*

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Juvenile red tailed hawk with clean and pristine feathers

Friday, June 30, 2023

Curtis Mayfield - Here But I'm Gone

The Turtle, Opus Dei and Old Hickory

Man behind the curtain, Leonard Leo

The Supreme Court of the United States, currently crafted through the sly machinations of Mssrs. Leo and McConnell, does not represent the views of the populace of the people of this country. Not even close. First Dobbs, then affirmative action, clean water and discrimination, they are bulldozing precedents with the subtlety of a Mack truck. 

One has to wonder what longstanding freedom they will set their beady eyes on next; contraception, Obergfell, the sky is the limit for the conservative majority. 71 % of Americans support same sex marriage. You think it is safe?

Next up is a bill to allow domestic abusers under protective orders access to their firearms. That's going to work out well...

These justices have the lowest standing with the public since such metrics were first analyzed in 2004. On issue after issue they fail to represent the consensus and opinions of a broad swath of the american public. And guess what, they really don't care.

A Quinnipiac University poll found just 30 percent of registered voters approved of the nation’s highest court, while 59 percent disapproved — which the poll notes is the demographic’s lowest approval rating for the Supreme Court since Quinnipiac started asking the question in 2004. 

I understand that we live in a divided country and that justices will not always rule my way. But I have always suffered under the delusion that they would not lie at their confirmation hearings or pal around with billionaires with cases before the court or join them on hundred thousand dollar plus free vacations. Even if the seat on the jet was going unused.

They seem to have regard for a single class, rich, white, straight, religious and corporate. Everybody else be damned.

I don't think we need a Jewish court in this country, or a gay court, or a black court, all we are asking for are nine individuals who will put their personal grudges, religious beliefs and ideologies aside and be fair referees. 

But we are a long way from that, we now have a majority papist court (including the one Episcopalian) and if they have their way, we will all be soon toeing the Vatican line. Get ready for those wafers, kids.

Handmade's tale

This imbalance all started of course when f*ckface Mitch McConnell refused to give Merrick Garland a hearing and then reversed himself at the earliest opportunity and broke his new rule and granted Amy Coney Barrett a last minute confirmation.

He has absolutely no regard for ethics or fair play and now he is seeing the results. And surely loving it. But it is pissing off much of America and I hope that my countrymen have long memories and that one day the GOP gets its just desserts for ramming this stuff down our throats and gaming the system so brutally.

But how many poor pregnant woman will die before then, with ectopic pregnancies and no doctors willing to treat them for risk of jail in their red stat gulags? Pro life, my ass...

*

I was thinking about Andrew Jackson the other day, talking to Terry. Although he was not a perfect man (native genocide, etc.), he was a man of his time that I admired. 

Jackson had a wife named Rachel Donelson. She was born into a poor Virginia family, who eventually moved south to Tennessee.  

The seventh of eleven children, she was  married off to Lewis Robards at 18 and by all accounts was in a very unhappy marriage. 

She moved back in with her family and although she thought that she had been legally divorced it appears her first marriage was never properly annulled.

A recent emigre from North  Carolina, a young lawyer named Andrew Jackson took a fancy to her. They fell in love and married in Natchez. The first husband got wind of the betrothal and sued her for bigamy. Jackson loved his wife very much and tried every legal remedy to sort things out.

On May 30, 1806, Charles Dickinson, an attorney from Nashville, TN, and Andrew Jackson engaged in a duel on the Jeff Burr farm. The quarrel between the two men began as comments were made by Dickinson about Jackson’s wife, Rachel.After the insult to Rachel and a public statement in which Dickinson called Jackson a worthless scoundrel and coward, Jackson challenged Dickinson to a duel. On May 30, the two men met at Harrison’s Mills. Dickinson’s first bullet hit Jackson in the chest. Jackson’s first shot misfired and, according to the code duello, he should not have been able to refire. Re-cocking his gun, Jackson fired and killed his opponent. Although Jackson’s wound was not fatal, he suffered chronic pain from the wound for the remainder of his life. 

During Jackson's presidential campaign against John Quincy Adams in 1828 the mudslinging about his wife got vicious and horrible. Rachel famously proclaimed that "I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of god than live in that palace in Washington."

