Saturday, September 30, 2006


We often see log trucks on our roads being that timber is the largest industry we have. Either you know about the industry or you don’t. If you don’t know and are curious here are some things I learned last year.

Yes, I may be considered a tree hugger, but I found that sometimes a forest needs to be thinned to keep it healthy. I had several acres of forest land with mature trees. The only trees I would take for fire wood were the trees that were dead, fallen over or leaning and rubbing against another healthy tree. Several years ago a neighbor clear-cut his land down wind from my forest. This left my trees exposed to the strong winds of winter. I lost several every year. I can only use so much firewood, so I called in a professional to assess what the best plan of action would be.

My trees were old, around 75 years old. Some were diseased. The plan was to take the marketable timber and leave the younger trees.

Here are the financial breakdowns of the profit and expenses of logging.
For a log truck load of hemlock we got about $1500 a load. For a load of alder we got around $2000. A load of spruce (usually the really big logs you see) only brings about $800 because that is used for pulp. It is also paid by the ton rather than board foot.

Most logging companies charge 50% of the gross, my logger only charged 30%, and was well worth the expense. It cost about $180 for the self loading log truck for each load, and surprisingly the forestry tax wasn’t all that much, but the capital gains tax was. Then there is the cost of replanting, which I may need to do again this winter because several of the 200 cedars and 800 hemlocks I planted died during the long dry spell we’ve had.

The job was well done and doesn’t look like the devastation that is seen after a clear cut. There are still a lot of young trees that are growing well now that the canopy is open. We sold 25 loads of timber. I do miss walking in the forest, but with careful stewardship, I will be able to walk in an even healthier forest again within my lifetime.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Remembering Some Friends

Somehow I still get surprised when I hear that someone has taken their own life. I’ve known several people who have done so. Each of them were gentle, kind people, yet each was in so much physical or emotional pain that they decided they couldn’t carry on. Having never been at my personal physical or emotional limit, I simply can not relate to just what it must take to inflict that sort of finality upon oneself.

We who are left behind are often angry about this sort of ritual. We also feel guilty that we didn’t see this decision approaching. In retrospect the signs were there. They always are, and we either just don’t see them, or couldn’t imagine our suspicions to ever be true.

As good acts and deeds touch people in unimaginable ways, the misunderstood acts of taking ones own life touches people in unimaginable ways as well. Each instance I know of, either the person did what they could to minimize the aftermath, or at least wrote a note of a pending apology.

So to my friends who are no longer here, Mary, John, Jeff, Nathan and Barbara, I’m thinking of you. I still don’t understand, but I do accept your decision unconditionally.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I was recently rooting through my study looking for a book when I must have jostled something and my ovation fell in an El-Kabong fashion, right on my head. I then sat on the floor and cradled this guitar, while it returned some memories to me.

When I was young and immortal I damaged my hearing with electric music. I decided to go with acoustic guitars. I first purchased a Yamaha Twelve-String, but soon realized that I was spending half of my time tuning it and the other half of my time playing out of tune.

From there I purchased a big box maple Guild. (Robert in the Brownsmead Flats has one almost like it.) This instrument had sound. You could strum it, set it down, go out for dinner and drinks and those strings were still humming when you returned later that evening. Unfortunately that instrument was previously owned by someone who had the strings on too tight and I tried everything I could do to straighten the neck out, but never could. That was when I bought the Ovation and have had it now for well over 30 years. Oddly I don’t think I’ve played more than a hand full of times since I moved out here nearly 20 years ago.

Growing up in the suburbs of New York City, one’s whole identity was formed by the guitar you had. I was a Gibson kid. I was probably 12 years old when I first tried a 1963 Gibson Firebird. I was probably fourteen years old when I got my first SG Special. It was the perfect guitar for me. Not fragile like an ES-335 or a Johnny Smith, and not a heavy thick model like the Les Paul. I just liked the look and the feel.

Another memory came back to me as I sat there on the floor. It was of the time when I did all my writing at a café that had entertainment on the weekend. The owner of the café saw some microphone stands for sale in the paper, and asked if I would be good enough to pick them up. I was familiar with the area and I had a jeep that could hold all sorts of stuff, so off I went. I had a suspicion who I’d be buying the mike stands from. Sure enough, as I pulled into the quasi private community, up his driveway, he met me at the back door. It was The Gibson King himself; Les Paul.

Les took me into his studio to get the mike stands. I got four of them. He helped me load them into the Jeep. We chatted for a while, and I had to ask him if he had any guitars for sale. He said, “Follow me.”

We went back into his home and I followed him into a large room that had probably twenty guitars, each on a stand arranged in a semicircle. There were several Les Paul models there and even some experimental Gibson models I had never seen before or since.

I zoned in on a brown EBO bass. I hadn’t had a bass guitar since I sold my scroll neck Baldwin some years earlier, and the EBO was the bass version of the SG special. I wanted it.

Les plugged both our guitars in. He started playing something like Walking Whistling Blues. I listened for a moment in awe that I was in a room alone with Les Paul watching him play. He said, “Are you planning on trying that bass out today?” Holy shit! I was getting a cue to play bass guitar along with Les Paul. I did my best, which wasn’t very good, but playing guitar with Les Paul will always be a memorable in my life.

As it turned out Les was asking three times the amount a new EBO would have cost me at the most expensive music shop in town. I passed on buying the bass, but the totally free experience of playing with Les Paul was priceless to me.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


As good citizens we all feel proud when we make the effort to keep our yards safe so visitors someone reading our utility meters won’t be injured while visiting. We may even go out and sweep up a broken bottle for the road or off the sidewalk in front of our homes. We trim our lawns and even plant attractive plants and flowers to enhance our neighborhoods. If a dead animal showed up on our lawn we wouldn’t leave it there to rot. We would either bury it or call an animal control agency to dispose of it properly.

