Lightning Tree


Spooky, eh?

Muses of Fire


I play the guitar. Everyone I know face to face knows it. Cathy is very patient with me, but I’m sure she would rather I talk about something else from time to time, other than the latest episode of the Red Green show.

So, since my good wife and all my local friends, of which only one actually plays the guitar, have heard all they need or want to know, it seemed like this would be a good time to introduce my muses of fire to the rest of the world. Since you aren’t trapped in my room, please enjoy as much as you like, and thanks for looking.

My most expensive guitar (Lately)

Here’s my Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 22 semi-hollow. It has a tremolo, which I wasn’t crazy about because it’s hard to stay in tune if you’re too aggressive, which isn’t all that aggressive at all.

My least expensive guitar

This one is a D’Angelico Gramercy with a Richie Sambora fringed leather concho strap. Got a great deal, sounds good and it has an on-board tuner, very helpful. You can’t see it in the pics, but only the top is that matte black, the back and sides are mahogany. Sooper sexy. Oh, and dig this jazzy art deco headstock.

Looks great with buffalo plaid.

My favorite guitar

This sweet beauty is an Epiphone ES-335 dot. There are those who say that Epiphone is a poor man’s Gibson, and, in most cases, they are right. I bought this one for about $400, with a case, about a quarter of what you would pay for a Gibson. After I spent another $150 on a professional setup and installation of a new set of pickups, this mama can stand up with anyone’s guitar anywhere.

The guitar I will carry into Hell

I call this the orange guitar. I built it out of parts, but the electronics were way over my head. The action is kind of high so I’m trying to play a little slide on it. There are some fairly cool buttons on the strap. Have a look.

That’s a Rolling Stones 20th anniversary button

Most of these are from the ’80’s. I had a good time collecting them. There’s a look into my transcendent world of awesomeness. Thanks for looking.

Some pics from the family


I was looking through google photos and it occurred to me that I might get a good feeling from letting you people into my life a little. Come in if you want, you’re invited.

See the name tag? That’s right, she wears that to work.

Check that custom handmade broom.

Not exactly joined at the hip.

My big sister, Barbara, along with her son, Robert (Center), her daughter, Andrea, Andrea’s husband, Jeremy and three super cute kids, Charlotte, Liam and Tristan. They live in the butthole of Georgia, but Barb’s a real Human being so they have a good example.

Having a meal at a place called the Pub on the town square in Gettysburg. Best meal I had while I was there.

Here’s Cathy with John Wheeler, lead singer of Hayseed Dixie. They’re a bluegrass band that plays all your rock-n-roll favorites.

Now you know why I don’t do serious selfies.

North Carolina memorial, to my brothers. Gettysburg. They did their duty.

Here’s Cathy with her mother at the Christmas light show at the NC arboretum. It was cold.

This is Cathy, pushing fifty. I’m going to show her this picture.

Willie the ghost. He kind of gives me the willies.

There you go, more later.

Wait a minute. Check out THIS library book.


I still don’t know why WP is dicking me around. Anyway, here it is.

This might take you an hour or so to read, depending on how many times you have to get up off the floor from laughing. Cathy read it last night before bed and I had to investigate the noise. Enjoy.

Valentine’s Day


Today is Valentine’s Day (Beep beep beep, News Flash). While many of us, myself included, don’t like the pressure to spend a whole lot of money to “Prove our love”, I will spend a little bit on something I know she will enjoy. Same with her.

We had a trying time this year so far, financially. We had a major scare with Archie. He was misdiagnosed with diabetes and the first dose of insulin we administered at home, much lower than recommended, damn near killed him. One wild midnight ride to the 24 hour emergency vet hospital and $3000 (Yes, that is the right number of zeroes) and we got to bring our big boy home. Money well spent.

Look, there he is now!

Cathy likes chocolate. You can make your own guesses as to how grossly I understated that. Thankfully, even with the giant vet bill, I could still afford a large, heart-shaped box of high end chocolates, which we shared.

Cathy drives the money train, which makes it difficult to do any covert gift shopping. Difficult for me, that is. For Cathy, easy cheesy, don’t like peasy. Last year she bought me a beautiful Japanese chef knife. Not so romantic on its face but I feel it every time she tells me how good our evening’s meal was.

Here’s this year’s offering:

Cathy knows how much I like this show, I never shut up about it. When she gave it to me, I thought I was going to scream like a teenage girl at a Beatles concert. I can’t wait to read it, it’s going to be fun, but mostly it was good to say thanks to my sweet Cathy for helping me keep my stick on the ice. I hope we’re all getting some love and giving some too.

