Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Cheesy Farfeezy and the Harp Through the Fender Twin

Hey, what happens when you lash together a garage full of drum gear, a son who happens to be a mighty good drummer and a fine summer's weekend morning?

Why, you just might come up with something like this: Bob Dylan's "If You Gotta Go, Go Now," featuring Freddie Jingo on the traps! He smack 'em good!

Microphones hung from ceiling rafters and shoved into kick-drums, computer gear lugged into place, MP3 guide track on the old iPod, and plenty of fine coffee. Makes for a grand way to pend a couple of hours.

Afterward, back in the studio, added all the rest of the stuff you hear -- guitars, percussion, mouth harp, Cheesy Farfeesy.

Damn, this was fun.

And boy howdy, the song just reminds me once again: I sure as shootin' glad that I wasn't of the right age, the right sex, or the right geographic location to get on the pissed-off side of Bob Dylan in about 1964. Woof! 

Getcher Sexual, Lewd or Provocative Content Right Here!

Well, this is a fine vessel of vagina kettle of fish...

When I refreshed the look and feel of this place a couple of weeks ago, part of the process was a solicitation from AdSense to plunk down ads within the Friendly Confines. Never one to turn down the princely $1.78 per annum I would no doubt earn, I jumped through the hoops and applied.

This came back a few days later:

To: [Proprietors, Neddie Jingo International Hegemonic Tendency, LLC] 
Subject: Google AdSense Account Status
Thank you for your interest in Google AdSense. Unfortunately, after
reviewing your application, we're unable to accept you into AdSense at
this time. 
We did not approve your application for the reasons listed below:
- Adult content
Further detail: 
Adult content: Currently, only Google ads that we classify as family-safe
are available through the AdSense program. We've found adult content on
your site. This includes text or images that contain sexual, lewd or
provocative content, and sites that require users to be at least 18, or
that may not be safe for work.
Rather insulted, I reviewed the Friendly C.'s archives for Japanese-schoolgirl upskirts, stiffened giblets, Barenaked Ladies Showing Everything, or anything else that might roust out the lubricious energies of innocent teens and those who would gleefully quash them in a school or place of work, and found pretty darned close to billy-o. Yes, we are a trifle intemperate here and there with our "frickin's" and our "gol-dangs," I'll confess. But gee whiz, if racy collections of glyphs were the only criterion for denying a man a decent livelihood through his embroidery, the entire Internet would consist of Enid Blyton extracts, nursery rhymes and Principia Mathematica. 

Then it struck me: Could they possibly be talking about the post from 2010 (it sat here at the top of the blog for eons while I was frying other fish) in which I limned a highly unlikely circumstance employing a tattooed lesbian, a Harley Davidson-branded marital device and a jealous husband -- a miracle of circumlocution and indirection, I thought at the time --  to set up one of the worst puns ever perpetrated on the human race?

Reluctantly I must conclude that this is the case. Clearly, an examination of pornographic Fifties dime-store novels and their influence on the impressionable minds of the young Beatles can't be to blame. Hyman Restoration comedy? Christmas trees in bondage? A trip to the hair salon that engendered unwholesome thoughts? Sexy, sexy laydeez in your mailbox to rot your children's minds? Nope. Gotta be that pun.

Frick it. I've clearly been played for a sucker. If putting up what any sane adult would view as perfectly wholesome content gets this place flagged as NSFW, then nothing is worth holding back any more. Might as well go whole-hog. Plunge into the filth, the muck, the slippery sleaze. The heck with your bourgeois propriety, AdSense, you bunch of dipsticky dookie-holes. It's not like everybody else isn't doing it...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Good Dog

(Try to do this without being maudlin, OK?)

Back in February, we knew Django's days were numbered.

We'd brought him in to the vet for a limp in his hind leg that didn't seem to be improving. Vet did the x-ray, and came back with the awful news: It was bone cancer. Advanced. The only medical choice was full amputation, and none of us, vet included, wanted to do that to a 14-year-old dog. It would have been the height of selfishness.

Vet said, Best thing you can do is just keep him comfortable, out of pain as much as you can. Let him know you love him. He'll let you know when it's time.

He'd had a very good, very long run. He never was much of a hunter -- or for that matter, a pretend-hunter, of the chase-the-stick, kill-the-ball variety -- it was his sister who filled that extroverted role. He was more your faithful, soulful guy who'd never leave your side when you were sick or hurt, and who took on your pain as his own. He loved us unreservedly, as good dogs do, and wore his heart on his sleeve. And we always tried to live up to that.