Am I correct? We are all good citizens, aren’t we? At least most of the time, right? It is our responsibility as good citizens to rid the land, of which we are the stewards, of bad things, right?

Now drive around the hillsides of Astoria and tell me why no one is doing anything about all the Japanese Knot Weed growing in town. Can there be a land owner that does not know this is a dangerous invasive weed? It is right up there with Scotch Broom, Ivy and Tansy. These are some pretty serious weeds that can do a lot of damage to our local environment.

Land owners, please take a good look at your property and eradicate plants that shouldn’t be there.

Japanese Knot Weed is a tall plant that has leaves similar to the leaves of a bean plant. It is in flower right now and you can see it growing on Niagra, 7th St down from Peter Pan, Irving out by the second bridge, West Lexington. It’s all over and it’s really bad.

And while you are at it, if you see ivy growing up one of your trees, please get rid of that as well. By the way, these plants need to be poisoned or if you pull them up in the case of ivy, you need to burn it, or it will come back where ever you dump it. Pulling up Knot Weed will not help. That needs to be poisoned.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Oh Canada

I am a big fan of words, and I’ve always found that people who are new to the English language learn the vulgar tongue more quickly. This rule should apply to all languages.

If you are one who reads the comments that are posted by the readers of this blog you may remember some postings between your humble narrator and Moosehead last week. It digressed to a point where I tried my best to say “Fuck You” in my unqualified understanding of Canadian French. I didn’t hear from Moosehead for a couple days and I wrote him to make sure I didn’t offend him. I don’t have a quota on offending people, and I’d rather not offend if at all possible.

Moosehead replied:
Nope - no anger or hurt feelings here! To tell you the truth, that one went way over my head and did not get it!! I chalked it up to you making some obscure reference again and hesitated in asking an explanation. So what is Fou quah? Fou is crazy in French but the quah sounds kinda like Vietnamese? Shed some light here please so I can at least pretend to be upset!

I replied to tell him my understanding of Fou Quah.

To which he replied:
As strange as it sounds, there is no translation for the f off expression that convey the same sentiment without any need for repetition. So as a public service I will share some of them.
- Va shiez une brique -pronounced Vah she-eh n brick meaning go sh-t a brick and used when expressing disbeleif or to tell someone to f off. It's all in the tone!
-Mange la chalice de marde -pronounced monge la (as in tra la la) kaliss dah mard (as in Mardi Gras) meaning eat sh-t and incorporating a symbol of the Catholic church for good measure and added effect. Can be used pretty much in any situation other than when confessing to the priest or when talking to your mother. Used in conjunction with "mon tabernacle" pronounced mont (without the t) tahbearnack to double the religious impact and to direct it to someone in particular.
I think someone back in your youth was messing with you. Us French guys do that some times - like in the movie In search of the Holy Grail by Monty Python. Remember the French guys in the fortress and the pigeon?

My Reply:
Yep, leave it to the Canadians to be too polite and verbose to be able to blurt out a simple "fuck you!"

I must say that I love Canada. If I were to do my migration all over again I would probably move to Vancouver Island instead of Oregon. I may still move there after I retire. Maybe I’ll teach the Canadians the value of a simple invented phrase like, “ Fou Quah.”

Monday, September 25, 2006

Old and New

Here’s a little history lesson, and as you probably well know, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

So there is this big deal to preserve and enhance the history in Astoria. So one might ask if this means we are going to get a bath house and a whore house on every block like the way it was back in the late 1800’s. Well, no. No such luck. What we will get is a lot of present day code enforcement with the required old-time looks.

OK you might think, but were things better then? They had a lot of flat roofs that leak, oversized windows that weren’t very energy efficient. The worst is the lamp posts that they put down town. Sure they light the street below, but they also shine light outward and upward. So you can see the over-lit skies above Astoria from miles away. Can one still see the stars at night in Astoria?

My next problem with the historic era preservation look is that it in essence eliminates our present. Meaning, if we have to adhere to this look; our contemporary architecture will not be represented in future history. Astoria will be timelessly locked in the cannery town look.

The problem with contemporary building is that it becomes obsolete too quickly. Think of the buildings that were newly erected within your life time and how many of them are no longer here. Think about the Old Safeway, and what about Hauke’s Sentury on the East end of town. Both were relatively young buildings, both obsolete within a few decades and are now gone. Anybody remember the viewing tower at the Port. Did it last two years?

This is the stuff that drives community planners crazy. How do you blend the old with the new and make it look good. My answer is to do it slowly and efficiently. It will be the small steps that will really count. Consider that a lamp shining from a street in Astoria doesn’t need to illuminate the international space station. That would be a good first step. Next, design buildings that are ageless. Finally, don’t be cheap. If your building is going to represent something, make your architectural statement speak volumes about quality and longevity. Not like the eye sore Rent-A-Center or even the Social Security Building.

What’s your favorite building in town and why? Care to comment?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

70 In a 55

Yep, I got nailed, but on a good note I was sober and polite.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Regular Jo

When I was in my 20’s I was a bit of a wine snob. I understood wine back then, and my taste buds were younger and more attuned to the complexity of that which was very good. I was once asked what I had been most disappointed in life at that point. I thought for a moment and I honestly and flippantly replied, “The first time I tasted Asti Spumonti.”

I gave up my wine habit when I moved out here, not because of any bouts with alcoholism, but rather the price of French wines in Oregon were ridiculous. Back on the east coast, French wines cost far less than the mass produced California wines.

Anyway, I’m taking this far away from where I intend to go, which is with bad coffee.
Like many people I am a person who enjoys things that taste good. I’m not talking about taking down a pint of ice cream in one sitting because it was that good, but rather one who is satisfied if something, even just one thing on my plate is outstanding.

