Friday, September 15, 2006

Baltimore office view

My client had to step away from our session for a moment and I sat gazing out the window. I was remembering he had told me a moment before that two people had been shot on that street since my last visit.

I stopped wondering why there were bars on the window after that...not that I had really given it that much thought.

My client is a Roman Catholic pastor. He is very passionate about helping the neighborhood become a decent place to live and raise families. He works in this room, in this parish office and is surrounded each day by reminders of the work he has before him.

It is a joy spending time with him and a challange as well. Going there every two weeks is almost like going home to the projects in Philly where I grew up.

How does the light get in?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Dispatch from Cape Cod

Some adventures you never realize you're on until they stare you in the eye and tell you a story you find incredible. Or in my case, several stories, that is until you realize that you know most of them, they sounded familiar as the words were being saw some of them in the paper or on the news, and you saw the movie, remember?

While not a photo of any great note (I'm still learning, just got the camera out of the box soon before I left for vacation!) this is my favorite of one Ed Walsh, retired Deputy Superintendent of the Boston PD. He runs a sports cards shop on Cape Cod and he's holding vintage Mickey Mantle cards in this shot. Unseen are the shots of him with Bobby Orr, Ted Williams, and some of the assorted 'bad guys' he busted over the years. Unless you spend time paying attention to the history of the Boston PD you may never have heard of him. But, as my mother-in-law loves to point out, my head is chock full of trivia.

Actually meeting someone as famous in investigative accomplishment as Ed Walsh was a rush. He joined the Boston police in 1955 and retired in 1987. I will not bore you with the number of times he won their medal of honor and other citations. The guy is a walking history of those years in Boston.

The two hours I spent with him in his shop were worth the twelve hour drive back through the remander of tropical storm Ernesto (if I thought I had made bad decisions driving up to the Cape it was just prep work for the drive back!). He should write a book!

I doubt I'll equal Fotoboy's work any time soon...but here's to trying!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Dispatch From Chadds Ford

We left Annandale late in the afternoon and I made just about every bad traffic choice I could have getting here. First day of vacation was still fun, it just didn't matter cause we were on the road, headed north to see some of our favorite people and visit some of our favorite places.

Leon's house in Chadds Ford is situated just south of the Brandywine battlefield. It is visited by deer, fox, and various forms of wildlife. His daughter Rachel, Esther's godmother, is currently living there, Linda, his wife, came in on the train from New York City soon after we arrived. Only Grace was missing, she is apparently well on her way in relationship with a certain 'Adam' (I wondered aloud if Adam knew that he had yet to pass my approval test?).

Robert is in hog heaven right now, showing Leon his game playing skills in the 'cave'. I'm up stairs in the guest suite, listening to Susana Baca through Breath of Life's web portal and trying to repair my lack of attention to my writing. I've slipped off the wagon. I have struggled to complete my thoughts on 'Labels' to the point of realizing that it is more than a series of scribbling notes on a blog.

Perhaps it's a serious article, maybe a book. Perhaps a grounding concept for a photo montage or even a video presentation...a poem?

Regardless, I do have many thoughts that have spiraled out of control and I've decided to just give in and see where they take me.

Right now I'm gonna head down to the cave (Leon, like me, has his toys in the big room all the way downstairs...)his lair. Big screen TV is the major attraction. Computers, games....big boy toys. He has decided to play the grandfather role with Robert. We have had a good time ushering Robert into bigger boyhood. But right now I'm just gonna go down and play. At some point we'll eat breakfast, figure out when we'll head further north.

And go play on the sands of Cape Cod's beaches.

And eat fresh seafood, good lobster, cold crisp beer...

Why am I sitting here still?

Back attcha soon

Thursday, July 20, 2006

History and Prophesy

Each moment is sacred, every life precious. Your memories are transports to the past where loved ones gone still live fresh as the first time you hugged them. The bits and pieces of history, both broad and personal, are artifacts to be revered, always.

Past is prologue…

Poets and storytellers are both historians and prophets. Listen to them for what they tell you can carry you through life with a wisdom earned simply by the attention you give and the care with which you carry their messages in your head and heart.

Here is such a story. I give it to you in honor of a week I spent at a writers'workshop at the University of San Francisco with spirits intent on learning to better tell their stories.

