with her five-year-old grandson, her 19-year-old son, her husband, two cockatiels, a cat and a dog. This will be their second winter in the campground as well – they can’t afford housing in town. Charlton says last winter was fine, except for the time trees fell onto campsites during a big storm.

"There was one that came through a friend’s trailer right beside her TV," she says. "When the trees come down, they come down pretty good. We were OK where we were."

Charlton’s RV is crammed with family photos and knick-knacks. She says even though the family gave away most of their wordly possessions before moving into the RV, it’s still hard to find enough space. For example, the cat’s litter box is currently in the bathtub.

But Charlton is surprisingly positive about the fact that she and her family are living in a campground and could be for some time. She says she likes the close-knit campground community and finds the northern Alberta scenery to be beautiful. Prior to moving to Fort McMurray, the family lived in Cold Lake, where they couldn’t find any work.

"There’s a lot of people that come up for work and they’re struggling. They’ve been out of work for a long time and this is the place to come," she says. "The steady job is here and we’re getting some money saved through RRSPs."

At another local campground, Denis and Pauline Landry are preparing to spend their first winter in their brand new RV. They lived in the community for 12 years previously and owned a house, but they sold it, and moved away not expecting to return. However, after buying their dream house on Newfoundland’s coast, they realized they had to return to Fort McMurray to make some more money for retirement.

"I’m not going back in debt for the rest of my life for a house," says Denis. "We didn’t really want to come back, but this is where the work is and the money is."

They’ve already got a plan in place if the weather gets too frigid.

"If it gets down to -30 C and -40 C and we can’t stay here, we’ve got lots of friends and family we can stay with," says Pauline.

Denis says there are lots of people from Newfoundland working in Fort McMurray and saving up to retire on the rock.

"You don’t need much to live in Newfoundland," he says.

Rod McDonald, executive director of the United Way, says oilsands employees tend to do well in Fort McMurray, but for almost everyone else it can be tough to afford to live in the community.

It’s difficult for social service agencies to recruit and retain employees, he says, because they can’t pay employees enough to factor in the cost of living. In some cases, small businesses are paying their employees more than social service agencies can afford to.

"The social service sector can’t compete with fast food restaurants," says McDonald.

Even RCMP officers, teachers and nurses, who would normally be middle-class, find it tough to get by due to the cost of housing, he says.

"They’re all really up against it here," he says.

In Fort McMurray you can qualify for low-income housing if you make a combined family income of $60,500 a year.

"It’s unlike anything else I’m aware of in Canada right now. It’s kind of exciting. It’s almost like being caught up in the old gold rush. You really feel like pioneers up here, but there are issues that go along with it," says McDonald. "It’s not all a bowl of gravy…. We get people who hear the stories about the prosperity that’s in this region and they throw their family in their station wagon and all their belongings and they show up here and they expect that they’re right away going to be able to go to work, but they get here and the reality sinks in."

The reality is that if you are a skilled tradesperson or an engineer, you can make a lot of money, but if you’re not working at the oilsands, getting by is tougher.

"They soon find out that, that job at $15 or $18 an hour that sounds pretty good when you show up in Fort McMurray, when you go to rent accommodations and cope with the other higher costs of living that are here, you find it’s just not nearly enough," says McDonald.

He says people then end up in campgrounds or the Salvation Army’s homeless shelter.

Fort McMurray conducted its first homeless count in November 2004 and found there were 355 homeless people. However, Edna Moman, executive director of the Centre of Hope, says she estimates that number has gone up by at least a hundred in the last year.

The Centre of Hope is a house on Fort McMurray’s main street that’s been converted into a drop-in centre for the homeless. On a cold winter afternoon, the centre is packed with homeless people hanging out on the black leather furniture and watching TV.

Moman says people often arrive in Fort McMurray thinking $1,000 or $1,500 will tide them over until their first paycheque, and then discover they can’t rent anything at all for that.

"Some have come thinking that this really is the land of opportunity… and they’re working in the service industry and they haven’t got enough money to pay the rent of an apartment," she says. "Many of us have said we really haven’t got a middle class. We have the upper middle class, who can afford the big-ticket house, and then we have those who struggle here on a daily basis."

Dave, who would only give his first name to Fast Forward, is a regular Centre of Hope client. He’s been living in the bush outside Fort McMurray for the past two years trying to recover from a crack cocaine addiction.

Dave is an instrument mechanic who says he was making $3,000 a week working at an oilsands company, and spent it all on crack.

"It wasn’t logical for me to work. I would have $3,000 in my pocket Friday night and Monday morning I was bumming smokes, so why should I work? It was hurting me more than helping me because I spent that amount of money," says Dave. "With nothing, I can’t use (crack) that much. My biggest fear is the money."

Dave says crack is huge in Fort McMurray and many other people are in the same situation as him.

"I don’t really like it here because of what it’s done to me or what I’ve done to myself here. I don’t have good memories," he says of the city.

Moman says Fort McMurray needs an expanded detox centre where people can dry out and an alcohol and drug treatment centre where people can get long-term treatment. She says the community is also in dire need of more affordable housing.

Much of the land around Fort McMurray is Crown land owned by the provincial government. The government has promised to sell close to 1,000 acres of Crown land to developers. The province expects that 6,000 housing units will be built on that land over the coming years. Jason Chance, spokesperson for Seniors and Community Support, says developers will be required to "explain how they will contribute to the overall affordability of housing in Fort McMurray." Chance says 310 affordable housing units have been built with joint federal and provincial funding in Fort McMurray since 2002.

Gilles Huizinga, chief administrative officer of the Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corporation, says the corporation plans to have 875 new affordable housing units built by 2009.

"We feel in the next two years we will start seeing real catch up… and the market will start seeing some modest stability," he says.

Despite the obvious social challenges facing Fort McMurray, many longtime residents have a fierce loyalty towards their community and become easily annoyed about any negative media coverage.

