year out, year in

Well, that was a hell of a ride, wasn't it, folks? Some of the best didn't make it through, and some that should have been pitched overboard in January came sailing right along. What can you do? Grab a beer and grin.

So here's to a new year, 2009. Here's to hard work, but the kind that gives you a good night's sleep - not the kind that leaves you up until dawn worried and stressed.

Here's to a new president, and that's a blessing in at least two ways. For one, I do think Obama's got good in his heart and good in his head, and he might get us all pushing together for once. Or at least enough of us to outpush the ones still pushing that same old bullshit. And, god bless us every one, that damned, ignorant, bloodthirsty, classless, privileged bastard W is out. (Now, when does he get tried for war crimes?)

Here's to loud music in smoky rooms and soft music as spring comes on. My buddies the Lucky Scars have a brand new cd recorded, so here's to them and every other bar band working day jobs and still cranking out anthems for the rest of us. Make theirs a whiskey.

Here's to sweethearts and falling asleep next to someone you trust, but here's to sprawling all over your very own bed with no one to worry about at times, too. Here's to getting the love you need and the space you need, and that's about the hardest balancing act I know.

Here's to dogwood blossoms and trips to St. George on a Sunday afternoon. Cold snaps on days you don't have to work and bonfires that last all night. Community festivals and outdoor music and dozens of raw oysters and cocktail sauce. Sweating your ass off sitting in the shade watching the summer roll by. Camping down by the river after the mosquitoes die back again in the fall. Halloween parties and birthday parties and Billy and Shayla's annual July 4th Bring Your Own Pool Party.

Here's to the friends that are with us right now, because I guarangoddamntee that they won't all make it to 2010. And here's one for the folks that will sprout up in our lives this year, to be near and dear by next winter.

Here's to you and here's to me, and ain't it good to be alive when the sky's blue and the air's chilly and there's promises of a good time to be had?


this makes me suspicious

In an effort to lull state workers into a false sense of safety make up for the lack of cost of living increase, Crist is letting us take off the day after Xmas and the 2nd of January with pay this year. On the one hand, that's fucking awesome. A five day weekend is a great thing. On the other, I can't help waiting for the other shoe to drop.


I don't know where you'll be tonight, but my happy ass will be at the Engine Room on Railroad Avenue, playing oi, ska, and punk songs for the masses. The probably drunken masses, because Pabst Blue Ribbon beer is only $1 until midnight. I mean, you can't beat that with a stick, not even on a Tuesday night.

What's your favorite Ramones song? Maybe I'll play it.


we've got a thinkin' problem

Let me tell you a heartwarming tale about a plucky band of misfits. About six months ago, I stumbled into going to bar trivia night at a local tavern. I sucked a few friends into it, and we soon needed a name. Being several pitchers into the night at that point, a silly pun prevailed, and Drinkin' Bout It we became.

Week after week, we came in near the bottom. "We're not last!" we cheered at the end of the game, soused and eager to take another run at it. We clapped for those few teams who came in below us, and we clapped for those who regularly knew what quarterbacks belong to what NFL teams and three poets whose names start with G.

But we began to learn. For example, we learned that the guy calling the questions checks cnn.com every week for his current events questions, and we bumped up a place or two. We learned that he can sometimes be bribed with shots of liquor. And we learned that we'd better have somebody familiar with the old Testament and the periodic table.

And this week, with no warning whatsoever, we stomped 'em. We came in first, and amazed ourselves as much as the teams who'd become comfortable with us as a barrier between them and last place. We were the Bad News Beers, the Mighty Drunks.

Next week we may well come in dead last. But for a week, we're champions.



Bamboo takes over yards. It's almost as bad as kudzu, but easier to make into a tipi or lean to. While waiting for the turkey to hit the table and trying to avoid eating our weight in cheese and hummus beforehand, a bunch of us "kids" wandered around the side yard and did tricks with the bamboo forest.

First, folks climbed up the thick stalks like monkeys, taking turns bending them toward the ground and dropping off safely. Baby D took on a true monster, a hefty titan tangled among other poles, and nearly suffered for it when the damn thing wouldn't head groundward. With shouted encouragement, he finally wiggled it down far enough to escape harm.

After we got tired of that, we managed to rip one big bamboo clean out of the ground. We showed off a little, lifting it like a dumbbell, seeing how quickly we could swing it at each other. Soon enough, Jessie tried to ride it standing up. This did not work, let me tell you right off the bat. Sitting on it turned out better, but got the seat of my girlfriend's pants mighty dirty. How about a board, laid across the top branches? And hence the picture above, Jess riding proudly through the side yard, pulled by laughing family.

Who needs snow to have a sled?