People who have near death experiences all talk about a peaceful, euphoric , bright light enveloping them. From the moment we are conceived, we are moving towards that light. This is my heels diggin' in, I don't wanna' go, reluctant journey, into the light. Stephen

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Friendship, and Scarred Hearts

July 13, 1975

When I walked in, it smothered me. An aura. A wet woolen blanket of despair. Like a house where they have been burning railroad ties in the woodstove all winter. An onerous creosote stench that the breezy, open windows of spring will never remove. I wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary. Just another day. Another day of youthful exuberance and innocence in a long string of such unemcumbered days. I was 17, and it was all about me. That was about to change.

I have a friend. My best friend. One I don’t see much anymore, but still my bedrock. We can literally go years, and immediately upon re-connecting, pick up exactly where we were. That special connection never ceases to amaze me. No awkwardness, no pregnant pauses in conversation, just instantaneous revival of perfect comfort. Like how your high school letterman’s jacket would feel if you never gained weight, forever 185 well proportioned pounds. The feel of leather on your arms, the pride in that big W with the shiny stuff pinned to it. Familiar and safe. Comfort you can trust.

The same with his family. They were my family too. I love his Mother as my own.  And my Mother was his as well. His older brothers looked out for me, and his older sisters teased me. And his little sister, the most beautiful little 4 year old you ever laid eyes on, was the apple of all our eyes. Kimmy was a late in life surprise. A blessing, a glue that united all of us. When everyone is doting on the same little angel, there’s not much time to worry about stupid little trivial conflicts between other family members. Her beautiful glow, warmed the entire family. I loved her.

I have a little sister, but then I had two. Blood was not a familial qualifier. I have this memory of Kimmy on my shoulders, me playing big brother, the almost out of control steed. I can hear her squeals and giggles still.

 And then I am back walking into that smothering kitchen. I knew something was wrong instantly. Being my second home, you knock with one hand while turning the door knob with the other. I went right in. All the women were around the kitchen table. Quiet, something not right. The coffeepot was there, hot, perking, the only normal thing in the room. This had been a kitchen of light and joy, smelling of homecooking and safety. Until then. Somebody, I don’t remember who, mumbled that Tommy was in the basement. I went down. I knew the way. I practically lived there most of the time. Tommy was face down on his bed, motionless, unresponsive when I said, “Hey, man.” It took at least an hour to get the story out.

At first he muttered, “Kimmy.” Then he sobbed uncontrollably,  while I began to feel nauseous. My lingering premonitions from the kitchen were played out in a word or two every five minutes or so. Even though I didn’t know what the hell was up, I knew that it was bad. I sat, and waited, and listened. I’m not lying about it taking an hour. “Kimmy,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,was playing,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and Dad,,,,,,,he backed up,,,,,,,,,and,,,,,,,,,,she was there,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,on her big wheel,,,,,,,,,,and she’s dead."  There is no way to prepare for those words, “…she’s dead.” I have never in my 52 years been kicked that hard. I’m crying on my keyboard at this moment. Devastation is an understatement.

I had arrived only an hour after the ambulance had taken her. It was to be my future Mother-in-Law’s last time on the volunteer ambulance. A run in the ambulance she couldn't get over. It was too much. Kimmy wasn’t just loved by her family. Her death tore a huge gaping wound in the whole community. Kimmy’s Dad was utterly destroyed. He was a prominent, well-respected businessman and community leader in our small North Eastern Nevada town. I know for a fact he seriously contemplated suicide. Who wouldn’t. The fact that he bore that pain without surrendering to his demons, speaks volumes about his character. He drank more, but I don’t begrudge him that. Self medicating to survive. It was an accident. But an accident that forever changed his family. And he nutted up and lived on to provide for that family. He didn’t heap a second helping of tragedy on those he loved. Kimmy’s death also cemented my brotherhood with Tommy, for life.

I didn’t leave him for weeks. I had just graduated from high school and was leaving for college in a few months. Tommy was a year behind me and I worried about not being there. I felt like I had to buck him up, not let him drop back down into the abyss of hell we were desperately trying to climb out of. It was hard to act normal and just go on living. We tried. At times it worked, at times we failed. Others, less emotionally invested, moved on more easily. I remember long somber silences, excruciating pain, communicated with merely eye contact. A simple meeting of the eyes spoke louder than words. Words that fell short of expressing how bad we missed her. How bad we hurt. How pissed we were. There was anger, I can’t lie. “How in the FUCK could God let this happen. How in the Fuck could…………….”, on and on. I was much older, with many years of waters from the fountain of wisdom under the bridge when I actually understood that anger. Anger releases emotion. We were all desperate for the emotional holocaust to subside. Anger was just a pressure relief valve. For some, that surplus emotional energy was aimed at Tommy’s Dad. I’m not going to pass judgement on any who lived it, and survived it, because even the misplaced anger came from a place of love for Kimmy. But I can say that Tommy and I never quit loving his Dad.