At the end of an oilsands tour, Alain Moore, a media relations spokesperson for Syncrude, took Fast Forward on a tour of one of Fort McMurray’s new suburban neighbourhoods.

"It looks like northwest Calgary," he says, pointing out young mothers pushing toddlers in strollers and joking that the crying kid in the stroller isn’t representative of the average Fort McMurray child.

Moore’s parents are from Newfoundland and moved to the community decades ago. Now they have grandchildren there, including Moore’s three-year-old son, and no plans to leave. He says he and his wife are able to hang out with lots of couples with children because Fort McMurray has a young population.

"I like it. A lot of us like it. That’s why we’re very protective. We don’t always like the way our community is depicted in the media," says Moore. "McMurray is a great place in a lot of ways because a lot of people are from somewhere else. It’s a very warm community as a newcomer. People are very accommodating to new people. We often have a saying, ‘Fort McMurray is a community where your neighbour becomes your family.’ A lot of your extended family are somewhere else because you came here and started a career… so a lot of people are able to build a social and support network with their friends and neighbours."

Moore says Fort McMurray has a strong community spirit – 5,000 people volunteered when the city hosted the Arctic Winter Games, and it has one of the highest per capita donation rates to the United Way in Canada.

Moman has also lived in the community for decades and now has grandchildren there.

"I love Fort McMurray. Fort McMurray is our home and our grandchildren are here and we’ll retire here," she says. "I’ve heard so many negative comments about Fort McMurray and as an oldtimer and a person who has a vested interest in this community, I get a little annoyed because I live quite happily here."

However, Moman says she’s concerned Fort McMurray is losing its small-town feel as the population grows so quickly.

"It used to be a fairly laid-back, easy-going community and now it’s hustle and bustle and some of those small-town components have been washed away," she says. "Many days it feels to me like people are just here for the buck."

From the "your honor, I might a murderer, but I'm no thief" files...

Syracuse man admits hospital rape

Arthur Brown, of Syracuse, pleaded guilty today to raping a 15-year-old in her hospital room, but dislikes the implication the crime was a violent one.

"All I do is kidnap, shoot and sell drugs," he told Onondaga County Court Judge William Walsh about his criminal history. "I'm not a rapist, man."

Brown, 29, was scheduled to begin trial today but after nearly 90 minutes of debate with Walsh, he took a plea instead. That means instead of facing a maximum of two to four years in state prison, he will likely get one to three years.

His contention was that the victim, who had been a patient at Crouse Hospital, told him before they had sex that she was 18.

"This is injustice right here," Brown shouted. "I did not rape her. She lied about her age."

"That doesn't matter," Walsh said. The law said if she was younger than 17 and he is an adult, he can be charged with rape because it couldn't be consensual because of her age.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

In the name of God!

We have soldiers fighting abroad. In some poor countries, as James Lileks alluded, "women push a donkey cart up a rutted road and sit in the market all day waiting for someone to buy their withered tubers, so they can buy a small piece of burlap soaked in sugar to feed their nine children. " Katrina victims try to reassemble a portion of their lives. Then we have this (hit link on title above)-a "running of the fools" at a Wal-Mart trying to get a freakin' toaster at half off. Lines completely around a Target at 4:45 A.M. to save $3.00 on a pair of Dockers. This is the stuff that absolutely makes my blood boil during the holidays. While kids in the ghetto or third-world countries go without those of us that have more than we need continue to be ungrateful gluttons. Shoot me dead if you ever see my noseprints on the front window of a department store during the holidays-or anytime of the year. Bah, humbug yourself!

Start Your Day with the Daily Dancer

Friday, November 25, 2005

That's Why the Analysts Make the "Big Bucks"

Now they can actually indict the ham sandwich!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


You have two coins in your pocket that total $.35. One of the coins is not a dime. What two coins do you have in your pocket? Post your answers in the comments. First correct answer gets a free custom wood pen.

"I actually Voted for the Defendant, before I Voted against him"

Texas Size Fun-(The Finale)

All we had seen of San Antonio was the airport, I-35 and a traffic oddity called a "Texas Turnaround," allowing basically a U-turn to go the other way on the interstate. My own state's road system is nothing to write home about so I'll make no comment except I hope to go back soon and figure it out. Scott and Cristina had to fly out at 9:30 A.M. and the rest of us had flights leaving around 2:30 P.M. so the plan was for us to drop them off at the airport and we would do the tourist thing-The Alamo and the Riverwalk. Our goodbyes at the airport were short-we were quickly shooed away from the loading zone by a small, resentful hispanic woman. Soon we were gone and our South Carolina friends were in the air back home.
We paid a local extortionist 5 bucks to park within walking distance to the Alamo. I had been there as a kid and recalled it incorrectly as being a tiny mission-the entire complex was much bigger and included a courtyard and barracks that housed the Texas soldiers. We wandered the grounds and ended up watching a man from "Overactors Anonymous" recite the story of the battle of the Alamo, which according to his presentation, (I have no reason to doubt it's veracity), was a complete "clusterf%#@" on both sides. Seems the Mexican Army under General Santa Ana had devised a clever sneak attack at night which was underway and about to be successful when one of the Mexican's had a "Tourette's moment," spoiling the surprise arrival by shouting something and awakening the Texas soldiers. Both sides were ill-prepared for battle at that particular hour of the night and they ran around in the dark shooting anything that moved-at least that's what I gained from the guy's recital. We found great humor not in the content of the presentation, which was mildly fascinating, but in the way he delivered the story. He was a middle-aged guy with a bad hairpiece, sporting a striped shirt and colorful red vest. His stacatto delivery was hard to understand at first as there was no rhythm to it-several words would come out as one and then single words would be chopped up or drawn out as several. It was like someone who gave their phone number in something other than the standard 3-number area code, 3-number prefix, 4-number suffix grouping. He also carried a microphone and at certain moments he would sigh, drop his head and simultaneously allow the microphone to flop flaccidly from his hands for dramatic effect. He also appeared to be disturbingly emotionally invested in this battle which took place 150 years ago- at times he was on the brink of tears and at others he appeared to be transported by the fatalistic heroism of the Texans. We spent an entire lunch on the Riverwalk harmlessly mocking his theatrics. I loaded up with souvenirs for the office crowd at the gift shop and also bought the last of my six ball caps, this one inscribed with the words of Davy Crockett, the Tennesseean who gave his life at the Alamo-"You can all go to hell, and I will go to Texas."

