Sunday, August 31, 2008


I don’t remember if I’ve written on this topic before, but recently I recalled how disappointed I was by local breads and bagels when I moved out here. After about six months I gave in and tried bagels again and suddenly they didn’t seem quite so bad. But then I had to make a trip to New York and had a real bagel again and I wondered, “What was I thinking?” Northwest bagels could never compare.

I once met an Israeli man. He was a typical Israeli man for the time; jumpy, nervous, smoked two cigarettes at a time with an extra one going as a back-up in the ash tray.

Anyway, somehow the conversation got to food in Israel. I asked if the bagels were any good over there and he told me they were awful. He went on to explain that bagels are only good when made in New York or Chicago and it was because of the water. No where else on earth are the minerals just right in the water to produce a good bagel. After having had bagels in all parts of this country, I have to agree with him. New York and Chicago have them all beat.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


I find a striking difference between living in the country and living in a suburban neighborhood. It seems that suburban neighborhood folks either never possessed or have lost the ability to take care of things them selves.

I often see my neighbors in the country taking care of their own major projects, but in the suburbs you will see service professionals doing the work. It seems that many people in neighborhoods have lost either the ability or desire to cut their own lawns.

I admit that sometimes I am jealous of people who have time for leisure. I would love to be able to have a leisurely read of the Sunday paper and then go for a stroll down town and have coffee in a coffee shop. I’m at the point where I’d feel guilty going to a movie because I could accomplish so much with those two hours at home.

Sometimes when I’m covered in dust and sweat I think forward to a day when I’ll be too old to keep this place up. Maybe then I’ll have leisure time. At least I hope so, if I live that long.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hens and Eggs

The hens are finally beginning to lay eggs. It all started with one hen that would lay a small pigeon sized egg. Every day her offerings grew larger in size. Eventually I could see new layers coming on line with their small sized offerings. Now four hens are laying and I'm starting to freak out about the time when all 18 hens are producing eggs at once. They are tasty with their dark orange yolks, but my physician only allows me to eat three eggs per week. I'll soon be taking egg orders.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August Rains

I love it when it rains during the summer. Back when we had a forest here I would worry about the fire season during our dry summers. It seems that last year was a wet summer, and though July this year was dry, August delivered some relief. It’s so nice to see the pastures turning green again so early. Normally they become dust bowls with an occasional weed growing that the horses won’t eat.

It rained during the summer where I grew up on the East Coast. There would be a heat wave that would be broken by thunder storms with heavy rain. However here in Oregon it stops raining on the 5th of July and it doesn’t normally start raining again until October.

I had a friend I used to go fishing with that would tell me we always get a couple of sprinkles during August that would encourage the cut throat trout to go up stream and that was true. After the August sprinkle you’d begin to see people fishing the rivers again. It must be a good year for fishing since we’ve had nearly two inches of rain so far this August.

Grow pastures, grow!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dirt Roads

I had the occasion to visit a friend that lives down a long dusty dirt road. There was a car about a half mile ahead of me and my truck was still eating the dust that hadn’t settled down.

It isn’t often that we travel down dirt roads any more unless we drive in logging areas or are driving to out of the way horse camps. I must admit that I miss them. There were still a few dirt roads in the town where I grew up when I was a child. They were a novelty to drive down on our Sunday drives.

The longest dirt road drive of my childhood went on for 30 miles from Buckingham, Quebec to the lake where I would spend my summers. It was always exciting to hit the dirt road after spending ten hours on the highway getting there. It was the end of civilization and the beginning of my adventures in the Canadian wilderness. The last time I was up there most of the dirt road had been paved with maybe only five miles still dirt. I’m sure it is paved and stripped today.

One thing I find funny about people that live on dirt roads is how clean they keep their cars and trucks. I drove that road last week and my truck is still a mess. There is dust all over the interior and I can barely see through the wind shield.

