Hell of a Guy
Freedom of Press is limited to those who own one - H.L. Mencken

Thursday, May 25, 2006




I am in Kansas City, Missouri - actually in Kansas, but damn close to the state line.  I have been out with a guy I get to work with, and he and I have enjoyed a few brewskies and shared some truths and stories about growing up, family, and work.  Well, I am back in my temporary habitual abode and I got to thinking about some of the things I shared with my co-worker, and that lead me to think about things that make me cry, or, at the very least move me into an emotional state.  The beer has kicked in and my mental processes are in high gear, so hold on.  The bovine fecal matter is about to reath the patella level. 

Are there things that hit you like this…

1. I get emotional sometimes when I think about my wife Nancy and how much I miss her when I travel or when she is is not close by.

2. Certain songs, even some instrumentals, send me to an emotional moment.  The lyrics below sent me over the edge.  I am not a Jesus freak, I am not religious or overly spiritual, but this song (and I am not sure of the artist who sings it) hit my emotional button and I cannot explain it.

“I Can Only Imagine”

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine

I can only imagine [x2]

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you

3. Thoughts of how much I miss my dad push me to the brink.

4. Sunrise and sunset tend to send me to a special place, with that warm, fuzzy, weightless feeling I get around my heart.

5. Hugs get me going, especially from people I do not know and may never see again.

6. Babies hold a special place in my heart, I love to hear them laugh when I get down on the floor to their level and be with them.  I flirt with babies and it kills me to know we have to teach little ones to fear adults. That makes me cry and makes me mad.

7. Grandchildren and the joy they give me, especially when they say, “I love you, Dave” or when I hear that my Vivienne has told her mom she wants to “Go see Grandpa in the mountains.”

8. My “three” beautiful daughters - two of my own, and one that I claim and wish was my own.  I cannot dwell on them long or I tend to fall apart.

9. My special girls - eight in all who I wish were my daughters (Amy, Alexias, Anna, Jenn, Jennifer, Meagan, Suzzanne, Tanya and Tarah,) but I love them as if they were.
10. Dale (and his wife, Judy), my guy in New Mexico and the only man I have kissed on the mouth as an adult, aka my New Mexican lover - another day, another story.

11. My Millennium3 Farm house and the peace it offers to me.

12. My job, my bosses and my co-workers - who have given me much more joy than I deserve.

13. My in-laws, who are now the closet thing I have to a mom and dad.

14. And my brothers and sisters with whom I have a distant closeness.

15. The gift of serenity given to me by my way of being, and my outlook on life at this point in my life, is now my greatess joy.  I don’t know if there is a higher level of happiness for me, but I love where I am.  I think I have reached the seventh level.
If I sit here long enough and ponder this, I could add many more.  I suck these things in, these things that give me joy.  My rapaciousness for these little things that give me great joy is growing.  As I peregrinate (don’t you just love a jerkweed who uses these 50 cent words that cause you to have to get out a dictionary?) through the balance of my time on this earth, this list will grow.  This little website has drawn nearly 9000 hits since Febraury 15th.  I don’t know, and can hardly imagine, who could possibly be interested in my life or what I have to say about my life or life in general, but if this gives you one second of joy, a chuckle or causes you to think, then, holy crap, I am a successful blogger.

Albert Einstein said, “There are two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.” 
And that is all I have to say on that.

Monday, May 22, 2006

You May Be Blessed


I have read a number of books lately of the “DaVinci Code” genre: “The Templar Legacy,” “The Last Templar,” “The Jesus Papers,” “The Secret Supper” and “The Gospel of Judas.”  All seem to boil down to a common theme and that being that God or a form of Higher Being is completely different than the God depicted in the Bible.  In an earlier posting, “God, Me and the Quantum World,” I confessed to a life-long search for God.  It was in Dallas eighteen months ago that I had my spiritual epiphany as I attended the Millennium3 Education workshops.  It is there I came to the realization that God is in everything and everything is God, and that I am connected spiritually to all things.  Deep?  Not really.  All one has to do is look around and feel the presense of a higher power, collective consciousness - see it in a swaying tree, a bird in flight, a baby’s laughter and especially in a sunrise or sunset.  God is truly in all things.

I received the website link below this morning in an e-mail from a friend in South Carolina.  I need not add anything to it, the movie speaks for itself.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

To Set The Record Straight - The Agincourt Legacy



Wednesday evening I was asked to tell the story of the origination of one of the most widely used digital gestures known to man…and it ain’t the “Peace Sign.”  The gesture I reference is none other than the single digit one…you know the one that, in some incredibly confused manner, seems to refer to a sexual encounter.  For a number of years I wondered how this had come to be.  It just never made sense to me that this simple act that enrages people so much has the same meaning of an action of immeasurable pleasure, and why it is ever offered just to indicate how ticked off the offerer is to the person it is directed toward. 

Well, my wondering was satisfied about five years ago when a co-worker sent me a piece written as an answer to a “Puzzler” question on the NPR’s Car Talk.  I did a little additional research on the information and here is how I presented it to a group of about thirty people on Thursday evening.

