Friday, February 29, 2008

Hidden Treasure

If you’ve been following the local blogs, Auntie L recently moved in with Uncle Bob. No it’s not as incestuous as it sounds, Bob is not her uncle. Anyway, auntie is giving stuff away, without regards to if you want it or not.

When Auntie showed up at my door with a frame I got excited, free art! Better yet, free Auntie art; I know it has to be good. OK the frame was this kitchy golden goopie thing that begs to have plastic grapes and bottle caps hot glued to it. Oddly the painting was an abstract nude that just doesn’t go with the house or the rest of the art in my home. So, I’m thinking, what the hell am I going to do with this? Do I put it up and change the entire temper of my collection or do I re-gift it?

I look the whole thing over and I notice that the painting in the front is larger than the backing paper taped in the back. Then I start to think, why would an artist tape a piece of expensive heavy watercolor paper to the back of a mat? Most folks would use cardboard to firm up the back. I peal back the tape and I find another painting beneath it. It is a lovely watercolor of flowers. Auntie obviously didn’t like it so she taped it to the back to firm up the painting in front. This one will grace my walls. Thank you, Auntie!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Close Shave

I once tried growing a beard. It didn’t look good at all, though I did keep a mustache for a couple months after shaving the beard. That too went because I was always messed with it. It bugged me by touching my lip.

Maybe I’m a bit tweaky, but (OK I realize I’m going to put out another bit of my neurotic behavior, so those of you keeping track of them all, this is for you) I don’t like being touched by things. Having my mustache touch my lips is akin to walking into a spider web. Having someone’s pet brush up against me is like having insects crawling on me. I won’t go for massages. Sometimes I’ll grow my hair for years just so I won’t have someone touching me to cut it. I avoid hugging for the most part, and one has to be very special and close to me to get away with it. I dislike shaking hands as well.

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to write about. I wanted to comment on razors. When I was old enough to shave I used what was called a safety razor. For those of you too young to remember this was a double edged blade that went into a device. Safer than a straight blade, it still inflicted a great deal of injuries. If you ever check into an old hotel and see strangely shaped slot that goes into the bathroom wall, that’s a razor disposal.

Eventually someone invented the Track II which was two blades stacked in one razor. That shaved much better than a single blade. Then one-upmanship happened and someone came out with a razor with three blades. Eventually a four blade system came out, and I recently heard an ad for a five blade system and I saw a six blade on the net. When and where will this madness end? I haven’t tried the five or six blade system yet, but I have tried the four blade. I think the three blade system is the best so far. It lasts a long time and it doesn’t feel bad.

Oddly the reason this all comes to mind is because I was applying shaving cream to my face the other morning and I my finger slipped and I got some on my lip. I had to wipe it off immediately, and then I thought of my father. He would get a full hand of shaving cream and in one big circular motion he was covered; lips, nose and other areas that didn’t ever need shaving. I conservatively place it exactly and only exactly over areas to be shaved. The less of me that gets touched, the better I feel.

It also reminds me of a time when I was having dinner with my guy friends in Manzanita and Nehalem. There was a bunch of us. All the men except for me and one other person had facial hair. I asked why only he and I were clean shaven, and one fellow’s response was, “Probably because you two are the only fools at this table who are married.

OK, have at it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Fenwick

When I met my fishing hero, Matt on Saturday, he asked me if I still go fishing. I told him that I haven’t in years, but I never explained all the circumstances that caused me to stop.

There were two reasons. One was all the laws. If one reads the fishing rules in the booklet that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife puts out you will find a mass of confusion. Each stream has restricted areas where you can and can not fish. There are some places where it is catch and release, others where you can only use lures, others where you can only fly fish, others where you can only use barbless hooks. Some streams dictate what you can keep and some areas are catch and release. Then there is fin clipping. It got to the point where I felt I needed to retain an attorney before venturing out.

When I used to fish I liked to wander the stream. If a place felt good I would stay, if not I would move along not wanting to consider the consequences if I went up a fork in the stream or if I went past a certain bridge.

The other factor was my Fenwick. I was an ultra light fisher, meaning that I used this tiny rod and line no stronger than 4 pound test. This was my adventure. It takes skill to land a ten pound fish with 4 pound test line.

I had a special ultra light fishing rod. It was a Fenwick that I purchased with hard earned kid money back in the day. I fished all over the Catskills, the Adirondacks, through Canada and all through New Jersey with this rod. I had this fishing rod for twenty five years, but it all ended one day. I had someone living with me at the time and her son loved fishing. He had his own fishing equipment, but one day he decided to use my fishing rod without asking. He was on the clumsy side and while riding his bike to the river somehow my Fenwick was chopped up in the spokes of his bicycle wheel. What he brought back was what could only be described as looking like fiber optic strands. I was heart broken.

They replaced my fishing rod with some newfangled graphite rod, but it just wasn’t the same. It didn’t have the history, and I wasn’t willing to give it any history. I probably used it twice, and it’s been sitting in my garage ever since. I’m not even sure where it is in my garage, but it has and accumulation of fifteen years of dust on it.

Maybe it has been a long enough mourning period for my Fenwick. I think of its remains buried in a land fill in McMinneville. Maybe I should again all over again.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Though all people were created equal we quickly jostle for position. We have come to know that our clothing is our calling card. People are known by their clothing, be it white collar, blue collar or “of the collar” which is also known as a person of the cloth.

Brown shirts may have a bad connotation for many years to come as long as there are people left who remember its implication during World War II and I’m sure if it were a good connotation UPS would be all over it.

The police are usually referred to as the Men and Women in Blue, though many police department uniforms are black or tan or gray. Let’s not forget the people in the white coats. Very few medical professionals dress in white any more. If you see a nurse in a white uniform with a nurses’ hat these days you automatically think of it being a retro costume.

Then there are ”the Suits.” When I see a “Suit” I just know someone is in for a screwing. Suits are a banner of manipulation, greed and hidden motives. Anyone in a suit is guilty of possessing at least one of those attributes and more than likely all three.

I once heard a local executive address the residents of Knappa as “The Carhartt Crowd.” I sensed he used the term as an insult. Though being a “Suit” himself I’m sure he would have spun it as a comment about their hard working, self reliant nature.

