Monthly Archives: September 2012

Here it is  – 4:52 on a Friday afternoon, and I haven’t posted my Fat Charlie yet.

Well, dang it, I’ve been busy.

But I haven’t been busy playing guitar.

This picture is from a week ago, when we ate dinner at La Fuente, the restaurant with the Head-Butting Action table.

We came in late on a Tuesday night, and we had the restaurant to ourselves – and the stage was empty, as well. So the guitarist let me play his Cordoba for a little bit, and then he played it, and we found out why I get paid to write PHP code (poorly – writing poorly, that is, not paid poorly) and he gets paid to play guitar on stage.

I’ve been playing guitar for just about exactly as long as I’ve been playing golf, and with the same results – i.e. I’m still not very good at either activity.

I keep thinking about taking guitar lessons – I even started to do so a year or so ago, and then wound up spending most of the summer out of the country, so only had the first introductory lesson. And I’ve started to take golf lessons earlier this year, but the schedule interfered again.

Well, after having played four high-end courses in Tucson last week, and noticing that I’m getting worse, not better (time was when I played a lot, I got better. Now I’m just getting worse, faster) I decided to take lessons again. If I’m going to play golf – if I’m going to keep playing golf – then I’d rather get better, not worse.

The situation is not helped by the simple fact that Ethel now beats me, as often as not. Sure, she’s playing from the lady’s tees. But I can bench press Ethel, plus whatever Ethel can bench press, so I should have the strength to make up that differential.

But I don’t. I’m strong enough that I hit the ball a long way – in the wrong direction. Hard to see an upside there.

So I’m going to take golf lessons again.

And then, dadburn it, I’m going to take guitar lessons, as well. I want to learn.




I admit it – I love looking at the world and saying “Huh?

Here’s something that made me say “Huh?” This is a sign on the wall of the locker room at my gym:


Now, if you’re like me (and you are. I’ve already learned that. There’s not a nickel’s worth of difference between any of us, at all. As my friend used to say “We’re all the same about different things. And we’re all the same on different days” ) then you probably wonder why they don’t want you talking on your cell phone in the locker room.

To be honest, I’ve about been as tolerant with cell-phone intolerance as I can stand. The idea that the use of a cell phone is “rude” seems to be to be a symptom of our self-centeredness. There’s nothing at all wrong with you talking to Joe while you’re walking along with Joe. The sounds of your voices won’t bother anyone at all

But if you’re in the room with someone, and Joe isn’t in the room, then it seems that said someone doesn’t want you talking with Joe. Somehow, the sound of one voice talking seems to be offensive. Why is that?

If you come up with a reason that is the offended party’s virtue, then go talk to somebody else. As far as I can tell, it’s one more example of “the most neurotic person wins”. Folks are always looking for something to be offended about. And for some reason, society has bought into the idea that somebody talking into a box is somehow offensive.

(If you’re one of those people, then don’t mention it. You really don’t want to mention it. In fact, you don’t want to hang around with me, because if I find out that you are one of those people, then I will tease you incessantly, and since you’re one of those people, then you are so thin-skinned that you will be forced to jump off a bridge to avoid said teasing. You have been warned).

Anyway – out on the FLOOR of the gym, cell phone use is discouraged. Inside the locker room, it is prohibited. Now that’s really strange. What is it about a locker room that turns a cell phone from a simple device designed to offend neurotic people into an illegal possession?

I asked the front desk.

Get this – they don’t want people in the locker room taking pictures of other people in the locker room.

That’s right. We have become so neurotic and terrified that we actually think that somebody wants to sneak into our locker rooms and take picture of us – old, fat naked men with bald heads and fur on our butts – so that they can post them to the Internet.

I’m forced to assume that it’s the “post them to the Internet” part that’s the issue, because I checked – they do, indeed, say “cell phones”. They have no rule against going into the locker room with a high-end Nikon SLR camera with a tripod and auxiliary lighting equipment.