I did go away to college, and like Tommy, eventually married a good gal who would put up with me and we raised a family. I have a wife and 2 boys, and Tommy has a wife and 2 boys. But no matter how we explain it, or recount the sheer misery of it, none of those who we love that didn't live those days with us, will ever be able to understand how we survived that horrible time together. The sheer emotional intensity of those times fused our souls. I don’t know how else to better describe it. Fused souls don’t come undone. And my idea of a soul, is that each human soul is individual, unique, and eternal. Which gives me hope, that someday, someway, somehow, once again Kimmy will ride the shoulders of her almost out of control steed and squeal and giggle in my ears.


I'm going to take a breath for a couple days.  Not that I'm struggling for things to say, but I want to put a couple bigger posts together.  With research....and stuff.  I'm not even feeling guilty either.  I first stroked downward on "publish" a month ago. This is the 44th post.  Apparently I'm a chatterbox.  Some heavy shit has happened to people I love, and other people I love are coming to visit, and I'm going to visit other people I love who I haven't visited enough.  Makes sense, right?    Around here though, it's even money , that I'll throw up some random pic with a caption just because........well, because..... I can.  Till then, SMILE!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Beard.

The beard is gone.  Amazingly, the Babe, who hated it like a dirty toilet, didn't notice for an hour.  I have to admit it is pretty scary in that profile pic over there on the sidebar. 

It has been over 30 years since I last had one to rival that.

Everybody has a "special" friend.

Goodbye friend.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Proof of God.

To all good humans who are atheists;

How do you explain this?

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and this?

Surely, we can agree it's spectacular.

It's just that, in these matters, I trust my heart.

Can we still be friends?

My name is Stephen, and I approved this testimony.

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Earth to Obama,,, Over."

Lex is pissed.  When a distinguished officer and gentleman draws a line in the would be foolish to not come to attention and hear him out.  Fools suffer at the hands of those who don't suffer fools.

My viewpoint is not something to be "spun."  It is what it is. It's tangible.  A majority agree with me. 

In my opinion, we are at THE watershed moment for America.   Everywhere you look, lies are laying exposed. 

The nekkid emporer spinners are banking on the fact that not enough people are paying attention to differentiate between truth and calculated subterfuge.


Thank you,  Stephen

Food Chain/Lazy Way Out of Posting.

I'm out of gas tonight. 52 acting like I was 28 all day at work.  So, the lazy way out is to just throw up some pics of some cookin' I've done recently.  If you want to know how I did it, call me tomorrow, I'll tell you.

grilled chicken tacos

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basalmic vinegar and herb chicken
alfredo farfalle

slow roasted, cajun rubbed, blade in pork roast

the roast became,

pork butt bbq sandwich on toasted french bread
home baked fries
homemade fry sauce (sauce is a vegetable)

thai spicy beef stir fry
steamed wild rice w/ holy shit that's hot sauce
molasses ginger yams

sacrificial armor

3 cheese elk ghoulosh (sic) w/
tri-color rotini and another twisty pasta I can't remember the name of.

soon to be "bomb eggs"

See you tomorrow. If I live.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday, Damn Near Like Church

If  it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and you had DVR to capture the football games, what would you do?

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Me too!

Sustenance, for the ravenous.

And speaking of ravenous beasts........  It is so hard to choose what to take.  But, for today, these should do just fine.

Sometimes, in the anticipatory excitement, you forget that EVERY. ONE. OF. THOSE. WILL. HAVE. TO. BE. CLEANED.  But, let's focus on the positive.

We're going shooting!  In the desert!

I haven't gotten to shoot for over 3 weeks, so I know a little rust is to be expected. 

That's actually not too bad out of the box for me. Especially with the little Bersa 380.  Shaved sights and all. I'm a shotgunner, rifle shootie kinda guy. Until maybe 9 months ago, I bet I hadn't shot 500 rounds total with pistols in my life. And probably 80% of that was 22 long rifle.  I'm learning. I'm a little better with my Bersa 9mm. Sometimes.

But, I have long arms as well. Possible redemption. Back off from the targets, offhand only.

Smith and Wesson M&P 15  in 5.45x39 with 1x Eotech first.