There are those who are really into their uniforms. They are proud of their association. They can identify one another quickly and form a bond of commonality. There are people who are attracted to someone in uniform. People in uniforms don’t want to blend in unless into their own kind.

Many of us are content to dress in anonymous clothing. We can be anyone and we are anyone, yet we still wear uniforms of our cultures. If you think you blend in well here, wear that same clothing in India and see if you still blend into the background. It’s interesting just how many unofficial uniforms there are out there. If you do some people watching you’ll be able to put most people with a group or a life style.

I have two uniforms and three types of shoes. I always wear jeans; that never changes. On top I will either wear a flannel shirt or an Oxford. That's my variation. Then I either wear sandals, garden clogs or wellingtons. I don't get out much so there no reason to go wild.

I was talking with some folks a couple weeks ago about going to the grocery store and how we all would rather be presentable because you just know you are going to run into someone you know. This is when I reminded them of the Youngs Bay Sentry store where the Ford dealer is in Astoria. That was a working person's grocery store. It didn't matter if you walked in there covered in wood chips and bar oil. Many of the other customers were in the same condition. Loggers, fishers, mechanics, welders and people who just never bathed all shopping together for the sake of buying groceries to get some food in their stomachs. They were not there for a social club event. They were not there to be seen. Damn, I miss that store.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Just The Facts Please

I can’t tell you how often my mood gets ruined when listening to someone who is supposedly a leader in some field of research and they spoil their talk or lecture by saying something completely stupid.

Most times it’s their religious convictions that get in the way. Words they slip in like “Creation” spoils it for me. I get equally offended when political words are slipped in.

To me, scientific research needs to be done by someone with a mind that isn’t clouded by prejudice or preconceived notions. It needs to be a blind study with a control group. Documentation should be of factual observation, not supposition. When results are not apparent they should not be presented as something God doesn’t want us to know yet.

This has all been in my mind for a while. I am recalling a lecture I once attended by an IPM researcher. The lecturer was talking about several experiments that just weren’t producing any results. He actually said that he blamed the lack of results on Mercury being in retrograde during that particular week.

Mercury doesn’t retrograde you idiot! It just goes to show that his mind is stuck in a primitive loop where the earth was flat and the Sun went around the Earth. How can I trust and believe anything that is said by a researcher that believes that a planet actually reverses its orbit every once in a while? This lecturer should be doing horary charts and reading tarot cards at the Psychic Fair instead of trying to cloak his beliefs in the scientific experimentation that he says he is doing.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Need to Get Out More Often

Today was, “Meet My Hero Day.” As planned, I arrived at the appointed coffee shop at the appointed time as Matt and his lovely fiancé were walking up the street. I’m not calling her by name here since he seems to not mention her name on his blog. I turned off my Marilyn Manson CD; didn’t want to freak them out.

If you read my post and comments from a few days ago I was dissing the Fisher Poets as usual, and eventually commented that we would be having coffee at a non-Fisher Poet venue and that we would have our coffee long before the fishers put in their teeth and combed the vomit out of their beards. Well, sure enough when we went in the coffee shop there was a guy with a beard with all sorts of crap in it. I didn’t point it out to Matt.

Anyway, we had a great chat about farms and trees and fishing and chickens and advertising and promotions and Wyden, and Smith and blogs…

One thing about spending any time in a small town coffee shop is you are bound to see people you know. It used to annoy the crap out of Auntie L when ever we would meet for coffee, which is odd because she knows probably hundreds more local people than I.

Anyway, as we were finishing our conversation a friend who I haven’t seen in nearly a year came in. I’m not using her name either because associating with me would make her a pariah in some of her circles. Let’s just say she’s really cool.

After Matt left I stayed and chatted with my friend until her coffee partner arrived. It all reminded me of how my life used to be before I took on so much responsibility that now keeps me out of the taverns and coffee houses. I miss those days of great conversation.

Today was great, I made real friends with a virtual friend and his lovely fiancé, and I got to catch up with a dear friend who has taken on a lot of responsibility, herself. When I left the coffee shop my life returned to normal. I picked up a half ton of hay, I turned the horses out and I started up the chain saw, but the delight of meeting with these people this morning is still with me. I want more.

Matt, you are still my hero. I hope you both survived the Fisher Poets without Lithium.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

North Coast Oregon

I try to post an article here every day. Early on I only posted five days a week, then it went to six days, and the only time I'd post on Sundays was when I was really pissed off about something.

Over the last year and a half I took on a self imposed obligation to post a little something every day. So far the only thing that has stopped me from doing so was the storm when our power and internet was out for five days. There was another time when I was in the wilderness with my horse for a couple days last summer.

I often tell people that I wonder just how long I can keep this up. Somehow I find inspiration to keep the stories coming. As many of you know I like to have at least a weeks worth of articles written ahead of time. Sometimes I feel a dry spell coming on. I’ll post all the things I’ve written and I’ll be down to the last story I have in the bank for publishing, and then I start writing again.

Normally I don’t take on any extra writing because it takes an enormous amount of energy just keeping this blog going every day. Sometimes I think of all the things I could be accomplishing if I stopped blogging all together. But maybe this is my monument that I am building. Positive reader feedback goes a long way to keep me going. My thanks to all of you.

There are other local blogs out there. There are many that I have abandoned as a reader and there are yet more that have been abandon by their contributors. I am impressed by other local blogs that actually contribute to our community. One in particular is North Coast Oregon which is the site that belongs to Tryan Hartill.

After the election in November there was an audible hum in the air of people who were disgusted with the Daily Astorian and their biased form of journalism. Even this week you could hear callers on the KAST morning call in show talking about what a poor newspaper the Daily Astorian is. Many people in the news will no longer grant them an interview.

People started talking to Tryan Hartill, encouraging him to take his well respected web site to a new level and turn it into a reliable source for local news. Historically, Tryan has out scooped the Daily Astorian on several occasions, and now on a daily basis, covering stories that needed to be told that the Astorian wouldn’t cover because of their association with individuals involved with the story. They would rather not cover a story than tell the truth about one of their friends. For instance the Daily Astorian never mentioned that Betsy Johnson was being investigated by the FBI.