Coffee is a good starting point for this discussion because it is usually the first beverage we assume every day. I wrote about food imprinting earlier, and we have all imprinted our personal brew on ourselves. This becomes a problem when we dine out and expect to find good coffee.

Some restaurants understand the delicate balance of making good coffee. First, it doesn’t come out of a big aluminum or stainless pot. Sometimes it doesn’t come out of a Mr. Coffee device, yet sometimes it does. I personally respect a coffee that is a bit richer than what I make at home. The smell should wake you up. If you add half and half the result should have a creamy look not a watery look.

I’ve gotten to the point of walking into a restaurant, and the first thing I do is sniff the air like a bear. From that sniff I can tell not only how good the food is, but how good the coffee is as well. I will often eat in places where the food isn’t great out of convenience, but I will not drink the coffee in a place where I can’t smell it when I walk in. I’ve been disappointed too many times. In those situations I will order tea with honey. Tea is hard to screw up, though I have seen it done.

It’s really ok to order a flavorful tea. Try it when you suspect you will be disappointed by the coffee.

Another place I no longer drink coffee is in hotel rooms. Those little in-room coffee makers make the worst possible coffee. Those damn things even make water for tea taste bad. How is that possible?

Also a note to wait staff: if someone has cream and sugar in their coffee, please don’t refill the cup until it is empty. Refilling messes up the delicate balance.

One thing I miss is the “Regular.” If you’ve ever spent time on the East Coast; New York, Connecticut and New Jersey in particular, if you walk into a diner or a newspaper shop with a counter and ask for a “Regular”, you got a dark blue cardboard cup with pictures of Greek columns on it. The coffee was delightful, with a spoon of sugar and a splash of cream. The cream and sugar seemed to draw the flavor out of the coffee. Black coffee is pretty bland, but the cream and sugar took this beverage to a whole new level. Oddly I have never had a bad cup of coffee that came in the blue cardboard cup. I don’t understand how or why places who serve their to-go coffee in those blue cups always get it right. Nor do I understand why restaurants out here can consistently serve bad coffee.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Last week someone commented on how our area “now” has several good restaurants, and included all the Mexican restaurants as being good, to which I disagreed. I wish to elaborate on my reasoning.

Often people will enter a restaurant and see they are being patronized by people of the same heritage as the restaurant. You might think that the place is really good because the Mexicans are eating in a Mexican spot or Asians are eating in a Chinese restaurant. But consider how many Americans eat at McDonalds every day. Just because a lot of Americans eat at an American restaurant doesn’t make the food good.

Though the Mexican restaurants here may have Mexican owners, cooks and wait staff; Mexican name and décor, and their menus may have Mexican or Mexicanish items on it, doesn’t mean that it is good.

Here are the problems I have with all the Mexican restaurants in this County:

First, when your meal comes out you will see that everything is flat. The beans are flat; the rice is flat and boring. Then it is covered with melted cheese and ends up resembling a bad looking pizza. I often wonder if the rice is real or is it instant rice. Is there a rule against longer grained rice in Mexican cuisine?

Next where are the fruits and vegetables? If one is lucky you will find a dish that has onions, peppers and tomatoes, but that’s it. They only use iceberg lettuce. Rarely will you ever taste cilantro. Rarely will I see anything else that is green. And where is the corn?

Now for other missing items: I have yet to see chevon or cabrito on any menu here. Goat is an absolute essential in Mexico. I have friends who are in the meat goat business, and they are deluged by Mexicans wanting to buy whole goats for their traditional fiestas. Why are they keeping this from us? Also Mexico has a rich tradition of knowing what to do with seafood, which I find no emphasis on here. I’ve had some seafood selections and they are anything but flavorful. They are a salty mess covered in sauces that only detract from the taste of the flesh that made the ultimate sacrifice to nourish us.

Finally where is any of the good texture of coarsely ground grains? Everything seems to be made of ground white flour. The texture of Mexican food should be so much more interesting. I think it has all been adapted for the boring American food consumers.

So I challenge them to get back to basics. Make it fresh, make it interesting, make it authentic, and most of all make it flavorful. We can take it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sick Day V

I’m sick of the lack of rain. We’ve had some recently, but we need gully washers. I’m sick that the water level in my pond got so low this year that a blue heron was able to eat all the fish from it. I’m sick of political ads already. (But you can bet I’ll list my picks here on the blog) I’m sick of the fact that political campaigns can call you even though your number is on the National Do-Not-Call list. I’m sick of the two party system, it should be a no party system where you just go out and say what you believe, not the party line, and let the people vote accordingly. I’m sick of how the fuel prices have magically gone down as the election gets closer. I’m sick of people who buy bottled water. I’m sick of the fact that people will actually pay $1 + for a bottle of water. I’m sick of the fact I never got into the bottled water business. I am sick of post-it pop-ups. I’m sick of people who have musical ring tones for their cell phones. I am sick of the sound of hammers. I’m sick of every year needing to be an El Nino or a La Nina year, how about a No Nino year for a freaken change. I am sick of the jays that pick up the filberts off the ground and fly up on the second story roof to peck them open while I’m trying to take a nap. I’m sick of everybody making a big deal out of Tom/Kats baby, and what the fuck was that schemata on that kid’s head in that photo. No way does a kid that young have hair that dark and thick. I’m sick of the new format of the Capital Press. I’m sick of all the predictions of Armageddon over the middle east situation, Christians need to stop shining a positive light on everything. (Holy shit, that’s pretty funny)… I’m sick of BBC News on KMUN. It was much better when Dave or Zetty offered local news. I’m sick of Safeway screwing Astoria. A traffic light should have been put in at their expense, and they should have taken some of the responsibility for the land slide. They were banging the pilings in the ground at the same time the other land was being excavated across the road. And I’m still sick of the crap I was sick of in the articles Sick Day I, II, III and IV.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I'm Surprised

There are several things that surprise me about this blog, so far.

