The Good, The Bad, and The Mostly Debauched

Making the Hoovers Great Again

Myrtle Beach 2016




Our story begins in a smoked filled, custom built Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  The smoke being generated by four elegantly dressed gentlemen, puffing away between bouts of oratory, on expensive Cuban cigars.  In the background, playing on the 72 inch screen is the movie Centurion, a tale about a massacred Roman Legion north of Hadrian’s Wall; next up is The Eagle of the Ninth, a tale about recovering the Eagle lost in The Centurion.  Yes, dear readers, our intrepid travelers have just returned from a month steeped in Roman history as they tramped all through Southern France and down all the way to the boot heel of Italy.   Tramped is a relative term as their notion of trekking involves state of the art Land Rovers driven by professionals who also double as bar tenders and cooks.  The magnificent tents, gifts from a prince in Saudi Arabia, that they call home for the trip rival 5 star rooms anywhere.  Who are these pampered, over-indulgent, seekers of knowledge and a permanent drunk?  Let me introduce the members of the sports management team of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe.

  • Rocco Ian MacDougal – age 51 born in Dover, DE of an Italian mother and Scottish father. This mixed heritage explains his drinking preferences of Sangria in the morning and Chivas Regal after noon.  Took part in many black-ops as an Army Ranger, none of which can he talk about but he has let it slip that one had something to do with Saddam Hussein.   One of the top agents employed by the Sports Management Agency of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe, he is now a full partner, albeit without his name on the marquee.
  • Samuel Dewey – age 66 born in Ogallala, NE.  Graduated from Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute in 1970.  His friends call him CR from his earlier career as a corporate raider.  Indeed, the founding of DC&H was as a result of a corporate takeover.  His business acumen is so sharp that he has been married and divorced three times and has never had to pay a settlement or alimony despite being one of the 50 wealthiest Americans..  He drinks Stoli Elit before, during and after breakfast and switches to Southern Comfort at lunch.
  • Vincent Cheatum – 64 born in Piney Green, NC, a little fart of a town just outside of the largest Marine Corps base on the East coast, Camp Lejeune, where his father settled after retiring from The Marines as a highly decorated Master Sgt.  After a brief stint as a roadie for The Grateful Dead, Vinny followed his dad’s footsteps and also retired from the Marines as a Gunnery Sergeant, hence his nickname of Gunny.  His beverages of choice are Schlitz and Jack Daniels.
  • Clyde Howe – 75 born in Altoona, PA.  He is a distant relative of Lord Richard Howe, the British commander during part of The Revolutionary War.  Graduated from The Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1959 and had a minor role in The Bay of Pigs Invasion.  Also, it was his ship that was fired upon by a North Vietnamese patrol boat in the Gulf of Tonkin.  The Ancient Mariner, as he is known by, retired as a Rear Admiral.  Has always expressed great admiration for the movie, The Big Lebowski so he drinks White Russians day and night.  The exception to this is when he brings out a 29 year old Cragganmore single malt Scotch that he sips while smoking Cuban cigars.

“It was Alesia, damnit”, yelled Clyde, his hands shaking so much that his scotch sloshed over the sides, “Alesia was Caesar’s greatest victory, bar none.  The engineering alone ranks that battle higher than any other.”

“I respectfully disagree.  Clearly Caesar’s finest hour was defeating Magnus at Pharsalus.” replied Rocco.  “Engineering!”, Rocco snarled, pointing his cigar at Clyde, “That was against a bunch of tribal pussies.  Pharsalus was against Romans.”  “Besides,” he continued after exhaling a series of smoke rings, “being a direct descendant of Mark Antony I think qualifies me as an expert on the subject.”

“Oh for the love of Mithras.  I’ll have you know, you scion of a traitor..” Clyde paused for a moment to belch and to regain his train of thought.

Vinny popped open a can of Schlitz with one hand while crushing an empty with the other one.  “I sincerely hope that you two will cease and desist this ongoing, never ending, pointless discussion.  I’m trying to watch the movie.  That painted Pict lady is kinda hot.”

Sam staggered against the lounge chair he was trying to sit in resulting in a wave of Stoli crashing upon the front of his Armani slacks.  “Damn turbulence.  I’m gonna have a talk with the pilot, bastard probably did that on purpose.”, Sam said while holding his vodka violated pant leg out away from his body.  “There was no turbulence, excepting of the drunken walk variety.”, responded Rocco with a big grin.

“Who the hell asked for your opinion?”, Sam yelled, “in fact, why the hell did we make you a partner?  You lost our best client by letting Ocho retire; by the way are we still making money off of his endorsements?”

Rocco scratched his head, and looked around wondering if he could find someplace to hide but even a 787 Dreamliner is limited in that respect.  “Well, Rocco, I asked you a simple question.  A simple yes or no would be a good place to start.”, said Sam as he stripped off his sodden pants to reveal a pair of boxers sporting the cast from The Big Bang Theory.

Marjorie Detwiler has been employed for these last 10 years by Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, as Director of Excursions and Executive Flight Attendant.  At five feet, 11 inches tall, Marjorie stood taller than all of the partners.  She received a Masters in Sports Management & Entertainment from Harvard while playing shooting guard on the women’s NCAA basketball team and was an Honorable Mention All American.  Little in her college experience, however, prepared her for employment with this group of semi-hedonistic, inebriation record setting, globe trotting golf and adventure seekers.  A perfect example was now playing itself out as Marjorie entered the lounge with her clipboard to brief her boys on their itinerary for the next week.  Seeing Sam standing in his underwear caught her attention right away but it wasn’t the pictures of Sheldon and Penny that drew her eyes.  No, this wasn’t the first time she had been witness to various states of undress; not the first time the veneer of professionalism that she strove to maintain no matter what the circumstance had cracked as she unsuccessfully stifled a chuckle. Peeking out of the front of the Big Bang boxers was one-eyed Sammy.

“What’s everyone staring at?”, asked Vinny as he followed the stares of his companions, “Oh my! Donkey man is showing off again, I see.”  “Is nothing sacred with you people?”, said Sam as he reached down and cradled one-eyed Sammy in his hands, “This piece of artistry in the flesh is of Biblical proportion and is so mentioned in Ezekiel 20:23, and I paraphrase for the squeamish, ‘and the women lusted after men hung like donkeys and whose emissions are as from a horse.’  So be a little more respectful, if you please.”  Sam then put one-eyed Sammy back behind Penny and Sheldon.  He looked at Rocco and thought that there was something he was going to say to Rocco but damned if he could remember what it was.  “I’m gonna get some fresh pants if anyone wants to come watch.”, Sam said and headed off to his suite.


We are one week away from our annual visit to the hub of The Confederacy, although now instead of rice, indigo and cotton plantations tended by unwilling participants in that pristine agrarian society, there are acres of landscape modified into the curse word inducing, club flinging geographic phenomena of golf courses.  As has been typical of year’s past, the closer to departure we get, the more verbose we become; our excitement building to a symphonic crescendo.  This stoking of our desire to golf again is what sustains us through the long dreary months we are held captive by the gods of seasonal atmospheric conditions, El Nino and climate change.  The unhappy irony of this pent up, ever building crescendo is that by the third hole of the first day that crescendo becomes a white foamed wave, crashing furiously against the rocks of reality.  Thus I have come upon the idea to do dramatic readings from my novel in progress, Clash of Empires, thereby restoring the morale of my aging, battered friends; restoring a calmness to their tortured souls.  I was expecting heaps of excited anticipatory responses from my fellow travelers but instead was met with a torpid, ‘yeah, okay’, type of reply.  Except from Rick; he was so captivated by the idea that he suggests we dress in costume and play out the scenes.  Rick has recently retired from active employment and I am concerned for the health of his mind.


