A Holiday Favorite

MST3K and the Mexican "Santa Claus" with Mr. Pitch. A Classic.


Tigers love pepper. They hate cinnamon.

The Hangover is funny. It's that simple.



"Don't ever become a pessimist. A pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events."
- Robert Heinlein


And so it begins

The e-zine Hypersonic Tales bought my story "Service", the one with a satellite in a cotton field, and will publish text and audio versions of it in the very near future. Huzzah!


One of my favorite quotes

"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."
- P. J. O'Rourke

One of my favorite non-fiction writers. Republican Party Reptiles is what we were, before the evangelicals took the fun out of everything. Got to met him when he spoke in Tuscaloosa. Incredibly funny.

Kung Fu meets Cops

From the sublime to the ridiculous - Stephen Segal Lawman. How can a 7th dan aikido master be so ridiculous? "Push the bullet." "Watch his hands,he's going to run." It's indescribable.



Discovered a great quote

"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed."
- G. K. Chesterton



Worked with my school's "Austin Ambassadors", our student council, on the city's can-a-thon. It was good work and a good day.

Update: We had the most donations in the Tennessee Valley - article.


Teaching the American Revolution

"The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." - Thomas Pain in The American Crisis


SEC Rules

Some one pointed out to me that, after Saturday's games, shouldn't Georgia (defeated Georgia Tech) and South Carolina (defeated Clemson) play in the ACC Championship Game. I liked that one, a lot.


The last play of "The Drive"

Alabama beats Auburn. All is right with the world.

And yet more: Photos


Thanksgiving Dinner

Finally prepped and cooking: Standing Rib Roast, mashed potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, steamed baby artichokes, & Yorkshire puddings. The pre-meal 'hotdog course': four types of sausage from Fresh Market.



No better plan

Doing what I can, where I am, with what I have.
-Teddy Roosevelt


with my girl

Holiday Monday date: Booklegger, Dreamland, Apple Store, Barnes & Noble/Starbucks.


This fall's best rationalization: By letting the yard/field/pasture grow wild, I'm developing a natural habitat for rabbits and growing dandelion greens for the turtles.


Sunday - all Fringe, all the time

Moo Shu Pork and we finished off the first season of Fringe, which is my favorite fictional show on television right now.

Over at I'd Offer You Some.



My alma mater, Alabama, is undefeated at 11-0 headed into our rivalry game with Auburn. We already have a spot in the SEC championship game vs. Florida locked up. It seems like a dream.


We are Devo

Nursing this shingles thing. Laid on couch and watched Turner Classic movies, Runway, Dr. Drew, and ESPN. I devolved very quickly.


Study Hacks

Study Hacks: Demystifying Student Success

This could be useful. Or more productivity porn.



Posted at The Blog at GateTree: Revision? -

My latest story, “Alchemy”, is probably my best story, and is really my first at full short story length, right at 5000 words...So, do I go back and revise this story, as has been suggested by very qualified people? (more)


Disabled List

I contracted a mild case of the shingles this week. On my face!. It seems to have been slowed down, however. Hoping I won't go all Elephant Man.


Fringe Season One Marathon

Made it through episode ten - a great show.


Missing, but in Action

Once football started I basically limited myself to updating my facebook page daily and a weekly entry in my writing blog.

I've submitted several short stories and just had a one-sentence story published in the October 18th edition of the e-zine 50 to 1.

Two weeks of football left.

A lot of history (and econ) teaching still out there to get done.


A favorite cover.

(homemade video, not so much).


Charlie's Angel

In about 1977 a friend of mine had a Farrah Fawcett beanbag chair.


One of my favorite short stories.

Sredni Vashtar by Saki (Hector Hugh Munro)

Sredni Vashtar went forth,
His thoughts were red thoughts and his teeth were white.
His enemies called for peace, but he brought them death.
Sredni Vashtar the Beautiful.



Alton as the Colonel

Mint Juleps begin at 6:59. "Do you heah me? I know that you do, I know that you do."


Less of me

24) Four times in my life I’ve lost over forty pounds. I plan on this time being the last time.


Writing blog

Please proceed to http://gatetree.com/blog



23) I coached soccer for two years at Gulf Shores. I had no idea about the game, but I had good players and convinced them to stay generally sober, and I ran them every day ‘til they puked. We were Area Champs in 2001. I did have to let them out of practice early one day, because none of them could concentrate – the surf was up.


Sabermetrician no more.

22) For years I was obsessed with baseball stats. I played in all kinds of leagues: computer, simulation, and fantasy. I even have a pennant from winning an ESPN league. I’ve gone cold turkey and have been clean for a full season.