Long story-short, Tryan, at his own expense turned his blog into a local news organization. The site is piecing together nicely with features being added daily. He hired reporters, found advertisers, and believe it or not, asked me to do a weekly opinion column.

I am honored to be considered for this post in his news organization. So what if I have to pen four more articles every month? I think I can handle it.

So if you want to see a news organization coming in on the ground floor and see more writing from Astoria-Rust you can catch one of my pieces every week at in the Opinion column.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

I Forgot!

Last year around this time I had a post about an annual gathering of my friends from the Manzanita and Nehalem: Table for Six

I got an email form one of the fellows this morning to tell me they missed me at the get-together last night. Damn it! Shit! Damn it! I missed it. I look forward to it all year. They invited me last week and I totally forgot. Damn it! Shit!

I have one of those minds where I remember just about everything, at least the important facts. I rarely ever write things down or even consult a calendar. Tell me a time and a place and I’m there. This is the first time I’ve forgotten about men’s night out.

Was I moon struck? No, though I did enjoy watching the eclipse. I just forgot. I thought about it on Monday, but that was the last time.

I hope this isn’t the beginning of a memory problem. I’ve always had a short attention span, but I don’t normally forget things, just ignore them.

I had a friend named Julian who used to do the NY Times Crossword every day. He always finished the puzzle; never missing a word. One day he missed a word and he knew there was a problem. He went to a doctor and sure enough he had a brain tumor. He died a year later.

I am meeting my blog hero Matt Stanberry for coffee this Saturday. I will write this appointment down. If I miss that I’ll check in for a MRI on Monday. I have speaking engagements scheduled across the state over the next few weeks. I’ll now be writing those down as well. I’m too young to be put in a corner with a flash light. Damn it…Shit!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Conferences, Expos and Shows

Those who are passionate about the things they do or involved with usually end up, sooner or later, going to a conference, expo or trade show. I’ve run through several over the years. These days I mostly go to Ag Expos and Horse Expos.

Years ago we would never miss a Home and Garden show, if for nothing else than to fill our nostrils with the smell of cedar bark. Nearly every booth has a raffle to sign up for, but when you do you can expect all sorts of phone solicitations to come your way over the next six months.

I’ve been to Rock, Gem and Jewelry shows. The great things about those are looking at the cool tools that other trades use. I’m always amazed by human inventiveness when it comes to making tools. There are cool tools at Flock and Fiber shows, too.

I’ve never been tempted to go to a Gun and Knife Show, simply because I’d want to kill everyone there.

Years ago I went to a Sci-Fi convention called Luna-Con. Talk about weird. There were folks in all sorts of costumes. They had rooms where there were banks of VCRs dubbing copies of movies that were bootlegged. I met Asimov, Rodenberry, Mark Rogers and the Brothers Hildebrand there. My favorite was Mike Jittlov. I have copies of his work before the Wizard of Speed and Time. Very cool stuff.

Anyway, after a couple years of attending a show or Expo you get the feeling like you’ve seen it all. My attention span is short, so I’m losing interest in the shows I attend these days unless I’m being paid to speak at them. It all makes me wonder what I’ll be interested in ten years from now. I could use something new right about now.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Astoria Rust Goes Crafting

With Lelo and Auntie as a constant inspiration I figured I could turn this into a crafting blog just for a day. What better idea for a craft project than to take something that already exists and turn it into art. (What ever happened to Brinny Maxwell?)

My first project was Halloween tampon ghosts. They are lots of extra fun when you give them out with the candy. Parents are just delighted when they find these little goodies when they inspect their children's candy.

Next there are tampon dolls and action figures. These are great stocking stuffers because they take up so much room you don't add any extra gifts.

Here is the smaller version for those who travel and can't pack a full sized tampon doll.

And finally a tampon cozy with a Velcro flap for every woman on the go who wants to display their good taste.

Now remember, never use tampons that have been used, they are a bio-hazard. Besides, that would be nasty and disgusting.

Tah for now and happy crafting!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What is Your Worth

I think everyone dreams and wonders what it would be like to be a millionaire. In our dreams we are debt free and we get what we want when we want it without concern because we can afford it.

There are two types of millionaires, those who have it on paper and those who have it as liquid assets. Most paper millionaires I know are nervous. Their fortunes depend on a certain economy. A fall in the stock market can reduce or wipe out their wealth. A rise in oil prices hurts them as well. Real estate values have tanked and tanked some of them with it. There are several people here on the coast that lost millions when the December storm turned their timber into pulp. Their once every seventy year investments are gone. There are a lot of pit falls to maintaining a million dollars on paper.

I am not any where near to being a millionaire. I am a content thousandaire. Though the overall economy does bump into me, I have less distance to fall than those with more. I feel fortunate that my assets and liabilities lean slightly towards the positive asset side.

Many people have the wrong idea of what assets and liabilities are. They think that everything they own is an asset and that’s not true at all. Simply put, and asset is something that makes you money and a liability is something that does not. A table saw is an asset for some people and a liability for others.

The sad news about this concept is that many Americans do not even qualify as thousandaires. They may be hundredaires at best. If you have a bunch of stuff that doesn’t make you any money and if your mortgage is for more than half of the value of your home you may be in some financial dire straits.

Some people are perfectly content with this status because they feel you can’t take it with you. That’s OK, but I think it is important to know exactly what your financial foundation is without embellishment. Changing your economic status doesn't usually happen on it's own unless you are Jed Clampett. If you are financially happy right now, ask yourself if you will still be happy ten years from now. Do you ever plan to retire? Which "Aire" do you want to live in?

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Bones of a Home

There seems to be a sense of home when you see a neighborhood with good bones. By bones I mean apparent history or the look of permanence. There is a big difference between having wooden planter boxes and having mortared brick planting boxes. There is a difference in having established trees in you landscape and having tree that were planted within the last 20 years.

There is a difference between tract houses in Warrenton and the homes that have been standing for years in Oysterville.

I find it interesting how people can turn just about any structure into a home. I’m probably fussier than others and I’ve always valued certain things in homes I’ve lived in. They have all been old and all have had two stories. My present house was built on the ground in 1925. Talk about bones; every time I open a wall or a ceiling I find hints of what the builder was thinking at the time. I can picture the house as it was originally constructed. You never get the sense of bones with a house that was hauled in and set down on a slab.