She was a tall, elegant woman, with sorrow etched on her beauty in such a way that made her more regal. Her voice carried the soft warm fragrances of cedar from her native country and when she rose to speak of her family’s grief her essence already foretold it to us. We sat in reverence. We sat transfixed.

Her sister was the star, brilliant in mind and person well on her way to a life of promise and fulfillment. She was to be a doctor or a lawyer and hold a high position in Lebanese society. All the family’s resources went to her. Our story teller evidenced no envy in this recital. She was accepting of her status even then, long after the fact. She loved her sister wholly and rejoiced in her promise. Her sister loved her back equally. Theirs was a bond unbroken even years later.

Long after her sister’s murder by her estranged boyfriend.

He had asked only to talk with her one day, seeking for a moment of her time to perhaps say good-bye, perhaps to talk her into one more try. They never found out. He shot her in the head as they sat in his car then took his own life.

Each moment is sacred, every life precious. Your memories are transports to the past where loved ones gone still live fresh as the first time you hugged them. The bits and pieces of history, both broad and personal, are artifacts to be revered, always.

We look on Beirut today and see what it must have looked like in the early eighties when Israel once before used massive attacks in retaliation for assaults against their country.

Past is prologue.

Our story teller related how her grief stricken family, in their tradition, buried her sister’s body in their back yard, in a beautiful garden. Moving on they transferred their dreams upon her. She was to become the star in their firmament and for awhile she tried. Went to school to become a lawyer for she was good with words but somewhere along the way those words called to her.

She was meant it turned out, to be a story teller.

She was meant to tell her family’s story to us that day and to finish her memoir from within the sadness of both her family and her nation. She came to America and went to school late in life. When we met her she was taking a novel writing class to smooth out her story. She was one of us, a soul crying out its story in all its sadness and glory. We were there in San Francisco listening to her, but her words carried us to Lebanon, during that country’s civil war.

You may not remember it, but it looked very much like it is today. One faction, one religious group vowing revenge against another for a long remembered wrong. One side supported by Islamic militants, another supported by the Jewish state. Peace loving families, like our storyteller’s, caught in the middle.

Israeli war ships anchored off the coast rained missiles down on Beirut in the early eighties, hoping to destroy their enemies. One rocket landed in her family’s back yard.

In the aftermath she and her family searched the grounds around their house for her sister’s bones so that they could be re-interred.

Can you imagine their horror and sorrow? Can you feel how hot the earth under their hands and knees must have felt?

She stood there telling us these things. But the one image I carry most vividly is this. She told us how fervently she prayed that she would not be the one who found her sister’s skull. They searched as long as they could and laid her sister again to rest.

Rockets once more fall like hot fire from the sky over Beirut. What peace do you think they find there on that family’s holy ground?

Each moment is sacred, every life precious. Your memories are transports to the past where loved ones gone still live fresh as the first time you hugged them. The bits and pieces of history, both broad and personal, are artifacts to be revered, always.

Past is prologue.

As Santayana has warned us:

Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why I Keep a Blog

Short post today.

I woke up to an email from an woman I dated decades ago. She found me from searching for me and running across my blog. We got to speak for a bit today and both of us have very vivid memories of our times together. She and her family are right down the road in Richmond, a little more than an hour's drive away.

I can't wait to meet with her, catch up, meet her husband and two children and see how life has treated her.

Some things never change. Friendship, luckily for us, is apparently one of them.

Oh, stories with Linda would definitely come under the "Labels" category. She reminded me of the times when we were out on dates and carloads of ignorant rednecks would yell 'race mixers' at us.

Funny thing: She's now a VP and General Manager of black radio stations. I knew I saw something soulful about that woman!

Almost completed the Diversity and Conflict Resolution course for the folks in Boston. Looking forward to getting in an mixing it up with younguns to see where they are with 'diversity'. I'm sure none of them rides around screaming at mixed race couples. Well, you know the one about making assumptions, don't you?

By the way, yesterday was the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision striking down anti-misegenation laws, the Loving case. Imagine the power of love in 1957 Virginia that helped a white man marry a black woman (they wed in DC where there were no such laws against their nuptuals). See for a little more on that particular story.