If you haven’t done so in a while, I suggest you take a drive on a dirt road and I’m sure it will bring back some fond memories.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just a Girl In Shortshorts

A few months ago I found that I was way too involved in politics. One day I realized that I was simply a Monday Morning Quarterback just like all the other opinionated hacks out there. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and they usually stink. It seems that people with all the bright ideas are too lazy to do anything more than offer lip service while many of the people that are actually doing things out there are constantly being pelted with rocks and garbage. Pretty sad…

With this said, I will now admit to my one remaining political addiction. It’s a blog Just A Girl in shortshorts talking about whatever which I was surprised to see Astoria Rust was linked within… But it is a blog by a woman named Becky in Arizona whose bio states, “Mom, recovering attorney, post-modern neo-feminist, enthusiastic regenerated dyke, unlikely punk, nice Catholic girl, passionate freedom-loving libertarian, thinking conservative, sappy romantic, spiritual redneck, softball enthusiast, shopaholic and unrepentant flirt. My other passion is mountain climbing. On July 4, 2007 I started the next phase of my life as a femme desert tomboy in Arizona, where the chick, once called "trailer trash with a brain" by an Intertard wit, will be able to wear unfashionable daisy dukes year round.”

Becky’s analyses of politics and culture is razor sharp, very witty and oft times down right sexy. There are lots of funny photos and links for those of us with a short attention span.

Anyway, if this sort of thing appeals to you, check her out. Oh, and if you read my post earlier this month about how many bloggers say the bible is one of their favorite books in their profile, this is another one of them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Horse Brains

In the photo above there is a human brain on the right and a horse brain on the left.

Horses start out with one brain, which is a reactive brain and through training we try to develop a thinking brain. To make matters worse horses have a vast divide between their left said and their right side. I can’t count the times I’ve ridden a horse by something like a mail box and they are OK about it when it is on their right side, but pass that same mail box in the same location on their left side and they freak out.

When training horses we have to teach them something on one side and when they get it we have to give them the exact same lesson on the other side until they get it on that side as well. While doing this we have to condition them to stop using their reactive brain and use only their thinking brain.

Most people are used to training dogs, which is easy in comparison to training horses. Once you train a dog to sit it should be able to follow that command for the rest of its life. A horse on the other hand needs constant tune-ups. If you haven’t done a certain thing with a horse for a couple months, you will probably need to retrain them. I’ve seen horses that were once pretty well trained seeming forget all they knew in a few months.

So if you ever see an event with a well trained horse such a dressage, consider they years of repetition and training that went into that horse and realize that they will get rusty really quickly if someone backs off the training.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Natural Signs

You can tell when the nights are warmer in the late winter. The frogs will be heard chirping. It's a sign of nature.

Just like signs of nature, you can tell when fuel prices are falling. The Hummers return to the roads.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Socks Revisited

Life is good! It seems that someone from Costco read my desperate plea a few weeks back and they are now stocking my favorite socks early this year. I don’t have to wait until November. I know Beth was particularly concerned and wanted me to write when I started stocking up.

Though cash is very tight these days, I score a three pack every time I go in. I make an eleven dollar weekly investment. I know it isn’t as cool as having an addiction to lottery tickets, crack or pain killers, but man, these socks really get me going. I can now put my white Costco socks with the gray heel and toe deep in the sock drawer and wear the full gray wooly looking socks again full-time. As I said, Life is good.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Dark Horse

I was in bed drifting off just about to enter my Bardo of dreams. Suddenly I can hear what I thought was the ticking of my wife’s alarm clock. I can hear it tick when everything is silent, but it is barely audible. This ticking seemed somewhat louder than normal. Then the ticking seemed to break rhythm of normal ticking. It would start, stop and start again. In my pre-dream state I wondered why that would be happening. When I realized I bolted out of bed and headed outside with a flash light.

I spotted one horse in her proper place and then I saw the other one eating grass on the outside of the pasture. He wandered down to the road and headed back into the property.

Horses can be contained with a psychological barrier such as a string. They don’t like pressure on their bodies and the pressure from a tight string will keep them from leaving, but sometimes they want to wander and they can break their psychological bonds and walk right through it. I try not to use the electric fence 24/7 because the charger throws off static and I try to respect local folks who listen to AM radio. It is annoying to try to listen to short wave radio at night with the constant pulse of an electric shooting static like a metronome.

Horses seem to know when a fence is turned on but they won’t test it very often. Cows on the other hand will test a fence every day and take every opportunity when they are turned off.

So today I will need to weed whack the fence line and charge it up again. No good can come when a black horse wanders a black street in the night.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Top 10 Worst

I was talking recently with someone about how the music of our generation was often over glorified. There were a lot of hit songs that shouldn’t have been hits at all. Songs like Joy to the World, by Three Dog Night, Joplin’s version of Bobby McGee among a few; just awful, plane and simple. And don't even get me started on Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge.