“Hello again.  This is Jim Nantz once again bringing to you live, the antics and the undeniably bad golf that is their stock in trade, The Hoovers in Myrtle Beach.  With me once more is my good friend and colleague, Sir Nick Faldo.  I must say you’re looking pretty dapper for a man who just a few hours ago was stuffing one dollar bills anywhere he could at a local Gentlemen’s Club.”

“Always a pleasure, Jim.  I guess those kids just make me feel young again.  But more to the point, what in the realm of Aphrodite’s tits are we doing broadcasting these buffoons?”

“In the contract old buddy.  Seems we were bought out by that sports management group, Dewey, Cheetum and Howe and they want to promote Ocho, so here we are.”

“Well I have news for you old chum, they are on the way here, or so I’m told.  Flying into Myrtle on that damned Dreamliner they own.  Coming in from Amsterdam of all places.  Probably hanging out at one of those cafes smoking who knows what and making asses of themselves.”


Ocho awoke after a restful night on his lavishly appointed couch in the posh Hoover mansion, Chez Rick’s.  Ocho has by tradition provided the coffee for this week of golf and giggles and this year has brought two very good beans from Thanksgiving Coffee; a Kona Blend(cuz I can’t afford the real thing) and a nice Guatemalan.  Soon the sound of the grinder turning the beans of the gods into a brew-able consistency echoes off the walls of the condo kitchen.  A moment later the process of creating the elixir of salvation is made manifest by the aroma, an aroma that announces that the new day has begun and it is fucking glorious.

As a cost saving ploy and a chance to further enhance our male bonding experience, we are cooking dinners in for a few nights.  Ocho not only contributes to the workings of the intestinal regions with the morning infusion of the elixir of salvation, he is doubling his efforts for this evening’s meal.  Ocho is making chili; not too hot, just enough btu action to make you feel glad to be alive and feasting on this culinary miracle.  With Jimmy Two Birds working that Ronco Slice and Dice on an onion, Joey demonstrating his can opening expertise and Ocho putting it all together, how could it be anything other than a gourmet’s delight.  Every breath is soon punctuated with the smell of onion, garlic, beans, beef, etc coupled with the fading but still discernible aroma of Guatemalan.


Nantz: We are well into the second round and as usual there isn’t a whole lot of good to report on from these aging club flingers.

Faldo: I agree, although there have been flashes of, I was gonna say brilliance but that would be a bit over the top.  Let’s just call it sucking less than usual, such as The Rick paring all three holes at Amen Corner, not an easy task as I can well attest, being a winner there a few times.   Did I ever tell you, mate, about the tiff I had with my caddie over club choice at the par 3?  Well..

Nantz: Sorry Nick old pal, no time for your glory days routine. There’s nobody listening anyway.  Those dozy bastards who consigned us to this broadcasting nightmare probably don’t even remember that we’re doing this.  It’s a wonder they can function at a level higher than one of them three toed sloths.  You know what I heard?  That they all have agreed to donate their internal organs to science.  Mayo Clinic is desperate to find out why their livers lasted longer than some non-alcohol preserved specimens.

Faldo: Uh, Jim?  Clyde Howe is on line one.


Clyde: Faldo?  You over rated hack, I wanna talk to that pompous bag of methane, Nantz.

Sam: You tell him that I’m gonna donate his balls to my taxidermist and have them mounted on my den wall.

Clyde: Nantz?  Don’t talk, just listen.  We own you now, pal, so you better get used to a new tradition like no other.  We’re flying in to Wilmington, NC to play at this place called Farmstead.  We will be listening to your riveting broadcast; a little less full of yourself and a little more entertaining would be appreciated.

Vinny: Another thing, we need some eye candy.  Nantz might still be pretty but Faldo’s late night exploits don’t exactly enhance his beauty.

Rocco: This is perfect.  We represent a nubile young lady who is a, she’s a, well she’s an entertainer at one of Myrtle Beach’s finer clubs.  Her name is Melody Storm.  Get her to do on the course interviews and stuff.

Vinny: Oh yeah, she’s hot.

Clyde: You got that, Nantz?  Melody Storm showing her stuff.  See you later.


or perhaps, more appropriately,


Another round completed at a very nice, new venue for us, The Grande Dunes.  Beautiful holes running parallel to the Intracoastal Waterway, greens that begged to be putted upon, ponds that demanded sacrifice and according to an informed staff member, water moccasins slithering in the shoreline greenery seeking unwary golfers to slay. Indeed, a round that will long be cherished for many reasons; each Hoover with his own memories of spectacular holes while ushering the not so spectacular to the darkest recesses of their collective minds.  Joey with his record shattering 97, Rick with his back to back pars on 8 & 9, Ocho with his blistering par,par,par,birdie,par and Jimmy with his good fortune to be in the same cart with Ocho during those blistering holes.  Ironic when you think on it.  Jimmy was the most effusive in praise of Grande Dunes and yet he played the worst of the four of us.  Just goes to show that inside the Hoovers beats the hearts of poets.

The setting sun was a display of grandeur and a perfect backdrop to the network interview area set up just off the 18th green.  Melody Storm dressed in a form fitting blue dress and oh what a form that was filling it.  Spaghetti straps on the shoulders held up what little material there was that formed the low cut cleavage revealing bodice.    Arising from the bottom of her right calf is a tattoo of an elegant climbing morning glory vine that enchantingly disappears mid-thigh under the dress.  Carrying a microphone and a clipboard she walks over to Ocho and Rick.  Joey alights from his cart like he was shot out of a cannon to join in on the interview.  Just as Melody gets into position she drops the clipboard.  Both Melody and Joey bend down to retrieve the item and Joey is met with an eyeful of cleavage.  Melody takes the clipboard from a mesmerized Joey and winks at him turning him into a glazed over statue, unable to move as the sun reflects off the beaded sweat on the top of his head.  On the other side of the green, Jimmy was still sitting in the cart when Melody bent down for the clipboard.  His view, when he was able to regain focus after the initial shock, was of the morning glory vine as it reached her well made gluteal region.  His first thought was the realization he really liked peaches; his second thought was that he could not get out of the cart until a certain condition abated.


Nantz: “I can’t remember the last time I was so enmeshed in the beauty and drama of a well played golf match.  Not Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy or even Sir Nick Faldo has ever brought to the golfing public a display of excellence such as the likes of The Hoovers have brought to us today.”

Faldo:”Bollocks!  What have you been smoking?  We’ve been on the air for 4 1/2 hours and have seen maybe half a dozen decent shots from these club wielding buffoons.”

Nantz:  quickly put his hand over Faldo’s mike, “What the hell is wrong with you?  Our new bosses are listening.  You better pucker up and start doing the arse kiss routine or we’re toast.”

Faldo: “Shite, I forgot.”  He reaches down under the desk and pulls up a bottle of Johnny Walker Black and takes a three gulp drink.  “Okay, I’m ready to pucker.”

Nantz: slowly takes his hand from Nick’s mike, “Aw now Nick, let’s not be jealous.  This is their time, yours has sadly passed you by.  Time for a brief word from our new sponsor, Hoover Eats, the last word in fine beef stews and chili and then we’ll take you down to the course for some in depth interviews with our latest staff addition, Melody Storm.

Faldo: “That’s right, Jim.  Hoover Eats is perfect for that post-round meal.  The chili is out of this world and let me tell you, I just had a bowl before going on the air and it tastes just as good the second time(he belches and smiles).  The beef stew has been rated highest among those who think Dinty Moore comes straight from God.  So stock up now; Hoover Eats – it keeps you moving.”

Nantz: “Now we are going down to Melody as she chats with Ocho and The Rick. Welcome to the crew, Melody.”

Faldo: mutters just loud enough for it to go over the air, “So that’s what she looks like with clothes on.”


Farmstead Golf Course has the distinction of being geographically situated in both North and South Carolina.  This little fact is causing no little consternation to the partners.  It is illegal to drink on the golf course in North Carolina and 85% of the course is in North Carolina.  “Not having alcohol on even one hole is a travesty of justice,” yelled Sam, “and I’m sure is a violation of my god-given, constitutionally mandated rights.”  Marjorie didn’t bat an eye or move an inch, she just said, “Clyde!” and turned to exit the plane thinking how glorious the next few hours would be while her boys were wreaking havoc elsewhere.

