Ladies, prepare to swoon.
Gentlemen, it’s all good – your manhood is not in question.
Meet my best friend in the whole wide world, Anthony Grace:
Impressive figure of a man, isn’t he? Dig it, ladies – he’s Irish, complete with that Irish accent that melts 5 miles of lead. Yes, the snow done melted a bit on the roof of his house but, as he puts it in typically Irish aplomb, that’s his “solar panel for a sex machine.”
Let it not be said the man isn’t environmentally friendly.
Anthony Grace came into this world heralded by a bright star in the East over Bethlehem that drew the attention of three wise men carrying gifts to honor his…oh, wait, sorry – that was somebody else.
Anthony Grace hails from the planet Krypton when – as an infant – his father, Jor-El, placed him in a rocket to send him off to Earth to save him from his home world’s destruction…oh, crap – that, too, was someone else.
Anthony Grace was born March 22, 1960 in the town of Clomnel, Ireland. Here’s a picture of the place:
Yup, a river runs through it – which most Irish cities worth their salt have. This is the city where Anthony grew up and spent a great deal of his adult life in where he managed to pick up a Bachelor’s degree (with honors!) in Applied Computing from Waterford Institute of Technology.
Most Irish folks I’ve run into over the years tend to lean left in their politics. It’s almost something I can predictably set my watch by. Yes, most folks in Ireland do but Anthony (surprisingly) is not most Irish folk – he does, in fact, identify himself as a conservative Republican (much to the chagrin of his left-leaning friends back home).
And yeah, I’m a liberal Democrat, actually a Democratic Socialist. My political views are far opposite of his and you want to know something? We get on famously – proof there is bipartisanship in an increasingly partisan America.
Oh sure, we disagree politically. All the time. Some of our political arguments on Facebook are epic, especially the ones we had during the last presidential election, for which Anthony was a staunch Romney man.
How I voted isn’t any secret.
Anthony emigrated from Ireland to the United States in November 2001 to take part in the American Dream, something he didn’t think he could have in Ireland (“too socialist for me”, he often opines) and since he first took up residence not too far from where I live, he’s accomplished a lot for himself in the last 13 years.
He’s a much-respected IT engineer for the county. He also develops websites and even started his own company, Anthony Grace Web Design. He’s a homeowner, a good husband and provider (sorry, ladies – I should have mentioned he was married), industrious, kind, friendly and really not the kind of guy who goes looking for a fight.
Oh, and he plays the MEANEST blues guitar you have ever heard in your life.
I met Anthony two years ago when I put out the call for guitar players to assist me in recording The Red Barn Sessions (aptly named for the place I live and work out of – a renovated red barn). He was eager and his enthusiasm was infectious – so much so that when he asked if he could audition for the chair (for which I granted him) he also made an unusual request: he wanted to learn how to record and would I be so inclined to teach him?
I said yes, I would teach him and – in total jest – added: “It’ll cost you a bottle of Ireland’s finest.”
Well, when Anthony showed up to audition…to be honest, I didn’t think he was going to make the cut. I’ve been in this business a long time to know, just on first sight, if someone isn’t quite up to making music with you and I’ve been right so many times I can set my watch to it. I had thought to myself that yeah, he’s a nice guy and I’m sure he’s gonna play his heart out for you but he’s gonna come up a bit short where you really need him to shine.
Now, recall the part about where I was joking that my fee to teach him recording was a bottle of Ireland’s finest. I had no expectation that he was going to acquiesce to that so you can imagine my surprise when, halfway up the stairs he came, he reached into his back pocket and pulled out…a bottle of Bushmills!
Dude! Several hundred points in the Cool column for you, sir (but this was in no way going to influence my decision on whether or not I bring him into this project).
I’ll come right to the point on the audition: he slayed. He did everything I asked him to do and a lot of things that I never considered having him do and did it so perfectly I could hardly believe my ears.
Anthony Grace is, in my opinion (and should be yours, too) the greatest rock/blues guitarist in the world, rivalled only by Clapton, Gallagher, Paige and Hendrix.
Yes, he’s THAT good.
And when you get to working with someone for as long as I’ve worked with Anthony, you get to be really good friends and that friendship remains in force to this day.
So having said all that the question becomes why in the hell would this quiet, unassuming, kind, warm and friendly guy whom you can easily establish a friendship with and have it in place for the rest of your life suddenly find himself on the receiving end of some anonymous troll shitheads sending him death threats?
Because that’s what Hoge wanted. In Hoge’s view, there are no civilians and everybody is a viable target. If you’re associated with the object of his ire, you and that object are one in the same. All you have to do is read his rantings about Brett Kimberlin and how I, Bill, and anyone else on Hoge’s shit list are all part of this abstract “Team Kimberlin” (a fabrication entirely of Hoge’s diseased, obsessive mind).
In Hoge’s view, we all serve Brett Kimberlin. He is our Lord and Master. We take our daily instructions from him. We’re also on his payroll, too, which I have to say I need to speak to Brett as my compensatory salary for this gig is far below what I think it’s worth (i.e. I need a raise, big time).
What’s even worse is that Hoge’s readers (read: cult members) believe this, too.
This was your first mistake, shitheads – thinking that by threatening Anthony it would drive a wedge between us and you failed.
Anthony and I have been friends long enough to where we got each other’s backs. We don’t bail on each other when things get hot and hairy. I trust that man with my life as he trusts me with his and either of us is ready to take a bullet for the other.
That is something you shitheads don’t have, never had, will never understand and now you’ve earned yourselves some much deserved mockery from both of us – which will continue.