I was surprised that when I wrote the article about Rock, Blues, Jazz and Folk, I got some strong comments but no one defended Folk music when I wrote, “The reason Folk Music is so bad is because it is written by the people.”

I was surprised that when I wrote about how much Cannon Beach and Warrenton suck, no one wrote in to defend these towns.

I’m surprised no one commented on the two really ugly dog pictures I used with two articles. That little bastard was one ugly dog.

I’m surprised I always get comments when ever I do a “Sick Day” post (I’m working on a new one).

I was surprised that no one debated me over the illegal immigrant post.

I’m surprised how many people find this blog because they search “United Way Sucks.”

I’m still surprised how many people find this blog because they do a search on Chester Trabucco’s name. WTF?

I’m surprised I never got comments on the article about Regge being good background music for horse riding events. Especially since Dried Salmon County has the highest horse ownership per capita in Oregon.

I’m surprised no one commented on the photo of George W. eating a kitten. People, he was eating a kitten like corn on the cob! I saw it on the Internet so it must be true!

I’m surprised no one objected to my article about the over abundance of shitty artist here.

I’m also surprised that I find so much to write about and that I can always find a cool picture to go along with it.

I’m surprised that I actually got choked up when I wrote the last paragraph of the cup cake story.

I’m surprise how many friends I’ve made with this blog. Many are anonymous, but then so are some of the voices in my head.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Happy Anniversary Syd

Today, September 19 is the one year anniversary of Syd’s blog, Adrenalines Shadow.

The blog started as a therapeutic tool to help her with loss and grief, but it soon became much more than a daily dump. People started reading and telling others about the incredible heart and soul, and the “in the moment” writing style.

The readers were entertained by her fits of passion and furry and most of all her three year old sage nephew, TLF. She rips up clothing, breaks glasses and porch fans. She shoots at stuff. She loves her wife and partner of 15 years. She loves her animals and her farm.

I found Syd’s blog during my first few days of blogging. I was at the blogger dashboard where you log in to work on your blog. On the dashboard you can see recently updated blogs scrolling by. I saw the name Adrenaline’s Shadow, and I don’t know what drew me to it, but I clicked on it. Normally when you click on a blog you are confronted with baby pictures, dog pictures or Asian girls smiling with a table of food in front of them. Shoes are another big blog item. This blog was nothing like the other blogs out there.

It was May when I first logged onto her blog. I started with the article that popped up, and it was good, so I scrolled down to the next story, it was good. I kept scrolling and then I read through all her archives. An hour or so later I knew that I had a new sister.

It seems that Syd is a sister to many now. She could probably post a one word story and have 20 comments from readers within an hour. Recently a local Astoria bloggist, went on a blog tour to see how long it would take for her to be linked back to this town. After an hour or so she ended up at Syd’s blog where I had left a comment, which took her back to Astoria.

I have people who email me to tell me that they read my blog every day, but more so that they read Syd’s blog everyday and thank me for the link. Syd’s blog is by the way, the only blog link I have. Oddly, I have it there because I’m too lazy to use a bookmark, but many of you tell me you use it every day, so it’s staying.

Astoria-Rust readers, please visit Syd’s blog, and leave her a happy blog anniversary comment. I know ya’ll love her, too. She spends all that time in the Internet to keep us entertained, so please leave her a comment of appreciation.

Syd, thank you for a wonderful year of entertaining reading. Thank you for the personal emails, encouragement and love you’ve sent my way in the past few months. You are a wonderful sister to all of us, “Darlin.” Love ya more than you will even know.

Old Phones

I am old enough to remember how special the telephone was back in the day. While growing up we had one black phone that was made of Bakelite in our living room. It was a major big deal when we got an extension upstairs, and it was made of light weight white plastic.

Back then you had to get your phones from the phone company. They leased it to you and charged you for each line. Calling long distance was a big deal as well. You had to place LD calls through the long distance operator.

I had friends who had party lines. The more youthful readers here probably are thinking of a telephone chat room, but no, it was when several people shared the same phone line and an in-coming call would ring differently for each person. So if it had two short and one long rings it was your call and if it was a long and a short ring it was a call for your neighbor. If someone got a call at 3am all phones who shared the line would ring. Also other people could listen to your conversations.

After the government broke up the Ma-Bell monopoly things got better, you could buy your phone, run your own wires and have as many extensions as you wanted. The technology got some what better, but not really, which I’ll explain in a moment.

There was a point where I had three lines into our house and two cells. Five phone numbers…that’s communication consumption. One day I realized that I really don’t like talking on the phone, so I no longer needed a line for the fax, one for the computer (yes I still use dialup since I don’t have the need for speed and high speed internet still costs about 500% more than it should) and one for talking, so I dumped two of the lines. If someone calls while I’m on line, they can just call back later. My wife and I each still have a cell, which we will keep because we are still on an old plan where we each have a phone with our own numbers and together we only pay $30 per month. That’s only $15 per phone, you can’t beat that! She rarely uses her phone, and I keep mine in the event I’m getting sucked out to sea in my kayak.

