Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Mobile Pregnancy Post

Well, today, this little blogamathing comes from the fetus-frightening waiting room at Erlanger in Chattanooga. My sister, who can whoop me, you and everybody who looks like you in a fight, is attempting to squeeze a baby out into the world.

I closed the store last night, and got a text from my brother-in-law "It's go-time."

Me being the guy I am, I swung the truck in a fishtail 180, because I figured he was challenging me to a fight.

But no. She went into labor a little before 11 last night. Jeff took her to the hospital.

As of this morning, there was no baby. I was able to trade shifts to take today off. Since roughly 10:30 this morning, clan Big Stupid has been holed up in the waiting room...

My sister's doing OK. She's been in a quite a bit of pain, and finally took an epidural a few minutes ago.

In a few minutes, or hours, or days, I'll be an Uncle Tom. Maybe it'll be today, which would be cool. I wonder if she knows the support she's gotten today...if nothing else, she can read the blog post. She'll dig it, especially that part where I say she can whip you in a fight.

Anyway, that's where we are. Y'all take it easy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Rambling Post on Lost

Hello, and welcome to Sunday.

So, the Lost ends today.

It'll be like a pet dying, I think. A pet that you've owned for six years, that has engaged you, enraged you and confounded you on multiple times, not because it's as smart as you like to think it is, but because you've overthought yourself, generally speaking. You've let this show drag you in, and now you're tripping over your own theories more than anything else.

Maybe it won't be like a pet dying. Unless you've had a pet that died in small increments every time a supporting piece became used up. I heard this stat the other day: 30 regular, speaking parts on Lost have died over the course of the show's 6 seasons. I'm not sure of the ratio, but that would be like, over the years, if Denise, Vanessa, Elvin, Sondra, Olivia, Russell Huxtable, Cockroach and Kenny (Bud) had all died over the course of the Cosby Show. Which would have changed the tone of that show, believe you me.

I generally don't pontificate too much on the show. I like the show, and along with Family Guy it's the only one I try to watch when it's on, anymore, if I'm home. And you don't see a lot of posts where I pontificate on Family Guy, do you (although the line from last week "Guys! Cut it out! You're ruining all my clothes!" became a minor catchphrase this week).

I will say that it's the only show that keeps me thinking about what's going to happen over the course of the week. There's not any other show that's done that, pretty much in my adult life. Heroes may have come close early on, but that one fell apart the minute it became a show of no consequences, when you learn Hiro will be able to travel time at will.

But I digress. Been watching the show for six years. It finishes tonight. Kinda sad, but I'm glad that there is a finish line, and the show itself won't be stretching on for a decade. Is the end what was originally envisioned for the show? Probably not, if even there was an ending planned. It's a business, and its first inclination to maximize profits over the longest feasible amount of time. If you don't think a finish line in and of itself isn't a minor victory, let my brother-in-law explain to you how ill he was when Supernatural didn't end when it was supposed to this year.

Still, it's been a mess. I grant you that. In fact, as we look at season six, I'll say that it's no small disappointment for me that the show wandered into the Mystical for all its answers. I didn't care for the bevy of new characters, even if I enjoyed thinking one of them was Mugsy having returned from the wreck of the Andrea Gail. Let me ask this, though: Have the words Dharma Initiative been uttered at all? Seems like there are loose ends gonna get all kinds of ignored there.

I didn't care for the whole Sayid coming back from the dead story, with all the hoopla being made over his being "tainted." I didn't like that he was a mindless soldier for Locke, which was somewhat interesting, but that was killed when he has a seven minute redemption story in the submarine. Maybe it's the Sayid fan in me, but that shit needed a whole episode. Does a character deserve a grander death? I'd say so, but then, I think Sayid should have broken Jack's neck in season one, and taken the Lord of the Flies fight to the Others.

Let me pause to admit that Sayid's still kicking in the mirror universe, and I have a feeling Sayid still has a part to play on the island, though how, I couldn't say.

I suck at segue. So, I'll say that I tapped out on Lost, once upon a time. I think I've written about it, but maybe not. There was a lot going on that particular year in my life, and it was in the third season. I'd immensely enjoyed the first two seasons, and had been counting days until the third season started. This was the season that was essentially split into two parts. When the second half of the season came on, I didn't mess with it. The first half was just so damned disappointing and convoluted. I didn't enjoy it, so I quit.

