It's all a matter of perspective.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Blogcritics has collected a masterlist of end-of-the-year lists here. My favorite one is "The 30 Most Shameful Events of 2003" by Stephen Silver.

Friday, December 26, 2003

On December 14th, the day that news broke that Saddam was caught, Miss J, Wylie, and I went to the small town Missionary Baptist Church that my Pop pastors. This is what the sign out front looked like that day. This is why I love small town churches, and this is why I love my Pop.

Monday, December 22, 2003

On a lighter note: Here are three songs from my latest rock and roll act. Give them a listen and tell me what you think. (Unless you don't like them. In that case, keep your opinions to yourself. Who do you think you are, William Miller?)
An open letter to all of those we invited to our annual Christmas Eve Party

Dear Friends and Family,

A depressing and familiar tragedy has struck our humble house. For any of you whom we have not told, Jerusalem is pregnant. This is exciting news and we could not be happier about bringing another child into our blissful little family.

For those of you who were not around when she was pregnant with Wylie, Miss J had a rough go of it. For about ten weeks she was incapable of anything but vomiting and sleeping. She was not able to hold down any food or liquids. Nothing seemed to provide any relief. During this period (mid first trimester until early second) she lost a lot of weight and was generally, horribly miserable.

At this point you are probably asking yourself, “why would anyone who had gone through such torment voluntarily sign up for a second tour of duty?� Well the answer (besides the obvious “she didn’t volunteer�) is that we found a medicine early in her second trimester that seemed to keep her from getting ill for the remainder of the pregnancy. We assumed that if this medicine fixed everything so well in the first pregnancy, next time we would just start dosing from the beginning and avoid the whole pukey thing all together.

While we did just that, it has not seemed to work. After about three weeks of her generally feeling quite revolted, the barfing started at daylight yesterday morning. The last two days have been eerily familiar. When she is not actually involved in the act, she is lying very still with her eyes closed trying not to reach that point. Wylie is currently being cared for by Jimmy Neutron and Sponge Bob Square Pants.

Needless to say, Sweet Miss J does not feel much like entertaining right now. While we have no idea how long the sickness will last on this go-around, there is little hope that it will be over with before Wednesday night. It is with deepest regret that we hereby withdrawal all invitations and cancel our Christmas Eve Party for 2003.

Please pray for Jerusalem. She is a sweet lady that does not handle sick very well anyway and did not mean to get herself into this mess. Pray that God will deliver her from this as soon as possible and she can return to her normal life.

Also, pray for Wylie. He is missing his momma very much and does not understand exactly what is going on. There is nothing more heartbreaking that hearing him say, “Momma I am so sorry that the baby is making you sick.�

We love you all, and will miss you very much this Christmas.

God Bless,


p.s. I am not sure when the next home team was scheduled, but that will have to also go on hold pending the health of our matriarch. Thank you for understanding.

p.p.s. I sure hope that this email was not a disgusting overshare of details.

Friday, December 12, 2003

I got the finest piece of fan mail that I have ever received today. From a gentleman who refers to himself as, "Stu Dent." It reads:

Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 16:03:34 -0800 (PST)
From: "Stu Dent"
Subject: About your site

Yeah, you don't need a web page. It is useless. Your a city slicker piece of poo, you bird brain. Kiss my country ass.

You too can insult me! Just send it along to

Thursday, November 20, 2003

I can feel it coming on. The snot, the fatigue, the headache, the soreness, the blah is creeping up on me. Tomorrow it will be a full-fledged cold I am sure. I know that I am getting sick because I am not hungry. I have no desire to eat dinner tonight. That never happens.

But I have no time for sickness, and no patience for it either. Also, I cannot stand to use sick leave for sickness. Sick leave is for work on the house days or hang out with Miss J days or play in a golf tournament with my pop days. Some day soon, sick days will be for taking Wylie fishing. That will really make me happy if he takes to fishing.

I used to love to fish. I had a really cool boat. It was a 14-foot flat-bottom aluminum boat with a livewell and a foot controlled trolling motor. It had a 9.9 horsepower Evinrude with the souped up carburetor that bumped it up to closer to fifteen horsepower. I would take it out most every Saturday morning during the spring and summer fishing season.

Here is the secret: I am a horrible fisherman. It was rare that I would get skunked, but it was common for me to not catch enough to keep. Also, although I had a great boat, I did not take very good care of it. I really did not know how. So I would get stranded miles from the launch ramp with an engine that would not start and not enough battery to get me back with the trolling motor. But none of this deterred me from going to the river on Saturday mornings. There is something about getting out there where it is quiet and trying to think like a hungry fish that centers you, clears your head.

And if you do catch a mess of fish, and you have the endurance to clean them after a long morning on the river, and you have the further endurance to fry them up with a mess of taters and onions, then you are in for a treat. There is no meal as satisfying as a summer evening fish fry with cheap cold beer and fresh fish and family and buddies. That is fellowship with humanity the way God intended.

The last time I took my boat out was just a few weeks before Wylie was born. Earlier this summer when we moved out of our house, I realized that I had not used the boat in years. I needed some cash to make the move happen and my neighbor was interested in buying me out, so I sold it. It made me sad, especially considering that I bought it from Miss J’s grandfather, who was so proud for me to get it. But it was ridiculous for me to let it sit in my yard and rot. Furthermore, I did not want to move it. I had plenty to move.

Maybe someday Wylie will take to fishing. I sure hope so. If he does, I will save up and get us a new boat, maybe something a little larger that can handle a little bigger water. Then we will get up together on Saturday mornings and dig worms. I’ll back up the truck and he will tell me when I am close enough to hook up the boat trailer. We will listen to classic country in the truck and ride with the windows cracked to feel the crisp pre-dawn air. The boat will hit the water as the sun tops the horizon and we will quickly motor to a quiet hole and worry that we are to late, that we have missed the feeding frenzy.

Then after a couple of hours with no luck I’ll hear myself twenty-five years ago calling from the back of the boat. “Dadoe, I’m bored. Lets go home.”
Commenting is back up. Talk to me people. It does get lonely in here.
OK, last try. I am going with a new comment hosting service and hope to have it online soon.
My sis has posted an autobiographical sketch she had to write for a grad school application. It is very interesting, at least it is to me - you know, 'cause I am in it.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Is there anything more interesting than a 500 word blog post about shoes?
My old house was 5.5 miles from work. The new house is 4.7 miles from work. It used to take me about seven minutes to get to the office in the mornings – now it takes me anywhere from 25 minutes on a low traffic morning, to nearly an hour on a thick fog, multi-car accident morning like we had today. That’s right, nearly an hour to go 4.7 miles. The way I figure it, I could have walked to work quicker today than I drove. This is the rare down side to the new house. Another down side would be the fact that we can’t afford it.

We moved out of our other house at the end of July. It would be several weeks before the new house was available to us, so we had to place all of our things into storage and live with Miss J’s parents. As we have completed remodeling projects, we have been moving our things into the new house very gradually. All of the furniture and major items are in place, but there are still quite a few boxes lurking in the storage unit. At the least, these are things that we need less than once every four months. Mostly, they are things that we should have thrown away years ago. But there are some exceptions. Things that we have needed over the last few months, but knew they were buried deep within the bowels of a rented garage.

For example: my shoes. I only kept out two pairs of shoes for this ordeal, one pair for wearing to work, and one pair for working around the house in. They are now tattered disgusting rags. I need my other shoes.

You need to understand something about the way I operate to fully get this. I have developed a habit when it comes to shoes. A ritual, if you will. That is, I find a pair of shoes that I like, and I wear them every single day until they give up the ghost. I have two pairs of shoes that I have never worn. They were given to me by my mother and my wife at various times. They are nice shoes and I like them. They are just waiting for their moment to come up in the rotation.

That moment is now, and they are hidden in the storage unit somewhere.

Yesterday afternoon I brought home two truckloads of mysterious boxes. Back in July, we only had two or three days to pack and move, so they were labeled and packed somewhat haphazardly by a collection of the friends who love us most. Going through them was a jolt of disgust (why do we have all of this crap), disappointment (where are those things I have been missing), excitement (wow, I forgot all about that book), and amazement (why would you pack a radio in one box and its power cord in another). Through it all, no shoes.

This morning while getting ready for work, I was just about to put on my rotten loafers when I thought, “I never did see the bottom of that box over there.”

Sure enough, there they were. Finally I can go to work without being embarrassed about the sad state of my feet.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Jonah Goldberg has written the shortest and best piece of his career, and it was written for the Times of London of all publications. You have to subscribe to see it on the British site, but NRO has helpfully reprinted it here. Give it a read; it will only take a few minutes.
I have finished the last of the major remodeling on our new house. Well, I have done all that I am going to do right now. I love my new house. It is looking great, but it has kicked my butt.

Here is the quick list of what we have done in the last three months.

