Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Bad Reaction

I’m just a regular fellow who enjoys an occasional mint. It would be a horror to be exposed for having disgusting breath, so I try to keep mints on hand. Though a “wafer thin” chocolate mint would be most delectable and desirable; they have their down side such as remaining intact after spending a few hours in a warm car.

The remedy for me with this problem comes in the form of Mentos. They are a hard shelled gum but the gummy part eventually dissolves so you don’t spit them out. They actually get better when they’ve been in a warm car.

I usually buy them in a package of six. I recently bought a package and found they included a plastic tube in the package. This tube is a bit of marketing genius. What it is used for is wasting their product.

I’m sure you’ve seen the new trick where you place five or six of these mints into a bottle of Diet Coke and suddenly there is an eruption. If you want to read more about it and what makes it happen Wikipedia has the details.

All of the magic aside, I was kind of offended that this company not only gives me a plastic tube that I now have to place in a land fill somewhere, but they are encouraging me and everyone else to waste their product all in the guise of “Value Added Marketing.”

I have now stopped buying Mentos because of the disgusting encouragement and display of consumerism and waste. It’s not that Diet Coke and Mentos have any nutrition that does any one any good, it’s just such a waste of money that could have been put towards some good in a collection jar or basket somewhere.http://clatsoppetitions.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 30, 2007


A while back I was involved in this group camp-out. I’ll admit, I’m not big on camping and never have been. It’s just such an effort to drag all this crap from home, and what a disaster if you forget something.

This aside, I adjusted rather well. I brought enough dry wood to last a couple days. I’m a fire fan. We have a fire pit behind our house and we often have people over for a fire and a conversation. It was like being at home once I got the fire going.

There is an interesting thing about a camp fire; even though they may burn brightly you can always still see the stars. It’s enjoyable being warmed while gazing at light that has been traveling for eons just to be seen by my eyes.

Oddly the others who were at this group camp-out were professionals at it. They brought along all sorts of stuff to keep themselves entertained through the night. They had games and music and bright lights and all the latest stuff from the Campmor catalog. I couldn’t believe that they didn’t come there to enjoy the quiet. I mean, what is the point of being out in a quasi natural environment? Like every day life isn't noisy enough.

Next time I think I’ll go a little further out.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I miss the magic of LP covers. There was something exciting about buying a new record album and being able to look at the record jacket at the convenient 12 X 12 inch size. The album art was amazing and if they published the words to the songs you could actually read them.

It is so disappointing to get a new CD, and not only can you not read anything, the artwork is usually too small to appreciate and enjoy. It’s even worse when you buy music on-line because you have to print your own documentation, which sometimes is a pain, so I no longer even bother.

Another thing I don’t like about modern digital technology is photography. Yes, you can get really good printers that print color photographs that would take hours to do in a color darkroom, but there again you are generally limited in size. Unless you go out and buy a plotter you are stuck with office paper sized prints. You can’t just switch to a larger developer trays and pop out a 16” X 20” print. For me, it’s hard to take small photography seriously. It just doesn’t have the same presence and gravity.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Zucchini Bread

This is the time of year when I make tons of zucchini bread. I freeze them and use when necessary. These zucchini breads are the best I've ever had, and I always get asked for the recipe, so here it is for all of you who want to bring the best the next time you are required to bring a snack or desert.

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup walnuts or pecans or chocolate

Beat eggs until frothy. Add next three ingredients. Beat until thick and lemon colored. Add remaining ingredients and mix completely. Bake in 2 oiled and floured loaf pans or a bunt pan for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Let cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a rack.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Recently someone referred to me that the “Anonymous Guy” which made me wonder if I really am still anonymous. I don’t think I am. It’s not really all that hard to figure out who I am if you have the inkling to do so. I’ve met most of the local bloggers and occasionally have coffee with them. I’ve even met the person who called me “Anonymous Guy.” I know many of the people who read my blog as well. Just because I don’t list contact information other than my email address doesn’t make me anonymous. I’m just a person who doesn’t like a lot of interaction.

This is not to say that I fear a lot of debate over my contrary opinions. In reality I don’t want to communicate positively or negatively. These conversations can take place at the Rust Forum, which has fortunately been quiet lately. I do spend a lot of time writing and crafting that which I do, but I don’t have such a big Jones for communication that I need to extend it even further into my days.

