Wednesday, October 31, 2007


When I see this photo of me the first time I was on a horse, probably at age 2, I am reminded that horses are in my blood, at least as the legend goes.

My father’s father was a horseman; a Cossack. He was highly trained as a soldier on horseback. In 1916 he was in some sort of equestrian accident and broke his leg. His leg healed right when things were gearing up for the Russian Revolution. He saw the writing on the wall and fled to the closest sea port where he got on a freighter to the United States.

I never heard any stories of his continuing any horsecapades after his arrival here. My mother tells me of her horse riding adventures when she was a girl with a barn sour horse that would do all it could to run back to the barn.

The horse in the photo above was put to death because it killed someone. I see hints as to why in the photograph. The bit they used on him is a mechanical hackamore. No doubt he was broke using methods of cruelty. Yes, these and even more severe bits are still used today, but people are coming around with their understanding of the gentle way of horsemanship.

As I train my horses in the round pen I think about how different horsemanship is these days. In the times of my grandfather they would break horses with physical pain, but in these days we take advantage of psychology of the horse and their herd mentality. We have learned to train our horses the way horses train each other in the wild.

What was accomplished in the old days with a whip can now be accomplished with eye contact. Encouraging and discouraging behavior can be done with simple movements and establishing yourself as the leader of the herd. Once you gain the respect of the horse they will look to you as a leader and trust that you will not put them in harms way. This helps in making each training or riding event a safe one for the horse and the rider.

It takes several months to a year before I feel like I know a new horse. I learn what they like and what they don't. I know where they like to be touched and where not to. I do exercises desensitize them to things they don't like, but the whole time I show them respect and never push them past what they are able to do in one session. I know they get it when I see them lick their lips, it's called licking their brains. That's the way they process.

It is so good when you take a horse that didn't trust you and always turned their hind end towards you into a horse that faces you and lowers its head to greet you when you walk into its space.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Sad Reality of LNG

I have great sympathy for all the like minded people in the Lower Columbia region who are still putting in the effort to try to keep LNG out of our community. Sadly to say, the battle has been lost and many don’t realize it. The LNG horse has long ago left the gate.

People seem to be confused by the present Bradwood Landing ordeal. Many think it is a forum to air their concerns about the industry, but in reality it is only a forum about a zoning issue. The planning committee that conditionally suggested approval did so as an issue exclusive to zoning. Their decision had nothing to do with the evils of the industry it was all about zoning.

The sad reality is that if a zone change is not granted, all Northernstar has to do is report to FERC that the zoning restrictions are unrealistic and it all gets overturned on the Federal level.

Needless to say, LNG is a bad idea and LNG at Bradwood Landing is a disastrous idea. However LNG is coming. There are literally no barriers to the planned LNG facility in Warrenton. It is zoned for LNG and the Port Commissioners literally handed them the keys, twice. The pipeline will happen as soon as a few eminent domain papers are filed.

Senator Betsy Johnson finally found her testicles and came out of the woodwork to argue the point of the opposition that the voters have been begging her to do, but please don’t trust her intentions. She is from Columbia County where LNG is welcomed. She would like nothing better than to remove the evil LNG projects for the liberal Hippies in Clatsop County and deliver the tax revenue to Columbia County. This way she gets more future votes from residents in both counties. It is nothing more than a political ploy.

So in conclusion we are totally screwed because it is coming. Yes, the County Commissioners will be screwed no matter which way they vote on this matter, but realize their vote will be only about the Zoning.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Country Mouse/City Mouse

Country Mouse/City Mouse

There are plenty of city folks who can spot a Gucci bag at 100 feet. They can name the designers of the shoes women are wearing as they walk past. They can tell the difference between a Toyota and a Lexis that passes by in the opposite direction at sixty miles per hour at night. However get these folks into the country and they will call all evergreen trees “pine trees.”

Country people have different things they can identify. They know the difference between straw, grass hay, orchard grass, timothy and alfalfa by sight and smell. They know the difference between a dairy cow and a beef cow. They know that gray or creamy dark blue tractors are Fords. Tractors that are green with yellow wheels are made by John Deere, Allis-Chalmers and IH Farmall tractors are red.

City folks know how to program their cell phones and know which buses go where and when. Country folks know when the sun will rise and when it will set, and they usually are working the entire time between.

City folks know the price of a dozen eggs. Country folks know how long it will take for their hens to lay a dozen eggs in the winter and the summer.

City folks can tell the difference between the sound of the garbage truck and a construction truck and a delivery truck. Country folks can tell the temperature by listening to the crickets.

I am so glad I live in the country.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Fair Idea

It isn’t too early to plan. One thing I would like to see at the County Fair next summer is a booth where fair goers can meet with their elected officials. The Fair would do well to have all the elected there for a meet and greet. On one hand it would assure the local elected ones would promote the Fair, and it would give the average citizen to actually speak with those who they elected and entrust their tax dollars to.