Tear out old funky carpet.
Prime and paint every room, including ceilings.
Repair sprinkler system.
Scrape the nasty, moldy, glued down padding from the concrete slab in our bedroom.
Chisel away and inch of grout from around the baseboard area in our room.
Build a wooden subfloor that floats above the concrete slab in our room
Build two closets in our room. (It was formerly a den)
Lay laminate flooring in our room
Lay vinyl floor in laundry Room
Lay laminate flooring in Kitchen
Replace five light fixtures
Replace all electrical outlets

This is not to mention moving all of our stuff and living in the house while we did all of this. The first month that we were in our house, Miss J, Wylie, and I all slept on the floor of his room on three one person sized mattresses. The only furniture in the house was our TV and VCR, which sat on the floor. I have not taken a single day off of work to accomplish this. This would all be impressive if there were not so much left to do. But for now, the repair fund has run horrifyingly dry. It is time to move on the other, cheaper things.

And I think it is time to start paying a little more attention to the blog. When I first started this thing, I felt bad if I went a single day without posting new original content. This is not to mention all of the news links and such that I posted. Currently, there are so few posts that you can see September on the front page.

So I will make a new commitment. Hold me to it.

Concerning comments: I have decided that free comment hosting services are not worth messing with. They slow your site to a crawl and are down more than up. I welcome all comments and will gladly post them unedited. Just send them to me at If I miss them the first time, be patient with me and send again. I get about 200 spam messages a day in this account. Sometimes the baby goes out with the bathwater.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Could this:


Be the worst thing to happen to rock and roll since this:

Friday, October 24, 2003

Ahh, the ever-cynical and sarcastic speechwriter. Gutsy and not afraid to speak up or clash with authority, his dry wit is amusing. But under it all he's just a big teddy bear... and the world's biggest Yankees fan.

:: Which West Wing character are you? ::

Sunday, October 05, 2003

I am anxious to get back to you. I love my friends who read this blog. If you are someone who I talk to regularly, then you know that I have had a most interesting end to the summer. I sold my house, had a deal fall through on another house, lived with my mother-in-law for three weeks, and then moved into a 65 year old fixer-upper. Since then, my time away from work has been consumed by remodeling. I hope to have time to detail all of my adventures soon.

Also, I have joined a kick ass new band and am preparing to rock the central Arkansas area, so I have that going for me.

Stay tuned. I love you all.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Rest in peace Mr. Cash. There will never be another.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Accdording to Drudge, Mel Gibson has gotten a big thumbs up from the Vatican.

Monday, September 08, 2003

More golf punditry from PGA expert, the Fatpop:
OK, I got a beef with the PGA Tour. Today Paul Azinger shoots a nice little 68 to put himself one shot off the lead in the Canadian Open. I realize the Canadian Open has no hope of being confused with the U.S. Open, but still a national championship is a national championship. Back in the early 70's they made a big deal out of the Canadian Open when Lee Buck Trevino sandwiched a victory there in between one at the U.S. and Bristish Opens. He was supposedly the first guy to hold three national championships at the same time.

Nonetheless, here is my beef.

Azinger's 68 was very quickly turned into a 70 when a TV viewer called in a penalty on Zinger's caddie! YES! HIS FRIGGING CADDIE! Fred Funk was playing a chip shot (that's right a mere chip shot) that had no hope of going in the hole when Zinger's caddie pulled the pin. The ball rolled exactly two more full turns after the pin was removed and yet still lacked a good four feet making it to the hole. But the rule book states that the flagstick cannot be removed (unless one calls for it to be "tended" before playing his shot) until the ball stops rolling. Appearantly Funk did not call for the stick to be tended. However, no one, I repeat, NO ONE even noticed at the time of the supposed infraction. That is, except some legalistic nerd who happend to be watching golf while he was catching up on his knitting. (Probably some Hot Springs Village jerk who originally hails from Chicago !)

In fact, my problem is not with the rules engaging nerd. My problem is with the spinless PGA Tour officials who were stupid enough to take the guy's call, and then were inept enough to exact the penalty AFTER Azinger's round was completely finished! Zinger had to be called into the TV trailer and shown the infraction on tape. Being the man that he is, Zinger accepted the penalty with much grace and said, "Maybe this will make me work harder tomorrow." But how would you like to be Zinger's poor caddie who pulled the boner in the first place? He may well have just cost himself and his boss several thousand bucks.

Why is it that golf is the only sport that allows this? Rules officials are on the spot and should have to make spot-calls just like all other sports officials. Umpires, referees, etc. all make calls in a moment and often make the wrong call. That is just part of sports. You get some of the bad calls - you lose some of them. They all even out in the end (unless of course you are Texas playing Arkansas at Austin.) Remember when the kid reached over the right field seats at Yankee Stadium a few years ago during the world series and garnered a home run that wasn't really a home run? We all saw it! Why weren't we allowed to phone in and have the call changed? I will tell you why! Because there is no call-in in baseball! Or football. Or tennis. Or bowling. Or hockey. Or any other sport for that matter!

The PGA Tour needs to grow themselves a set and make a rules change. Just like a guy has only five minutes to search for a lost ball, and only ten seconds to wait for a putt hanging over the lip, there ought to be a time limit on rules decisions. Why not do like baseball? When an appeal call is made in baseball it has to be made before the next pitch is delivered to the plate. Golf should have a rule that says appeals to rules breaches have to be made before the player puts his ball into play on the next hole. Once the drive is hit on the next hole, the matter becomes moot.

If you don't believe me, ask Paul Azinger!

Monday, August 18, 2003

I realize this topic has the potential of being over-blogged by my fellow part time scribes and I, but it is what is on my mind. Michael Novak has written the most thorough and balanced review yet of Mel Gibson’s The Passion. It is a long read, but worth it if you are as excited about this film as I am.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

I love looking at my referral logs. How else would I find out that if you search google for Vin Diesel's Penis, this blog is the 7th link that is returned to you.
In one of my more instrospective moments, I was given the clarity to finally describe exactly what is love.
My old buddy John has created a new blog called The Back Porch that he has invited several of us to hang out in, including his mother. To christen the new site, I have written it a poem. Like all of my work, it is uncomfortable and somewhat sad. Of course, art is a reflection of the artist.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Matt Drudge has seen Mel Gibson's The Passion, and he speaks very highly of it.

Monday, July 21, 2003

If Total Recall is on TV, I am powerless. I have to watch it. Arnie's best work, excluding Predator.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

I am back home and I have not slept in about thirty-eight hours. Tomorrow it is back to the old grind. I have taken extensive notes on the last few days of my trip, but have not yet had the time to write them up for the blog. Hopefully I will have the time and energy to do that in the next few days.

Also I have taken many more pictures, many of them Beautiful Alaskan Vistas. Hopefully I will soon have them posted at the Alaska Picture site located here.

Time for a correction:
Normally the comments that I get from my borderline-genius father-in-law are pithy observations or grammar corrections. But I knew when he chided me about my misuse of the term “Eskimo” that he had a point. Then I received an email of correction from the gorgeous and hospitable Carrie McMillan with the Cook Inlet Tribal Council and I knew I had to correct my lazy mistake.

You see, “Eskimo” is a highly inaccurate and perhaps offensive way to describe the native peoples of Southeast Alaska. Southeast Alaska has three tribes: Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian. There are few Inupiaqs (i.e. Eskimo) The museum exhibit that I visited in Juneau is mainly from the three local tribes.

These native people that I was referring to are not Eskimos. They prefer to be referred to by the common handle, Mexicans - pronounced “MESS-kins.” I apologize to my native brothers for my silly mistake and look forward to visiting their beautiful homeland again in the future. !Hola!

As for now, I am home, the boy is home, the all-star game is over, and I have to get some sleep.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Alaska is different from anything that I have ever seen in my life.

It took twelve hours and three planes, but we finally arrived here yesterday afternoon, about 2:00 local time. It was 71 degrees and sunny. A nice coastal breeze was blowing in off of the channel. It was the most beautiful weather I have ever seen anywhere. We are here for Miss Tracy Lingle’s wedding. Her mother met us at the airport and took us back to her house while Tracy finished up at work. After sitting down for our third light lunch of the day, Tracy’s mom needed to run a errand, so she dropped Miss J and I off at Mendenhall Glacier, just northwest of town.

The Mendenhal is a large, retreating glacier that flows from the Juneau ice field into Lake Mendenhall. It was beautiful and the cold breeze blowing off of it was exhilarating. I could have spent hours there hiking the trails and checking out the beautiful view, but Miss J is a woman of leisure, not a woman of sport. Hiking is not the sort of thing that she does. Also we only had thirty minutes before Mom returned from her chore. If you view the pictures here, you can see a disinterested native and an awestruck tourist in front of God’s perfect canvas.

So we went back to the airport to pick up the bags that did not make it on to our plane, and then downtown to Tracy’s house. She lives about three blocks uphill from downtown Juneau. There is an old Russian era Orthodox church across the street. The front door looks out at Mount Juneau, which rises nearly straight up 5000 feet. You can stand in front of her apartment and stare at the perfect beauty for hours and hours. This is where I would later gill the huge steaks. I like it outside. Inside are two cats. It looked like they had complete control over the futon that had been designated the Greer bed.