Which was something of a pity. I ended up catching the DVD's before the next season started. The second half of the third season was likely the show's high water mark, creatively speaking. I go so far as to say the second half of season 3 is some of the finest TeeVee ever put onto screen, with the finale of season 3 possibly being that show's finest moment.

I'd wanted to take this spring watching Lost over again, before we got to the final episode. I wanted to get a better feeling for the show as a whole Time being what it is, I made it through the sixth episode of the first season. That's just how the cookie crumbles.

Last thing I'll say in this meandering, go-nowhere post. There are haters. Which is cool, actually. I initially took a little offense, since the one thing I tend to hear universally is how much the fans of the show irritate them. I mean, if you're going to hate a show, hate it for the aforementioned trip into mysticism when part of what I liked was the balance between science and the unexplainable, or hate it for introducing new useless characters, or killing characters at random in the name of The Lost Cliffhanger (which is tiresome on my end, as well).

Or how about some decent computer graphics? What the fuck's been up with the smoke monster's animation the last couple of seasons? Any underwater scene looks like a construction paper cutout on a bluescreen. Seriously? We can't move into 2003 for computer graphics?

See? I love the show, and there are a thousand things to hate about it. In fact, given my personality and tendency toward such things, maybe that's why I like the show, because there are so many things to hate about it. It's a goddamn fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.

But anyway, my point with those last three bullshit paragraphs, I didn't dig on people hating the show because of the fans. But then, I hate the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals in part because of their fans, and to a much larger degree, I stopped following University of Tennessee football because filling Neyland Stadium with 109,000 people who just want to be seen at the football game seemed like a tremendous waste of time and resources. So, I get that argument too.

I'll just say this: Don't hate me because I like Lost. Hate me because I tend to misplace the remote control twice a week, and because I forgot to buy milk for this morning, this despite Working In an Ever-Loving Grocery Store.

Last thing, and this is related to very little concerning Lost, except as an example. Been reading a couple articles on Violence and Sex in the media, and how our culture favors one and not the other. I happened to be reading one such article last week, and it popped straight to mind. Smoke Monster/Locke kills a character named Zoe, who'd only shown up this year. An annoying, new character, for my money, but she ultimately served a purpose. Even if that purpose was getting her throat slashed.

It was a violent scene, and one of the more violent on the show over its history.

But I didn't bat an eye.

However, had Locke instead just leaned over and honked Zoe's boobs like a clown nose? We'd STILL be talking about that on the news. It's like there wouldn't be anything else in the world going on, because we would be talking about the bald man groping Zoe on Lost. Instead, Zoe died on the floor, her throat cut.

(I was so pleased with my opinion, to the point that I was writing on it. Then, I heard Ron Bennington on Ron & Fez make exactly the same point I was going to. But again, I digress, this time, parenthetically).

Anyway, it's been a meandering post accomplishing nothing. It's a TV show. I'm going to miss it. You meatheads enjoy. Or don't.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Re Run: Dad

I wrote this one a couple years back...

Do you have one defining image of a person? That when you think of them, the first thing that pops to mind is that defining event? It's an event that can be astounding or mundane...regardless, it strikes a tone so deep in your psyche, it transcends all logical thought, so that all your opinions, beliefs and values regarding that person use that as the starting point?

I was nine. It was 1986, and I'd just lost my very last baby tooth. The little bugger had started loosening a few days earlier, and had popped out during a viewing of Head of the Class. I was in a state I could only describe as ebullient...a level of joy I had never reached prior nor have I reached since.

I was still reeling from the satisfaction of essentially having a small bone pop out of my head, when I changed the channel to Night Court.

My dad taught nights. At least, that's what I believed, and still believe to a point to this day. At the time, he was teaching computer courses at the town just below ours, at the small college one could find there. I know he taught these classes, because I still have people in around my small town coming to me and saying "Your Dad taught me how to use Fortran."

To which I reply: "Fortran? Quit making up words, Aunt Charlotte, and make me a sandwich..."

Anyway, back to the point.

I settled in for a half-hour of sheer hilarity with the comic stylings of Judge Harold T. Stone. It was a fun episode, though I feel like it's important to note that this was while Selma Diamond was still part of the cast, and before John Astin started making his appearances as Buddy. I'll grant you that it was indeed a creative valley in the show's storied run, but I'll submit to you that no better use of a nine-year-old's time could I come up with, even to this day, than to learn about the ins and outs of the legal system in nightfall New York City, and to do so with a laugh.