I leave myself open. If there is a meeting of the local Blog Community I try to attend when possible. But like other Bloggers sometimes I can’t get away. I must say that I do enjoy the company of the other writers here.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Never in Theaters

I love fiction written in first person. All of my fiction is written this way. Someone who read one of my books and saw some of my work performed on stage once asked who I would want to play my character if a film was ever made from one of my books. It’s a strange question to be asked because it was like an interview with my ego, but I think my answer was even more shocking to the reader. I said Wallace Shawn.
We had a long discussion about this since I don’t resemble Shawn. I don’t know, but it may have been his self portrayal in My Dinner with Andre. He was an actor and a writer who was getting by. His life wasn’t grand or even full of international adventure. Though he listened to the wild stories Andre told with amazement, he still felt fortunate that a cockroach hadn’t fallen into his cup of coffee that he left out over night. With all the wild and fascinating things he could have been involved in he found comfort is being himself and living the life he was living. He was neither hero or villain, he just was himself putting his pants on one leg at a time. I can relate to that.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Glamour Shots

There are very few things that totally creeps me out, but one of the major offenders is a Glamour Shot. This is a little hack shop in a mall that takes women who have either aged beyond recognition or really let them self go and they turn them into a something that looks like a transvestite in a freak show.

First they trowel on make-up, then they poof out the hair to make you look like you are from Tennessee or maybe a back-up singer for Tina Turner. Then they drape a glittery fabric over you that will expose your cleavage. This isn’t sexy by any means. They take a photo with a diffused filter. The photos that are printed could gag a maggot.

Ladies, if you are at all cosmetically challenged, please don’t get a Glamour Shot. They are vile and disgusting. I know you are getting older, we all are. You may feel that you are losing your looks, but this is not the answer. I know your family won’t tell you this, but trust me, that isn’t you in the photograph. If you want to feel good about the way you used to look, have some old photos of yourself restored. That is the way you really want to be remembered, isn’t it?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Price of Art.

As someone who purchases works of art from time to time, I am lead to wonder why some media comes with a higher price tag than others. You would think that time and material are a factor, but I somehow don’t think so.

Consider what one needs to paint: Sizing, canvas, paint, an easel, a pallet, brushes, varnish and hopefully talent.
For glass blowing you need: tools, silica, a furnace and hopefully talent.
For ceramics you need: Clay, a wheel or a roller, glaze, a bisque oven and a kiln.
For photography you need a camera, a darkroom with all sorts of equipment or more recently a good computer with a good printer and print paper, a mat cutter and frames.
Let’s forget mixed media because that is usually a bunch of junk that was liberated from the trash to start with.

I am talking about entry level collecting here, not the Southerby auction. Paintings generally go for well over $300. Glass will go for $50, pottery will usually go for around $50 as well. Photographs are next to impossible to sell at any price over $10. So why is it that a painting will often cost many times more than any other media? It only uses minimal soft equipment as opposed to industrial technology and fire.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I don’t like sailing. I’ll admit that it was once a thing I was drawn to. When I was very young I dreamt of owning a Sunfish or a Starfish or even a Cat. I couldn’t wait until I got my drivers license so I could transport a sailboat to where ever I wanted to sail.

My brother was always a boat builder. He built several boats, and my love for sailboats inspired him to build a Glen-L sail dingy. He’d take me out sailing from time to time and taught me how to sail.

I was sixteen years old at the time and I was in love with this girl named Lynn. I really wanted to impress her so I talked my brother into driving us up to a lake at Ringwood State Park with the sail boat. I knew it was a way to her heart.

It all started well. I was tacking like a pro, zipping all around the lake going exactly where ever I wanted to go. I was feeling pretty cool and impressed with myself. I was sailing with a beautiful girl that I was in love with. It was perfect…until the wind died.

This situation found in the dead center of the lake. Sail boats need wind, but we were OK just bobbing around for an hour or so. Then we both realized at about the same time that we both had to pee. This was a problem that got worse with every passing moment and the more we though of it the worse it got.

After another hour or so we were at the panic stage. Fortunately there was a fellow trolling by with an aluminum boat with an electric motor. As he got closer I asked if he could tow us to the ramp. He agreed, so I threw him a rope. And ten minutes later we were at the sandy shore of the west end of the lake. I got out and pulled the boat up on the shore and I helped Lynn out.