The breeze was pretty stiff, and I was shooting quick, but no excuse for being off paper at 39 yards, even offhand. Finally my Marlin 30-30. 

I was actually pretty happy with this.  85 yards, breezy, offhand, except the last 3 shot group on the plate.  Impatience I think.  But the good news is, driving home, I was stress free, relaxed, ready for some fast forward through the commercials football.  Poor Brett Favre, he'll have nightmares about that last interception till he dies.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Food Chain/Smoked Turkey

I have never been a big fan of turkey.  I enjoy the obligatory turkey and dressing thing at Thanksgiving, but usually only because there is ALOT of gravy to cover that dried up soulless meat.

So, I'm standing in Albertson's about a week before Christmas and they have turkeys on sale. Dirt cheap, PLUS, buy one get another one free.  "Yeah, but it's turkey."  Then like a flash from God on high, I remembered an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network. The joint was in North Pole, Alaska of all places and the dish was brined, smoked turkey. ( Speaking of Alaska and turkey, remember this, )    :-)  Sorry, I couldn't resist.

For my brine I used 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of salt, handful of black peppercorns, some mexican oregano, and a couple each of lemons and oranges sliced and squished.  I started with about a half gallon of water.  Boil the brine, then add enough ice to chill it.  I lined an old ice chest with a plastic garbage bag and in went the turkey and brine. I added more ice till it was "icy" cold and the turkey was completely submerged. It sat  overnight.

My smoker is a "bullet" type you see at Home Depot. I tied the legs and wings of the turkey together to pull them in against the body and it's time to smoke.  Fill the basin pan with water, plug in, throw in a handful of Mesquite chips, throw the turkey on and you're smoking now.  I didn't open the lid for 8 hours, only using the little side hatch to throw a few more chips in a couple times.  165 degrees is the magic number for required internal temperature on smoked turkey.  I checked the temp for the first time at 9 hours and got 158.  Couple more hours and we were home.  165 and Pavlov would have been proud of the saliva my mouth was generating.

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Ladies and Gentlemen of the food jury,  This was the moistest, most succulent, tender turkey I have ever eaten.  No gravy, no additional masking spices, just straight up poultry perfection. Just a  simple salad and some Italian bread to go with it.  I will NEVER cook a whole turkey again unless it's brined and smoked.  Yeah, it takes some lead time, but it is well worth it.  Lots of leftovers however. 

1 container for sandwiches.
1 container for turkey enchiladas
1 container to freeze. ( Think crock pot of beans  and stuff, with the turkey added for the last hour.)
1 small container for the Little Bitch.

That carcass would have made some great stock, but, I was too stuffed to deal with that.  Other than a little lead time investment, this is SIMPLE, blow the guest's taste buds away, gobble, gobble  goodness.  And dirt cheap.  Nothing wrong with sitting on a still fat wallet while stuffing your face.

brined and smoked turkey

Friday, January 22, 2010

Piksher Taker Wannabe/Stormy

The storm that popped California came by to visit yesterday.

click pics to enlarge

Lots of wind, lots of water

Some things are resilient in adverse conditions.

2 days ago, the cutest  little brownie scout you ever saw was selling cookies from this chair.
I bought 2 boxes. I think she's closed today.

When I took this pic, I was thinking how glad I was that I wasn't driving a buckboard.

Because buckboards don't have windows,  and I couldn't take pics of drops on the window.

More drops. And I really must insist you enlarge this pic so you know what people on acid are seeing.

These drops look like snow.  And the buckboard is getting washed.

When it gets wet, this tree eats Brownie scouts.

Finally, we got a little break.  That's the relay antenna the Little Bitch uses to communicate with the mothership.

Overexposure, back yard puddles.

I like storms.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Little Bitch

I think cats are aliens.  Everybody talks about the little greys with their big black eyes, or those scaly subterranean reptilians.  Remember the scene in "Earth Girls are Easy" when the alien has this big long tongue that he sticks into his cocktail glass to get to the bottom, and the girl at the bar says, "I'm going home with him."  That's the kind of alien I want to be.  But I'm pretty sure that The Little Bitch is a completely different kind of alien.  Remember this guy?

I think The Little Bitch is from the same planet.

SEE!  SAME ANTENNA!  And I know she can read my thoughts, because every single time I say to myself, "My balls are cold."  This happens.

That's it, I'm calling Art Bell.

My Favorite Martian pic by others.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Deep in a Nazi Bunker

This film clip has been used for at least a dozen subtitle parodies.  This is my new favorite.  Cyanide anyone

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nekkid Emperors: Extra! Extra! Read All About It Edition!


Not since 1994 have I felt this secure in the belief that most Americans believe in common sense.