As an aside, I still have a thing for Markie Post.

But anyway, the episode was nearing the end of the second act, when a commotion arose in the courtroom.

I was watching intently. "This is all quite odd," I said to no one in particular, though my mother was hosting her weekly McMinn County Lady's Mixed Martial Arts Cotillion right behind the sofa.

In the courtroom, just after Harry had rendered a verdict (Court costs and time served), a ruckus arose. The camera pans back, a little uncertain, I believe. And a rather large, hairy man starts throwing hookers, extras and bums aside. And by throwing, I mean picking up and heaving like logs of firewood through a pickup truck window.

The camera panned back for a second to Dan Fielding, who in a rare display of valour grabbed Christine Sullivan and pulled her off screen to safety.

The large man, whose voice became dreadfully clear to me, continued his rampage to the front of the courtroom. The bailiffs came running in, guns drawn. It was the first time I'd ever seen weapons displayed in the courtroom.

Shots were fired, and it was at that moment that the beast stopped his rampage long enough for the cameras to get a focus on his face.

For reasons known only to himself, my Dad was rampaging through the courtroom on that Sitcom.

The bullets didn't stop him. They slowed him down, though. Long enough, I think, to consider just how angry he was going to be.

With a sweep of one mighty arm, he smashed Selma Diamond against the defense table. She was on the next week, so he didn't kill her, thankfully.

In the next motion, he picked up a nameless bailiff (the one with red hair) and threw him against Judge Stone's bench.

He took one step, and found himself face to face with all 6 feet, five inches of Richard Moll's Bull Shannon.

The air was electric. These two behemoths, nose to nose. Each bringing hell with them in their hip pockets, each holding the power of Valhalla in their hands.

The fight was epic. It lasted seven minutes, and each blow was like an frog punch from God. Lights flickered, streets ruptured, and the Hoover Dam burst (though that was later revealed to be the result of a drunken Buddy Hackett playing with the controls...still, it was coincidental and dramatic).

At the end of seven minutes, with dust and smoke filling the courtroom, the broken remains of the prosecution table underneath his dying body, Bull Shannon said to my father "I yield!....I yield sir!...."

My father, holding a filing cabinet in one hand, let it drop with a muffled bang.

"It is finished. We now know."

And he looked at the camera.

"We all know."

And with nothing more said, he left the courtroom, and Night Court went to commercial.

My mother sent me to bed after that. She was too busy applying a triangle choke to have seen what just happened, and she didn't believe me. The next morning, while eating a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, I asked my father "Were you on TV last night, beating up Bull Shannon?"

My Dad looked at me as if I had tentacles growing out of my nostrils.

"No, I was teaching."


I wandered to school that day, and indeed many days after that, confused and questioning. I knew what I'd seen. Was it merely a creation of my own mind?

Several weeks later, during my Dad's summer break, we were sitting down, watching Night Court. Nothing much was said, until the third act. Harry Stone had just issued some edict or another, too which Bull Shannon replied "ooo...kay." I heard my dad utter a small, gravelly laugh.

And I heard him say "pussy."

He got up to leave, and he reached into his pocket, and pulled something shiny out of it. He tossed it to me, and went into the kitchen.

I still have it to this day.

It is a New York Court Officer's badge, with the name Shannon emblazoned across the nameplate....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chattanooga Roller Girls

Wandered down to the Chattanooga last night for an evening of Roller Derby. The Chattanooga Roller Girls had their first home game of 2010 at the Convention Center. It was something I'd seen on television, and had even intended on seeing up in Knoxville or out in Nashville when the opportunity arose, but had never seen live.

Last weekend, I'd gone down to Chattanooga to watch the UFC pay per view, and the bartender, a friend of my brother-in-law's, was talking about it. She's a part of the squad, and was selling tickets. I bought a couple passes, because I am the world's easiest mark for all things out-of-the-normal, I guess.

My friend Shyam and I took off from Riceville, running through a booger of a popup thunder shower. This is neither here nor there about roller derby, but I want to say while I enjoyed the cloud-to-ground lightning show, the middle of May is a bit early for my tastes for the Southeast Tennessee summer weather pattern, where you can pretty much bank on a thundershower in the neighborhood of 4:30, every day.

