Have you seen/heard of/shopped at a store called...

No wait! I will NOT turn The Nut into a discussion board on women's retail fashion chains.

Can't do it. No matter how badly I want more hits.

Whew, that was close. Dignity still in tact? Check.

Let's just say that Rue 21 has pretty cool clothing styles.

Aspen thought so too.

And decent prices.



Wednesday a local news van stopped by my place and wanted to get my two cents on a flyer that was being passed around the neighborhood informing residents that a certain neighbor was a registered sex offender.

Looks like the guy got spooked and has moved out already. As I state in the video, I do check the official registry periodically. But when over 300 names come up under your zip code and you can only cross reference by the offender's last name and not street names it makes it a bit challenging to go through the entire list to look up the name of your street.

They need to change that!


Larry Craig announced loudly and proudly yesterday that he is not gay and that he never has been gay.
He asked that American citizens and particularly Ohio voters consider his years of public service before judging him for his recent arrest and guilty plea.
I always get a chuckle (followed by a violent gritting of teeth) when an elected official facing criminal charges for misconduct reminds the news cameras of their 'years of public service' when judging their actions or supposed actions.
'Public service'?
Senators are paid quite well, live pretty high on the hog, receive perks and benefits rivalled only by fortune 500 company CEO's, and only work a fraction of the days that a 'real' American works.
'Public Service'?
Gimmee a break!
A 'public servant' is anyone who volunteers their time for a non-profit organization; someone who spends their evenings serving at a soup kitchen, for example. As an ex-teacher myself, I wouldn't even consider them to be a 'public servant'. But they certainly would be a hell of a lot closer to one than a Senator in my book!
And what's with the need to declare loud and proud that you are not, nor ever have been, gay?
Does being straight make you a better person?
What gender the person is with whom you decide to get it on does not make one iota of difference as to the quality of person you are. But who you choose to publicly distance yourself from in a defiant manner does say quite a bit about what your values are.



If you watch only one YouTube video this year, this needs to be it!

Now I like my women a little bit on the dimmer side. That's why Tish and I didn't work out in the end. That's also why I have a mad blogger crush on Sissy B these days.
But this fellow South Carolinian teen beauty has it all!!!
Plus, she and I seem to agree completely on this very important issue... I think?

In case you need to read along to follow her train of thought, I have included the transcript of her response:
“I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because uh some people out there in our nation don’t have maps… and I uh believe that our education like… such as… in South Africa and uh The Iraq… everywhere like, such as… and I believe that they should… our education over here in The U.S…. should help The U.S…. or should help South Africa and should help The Iraq and the asian countries (time limit bell rings) so we will be able to build up our future… for our children.”


So the parental units were in town for a few days. That would explain my not focusing on The Nut at that time.

Aspen and Grama went horseback riding. My mom, a lifelong experienced rider, was highly impressed with how well Aspen managed 'Clyde' a ginormous Tenessee Walker with a stuborn streak as long as the 1.5 hour trail they rode at the local greenway.

Meanwhile, I took John, my stepdad, out on the lake with the kayaks. First time he had ever done that. I wanted to take them all on the boat on Sunday but the weather here is just too fricken hot these days for them (and me as well to be honest!).

They left today.

Here are some pics...



Having a little break from daily parental duties during the summer offered me the opportunity to catch up on reflective time and me time.
One of the realizations that slowly came to fruition over my time off was that I can be doing a much better job in many facets of daddydom.
An area in particular is engaging my daughter more in conversation. Real, meaningful conversation. Last night alone she initiated the topics of foreign made toy recalls, Mine rescue operation procedures and hurricane destruction zones (obviously the news was on).
By nature I am not as chatty as you might otherwise think by having simply read my blog. In real life I tend to be more on the quiet side. And that is true at home as well. Therefor, in the past, I have tended to give, albeit real and honest, answers more on the abbreviated side.
That needs to change. If I am truly concerned about the social and intellectual development of my child I should be continuing these conversations more. Asking follow questions, using analogies, including stories from my youth if applicable.
Furthermore, I need to create an atmosphere where her presence is not so much background to other things going on around the house, but more of an integral part of it.
'Interaction', I guess, is the key word here. I am elated that her inquisitive mind is coupled with a desire to engage in a socially mature way. But I need to put a great deal more effort in taking advantage of such a mindset and the opportunities that present themselves.
Yesterday, I did make a noble effort at providing the best answers I could when she asked about how to handle an annoying 'friend' in a compassionate way. I knew as she was talking that this was the exact kind of situation I had made a commitment to being more thorough. So instead of a 2 minute answer as I was focusing on cooking, I put the pots and pans on hold and sat down to ask some follow up questions and role play for a minute.
"It's alot easier saying this to your daddy pretending to be your friend than saying it to your real friend."
"That is true! But you did it just fine, and that's what practice is for. Let's do it a few more times."
"Did you ever have to say something like this to a friend when you were little?"
"No. But I wasn't as nice and considerate as you are. I should have taken the time to say it but instead I would just say 'I don't want to play with you'. What you're doing is much nicer and you should be proud."
Hopefully I'll be able to make a habit of this more engaging interaction. I guess I fear turning around tomorrow and seeing my child turning 25 and having missed all of these grande opportunities to teach the really important things in life. I think too often we assume lessons of patience, compassion, bravery and rational thought are somehow inadvertently taught by our surroundings and we need do little to help such lessons along.
But my observation tells me that impatience, selfishness, fear and illogical speculation are really what society at large is waiting to teach our children and it is our job as parents to counter that at a ratio of at least 2:1.
So I shall make the stronger effort henceforth.



