Time is tight.  It’s Thanksgiving Day (these are my last precious moments of peace and quiet for god knows how long) and I just got back from a road trip that featured lots of fun and music and very little sleep.  More on the trip later.  First things first.  Let’s go!

It’s been thrilling to see the number of contributors to BBL&L shoot up over the last few weeks.  I assume this means we’re getting a bunch of new readers, too.  I’ve been asking all my friends to mosey on over and check it out.

Here’s my usual pitch: “It’s an eclectic bunch of writers and artists from all over the country.  You should mosey on over and check it out.”

I think of myself as BBL&L’s hillbilly correspondent.  I’ve lived in some of our nation’s largest metropolitan areas, but, genetically speaking, I’m a bona fide hillbilly, and for the last six years I’ve lived on my family’s farm in the Tennessee Valley.

This ancestral postage stamp, 200 acres of Coburn Mountain, Alabama, is the land that sustained my maternal grandparents and most of their progenitors.  Until I lived here, it never hit me – on some molecular level, I’m part of this place.  I wouldn’t exist were it not for the dirt under my feet.

I can reach down and take a pinch of the stuff I’m made of, rub it between my fingers.  How about that!

I’ve had all sorts of great adventures since I moved here, and there’s been some learning, too.  (“Learning” is my favorite euphemism for painful ordeals that stop just short of dismemberment or total nervous collapse.  Having your car stolen is a learning experience.  A full-body poison-oak rash will teach you a few things, as will driving a riding mower over a nest of yellow jackets.  Sure, it hurts.  But you’re learning.)

Writing for BBL&L for the last couple of months has been a great adventure.  I don’t know why I agreed to do it.  I read the posts of other contributors and think, “My god, these people have real lives!  They don’t spend all day talking to their dogs!”

I’m still not sure what BBL&L is all about.  I like the name.  Bark, bugs, leaves and lizards.  Rolls right off the tongue.

At first glance, I suppose it comes across as some sort of back-to-nature concept.  But then, the admonition: “Don’t eat that stuff.”

It’s what you’d tell a two-year-old in the backyard.  Take that out of your mouth right now!

The operative meaning of the phrase can be found by clicking on the “bark eater” link on the left-hand side of the homepage.  If you haven’t taken the time to do this, please do so now.

BBL&L strikes me as a rarity because it’s defined by the things the management has politely requested its contributors not to do.  Don’t be a jerk.  Don’t try to humiliate others.  Don’t bring your flamethrower and land mines.

People of all ages from many different backgrounds show up here.  It’s the state fair, okay?  Use some discretion.  Be entertaining.  Be thought-provoking.  Be silly.  (Silly is vastly underrated.  The best things in life are often silly.)

We all know life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.  If you need more of that, visit every other website and blog ever created.  That’s all.  There is a middle ground between Pollyanna and Pol Pot. Let us enjoy it here.

Okey-dokey!  Saturday night I saw three great bands at The Blind Pig in Oxford, MS.  Wild Emotions from Jackson, MS, opened the show.  Five punk/garage goddesses playing their first out-of-town gig!  Loved it.

Next up, Tyler Keith and the Apostles.  Keith, a veteran bandleader and songwriter based in Oxford, plays guitar and sings like a man with a hellhound on his trail. TK and his rhythm section barreled through a mini-set that had everyone in the bar on their feet.

Headliners TimLee3 of Knoxville, TN, played a bunch of tracks from their spectacular new double album, Raucous Americanus (Cool Dog Sound).  Raucous features high-caliber guest stars like Mitch Easter, Winston Watson and Barry “Po” Hannah Jr.

Do NOT miss Tim, Susan and Matt when they bring their brand of hard-chargin’ Americana to your town.  In the meantime, you can reconnoiter the racket at timleethree.com.

After the show, I headed off into fog-shrouded Faulkner country for a spooky drive south to Jackson.  I didn’t arrive at my destination until 4 AM, but the door was unlocked and a big, soft bed was waiting.

Mercy!  That’s when you know you’ve been living right.

John Hicks lives outside the city limits, where eagles dare.

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