August 31, 2008
Earlier tonight I was drawn outside when the dogs began firing off a volley of "I'm gonna rip you to pieces" barking, to which you can literally apply the old phrase about their bark being worse than their bite... you would understand if you've ever seen our dogs. One rat terrier the size of a small cat, one offspring of said terrier not much larger than his mom, and one old mixed breed than can barely get around anymore...
When I was outside I couldn't discern the target of the aggression and began calling the sentries back to post. It was then that I noticed that Max, the family rabbit, was doing some sort of strange ritualistic dance in his cage. Being dark, I heard him as opposed to seeing his activity. I walked over to check on him and watched him as he ran in constant clockwise circles around his dwelling. I have never seen Max do anything other than eat, drink, or sleep so I became curious.
The dogs had returned, but were all growling in the same general direction.The dogs will go after anything from squirrels to opossums to armadillos to deer, so I didn't think too much about it. Max's behaviour is what made me wonder what sort of vile creature was afoot. I half listened to the sounds of the woods as I corralled the dogs back inside, but I remained outside as Max was still doing the furious "oh damn" dance. Once all was settled, I noticed clue number one that let me know there was foulness in the air, no crickets. The night sounds of the woods are constant this time of year unless something disturbs them, then they go silent until normalcy returns, or they simply accept the intrusion. The dogs had been with me, then inside for more than enough time to allow the resumption of the usual chorus. I walked to the edge of the porch and began an earnest audial search of all areas surrounding my home. Max was now silent and so was everything else, too silent for everything to be right.
Being six hundred feet from the road with no moon and no lights in the yard, it was dark, very dark. The only source of light was one lamp shining through the window's closed curtains, needless to say if you were more than two feet away from the window it was useless. I had no light source with me as well as no supplies for an exploratory venture into the woods to see what was going on, so I listened. I would guess maybe ten minutes or so passed with me propped on my elbows on the porch rail with head down and eyes shut to quicken night vision and my ears alert to every sound they could catch when several things happened at once.
The hunting dogs at my brother's house through the woods began howling, several owls sounded off at once, very strange, something heavy crashed through brush from the area the dogs were growling toward earlier, and our dogs again sounded off from inside. I raised my head, opening my eyes, and found that night vision was no use, it was too dark. After several moments of thudding heart beats the dogs went quiet. I remained motionless with my ears trying to pick up any movement. Max was moving again and that made it a bit difficult to hear. There was one owl, close to the pond that was hooting at regular intervals now, but no other sound could be picked out. Owls will sound until they get an answer or company or decide to move. As I had heard more than one a few minutes ago I found this to be unsettling for some reason. Then the deciding factor came into play. A definitive series of cracks from the woods to my left. I decided to move off the porch, grabbing a cane I was prepping for carving. I didn't stand up straight and moved cautiously, I would've rather gone inside for a more substantial protection unit, but didn't want to flood the porch with light and sound and decided stealth was the best option. I got to the bottom of the steps and made my way to the front corner of the porch and remained silent, utilizing what little vision I had and picking up on any auditory signals I could discern from Max's ongoing menacing dance of death, which was taking place about twenty feet off to my right.
There are many things that can create noises of this type in the woods at night, the only one to be feared here is human. Bears don't come this far south, and panthers are pretty much unheard of these days, and bobcats would rather jump into an open pit of flame than confront a human. That leaves deer, coyotes, small vermin, or people. Deer avoid you, coyotes leave you alone unless you are dying or covered in garbage, vermin are harmless, but people are treacherous.
The night creatures had not yet resumed their songs so that let me know there was surely something moving about. There aren't many things that can move in silence in the woods and people are the loudest. Try as they might they make a sound that eventually can be recognized as being all human. Deer will make noise, but not a lot. Human contact here at this hour is rare but not unheard of so I remained vigilant in my duty. Then I heard it again, three or four short cracks of advancing movement, and Max stopped dead still. The sounds weren't enough to define a source creature, but were plenty to pick out placement and direction. To my one o'clock going in the direction of my mother's house, but not yet to the dirt road that separates the two sections of woods, closer to my yard than to the dirt road.
There is no brush in my yard, tall grass that needs cutting, but no undergrowth to be too loud or snag or trip on so I decided to move to my eleven o'clock to start a path of interception. My car was parked directly in my line of movement, pulled into the turn around facing straight toward the spot the noise had come from, about forty feet from where I was standing so I chose to make it's back passenger side corner my first destination. I picked my footing carefully and began moving. I listened as I walked and heard nothing, I moved around the back of the car and positioned myself in a crouch looking around the driver's side toward the area housing the demon that was haunting me at the moment. I thought of turning on the head lights, but decided against it.
I waited, listening. As more time of overbearing silence crept past my mind began to wander. I thought of all the stories of my father and grandfather telling of all they had encountered in these woods, from jack o' lanterns (balls of ignited swamp gas that float around, yep.. I've seen one) to turtles that bit you and wouldn't let go until it thundered all the way up to my brother's sighting of a tall bi-pedal creature staring at him from the edge of the woods as he walked home from my grandparent's house one night, not big foot, but definitely in the same genre... Don't laugh too much, we all did when he told us about it. We weren't so amused though when the following week's edition of the local paper came out filled with strange sightings of a similar creature being reported all over the area the same night. You talk about a smug look... You should've seen his face when we all looked back and forth from the paper to him. Then it hit me.
I am forty one years old, crouching down behind a car in my own front yard like a twelve year old playing hide and seek trying to figure out what made a noise some ten to twenty feet into the wood line... Screw this... I would just go see. So I stood up and began boldly walking directly toward the dirt road that starts at the corner of my yard and works around toward my Dad's old shop and then on into my Mom's back yard, it also goes in the other direction and branches off to many other places.. Don't think that thought didn't cross my mind as I walked forward trying to carry myself with more bravado than I really felt.
When I reached the beginning of the dirt road I stopped and stared into the woods in the direction that the noise came from and then down the dirt road. I thought it was dark in the yard.... Damn, it was pitch black looking into that tree tunnel stretching out before me. I had come this far, nothing else for it. I started walking into the void in front of me. About half way to the fork in the road I heard an incredibly loud grunt to my right and stopped dead still. A huge sudden flash of movement caught me by surprise as did the all mighty sensation of pain as my heart stopped beating and attempted to rip it's way out of my chest, then I saw it. An ungodly large buck bounding away from me in leaps clearing at least fifteen feet between light as feather touch downs on the ground. I'm telling you as sure as I am sitting here typing this at 3:40 a.m. that I could clearly hear my father laughing his ass off... A few seconds after my heart resumed rhythmic functionality I couldn't help but join him...
The only disturbing thing is that I just left this computer and went back out on to the porch and Max is still on high alert... I wonder if he knows something I don't...