She was a simple country woman who hated "high society" and was tormented by a barrage of vicious taunts and innuendo. She developed depression and was made ill by the barrage and died about six weeks after the election, on Dec. 22, 1828.

*

I admire a man who will fight for his family and defend his wife. Contrast Jackson's behavior with that of then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

His own president disparaged McConnell's wife, Trump cabinet member Elaine Chao and subjected her to anti Asian slurs.

Trump called her "Coco Chow" and the "China loving wife" and nobody in the GOP would even utter a peep in her defense.

And the Kentucky cuckold did nothing. Smiled and took it. Just the kind of man he is. A big unethical pussy. Who wouldn't even defend his wife. Give me Andrew Jackson any day.

*
I have told at least one of these two stories before, please excuse me. When I moved to Rainbow in 1980 I entered a mechanic's shop and asked him about a piece of equipment. He told me that it was used to gas jews who walked into his shop. I exited quickly. Later on I met similar vitriol at the FC, waitress said, "Damn, smells like a jew in here"when I walked in. Gorsuch says I need to tolerate that. Had to navigate the klan gathering back then too Sunday afternoons, when Metzger was still in town.

About a year later I was sitting at a table at the Oaks across the way when a well dressed interracial couple walked in and sat down. My waitress, who was very pretty, muttered to me under her voice,"Don't you hate when they won't stay with their own kind?" I looked her in the eye and told her I really didn't give a shit. Tried not to sit at her table again.

I believe that the ultimate upshot of the recent wedding cake ruling will be that either of these establishments will now be able to deny me service if they merely state that their racism is based on sincerely held religious beliefs and rights to "free expression."

Substitute gay, atheist, agnostic, Unitarian, Mormon, Jew, Democrat and any other previously protected class you choose and if a fascist evangelical can convince a judge that someone is the son of Ham, or Sheba or Canaan or doesn't eat ham, there is a good chance that they will not have to serve, rent or deal with them. Because they hold sincere "religious beliefs," it now trumps everybody else's beliefs.

All you have to do is profess that you are talking to god and you can now discriminate against anybody to your heart's content and even get them take your shift down at the plant. Play the god card and you do anything you want to people you don't approve of. Maybe even reconstitute the anti jew, black and hispanic covenants locally in Rancho Santa Fe and La Jolla. Nothing would surprise me with this court.

They will no longer have to feed me, rent to me, give me a loan or fix my car. It's all in the good book. Religious liberty.

“The worry is that this provides a green light to any business owner that they can refuse service to any person on the basis of their identity, whether they’re gay or lesbian, or Jewish or Black, or anything, because they have an objection to those sorts of people being in their business,” said Katherine Franke, a professor at Columbia Law School.

“There was nothing in the opinion that limits it to objections to same sex marriage,” Franke added.

Sepper similarly said that the majority didn’t specifically limit the decision to LGBTQ people. She said that in other cases from the court in this area, there has been language about race, for example, being different.

“We don’t see that here in 303 Creative. So this opens the door to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin discrimination – any kind of discrimination,” she said.


That is what we are left with. A tyranny of the extreme religious right on the Supreme Court that only cares about one thing, pure political power and ideology and serving their wealthy benefactors. The rest of us damned folk be damned.


The nun and the cabbie

 

Thanks to Terry D. for sending this one along...

Beaked Blue Yucca

 


This is one of the prettiest times of the year around here in my garden. I took a few shots with my phone the last couple days.

The Hong Kong orchid and jacarandas are blooming, the sage and agapanthus are grooving, the last great push before the heat. 

Lots of ornamentals are displaying their flowers, giving the last push for pollination and survival of their progeny.


And my yucca rostrata tissue culture hybrid has thrown a magnificent 40" plus bloom. 

What a spike!


I had a cancer treatment today in San Diego. 

I am going to go home and take a warm bath and a nap and then hang out in the yard and watch the birds and bees go to town in the garden.

I love this flower. It is also called a Beaked Yucca, Adam's Yucca, Sapphire Skies, Nordstrom Yucca or Big Bend yucca.

I got mine from Steve Dooey and am told by others that it is actually a rare cultivar.