I’ve mentioned that I always hide something in every wall before I cover it up. In this house I have hid news papers, coins, written notes and a set of plans for the additions I’ve built.

A few years ago I was re-roofing the oldest section of the house. I removed one course of comp and two courses of cedar shakes. Stuck to the bottom of the oldest roof was a bundle tag which showed that the shingles were made at the Arch Cape Shingle Mill.

My home will one day belong to someone else, and hopefully they will one day find what I have left them. I hope they ponder what I had in mind as I’ve pondered what the builders before me had in mind.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


A voice communicates in many more ways than just with the words that are voiced. Each voice has rhythm, there is character and there is quality. I have known many people who were cursed with the wrong voice. Big burley men with high squeaky voices, little guys with a deep baritone and people who are very bright who happen to have an accent or a word usage pattern that that detract from their intelligence.

I spent my youth listening to the radio. The announcers or personalities all had distinctive voices to which my mind would draw a picture of how they looked. Most of the time my mind lead me to believe they were much better looking than they were in reality. Late night radio was populated with soothing voices of friends in the night that you just couldn’t see. These voices kept me awake while I worked nights putting myself through college. Long after that I stayed on as a night owl, and these voices were my companions and probably rounded me out into the calm character I am today.

There are some soothing voices in the musical world as well. I’ve kept a short list in my head and I’ve found Dock Watson, Don Williams, Mel Torme, and Dianna Krawl to be the most soothing in my book.

Oddly Leonard Cohen's voice is soothing to me as well. However if his voice gets any deeper it will only be audible through elephant feet across the plains along with other earthly deep rumbles.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Being Drawn Out

It's funny how many of us bloggers are alike. Many of us like our anonymity and we share just enough to make it known that we really do exist in this community and aren't just characters that we invent.

I was discussing reasons for anonymity with a fellow anonymous blogger on e-mail recently. He said, "Sounds like we're comic book characters, eh?"

The funny thing is that I have met this blogger before, years ago. I probably wouldn't recognize him now, and I doubt he remembers me, though we both remember where we met.

Anyway, back to his comic book character comment; I'm so glad that there is technology these days that allow you to be drawn as a cartoon character. You may have seen me as a South Park character in a post a couple weeks ago. Above is me as a Simpsons' character. Those of you who know me know this is a pretty good likeness. Don't you think so?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Never Been

About a year ago I posted an article on things I’ve never done. It digressed and I ended talking about a hooker in Honolulu…

Anyway, I was driving through Astoria the other day I realized there are places in town I have never been to. Here is a partial list:

The Astoria Police Station, any Astoria Fire Station, any court room, City Hall, any church (are you surprised?), any fish market, any bar other than the Portway, Baked AK, Silver Salmon and the Ship Inn. I’ve never been in Annies. I’ve never been in the Moose lodge or Custard King. I’ve never been in the new county jail or the Astoria Train station or the Astoria Pool. I never went to the Steam Baths not to SOUMI(SP) Hall. I haven't been to the Voodoo Room. I haven’t been in KFC or the tobacco shop, nor have I even been in the Astoria Liquor store. I have never been to any of the drive-up espresso stands, or ever visited the rest room under the Dough Boy. I've never been inside the Pioneer House, or the Lower Columbia Bowl, nor have I ever been on the Columbia offshore of Astoria in a boat larger than a kayak.

This said, I should compile a list of places in Astoria where I wish I had never gone or never plan to return to again.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

All You Need Is Love...

OK, I’ll be the first to admit this is a gratuitous post. It gives me the opportunity to use and delete two images that I’ve been holding onto for a while.

However, I feel like I’m cheating the readers if I just leave it at this. Cute, big deal, but I will use this post to reflect upon last year.

Last year our pal Tryan (the stat whore) had a contest on his website to give away some wonderful locally produced food items. I think it may have been a ploy to boost his stats. I’ve given up on my stats. If you notice I’ve removed my counter because I don’t want feel obligated to numbers and I don’t care who is looking and who is not. I mean, Rust is just blog, not a business and your humble narrator is just another dopey blogger…BFD. Anyway, the rules of how to get points in Tryan’s contest were confusing at best, but somehow I ended up being a winner. Auntie L was a winner as well. Auntie, being a nosey sort badgered me to find out when I would be going to pick up my prize and wouldn’t you know, she showed up at the same time.

I was going to lie and not show up when I said I would, but I’m honestly glad I did. Auntie has become a true friend. She has personally helped me out on several occasions and only laughs when I complain about her driving instead of telling me to get out and walk. She has been a voice of reason when ever my thought process starts going to the dark side. She is a gifted painter and I’m proud to have one of her pieces hanging on a wall of prominence in my house.

Though I may be expressive in my writing, I am not a big communicator. Auntie understand and gives me my space, but every once in a while she will phone me to check in to say hi and ask how I’m doing.

Auntie has found true love this year, and my wish for her that the love forever remains as vivid as it is now for her. She is a good person with a lot to give and a lot of love in her heart. And if I may, today I send some extra love her way.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Looking For Loopholes

Religious people in the United States of America keep insisting that our country is a Christian nation built on Christian doctrine and fundamentals. This is why they justify having Christmas as a National Holiday. So, let’s go down the list and see how well we are doing adhering to the Judeo-Christian rules.

The Ten Commandments:

I. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. I wonder why it is that people seem to worship actors, politicians, musicians and outspoken preachers. I see more news time spent dedicated to Brittany, Oprah, Hillary, Obama and McCain . The only piece I see on God in the media is “This Week In God” on the Daily Show.

II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. So how does our Government explain all the images of dead presidents on our money, and what about Mt. Rushmore? The only graven images we are not allowed to see are the flag draped coffin returning to the USA.

III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Why is the word God on our money? Why are the words, “So help me God” used in every government and court room swearing in event?

IV. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Would that be Friday, Saturday or Sunday or is that a prophetic omen that we should buy early Ozzie Osborn records and dedicate one day of the week to listening to Iron Man?

