Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Tammy at Just Enough and Nothing More provides us a link to what should be an interesting discussion that, due to the comments, has descended into a debate of the merits of public schooling versus homeschooling. Many of the comments are very much against the very idea of homeschooling but from the position of no real valuable knowledge of the subject to provide any worthwhile insight. The homeschool positive comments have tended, for the most part, to be intelligent views of the matter in terms of what is right for my child/children and a parent's right to investigate and use all available options.

The original post is not about that at all. The original questions whether homeschooling is another way to keep women in the home, involved with more responsibility, contributing to the family yet more unpaid labor.

This premise is shaky on a number of levels, mostly in that it assumes so very much about both homeschooling and the families (men, husbands, fathers need not apply apparently) involved in the pursuit. The premise assumes that the feminist movement exists only to get women working and fulfilled through being working. There's also a conspiracy theory feel to the argument as if society itself is so secretly patriarchal that everything is about how we can keep our womenfolk where they belong.

That women allow themselves to be so concerned with the opinions of others, that the term "mommy wars" not only exists but seems an apt description is by far a bigger issue and affront to feminism than the fact that some mothers take on a greater role in their children's lives. The questions being asked, even if we are only 1-2% of the population, is also an affront to the many fathers, like myself, who are able to stay home with our kids. The question, as these things so often do, fails completely to understand the families that have chosen to homeschool and the wide variety of reasons that so many of us are leaving the system. The question also seems to me to place men and fathers once more on the landing outside, smoking with the boys and either unwilling or unable to aid our wives or to treat our wives as equals. Again, we get no real understanding of the variety of families and dynamics and situations.

The question could be valid, almost, if not for the fact that homeschooling, outside of the zealous fundy crowd, is not generally a decision forced on mothers by a dominating husband/father.

Often the dads of homeschooled children weren't the ones who first considered homeschooling, and they are sometimes somewhat averse to the idea, usually if/while it is new to them. The mothers in these families generally make bold choices based on a variety of factors. Because it's usually the mother that is in contact most often with the school, it is usually the mothers who see first hand the problems their children may be having, the mothers who advocate and fight for their kids, and the mothers who give up on the school and take matters into their own hands. That so many people are doing just this says that the discussion we really need is about the school system. The feminist issue is just more noise blocking out the real talk.

All that is not to say that there aren't situations in which mothers and fathers don't work evenly and fairly together to accomplish the task, thought this could be said of any number of situations families face. Mothers still have options, and if they are in a place where they truly have no options, then homeschooling is the very least of their worries. A controlling partner is an issue completely apart from how a family chooses to educate their children.

bring it all together

With the approach of the big ska show I've mentioned, I've promised to bring you a variety of bands over the next couple of months. Today's band is sadly not going to be at Ska Weekend, at least not this year, though it would be cool.

Today's band is also a band that is new to me. I was screwing around, wasting time on YouTube, and I don't know now how exactly I happened to decide to give these guys a listen, but I did, and I'm happy I did.

To understand part of my delight with the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra you'll need a tiny bit of ska history. In the '30's and '40's, American radio broadcasts of jazz and R&B were making those styles popular in Jamaica. Also popular at this time was the sound system, a mobile party basically, which DJ's would set up in neighborhoods, often in competition with others. Many of the top DJ's went on to become the top producers of the new sound, the combination of American music and Jamaican music that became ska.

Ska became the top music in Jamaica, and the music was taken to the UK, immigrating with its fans. This began ska's second wave of popularity, and a few years later, ska resurfaced again, its third wave, as American bands started playing this new music. Each wave has seen ska taken in new and varied directions as it's popularity grows and moves around the world.

It's not at all surprising to find a Japanese band playing ska, as the Japanese seem to have a knack for distilling everything down to its essence. Maybe I'm just making that last part up, but you can't argue with what they've done to this decades old hybrid music, the ska.

So I give you Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. This song is more than kid safe in that, if your kids don't dance a little and act crazy a little, then something may not be quite right. You can watch the embedded video, but I suggest you click HERE to go to the YouTube page and click the embiggening button in the bottom right corner of the player. These guys deserve to be seen full screen.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

more media, and a bear

Sometime in the late hours last night, a black bear was spotted in our downtown area. I first learned anything about the story when I first got on the computer today and checked KnoxViews.

I checked out the main local news sources, but whoever is writing for them just makes me cringe. It was all so . . . local news show. This site does have some video of the bear if you are so inclined.

It's expected that more animals may be seen in the area as summer approaches and into fall, partly due to our freeze in spring having destroyed much of the berries and acorns that make up the vast portion of the bear's typical diet.

After reading one local news site's description of what to do when confronted with a bear I knew I had to find something better. It didn't not seem to make sense, but I wondered how accurate this was, and I wondered if they were about to get someone killed.

This led me to the National Park Service page for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They have a great page about bears as well as bear safety tips. If you live near here or pretty much anywhere apparently, it wouldn't hurt to know what to do if you see a bear.

I'm not going into the steps here. Click over and read about it yourself. I'm not a park ranger or any sort of authority on bears, so I feel it would be wildly inappropriate for me to attempt it, and I wouldn't trust anyone that listened to me anyway. The GRSM page does a great job of it, such a good job in fact that this site pretty much lifted it whole with some really shitty editing to pretend they wrote it themselves. My googling brought up the second site first, at which I read about black bears. The writing is obviously poor, and as I read, I just couldn't trust a site that didn't have someone editing even a little bit. Imagine my surprise reading the original moments later after refining my google search.

local media

It's always fun to watch some other city's news, to see how what their aging white guy and young, attractive black woman have to say about whatever mundane shit is happening locally. What's even better is when your own local news not only does a story on your own local roller derby league but also does that story in sports as opposed to the 5:00 show that's about cooking and being a great mommy.

Mommys and cooking are fine, but roller derby is a sport and belongs with the sports. Also, please quit comparing it to professional wrestling. Derby is real, the hits are real and none of it is staged. Maybe the next story from the local media can involve something a little meatier than hearing yet another skater having to dispel the pro wrestling myth.

So without further ado, the local media story. Watch for Momma, and if your eyes are really quick, the darling fellow in the green shirt, screaming his head off, is one of our homeschool friends.

derby anyone?

Hard Knox Rollergirls welcomed Nashville's Rhythm and Bruisers to town and skated away with the win, 111-81. This was HKRG's first time hosting a team from out of town as well as our first win. After the bout, the general consensus seemed to be that this was the best bout many of us had ever seen, and many of the skaters seemed to agree.

