Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wait a Minim

I was recently among a collection of clocks and I mean a lot of clocks. There were pendulums swinging, bells chiming and lots of ticking. Some hands were moving slowly and quickly others barely or not moving at all. There was a lot of movement in general.

Most remarkable was the sound. As all clocks were ticking at once it sounded like a waterfall; not a thunderous one, but a waterfall of individual drops. I stood in the center of the room and was bathed in a waterfall of minims of time.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Antique Shops

We recently had a visitor and when this particular visitor comes we find ourselves visiting every antique store in the County. As everyone that has ever gone antiquing before must realize; antique stores usually have less than one percent of their items that are actually antique. The rest of their content is memorabilia, junk and kitsch.

The worst thing that all these stores have in common is paintings and “art work” (for lack of a better term) which are bad depictions of American Indians and Jesus. I think I’ve seen it all. There was the Indian maiden standing in a birch-bark canoe shooting an arrow at some game. Other than the background and her clothing, she didn’t even look like an Indian. It was obviously painted by someone that has some weird huntress fantasy. There were all sorts of Indians with painted faces which weren’t too far off from clown prints. It was the ultimate gallery of Indian stereo types.

The Jesus prints went way beyond any job description that that a savior should have. He’s walking on the water with lambs and babies. He’s kneeling at the rock and praying. His eyes open and close and follow you around the room. Is this meant for worship or parody?

I am curious as to what the circumstances were for these objects created and purchased in the first place.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Dollar is a Dollar and a Dime is a Dime.

When did coins lose their value? I remember as a kid, finding a penny was a major score. I still pick up a penny when I find one. It’s still a score to me.

I first noticed that coins were losing value when we would ask the kids to clean up their rooms. They would parade into their rooms with trash bags and throw away just about everything that was on the floor. I guess it was easier to do without something that to find a proper place for it.

When they were finished I would sort through the trash to separate out things that could be burned, recycled, reused or not thrown out all together. The rest was trash which usually was very little. I’ve rescued a lot of good things over those years; binoculars, knives, books, cassette tapes. The oddest thing was that there was often a couple dollars in coins at the bottom of each bag. I’d fish out the coins and yes, I kept them. I figure if they didn’t understand the value of money, they didn’t get it back. There was always money in the bag when they cleaned their rooms. I considered it a tip.

Knowing the value of money goes even further, like when I’ve needed a washer and paying 28 cents for one where a penny with a hole in it would do equally as well, I opted to deface currency and save 27 cents and a trip to the hard ware store.

I found a dime the other day. It had been shot with a small caliber gun. The dime was still intact but was concaved, or convexed depending upon which side you were looking at. I could have chosen to leave the dime in the dirt, but I picked it up. It is un-spendable in its present shape. I’ll have to put it on the vice and see if I can re work it. I was saddened to see that someone used it to sharpen their marksmanship, but I guess it cost less than a clay pigeon.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Though I have been very rigid in the past and I may still be unknowingly in some ways; I am starting to see that lack of objectivity is an epidemic disease these days. The world has become so black and white with the “Are you fir it or agin it?” mentality.

A few years ago when my mother visited Ireland, merchants would take the pulse of their customers on how they felt about the Catholic / Protestant debate. Depending upon how you answered their questions directly related to the service you got or the accommodations you received.

I’ve been known to change my mind on my strongly held opinions. There is good and evil in everything and those with open minds can see both sides. Eventually you do have to decide how you feel about all important topics, but one should still tip their hats and acknowledge that which is good in even the worst ideas. However, it seems that most people are no longer willing to meet half way or even 33% of the way.

When you are able to compromise you are better equipped to benefit when things don’t go exactly the way you wanted them to go. That which is brittle is apt to snap. That which is supple will last much longer. Fear will always over-rule logical thought.

P.S. I wrote this piece about a week before the Clatsop County Democrats went totally crazy and moved even further away from being able to reason and comprehend ideas that aren't as rigid as their goose stepping core crazies. This is no way to win new diverse thinkers into your exclusive club. I am glad I switched my registration to independent where people are still allowed to think for themselves and consider the issues without the overlord power-brokers pulling the strings from behind the curtain.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Yeah, My Truck is Dirty.