I met her brother, Bucky, and her fiancé, Adam. They are all cool Northwestern hippies. The kind of people that free-climb boulders and form grunge bands. These people are gracious hosts and determined to show us a good time. Bucky lit the grill and marinated the steaks. I put a Fatnathan scald on everything. We ate Dinner at about 9:00 local time.

I went to bed at 10:30. It was still perfect daylight at 10:30 and I would have stayed outside on the stoop drinking bottles of Alaskan Amber, if I had not been up for 24 hours at that point. When I got up this morning at 7:30, it looked exactly the same outside as it had when I fell asleep. At some point during the night, there had been about three hours of mostly darkness. I hope to be able to stay awake long enough tonight to see what midnight in the summertime looks like. I still have a week here, no need to do everything the first day.

So this morning we got up and walked three or four blocks to the nearest coffee shop. Yesterday afternoon there were four cruise ships docked in the channel at Juneau. This morning there were only two. Downtown was packed with the touristas. I was one of them, of course. A Cruise Activity Official off of one of the mammoth arks walked up to me on a downtown sidewalk and said, “Be sure and go out on the whale sighting tour this afternoon, there should be some good whale action.”

But for some reason we are a little more tolerable class of tourist to the locals because we are not off of a boat. We are staying longer than one afternoon. We are eating in local restaurants, rather than hogging down the inclusive buffet on the ship. We sat in the window of the coffee shop and tried to figure out where the tourists were from, California, Florida, Minnesota, the east coast, Euro-trash, Filipinos, and lots of Russians.

After coffee and a few shops, we came back to say good morning to our hosts and bathe. With the two furry balls of highly allergenic dander living with us in the apartment, bathing makes me feel like I am washing poison out of my hair.

Back downtown for lunch. We decided to just walk around and see what looked good. We found a tiny shop where a native woman (read: Eskimo) made fresh halibut fish and chips. It was the best fried fish I have ever put in my mouth.

Then the museum. It had a lot of stuff about natives (read: Eskimos) and Eagles and Bears and stuff. Alaska is a unique place and everything you see is all about Alaska. We walked into a bookstore this afternoon and Miss J immediately wrinkled her nose and said, “Oh Boy, Alaska stuff.”
I am somewhere in the air above the Pacific Ocean between Seattle and Juneau. A lot has happened in the last two days. A lot has happened in the last week. A lot is going to happen in the near future.

About six months ago Miss J. and I decided to take advantage of the friendly interest rates and try to find a bigger house. As someone who is paid to have good taste for a living, my sweet wife has a well-defined idea of what she wants in a home. I support her whole-heartedly in this, because she knows what she is doing, and I want her to be happy so she will be nice to me. There is only one drawback; she had to go through hundreds of places before finding something that was suitable. But find it she did, and boy was it nice. Located in the Park Hill neighborhood of North Little Rock, only five minutes from my job, this 1700 square foot dream house was built in 1945 and has everything you need to raise a family. We decided to sell our place before we made an offer, so that we would have a little more bargaining power. So we stuck a sign in our front yard and the dern thing sold in two weeks. Over these two weeks, the advertised price of our North Little Rock dream house came down fifteen thousand dollars. We were convinced that it was going to sell before we had a chance to make our move. Then, a few days before we got the offer on our house, we drove by the Park Hill place and the for sale sign was gone.

Of course, this raised a panic. After a few phone calls, we were able to discover that a couple of offers had been made on the house, but the offers had been contingent on the seller making a lot of repairs. That is why the price kept coming down. The seller wanted to unload it as-is and was not willing to fix anything. Well, this was no problem to us. I am a handy guy. I don’t mind a fixer-upper at all.

This story is growing quite tiresome. I have more to get to.

In short, we made a generous offer on the Park Hill house. The seller rejected it totally and did not counter-offer. We came back and offered what his asking price had been before he took it off of the market. I was willing to take the house as is, I just wanted a termite contract and to have it appraised. This asshole told me that the only offer he would be willing to accept was: asking price, absolutely no conditions, and $750 in non-refundable earnest money. Well, obviously, anyone who has ever been involved in any sort of real estate transaction would recognize that there are at least one of two things going on here: either there is something really bad wrong with the house that he is not willing to disclose, or he just plain-old does not want to sell it. Either way, screw him. I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night.

But I am on my way to Alaska for a week. I made the offer on the house last night and did not find out that the deal was not going to happen until about noon today when I called our real estate agent from the Seattle airport. When I get back from my trip I will have two weeks to get out of my current house and nowhere to go.

No sense in fretting about it right now. We will just box everything up, put it into a storage unit, and bum around with relatives until we can find a suitable place. Judging from or previous record of finding houses, this should take about six months. Anybody out there live in the Little Rock area and willing to take on houseguests?

Really, I am not going to obsess about all of this right now. In my nearly twenty-seven years of existence I have flown on exactly one other occasion, and that was when Miss J. and I went to New Orleans on our honeymoon. That is about a two-hour flight from Little Rock on a puddle-jumping Southwest tin can. All of my various other travels have only once taken me to a state that does not touch Arkansas – last year on vacation we drove down to Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Today I have been on various airplanes and in various airports all over the country. I Have seen my first snow capped mountains. I have my sweet wife with me and I will see the home of her youth. I flew into Seattle and had a coffee. The weather there was exactly like it was supposed to be, cloudy. I have seen sights from my window seat (I will have the window seat. If you travel with me, you can get over it) that I have only read about or seen pictures of. Right now there is a real live Connecticut Jew sitting next to Miss J. He is wearing a yarmulke and reading The Atlantic magazine. When the Flight Attendant came around with lunch, he requested a kosher meal and then did not eat a single bite of it.

Did you know that if you keep flying west and keep changing planes, you get to eat lunch over and over? How cool is that?

The most encouraging thing about the trip: so far I have seen no suspicious Arabs.

Miss J says that Juneau is a nice little hippie town, and the people we are staying with live right downtown. I look forward to a week of wandering around an exotic new place, enjoying the sites, reading books that I bought last spring and did not have time to delve into, and writing pithy blog posts for you all from overstuffed chairs in cozy internet cafes.

But the thing I most look forward to doing this week is acting like a backwards redneck and exaggerating my accent for the northwester hippies. By the time I leave I want the good people of Juneau to think that everyone in Arkansas rides their hog to work every morning at the chicken-plucking plant.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

John Barber has written a beautiful piece on his memories of the now Palestinian controlled city of Bethlehem.

Monday, June 30, 2003

Here is the previous post on Blogcritics.
Perhaps you have heard about Mel Gibson’s new movie, “The Passion.” He co-wrote the script, directed and produced the movie, which depicts the final twelve hours of Jesus’ life. The kicker: the movie is performed entirely in Aramaic and Gibson wants no subtitles.

According to this article, Mel took the movie to Colorado Springs last week to get the support of the Focus on the Family people. They, of course, were star struck and offered their enthusiastic endorsement. They did suggest he keep the subtitles, which were provided on the version of the movie that he screened for them.

I, for one, am excited to see this. I realize that it will likely not be found in local theaters, but it should be worth the effort to seek out a copy. As for subtitles or no subtitles, that is what DVDs are for. Mel should release the theatrical version however he wants and then include the option of subtitles on the DVD. I would probably watch it the first time without, and then all other times with.

But all in all, Mel seems to be an impressive Man of Faith who takes all of this very seriously. A staunch Catholic, He attended Mass every morning while making the film because he, “had to be squeaky clean just working on this.” Here is the money quote from the article:
“I’m not a preacher and I’m not a pastor,” Gibson said. “But I really feel my career was leading me to make this. The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize.”

That seems to be uncommonly evangelical language for a Catholic, and more so for a big star, but I find it quite refreshing to hear such a mainstream, a-list, Hollywood star talking like that to reporters. I’m sure the backlash is inevitable. Soon the buzz around this movie will become too strong for the media to ignore and Mr. Gibson will be painted as a fanatical fundamentalist. It is a dern shame.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Got a call about 10:00 this morning that someone wanted to look at the house at 1:00. I have for the most part been spared the loathing leading up to a showing. Most of the visits happen during the week and I am at work. Miss J has had to be the one to clean up the place and make it presentable. Well, let me tell you, I ran around here freaking out from 10:00 until 12:30. I straightened and cleaned every room. I swept the entire house, washed the dishes, took out the trash, and sprayed Lysol all about. When all of that was done, I went to Wylie’s room. He had been asked to stay in there and play while I was doing all of my cleaning, and apparently it took every toy in his possession to entertain him for that two-hour period. It must have taken all of his toys, because they were all in the middle of his floor. But he helped me clean up and we got it looking nice and got out of the house just in time.

And then comes the dilemma. Where do we go? I asked Wylie what he wanted to do to kill time while people looked at our house, and he said, “I want to go to Wal-Mart, and then to school.”

