Thursday, June 30, 2005

AA in Toronto

The 12th International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous begins today in Toronto, Canada. It runs through Sunday, July 3.

When early members of A.A. described the first Convention as “international,” they meant simply that both American and Canadian members attended, but at succeeding conventions, held every five years since 1950, more and more A.A. members from other nations have joined the festivities. This year, The Republic of China has a contingent of AA members for the first time. PLEASE READ MORE HERE


Don't change horses................................until they stop running
Strike while the ......................................bug is close.
It's always darkest before ....................... Daylight Saving Time.
Never underestimate the power of ............ termites.
You can lead a horse to water but ............ how?
Don't bite the hand that .......................... looks dirty.
No news.................................................. impossible
A miss is as good as a ............................ Mr.
You can't teach an old dog new ................ math.
If you lie down with dogs, you'll ............... stink in the morning.
Love all, trust ......................................... me.
The pen is mightier than the ..................... pigs.
An idle mind is ........................................ the best way to relax.
Where there's smoke there's .................... pollution.
Happy is the bride who .......................... gets all the presents.
A penny saved is .................................... not much.
Two's company, three's ......................... the Musketeers.
Don't put off till tomorrow what ............. you put on to go to bed.
There are none so blind as .................... Stevie Wonder.
Children should be seen and not ........... spanked or grounded.
If at first you don't succeed .................... get new batteries.
You get out of something only what you ...see in the picture on the box.
When the blind lead the blind .................. get out of the way.
Better late than.........................................pregnant

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Read this ...

The 25 millionth (25,000,000) Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous will be given out this weekend in Toronto. READ MORE HERE.

When cars were cars

I can't tell a Toyota from a Mazda from a Mitsubishi. A Cadillac looks like a Chrysler. Maybe I'm just not paying attention any more.

When I was a kid (D.O.B. 1954) I loved cars. Real cars, model cars. Every September when the new cars came out, Dad would take me downtown to visit the new car dealers so we could get a look at all the new offerings from Ford, Chrysler, Cadillac, Chevy, Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac. Cars manufactured by The BIG 3. We must have done this from about '59 thru '70. Naturally, I still consider the '60's as the best decade of automobiles.

The only brand-new cars Dad ever forked out for were Mom's 1957 Chrysler New Yorker (green & white 4-dr sedan), a 1959 Ford (black, 2-dr sedan), a 1964 Dodge Dart (white, 2-dr sedan) and a 1968 Dodge Dart (blue & white 2-dr hardtop). But he also bought a few Cadillacs because he thought an insurance salesman needed to look successful. The Caddy's he bought were always previously-owned (that term was yet to be invented).

My favorite was a 1966 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. A palace on 4 wheels. It was baby-blue with a heavily padded white vinyl roof. He could have comfortably seated half of the Republican Party in the back seat. Those rear-seat passengers could also use the thick-carpeted footrests and fold-down tray tables (polished walnut). Superb piece of work and engineering by GM. We got that car in '68 and then an Eldorado in 1970.

That Brougham was my all-time favorite when I was a teenager. How about you? Did your family have a great car when you were growing up? Or am I the only one? Was this a pre-cursor to my future addictions?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Alcoholics and Alcoholism

As Canada's largest city prepares for the onslaught of 50,000 sober alcoholics, the Toronto Sun sums up alcoholics and alcoholism.

thanks for the link, Namenlosen Trinker

Direction for Today

God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.

Dear God, I have a problem, it's Me.

Growing old is inevitable ... growing UP is optional.

There is no key to happiness. The door is always open.

Silence is often misinterpreted but never misquoted.

Do the math .. count your blessings.

Faith is the ability to not panic.

Laugh every day, it's like inner jogging.

If you worry, you didn't pray ... If you pray, don't worry.

As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home everyday.

Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.

The most important things in your house are the people.

A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.

He who dies with the most toys (stuff) is still dead.

When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Toronto Gets Sober

This coming weekend is the beginning of the 2005 International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous.
This year Toronto is the host.
The bars are ready (click here).

courtesy of Dry Blog

Lambda Center Pulls Together

Sunday was a BIG day at Lambda Center. OUR AA clubhouse.

For a year, there has been a bit of a controversy regarding allowing meetings other than AA and Al-Anon at Lambda. We voted last summer to allow a CMA (crystal meth anonymous) meeting, but a few of the membership felt that the voting procedure had irregularities and should not have been counted as valid. They have lobbied for 12 months to stop that meeting, change the Bylaws of Lambda or to just shut the doors and close the building. (I will not comment on that last alternative)

The Board of Directors has worked hard and diligently the past months to set things right. I know this because I was one of them. There have been hundreds of man-hours spent towards this end.