Geek Lit

21) A couple of summers ago I read the over 3000 pages of Neal Stephenson’s “Baroque Cycle”. It was the perfect blend for me of history, the Enlightenment, and fantastic fiction and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever read. Wikipedia, Review, Interview


Called it a mile away

Knew it would end with snipers. There was, in the end, no other way, they were pirates after all - Hostage captain rescued; Navy snipers kill 3 pirates


King of Meats

20) I love to cook meat. Ribs on a Weber. Steaks under a broiler. Wings in a pot of oil (and then in a bowl of hot sauce). I’m hungry right now.


hiding in plain sight

19) On my desk at school I have three cups – a Captain Kirk coffee mug, a Rules of Fight Club coffee mug, and a ‘beverage’ cup from the 1993 Alabama/Miami Sugar Bowl.


My Number One Game Obsession

18) I have been playing EASports College Football since Sega was the latest game system.


A fine 5ives list from Merlin Mann:
Five things that should be issued to every American on his or her 14th birthday


We had one of the first DVD players available.

17) We have nearly 1000 DVD’s of movies & TV series at our house.


I must have information

16) For many years I collected almanacs so I could have easy access to important, current information. So, of course, I love the internet, and Wikipedia in particular. (Oddly, the site’s creator’s younger brother lived in our dorm at Alabama).


Honorable Manhood

15) Two things get me choked up from Ken Burns “Civil War” – when George Pickett says, “Up men, and to your posts and remember that today you are from Old Virginia!” and sends them up Cemetery Ridge in Gettysburg to the beginning of the end. And Sullivan Ballou’s letter to his wife before Bull Run, which simply explains it all.



14) My first year teaching, my only year at Hale County High, I completely rebuilt & reorganized the weight room and ran the weight program. Then I completely rebuilt, reformatted, reinstalled, and networked their computer lab. I was an ambitious jock/geek.

The middle of nowhere

I'm ready to mow and the annual mower reclamation project was going along fine. This year's replacement part is a pulley on the mower deck. No big deal. The John Deere dealer two miles away closed. The john Deer Dealer 10 miles away closed (I learned this morning looking into the forlorn empty office). So I get to drive to Athens, or Huntsville, or Cullman. Culman is almost all interstate, and I'm white, so I'm off. It's never simple around here.

View Larger Map


I am a geek, it's that simple.

13) I have read swords & sorcery fantasy novels for years, and in recent years I’ve been reading more science fiction, old and new, and listening to SF short stories & novels while I exercise.


they just don't matter to me

12) I have been the last owner or driver of ten different cars. Seven weren’t worth fixing and three were totaled.


I have goosebumps right now

11) I get goosebumps every time I see the scene near the end of The Last of the Mohicans” when Duncan gives himself up for Cora. That incredible music starts and he says to Nathaniel, “My compliments, sir. Take her and get out!” Duncan burns, Cora lives. Manliest redemption scene in movie history. I have goosebumps right now.


As if you didn't know.

10) I am a freethinker/skeptic/bright.

For Our Wordpress Blogs

Top 50 Wordpress Tutorials and The 13 Most Essential Plugins for WordPress


Solitude Standing

9) I haven’t thought about it in a long time, but Suzanne Vega’s song, “The Queen & The Soldier” (first song) had quite an effect on me when I was younger. Still gets to me.


Home - for a third of my life

8) Lived in a dorm of very smart guys at Alabama as a student and then as a director for 13 years between 1983 and 2000.


Gave up spying for profit - and got neither

7) When the Soviets ‘quit’ on me, I passed up further ‘government work’ to go to work for PepsiCo/Taco Bell – we planned to get rich selling burritos in St. Petersburg. It didn’t work out.

Just what I've Been Saying

Tobermory finds confirmation I'm not alone: Rorschach is the Hero.


Добрый день (Good day)

6) I was in Army Intelligence and studied Russian for a year in Monterey, California. I got out early because the Osgood-Schlatter’s and bone spurs in my knees finally made it too painful to run.


That 25 things thing - first 5.

The latest:

5) I have had over 30 jobs in my life – landscaper, lifeguard, clerk, coach, intel analyst, and American History guru are just a few.

4) I’ve been married to my genius wife since April Fool’s Day, 1986.
3) After extensive research, Maker’s Mark is my preference.
2) I went to college in Tuscaloosa in 1983 and stayed.
1) I’ve spent nearly every fall since 1973 playing football & flag football or coaching & radio announcing high school football.