August 29, 2008
With the last couple of weeks I have had I am really looking forward to a three-day weekend. For one reason or another I have not been able to sleep. Whether it has been dogs, kids, sickness, insomnia, stress, or a mulish mindset, sleep has been escaping me. I took a ride from Atlanta to Savannah the day before yesterday to help a friend pick up a motorcycle he found on Craig’s list. We left at about ten a.m. After driving there, tinkering around with the bike, going to eat seafood and driving back I got home around midnight. Then I read and answered email and went to bed… about three a.m.
I do not see how truck drivers can handle that lifestyle, driving all day will wear me down quicker than hard labor. But at least I was able to get a good meal and breathe some marsh air… The sleep deprivation began to catch up with me yesterday, with a vengeance… Today I just feel as if someone is riding on my shoulders. I managed to squeeze out about four hours last night. Lack of sleep causes many things to happen, from mood and temper swings to hallucinations. The best part was the drive from the shop to my home after the Savannah run… My car is wet in the cargo area from groceries being loaded in the rain, or just my wife partying somewhere with the back up while it was raining, she hasn’t told me which yet… So the car has been locked up and hasn’t been allowed to dry out, When we got back all of the windows were fogged up. I let it run with the defrost on for a while and headed out, but it was hot and humid and the fogging effect kept coming back, so I began the dark groping search for something to wipe the windshield with, I found a rag in the center console and started to clean a spot right in front of me.. great, the damn thing was loaded with left over armor all… So I had a big blurry spot directly in front of me, try as I might there was no getting rid of it. So the bulk of the trip was driven with me leaning over and looking through the center of the windshield. That’s soooo much fun while playing pole position with rampaging deer on deserted back roads in Georgia late at night… not to mention armadillos four wheeling back and forth across the road in front of you… With a blurry windshield they look amazingly like waves in the blacktop… I told you, hallucinations…
I haven’t been this tired since my wife and I drove from Newnan to Hutto Texas to deliver a weather siren one year for extra money at Christmas… I spent an hour trying to figure out how music was coming from the furnace after we got back from that trip. We drove straight through in a 1994 ford ranger, leaving at 4:00 p.m. on Friday and getting back Saturday night/Sunday morning at 2:00 a.m. stopping only for gas and once to eat in Dallas. Brutal.
I think that I shall take a page from my Dad’s book and fall asleep in the recliner, with my shoes dangling from my toes, only stirring when someone tries to turn the channel on the t.v. If there are westerns on TCM I will tune in and definitely do that. Although with a rambunctious four year old, more likely leaving myself in such a vulnerable position, I will suffer a major crotch shot and wake up in agonizing pain again. Yep, he’s done it several times, he is the king of the dive on dad while he’s sleeping maneuver.
There is a long list of things that I need to get done this weekend, but sleep will be the first task. Woodcarving the second. I hope it all goes well, being followed around by a platoon of armadillos is getting old, plus they’re starting to talk to me now… I need to sleep…
August 26, 2008
The thickness of my skin has been worn down by a year brought to me by none other than satan himself. I have had the privilege of living through a year that includes such lovely goings on as my father, uncle, and aunt passing away, two dogs dying, the loss of four pet birds to a hawk, estrangement, ridiculous car problems, health issues in the family, etc etc etc.... The bullshit has left me angry, tired and pissed off. I have tried my best to remain on an even keel while all around me turns to pure shit.
I knew that sooner or later some craptacular piece of nothing would toss my psyche over the edge and cause a flood of rage to vomit forth with vitriol and manifest itself on some unknowing soul who happens to be standing within reach. In a year that I have had to endure slack jawed bastards slinging insults at me and my family under the guise of anonymity, I have now reached the point of just not giving a shit. To what do I owe this mind set. None other than little bob beckel, pundit extraordinaire, he became the official camel straw back breaker.
It seems this ass hat has felt it necessary to insult the south. This is common fare for the uneducated blowhards that seem to place themselves on a pedestal because they live in a more enlightened area of the country. Every part of the country has rednecks, regardless of the accent they have when they speak. Every part of this country has areas a law abiding person will not go to. Every part of this country has people that just plain suck. But this endless bullshit about the south has reached its limit of being humorous.
‘If you can’t shoot it, eat it, drink it or fuck it, they just aren’t interested in it’ This is what he considers to be serious political discourse? He has said that the democrats should just forget about the south and obama shouldn't even land a plane here because the color of his skin. God knows there are no racists or bigots outside of the deep south are there? He even insulted the eating of catfish... It pissed me off and I don't even like catfish. I have lived here for my entire life, my wife is from chicago and has lived here for the past sixteen years. When she first got here she was dumbfounded by the way the people here talked about people of other races. Now she has seen the things that go on where the rubber meets the road, in real life and real time. She has seen real bigotry in action, and you know... most of it has been towards us poor, ignorant, incestuous southern rednecks.
Conversational bigotry was a spice of life I grew up with, it was everywhere. I am aware of lynchings and horrible things done to people. But, I am also aware of the flip side of this coin that you never hear about. Truth is truth, regardless of how ugly it is. Less than four percent of the people sold into slavery actually made it to the shores of this horrible region of the country. The largest purchaser of slaves during the time of the civil war was the U.S. government (see buffalo soldiers). There were no white people picking up slaves from africa (see spain and portugal) they were sold in cuba, well noted to be a hot spot for white folks, most wound up in south america and the Caribbean. The civil war was fought over taxation of goods from the south being at an unfair rate because those of the enlightened breed not liking the money the cotton barons were taking in and the power it brought to them. Black on white violence goes largely unreported by media.
I spent the early portion of my life pretty much raised by a black woman that I loved dearly. She helped to instill in me my love for real food and good times in the face of ridiculous bullshit brought on by people that have no real souls to speak of. She died not knowing when her birthday was or really how old she was, but the mark she left on me is deep and runs with a love that no bastards or spider witches can touch.
We that have grown up in the deep south feel a love for the place and guard it with a fierce line of blood that is willing to be spilled in the defense of it. We know that politicians are full of shit. We know that war is nasty business and the reasons for it are usually masked and delivered to us in a patriotic package designed to touch the deepest feelings of loyalty and win over the weak minded. But why do we accept it? Why do we line up to go? Why do enlistment rates always run higher in this region of the country than anywhere else? It's not because of love of country, or pride in a nation, or the desire to kill another human being. It's simply because we feel like we can help the other guy get home alive. We feel pride and patriotism, but we know what the score is. We would rather be the ones to face the shit and just get it done than to see others put to the test. We don't like whiners and would just as soon do it and hear less of it. There are people who feel like this all over the country. That is the point. We are just like everybody else. Yet we are forced to listen to shit spouting bastards from all angles and points in media take shots at us continuously. Why? Because they know we won't say or do anything about it. We are the last of the groups they won't lose a gig over... We have no jesse jacksons to file papers in a court of law. We have no al sharptons to go on hunger strikes (see a soup diet) to gain attention to anything we go through. Traditionally we shut the hell up and take it, get the job before us done and step aside to return to our normal lives.