I have to say that Nashville was a great group. I'd like to think we were good hosts, but it's not hard when the team, the staff and the fans are as cool as Nashville was. We'll be seeing them again soon enough at their house, and it will be nice to see them. We'll even say hello to Memphis on that trip, and we'll skate back home with the win, but we'll talk about that when it happens. Look for more info around July-ish.

The win wasn't won easily. Nashville skated hard, their jammers were fast and they knew how to throw up a blue wall in front our jammers. Jamming for Hard Knox were Miss Kat A Kombs (who also did her share of blocking), Goblynn, Boom Shockalocka, Jamaica 'Em Cry, and Momma, of blog fame, also known as Jamie Skull.

All our jammers did a great job, but without our blockers, they'd never have made it through Nashville. Madam Mayhem may have won the award for most two-in-one blocks, while Sushi Roll just might have had the most jammer take downs. Not to be outdone, Nashville's Hildabeast did her best to send our girls sprawling, while Red Vag of Courage kept being right where we didn't want to see her, again. And if we are going to pass out awards, our own Lady Paine certainly wins one for hardest hits with Tank Her A coming in a close second.

One special highlight of the night was getting to see HKRG's Beverly Killbilly on skates again. She's battled some injuries for far too long, and I know the entire league was happy to see her knocking people silly again.

I wish there were pictures, and I'd really love to have some real stats to share. Those things do exist, but I don't yet have access to them, so feel free to expect yet another post about roller derby in the not too distant future. I'll rhapsodize again about both the beauty and the sporting prowess of our skaters, all hail the mighty Hard Knox. Thank you Nashville for being cool and beautiful. We can't wait to see you again.

Monday, May 28, 2007

bit o' Momma

UPDATED POST! No more interesting than last time, but it's easily more accurate.

Housewife probably hates me now, and she seems to think I haven't donated enough blog space to my lovely wife. In addition to being hotter than should be legal, she's also a damn fine sushi chef, a great mother and easily one of the fastest jammers you should be so lucky to see. I mean it when I tell you about HKRG bouts and tell you to come to my town and see.

This picture, found after many agonizing minutes of searching for just the right one, is indicative of how good a jammer Momma is. Notice a few things about this picture. Momma, in black with the skull face, is beating the girl in red. She is in front of this particular player who is a perfect example of what it takes to take down my wife. Notice that the red clad skater is not only hitting Momma in the back but that neither of her skates are on the ground. Both the back block and the leap are very much illegal, but when Momma has outskated you and dodged your best blocks and lapped your jammer a few times, you might find that you are willing to kick the rules out of the building.

The next picture features not only Momma but HKRG's own Barbara Bushwhacker. This picture should not be assumed to show anything but that Momma often doesn't wait around for you to actually hit her. This picture is from an intra league bout, Momma's team Machine Gun Kellys versus Bushwhacker's Lolitas Locas, the team that went on to win the HKRG championship last year. Barbara Bushwhacker is a hell of a player and is, with Momma, one of HKRG All Stars, the team picked to play against other leagues.

Notice Bushwhacker on the ground as Momma assures her of not getting the hit. Good for Momma as Bush hits hard, and if she'd timed it a wee bit better, this picture would look a bit different. But it doesn't look different and shows why most blockers would be better off just letting the Skull past. You might get a hit, but you might just hit air before you hit the floor.

Updated, because like a dumb ass, I mislabeled the photos. The Lolitas Locas that is almost taking Momma out is not Sushi Roll but Barbara Bushwhacker. She too is one of the league's all stars, and I hope she's healed and back on skates in time for Birmingham.

And I can't stress enough that this picture doesn't do any justice to the blocking of Barbara Bushwhacker in any way, nor would it have demeaned Sushi Roll's ability. They are damn fine blockers, which helps explain why their team are the current HKRG champions. Of course, the 2007 season is not that far away, and I know for a fact that the Kellys are sort of eying that trophy.

Finally, thanks to yet another Lolita and HKRG all star, Karma Krash, for noticing my error and allowing me to stop looking like a dingus.

abrasive nail biting

First I must tell you that this is not the recap post about last night's derby bout featuring our Hard Knox Rollergirls All Stars versus Nashville's Rhythm and Bruisers. It's the fault of the after party and the after after party that are causing my brain to not want to switch into writer mode.

Instead I'll give you pictures of wounds. Mine isn't really a wound, and I'll admit that. I did show it off a little to prove that something or other which makes me cool. Beyond not being a wound, my wee widdle thumb isn't really even hurt. The part of my nervousness that wasn't busy making me need to pee made me bite my nails down a little farther than I might wish. I do indeed bite the ever lovin' shit out of my nails watching derby.

I don't want to suggest that Momma's skin abrasions aren't wounds, and she admitted herself that they were more unpleasant than painful, though they certainly look painful enough. This is what happens to Momma when she wears fishnets to the bout. I did crop the pictures so that they were of wounds and not her sexy ass.

As mentioned, this isn't about the bout. As the day progresses and I get more coffee in me and the Goody's Powders kills the headache, I'll feel a little brighter, the gray matter will start sparking again, and I will write a post that will take you right to our little rink. But you'll have to wait a bit.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

first in a series

Just under three months and counting, toward the end of August, hopefully without the rain this time, me and the wife and the boys will be shaking our asses at Ska Weekend. It's a li'l ol' local show this feller puts on every year, and each year it gets bigger. If you are into the ska music at all or if you live close enough or if you just need an excuse for a road trip, Ska Weekend is well worth attending. It's a lovely all day (not actually the whole weekend) outdoor ska music festival in one of the neatest parts of town.

Look for a running theme between now and then and more posts as I mine this for post fodder, and listen as you learn about some new bands playing. I'll try not to give a long boring history lesson about ska music or my theory that ska's origination would also eventually birth the beginnings of hip hop. I just might though.

Ska Weekend of course has a Myspace page. Momma and I, preparing for Ska Weekend '06, spent several nights at the page checking out the different bands. We knew upon arrival at Ska Weekend which bands to make a point of seeing and which bands not to bother with. There really are that many bands, and when your kids are 3 and 7, you would do well to plan your music festivals out ahead of time.

One of the bands we found last year is returning this year. They've got a new album out, which we haven't gotten yet, though we do love the one we do have. And Big Brother's favorite song, the one he sings for two or three days after hearing the album is also the dirty song, though he doesn't have any idea. That's neither here nor there, but it is funny, sort of.

Deals Gone Bad are from Chicago and according to their My Space page,
mix the chugging rhythms of Jamaica, the energy and emotion of American Motown, and the over the-top pub/rock of the Pogues
I don't dispute that description, and quoting them is easier than describing it myself. They were a highlight of last year's show and promise to do the same again. They remain with the must see bands, and to prove my point, watch the video.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

driving, driving, driving

Yesterday basically sucked. I've had worse days of course, and it didn't suck nearly as much as it could have, but it was very annoying in a minor annoyance kind of way.