We should have the following spread out through the week: Betsy Johnson, Debby Boone, The Sheriff, the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners, The Port Commission and the District Attorney. Some local mayors might be willing to join in as well.

It would be nice to have the opportunity to actually speak in a casual situation with the people you normally only see on a ballot or in the news.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quantum Language

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I’m learning that a quantum version of this appears in the English language. It gets convoluted, but some words can have an equal and same reaction.

One stunning example was when Bart Simpson once said, “I never thought it would be possible but this not only sucks, but it blows as well.”

Remember back when “Bad” meant good? How about the interchange of Cool and Hot?

Is “Dirty” good or bad? I remember when being a consumer was bad. It still is, but people somehow don’t mind being addressed as so. Fred Astaire wouldn’t dare to sing about being Gay these days unless he was. I remember when AIDS was a diet pill. The change in meaning of AIDS put them out of business. Can you imagine someone going into a pharmacy and asking the person at the counter for AIDS?

Is this all double speak? How confusing this all must be to non-native speakers.

Friday, October 26, 2007

United Way Sucks Even More

Two years ago I wrote an article about Why United Way Sucks. It got several replies and testimonials by people I don’t know who agreed for the most part. The next year I did another article on why United Way Continues to Sucks. I got several more replies and testimonials. Even to this day when ever I check the stats on my blog there is usually someone who finds this blog by searching the phrase United Way Sucks. They are still leaving comments on these articles even though they were posted one and two years ago.

I’ve been toying with doing another annual United Way Sucks article, but I didn’t have any new ammo for an assault. However, I ran into a friend who was a big United Way supporter who argued with me at length after my first article. It became heated to say the least.

When I saw her the other day she asked where my annual article was, and I thought she was just egging me for another fight, but then she told me that last years article changed her mind and she no longer has a payroll deduction. I nearly fell over. I asked what got her to change her mind and she stated that it was the line about how United Way gets everyone to do their work with your company time and resources. She then did some research and found their executives are making big money. She sent me to the site

There you can look up The United Way and it will show their 141 main chapters. Click on any chapter and then you scroll down to the bottom you will find the salary of each chapter President. For instance Meg Baxter, President of the Portland Chapter is paid $125,786 per year. Most presidents are making a six-figure salary. I added the President’s salary of the first 25 branches and it came to $3,798,251. The average salary being $151,930. Multiply that by 141 and you have the salary of United Way Presidents at $21,422,135.

Think how many earnest donations that are made by people thinking their money will go to well meaning organizations while United Way spends 21 million of those funds to pay their regional Presidents. Remember folks, you donate the money. Your company donates photocopies and staff coordination time and United Way skims 14% and pays their staff more than most of you make in three years.



Thursday, October 25, 2007

We Once Were Legends

Every once in a while someone’s name or face will pop into my head. I had not seen or thought of them in years. It is then that I realize that I may never see them again. Some are remarkable people who I’d love to see again, but the effort that needs to be put forth in order to find them is daunting.

My larger fear of ever making their acquaintance again would be that they somehow aren’t quite as special as I remembered them to be.

Now I think of myself. Maybe it is better that I am thousands of miles away from people I knew and people would have a hard time finding me. I am not as remarkable as I used to be. I look nothing like I did twenty years ago. I don’t even look like the person I was ten years ago. I keep a very regular schedule, I’m a home body and I write a dopey blog every day. I am a dopey blogger and that is my most remarkable attribute these days. It’s not that I’m ashamed of it, but it would be terribly disappointing to anyone making a effort to seek me out to rekindle the good old days and finding what is left of my former self.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Measure 50

In Oregon we will be voting on Measure 50 which is a constitutional change that places a large tax on tobacco to pay for a health plan for children. I sincerely wish that the tobacco companies would have taken all the money they are putting into fighting this campaign and put it into a medical trust to pay for the medical bills of indigent children.

All this posturing aside Measure 50 is flawed and it deserves to fail for several reasons. Most of all it is basing its income on smokers. I think it was aimed as a deterrent; making smoking too expensive to afford. But a constitutional amendment that creates a new department will need to continue being funded even if no one purchases tobacco in Oregon until another constitutional amendment comes around to relieve the tax payers. A Constitution is a sacred document. It reflects the rules by which we govern our selves. It should not be used as a shill for taxation.

I am all for socialized medicine, but only if paid for by all the people. It is unfair to place this expense on the back of the addicted and the under educated citizens of the state. That’s what the lottery is for.