Our bladders were so full that neither of us could stand up straight. Bent over like old folks with really bad back problems, we shuffled up to the day lodge where the bathrooms were. We both walked into the first bathroom we could find. We never checked if it was the men’s or the women’s room. We both just went in and found a stall and pissed for what seemed like fifteen minutes.

Eventually there were two flushes, and we both emerged for the bathroom and stood under an awning shaking. It was some sort of fatigue for holding it in for so long. We shook like cold wet puppies.

Eventually she looked at me and smiled and said, “We better be getting home Captain Guy.” There when my ego and all the coolness I was cultivating.

To this day, every once in a while my brother will still address me as, “The Captain.”


Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Unique North Coast

There is always something that makes life a little more interesting here on the Oregon Coast. It isn’t just the movies that are filmed here, the Crab and Wine festival or the Regatta, or even Trivia Night at the Baked Alaska.

I’m talking how authentic off beat stuff like how the Rinehart Clinic donates a free vasectomy as the grand prize in Jetty Fishery annual Crab Derby in Nahalem. How about Mary Todd’s Bingo for Meat? It doesn’t get any better than that.

I’m sure I’m missing some of the better events. I hope the locals can fill in some of the blanks here. Also, do you out of towners have anything to beat what we have going here?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sleeping Jeopardy

I always look forward to going to bed because that is when I get to think of exhausting topics that put me to sleep. I’m generally a good sleeper and I usually fall asleep within ten minutes of going to bed. The problem is that since I fall asleep so easily I rarely get to finish my thoughts to a conclusion.

The traditional folk remedy is to count sheep and a topic for me is to try to figure out the solution to this problem:

Let’s say you were a contestant on the game show Jeopardy, and you were so good that you alone answered all the questions. All of the Daily Doubles were the last questions covering the lower dollar amount so you were able to double your money at the end of the first round, and twice at the end of the second round and then again in final Jeopardy.

The maximum you can make on the first round is 35,600. The second round maximum is 140,800. Add them together and double them for the final round and you could win $352,800.

What do you think about to get yourself to sleep?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Seeing the Future Since 1995

Many years ago I ran some experimental web sites. The Internet and the World Wide Web was still relatively new, so just about every site back then was ground breaking.

One particular site I ran was one where if you’d send me a photo of you or your surroundings I’d tell your future. You wouldn’t think anyone would bother sending anything but I got all sorts of photos over the year I kept the site up.

It’s not difficult to see just about everything you need to see from a photo. You can usually tell age, social economic conditions, behavior and all sorts of stuff from photos. There are all sorts of hints such as hair style, make-up, clothing, messages on clothing, lack of clothing, clutter and so on that can lead one to a snap judgments that are generally right on.

We all possess the powers of observation and judgment. It is what tells us not to go into certain establishments and not to trust certain people. Yes, it is prejudicial but that’s human nature. We preserve our future by relating it to things we’ve seen in the past.

Anyway, it was a bunch of fun and I’m considering starting the service up again. My success rate was pretty good as far as those reporting back told me even though my replies were always laced with some brand of snarky repartee . Maybe I'll create a new blog for it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Miranda Lambert

I have to admit that I lost interest in Country Music when it got all electrified in the mid 70s. It became like a bastard cousin of rock; an intentional crossover just to win the hearts of country folks who though that rock was the voice of Satan. It was like how the white kids in Detroit weren’t supposed like Motown music so they took hold of the MC5 and their raucous and preachy, high energy Kick Out the Jams concerts and recordings.

Though I did for the most part abandon Country music, I still held a deep appreciation for Jerry Jeff Walker, Hank Williams Sr. (not Junior), Bob Wills and a few others. Even today I expanded the list to include Alison Krauss and Iris Dement because they have been able to uphold some of the traditions in music that I appreciate.

OK here is a confession, I heard a review of a new album on NPR a couple weeks ago and I have now reservedly accepted Electrified Country. It may just be this one instance, but the review was so good I had to pay $9.99 to iTunes just to get my very own copy.

The recording is Miranda Lambert’s “Crazy Ex-girlfriend.” This collection starts with the likes of the song Gunpowder and Lead, where she’s going to show an abusive partner just what little girls can be made of. The collection moves onto another high energy tune where Miranda sings the woes of finding herself with a broken down car in a dry town which uses more traditional Honkey Tonk pedal steel sound. The song Crazy Ex-Girlfriend alone is worth the price of the recording. Probably because I’ve had a few crazy ex-girlfriends in my past, so I can relate.