In fact, that’s why I was able to take this picture – because I wasn’t using a cell phone. I was using a camera, that happens to reside in the same piece of hardware where my cell phone lives. But I wasn’t using the cell phone. And, if they had meant “camera”, then they would have said “camera”, right?

No, see, cell phones are small and sneaky. You can never tell when somebody is going to take a picture of your furry rear end and send it straight to Flickr.

There are two things really troublesome here, at least to my way of thinking:

1) That anybody really thinks that anybody really wants to take said photographs, and

2) That it could possibly matter to anybody at all if they did so.

If somebody DID take a nude picture of me and posted it somewhere, who would care? Who could possibly be interested in such a photo? And why would it matter to me if they did so? In the first place, it’s not like the picture will have a caption saying“This old bald naked guy with the love handles and stretch marks is Jim Puckett, resident of New River, AZ. Street address available on request.”

No, that’s not going to happen, and, if it does, then I can promise you that I won’t lose any sleep over it.

But, as it turns out, if you are sleazing around in our locker room with your cell phone camera waiting to upload the goods, you won’t see any – because we’re eliminating the naked men that we won’t allow you to take pictures of, anyway.

Here we go. You aren’t allowed to walk around naked anyway. You have to cover up with a towel.

That’s it. I don’t want you taking pictures of me naked, and I don’t even want to have to see you naked.

So I think we’ve covered all of the offensible bases. Nobody sees me naked, I don’t see you naked.

And, of course, I don’t have to hear you talking on your cell phone, either.

Just a little more work, and we might be completely insulated from anything to do with any other actual human people at all. And, us, them.


I’m just a po’ boy from Flat Red Clay, Alabama.

And I ain’t never had me none of them Eggs Benedict.


Ethel had bought a package at the Omni Tucson National for our vacation that included breakfast. So, on our last day there, we both noticed that they had Eggs Benedict on the menu.

Eggs Benedict is one of those things that I would only hear about when watching movies about fancy people doing fancy things. The name Benedict had only two connotations to a boy in Alabama – Eggs Benedict and Benedict Arnold. Both terms referred to things that had nothing to do with Alabama. And, as far as a guy like me was concerned, they might as well have been the same thing.

I don’t know what I would have thought that Eggs Benedict was. It turns out that it’s basically runny eggs with hollandaise sauce (and now my morning thinking is shot – I can’t say “Hollandaise Sauce” without thinking “Holiday Style”, as in “…sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style” – and we’re still three months out from Christmas). The runny eggs are called “poached eggs”, but I always thought that “poaching” meant that one was hunting where one was not supposed to hunt – and who would hunt eggs?

Especially cage-free eggs. Yep, these are cage-free runny eggs  with holiday style.

We spent a little time on “cage-free eggs” – who, exactly, would put an egg in a cage? Are you making sure that when the chickens hatch, they won’t run away? Or are you protecting it from somebody else, somebody who would steal the egg if it weren’t caged?

AHA! The light dawns! These eggs were poached because they weren’t in a cage! If these eggs HAD been caged, instead of cage-free, then the poachers wouldn’t have poached them.

Of course, since the menu that says “cage-free” is the menu written by the folks who are selling us the poached eggs, then it sounds like they are bragging about having stolen the eggs. And, if they are admitting to stealing them, then why are the darn things so expensive?

I still don’t understand why stolen eggs can’t be cooked all the way, but since I’ll never have Benedict Eggs again, I’m simply not going to expend any more mental energy on this. I’m all worn out now.

Is it bedtime yet?


My friend Beek sent this to me yesterday:


It is a wonderful sentiment. However, I don’t think that it applies – at least, not to me.
My soul is so self-centered – so ‘ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays’ – that I don’t think that little bits of doggie heart would take. My spiritual system would probably reject the transplant. I simply am not of the stuff that doggie heart can live in and prosper.

For the longest time, we had three dogs.

Kia was the eternal teenager – she was a Lab, with all that that implies. She was always ready to play, but she had a pretty serious case of middle-dog syndrome.

Lucy was the little kid – ’nuff said.

And Maia was the alpha female. She was in charge, and she handled her job very well. Maia actually taught the other dogs how to behave – even taught ’em where to go to the bathroom.