The voting day was yesterday amongst the membership. It was close. 46-45 in favor of AA and Al-Anon meetings ONLY. Many of the membership spoke their peace/piece for the allowed 3 minutes before the vote. Passionate arguments were heard by both sides of the argument. A lot of sobriety was in that room and a lot of common sense.

The future may see some changes. For now, Lambda shall remain exclusive for other drug-recovery meetings. Personally, my vote was to move forward with changes, but I am only one voice and I made it heard. However, I strongly feel that a lot of progress was made to bring a new cohesiveness to the membership in a way WE have not seen previously.

This is a good thing.

The Month of Dennis

A few of Scott's pictures from a
Celebration of The Month of Dennis @ Ninfa's

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Venereal Disease by Dave

Dave Chapelle teaches the kids all about those nasty old viruses.

CLICK HERE to learn all about it.

Daily Dancer

In case you weren't listening the first time,
you really must visit Daily Dancer.

He will never be confused with Fred Astaire, but he does find some intersting venues to display his limited talents. And is not shy about doing so. Go ahead, BE BRAVE!!

A Deadly Premonition

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I had a premonition that I would die at age 46. It was such a strong feeling that I just accepted it for all of those years. As doomyear aproached, I had told only a few close friends of my impending death. My health was good but I was still completely convinced my time on this planet was nearing its end. I wasn't afraid to die but I was curious how it would happen. As it turns out, I am still living, apparently. The universe isn't through with me yet.

It almost was though. Twice. Here is the first example.

Five years ago, I was living and working in Lagos, Nigeria. I was living in one of the city's nicest hotels and had a meeting one day with a vendor. We met at the bar late afternoon to discuss an upcoming delivery. After having a couple of drinks, my friend was ready to leave; he had dinner planned at home with his wife and family and asked me to join them. He would take me and bring me back home afterwards. As usual in these situations, I declined (it would take away from my drinking time). We said our goodbyes and he left.

The following morning when I got to the office, I learned the news. My friend from the night before had been killed on his way home from work, just minutes after he left me. On the freeway; in a terrible car accident. An overloaded lorry(18-wheeler to Americans) had toppled its load and flattened my friend's car while travelling 60 mph. (this is not at all uncommon in many parts of Africa)

I suddenly realized that I was the last human being my friend had spoken with before his death. But for my selfish and alcoholic decision to remain behind and drink by myself, I would have been in that vehicle as well.

The year was 2000.
My age - 46.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Fleet in Morocco

I was lucky enough to work for 4 months in Agadir, Morocco back in 2002. I snapped this photo while at the docks one morning. These boats are part of the fishing fleet, before they headed offshore for the day.

Gay Pride

Today is
in Houston.

Click Here for all the scoop.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Walking through Fear

Soon after typing this, I'm off to another 6:30am meeting. Each morning, I attend the 6:30 at my home club, Lambda Center.

But today, I've been asked to lead a meeting at The Post Oak Club. I'm honored, of course. I have only attended one meeting there previously and that was over a year ago. It's not too far, about 15 minutes away. It's also probably the most highly attended AA club in Houston and is located in one of the posh areas of the city. It's also straight. (not that there's anything wrong with that)

I'm a little nervous. But I'll suit up and show up. I asked my HP to guide me through the meeting and I've decided to just leave the outcome to him.

My topic(s) for the morning: using my tool box and walking through fear

UPDATE: The meeting went just fine. The only topic, as it turned out, was about tool boxes in sobriety. The walking through fear bit was my topic (in my head) about doing the meeting itself. A fear that proved unnecessary, of course.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Buzzards, Bats & Bumblebees

If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner.
The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.
The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkably nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.
A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.
In many ways, there are lots of people like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. They are struggling about with all their problems and frustrations, not ever realizing that all they have to do is look up.

A Reminder


"We are problem people who have found a way up and out, and who wish to share our knowledge of that way with all who can use it. For it is only by accepting and solving our problems that we can begin to get it right with ourselves and with the world about us, and with Him who presides over us all. Understanding is the key to right principles and attitudes, and right action is the key to good living; therefore the joy of good living is the theme of A.A.'s Twelfth Step."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

History of the Twelve Steps

There are literally hundreds of 12 step recovery programs existing now. It's widely considered that Alcoholics Anonymous began the concept of the modern 12 steps. Following is an excerpt from a writing from Bill W., AA's founder. It may be found HERE in the archives from 1953.