I asked him how about the park, and he said that would be just fine. So we went down to Allsopp Park, about three miles from our house. We had to drive right by two other parks to get there, but it is the cleanest in the city. They have a nice new playground that he loves to climb around on. A little sleepy, rocky creek flows through the center of the park. There is also a pavilion. I have never been to Allsopp Park when there was not a family reunion or a company picnic going on. This provides other kids for Wylie to chase around and he loves that. The last time we went down there, an older boy in a Batman costume was sneaking up behind all of the other kids and growling, "I'm BATMAN!" Wylie though this was the coolest thing ever. Now, every time the park comes up in conversation he says, “Maybe Batman will be there!”

Well, no Batman today, but the gathering at the pavilion did have a fire engine. At one point all of the kids loaded in to the back of the big red truck and went for a ride around the block. The fireman at the helm drove fast and turned on the siren, just like you should when there are thirty kids holding on to the back. Wylie stopped himself midway down the slide when the fire truck went by. He grabbed the side rails, squeaked to a halt, and sat reverently at attention. This is the only park for us.

After the fire truck left, we went down and waded in the small, rocky brook. He enjoyed that very much too, and we would have stayed longer, but finally, inevitably, he slipped on a mossy rock and plunked his bottom into the water. I did not have a change of clothes, but I did have a towel in the truck. Wylie did not want to leave. He did not see why he could not do some heavy splashing, now that he was wet anyway. But I talked him into leaving by promising him that we could go to Wal-Mart.

About half way across town I looked over and his head was giving it the after lunch bob-and-weave. I said, “Wylie, do you think you can stay awake long enough to go to the store?”

He said, “But I don’t want to go to the store, I want to go back to the park and play baseball.”

“Maybe another day, we have already left the park and we’re not going back today.”

“Well then,” he replied, “Let’s go home and take a nap.”

You got it buddy. He was asleep within thirty seconds. We got home at 1:45 and our visitors had already come and gone. All that was left from their walk-through was a business card of the realtor on our TV cabinet. I carried Wylie in and laid him on his bed. He never flinched.
Miss J is working this weekend. That is a good thing! Paying gigs for her have not been as regular as we would like. She has a function to decorate for, and an art show to help set up for, and a meeting with a couple whose wedding she is doing, so Wylie and me are on our own this weekend.

The money is extra nice because we are headed to Alaska one week from Tuesday.

Oh, and did I mention that we are trying to sell our house right now. We love this place, but we have outgrown it. Our beautiful midtown haunt is only 954 square feet. We have that in collectable junk from thrift stores. The realtor is doing an open house Sunday afternoon. There is that to get ready for.

But today Wylie and me are going to have as much fun as we can. This morning it has been pancakes and Bugs Bunny. This afternoon we are going to have to find some time for a trip to the park and some baseball. Tomorrow, during the open house, we are going to have to get lost for a few hours. Perhaps we will make Wylie’s first ever trip to a movie theater. He is nearly three; I think he can handle it. If the movie is good enough to hold his attention, that is.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Jimmie Lee Herringbone woke up with the distinct knowledge that his alarm clock had been going off for a long time. He woke up, but he did not open his eyes. If he were to open his eyes then he would see the clock on the nightstand at eye level and he was not ready to know how late he was for work just yet. He was already disappointed in himself. He knew that the alarm had been going off for a while; indeed he suspected that he might have hit the snooze button a time or two. There was enough light making it through his eyelids that it had to be well into the morning. Perhaps it would be best to slip into this a little easier, one clue at a time. With that, Jimmie Lee decided to roll over and open his eyes facing the other direction, to let them get used to the light without having to start the inevitable morning rush.

Suddenly Jimmie Lee realized that the alarm clock was still offering the shrill, rhythmic tri-tone, and he had most definitely been asleep since he rolled over to face away from it. He blinked his eyes open into the sunlit and quickly warming room to see that the ice was not completely melted in the lead crystal tumbler he had brought back to bed with him last night. This was a very bad sign - he had stayed up way too late and had not gotten much sleep. Or was it a good sign? Perhaps he would still be able to make it to work.

I am supposed to be there by 7:30, but no one will notice if I get there by 7:40 or so. I have to have a shower, because I smell like booze-sweat. That will take five minutes. I will have to have something on my stomach to settle it – a hunk of that cornbread with some butter and a cup of milk will do. I can eat that in the truck. Ten minutes to drive to work . . . if it is no later than about 7:15, then I can make it.

With that he rose, turned, and open-hand-slapped the alarm clock silent. It was 7:50.

Jimmie Lee has a hard time going to sleep when Betsy and the boy are out of town. Scratch that, he has a hard time making himself go to bed. Every Tuesday Betsy takes the Boy to see her momma down in Subtle County, about an hour away. They stay that night and are back home by the time Jimmie Lee gets home from work on Wednesday. Tuesday nights might not seem like a good night for a working man to stay up late and have a little too much to drink, but Tuesday nights are the only night each week that Jimmie is without a family, without responsibility.

If he had his druthers, Jimmie Lee would prefer that Betsy and the Boy stay around home every night. He likes it best when they all stay home and he and Betsy collaborate on dinner while the Boy watches his shows on TV. On those nights they all sit around the table and join hands and pray. They smile and wink at each other while they eat their meals. Jimmie Lee knows how to put a good scald on some meat over a fire, and Betsy is coming along in the kitchen. The dinner is always quite fit to eat.

Afterwards one of them will bathe the Boy and put him down. The other one will clean the kitchen. They finish the night off with him in his chair, her on the couch, trading off the remote control. She picks reruns of a sitcom or some decorating show. He goes with cable news or baseball. As far a Jimmie Lee is concerned, that is the way the rich folks live.

But Betsy likes to take the boy to see his granny, and Jimmie understands that. He knows that she needs the help one day a week. He works himself silly down at the sawmill, but he would not trade for her job at home with the boy (and the dishes and the laundry) for anything. So he takes his Tuesday nights for what they are and tries to play that up. A night alone. A night with no family, no real responsibilities. A night to act like he is young and single, living the highlife.

Yesterday he left work and went straight to the grocery store where he bought a twelve pack of cheap beer and a hunk of salt pork. The Lakeview Grocery by his house rents videos too, so he swung through the Action aisle (Betsy hates guy movies and would leave the room if he put one on while she was around, so he saves them for Tuesdays) and picked up the latest shoot ‘em up.

Back home, he changed into some shorts and a t-shirt and went out to the garden. He picked a basket full of mustard greens and collards while he slammed back the first two beers. Then he went in to the kitchen and stirred up a pone of cornbread, threw it in the oven, and cooked up the greens with the salt pork. After dinner was ready, he put on the movie and ate in front of the TV.

At some point he got tired of the beer and dug a bottle of green label Evan Williams out from under the sink. The last thing he can remember is sitting in under the covers in his bed, totally nude and half asleep, with the lights off, a glass rattling in his hand and Fox News way too loud on the bedroom TV. He said out loud, “What possible reason could there possibly be for me to still need to be awake, possibly?” He put the glass on the nightstand, smacked the remote control, and closed his eyes.

Jimmie Lee figures this would be the highlife for a single workingman

Monday, June 23, 2003

This has Dan written all over it!

Good with locks? CIA wants you

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Know your way around a lock? The CIA wants you.
"The Central Intelligence Agency is seeking locksmiths to work with the best minds in the country while performing a mission critical to our nation," the CIA said in a recent job posting on its Web site

Locksmiths, who in spy agency lingo are called technical operations officers, are needed for such tasks as to "familiarise non-technical people with technical capabilities; do hands-on work; and travel worldwide."

The skill to fabricate lock parts was an asset for prospective CIA locksmiths.

"Knowledge of electronic and manual safe lock servicing, electricity, and alarms is ideal. Knowing how to operate machinery to fabricate lock parts and tools will be beneficial," the CIA job posting said.

Applicants must be willing to travel domestically and overseas.

"There is a wide range of requirements that the agency would have for which individuals with locksmith capabilities could be utilised, but what they do and how they do it is not something we're going to be able to discuss publicly," CIA spokesman Tom Crispell said.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

The summer time in Arkansas is the time of the fly. They show up sometime in April or May and by the end of June, flies are everywhere. They follow you in your home through the front door or exploit holes in your window screens, or come pouring in when the kids leave the door open. They land on your food at dinnertime. They land on the screen while you are watching TV. At night, they buzz your head in the dark and keep you awake.

I just had one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. I was walking in to the bathroom to check a leak. As I passed through the door one of the little flying nuisances buzzed in front of my face. I quickly reached up and snatched the little guy out of the air. Then I walked over to the toilette, threw him (still alive) into the water, peed on his little head, and flushed him, flopping and kicking, into the sewer to die.

That’ll teach the little bastards! Let that be an example to flies around the world.

Friday, June 20, 2003

What a punk!
If you can't see the picture, try here. if you can not see it there, then I am a computer idiot.
You might have heard that Senator Orris Hatch of Utah made a statement last week that he thought that technology should be developed to remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download music from the Net. Wired News is reporting today that Senator Hatch's personal web site makes extensive use of unlicensed software. Surely there is an enterprising young hacker out there who would do us all a favor and destroy that page.