More soon.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Labels Part one and a half

Okay, I have been exceedingly slow in getting to this and, to be very honest, I still haven't come to any sort of conclusions about this just yet.

I've been putting together a diversity and conflict resolution program for an outfit in Boston and I suspect I'll have some good background material from the young participants afterwards. But as of now there's nothing more to say, at least nothing new to offer from my perspective. know that's a major fib.

But I'm gonna wait for a bit before pontificating on this again. I'm also going to talk to that other expert in my house. No, not Robert. This time I think it's time to see how Esther sees this whole racial issue. I'm guessing that at almost five she has had little influencing her aside from knowing that the Disney TV show "Sister Sister" was about dark skinned people. She relates pictures of black men to me. And she knows her momma isn't black.

More soon, I promise.

Meanwhile here's some of the latest. Robert just was accepted into the gifted and talented student pool for Fairfax County! He's so very proud of himself and mom and dad are a bit taken with him too!

A contemporary of mine from college just died,

Rotan and I were never really close (in fact at one point he and I shared the attention of a lovely young sister and he attempted to punch yours truly out over it. He later married her and subsequently they divorced) but we did share a common passion for doing things right and standing up to the nonsense surrounding and sometimes overflowing our college campus in the late sixties. Both of us, as well as many others, were involved in student government, protests, and generally doing as much as we possibly could to help the Eastern Shore of Maryland ease into the twentieth century. As you can see from his obit, he continued that tradition over the course of his life.

My favorite moment with him came in the begining of my senior year, seated next to him in the general survey course of English lit, which I had discovered was all I needed to take to be able to declare a double major in History and English. Our professor had just moved back to the States after considerable time in England where she had been teaching.

After she began her first lecture Rotan and I turned to one another, perplexed as hell as we could barely discern that she was speaking English (which, naturally she was). We ended up taking notes on her vocabulary for the next month or so. My senior year, both semesters, that was the only course I really had to work on! I think rotan was so impressed with her ability to confound us with words that he continued that tradition too!

I've been back to the school a few times since I graduated in 1970 and have warm memories of my time there (see Fraternity Brother for a quick snap shot) and I also know that I developed a more healthy self image after being immersed in African-American culture there. My fellow "Hawks" and I share a bond that only those who attend a historically black school know and understand (even those white students who attend have a deep understanding of this as well. We had several and they proved to be just as 'down with the program' as any of us). I wonder if that atmosphere has changed that much over the years.

But, and here's a hint, the most profound lesson I learned there was that unless and until one could transcend labels one was condemned to hold a very narrow view of the world.

As Anais Nin wrote: We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Josey Part Two

No, not really, no Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry/Josey Wales bon mots here but I do have a quote from William Carlos Williams I want to share (what motivates parents to give a child the same first name as the last name?)

Regardless, here's the quote:

It is difficult to get the
news from poems
yet men die miserably every day

for lack of what is
found there.

(Kinda makes you wonder how much decent poetry is read at 1600 PA Ave. NW, don't it?)

Talked to my girl ScandaLizz today (see links section)...actually today she was Lizz, mainly cause we got into very serious shit in our time on the phone. We both lamented that for various reasons our writing has been suffering. Quick fix: regardless of whether or not she goes to VONA this year she is coming out here to spend time with me and the family this summer and she and I will have ample time, energy, material, and venues to get off with our art. I'm excited as the other day I talked with Fotoboy and he said he had to motor east from the Left Coast too, Lizz is in San Diego, The Boy in in LA, all of this prompted after I told each of them that I'm not going to USF for VONA as I have way too much going on with Robert...

Robert is at that magic age, nine, when the world still contains a lot of mystery with magic. My plan is to help him understand that even after he 'grows up' he can still find magic (as all of us grown ups know the world will always be mysterious!) within himself.

So, he's coming with me to Boston for that training I mentioned in my previous journal entry and I'm going to Pennsylvania with him the next week for soccer camp. (see July archives; 'Dispatch From Hunlock Creek' for some quick background on that!)

Those would be the two weeks I was planning on being in San Francisco for a week of poetry with the wonderful Ruth Forman and a week of residency with the intense David Mura. I was intending on squeezing out as much of the juice of poetry I had in me those two weeks.

Instead I'll watch it flow through the eyes and soul of my son.