V. Honor thy father and thy mother. In this case I think of the framers of the Constitution and their spouses as our fathers and mothers. It also seems that we have dishonored them by allowing the current President to dismantle much ot their fine work.

VI. Thou shalt not kill. Damn, that’s something our government does so well, be it in killing people in unjustified wars and conflicts or the death penalty in Texas and Florida.

VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Well at least most of the adulterers have dropped out of the race for the White House. But they still find a safe haven in other branches of government and in their ministries.

VIII. Thou shalt not steal. We have spies and the CIA and we utilize slave labor in foreign countries and we steal oil and energy and let’s not forget the taxes we pay.

IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Hey pal, that’s called intelligence, though no WMDs were ever found.

X. Thou shalt not covet. Damn, this means we would have to stop having wars for oil and stop importing all that crap from China. We would also have to stop accepting foreign loans to keep our economy propped up. Oh yes, let’s not forget the rape and plunder of our natural resources.

So the next time you hear that our country is going to Hell, you can finally agree without reservation.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Think That I Shall Never See a Poem As Lovely As a Tree

It’s been a cold, windy, rainy winter here on the Oregon Coast. There have been more windy days this year than I ever remember during my past twenty years here.

Several members of our reading family live in cold East Coast climates. Both Beth and Mike S have been posting photos of snow on their blogs. I’ve seen some photos from Moosehead as well. Sometimes I miss the snow; that is until I take a white knuckle drive over the pass.

One thing I do miss about the colder winter climate on the East Coast is the sap flow. It’s coming up to that time when the nights are frozen and the days will be warmer. This is the time the sap starts flowing in the sugar maple trees.

We had a sugar maple in the back yard of the house I grew up in. Occasionally a branch would be damaged and after a frozen night there would be a sugary sweet icicle awaiting me on my morning walk to school.

I recall one year my brother put a 35 gallon drum under one such break. It wasn’t long before it was filled to the brim. We would drink the maple water right out of the barrel. It wasn’t so sweet like we were drinking corn syrup. It was more like very fresh water with a maple sweet hint.

Making maple syrup isn’t as easy as one might think. It takes quite a long time to reduce the sap to syrup. As the syrup starts to thicken you need to back off the heat so as not to caramelize or burn it.

I do miss visiting the colder climates and seeing taps and buckets in a grove of maples. Trees are so cool. They give us wood the build and heat with and pulp into paper. They give us nuts and fruits. They give us resin and sap. It’s hard to think of what it would be like if we didn’t have these gifts from our trees.

When I first moved here I planted fourteen Black Birch trees. Today only two survive and are doing well. When I lived back East I would snap off Black Birch branches and boil them until the water turned a dark red. The tea like brew that was made tasted like birch beer. Many people have no idea what that is out here, so it is best described as mint-like root beer.

My trees are now big enough for a limited annual twig harvest. I am glad I had the good sense to plant these trees so long ago.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Please Don't Stink

I’m sure we’ve all been somewhere where there was someone who overdosed themselves in perfume or scented body wash. OK folks, a little goes a long way, trust me. I know you’ve probably been traumatized by being stuck with someone who smelled bad, which convinced you that you had to totally reverse the rolls to prevent anyone from being offended by you. Well, that is a bad perception. Even if what you are wearing smells good, the concentration of a years worth of scent being dispensed in one day really ruins the effect you are going for.

When I look at a stinker I envision stink lines emitting and radiating from them. Here are two ways you can tell you stink with out people telling you.

1. If you douse yourself and you and no one tells you that you smell nice, you don’t smell nice.
2. If you are wearing any patchouli you stink, even if you put it on last week, you still stink. Even if you were in a room of people who were wearing it, you stink.

Trust me, patchouli oil is to perfume what Boone's Farm is to wine. It was OK in high school when you were trying to cover up the smell of pot, but if you are an adult you should no longer use the stuff. Just like you should have graduated from Boone's farm to a better wine or at least a fortified wine.

Please don’t think that since no one is telling you that you stink that you are free and clear. You still stink.

Now if several people come up to tell you smell nice you can be pretty confident that you got it right. Don’t go crazy. More is not better. Keep it right where you have it.

If you are unsure of a new fragrance, put it on your ankles. Get it as far away as possible form the nose. If it’s tolerable you should try migrating it to your wrists. Do not apply it anywhere above your elbows. No neck or hair or chest.

Also, men are more apt to be attracted to food smells, citrus, fruit, vanilla… We like musk, too. Keep it just at a hint level, and never make it smell like a meal.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Of Horses and Spring

OK, a little something for horse lovers and lovers of spring time.

If you are planning to go to the horse expo in Vancouver today, save your time and money and stay home. Most of the events listed on their internet site have been canceled. There are few vendors, and there are a bunch of other problems there as well. Arriving there at 10:00am yesterday, I thought it had been canceled. There were so few cars in the parking lot that I had to ask the parking attendant if I was there for the correct event.

This Expo started three years ago. It was well attended. The next year it was bigger and better and they ironed out the logistical problems they encountered the year before. This year it is under new management, and there must have been some major behind the scene problems. Julie Goodnight was the only reason to attend this Expo.

Even though this Expo was bad, fear not. There is the Big Equine Expo coming up in March in Albany Oregon. This is the grand-daddy of horse Expos. Tickets are available at Brims.

Now for non horse enthusiasts, when I arrived home last night at about 7:30, I noticed that the frogs where chirping for the first time this year. The air was warm and the sounds of frogs were everywhere. They have come out of their deep muddy sleep to let us know this harsh, cold, windy and rainy winter is nearing its end.

I’m not one to normally get cabin fever, but like many people, this winter is starting to get to me.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Regarding This Blog...

If one were to ask me last year to describe this blog, I probably could have done it, but I’m not so sure I can do this any more. I read the banner above that describes the blog as “Venting and ranting on subjects and events…” I guess that is still somewhat true. I’ve been meaning to change that banner, but I just don’t know how to describe exactly what goes on here any more.

Some days I feel like reflecting, and other days I feel like I have to speak my mind. Other day I feel like I need to change my mind. It goes on and on and on. It’s an endless stream of conscience, I guess.