I never see the guy but will have to ask him next time I run into him.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Yevgoner

Yevgeny Prigozhin was playing a very dangerous game. The Wagner head and one time Putin caterer has been dancing on thin ice for some time and I was wondering how long Putin would put up with him. The writing was on the wall and I could not see his boss standing for his insubordination for long.

He is now ensconced in Belarus in some weird deal but I would think that his time on this planet is quite limited at this point. 

It will only be a matter of time before some Rosa Klebb nails him with her poisoned shoe knife, like in To Russia with love.

They may use polonium - 210, if recent history is any guide. That is how they nailed Litvinenko while the Skripals were hit with a Novichok nerve agent. Arno and Navalny were also hit with the nerve agent.

I honestly see no endgame where Prigozhin gets out of this thing alive. He is a murderous creep and I have little sympathy for him but I applauded his move towards Moscow as did many of his countrymen apparently. But neither he nor his boss had sufficient traction with the military so he called it off.

In martial arts there is a saying that one should not draw his sword until ready to make a killing stroke. Yevgeny should not have withdrawn from his mutinous strike so prematurely, things were just getting good. And now the man and his murderous band of thugs is as good as dead.

Steely Dead

How soon they forget

Clarence Thomas wrote a 58 page concurring opinion in today's ruling abolishing affirmative action in college admissions. He compared affirmative action to slavery and segregation.

Which is quite startling and a bit rich considering the justice would never be sitting in his seat without the benefits of affirmative action.

Thomas was admitted to Yale Law School in the 1970s under an affirmative action program. In a speech to staff members at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1983, Thomas said the diversity policy was of "paramount importance."

“But for them, God only knows where I would be today,” he said. “These laws and their proper application are all that stand between the first 17 years of my life and the second 17 years.”

Good for you but not for them, hey Clarence?

But I know, racism is over in America, as Tim Scott likes to say. Since Obama was once elected president, there can be no more racism in our country. Unless you are a poor, persecuted white male, of course.

*

On multiple occasions last week ex President and convicted sexual abuser Donald Trump stated that he could end the Ukraine Russia war in 24 hours. Presumably this would be accomplished by an already Crimea less Ukraine giving up even more large chunks of their land but whatever.

All I could think of was right, Donald, just like you got Mexico to pay for your wall?

*

Say what you want about the Trumpster, it was a stroke of genius to aim his policies at uneducated people without college degrees. I have an admitted prejudice towards facts and knowledge, that is my bad, but honestly it never occurred to me that a politician would be cynical and craven enough to aim their sights at poor white idiots without schooling. Then attack any legitimate news source as fraudulent while beating the drums for those that promote Q style conspiracy theories and absolute nonsense and you got yourself a base that will take you places.

Takes me back to my favorite Ken Kesey quote, which I often repeat, and I was there when he said it and have it on tape, "Never forget in any given situation there will be more idiots around than smart people."

Guess you can make book on that.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Love is all that matters

 

How a dose of MDMA transformed a white supremacist - BBC

Thirty seconds, Oceanside Pier

 


I Never Once Stopped Loving You

One Room Country Little Shack

John Morris

 


Beck

Logan's Run

I am back from New Mexico. 

The show was decent, I sold everyday, but certainly not enough to get the boot off my throat and give me the opportunity to breathe oxygen like most normal people get to do. 

Paying for a misspent adult hood, I am sure. 

I feel pretty raw right now, probably should stay away from the keyboard. But I won't.

The miles are getting longer and harder and the returns steadily dwindling. Had about a twelve hour drive the first day, with various stops en route to buy and procure inventory. 

Ended up at the same crappy hotel I stayed in last time in Holbrook, the one that lost power while I was there. No issues this time, fortunately.

Made my way to Albuquerque around noon and got a call from an 86 year old cancer survivor who had some Utah paintings for sale.  Friend gave me her number, said she might have some other stuff too. I just happened to be on her Rio Grande offramp to her house in Rio Rancho and figured it was a message from the heavens.

The house was full of Thomas Kincaids, bad cut glass, hummels and the like, lady was very nice and wanted to talk to me about Jesus's miracle and great plans for me but it wasn't really the best or right time for me to chat about such lofty things and I gratefully took my exit. I bought a painting from her, a snow scene.

She had a very small country style vest in her garage and insisted on giving it to me before I left. Don't know anyone that small.