Back when he was a pup, rescued with his sister from the Loudoun County shelter, I named him Django, after the Gypsy guitar-flogger I idolized. His sister became Ella, after Wonder Woman's favorite singer. Jazz dogs. Finest kind. Mother was a stray German Wirehaired Pointer who loved not wisely but too well; Dad was (we can only surmise) a Large Brown Dog. Django got the Large Brown genes; Ella got the Wirehairs. Her facial furnishings make her look like a particularly magnificent Civil War general. Django was... Well, look at him. Handsome, not pretty. Obedient, not servile. Soulful.

Just a really good dog.

He did let us know when it was time. All through his illness, he never complained, never acted out, never became cranky or nippy, as dogs in pain can. He was patient and loving to the end. But all the patience and love in the world won't beat cancer.

On the day, Wonder Woman and I had to be the grownups. We heard and saw his suffering, and knew that nothing at all was giving him pleasure any more. It was time.

We buried him in a nice, shady spot in the yard. I am going to sow wildflowers there when I get a minute. I do have a few of those left.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Two and Two Together

Last night, Wonder Woman and I sat on the porch, enjoying the evening cool. I was watching "Soylent Green" on the lappie; Wondie watched desultorily over my shoulder and browsed on her tablet. No television, no contact with the outside world. A lovely evening overall.

Shortly before ten or so, a nearby neighbor set off some fireworks. Not a grand cannonade, just a few whizz-pops. This has been going on periodically since the Fourth, so I thought it was just somebody finishing off this year's stash on a Saturday night, maybe after a few fizzy beverages. Certainly nothing to get worked up over.

As soon as I'd discovered along with Charlton Heston that Soylent Green is made of  (spoiler alert!) Edward G. Robinson, I remarked that I was getting gappy and was headed for bed. We noticed with a giggle that our Saturday evening was coming to an end at the truly Satanic hour of 10:15 PM; our dissipation, we concluded, is near complete.

It wasn't until this morning that, fresh coffee in hand, I read that the George Zimmerman jury had handed down their astonishing verdict the previous evening. Profoundly depressed as I read though the article, I reflected that in many ways we are still living with hatreds and bigotries that have gnawed at me and, well, everybody else, since well before I was born.

It wasn't until I saw the date-time stamp on the article -- 10:06 PM -- that I twigged to the events of the evening before.

Those fireworks had gone off within a minute or two of the verdict's announcement.

I truly don't know whose house the rockets were fired from. The tree-cover is far too thick this time of year to see any distance from our porch. But perhaps more importantly, I don't want to know. I wave cheerfully at any and all pedestrians and passing cars on our tiny dirt road, happy in the self-imposed delusion that we're all Very Nice People. Certainly not the kind of people who'd have cheered the Emmett Till verdict.

I thought we were better than this.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Plus Ça Change

My goodness, things do look a trifle... different... around here. Where the hell did that Breughel thing go?

In gearing up to try to keep this place a teeny bit fresher than I've been able to the last couple of years, I have resorted to a bit of housekeeping. A bunch of scripts no longer worked, a few graphics got lost, and a whole lot of places in my blogroll have gone the way of the Cambrian Explosion.

The new Blogger template that I chose doesn't let me do much by way of the ancient HTML tricks I used to have up my sleeve -- how the hell can I divide links up according to the Noble Eightfold Path if the template admits of exactly one kind of link? A step backwards, if you ask me. I'll get the Mobberly Story thing back up and running as soon as I get a minute. And I need that microscopic bagpipe-guy graphic to be comprehensible.

On the other hand, SEO, way easier permalinks, wider page for modern monitors, a working mobile version.... These things are Not Bad. They are even, you could say, Quite Good. Now if I can just find a way to combine a graphic and searchable text in the header, I'll be golden. (Edit: There! Did it!)

So meanwhile, to keep you entertained, here's a picture of Adolf Hitler striking a pose:

There's lots more where that came from. Dude just couldn't help but be amusing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Strong Winds and Accompanying Bother

Wonder Woman and I were preparing for our day this morning in the bathroom: brushing teeth, polishing brass knuckles, shaving eyebrows and what-have-you. The radio was on, the usual Morning Edition fare.