Clyde looked at Vinny and asked, “How many North Carolina legislators do we own?”  Vinny scratched his head, crushed a Schlitz can and replied, “Four but there’s a fifth who is just awaiting our final offer.”  “Okay, call the fifth and get him or her on board and then conference in the other four.  I want an exemption in that ill-formed piece of legislature or our friends the congresspeople will, and I quote Walter Sobchak, ‘be entering a world of pain.’  Is that clear, Vinny?”  “Couldn’t have said it any better, Clyde, my wise old friend,” answered Vinny, the swish of a can of Schlitz being opened punctuating the moment.

“Hey Sam,” said Clyde, following Sam over to the bar for a quick one before their first drink during the limo ride to the golf course, “You’ve been a little too rough on Marjorie, hell we all take advantage of her from time to time.  Damn, but she’s a treasure and it is time we showed her our appreciation.  It’s time to implement our plan to buy out Expedia and a couple other travel outfits and start our own mega travel guide service.  Marjorie will run it as President of Travel Hedonists, Inc.”


Despite the fact that Clyde and the rest expected Ocho to be the primary focus of the broadcast interviews and despite the fact that this was indeed a ploy by Clyde and the rest to entice Ocho out of retirement, the interview was still slanted towards The Rick as Clyde and the rest forgot about the inexplicable attraction between women and The Rick.  Ocho was only able to answer one question regarding his return to action.  At that point, Melody, aimed the mike at The Rick and proceeded to bombard him with inane questions about his favorite color, his favorite bands and whether he thought Donald Trump was evil.  However, it was not the interview questions that mattered or even, the answers.  This was two people becoming enraptured with each other.  Melody could only imagine running her fingers through that magnificent, never been treated for baldness, head of hair and The Rick, when he wasn’t glancing at cleavage, was captured by her green eyes and the way a strand of her brunette hair fluttered against her forehead.

After the interview, Melody tapped The Rick on the shoulder and said, “I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to finally meet you.  I am taking classes at Francis Marion Junior College.  I hope to get a degree in Business or Broadcast Journalism.  I read all about you and your rise to the top of the business world in our textbook. It was a chapter entitled, ‘The Profitability of Ruthless Capitalism’.  I was wondering if you would like to come see me perform.  I work at The Purring Kitten, one of the area’s finest dance studios.  After we could maybe talk.  I would so dearly love to talk to you about your experiences. I have so much to learn and this would be so much more informative than a dry, impersonal textbook.”

Hoover Bob returned to the group after a couple days visiting a friend.  He walked over to the table where Jimmy, Joey and Ocho were having a post round libation.  Besides, they had nowhere to go until The Rick said where and when.  “Who is that fawning all over the boss?”, asked Bob.  Without taking his eyes off of Melody, Joey told Bob who she was.  Jimmy could only manage a sigh and Ocho just rolled his eyes. “Do you think we should remove her?”, asked Bob, with an eager look on his face and already moving toward her, “She seems to be keeping the Chief from joining us.”  At that point Ocho got up and pulled Bob back, “Umm, I don’t think the Chief wants to be rescued.”

 Author’s Note

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, The Hoovers have all been sainted and shall  henceforth, on St Patrick’s Day, be known as:  St. Joey of the Fairway…St. Bob of the Pits (a NASCAR term) …St. Jimmy the Pontificator… St. Richard the Hoover Hearted… and St. Paul the Flatulent.


Nantz: “St. Patrick’s Day and our intrepid band of Hoovers are all decked out in various shades of green as they prepare to play the Nicklaus designed Long Bay Club.”

Faldo: “About the only thing missing is maybe a keg of stout and a fifth or two of Jameson’s.  Hell, I’d join them if they were so encumbered.  Fortunately I have my own supply of green beer on hand.  Did you hear the names they are going by today?

Nantz: “Some colorful ones indeed.  Well that’s interesting.  They were all gathered together on the 1st tee waiting for the group in front of them to get out of their way when of a sudden they all broke away from each other.”

Faldo: “Ten to one it was St. Paul the flatulent.”

Nantz: “And that is the perfect lead-in to a word from our sponsor Hoover Eats and their two new exciting entrees, Meatballs ala Jimmy and Rick O’Lobsitz’ Corned Beef and Cabbage.  With that is our newest colleague, Melody Storm.

Melody: “If you’re looking for a wholesome, nutritious, gluten free, antibiotic free, organically grown meal with 0% transfat, then you better look elsewhere.  Hoover Eats specializes in meals made the old fashioned way…with taste being the primary focus.  And I can state unequivocally that the new entrees, as well as the chili and beef stew, are stick to the ribs good.  Hoover Eats – it keeps you moving.”


It was a sunny, 75 degree day as the partners rolled onto the first tee at Farmstead.  They were all wearing cargo shorts as the deep pockets could hold half a dozen various alcoholic nips or in Vinny’s case, a couple cans of Schlitz.  Since they spend a lot of time outdoors they were much more tanned than anyone else on the course but that didn’t stop Sam from applying a spray on tan which gave him an orange hue.  Clyde took one look at him and said, “Good grief, Sam, you look as ridiculous as that madman Trump.”  “Oh piss off, Clyde,” replied Sam, “and don’t you ever compare me to that bozo.  Calls himself a successful businessman; hell if we were as successful, we’d be out of business.”

The four of them then performed their own special pre-round ritual of pouring a libation on the tee box ground to the golf god, Hackus.  “Excuse me, gentlemen,” interrupted a stern looking golf course official, “but alcohol is not permitted on the North Carolina portion of the course.”  Vinny walked over to the course official, “Here, hold my beer while I make a phone call.”  Taking his phone out of the pocket of his Jerry Garcia emblazoned golf shirt, Vinny hit one number and a video chat session was opened, “Good morning Pat.  Would you please explain to this nice man about our special exemption?  Thanks and have a nice day.”  The course official took the phone and saw the face of Pat McCrory the governor of North Carolina.  “Who am I speaking to?” asked McCrory.  “I uh, uh.” stammered the course official, “Spackler, sir.  Charles Spackler.”  “Well, Spackler, I expect you and your staff to extend every courtesy to these fine gentlemen.  If they wanna drink on your course, they can bloody well drink on your course.  You got that?  Good!  Now, I don’t want to be bothered again about this.  I’m a busy man.  There’s an Andy of Mayberry marathon on TV right now and you’re making me miss it.”, replied McCrory as he ended the call.  Spackler handed the phone back to Vinny but as he started to hand back the Schlitz he was holding, Vinny chuckled and said, “May as well drink that one, Spackler.  I don’t think Pat will mind and besides, I already have another.”


The home cooked meal has been devoured, the dishwasher has been loaded,and a load of unmentionables is tumbling in the washing machine.  Now is the time for these feisty, energetic seekers of excitement to choose tonight’s entertainment.  Not constrained by the strictures of home life, wives, children and grand children, it is time to cut loose.  Rick reaches into a canvas bag that he’s been guarding against any intrusion in order to surprise us, “Are you guys ready to have some wicked good fun?”, he asks with a smirk that is at once both mischievous and mysterious, giving the impression that something naughty awaits.  Well, naughty it wasn’t, though there were some mentions of various parts of human anatomy that could be construed, in some circumstances. as being naughty.  No, the wicked good fun was a game called Cards Against Humanity; a party game in which players complete fill-in-the-blank statements using mature-content phrases printed on playing cards.  Hilarity ensued as we all vied to have the fill-in phrase for a question be the one that we each had chosen.  Oh, the mirth and mayhem we Hoovers enjoy during this annual golf expedition.  Many groups of guys come to Myrtle and fritter away their evenings drinking in bars or in gentlemen’s clubs, but not The Hoovers.  Night time for us is pints of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey or Cherries Garcia, Oreo cookies and a Robin Williams concert DVD, and then passing out before 11:00.