Despite the lovely picture painted by things like gone with the wind, the reality of our history is one of poverty and labor. Sharecroppers worked side by side with slaves. White trash lived at a level comparable with them on most all levels. We too suffered under plantation owners. My own ancestors were forced to walk to Oklahoma (see trail of tears) They fought in wars, they were bad people with violent lives, some came from places like Scotland and Ireland where they were driven from lives they knew by rich people who held power over them. Some were here before the immigrants set foot on this shore. Yet they all prevailed and stayed the course.. and as a result.. Here I am. Here I am because of the pure fucking guts they had, the work ethic they stuck to, the bad times they lived through, and the blood and sweat they left on this land so that I could enjoy it and share it with my own children. They did it all for love, love of family and love for this place. That to me lays a heavy sense of responsibility on my shoulders, and it makes me weep in the very pit of my heart to hear some flippant remarks generalizing all of us come free flowing from the mouths of human stains like this asshole.
Let it go, we hate it, yet remain quiet when the jokes are made so you can feel important. You can have your opinion that's fine. But I can also have mine. Me.. I will take up the moniker of redneck, hillbilly, white trash, knuckle dragger, mongrel, blue eyed devil, bigot, and whatever other labels the more learned among our society decide to place on me. Like I said, I know the score.
August 23, 2008
As I sat and listened to Obama give his introduction for Biden as his running mate the drone of the words that were expected went on at its usual pace. I reached over and picked up a piece of modeling clay and began to form up what I think Biden looks like when the lights are off and he is alone in bed with nobody to impress. The picture here is what I came up with while he was speaking, it's a representation of his soul, laying naked before us. James will have fun smashing it up when he gets up from his nap...
Joe Biden's voting record speaks for itself, party line. You will hear his remarks about Obama that he made while campaigning against him tossed out by his opponents, you will hear all about any dirt in his closet that can be dug up. The one and only thing you need to read is his voting record. If you read it and agree with how he voted, then God bless you. If you read it and don't agree with what he says, then vote for another ticket.
The main theme that I heard running through his speech is how this country is falling apart. Home repossessions, expensive gas, dwindling military... All the usual talking points. Nothing new, nothing at all. The democrat line of doom and gloom is alive and well and running at full force within the party of "the common man"... Its the little things they don't say that are louder than any words coming from their mouths... When they attack corporations they don't tell the dumb masses that these "ridiculously high profits" are what is keep the jobs in this country which are still around. Yes I think that billion dollar bonuses for corporate heads are pitiful while people on the front line are getting laid off... But how many jobs have you ever gotten from a poor man? They want to put more taxes on these evil corporations, so they pay their fair share... What they fail to tell you is that corporations do not pay taxes, they pass this expense on to the customers of the goods and services they sell. Expense it is.. that's how its written up, I know, that's what I do for a living... When they bitch about George Bush, they don't want to tell you they went along with him, for fear of losing their careers in politics.
So here we are yet again, the choice is clear. Vote for more taxes and a pretty picture... Or vote for a guy that can't lift his hands above the top of his head like a character from charlie brown.. Damn.
When is someone that really is a crusader for people going to run for office?
When is someone going to push for a real solution oil prices, like drilling more. I do not care who it's sold to.. china, the U.S. who ever.. there is a basic economic principle in play here, the more goods on the market, the lower the price, regardless of who the purchaser is...
When is some one running for office going to actually work to cut out ADMINISTRATIVE waste in government? A great starting place would be getting rid of tax payer (read you & me) paid for govt issued cars, cell phones, credit cards, expense accounts, ridiculously high salaries and pensions for nothing more than a completely useless layer of govt bureaucracy.... All we need are the people to make the decisions and the people to carry them out. Between the two there should be nothing more than a guy in a cinder block room with a single light bulb dangling from the ceiling, a phone, a filing cabinet, and no computer...
When is someone going to push for fuels in cars and to spin electrical turbines that can be grown or picked up from mcdonalds for pennies a gallon?
When is someone going to push to put a stop to income taxes?
When is someone going to push for two term term limits for all elected officials from the local to state to federal levels? That way the lobbyists will drill themselves into the ground from spinning round and round so fast trying to figure out who to throw money at for favors, eventually that system would fail completely with term limits.
On one side you've got a guy that pushed legislation through that is a direct violation of free speech, and on the other there is a guy with a questionable abortion stance... keeping in mind that I have no real opinion on this issue being that I lack a vagina, but I hear scary stories about partial birth abortions floating around...
Why are we such champions of hard line mediocrity in this country?
August 22, 2008
8:45 pm This is what we got from tropical storm Fay, sorry its dark... But hey, that's what happens in the woods at night in north Georgia. The sounds of the cicadas feel like home... We were hoping for rain, but no dice... the storm is just too far south of us. We are getting steady 10-15 mph winds. There was Enough cloud cover and wind to drop the high temp today down to about 80 degrees. It's actually been pretty. On the way home I saw lots of people taking advantage of the cooler temps to jam in yard work before the rains we are supposed to get tomorrow set in. We have been lucky, given all the hell that people south of us have endured with flooding and loss of life, seven people have died as of this posting, let's hope that number doesn't increase. The wind reminds me of being at the beach so it's been comforting to me. A nice night for Kawasaki mule patrol, this video was shot by me & James, my four year old, that's him you hear squeaking around on the mule seat.....
Pirate's Gold by Rolando Reyes has turned out to be one of my favorite blogging companions. Make no mistake, an aficionado I am not. This little secret vise is a smooth flavorful companion that fits well in the past midnight lets have a good cup of coffee and surround ourselves in aromatic clouds of cigar smoke setting. Even though this habit is full of so many bad things and detrimental to your person on so many levels, it's just so good... Thanks for the tip Mark! ( let me know when the next order goes in!! )
August 21, 2008
August 19, 2008
That is how long it took me to find and download these pictures of children that have been murdered. Their stories range from parents, to cousins, to friends of the family, to vans pulling up and people snatching them, to kids at school getting out of control in fights. I looked into their faces and hundreds more, and thought of my own children. The theft of innocence is the highest of crimes punishable by death in my book. To abuse a child is the lowest of criminal activity known to the human race. Take a second and look into these faces... What did they do to deserve to die? Nothing. Yet they are dead, they will never know the simple pleasures of life - lovers, friends, movies, roller coasters, picnics, parks, swimming, Christmas toys, driving, grandparents, playing, all the things that we work our asses off to be able to do and provide. Their hopes, dreams and voices are now silenced forever. Some of the people that did these things have been caught, some have not. We look around on these computers and see stories of things like this, or see the talking heads making money from the tragedy that befalls these children. Yet we do nothing.