And wonder why we have daily newscasts and newspapers yet look upon poets as being excentric and poetry as fluff or esoterica.

A wise man once told me that when it comes to raising children its best, as in bike riding in the mountains, not to look too far up the road as the task may seem too daunting, you'll wonder how you'll ever get 'there'. Each day is a poem with my children. Anticipated days with them, and with my friends like Ibarionex and Lizz is like knowing there's an awesome treat after a fine meal. I'm savoring both today and dessert.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


I'm swamped and haven't had time to visit my blog, write for it, or visit some of the others I try keeping up with but, there is always a but, I have a new link to a great friend/inspiration/sister-of-a-different-mother and she is laying down a perspective on the subject you may find interesting! See my links section...

Spring has definitely sprung around here and two weeks ago I bought a mountain bike so I could hit the trails with the future Tour de France winner currently growing up in my house. There is a great set of technical trails (condition 3 and 4) not far from the house as well as some easier 2's and 3's leading to the newly completed cross-county trail. As far as the nine year old's ability to 'keep up with dad': let's just say that I'll be in great shape by the end of the season, maybe way before, by riding with the boy! (His other goals: being an award winning photographer and a master chef!)

I got some great email messages from folks on Part One of Labels. Those comments and more navel gazing on my part will be before you soon. I'm also looking to make my 'poetry' site way more active (NewHaiku links section) so Robert is a good example to me of not only high ambition but of the energy it takes to get there as well.

Work is going great, I've just been given my third client on a wonderful project I'm associated with working with the Archdiocese of Baltimore. I have a couple of private folks and I'm working with a non-profit educational concern in New England on a diversity and conflict resolution piece I'll present in June. I'm reviewing class notes taught by an amazing woman in preparation for developing a joint venture with her in the near future. I'm really looking forward to that as she has been the central point of a lot of positive energy, love, and wonderment in my life the last five or six years.

Still showing at Mocha Hut but still very hungry for more 'quiet time' to write my poetry. And very hungry to spend time with some of you out there. I never get enough of time with people I love. A taste is a tease, but better than none at all, huh?

I'm real busy but real happy.

"A full cup must be carried carefully." (Old English proverb)

"We do not see things as they are; we see things the way we are." Anasis Nin

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Outlaw Josey Wales


He has definitely gone over the edge now: Josey Wales. Chuck what's that about?

Two quotes from the movie have been rattling 'round my head as I watch the world spin totally out of control.

"Governments don't live together, people do." Josey to Chief Ten Bears when making peace with the Indians for the settlers he had been riding with.

"It's sad that governments are chiefed by the double-tongued." Ten Bears

Nuff said, huh?

Now Clint's movies have often provided inspiration to me. My favorite line being from Magnum Force, a Dirty Harry opus: "A man's got to know his limitations." But the two lines above speak volumes to me.

How about you?

Labels Part II due up soon. I've been busy as shit lately, not having enough fun nor making enough money. Intolerable I know, but life is still very good. Everybody's healthy (making exception for Robert who has a stomach bug kicking his ass and keeping him home from school these two days.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Labels (Part One)

The playground was typically urban, 1950’s, used-to-be-a-more-affluent-neighborhood-than-it-is-now plain. There was no grass yet we played baseball and tackle on the rough concrete and asphalt as well as hoops. The school was red bricked, with caged windows so the baseballs, basketballs, and errant footballs wouldn’t break them. Any broken glass was quickly cleaned, if not by the maintenance staff then by some concerned parent from the nearby houses. We lived there, in two different houses, from when I was born until the year I turned eight.

The house I remember was at 3839 North Gratz Street. The school yard was a block or so down my street. It was a great neighborhood, somewhat Norman Rockwell in it's feel. Everybody seemed to care about the way it looked, the condition of their house, and each other's children. Each dad was a coach of some sport and if not, certainly was interested in teaching you what they did know. I learned to throw a baseball and football there. I learned to ride a bike there. I learned that, to some of my neighborhood peers, I was a nigger there.

For the most part people got along in the neighborhood. It was lower-middle class with some working folks, like my dad, a cab driver, and the occasional doctor or dentist. There were more white folks than black; there were no Asians or Hispanics. That part of North Philadelphia had formerly been all white but that had begun to slowly change. Up until the time I first heard the word from the mouth of one of my classmates I hadn’t thought of there being any differences between any of us.