Sometimes it takes someone else to let you know that you are a slob. I’ve often talked about how dirty my truck is and it doesn’t bother me. I can clean, it but a week later it is trashed again; returned to its cosmic oneness with the things of the earth. It’s a farm truck. I have hay in the bed that has composted and is sprouting young grass spritelings.

The interior of the truck is laced with hay, straw, saw dust, wood chips, crushed stone, manure and other unidentifiable materials which are topped off with a fine coating of dust from many miles of dirt roads.

My wife wanted to join me for the trip up to Jewell to get a load of hay last week. We were about ten miles up Hwy 202 when she started coughing and hacking. It got worse. I thought I was going to have to leave her there and pick her up later in her car, but we found some Windex and paper towels and I cleaned every plastic surface I could find before the return trip home. She survived, but I am now committed to spending a couple hours of detailing the truck, before letting the whole process begin again.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Maybe it’s my genetic ethic, or conscientious parents and their rearing techniques, or maybe the threat of being beaten by nuns, but I have always been on time. Let me restate that, I am always at least 20 minutes early if left to my own devices.

On the other hand I live in a word that is perpetually 20 minutes late. My wife is getting better, though. She has whittled it down being five minutes past the time I want to leave for anything. This is progress because she used to be a half hour late.

There are people I know that you can set a watch by in regards to their lateness. Last weekend I was teamed up with a consistently late person to do some volunteer work. I was at our meeting place twenty minutes early and she was her usual 20 minutes late. That meant there was a 40 minute void between our arrival times. Had I trusted my instincts I would have been able to squeeze in a good 40 minute nap. I need to resign to the fact that certain people will always be late and that’s OK; just as long as I can count on that not changing. I’d hate to be woken up by a late person that finally made it on time.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Help! Pacific County! Help!

I need the assistance of you folks that read this blog from Pacific County Washington. I heard that they actually sell gasoline up there that doesn’t have ethanol added. Is this true? If so, can you tell me the location and name of a station where this Oregon contraband can be had? My chain saw, lawn tractor, weed trimmer/ brush cutter and generator will maybe last a few more years without the rot and corrosion that is caused by our ethanol spiked fuel they sell here.

There is a reward involved here. I’m not joking. If you are too shy to reply to this post you can email me at

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I believe it was a recent commentary I heard by Mo Rocca where he was correcting another commentator that said that the most exclusive (hard to get into) club in the world is the club of Ex-US Presidents. Mo’s correction was that an even more exclusive club is the Club of living Popes. Slightly larger, yet exclusive the Disciples club, a modern version pictured above.

I got to thinking about other exclusive clubs, surviving Beatles, Ex-Prime Ministers of the UK, People who actually liked BTO (Moose and Gearhead being the only members).

These clubs are potentially so exclusive that it makes being a member of the Royal Family look like the membership of the B.P.O.E.

Groucho once said, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." However we are often associated with clubs that haven't officially been formed formed. I can't imagine the Only Living Pope Club actually having a meeting with an agenda. I am in several clubs by association. I am in a few that I actually pay dues directly to, to cement my membership and commitment to their causes and agendas. When you put clubs in perspective, they all become a little silly. Don't they?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just Super

I’m sure all of us have wondered if we had the chance to choose one super power, which super power would we choose.

OK if you choose to be invisible you are probably up to no good. The same goes for X-ray vision…perv. Being able to repel gunfire could have one up to no good as well. Super hearing means you are way nosier than you should be.

Having super speed could be good, but that just means you miss out on a trip well traveled. You leave one place and go real fast and then you are somewhere else. It becomes about destination rather than the passage.

Having super strength is totally altruistic. I mean how many feats of super strength do you really need to do for your own purposes? It’s like having a back hoe, you dig up a few things around the property and then what do you do? You rent yourself out.

Having the ability to fly would be totally selfish, but it’s probably the one I’d choose. There is something cool about flight. I’ve done some contour flying in a small plane. I’ve flown in helicopters and sea planes. I hovered above tree tops and flown into canyons. I’ve flown in a open sided plane. Eventually I got a hint of what flying creatures see and feel.