Many people have probably given thought to where exactly the single-finger expression originated.  It actually is much older than most of us could have possibly imagined.  It was first displayed at the Battle of Agincourt, October 25, 1415.  Agincourt is in Northern France near Calais.  Henry V of England had invaded France with the purpose of acting on his rightful claim, so he thought, to the French throne.  Unfortunately, that seat was already occupied by Charles IV, and he was not of the mindset to give it up.

Two armies faced each other in a small field near Agincourt.  The French numbered some 30,000 fighting men; the English just about 8,000.  Vastly outnumbered, the English fighters were prepared to die; however, the English army was made up in a large part with the formidable English archers, no doubt the finest fighting force of the times and armed with the renowned English long bow.  There were approximately 6,000 of these archers— each equipped with a bow made of wood of the Yew tree.  Each time this bow was drawn and an arrow, referred to as a “bird” (because they were glided by pheasant feathers – pheasant feathers plucked by pleasant mother pheasant pluckers) was fired off, the bow made a sound, a tone, the English referred to as “plucking yew,” and the launching of the arrow referred to as “giving the bird.”

The French, who outnumbered the English by about four to one, made certain the English soldiers got word that once their army was defeated, the French would round up the English prisoners and cut off the middle finger of their each hands so as to prevent them from ever being able to draw a bow again, and therefore never able go to battle or wage war. 

Now this is where it gets tricky.  Unfortunately for the French, the English archers all but decimated the French army with their “birds.”  At the end of the battle the French had lost an estimated 11,000 men, the English just 100.  As the English rounded up the French prisoners, they vigorously raised their middle fingers, held them aloft, and screamed at the French, “Look, we are still able to Pluck Yew.”

Throughout time from that point, the gesture and expression “Pluck Yew” was used by many, many people to show their displeasure.  Over time, the difficult consonant combination “PL” in the word “Pluck,” gave way to a labio-dental, fricative “F,” and thus the extended middle finger became associated with a sexual encounter.

And that is all I have to say about that.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Me, A Beer Snob?


Okay, I have to acknowledge right up front that when it comes to beer I could be labled as a snob; however, I am surely not a “beer snob.”  I do snob over exactly what beers I will drink.  Though my definition of a beer snob is arguably different than that, no doubt, of 99% of the other inhabitants of the planet, mine is so much more correct.  Even my beloved Nancy has labeled me a beer snob, and I believe she takes personal pleasure in announcing it to the strangers and bar flies we happen to sit next to occasionally when we visit a drinking establishment. 

In all actuality, those with knowledge of beer and in the know about beer - its various styles, characters, flavors and varieties - would label me a “hophead,” but never beer snob.    Through the years I have come to adore the taste and finish (the after taste) of heavily hopped beers.  This is an acquired taste, so the Bud drinkers of the world would have you incorrectly accept, and certainly not one for the faint of heart, but most assuredly one for the true lovers of brewed delicacies.  A beer snob will drink all the various beer styles, even the wimpy American made crapola brewed by such infamous notables as Pabst, Miller, Coors and the world’s worst: Anheuser-Busch.  Those beers will include pilsners, lagers, ales – there are many types, and others such as porters, wheat beers, lambics and stouts.  Beers from around the world are the playground of the true beer snob.  I am way too particular to drink just any beer, foreign or domestic. 

My beer drinking proclivity had an auspicious beginning, in fact, other than a few beers here and there – just one (yes, just one) beer the entire time I was in high school and one occasion while in the service wherein I over did it a tad – I did not begin to drink with any kind of regularity until I was twenty-seven years of age.  I have not stopped since.

I described previously a little of my high school days, so this won’t take long.  If memory serves me correctly, my one high school drinking experience was suffered in the summer prior to my February 1962 graduation from the Baltimore City College, and that occurred in Ocean City, Maryland.  I made the trip with some of my buddies – not all from my high school class; my cousin Dwight Windsor, and friends, Barry Burgin, Harry Reilly, Jimmy Herald and Bill Reckett, as all piled into Harry’s car and drove to Ocean City – a mecca for high school students back then – about 125 miles from Baltimore.  We went there without thought to accommodations other than with a plan to sleep on the beach.  After an arduous trip in a car with five other guys very near my age and speaking of all of the subjects a bunch of eighteen- and nineteen-year old guys hold meaningful (that being female and sex related), we arrived in Ocean City.  I do not recall what time a day we landed there, but after scoping out the local talent and realizing our sexual fantasies would remain intact for a while longer, we found a secluded spot on the beach and settled in for the night, or so we thought.  Anyway, it was on that beach that night in July 1961 that I experienced my first taste of beer. 