I headed up to Santa Fe, picked up some paintings for Steve at a consignment shop and met Millard at his workshop.

He had a frame that would work with my new painting.

I went over to the show and picked up my packet. 

Have no idea where I ate that night or with who? 

Things are starting to blur.

Oh ya, Jambo with Saylor. Goat and lamb stew and peanut chicken curry. 

Wanted to get out to the BobKat Bite but couldn't make it happen.

Was a long week. Never took my camera out of the bag, never felt the need.

The weather was nice, topped out at about 87° every day but the nice breezes were very pleasant.

I always liked the early shows better than the August shows, people are nicer, more local, weather is better.

The show was difficult to set up, a one day set up with buyers there from the gitgo.

Makes it hard for a one man show like me to get the paintings up and the merch in the case, even with a booth a third the size of what I am used to.

The promoters were super nice to me. Sold a lot of silver, not a lot of art. Got real close with a few buyers. 

Some people did better than I did, some people did worse. As usual. Couple poor dealers came down with covid, after an ill fated dinner together. One never showed up, other left after set up. Sad, very nice guy, had traveled a long way.

I met an older lady there working security who had a rather diminutive frame. 

For some reason I do not think life has been too kind to her. 

I gave her the vest I had been recently gifted and she was ecstatic. Carry it forward...

Probably had not received a present in a long time. 

Never took it off for the next three days, far as I could tell. Made me feel good to make her happy.

I enjoyed doing the show would go back in a heartbeat. 

Getting priced out of the other Southwest shows, need to keep my foot in the neighborhood. 

Probably not going back in August, unless I get a deal on a booth and that is not going to happen. 

Caught up with some old friends at the show. 

Many are dealing with their own personal issues. 

Great to touch base with people I love. We have all shared a lot over the years.


And there was the normal cast of characters around as well, they add a lot of color to the local landscape.




One of the highlights of my show was having the wonderful country star and mandolin player Marty Stuart walk past the booth. 
He was a very down to earth and easy guy to talk to and laugh with. We talked guitars and music and it was a gas.

Had a great meal with Ben at Julias Restaurant at the La Posada. 

Place was high rent, interesting to see how the other half lives. 

Tremendous osso bucco.

Horsley and Ross Traut and I went to Harry's the second night. Turkey enchiladas always do the trick.  That was a very nice time. 

Hit the Pantry on my way out of town. Berry and cream cheese stuffed french toast was pretty intense.

Saturday was good at the show, Sunday started at a crawl and went out with a whimper. Show ended and the pack out was tough. Post immunotherapy treatment, which just happened the previous Friday, along with the high altitude, not to mention the intense chore of getting so much stuff out of there I started getting really dizzy. Kim Martindale saw me and said my color was weird and made me sit down. Found me a porter which I am grateful for.

I went to Los Potrillos after the grueling three hour pack out and had cabrito which was more like a birria stew than I had expected and it was probably not the smartest thing to put in my system. But I am still alive. Place has been open since 1947 and I think my goat was killed at the inception.

I had originally planned to leave Sunday night and get back on the road but wanted to see my friend John Morris who is in hospice care and who couldn't see me until 10:30 the next day. So I called the hotel and booked an extra night.

He is in a gate guarded community way the hell out of town and nobody picked up the phone when I called from the gate to ring me in. So I just sort of sat back in the truck until a delivery guy buzzed in and piggybacked my way to John's door. Laying down in a hospital bed, on oxygen.

I am not exactly sure what is wrong with my long time friend, we didn't get into it. He will probably outlive me. My mom did seven months or so in hospice.

He said he has to finish his autobiography before he checks out and the longtime music impresario told me that they were only at Chapter 10, had just finished Woodstock and the Fillmore East. Rainbow Theater next, I suppose.

So they have a hell of a long way to go. Music tours and antique show production. I offered to help but he says that they have it under control. Great to see my longtime bud, one day the world will be quite different without him. Terry S reminded me that John and I were at each other's throats for a year or two. So what? We mended our fences and forgot about it. Because that is what families do. We have way too much history together. Will love the guy forever.

I drove to Phoenix, by way of Holbrook and Payson, a beautiful drive down the rim. 
It was a chill 107° on the valley floor. 