Never let it be said that a round of golf for these guys will ever be without behavior not usually seen in the prim and proper world of civilized golf.  Some of you who have read some of this author’s tales of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, may remember an incident involving Clyde baring his backside as penance for a tee shot not going passed the ladies red tee box.  Well, dear readers, it happened again as Clyde lost whatever balance remained in his inebriated anatomy, resulting in his driver topping the ball 2 inches in front of his tee and thrusting him forward.  With his arms outstretched in front of him, Clyde plunged downward, his hands hitting the ground first thus softening the blow when his arms gave out and his face fell into the turf.  The blow to his upper body was further softened, however, by the cushion-like texture of the Bermuda grass.  The lower half of his body was not as fortunate.  The dimpled sphere lying 2 inches in front of his tee was now connected through his shorts and boxers, to one of his own dimpled spheres.  The force at which he fell at, upon contact with the ground, embedded the ball in his upper thigh region causing it to remain attached when he came to be suddenly sober and shot up like a rocket, shrieking like a banshee as the pain overcame the alcohol in his bloodstream. He wrestled his shorts and boxers to his ankles to determine the extent of the injuries to his, let’s say upper thigh area.  “Oh dear God in heaven,” came the plaintive cry of the Course Superintendent as he took his hands off of the steering wheel of the golf cart and placed them on either side of his screaming mouth and inadvertently stepped on the accelerator.  As misfortune would have it, he was going downhill and was heading for a slight curve in the cart path.  He missed the turn.  After a short bumpy ride through a patch of tall grass and scrub brush, he finally came to a stop as the cart began to submerge in the pond beyond the scrub brush.  Fortunately for the Course Superintendent there were no water moccasins ready to slay a wayward golf cart driver. Course Superintendent Charles Spackler pulled his cell phone out of his shirt pocket and held it over his head as he waded back to dry ground and over to the tee box where Clyde was still looking at his, let’s say upper thigh area.  Barely able to speak intelligibly he managed to sputter out, “Never in my life have I seen such a display of reprehensible, pre-pubescent behavior.  Wait until the Governor hears about this!.”  Just as Spackler was ready to dial the governor, Rocco grabbed his hand, “You might want to think about this for a moment.  You know, not rush into anything you might regret.  I seem to recall our friend the Governor saying something about not wanting to be disturbed while he’s watching Andy of Mayberry?  And besides Vinny here already sent our friend the Governor, pictures of old Clyde’s backside and, shall we say, upper thigh region.  He’s probably looking at them during a commercial break and laughing his ass off.  So, relax.  Here have a Schlitz and a nice Cuban cigar.”  Spackler took the beer and the cigar, sat on the ground, buried his head in his hands and wept.

 Marjorie lingered a few moments longer in the whirlpool bath steeling herself to listen to the ungodly number of messages waiting on her cell phone, and the imminent return of her boys.  Her mind drifted back as she savored the peace and tranquility of the last six hours; a most relaxing six hours.  First was a two hour nap, followed by an hour massage, courtesy of A Sacred Place Wellness Center.  Then a peaceful lunch of salad, fruit and three glasses of wine.  She felt the tension just evaporate out of her neck and shoulders like the steam rising from the whirlpool.  The sound of her cell phone alarm clock interrupted her reverie and jarred her back into reality.


Nantz: “Whoohee!  We’re finally done with this blasted assignment.  Pass me that Johnny Walker and let’s get shitfaced my good sir knight.”

Faldo: “Excellent fucking idea my good sir, ah, good sir.  Oh hell.  Have a drink.  Now I may be mistaken but I think we’re still on the air.  Can we say shitfaced and excellent fucking idea on the air?”

Nantz: “No worries.  There’s a five second delay.”  He pauses for a moment as the producer back in the studio in New York is screaming at him in his headphones.  “We’re fucked.  No five second delay.”

Faldo:  Picks up the ringing phone, “Um, Jim?  It’s Sam Dewey.”


“Nantz?”, snarled Sam, “Don’t talk, just listen. What in ………………………..   You have screwed up every step of the way.  Did we want that pompous, most interesting man in the world, The Rick to be the interview focus?  No, we didn’t?  Did we want Melody Storm  to defect and become a business consultant on Fox Business?  No we didn’t?  Did we want you and that perpetually unintelligible partner of yours to put on a broadcast that was even mildly entertaining?  Yes we did.  Did you?  No you didn’t?  As a result of these failures to produce you and your partner are being reassigned.  You, Nantz, will be doing weather reporting from our office in the Aleutian Islands.  Faldo is now my caddie.”  Sam disconnected the call on his phone, sighed and said, “I love what I do.”

Marjorie listened to all of the messages and decided she could ignore all of them except the one from Fox Business wanting a reaction to a video of Clyde screaming and brandishing for all of the internet to see, his upper thigh region.  She switched on her laptop in order to see for herself the video that already had 123,000 likes and 57,000 shares on Facebook; plus being the number one trending hashtag on Twitter.  She also found the edited version on YouTube and wasn’t surprised to learn that ESPN was running it on Sports Center.  Taking a deep breath to stem the returning tension, Marjorie took another look at Clyde’s fall and started to chuckle; a chuckle that grew and finally burst forth as a full blown mirthful laugh causing her to fall to the floor at the foot of the bed.  As her laughter slowly subsided, she could hear the faint dialogue from the video feed then was surprised by a sudden change in the volume.

Clyde let out another anguished cry of pain as he waited for Rocco, who was fumbling with a ring of key cards, to get the door open to their suite.  “Oh for the sake of all that’s holy, get that damnable door open, will you?”, Clyde beseeched.  He pulled off the towel that had been wrapped around his waist; a towel that was soaked through with vodka, gin, scotch and Schlitz.  In an attempt to deaden the pain during the limo ride from the golf course, Clyde was drinking everything he could get his hands on.  He had also been pouring half of the contents of the various nips and Schlitz cans directly onto the upper region of his thighs as topical analgesics.  Clyde howled once more when Vinny bent down to take a look and accidentally brushed against Clyde’s upper thigh area with a Schlitz can.

Marjorie realized that the howl wasn’t coming from the video feed but was coming from out in the hallway.  With a mixture of dread and the anticipation of the inevitable, Marjorie got to her feet, walked to her door and with a trembling hand opened it.  Rocco, still fiddling with the ring of key cards, smiled at her.  Vinny turned to her and said, “Hi Marjorie.  Look at how many more dimples there are on Clyde’s right nut than on the left one.  Hey, what’s this Clyde?  Does that say Titleist?”   Sam staggered into the hallway from the direction of the backdoor.  “Where you guys been?  Who moved the front door to the back? ”  He lurched into the wall next to Marjorie’s door and slid to the floor.  Gesturing with his hands he first pointed at Marjorie and then at Clyde, “Have you seen the video?  I betcha that weasel The Rick leaked this to that traitor Melody Storm thinking this would ruin us.  I got news for that walking L.L. Bean commercial, this is gonna work for us.  You can’t buy publicity like this.”  With that pronouncement complete, Sam curled up on the floor and fell asleep.  Marjorie stepped over his fetal positioned form and opened the suite door that Rocco now realized did not need a key card and hadn’t even been locked.


