Wednesday, 12/25/02 -

HAPPY ________________

(fill in blank with your individual religious observance)

I hope you are having a wonderful time right now and can relax, for today at least, and not worry about any of your troubles, the state of world affairs, or the credit card bills that will be coming due next month.

Also, let's all try to keep in mind what the true meaning of Christmas is...


Here's a little jewel (back by popular demand) from last year.

Sunday, 12/22/02 - I'd like to wish a belated online congratulations to Christopher T. Shields on the birth of this first child, Amanda Catherine, who came into the world on 12/9. Here are some shots of the new arrival...

Uh, Christopher... I don't think you're supposed to... oh, never mind. Bon Appetite!

After a hearty but exhausting lunch and shirt change, Mr. Squirty McManboobs and his offspring catch a few ZZZs.

Saturday, 12/21/02 - Another traffic story.
Just this morning I drove out to the mall to do some Christmas shopping when I came to a stop at a traffic light behind a car that had a "Honk if you love Jesus" bumper sticker on the back. I didn't know that those things still existed. Well, I blew my horn nonstop for about 20 seconds straight because that's just how damn much I love Jesus. I think I may love Jesus more that any other human being alive. The resulting hand gesture from the car's driver startled me. I'd like to think he was pointing in the direction to where Jesus lives.

Wednesday, 12/18/02 - So, I'm driving home from work this evening on a 4-lane highway leading out of Oak Ridge, TN. The Atomic City. I'm in the left lane heading south, driving just a wee bit above the speed limit, when this moron comes up behind me tailgating and flashing his high beams... a signal to me to get out of the way so he can pass. Obviously, this must be a very important person behind me. Now, normally if someone tails me that close, I usually give in and get in the right lane to let them pass. BUT... when they start crap like flashing high beams, I stay put (and even slow down) to make them simmer.

I check this car out carefully just to make sure it's not a cop. Nope... it IS a white mid-size sedan but there are no blue lights flashing, no lights mounted on the roof, no siren blaring, no markings... it's just your average idiot. The high beam flashing soon stopped, only to be replaced full time by the high beam. Casually, I flip my rear view mirror to the night position and ignore this the best I can. At this point, I'm in defensive mode and have positioned myself strategically side by side diagonally to the car next to me in the right lane, forming a rolling roadblock out of spite to further piss off The King of the Highway behind me. And yes, he still has his high beams on.

I lose my positioning after a short while and The King finally does get the opportunity to pass and is now in my lane directly in front of me... just immediately before traffic suddenly starts to slow down on a bridge just ahead. We come to a complete stop and it's bumper-to-bumper. Congratulations, your Highness, you've successfully managed to gain one full car length during your long struggle to overcome the insignificant pests known as "fellow motorists". You must be feeling pretty stupid right about now, huh? I smile at him as I now flip on MY high beams as we sit on the bridge motionless for several long minutes. I now have plenty of time to admire the way my blinding headlights illuminate the interior of his car... and the back of his head. Of course, he has a big orange "T" decal on his rear windshield.

Saturday, 12/14/02 - Well, I'm, back... from Florida! I was in Orlando from last Friday until this past Wednesday. I tell you, it was a great trip but I've had just about enough of Mickey Mouse and the gang to last me a while. The Disney folks are making fistfuls of money down there with their overpriced stuff. Even McDonald's overcharges for their food inside The Empire.

On Monday, I traveled east on a day trip to Cape Kennedy and Cocoa Beach. On the way, a monsoon developed. So much for sunny Florida. The weather was bad, raining cats and dogs, on Monday and Tuesday. I did return to Cocoa Beach on Wednesday and did some seashell hunting and gathering before rushing back to Orlando to catch my flight home... which was delayed for an hour due to weather conditions. After a stop in Atlanta, I finally got home about 11:45 Wednesday night.

After almost a week of hearing Spanish, German, and Yankee being spoken, it was nice to arrive back in Knoxville and hear some southern accents. I never thought I would admit that.

The next morning in Knoxville, reality came back and slapped me in the face. It was cold and grey and the trees were bare... a huge difference from where I was less than 24 hours ago, on the beach in 72 degree weather.

One interesting note: While sitting and waiting to depart the Knoxville air terminal on the first leg of my trip, I overheard a know-it-all talking behind me. This guy went on and on loudly about flying here and there, and dropping names right and left. I turned around to look at the guy and it was... Lee Greenwood, infamous singer of "God Bless the USA." I kid you not.

Here's a sampling of photos from the trip...

Thursday, 12/5/02 - Attention, dedicated readers... I'm going to be absent from (almost) Daily Comment entries for a week. In the meantime, enjoy these two photos and just remember that I love all of you...


©2002, Mark Longmire, The Wonderful World of Longmire