Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Roll Another Number For The Road...

I feel like writing about drugs. I don’t know why, honestly, but I do and I’ve always been one to go with my feelings. Maybe it’s coming close to HST Time.

Let me explain. When I was 20 or so, I discovered Hunter S. Thompson, Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas and the glory that is Gonzo. And, like a million other half-bright yay-hoos who think they’re writers, it was a monumental occasion in my existence. The great H.L. Menken - another giant in own personal mythology - once said reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn was “the most stupendous [event] of my life”. Fear & Loathing was like that for me, although I didn’t get it at first. I mean, really get it.

Like a lot of other fools, I thought the book was about drugs. I even tried to emulate my “hero’s” rather gargantuan drug intake for a short period (I’ll get to that in a minute). It’s not about drugs. Fear & Loathing is about the loss of innocence, the loss of that wild-eyed idealism that fueled the Sixties for a lot of folks. It’s about realizing you can’t change the world just by good intentions and groovy vibes alone. In short, it’s about growing up when you’re well past childhood’s end. There’s a line in there, about two-thirds through the book, that says something about looking out where the wave of hope, love and peace broke against the rocks of the cruel realities of the world and rolled back into the sea. Breaks my heart every time, it does.

In any event, reading that book pretty much shot to hell any chance of me ever being a “serious” journalist. Oh, sure, I gave it a shot. I went into college with the intention of being a sports writer and tried my hand at that, but I found I just didn’t care enough about sports to do it properly. I tried small-town journalism in a couple places, but I found I couldn’t live with the various restrictions and petty politics of life in Small America. So I decided to write about whatever struck my fancy.

I wrote about old cowboys and bikers. I wrote about drug dealers who followed Phish and stayed in four-star hotels while selling acid to kids in tents. I wrote about crack whores and transvestite streetwalkers. I wrote about music. I starved to death, in other words. I don’t know if it was because I just wasn’t good enough as a writer that what I was trying to say wasn’t coming across or that (warning: terminal ego ahead) my vision was just too out there to be handled by most editors. I did develop something of a reputation for being a hard-ass when it came to editing my stuff. In other words, I don’t like it to be touched. I don’t like the constrictive rules of journalistic writing and I don’t see any reason to follow them.

So, long story short, I wound up finding a place in music journalism until that, too, got so dull I hated the very thought of writing. I quit that and didn’t write a word for almost a year. Which brings us to here and now, this blog, where I write about whatever I damn well please, don’t give a shit who reads it (if anybody) and, of course, starve because no one wants to read the rantings of some half-dumb, wannabe hillbilly philosopher.

But back to The Good Doctor. Every six weeks, two months or so, I go back and immerse myself in HST’s stuff. I’ve got just about everything he’s put out apart from The Curse of Lono, and I imagine in a day or two, I’ll sit down and roar through Fear & Loathing one more time. I’ll read it again if for no other reason than to remind myself Why I Do This. Why? Someone’s got to, and it might as well be me.

Anyhow. Drugs. Yeah. I like drugs. I’ve done my fair share of drugs, not to HST’s level, but a pretty solid shot. I’ve done every drug known to man apart from crack, heroin and the various designer chemicals that’ve popped up in the last few years. And I hate to tell y’all this, but I had a friggin’ great time on drugs. Granted, the people around me may not have enjoyed it quite as much, but I sure had a blast.

There was a period in my life of about 18 months or so where I’d gobble any sort of illicit narcotic that was put in front of me. Part of the reason was, well, pure dumbass country boy in the big city stupidity. I grew up in a fairly strict household, and like a lot of folks who grew up in said circumstances, when I got my freedom in college, I went a bit, well...gonzo. And part of it was the above-mentioned attempt at grasping whatever magical brass ring HST got via drugs. There’s a myth that being too screwed up to walk helps the artistic impulses. Maybe. I’ll be the first to admit that a bit of the good smoke helps the words flow more easily and a couple belts of good sippin’ whiskey loosens me up when I hit the stage to play that rock & roll. Problem comes in the concept of moderation, or rather, ignoring that concept. The Rolling Stones, for example, didn’t make great records in the ‘70s like Sticky Fingers or Exile On Main Street because of horse and coke; they made them despite of using enough drugs to kill a herd of elephants.