There are other high energy tracks such “Guilty in Here” and “I’m Getting Ready to Let You Go”, but there are other tracks that are very reminiscent of the lithely vulnerable qualities that are shared by Krauss and Dement.

I don’t know if Miranda is actually famous in the world of Country music, and I don’t care; I like this recording. If you have no love for Country music this collection will not change your mind. However, if you have some Country leanings or some Country in your history you may enjoy it. So there you go; a country music review from me, of all people.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Don't Call Me Sparky

The lightening storm we had on Thursday night reminded me of a strange close call I once had when I was eleven or twelve years old.

First, let me mention that I was born during a thunderstorm. There was a long New Jersey heat wave going on, and when I was born there was a thunderstorm and that brought cooler weather. Thunderstorms happen in New Jersey when ever the weather changes during the summer. I just like the fact that I was born during one of those times.

Anyway, in the late evening of my eleventh or twelfth birthday I returned to the kitchen for another piece of my birthday cake. The house I lived in had a narrow kitchen with a table that could seat three. I sat alone in my usual spot with my back to the window, facing the wall. Directly across from me on the wall I was facing there was an electrical outlet.

A storm was brewing outside and when I took a bite of cake a bolt of lightening struck outside. Oddly two fingers of lightening cane in through the window, went around my head, joined up as one about a foot in front of my face and went into the electrical outlet. It didn’t even trip the circuit breaker.

One might expect to be frightened or at least have their hair stand on end, but I just thought it was really cool and went back to eating my cake, but never forgetting the incident. Had I been grounded I would have been hit.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Not Fair!

I’m starting to worry about the Clatsop County Fair Grounds under the management of Gary Friedman. I know the average citizen rarely considers the Fair Grounds unless they are asking for money, but as a tax payer and one who attends several events at the Fair Grounds every year I have big concerns.

My first concern is, he wants to replace the dirt floor in the arena with a hard surface. This is a disastrous idea. As for the concerns of animals the dirt floor works where a dirt covered hard surface doesn’t. Plus it will cost more in the long run to keep bringing dirt in and out. Also, where will he find dry dirt in the winter if an event calls for it?

My next concern in that Angela put a lot of effort into promoting the Fair Grounds, and it has all evaporated. Maybe the tone was set by the County when it took two months for them to come up with the press release that Mr. Friedman had been hired to fill the position, so now information delays are acceptable.

My final concern is that I went to the Fair web site last week to get some information about the up-coming fair and there was nothing there to be found. There was information on the Rodeo, but the information was from 2006 rodeo. So I sent an email to Mr. Friedman, regarding the status of their website but my email was returned, unable to get through their spam filter.

Please, if someone out there knows Mr. Friedman or a Fair Board member, please wake them up and have them read these complaints. The Fair Board knows how to promote when they are looking for more money, but they need to continue promoting the events to keep our residents wanting to return and make further investments in what you have going there. And Mr. Friedman, I’m not too impressed with what you’ve done so far, but it’s not too late to improve. Get to work!


Monday, July 16, 2007

What We See and What We Don't

My wife and I had to go to one of those artificial big-box office buildings near Portland last week. The owners of these buildings try their best to make their buildings look like they’ve been part of the neighborhood for a long time because they plant large, mature trees and fast growing trees, which may help some forget that only five years ago there were crops growing on that very spot. Now all that grows there are medical, legal and accounting bills.

This article is not about that urban growth stuff, but rather what the different sexes notice when they enter somewhere new. The office we were visiting was on the second floor, which looked out to a maple tree. It was a nice shady view on a warm summer day.

When we left, my wife asked if I noticed the ear rings the receptionist was wearing. I said no, being that I'm unable to see jewelry. It's like being color blind, I just don't see jewelry. I asked her if she saw the giant squirrel nest in the tree branches outside the window. She didn’t see it. I guess it’s a hunter/gatherer thing. She is a gatherer, and jewelry is something to be gathered. I don’t hunt, but I do find myself looking for traces of game when I'm outdoors. It must be so ingrained into humans that we may be tracking right up until the day our sun goes Nova.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


This is the picture that comes to mind when ever I hear someone say they are going to buy a house in Warrenton. (Pronounced "Warrington" by the locals.)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Three Things for Survival

There is practical and there is impractical. When asked, “If you were stranded on an island, what are the three things you’d want to have with you?” What sort of answer would you have? This is a fun little game that we play with ourselves every once in a while, but really, what would you want?