The weather report came on. We are to expect a cloudy and rainy day, highs in the low eighties. All very mundane stuff, not worth canceling plans over. Wondie wandered off into the bedroom, pondering the choice between the brass nose-ring or the onyx one I gave her for Arbor Day a few years back. I was left alone in meditative quiet as the radio droned on. Something about possible thunderstorms in the afternoon, which I dismissed as the Big-Government Socialist propaganda it no doubt was. As my toothbrush made its roborative way about the ancestral molars, the nice radio-lady intoned, quite portentously, that the predicted storms would bring the possibility of (I'm quite certain I heard this right) "strong winds and ham."

Dearie me, I thought. Not only do I stand an excellent chance of getting the careful coiffure mussed, but I'll have to spend the day under trees and awnings, ducking cured-pork products. I supposed the local carnivorous fauna would consider themselves quite blessed with the windfall, nice fresh porkies falling as manna from the heavens. It would also mean that their usual prey -- the rabbit, vole, earthworm and groundhog communities -- would consider this a welcome holiday from the usual skulking and burrowing behaviors that is their allotment in life.

Ah, yes, my powerful fish-fed brain continued in its inexorable train, but what sort of ham? Serrano? Smithfield? Prosciutto? Or -- perish the thought -- had Mother Nature decided to cheap out on us and rain down that horrible agar-embedded canned stuff from my youth, when refrigerated transportation was but a glint in Nikola Tesla's eye? Would Mother N. even bother to open the cans? Would she refuse to stir herself with the whole key-twisting business and just pelt us with unopened tins of Dubuque's Pride? I expect the insurance johnnies to have their pencils well sharpened. This could make golfball-sized hail look like hail-sized golfballs.

At any rate, I'm sure there's some outstanding poetry to be wrought out of even this impending natural disaster:

A-rumty-tumty ram-a-Tam (Gam? Flam? Ma'am? Work on this later.)
I do not like strong winds and ham
A-tumpty-tumpty sharks with hair,
A-tumpty-tumpty legionnaire...

The rest of the poem is left as an exercise for the student. Me, I'm off to herd the swine into the barn before the conflagration. Can you imagine their moral indignation? "It's raining...US!"

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Sarah A. Long Virts, 1832-1925

That little honey up there, that's Sarah A. (Long) Virts, who owned my land and home from 1874 until her death in 1925. Born in 1832, she was 91 when she passed. Six kids. Must have been a tough old bird.

I have no idea, of course, if she actually lived here; for all I know, this modest (then) one-room cabin was rented out to hired help on the local farms. But I do believe that it was she (and, no doubt, her husband, Joseph Lewis Virts, whom she married in October of 1859) who had the cabin disassembled from its original site down the hill by the dried-up stream, and placed here, 50 yards uphill, on a modern foundation. (Modern, that is, for the late 1800s. Still doing its job admirably, though.) Perhaps at that point, they began to build out from the back, which addition would eventually evolve into Stately Jingo Manor.

How she came by the place in 1874 is a bit of a mystery, yet to be untangled. The deed, on record at the Leesburg Courthouse, shows several couples (in-laws?), none of whose names ring any bells yet, selling her the place. It was some 25 acres then, which she subdivided and sold half of later. The plot she kept was 12 acres, which was in the 1940s subdivided again, giving us the 8 acres we now infest.

I want to call your particular attention to the date that Sarah and Joseph tied the nuptial knot: October 8, 1859. Can you name a time and place less auspicious to start a life of wedded bliss? Eight days after the Blessed Event, John Brown commenced his antics at Harpers Ferry, a mile and a half upstream from us. I have to imagine Joseph and Sarah, perhaps dewy with amorous sweat after a vigorous honeymoon boffing, sitting and cooling themselves on the front porch on October 16 of that year. Along down the road comes perhaps a tinker, or a passing drummer: "Have you folks heard about what's going on up at the Ferry? Some blessed lunatic has holed himself up in the Armory, hostages and all! What's this world coming to? At any rate, I hear the Federals are on their way up there, soon have the situation under control..."

Under control, indeed.... Two of Sarah's children, Susan Alverda and Rosa Althea (such aromatic names!) were born August 1861 and [no month given] 1863, respectively.

They say that the cannonfire of Sharpsburg was clearly audible here. Gettysburg too, if not so clearly -- probably more like distant thunder.

Helluva time to start raising kids.