This was an exceptional year for me in CD purchases. Usually I am more on the dissatisfied end of things with new CD releases. Seeings that more often than not I have been loving whatever it is I choose to take a chance on I thought for shits and giggles I'd share some of 'em with youns.

1) Bob Dylan - Modern Times

2) Bruce Springsteen - Live in Dublin

3) Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Nothing But The Water

4) J.J. Cale & Eric Clapton - Road to Escondido

5) Mark Knopfler & Emilou Harris - All The Roadrunning

6) Neil Young - Prarie Wind

7) Carlos Santana & Wayne Shorter - Live @ Montery Jazz fest

8) John Mayer - Continuum

So what did I miss? Any of you have a solid recommendation you care to share?

And Dawn, I swear to god if you suggest that dude who looks like a vampire on stage that you drool over I'll blacklist you!


Again, it's been a while since I did any photo work or posted any here. Perhaps it is the new camera inspiring me.
Longtime readers may recall that my favorite subject to shoot is 'rust'.
Hey... that's right in the title of the blog isn't it?! Go figure!
So I couldn't not stop when Ipassed by this gem the other day...




My last minutes of 'freedom' on Friday were spent in the theatres watching what ended being the number one movie in the U.S. for it's opening weekend... SuperBad. Plenty of goods yucks to be had for sure.

Then I trucked to the airport to pick up my long lost pride and joy. She was as happy to see me as I was to have her home again. We grabbed her bags, said bye bye to her mommy then headed home to see her new room.

She was quite excited about it. Particularly the hammock on her deck. As I thought she would, she soon grabbed a book and started relaxing in it, testing how easy it was to wind it up and let it spin like a carnival ride.

About an hour later my mum and stepdad arrive.

Finally everyone got to sleep about 1am.

Sunday we braved the insane temperatures and went to check out the National White Water Center on the north end of town. Aspen wanted to do it all... the rock climbing wall, the white water rafting, the high suspension rope slide. Alas, we were there just to show the parental units the place... not to actually have any fun. Fortunately, just dabbling her toesies in the 'river' was enough to make the trip worth it. Well, that and all the dogs around that were only too eager to be petted by a high energy youngster.

We ended the day by taking a quick after dinner trip to her step dad's place to see... her dogs. It's funny, I have been told that dogs identify us by our smell and sound, not so much our looks. But I'll be damned if her dog 'faith' didn't recognize Aspen from the end of the driveway through the windows. She was going nuts like I had never seen her. Thought the little mutt was going to propel herself through the glass to get to her. Pretty cute really.

Today she is with her grandparents and tonight we have the annual 'meet the teacher' gathering whereupon you'll be hearing me say "Hi, this is Aspen, she's your genius child. The one who will be leaving class for 2 hours a day to take the 'gifted/talented' math and science classes away from these other kids in her class. Psst, see the kid over? The one picking his nose? Can we make sure Aspen sits nowhere near him? Thanks!"



Aspen returns home today!
Bachelor days of waking up in the gutter halfway home are over.
Time to figure out how to use the dishwasher and washing machine again.
Need to tell all the house guest ladies to take a hike.
Gotta find a home for that goat that Miguel left at my place back in June.
Should replace the strobe lights with regular lightbulbs again.
And I have to find somewhere to put the jell-o wrestling pit now.

Where did my summer vacation time go?