Now if someone were to come up with a measure to reduce tobacco use in Oregon by banning all tobacco sales in the State, I would be on board with that and I bet it would pass by a 60% margin. It is a dangerous product and should be banned along with high fructose corn syrup and any product made by Monsanto.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Measure 49

To all the out of state or country Astoria Rust readers, we will return to our regularly scheduled blog on Thursday. Yesterday I just had to talk about a local political hot potato and today and tomorrow I will be addressing two measures on our State ballot. Please feel free to join in if you are politically inclined. No on to todays unpaid political commentary:

I visit a few agricultural internet forums, and it seems that the internet farmers are crazy for Measure 49. That’s one thing about people in agriculture; they aren’t shy about putting up political signs. They usually run on the conservative side, but that’s OK. At least they are taking a side in the issues.

The odd thing was that as I drove from the Coast to Portland last Thursday I counted the signs in the fields. I saw 14 against Measure 49 and only 4 for the measure. What’s up with that?

Though none of you asked my opinion I will happily share it anyway. Here is how I see the issue, though I know full well that Gearhead is going to kick my ass the next time he sees me.

I am an owner of acreage. A few years ago I got a notice from the County that the land I purchased zoned RA-1 is now RA-2. No big deal in some ways, but it actually was in other ways. When I bought my property I did it as an investment, and the government altered my investment. As a citizen I need to have a way to appeal this mandate and Measure 37 was my way to appeal. Now the government realized that they over stepped their bounds and are trying to cover their tracks and their financial asses by throwing up a wall to protect themselves further from having to provide infrastructure or compensating for their errors and over stepping.

As a land owner I feel I am the steward of the property. I never wanted to log my property, but when the property next to mine was logged my trees started blowing over every time the wind blew. I had to change my thinking and protect my investment. I will do all I can to make sure it isn’t developed, but the bottom line is that it is my investment and one day I may need to revise my thinking to protect my financial interests. I would like the option to take back my rights as they were at the time of the purchase.

So I’m voting No on Measure 49 because I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot.

Monday, October 22, 2007


This measure came about for reasons of spite and greed, and it’s wrapping itself in the flag of “Independence” and “Public Safety.”

The basic fact is that the District Attorney was given three years to learn how to report data to the Board of Commissioners so they could in turn make decisions about staffing. He refused so they took away his stipend. The District Attorney stamped his feet and called together his minion and drafted a spite measure that would make sure he got paid as though he were a Circuit Court Judge, at a rate of 90%-100% of their pay.

Regardless of all the acts going on in the other rings of this circus you are being asked to vote yes if you think the District Attorney should be paid by our county, above what the State pays him. You are asked to vote no if you feel the County should not pay him because of his on-going uncooperative nature and unaccountability to the tax payers. Pure and simple, yes or no.

Now back to the circus. This campaign brought many things to the surface. Documents brought to the surface by the Freedom of Information Act showed that the DA worked with a County Commissioner to get this measure on the ballot.

It brought to the surface how out of control the wife of the DA and former candidate for County Commissioner, Cindy Price is. She is a street fighter, giving the finger to Commissioners, mouthing the words "Fuck You" to Richard Lee at a Board of Commissioners meeting. Shouting insults to the County PIO person. Had she been elected she would have made the Barrett/Buckmaster years look like pillow fight at a slumber party.

It brought to the surface how biased our local paper, the Daily Astorian, now called by many, The Daily Marquis. The paper has blatant lack of objectivity and balance in their reporting and coverage of this matter. They are looking for some sort of "Smoking Gun", however had they read Jerry Spence book, "The Smoking Gun" they might have a better idea of just who they are ruining their reputation for. The Daily Marquis is now a tabloids and their reputation is in the toilet, badly needing a flush. Readers wonder how their bias is coloring other stories in their paper. Can the community trust in anything that is published there? Perhaps not.

Even the more worse for wear is our District Attorney. We have had to long endure his massive ego, his constant appearances on the racist Lars Larson’s radio show and his and his nationally known advocacy of the death penalty. We now have had a chance to glimpse his greed, his connections, his temper, his lies and his poor math skills. This man is an officer of the court and his behavior is unbecoming of someone in his position.

He divided the community and probably can no longer put together and objective jury in this County. This is a total injustice to anyone appearing in court in this county. The entire judicial process here has been tainted here.

I sincerely believe it is time for Mr. Marquis to leave his position. His command and status here is far beyond repair. He is unelectable and probably needs to spend some time working in some other field of law outside of the lime light in order to rebuild any career before his retirement years.

A “No” vote on this issue is the only reasonable action a voter can take to end the insanity and let the county move on. The Independent DA camp already has plans to start a recall campaign if this measure passes. They want to recall all Commissioners other than Sam Patrick, or as some call him, “Patsy.” This action will further divide the citizens and further cripple the County. It is one bad/spiteful decision after another coming from that camp. This needs to be nipped in the bud and stopped now.