And, if I have to be honest, at least a little bit of it was because the person I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with decided she could do better than a sporadically employed, long-haired daydreamer. I “lacked ambition”, she said, and was “more interested in having a good time than I was in building a future”. I guess I was and I guess I still am. Point is, if that’s what she thought, I figured - at least subconsciously - I’d go to unusual lengths to prove the dear girl correct. Dumb reasons, but hey...I was young and stupid. If George W. Bush can get away with having “youthful indiscretions” until he’s in his forties, I can get away with doing the same at 22.

People have a lot of theories why other people do drugs. They can’t handle reality. They’re weak. They want to expand their minds. And so on and so forth. Now, some back-story. I didn’t touch any drug apart from alcohol (which is a drug) until I was 21 and smoked my first joint. About six months later, I ate mushrooms for the first time. A month after that, I dropped acid. Then speed. Then coke. Then DMT. Then PCP. And so on and so forth. Some, like PCP and Ecstasy, I only tried once. Cocaine, I gave up pretty quickly. I did so much speed in college that I think I’ve permanently burnt out my system and stripped whatever gears that’d make caffeine or nicotine affect me at all. I can drink a 16-ounce Dr. Pepper and fall right to sleep with no trouble whatsoever. I still smoke pot on a regular basis and eat mushrooms whenever I get a chance.

I have my own theories on why people get fucked up. It’s to embrace The Beast. Granted, the concept of The Beast is not my own. Thompson wrote about it. Terry Pratchett’s written about it. Nick Lowe wrote a song about it that’s so apropos it’s not even funny. I’m indebted to them. For me, The Best is the id. It’s the reptilian brain that lies at the core of each and every human being. The Beast is very simple. Fight or flee. Eat, excrete and reproduce. That’s all The Beast cares about. People unaided by drugs are sometimes pushed to embrace The Beast. We’ve all heard stories. You know what I’m talking about. It’s not doing sick, twisted shit like the fools at Abu Grahib or guys like John Wayne Gacy or mass murderers like Hitler. That’s just sick, twisted shit.

The Beast comes up when someone’s children are threatened and all the person can do is chew the threat’s head slap off. The Beast is that wild, maniacal look in the eye of a woman’s who’s been hit once too often by her bastard husband and she says “enough”. The Beast howls at the moonless night of an empty life, when that razor blade looks like the only relief at 4 a.m. Not to step on Nick The Knife’s toes, but God help The Beast in all of us.

Some people take drugs to embrace The Beast. You’ve all heard someone say “I would’ve never done that if I wasn’t drunk”. That’s a bald-face lie. When you’re drunk - and alcohol’s the surest way to unchain The Beast - you do things you really want to do...but you don’t allow yourself. You say things you really want to say, but normal modes of society and politeness and conformity prevent you. You know this is true, you just don’t admit it.

I used to drink a lot. I come from a family of hardcore drunks, all of whom have quit the bottle or died from it. Then, there’s the occasional case like my mother or my brother, neither of whom have ever had a drop. When I drank a lot, I drank myself into stupidity on a very regular basis. I would howl at the moon, show my ass, stomp on the terra, hit on girls and basically be a complete and utter boor. I drank when I was depressed. I drank when I was happy. I’d spend all night boozing and being in a great mood, then come home and bawl my eyes out for hours. I unchained The Beast and let him run free. And I paid for it.

I still drink from time to time, and I occasionally still get goofy drunk. These days, however, weeks will pass between beers, I’ll stop at one shot of whiskey, and my benders are characterized by excessive talking and goofy grins rather than tossing chairs through windows and punching out cops like they used to be. The main lesson I’ve learned in my young life is to keep away from booze when I know The Beast wants loose. He’s still there, mind you. He’s always there, in all of us. I don’t know why I slowed down, exactly. Part of it was just being tired of the hangovers, the apologies, the lost weekends. Part of it was the bad end of the bi-polar disorder I’ve been diagnosed with that caused me, one night not too long ago, to stare into the abyss and leap. I shan’t elaborate, but I imagine some of y’all know what I’m talking about.