Where Did The 12 Steps Come From?
by Bill W.July 1953 A.A. Grapevine

AA's are always asking: "Where did the Twelve Steps come from?" In the last analysis, perhaps nobody knows. Yet some of the events which led to their formulation are as clear to me as though they took place yesterday. So far as people were concerned, the main channels of inspiration for our Steps were three in number -- the Oxford Groups, Dr. William D. Silkworth of Towns Hospital and the famed psychologist, William James, called by some the father of modern psychology.

The story of how these streams of influence were brought together and how they led to the writing of our Twelve Steps is exciting and in spots downright incredible. Many of us will remember the Oxford Groups as a modern evangelical movement which flourished in the 1920's and early 30's, led by a one-time Lutheran minister, Dr. Frank Buchman. The Oxford Groups of that day threw heavy emphasis on personal work, one member with another. AA's Twelfth Step had its origin in that vital practice. The moral backbone of the "O.G." was absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness and absolute love. They also practiced a type of confession, which they called "sharing"; the making of amends for harms done they called "restitution." They believed deeply in their "quiet time," a meditation practiced by groups and individuals alike, in which the guidance of God was sought for every detail of living, great or small. These basic ideas were not new; they could have been found elsewhere. But the saving thing for us first alcoholics who contacted the Oxford Groupers was that they laid great stress on these particular principles. And fortunate for us was the fact that the Groupers took special pains not to interfere with one's personal religious views. Their society, like ours later on, saw the need to be strictly non-denominational.

Finally, one day, Dr. Silkworth took me back down to my right size. Said he, "Bill, why don't you quit talking so much about that bright light experience of yours, it sounds too crazy. Though I'm convinced that nothing but better morals will make alcoholics really well, I do think you have got the cart before the horse. The point is that alcoholics won't buy all this moral exhortation until they convince themselves that they must. If I were you I'd go after them on the medical basis first. While it has never done any good for me to tell them how fatal their malady is, it might be a very different story if you, a formerly hopeless alcoholic, gave them the bad news. Because of this identification you naturally have with alcoholics, you might be able to penetrate where I can't. Give them the medical business first, and give it to them hard. This might soften them up so they will accept the principles that will really get them well."

Batter Up!

Norris and I went to the baseball game Monday night.

We had great seats, courtesy of a fellow AA'er. Right on the field, just 3 rows up. Foul ball territory.

baseball game 1 june05

Norris studying the game Dave with stupid look on his face

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Happy Birthday Lisa

Today is Lisa's 53rd birthday. She's my sister and is 21 months older than I. We were both adopted. From different birth parents.

We've grown apart somewhat over the years although we both live in the same city. We're still great friends, just have totally different lives and interests. We get together 4 or 5 times each year on holidays. We don't speak much on the phone because I hate telephones. We both love our mother very very much and show it in different ways.

Lisa is an alcoholic. Untreated. For years now, she only drinks at home. This is a good thing, especially for all the drivers and pedestrians in Harris County. One of her other addictions is homes. She has owned a number of homes the past 15 years. Buy a home. Live there a year. Sell and move. To the next one. I've lost count, but it's probably been 6 homes in the last 5 years. She's never satisfied. The bedroom isn't big enough. The yard isn't big enough. The brick is not the right color. I don't like my neighbors etc...

One thing I have learned in AA is to be happy with what I have. And I have so much. I have my sobriety.


Monday, June 20, 2005


"I feel so miserable without you, it’s almost like having you here."- Stephen Bishop
"He is a self-made man & worships his creator." - John Bright
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill
"A modest little person, with much to be modest about." - Winston Churchill
"I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial."- Irvin S. Cobb
"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow
"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary. - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)
"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas
"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others." -Samuel Johnson
"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr
"There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure." -Jack E. Leonard
"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." - Abraham Lincoln
"I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it." - Groucho Marx
"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt." - Robert Redford
"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge." - Thomas Brackett Reed

Sunday, June 19, 2005

No More Father's Day (for me)

My sister was 26 and I was 24 back in 1978. We both still lived in Houston but not near our parents home. They had their own lives. We had ours. It was noon on a Sunday when I got the phone call. From my 55 year-old mother. She had returned home from church.

"He's gone. I think he's left me. His closet is empty and he's ... just gone."

My sister had just gotten the same phone call. We both rushed to Mom's house as soon as we could. He had indeed left. As it turned out, he had left and moved in with Mom's best friend, from church. A woman 20 years younger. A woman who had just gotten divorced. A woman with a young child.

Up until that day, my Dad and I were great friends. We did things together; always had. He had always supported me in whatever I chose to do. He put me through college. He never judged me for a moment when I came out of the closet. I am very grateful for those first 24 years with him.

The next year-and-a-half, he put my mother through Hell. Pure Hell. He had never allowed her to work because he wanted a stay-at-home housewife. When he filed for divorce, he tried to take almost everything. He left her the house and a car. That equaled to about 1/10th of the estate they had put together during their 37 year marriage.