Mr. Marquis threatened to send out his resume if this measure fails. He said that if this measure fails he doesn't think he can work withe "these people." But I guess for a couple of thousand extra every month he could. So it is all about the money after all. I say let him leave, and let's have a fresh start with someone else who can gain the support of everyone in the community. We need to remove the obstacle to community building. Please vote No on 4-123 and get our County back on track.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007


Have you ever watched the news when they give out a description of the criminal on the run? Aren’t you relieved when the description doesn’t match you or the car you drive?

I know it is necessary to put this information out to aid in the capture of someone, but what if you match the description? How do you prove it wasn’t you?

I knew a guy who looked like the composite drawing of David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam Killer. He said it was a real pain in the ass.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I’m really happy in some respects that society has become much more casual. I get away with wearing jeans and Birks or Wellingtons just about anywhere I go. Most of all I get suspicious of people who aren’t allowed to dress casually.

It’s the suits that I don’t like. Let’s face it, if you see someone in a suit approaching you, your entire day will be ruined. Sounds crazy? Well let’s see just who wears suits these days:
The FBI, Religious Missionaries, Politicians, Lawyers, Funeral Directors and maybe your boss.

I can think of no good reason to associate with any of these people or have them in your home. None of these people will ever make your life any better than it already is. If you see one of them walking up your drive way, lock the door and close the curtains.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Birthday Cards

I am one of the rare men who actually does the shopping for birthday cards. Yes, I do miss a lot of peoples’ birthdays, but there are a few important ones I remember; my wife, her kids, and my mother. I also buy cards for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day…

Today is my Mother's birthday. I’m not big on mushy cards. I don’t like getting them, so I never give them. No matter how flowery and poetic they may be, they just bore me to tears. I always go for a card with a sense of humor.

My point is that it is getting really hard to find a good funny card these days. Birthday cards that try to be funny now only reference drinking, farting, and “you are old and you are going to die soon.”

Look, my mother is turning 88 this year. I don't want a card with photos of monkeys, (there's enough of that junk on this blog.) She is a widow and I wouldn’t send her a card suggesting that she go out and get laid for her birthday with a Chippendale Dancer. I don’t want to send her a card that suggests her boobs are sagging. I don’t want a card that calls her an old fart. I don’t want to suggest her memory isn’t what it used to be. Most of all I don’t want to remind her of her mortality.

Is it that the demand for insult cards is really there? Have we digressed and become that rude? I know, I should make my own cards that say what I want them to say. But to me home made cards look like home made clothing. Just what I want to send out, something that looks like it came from a religious compound.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Matt Stanberry Envy

I am jealous of Matt Stanberry and I don’t even know him.

Somehow I got wind that there was a link to this blog on his blog, so I checked out his blog. His bio simply states: “Matt Stansberry is a Eugene, Oregon-based technology reporter with a serious fly fishing problem.”

Sure, I’ve probably written a few things about fishing and a few things about the environment here, but I have no idea how I came to his attention.

I subscribe to his blog through Bloglines so I am notified when he has a new post. Each post raises my envy. This guy travels all over the state and goes fishing and hiking. He explores mountains, deserts, caves and rivers. He goes to the Country Fair. He’s a damn good photographer as well, using many photos in every post.

This Matt Stanberry guy is doing everything I used to do. Though I am envious because I no longer have the time of funds to live that sort of life, I am also appreciative of his posts on his blog. Thanks, Matt.

Check his blog out here

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Canadian Food

As I’ve mentioned many times before I would spend time in Canada every summer. Place where we stayed was run by a wonderful family. Every family member was part of the business and had specific duties for their guests.

My favorite was Emma. She was the matriarch and her duty was food. She baked bread every day. All fruits and vegetables came from her garden. All meat came from her farm animals. Eggs, milk and butter came from her animals as well.

I have, in the past and continue to be critical of my mother’s cooking. Though my sister disagrees with me; I insist that my mother was and probably still is a terrible cook. My time in Canada made me absolutely fall in love with Emma’s culinary touch. Everything was always good.

One morning I announced that I was going to travel through the woods and visit a lake a couple miles away. Emma kindly packed me a lunch. I knew where I was going so I wasn’t going to be lost, but she knew that I wouldn’t return until late afternoon.

I arrived at the lake around Noon, and the walk there had made me hungry. I was looking forward to having lunch during my entire walk. I ceremoniously opened the bag and removed the foil wrapped sandwiches. The bread was beautiful and its scent kissed my nose as the sandwich rose to my lips.