It was a magical trip-the music, the band, the food, the horselaughs and most of all the time spent with great friends-Thanks to all the Texas travelers-Jane, Scott, Cristina, Vin, Randall and Kate. Thanks also to the guys from Reckless Kelly who sent me an autographed cymbal for making them some fishing rods and finally thanks to these two and their sweet, five-year old, who became our new friends-we'll see you again soon down the road.

"Two-Can Casserole"

A history of one of the abominations of the holidays. Along with the dreaded, inedible fruitcake, the green bean casserole says to the holiday visitor-"I really don't give a shit, so I'll just plop the contents of these two cans into a dish, heat it up in the microwave, sprinkle it with fried onions, and
serve it to you with a sly grin knowing that you will soon be on the road back home."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wide Open

Since the first of October, I've felt like a hamster on a wheel--going non-stop. I've made it through all the teaching, traveling and hosting fishermen and you'd think might be able to free up some time to recuperate. I've got a nuisance cold from running too hard and not getting enough sleep that I'll try to shake before court next week. Now that Christmas is bearing down, I've got fishing rod orders to get out-six to be exact-and anytime the request for wooden pens and winestoppers will be coming fast and furious. I'm trying to squeeze in some time for the guitar and the mandolin and some blogging but I can't seem to give any of it my full attention, which is always a problem for me all the time. I feel like I've just downed four 20 oz. coffees (probably because I have) and I can't stop my right eyelid from twitching. I've got three new posts in the hopper-the last from the Texas trip, a follow-up on the fishing with friends and something on the year gone by. It's been a great year for a host of reasons and I want to get it all down before I turn the old Etch-A-Sketch over in January. Bear with me-Hope to be back tomorrow night.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Up to my ass in alligators

This week has been a blur-had to teach a big group of new prosecutors Wednesday and Thursday and got back late with a fishing buddy coming in right behind me. I vow to finish the Texas stuff and the latest post this weekend-I'm just dog-tired right now and can't put two thoughts together. Give me a couple days to regroup-winter's coming up and typing in a warm house sounds a heck of a lot better than standing in boat freezing. See ya' soon.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Fate, Friends and Fish-(Part One)

They arrived Thursday night around 7:30 in the P.M., making the 6.5 hour trip from Beaufort, S.C. to our home in Beaufort, N.C. in Scott's SUV. It was packed to the gills with duffle bags, backpacks, tackle boxes, about ten fishing rods, cold weather clothes including fleece, ski bibs and what we in the south call toboggans (knit hats). Scott also brought us a great gift, a 7-foot art deco palm tree for the back porch with large, green holographic leaves that is ringed with lights. The guys all piled out and after handshakes and hugs all around we drank some toddies and fell into a routine that is so familiar to us that you would think we were working from a script. One of the things about having great and close friends is that expectations are always met and usually surpassed-our time together at any one time is relatively brief,two or three days max, and we know that we will cram the most fun we can into that brief time. The brief visits also force us to savor every waking moment-life is short and unpredictable and we never take for granted our time together. I marvel at the twists and turns of fate that have brought me together with my close circle of friends-they are all so special to me in their individual ways and have kept me halfway sane and if the truth be known, probably alive. I consider them the family I never really had and if I died tomorrow, I would still be the luckiest and most blessed person on earth (pardon me, Lou Gehrig).

With few exceptions, I can trace most of my present friendships to my friend and ex-boss Tom Keith, who hired me as a prosecutor in 1991 when I was completely burned out on the practice of law and looking for any escape-digging ditches and scraping the barnacles off the bottom of boats were attractive alternatives back then. When he hired me, I suddenly had a large, new group of friends. My fellow Assistant DA's (about 15 in number) were a scary-talented, fun loving group, and along with the support staff, we were like a big, eccentric, slightly disfunctional family. We had our differences at times but we had each others backs all the time and we had to-the pressures and demands of the job; the dealing with victims whose distress caused them to be understandingly irrational; the challenge of actually keeping the sluggish, criminal court system running; trying to cram 20 pounds of crime into the one-pound bag our legislature provides us, and keeping competing interests reasonably content to at least forestall some sort of armed public insurrection. The job is tremendously stimulating and even sometimes satisfying but it's a 24/7 highwire act-my present boss calls it a job where you're constantly "jumping out of the way of speeding trains." Well put! One big mistake by anyone in the office in the wrong case can bring down the whole thing crashing down-your boss gets beat in the next election and it's likely you'll be back pounding the pavement trolling for clients or in my case, digging ditches. I would compare our situation to being in a company of soldiers who have been through heavy-combat together-we worked hard and played hard and the friendships forged between those I have worked with as a prosecutor in my old district and my new one have been extremely close and strong and our shared experiences will never be forgotten-we were and are, as they say in the military-a "band of brothers."