Before the divorce became final, my Mom had a nervous breakdown. She had to be hospitalized for weeks. Even though I was a practicing alcoholic by then, I knew enough to fight back. Someone had to protect her and I was forced to "take sides". We hired a better divorce lawyer and fought. When it was all said and done, she got about 80% of everything.

That was 26 years ago. I have seen him twice (both times accidentally). We said hello to each other and not much else. When I stopped drinking and worked through the steps of AA with my sponsor, I became able to let go of my deep-rooted resentments of my father. I wrote him a short letter, explaining my current situation and the reason for writing. An amends of sorts. I owned my part in the estrangement. He wrote back with an offer to meet sometime if I ever wanted to. I still have no desire to know that man. He's a different person than the man who raised me those first 24 years. He's 82 now and married (again) for 25 years and has his own life. I wish him nothing but the best for the remainder of his days.

I have done the right thing to the fullest extent that I possibly can.
Progress not perfection.


On January 1, 1863 Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation stated that, “slaves within any State, or designated part of a State ... then ... in rebellion, ... shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” The Emancipation Proclamation did not set all slaves free, but it shifted the focus of the Civil War from the focus of bringing the South back into the Union to a focus on slavery.

After the war was over it is said the message of the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t reach all slaves until somewhere around June more specifically in the teens. In many areas the day June teenth is celebrated around the world by many African Americans; it’s a day when African Americans can be thankful for something that they should have always had…their freedom.

Juneteenth—first celebrated on June 19, 1865—marked the ending of slavery in Texas. It was on this date that Union Major General Gordon Granger announced to the people of Galveston, Texas, that all enslaved persons were officially free.

Although the first celebrations took place in Texas, Juneteenth celebrations can be found in many cities across the country today.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

No Relief for Relief Efforts

The following is copied from a post by samizdata

What did you do to help the victims and survivors of the Asian Tsunami? Did you help to raise money. Did you don your jogging bottoms and wheeze your way through a sponsored run? Did you sit in bathtub full of maggots for twenty-fours hours? Did you gladly humiliate yourself by joining in with a charity sing-a-thon? Did you run around like headless chicken collecting cuddly toys, blankets and unwanted packs of paracetamol?

Or maybe you just plunged your hand generously into your own pocket, scooped out a chunk of change and handed it over with the (understandably) sincere intentions of doing just a little to help ease the plight of the unfortunate victims of that catastrophe.

If you did any of those things, well, you have certainly provided relief to some quarters:

Oxfam has had to pay £550,000 in customs duty to the Sri Lankan government for importing 25 four-wheel-drive vehicles to help victims of the tsunami, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
The sum was levied by customs in Colombo which have refused to grant tax exemptions to non-governmental organisations working to repair damage caused by the giant Boxing Day wave.

The Indian-made Mahindra vehicles, essential to negotiate damaged roads and rough tracks, remained stuck in port at Colombo for almost a month as officials completed the small mountain of paperwork required to release them. Customs charged £2,750 "demurrage" for every day they stood idle.

So there we have it, good people. Kindly Westerners care more about the sodden, bedraggled, impoverished masses of Sri Lanka than their own government which has made a priority of cutting off its own pound (or several hundred thousands of pounds) of flesh first. And this is only the stuff that is being reported. Try to imagine, if you can, the graft and pilfering that is going on underneath the radar.

As for Oxfam, I can spare no words of comfort. Their incessant mewling about 'fair trade' means putting even more power and looted wealth into the hands of the kind of third-world government spivs who have just royally shafted them. I doubt very much if they will learn anything useful from this object lesson. These people seldom do.

If I had suggested, in the days following the disaster, that all those munificent donations were going to be stolen then the comments section of this blog would have experienced a mini-tsunami of its own as a wave of furious readers flooded in to inform me that I had "reached new lows". Too cynical? There is no such thing as 'too cynical'. Allow me to put the record straight: every penny of that relief fund is eventually going to worm its way into the pockets of state officials and professional Western poverty-mongers.

It's Summer

It's been awfully hot and very dry in Houston these past few weeks. Summer is here.

Mauritania - side of town FEB89
I took this picture while working in Mauritania / NW Africa /1989.
(it's not really Houston)


I went to 3 meetings yesterday -- the topic at each one was Acceptance. So, over the course of the day, I realized 2 things I have not thought about before ...

1) I drank for acceptance from others. So I would "fit in". In living sober, I must learn to accept myself for what I am and the world around me for what it is.

2) There is more to acceptance than just acceptance. I can accept just about anything. The challenge is learning how to react or behave regarding that acceptance.