The person I was speaking with went on to say that every group had a few stinkers, except the Beatles. At that point I was obligated to rattle off ten Beatles songs that totally sucked, many of which sucked on multiple levels.

So without further ado, here is a list of which in the opinion of the Astoria-Rust Blog are the absolute worst Beatles songs.

1. Rocky Raccoon
2. Let it Be
3. Baby you’re a rich man
4. Why Don't We Do It in the Road?
5. Hey Jude
6. Maxwell’s silver hammer
7. Octopus's Garden
8. Revolution 9
9. Savoy Truffle
10. The Long and Winding Road

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Zen and the Art of Horse Trailer Maintenance

I just spent a couple days replacing the floor boards in our horse trailer. We’ve owned this trailer for about five years now and we bought it from someone who probably had it for ten years before us.

The floor boards are something that you want to keep up with especially after hearing stories of people that opened their trailers up after a haul to find one of their horses feet had gone through a rotten board. If there is a foot left at that point… well you can get the picture.

It would seem like a rather easy job to replace the boards, but it wasn’t. You would think that a manufacturer of an equine transportation system would have fore-thought enough to realize that horses will sometimes urinate in a trailer. This realization would conclude in a further realization that fasteners should be made of stainless steel because urine is corrosive.

A lot of the boards had to be cut out and then chiseled away from their rusty bolts. Fortunately I was able to grind and retap. Another odd thing was that the boards were each 7 ¼ inches wide, which means that each 2 X 8 plank with actual dimensions of 1 ½ by 7½ had to have a quarter inch ripped away on the table saw in order for the board to fit.

It was a job that had to be done. Now I can feel confident that no one is getting hurt by falling through the next time I hear a horse dancing in the trailer when we stop at a traffic light. It was a good feeling to reinstall the floor mats and put the tools away. Now I need to gather up plumbing tools. It seems there is a blocked vent in the addition.

One day I hope I can look around and find absolutely nothing that need fixing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hep, Hip and Cool

Back in the 30s and 40s the word was Hep and it later changed to Hip.
The definition of Hep and Hip is:
1. Keenly aware of or knowledgeable about the latest trends or developments.
2. Very fashionable or stylish.

Later Hip was presumptuously transformed and claimed by the generation that came after the Beatnicks and they called them selves Hippies. It seemed to make sense at the time, but in retrospect it is like naming your culture the Best-ies or the Supreme-ies. Or the Ourshitdontstink-ies. If you name a generation of which you are not a part, that's OK, but to name your own's just un-hep, un-hip and totally un-cool.

You don’t need to be hep or hip to be cool, though it is often implied There are cool people out there that show no signs of being hip or hep yet they are cool. Tesla was cool without being hep. Alan Greenspan was cool without being hep. Peter Sellers was cool without being in the least bit hep. Hip and Hep run away from Dennis Kicunich, yet he is so cool that it is nearly blinding.

Hep was a word of my parents generation. It’s a term I didn’t adopt into my lexicon until I started listening to Cab Calloway, but there was a time when in my twenties where I believed myself to be hip. No longer though. I know longer want that sort of responsibility. I don’t even want to be cool anymore. I am so secure in my apathy that cool no longer appeals to me in the least.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Blog Analysis

I’ll admit, I’m a nosy bastard. When someone leaves a comment on one of my posts I’ll check them out. If they are members of Blogger and if they log in I will check out their profiles and that will usually lead me to their blogs.

I feel honored that so many of the readers here have a link to this site on their blog. I never got into having links on this blog. I don’t want to get into why, I just don’t link.

Most of the links call this site Oregon Rust or Astoria Rust, or Guy in Astoria, the Guy Who Writes and so on. Auntie has me listed as the Guy Who Writes 24/7. I have to admit the funniest listing I ever saw is one where Syd from Mississippi I are both listed but under the category, “What White People Write.”

I don’t ever recall writing about my race, but I guess it just shows through.