I look at my children when they are at their worst and still could not imagine hurting them. I would not hesitate to kill the person that would hurt them. Those that treat them poorly will die, simple. I have contacted several organizations that I have found and will be doing what I can to help in any way that I can. I have no money to give them, but I will offer myself in any capacity I am able.
I saw images that I will not repost. Neglect, rape, beating, burning, starvation, drowning, hanging, mutilation, strangling, rage killing... it disgusts me as a human. I will do what I can to end it in any way possible.
Lawyers help to get the people who do this the best deal they can, some even go free. Some people begin to feel sorry for them and call for leniency. Some even get marriage proposals. People sit in their dens and conceive webs of deceit to hurt others for nothing more than their own pleasure, or to cover up their shortcomings before they are exposed, these assholes are really no better. The human race is comprised of the lowest there is in creation. It's driven by the desire for power and the things that they think it can bring to them. To hurt children, physically, verbally, sexually, emotionally.. all the same... Theft of innocence...
August 18, 2008
We had gone to Tybee Island for the weekend. My niece had never been to the ocean before so it was going to be a special trip for her. When going to the beach there are a few things that you must keep in mind. Watch out for many things that can hurt you, or bring about an untimely death... To me the most frustrating one of these is a riptide. When caught in one, do not swim toward the beach. If your anxiety is at such a level that you must swim, then swim parallel to land until you get out of the pull. Most people panic. What you must remember is that a riptide is circular. Yes, it will carry you out, pretty far if it's a strong one, but it will also carry you back in, just relax and float. On one trip I watched a group of locals riding the riptides with excitement. Strange to watch, but they had a good time. It was late, after midnight, and these guys were having a blast, so I couldn't resist, I had to try it... Frightening, and a bit dangerous in retrospect, but it was definitely fun...
We once watched a guy that was fishing from the Pier walk his fishing gear all the way back from the end of the Pier to the beach, then walk along the beach with a catch still attached. Yep, it was a shark, we watched it rolling in the surf. he fought it for a couple of hours, then it broke the line... The water was vacant for quite a while.. According to the locals, Tybee is rife with two things beach goers do not like, sharks and the dreaded jellyfish.
I had talked our niece into walking in the water with me (my favorite beach past time, at night though). We walked for a long time, slowly getting farther out... we had made it to just above waist deep when she began to scream. I looked around her and didn't see churning water or any fins, I thought she had stepped on something. She began to run in a panic out of the water, when she made it up on the beach it was evident what had happened... She was doing the "a jellyfish has stung the hell out of me" dance, it burns like you wouldn't believe.... I tried to calm her down, but to no avail. The look of abject horror on her face when someone suggested that she put urine on it was priceless.. We ran, following her, to the life guard hut, he was out of ammonia... She knew for sure that it was a grand conspiracy when the life guard wished out loud that he had some urine.... (it's actually vinegar that works)
We tried for a long time to get her back in the water, but it was a no go. There are lots of close calls or just scary stories associated with beach going. I once had rented a nice canvas float and decided to cruise lazily around out past the breakers, it was dark and calm. Yes, I fell asleep... When I awoke with a start, land was a tiny little strip of light off in the distance... You just swallow the fear and talk to yourself as you begin kick toward the light, hopefully the current won't be against you.. It took a while, but I got there. It's the fear that can get you, when you sense something large near you, especially when you're out in the water after dark... A friend of mine was crossing a bay near Panama City on a two person jet ski when the group had stopped to check the markers to continue on their trip. As they sat there a large ray of some sort, between twenty and thirty feet swam slowly under them gliding along quite serenely... Very unnerving. A relative of mine once hopped off a sea wall right on top of an oyster bed, with bare feet... ouch.
Even though it can be fraught with peril, you just can't beat a nice quiet visit to the beach... Just don't forget the vinegar....
August 17, 2008
Why did Russia invade Georgia in the first place? I wasn' t paying attention and saw a passing blurb on the news that the invasion had taken place, with all that's going on in my life, I let it go. I figured that I would be able to get the full story when I got the time to dig into this a little deeper. My faith in broadcast news organizations wasn't changed when it became obvious that this one little bit of info was being glanced over in each news story I tuned into. The only thing I saw was footage of reporters under fire, while frightening to be sure, it's getting to be tiring when the news people keep getting the airtime when they are supposed to have the cameras turned the other way. Yet another example of pretty pictures taking the place of real, hard line information.
When the digging process began I noticed it was a little more difficult to get to the root of the issue than I thought it would be. The information is out there, yet as not as prominent as one would think. This is the age of corporate news, where stories are always crafted to put the CEOs and mindsets of controlling parties in a good light. To forward the corporate line as it were... But come on guys, let's make it a little less obvious... To put American interests on the back burner because you do not agree with policies is one thing, but I got the sense that there was a midsized information black out taking place. It seems that the need to not put a "bad feeling" on Russia is a little stronger than I initially thought. A reliable source in the media has told me that his crew has had several points stricken from the stories they have written to be read off the teleprompter by the talking head infotainment drones.
With the absence of real info in the easy to get to arena I began to dig. This is what I came up with:
In April of this year NATO denied entry to Ukraine and Georgia. Pavel Felgenhauer has been quoted in several places as saying that military action against the nation of Georgia began being planned earnestly in Moscow at this point. The reported aim from the beginning was to overthrow Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and his pro-Western government.
"A decision was made for the war to start in August. The war would have happened regardless of what the Georgians did. Whether they responded to the provocations or not, there would have been an invasion of Georgia," Felgenhauer says. "The goal was to destroy Georgia’s central government, defeat the Georgian army, and prevent Georgia from joining NATO."
But in Bucharest at it's annual summit, NATO's powers that be sent a clear message to Russia that the road to complete independence and recognition of the countries was not set in stone when they decided to deny them a membership action plan. Although it was seen as a "strong gesture of support from the west" that NATO pledged to Tbilisi and Kyiv that they would receive a membership action plan in the future. So lets connect some dots, Russia must move now before these membership plans are passed on... meaning that these nations will get the "automatic" protection of the NATO alliance in the event of any military actions taken against them.
Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer, is quoted as saying, "I think the Russians took the wrong lessons from Bucharest. There was a lot of Russian pressure and rhetoric against both Georgia and [Ukraine] getting Membership Action Plans before Bucharest. I’ve heard that Russians regard Bucharest as a success. And what you saw after Bucharest was an increase in pressure."
Andrei Illarionov, a onetime adviser to former Russian president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who has since emerged as a fierce Kremlin critic, has said of the invasion that it "had been long prepared and successfully executed." Professor of strategic studies at the U.S. Army War College, Steven Blank, said in July of 2007 that Moscow withdrawing from the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty could allow Russia to threaten Georgia by freely moving substantial deployments of troops and equipment into the North Caucasus.