You never thought you'd see this one!

On a lark this afternoon I became an Ordained Minister in the Universal Life Church. Solely so that I can legally conduct weddings! So if you need one, let me know.


A Solid List

I've been watching the blog reasonWeekly recently and I like what I've been reading. I recommend Common Myths About Atheism, which does a nice job of simply answering the most common criticisms of atheism.



- Cut down on caffeine early in the day, low-grade headache most of the day.
- Book-keeping day with the students + Lewis & Clark documentary.
- Uploading files to gatetree.com to try and install wordpress software, must learn.

Update: I did it - http://gatetree.com/blog.

A Lucky Man

4)I’ve been married to my genius wife since April Fool’s Day, 1986.


Thr Brownest of the Brown

3) After extensive research, Maker’s Mark is my preference.


My Kind of Basketball

Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball, writes about Shane Battier and the Houston Rockets - a no-stats all-star and a team that analyzes the game's data in a new way.


Eternal Student

2) I went to college in Tuscaloosa in 1983 and stayed.


25 things

1) I’ve spent nearly every fall since 1973 playing football & flag football or coaching & radio announcing high school football.


The King of Meats

The beginnings a of collection of my methods of meat preparation.
Broiled Chicken
-first we flatten out the chicken:
- take a smallish fryer 2-3 lbs., place it breasts up on a cutting board, insert a chef's knife into the cavity and cut along both sides of the spine and remove it. (this may take a little work, and the extracted spine is pretty cool/gross)
- flip it over and slice along the bottom of the breastbone to split the connective tissue and then spread the chicken out flat and flip it back over
- lightly coat the chicken in olive oil
- cover the top skin in salt and pepper and whatever herb/spice you enjoy (I just used garlic salt and it tasted great - Herbs de Provence next time)
- Heated broiler (mine is high/low - I use high) and the rack just above middle
- Put the chicken on a broiler pan breasts up and into the oven for 15 minutes
- Flip her over and herb/spice up the inside/bottom and then back in for 10 more minutes under the broiler
- take it out, flip it over and rest it for 5 minutes
- put together your sides (I used brocolli & cheese and s small salad this time)
- dig in

King of Meats II

I shared my Thanksgiving Standing Rib Roast preparation method this year (Turkey is for festivus):
- leave the roast in the microwave for a bit to get it closer to room temperature
- preheat the oven to 500 degrees
- cover the roast in salt & pepper (use a lot)
- put the roast in (ribs down) for 10 minutes (until the fat on top begins to brown)
- pull the roast out and lower the oven to 250 degrees
- put the probe thermometer in the roast with a 120 degrees cutoff
(for very rare, of course - more if you want less)
- put the roast back in the oven once the oven temp drops
- pull the roast on the alarm and let it rest for about 10 min. to finish


Strange Audio from Tor.com

by Jeff VanderMeer
VanderMeer is a well known sci-fi editor/writer and Argosy Quarterly was a well-respected mag that went under recently.

I've found a lot of sci-fi subculture stuff searching for mp3's lately.

An Airing of Grievances

Over festivus I posted a rant on a column on the Daily Beast.
The column basically said that the Republicans lost because old white guys had to learn how to use computers to reach younger voters.

My response:
How does one write this column and comment on it and not mention Ron Paul? This is *exactly* what is wrong with the GOP. There was a massive internet-based movement of young people in the Republican Party that was completely ignored by the old men running the party (into the ground). Instead of even giving air to the ideas of limited government, the protection of individual rights, and a non-interventionist foreign policy - which should be the ideological basis of the Republican Party - they ignored this grassroots movement of several million largely young people who badly wanted to vote against the government expansion of both the Democrats and the mainstream Republicans. Simply put: the modern Republican Party has lost its way. True libertarian ideas are the only way to appeal to intelligent young Americans distinguish the Party from the government-expanding Democrats. Few young Americans favor the excesses of the Patriot Act, billions of dollars for a failed financial industry that does *not* operate in a free market on enlightened capitalist principles, nor do they favor torture and the Forever War. They will listen to reasonable arguments about the failure of the War on Drugs and the basic idea of Equal Rights and legal protections for everyone. The Democrats have gained a majority because the Republicans became the extreme caricature the opposition hung on them: religious extremist, war-mongering, fascists operating at the whim of big business and out of touch with the majority of Americans. The party got what they deserved. If the Republicans continue to cast aside libertarian principals and push intelligent people out of the party then they can try all the strategy and tactics they want but it won't do any good, we, the people they want, will already be gone.