Another funny thing I see in blogger profiles of people that read my blog is their favorite books list. I am finding that among the most unusual Bloggers out there one of their favorite books is the Bible. I can totally understand this from many of the readers, but there are some out there that I suspect would be more comfortably with Dante or Kafka but no, the list the Bible as one of their favorite books. I’m not going to comment any further than to say it is odd.
It is no wonder that most bloggers have demons and harpies that stand below guiding their daily writing.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I love it when people resemble someone famous. I had a friend that looked just like Siguorney Weaver. I dated someone who looked like Meryl Streep from time to time. Zoe, who checks in here from time to time looks like Jody Foster. My father was a dead ringer for Glen Ford. To make matters even stranger they were even born on the same day and the same year, and they died with in a year of one another.

Isn’t it interesting that more of us don’t look like one another? So many faces with so many differing features and there is rarely a likeness between them. But once in a while it is remarkable how similar two faces can be.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Wrong Side Of the Tracks

Weese made a comment on my post about the family from the other side of the tracks. She wondered why there was such a divide in so many towns. It seems that historically the railroads serviced industry. In the instance in my home town there was a steel mill that manufactured wheels and brake systems for trains. Trains came to drop off scrap metal and take away newly manufactured products.

This steel mill built homes for many of its workers. They looked exactly like what one would imagine a company house to look like. They were two story houses with few if any closets, two or three small bed rooms and one bath room. There were about a hundred homes like this in our town.

These homes were for the working class people and were by no means luxurious. It was luxury that the company gave you a place to live in the first place. Their proximity to the plant was close and this was vital to people having a short walk to work. All the houses were on the same side of the tracks as the plant.

The other side of the tracks was where the people who were not working class lived. These were the bosses that didn’t walk to work. Eventually the Unions became the great equalizer. The working class eventually made enough money that they could buy their company home or better yet buy homes on the other side of the tracks. Even better yet, they bought company homes, rented them out and bought and lived in homes on the other side of the tracks. There were many people who owned several homes in my old town. I have a relative back there that owns probably seven. My father owned two homes there.

Sadly, it was the poor that ended up in the company homes. They were those who could never get up a down payment. Back in the old days you needed to have at least 10% on hand before you could even be considered for a mortgage. The poor either made less money, or had addiction problems where their money was squandered. They needed a place to live and support their habits and they were generally good about holding back enough cash each month to pay their rent.

So when you hear of someone coming from the wrong side of the tracks it was due to an entire economic sub culture that still exists today, though today it often looks different, especially on paper. Some people make a good income, but they are buried by debt or they fund dead end projects like boats (and horses).

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ahhh, Poop!

I was under my house yesterday replacing some pipes in the drainage system. Every once in a while I would catch a whiff of sewer fumes while the pipe was open. It was then that I realized how often my life involves dealing with shit. Other than constructing or replacing all the waste drainage in the house, I have the septic tank pumped occasionally. I am mindful of the green grass on the lawn at this time of year noting that the septic system is working properly.

I pick up horse shit from the stalls and pastures and I compost it. Then I move the composted manure in the gardens and green house. I even use it for fill since it is so abundant.

Then the chickens are a constant source for even more shit that needs to be composted. It is way too hot to use directly on a garden without composting.

Just when I thought I had all the shit accounted for, I realized that there is also the cat box. Our cats are usually out side all day, but we bring them in at night. We provide them a litter box that they rarely use, but they do use it.

Then there are the dogs that roam the property from the neighborhood. They leave deposits that need to be dealt with before mowing the lawn.

All the shit I deal with around here seems to be overwhelming at times, but then I consider that there are people that make a good living from dealing with shit. I guess I missed my calling.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Simularity of Randomness

I recall a time years ago when I was sitting at the edge of a forest looking at a lake. My girlfriend at the time asked what I was thinking about and I told her that I was amazed by the randomness of it all.

Most random things have a great deal of order to them. Though the waves in a lake appear to be random the height and speed, the sound and the color are all pretty uniform. Though the trees seem randomly scattered around, the size of the trees, their height and color is pretty uniform. Those writing tablets that you used in grade school with the black and white patterned cover looked totally random in shape, but the size, number and the shade were always uniform.

I've been to timber tree farms before where the trees were planted in rows like corn or like orchard trees. Though some of the randomness was removed each tree had a randomness of their own. One could tell they were random in their form though not in the placement in the earth.

Though the patterns of the clouds and the stars are random they are ultimately identifiable because of their likeness. Our brains nicely make sense of randomness. We turn random trees into forests. We turn random stars into constellations. We turn random galaxies into the Universe. We turn random numbers into lottery prizes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Auntie L.