Pee Ess: You Loudoun locals: You can do worse than spend a leisurely moment with the Loudoun Aerial Archive. Aerial photos of your very own dear old homestead (or the cornfield where it would be built) from 1937. Don't say I never told you anything useful.

Nature Report

Jeeze, I need to get that horrifying last post down the page... If I go under a bus in the next few years, I'll be remembered as the Guy Who Bitched about Bugs in 2012, No Matter How Justified the Bitching Was.* Can't have that, no sir, no sir....

The family of deer who visit the downhill lawn daily to snack upon the milkweed and thistles that I've cultivated for their delectation have managed to whelp this year. Just this morning, two fawns, about the size of terriers, cute little white spots freckling their backs, cavorted. The thought balloons over their heads read, "Holy shit, I'm a deer! Woah! Check it out! I'm a deer! Watch this! (Boing, boing, boing) Betcha never saw that before! (Boing) Wow, it's so cool being a deer! How great is this!"

The buck we call Missing, Presumed Dad, has grown himself a fairly impressive set of hatracks on his coconut. Sure, they're still fuzzy and juvenile-looking, but they're harbingers of the time, not far off, when he'll be yclept King of the Forest, to all but his harem, who already know him as Old Too-Tired-to-Get-It-Up. They're an iconoclastic bunch, that harem. Watch out for 'em. Be burning their bras next thing you know.

Funny thing about ol' Missing, though, is that maybe three years ago, he himself was one of those little terriers. The Great Circle of Life rolls on. He don't say nothin', which clearly implies he must know somethin'.

In other news, Freddie and I had a whee of a time the other night when Mr. Rat Snake (you may remember, this guy) showed up in the screened porch, trying to get at the Eastern Phoebe babies nesting in the windchimes on the unscreened porch (the evil old dumbass). I poked at him with an old cane I keep around for the purpose, and he gave a fine display of a rat snake trying to get the hell out of whatever he'd gotten himself into.

This prompted Freddie to ask, How do snakes actually move, anyway? That wiggling, multi-s-shaped performance they put on just doesn't seem to be a very efficient means of locomotion. I thought for a bit, and realized that nothing in my vast experience could answer that burning question, so we hit Google (also with an old cane I keep around for the purpose).

The answer may surprise you. Sure did me. I thought it was just God's will.

What's even more surprising is that we've known this for approximately 0.15 seconds of human history. I guess there just isn't a whole lot of grant money lying around to study herpetological boogieing.

* But it would make a fairly memorable tombstone, I do confess it.**

** Epitaph: He Really Didn't Like Stinkbugs Very Much, and We'll Miss Him For It.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

So You Want to Know About Stinkbugs, Eh?


Yesterday I was driving down Mountain Road taking Betty to drop her off at Union Station on her way  back to school. It was one of the first quite cold days of the fall, and I had taken my winter coat out of the closet for the first time since last spring.

A few miles out, I felt something crawling on my neck. Yep. Stinkbug.

Disgusted, I threw it out the car window and kept driving. Then there was another, on my sleeve. And another. And another. I stopped the car to shake out the coat. In all, seven of the loathsome things had infested the coat.

Three years ago, we had the Nightmare October from Hell. That was when these things first arrived in serious numbers. I couldn't convince anybody how horrible it was; anything I said sounded like hyperbole. "Thousands of the horrible things!" sounds like I'm exaggerating wildly -- especially to my suburban acquaintances, who freak out and post on Facebook that they'd seen three of the them in their garage. "Ewww!" everybody responds. Oh, if they only knew!

Let me tell you about the Nightmare October of 2009. When we came in or out the front door, we had to scurry to get the door closed as thirty uninvited guests attempted to piggyback in with us. When they did get in -- and they did, by the hundreds -- their natural instinct is to insert themselves into crevices in the house -- sock drawers, rollup curtains, door frames. We learned to cook with a grease-mesh over any open pot -- and they still got into our food. We threw away an entire casserole when Freddie found one in his serving. (It was OK; we'd all pretty much lost our appetites anyway.)

Exterminators were no help. Nothing they had would kill the goddamned things. Also, because they are an invasive species from China, they have no natural predators here. The exterminator advised us to suck them up with the vacuum cleaner every day. We might as well have used an accordion.

This kind of thing will  do a number on your psyche. I was unemployed at the time, depressed and miserable. Sitting in our upstairs bathroom one day, one of the warmest rooms in the house and thus especially attractive to the monsters, I listened to the buzz-thump of several stinkbugs banging away at the window behind me (they are huge, and very, very stupid), and came damned close to just taking the pipe then and there.