Every once in a while someone will come here and identify with what I write and they want to meet me or hang out with me for a day to see what I do when I’m confronted with situations. I have to explain that though many people do know who I am, I still to enjoy my anonymity. If certain people knew who I am they would behave differently. For instance I was somewhere recently where a certain local politician made a total ass of himself. Had he known that “Guy” was in the room he probably would have behaved differently. But now his behavior and the things he said are in the vault and may very well come back to bite him in the ass one day.

It can sometimes work to one’s advantage to blend in. Take Joe Gamm from the Daily Astorian for example. The first time I saw him I thought he was a homeless guy who scored a job parking cars with his reflective jacket. He probably gets some good observations by hanging out looking like a shlub. Well, I do the same thing; it works.

I guess I would have to say this blog is about events that I’ve observed. Everyone observes stuff and everyone can and should write about their observations. Yes, I do use it as a soap box from time to time and it pisses some people off, but if they don’t like it they are welcome to comment a counter opinion. Opinions are like ass holes; everyone has one and most of them stink. No big deal. None of this stuff will matter in a hundred years. I’ll be amazed if any of it has any meaning in five years, let alone tomorrow.

In conclusion, if you come here and like what you read, I will assure you there will be more in the future of it and if you don’t like what you are reading, there will be more of that, too. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Chainsaws

It’s been two months since our December storm. There are many blue tarps covering damaged roofs still visible through out the community. Thousands of broken and uprooted trees are still landscape features.

I’ve written before about how noisy my area has become in the summer with all the houses that have been built out in the country and how I looked forward to the rainy days of winter when people don’t go outside. The sounds of this winter have become louder because of the storm.

The storm itself was very noisy. Oddly the sound of the three day wind was so loud that it muffled the sound of trees falling. I watched some trees fall in that storm and never heard a thing other than wind. When a tree falls on a clam day the crash and thud can normally be heard and felt at great distances, but in the storm the wind drowned out any sounds.

Now that it is over you can still hear the sounds of chain saws buzzing like nests of angry yellow jackets all over the valley. They work from dawn to dusk along with the sounds of track hoes and skidders. I myself have used over five gallons of fuel and three gallons of bar oil in my chain saw since December.

Now I’m not complaining about the noise of chainsaws. They are the sound of the pride of ownership and good stewardship. Folks out our way have been working like beavers to get their property cleaned up and somewhat back to normal.

Another part of the cleanup is what looks like a post-apocalyptic scene of smoke and fire. These are slash burns. Consider how many branches are cut off just one tree. The time and expense of even hiring a commercial chipper is for the most part out of the question; especially when you have twenty or more trees to deal with.

I am stacking slash and will let it decompose naturally. It is a good habitat for wild life, but there are two piles that will be too unsightly so I will probably burn them.

Another sad outcome of the storm is that the trees that didn’t fall around my home have been damaged to the point where they will be a constant threat so they will need to be removed as well. It will soon look like a treeless prairie around here.

It will be nice when all the clean-up is finished and our valley returns to relative quiet, but by the time that happens the air will be filled with the sounds of motor cycles, mowers and string trimmers.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Reality Overlooked

Allow me one more day to write on a local topic. I will get back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Today I need to wrap up the topic I've been airing for the last two days. The topic today is what the role of the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners is in this community.

People seem to think that the BOCC has the power to ban an industry in our community, but they don’t. Even if they all thought an industry was a really bad fit for our community they have no power to stop it unless a new law is presented to them to vote on. This is why the LNG vote was a land issue vote and not an opinion on the industry.

It is not the purpose or function of the Board to restrict business and industry. It is their responsibility when a business or industry wants to come to this community to enforce zoning laws or facilitate a zoning transition through a variance process by setting terms and conditions and making sure conditions are met before any process goes forward. Their jurisdiction is actually pretty small in comparison to the weight that can be thrown around by the Department of Environmental Quality, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and representatives of the various Marine Boards and Homeland Security (Coast Guard).

When the Board was hearing testimony they were inundated with passionate statements from how bad dredging is for the salmon, how LNG tankers will alter river traffic and commerce, how evil the LNG companies are and how ugly the structures will be. None of these topics are within the guidelines of what the Commissioners have power over.

Their only authority is over the roads, the County infrastructure that supports the industry and what to do with the dredge spoils. I don’t think they even have any power over any wetlands issues. I could be wrong, but I believe that is totally a State issue.

I may be missing something but it seems to me the main functions of the County Board of Commissioners is to analyze, revise and approve budgets, make decisions on zoning and land use issues, be it LNG or Measure 37 or 49 claims and make or revise policies and procedures. They are also liaisons with the State. They have no powers to tell any industry that they are not welcome here. People who oppose LNG wasted a lot of time barking up the wrong tree on this issue. Now these rabid curs are trying to uproot this tree at great expense to the taxpayers for no reason other than retaliation.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Drink Up

I have been trying to keep out of local politics, but I really need to comment about the recall petition of Richard Lee.

If you’ve been reading this blog from back in the early days you will note that I’ve commented on my displeasure with Lee on many occasions. I was displeased because he professed to be on the side of my local community with a challenge we were having with the County. Westbrook wouldn’t let us address our concerns in meetings, it looked grim. When it came up for a BOCC vote, Green voted with us and Lee abstained. You bet we were pissed. We felt lied to.

A lot of readers out there know who I am and they tell me things which I will never divulge or betray their confidence. I have people on both sides of this issue telling me things, disturbing things. So even with all the accusations I am going to address this issue as John Q Public who doesn’t have a blog and doesn’t get tips and input from friends and readers. I will base this article on what is public information and not upon hearsay no matter how reliable my sources are.

I had a recall petitioner approach me last weekend. He started off by saying that we need to recall Lee because he voted for LNG. Wrong, he voted on a land use issue. I asked if Lee voted illegally or if they had proof that Lee was in cahoots with the LNG industry. The petitioner said they had no proof.

He went on to say that Lee’s development at Miles Crossing is in violation of zoning codes and that Lee gets permits after the fact. I asked if Lee has been arrested or fined over the violations. The answer again was, “no.”

He went on to state that Lee and his wife have bullied many people in the community, naming one person in particular who I’m sure wants to remain totally anonymous. I asked if charges have been brought against Lee for this, again the answer was, “no.” I asked if the actions of Lee’s wife or any of Lee’s business representatives were grounds to recall Lee? Again, the answer was “no.”