In the last month of his presidency, Putin signed, on April 16, a decree authorizing the Russian government to strengthen diplomatic and aid links with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia’s pro-Moscow separatist provinces. Russia then deployed 1,500 additional troops, to its "peacekeeping" contingent in Abkhazia without Georgia’s consent. The move was a direct violation of a 1994 cease-fire agreement ending a civil war between Abkhaz and Georgian fighters. Russia then shot down unmanned surveillance drones over Abkhazia violating Georgian airspace in the process.
In June Russia moved troops into the region to "rebuild" a rail line between Sukhumi and Ochamchira, but Matthew Bryza is now saying that the move was done to move military equipment and supplies into Georgia.
Then with all focus being put on Abkhazia, Russia moved into South Ossetia... Rope a dope, well done gentlemen... This came after massive military exercises were done by Russia in the North Caucasus. Clashes were frequent and violent, then Georgia moved troops into the region and Russia responded by sending in massive amounts of troops, aircraft and tanks to repel the Georgian forces. Keep in mind, that this is Russia sending it's troops into Georgia in order to repel that country's military from it's own land..... Sounds a bit like the reports of Mexican troops crossing the border into America doesn't it?
Russia is using the excuse of Georgia committing genocide in the regions of that nation that are supportive of Russia and the communist party. Information of the genocide that took place is out there, as noted by the link, but reports of the refugees are difficult to come by. The information is sketchy at this point, but all reports I can find fall far short of the 34,000 that Russia claims have fled into it's country. News and information of the "Georgian oppression" is beginning to come under fire, but it is obvious some sort of aggression was present. The aspect of this that becomes apparent to me is that when a region is in question of being "ethnically cleansed", why attack all over the country to rid forces from that one spot... Clearly Russia's motivation is to stop Georgia from becoming a democracy and independent Nation, expanding it's former empire and rebuilding it's might looks to be the order of the day....
Sadly, on the round table talking head Sunday news shows this morning, all of this tragic violence was just being used as a platform for one minion or the other from each presidential campaign to attack the other, way to go guys... Let's keep the real solutions to the world problems where they need to be, meanwhile the perpetrators will keep their heads down, goals in sight, and fingers on the triggers while shaping world geopolitical events, while we wait to react to it.... good job Washington, good job...
August 15, 2008
Well the first week of school has come and gone. His report card is a good one. He now knows how to count to one and that the first letter of the alphabet is apple... He doesn't understand why they won't let him go to two or bumblebee yet, but he says they are a bit slow for him, but "Not everyone knows it yet so we have to wait on the slowpokes.." He did have to give in and leave his prized rifle at home, the director's husband spoke to him and let him know that some kids might like it and want to take it home. He then told us that he didn't want anyone to start complaining about kids playing with toy guns at daycare. I knew it was coming, so it's not a big deal, especially since me and the guy made a man-date to zero in his new scope on Sunday afternoon...
He has fit in beautifully. He talks non stop about the activities they have participated in. His favorite part is riding the car on the playground, he told me all about the big car that he climbs on while his new friend Chaz drives them to find dinosaurs. The loss of the beloved rifle has come to pass with no drama at all. As you can see he steps back into full gear each evening when he gets home... Reminds me of Huck saying that he has to hide up in the attic at the widow's house and cuss for ten minutes just to get the taste back in his mouth.
His schedule is regimented and fixed in stone, which is what kids need. So he is sleeping and eating good. Although today he said he couldn't sleep because the radio wasn't working and the little kids made his ears hurt. But on the up side he got to be a line leader and helper today. I asked what line leader meant and he told me that, "You get to be first on the playground, but you can't open the door, only the big loud lady can do that"
So here we go again, macaroni letters on the fridge, painted hand prints on the bedroom door, teeth marks on the arm from the mean kids, letters from the director about the teeth marks he left on the other kids, the latest little "bug" being brought home for all to enjoy, sticky fingers, snotty noses, and sugar highs, endless running and noise... and you know what... I love every damn minute of it....
August 12, 2008
While eating at a popular hamburger place, which means you are charged at least three times what the food is actually worth, I overheard an interesting conversation. There were three young people sitting at a table near me that were deep in discussion about how cool charles manson is. I listened as the obvious leader of the group waxed on about how he controlled so many people and bent them to his whim and desire. "He is obviously a genius since he got them all to do his dirty work for him" "Yeah, we should try to write to him so we can find out how he did it and start a family like that".
When I heard that line I choked on a bite of burger and couldn't help but blurt out "Bullshit". I said it a little too loudly and the boys heard me. They started looking at me as if they wanted to be smart asses, but to my surprise the snaky looking guy asked me why I thought that was bullshit. There is no way that my long winded boring talkative self could turn down an invitation to an actual debate. I told them to come over to the table as they were done eating. I never asked their ages, but they were all drinking beer, so I would assume over twenty one.
I began by asking them to tell me what they knew about the guy. What followed was a narration pretty much taken from most of the movie helter skelter, but their ignorance of the man was astounding to some degree. They were not aware that his motivation was to start a race war between whites and blacks. The guy was basically a convict who learned manipulation at the hands of those who literally owned his ass in the different institutions he lived in for most of his life. I told them that there are a few things you learn as you go along, one of them being that most people who become famous are a dime a dozen, they just work hard to get noticed, like bill clinton, they looked at me in a confused manner, so I asked them if they had ever been to a used car lot, they all said no, so I told them to just go stand around in one for a few seconds and they would see what I meant... When they used the point that he had all those women to do his bidding, I reminded them that when they were picked up at different times the first thing the "man" had to do was get them treated for the various diseases they had. Not to mention the livestock they had crawling all over them. I filled them in on how Sadie had told the cops about performing sexual acts on her then two month old son. (I still can't believe they were thinking of letting her out) I also told them about the two girls that ran away to be picked up by cops on a desert highway informing their saviours of how charlie had them go through purification rites by performing oral sex on non human entities. They began looking a little green by this point. They weren't aware that squeaky had tried to kill the president either. "Some group of people to admire, right?" I told them about "getting the fear", charlie's game of having his minions break into homes and just stand there so that fear would make them feel completely alive. Stealing cars, robbing stores, and mugging people was how he started out in life and never changed. I gave them the quote from the book the family which is something to the effect of: while in prison he averages three orgasms a day by either hand, mouth or buttock. The bigger guy looked at the snaky one and said, "the guy is a fag dude". We spent a couple of hours talking about manson and then branched out to other criminals. They actually got ill when I told them about donald gaskins little personality twists. The best reaction was to the nipple eating incident. The one thing that I learned from the discussion we had was that these kids just didn't read at all. The good thing was that they were actually thirsty for knowledge. They were polite, attentive, and interested in what I had to say. They spoke of things I was ignorant of as well, most of it to do with the latest internet goings on and celebrity gossip items. The best part was when we parted company in the parking lot, they were walking away talking about how they had to hurry to the book store to pick up some of the books I had mentioned. Maybe they will learn to actually enjoy reading... But who knows... I better keep up with local events... I may see one of their pictures on the news soon..