My point underlying all this phone stuff is that with all the advances in communication over the last fifty years, you would think that phone quality would be great. Yet still while talking on a cell phone or while talking with someone using Vonage or other types of telephony, you would think you could actually hear them clearly. It is like talking to Neil Armstrong on the Moon…”One _iant _eap for mankind…”

I called my mother on the East Coast last weekend. I dialed her direct. She answered and spoke with me on that old white phone that has been upstairs in the same spot since I was five years old. She sounded really good. Not just her 85 year old voice, (which I still have in my head for growing up) but the sound coming over the wire sounded really good. I appreciate the old wire technology. I hope that some of it stays around until I am no longer able to hear.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Imprinting Your Future

It took me a long time to get over how boring the food is here on the coast. I remember the first time I heard someone singing the praises over Futano’s Pizza, and I thought to myself, “They’ve got to be fucking kidding!” A thin pre-baked crust with crap thrown on it and heated quickly is called pizza here? Where I came from you had a guy with hairy arms throwing dough up toward the ceiling, stretching it into the perfect shape and size. No rolling pins were used. The toppings were anointed generously with olive oil. When it was time to pull it from the oven the sight, the texture and the glistening of the moist toppings, and the salty smell of the melted imported cheese wrapped like octopus arms around every sense that a human possesses.

It was only recently that I realized that the food you grow up with is always the best. It has little to do with the food itself, but rather it’s more of a thing of imprinting.

There was a bakery in the town where I grew up. This bakery produced the first cup cake that I ever ate. It was an unassuming cupcake. The cake domed not harshly above the rim of the cup. The icing was placed with a spatula, rather than with a pastry bag. The icing extended to the edge of the cup, but never (rarely) over the paper. They didn’t have sprinkles (jimmies for you Mid-West folks) on them. They didn’t have flags or any plastic junk stuck in them. They were pure and simple cupcakes.

They were either yellow cake with chocolate frosting or devils food cake with white frosting. Nothing special, really. However, now all cup cakes pale in comparison.

My friend Jody who now lives in Texas was imprinted with the same cup cakes as I. We would always buy a box of six in the event one or the other of us would be driving by and see the others car parked out front. If not, we had some cup cakes for after. We timed our visits remarkably well and often snacked together either in her little red car or in my little Subaru Brat.

When ever Jody or I have moved to a new location, we never ask about the climate, or the housing, or people who live in the area. We ask, “Any good cup cakes there?” The answer is always “No, I wish…” To this day we are still searching. If one of us ever finds one that is close, and I mean really, really close, the other would be on the next flight out.

Unfortunately sometimes you can’t return home. That bakery of my youth is long gone. The baker and his family died long ago, and the bakery is now a meaningless shop that sells crap that no one really needs and gets thrown away shortly after purchasing. The cup cake and icing recipe is probably landfill under an East Coast Mega Bullshit chain store that cranks out tallow based baked goods with that icing that doesn’t even dissolve in hot water. I’d sacrifice a body part to get that recipe; just to have a touch stone to my childhood of so long ago when things tasted great. I’d make that sacrifice as well just to see Jody smile again as we untie the red and white stripped string around the cupcake box that holds six.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A State of Mind

Having spent time in several different states over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that the most loyal inhabitants are in Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin. All other states seem to have people who just live there, but in the three above mention states the loyalty runs deeply as though they were their own countries with their own nationalities.

If you see an RV on the road from Texas, you won’t have to look far to see either a Texas flag or some other Texas paraphernalia in full proud display. If you visit the home of anyone from Wisconsin, you won’t have to look far to see a cheese-head hat or a Bucky Badger lying around somewhere. Open their fridge and you will find brauts. If you are from Oregon, you more than 50% likely have a sticker on your car with the letter O on it that represents an Oregon College or University, or Oregon Public Broadcasting. And not only have you shopped in a Made in Oregon store (you probably didn’t buy anything there) but you probably know someone who has a product there. However when confronted with two products side by side, Oregonians will most likely choose the locally produced product even if it costs more.

Wisconsin is the Badger State, a rodent, ok but not great. Texas is the Lone Star State, and that’s pretty cool. Oregon is the Beaver State, another rodent…I’m not crazy about that, though I could see where some people would be pleased…ahem…

People from Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin seem to be proud and united but don’t let that fool you. Texans joke about East Texas, and others Texans joke about Austin. There is a political rift between Eastern and Western Oregon, the east being conservative and the west progressive. I don’t know enough about Wisconsin to know their divide, but I would suspect dairy users verses the lactose intolerant, Or those who vacation in Minnesota verses those who vacation in Michigan.

So I don’t care what state you may be from, if you think you have state loyalty more than the three states mentioned here; I’m not seeing it or hearing it. Cheer louder.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Inside This Blog

I was recently interviewed about my blog. Fortunately it was an email interview so I was able to ponder the answers before submitting them. The content of the interview covered areas such as entertainment, opinion, venting, free speech and local writing.

I was asked what made this blog appear more successful than other local blogs. I don’t really know the definition of success with a blog. Yes, there are up to 100 readers every day and it’s fun getting comments, but for me it is just a commitment to get something out there six days a week (seven if I’m pissed off about something.) The blog is more of a tool to get things out of my head so I can move on. Most local blogs don’t post every day. Christ, some post monthly if that, and there is nothing more boring than nothing. I guess people start blogs with good intentions, but soon run out of ideas or commitment. At that point it would be a good idea to delete it and move on. It’s like seeing a garage sale sign on a utility pole for a sale that happened six months ago.

I have checked out other local blogs when the writers post a comment on this blog or when someone tells me that someone is trashing me somewhere. The only “local” blog I see that has real writing talent is Mother of Three at

***NOTE: I wrote this article on Monday so I did not write the this because Mother of Three wrote about Rust in her blog on Wednesday, so I’m not trying to kiss her ass because she was nice to this blog, she is simply a damn talented writer.***

Yes, it is a Mom Blog, but when she is writing about things other than children this blog is golden. She is thoughtful and honest and very much in touch with her feelings. I really appreciate when words can take you places, or as she does for me since she is local she takes me to places I’ve already been that need to be revisited. I would love it if she had a Mom Blog and a parallel Mom Off-Duty Blog where she could really kick out the jams with her writing, but being a mother of three, and a wife of one, I’m sure it’s hard to muster the energy that would take. If you read this Carrie, I so appreciate your work, and the reason I no longer post responses on your blog is because your stats are able to be viewed by all your visitors, and I’d rather keep my IP address to myself at this time. But be assured I’m in the background saying, “Right On!” Also tell Slave Hubby I enjoyed his walk to the Rusty Cup post. As for your claim to have lesser writing skills than he, it just isn’t so. You kick butt, thanks!