My group of fantastic South Carolina buddies that I now have can also be traced to my former office and is a perfect example of the random fate by which people are often brought together. This time fate was dealing to me "from the top of the deck." In the winter of 1995, I was introduced to my great friend Scott by his ex-girlfriend who had interned in our DA's office for half an semester while in law school. We hit it off immediately-his reckless and infectious passion for life, work or play, his incredible intellect and the fact that he is a person of action, not of words, make him the ideal friend. (As a matter of fact, all of my close friends have a similar mix of these same traits). We have done so much and been through so much together that I feel like I've known him my entire life- as a matter of fact, my stock answer when someone asks how long we've been friends is "ten years" and "forever." He is almost 13 years my junior, but I have learned a great deal from him in ten years- a situation he suffered through recently showed me that he had more character and class than I would ever be capable of had I been in the same situation. He has taught me things both "trivial"- like how to throw a cast net, how to pole a boat in shallow water and how to wade a grass flat for tailing redfish- and things profound-the simple beauty and the pleasures, contentment and happiness one could find living in a small, quaint coastal town. Without that "tutorial," I don't think I would have ever had the guts to leave the big city for my current paradise. We share a common passion for fishing-when we met we both were avid flyfishers and through the years we have fished in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. We have driven, flown and hiked to fishing destinations. We communicate like guys always communicate-through shared experiences rather than talking-drawing on these experiences, embellishing them and retelling them without ever tiring of doing so. We also share a common taste in music-I introduced him to Robert Earl Keen and over the years we have acquired, swapped and traded hundreds of CD's back and forth. Many great days and nights have been spent in his backyard, sitting in stone silence in his adirondack chairs, staring out over the Intracoastal Waterway, sipping on a cold beer-the stereo providing a non-stop musical backdrop. We have spent so much time at each other's homes that we have the art of visiting and hosting down to a science-the host is responsible for the following: getting the boat ready which includes having ample ice and beverages on board, gassing it up and making sure the appropriate tackle is stowed; cleaning up the house, making the bed and laying out fresh towels; making sure the beer cooler is well stocked and iced; making the necessary dinner reservations; planning the fishing trip after consulting local guides, the tide charts and the weather, and the purchasing of small tokens like t-shirts, koozies and the like as gifts for the visitor or visitors. The host also pays for everything or at least tries to over the mostly perfunctory objections of the visitor(s). The guest also does all the driving including the towing and launching of the boat. After arrival, everything in the visitor's car is brought in and dumped all over the house; any new gear or gadgets are brought out to show, and any new music is shared and played. On the day the visitor leaves, the guest is also responsible for helping the visitor locate their stuff-this is the toughest part-it could be anywhere-in someone's car, any room in the house, scattered in the yard, in the boat or in someone else's boat if we fished with them. I have on occasion, left coats and jackets in local restaurants. I can't remember one occasion when at least one item wasn't left behind, soon to be returned by mail or in person.

Scott has been my South Carolina "connector"-he has introduced me to dozens of folks that have become not only my friends but Jane's friends as well-friends like his girl Cristina; retired court reporter, Donna Hartley; Rob and Margaret Suber, his next-door neighbors; Jason Peavy; Jeff and Amy Purdy; Bus and Jenny Argoe and others too numerous to mention. Jeff and Jason have become terrific fishing buddies- the four of us have had some of the greatest times ever out in boats together-I laugh just thinking about the prospect. About four years ago, we started an annual Veteran's Day fishing weekend up here during the legendary false albacore run. The first year it was just me and Scott; the next year it was me, Scott and Jason; last year it was me, Scott, Jason and Jeff and this year Scott brought along Jeff and Patrick Mitchell, a guy I had never met but liked immediately. The weather cooperated perfectly-a cold front passed through Thursday night, cooling off the water and turning the fish on. We planned on eating in Thursday night, getting up early to meet our fishing guide, (we don't need one but it's nice for all of us to be able to fish and not worry about tackle or running the boat), eating out Friday night at the
Blue Moon Bistro, sleeping in a little on Saturday, then going up into the marsh to find some redfish at low tide, eating Saturday night at Beaufort Grocery, then topping off the festivities by having a final drink out at the Dockhouse. They wanted to leave today, Sunday, around 10:00 A.M., putting them back home by about 4:30. We also wanted to find time to build Jeff and new rod with a Dale Earnhardt theme.
By 8:00 P.M. Thursday, we were into the clam chowder we made from clams Scott, Cristina, Jane and me had raked up over their Labor Day visit. We put some tuna steaks on the grill and basted them with lime butter, had black beans and rice on the side along with a relish made of tomatoes, chiles, jalapenos and black-eyed peas. We shared some toddies and Jeff and Jane did the red wine thing. I think that Scott and I finally got to sleep about 2:30 and we had to leave the house by 6:30 so it was a short night. It was cool and crisp Friday morning-we crammed all our stuff in the car, grabbed a biscuit at the gas station, and met our guide, Greg, at Capt. Joe's shop on the causeway. He had a 23-foot Parker boat, plenty big enough for four fishermen and we took off out the inlet headed for the Cape Lookout Shoals. The key to albacore fishing is simple-look for birds, bait, busting fish and hundreds of boats trying to chase down the schools of these fast moving small tuna. They feed on small silverside minnows that school up in large bait balls-literally millions upon millions of these small baitfish hang in a tight knot and the albacore come busting through sending the bait into the air and sending the birds into a frenzy trying to eat the airborn bait-it is truly a sight to behold. All you do is cast whatever it is your fishing with into the melee and that usually results in a 15-20 pound fish making a 200 yard run in about 10 seconds. When someone asks me, I compare it to hooking a car going down the interstate at 65 MPH. We had a slow start-choppy seas and too many boats chasing small pods of fish made the catching tough. It was Patrick who got hot early and he had never caught one before. He landed a large majority of the fish caught in the morning, then he hit the wall-a product of a late night and a large time. He took an impromtu nap on the large cooler. The tide got slack around noon and all the boats suddenly disappeared-probably running in to grab a bite and wait for the tide to turn. When the tide turned and the fish showed up in droves, we were the only boat there. Greg kept us on the fish for a couple of hours and we hooked about 30 and landed about 20. We got some great pics of the fish and of the sun ducking under the horizon as we sped through the inlet. (Some pics are shown below-the rest of the story tomorrow).

Sgt. Purdy with "arrestee"-"You have the right to remain silent...."

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Fish On!

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Me with the day's "monster"

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Jeff (on left) and me with a double!

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Scott with Albacore caught on flyrod

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Patrick with First Albacore

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

What Type Soldier Are You?

Hit the link in the title to find out!

You scored as Combat Infantry.