My first bite sent a strange feeling to my brain. This was something I never had before. It wasn’t particularly good or bad, just foreign to my American palate. Before risking a second bite I paused to open the bread. Cucumbers? A cucumber sandwich? What the hell is this? Who feeds a cucumber sandwich to a kid not of British herritage?

I plowed on, and found I actually enjoyed them by the time I got to the second sandwich. Oddly that was the last time I ever had one, but this memory has me wanting to try one again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Is He or Is She?

Recently I heard Johnny Cash’s version of the Shell Silverstein song, “A Boy Named Sue.” (And you can bet I will be doing an article on Shell Silverstein real soon. That’s the way articles happen here, one article inspires another and then another.) Anyway, I was having an e-mail exchange with someone recently who is new to this blog. (Hi Christie!)

We were talking about men who have names that are traditionally women’s name. Sure there is always Terry, and Dale and most folks learned not to be gender specific when one of those names pops up. However, when you are talking about a subject of men with women’s names “A Boy Named Sue” always comes to mind. I know a man named Shirley. She knows a man named Lavern.

I told Christie about a publishing opportunity I absolutely blew because the publisher was named Kim and in e-mail correspondence I might have been a bit flirtatious. As it turned out Kim was a big bald guy with a bushy religious beard. There ought to be a law…damn it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Meaning

It’s always fun when you see something and it invokes an opposite reaction than was intended.

Stores decorated for Christmas invokes me to think “greed, consumerism and over extended credit.”

St Patrick’s Day invokes me to think “green vomit.”

Hearing a song considered an oldie invokes me to think “I am old.”

Seeing a new by-line in the Daily Astorian (aka The Daily Marquis) invokes me to think “Another bias reporter and Forrester puppet.”

Seeing a corporate jet coming in for a landing at the airport in Warrenton invokes, “Someone is in for a screwing today! Maybe lots of us.”

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oil on Wood

One of my side lines is wood working. I have trees from my own property milled and that is what I now use for all my furniture projects. I have had a lot of other projects going on for the last year or so and my wood working projects were on the back burner. I was also letting some wood get seasoned. It is all dry now and ready to be used.

I started my first project about two weeks ago. It was a tilting mirror stand with arched legs. It was real simple and attractive, like Amish furniture.

Now here is my problem as a wood worker and what I do that makes other woodworkers cringe. I finish my products with boiled linseed oil. I should be using a special mixture I make up of lemon oil and bees wax.

To me, the boiled linseed oil brings out the warmth of the wood. It showcases the character of the wood, and it smells like an art studio. But woodworkers keep telling me that the oil draws out all the moisture and that it looks bad. I don’t agree. To me, seeing wood coated with plastics, such as polyurethane really makes me sick. So to each their own, live and let live. I use boiled linseed oil and I’m sticking to it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Muzak Transformation

When I was young I was very defensive toward the music I listened to. Any alteration or bastardization was a criminal offence. I would get totally pissed off when someone my parents would listen to took a song of my generation and matured it up.

Two things in my life changed my opinion of this. The first one was when I was sick and in a doctors waiting room waiting to be seen. I was very tired and on the verge of falling asleep as I waited. There was Muzak being played in the background. The song was “I’m not in love” by 10cc. This song was really dreamy on its own, but somehow Muzak made it even dreamier, nearly mind altering. I was lulled and felt better and uplifted by it.

Many years later I got a CD called Lounge-a-palooza because the Soundgarden song, “Black Hole Sun” was being covered by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, two Vegas lounge singers. It blew me away. You can listen to it HERE by clicking the play button under the album cover. It may convert you into becoming a fan of these two; that is after you spend an hour or so shaking your head in disbelief.

If you want to hear the real version Here's the Video by Soundgarden.

So these days I welcome anyone to cover any song just to see where they can take it. Who-da-thunk-it?

Friday, October 12, 2007


Today, October 12 is a strange anniversary of sorts. It is a bit of a mile-stone for this blog. You see, this article is the 500th article posted here on Astoria-Rust. When I think of it, I never had an intention of writing this much, this often, for this long, for free.

Sure I’ve put some crap in there from time to time, but there certainly are pieces here that I consider some of the best things I’ve ever penned.

I have to admit that when I write and post I am writing for an audience. It’s not just for me, though it is therapeutic for me to get the thoughts out of my mind and put them somewhere so I no longer have to feel like I need to continue processing those thoughts over and over. I write them and move on to newer or even older ideas that rattle around in my head.

I suppose I would be somewhat sad if no one was reading this stuff. I probably would have given up long ago if that were the case. However, those of you who reply really make it all worth while. I’ll even admit that I often try to trick you by writing something that I think will make you rise up and pelt me with rocks and garbage, but then you all end up agreeing with me. One example was when I wrote about how I hate eating in public. I figured you’d all turn on me like rabid dogs, but you all seemed to agree with me. I guess, like likes like.