Cocaine is a lot like booze, in that The Beast loves it. Mind you, one can stay relatively sane on good cocaine. Granted, you’ll still be a walking, talking exclamation point - too loud, too eager, too friendly, too quick to anger - but you’ll still be somewhere on this planet. Problem is, good cocaine is too damn expensive and too hard to find. It’s way easier to drop two bills on some cheap, walked on shit that’s probably cut with baking soda or talcum powder, and half the time you splurge on “good blow” you’re getting screwed. I’ve seen cheap cocaine turn people into wolverines. Hell, the reason I don’t even come close to it anymore is because it made me a chainsaw with an overactive sex drive.

Thing is, though, once you’ve done blow, you always want it. I can’t stay around people snorting it. I fiend for it. I want it desperately. I’ve never done crack, but I’m assuming that’s why it ruins lives quicker than a grand jury probe. You can’t help but want it more than anything else in this world. Crystal meth isn’t quite as addictive, but then again, it’s not as fun. Crank is basically a quick, short buzz followed by a brick to the skull. Plus, it makes people meaner than rattlesnakes.

But, like I said, I like drugs. Or, more specifically, I like pot and mushrooms. They make reality thicker, easier to grasp by the lines. On shrooms, all the thoughts that bounce around my head are given free reign to jump around and get some exercise. I one talked eight hours straight on a head full of really good mushrooms. I read a little quantum physics till my head gets swimmy, smoke a bowl and lay down to think me some tremulous thoughts. It’s a marvelous way to relax. And it goes without saying that good music’s even better when you’re high.

I’ve also done peyote, but that stuff’s hard to explain to anyone who’s never done it. Best way I can describe it is it’s like turning your mind and soul inside out and examining all the parts, as well as seeing all the various lines and strings that connect the fundamental particles of the Cosmos. It should probably go without saying that I got heavy into quantum physics not long after the first experience with peyote. I highly recommend the experience but I also warn anyone interested to do a helluva lot of research beforehand, and make sure they’ve got plenty of time to spare and someone to watch them. It changed the way I looked at the world. I don’t know if it does that for everyone, but I do know it won’t leave anyone unscathed.

But acid...well, acid’s another story. You can trust mushrooms, more or less. You can overdo ‘em and have bad results, but like with booze, if you keep moderation in mind, you’re doing all right. You can’t trust acid. Acid will bite you when you least expect it. Acid will turn on you like a kicked dog, sending you to roaring hieghts before slamming you to the deepest well. I’ve had wonderful trips on acid, nights full of amazing ideas and wonderful thoughts, but I’ve also reached some pretty hellish spots on acid. You can mess up and go to the Well of Your Soul on acid if you’re not careful, and some people just don’t need to see The Beast face-to-face, chained up or not.

But The Beast can’t be denied or ignored. That’s courting danger. He’s always there. I’ve been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and clinical depression. Whether I really am or not, I don’t know. I do know that I’m happier and more centered these days than I’ve ever been thanks to therapy and medication. The meds didn’t fix the problem; they just allow me to deal with the world without the fog the misfiring neurons in my brain cause. Hopefully, I’ll be coming off them soon. Thing about depression is that, in most cases, treatment can be just a temporary thing. You just need a little help to readjust your thinking. I’ve gotten that and I’m thankful.

Still, I know The Beast is still there. He still howls and from time to time, he howls almost too loudly for me to bear. But he’s a part of me. He just doesn’t control me anymore. It’s within my power to turn him loose or keep him chained up. Why? I’m a human being and human beings can do that if they wish. The problem with booze and drugs is they not only allow The Beast to run free, they give people an excuse for The Beast’s actions. There is no excuse. You control The Beast. You can’t harness him with booze or pills or powder. That only feeds him, and therapy just gives you a fighting chance if you‘re lucky. Beating The Beast is only a matter of deciding how much you can stand and drawing that line. Simple as that. You have the power over your life, not The Beast.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Fear & Loathing In The U.S. of Good Ol' A.

Say what you will about Michael Moore, he does know how to stir people up. His new flick, Fahrenheit 9/11, isn’t on screens yet, and already yay-hoos on the Internet Movie Data Base are lambasting him as a traitor and America hater. Amazing how that particular reviewer knows this without having even seen the film. And, of course, there’s plenty of folks endeavoring to make sure the movie doesn’t get shown, because, well...that’s what people afraid of dissention love the most. Nothing new, of course. You can’t make even the slightest negative remark about the current administration without being labeled an enemy of mom, apple pie and all things American. Can’t quite figure that one out, really. The American government isn’t the sum total, the thing and the whole of the thing (with apologies to Terry Pratchett), of what makes up this country. Never has been. And, what’s more, no president - be he George W. Bush or Abraham Lincoln - is that same sum total. Nothing is. I’ll admit I don’t know enough about other countries’ current views of themselves to really say, but Americans as a whole have never been one to walk in lockstep with any concept of “national identity” because there’s no such thing.