The Black Label beer was not nearly as memorable as the thunderstorm that drenched us later in the night.  We spent a most uncomfortable, very moist night cramped in Harry’s car where I got to ponder the thrill of under age drinking.  I must have missed something.  Beer had a horrible, near repulsive taste; it was like drinking Bromo-Seltzer (to those of you on the younger side it was like Alka-Seltzer). I did not care for it at all, and saw no reason to ingest anymore of the vile crap, and that did not change for over three years.

My next experience with this accursed liquid -my view is now somewhat altered - came while serving our country as a proud member of the United States Air Force.  Rome, New York, November 1964, Sandra (the former Mrs.) and I had been married for just five months.  One crisp, fall morning I received an unwelcomed telephone call at home in our spacious one-bedroom apartment.  The place was a furnished apartment decorated in Early Oddball, and included some luxurious plastic window treatments and a sofa that almost sank to the floor when sat upon.  Anyway, the call was from my unit commander’s office informing me I was the proud owner of a set of orders reassigning me to a base in Tripoli, Libya.  Cast immediately into the doldrums, I made my way to work later that day, my face glued to my chest.  I found out one of my mates, whose enlistment was up, was having a going away party.  I attended the affair.  What I remember most about it is the going part and the aftermath, but little of the middle. 

I remember very clearly there was a keg located in the center of the room, which allowed me unimpeded access within seconds from anywhere in the room.  I partook of the keg in an almost continuous, coreographed cycle – fill the glass, empty the glass.  I went to this affair with a buddy named George Pachinko (not sure of the spelling).  That was the only smart move I made that evening – a designated driver.  George also got me home, and this is where I begin to be a little vague on the details and sequence of what occurred that evening.  I went to a party, got oh so knee-walking, commode-hugging drunk.  I worshipped the porcelain god most of that night and the better part of the ensuing days.  My hangover was so intense I did not report for duty for three days after the party.  The name of the guy in whose honor the party was given was obliterated from my conscious memory by the vast amount alcohol I consumed.  I only remember that he had red hair and an “I-am-out-and-you-are not” kind of smirk on his face as he waved farewell.  That was the last alcoholic beverage I “seemingly” enjoyed until June 1971.  My, how time flies.  By the way, thanks to Muammar al-Qaddafi and a few shannigans of my own doing, I did not have the pleasure of spending time in the endless desert of Libya on an eighteen-month tour of duty.

In 1971 I was working for Crown Petroleum in Baltimore in the Real Estate Department.  My boss, one Mr. Phil Sterner, saw to it I got a promotion and was made a sales rep.  After about a year in the job in Baltimore, I accepted a transfer to Richmond, Virginia.  I have always loved Richmond, though I only knew it from the sections of it I saw while traveling through it as a kid on the way to vacation in North Carolina.  I jumped at the chance to move there…and, all in all, it was a smart move for me and my family.  My new job started in June.  The house Sandra and I had purchased (1400 square foot, brick rancher for $24,500) was not to be completed until August, so I rented a room in a boarding house.  I had no kitchen privileges, and yuck! I had to share a bathroom with another guy whom I never met or laid eyes on the whole six weeks I stayed there.  I did smell him a couple of times.  Meals had to be eaten out. 

It was at this time I became acquainted with the Quarterdeck; a small, albeit quite comfortable, neighborhood pub within walking distance of the rooming house.  It was located just a little less than three blocks from my temporary home.  I went there almost every night after work – I did not have a TV in my room to enjoy, but the Quarterdeck did.  I would settle in at the bar, order a sandwich (liverwurst with a slice of onion and a little mustard on rye) and a Coke.  I felt badly, having finished eating but still taking up a seat at the bar so I could see the TV, about not giving up my seat to a patron who would pay for the privilege of a seat at the bar by drinking something more expensive than a Coke.  After a couple of visits to the Quarterdeck I began to purchase a Strohs – one of God’s nastier brews – so I wouldn’t feel badly about sucking up bar space.  Well, hell!  I should at least have sipped at it once and in a while, right?  So I did, and the rest is history.

I must make it known at this point that I have only found myself twice in my life where I consumed so much brew that the god of head-thunder took over my body the next day.  I have told you of the first, just up a few paragraphs.  The second was at my former brother-in-law’s wedding in 1977.  Trust me, it was very ugly.

Pinpointing the exact time I discovered there are beers in the world with both flavor and character may prove fruitless, but I can narrow it down to a year, I think.  I say about 1985 I began to experiment with Lowenbrau Special Dark at Christmas.  I was used to drinking Miller Lite and some other mass produced industrial swills – never anything made by Anheuser-Busch.  Well, that isn’t exactly true but close.  I do not like Bud, Bud Light, anything Michelob (Ultra is very foul).  I tried numerous imported beers and micro-brews over the years, all the time seeking a flavor, a character.  I don’t know when I found it, but India Pale Ale is my preferred choice these days and has been for a few years.  IPAs are very hoppy, some heavier than others, but nonetheless made for me to consume in copious amounts.  I am a “hophead” and very proud to be one, but I am not a beer snob.  And this is all I have to say about beer.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.”  I just know he and I would have hit it off.  I love this kind of thinking.


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