Right in my own back yard


OK, I’m a little embarrassed to think how long it has taken me to get some photos on my blog, even though the infrequency of my posts camouflages it a little. I started this opus in 2018 so that’s really embarrassing. Well, enough of the groveling and begging for mercy here are some pics from my own back yard.


Here’s a patch of bee balm. The white flowers behind are fleabane, which lots of people think of as a rank weed. I think it really sets off the hot pink.


Here’s the same spot, last December. The small tree is a witch hazel we planted about twenty years ago. The bigger tree is a black walnut, which was already well established when we moved in. It doesn’t look like it’s that big here but it is.




Here’s the front yard last April Blue Ridge mountains in the distance, shot from my front porch. Note the sidewalk to nowhere, tasteful.


Here’s a hawk in a walnut tree.


And here’s a super red dogwood tree.

This is just about like posting a whole lot of selfies, I know, but it was hard to quit. Since, however, it was like posting a whole lot of selfies, it only seems appropriate to close with an actual selfie.


There you go. Later.

Breaking the Mold


It’s 1:30 in the morning and I can’t even tell you how good I feel right now. I have been having some unexplained health issues: Varying levels of nausea every morning, in spite of being post menopausal all my life, sneezing, hacking and coughing, as well as being a real dim bulb, a very distressing development.

The room where I am sitting now started out as a really shabby garage. I renovated it back in 2002 and it became a really cool workshop. After discovering my prodigious lack of talent for woodworking, I sold most of my tools and got back into wargaming (See the banner at the top of my home page).

This is a pretty big room, 10X20 feet, so my wife and I agreed it would make a fine habitat for me, having determined that we like one another much better when we both get a decent night of sleep. So, one bed, four studio monitors, four hundred watts of power to drive them, four guitars hanging on the wall and a whole bunch of posters, et voila’ I’ve got the room I’ve wanted since I was sixteen. The honeymoon was beautiful, until it wasn’t.

Cathy, my incredible wife, had been telling me for a while that she could smell a musty odor but I had tuned it out so I didn’t pay attention. When she/I/we discovered a black patch of musty smelling stuff coming up through the parquet tiles, we got busy with the bleach. It helped with the smell, but when the subfloor began to expand and the parquet tiles began too buckle, it became clear that this beastie was going to put up more of a fight than we were going to win with bleach. And so it began.

When I built this room, I did it in such a way as to make it easy to dismantle, in case we wanted to sell the place to some scrofulous barbarian who wanted to turn it back into a completely useless garage. Knowing that gave me a completely misguided feeling of optimism, one of which I would soon be disabused.

When I got the plywood subfloor there was still an overhead door, so there was no problem moving it into my work area. Getting it out was not so simple. I had to cut it into manageable pieces, which meant lots of soggy moldy black sawdust. Tasty.

Replacing the plywood went fairly smoothly, which restored my foolish optimism (Emphasis on foolish). I couldn’t find parquet to match, so I went with a dark laminate locking floor, thinking it would look good. At least I was right about that.

By this time I had gone the best part of a week without a wink of good sleep. Cathy has to go to work, my couch is too short and my bed was next to everything else I had to move so it was like sleeping in a hoarder house. The only way I could get to sleep was by Xanax and/or exhaustion.

Installing the floor was when the sleeplessness and brain fog really began to take hold. It would have been much easier if I had oriented the planks in the opposite direction. I should have known that, it’s not my first day at the rodeo. It was hard to get a clean cut because the planks were too wide to cut in one go with my miter saw. The uneven surface of the concrete below made it hard to get the joints to lock together, so there was a lot of prying and tapping, as well as a lot of swearing. Eventually the light came on and I remembered I had an air compressor and a finish nailer. I remembered something else, something much more important: Perfect is the enemy of good.

Armed with this wisdom and my shiny six shooter, I finished the floor in about an hour. We put down the (new) rug, moved the furniture in and hooked up the electronics. After a cool relaxing evening with no monkey on my back I went to bed, put on some ambient music and closed my eyes with a smile on my face. I woke up about three hours later, feeling like I had slept well all night. I got up and got a glass of water, put on some Moody Blues and wrote this post. Now I think I will go back to sleep, since it was so good the last time. Good night.