Anyway, back to Rust, even if one doesn’t like the writing or the content there is always a fun/silly photo to look at every day. Will I get tired of putting out an article every day? Not at least for the next month.

Do I have any future plans? Yes, I’m toying with the idea of blogging my works of fiction. Each day I may blog a book chapter. This blog will be viewable by invitation only, and I may not get around to it for a couple more months, ( I’m copywriting and getting a LCCN for the part II of the first book) but I’m thinking of it more every day.

As for comments that people leave, I may respond if they are current articles, but I don’t have time to comment on archived articles. I did once for the very first article on the blog. Someone had some complaints that I had to address. It was my personal favorite, by the way. I did set up a forum for those topics that won’t go away or won’t blog very well.

I consider this blog to be something that belongs to the community, so it is able to respond to the community where other media outlets are unable, like letters to the editor of the Daily Astoria can not publish your comments unless you leave your name. Anonymous is OK here.

Most importantly, I started this blog to shed some humor on local topics; though some of the stuff here isn’t funny. None of it will be remembered in a hundred years.

By the way, one of the most shining moments in my short blogging life was at the Sunday Market last week when I over-heard someone using the term, “Dried Salmon County.” Hee, hee,hee…

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Other Towns in Dried Salmon County

I often write about Astoria or living out in the unincorporated County, but I don’t often mention the other towns in Dried Salmon County. I’ve been asked to comment on my impressions of other towns in the county, so here goes.

Knappa / Svenson: would be a great place to live if the taxes were lower and if it weren’t downstream from Wauna. I’ve heard the occurrences of cancer in that area are higher. Also there are ongoing battles between who is better, Morgan owners or Arabian owners.

Taylorville: I’ve never had a reason to go there, and I understand that the people who live there have no reason to go there either.

Gearhart: That town that really wants to be special, but still doesn’t have it’s own zip code. It could easily be renamed as Codger Town.

Cannon Beach: See this article in my archives from July, “When exactly did Cannon Beach start sucking?

Tolovanna Park and Arch Cape: These towns are basically Gearheart with their own zip codes.

Jewell: The reports of in-breeding there are greatly exaggerated, however there is obviously still a big problem with line-breeding.

Elsie, Hamlet, Birkenfield: Nothing there to comment on?

Hammond: Unfortunately you have to get there by the river or ocean or pass through Warrenton. Land locked…bummer.

Seaside: Not my favorite town, but I do have to give it credit for fiscal soundness. Astoria is always bitching about not having money for this and that, but Seaside has a lot of infrastructure and things for its citizens, and it never seems to run out of money or at least it doesn’t complain about it. Their future challenges are the relocation of the sewer plant and a new library. So it is a town for tourists, which I am not one, so I don’t go there.

Warrenton: (If you are local you call it Warrington) A big swamp where fundamentalist Christians and Republicans live. They do anything to attract big box business to make the coast look like any other suburban shit-hole town outside of Portland. I once heard that sea gulls fly upside down over Warrenton because it isn’t worth shitting on. This town is the only place where I would actually endorse an LNG facility because if we do get LNG shoved down our throat by the federal government, placing it in Warrenton will only screw up ship traffic up until Warrenton and not all the way through Astoria and up river. And if by any chance there is ever an accident…well, it’s only Warrenton, who cares. Besides the crater may be good for fishing someday.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Isn’t it interesting how many ways people find to shrug off personal responsibility. It seems that no one sticks their necks out any more. In the managerial world there is a thing called shared governance where decisions are made by a collective rather than an individual, or decisions are made by an individual according to the input of a collective.

This means that those higher up the food chain are protected from bad decision making because it was the underlings who actually prompted the decision. So when a division is closed for bad management, the manager usually stays in the company and the underlings are dismissed.

This is a long tradition in American culture. How often have you heard the phrase, “They’ve always said…”, or “They say it can’t be done.”?

The “They” phrases relieve the speaker of the responsibility for saying what he or she are actually saying. It’s like the words are being channeled. It’s shared governance by proxy so the words are totally not reflective of the mouth from with which they came from.

I don’t buy it. I call collective “They Sayers” on the carpet, and make them back up their statement, even if the statement is as simple as, “they say it is going to rain on Thursday.”

Monday, September 11, 2006

Guns and Hoses

I have a dear friend who seems to be obsessed with guns. No I’m not going to scold her because I used to be the same way. I don’t know what turned the gun switch on for me when I was a kid, but by the age of 18 I owned some serious firepower. From flint locks to WWII weapons, handguns to shot guns.

I didn’t come from a gun family. We did have an LC Smith 12 gauge that my uncle left to my mother when he died. It sat in a case in the closet until I was old enough to use it.

One day in my early 20’s I came to realize that I’ve never done anything good with a gun. I wasn’t even sure it was possible to do anything good with a gun. Also, I have never been in a situation where a gun would have come in handy.

As for hunting, the expense of getting free meat was pretty expensive and the meat was never that good. Venison is dry and grey. Rabbits and squirrels are rodents. Birds are generally small and you have to constantly remove shot while eating them.

So one day I gave all my guns away and I haven’t looked back. Thinking back I should have destroyed them all.