Being Wednesday, it was the day to go meet the derby mommys and their kids to go swimming. Apparently the plans changed, and I wasn't told. I drove to the house I expected to meet at only to find that no one was home. I herded two disappointed boys back to the car assuring them that I'd figure out what was wrong and where everyone else was.

Backing out of the driveway, I slid the car back into drive and dialed the first derby mommy on my list. No one answered, so I called the next number on the list. Getting another no answer, I wasn't sure what to do next. I'd tried the two moms I was certain would also be there and able to direct me to where there was.

Getting a call back, I finally learned whose house we were meeting at though I got no directions. I did get two different numbers to try, neither of which did any good as everyone seemed as though they'd decided not to answer my calls.

I ran to another street, slightly different part of town, sure I was going to get another call, which I did, with directions, not so much. I eventually gave up and drove home. The Boy had dozed off by this point, and Big Brother hid his disappointment well. The Boy, upon later realizing that we'd missed swimming, was a bit upset, but a promise of going to roller derby practice helped him get over it.

We'd driven around, mindlessly, for roughly an hour. I was tired of driving. Momma called, ready to come home from work, ready to get ready for practice. After a supper of various leftovers, she got into more derby appropriate clothes and we started our drive south to the rink.

Approaching the rink, we knew immediately that something wasn't right. The skaters and refs were all milling about outside in the parking lot. The side door of the roller rink was wide open, and we could see some sort of gray liquid oozing out the door. We could see some amount of dust floating out as well.

For some reason, the floor tiles that haven't been replaced in over a year were suddenly in need of attention. The last practice before our bout Sunday, and our skaters are unable to even get in the door of the rink much less skate. The girls did sort of decide on an intro song while standing around wondering what to do next. Big Brother and The Boy were the only derby kids there, and they got a chance to run up and down the hill, chop at grass with their swords and stick their sandal clad toes in the dirt hill.

It wasn't as wasted a drive as the not swimming drive of earlier, because they did get that song picking business out of the way. We also got to stand around and be juvenile. We probably made some quite bold statements as to our league's ability to kick ass, which is not to be doubted.

So in the end, I can say it wasn't really that bad of a day. It did suck to wake up early enough to have the car only to not need the car. We all wanted to get in the pool and will have to wait on that. But it wasn't really a bad day in the end. It was mostly lazy, and we accomplished absolutely nothing of value, so it wasn't entirely wasted.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

be there

It's almost time, and I'm getting excited. Our Hard Knox Rollergirls are preparing to welcome Nashville's Rhythm and Bruisers to our end of the state for a hard lesson in roller derby.

Any regular reader I might have certainly knows by now that I'm in love, not only with derby but also with our league. It's not just the league itself either but the individuals who make up our league.

Our league has now traveled for bouts in Birmingham, AL as well as Idiotapolis, IN. This will be our first time hosting another league, though next month see us hosting Tragic City, the team from Birmingham, for our second meeting.

We've had a little practice being the away team, and now we'll get some practice in being gracious hosts. I'd love for our town to be remembered and talked about among the other leagues. We'll be the city that's awfully nice to you, getting you fed and liquored up, showing you the sights. Then we meet you the next day at the rink and our blockers bash your brains in while our jammers make you dizzy lapping you yet again.

If you're one of my local readers, you have no valid excuse for not coming out to support the hometown league. I've already coaxed a homeschooling friend and her awesome children out, and they enjoyed it. I can't say I'll have my own kids there, as they sort of cramp your style when you're wanting to hit the after party.

This might usually be the time when I try to say a little something about derby, a little explanation. I won't. The rules are easy to find, and even easier to find is that your town probably has a roller derby league. Go online and search, find your local team, then go out and support them. What better role model for both our daughters and our sons than roller derby?

Monday, May 21, 2007

fifth grader

The sender, according to Yahoo, is 5th grader 5th grader 5th grader 5th grader, etc. The subject is "Can you beat a fifth grader? Do it and win a free Visa!!!!"

My first response, before I'd even bothered to read this far, was to go ahead and click the little square that checks all the boxes next to the little spam messages so that I can delete them all at once. But 5th grader 5th grader suddenly jumped out at me, all ninety pounds of him, still not quite big enough by law not to have to sit in a booster seat. Plus he's a public school kid I'm sure, so he has all that extra baggage and stress.

But before I deleted 5th grader 5th grader, I reread the subject line. I asked myself, "Can I beat a fifth grader?"

Okay, there are some sizable fifth graders out there. I've seen them, and those are the ones that would be easiest to beat. Some of the more active ones might take a little work, and then you get the little runty ones or the ones that stare into space a lot. Those would seem the easiest to beat, but sometimes it's the little ones that can be the scrappiest.

I started thinking about a little too much until it was like a kung fu movie, and I was just wading into a pack of fifth graders, throwing hooks, overhand, using the height, snapping kicks, turning their little hats forward and pissing them off.

And suddenly, I realize, I'm probably a couple more percent asshole than I was just moments ago when I hadn't imagined myself . . . honestly, the thought is just too much too bear. Really, why would I imagine beating up whole piles of fifth graders? And to say meanness about the kid that stares into space. Hell, I'm still that kid.

It's just not right.

But the Visa sounds kind of nice, so you ain't hearing no.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

country fair

Because a certain site promoting horrid religious exercises in suffering the little children to suffer decided to mismanage the Carnival of Homeschooling, a few sensible homeschoolers have decided to resurrect the Country Fair. Sure, it sounds like the CoH, so you might ask why we need another.

You probably know the story of the post that was pulled due to "questionable" material at the blog, and if you don't know the story, try to imagine some scenario based on what I've told you. Now build up a bit of resentment toward Home School Blogger (to whom I don't link) for being such weineyheads. Now think about visiting a nicer carnival, where all the rides are scary for the right reasons.

The Country Fair is basically a carnival of home education. The bloggers who will submit posts are homeschoolers of all kinds, types and varieties. They worship or don't worship in their own way and won't tell you that your god or lack of gods is good or bad. They might mention tactics and strategies used by their own family, and they will do this without damning you or your family for doing things differently.

The Country Fair is inclusion at its best. The posts in the fair will be written by everyone from liberal christians to conservative atheists. If I offer something then you can count on at least one Discordian point of view, whatever the hell that means. So, if you are a blogger and a homeschooler, then head over to the site with your best piece . . . of writing jackass! Otherwise, wait around till it's all put together and ready to read, then head over to look at our best pieces . . . damn, perv, it's writing!