August 11, 2008
My four-year-old started at day care. I was worried about his behavior, given his performance at the Doctor’s office when getting his shots up to date. He is a high strung little guy, he wants his way all the time. When the situation isn’t going the way he thinks it should go he lets you know. He has a short temper and a very long memory, I admit openly that he gets these traits from me. I am an unforgiving bastard. I was worried about many things, the plan was set in place, which means that nothing was going to go correctly. I was to see a specific person, pay the amount for the week, get a receipt, show him to class, and say my good-byes. I had it all worked out via phone the previous week.
He knew that school was coming up soon, we had talked about it and he was none to happy with what he was hearing. He constantly peppered me with questions about the fine details, another inherited trait. We both like to know exactly what’s coming. The day before he was to start I decided to let him know that the next morning was school. His face darkened and the tears began. He started using logic to make sense out of it. “We can just pretend that I will go to class, and when I’m ready I can call you and you can come get me…” then it was, “Just for a little bit, deal? deal? deal? I don’t want to be there all day, that’s just too long”. I hated to do it but I had to inform him that he would be there for the full day. My wife then came in the room with a backpack for him to take that contained extra clothes for school. She also had some pajamas for after his bath that evening. She showed him the backpack and explained that he could take a toy or two, plus his trusty rifle along. My mind then flashed on politically correct parents or administration frowning on that idea, and the ensuing discussion that would follow. She sat the bag down by the door and then she announced out loud that these were his pajamas…. His face twisted in terror, “I am not spending the night there!!!” The panic set in and he looked as if he would begin tipping furniture over that very second. I laughed a bit and told him that no, those were for after his bath later tonight. He shot me a sideways glance that clearly let me know he didn’t trust me at all since I told him the shots wouldn’t hurt… There was no more discussion of the pending morning’s upset to ritual that was to follow. I awoke earlier than usual, nervous about the next hour and a half. I went through the motions of getting ready and then went to wake him. The first thing he did was ask if he had to go to school, “Yep, today’s the first day, and I won’t have any fussing, you are a big guy now and you will have fun and make lots of new friends”
“But I don’t need any new friends dad…”
When he was ready I flashed on steve martin in the jerk carrying the lamp and such. As he came down the hallway “ready” to leave, he was loaded with all sorts of toys and guns. I told him that he could take just a couple of things with him and he proceeded to darken up again, to which I held up a finger and announced that guys as big as him don’t fuss about rules when they have to go to school. He gave me the mean stink eye and stared me down as he dropped each toy one at a time with a resounding thump onto the floor. When he had just two things, his beloved rifle & his plastic pistol, he announced, “OK, I’m ready to go now” He held the stink eye on me all the way to the car. I watched him in the rear view for any panic or anger all the way there, he looked out of the window and commented only once, to point out the heavy equipment that was clearing a spot for an upcoming grocery store. Once we arrived he looked nervous but was hanging on pretty well. I took his hand and we made our way across the parking lot, I kept waiting for the tug in the opposite direction, but that never came. He was silent as we went in and followed me to the office, no lights and locked doors…. The best laid plans of mice and men…. I took a deep breath, knowing that I was now going to have to find people. I ran down a small girl and explained who I was and what I was doing. She told me that his regular teacher wasn’t in today, of course not. The office lady hadn’t arrived yet, again, of course not. So she climbed through the window that you deal with the office through and unlocked the door so that I could pay her and pick up a receipt. She wrote it out and I handed over the money just as the regular office lady came in with a flurry of flying bags, apologetic lateness, bad hair, and copious amounts of perfume. Oh good, a meat sack. I prepared for the lecture about procedure that was sure to follow. She looked me up and down, obviously I had created my first error in actually standing within her domain, so I quietly backed out of the door and faced her through the window. She stared down at the receipt book and then picked up the moneybag for examination, seeing that all was in order she looked at me as the small girl led us away toward my kid’s room. I know there will be a confrontation, I just know there will…. She cast the same loathsome visual gauntlet down that all useless meat sacks toss out when you cross the imaginary boundaries of power they have set around themselves. She reeked of false confidence of over lord power, yes, yet another damned spider witch in my life. Juuuuuust great. I've got enough of that happiness as it is.
I followed the little girl on to the room, my four year old holding fast to my hand. There was a smaller kid crying at a table, several smaller kids were seated around it, must be breakfast time. The four-year-olds were watching a video on birds in some snow bound setting. My kid stood by, nervous but doing ok, I told him that it was time for me to go, I picked him up and gave him a good hug. I set him down and told him to be good, when I stepped away I couldn’t help but ask for a ‘round the leg hug in parting. He cut his eyes up at me and said, “No dad, I have to go over here”… So I knew then that he was going to be just fine. I held back the tears just long enough to get about a tenth of a mile from the place, but I think that I too am going to be just fine.
August 09, 2008
Walking through walmart toward the exit, the oppressive feel of the crowd, the stench of the mediocrity, the sounds and sights of things to be purchased that you don't need. Not far now, just a couple more turns until the exit comes into view. Trying not to walk too fast, might get noticed, but nerves are stacking up, I must get out of here. The air itself is poison in this place, it smells funny. I keep expecting to hear "last day... Capricorn" come sounding out of the address system. I'm getting too hot, must walk faster. I see it, the exit is standing there, freedom of freshly lain asphalt lurks just through those glass barriers. Summer heat magnified by the black tar of progress waits to envelope me and push me toward the awaiting vehicle and then its just a few minutes until I find freedom from hell. Having trouble breathing, throat is tightening. Oh dear god no, the greeter has spotted me, here she comes, armed with a sticker for the four year old. I stare straight ahead, perhaps she will read a signal of haste, but no. Damn. I've been caught. Smiles, false laughs, pinching cheeks, sticker placement, well wishes, foot tapping, peripheral door sightings, sweat forming on my brow. Just a few more feet and I'm out, let me go. Sweet mother of all that's holy now I smell the fifty pound surplus bags of rotting popcorn, I'm too close to fall back in now. Plastic trinkets flashing from everywhere, a demon looking around the side of each one. I see them now, scaly, raw, red, painful to look at, just ignore them, it isn't real. She's done, ok, I'm on the move again. Through the first set of doors, five or six steps, that's all. Son of a... side tracked by the helicopter, I'm being pulled away from the air. My lungs are collapsing, slowly so it will be all the more painful. I must maintain composure. Do I give in or pull him away... Two dollars later we turn to go at last. Kiss my ass... face to face with a high school acquaintance just as I spin around toward the door, is there no end to this agony? Where have I been, what am I up to, checking the weight, scanning the receding hairline, commenting on the child, eyes settling into the look of small triumph, yes, he is better than me, he can move on now, comfortable in the knowledge that he has kept himself up to a higher degree than I have, he begins to move away. Not intended to be kept promises made, lunches, cold beverages, kids playing together... He will call me. Through the second wall of doors at last. Heat pours over me, air is almost normal, smells of past days at six flags waft up from the blacktop. Car in sight, the rest of the family is looking out for me. Traffic is erratic, some slow down, some speed up, when do I go? Breathing deeper and slower now. Navigate the lot to the car, place the child in the back, toss the goods in the floor, hop in and start backing out. The car is moving now, nicotine snaking through the veins. Headed toward the line of cars waiting for their turn at the suicidal dash across the oncoming traffic lane. A quick glance in the rear view shows me what I thought it would, hoards of demons with their faces plastered against the glass quietly awaiting my inevitable return...