Monday, June 16, 2003

I just got home from one of the best concerts that I have ever seen, and will be posting a reveiw to soon. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

I have the on call cell phone at work this week. It is the first tie that I have had to carry it. This morning about 1:00 it rang for the first time. I fell out of bed, stood up, grabbed the phone, ran into the door jam trying to walk into the hall with it, and then called the person back because it had slipped to voice mail before I could get a light on and see the answer button.

“This is Nathan with computer support. Did you just try to call me?”

“Yeah, (long pause) I can not print. Well . . . I can print sometimes but not all of the time.”

“Have you rebooted your computer?”


“Do that for me.”

So I held the line while she rebooted. When it came back up, it printed just fine, of course. Do you think that was a good reason to wake a workingman in the middle of the night? Use discretion, people.

By the time I got the lights back off and stumbled back to the bed, the boy had been alerted to my presence. So I had to get him a glass of water and put him back to bed. Of course, by then I was wide-awake too. Long night.

While proofreading I just realized that this reads like a post from Dan’s blog. Now I know what it is like to be an asthmatic locksmith.

If you have not noticed, Barber is taking us on a two-week journey through the best music in the world. It is certainly a must read. Also he now has Statler and Waldorf on his header.

S: What would you do if you were a rich man?

W: That's easy, I'd buy the network and cancel this show!

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Say it is 1:00am on a Saturday morning. You just finished watching your favorite late night TV show, Scarborough Country, and you need to go to bed. Before you can get to the TV to turn it off (dead remote), Chris Matthews come on the screen and says, “Tonight on Hardball Al Sharpton talks about his run for the Democratic presidential nomination and Lucianne Goldberg on Hillary Clinton’s new book.” Would you go to bed or stay up until 2:00.

If you answered stay up and watch the Lucianne and Al show, then you know my pain.

Friday, June 06, 2003

I have to talk about this later. You know, when I figure out what the heck is going on.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Tony Pierce got to interview Sammy Sosa.

Then Tony decided that he was for suspending Sammy for the rest of the season.
This just in, my Pop disagrees:

From: Pops Greer
Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2003 11:05 AM
To: Nathaniel Greer
Subject: On WMD and Sammy Sosa

First and foremost concerning Sammy:

Who gives shit? So what if his bat is corked. He still has to make the fat part of the bat meet a 95 mph fastball that is either sinking, rising, or tailing in and or out - all in about .05 seconds. Besides, the more and the bigger the Sammy Home Runs, the more the Cubbies and MLB make off the fans. I say if the majority of the fans don't care, let him cork the hell out his bats. There ain't much pitching nowadays anyway. But, in all fairness, if Sammy and other sluggers can cork bats, then the hill dwellers ought to be able to throw the spitter, and keep nail files as a regular part of their uniforms. With the current decline in attendance in MLB and the ever growing cost of taking one's family to see a game, let 'em do anything they can get away with. BTW- I am also a big proponent of pitching inside and using the old brush back pitch. If a guy is gonna hit 500 foot home runs, he needs to have some balls of his own. Let the pitchers move Barry Bonds to the outside part of the batter's box and let's see if he hits 73.

Now, less importantly, on WMD:

Who gives a shit? Saddam Whose Insane was a tryant, and a murderer. He robbed, pilfered and plundered his own people. He got what he deserved. Besides, England and the US needed cheaper oil. As Darwin said, "It is survival of the fittest." If you can't kick our asses, then we get your oil. Of course, being the good ol' boys that we are, we will gladly pay you for it. But we get to choose the price. The WMD's need to be found to keep the real crazy's like Bin Laden from getting them. Or, if we find any, we could pump them into those caves in Afghanistan and take care of two problems at the same time!

That's all for now. These were on my mind because they were the headlines on CNN as I drank my morning coffee this am. Feel free to use any of this fine fodder on your blog.

There is a difference between golf and other sports. The PGA is really the most noble and stately of all professional athletic organizations. I first noticed this while watching Professional Bull Riding and NASCAR on cable. All the commentators can talk about is how much money is going to be collected by the champion. As if the prize money is the only reason that people become involved in these endeavors.

The Masters is the most important and most prestigious tournament that a PGA touring pro can win. Ask anybody on the tour which tournament they could win if they were only going to win one in their career, they will all say Augusta National. Guess what, it is not the biggest payout on tour. Not by a long shot. The Players Championship has a larger purse and awards its champion with a longer exemption.

What Sammy Sosa claims happened to him this week is a situation that happens on the PGA about once a season. Every so often a player will be disqualified from a tournament for having too many clubs in his bag, having illegal equipment, etc. Usually it is an honest mistake. A player could have two sand wedges he was trying out on the practice green and his caddy forgets to take one of them out of the bag before starting the round. But there is a huge difference in the way it is handled.

In almost every occasion the golfer will call the penalty on himself. Yep, you read that right. Every year some guy will be on number 16 on Sunday with a chance to win and he will look down in his bag, see that extra sand wedge, call over a PGA official and disqualify himself. Voluntarily and instantly he will forfeit more prize money than I will make in a decade.

If Sammy is telling the truth and he was using his practice bat, then he probably recognized it at some point either in the on-deck circle, or in the batter’s box. When he realized it, he should have called for time and confessed to the umpire. But he did not. He tried to get away with it. For that reason, he deserves all of the embarrassment that comes his way.
My buddy Barber writes a beautiful album review. He is going to give us one a day for the next ten days. Read his reviews and heed his advice.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Notice how Matha looks exactly like Leona Helmsley doing the perp walk.
This year for Father’s Day, shop at blogcritics. No kidding! Read some great writing and get turned on to something you were not familiar with. Just click through the links at the bottom of the page and your blogcritics writer will receive a miniscule portion of the profits. Blogcritics is the place - whether the dad in your life be a reader, music lover, movie lover, or pants wearer.
Blogcritics is my favorite pop culture criticism site. You get quality writing from dozens of high quality bloggers every single day. But now that they have started letting this idiot post, it can only be downhill.

Just kidding. I am very proud to have been asked by Mr. Eric Olsen to join Blogcritics. I chose Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger for my first album review. I hope that all of you (um . . . both of you) click over and check the site out. Make them think that I have a devoted readership.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Middle-aged. You'll die from something unexpected,
just when your kids are going to college or
something great is happening. Cause Unknown.

At what age will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla
From: Tony Pierce
Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 10:17 PM
To: Nathaniel Greer
Subject: FW: Thank ya' kindly, sir

hey nathaniel

its always my pleasure to link to you. im glad youre
still at it.

i missed the willie thing which bums me out but i hope
to catch him when he tours with the Dead this summer.

i love ZZ Top.

i saw them in berkeley about 5 years ago.

rock on!

From: Nathaniel Greer
Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 10:17 PM
To: Tony Pierce
Subject: FW: Thank ya' kindly, sir

Dearest Tony,

I sent you the email below last Tuesday night after you had linked my site I guess that you have had a real busy Hollywood week and have not had time to respond. I hope you don’t mind, but I also posted the email on my blog.

I thought that you would be interested to know that it received the most comments I have ever had. For some reason all of my friends chose that moment to make fools of themselves. It makes for an interesting read.

If you did not see the Willie Nelson concert, perhaps you caught VH1’s 25 Greatest Rock Star Cameos.

Hmm. Rock Star Cameos . . . My all time favorite would have to be Stevie Wonder on the Cosby Show. This would be followed by B.B. King on the Cosby Show. In third place would be Dizzy Gillespie on the Cosby Show.

I do enjoy your writings and honestly appreciate the link.

God Bless,

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

-----Original Message-----
From: nathaniel greer
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 12:00 AM
To: Tony Pierce
Subject: Thank ya' kindly, sir

Mr. Tony,

Thank you so much for linking me. I highly admire your work and it always blesses me to see you in my referral logs. This is the third time you have linked me and I only had to beg one of the times.

No, really, I appreciate you keeping tabs on me. It flatters me to think that occasionally you would read the damn thing.

Also, I enjoyed the big ass photo essay. You are king of the bloggers. Well, the prince maybe. I guess instapundit would have to be the king.

Did you see the Willie Nelson thing on USA tonight? If so, three questions: 1) How about ZZ Top? Has there ever been a better rock and roll band? 2) Did you notice that when Ray Charles started singing, Willie could only step aside and watch in awe? 3) What if Shania Twain brought you a birthday cake?

I hope things are well out there on the west coast.

God Bless,


Saturday, May 24, 2003

Perspective. All you need is a few hours of sleep and you can find yourself overrun with fresh perspective.

When I got home from work yesterday, Wylie was feeling pretty good. I went outside and planted a couple of tomato vines in my garden and he wandered outside with me. Just before dark I went to get us some BBQ and when I got back the boy was having a relapse. It was the saddest thing that I have ever seen. His fever went up to 104 and his head felt like it was going to explode. He was lying very still on the couch. I had the ceiling fan turned on high and his shirt pulled up. I put a cold towel on his head and another on his neck. He just lay there shivering. “I’m told, dadoe. I’m so told.”