I’ve thought about some of the most useful things I keep close to me and I think I have my list: baling twine, duct tape and a blue tarp. Oddly all three of my items are plastic, but they are the most useful items on any farm. On a farm you use baling twine and duct tape to repair just about anything. Tarps are great for temporary shelter or for gathering things.

There are few things that could come up on a deserted island that couldn’t be fixed by baling twine, duct tape and a blue tarp.

Friday, July 13, 2007


This year we were fortunate to host a nest of barn swallows, in one of the horse stalls. They built their nest right on a spot light. Oddly one of the horses chooses to stand directly under the nest so lumpy white bird shit must be washed from her daily.

The swallows would always chirp when ever I entered the stall for cleaning or feeding. Their parents kept close by and zoomed in to make sure I didn’t disturb the nest as soon as I left.

I checked them this morning and they were gone. The five of them got big very quickly and have left the nest. It amazes me that they can go from egg to relative adulthood in just a couple of weeks, yet some humans don’t leave the nest until they are in their 20. Humans can’t even wipe their own asses until they are around four years old. What’s up with that?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sunday Market, R.I.P.

I’ll admit it, I’m avoiding Sunday Market. It is being killed by its popularity. Like Yogi Berra said, “No body goes there anymore because it’s too crowded.”

I went to Sunday Market last Sunday, which is the second time for me this year. It has gotten worse than I remember it ever being in the past. Not only are there far too many dogs under foot, and far too many childless strollers and double sized strollers being pushed around, but the crowds of people standing and having a social hour in the middle of the street really restricts foot traffic. It’s worse than standing in line at Disney Land. Sometimes it is easier to walk around the block and sneak into the back of the tent you want to buy something from.

I ran into F. Lee and he asked if I was counting the dogs and at that point I had counted fifteen dogs, nine strollers and ten groups of people chatting not letting foot traffic through.

It makes me fondly miss our old Saturday Market at the train station. There was a lot of room and it even seemed more special when it was smaller. It’s sad that there is no where else with a larger area where Sunday Market could happen. It would be nice to spread it out and get it out of the street where people didn’t have to cross main thoroughfares. I understand it’s all about being “down town”, but the crowds are becoming a real deterrent to commerce. We used to spend an average of $35 at each visit. Yesterday we spent $2. Maybe they make it up in volume, maybe not.

I don’t see myself returning to the Sunday Market unless it is raining. I miss being able to actually be heard asking questions of the shop keepers. Now it is such a rush just to get the hell out as quickly as you can.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Masons

Mason bees are excellent pollinators for fruit trees that bloom when the weather is still too cold for honey bees to fly. Mason bees will often occupy holes in a clay bank but will occupy just about any appropriate size hole. They don’t live in them, but lay their eggs for future generations. They don’t make holes, but they will use existing holes because there are enough holes in nature that are easy to find.

What they do is lay an egg for a female mason bee at the end of a hole, place in some nectar and pollen mixed together into a bread for food for the developing bee. Then they seal the first egg in with mud and do the process again and again. Each hole will have generally four female eggs, and the last three eggs at the front end will be the male mason bees which emerge first and fly around maturing before the first females emerge.

With this said, one mason bee took advantage of a hole that I drilled in the handle of a shovel so I could hang the shovel on a nail. Needless to say I haven’t been hanging this shovel up over the last few months and won’t be able to until the bees emerge next April.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The French Invasion

We survived the French Invasion. I’m just joking about the invasion part. We had relatives visiting from Paris this weekend; so we got to be tourists. We also got to share country experiences with them and their four year old, bi-lingual daughter.

We found a mini horse for her to ride, and normal size horses for all to ride. They got to milk goats and roast marsh mallows by the camp fire under the stars. All things they don’t do in Paris.

They have also been to LA and Seattle, and the sameness of all large metropolitan areas blurs the reality of where you are since they are full of free-ways and franchise stores. But living here in the country is a totally different experience for those who are used to big box land marks. Our land marks are the barn with the blue roof, the mailbox with the fish on it, the field of black cows or the field with the mini horses.

The air in the country promotes good sleep. I cooked what would be considered a good farm breakfast for them each morning with varieties of fruit, pancakes and eggs. They appreciated being outside and hearing the birds chirping over hearing the free-ways as they did at the other places they have stayed. They were delighted to see a tractor driving down the road going to the next field that needed to be hayed.