Want to read what Doc has to say about it?

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Today's mail was apparently not entirely worthless, or so it would have you believe. The credit card offer of course was immediately tossed as we've certainly learned our lesson there, sort of. The other letter seemed at first as if it were no more than the usual religious based scheme. In a sense, the two offers aren't so different.

Do you like my Bible handkerchief? That's what I'm holding in the picture. It came soaked in prayers. Ministers have been called by god to send these out to people. They always seem to show up whenever people are in real need, according to the testimonials from real people. This begs the question, what do they know about me? Do I need something I'm not aware of that the prayer soaked Bible handkerchief will allow be to gain?

I'm sure there's more to it. I didn't read all the material, because I don't need to look at every item in the garbage can to tell me where I am. Likewise, I don't need to read through the entire scam to figure out what it could become if I were one of those kind of people who sends this thing back. To get my blessing, I write my name and need in the center of the paper handkerchief, then I place it strategically inside my Bible over a certain verse. I place all this under my side of the bed before I go to sleep tonight. It all ends with my sending the prayer handkerchief back to whomever sent it to me, then I sit back and wait for my blessings.

I'm assuming this whole thing is a scam, a targeted marketing device used to seek out people who will willingly "donate" money to whatever organization is behind this. It wasn't even addressed to me or anyone else here but to "Resident-To A Friend." The return address is to Prayer By Letters, Saint Matthew's Churches.

This isn't the first of this sort of thing I've ever gotten, but it was the first I've received right when I needed some sort of post fodder to kick start the ol' blog writing. So maybe I've already received my blessing. If that's so, then I not only don't have to write anything on the prayer handkerchief, but I also don't have to hunt down our copy of the Bible or sleep over it.

I'm wondering though if maybe I should at least try. I could think of a few things that I'd like to be blessed with, Powerball being as likely as blessings. Maybe they could make the credit card debt magically disappear. Maybe I could, through my paper prayer handkerchief, cause the complete end of all legal prohibitions on marijuana. Yes, I think I know what I'll put on my handkerchief. And to be sure, I will dig out the Bible and sleep over my need. What NORML has failed at for so many years, I will attain through my need being soaked in prayer from some scam organization. I will triumph!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


The birds are back in my gutter. I have a portion of gutter over my back door that has come a little loose. I haven't really helped matters any by being highly ignorant of even the most basic of home care.

I really want to be a handy kind of guy, and often I'm quite certain I know exactly how to fix something. Just as often are those things that I just don't notice. The gutter is sort of one of those things, except that I noticed it, but I only noticed it when it was raining and I was dashing through after a smoke in the garage. I'd think to myself thoughts of nicer days and getting the ladder out and cleaning the gutter.

Too many nicer days passed without that curtain of water to remind me that the gutters were fucked and needed my attention. Then spring finally came, and with spring came the birds. I'd begun to notice random drops of water on the back porch, often a sign that it's raining, but I'd know for a fact that this wasn't rain.

The gutter was so full of shingle bits and maple seeds that had dammed it up and the birds were using it, I'm guessing as a highly suspect source of drinking and/or bathing water. I have nothing against birds. I may have mentioned recently the removal of a bird nest from the hydrangea, so it might seem that I'm after the birds. I'm really not, but I can't very well let them have the gutter for themselves.

I shouldn't mention the actual cleaning, the rank odor wafting into my face as I removed more handfuls of gunk than should exist in such a confined place. I shouldn't go into the feeling of waterlogged maple seeds and random other detritus filling your hand as you move from the gutter to the bucket, dropping the mass with a lovely flop kind of a sound. The gravelly bits that wash off the shingles weren't so bad, but they were an added aspect into what could very well have become the hidden mosquito breeding ground of '07.

Removing all of that nastiness took enough strain off the gutter that it seemed as though I'd be okay. From the ladder, the gutter seemed to drain pretty well. I thought I'd taken care of the problem before it was too late, though late as it was should be really embarrassing to me no matter how I dress it up.

And speaking of birds, this may be the year they turn against me. I've discovered yet another nest that I disturbed before the birds were even able to finish. They tried to move into one of my recycling boxes. Because the garage door has a bit of gap in it, some sort of birds are getting in and out of the garage. I also found where in the garage they've shitting, though I caught that early in the process as well, so that mess isn't too bad. I've seen birds flying toward other parts of the garage, so there may be another nest attempt somewhere else that I have yet to completely disturb. This is also the year I swear to clean the garage, and I've actually already begun.

This isn't the place to post anything about cleaning the damn garage. There are certainly horrible stories to come about that. There will be the drive out Central to the scrap metal place. There will be the finally getting nearly two decades of home computers somewhere the hell else. There's also the gargantuan heating and air conditioning unit that is completely out of my hands. Remind me to tell you about that sometime. And for now, it seems I'll keeping running the birds out of all their new favorite haunts. I do really like birds, but there's only so much of their shit a man can stand.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


When I think of my childhood, it's usually a particular memory of something. I often feel that I don't really remember childhood, not that I've blocked it out but that it's just sort of a gray sort of thing.

There's plenty that I remember from those years, and my brothers and I certainly have lots of stories ranging back as many years as we've been around. But parts of childhood, feelings about things, my view of the world I was part of, those things sometimes seem as if I never had those thoughts. This is what I don't remember. That puts the grayness over the memories, as if they aren't quite as real somehow. It's as if I were a spectator, and I wonder now if I felt then as if I were merely a spectator, or maybe I was just someone who ran out between scenes to help change the props.

Something I do remember was brought up accidentally by Big Brother tonight. He's in bed, has been in bed for over an hour as this story happens. I was sitting here writing some crap about having writer's block, and I probably boohooed about it at least a little. I'd just finished posting, had long since sipped the last bit of beer out of my glass, and was headed toward the kitchen both for a new beer and for the back door so I could step outside for a smoke.

I was in the kitchen, had just poured my new beer when Big Brother was there, out of bed and out of nowhere, getting his water cup for yet another last drink. The night has grown late of course, the time he would usually be asleep, and I reminded him that he needed to get to sleep. It was then that he informed me that he sometimes doesn't get to sleep till dawn, but that he does get some sleep.

And I was taken back for bit. He told me goodnight and went on to bed, and I was remembering as a child, being so certain that I never slept. I'd go to bed, I'd play and squirm and roll around, and it usually took me some time to get to sleep. It didn't help that there were four of us in the room in two sets of bunk beds. And it didn't help that a certain older brother liked to open the closet door secretly from the top bunk, knowing that I feared the skeletons that were going to come out and somehow do ill deeds to me but who were unable to open the door for themselves. But neither was that at all the problem.