We prayed together for God to take his fever away and help him to feel good again, but God didn’t move fast enough to suit me. We had given the boy some Motrin and it did nothing. I thought that we could give Tylenol after two hours, but I was not sure. I tried to call my mom, who is a nurse, and could not reach her at home, on her cell, or even my pop on his cell. They knew that Wylie was sick. Why were they unreachable? I called my sister who is a pharmacy tech. She thought that we could give the Tylenol. Miss J thought we could give the Tylenol. I thought so too, so we gave it. This did not bring the fever down, but it put him in a deep sleep.

I sat beside him on the couch and held a thermometer under his arm while he slept. I had my head down staring at the digital display as if I could make his temperature recede by sheer force of will. This was not helpful to anyone.

So Miss J and I ate our BBQ. We sat and ate and I confessed about school. I have failed. For a third time I have started college and fucked it up. I have to stop going for a while and reevaluate. I have no choice in the matter anyway. They don’t want me around and I don’t blame them. I have failed, I have wasted money, I have wasted time, and I have accomplished nothing.

Then the funniest thing happened. She took my side. She said that she still loved me just as much as when I was a straight-A student. More even. She said that the way she feels about me is not based on my accomplishments. She said that she supports me regardless of what I am doing and only wants me to be happy and successful.

Can you believe that? Perhaps you can, but that was not the environment that I was raised in. I feel like a complete failure. She does not think that at all.

Wylie was still red and hot. We tried to get him to roll over and expose his belly to the fan. He would not move, he would only moan. More prayers.

At this point it was getting late and close to out anniversary. Our tradition is to get out the wedding pictures and reminisce on our anniversary night. We figured there would not be a more appropriate time, and it was better than watching Wylie sleep and wringing our hands.

So we went back to the bedroom and got out the picture albums. Pictures from our trip to Nashville with my parents in the summer of 1996. Miss J and I had been dating for about a month when Mom and Pop invited us to go on vacation with them. My mother loves to shop on vacation. On our first day in Nashville we found ourselves at a strip mall. The girls went one way and Pop and I the other. We stumbled across a diamond outlet. The engagement rings were on sale. Dad let me put one on his credit card. Miss J caught wind of it and I had to give it to her. We got engaged on the sidewalk at an unnamed strip mall in suburban Nashville. My parents were walking behind us. That night we all went out to eat at the Olive Garden, then on to the Grand Ole Opry. How romantic.

Then we saw the pictures of our wedding day. Everyone that is important to us was there. Everyone that we thought was cool was there. My groomsmen were my crew. We all wore white socks with our tuxedoes and styled our hair into the biggest pompadours we could muster. When we marched in to the processional piano we broke out of line, wandered among the tables where the guests were sitting, and converged back at the podium. Miss J appeared at the back door in a white glow. Beautiful. Perfect. Her dad made some speech and Pastor Tim said some stuff and then I laid one on her, big time. The wedding kiss drew whoops from the crowd. Well, it drew whoops from the groom’s side - the side with the redder necks.

Pictures from the reception. My band played. That was my slick maneuver to get out of glad-handing all of the guests, I played guitar and sang at my own wedding reception. We had on our wedding tuxedoes and our white socks and our rock-and-roll- hair and we played some extra loud jams. Miss J danced with her grandfather. My dad danced with crazy old ladies from his church. My hippie brother-in-law danced with every girl in the room. Old people held their ears and murmured in the back. There was a picture of John and Janna Barber eating biscuits and gravy. They were just John Barber and Janna Young then. They would be married about nine months later.

When it was over, the Maid of Honor blasted me in the eyes at point blank range with birdseed. Somehow we found our way to Dan’s sister’s Honda and there sat my best buddy Dan with a lit Camel cigarette waiting for me. He drove us downtown to the fanciest hotel were Miss J and I, now mister and missus G, went upstairs and ordered some steaks from room service, by god. Send us some steaks! Big damn steaks, for we are hungry!

Outside our window Riverfest was going on.

Then we saw the pictures of our honeymoon in New Orleans. We ate seafood and went to bars and listened to music. We shopped and went to the Aquarium of the Americas. We spent a ridiculous amount of money. Every penny of the cash we got at the wedding. I flew on my first airplane. I stood naked in the windowsill of our honeymoon suite on one of the higher floors of the Hotel Monteleone and proclaimed my presence to all of Louisiana. There was not a picture of that.

Just by chance, there were pictures stuck in the back of the album of Miss J pregnant with Wylie, and then Wylie as an infant. Oh yeah, Wylie. I went back into the living room to check on him and his fever had gone away. God had delivered him just like we had asked him to. Shortly after that he woke up in a pleasant mood. He said he wanted to lie in his bed, but when he got in his bed he remembered the mac and cheese that he had asked his momma for four hours ago. The fever had come up and caused him to fall asleep before it was ready to eat.

So my happy little family sat around the living room in my house, at 1:00 in the morning on my sixth wedding anniversary and ate Kroger brand macaroni and cheese dinner. We all smiled and winked at each other. After our bellies were full we went to bed and slept until 10:00 this morning. Wylie woke up feeling great with no fever. I made us bacon and eggs. Whatever horrible bug had him feeling so bad yesterday has been vanquished from our property. Wylie’s visit to Mimi’s is back on. Mine and Miss J’s anniversary date and trip to Riverfest is back on. I am a horrible failure at school, but I have a wonderful family that loves me unconditionally. That is my perspective from the morning after.

Friday, May 23, 2003

When I woke up this morning I thought that today was going to be the start of a great weekend. As late as 1:00 today I thought that things were great and only going to get better. Now they could only get better, because there is nowhere to go but up.

Saturday is mine and Miss J’s sixth wedding anniversary. This weekend is also Riverfest here in Little Rock. I was planning to take the boy, Wylie Allman, to concerts at Riverfest tonight and early tomorrow. Then he was going to go home with his Mimi tomorrow afternoon so that Miss J and I could have a nice Anniversary date. Sunday would be Church and more Riverfest. Monday I was planning to bottle my homemade peach wine that has been sitting in my pantry for a year. That night we were going to go see A Mighty Wind. Tuesday morning Wylie would come home and I would go back to work, feeling revitalized by the relaxing weekend.

I found out at 1:00 that Wylie was barfing a running a fever. I hate it when he is sick. It kills me to see him puny and down. I want to fix him. Make him feel better.

Also it ruins my plans. Obviously I am not going to go to the concerts and leave him at home. Even more obviously, I am not going to send him to Mimi’s when he is sick.

Then I got home to find a letter from school. I have flunked out. No more financial aid will be offered to me until I can pass nine hours in a row with at least a 2.0.

I have not talked about school this semester because it has been bad. Traditionally my grades will go one of two ways. Either I make all A’s or I make all F’s. I overwhelmed myself this semester with too many classes and a new job that required me to work a lot of overtime and do a lot of traveling. By mid-April I had made A’s on all of my tests and assignments, but I had missed so many classes – either because of work or because of exhaustion – that there was no way for me to pass. UALR instructors take roll and they will fail you for missing more than the allotted number of days.

Getting the grades up would not be a problem. I just have to take a small enough load for me to handle and forego some overtime at work. This will likely not happen though, because I am not going to have any money to pay for it. I certainly cannot afford to pay tuition out of my pocket.

But I sincerely hope you have a good holiday.
The Guitar Center in Little Rock is a wonderland of shiny beautiful playthings. They have all kinds of stuff I want to take home, but they also have the lousiest sales staff in the history of the world. They are a lazy, juvenile, uninformed bunch of dolts with rock-and-roll hair and lip piercings. I try to give them my money, but they won’t take it. Consider my last three visits to the store:

About six months ago I got a postcard from Guitar Center touting the latest sale. Looking down the list of sale items, I found a nice PC sound card at a very reasonable price. I could use one of those. So I went down to the GC and strolled past the instruments into the Pro Audio department. I brought along my sale flier just in case. I pointed to the sound card and said, “I would like to buy one of those.”

The salesman huffed and sighed and slithered over to his computer terminal. He punched a few buttons and made a few clicks. Finally without looking up he said, “It says here that we have one left, but it is in the back.”

“That will be great, I’ll take it.”

He said that he would go in the back and get it in just a few minutes. Then he started talking to another customer. After a few minutes I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “I am going to go play some guitars. I’ll check back in a few minutes.”

He replied, “I am going to the back right now,” then he turned on his heels and went through the back door.

After about twenty minutes of playing on several lovely guitars, I decided I needed to get going. I went back over to Pro Audio. As I got to the counter, my salesman came through the door from the back holding not a sound card, but a bag from Taco Bell. I asked him if he had any luck finding it. He said no, but he had another guy still looking back there. I told him I would go back to playing guitars and check back in a few minutes.

Twenty minutes later I went back in there to find him finishing up his burritos behind the counter. He looked at me like he was surprised I was still there. No sound Card. I left.

A few months later I went in there with a friend who needed some strings. While he was shopping I got to chatting up one of the salesmen. This was a Saturday about 5:00 in the afternoon. The salesgeek told me that they had not sold a guitar all day long. As a matter of fact, they had done about thirty dollars worth of business all day. “If you ever want to buy a guitar, today is the day to talk us into a deal.”