Oddly I now spend more time in the woods than I did when I hunted. I see bow hunters earnestly hunting and I respect that, but those who hunt with guns out here never get out of their trucks. They drive the logging roads looking for prey. You lazy bastards! Is that what you call hunting? Those are the only times I wish I had a gun so I could shoot out your tires, and get you to hunt the way you are supposed to. Maybe if they had to do it the way they were supposed to, they wouldn’t do it at all, and that would be fine with me. Fewer assholes with loaded weapons would make the world a better place.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I Confess Yet Another Fault

A few years ago I was staying in a very nice hotel. My room had a large bathroom with a lot of mirrored surface. After I checked in I showered off the road dust, so to speak, and when I got out of the shower I realized that my ass had gone missing.

Now, I’m not someone who looks at or obsesses over my ass. That’s why I was surprised to see that it was no longer there when I was offered all the mirror views in the bathroom at that hotel. I wondered how long it had been missing, and why I hadn’t noticed earlier that my ass looked like a pressed ham on a photocopier. They are right, getting old isn’t for sissies.

It all started coming together for me. Now I understood why I constantly had to adjust my pants, there was no ass there to hold them up. I figured it wouldn’t be long before I would have to submit suspenders or bib overalls into my daily dressing routine.

I think back to the County Fair this summer, and all the private laughs I had every time I saw some of the old guys dressed this way because they realized that their asses were gone as well. I’m right behind you fellows. I’m wasting too much time yanking my pants back up. Sometimes it happens at a dangerous time; like last weekend when I was on a ladder with a tool belt and a pneumatic framing nailer in one hand, and a large plank in the other hand. At one point my pants slipped below the tool belt, but luckily my flannel shirt had me covered. I had a good laugh when got back to the ground and collected myself.

I think I’ll start off with suspenders, and I’ll reserve the bibs for another physical crisis that I’m sure the future is holding for me.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I Am But A Man

I am only a man. Yes, I put on the occasional tool belt. Yes, I make noise with power tools. Yes, I like to flip through channels on the television. Yes, I have a pick-up truck, however as far as men go I feel like I am very in-touch with my feminine side where I have the ability to gather and feather a nest. I don’t feel that I am any less a man over that sort of thing. I’m not even a metro-sexual. I don’t have “products”, and I don’t involve myself in fashion. I’m just a regular guy…

One thing I will never cross the line on is yogurt and cottage cheese. It is simple, men do not eat yogurt or cottage cheese. Sure I'll admit I experimented with it when I was a crazy kid in college, but those were the 70's.

If you ever meet someone who is sexually ambiguous, and you just can’t tell if they are a man or a woman, offer them a cup of yogurt. Your answer will clear, unless of course they don’t eat dairy.

So no matter how much I fight for women’s rights. No matter that I will gather rather than hunt. No matter how much I love and respect women. No matter how much financial and like-minded help I give for women’s causes I will never eat yogurt or cottage cheese. There are just some things a man shouldn’t be asked to do, ever.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Dang, I got a few emails from locals that were disappointed that I didn’t do a story yesterday on Willis. The problem for me was that there would be very little I could have added to the story to make it any funnier or sadder.

Well here goes, a day late… Astoria’s mayor and Pepsi distributor, and I am quite certain the voice of South Park’s character, “Butters” was arrested after he slammed his mid-life crisis Harley donor cycle into a car driven by an unlicensed, uninsured driver. This is his third DUII offence.

Personally I feel that if you are stupid enough to ride a mid-life crisis donor cycled, and do so drunk, you are looking for a way to end it all. It is pretty certain that you will only take yourself out in the process since most auto drivers can survive being hit by a donor cycle. Yes, it’s not pleasant for the innocent party to be a part, but it beats a drunk in a car hitting a donor cycle.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dried Salmon County Police Are OK

I’ve never been arrested, so the only real dealings I’ve had with the police has mostly been as an observer. I’ve seen some hard core cops in action, and I wouldn’t want to be on the pointy end of their stick.

Where I grew up there was an organization called the PBA, or the Policemen’s Benevolent Association. I don’t know if they have that sort of thing out here or not. The funny thing was that most of the police officers where I grew up were anything but benevolent. If they wanted you to leave town they would beat you and lock you in a freight train. That was the 60’s and I’m sure things have changed there. And no, that not how I ended up here…

Now I must say that since living here I have yet to see a deputy in the county ever act unprofessionally. Every time I have ever had dealings with them I saw them treat everyone with respect and also give large helpings of benefit of the doubt. They’ve even pulled me over twice when I should have been ticketed, and they let me off. One time I even left my drivers license at home and they let me go. They have never been cocky or arrogant.

Anyway, this all comes to mind because I saw a county policeman who had chased a car to a locked gate on a logging road. The bad guy fled the scene, and here was this poor cop running through a clear cut while not dressed appropriately for that sort of service. He had his gun and utility belt and a radio and I’m sure his bullet proof vest probably all sorts of stuff on and I’m guessing the wrong type of shoes for the snaggy brush.

I would have been no help in my berkenstocks, but I did pull over and waited until his back-up arrived. Stuff could happen.

I read in the paper on Thursday that the runner was captured about a mile away.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Problem with Corn

As a nation we are eating way too much corn. Sounds like I’m joking, right? Well I’m not. Think of all the products that we eat with corn in it. Most companies who are running on the cheap started substituting high fructose corn syrup for sugar years ago. Coke, Pepsi, and you would be surprised how many other food products it turn up in.

If you buy maple syrup and if it doesn’t say 100% pure maple syrup, it’s maple flavored corn syrup. Cheep honey? Yep they cut it with HFCS.

Then there are all the corn based cereals, corn flakes, corn pops… Then there is all the corn flour used to make corn breads, corn chips and corn tortillas. There is always creamed corn, corn dogs and corn on the cob. Let’s not forget corn starch. Corn is fed to livestock and is also turned into ethanol.