The Rick dunked another Oreo into the glass of milk, hit mute on the remote and while chewing on the milk soaked cookie pointed the uneaten half at the lovely Melody Storm who was breaking down in great detail the vile display of those immoral, unscrupulous business partners of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe to her fellow panel members on the Fox Business forum.  “Those dozy, drunken sots ain’t gonna know what hit them.”, opined Jimmy Two Birds as he swallowed the last of his frozen Strawberry Daiquiri.  Nascar Bob, peaked around the refrigerator door, “Hey, we’re almost out of beer. Who wants to make a Piggly Wiggly run with me?”   Joey got up, wiped the back of his hand across the chocolate cake crumbs on his lips and grabbed the keys to the Hoovermobile, “Let’s roll.”  Bob grabbed the last beer walked over to Joey with his right hand extended upward and outward, “High five, bro.”  Ocho, who had been busy with the effects of chili and strong coffee, hurried out of the bathroom and called out to Bob and Joey, “Hey, get me another pint of Chunky Monkey, high five bro.”

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Rumours of Glory by Bruce Cockburn


As soon as I heard that Bruce had written his memoir I knew that I had to read it.  I first heard of him and his music in 1984 and have been in awe of his talents ever since.  His songwriting has always been a breath of fresh air in this age where marketing is more important than the product.  Then there is his mastery of the guitar(at this moment I’m listening to Cader Idris – a remarkable acoustic solo)…whenever I see him in concert I inevitably focus on his hands while I lip-sync the lyrics. The last time I saw him in concert was just a week ago and is where my wife purchased the book for me for my birthday.  As you can see from the picture above, Bruce was kind enough to sign it for me. This was the second time I met him, the first was in 1994 at Berklee College of Music backstage after a show with my wife and three kids.  He was gracious enough to have our picture taken with him.  One of the things that jumps out in the book is how he struggled early in his career with relating to his audience because he is not naturally drawn to the spotlight.  He recounts his life in a mostly chronological order, starting with his early home life and in which he punctuates with lyrics from songs written during he period he is describing.  I found his telling of what certain songs were composed for and for who to be most enlightening.  Some of the songs were for specific instances in his life and yet could still be taken in other ways by the listener; that fascinates me to no end.

I’ve known for many years that he was involved in many humanitarian trips to war torn countries and in Rumours he goes into detail about those trips and how they shaped his perception of the world and the good and evil it contains.  His passion and compassion for his fellow humans comes shining through in this memoir as does his Christianity and his search for The Divine.  That aspect of his writing is certainly one that I found refreshing as I identify with his faith in God in a world where many of the religious among us are so intolerant of others to the point where my country is borderline hypocritical.

All in all the book was a balm to my mind and soul and has me feeling a bit more positive about my thoughts on God and the workings of the spirit.  I am glad Bruce took the time to produce a work that had to be hard to do.  He bares his soul and we, the readers can reap the benefits of his struggles and triumphs.  I highly recommend Rumours of Glory.  5 stars

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Bruce Cockburn at The Cabot, Friday night 8/21/15


My Bruce Cockburn love affair began shortly after my family moved from Detroit, Mi to Salem, MA in July 1984.  We made the migration in order to join with a group of similar minded Christians living in community and learning how to exist as small house churches.  It was at a summer night party, my new friends liked to party, we weren’t your normal church group.  The music was loud and everyone danced.  Then it was that I first heard Bruce’s music, the song was Justice and has this refrain: “Everybody
Loves to see
Justice done
On somebody else”

I was standing next Jim Lacy and asked him about the song and he then regaled me with how great this guy Bruce Cockburn was and said I should hear the song that had just started getting some radio airplay in the Boston area, “If I Had a Rocket Launcher.”  Within a week I had purchased his new album ‘Stealing Fire’ and was working on acquiring his previous albums as well; I was hooked.  I had always preferred listening to intelligent and imaginative singer/songwriters the likes of Paul Simon & Shawn Phillips etc, and Bruce certainly fulfilled those qualities and to boot he was, as I found out after seeing him play live, a world class guitarist.  Over the years, we have attended many of Bruce’s concerts, I’ve no idea how many but I would say 12-15; some with opening acts (Sam Phillips, Patty Larkin to name two), some accompanied by a full band, some just intimate Bruce only shows. Even managed to go backstage with my wife, two 14 year old sons and 5 year old daughter  and meet him in 1994.  Even though for only a few short minutes  I was struck at how gracious and engaging he was.  He actually remembered me from a letter I had written him about a year prior.


Tonight at The Cabot was a solo show and as we waited for the concert to begin and then again after as I caught up with old friends while we waited in line for Bruce to sign his book, I reminisced about some of the shows we were at.  I got to thinking about my preferences for who should be his band mates if he ever goes on a “retirement tour”.  This after all may not be a far fetched idea as our hero is now 70 years old and while he is still going strong, I could see that he was tired, his energy level a little lower than usual.  Anyway, his farewell tour band should include the following: Ben Riley on drums, Steve Lucas on bass, Colin Linden on guitar and on keyboards – well I can’t remember her name, think her last name was Wolf.  So, if his manager, Bernie Finklestein is reading this, that is my humble suggestion.  :-)

As to Bruce’s performance tonight, he pulled songs out of every era in his vast repertoire from early works like ‘God Bless the Children’ and ‘All the Diamonds’….to later songs like ‘The Iris of the World’ and ‘Bohemian 3 Step’.  The staples were also played, ‘Lovers in a Dangerous Time’, ‘Rocket Launcher’, Wondering Where the Lions Are’.  Of my many favorites, he included ‘Rumours of Glory’, ‘Hills of Morning’ and ‘Pacing the Cage’.  His voice was strong, his fingers still displaying a mesmerizing nimbleness as he coaxed love out of his three acoustical guitars(I’m guessing that two of them were Manzers, not sure about the 12-string.)  I find that no matter how far I am sitting from the stage that my focus is always drawn to his amazing guitar playing.

I mentioned earlier about waiting in line after the show to get a copy of Bruce’s recently released memoir, Rumours of Glory, signed.  This was a birthday gift from my wife, indeed the tickets to the concert were also a birthday gift from my three children, two daughters-in-law and three grand children.  Bruce was most obliging to sign mine with a happy b’day to boot.


I am glad I got to see him play again, it had been too  many years in between and I certainly cherished the music as it washed over me like a soothing balm for the spirit.  If you have not listened to him in a while, you should remedy that soon.

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The Official “Good for me, Bad for you 2015 Eastside Kids Reunion Tour & The Moron Hall of Fame Convention Travelogue”


Roll Call for the Moron Hall of Fame Convention – a list of this year’s attendees:

  • Jim ‘$6’ Irvine Jr.
  • Tracy ‘Turtle Got Game’ Justice
  • Mark ‘0 for 1966’ Winningham
  • Ralph ‘Alley Ball’ Emerson
  • Chuck ‘Sofa King’ LeFurge
  • James ‘Paparazzi’ Shields
  • Wing ‘Golden Dragon’ Tom
  • Rick ‘Dog Lover’ Prince
  • Paul ‘Road Trip’ Bennett

Special cameo appearances:

  • Kerry ‘Bed Fixer’ Justice
  • Sharon ‘Hot Chick’ Bartl
  • Theresa ‘Are You Guys Here Again’ Prince
  • Debby ‘The Knox Heartthrob ‘ Vassallo

Arrival: Thursday, June 11, 2015

This tale may ramble a bit from subject to subject; from episode to episode but hopefully will be okay by the end.  Way back in the mid-70’s I lived in a second floor flat with two of my peeps and fellow travelers, one of whom was Mark Winningham who now happens to be a founding member of the Moron HOF and tonight he seems to have the parking lot greeter job as his is the first face I see upon arriving at The Pub Froggy in Roseville, MI.  Way back in the mid-70’s, I noticed that when Mark was in the ‘realm of no pain’ that he would sport a very large and silly grin.  When I stepped out of The Gray Wolf, after a marathon 16 hour trek from Providence, RI. Mark was sporting a very large and silly grin.  It was 9:30 p.m. and the boys had been going at it for a few hours, shooting bull, shooting pool and having a few beers.  Judging from the size of Mark’s grin he’d had about a pitcher or so and so would have the rest of the guys except Wing, who doesn’t drink beer, and Chuck who makes up for Wing’s abstinence 5-fold.  I was greeted with a resounding, ‘Hey, he made it’ and spent the next few minutes extolling the magnitude of the trip I had just completed, though it should be duly noted that Mark supplied me with a freshly frosted mug and filled it for me before the press conference like q & a began.