Well, we lived through that. I got a job soon after and things brightened up. The bugs died back and we got on with our winter.

The next year, 2010, wasn't too bad. For some reason the bugs didn't swarm as badly as they had the year before, and it was at least tolerable.

The year after that, Southern States started to advertise a product that would finally kill the bugs. I bought a lifetime supply, sprayed, and miracle of miracles, the stuff worked as advertised. They died in the thousands. Life was good. (And if you dare to ding me about environmental damage, I'll just answer this: I. Don't. Give. A. Fuck. Take a look at the photos I'm about to present, and then get back to me about the Chesapeake Bay. If a few bees and spiders had to take one for the team, sorry about that.)

So this year, the little fuckers started their swarming again, nearly as badly as 2009, and a couple of weeks ago I sprayed again. Again, they died by the thousands. Yay, us.

So now I've got lots of dead stinkbugs to sweep up. Better problem than before, at any rate. This morning I swept the screened porch. (It needed it anyway.) I wound up with quite a pile of corpses on the floor. Please bear in mind, as you horripilate at this picture, that this is the interior of a screened porch, the entire purpose of which is to keep out insects. Usually, it does an excellent job. Mr. Stinkbug is very, very good at defeating conventional design.

(Sorry about the lousy quality of the pic; I shouldn't have trusted a phone camera.)

Meanwhile, Wonder Woman used the Mason-jar-of-soapy-water method of killing the bugs that had gotten in past the insecticide. Her fingers smelled horrible for days:

So yeah. Stinkbugs. Die, you miserable bastards, die!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fled to the Mountains for Safety

As I have written before, my home occupies a rather unusual place in American historical geography. Although without doubt on the Southern side of the Potomac, in an unambiguously Confederate state, it was not, during the Recent Unpleasantness the Sesquicentennial of which we are now observing, Southern in any real sense.

One of the most telling insights I've garnered since moving out here is the fact that the caprice of history can deal out some really unfair but unavoidable realities. In about the spring of 1861, if you just happened to live where I do now, in northern Loudoun County, it was actually quite unlikely that you had any slaves, that you felt particularly strongly about secession over that Peculiar Institution, or that you wanted to have your own personal blood spilled fighting for what likely appeared to you to be a Very Bad Idea indeed.

And yet, one day, because you happened to live on this side of a river and not on that side, you suddenly found yourself forced to declare yourself loyal to this brand new Very Bad Idea -- and if you refused to so declare, you were newly minted a traitor to a cause in which you didn't necessarily believe. And you were treated just so.

I'd like to try to peel this onion a little bit, because I think it's very important even now. I'm quite convinced that that Very Bad Idea hasn't been entirely -- or even partly -- snuffed out yet, even 150 years down the road, and I feel a real kinship with the unfortunates who through accident of geography found themselves on the wrong side.

Let's try this idea on for size: The part of Loudoun County I now infest raised two militias to fight in the Civil War. One was E. V. White's 35th Virginia Cavalry, a Confederate brigade with a gallant and proud record. They were the first Confederate unit to enter Gettysburg in the summer of 1863, and (I don't vouch for this; it's just local legend) it is said that their nickname, the Comanches, gave rise to the war-whoop that became the Rebel Yell.

The other unit raised here was the Loudoun Rangers, which commander Samuel Means offered to the Union. It was one of the only militias in the entire eastern Civil War theater raised on Southern soil to fight for the Union side.

I just can't overstate this: these two militias were raised from exactly the same populaces.  Members of exactly the same families fought on one side or the other.

I gas on about this now because a book I find very important indeed was published last year, and I have been reveling in it since I first acquired a copy last fall. Written by two Quaker-descended Waterford historians, Taylor Chamberlin and John Souders, Between Reb and Yank: A Civil War History of Northern Loudoun County tells the story the in-between folks caught on this side of that horribly arbitrary boundary created by Secession.

Now, obviously I can't tell the whole story in one blog-post -- Chamberlin and Souders take a mere 400 or so pages of closely set, two-column text to do it justice -- but I can offer up a few morsels.