Tim (Not Tim)



This man is Tim Nines, my father. His legal name is Charles, like my own, but nobody ever called him by it. The legend of Tim has it that his uncle Joe named him tiny Tim because he was  such a skinny little baby. The name stuck but the weight never did.

This photo was taken in 1956, five years before I was born. By the time I was eight that youthful, hopeful face had been replaced with a much more bitter and cynical one. That was the year I first experienced his anger; not “This is going to hurt me more than it does you” but blood in my teeth. That was the year I cancelled him.

I stopped paying attention to anything he did that might have been good. His sacrifices lost their meaning and I denied him any opportunity to overcome my disdain. I saw him for the last time two weeks before he died. He had stage 4 metastatic lung cancer that had spread to his liver and spine. His suffering must have been unbearable, but still I would not relent. I thanked him for teaching me how to be a man, which sounds good right now, but I was really just setting him up for the crushing blow I was about to deliver. What followed was a litany of every time I could remember when he did something that hurt me or set a bad example of how a good man should act. I told him how it would have been better if I felt like he took a little pride or pleasure in being my father instead of treating that whole experience like it was some shitty job he didn’t want to do but was stuck with it. Of course, I didn’t bother to consider how much of that I brought on myself.

He cried. That was the only time I ever saw that and it haunts me. When I left for home I was avenged, satisfied. Looking back through the corrective lenses of 20/20 hindsight I am appalled by my cruelty.

So now we are mired in the so-called “Cancel culture”, one in which people are condemned and disenfranchised for doing or saying something that angered or offended someone else. This offense may not even be as bad as the worst thing their bleeding victim ever said or did, but that’s how it is treated by people who won’t look at a person’s deeds, words or thoughts in the context of their life experience as a whole. The greatest hypocrisy, I say this because I have, often as not, been a hypocrite myself, and it takes one to know one, is that these sorry ass people lack the courage to step under that microscope themselves. Go ahead and cast the first stone, assholes.

Tim, I’m sorry for all the years of picking at the scab so my beloved pain, anger and self-pity would never heal and I could hate you forever.  I am forever grateful for this final lesson in how too be a good man: The longer you hold on to your anger, righteous or not, the harder it is to let go and the more it hurts when you finally get to the point where you have to. Sleep tight, (not Tim), Daddy.

There is None so Blind…


I was kicked off someone’s blog today. My comment was erased and I was blocked. I’m not feeling any pain over it. This wasn’t the first time, as I feel certain many of you would guess.

This particular blogger, a well educated middle-aged woman, wrote a lengthy and very revealing post about a troublesome personal issue, one with which I have had considerable experience.

To paraphrase Shakespeare,, Hamlet in particular, “If I am cruel, it is only to be kind”. Perhaps If I had started out with this I wouldn’t be writing this post. No matter, though. I haven’t posted in some time and it’s an ill wind that blows no man good.

I have slept since the last paragraph, and discussed the matter with a trusted friend, which means I can trust him not to bullshit me because that’s what I want to hear. I feel much better now.

Still no lurid details for you guys, sorry, but maybe a little insight. Your blog is yours, as it should be, and you can throw anyone out who doesn’t please you, also as it should be. This doesn’t, however, mean you should. Sometimes you might choke on a pearl of wisdom but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t swallow it, and the cheerleaders who shake their pom poms while you walk the road to madness do nothing to serve you.

I question myself all the time, my intentions as well as my judgement. I don’t presume to know things I can’t and I try not to present ideas to people who can’t understand them. This, I believe, is what gives a person’s insights their value.

I did make clear to this person that I had no emotional investment in her or her life,, which made me the ideal person to present a perspective based in objectivity. It would seem that some people just don’t want that. That’s all right, it keeps the makers of letter sweaters, pleated mini skirts and saddle oxfords in business.

Canada day




I am an American, but I’m not blind. Poutine is incredible. It gives French fries a reason to exist. I’m from North Carolina,, deep in the heart of Krispy Kreme country, but if there was a Tim Horton’s within fifty miles I would be having a serious emotional conflict. There’s Rush and Gordon Lightfoot, the Trailer Park Boys,,, Emerald Lake and the Shuswap, But mostly there are all the wonderful people who inhabit this great land and all those I feel privileged to think of as my friends.

I have only spent a short time in Canada but, even eighteen years later, the memory of it is strong in my heart and mind. I was lucky to be there, thanks, Tamatha.

Have a happy day, my friends, and be proud. You should be.

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