Number two is the "aha!" revelation for me.


It was easy for me to admit and accept my alcoholism. My challenge was in changing my behaviour towards drinking.

I was littered with resentments. Towards myself and others. Having worked the steps of AA, I learned to accept others and myself and how to "let it go". Thus, I could change my reactions to the beahviour around me.

Make sense? Well, it does to me, and that's what's important.
Accept it.

Friday, June 17, 2005

In Memoriam ...

My best friend in recovery, Scott W. lost one of his best friends early this morning. She had become, over the years, his second mother after his own Mom passed many years ago.

Edie passed away after a short bout with cancer. God blessed her with a loving family and many friends.

If you are so inclined, please visit Scott's blog, Attitude of Gratitude, and leave a note for him.

Crosswords by David Sedaris

A funny piece to lighten your day.

please thank THE POPE for finding this for me


Only in Texas
sometimes, we do things differently in Texas ...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

My Worst Job

I bet that everybody has had a job, at some time in their life, that they HATED. A job to be considered THE WORST JOB IN THE WORLD!

I've delivered newspapers, worked in restaurants as a dishwasher, worked on a survey crew, been a baseball umpire and a mail clerk. I've managed a cookie shoppe in a mall, I was an office manager and a public school teacher. Then I found a career in the oil business.

Just before that wonderful career began, I needed some cash flow desperately. In 1980 (age 26), I answered an advert for a commission sales position for The American Automobile Association (AAA).

Now, I must tell you in NO uncertain terms --- I AM NOT A SALESMAN. period.
The AAA has a very nice and centrally located headquarters here in Houston. I was given a brief training session by one of the top salesmen and then left alone to do my thing. I was even required to wear a coat and tie when working! ARGHHHH!! The modus operandi was to sit in front of a telephone (at the office) and make cold calls -- out of the telephone book! Randomly pick a home phone number and call it. Give 'em my best sales pitch. If they didn't hang up or if they didn't start yelling at me, I continued. The goal was to try to make an appointment to visit them and sign them up for a yearly membership. It actually worked a few times. I did this job for 2 or 3 months before I began going hungry and not being able to afford the gas (petrol for you UK guys) to get around town.

I loathed that job. I hated that job. So I quit. Life continued.

What was your worst job? Comment here if you like or make it the next post on your blog if you feel it's worth writing about.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

God -- I've had enough!!!

Please God (as I understand you),

Help me not to drink any more. Don't get me wrong, God. I love getting drunk. It makes me funny and all my other drunk friends laugh at me. When I fall down on the steps at the bar, it doesn't even hurt. Not for long, anyway. But God, I just don't wanna drink again. I don't really mind throwing up except when it gets on my clothes or in the car. No big deal though.

But I think I've had enough now, God. I have some things I want to do with the rest of my life. It's hard to get them done when I start drinking at 8:00 o'clock every morning. Some days I can get to noon before I start, but why torture myself with waiting? And the money!! I really can't afford to drink any more, God. I keep spending way too much money not just on myself, but on everybody else at the bar. And I don't even remember it. Yeah, I think I've had enough for awhile, God.

I want some friends God. Can you let me have just a few people who won't steal from me? It seems like everyone wants what I have -- my stereo and my CD's, my money and even some of my used clothes. One guy even took my TV. If I ever see him again, I've got to ask him about that. If I can remember who it was. All my other friends don't even want to talk to me any more. I don't know why. Sure, I yell at them sometime, but I have every reason to. They piss me off. They just don't act right. If they'd only act like normal people, I wouldn't need to be yelling at them. Yeah, God, I'm done drinking.

But, God, you see, the problem is, well ...... ah ... I can't seem to stop. That's why I'm asking you to help me. It's hard to do. I thought I could quit, but I think I may be an alcoholic. Doesn't that mean I'm going to die living on the streets? Or in some homeless shelter? I don't want to end up that way. I want to stop drinking now.

Can you help me God?

Mobile Recovery

A good friend recently had major hip surgery - a port side replacement. Several of us have been taking AA meetings to his house once or twice each week until he can get back out on his own. He has a lovely home and rear garden.
Doug F house 4 Doug F house 3
random shots on a hot day

Doug F house 1
the recovery gang

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Free at Last


I was Powerless

Two years ago, I had tried and was trying everything I knew - to stop drinking. I couldn't do it even with the incentive of losing the love of my life. Not even for 24 hours.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says it best:

Here are some of the methods we have tried: Drinking beer only, limiting the number of drinks, never drinking alone, never drinking in the morning, drinking only at home, never having it in the house, never drinking during business hours, drinking only at parties, switching from scotch to brandy, drinking only natural wines, agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job, taking a trip, not taking a trip, swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath), taking more physical exercise, reading inspirational books, going to health farms and sanitariums, accepting voluntary commitment to asylums --- we could increase the list ad infinitum.