I live on the eastern slope of Short Hill Mountain, at its northern end. If you strike out directly uphill from my back yard, after about 45 minutes' worth of hard slog you will crest the hill at Buzzard Rock to find a thoroughly rewarding view of Harpers Ferry. A few hundred yards south of that spot, the old Ebenezer Church road comes up and over at what is now the service road for a radio tower. I've written about this spot quite a few times, I think most memorably in this post.

Well, let's see if this passage doesn't give some of the flavor of what I'm talking about. The time is the fall of 1862. Sharpsburg -- some 7 miles north of here as the crow flies -- has only a couple of weeks before been written into out national memory. The Union Army is probing into Virginia. Lincoln is beside himself with fury at McClellan for his hesitancy in so doing. The Confederate government, meanwhile, has instituted mandatory conscription, which.... Well. Let the story tell itself:

A more modest Union sortie into north Loudoun brought relatively better results. On 4 October Lt. Wesley McGregor of the 78th New York Infantry set off from Loudoun Heights with a squad of 20 hand-picked men to scour the valley between the Blue Ridge and Short Hill. The "reconnaissance" got off to a bad start when a "squad of Rebel cavalry" seized four of McGregor's soldiers as they approached Neersville.... The following day McGregor led 18 men on a trail across Short Hill [!!!] to capture a Rebel soldier thought to be hiding on the mountain's east side. As they passed the crest, the Yankees were surprised to find a group of 30 civilians who had "fled to the mountains for safety" after failing to report to the conscription officer at Snickersville. Squads of White's cavalry were said to be looking for them.
Have I made my point? Thirty guys, camped out up there so they wouldn't be found by the 35th and forced to join their glorious ranks. I imagine not a single one of them gave a rat's about the Big Issues at stake; they had mouths to feed and trade to husband and crops to tend. They'd just been getting word of the horrifically arbitrary mangling of human flesh that had just taken place a few days before just a few miles north -- the cannon-fire of Antietam would have been clearly audible, and quite possibly the wind brought the rotting death-stench wafting in on their farm and smithies and mills.

Would you have run joyfully off to the conscription officer in Snickersville to join that horror?

I know where I'd have been.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Alexander Cockburn, RIP

In very nearly the first post I ever wrote on this blog, I mentioned my admiration for an observation made by the muckraking (and frequently very funny) journalist Alexander Cockburn.

It is now with heavy heart that I learn that Cockburn has joined the Choir Invisible at the age of 71. Well, we're all headed that way, but it's a sad thing to know that the guy who made the wisest, most insightful observation about human history that I've ever read (see link above) has himself passed on into the past that he was so insightful about.

Yes, he was cranky and unpredictable. His views on global warming, for example, could evince an impatient syllable or two. And the Ralph Nader thing... Ugh. But that very crankiness was exactly what made you anticipate his columns in The Nation or The Village Voice. Go ahead, Andrew, you'd say, make me uncomfortable. I can take it.

Jeffrey St. Clair, Cockburn's partner at the Counterpunch website, has written a short eulogy that's worth reading:

Alex lived a huge life and he lived it his way. He hated compromise in politics and he didn’t tolerate it in his own life. Alex was my pal, my mentor, my comrade. We joked, gossiped, argued and worked together nearly every day for the last twenty years. He leaves a huge void in our lives. But he taught at least two generations how to think, how to look at the world, how to live a life of joyful and creative resistance. So, the struggle continues and we’re going to remain engaged. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

How to think... how to look at the world.... I think that's just about exactly right. I, for one, will miss him.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Endless Self-Reinvention

If ever I manage to delude myself into thinking I've written a sure-fire Number-One-with-a-Bullet country song, and that the next step is to record it and release it to a slavering world, I will do it under the stage-name that I just invented:

Gulfstream Walters.

"That Gulfstream, he sure could write a tearjerker, couldn't he. Right up there with Willie Nelson and Ernest Tubb, that boy. Remember his 'She Stopped Loving Him Before She Even Met Him'?" 

Walters. Gulfstream Walters. An American original. Him and that licorice hat. Classic.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What Passed for Porn

My perusals of Modern Literature have led me to a book of short stories by George MacDonald Fraser (he of Flashman fame) called McAuslan in the Rough. These are semi-autobiographical stories of Frasier's time in the Highland Regiment in the Middle East just after the end of World War II, centered on a spectacularly incompetent subordinate of the narrator's, a lump of gristle and pocket-lint named Private McAuslan. The stories are very funny and well worth seeking out.