"Was it very crowded?"
"No it wasn't too bad.."
"Want to go by home depot?"
Damn it all, the demons there fly.....
August 07, 2008
I have met and know people that have no books. When you are in their homes, something just feels wrong. It's like being in someones home that you can see all the baseboards all the way around the rooms, too neat. Indeed, I was very uncomfortable when we moved in here and couldn't figure out why until a couple of weeks later when I took on the daunting task of unpacking the books... When I was finished I began to relax at last. I realized then it was because I could see the adventures I've gone on with my friends all around me. I have a few books that are worth some money, but I am no collector by any means. I watched a book in the eighth grade for months, it laid on a shelf in one of my classes and no one claimed it. I picked it up one day and looked at the cover, interview with the vampire.. I had never heard of it, so I read it.. It was OK, and I kept it. Years later I was in c.dickens and had it appraised, they offered me three hundred for it, I still have it... I cherish a small bible that crossed the ocean in a ship with my great uncle on his way to fight in d-day, it's held together with a strap of material he ripped off a bunk he slept in. I got an early edition of a Christmas carol as a gift one year and have been offered a bit for it, but no, it was given to me by a very dear relative. But as I said, I am no collector, I am actually brutal on my books. I dog ear the pages, break the backs, and inevitably drip crap all over the pages. I like a well worn book that falls open to the page you are reading and stays still, no fussing with flipping around for me.
I tend to stay away from books about religion. I would rather read whatever holy text I'm interested in and make up my mind from there. Be it the bible, Koran, book of Mormon, etc. I would rather read the actual words in question and ponder on them myself than to read someone else's opinion of what they say, however learned the author is supposed to be. Same goes for "philosophical meanderings".. we all think, so we can all ponder things like the meaning of life, and I don't care if I use the "correct" words to label the type of argument I'm making, I know what I mean.... Although I still like to sneak a few in now and then to see whats what.
I can't imagine having grown up not knowing about all of encyclopedia browns cases, or the great brain's cons & capers. What would life be like not having traveled muddy banks with tom and huck? Should I even mention where life would stand without the revered words of Master Tolkien floating around in my head... I have no idea how many vampires and zombies I've helped slaughter over the years. I've mapped the country with adventurers, fought on frontiers in the american west, china, japan, europe, australia, deserts, oceans, and in space. Escaping from a french prison to lead a secret life while followed by a tyrannical inspector was interesting. Traveling along with navy seals, cia agents, and indeed agents from all the alphabet organizations was amazing and informative. Diaries of people who lived hundreds of years ago is a particular favorite, as are fantastical speculations about our own future. Fantasy, pulp, science fiction, erotica, historical, pure brain candy, I love it all.
Every flat surface in our home is covered in books, a few have special places where they must always be returned, but most land where they will. Behind my favorite chair, on top of an old trunk there is a pile larger than my four year old. Next to my bed there is a stack, two wide, that reaches from the floor to level off with the night table, my current read is always found on top of this particular stack. Right now I'm helping andy track down his partner who has been turned by a vampire, his wife and daughters have been slaughtered and he has been framed for the crime... He escaped the assassin sent by his fbi supervisor to take him out and is seeking help from a professor that is trying to study the cells that cause the disease of vampirism. If you have seen the jason borne movies, you would not recognize the stories at all if you read them first... And by the way, communion will scare the hell out of you, take my word on it, you will spend days paying particularly close attention to your peripheral vision.
My fourteen year old is following the same route, albeit his tastes fall toward japanese graphic novels for the most part. We called them comic books in my youth, they just weren't as thick as they are now. My wife just plain reads too damn fast, she has a network of people she swaps books with and puts away three to every one I make it through. I'm sure that's because I do all of my reading before I go to sleep. I have found lately that I have to keep moving the books farther away every few months, yes I know, go get them checked.. I should, but I hate eye doctors... Our four year old refuses to even consider going to bed without checking into what the berenstien bears, or the sharks around his bed are doing... Sometimes you don't feel like it, but you have to think, until he learns to read for himself, you are his only conduit to a world of excitement that exists just for him, so we do it anyway...
My first tolkiens will be his I think, My fourteen year old will find the classics and the closely guarded in his hands...
I have heard everything from "i can't imagine wasting my time sitting on a couch reading" to "i ain't got no interest in that shit, i'd rather be out doing than reading" I would rather sit up and talk with the dead in an old diary than watch commercial tv or stand around talking about man made items that people want or can tweak to do better any day. What the slack jawed seem not to realize is that reading causes you to seek more, and in seeking more you find more, and in the finding comes the passion to increase your knowledge and experience.. And passion leads to a life more fulfilling than any amount of "hell yeah" beer swilling, car racing or parking lot standing can even imagine touching. Trust me, I've done both and there is no comparison...
August 06, 2008
Lately I've been running around with the black helicopter crowd listening to the things they have to say. Pretty much everything you can imagine has been covered, aliens, shadow governments, the origin of humans on earth... It's pretty entertaining, but you have to be extremely careful with what you do with the information. Getting sucked in to believing the hype can be easy because of their excitement over the info they peddle, but a discerning eye can catch the crap before it hits the fan.
Anything that begins to blame the masons or the jews or the Illuminati can pretty much be counted out, or if it begins to lead into an "inside job" known as 9/11, you know the fruit loops are walking away from the barn like a group of zombies... Although the entertainment value can be pretty high..
There is no limit to the videos you can find on you tube alone. Like most videos on you tube though, quite a few are what people consider to be humorous. We had begun letting our four year old watch cartoons there in the afternoon. I would search for warner brothers or little rascals and let him watch away, enjoying the sight of him loving the same cartoons I watched at his age. One day, I looked up Land of The Lost and saw a twenty minute video, most were just the intro song, so I thought hey! an entire episode... After just a few seconds of watching he began to ask me what "this" was, I came over and watched for a second... Two fat, hairy guys had interlaced shots of themselves, shirtless, squeezing their man boobs in a want to be erotic fashion... classy. So that about did it for you tube watching for the kid...