Oh, of course, the are those who want you to think there is. You’ve seen movies and television. You know there’s plenty of folks who want us to think all Americans think exactly alike. And, for some odd reason, we’re all white, but that’s another matter. Fact is, we don’t. I don’t think the same way as my parents, who don’t think the same as their best friends, who don’t think the same as their kids, who don’t think the same as me. The differences can be subtle shades or great, yawning gaps between ideologies, but the differences are there. And frankly, that’s what makes this country so extremely cool, in my opinion. The differences.

Then there’s the disconnect one tends to experience watching right-wingers so vociferously defend the federal government. Let’s say that again, shall we? Right-wing conservatives, who for as long as I can remember have argued the Federal Government is tantamount to the root of all evil, are saying people ought not utter discouraging words when it comes to the federal government. Granted, it’s also a bit weird to watch liberals go after the federal government - we’re supposed to love it, apparently - but that’s politics for you.

I’ll say it again: neither the government nor the president is the end-all and be-all of America. To think so is patently ridiculous. However, that’s not what I want to discuss here, frankly, and the only reason I bring up Moore is as a springboard for another discussion. With great apologies to the Good Doctor, there’s an enormous amount of Fear And Loathing going on in the U.S. of good ol’ A. these days. Loathing we’ll leave for another day.

I want to talk about Fear.

I’ve run into them from time to time in my daily life, but you see ‘em a whole lot on message boards and comment areas and chat rooms. People are scared. Actually, that doesn’t even come close to describing it accurately. “Scared shitless” doesn’t even get it. People are terrified. People exist in a constant state of anxiety. And, finally, these people so frightened will threaten to kill you in horrible ways if you even dare to put forth the notion they’re a little bit scared.

A small anecdote if you will. I have a friend who’s a “gun enthusiast”. I’d call him a “gun nut” but he’s not the type to go off on “training exercises” with a lot of cats in camouflage in the wilds of Michigan. But he likes guns. He likes them a lot. He’s always packing and speak eloquently on the proper ways of converting a semi-automatic rifle to full automatic, which he’d never do, of course, because that’s illegal, winkwinknudgenudge. In short, he is a big believer in the Second Amendment. He’s one of those types who say, with all seriousness, that the Second Amendment insures the safety of the others. Of course, he’s a Libertarian, so he’s not too fond of the Sixteenth Amendment, but that’s neither here nor there.

Me, I don’t care much for handguns and pistols. I grew up hunting deer, dove, raccoon and other various and assorted varmints, so I’m familiar with shotguns, rifles and muzzle loaders. Never had much use for pistols and handguns, though. Got that from my old man. He always said they weren’t good for hunting, so they weren’t good for anything. Granted, we lived way out in the woods where the chance of robbery was slight, to say the least, and that’s where my friend comes in.
He is, in short, aghast that I do not posses any sort of pistol or handgun. “How do you defend yourself?” Defend myself from whom? “People who want to break into your house,” he says. Who would, I ask, and why? All they’ll get is a bunch of CD’s, an out-of-date computer, a couple guitars and a bass amp that’d cause serious back injury. Sure, it’d be a pain to replace all of them, but they’re just things and the few things I own that are of any sentimental value really aren’t worth the effort. Honestly, who’d want a tattered, ragged blanket my grandmother made me years ago? He counters, “What about defending your family?” My family’s in the hills of Northeast Mississippi, and believe you me, a 12-gauge shotgun is much scarier than any pea-shooter pistol. “What if someone wants to harm you physically,” he adds desperately, knowing this is his last gambit.