“Nigger” changed something in me. I remember asking my dad about it and hearing his response as if I were underwater.

“We’re negro, Chuck,” he said, “People use that word to be mean and ugly. It doesn’t mean anything to us, it’s not who we are. Do you understand?”

“But dad,” I remember saying, “I thought we were American!”

Needless to say, that conversation continued for several decades in various forms and with many being involved in the evolving dialogue. My mother used to say that in her lifetime she went from being colored to Negro, to Afro-American, to black, to African-American. But there is more than that to a person, isn’t there? People are concerned about psychological, social, political, cultural, religious, and personal ramifications around whether or not to use labels. We are separated by them as well as identified by them. We live in a world that is increasingly segmented by them even as it grows smaller and closer together.

I’ve looked at this issue even more closely lately as my children have been exposed to the penchant of older people, and their children, to use labels. I’ve looked at my own tendency to use them. It really strikes home when you hear a nine year old using your favorite expletive from when someone cuts you off in traffic before you have a chance to use it yourself.

Labels are ‘sticky’ in the way Malcolm Gladwell talks about in his book “The Tipping Point”. Nigger's meaning is adhesive, especially to those of us who have been its target. That meaning is something that even those very young white hip-hop influenced speakers are mindful of. Nigger has the exact same sting for me now that it had over fifty years ago in that school yard, even when it’s used as niggah as in rap songs or spoken word. C. Delores tucker is probably STILL going off on the use of the word. But I wonder, as several of my readers have pointed out, just what we’re doing with labels in general, not just that one.

Does our society's use of labels help or hurt? As some of you have postulated, they have a lasting effect on children. That effect is seen by some as very positive, by others as negative. I will explore this issue here in installments as the subject calls for not only my introspection and consideration of your responses but there exists much in the way of serious, as well as humerous, material for me to read.

When it came time to identify which box to check for Robert when he was about to start kindergarten it was very easy to fill out the African American one. But what exactly does that mean? What, or more significantly, why do we do that?

Answering the question raises many issues for people for different reasons. For me I’d prefer that there be no category on the form for race, but I have always been somewhat the Pollyanna. People are people and their skin color, racial and ethnic heritage are not true indicators of who they are as I relate with them, nor them to me.

Some of you may snicker as you read that. So be it. I do know that as I walk down the street late at night that a woman, walking alone upon seeing me will feel nervous and perhaps cross the street. I may wonder why. I may question whether or not it’s because I’m a man, or is it because I’m a black man.

I listen to those of you have advanced the discontinuation of racial and ethnic labeling so as to eliminate the facilitation of affirmative action programs. I listen but I wonder how many of you would feel the same way if you were descendent from a family whose history included an introduction to this hemisphere through the notorious middle passage. The following chapters of that history would include being separated from blood and cultural roots through savagery and cruel status as chattel to be sold at whim.

I wonder if you could take a broad look at the wealth slavery created in this society, and how it was created, and not see that you had a claim to some small portion of that bounty. That claim being continuously invalidated by fiat, then law, then noxious custom followed by a belief that legislation alone can alter over four hundred years of repression and exploitation.

More importantly, I wonder how we can effectively dialogue, really talk as a growing community, about significant economic, cultural, and social issues without coming to an understanding that categorizing our positions one way or another is not the way to reach a process of clearly communicating our differences. Labels (conservative, liberal, radical anything, Christian anything, etc.) not only categorize us, they limit the way we see the world and how others see us, don't they?

But then that is what’s lurking under this question I have about labels. When I say I’m a black man it may mean something very different to me than what it means to you, or to some demographer compiling statistics on the educational and economic levels of middle aged men of color.

It may mean something wildly different to the young white woman on a darkened street in Washington DC some years ago than it does to the group of spoken word artists I hang with on Thursday nights.

Saying “I’m black” may mean something even more different to my son when he says it at various points in his life. It may mean something I cannot comprehend except in my optimistic dreams, for my daughter. But I wonder if they live at a time when they even need to say it.

More, later.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Race Mixing?

Now that I have your attention...

I have a question for you, dear reader.