He went on to say that Lee made questionable appointments to boards and committees. I asked if the boards and committees in questions had other means of electing members other than BOCC appointments, the answer was, “No.”

I asked the petitioner if he or any of the members of his organization ever visit with Lee to ask his opinions. Again the answer was, “no.” I had to enlighten him that Richard Lee is very accessible and that I have swung by the Area Center on occasion and asked him questions. Richard lee always explains his rationale if you ask him. He seems pretty open to me. Believe it or not every time I go there Richard Lee asks my opinion on other topics. A couple weeks ago he asked me what I thought of a plan to move the EOC (Emergency Operation Center) to Camp Rilea. I told him that it is a bad idea because one possible disaster is a tsunami that could potentially wipe Rilea off the map. I still think the Fair Grounds would be better, but would need a lot more infrastructure to make that possible.

I asked if Josh and Cindy were behind this campaign. The petitioner wouldn’t confirm or deny that they are the “Generating Force.” He did admit that many of the people involved in the recall campaign were involved with 4-123.

This recall was in the works long before 4-123 even went to the voters. If you read the forums you will see those recall threats were being made before last November. This recall is nothing more than a continuance of Josh and Cindy revenge tactics with a coat-tail gathering of LNG opponents, which are all cut from the same cloth.

I will agree that Lee can come off as arrogant and bold. I personally haven't seen his arrogance, but I have seen his sense of humor and believe it or not, compassion. He is used to getting his way by using leverage. I don’t always agree with his vision, but he is the elected Commissioner for District 3 and should not be challenged for every decision he makes. We as voters democratically elected him to make decisions. We saw him as being more fit for that office than his opposition. So the opponents need to suck it up until the democratic process happens again in District 3 for his seat on the Board of County Commissioners.

As of the moment I write this, Lee has not been charged with any criminal activity to my knowledge. If something comes up I will reconsider his fitness for office, but for now he is the District #3 Commissioner. He is asked to vote on issues and he casts his one vote among the four votes of the other Commissioners. He does not have a monopolistic advantage on voting. Lee got elected because more people voted for him than for is opponent (Cindy Price) and now is entrusted to vote in what he believes to be the best interest of his constituents no matter what CCFOG or the Daily Astorian has to say about it.

I repeat, this recall effort is nothing more than a revenge campaign. You may sincerely believe it is all about an LNG vote, but in reality you are being used and your strings are being pulled by two puppet masters with a big revenge scheme that is nearly as big as their egos. It's been going on for a long, long time. My advice, don't drink the CCFOG Kool-Aid, it's poison.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

LNG Revisited

Anti-LNG Tin Hat Brigade

OK, I’m pissed and I’m going to do it. I, here and now officially change my opinion on LNG. Yes, I was an opponent of it for about three years. I’ve attended meetings and donated money to the cause. I got the pins, lawn sign and stickers and spoke out in opposition whenever I had the opportunity. I’ve written articles and posted opinions against LNG, but now I am changing my mind. I no longer oppose it. Here are the reasons:

1. I don’t see anyone changing their behavior. I’ve driven by the homes with "No LNG" signs in their yards and see porch lights left on all night. If you aren’t willing to conserve you deserve LNG in your back yard. What, do you think Pacific Power can just pull power out of their ass for you to waste? No, it comes from the hydro dams that you want removed and it comes from coal which really screws up the air and atmosphere. I am a 100% partner of the Pacific Power Blue Sky Program where I pay a lot extra every month to support wind energy. I have no illusion that any of my power is actually coming from a wind mill, but it's going to someone. I would rather see windmills all up and down the coast than have an LNG facility here, but that is never going to happen. I would be happy to see every community being responsible for their own power generation, but that’s never going to happen with the grid system. So do I want to get off the grid and go back to the good old days where I spent several hours every month cutting and splitting firewood and extinguishing chimney fires? No! I want to wake up in the morning and feel warm because my heat pump was plugged into the grid all night. If diversified energy sources for power generation can not happen then we deserve energy rationing.

2. I’m tired of the lies and exaggerations. The sky is not falling. Is there a chance that there will be a disaster? Yes, it is possible and it is also possible that the Oprah will fall in love with me split her fortune with me. All things are possible, but not likely. Let’s face it the ensuing dooms day is not at hand. I have more concerns about the pipeline, but the ships and the facility are unlikely to ever have a problem. From burning coal and driving automobiles we have changed the climate and the disasters we see and will continue to see are storms like our December storm. This is a disaster that swept its hand on every part of the County and we still haven’t recovered from it. So leave that porch light on all night and you are fueling the future storms. By the way, are you expecting visitors at 3:00AM? On the same note of honesty, I would like a little more honesty from the industry as to just who will be getting how much of what is imported through here. Any volume that leaves this state should be taxed at a high rate and the money collected should go to every community who has a facility or pipeline running through it.

3. As for it being an invitation for terrorists, does it means we should close and remove our airport, the port and bridges as well? Aren't they targets, too? Remember when the former Sheriff wanted to arm his posse to protect the Astoria Bridge? He thought it was a good target. How about the cruise ships? They are targets. How about ships from foreign countries that have radicals who hate America? They could be floating bombs. Should we ban all shipping in the Columbia?

4. LNG is actually relatively clean burning. Even though you may be driving a Pious, I mean Prius and you may think you are superior you are still putting a lot of poison in our air. If you don't think so maybe you should try driving around Astoria with a hose pipped from your exhaust to the passenger compartment. If you want to impress me convert your car to burn propane. It's clean and burns at 100 octane. That's more power than you will ever get from ethanol, which by the way takes a gallon of fossil fuel to produce one and a third gallon of final product ethanol.

5. I took a good look at who the anti-LNG people are, and I have little respect for their opinions on the other topics they espouse. By default their LNG opinion is faulty as well especially if they have gas heat in their home, use a gas grill or run their automobile on foreign oil. It's time to roll up your made in China-petroleum based yoga mats and look at a different reality other than the holistic dream you presently live in. You can't have it both ways, it's like being a little pregnant. Either remove yourself from modern society or accept the consequences of you consumption demands.