Parking at the convention center around 6:15, we moseyed in to find seats maybe four rows back from the oval skate area denoted by red-tape, and further denoted by string lights duct-taped to the floor.

During warmups, I found myself obsessed with the names the roller girls had for themselves, be it the Chattanooga squad or their opponents, the Columbia QuadSquad. A brief pause for a list of some of my favorite names, by team:


1. Llama Trauma
2. Conway Gritty
3. Delia Pain
4. Gris Gris
5. Gisele Bludgeon


1. Assault n' Cattery
2. Beautiful Death
3. Lisa Marie Deadly
4. Mega M'Day
5. Billie Evil


1. Getapov DeFleur (probably my favorite, since it took a second to sink in)

Nice event to get into, considering I didn't know much about the event beyond the fact that it's women on skates, smashing into one another. And the event was very much that, though the the structure of the event was a complete mystery walking in.

The rules were easy enough to wrap my head around: Two teams on the floor at a time, five girls per team. One jammer per team on the oval at a time per 2 minute jam. The rest of the girls are blockers. Blockers skate first, followed by the jammers, both signaled to start with a ref's whistle.

The first jammer to make it through the pack of opposing blockers is the lead jammer. That girl has the ability to call off the jam (signaled with both hands on the hips on and off). Scoring is determined as the jammer makes their way through the pack a second time. Each opposing blocker passed is a point, and if the lead jammer manages to pass the opposing team's jammmer, lapping her, it's another point for a Grand Slam.

Simple enough to wrap your head around. Very easy to get into, to scream and yell until your heart's content.

If there was a complaint, it was that there wasn't enough explanation from the announcers (a couple of local radio jocks whose names elude me) on why certain players were called for penalties. Don't know if that was a lack of knowledge on their part, or a lack of communication from the floor officials to them, though at various times I saw the same hand signals for False Start and Offsides, and Too Many Men on the Field (though I don't know if the hand signals meant necessarily the same things in roller derby).

But then, go to a hockey game, and half the folks there can't explain what icing is. Even fewer can explain what happened with a balk, in baseball. Roller Derby penalties seem much more accessible.

Anyway, Columbia came off with the win, much to the chagrin of the Chattanooga crowd (which, let me mention, represented itself well...reckoning crowd numbers is like counting jellybeans in a jar, or minnows in a tank...but I'd figure there may have been between 1200 and 1400 people in attendance.) The Chattanooga team made a helluva comeback run in the second half, but it wasn't enough.

Also? Nobody punched the hell of each other. Fighting, I learned, is discouraged.

Nothing's perfect, I guess.

Anyway, it was an excuse to get out and it was easy to scream and yell. Working retail will do that to a brother. No yelling ad screaming means Tommy gets frustration created diarrhea. Call that a Fun fact. Ain't I a catch, ladies?

Maybe I need to go smash the hell out of something.

Chattanooga's next home game isn't until October. There's a team up in Knoxville, and another out in Nashville. Might have to make it out that way again....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Re Run: The Possum

I wrote this four or five years ago. You know, back when I wrote for a blog. It came one late night, after driving home from work. I took my trash out tonight, and there was a possum near the trashbin, hightailing it toward the trees. Big Stupid Tommy is, as I'm sure you're all aware, Scourge to the Opossum.

Anyway, this is from four or five years back:

You know, in the dictionary, it's spelled opossum. Which is ridiculous. English being the evolving, ever-changing beast that it is, I say we all agree to make a conscious semantic leap forward, and just start spelling the North American marsupial "Possum," and be done with it.

I bring the possum up because I saw a live one on my drive home from work tonight.

It's kind of a rare thing for me.

See, I've seen plenty of possums in my time.

But most of them have been dead. Crushed to death on a road, somewhere.

Is possum Latin for roadkill?

Tonight, I saw a live one.

On the road, actually. In the other lane.

We locked eyes as I passed. I think in passing him by, I saw in that possum's eyes that I may have denied him his destiny.

Maybe possums live in a strange warrior-type society, where the only way to possum heaven is under the tires of a passing automobiles. A possum who dies of old age is not a true possum. He will spend his eternity at the gates of Possum Valhalla, never to sup at the Warrior's table.

Maybe. I don't know. There just hasn't been enough scientific study into the religious implications and belief structures of possum society.