First some quick background: I've been working on an essay (it started as a blog draft, but after awhile it was too serious a subject to just whip off as a blog topic) on labels. You know, like we affix onto people. Like, Black, European, Asian-Pacific, Native-American...

But specifically, the label I have been centered on is "mixed-race". This category struck me while filling out a form for Robert for a Fairfax County school program. It had always been there but we never got past the African-American box as Sheila agreed with me that that is how we would consider our children. (In case you missed it Sheila is Irish-American, another label, huh? Me? I check the AA box even though some consider me 'mixed' given my family background.))

So right now what interests me most is your take on this. Doesn't matter if your comment is short or long. I promise to present what I've written to this point as it is (ya knows I have some strong opinions in this area, don't you?) but I want to hear, and perhaps be influenced by, your thoughts on the matter.

I know, I know, I'm leaving this very open ended and haven't given you any parameters. But that's just it. There are some of us, that would be me anyway, that spend time alternating between what appears to be two main positions on this (no, I am not going to say what I think those positions are!), and some that feel very strongly on a particular position.

I've decided not to be flippant about this, and I've also decided that this is an issue I want to invite others to more actively participate in. I have no doubt that several of you will jump in. I promise not to use your names if you don't want me to.

I also promise to treat your feedback carefully and consider it fully. You all are important not only to me but to my children who will have to live in a world that still confers, fairly or not, labels on souls still young and beautifully ignorant of the pain some names can cause.

So, either post them here in the comments section or email me directly. I promise to gather them and publish the installment ASAP

Next up, after "Labels": who knows what'll strike me next?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Mocha Hut

On so many different levels the place's name resonates with me. Mocha, like my skin color. Mocha like the name of my first truck. Mocha like beautiful brown skinned Ethiopian women with their beautiful faces, radiant with ancient, mystical loviness, accents with one of the oldest spoken languages on Mother Earth. They were there tonight. Served me OJ and a sandwich. Gave me a cup of espresso and made me feel right at home.

Mocha Hut on U Street, near where there used to be a thriving black rennaisance center in old DC, near where Duke, Count, Ray, Monk, Dexter played. Near the clubs my mom used to take me when I was a young teenaged boy come down to see her here after the divorce, where she opened my eyes, and ears, to cool cats and be-bop, post bop, big bands and small jazz combos playing shit that still rings in my ears.

Kelly was in town. Hadn't seen her in the flesh in way too long. (Go to my links and check out YellowGurl) Wanted to be there, wanted to say hi, maybe see her smile at me. Got so much more....gotta lotta hugs, gotta a big smile several times. Got to introduce her like I was Mos Def. Got to read myself.

Got to read myself. Damn, wasn't even nervous. More nervous at VONA but Mocha Hut, where many had spit some serious shit before me tonight, where many had ripped open veins and bled all over the floor, where the insides were on the outside in such fluid, beautiful, strong, angry, sonorous, haunting words. I spoke from my heart and my children's eyes looking at me look at the world, at my life.

One woman said I better show some more, wanted me to come do a set Sunday. Kelly said I was a natural performer. The brothers took me in and felt me, heard what I was saying and it rang true with them. I wanna do more, be better, say more.

All I know is that I'm showing there again. Kelly will be on the road somewhere else. But I'll feel her hugging me, saying that I had her weepy after my introduction of her. I can't remember that much of what I said about her. I do remember wanting to convey that I loved her way with words. I loved the fact that she is a part of my poetic family. I loved the way her face lit up when she saw me there, loved her thanking me over and over for being there. I hope she knows that she was my gift, my blessing tonight.

There were other gifts, other incredible artists there. Many blessings. I was honored and humbled to have shared the stage with them.

Droopy invited me back. My goal: To throw down like those young poets, no, not just like them cause I ain't that angry, that sensitive, that raw anymore. I see the world with softer eyes now. But as well as they. That I will have to work on.

And maybe one day I can take the audience places like Kelly did tonight. Exotic, far away places, places I could only have imagined before her words came to me. Places I had been but now saw with new eyes.

Mocha Hut, sounds like some far away, commercialized, tourist trap, drinking joint near a beach where little umbrellas stick out of rum drinks, huh?

Well, belly up to the bar. I'm buying!