I get a sickening feeling in my stomach as I look ahead to the next five-hundred articles. I fear that I will get into it and then just run out of ideas and words. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to quit right here and right now, but really, how long can this go on? I think I’ve only taken one day off since Rust began running seven days a week. I’m looking forward to the next time I take a day off, though I don’t know when that will be.

Thanks to all the readers who make a daily stop here. I wouldn't do it with out you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lipstick Justice

Women seem to be very vengeful toward the cars of people they don’t like. The only time I’ve ever heard of a car being keyed, it was a woman who did it. I just got an e-mail from a friend who will remain anonymous:

At lunch a woman in a BMW cut two of us off to steal a parking spot at the local grocery store. We both yelled, "BITCH!" at the same time but she was so busy yacking on her cell phone she didn't even notice. When I came out later, written very large across her windshield in what appeared to be lipstick was, "HANG UP AND DRIVE BITCH!" Now sharpie comes off with alcohol, but I'd imagine lipstick would be a real mess to get off. It was tempting to stay and watch her reaction but didn't want to get accused. I am seriously considering exchanging the large sharpie in my glove compartment for a cheap tube of lipstick. Sharpies don't work on wet glass.

I replied:

And lip stick in the rain...after the wipers get to it, it will look like a clown car. That happened to my mother once, a woman cut her off and took her space, and rushed into a store. My mother casually got out of her car and applied lipstick to the bottom of the woman’s door handle so when the woman returned and opened her door her fingers were gooed up with lipstick.

Man, you women sure fight dirty…I love it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Screwing Around on the Phone

It has been a while since I’ve been on either end of a prank phone call. Caller ID changed everything. Not that I was into doing that sort of thing in my adult life, but it all seems like something from the distant past.

I was reminded of the masters of the prank call recently while watching the Simpsons. Bart and Lisa are often seen pranking Moe the bartender, but few realize that their pranks are deeply rooted in New Jersey prank call history.

In the mid-1970s, two young men, John Elmo and Jim Davidson, began calling a bar named the Tube Bar which was located in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Tube Bar was owned by Louis "Red" Deutsch, and most of the time, Deutsch was the person who answered the calls. During each call, the callers would ask Deutsch to call out fictitious names, which, when said aloud, sounded like something else entirely (for example, "Al Coholic" = alcoholic, or "Cole Kutz" = cold cuts). Most of the time, Deutsch would call out the names, unaware that he was being subjected to a prank. Sometimes, however, Deutsch would catch on to the prank, and when he did, he responded with extreme hostility, shouting at the caller with profanity, obscene sexual references, usually involving the caller's mother, and threats of physical harm.

My personal favorite is one that the Simpsons did. They called Moe asking for Amanda Huginkiss. Moe shouts out to the people drinking in his establishment, "I need A Man ta Hug and Kiss," and then he realizes what he was really saying after announcing it twice. He had been pranked...again. Too funny! By the way, the Red recordings are still available.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Cold

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while are well aware of my quirks, or as some of you call it, my numerous accounts of neurosis. I don’t recall if I’ve ever touched on this before but I am a bit germ-phobic. I don’t drink from public water fountains, I don’t touch hand rails on stairs and most of all I hate shaking hands with people.

I isolate myself from society pretty well; I try to avoid large groups. I try to go shopping during off hours, and I don’t go to parties. I am obligated to socialize in a few different organizations I am a member of, but there too I always have my eye on an exit.

Last Tuesday I was at a function where a woman sneezing, coughing and hacking up hair balls. I knew she was sick as soon as I entered the room, so I made a point of getting as geographically distant from her as I could. The meeting was almost over and here she comes waltzing in my direction with some papers for me. NOOOOO!!!! I couldn’t escape. I spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in a pissy mood because I knew she got me.

On Friday after noon the tickle began, I started coughing. By five my nostrils no longer worked. I turned into a mouth breather. I spent Saturday and Sunday making up for the sleep I missed from spending the nights coughing and sneezing and waking up from having a dry mouth.

Sinus problems strike me as odd. How is it we evolved with this problem? Horses can not breathe through their mouths and they evolved to never have stuffy noses. What’s up with that, and where does the line form to get that sort of thing fixed.

As I write this on Monday, there are still some residual problems that linger. Both nostrils are working again, every once in a while. The cough has subsided. I’m going to take a nap.

As for the woman who shared her cold with the captive audience, you are a bitch and I will not forgive you.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sun Flowers

Another floral experience I was involved with was sunflowers. I was fascinated by how quickly they grew, how interesting the head pattern was and how when you husked the seeds from the flower head each seed seemed to have a bar code on it and each seed was different.