I met Steve at one of my favorite Korean restaurants, Hodori, in Mesa. He had their specialty, the bubbling tofu soon soup with pork. I had kalbi, quite delicious.

I spent the night at his house and after seeing Barry for breakfast at Oink in the morning, finally hit the road. While I paid $3.18 for gas at Santo Domingo in New Mexico, Arizona is now close to California prices.

I unloaded today. I am completely exhausted, haven't had a break in weeks.

Have another treatment scheduled Friday, the first of four. Last time it got worse towards the end, the effects being somewhat cumulative. I will continue to try to grind out a living, have no other choice but to carry on. Another show beckons at the end of July.

*
A friend asked me about my retirement plans, if I had any iras sitting around? I laughed. I got nothin except what I got and it is all on the line, always. 
A commercial building with a sizable mortgage and questionable future value in a world where brick and mortar will soon follow the dodo bird into oblivion. Where in the hell would I put all my crap if I sold the building anyway? All this artwork that the younger generation couldn't give a shit about?

Getting cancer at 28, I honestly thought I would be dead by 52 or so, never gave the matter of a future much thought. If I had known I would have lived this long I probably would have planned better. Found a dull corporate job.

I made millions at one point in my life, gave it away, had it stolen and pissed it away. All part of Robbie's grand adventure. I was brought up living on the chaotic edge with a crazy mom and her alcoholic and sick partners, guess I got a little too comfortable with disaster, always close enough for an ankle nip, to this day. You need a high wire act, you need to see my resume.

So what does the future hold for me? I would bet on total collapse if I was a gambling man. Entropy supercharged and squared and maybe they haul me out of some godforsaken hall or shitty state fairgrounds with my boots on and a tag on my toe trying to complete one last sale for I take the final lap in the gurney to the great abyss cross the river Helayid. Who the hell knows? 

That's what my nightmares look like anyway, always an old cowboy show and I am either naked or have had all my stuff stolen or the worst stuff there and am definitely camped out on the end of the line with my teeth kicked in.

I played the game and won my share and it worked entirely perfectly until it didn't. Sorry son, you done used up all your free credits and it ain't ever gonna be easy agin...

*
Saw a lot of homeless folk on the trip of course, they are everywhere. And it would be easy to think that they are all drunk or stoned or mentally ill. But I think many of them are just old and can no longer make the system work. As the Beatles said, it's all too much. And they simply get spit out.

I read about a 94 year old man getting evicted this morning from his home of 77 years. Sad how disposable we humans are when our due date has passed. Move along, expire quickly, nothing to see here...

Anyway back to the homeless. They are everywhere, Santa Barbara, Portland, Fallbrook, Seattle, New York, San Diego, where the hell aren't they? But the ones that have to live and die in a hundred degree weather in places like Albuquerque and Palm Springs look especially bad and beaten down. Life starts the tumble and the sun finishes it. 

Saw quite a lot people pulling food out of trash cans, at least I am not there yet. It can happen to most of us, in shorter time than you think but I guess it beats a Russian rocket on your front porch.

*
I have four sets of friends that have gone to Scotland in the last two months, Italy, Spain, Portugal. Wales, Croatia. I am happy for them. They earned their good travels and played the game right, are now sampling the just deserved fruits of their good fortune.

Would be nice to think about getting away again one day with my wife but I don't see it happening any time soon. Need a good run and who knows if you ever get it? Living on road dust and dirt. Eating gravel. My time to lose? Oh, shit, now I'm getting sorry for myself. Had a hell of a run and have no other choice but to keep fighting. But I knew that it would be a tough summer. Losing the Del Mar Show was like a domino that crashed the whole damn jenga tower.

Barry asked me why I didn't write a book? The answer is that the work isn't good enough yet, I don't have the time or financial security to write the book I think I am capable of. Haven't written any decent fiction in years. Will be interesting to see if I get to it before my own ticket is punched.

*
I told you I was in a bad mood.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Cobra

New depths

I have spent far too many blogposts the last sixteen years arguing what might be the new nadir in our present human conundrum. Each low water mark is so quickly eclipsed that I am hesitant to even bring it up anymore at the risk of pandering and sounding banal. But it is obvious to me that we are clearly off the tracks and that our leaders lack anything approaching emotional maturity.