Another interesting thing about their visit, I was able to understand French again after only two days of listening to them occasionally coach their daughter in her native tongue. Her father being French and her mother being an American speak their native tongues to her so she gets everything in both languages. It helped me greatly as well.

C'est bon!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Paper Please

The plastic article the other day had my mind revisiting the paper or plastic debate. Dried Salmon County Commissioner, Jeff Hazen had a bright idea a few months ago of banning plastic shopping bags in the county being that the plastic bags are produced in China and pulp trees are grown in our county. We stop buying future land-fill from China and give a boost to the local papermaking economy. It is a great idea.

I’m not in favor of the new biodegradable plastic bags which come from a corn derivative. Yes, I think that biodegradable is good, but I think this country is growing and depending on corn way too much. I did an article on that subject last year.

Again I will urge you to return all your plastic grocery bags to the store where you got them. They all have places to recycle the bags by their entrances. Start requesting paper bags or even better use canvas bags.

I know you were probably hoping to read fewer preachy articles from me, but this sort of stuff is catching up with us. I agree with Jim Ring, these plastics are going to kill us one day. I don’t want the circumstances of my death to have any foundation in irony.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I Understand

Sometimes when one speaks, it is absolutely necessary to use a qualifier that not only cements any argument but locks it up tight so your words win. I was reminded of this while cutting the lawn the other day.

My wife’s youngest son had some minor speech problems when he was young. Sometimes he was easy to understand, but sometimes he wasn’t. He was always good about asking permission to do things, and it was frustrating for him and a listener when he couldn’t be understood.

One day I was mowing the lawn when he came running up to me. I turned off the PTO and the engine and took off my hearing protection to hear him. He began speaking what sounded like it could be best described as a phrase where you place your tongue out side of your lips on the left side of your mouth and run it to the right side of your mouth and then back and forth while vocalizing. I couldn’t understand a word, so I asked him to repeat himself, and again it sounded the same, but this time the last two words were “Ma Said!”

I was no fool and I would never argue with a statement that ended with the words “Ma Said.”

“OK”, I said, he ran off to do what ever he wanted to do with the permission of “Ma” and I started the lawn tractor us, put on my hearing protection and carried on.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


People assume that I am not a people person, that I’m a loner, that I don’t like groups of people, or any one person for more than four hours at a time. I’ve made comments on local blogs that probably says that in a nut shell, (probably? Exact words!)

I truly am sorry I disappoint so many by not being more social or social at all. But, that’s the way I’m wired. I feel it’s better for others if I don’t socialize because when I do I speed past sarcastic and jump into a hyper-drive of sardonic. I’ve seen it all before, and I don’t want myself to become involved with that sort of behavior again. So forgive me if I seem a bit stand-offish.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Name Your Poison

I once had a friend named Jim Ring. He was several years older than me. He was a veteran of the Korean War, which ended two years before my birth.

Jim was an independent thinker and trained to do so at a Jesuit school. Jesuits loved debates and were rather skilled in it as well.

Jim once said something that opened my eyes. It was an Ah-Ha! Moment which lead me toward the path I am on today with my environmental leanings. Not ever considering the three packs of Chesterfield Kings he smoked every day would ever take their toll, he saw plastics as the enemy. His exact words were, “They are going to kill us with all this fucking plastic.”

I was in my early 20s and that statement made me able to see plastics for what they really are. On one hand they can be customized to do wonderful things and they keep material costs down, but on the other hand they will nearly forever.

I’ve recently came by a web site that talks about how few plastics are being recycled. They estimate that over 244,000 water bottles are not being recycled every minute. That’s over 351 million water bottles every day that are going into a land fill when they could be recycled.

Though I only reach about a hundred people a day through this blog, I feel it is my duty to ask you to shun the individual water bottles and get a good durable water bottle and refill it at home. Keep a couple in the fridge. Please stop buying water in a bottle.

In case you were wondering, Jim died about fifteen years ago from a heart attack, more than likely fueled buy a life-long addiction to the Chesterfield Kings.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Checking Out

We’ve all had people in our lives that have died. It’s sad, but a fact none the less that one day we too will be in the spotlight, exiting our existence. Faced with this mortality, we can only hope that our exit is quick and painless.