I lived in a house with a very small yard at the time. I grew about ten sunflower plants a year, but when you buy seeds you usually get a package of thirty seeds. So what do you do with the left over seeds?

I would go for a ride on my bike and plant them. I’d just sneak one seed into a place you wouldn’t ever expect to see a giant sun flower growing. Sometimes it was on the road side. Sometimes it was in a planter box at the library, or near the gate shack at a big industrial complex.

I would plant in May and by August my efforts paid off. Oddly I never heard mention or even a question about where all the sun flowers suddenly came from. People in that town would notice a garage sale sign that had been left up too long and report it to the authorities, however they never seemed to notice the random beauty of a sun flower that just popped up out of no where.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Wild Flowers

Back when I lived on the east coast I was fascinated with wild flowers. I’d go for a daily bike ride and seek out forgotten lots and meadows to try to find flowers and plant life I had never seen before. I was going to write a book about my finds but I never did get around to it.

One flower I always looked for was the trout lily. It was in the wild flower books, but I just never happened upon one in the wild. I was always amazed at what I would find and in the strangest places. If top soil had been removed for a development, within a couple weeks wild flowers would pop up.

One of the best finds while prowling these forgotten lots was wild strawberries. These strawbs were tiny like the size of a pea, but their flavor was very intense. It was almost like a strawberry concentrate. They were so small that one could pick for an hour and only fill a half pint container.

Also I was the only one I ever saw who picked blackberries which were always ready to pick on June 21, the first day of summer. Here in Oregon our berries are still in flower at that time.

My interest in suburban nature was always strong, and I was happy to move out here to enjoy the rural nature. So get out there and pick those pearly ever-lasts and asters that adorn the local roadsides right now. This is it for local blooms until next Spring.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Tongue and Ears

Some one was telling me recently that the Spanish language has no consideration for the sound of the letter J. To Spanish speakers the J sounds like an H, and they have nothing that sounds like our English J.

I disagreed because on the East Coast Spanish speakers would always say New Yersey, but the border state they would pronounce New Jork. I figured if they could just switch that around they would speaking just like us.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Fever

I was on the beach at Fort Stevens earlier this week. I never feel quite comfortable there, not because it is always cold and windy there. Not because I feel dwarfed by the visible distance or the miles of dune grasses. Not even because that whole peninsula will disappear the next time there is a tsunami and there is absolutely no where to run.

My lack of comfort comes from the magnetite that is visible in the sand everywhere you go out there. Magnetite, also known in some circles as black sand is heavier than sand so it will lay in pockets and be clearly visible to anyone in the area. Sometimes after a good wind you can see long stripes of magnetite lining up North to South for miles along the beach.

“OK, so he’s bothered my magnetite now, what a nut job this Guy is. Last week it was people eating that freaked him out and this week it’s magnetite.”

Well, shut up. I’m not freaked out by it. I’m uncomfortable around it because I’m drawn to it. Prospectors are drawn to black sand. If you are going to go panning for gold you don’t even waste your time unless you see black sand. When I go to the beach I just want to take out my pan and hunker down in a tide pool and wash and shake the whole beach though I know I’ll find nothing and here's why.

I once wrote to my Geologist friend, Paul See about gold in Dried Salmon County. He replied with some interesting historical insight. Here was his reply:

While there have been a number of kooks over the years who claim to have found gold out here, there's absolutely no confirmation. The age and source of rocks in the County argue against any possibility of gold deposits. 30 years ago a nut created a mineral concentration plant over in Pacific County, just beyond Chinook at the airport road junction. He pumped sand out of the Columbia river by a 8-inch pipe,and ran it through a series of huge gadgets, some functional and some phony. He had conned a big mining company into providing the $$$.

For years I took classes there for a guided tour, where they received samples of all kinds of exotic elements, including gold. The students had already been advised of the phoniness of the operation, and no-one ever challenged him, fortunately. Most of the separated materials were forms of iron oxide.

He always showed us his tiny vial of gold flakes, about as much as in one of my molars. There's still a huge pile of black sand along the airport road, but the site is now a roof truss business, I think.

There have been claims of gold in several creeks under Hwy 26, and there was a deep "gold" tunnel in the embankment above the recent slide on the road from Seaside to the L&C valley. The "gold" was pyrite. It has now collapsed. But no-one has ever found a legitimate gold site in the County, to my knowledge.

Good to hear from you!


Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Bake Shop

I found I had the need for some food grade five gallon plastic buckets last Sunday. I can always get them from the Home Baking Company, so I headed off, but was shocked to find they were closed, and on a Sunday. So I head over to Danish Maid and they were closed as well.

When I was growing up a bakery would never be closed on Sunday. The after church crowd made more purchases than the regular customers on a daily basis. Bakery’s could close from Monday-Friday and still make a good living just being opened during the weekends.