This week we had three incidents which significantly flagged my angst-o-meter. Two of our wealthiest and most dangerous tech sultans have gone full WWE or UFC and challenged each other to a Texas Cage Match in a stupid testosterone showdown. How infantile. These people are holding the reigns of our social media? No wonder we are in such pitiful shape. It is not even funny and we need to look inside ourselves and see why we glorify and tolerate this stupidity.

Then we have two female members of congress involved in a similar throwdown and calling each other bitches on the floor. Nice. Perhaps the upcoming martial arts deathmatch of Zuck and Elon can add a female undercard.

And then we have our endless fascination for five rich fools who chose to descend into the depths of the sunken titanic in an untested craft and perished and conveniently forget that a ship with hundreds of migrants sunk in the same week because it lacks the same tragedy and cachet for us. 

Should I even mention that a justice on the highest court of our land accepted a $100,000 seat on a jet airplane from a rich lawyer with a lawsuit before the court and justified the apparent conflict of interest and ethics violation by saying that the seat would have been empty without him? Like something a ten year old would say...And exactly why does Leonard Leo control the judiciary in this country?

Somewhere along the line we have clearly lost our way. I wish McLuhan was still alive because I think he would tell us that the medium is still the message and that when the new communication technology is allowed to become a clearinghouse for fake news, lies and discord it might take a few generational turns of the wheel in order to right our own sunken ship.

We humans are lolling around in a big heap of shit and we have convinced ourselves how much we enjoy the fetid smell of our toxic prison cells. But don't worry, next week's chapter is bound to be even more horrible and outlandish. It's how we roll.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Sanctuary

For Lily White Washes

I drove for about 12 hours all told on Wednesday. That's nothing, actually. My friend Bill just drove from San Francisco to Minneapolis in two days, he likes to go 18 hours a shot.  I can't do it, drove from Canada to Fallbrook once without stopping, 20 hours, just about killed me. No more.

One of the things I like to do on long drives is listen to old time radio shows on Sirius. Channel 148. The mystery and horror shows can really keep you awake when you are tired. 

I forget what I was listening to on Wednesday but it might have been Philip Marlowe.

The detective was cracking wise with some young dame who was trying to give him the double cross.

Anyway the point of this blogpost is not the show, it is the commercials. You see the commercials are recorded live in front of a studio audience.

This one was for Rinso Soap.  Back in '47 if I remember correctly.

Two society matrons were waxing poetically about the joy the new and improved soap powder had brought to their lives.

Think late 40's actresses affecting the worst Connecticut B - movie rich lady accents you could possibly imagine.

And the conversation went something like this:

"Dahling, I can't tell you the joy that Rinso Soap has brought into our home.

Our servants had been so sullen and insolent but after Rinso Soap even our Beulah is happy again."

I am not sure if the message was more classist or racist but the underlying inferences were quite clear.




Somehow I don't think they would run that commercial today.

Guess we've come a long way baby.


Thursday, June 22, 2023

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

Snapshots


Kent and Heidi recently came back from Yosemite. They sent me these shots, said there was a ton of water.



I'm definitely envious.

Tony Z drove out to Pecos on a fine June day.

The clouds get more intense during monsoon season but that is still a couple months away.


I snapped a rather dull picture overlooking Palm Springs yesterday with my phone.

RoxAnn's homemade boysenberry cobbler with a vanilla mead chaser!


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Couldn't make this stuff up.

One of the funniest  things about the Trump secret documents imbroglio that has sort of sailed under the radar is the fact that one of the people he supposedly shared classified info with is Kid Rock. 

What could be more surreal and goofy than that? More here.

Footage has resurfaced online of Kid Rock claiming Donald Trump showed him secret maps and asked him what he thought “we should do about North Korea” – after the former president was indicted on 37 federal criminal charges for his handling of classified documents since leaving the White House.

In a 2022 interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, the country rock star claims the former president asked his advice and showed him what he believed to be secret information during a visit to the White House in 2017.

“We’re looking at maps and s***, and I’m like, ‘Am I supposed to be in on this s***?’” Rock says in the clip as Carlson bursts out laughing.

 Skunk Baxter?, maybe. Kid Rock? No way.

Thought for the day