Your a combat infantry soldier,a grunt, a dogface, a footslogger. While some say your common, your a really a disciplined person who realizes the importantce of working in a team, and in reality you and your comrades get most of the work done. This country needs more people like you. Your a brave selfless person. And I salute you. TEN-HUT!!!

Combat Infantry-100%

Special Ops-75%



Support Gunner-56%




Feast or Famine

Just got my home PC back up and running but not time to blog-Veteran's Day weekend coming up which means my SC buddies will be here for a long fishing weekend. Next week is two days teaching in Chapel Hill mid-week then it's friend from the Piedmont coming down for the albacore run. Needless to say. blogging will be light but when it resumes it will be hot and heavy-got to finish the Texas finale, got one in the works about fun fishing with friend Dicky Scearce yesterday and they'll be a monster about this upcoming weekend with plenty of pics. Until then, ya'll check out the links on the sidebar-there's a world of talent there. Remember our veterans tomorrow and I'll be back Sunday night with some content. See ya' then.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hey! Where Ya'll From?

Cool site-Please follow the link and show me where you live. You can also add a photo-Just hit the "Add yourself" button on the right sidebar.

Texas-Size Fun-(Part 4)

Saturday morning had most of our crew waking at various times before the crack of noon. At one point we were all on the back balcony overlooking the Guadalupe trying to recover in various ways from the revelry the night before. Several travelers had made their way down to the lobby to raid the free soft tacos that were rolled in foil under the hot lamp. I settled for a coffee and contemplated an early Bud Light from the styrofoam cooler-"beer, it's not just for breakfast anymore!" The topic of discussion was the series of "noise warnings" issued the night before by some small person acting with the "apparent authority" of the Inn management. As I lay in bed that morning, I noticed that I could hear almost every word said in the rooms next to mine and the inn seemed to amplify every sound made by anyone. The walls were paper thin as were the ceilings and a trip down the wood floor hallway with boots or other hard-sole shoes caused the whole place to vibrate as if there were a stampede. Scott and Cristina reported they were awakened by noise from the room above that they described a "people moving heavy furniture or running a bowling alley." After a soft taco run, Vin was at the front desk where she was told that the people calling in the complaints last night were given a full refund because of the so-called "interruption of their sleep" or whatever else they were trying to do and this dude had the nerve to sugget to Vin that perhaps our group could pull together some donations to make up for the financial "hit" suffered by the inn. You can imagine that we were less than enthused by that idea-"motion denied!"

We had had a small taste of the town of Gruene the day before and it was a unanimous decision to spend most of Saturday checking out the shops in this charming western town. We had lunch at Gruene River Grille-they put us in a dark backroom inside instead of on the porch overlooking the river due to the size of the group. The food was good and afterwards we wandered the streets of Gruene, checking out the shops-we found some lovely head gear at a place called Hunter's Junction. I made it a point to visit Lone Star Music, from which I had ordered dozens of CD's online. The clerk there was friendly and helpful on some good new tunes and suggested we check out a band called the Texas Renegades at Cheatham St. Warehouse in San Marcos playing that night. He reported the harmonica player was possibly the best had aver heard anywhere. We drove back into New Braunfels late afternoon and ended up at Scores Sports Bar again and watched some college football-our group included alums and fans of Clemson, U. of South Carolina, Wake Forest and the U. of North Carolina and different games were on screens throughout the joint. My neck hurt from trying to locate a score of the Wake Forest-Duke, "battle of the titans," which should have been over by the time we got in there. Randall wanted to find a pair of boots and since we were headed to San Marcos that night, we could hit the Cavender's Westernwear outlet there on the way. Back to the inn to get ready for Saturday night.

Fifteen minutes after leaving Gruene we were in San Marcos and found Cavender's easily as it sat directly off of I-35 north. It was damn impressive-probably more jeans and boots and shirts than I've ever seen under one roof-Randal and Vin bought cowboy boots and we also got a tip on a dinner spot, Lone Star Cafe, which looked from the outside like a chain-type place but had fantastic Tex-Mex dishes and huge portions. We were stuffed and I believe this is the point where we all kind of "hit the wall." As Randal and Vin took Kate back to the inn to rest (she is pregnant and still was quite the trooper), Scott, Cristina, Jane and me went inside
Cheatham St. Warehouse-one of the famous Texas music venues I had heard about for a long time- a place where folks like George Strait and Stevie Ray Vaughn cut their musical teeth. The rustic old building stood about a foot from a railroad track and twice that night locomotives roared past shaking the place to the rafters as the band played on. The grafitti in the bathrooms was priceless, Cristina and Jane came out giggling about the wisdom inscribed on the ladies room wall-"Men are like wine-they start out as grapes and you have to stomp the shit out of them to get anything useful." The men's room grafitti is not fit for this space-I give it an 'A" for originality and crudity. On our way out, Randall proudly recited verbatim, a lewd four-line poem from just above the men's urinal. It was the Saturday before Halloween and it seemed every one was in costume except us, unless you count Carolinian's with boots and cowboy hats as "costumed." Even the band was in Halloween attire and it was slightly disconcerting-like listening to the Village People singing Texas hick-rock. They were pretty good-the harmonica player 20 years old and just as advertised. We stayed for one set-it was painfully obvious that most of the gang was pooped. We piled back in the van, made it back to the inn and gleefully clomped down the hallway to the rooms. Randall, Vin, Jane and me made a mildly successful late night rally out on the side, apparently not disturbing any other guests with our muted revelry. It was a crisp, fall night on the deck overlooking the river-we could see the lighted Gruene watertower and from below in the dark across the river, the sound of live music wafted up. It was hard to let go of the last night in this special place.

History of the French Military

Gallic Wars - Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian.

Hundred Years War - Mostly lost, saved at last by female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare; "France's armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman."

Italian Wars - Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.

Wars of Religion - France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots

Thirty Years War - France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.

War of Devolution - Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.