If I had to think about it, and even if I didn't have to think about it, I'd say that I've seen just a handful of live possums in my life. Maybe a dozen, give or take. They're nocturnal. I'm basically a day person. They're woodsy. I like the woods, but mostly I sleep indoors. And really, possums and I just don't run in the same social circles.

Conversely, I've seen several dead possums. In fact, I would think the ratio would run somewhere close to 8 to 1. Maybe even 10 to one. It seems excessive, but I think the math would bear me out.

Just thinking out loud.

A couple of questions that I ask myself, here at 1:30 in the morning.

1.) Is it possible that there are possums, alive, that I am not seeing? I'm thinking this is probably the case.
2.) If there are live possums that I am not seeing, I wonder how many of them there are.
3.) And as a followup to that, those possums that I cannot see, why are they hiding from sight? Are they planning something? Should I be doing anything to protect myself from a possible possum plundering?

Ah well. I don't have any real way to tie up this bit of nonsense, so I think I'll close by saying I think "Possum Valhalla" would be an awesome name for a band, or perhaps a bar.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Listens

Not much to say...trying to write a couple things down. Not for publication. I've been a journaling fool, lately. I think the month of April has left me with a few thoughts to sort out. Wasn't a fan of April 2010, and so far, May 2010 has been leagues and hectares and bushels and cubits and hogsheads better.

Anyway, here are the few tunes I listened to (with a tip of the hat to our friend Elisson):

"The Boxer" Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. (Heard this on Pandora early in the week, and I give it props for supplanting Lindsey Buckingham's Holiday Road as my earworm for the time being).

"Down Girl" Elizabeth Cook
"The Minor Waltz" the Asylum Street Spankers
"Slow Train" Shooter Jennings
"A World of Hurt" Drive-By Truckers
"Catch a Wave" the Beach Boys
"Life is a Lemon" Meat Loaf
"Thunder Kiss '65" White Zombie
"Neat, Neat, Neat" the Damned
"Crows" Allison Moorer
"Tear Stained Letter" Johnny Cash
"Hold on You" Jeff Bridges
"Calling You" Blue October (This is another bad one for getting in my head).
"Times are Tough for Rock and Roll" Elizabeth Cook
"I'm Henry the VIIIth, I am" Herman's Hermits (Oh hell....)
"None of Us are Free" Solomon Burke & the Blind Boys of Alabama

Super Hero

One of the stations on the satellite radio has been playing the soundclip "I resent it when people fart inside my office." And I've been racking my brains (multiple) for three days trying to remember what it's from.


Did you see what I did there? I save you the trouble of racking your brains.

Because I am your sumo-sized superhero.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

We are Nashville....

I wander by Section 303 semi-regularly during hockey season. Great stuff. My favorite Predators site out there, and I am much remiss in not having offered a link to this point.

I want to, now. I'm still flummoxed by the lack of media coverage, and am just that much more in the camp that's washed their hands of the national media outlets on the whole. Patrick Fuqua at Section 303 says it better than anybody, to this point. Go read.

Holiday Road

Well, I decided to pop in National Lampoon's Vacation into the old DVD player this past weekend, to have on for background noise more than anything. Neat enough flick. Was surprised to realize just how much they said the word "fuck." Dunno why it surprised me, though my buddy Justin may have hit the nail on the head: when I see and have seen the movie over the past few years, it's edited for television. So, when Clark tells his family that they're all fucked in the head, and that they'll have so much fucking fun they'll be whistling zippidy doo dah out of their assholes, I was somewhat surprised.

There is a trade-off, though, in getting to hear all that delicious swearing and, of course, seeing Beverly D'Angelo's boobs.

You get to walk around the next three days with Lindsey Buckingham's "Holiday Road" stuck in your head. This is a particularly bad earbug. It's catchy, and there are only a handful of words to the song. Seriously, it's one verse, with the first line of the song repeated a handful of times throughout.

This song is a tough one to beat. I think it's grafted itself onto my DNA. At least, that's how I think it's communicating with me. It's not like I'm hearing voices saying "I am in charge." It's more like, Holiday Road and I are now one symbiotic being. I still eat, sleep and pee like a racehorse, but I also spread the virus, as people do not know I am a carrier. I'm a Trojan Horse, I guess. You think I'm safe, a gift from the gods (it's alright...I know you've long felt his way about me). But, leave me untended, and little people will jump out of me, and burn your city to the ground.