The Sermon

A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon. Four worms were placed into four separate jars.

The first worm was put into a jar of alcohol.
The second worm was put into a jar of cigarette smoke.
The third worm was put into a jar of chocolate syrup.
The fourth worm was put into a jar of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of the Sermon, the Minister reported the following results:
The first worm in alcohol - Dead;
The second worm in cigarette smoke - Dead;
Third worm in chocolate syrup - Dead;
Fourth worm in good clean soil - - - Alive.

So the Minister asked the congregation - "What can you learn from this demonstration?"

A little old woman in the back quickly raised her hand and said, "As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won't have worms!"

Monday, June 13, 2005

Mono (the cat)

I love this cat. She was born on the night of my last drunk, August 31, 2003.

Mono Behind Bars mono 2

Mono posted Mono   june05

Not Guilty

Michael J
Before the verdict was read, the crowd spoke to the cameras.
-- thanks to Mr. H.K. for the link --


Tagged by Scott W.

OK, I'm game for this ... (read through to the bottom to see if you've been tagged too)

What time did you get up this morning? - 4:05am
Diamonds or pearls? -
What was the last film you saw at the cinema? - Meet The Fokkers
What is your favourite TV show? -
What is your middle name? - Hunter
What is your favorite cuisine? - meat & potatoes
What foods do you dislike? - fish & seafood
What is your favourite crisp/chip flavour? - cheetohs
What is your favourite CD at the moment? -
What is your favorite song? - don't have one
What kind of vehicle do you drive? - RAV4
What is your favourite sandwich? - hamburger
What characteristics do you despise? - dishonesty
What is your favourite item of clothing? - t-shirt
If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go? - Bangkok
What colour is your bathroom? - blue
What colour pants are you wearing? - beige shorts
Where would you retire? - at home
What is your favourite time of the day? - now (early morning)
What is your most memorable birthday? - 46th in Dublin on Paddy's Day
What's the last thing you ate? - vanilla wafers
If you were a crayon, what color would you be? - blue
What is your favorite cartoon character? - Bugs Bunny
What is your favorite flower? - tulip
What fabric detergent do you use? - Tide
Do you wish on stars? - nope
What is your shoe size? - 9
Do you have any pets? -
Last person you talked to on the phone? - my mother
What did you want to be when you were little? - parking lot attendant
What are you meant to be doing now? - breathing
What do you first notice about someone? - facial qualities
What was your favourite toy as a child? - model cars
Summer or winter? - summer
Hugs or Kisses? - depends with whom
Chocolate or vanilla? - chocolate
Living arrangements? - myself with 3 cats in my townhouse
When was the last time you cried? - a minute ago trying to figure out my favourite song
What is under your bed? - the floor
In how many cities have you lived? - 4 months or more in about 20 cities
Favourite movie of all time?- Blues Brothers
Mountains or beach? - beach
Full names of your potential kids? - not a thought in my head on this one
What is your usual bedtime? - 10p-11p

So, the thing is ... I'm supposed to TAG 3 more bloggers to do this. Here we go .......
tony, jim, R.J.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Trek to Beaumont, TX

Last night a group of good friends went to hear a couple of speakers share their Experience, Strength and Hope in a neighboring city. We went to Beaumont, Texas -- about 90 miles east of Houston. On arrival, we were fed a wonderful dinner of Seafood and Steak at one of the city's longtime favorite restaurants. This picture was taken just after we had finished stuffing our faces.
Lambda Group in Beaumont  june05

Fellowship in recovery is very important. Without it, we are only left to our own devices. That's what led us to the need for reccovery in the first place. Thanks to Dennis R. and William M. for sharing their stories with us. I won't point them out in this picture. 'Cause it just doesn't matter. What does matter, is that we all remained sober yet another day.

dAAveArt on Donation

Houston Roundup is a local convention of workshops, speakers, a play and a grand dinner hosted by and for the GLBT A.A. community. It is held annually in November.

There are numerous fundraisers throughout the year. Next weekend is a silent auction. Most items up for auction are various services, but I have prepared the following pieces of original dAAveArt for donation. I hope they can make at least $10 or $20 off this stuff. At least, I enjoy doing it.

dAAveArt 27
dAAveArt 26 dAAveArt 25
dAAveArt 24
dAAveArt 23
dAAveArt 22
dAAveArt 21

Dancing Geek

Do you enjoy watching a strange, computer geek dance each day to a different tune on your monitor?