In the story "General Knowledge, Private Information," the regimental brass take it into their heads that a homemade quiz show would be just the thing to boost morale and entertain extremely bored troops stuck in the desert. The topic of subject-matter for such a quiz comes up, and the Colonel speaks:
"So just keep your digestions regular, no late hours, and perhaps brush up with...well, with some of those general knowledge questions in the Sunday Post. I don't doubt the education officer will draw heavily on those. Anyway, they'll get you into the feel of the thing. Apart from that — any suggestions?"
The Adjutant said he had a copy of Whitaker's Almanac in the office, if that was any use.
"Excellent," said the Colonel. "That's the sort of practical approach we need. Very good, Michael. No doubt there's some valuable stuff in the battalion library, too." (I knew of nothing, personally, unless one hoped to study social criminology through the medium of No Orchids for Miss Blandish or Slay-Ride for Cutie.)
This last title caused my spine to stiffen and my pupils to dilate, much as if a house-cat had detected a whiff of mouse in the air. I may even have switched my tail a few times, I don't know. What is this Slay-Ride for Cutie thing? That sounds far too familiar to be left alone....

We have, of course, a current rock band named Death-Cab for Cutie, which us Beatle cognoscienti know to be named for a song performed by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in "Magical Mystery Tour." As far as we think we know, the phrase was just psychedelic nonsense dreamed up by Neil Innes or Viv Stanshall. But now...this...this thing! Hold on a minute!

It turns out this Hank Janson bird, whose books seem to have commanded one shilling and sixpence in the 50's in Britain (and a bargain at twice the price, if you ask me), was a sort of Mickey Spillane manqué, author of hundreds of these penny dreadfuls. There was, of course, no one person named Hank Janson; instead, there was a stable of extremely poorly paid hacks pooching this stuff out by the barrelful. One imagines these books weren't exactly freely available at your usual respectable lending library, and it's equally easy to picture them as, er, food for the intellect at a remote military outpost circa 1951.

To the young Beatles and Bonzos, of course, this is what passed for porn.

Here is the Magical Mystery Tour  scene in which "Death Cab for Cutie" appears. Watching it now, with knowledge of the origins of "Slay-Ride," doesn't it aaaaaaall just come together? (Shoot me!)

And with that, I'm taking Cutie upstairs for some enlivening conversation and perhaps a touch of slap and tickle...

Saturday, July 14, 2012


So two years take me through depression, sadness, the whole nine yards.

I couldn't post to save my life.

Every time I tried to post, I got side-tracked by the very thing that got me depressed in the first place.

Well, guess what -- FUCK THAT THING!

I hate that thing, and I wish it gone. That thing was doing me no good. Now (I hope) it is gone.

I desperately hope that the silly adult-entertainment foolishness that I last posted will descend down the posting list, to be replaced by this link  to RealLoudoun, which deserves much more of my attention than my depressed ass merits.

This guy is the Real Megillah. While I (at least until I got depressed) make fun of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, RealLoudoun (whoever he may be) pulls no punches and afflicts the comfortable.

I only wish he would allow comments. He'd get some positive ones from me.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

I would like to propose a small gedankenexperiment...

Suppose a gentleman were to return home from work unexpectedly one day to find his wife in the arms of another woman. No, not the arms, exactly. Let us say the wife is presenting to her lover in the ventro-dorsal position. The Other Woman is preparing to to employ a somewhat intimidatingly large strapon dildo, and is about to get down to brass tacks, but no penetration has yet taken place.

Let us further postulate that the Other Woman's affect -- tattoos, perhaps, or a beer gut, or a patch-laden leather vest unremoved from her person -- suggest that she may have some involvement with motorcycle culture. Or, hell -- let's say the strapon is embossed with the logo of the Harley-Davidson corporation.

Then let us further hypothesize that the gentleman, perhaps understandably enraged at the sight, pulls from a hidden shoulder-holster a revolver, which he points at the interloper's head as he demands that she desist from this activity or she will find herself headless.

Can it be said, then, that the man has threatened to waste vagina-mountin' mama?

These and other, similar thoughts occupy the mind these days....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Who Do You Call?

Saw this on the Clara Barton this morning. Luckily we were stopped at a light, and I was able to get a shot:

They really do exist.

Their website touts their expertise at "Structural Damage Caused by Vehicles" and "Structural Damage Caused by Fallen Trees," and the conclusion I must reluctantly draw is that those things are way more vulnerable than I thought.