Next thing I remember is being engulfed in a bear hug.  We have slowly built up the ranks of the eastsiders and while he did attend last year’s reunion, I did not, so this was the first time I had seen Ralph Emerson in nigh unto 40 years.  He was thinner back then and a lot less muscular though I am happy to report he still affects the style and verve of a child of the 60’s.  We’ve reacquainted ourselves, over the last two years, via that cornucopia of nostalgia, Facebook, after finding each other on Classmates.  When I look back I realize that Ralph was the second friend I ever made, the first being Harold Brem whom I met at age 5…I’m not sure when I met Ralph but I’m guessing 6 or 7.  I lived on Lenox, Ralph lived on Dickerson, a few houses closer to Mack than me.  Between our streets ran a lovely alleyway, a locale that has so many memories, not the least of which is that is where we first learned to play baseball.  Using a manhole cover for home, a crack in the cement for second base and the corners of garages for first and third, we began our lessons in hitting and fielding.  The most important hitting lesson was to learn to hit straight away as many of the backyards that lined the playing field were sort of off limits and we took some risk in retrieving a ball hit into them.  One of the more important fielding lessons was to learn how to catch, while batting, any pitch you did not want to swing at.  You see, we often only had four players so that meant that most of the time we did not have anyone catching behind the manhole cover.  Not only did we improve our physical ability, we also, following a time honored tradition in baseball, improved our math skills by keeping personal batting statistics.  I believe 100 home runs per season was typical.


Friday, June 12

Spent a restful night at The Turtle’s Bed & Coffee Inn.  Well it was restful once Tracy’s brother Kerry helped $6 Jim put together his roll away bed.  The first, second, third and fourth tries were attempted with the help of Chuck; word to the wise – beer is not a performance enhancer.  One of the many perks available at The Turtle’s Bed & Coffee Inn is the backyard deck.  It’s a perfect place to enjoy the morning coffee, to recover from the night before, to prepare for the day’s activities and to share a few moments reminiscing with Kerry about the old days when our world ended at 8 Mile Rd; beyond that was still covered with woods, fields and farms.

Today’s plan is breakfast at Dan’s Diner (omelets – oh my, you gotta try the country omelet covered in sausage gravy), followed by bowling and batting cages.  After that it’s just a matter of finding a bar with pool tables and pretty barmaids; an observation – the barmaids got prettier with each pitcher of beer.  J  First up then, the Apollo Lanes for a rousing three games of a sport I have not partaken of in roughly 30 years.  Not to worry, I used to carry a 150 average and am positive I still have the skill; this despite that I have a cantankerous right shoulder that will be rolling a 16 pound ball; yeah no worries.


For the record I rolled 110,133 and 90 but I was robbed on several occasions with direct pocket hits that left that damnable ten pin still standing.  Those scores were good enough for a very convincing 4th place finish as I beat out Tracy by 3 pins and Chuck by 7.  Mark and $6 tied for 1st and Wing came in third.  That leaves Ralph; laughing all the way to last place, though I think I may have heard a few unmentionable words intermingled with the laughter.   When Mark announced that Tracy beat Chuck by four pins, Tracy did an immediate turn to Chuck and pointing his finger, first at himself and then at Chuck exclaimed, ‘Good for me, bad for you!’ Before I move on to the next activity, I must say a word about the rental bowling shoes.  They have certainly gone all out for fashion and comfort; a double strap Velcro closure with a sole that might be thicker than two sheets of paper and for this we have to leave one of our own shoes as a deposit.  I was sorely tempted to keep the rentals.

Stepping outside after the bowling, we commenced a lengthy discussion on which batting cage to go to; the indoor one (it was threatening rain) or the outdoor one.  For the unwashed masses, among the many activities we try to get in, there are the inevitable debates on what to do next, where to do it, who’s driving, who’s riding with who and do we need to get more beer (that particular debate lasts the shortest amount of time).   We chose the indoor one but in the end we went to both; what the heck, my shoulder was still attached and my left knee had only buckled a little after the first set of cages.  At first I was frustrated with my inability to hit a line drive, something that I was always able to do.  The problem was two-fold; the pitching machine insisted on delivering the ball way inside off the plate, the other was my abysmal timing.  Once I convinced myself to step out of the batter’s box and use that as home plate my timing got better and was able to get a few nice hits.  That was on the slow pitch machine.  I tried the fast pitch softball machine, think I’ll stick to slow pitch…took a few swings and misses to realize, ‘Boy, I better start swinging a bit sooner.’  Even then the results were not typical of my ability 40 years ago but that was the case for all of us; good thing we have our memories.  As I told one of the other patrons, “You wouldn’t believe it if I told you, but this (pointing to our group) was the nucleus of a championship softball team in 1966.”


One of the mainstays of our reunions, besides beer and laughter, is shooting pool.  A sport I was never really very good at.  I blame it on the fact there is too much geometry involved and I was an inept mathematician.  In fact the only two classes I ever failed were math classes.  However, on this night I was on fire and with Jim Shields as my partner we won the 1 game knock out, 8-ball tournament in a devastating fashion.  Now there are some who would question our overwhelming domination simply because the two teams we annihilated lost by scratching on the 8-ball.  To this I say, ‘good for us, bad for you.’

I suppose I should elaborate on the catch phrase of the weekend.  One of the salient features of all of our reunions has been an undercurrent of competition between Chuck and Tracy.  Whether it is basketball, football, shooting pool or playing poker, Chuck’s mission was to beat Tracy, so the ‘good for me, bad for you’ mantra became the winner’s exaltation of victory.

Sharon 'Hot Chick' Bartl on the left...

Sharon ‘Hot Chick’ Bartl on the left…

Another pool tabled bar we visited on that day was at Colleen’s Pub in St. Clair Shores.  We ended up staying there for a while and made that our dinner place for the night.  Unbeknownst to me, Ralph had posted, via his phone, on Facebook that we were currently at Colleens and had tagged me in the post.  I was sitting there lost in the reverie when a woman came up behind me and said, ‘what are you doing here?’  To my surprise I found myself looking at my very lovely sister-in-law, Sharon Bartl, who had noticed on her phone that I was sitting in a bar in St. Clair Shores.  Don’t you just love technology?  She was on her way home from work (her and husband David live in SCS about a mile from Colleen’s) and when she saw on Facebook that I was in town and she stopped in to say hi.  Now, some of the guys were sitting at the table so I introduced her to them, but there were a few of the guys who were shooting pool and she departed before they came back to the table.  One of them exclaimed, ‘who was the hot chick hitting on Paul?’  So, Sharon, to a bunch of aged geezers, you are a hot chick.  Whether that is a good thing or not, I do not know.  J


Saturday, June 13

If it is the Saturday of reunion weekend, then we must be at Rick’s basketball and poker emporium.  Each year we try to minimize the physicality of our activities and this year was no different.  It was decided that a friendly, non-contact game of around the world would be our version of basketball this year.  It is strictly a shooting game only; no running or jumping or defending involved.  Naturally, Tracy ‘Turtle Got Game’ won and also, naturally, we then morphed into a 3 on 3 contest and that does involve running, jumping and defending.  It was an exciting and close contest that pitted $6, Ralph and Rick against Chuck, Tracy and me.  About halfway through $6 needed to bow out (we are getting smarter I think) and Chuck took himself out to make the rest of the game a 2 on 2.  At this point my tactical genius came to the fore as I designed the winning plays around a simple yet effective strategy, ‘Give the ball to Tracy.’  With Rick draped all over Tracy like he was The Turtle’s shell, I executed a perfect bounce pass under the menacing octopus like arms of Ralph.  Then the genius of Turtle took over; with Rick expecting a jump shot (well jump may be overstating Tracy’s capability nowadays), he up-faked Rick out of position, ducked under Rick’s arms and made a beautiful game winning scoop shot.  Now, if you are keeping score, that makes two significant victories for me, pool and basketball; good for us, bad for them.  J