The Dutch War - Tied

War of the Augsburg League/King William's War/French and Indian War - Lost, but claimed as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.

War of the Spanish Succession - Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved every since.

American Revolution - In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as "de Gaulle Syndrome", and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; "France only wins when America does most of the fighting."

French Revolution - Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.

The Napoleonic Wars - Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.

The Franco-Prussian War - Lost. Germany first plays the role of drunk Frat boy to France's ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night.

World War I - Tied and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States. Thousands of French women find out what it's like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn't call her "Fraulein." Sadly, widespread use of condoms by American forces forestalls any improvement in the French bloodline.

World War II - Lost. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song.

War in Indochina - Lost. French forces plead sickness, take to bed with the Dien Bien Flu

Algerian Rebellion - Lost. Loss marks the first defeat of a western army by a Non-Turkic Muslim force since the Crusades, and produces the First Rule of Muslim Warfare; "We can always beat the French." This rule is identical to the First Rules of the Italians, Russians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese and Esquimaux.

War on Terrorism - France, keeping in mind its recent history, surrenders to Germans and Muslims just to be safe. Attempts to surrender to Vietnamese ambassador fail after he takes refuge in a McDonald's.

Let's face it. When it comes to war, France gets rolled more often than a Parisian prostitute with a visible mustache. They've been beaten so many times there's no fight left in them. There's no national anthem in the world as ludicrous as France's

To arms, to arms, ye brave!
Th'avenging sword unsheathe!
March on, march on, all hearts resolved
On liberty or death.

Oh liberty can man resign thee,
Once having felt thy gen'rous flame?
Can dungeons, bolts, and bar confine thee?
Or whips thy noble spirit tame?

Can dungeons, bolts, and bar confine thee? Or whips thy noble spirit tame? Yes, demonstrably.

From Bigwig-circa 2003

You Can Find Anything on Ebay!

Posting to Resume this PM

Computer virus caused PC to crash late Saturday night-spent two hours on the phone with technical service to no avail. The Dell folks are sending me some type of CD-Rom to restart the thing and hope to be up and running by Thursday-In the meantime, I'll be laptop blogging. See you in a few!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

FEMA Director E-mails during Katrina

Quite embarrassing to Mike Brown-my favorites are his question "Can I Quit Now?" and "I am a 'fashion' god!"

Mo Do Beatdown

I used to read Maureen Dowd's column in the NY Times religiously. In the past few years, she has been "drinking the kool-aid." Her latest screed is a book entitled "Are Men Necessary?" Her premise, which she has been beaten to death all year in her column is that men are not attracted to intelligent, opinionated, educated women-that all we want is a stupid, subservient whore who can cook and spit out babies. Katie Roiphe of Slate engages in a complete "beatdown" of Dowd here.

Note to Maureen: No man wants to be hooked up with an arrogant, condescending, whiny bitch. Which is why YOU can't find a man.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Texas-Size Fun (Part 3)

I love it when a plan comes together! After picking up Scott and Cristina after the high-speed van and cab chase, we had lunch, then headed to the lovely Gruene River Inn, a fourteen-room structure sitting high over the banks of the gorgeous, gin-clear Guadalupe River in Gruene, Texas, just outside New Braunfels. We checked in-our rooms were adjacent down a wood plank hallway. Jane and I were in the San Marcos room, Vin was in the Frio room, Randall and Kate occupied the Llano and Scott and Cristina took the Blanco room.

I knew the band's schedule-sound check at 5:00 P.M., so Scott, Jane and I went to the hall to await their arrival-we had made up some gift bags for the guys with T-shirts, koozies and shot glasses from the Carolinas along with some wood pens and winestoppers I turned on the lathe. Their white van and trailer pulled in front of Gruene hall for the load-in and we said "hi" to all the guys. Cody took me and Scott out to the van, took out his laptop and showed us some fishing picture from the Salmon River when he dropped his fishing rod in the 10 foot deep and cold water and had to go scuba diving to retrieve it. He also showed us some photos of his new fiancee-he had taken her to Ireland to propose the week before.

We had dinner planned at The Gristmill, located just behind the music hall- a place highly recommended by blog friends Christina and Dash (his blog name), whom we had planned to meet there for dinner. They were accompanied by their four-year old daughter, referred to as "Wee One" in their blogs- A cuter and more well-behaved young lady, you'll never find! (Christina posted a pic of both their daughters on her blog recently. Dash is a big hunter and he'll need all his guns when the guys start showing up in droves at their house)! We had a fantastic meal and although none of us had met Christina or Dash before, we hit it off immediately. I insisted that Christina recount some of the funny stuff she has written about, especially her Vietnamese mother's "butchering of the english language" for those that hadn't read her blog and the whole table was horselaughing. The dinner was over in a flash and Christina had to pick up their eldest daughter from the football game-quick goodbyes were said. I had heard others write about what a sweet person Christina was and all I can say is that they are absolutely "spot-on." Dash went back with us to Gruene Hall and round after round of Shiner Bocks and Lone Stars were ferried from the bar to the position we staked out near the stage. We had to endure an opening act by a miniature female lead singer and her band of men whose tremendous height further accentuated her small stature. I would characterize her style of music as "Nashville Ho- Shit"-my own term for female acts that are basically cleavage, crotch and cliches-so my guess is that by next year she be accepting all the CMA awards. She seemed to have a good voice but her band was so loud that you couldn't make out the lyrics-probably a good thing now that I think of it. What bothered me about her were two things-she had about ten times more enthusiasm than her act merited-she kept trying to get everyone to come up to the stage, mostly unsuccessfully and she kept exhorting us to clap along or whatever. If you have to beg your audience, you probably don't deserve it. The other thing is that her jeans were so tight they looked like denim spandex. I thought they might cut off her circulation and her legs would fall asleep and she would pitch over. I thought I could make out the date on the quarter she had in her back pocket. Vin's dad is a urologist and he says that the wearing of jeans this tight could cause cystitis, although the Mayo clinic does not mention such a phenomenon. After about 20 beers, the term "cystitis pants" is damn funny and we beat that to death the whole trip. After a too long set, "cystitis pants" and her band left the stage to thunderous applause-from us mainly who were glad to finally see her wiggle her ass off the stage.Our boys took the stage about 15 minutes later to a now jam-packed house. We were about ten feet away-everyone there seemed to know the lyrics to every song and at least three times they had the crowd jumping up and down so violently the floor seemed to be on the verge of collapse. By the end of the night, we were all completely horse from singing and screaming and drinking and generally acting like fools. After the show, I reloaded on CD's since I'd either given mine away to friends or played them so much they were worn out. We got some great pics with the guys and hung out with them for a good while. I was not aware that the place closed at midnight-Dash and I were talking and sipping on fresh Lone Star's and when the clock struck 12:00, a deputy sheriff came up to us and took the beers right out of our hands-damn!