Sorry guys, I aint posting another goddamned thing until more of yous watch the video below and comment on it.
I don't be doing this stuff for my health ya know!



If you haven't already seen this news story please please please watch this!!!

Watch the interview at the end!
There's an unedited 4 minute tape of this interview which is simply priceless!! I have shed tears of joy every time I watch it. Hopefully it too will be on Youtube by morning.

Hey Sissy B... maybe he's single!


If you could have one talent that you don't have, what would it be?
Me? I wish to hell I could sing!
Believe me, you do NOT want to hear me sing!




Mega thanx to Tiffany for hooking me up with the host site.

Keep in mind this was recorded with my new camera that is no bigger than a cell phone.

Sweet technology!



Last night Miguel and I were finally able to use our front row tix that we had been sitting on for close to 2 months.

When I posted that we had secured such pristine seats I got a strange comment from someone known as 'anonymous'.

"i'm so glad you and Miguel have kissed and made up...and hopefully you will find a lifetime of happiness together...no one seems to make you happier than Miguel...well Miguel and a bunch of aged drug addicts that won't put on a show worth a buck!"

S/he was obviously bitter that I had a male friend. Furthermore s/he exhibited complete ignorance on the subject of good music.

Obviously 'good music' is subjective. And the best people to give an opinion about what constitutes good music are musicians themselves. I guess that would be why Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks are widely considered by their peers as two of the best guitarists playing today. Fans of good music seem to agree. That's why last night's show was all but sold out.

As for the ever courageous 'anonymous' 's assault on the aged: well that's just sad. I hope your grandparent's aren't around to hear you speak ill of their generation. As for your speaking ill of hippies: hey, if they rub you the wrong way then keep going to your Madonna, Linkin Park and Brittney concerts and you shouldn't have to worry about running into our ilk anymore. As for your attack on drug addicts: Fact: Every member of The Allman Brother's have been clean and sober for over 4 years. In fact, they kicked out Dickie Betts,one of the original members, a few years ago because he could not get sober.

In summary 'annonymous' if you have a need to spread ignorance and negativity, there is no welcome mat at The Nut for you. Consider one's blog like a home, if you're going to invite yourself in, use some manners with the host and the other guests.

As for everyone else: I bought my camera at the right time! Here are a few of the pics I managed to take.

The show was as good as expected, and aside from the douchbags who tried to sneak in behind us and sit in our seats as we were standing, everything was mellow and as it should be.

ps. Whoever invented 10.1 mega pixel cameras at an affordable price gets a big ol' hug and kiss from me! This new toy is awesome! I can completely and effortlessly manipulate the shutter speed and aperture for low light conditions such as these. It also takes great video. I managed to record all of 'Soulshine' but the file is too big for YouTube.



Last night, a friend and I were having a notable conversation on the definition of the word 'kin'. Certainly what defines it has changed over the decades/centuries. What qualifies someone as your kin today might be a bit different than 100 years ago in the Tennessee hills. Here are some things we came up with...
1- Anyone whose trailer shares the same driveway as yours is your kin.

2- Anyone who finds their dinner on the same stretch of asphalt as you is your kin.

3- Anyone who has had sex with your sister, or anyone whose sister you have had sex with is your kin.

4- Anyone who enjoys the same watering hole as you is your kin.

5- Anyone who has borrowed your pants without your permission but you still don't mind is your kin.

6- Anyone who watches your offspring so you can go "get your kitty scratched" is your kin

7- Anyone who requests a song for you on your birthday at the local radio station is your kin

8- Anyone who helps you out of the tornado wreckage is your kin

9- Anyone who intentionally has an identical tattoo as you is your kin

10- Anyone who is kin to your kin is your kin.
Feel free to add to these if I'mmissing something.




As I reported last week, my trusty old camera that was responsible for all those great HNT pics fell apart in my hands as soon as it was focused on Sissy B during her recent visit.
Well, I have a bunch of stuff I'm trying to sell on Craig's List so I had no choice but to get another one right away.

The question was 'how much do I sink into this?'

Well, more than I was planning that's for sure. Thank god the cost of memory cards has gone way down in the last 2 years!

After some careful comparisons for an hour I settled on this...

The Samsung NV10. A 10.1 mega pixel with a very sharp lens.

The next time I share a pic of me kayaking, Mizmouthy will feel like she IS on the water and Tiffany will have no doubts how glad I am to see her.
Be grateful I'm not doing that HNT thing anymore! That kind of detail you just do not need!


Steroid use now linked to gargantuism studies suggest.

Cockyness increases exponentially.

More tests needed.