Oh dear friend, Happy Birthday. I abandon my story telling for a day to honor you on your birthday. Though I could probably come up with a story or two, I think I'd rather remain on your good side. I only hope you read back to see this when you return.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


We humans are so fortunate that we can imagine. It is probably the only thing that keeps us sane or perhaps the only thing that can push us into insanity.

Imagination can deliver someone from a prison cell to freedom. It can help the infirmed well again. It makes the old young again.

Humans aren’t the only ones that can imagine. Ever watch a cat chase something that isn’t there? Horses imagine the worst things at the worst times. It seems they imagine that there are tigers everywhere waiting to pounces on them.

Humans can day dream entire new lives for themselves. They can actually convince themselves they are someone else. When we see a film we imagine that what we are seeing is real. There are people that believe that there are really Klingons out there and they’ve even learned to speak the language in the event they meet one.

Roll playing games have the ability to take over ones life. Spend enough time on the Internet and you will see them.

My question about the use of ones imagination is what happens to someone who is actually living their dream. What do they imagine if they already have the life they desired?

Monday, August 11, 2008


I’ve been see a lot of Back to School sale ads and realize this was never a big event in my life. I went to Catholic school( for those of you who are new here, this simple fact should make things clearer for you in regards to my quirks) and had to wear a uniform. We would only go uniform shopping when I grew out of the size I was wearing.

It wasn’t until I went to High School when shopping for school clothing became an issue. It seems that having four distinct seasons raises hell with clothing. Back East each season required different clothing. Here on the Oregon Coast the only seasonal change I make is that I’ll remove my flannel shirt for about four hours on a summer day when the temps rise above 65 degrees for a couple hours.

I recall three items of clothing that I remembered getting for school that I just loved and wished I could adopt them as some sort of a uniform. One item was a pair of tweed bell bottom trousers, hey, shut up, it was 1969.

Another article was a heavy cotton paisley shirt. The funny thing was that this shirt had a cool inky smell to it. No matter how many times it was laundered it always smelled the same. It was a pleasant smell.

The third piece I liked was a canvas jacket. It looked like an Earth-Dog denim jacket, but it was made of white canvas.

So with all the uniforms, blue jeans, short lived Nehru shirts and jackets and all the other trends, these three pieces of clothing were the most appealing to me and I still think of the times when I wore that sort of stuff and how good it made me feel. It’s really important on a certain level to have pride in the way one dresses. Though my primary fashion consists of jeans, a flannel shirt and sandals or farm boots, I personally feel good about what I wear though it isn’t acceptable in many circles. We all have to be who we are.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Worm Wrangling

I remember years ago when we started a worm compost box by our garden. We mail ordered a box of red worms which had enough worms to get us started. When the box came in the mail my wife told her youngest son that his job would be to untie all the worms. I can still see the expression of wonder on his face followed by the look of disappointment when he realized the worms had untied them selves before he opened the box.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


I once proposed a design for ear rings to a jeweler friend of mine. I wanted her to make a pair of ear rings that looked like ears. Dangling from each lobe would be what looked like another set of ears. It would be reflective of when people who wore glasses would be called “four-eyes” and those with ear jewelry could be called “four-ears.” Though I don’t know why, my suggestion was met with deaf ears, pun intended.

I went on to think about having nose rings and studs look like snots. Facial piercing jewelry could be made to look like hairy moles. While we are at it how about flesh toned tattoos?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Fair Ideas

The article I posted here on Sunday about the Fair brought out some passion from the readers. I also got an email from a member of the Fair Board inviting me for a chat, so I took some time earlier this week to visit with him. We talked about how important the Fair is to our community and how ideas for improvement are bounced around and tried. There may be a future open house where people can see what is really going on at the Fair Grounds and get a chance to speak with the Board members without attending a Fair Board meeting.

The fair is on good financial feet at least for the next two years. The Fair actually makes some money. With the assistance of lottery funds. But there is room for improvement when it comes to attendance.

The music offerings this year were spectacular, and it was promoted on the local contemporary rock station, as opposed to having only Country music and promoting it on the Country station.

A funny aside, someone asked me which band was on the stage at one point, and I saw Spud up there playing and I came back stating that I really didn’t know because Spud plays in all the local groups so it’s hard to tell.