I once work with a man who loved to go fishing. Every day after work he would car-top an aluminum boat to Big Sterling Lake. One day he didn’t come home, and he was found the next day drifting in the boat with his line in the water. He simply slumped over and died in a place where he loved to be.

Nelson Rockefeller died in his mistresses’ apartment, obviously having a good time. Some people are fortunate when their time comes, yet others suffer pain and disease for long periods of time wishing for a quick end to their suffering.

Every few years I take inventory of what my fantasy death would be if I were able to choose. When I was in my 20s I thought an LSD overdose would be a good way to go out. Then later when I was doing a lot of climbing I was thinking that being struck by lightening at the summit of a mountain would be pretty cool.

As I age I’m at the point where I hope I won’t die in certain ways. I don’t want to drown or burn or be cold when I die. I don't want to die in an automobile or plane. I don’t want an adventurous death any more. I'm hoping not to have an ironic death.

I wouldn’t mind falling asleep and not waking up. I wouldn’t mind being shot in the head. Yes, it sounds gruesome, but it is really quick and painless or so I am lead to believe.

As I age I envision my own death differently. I am diabetic, so there is a good chance that complications of diabetes will take me if something else doesn’t get me first. I wouldn’t mind slipping away in a hospital while in a warm room, where I am clean, where there is usually a light on to see by and someone making some sort of noise.

I wonder how it will really happen.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Amazing Blondel

Back in the every early 70s I was being entertained by music that was imported from Brittan. I’m not talking about the Mop Tops or the Stones, but records that were way in the back of the record store in the import bin. Not only where they shrink wrapped, but they also came in a soft plastic sleeve.

This was music that rarely ever made it on the radio. Buying it was either hit or miss, but one rarely ever missed with a British import. The Brits had such interesting musical minds.

I mentioned a group to a friend the other day, and he found a copy of the Grail for me. To me the Grail is, ”England” a 1973 release by a group called Amazing Blondel. This group was made up of players Eddie Baird, John Gladwin, and Terry Wincott. They all worked in electric rock bands but settled back into acoustic music in 1970, and took on a thing for medieval and renaissance music for their first three albums. I found them in 1973 when they released fourth album, England, which is still in the realm of renaissance music with a hint of modern folk elements.

Their words are old and agrarian in nature. Their instruments are flute, recorder, lute, guitar, pipe organ, harpsichord, and a few othte modern and period instruments. It is just amazing, hence the name. But the story behind the name is also amazing. They are named after Blondel, a mistrial of King Richard I. Richard I of England was arrested and held for ransom in 1192. Blondel would take his lute and play it in front of each castle all through Europe. He would play the King’s favorite song and sing the first verse, and eventually he played under the correct window and King Richard I sang the second verse. The castle was Durnstein in Lower Austria. Blondel returned home to England and gathered an army and took them to Durnstein where they stormed the castle and liberate their king.

Their music has kept me entertained for thirty five years now, and I deeply thank a dear friend for making it available to me since I don’t use a turn table in my truck.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Corporate Blog Watchers

Corporate marketing and watch-dogging is all over the blogosphere. I knew there was some attempt at making a site look real when it was actually a big advertisement, but I came to fully realize just last week that companies hire people to surf websites and blogs looking for comments on their products.

Last week Auntie L had some unfavorable things to say about Charter’s internet service. A short while later a comment appeared on her blog from Charter HQ offering any support she needed to fix the situation.

Last week I wrote something about Hellman’s Mayonnaise, known as Best Foods out here. By the end of the day I had a reply from best foods on the blog telling me about a promotion they were having.

So is this the new trend? Company image control agents are working by searching blogs and promote their products. This is a sweet job to get paid for doing.

I’m curious if my negative writing about Monsanto and United Way have ever had a company rep wanting to comment on my site and realize that it wouldn’t be wise because I’d go totally crazy on them.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Sick Day XV

This month I am sick of the fact that 9 times out of 10 when I am doing the speed limit and a truck comes up behind me doing 20 MPH over the speed limit; it is always a truck from Big River. It’s not always the same trucks, either. There are several different pickup trucks and dump trucks and equipment haulers. All racing on the back roads of the county.

I know they have to constantly rush to the bank to deposit all that money they are making for all the work they do and re-do because they didn’t get it right the first time, but god damn, give us other drivers and pedestrians and cyclists a freaking break; you rat bastards. If you hit me, I'm going to sue you for a new back hoe.