And it’s a good one, too. The most ingrained human trait, the one that drives us the most, is one of self-preservation. People don’t want other people to hurt them. I don’t want people to hurt me, which is why I temper my sometimes sharp tongue with an easy-going, good-natured and, above all, relatively harmless personality. I’ve been told I look threatening - big guy, long hair, unfortunate beard - but I’m a pussycat. What’s more, I’m a pacifist and the thought of causing harm to another, particularly the fatal kind of harm a handgun promises, makes me sick to my stomach. My life isn’t worth me ending someone else’s. I might as well kill myself, and probably would, which sort of negates any need for a handgun. To which, my friend says I’m “weak”, “sad” and, of course, “un-American”. I didn’t say we were good friends, mind.

My whole point is - and, as always, I have one eventually - most people don’t think like me. I’m not saying my way of thinking is any better, nor is there’s. It’s just different, and like I said, what makes America groovy is all our differences. A lot of people are scared, and they’re scared of...the brown Islamic Horde awaiting the perfect moment to storm our borders, burn our houses, cast out our gods (the spiritual ones and the ones of a monetary nature) and make lewd gestures at our women. And, dammit, we’ve got to stop them or they’ll destroy America.

Which is, of course, fuckin’ goofy. Now, I’m no expert on neither terrorism nor the Arabic/Islamic world (which isn’t the same thing, but most of the scared people seem to think so, so bear with me for a moment), but I do know a couple of things. Most people in the Middle East give less than a damn about us except when our military is blowing parts of their countries up, as we’re wont to do from time to time. They want the same things we want: food, shelter, sex, love, happiness and the occasional good time to help make this veil of tears bearable. Now, that’s just the normal people; the actual terrorists are a little trickier.

Sure, a good many of them want the “downfall of America”, but I’d wager to bet them that say that have no idea what America truly is: a great heaving, swelling mass of contradictions, weirdness and, above all, differences. They have an idea of what America is, but that idea is about as valid as a wingnut saying any criticism of Bush is “un-American”. Beyond that, most terrorists have a pretty set goal they want accomplished, and “the downfall of America” is, if anything, a means to an end.

Let’s take our favorite terrorist, Osama bin Laden. Remember him? I know the Bush administration says he doesn’t matter anymore, but ya gotta admit, he’s had the most impact on the world of any single man in a long, long time. If you read bin Laden’s screeds, he wanted three very specific things: American military bases out of the holy lands in Saudi Arabia, the fall of Iraq’s secular regime and the United States out of the whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And guess what? He’s gotten two of the three. Funny that. Funnier that the right-wing students of the “George W. Bush equals America” school conveniently ignore that.

And to claim they hate freedom is just hair-pullingly stupid. They don’t “hate our freedom”; they don’t friggin’ care, okay? If al Queda really hated freedom and the decadence of the West, why aren’t they blowing up hash bars in Amsterdam? Why aren’t they attacking Canada? Why aren’t they setting dirty bombs on the French Riviera? The argument’s so bloody foolish that my brain’s taking to automatically shutting down when some yay-hoo - president of the country or not - tries to use it as a justification.

Now, I’m not saying terrorism isn’t important, nor am I saying we should just roll over when terrorists strike American soil. After September 11, 2001, I for one felt a strike against Al Queda was not only justified, but necessary. I didn’t necessarily agree with the way it was handed out, which was essentially bombing the living daylights out of Afghanistan, where most if not all the people had nothing to do with it while conveniently ignoring bin Laden’s supporters in our “allied countries” of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. But the fact of the matter is terrorism isn’t something we can fight with conventional war-type means, like we’re comically trying to do now. It requires police work and diplomacy. Unfortunately, that requires work and sacrifice, two things Americans hate like cats hate water, and which might make us look - God forbid - “weak”.

So we’ve got to show force, to show ‘em we’re not scared, when we’re scared shitless. Here’s the deal, kids: the average American’s chances of dying in a terrorist-related event hovers somewhere just slightly above zero. Nine-eleven was a truly horrific event that required a strong response, but what’s more, it required an effort to make sure it never happened again. Our current “attack” on terrorism isn’t gonna lead to that. If anything, we’re probably breeding future terrorists every day in Iraq.

Course, The Powers That Be don’t care about this, because they’re never the ones who die in these attacks. They don’t have to suffer for it. Their sons and daughters aren’t the ones sent into harm’s way when the bullet hits the bone. And most Americans get a visceral thrill in destruction, especially destruction done in their name, as long as they’re not the ones pushing the buttons that drop the bomb or are in danger of having their own lives destroyed. It’s kinda like football or boxing in a way. We like watching large men beat the devil out of each other for our entertainment, but we’re secretly thankful it isn’t us on the 10-yard line staring down a hormonally imbalanced nose guard.