As you all probably well know by now I’m not big on churches or going to church so I’ve never observed the after church goings on in this town. Were the bakeries ever open on Sunday or did the supermarkets kill the local bakeries most lucrative days?

A bakery can be a good business. My father’s family had a very successful bakery back in the 20s and 30s. It was actually a front for their bootlegging operation, but what the hey… I heard storied that my grand father would load the bakery van with bottles and baked goods and make his rounds, making sure to sample the goods with every delivery. After ten deliveries, my father who was twelve at the time, would take the wheel and drive his father around the rest of the route and finally return his drunken, sleeping father back home.

The family business was always referred to as The Bake Shop. It had been closed for probably twenty years before I was born, but there was always a strange reverence for The Bake Shop. It was what carried my father's family through the Great Depression and employed several local families as well.

Anyway, the photo above is of my Father's parents and his sisters. The tall blond on the left is my Irish lass of a mother who towers above the Eastern Europeans. By the way, my mother is only 5 foot 6 inches tall.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I have been tempted for a while to have a little thing on the side bar of the blog so y’all can see what’s spinning in my CD player from day to day, but I feel like I spend too much time on this blog already, so if you don’t mind I’ll just do an article about what’s in there right now.

This week I took myself back to 1969 and to the release of the first Johnny Winter album. I haven’t listened to this collection for at least 25 years, and I’m surprised just how well it has held up musically.

While growing up I found the British Invasion mimic of the blues somewhat insincere in a “Polly Want a Cracker” kind of a way. Yes the Brits had drive, but it just sounded like they were trying to hard to fuse it all together.

But then there was Johnny Winter. He was the real deal. With guitars and dobros that could scream the blues equally as loud as Winter’s uvula juggling voice; there was no match for blues in the late 60s and early 70s. These blues were real and not the Mod-Rock version the Brits were trying to sell us.

Though all tracks on this album were totally reminiscent of that which you would expect to hear in a Texas roadhouse, there are still some that evoke memories of Ray Charles (Drown in my own tears) with overtones of a gospel choir. Winter, one of the few people who knows how to get the most out the saxophones in the band; sax textures are reminiscent of Van Morrison, Steely Dan and Zappa.

I once thought of Winter as a guitar deity and oddly I don’t find his technique as good as I did 38 years ago. However I do find his ability to create a mood with his strings stronger than I had way back then. His fingering isn’t as clean as I thought, but that’s the blues. That’s the roadhouse music thing. It has to be a bit raw, gritty and ratty.

If you love real blues, the kind that isn’t being played by some fake white boys, who drive Toyotas and drink Starbucks, who can parrot songs, you may want to spend some time with this collection. You won’t be disappointed.

If you want to listen to this music the way it was meant to be heard, and if Johnny Winter isn’t playing at your local roadhouse, just put on a pair of tight jeans put on a pair of boots, grab a long neck bottle of Texas beer, rest your chair on two legs and put you feet up on the table. Hit play, turn it up and enjoy the ride.

By the way, while driving the other day I tried to belt out a uvular Johnny Winter "Yeah" and I think I hurt myself.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tesla's Transporter

Nicholi Tesla was the generating force behind sever inventions such as: The alternating current (AC) motor, cathode ray tube, polyphase power system, Radio, (though Marconi beat him to the patent office), radio-controlled boat, wireless transmission of electrical power, RADAR, X-rays, Electric lamps (though Edison beat him to the patent office), vacuum tubes, water treatment, automobile ignition system, the "Tesla" unit,, the Tesla disk turbine and the list goes on…

One of his ideas that never seems to get any notable mentions was a very cool means of transportation. He proposed that we build a boardwalk that went totally around the world. Once it was built people would simultaneously chop down all the poles that supported this boardwalk platform. He supposed this platform would stay in the air like a ring around a planet.

No longer tethered to the earth it would stop rotating with the earth. Someone could get on the boardwalk and stand there as the earth rotated below, and they could jump off when they got to Europe.

The thing I found odd about this invention/idea is that Tesla must have known that the earth rotates at around a thousand miles per hour. You just don’t jump off onto something that is spinning that quickly and survive.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sick Day XVII

OK, I am really sick of Goatees. I find it odd when people do stuff just to ugly themselves up. Every time I see someone with a goatee I feel like I’m looking at the ass of a very large dog with their tail up. Just grow a full beard or shave the damn thing off. I know you want to look bad, maybe like the devil or some shit like that, but remember under that dog ass you have on your face you are still the nervous wimp you have always been. You aren’t fooling anyone.

Next, women who dye their hair red…please stop doing that. You look like a cartoon. The only people who can do red well have had natural red hair since they were born. When you dye your hair red you are doing to red heads what Dennis Rodman did for blonds.