The one thing I found interesting in swimming with the conspiracy droids was the rex84 plan. Turns out the surface info on that one is true. It is a continuance of government plan. In case of national emergency, the federal government will take over all transportation and utilities and begin rounding up anyone labeled dissident. This list of ner' do wells is said to include a wide range of people, depending on who you talk to or what site you read. Some sources indicate they want to round up all minorities, some say its militia, gun owners, tax protesters & general miscreants.. Who knows. The story goes that the military is working in conjunction with fema to build prison camps all over the country to house these bad folks... That much seems to be true. Train cars reported to be double or triple deckers are equipped with shackles to haul them to these camps and hidden all around the country. Unfortunately some of these train cars they picture are actually car carriers that I have sat and watched go by at train crossings, some empty, some loaded with cars... I think the shackles I have seen in photos are actually the straps used to hold the cars in place....
But there are a few interesting videos out there. Watch oliver north's reaction when asked about this during the iran/contra hearings, pretty telling, he gets very mad. Obviously rep. jack brooks has just exposed a very sensitive operation to the general public, a fact shown by the reaction of the chairman of the hearing committee. The entire thing is fairly disconcerting on many levels to say the least. What kind of god awful bloodshed do you think would occur if this kind of operation were to actually take place???
As far as aliens this one is my favorite... As for the camps, I like this one... bill clinton dances around it as well...
All in all it can be a fun way to lose a little sleep looking around on line...
August 03, 2008
8:15pm, 91 degrees, 100% humidity, & storms
are coming, welcome to august in georgia....
August 01, 2008
When I was a small child my cousins, Mark and Patrick, talked about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings all the time. It seemed to be such a confusing issue for me, I understood very little. Even though it was difficult for me to follow, I was still drawn to it. The idea that there was a place like Middle Earth seemed comforting to me. I loved to listen to Mark talk about it and look at his board game of the books. I would imagine a mist rising from the ground in a deep forest untouched by human hands, lived in by all manner of unheard of creatures. Great fodder for the mind of a child.
When I was a little older I saw the animated movie, The Hobbit, and was hooked.
Shortly after that I was with my mother in Scott's Bookstore in Newnan, when it was down on Perry Street. My mother is a voracious reader, she delves into the "a long time ago... and they lived happily ever after" books. My father read just about anything he could get his hands on, with a particular love of history laden reads. I've always loved to read, from my first time making it through Green Eggs and Ham on, there is nothing better than getting lost in a well written complex story.
Scott's was a cave of a bookstore, packed with all manner of delightful sights and sounds. By cave I mean small and cramped, overflowing with books from floor to ceiling. Earlene Scott has been a fixture in this town for as long as I can remember.... Her store isn't a chain, you won't find any coffee shop inside. What you will find is a group of very nice people who will bend over backward to help you with anything you may need. If they don't have the book, they will get it for you in a timely manner and always with a smile on their faces. Still to this day I love to walk through the doors of her shop, it has moved to the square now to a larger building, but the attitude and exceptional customer service is still in play. Each time I step inside I must stop for a brief second and take a deep breath, it makes me feel calm and brings back the days of childhood. Mom had told me that I could pick out something that I wanted... After perusing the selection of Dr. Seuss, my eye was caught by a gold twinkle high up on top of a shelf, I asked what that was and was bright eyed as Mrs. Scott handed me a boxed set of Tolkien.... I was in the six to eight range and Mom voiced concern that the books may have been a little beyond me at the moment, but I was having none of it, I wanted the set. She agreed and purchased the books, Earlene gave me a quick wink and nod of approval. I stared at them all the way home. I spent a tortuous month or so trying to make my way through them. Indeed most of what I read in The Lord of the Rings was well beyond me, it flew over my head like the meaning of a Dennis Miller rant to an avid jerry springer fan... The Hobbit was no problem. When the animated version of The Lord of the Rings made it into theaters, my brother, Patrick, and myself went to see it at the Alamo theater in Newnan. $1.50 to get in and $1.50 for a coke and a box of popcorn. We spent the rest of the night running around in Colin and Syble's front yard playing like orcs and elves....
We would go to Powers Crossroads every year, a huge outdoor gathering of artists that sell their wares in the woods outside of Newnan every Labor day weekend, if you've never been I suggest making the journey at least once. I was wandering around there once with my brother and Patrick when we happened upon a group of people selling t-shirts that said things like "I would rather be a Hobbit" Man if I could only go back in time I would've bought them all... Occasionally you would hear something about Tolkien here or there but mostly it was a world that existed for me alone. My brother was often seen wandering around the woods of our home in a blue and red bathrobe with a staff in hand and a pouch tied around his waist, I never attempted to join him.. looking back I think it was a subconscious thing that was saying to me, "he does it his way, you do it your way" I would read the books and stare down into the woods and feel them come alive with characters from the stories. I could walk quietly around the trees and creeks and hear the calls of Aragorn and Boromir, or see the Lady Galadriel walking through the trees on her way to show me the mirror. I have spent many hours following her on a seemingly endless quest through those trees and I don't regret a single second of it. I just knew that we were on the edge of Lorien and Caras' Galadon lay just ahead... My method of real time "playing" of the story was to find places in the woods that reminded me of places in the books and watch them, waiting for the characters. During these times I would sit and talk with Treebeard, those were some hasty discussions indeed, or I would hide in the trees and enjoy the "fine toothsome smell" of roast mutton that crept up the hill from the valley headed down into the creek. There were many days in Jr High that I would develop a mysterious illness at the last minute so that after everyone had left for work or school I would build a camp with plenty of supplies by the window of my bedroom to sit and read the books while looking out at the fog hanging on in the early hours of the day. I am telling you, I saw bands of Uruk-Hai stealthily making their way toward the lodge I was staying in. I once stood down the Witch-Lord of Angmar just outside the old ice cream man's abandoned house, then had to make my way through the woods to inform Quickbeam that he was on the prowl so he could sound the warning, that was a day I will never forget.
Since that first painful read through, I have made it a tradition to read the books every spring. In the last few years I have switched to reading them in the fall, that time of year seems more reflective to me somehow and thus more fitting as a setting to engage myself in the adventures of Gandalf and Frodo. Other times through out the year I find myself reading certain parts of the story over and over. That set of books has followed me through my life, up or down, they have been there waiting for me to seek solace and comfort within their yellowing battered pages. They have made stealth journeys with me all over the country, well hidden lest I be made fun of, but they made it with me. I have read them on the beach, in the mountains, in the swamps, and while looking out across unending plains of planted corn. Like dear old friends I hear them beckon to me and seldom can I deny their call.. Oh and yes... the picture above is the actual taped and battered set that have lived with me for the last thirty three years. (although all four don't fit in the box anymore... thanks Earlene for having them in stock on that fateful day!)