So I went and found a lovely Taylor Acoustic. The price tag said $1800. “What kind of deal would you like to cut me on this one?” I asked.

“We’ll give you that guitar for $1800”

“$1800 is what the sticker says.”
“Ok, you drive a hard bargain. $1800 cash and I will pay your sales tax for you.”

“I know why you haven’t sold any guitars, you don’t want to sell any.”

“Ok, fine. But this is as low as I can possibly go. How does $1750 sound?”

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon. Guitar Center is running a special. Fifteen months no interest on your Guitar Center Credit Card. Dan has one of those. He has wanted to buy some stuff for the studio, so we went over to see what we could find.

Dan went into serious money spending mode as soon as we walked in. He started grabbing snakes, microphones, cables, and anything else that looked interesting. You only get one shot at this “no interest” deal, so might as well make it count. The whole time we are placing all of this stuff in a pile on the front counter next to the cash register. There are two sales guys just staring at us. The only thing that they will say is, “Y’all ready to check out yet.”

Finally they just start ringing the stuff up. At this point we have about $1000 worth on the counter.

Dan says, “Do you have any Mackie M90s.”

“Nope, all sold out.” The salesdolt replies.

“Can you order me one?” Dan persists.


“Can you put it on this ticket so it will be on the no interest deal?”

“I don’t know.”

“Can you find out?”


“Well, we are going to go play on some guitars. Page me when you get it figured out and we will come finish checking out.”

You know what happened. We played guitars until closing time. We checked back with the sales guy twice. He never gave us a straight answer about the M90. At closing time we left. As we were getting in the truck the sales manager comes running out of the building yelling, “Hey wait. Where are you guys going? Are you not going to get your stuff? What is the matter?”

We told him the story. He tried to act like we were the assholes.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Imagine that you are a fat, sweaty, hairy, lazy, introverted, anti-social, sad man. Imagine further that you are married to a beautiful, with-it, confident, sweet-smelling, popular local television personality. This is Miss J. and I.

She keeps a calendar online for me. Being a self-employed atmospheric consultant and paint-picker-outer her schedule is erratic. I looked at it this morning as I do every morning. The entry for this afternoon said, “Go to Party Time 3:00-4:00.”

She called me about 3:00 and said that she was running a little late and might not be home by the time I got home at 4:30.

When I got to the house I called her to see when she would be home and she said she was shopping with a client and it would be a few hours.

About 6:30 I called to say that I had prepared dinner.

Miss J said, “Well, we have not gotten to her house yet.”

“So what then, about 10:00 tonight” I joked

“Nah. I should be home by about 9:30 at the latest.”

She got home about 11:00

Imagine that you are a fat, sweaty, hairy, lazy, introverted, anti-social, sad man. Imagine further that you are married to a beautiful, with-it, confident, sweet-smelling, popular local television personality.

What would you think that she had been out doing?

Monday, May 19, 2003

Dan, since you are going to die in a few weeks of SARS poisoning, stop eating that cheesecake and blog for me, dammit.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Dan recently told me, "When I first heard of SARS, I knew immediately that it would be what I died of."

Well buddy, it looks like the reaper has made it as far as Memphis.
Kay R. Daly in National Review Online
If the consequences for the Constitution weren't so dire, the recent antics of the nation's Democrats would be downright funny.

Whether it's obstruction by filibuster of the president's judicial nominees, or obstruction by flight of redistricting in Texas, these Democrats seem to have regressed to infancy. Temper tantrums, however, are annoying whether deployed as a toddler tactic or as a political scheme, and both mothers and voters have a tendency to take a dim view.

. . . What the Democrats in both Washington and Texas have shown is that when their minority status doesn't suit them, they'll do anything to obstruct the will of the majority — regardless of what damage is done to the constitutional process.

Senate Republicans inside the Beltway and the Republicans in the Texas legislature need to draw a line in the sand and clearly articulate the damage being done to our Constitution, to the voters, and to the legislative bodies as institutions. This must be done over and over again until the message is successfully delivered through all the media noise.

Of course, if that fails, a time-out might work.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

You know, the people in this office talk about stupid stuff just like the people in my old office did. For some reason it doesn't bother me as much over here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Miss J. and I were laid up in the bed last night, watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann just like we do every night. In a segment of the show dedicated to hometown, school age imbeciles, Mr. Olbermann told us about the group of high school girls who were suspended from school for a brutal hazing incident. (Some of the girl’s parents are suing to have their daughters reinstated, despite the damning video evidence against them.) Then he told us about a mom inciting a fight at a baseball game and kicking a child that was not her own. Finally he mentioned the New York baseball team who visited a strip club while on a road trip to play ball in Florida. A parent got them in and bought the drinks.

Now I am no saint, and I was involved in my fair share of tomfoolery as a youth, but these incidents were unthinkable to me. Particularly the video of dozens of high school girls beating up younger high school girls while boys cheered them on and ran the video. I can confidently say that if I had been faced with such a scenario while I was in school, I would have turned on my heels and got out of there before things got that ugly. I know that I would have done so because I did just that on several occasions. The stuff that was about to go down in my neighborhood was nothing compared to what I saw on the video last night. I bugged out not because I thought I would get in trouble, but because my parents had instilled in me a sense of right and wrong. A moral compass. A fear of God. A sense of honor. I knew that a bystander was an accomplice and I did not want to involve myself in such nonsense.

Miss J gave the opposite answer. The reason she stayed out of trouble as a child was that she was afraid that her mom would find out. She said that her mom was nosy and got into everything. “Where are you going? Who is going to be there? What will be going on? Will there be adults there? You had better not lie to me. I’ll find out! I’ll show up and check it out! You know me; you know that I will!”

So I asked Jerusalem if all of this prying was necessary. Not to say that it was not her mom’s business. She certainly had the rights to any details of her child’s life. But didn’t sweet Miss J. have a sense of honor that would keep her away from bad situations? She said nope. Girls don’t have that sense of honor. They are not wired like that. Girls want to be popular and have a boyfriend, not to feel good about themselves.

This brought up a fundamental difference between the sexes. Boys have to be taught honor. We (males) have to have some sort of moral guidelines to live by because ultimately, we can do whatever we please. We are not responsible for anyone but ourselves. Men can set themselves up as the center of their own universe where we only have to answer to ourselves. This is why we need honor, integrity, and pride. This is a big one of the infinite number of reasons why we need God.

What makes women different? It is physiological. They can get pregnant. They have this handy, built in, natural reality check. Do the wrong thing and you might get knocked up. Then what are you going to do? Now you have a whole other person that you are responsible for. You started their life and its continuation depends on you. If you are lucky, you might get some help from the dishonorable jerk whose approval and affection you were so desperately seeking when you got yourself into this mess.

As parents, what is our plan? I am going to let Wylie earn my trust by proving himself to be honorable. I’ll give him room to breathe and teach him to not put himself in situations that would cause him embarrassment. If he has a relationship with his creator then he will know the sort of circumstances he should avoid. Sure, Jesus hung out with the ragamuffins, but he did not participate in - or encourage through inaction - their incorrigible behavior.

Miss J. is going to search his closets and under his mattress. When he gets home from a teenage night out, she will break out the heat lamps and sodium pentathol.

By the way, if I were an administrator at that school where the hazing took place I would expel everyone who could be positively identified from the video, weather victim or perpetrator. I would expel them just for not having the common sense to avoid such an unholy situation. If I were a parent in that district I would demand as much.
Hey Jeanetta, what do you think of your chickenshit Texas Democrats now?
Running Away, eh? You yellow . . .

Note: This post was meant partially in jest and has the purpose of provoking a spirited response from a longtime dear friend. Dearest Jeanetta, please reply with venom, but please do not take it personally.
You have probably heard by now that Katie Couric hosted The Tonight Show this week and got much, much better ratings that Jay Leno has ever gotten. This should tell NBC something. Not that Katie Couric is more popular than Jay Leno or that she is a better talk show host – but that anyone is a better talk show host than Leno. He is the worst. His jokes are simple and often not funny. His interview style is excruciating. You get the feeling that these people would never talk to him in any other setting. My wife refuses to watch him, even if he is interviewing someone she likes. He is simply not able to talk to people in an intelligent and entertaining manner.

If NBC has any sense at all, (and they can not possibly have much, they are still shooting new episodes of ER) they will send that rubber-faced idiot packing and get someone, anyone else to take his place. I can name about seven people off of the top of my head that would be a thousand times better and would likely take the gig. Ok, here goes:

1) Dennis Miller
2) Dana Carvey
3) Jan Hooks
4) John Stewart
5) Anyone named Wayons
6) Charlie Rose
7) James Lipton

As a matter of fact I cannot think of anyone who would not be funnier than Leno.

Well, I said that they would likely take the gig, but who knows for sure. When Leno took over the tonight show from Johnny Carson, it was the most coveted job in TV. Now, I am not so sure. It is certainly not the prize it once was. Jay has sort of defiled it.