The picture above was taken by yours truly as I wisely chose not to engage in the following game of 21; another contest that involves a lot of physical action and contact because each contestant is playing against everyone else.  You grab a rebound or loose ball and are then set upon by a Mongol like horde intent on your destruction.  As you can see from the photo, Ralph paid the price for daring to take a shot.  J

An interesting facet of our basketball follies is that Rick’s neighbors and even the mailman take the time to enjoy the antics of our group of aging hoopsters.  Like those who watch NASCAR they are waiting for an accident to happen but instead are treated to a scintillating display of geezer ball as occasionally we look like we used to know what we were doing.  Once again we foiled their ghoulish desires and came away unscathed, if a few bumps, scrapes and bruises qualify as unscathed.  No need for a call to 911 or to use Mark ‘0 for 1966’ Winningham’s ever present jumper cables; the only required need was to drink a couple more beers in order to better remember another future Glory Days discussion, or perhaps more truthfully, to help deaden the pains of the bumps, scrapes and bruises.  I can foresee that soon we will be regulated to shooting paper wads at a trash basket to satisfy our basketball jones and even then, Tracy will most likely win.  Good for him, bad for us.


The previous reunions were mostly devoid of any female involvement except for Rick’s wife and daughter who risked coming into their house during the Saturday night poker games.  This year we were practically inundated with women (a bit of hyperbole).  In addition to the surprise visit from Sharon ‘Hot Chick’ Bartl, we finally got Debby ‘The Knox Heartthrob’ Vassallo and Theresa ‘Are You Guys Here Again’ Prince to attend some of the festivities.  One of the more enjoyable things we did was to sit in Rick & Theresa’s living room and watch a video compilation of some old 8mm movies of Knox Church activities in the late 60’s.  The movies were made by James Irvine Sr. ($6’s father) and then converted to DVD by John Irvine ($6’s brother) and included such activities as the boys basketball teams, snow camps and men’s canoe trips.  My word, we did look young and vibrant in those days as opposed to the bumped, bruised and scraped geezers recovering from overly exuberant attempts to recapture the youth exhibited in the videos.  Now, I am not saying that we aren’t still vibrant.  No sir, we must still be vibrant to do what we do at these gatherings; it’s just a vibrancy rooted in wisdom and age; yeah, that’s my story and I’m gonna stick to it…good for us, bad for no one.


Enter The Golden Dragon

Wing ‘Golden Dragon’ Tom once again put his restaurant at risk by allowing The Eastside Kids and Moron Hall of Fame to descend upon it for a sumptuous banquet.  As usual, the food was excellent and oh so plentiful; I think Tracy took enough leftovers to last him and Kerry a week (oh who am I kidding; Tracy will have the stuff devoured in a day.)  J  During the meal, a proposal was put forth to create an auxiliary branch of The Moron Hall of Fame in order to honor those of the female persuasion who influenced us as youths or who continue to influence us in our doddering years.  The proposal was met with an enthusiastic response from the membership and from Debby and Theresa who realized at once what an honor it would be to be associated with us (again, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)  Hopefully, by the time you read this we will have gone through the vetting process; although there is an undercurrent of thought that the vetting process for the Auxiliary Branch should be circumvented in the case for Debby and Theresa and that they immediately be enshrined.  Alas, there is a faction in the Moron HOF who are sticklers for tradition and process and so we wait for the nominations and ratifications to go through.  On a personal note; it was really great to see Debby again after all these years.  She was and always will be my first unrequited love.  J


While it is a glorious thing that we have reconnected with so many of the friends of our youth, it does present some challenges to our annual poker night.  Eight players sort of negate any 7-card games or even 5-card draw and it certainly presented a challenge to figure out how to divide the chips in a manner that would leave all of the participants with $10 worth.  Even with the less inebriated Morons, Wing and $6, working on the solution it took a very long and amusing time…well, amusing up to a point which when arrived at Mark and Ralph went out and after visiting three different stores finally returned with another batch of chips enabling the game to begin.  The stand out hand of the night happened on the last one we played.  It was Hold ‘Em and was between Ralph and me…I do not remember what my hole cards were, nor did it matter what they were, nor Ralph’s either for that matter…the five community cards were 3 aces and 2 queens and neither of us could do any better than that so we split the pot.  It was an exciting way to finish the night and the weekend ($6 and me were due to depart very early the next morning) and what was even better was the fact that I didn’t lose any money as I broke even for the night.  I can’t remember who won the most but it is my contention that with my victories in pool and basketball and by not losing any money in poker that I be named the MVP of the reunion.  J Good for me, bad for the other Morons.


For those interested here’s the link to the Facebook photo album of the reunion:

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A Motley Crew – Disdain for the Ravages of Time


In 20 days, the gang known as The Eastside Kids will be gathering in our hometown of Detroit, MI.  Pictured above are a few of them.  These are the guys I grew up with.  We shared the joys of sports, the pains of school, the search for meaning in life and just plain having a good time in an era filled with civil unrest and an unpopular war.  That we survived those things and our own brand of foolishness is a miracle and yet, we did survive.  This year, in addition to eating some great food and drinking some good beer, we are planning to visit the batting cages, do some bowling, shoot some hoops, play a little pool and wager a bit in our annual poker game.  As is expected, I will chronicle the reunion with as much honesty as I can muster, though some fabrication may be necessary in order to preserve our dignity.  So, dear reader, keep us in mind as we once again show complete disdain for the ravages of time.  :-)

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excerpt from chap 5 – Clash of Empires

Liam awoke to the sound of thunder and Liza preparing porridge for their breakfast.  That he had been asleep surprised him as he had not slept for almost three days, the sight of Orenda tied to that tree haunted his dreams still as did the sound of her screams as she cried out to him.  Daniel and Henry were already awake and making ready to begin today’s trek to Donehogawa’s camp on Mahoning Creek.  Teeyeehogrow and Pierre had risen before dawn and went back tracking to see if anyone was in pursuit.  They had gone about two miles and were standing on the top of a hill looking down at a troop of French about a mile distant preparing to break camp.  ‘Best to warn the others and hasten our pace,’ said Pierre.  Teeyeehogrow nodded in agreement and replied, ‘We don’t know for sure they are after us though I suspect they are and there’s little chance they won’t find our tracks.’  They returned to where they had tethered their mounts and had to soothe the trembling horses as a blast of thunder and flash of lightning pierced the early morning quiet.  Another sudden clap of thunder brought with it a pelting rain that soaked them to the bones as they made their way back to camp.  ‘The beckoning call of the rising sun,’ spoke Pierre, ‘the breath of promise on the early morning breeze.  Dawn is God’s blessing to man and beast, though it seems to be an off day for the almighty.  I suppose even God enjoys a bit of variety.’  Teeyeehogrow slapped Pierre on the back and chuckled, ‘more likely he’s just pissed about something.’  ‘My friend, you are quite probably truer to the mark,’ replied Pierre.

With the news that they were probably being tracked by the French, Liam and Daniel decided they would take a position a few miles behind the others as they rode, keeping a watchful eye on their pursuers.  By mid-morning the storm had fled eastward and now the sun was beginning the drying out process as steam rose from the horse’s flanks and the ground was enveloped in a swirling mist.  Birdsong now replaced the staccato rhythm of the rain.    This was the third day after leaving Fort Necessity and they were pretty sure they could reach the Mohawk camp on Mahoning Creek by nightfall if they pushed their mounts a little harder.  As they crested a hill they found themselves looking down at the creek but could not see the Mohawk camp and were not sure which direction they should take once they crossed the Mahoning.  The sound of hoof beats from behind had them reaching for their weapons but as Daniel came into view they relaxed and dismounted.  He came to a halt, the suddenness of his stopping sending up a spray of dirt and leaves.  ‘We’ve got trouble,’ he started, ‘the French have split their pursuit and now half of them are heading down to the creek to keep us from crossing while the rest drive us into it.  Liam and I will hold them back for as long as we can but you need to make haste across the water.’  Teeyeehogrow motioned with his hand to point out the fact that there was already a group of French getting into position for the ambush at the water’s edge.