Then you'll love this.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Houston Gay Pride Week

Information on the celebration of Houston Gay Pride Week



The Facts are these:

I am an alcoholic. I drank every day. I drank to oblivion.
I drank when I wanted to. I drank when I did not want to.
I could not stop drinking using my own willpower.
My life had become unmanageable. I was a miserable human being.

I was introduced to Alcohlics Anonymous.
I continued to drink. I was spiritually bankrupt.
I accepted a Higher Power into my life.
God (as I understand Him) took away the drink problem.

I was 49 years old and had never been sober as an adult.
I was full of resentments towards others and myself.
I had no idea how to approach many of life's problems as a sober person.
I had many behaviours that needed to be changed.

A.A. shows me how to live sober using 12 steps and principles.
A.A. shows me how to keep my side of the street clean.
A.A. shows me how to keep in contact with my Higher Power.
I try to live by practicing these steps and principles in all my affairs.

If I continue to keep God (as I understand Him) in my life, I can remain sober.
I carry the message to other alcoholics to help them acheive sobriety.
I am now happy, joyous and free.
I am learning how to accept and handle life as it happens.

If you think you have a drinking problem, you probably do.
This thought does not occur to those without a problem.
To contact A.A. for help, CLICK HERE.



Friday, June 10, 2005

I'm just sayin' ...

People say they need to have clean underwear in case they're in an accident. If you're in an accident how long do you think your underwear is going to stay clean?

World Weather

Ever wonder what the current temperature is somewhere around the globe?

Here's the site that'll tell ya.


I know this picture has gone around the internet for years. Undoubtedly it's been run through photoshop. So what? I find it absolutely striking.

It is said that the visible part of an iceberg, above the water, is only 1/8th of the total size. This represents that formula well. So I just enjoy the picture, real or not.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Success in Sobriety

I live in a row of townhouses. My next door neighbors are in the AA program (she for 18 years, he for 2+ years). Actually, they met in an AA meeting.

Her brother got out of a treatment center (for alcohol and drugs) last December in New York. At the age of 45, he had no home and no place to go. He had lost everything during his last years of using. So she invited him to come live with them until he could get back on his feet. For the past 6 months, he's been living with them and taking odd jobs at construction and landscaping when they became available.

Last week, he was scoping out the grounds of a private school for a landscaping bid. He struck up a conversation with the owner of the school, who offered him a "tour" of the facilities. During that tour, he mentioned that his degree was in education, but had not taught for many years. That afternoon, they hit it off. Before he had left, she offered him a job. The next day, he went back, completed the paperwork and was hired - on the spot.

He began his new job this week. Making very good money, I might add.

Just another success story in sobriety. Miracles DO happen to those who work for it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Study of Women

A study conducted by UCLA's Department of Psychiatry has revealed that the kind of face a woman finds attractive on a man can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle.

For example: If she is ovulating, she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features. However, if she is menstruating, or menopausal, she tends to be more attracted to a man with scissors lodged in his temple and tape over his mouth while he is on fire.

Further studies are expected.

High Class Problem

Because I respect you, I have to tell you. I can't think of anything to write about.

In AA meetings for the past week or so, I haven't come up with anything worthwhile to share, when called upon. It's like my mind has been empty. I've hit a blank spot. The odd thing is that everything in my life is going quite well these days. I have no problems. Hold on, before I say that, let me look ...

a) sobriety ..... OK
b) spirituality .... OK
c) family ...... OK
d) health ...... OK
e) job (well, I'm retired) ..... OK
f) money ...... OK
g) love life (non-existent) ..... OK
h) my cats ..... OK
i) the home & neighbors ...... OK

What am I missing? I still do everything I am supposed to do for my recovery. Later this morning, I am part of a small group of recovering alcoholics taking a meeting to a fellow's home because he is recovering from surgery. I have a sponsor; I have a sponsee. I still do many hours of service work each week. I read the Big Book. I try to practice these principles in all my affairs.

But when they ask me to share my experience, strength and hope, gibberish comes out. I guess I need to remember another of the tools in my tool box ---


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

cHicKen fAsHioN

clothing for chickens
Clothing for chickens

A range of fashion clothing for chickens has been launched by a group of designers working in Austria and Japan.
Austrian Edgar Honetschlaeger said he decided to work with the Japanese on the project because he hoped to make the chicken label clothing essential. He said "It's something that you don't really need but everyone wants to have anyway".

The idea has already taken off after the designers staged a fashion show that is now touring the world. Several farmers have already had chicken suits with the name of their farm ordered and many advertisers have enquired about the possibility of having sponsored suits promoting everything from KFC to chicken soup.