Leading the Wack Pack is the Daily Astorian. The publisher is a shoot from the hip kind of guy who has overestimated the value of his opinion in this community. His paper is simply a pulpit and a nursery for his ideas and he only allows his cherry picked slant to be published and presented as truth. By judging what he has supported in the past, remember he loved the Rajneesh movement… I do not value any causes he champions.

Other than posting this article I am not going to campaign for LNG. I don’t want a Bradwood Landing sign, I don’t want to be in any of their support ads, (unless they pay very well for an endorsement) however I am no longer going to oppose it. It is said that people get the government they deserve. They also get the energy they deserve.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Sick Day XIX

I’m sick of people who have to tell you about every crumb of food they ate at some restaurant. I’m sick of people who insist on taking fifteen minutes to tell you about a dream they had. I’m sick of people who feel they have to tell you every detail of a movie or a TV show they saw. I’m sick of people who have to not only tell you about their relatives that you have never met and will never meet, but they also have to tell you exactly how they are related to them, like the sister of a cousin’s ex boyfriends father… I’m sick of baby pictures. I don’t care how proud you are to be grand parents; I don’t like babies and I certainly don’t want to see their photograph. I don’t want to be introduced to your pets either.

It’s a wonder I communicate at all. And speaking of communication, it's February and that means it time to stock up on anti-depressants. Yes, Fisher Poets is right around the corner. Do you think we can get the state to dump some lithium in the water supply to stem the tides of expected suicides from all the bad poetry? It's a public safety issue, they should be able to do something. I am coming to town during one day of this event to meet my hero and fellow blogger, Matt Stanberry and his lovely fiancee. Matt, a fly fisherman wants to walk on the wild side for a weekend. I'll assure him that he can return to his graphite Fenwick and never have to think about nets and crab pots again after it's all over.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Prune Time

It’s time to prune your fruit trees and many people don’t have a clue on how to prune correctly. Though there are different pruning techniques for all plants most fruit trees are about the same. This description does not go for grapes or blueberries, by the way. That’s a whole other science.

It’s actually pretty simple. Cut branches cleanly at a joint. Cut anything (suckers not main branches) that is growing upward, anything that is crossing another branch and anything pointing inward. Look at the tree and imagine it with leaves and then make sure there will be good air circulation and that there won’t be clusters that shadow other spots. Use tree spikes every four feet around the drip line unless you are trying for an organic crop.

Now to reclaim an old tree that stopped producing you have to take time and lots of it. Each year cut off a major branch and promote new growth. Use tree spikes around the drip line. Maybe get some mason bees. Pay attention to what the tree does. Does it get healthier or weaker from this action? If the tree still doesn’t produce after a couple years you may consider replacing it.

It is pretty important to prune if you want fruit. Trees that are not pruned often alternate years of production. One year pretty good and the next year little or nothing. Prune to balance the tree as well. You don't want the tree to burden all the weight on one side or you may find it uprooted one day.

Never ever, ever top a tree. That will always end in disaster. Topping, believe it or not messes up the trees roots and the open stumps in the crown to become diseased and rotten.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


As y’all may know, I’m not afraid of music. I get on a kick every now and then. Years ago, some one played a joke on me by fusing my photo with one in a scene with Marilyn Manson. Yes Barbie, I still have it.

I’ve always had a curiosity about Manson since hearing some interviews with him on the radio. He is a very bright guy and some snippets of his music caught my ear as being very interesting. So I got a hold of a bunch of his music and I’ve been digesting each album until I get it.

OK, I’m 52 years old with thinning grey hair, and I’m driving around blasting Manson, which did get me to drive a little faster. It’s an unlikely sight, I’m sure.

Manson’s Lyrics (that can be understood) are very smart and well phrased. The sounds are often very interesting, but there are a lot of sounds that aren’t.

I’m not going to recommend any of you purchase any particular album. I would have to take a couple tunes from each to make one somewhat listenable album. Trust me there is a lot of head banging, screaming, references to suicide and self mutilation and foul language. Had I been a sixteen year old angst filled white boy, I’d probably love every bit of each collection, but I’m not and I don’t. However there are a lot of interesting moments in his music.

I would best describe Manson as an impressionist because listening to his music I am occasionally left with the impressions of other musicians such as: Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Nirvana, David Bowie, John Lennon, MC5 and any of a dozen head banging metal groups.

As I listened I looked for the element that bonds the music and makes it interesting to me. The group is very tight, well seasoned and very well produced. It appeals to my short attention span. Manson’s vocals aren’t actually all that interesting though his phrasing is quite good.

The bond that holds it all together for me has to be the drums. Drummer, Ginger Fish does some amazing things. He actually, on most occasions makes the sounds all come together with a breath of percussive meaning. Most drummers supply only metronomic accompaniment and neither add nor take away elements. Every once in a while a commanding drummer will come along and actually add a great deal to the texture of the music. It is the difference between using drums to knock out a beat and using the drums to make music. Ginger Fish makes music with his drums.

In summation, I don’t suggest you go out and buy any Marilyn Manson CDs, however if you have any kids living with you who might have one or two, borrow them and have a listen. You might be surprised.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Memories of a Flight

The other evening I was outdoors looking at the sky. The color of the clouds ranged from yellow to deep red and I was reminded of a flight I once took from Newark to Portland. It was a strange flight because the flight I was booked on was canceled due to a mechanical problem, and United worked quickly to get all the passengers onto flights with other carriers.

With only moments to get to another terminal, I dashed, and made it just in time. The flight took off and ascended through beautiful red sunset clouds. Heading west we were nearly keeping up with the sunset but it did get dark by the time we got to the Mid-West.

Another memorable part of that flight was the movie. They played, The Last Star Fighter, which was a cute film, not a great film but cute. There was a line in the film that still goes through my mind every time I pass a trailer home.

There were two characters that were getting to know one another before they went into battle and they were sharing photos of their homes and families. Greg, a lizard like creature showed Alex a photo of his lizardlings and the cave in which they lived. Alex shared a photo of his family outside his trailer home. He told Greg, “We live in a trailer, which is like a cave on wheels, but it never goes anywhere.”