Anyway, I told the Board member I spoke with that I’d solicit ideas from the readers here. Below are some ideas from the last post. And if you’re reading from elsewhere in the country, what works at your local County Fairs?

1. Promote as a place to catch up with friends you only ever run into at the Fair.
2. Ice Rink
3. Free Parking / Shuttle buses
4. Partner with Port and try to schedule a cruise ship during Fair time.
5. Survey what people would like (and I’ll add do it on line and have a prize for the three best suggestions)
6. Have a Gladiator spectacle show, ( a pro wrestling show may do it or a professional martial arts show)
7. A Roller Rink
8. Spelling Bee
9. Large produce competition
10. How about the local chorale, symphony and brass ensembles? What about local school bands.
11. How about the local schools showing off the good things they do.

To me local community involvement. The County should have a booth where people can meet the Commissioners, and other County leaders. Any other suggestions out there?


Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Return of Silence

The mornings are quiet once again. I slaughtered the roosters yesterday. They were crowing more than they were not and getting aggressive toward one another. They actually pecked one of their own to death earlier this week.

I have to admit that the killing cone assisted in delivering a swift death without the usual flapping and flailing of the victim. Chickens stop all squawking and resistance when they are upside down. One rooster was so large that I had to use a hatchet and a block because he couldn’t fit in the cone.

Slaughter is my least favorite activity here and I try to make it as quick as possible. I do it out of sight of the other birds. After it is over I continue with the process of taking the feathers off and then gutting the animal. I try to keep the offal bucket out of my view.

If you ever feel like you are being robbed paying $10 for a whole chicken, I suggest you slaughter one someday and you’ll change your tune. At $10 they are worth every cent.

I guess all I’m trying to say yet again is please value the food you eat. A lot goes into it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Which Kids Are Really Screwed Up

While going through life one heard different things and it dawned on me the other day that there are pockets in my mind where I store things that I’ve been hearing over a life time. One such pocket I have up there gathering some lint is one that stores all the stories I’ve heard of kids that are screwed up and possible reasons as to why they are screwed up.

I’ve heard that the children of teachers are screwed up as are the children of police officers. I’ve heard that the first child born in a family is apt to be screwed up (fortunately I am the last of four children).

What about only children? They are screwed up because they get too much attention and are usually spoiled. I know a few only children and I might agree with that one.

Children of famous people are supposed to be really screwed up. It seems that too many children shoulder the burdens of their parents. Remember, children can be cruel and if a parent has some sort of a weird occupation the kid will take crap for it. Kids are clickish.

My wife tells a story about when she once went to a football game at her high school. She lived in a very rich community, Mercer Island, Washington. When the opposing team from a less wealthy community scored a point the Mercer Island kids would stand up in the bleachers and each would hold up a twenty dollar bill and chant:
“That’s All Right! That’s OK! You’re going to work for us one day!”

Holy shit, what monsters…

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Farm Class

I came upon this link the other day Homestead Heritage.
If you visit you will find this place in Texas that offers classes in basic education of country things such as cheese making, spinning wool and weaving. It offers other classes such as how to garden, raise goats, black smithing and so on. It offers classes on learning the old country crafts that a lot of people are looking to learn these days.

It would be so cool to start a program here and market it to folks in Portland or new arrivals out here.

And if there is anyone who wants to take a physical education class we can always have wood splitting, post hole digging, manure management and hay stacking.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sick Day XXIII

I’m sick of fear tactics. I’m sick of Fire and Brimstone threats by religious leaders. I’m sick of the constant Republican/Homeland Security terrorist level threats. I’m sick of the threats of a environmental doomed future by the Green people. I'm sick of economists predicting financial doom for the world. Often what they say is akin to a foreman on a job sending all the carpenters home for the day because there simply weren't enough inches to go around.I’m sick of people over consuming.

Speaking of consumption, I’m sick of the over-use of the word “Organic.” I am intentionally no longer buying any item that is “certified organic.” The certifying agencies are so full of crap that it is sickening.

I’m sick of the over-use of the word “sustainable.” Trust that if you don’t operate your business in a sustainable fashion you will one day be out of business. Using the word "Sustainable" is a lot like placing the word "New" on a package of a product that has been around for years.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

It's Just Not Fair

I know I’ve been writing this every year, but it appears that the County Fair attendance was even lower than last year, which was abysmal. No crowds, lots of parking, other than the food court, the vendors saw little action. Again this year there appeared to be even fewer vendors. They are all indoors now. I should have counted, but I think there were fewer than ten booths that sold anything. Most booths were trying to sell ideas, or do charity raffles.