It was back to the hotel where we all sat on the back balcony having a few more toddies and more than a few laughs-Vin and Scott got into an ice throwing fight and someone committed a "party foul" by knocking over a table and spilling a fresh drink. Vin's back door and front door were open and some weasly guy suddenly appeared at the front door telling us that some couple upstairs couldn't sleep because we were making too much noise. We basically blew him off and kept on with our ruckus and ten minutes later he was back at the door with what he termed our "second warning." Little did he know that five of us were lawyers (an occupation that embeds general "wiseass tendencies" into your DNA-tendencies which are further exacerbated by the consumption of brown liquor, tequila or red wine), so his warning actually served to increase the noise. I wanted to know how many warnings we were entitled to and if we exceeded said limit, what that little praying mantis looking man was gonna do about it at 2:00 A.M. Others raised similar points and we beat that around until finally someone got up to go to bed which broke all our momentum-it was time to say goodbye to Dash and turn in. It had been an 18 hour funfest and we were all tired and horse, with our ears still ringing with the music from Gruene Hall.

Man-Bear Love Story

Love Affair With A Bear Runs Afoul Of The Law

POSTED: 10:09 am PST October 31, 2005

COOS BAY, Ore. -- For nine days, Rocky and Jonathan Perkett heard a lone black bear cub wail from its hiding spot in a Coos County logging site.

They could drop a tree on it or rescue it. They chose the latter and for two years the bear was like family. But when the authorities got wind of it, there was trouble a-bruin.

The father and son named her Windfall and raised it for two years.

The men shared pizza and Dr Pepper with the bear and gave her free reign of their home in the woods outside Coos Bay.

The bear slept in Jonathan Perkett's bed, took showers and even had her hair blow-dried, Rocky Perkett says.

"We're not lying about it," says Rocky Perkett, 54, in his thick backwoods drawl. "We lived with her. We loved her. We treated her like a daughter."

But that kind of love is illegal in Oregon, and last week police raided their home and took Windfall.

The men face possible charges for holding the bear without permits and in an unlicensed facility.

The incident pits the heartstrings of some animal lovers against state statutes meant to keep wild creatures in the wild.

"The law says you can't hold wild animals in any way," says Wildlife Administrator Ron Anglin of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"It's illegal to transport a bear without a permit," Anglin says. "Nobody's going to take you to task over that if you take it to town, call the ODFW and report it. (But) you can't take it home."

The Perketts maintain Windfall never was "held" or locked in a cage.

They simply opened their house to her, Rocky Perkett says. She could come and go at will, he says. She learned to work the doorknobs, he said.

"Is there a law against a bear running around in your yard?" Perkett says. "Doesn't she have rights as a bear?"

The Perketts plan to hire an attorney and hope a glitch in the Oregon State Police's search warrant will get the case tossed out, and in the best of cases get Windfall returned to them.

"Everything they done here was unlegal," Rocky Perkett says. "Since it's all unlegal, I hope they will bring her back." (Emphasis Added)

No citations have been issued yet but holding a bear without a permit is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $6,350 fine.

Meanwhile, the bear has been shipped to a California Department of Fish and Game holding facility, where it will remain until the case is concluded.

The bear's likely future is at an accredited zoo or a permanent holding facility, Anglin says. None has yet been found, he says.

The bear likes people too much to be released into the wild, Anglin says.

Perkett acknowledges there's little chance of getting the bear back. But he hopes good intentions and lack of understanding of the law will discourage prosecution.

"We're hicks. We're mountain men," Perkett says. "We took her because she was dying and we loved her.

"The only thing we did wrong was love one another," he says.

ODFW biologist Stuart Love, who helped tranquilize and seize the bear, says he doesn't doubt it.

People's personal attachment to wild animals makes seizures like this "the worst part of my job," Love says.

"You could see the hurt in those guys' eyes when we took it," Love says. "But there's no way we could leave that bear with them. It could end up killing someone."

Quote of the Day

"Men are like wine-they start out as grapes and you have to stomp the shit out of them to get anything useful."- Grafitti in ladies restroom at Cheatham St. Warehouse, San Marcos, Texas

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Texas-Size Fun-(Part 2)

Through the Port of Galveston came many of Texas' most enduring immigrants. Political strife, economic hardship and letters home from settlers already in the region brought a wave of immigration to Texas from Germany and its neighbors, Czechoslovakia and Poland, beginning in 1847. The new Texans settled the lands across the southeast and central part of the state reaching west of San Antonio and north of Waco, giving names to towns like New Braunfels, Schulenburg, Boerne, Shiner and Gruene. Small towns with German names are scattered all through this region. Germans made peace with the Comanches in order to settle Fredericksburg and their transfer to the new homeland was impeded only by American conflicts such as the Civil War. Along with the new immigrants came their culture, especially their music-these folks built hundreds of dancehalls in which polka bands featuring brass instuments (especially the tuba) and accordians set feet tapping to the distinct "oom-pah-pah" rhythm-Robert Earl Keen's song "No Kinda Dancer" captures the flavor perfectly:

"First of the month brings back the notion
Of a big round white dancehall in the cool summer night.
Red cherrub faces set black shoes in motion
To the 'om pah pah' rhythm of a German delight.