And we’re scared, which is natural, but I sometimes think certain people need that fear and the hatred that comes along with it to really feel alive. It reminds me of when I was a kid and the threat of communism was still real, or could at least be passed off as real. Some people feel better within themselves with the knowledge that swarthy brown men are just a stone’s throw away, so we’d better turn ‘em all in bloody spots. Ain’t that America.

But here’s the truly odd thing, beloved. The United States Of America has the largest military in the world. Now, this comes with some caveats. We spend the most ($280 billion a year) and spend the most per soldier ($189,000). China has more soldiers than us (2.4 million to our 1.5 million), and when it comes to the percentage of the gross national product (3 percent), we’re way down on the list at 52nd. To that last one, however, the Top Ten is populated by places like the Congo, North Korea, Eritrea, Oman and Angola, as well as good buddies like Israel and Saudi Arabia. They spend more money per, but we’ve got way more money to spend. All of the above, by the way, comes from the 28th edition of Military Expenditures And Arms Transfers, published by the U.S. Department of State. It’s available online here. So the old liberal favorite of the U.S. spending more on its military than the next 16 countries isn’t quite true; it’s only the next six countries with about $6 billion leftover in change. Oh, another neat little note: we lead the world in arms exports ($33 billion, more than the rest of the world combined at $18.6 billion). Who gets the most in arms imports? Why, our good buddies the Saudis at $7.7 billion. Now isn’t that interesting.

Now, of course, I’m no military expert, so take the above with a grain of salt and do your own research. But it does lead to an interesting question: what are we so afraid of? We have more “weapons of mass destruction” in the Pacific Northwest than in the entire rest of the world. We have arguably the most advanced military in the friggin’ world. Nine-eleven happened not because “Clinton weakened the military” - another wingnut favorite - but because way, way too many people were asleep at the switch. I’m not saying certain people allowed it to happen for political gain, mind you. I’m saying certain people were too busy trying to jumpstart a completely worthless space-born missile defense system that only work if the missiles in question had certain guidance components in them. In other words, if the system knew where the missiles were coming from and were made by the same people. And even then, it didn’t work all the time.

So why are we afraid? Check that. Why are so many students of the “Bush equals America” school so afraid of the nasty brown men? Do they honestly think a poorly organized, badly trained, haphazardly funded group of rag-tag ideologues can honestly compete with the best trained, most funded and arguably ass-kickingest military in the world? Apparently so, and apparently they’re so afraid they can do nothing but hate everyone who isn’t as afraid as they are.

Look, I don’t have the answers. I’m not saying everyone should adopt my outlook, because I’ll be the first to admit some nasty bugger would take advantage of it. But the reality is we have the strongest military and one of the best information-gathering groups in the world. We should utilize those. I’d argue it’s a bit silly to spend upwards of $400 billion-plus on the military each year when there’s plenty of other stuff in this country that’d do better with that cash, but that argument isn’t germane to this particular discussion. What we do need to do, though, is make sure our government does it’s job - ensuring domestic tranquility and protecting the common good and all that rot - instead of waging stupid wars against people who can barely fight back, while basically ignoring the people who might be a danger to us and completely ignoring any possible reasons why.

We’re in no danger, wingers. The bad Islamic men aren’t going to get you in your sleep, I promise. Settle down. No more tears, now, no more tears.

Friday, June 04, 2004

I made a mistake...

It's amazing what a little Googling can do. A guy named Dave from a band called Artimus Pyledriver sent me an email last night. Seems he found this comment I made on Atrios' page back last month when his band played a show with Nashville Pussy in the A-man's hometown of Philly.

A little studyin' on the matter makes me realize that I don't know this dude from Adam's House Cat, so I don't know for sure if he's a dick or not. I'm pretty sure I was thinking of the frontman for another band - I won't name names because that band split up - and got confused.

So, I apologize to Dave and I apologize to Artimus Pyledriver. I made a dumbass statement that was hurtful and without merit, and I take full responsibility for it. See, Trent Lott, that wasn't so hard.

Anyhow, go see Artimus Pyledriver next time they come through your town. And sorry, Dave.