Many of the carnival rides were moving without passengers or sometimes only one kid. It reminded me (a South Park fan) of when Cartman bought an amusement park so he could go on all the rides without other people being there. The economics of his decision finally caught up with him as it may with our Fair.

It isn’t just our fair that has poor attendance; most are suffering the same fate. There was talk of selling the Washington County Fair grounds last year. Attendance at the State Fair has had a steady decline over the last decade and they are trying to do mall sorts of things to stop the bleeding. I wonder just how much longer our Fair can be viable.

I have heard comments about the current Fair Board being obtuse to some fundamental issues. I've heard that people with ideas are not welcome on the Fair Board by one member in particular. It makes me wonder what the real reason was why our last Manager left. Management seem to be doing a fine job with promotion and entertainment opportunities; the people simply aren’t coming. There are many volunteers that deserve the thanks from all attendees, from those in the ticket booth, and those that park the cars, drive the shuttle, empty the trash, and all the leaders. There is a lot of volunteer time spent out there.

Maybe it is time to sweeten the pot to get vendors to return. One thing that must be done is to make up with James River. I don’t know how that relationship went sour, but that is one fence that needs to be mended. More local businesses need to have incentives to come in and set up shop for a week. I know I personally supported local businesses that had a presence at the Fair.

If attendance continues its decline the County Fair may just become a weekend event for 4-H and FFA members and those who care. Maybe that's what it will take. Maybe it could rebuild from there into something that it once was. Maybe there needs to be an examination of the personal philosophies of the current Board members and see if the direction they envision is one that will build the Fair or cause its ultimate demise.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


What if we built a museum in Dried Salmon County that was dedicated to the seven most influential things in the history of our county. What would the seven items be? My list:

There would be a net as a center piece for the fishing building. It would be a commemoration of all who worked on the river or ocean or even in a supporting land based industry.

There would be a cedar stump as the center piece of the logging and wood product industry.

There would be a kite as the center piece of the beach exhibit.

There would be a cow to represent agriculture. Most people don’t realize but there are a lot of bovines in this county.

There would be a replica of the Astoria Column. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a an interpretative center that was based upon an interpretative center?

There would be a replica of Haystack Rock as the center piece of the local geology.

We would need to have a relic of Lewis and Clark to round out the history.

Now, let's say we were going to have a museum based upon our selves. What seven items would we place in the museum to define ourselves? Feel free to talk amongst your selves.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Comic Names

I know many of the names I am about to use come from a time long before most of you were born, but allow mw to spin here.

I was recently reading the comics in the Orgonian and I realized that the cartoonists no longer use coo names. They all seem so normal in comparison to the old comic names such as Skeezix from Gasoline Alley. What about Barney Google and Snuffy Smith? Dagwood from the Blondie strip; great name. I did a piece on Mutt and Jeff a few years ago. Mutt is the equitant of what Dogg is now. Beetle Bailey was a good attempt. Olive Oil and Popeye are really cool names. If you've ever done any sailing and tried to keep the bow on a fixed point you will soon understand how the name Popeye came about. My favorite name was Andy Capp because he was one to bet on the ponies and his name when said in a Cockney dialect was the word “handicap.”

Though we may have grown up with characters that we can relate to like some of the Peanuts characters, only Linus had anything that resembled a cool comic sort of name. Trudeau best efforts at comic names was limited to Jimmy Thudpucker and Zonker which are pretty lame in respect to comic character names from the 20s. In the 70s there was a character named Funkey Winkerbean, who is still out there though I haven’t seen it in years.

When you move into the world of television there were some great cartoon names there as well; Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. Then Hanna Barbara Studio was as well armed for cool names as was Warner Brothers with all the Looney Tunes names. However my favorite TV cartoon name has to be Homer Simpson. I don’t know exactly where the hook is there, but that’s a damn funny name. It is unassuming, yet delightful and it seems to say it all. I’ve known a Homer or two in my life, and I’ve known a few Simpsons, but the combination of Homer and Simpson just does it for me.

Chime in folks. What cool names have I over-looked?