And I tried hard to tell you I was no kinda dancer.
Takin' my hand to prove I was wrong.
You guided me gently though I thought I could never.
We were dancin' together at the end of the song.

A taut little bald man, like a German war hero
Would box some old matrons to a quick Jon Paul Jones.
Drapes of crepe paper, the ball made of mirrors,
Cast shiny reflections on a brass slide trombone.

And I tried hard to tell you I was no kinda dancer.
Takin' my hand to prove I was wrong.
You guided me gently though I thought I could never.
We were dancin' together at the end of the song.

The man was still dancin' with his phantom partner
Though the band had quit playin' at the evening's end.
It made me feel lucky that I had a partner
To teach me the dance-steps and come back again.

And I tried hard to tell you I was no kinda dancer.
Takin' my hand to prove I was wrong.
You guided me gently though I thought I could never.
We were dancin' together at the end of the song.

And I tried hard to tell you, I was no kinda dancer
Takin' my hand to prove I was wrong.
You guided me gently though I thought I could never.
We were dancin' together at the end of the song."

These dancehalls now provide quaint and quirky venues for the bands that are part of the exploding Texas live music scene. Austin is the self-proclaimed capitol of the Texas live music, but the bands travel a wide circuit that includes frequent stops at these old dancehalls such as Gruene Hall and Saengerhalle near New Braunfels, Luckenbach Dance Hall in Luckenbach and The Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas just to mention a few. These halls are simple affairs-just a bar area usually just inside the door, a stage and a large wooden dance floor with a few tables that run lengthwise down the floor.

Our destination was Gruene Hall-the oldest dance hall in Texas where many singing stars and legends have performed there over the years. Willie Nelson, George Strait, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett are some of the well-known singers who have graced it's stage . A huge photo gallery of the singers and bands that have played there is displayed inside the hall. I had wanted to go there forever and when I found that Reckless Kelly, our favorite "hick-rock" band would be there on October 28th, my "planning gene" kicked in and we began assembling a group of willing "pilgrims." It wasn't hard and soon we had seven with airline, hotel and rental van reservations in hand.

Posted below are pics of the fun-loving Carolinians that "invaded" Texas last week. Tomorrow-Dinner, the Concert and the incident at the Inn that we laughingly refer to now as "The Kerfuffle on the Guadalupe." Stay tuned!

Inside Gruene Hall Posted by Picasa

From left to right, Kate, Jane, Willy Braun, Vin, Cristina and Scott Posted by Picasa

Cristina and Jane with Cody, in back and lead guitaraist, David Abeyta in foreground Posted by Picasa

Me on left, Jane and Cody Braun, the fiddle and mandolin player  Posted by Picasa

Cristina on left and Jane with drummer Jay Nazz Posted by Picasa

Scott on left and Jane on right flanking bass player Jimmy McFeeley Posted by Picasa

Randall on right with lead singer Willy Braun Posted by Picasa

Vin on left with my wife, Jane Posted by Picasa

25 Ways to Tell If You Are a Redneck

1. The Halloween pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.

2. You let your twelve-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table in front of her kids.

3. You've been married three times and still have the same in-laws.

4. You think a woman who is "out of your league" bowls on a different night.

5. Jack Daniel's makes your list of "most admired people."

6. You wonder how service stations keep their restrooms so clean.

7. Anyone in your family ever died right after saying, "Hey y'all watch this."

8. You think Dom Perignon is a Mafia leader.

9. Your wife's hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan.

10. Your junior prom had a daycare.

11. You think the last words of the Star Spangled Banner are, "Gentlemen start your engines."

12. You lit a match in the bathroom and your house exploded right off its wheels.

13. The bluebook value of your truck goes up and down, depending on how much gas is in it.

14. You have to go outside to get something from the fridge.

15. One of your kids was born on a pool table.

16. You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of Tattoos.

17. You can't get married to your sweetheart because there's a law against it.

18. You think loading a dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.

19. Your toilet paper has page numbers on it.

20. Somebody hollers "Hoe Down" and your girlfriend hits the floor.

21. You have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say "Cool Whip" on the side.

22. The biggest city you've ever been to is Wal-Mart.

23. Your working T.V. sits on top of your non-working T.V.

24. Your neighbors think you're a detective because a cop always brings you home.

25. You missed 5th grade graduation because you had jury duty.

They'll Always Be an England

From the Yorkshire Post:

News from Yorskhire
Extract from the Yorkshire Evening Post:

"A drunk who claimed he had been raped by a dog was yesterday jailed for 12 months by a judge. Martin Hoyle, 45, was arrested by police after a passing motorist and his girlfriend found a Staffordshire bull terrier, called Badger, having sex with him at the side of a road in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Prosecutor Ben Crosland said the couple had stopped to help because they thought Hoyle was being attacked by the animal. But when they got closer they saw that he had his trousers round his ankles, was down on all fours and the dog was straddling him from behind.

"The defendant mumbled something about the dog having taken a liking to him," said Mr Crosland. "The couple were extremely offended and sickened by what they saw." Another passing motorist contacted the police and Hoyle was arrested as he walked with the dog down the road.

Hoyle, of East view, Marsh, Huddersfield, told police "I can't help it if the dog took a liking to me. He tried to rape me."

He repeated the rape allegation at the police station and added "The dog pulled my trousers down." Hoyle, who has had a long-standing alcohol problem, was jailed for 12 months after he admitted committing an act which outraged public decency.

His barrister said Hoyle had no memory of the incident because of his drunken state, but was now very remorseful and incredibly embarrassed.

Jailing him, Judge Alistair McCallum told Hoyle "Never before in my time at the bar or on the bench have I ever had to deal with somebody who voluntarily allowed himself to be buggered by a dog on the public highway. Frankly it is beyond most of our comprehension. It is an absolutely disgusting thing for members of the public to have to witness."