So what’s the problem with consuming corn? First it isn’t all that healthy for you to have that much of anything in your diet. Next the problem may be what the future holds. Think back to the potato blight in Ireland. What would happen if there ever was a corn blight? Not possible you might think, but have you heard about the soy blight that is sweeping across the country. Probably not, because the news media finds our food supply too boring to report on. They don’t report on BSE either. They don’t report about Monsanto trying to get the dairy industry to once again accept rBST growth hormones, which they sell, by the way.

Our food is a very personal thing to all of us. Just for a kick in the pants, pull a couple products out of your pantry and read the labels. You may wonder what these corporations are trying to do to you in the name of their profit margin.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Hey Hay!

Invariably, hay trucks are always late, so it is best to plan ahead and not run out. It’s one of those essential things that you can’t do without; like toilet paper. Our pastures here is Dried Salmon County grow some good grass, but lack the nutrients in comparison to hay that is grown in eastern Oregon.

You can tell a lot about anyone with livestock, be it cows, horses, sheep, llamas, or goats, by the type of hay they keep in their hay barns. There are some who feed their animals the local stuff, and with the money they save on the hay they have to spend on nutritional supplements. There are also those who go for the good stuff right off. The local hay sells for $2 a bale and the good stuff goes for $14.50 per bale. I am not a big time operator, and I don’t have a lot of room to store hay, so I never get more than a ton at a time.

Fortunately, sometimes there is a good way to get hay for less money, and that is when someone in the community gets a bunch of people together and we buy and split an entire truck load. That was the scene last night. The truck was supposed to arrive at Noon, so I carried a phone with me all day waiting for the call, which came at 5pm. No one in our little group has the room to accommodate a tractor trailer, so we met over by the sorting yard on Ft. Clatsop Road. All having received the call at just about the same time that the truck was in Seaside, we got in our trucks and headed there. By the time I got there I was at the end of the line of eight trucks following a Hyster fork lift down the road. When we got to the sorting yard several trucks with flat bed trailers were already there and waiting.

The hay truck arrived, and the hay was beautiful. It was a green as green can be. It was dry. It was also a pleasure to see farm kids tossing bales of hay onto trucks from the Hyster without concerns that we older folks have about throwing our backs out.

All said and done the savings was $5 per pale over what we would have paid at Brims or Papa Jacks. My animals can now rest assured that they will have the good stuff for yet another month.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


I had my first BLT of the year tonight. It was so sweet, and very much like my first BLT every year.

Yes, it is September and most people have been having BLTs for months now, but those of you from warmed climates simply don’t understand how hard it is to grow tomatoes here. As you’ve heard me say before when it is in the 90s elsewhere it is 65 here on the coast. Tomatoes don’t like that. They like hot humid nights.

If one tries to grow tomatoes outside here they will usually blight in mid August, and your crop is ruined. I built a green house specifically to grow tomatoes, peppers and basil; the three plants that are not suited for our cool evenings.

Fortunately the greenhouse does a good job extending their season, and the latest I’ve had fresh tomatoes was January 21st.

Tomatoes are a joy in my life.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Oregon State Fair

I took the day off from the farm yesterday and made my annual pilgrimage to the Oregon State Fair. I saw some locals from Dried Salmon County with their sheep and goats. It’s fun when things like the Fair make the world a smaller place.

At first I thought the attendance was low while I was waiting in line for the gates to open at 11am, but then five school buses from South Dakota dropped off what seemed to be every Native American teenager in the state of South Dakota. Lots of good kids with good energy. That is a long way to come.

The Fair is a good place to see hard core Carneys, and see vendors that sell all sorts of future landfill. Man they sell some tacky shit. I always find it funny to see all the people who sit in the audience for cooking and cook ware demonstrations. The stuff they make smells so good you want to buy what they are selling. Fortunately I’m not an easy sell. Besides I’d always consult master chief, Syd before making any purchases of that nature.

I was good, though. I didn’t buy anything. Not even Fair food. I didn’t want to risk having an upset stomach for the two and a half hour ride home.

I only stayed for about four hours because I had to get home to take care of the animals. When I left Salem it was 98 degrees and I was dismayed to find that after two trips to the shop my air conditioner wasn’t fully operational.

Another thing I noticed was that the really bad assholes on the road had Washington plates. I think every state makes this claim against their neighboring state, but today it wasn’t just a claim, it was a fact.

By the way, if you are reading this and live in another state and you were wondering if we have White Trash in Oregon, please look at the photo at the top of this story and your question will be answered. This is a sign that is posted on both ends of the tram.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Come On Baby, Take The Locomotive

My wife wanted to visit her family in Seattle, and this time rather than driving I talked her into taking the train. I drove her up to Kelso and the train arrived on time. She had a relaxed trip that took fewer than three hours where she was able to read and get up and walk around.

The round trip ticket cost around $50, which is far less than it would cost in fuel.

Trains are so overlooked here in the US. The rest of the world utilizes their trains to a far greater extent. I always found it odd when driving on a highway that parallels a railroad why trucks drive cross country. Why do people drive cross country? We should all be utilizing the rails when ever possible. It is safer, it uses less fuel and it is less expensive.

Is it that we need everything sooner so we refuse to wait? Is it that we need to experience the road that badly? Is it our love affair with the automobile? It is sad. We have this amazing infrastructure of rails on this continent and they are totally unutilized.

With the millions of miles I’ve flown over my life time, I still to this day find it odd that we enclose ourselves in a tube and jet a quarter-way into space just to get somewhere quickly. I find it odd when I subject myself to a day on the road, and I arrive tired, more so than if I had walked.

However train travel has always not only fascinated me, but soothed me as well. Alan Watts once said that a trip well traveled is often better than arriving.