We said goodbye to Kia last year – cancer in her hips and thighs.

Maia left yesterday.

Lucy is still here, and as far as I can tell will always be here.

Lucy will die still a baby; Maia was born a sage. Everybody who met that dog knew that she was something special – not just beautiful and strong and heathy, but smart; and she projected wisdom; she seemed like an old soul.

(If the Gentle Reader thinks that I am overstating the case, inquiries to those who knew Maia well is encouraged).

Kia is gone, and I have not inherited any of her playfulness and enthusiasm.If anything, I’ve become more serious and matter-of-fact over the last year.

Maia is gone, and I have no hope of attaining even a small fraction of her presence.

Lucy is still here – and, Lord help me, I’ve already got childish and dumb down, and don’t need any help in those areas : )


This morning, I made a decision to let Maia go.


This picture is from this post, back in 2004, when Maia was three years old.

Right now, it doesn’t seem possible that this happened. My hands still smell like her, and I don’t want to wash them. There’s a hole in me that doesn’t make sense.

The last thing that she felt in this world was the first thing I ever did, that day eleven years ago at the shelter, when we got her – me rubbing her belly.

I did not deserve that dog. I was well aware of that the whole time that she spent with me. And she deserved a lot better than me.

I’m done typing now.

This is a table at a restaurant in Tucson.

I would say a “Mexican restaurant”, but Tucson doesn’t have Mexican restaurants. In Tucson, a restaurant that sells burritos, enchiladas and moles is called  a “restaurant”.

This restaurant table has a very small place in Puckett history. It was at this table that Silas sat, in the mid-90s, with his Pachycephalosaurus action figure with head-butting action, and head-butted our friend Jerry all. night. long.

The Anycent Marathonner was there, as well, that evening. It just so happened that we had Alabamians AND Tasmians together eating Mexican food.

Thanks to much to all who sent us anniversary well-wishes. It’s been two days now and we’re still married, although we’ve played so much golf in the heat, and Ethel’s had us on such a tight schedule, that it’s amazing that we are still speaking.

The golf has been beautiful – and ridiculously difficult. One thing that Ethel didn’t think about (being a novice golfer) is that very nice, very beautiful famous courses are awlays VERY DIFFICULT.

As a result, I have sworn off of golf – not for forever, but for a while. When I was young, I would play golf, and at those time when I could play more, I would get better.

Now, the more I play, the worse I get. Therefore, I am not going to play for a while – not until I have had enough lessons and spent enough time on the range and on the chipping and putting greens that I have gotten better.
Right now, my golf game is a lot like a Pachycephalosourus – it’s just head-butting action. My head, and my butt.

Here are Ethel and I, on the extremely elevated 18th tee at Arizona National golf course.


Arizona National is a lovely course over near Sabino Canyon, in Tucson, which is one of my most favorite places in the whole wide world – Sabino, that is, not Arizona National.

Arizona National is a very difficult course. The rough on that golf course is vicious, in that it’s trying to kill you. The rough isn’t tall grass or weeds – it is, all of it, every bit, thick desert growth with spines and needles and thorns. I lost more balls today than I’ve lost in any three other games. But hey – I’m playing golf with my sweetie at a nice course in Tucson, so it’s wonderful : )

 We’re staying at the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort and Spa. I don’t know what it means to say that a golf course is “National” about this golf course, but I think it means that it costs more.

Ethel brought me here for our 25th wedding anniversary, which is today. Twenty five years ago this evening we were driving from Decatur, AL, where we got married, to Casey Key near Tampa, and stopped somewhere in north central Florida for a meeting. We’ve never forgotten that meeting – and we’ve not forgotten who we are, as we went to a meeting this evening.

Twenty five years we’ve been married, and I still thank God for Kim Puckett every day. I still want to sleep and sit near here, when I’m away I hurry back, and when she walks across a room, I still have to watch.

“A good woman is worth more than gold – yea, more than much fine gold.” There is really no comparison.

Thank you, Kim, for marrying me.