Scientists seek federal research grants.



Hopefully they all end like this.

The water is warm, the rum is chilled and the ipod fully charged.

Wake me at dawn.



Couldn't manage to find a secure place to hang the hammock in her room so she'll have to settle for it being on her patio.
Life's tough honey, sorry.
10 - 12 days till she's back!

OCL, I'm working on those train tickets. It seems your name is coming up on a terrorist watch list though. I'll keep you posted.



Say anything meaningful!!
Bush took a tour of the Minneapolis bridge collapse yesterday.

Always the able statesman, he had a prepared statement ready for the press. A statement meant to highlight his understanding of what has happened and what needs to be done. A statement designed to demonstrate his deep and insightful take on the tragedy, yet to offer a positive outlook on us as a nation.

"There was a man on the bridge when it collapsed. He immediately went to a schoolbus nearby where he heard screaming children to help bring them to safety." He paused to let the press catch up with his deep thoughts. "Ya know, it's an amazing country we live in where someone's instinct... someone's first instinct is to help save lives."

When I first heard this I rolled my eyes (a now involuntary reaction whenever I hear his voice).

It is sad that he thinks this type of reaction is somehow distinctive or uniquely American.

On a hunch I went to CNN.com and looked at today's headline Iraq story. Here is a quote from an Iraqi citizen who had been near some bombs that The U.S. dropped on a target yesterday...

"Shrapnel hit my front window ... then two explosions took place," said minibus driver Ali Abdul-Karim, 28. "Other drivers and I ran fast toward the sound of the explosions, to help evacuate the victims."

Apparently Iraq is an amazing country too, since saving lives is obviously their first instinct.
I would wager that the people of Iran are similarly amazing... and Egypt, and Mexico, Lybia, Cuba, Pakistan, Argentina, Sudan, Bulgaria, China, Panama, Lithuania, Turkey, Syria, Brazil, Japan, Germany, Korea, Philipines, Congo, Chad, Mayanmar, Kenya, Burma, Tanzania, Poland, India, Malaysia...*
I can see the average-joe-U.S.-citizen thinking that another average-joe instinctively helping out injured victims is somehow unique to our country and therefor 'amazing'. But The Commander and Chief should have a slightly better idea of what mindsets, values and 'instincts' people from other countries have... particularly those with whom we're at war!

How does an educated, world traveled statesman honestly become amazed with human behavior so common it happens every minute around every corner of the globe?

More spectacular to me is that we live in a country where The President's first instinct is to make sure that no one in his administration ever be incarcerated for crimes against the state... wait... now that I think about, I guess that's not so amazing after all. I mean every dictator in the world protects his inner circle by bypassing the courts.
*I can hear Bush now saying "Heh heh, this Bricotrout guy sure makes up some funny names for countries! Put a wire tap on him."




So I spent yesterday at the local Target filling the cart with all the items on the back to school list from Aspen's school. This weekend is tax free for school supplies in SC but honestly, having the aisles to myself and prime choice to the binders with the cute pics on them (5 with brads, 2 without - had no idea what a 'brad' was until yesterday btw) is well worth the paying $7 in tax a few days early.
I also got her some new tops and skirts as well. Grande total was $225! Yikes! Sure could use that child support which is going to be 3 months past due in 8 days.
But that all pales in comparison to what else came yesterday.
Aspen's new bedroom furniture was delivered and assembled yesterday morning! A southwest shaker style queen bed, dresser & mirror, bookcase, cd shelf and 2 nightstands from Haverty's. All that along with the hammock chair I bought at the bluegrass fest the other day now adorn her brand new room. I would show you all pics but as you may recall, my camera is ka-put.
Hmmmm... now that I think about it, it broke as soon as I tried to take a pic of Sissy B when she was here.
Aspen comes back on the 18th or so. I say 'or so' because there is a chance that they/she may come back a few days earlier to be with her son, Ed, at his hearing. Things are not normally well planned in advance with her. Take any date she gives you and put a '+ or - 5 days' in front of it to get a more realistic timeline. I mean, according to her, she hasn't decided if she's going to get him a lawyer or not. The court date is in 2 weeks. How long does she intend on waiting?
My mum and stepfather come out for a week on the 18th as well. So I'll be going from a place all to myself to a full house overnight.
Guess it's about time to start doing some of the dishes and laundry that have been piling up for the last 3 months. Any female blogger wanna come down for a weekend to help clean? I'll give you credit on The Nut here if you do!!
Sissy, don't you owe me a favor or 2 at this point?