I know I slept, and I know Big Brother sleeps. I've checked on him often enough at night. I hear the sounds of his play coming through the wall as well as the sounds of his not play. I know when he wakes up and how much sleep he needs. And I don't doubt that my parents knew these things about me. And I'm quite certain I complained to them at times that I never got any sleep.

But I remember that feeling, that laying in bed trying to be still, to keep my eyes closed, to will myself to sleep. Roughly half an hour has passed since my short conversation with Big Brother, and I'm quite certain he's asleep. I haven't heard any noises, no bed thumps, nothing in long enough, that I'm sure of myself. He's very likely already asleep.

To this day it can take me a long time to get to sleep. I do take my sleeping medicine, twelve ounces at a time, and very often, I am asleep much before my brain gets a chance to take over. But there's still those nights quite often that I just lay there feeling the time slide past, slowly as if willing me to be awake that much longer. My brain runs the gauntlet of things inappropriate to think about when trying to sleep.

I wonder what keeps Big Brother awake at night, though often I'm pretty sure it's just playing. He took two Hot Wheels motorcycles to bed tonight. Sometimes he takes stuffed animals and probably plays out Pokemon battles. I doubt it has anything to do with George Taylor and Nova, but I was a bit older at that point than he is now, so I imagine his fantasies will be somewhat different. Of course, when I was his age, I didn't have Hot Wheels motorcycles. If I did, I would have had one that I shared with my two younger brothers, and none of us would have been allowed to take it to bed.

I guess we're just night owls. It's easy enough now, but these kids, if they don't do anything else they get bigger and older. Many years of bedtimes never trained the late night restlessness out of me, so I can only imagine what we'll see as the years slip past. And that's one more thing that kids are great for, seeing your past in them as a catalyst for wondering if you're seeing their future in you.

Monday, May 14, 2007

sad lag

I've been sadly lagging in my writing lately. I've gotten to the point where I think of blogging randomly throughout the day, which happens as I sometimes find my posting has grown sporadic. I never even bother with the ol' stat counter when I get like this. I've noticed downward trends every time this sparseness happens.

Sometimes it's simple writer's block, or so I often think. I find that when it comes, I'm often also spending time doing delaying tactic sorts of things, but they creep up on me subconsciously. I find I'm doing them after I've been doing them.

Myspace is a great time waster for me. If you are one of the couple of people who might read this and also know me through that hell hole of teen meh, you might notice that you read me less here and more there on occasion. But I do love the surveys. I know that the majority were written by someone half my age who lied to get their account, but I do them justice, in my own mind. Of course that's not the point here. I certainly won't pretend that the witty answers I put in the surveys is writing, though I can pretend it's practice.

The other delaying tactic that I use way too often is checking back for comments. I'll read random blog some time in the day, be captivated for some reason, either by the currently existing comments or by the comments I expect based on either the post or the comments. I also know who in my Bloglines can be expected to have comments. So I go back through everything I read throughout the day, giving all these lovely people a couple more hits, too often only to find nothing new. I comment sometimes, but I often feel like I'm the comment thread killer because I'm too much of a crank or because my joke doesn't read like it sounds to people used to hearing my jackassery.

And there's another thing. How do you make sure that, when conversing via the internet, people realize you're a jackass and not just a plain ol' cunt? And don't get all up in arms at the use of the word cunt, because sometimes when I say cunt I really mean dick. Sometimes though, someone being a dick is really being a total asshole. And sometimes, the cunts are just being assholes because they're pissed off that those other cunts were being dicks, and they just couldn't take it anymore.

And that's where I find myself. I think I'm just at a low point for post fodder. Maybe it really is writer's block. Either way, as soon as I publish this I'm going to check Myspace and the roller derby fan forum. I might check my family's board, though I doubt there's anything new there.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Part of the reasoning behind the trusty ol' digital camera is all the great things you can do with them. Momma got one for the family for christmas, and it's been great fun to play with. I did read the book that came with it, the basic book, but I barely scanned the more advanced version of the book. Months later, I still only know how to complete the most basic of functions.

Today being Big Brother's last game of the spring soccer season, Momma figured it would be a good time to finally take the camera to a game and try to get some pictures of him and his teammates. One problem with this plan is that neither of have really looked at the camera to find the proper mode for action shots. I've tried a couple of things in the past, most derby related, but the constant motion of derby makes it difficult to catch any thing worth catching. Soccer can present a similar problem, but soccer's catch worthy moments can so often appear out of, as they say, your ass, so of course it carries it's own difficulty.

None of those issues are really of concern as we drive to the soccer fields today, Momma intently poring over the advanced version of the book. We still aren't convinced we found what we want, but what she did find is some sort of continuous shutter something or other. I could find out the real name, but the book is all the way in another room, and seriously, I don't care that much. It won't make this story suck less to know that it is called this as opposed to that.

So all that shit build up for this. Momma grabbed a great series of pictures of Big Brother. It's a race for the ball and you just don't know who will get to it first. That smooth kid in the blue is Big Brother.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

back baby

Indeed we are back baby. Momma finally got paid and we're back to drinking the good beer. We even bought the boys some fast food today without them having asked. We like to include them in the celebration.

You have to know that the very first beer I wanted cleansing the debris away was a St. Terese. The first sip confirmed something I hadn't expected though. I had become a bit colorblind in terms of beer. I have a somewhat limited variety to choose from in my small town. I do think that I have fairly decent options in that availability.

So I've been drinking all this decent beer, and then we budget the beer and have a couple of weeks of High Life. That's all well and good, and I don't care how you feel that my budget crunch involved not skimping on beer but skimping on the price. At least it wasn't Natural Light Ice. That's almost possibly too low even for me, though if you're buying, that's another story.

Anyway, I finally poured my first St. Terese in ages, one of those lovely commercial pours where the head reaches the very top of the glass and no more. I watched in the shadows of the kitchen that nearly amber shade that turns a beautiful red as I carry the beer into the more flatteringly lighted living room. I take a nice full sip and it all comes back to me. I'm flooded with that flavor that made me fall in love in the beginning, the flavor I'd come to take for granted.

St. Terese is what I think of as an American pale ale. It's based somewhat on the British IPA, but the hops is so much more well thought out than in so many hoppy beers. The hops comes through in these beautiful floral notes combined with what can only be described as a rich hoppiness. This whole paragraph sounds redundant as I read back through it. I stopped for a sip of the lovely ale and was overcome again by this beer.

We still have a shit ton of High Life left in the refrigerator. It won't likely last long, but when I've got decent beer and cheap yellow beer, the cheap yellow beer sometimes tries to call to me in the middle of the afternoon or early in the evening. For all my love of the drink, I do try to contain it in reasonable times and amounts.