I hope my mother forgives me. I hope you forgive me. I hope Jesus forgives me, But.....but....I have to say it.



Posting  these two disparate musical selections  adjacent to one another may seem strange. But, when the baton is dropped, you dance , to what's playing.  Dancing is good.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Everybody Hurts

The son of an online "friend" whose blog I have followed for a long time, attempted suicide.  I cannot imagine the pain and confusion.  Having 2 sons myself, if I could talk to my friend's son, I wouldn't say anything.  I would just play this song.  I cried the first time I heard it. Other times as well.  Including now.

Eric Holder: Stud, Fail

Stud, Fail.   definition:  Failing to exhibit ANY observed behaviors common to studs.  Things like, courage, subjugation of idiotic personal ideologies in order to protect those you work for.  Stuff like that.

Eric Holder wants to go after those evil CIA pukes who interrogate terrorists.  He should meet the real Jack Bauer

I DARE YOU TO READ THIS WHOLE ARTICLE!  Those studs in that article, those are MY studs. Those are your KID'S  studs. Eric Holder is NOT a stud.

p.s.  Jack Bauer's contrails in the pic segue nicely into my next post. Pleasant coincidence.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Contrails. Thoughts From Inside a Flying Shiny Tube

When I see the spore of modern travel, contrails, I often think of the myriad tales and travails, that define those metal encased folks hurtling through the sky.  Who are they?  Why are they up there?  What are they feeling?  Human events of all stripes being attended to through the sky. Births, death, marriage, play, work, betrayal, honor and duty.  Not only does air travel allow attendance at far flung locales for a multitude of reasons, but every human emotion is being played out in those folks minds as they fly.  For instance, right now, somewhere up there people are talking to themselves................

click pics to enlarge

An overweight, disheveled, middle aged business man with a bead of sweat on his brow.  "DOWNSIZING, My ass.  Downgrading is more like it.  They'll see, they'll see.  Bastards."

A 62 year old Lutheran sunday school teacher sitting next to an overweight, disheveled, business man.  "....and Lord, please give us miracles in Haiti today. Give strength to the rescuers and hope to the stricken......."

Across the aisle from a Lutheran sunday school teacher, An ex-NBA playa.  "We'll see "bout dat shit, I got mo than one gun."

Up in business class, wearing a silk suit picked up in Hong Kong last week, a junior V.P. in marketing, with an overdose of hair gel. "....all we need is more tits and ass in the ads and we could sell the hell out of this."

Handing another beer to the junior V.P. with waaaaaaaay too much gel in his hair, a gay flight attendant.  "...what a shame, all that beautiful silk going to waste on a putz."

Up front in the right hand seat, a brand spankin'  new hire commercial pilot.  "...fuckin' mortgage,  fuckin' tuition, fuckin' car payment. I miss the Navy."

Glued to the window in the very back, an eager young Mormon missionary, flying for the first time. "...OH MY GOD, look, look, you can see the temple.  Oh Wow!  Wow!  Holy Cow! The temple!"

Sitting one window in front of a Mormom missionary, looking at exactly the same thing, a surfer from Santa Cruz.  "...Dude!  The Transamerica Tower,  capitalist pricks."

Sitting on the aisle, 3 rows up from a Santa Cruz surfer, a naive, but perky coed.  " is sooooo cool, especially when I come."

Next time you are cruising high above the earth in a jet, look around. Who are those people?  And why are all of you up there in the sky?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Food Chain

I grill ALOT.  For many reasons.  The mess is outside,  the house doesn't get hot in the Arizona heat, but mostly it's a flavor thing.  It's smoke.  Many times I add a few mesquite chips off to the side just to get a little extra smokiness. Like this chicken.

click pics to enlarge

Notice the chips on the side.  This particular pollo was basted with homemade BBQ sauce.  1 cup ketsup, couple tablespoons of spicy mustard, quarter cup worsteschire sauce, quarter cup molasses, quarter cup finely diced red onion, couple 3 or 4 tablespoons of basalmic vinegar, a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, red chili flakes, smoked paprika.  Sometimes I add lime or lemon zest for some zing, but I ALWAYS stuff the inside of the bird with aromatics. Sliced oranges, lemons, or limes, or sometimes ginger and green onions.  I never eat the stuffing, but it sure makes a difference on flavor and moistness.  I also always use the lined pan with cookie cooling rack.  The molasses gets really dark but it's not burnt char.

Too tender to slice.  Add a little salad and wild rice and it's dinner.

Smokey BBQ Chicken

Baby Spinach and Pomegranate Salad

Steamed Wild Rice