The chicken suits come in various sizes, and had their first presentation in the Austrian pavilion of the World exhibition in Nagoya, Japan, where 20 chickens paraded a catwalk with Mozart music playing in the background.

The chicken suit collection will continue its world-wide tour with shows planned in Tokyo, Paris, Mexico City and Vienna.

Memories ...

If you're over 50, you may remember these ...


Down & Dirty

Port Harcourt (PH) is a city of about 3 million people in southeast Nigeria. Nigeria map

It's an oil town that has grown up over the past 20-30 years with the increased production of oil and gas in West Africa. There are thousands of British and American ex-pats living and working there.

While this alcoholic always appreciated a nice, air-conditioned bar, I also enjoyed getting down and dirty in small, out-of-the-way bars. Especially in Africa. And Louisiana (but those are stories for another day).

One day, I had hired a small boat to run offshore to pick up a couple of crewmembers who had to go home for one reason or another. We (my driver and I) drove a short way out of town to meet this boat on its arrival; about a 30 minute drive. The boat would arrive at a small, dirty old dock that was home to a few rusting barges. To get there, we drove down a one-lane dirt road. We picked up the 2 men and left.

On the way back to town, I asked the driver to stop at a shack that had a beer sign out front. I was thirsty. The shack was about 10'X10' and had a thatch roof for some shade. The beer was kept cool in an old refrigerator. They also had a hot plate for cooking whatever food they might have around. The four of us sat there for 2 solid hours drinking beer. We got to know the locals and bought them a few beers as well. By their standards, we were rich men. They told us that we were the first white men to ever drink at their place. We had a great time.

Over the next 2 years, I returned to that place many times. I became a regular. The owner was trying to get into the marine offshore business as well. Note his card below, under the CONTACT heading.
Nigeria Bar
(sorry for the poor photo quality - it's my camera - or just me)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Gratitude Lists

For me, a daily gratitude list is part of my recovery tool box. Part of my recovery. Since April 2004, I have produced one each M-F, usually done by 10am (Houston time). I currently send it out to about 48 friends each day. My friend Scott W. blogs his list most days. I am still old-fashioned, using email instead.

If you would like to receive this, let me know via email. I will need your email address, so don't just leave a comment here / send me an email. My address can be accessed by clicking on my profile.


Up for Donation

My latest attempt at painting dAAveArt 21
will be donated to the Service/Silent Auction later this month in support of the Houston Roundup.
This is a convention hosted by members of Lambda Center for the GLBT A.A. community.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Road Trip

Seven years ago I did this short road trip by myself. I've been a-wantin' to do it again. So I asked a couple of friends to go. They actually agreed. Scott and Larry (Hannen) had nothing better to do, I guess. We also took a friend who's in town visiting from New York City.

Easy trip. From central Houston south to Galveston Island (1 hour / 50 miles). We drove around the hot spots in Galveston for half-an-hour. It's really become very touristy. There were 2 cruise ships in port so there were many people walking nearby and a whole lot of vehicular traffic.

Then we drove west down Seawall Blvd. The Gulf of Mexico on the left, buildings on the right. There has been a lot of new construction the past few years. Many older buildings are now gone, replaced with new restaurants, hotels and retail establishments. Galveston is an island and runs about 20 miles westward. We stopped along the way to take the pictures below. Then we crossed over to the mainland at San Luis Pass, which is a narrow inlet about 1/4 mile wide.

Eight miles later is Surfside, then the city of Freeport. Turning northward back towards Houston, we went through the lovely village of Clute. Then the larger town of Angleton where we finally stopped to eat. At Chili's. Good food.

Then the final 30 minutes on in to Houston. Nice way to spend a day. Five hours to be exact.

Four recovering alcoholics. Fun. Fellowship. Food. No alcohol. What a change from my former life.
Scott, Larry, Greg @ Galveston  June05
GREG (from New York City), SCOTT & LARRY

Larry j and Greg (NYC)
LARRY & GREG (and a beach full of seaweed)

party, party, party

In March 2000, I was living and working in Lagos, Nigeria. I decided that I needed a couple weeks away from work - in Dublin, Ireland. Great place for a practicing alcoholic. I believe that Dublin was voted the European City of the Year that year. I had just a wee bit o' fun.

Dublin - Cathedral
one of the few cathedrals in Dublin

Dublin - bar
a mainstay in the Temple Bar district

Dublin - Temple Bar band
Irish music at its best

Dublin - Paddy's Day gang
Paddy's Day observants

Dublin - Paddy's Day Parade
The Parade - March 17, 2000


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Steroids in Baseball

OK. I think this is ample proof that there may be some abuse of certain steroids in the national pasttime. Slugger Barry Bonds may well break the all-time homerun record soon. Naturally, of course.