Either way, it's time for a smoke, and maybe I'll come back with some lovely post about something that matters. That won't likely happen, but you never know.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

the horse

Whenever I see Sarah Jessica Parker, I always find myself wondering the same thing: which one was the horse, her mother or her father?

a visit

Mr. Friendly Codes Inspector Man just paid me a visit. You many remember that my busted ass Buick Skylark earned us an orange sticker, that same orange sticker that we usually see on cars left by the side of the interstate for too long.

I'm sure a certain part of me understands that the city needs codes, needs to require a certain standard of its citizens. I wouldn't want to live next to some neighbors I've seen, porches overflowing with crap, grass allowed to grow wild, cars sitting for years on end rusting away to nothing. But such is not the case with me and my Buick POS.

The car is inoperable, and for anyone looking behind my house, it's probably something of an eyesore. But therein lies the clincher for me, that the car is in fact behind my house. It's not sitting on cement blocks in the front yard, though it is on jack stands. I'd love to be rid of it, but I'd also like to get something in return.

It bothers me that the city has the power to make blanket decisions about the property of its citizens. It makes me a little mad that they have the power to just take a car that they've decided to take. Momma and I paid real money for that car. Her grandparents helped us out some, finding the car and helping us make a down payment, so they too have some investment in it. Momma's grandfather has a fair amount of sweat and even blood donated to that car in terms of repairs and repair help. Anyone who's done auto repair work knows that the gods of auto repair often require some sacrifice of blood, though why it must always come from the knuckles is the greater mystery.

So what's to be done? I sent a message to the National Kidney Foundation's local office a week ago and have yet to hear from them. I was completely honest in my description of the car. The body is in great shape as is the interior. Most of the engine that we actually still have is in great shape as is the transmission, though neither of those parts are currently in the car. They are in the garage taking up space I'd love to use for other purposes.

But Mr. Codes Man was exceedingly friendly, even when he was reminding me that we'd discussed this problem a year ago. I was under the impression then that the car at issue was the Subaru DL that we did get rid of around that same time. It was in sad condition in terms of body and interior, but it could easily have been made to run and is now gone. That one was not behind the house and was imminently more viewable by random passersby. Apparently both cars were a problem.

So what's to be done? It's doubtful that anyone accepting cars for donation would want this heap. It would cost them more to tow it and its parts than would be worthwhile I'm afraid. It would cost a good deal to replace the broken and missing parts, probably again more than the car would then be worth. Who the hell wants a 1990 Buick Skylark?

I thought I had a lead in selling the car for parts. That lead has had to take some time to visit his ailing father in Chattanooga, and I'm not willing to bother him about this issue right now. So I have seven days to either part with the car for whatever money I can get, hopefully including the engine parts and transmission, or I can find myself, seven days from today, watching the city tow truck haul away part of my problems, leaving me with worthless auto parts, large, cumbersome and not easily removed auto parts. They would willingly take my car and leave me with a greater problem because at least the engine parts are not out in the driveway. Maybe I should just drag the transmission into the driveway next week and let the tow truck driver figure out how to get the car out around it.

eight o'clock

No, it isn't eight o'clock right now. It's actually almost ten, in the AM, and I've been up for nearly an hour. That might sound crazy to you, and it sounds a little crazy to me. I try like hell never to be up this early.

Lately, I have been trying to wake earlier. I feel I mostly just need to get in the habit. I'm of two minds about this. If I sleep too much then I awake tired, groggy and often prone to bouts of depression. I'm not sure why that is, but I've learned over time that it's true. If I awake too early, I start the day angry, almost excited about the prospect of shouting at someone. It goes away fairly quickly if I'm left alone, but that's a bit much to ask, and it's more than a bit presumptuous to expect with the boys around.

Of course, my being a bitch if I don't get the proper amount of sleep is not the point of this post. I'm a bitch in more ways than one, regardless of time awake or amount of sleep had.

I've discussed in recent posts Momma and I driving recently to Indianapolis. The night before we left we celebrated our anniversary with a fairly high priced meal followed by some high priced drinks. We also paid a number of bills on top of the three tanks of gas we used in driving to and from and around Indianapolis as well as eating out there. That's left a huge gap in our budget for which we've paid the last couple of weeks.

Some of the budget issues involved buying lesser products, and most of these were ignorable. We've been drinking Miller High Life for most of two weeks rather than indulge our usual beer snobbery. We even bought the cheap eggs when we ran out of the good kind. But the lowest blow by far came only a couple of nights ago. We needed coffee, and while we could have spent only slightly more, Momma decided to go with the Eight O'Clock brand. I could almost make up a god and curse his name that such a travesty exists. It's soooo disgusting, even to look at, the beans a uniform poo brown and also uniformly stale. This coffee was likely roasted weeks before it was packaged and then sat for another week or so in a warehouse. It almost makes me want to cry. It even smells bad.

We usually have our pick of coffees. Our local food co-op, home to overpriced items of all sorts, has a delightful assortment of coffees. The beans are, for the most part, roasted locally and are also very fresh. They still retain a lovely luster and sheen regardless of the amount of roasting. We prefer a dark roast, and the sale coffee at the co-op lately has been a perfect example of a great coffee.

Momma gets paid Friday, and the first thing I plan to do is pack a bag full of Yirgacheffe, fly home as fast as the ol' Honda will take me, throw straight to hell whatever unfortunate beans remain from the Eight O'Clock, and grind myself a good cup. Until then I will damn the crap coffee and lament our misfortune that overspending has heaped on our heads.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

boring post

Time has slipped past me lately, time I could have used for writing, time that I intentionally did any number of other things, because sometimes trying to think about writing is a pain in the ass. Sometimes it's just as simple as not being willing to approach the thing that's on my mind.

Yesterday was finally yard work day as well as shingles day. I had made a deal with a friend who isn't afraid to climb a ladder to replace some shingles. This is a job that's needed to be done for some time, but I don't do well with ladders and steeply angled roofs. We are now safe until the next overly windy day which will probably take those same shingle back off, but we can hope that isn't anytime soon.

I did my share of work. The yard is entirely mowed, and the hydrangea that was full of vines and some stupid ass tree is now just a hydrangea again. I found a bird nest nestled in all the crap that I didn't want in the plant I do want. I actually considered for a moment letting the nest be, but I wanted my flowering shrub more than bird neighbors, so the nest is now on the back porch. I'm sure it's now a homeschooling aid.