Wait...that silly metaphor disturbed me a little too much. Now I am afraid I am simply a bus for little destructive me.

Let me back up and say: Hi. I am the Typhoid Mary of earbugs.

Hear. This is for you.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Notes from the Undermind....

Hello, and welcome to Tuesday.

Did you know there was (and is) a major flooding event in Middle Tennessee this weekend? No? You're not alone. Trace details some of the goings on, with links to more folks who speak on the subject better than I ever could.

I worked like a crazy man again, this weekend. It's my thing, man. I say that, because I would have an excuse for not know, except that it was the single news event that I seemed to have a bit of knowledge concerning....

I get the lion's share of my news from Twitter. Local, national. Cubs news. Predators news. This weekend, it was Nashville flood news. I figured that if I was paying attention to the fact that people were dying, and thousands displaced, and tens of thousands without power, it would at least warrant half a minute's mention somewhere in the national media.

Some jackass puts an amateur-hour bomb attack in Times Square, and it's all I see on the national news. That's not to diminish that, necessarily, but that story's got a happy ending, inasmuch as nobody got hurt and they caught their suspect.

That's not so say I'm entirely unsympathetic there. Can I just say, looking at that, how that story scares me on a level? If I'm understanding everything I'm reading, the mitigating factor in getting the bomb found was the fact that the suspect built a bomb only slightly better than if I myself tried to build a bomb, and the only thing I know about explosives is that you can order them by mail to destroy roadrunners. What I'm trying to say is that if this guy had the first clue as to what he was doing, there'd be every bit of understanding as to why we'd be talking about the Times Square car bomb for days and days.

But I digress. The stories from Nashville? Saddening. Downtown's underwater. Hearing today that they lost more power downtown, and can't fix it until the waters recede. Not gonna pound my chest about it, but seems like it should be a topic of discussion amongst the national media, even if the discussion centers around what an infrastructure of a city can stand up to, should 9 inches of rain fall in a short amount of time.

It's made me wonder how my little town would fare, especially Casa de Big Stupid Tommy is situated right on the bend of the Oostanaula.....


Wandered out to Chattanooga with my friend Shyam last night to catch a Lookouts game. Beautiful night for it, hovering in the 60's. We took in the bulk of the game from the Beer Garden, because it's an annual event that we forget sitting on the first base side leaves you staring at the setting sun for five innings. The Smokies (the AA affiliate of a baseball team I cannot mention in conversation or writing by name, for doing so has caused 3 and 4 game losing streaks within the past 11 days) won out in 13 innings. Much like their Major League brethren, the Smokies I saw Monday night were a team that can hit a ton, if it suits them, but not in any kind of situational setting. Also? Can't field worth shit.

Starlin Castro had a couple of plays that should have gotten him errors...one was a gift from the Lookouts scorekeeper who ruled his bobble an infield hit, the other a gift from a Lookouts baserunner who turned the wrong way after crossing first, and got himself tagged out.

Still, can't say too much bad about the kid, because he did go 2 for 5, drawing a walk, and scored the go ahead run in the 13th. Patient at the plate, and hit the ball well every time he made contact. And maybe Monday night was a microcosm, for him and the team. That win put them up to 18-7 so far on their season. I look forward to seeing Castro and the rest of his team a few more times this year....

Anyway. Them's the thoughts. Wandering on...

Saturday, May 01, 2010


Anybody else glad it's a new month?

April was a trying one. Too much work, for one. It's a theme in my life, I think. I try not to write too much about that place, but when you're working a stretch where it's pretty much all you do for a three-to-four week span, besides sleeping and pooping, it's tough to come up with new and interesting things to say. That's been the bulk of my month of April.

Add to that a couple or three larger-size disappoinments, one personal, one professional, one an even larger combination of the two. I've not hung my head, but it was a kick in the pants, all the same.

May's the month I'll hitch up the britches, though. Kicks in the pants are part of life. It's not what happens to you that defines you, but how you deal with it.

Add to it, there have been other events in the lives of my friends that have worked to put things in perspective. Displays of strength that this sappy cuss will tell you are nothing short of inspiring.

Anyway, we're wandering back toward the horse. Not quite in the saddle yet, but we'll get back up there soon enough.

Y'all take it easy.