There was a skit on Saturday night live once, the first time that Mike Myers came back to host. He was singing a tune in the opening about how wonderful it was to come back and host. He ran into Tim Meadows and acted surprised to find out that he was still part of the cast. Meadows then sang a mournful verse about his long-term contract and how he has not been able to leave. “Why did I sign/ A twenty year contract.” I’ll bet the NBC executives are singing a similar tune right now about their contract with Jay Leno.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Some people have nightmares that they show up for work in the morning and have forgotten their pants. I am not worried about that. I am not going to forget my pants. I think I would notice the wind on my boys. The thing that terrifies me - that I am sure is going to some day happen - is that I am going to show up for work and realize that I have forgotten to fix my hair.

I have thick, course, coal black hair with flecks of gray. I keep it pretty short, but I still have award winning bed head when I get up in the mornings. My hair grows into a natural pompadour; indeed it is the hairstyle that the Lord has chosen for me. It does not take a lot of effort to achieve the perfect young Elvis look in the mornings. All that I have to do is get it wet and run my fingers through it. But until then, it is headed off in various directions at unnatural angles. I have been looking at it for twenty-seven years and it still makes me laugh.

I am convinced that some day I am going to casually stroll into the office to start my day and be snapped into a harsh reality by the sound of my coworker’s jeers and ridicule. “Hey, nice hair! Did you forget to look into the mirror this morning.” That is why I check myself in the rear view mirror every morning as my last act before going inside. If there is a tinge of doubt, I have even turned around at the office door to go back and look. So for I have been lucky. I have only forgotten to fix my hair one time, and I caught it in my morning mirror check. There was still time to run by the restroom (and I do mean run, with my head down) and give it a quick taming.

So far I have been lucky, but my days are numbered.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Today I stumbled upon each of the following items over a period of about an hour:

1) Wristwatch - Missing three weeks.
2) Two CDs - Missing two weeks.
3) Sunglasses – Missing four days.

I have decided to take this as an encouraging sign from God. Things are looking up.

I am at my parent’s house for two days. I feel pretty certain that I have brought along everything that will be necessary to make that comfortable. It is 11:40 Tuesday night and I have just arrived. I am working in Nashville, Arkansas, tomorrow and then Murfreesboro Wednesday. I have decided to crash here rather than drive all of the way back to Little Rock. Some of y’all might not know this, but I am from the country. Even by Arkansas standards. I drive a truck. I don’t tuck in my shirt. To buy groceries, we had to go into town. My folks are still there.

So here I sit at Momma and Pop’s and it is night and I am sitting up in the bed typing away on my laptop. Also I have a cold. As a matter of fact, I feel generally shitty. Now that I think about it, perhaps I should be in bed.

I configured my laptop for SBC dialup today. That will make it a little more effective to travel with. The only problem here in the back woods is that there is no SBC number in the area. I am going to have to dial long distance to connect. For that reason, online activity will be spotty for a little while. (I ain’t using a credit card, so connectivity will be on momma and pop’s nickel.) Actually I should say that online leisure activity. I am converting two office networks from Token Ring to Ethernet this week. They had better come back online pretty soon after I get there or it is going to be a long couple of days.

Day 2 10:12 PM

Having a cold makes me feel very sleepy and generally lousy in the late afternoon, more so if I do not sleep well the night before. Today I resolved that by crawling up on the pillow top mattress at my parent’s house and having myself a three-hour tour. Yesterday I was at home and home has no time for naps. Starbucks was my only hope. So I ordered who shots of espresso in a large cup (I think the sizes at Starbucks are Benini, Da Vanci, and Mussolini) and had them fill the cup the rest of the way with the house blend. As you can likely tell from last evening’s entry, I had some trouble sleeping. Finally I turned out the light at about 1:00, after reading the newest National Review cover to cover. By 1:30 it was raining like pouring piss out of a boot. Hail, thunder, brimstone, cats, dogs – no sleep was to be had.

Monday, May 05, 2003

If you have not seen Pootie Tang yet, you really have to. Pootie reminds me of a young Fatnathan. Roaming the streets of the big city back in the rough-and-tumble early ‘90s. Searching out the forces of corporate greed and whooping their asses with my big black belt my daddy gave to me.

I watched the season finale of Alias last night. I love that show because it is the logical extension of the greatest and most ridiculous television show of all time (and my personal favorite), Dallas. Remember the time that the Dallas writers painted themselves into a corner and had to “reveal” on the finale that the entire season had been poor sweet Pammy Ewing’s dream? Well the Alias writers got themselves out of a storyline jam last night in similarly cheap fashion. At the end of the season’s final episode they set up the next season by having the main character wake up in the middle of the street in Hong Kong, phone home, and discover that we have flashed forward two years, she has been missing, and has no recollection of anything that had happened. Amazingly, neither she nor her (now married) boyfriend had aged a day.

Now I hear that Aaron Sorkin is leaving The West Wing. Sure he is a lefty, but he is a badass writer, and the show is going to suffer because of it. I doubt NBC will cancel it anytime soon. I saw the other day that E.R. is still on. Who knew? I am sure that no one has watched ER on purpose in six or seven years.

I just found out that I am going to Alaska this summer. Juneau is Miss J’s hometown. She has not been back since she came to Arkansas for college ten years ago. She has been invited back to participate in her best friend from High School’s wedding. We had pretty much given up any hope that I would be able to go with her when God dropped the money for my plane tickets right in our laps. I have never visited a state that does not touch Arkansas. The only time I have ever flown was from Little Rock to New Orleans for our honeymoon. This is going to be quite an adventure for me. I hope to take my laptop and tell you all about it.

But for now it is just another week at the old grind.

Friday, May 02, 2003

In honor of Dan's new blog, I would like to rerun a post from September 17, 2002.

My best buddy is named Dan. Dan is a big fat sweaty lazy hairy musician, just like me. That is why we hit it off so well. For a day job, Dan learned how to break in to cars. He got himself a cell phone and an ad in the yellow pages . . . instant locksmith career. Now he spends most of the day sitting in front of his computer, surfing EBay for sweet bass guitars. Did I mention that Dan is much smarter than me? He talked his wife into letting them get DSL instead of cable, and then he just stole cable from the neighbors for free.

We came from the same town and I knew who he was, but we did not hang out. When I was in ninth grade my old man gave me a guitar for my birthday. It was just what I had always wanted. After I had exhausted all of Pop’s knowledge I wanted to learn more about pickin’ and grinnin’. I went to the high school band director and said, “Mr. C, where could I get some guitar lessons.” I was expecting him to send me to some college professor, but he replied, “You should talk to Dan the Man!”

I said, “But Dan is into heavy metal. Besides, I thought that he was a bass player.”

You see I was a little bit scared of Dan because (a) I did not really know him (b) He had long hair and wore slayer T-shirts and (c) He hung out with The Great Whoreior – Corey Shepherd.

Mr. C said to me, “Big Nate, He is the pest guitar player around. I know you two will hit it off.”

Turns out Mr. C was damn right, we did hit it off. I gave Dan ten bucks a lesson for three weeks. At that point we had exhausted all of his knowledge also. Then he went back to playing the bass and we started jamming as peers.

Dan lived in a tiny little trailer house with about 27 brothers. His room had two beds in it. We would sit on the beds facing each other and play for hours. All we knew were Cream and Zepplin and AC/DC and Guns N Roses, but we would rock them all night.

With Jody Evans and the Silver Crickets we put the rock in rockabilly.

We joined the music department of various universities and learned something about music.

With The Electric Church we put the funk in dysfunctional.

One time we crashed an open mic coffee house at a college. We played an avant garde improvisation for thirty minutes while two guys we had recruited from the visual art department smeared paint on a huge canvas and we all freaked out. Finally this little black kid in the front row got fed up with all of the weirdness. He jumped on this drum kit that was set up for the next act and started laying down a beat. Daniel and I accepted his challenge and rose to the funk. Another black kid jumped up, grabbed a mic and started freestylin’ some rhymes. We brought the crowd to their feet.

Next we started a jazz quartet with a drummer and a horn player. We could never come up with a name, although we had some good ideas. (Fugitive Squirrel, Clearly Disturbed Beavers, Jesus Chrysler, The Colostomy Bags, My gay uncle, Purple Monkey Discharge, The President's Penis, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, The Ed Fuqua Experience, The Underwear Men, Pissing Razors, Spiked Fondue, Jazz Ass) So I told the guy who owned the bar that we were the Daniel Schoultz Quartet. Dan has never forgiven me for this. One day we were playing this reception at one of the colleges and several members of the music faculty came and sat in with us. These guys were world class jazz musicians and we were clearly poseurs along side them, but it was a compliment that they even jammed with us.

With the Mark Currey Band we molded contemporary worship music and alt-country into a polysynthesis that only a Roach could despise.

We have been playing together at church for the last few years and that is where the real music is at; getting to worship the King along side my best friend while using this amazing gift that God has given to us. Jamming with Dan on Wednesdays at church is my most cherished memory.

Last Sunday night we got to rock the Decorative Arts Museum, opening up for a band that was much better than us. Dan booked the gig, so what did he name us . . . The Nathaniel Greer Trio. Vengeance is mine, this saith the Dan.