I swept the back porch and am momentarily rid of the helicopter seeds from the silver maple as well as the cigarette butts from my blackening lungs. The Boy was nice enough to break the plastic base that used to hold the umbrella that used to shade the outdoor table, but I failed to get it to the street, today being trash day, so it's ours for another week.

I finally cleaned the gutter. I hadn't realized how full of shit it was, mostly the aforementioned helicopter seeds but also a fair amount of the gravelly type shit that's on the shingles. The combination had pretty well damned up the gutter which had developed quite a sag as well as its having become and attraction for birds. I can't really describe the stink that came out of the gutter as my hand went in. It was most disgusting, but the job is done and the sage is much less.

I also finished mowing the field. Our yard can be separated into three distinct sections, four if you count the tiny bit at the end of the house. The front yard is deeply rutted under the grass but is mostly easy to mow. The back yard is smallish and easy to mow, most of the grass/grasslike stuff not ever even growing high enough to meet the mower blade, though the part of the back yard closest to the porch grows thick and heavy. The back edge of the back yard rises abruptly making the field sit about a foot higher. It isn't really field, more like the back half of the back yard. It never gets as much attention as the rest of the yard, and it's generally overgrown and ugly. I really need for this to be the year I get a handle on it and stop letting it get so shitty.

And there's my boring post. Today needs to be the day I clean the inside of the house, especially the bathroom. With two little boys, the bathroom begins all to quickly to smell a little . . . well, a little like two little boys. The kitchen is also a mess, but that's pretty much my fault. I refuse to admit when I last vacuumed. Thank you for reading, now take time to look around your house and be happy that it's really not that bad, unless it is, in which case Get Off Your Ass!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

nearly 'bout

Years of working in kitchens has given me a certain attitude in regards to different aspects of food preparation. This has of course carried over into my home life. Some of this has to do with my handling a knife.

I'm pretty good with a knife. I know my way around one, but I'm also the guy that, due to random circumstances, has fallen in love with the longer than I need chef's knife. My own current knife is a fairly long Wusthof that is in desperate need of a date with a stone.

This story is not about the knife. It's a beautiful knife for all that, and the stories about it would be those of a good partner, always willing when needed to step in and do all those things I require. Again, this isn't about that knife.

This story is about the little serrated knife that came with the butcher block that came with the house. The block was full of serrated knives of all kinds when it came into our possession. I have no use for a serrated chef's knife, but the little steak knives come in handy quite often. Who wouldn't want a decent set of steak knives.

One of the kitcheny knife things I do is a favorite of The Boy. He is a lover of the banana as am I. Momma likes her bananas a little green whereas I like mine a darker yellow, happy even with a couple of brown spots. When the bananas are green, The Boy has trouble opening them. To get around his frustration based on his wanting to do it himself but not being able to, I came up with a little trick.

The trick is mostly lame, but it's fun enough for me because it involves doing something stupid with a knife. The Boy likes it because it's a tiny show. It amused him the first time I did it and continues to be a favorite.

It's really lame, as I said. I merely hold the banana upright and, using one of the steak knives, I slash the stem off. If the trick goes right, the stem flies across the room, trying to slip under the refrigerator and disappear. Sometimes the trick doesn't go quite as planned and the stem doesn't get cut all the way through. Usually a second slash remedies the situation.

He and I wanted a banana at the same time today, so I tried to get both bananas at once, sort of. I held both bananas in one hand, crossed in my palm. One of the two stems didn't come all the way off, so I slashed at it a second time. The order of this story is somewhat cloudy in my mind, which in the end may be for the best. I remember specifically having the feeling at some point in the process that I'd avoided some amount of catastrophe, perhaps the slicing off of some amount of finger. It feels like a second sight I've developed. Working in kitchens means some amount of cut fingers.

I didn't really think anything of it at the time. The process of the banana topping ends with me cutting an X in the top of the banana leaving four distinct places to peel the banana. As usual, I slashed the banana tops off, cut the X and then went to find the stems. I can't very well leave banana stems laying in the kitchen floor. As I picked up the stems I notice a new banana bit. It was the bottom of one of the bananas.

As I was throwing the stems away I looked at the bananas in my hand, seeing all too clearly the bottom end I'd also cut away. I didn't want to look to closely at the knuckles that sat between the two ends of the banana. I still don't really want to think about. Don't think about it. Don't picture yourself holding a banana in your hand and cutting both ends off at once with one quick slice when you only meant to cut off the top. It really doesn't bear thinking about.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Thanks to Zenari for this one, but I'm afraid that at the bottom we are led a little astray. My mortal enemy is in fact not the classic peanut butter and jelly. I do enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, often a few times a week. Big Brother prefers a more substantial sandwich in general, while The Boy would eat pb&j everyday and often does. Peanut butter and honey is also a lovely sandwich, and for extra fun, get out the pan and some butter and toast your pb&j.

You Are a Club Sandwich

You are have a big personality. It's hard for anyone to ignore you!
You dream big. You think big. And you eat big.
Some people consider you high maintenance, but you just know what you want... and when you want it.

Your best friend: The Tuna Fish Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

jam on yo

This video has been sitting in a tab in my browser window next to the blogger tab for too many days now. I've actually played it a few times since finding it recently. It's Dinosaur Jr. doing Just Like Heaven, one of the few Cure songs that I really like. Actually, I've never been a huge Cure fan, but recently, because of a commercial that absolutely ruins a Cure song I sat with the YouTube and listened to a few songs, surprised that I actually knew so many more of their songs than I thought.

The sound quality, as is to be expected from live footage, is not the greatest, but it is pretty good. And any time you get to listen to Dinosaur Jr. you should consider yourself lucky. And who else could take another band's song and make it that much better?

Update: As Hardcore Girl points out, Dinosaur Jr. are back together. They've also released a new album and are streaming it on their Myspace page.

So without further ado, I give you . . .

the car

Momma and I are the proud owners of a lovely Buick POS, also known as a Skylark. It's not the car we actually use, in fact it's not been driven in a number of years. It was the first car that we bought together, and truth be told, we'd just as soon not have this car sitting around anymore. That will likely change soon.

I'll give you a little background on the car before I go into my gripe. Some years ago, as Momma was leaving the house, she experienced one of the delights of automobile failure. One of the pistons broke inside the engine rendering the car immediately fucked. Anyone familiar with the internal combustion engine knows exactly what this means. Anyone else can well imagine.

We had the car towed, on the advice of Momma's grandfather, to the house we now live in. At the time Momma's grandparents lived here. Her grandfather was our mechanic, though this repair was a bit more than he could handle. With some small amount of help from me, he raised the car up, removed the engine and transmission from the rest of the car, and then took the engine block off. The plan was a stop gap measure intended to make the car drivable again. He took the block to a machine shop, and then the mists of time took over.