Lieutenant LeFurge positioned the six men with him behind a scattering of boulders and fallen trees.  ‘We have them now,’ he murmured to himself as he slid his saber in and out of its scabbard, willing himself to not be nervous about his first real taste of battle and there was no way he was going to obey his orders to the letter.  ‘No one fires until I give the command,’ he ordered, ‘shoot to kill but spare the woman, she’ll make a fine gift to our Shawnee friends.’

Wahta and Deganawidah were returning to the Mohawk encampment from a hunting trip and from the trees noticed the French across the creek setting up for what appeared to be an ambush.  They set down the deer they were carrying and crept to the creek bank to see if they could be of help to whoever the French were after.  The sounds of gunfire from the hill in the distance drew their attention but they still could not make out who it was.

‘We can’t take on both groups, there are too many,’ said Daniel, ‘Pierre, go get Liam.  We’ll meet the group behind us from here.  We’ll have the advantage of being uphill with enough cover to protect us.  Liza, I know you’re a good shot but for now I need you to reload our muskets.  We have two extras so we should be able to keep up a continuous fire and no doubt Liam will be using his bow as well as his musket.’

Liam and Pierre rode back to the others and took up positions behind the trees just as the first of the French came riding up the slope.  They dismounted quickly as Liam let fly and struck one the horses with an arrow in the shoulder causing it to rear and throw its rider.  Daniel and the others then opened up with musket fire taking down two in the first volley.  The remaining three returned fire but Liam and the rest were too well sheltered for any clean hits and when they reloaded and stood to fire again they were met with another volley wounding two more of the French troops.  Setting his musket down and holding his palms outward, the lone remaining Frenchman helped his wounded comrades onto their horses and took off back the way they came.  ‘Looks as though we won’t have to worry about that group,’ said Daniel, ‘How do we deal with those in the rocks below?’  It was then that Wahta recognized Liam and shouted while he drew back his bow and released an arrow, striking one of the surprised French in the back, the force of the arrow causing him to stumble and fall into the creek, ‘Snake slayer my brother, let us meet our foes together.’  At the sound of his voice and seeing one of his troopers floating away, LeFurge turned to see two Mohawk braves shooting from across the creek.  He barely had time to duck as an arrow whizzed by his ear.  Taking advantage of the changing situation, Liam, Daniel, Henry, Liza and Teeyeehogrow charged down the hill, muskets at the ready and firing into the rocks.  There wasn’t much chance of hitting anyone from the back of a charging horse but it kept the French pinned down as they took fire from front and rear.  Thirty yards from the French Liam and the others veered off to the right and plunged into the creek while Wahta and Deganawidah kept up their fire killing one more of the French and wounding LeFurge.  Once his friends were safely across, Wahta stopped shooting and headed up to meet them in the trees.

With a smile almost as broad as his shoulders Wahta embraced Liam, ‘It does my heart good to see you again brother.’  ‘Not as much as I am to see you.  We were in some trouble and the outcome would have most likely been different without your timely involvement.  How far is it to Donehogawa’s camp?  I fear our horses are sorely tired as are we.’  ‘We will be there before the sun sets and then we will feast on venison and talk late into the night,’ replied Wahta.

Lieutenant LeFurge, his right thigh bandaged and in some pain seethed at the thought that in his first engagement he was so thoroughly routed and wounded on top of it.  All that and he didn’t even fire his musket once, so complete was the surprise attack from across the creek.  His already smoldering hatred for the English was now raging into an inferno of revenge especially at the expense of these uncultured backwoodsmen and that bastard Colonel Washington for allowing them to leave the fort.

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Clash of Empires excerpt Chapter 4

Chapter 4

The Raid

Abigail accepted a sip of cool water from the now noticeably pregnant Orenda as she rested from the last contraction.  Liza wiped the sweat from her mother’s forehead saying, ‘One more push and I think we’ll have that new baby.’  Abigail smiled at her daughter, ‘I hope so.  I am running out of energy.  Maybe 42 years is too old to have a child.  It was certainly easier when you were born.  Oh dear Lord, it is time.’  Orenda went to the foot of the bed and after a few seconds said, ‘I can see the baby’s head.  One big push Abigail and we’ll have a new life to celebrate.’  With all of her remaining strength Abigail pushed and Orenda soon had a squalling newborn in her hands.   ‘It’s a girl, mama!’ cried Liza as she placed the little one in her mother’s arms.  Abigail took one look at that tiny face and said, ‘It is only by God’s grace that she arrived safely.  Tell your father that his new daughter, Grace is waiting to meet him.’

Thomas lifted the child, tears in his eyes, ‘I am not a godly man but at times like these I can be.  Grace is a most wondrous gift and I thank God for her safe arrival and for the health of my beloved wife.’  He kissed the child on the forehead and handed her back to Abigail.  ‘Now it is time for a little celebration I think.  Liam, Daniel, get those ale casks out.  I feel a mighty thirst coming on.’  So the trading post took on a party atmosphere with plenty of singing, laughter and dancing.  The traders who happened to be there joined in the festivities, two of them producing fiddles, and with Phil Burke playing a banjo, Irish jigs and reels soon filled the night air.

From the top of the hill overlooking the post and in the cover of the woods, two Shawnee braves looked down on the proceedings below.  ‘It is time to teach these English a lesson,’ said Huritt, ‘Our French brothers would be very happy for this place to be destroyed.  Let’s attack tonight.  The English are in no position to defend.’  Chogan smiled at his friend, ‘That is what I would like to do but look again Huritt.  The white man called Snake Slayer is alert.  His bow is ever at his side and the other Mohawks with him are also watching.  No, we cannot attack tonight.  We have more warriors coming to join us in two days that is when we will attack and destroy this place.’  Chogan then turned and with Huritt jogged off back into the woods and to their camp three miles away.

Two days later with hangovers now forgotten, Liam, Joseph and Henry left the post to go hunting while Trent, Donehogawa, Dadgayadoh, Deganawidah and Wahta left on a separate mission.  They had heard from a trader who arrived that morning of a party of Shawnees heading south out of Fort Duquesne and were anxious to get more firsthand information.  Pierre and Liza were heading across the river by canoe to a meadow that teemed with plants Pierre used for their healing properties.  In the back of the main building in the room Thomas and Abigail lived Orenda was rocking Grace to sleep and feeling the movement of the child within her while Abigail took a deserved nap.  Thomas was in the front talking to Rob Carter and Rafe Stump Nose Emerson, two traders about the load of furs they brought in yesterday.  Those furs were stored under the canvas canopy of one of the freight wagons and were now being examined by Phil Burke, who could not believe the quality, knowing that he had come to the right place at the right time.

Chogan, certain that he knew where everyone was turned to the seven warriors with him and said, ‘Remember, I want the white woman and her child alive.  Kill the rest,’ he then added with a hint of disgust, ‘but leave the Mohawk woman to me.’  Silently the two Huron and 6 Shawnee jogged down the hill the rising sun behind them making them almost invisible as well.  The two Huron, Pajackok and Taregan headed to the southern end of the encampment in order to keep watch on Pierre across the river.  Keme, Kesegowiase and Nixamich raced to the front door of the main building while Chogan, Huritt and Etchemin veered off to the side door.  Unnoticed and forgotten, Phil glanced out of the wagon and saw the raiding party going into the building.  Climbing over the pile of furs he exited the rear of the wagon and ran to his tent to get his musket.

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