Fast forward a couple of years. Grandfather was expecting to get the work done cheaply, and we had long ago replaced the car with the Accord we currently drive. Grandfather was in no hurry to get the engine block back, especially when he learned that the man who was going to do the work had had a nasty fall off of a ladder. Another year or so passes, and grandfather learns that the man has died. The man's son, in taking over the shop, got rid of all sorts of things that he assumed were trash. One of those things was our engine block.

So now we are faced with the prospect of having every bit of the car except the block. It's sort of a necessary component if you want a car with an engine and the ability to be driven. Grandfather, still in no hurry, has decided he will try to locate an engine block. He has planned this whole time to get the car running again, and while Momma and I often feel we'd prefer to be rid of it, we also know that having that second car, even if it is a Skylark, would be beneficial for the family.

Fast forward yet again to yesterday. While Momma was at work, the boys and I went to the cove to play and hang out with some of Momma's derby sisters and their children. We were even lucky enough to find some homeschool friends who oddly enough know a lot of the same people that the derby girls do. I've mentioned the size of my town before, and it was neat to see that again yesterday. We all had fun, even if I did get my first sunburn of the season. It's not a bad burn, but it does show up on me in the usual farmer tan, neck up and arms down. Without a shirt on I still appear almost to be wearing a shirt.

We returned home from a lovely day next to the river to find that a codes enforcement officer has been by and left a lovely orange sticker on the POS windshield. My Buick is obviously either abandoned or inoperable, and that is against the city code. I won't mention the fact that within a mile of my house in any direction one can find ten to twenty similar cars. I won't mention that the Buick is behind the house, nearly invisible to most passersby, unlike those other cars, often found in people's front yards.

So what's the difference between my abandoned or inoperable vehicle and the others? Apparently the others are not owned by people who have cunts for neighbors. The report on my car was made anonymously, so even if I asked I would not be able to learn which cunt neighbor called. I have an idea who it was. I have two neighbors that could actually be bothered by the car, and only one of them walks down his driveway scowling in my direction. His lawn is pristine where mine is a little tall, and I think maybe he called about the car because there isn't dick he can do about the grass. The other neighbor is an understanding sort who would actually approach me with problems.

The other option in people who might have called could be the people building the condos down the street. If it were them, then I'd like to call somebody to disallow them from cluttering up my little neighborhood with their condos. We don't have the streets or the infrastructure to support that type of sudden growth, especially when you factor in the two other developments within less than a mile of this one. I will not be happy with the increased traffic on my narrow street nor will my neighbors or any of our children. We already have enough assholes mistreating our street, especially the unmarked police car that regularly drives about fifty miles per hour between the stop signs, a distance of less than a quarter mile.

I wonder what it would have taken for the person who called the law on me to have actually approached me. He could easily have walked over and asked me about the car. I could have explained the circumstances and could have hoped for a little understanding. I didn't get that at all. Instead I have six days now to figure out how to dispose of a car that, while I don't especially want it, I certainly don't want a city tow truck showing up, towing it off and trying then to charge me for the privilege.

Yes, the car could be considered a bit of an eyesore. The front end is on jack stands and the tires are off. Of course the tires are off as the axles are attached to the transmission which is in the garage. The car is behind the house in the driveway, so it isn't one of those cars that I have to mow right up close to and still miss the grass growing underneath, nor is it home to varmints of any kind. The car, as I've mentioned, is nearly invisible to most people passing in the street.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

gettin' our corn from a jar

At one time, moonshine was the best way to get your corn to market. Nowadays it's a little more than that. To some it's a way of life akin to part of their heritage, for others it's cheaper than the bonded whiskey and to some it's a little something daring in their life. That's certainly simplifying the matter as there's certainly more to it than that, but my blog, my rules, my marginalizations.

I've never purchased corn liquor, for what it's worth, but that doesn't lessen my involvement. I've enjoyed, if that word can be used concerning the topic, my share of it, and I have owned more than one jar of it in my years in my little town. For all that I'd heard of it over the years, I never touched my first drop before moving to this town. I could now easily find my share should I want to.

One difference between moonshine and other liquors is the communal nature of drinking it. Bring a bottle of tequila out, and you also bring out shot glasses and perhaps even the training wheels of lemon or lime and salt. A bottle of regular whiskey is either held close or often made into drinks. Rum is certainly mixed, and truth be told makes a hell of a lot better ice pick than vodka. Vodka? Well, the less said about that bastard drink the better. Honestly, when your pinnacle of success is no flavor at all, well why not just drink water and act stupid so people will think you're drunk?

The communal nature comes in a quart jar. You don't pour shots of moonshine, and you don't make drinks with it. You screw the top off, drink without sniffing, and you pass it down the line. You laugh at your close friend as the burn slides a little sideways somewhere in his throat. He passes the jar on, and it comes back around. Someone in the circle has a twelve pack of beer at his feet, because, as he says, "I'll drink it before it gets too got-damn warm," and he never does take you up on your offer to stick it somewhere cold. Whoever's house you're at has a refrigerator somewhat full of beer, and there might even be an ice chest with beers floating in an ice slurry.

At some point, you know the jar is coming back around. You might be ready for it, but it's also possible that you wish to sit out a round. You probably won't, and that's okay too. There's nothing like grown ups shaming each other into drinking more liquor.

Moonshine doesn't have to be illegal. If you want to set up a professional operation, and if you are willing to pay the appropriate taxes and pass the state health inspection, you could conceivably legally distill corn liquor. But who the hell does that? It's much more fun to sell it on the sly, avoiding the revenuers and the g-men with a little artistry and subterfuge. That plays right into the mystique as well, though I imagine most moonshiners would have you believe otherwise. They may even like to see themselves as circumventing unjust laws, and once upon a time, you might have been able to believe it. I'm sure there's a little Robin Hood trying to fight his way out of all moonshine distillers.

Part of the mystique to me is that it's just something so sublimely southern, the corn liquor. I hadn't actually planned to write about it, but reading at Rosie's blog about some guy named Popcorn Sutton just put me in the mood for a sip. I dragged the jar out, and Momma and I passed it around a couple times. It's back under the sink where it belongs for now, but it'll come back out soon enough.

Sometimes you just need a beer, and sometimes you need the beer to be chasing something down your gullet. Maybe I ought to know more about ol' Popcorn, but really, I don't care. I don't know if I've ever had any of his stuff, and I wouldn't be surprised if I had. What I'd be likely to run across currently is more likely to come from Sullivan County than from Cocke County, but I've never really bothered with where it comes from. So long as I can still see when I'm done, I'm pretty much fine with it regardless of it's county of origination.