Humans all through history have dreamed of flying on magic carpets, or on Pegasus. Mercury had wings on his feet and Icarus had wings of wax. Davinci drew schematics for flying devices five hundred years ago. There where mythological angels and cherubim with wings and then countless inventors that designed the first flying machines.

I love the mythology. I love the inventiveness and I love flying. I would love to have a super power that would allow me to fly off with a single bound. Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird; it's a plane? No, it’s that dopey blogger living out his fantasy life before our eyes yet again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bodhi Trees

When you look through history, trees have very often been the focal point of enlightenment. So was the case with Newton and Buddha. I too have always had a Bodhi tree in my life where I could sit and wonder and often times find my own enlightenment.

My first Bodhi tree was a large sugar maple in the back yard of the home where I grew up. Later my tree of contemplation was a large oak tree in the middle of a hay field in the town where I grew up. Being in the open its branches spread out further than the height of the tree.

It is important that Bodhi trees are trees of age and substance. It should take at least two people to wrap their arms around Bodhi trees. They should also be in a private location where you can sit for hours and not be seen by neighbors or passers-by. Time spent under a Bodhi tree should be timeless and the ground beneath should be soft.

I had several Bodhi trees before the December 2007 storm. Those three windy days knocked them all down. I still have some large trees, but they aren’t in private locations where I can spend hours sitting beneath them without neighbors coming around to see if I need assistance.

If you have your own Bodhi tree, count yourself as most fortunate. When you lose your favorite tree you may be aimless and un-centered until you can find another.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Break in the Weather

The recent warm and sunny days here on the North Coast has been a relief after the snow, ice, rain and wind of then last month or so. People here were truly getting cabin fever. I tell people I moved here for the gloom, but the past month transcended any gloom that I would like to endure.

This weekend I was able to work on some trails. I cut the grass. I was able to let the horses eat in a pasture that is usually too wet at this time of year. I worked outdoors without a flannel shirt. I let the chickens out and they took dirt baths now that the soil has dried.

Best of all I was able to hang the wash out on the line for the first time since November. The last time I hung the clothes out, the day was dry but overcast and I still had to throw them in the drier after hanging outside all day. The dry warm east wind this weekend dried everything in an hour. Yes, my towels are scratchy but they smell great. There is a lot to be said for a nice day while in mid-winter in Oregon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Slate Roof

While writing about the lunch room at the Catholic school I attended, I was reminded about the old church that was situated across the driveway from the school. This was an old church by American standards. It was built in 1912 and my father was the first child baptized in that church when it first opened its doors. Though there were three children baptized there at the same time he always laid claim that he was the first. It no longer matters because he is now gone and so is the church.

This church at one time had four classrooms attached to the back end but became disused when the new school was built in 1959. I always wanted to have classes in the old classrooms because there was definitely an old school feel to it. It was hand crafted as opposed to the block and mortar rooms of the new school.

The church wasn’t too large, but it was as drafty as a barn. It had a slate roof where if anything such as a baseball flew up there while we were playing at recess, chunks of razor sharp slate would fall to the ground slicing any unsuspecting squirrel in half. (Not that that ever happened. I just want to make sure Trop is paying attention.)

This church was actually pretty morbid, and a place most sane parents would never allow their children to enter these days. There were depictions in relief of the stations of the cross between every window with scenes of torture and murder. There were stained glass windows that showed more torture and martyrdom. Then in the front of the church there were more statues with bloodied figures wearing crowns of thorns and blood oozing from the hands and feet and where the lances struck the body. Now that I think of it going to church was like going to a horror show. That’s how they took control of children’s minds; they fill you with fear and then you belong to them. It’s a wonder I never turned into a sadist. Here I was trying to write about old style craftsmanship and now I’m all pissed off and bitter about what the church as done for generations.

Anyway, the church was still standing when I left the East Coast, but it has since been torn down and replaced by this big round building. You know the kind where people sit like they are in Theater of the Round. All the Latin songs and chants are gone and replaced probably by some kind of Kumbaya guitar mass crap. If I weren’t an Atheist now I’d probably be real bitter about it all.

I guess my point is that if you see an old building that means something to you, take it in. Photograph it if you can because before you know it will be gone either by way of progress, fire, disaster or a heavy snow fall. It won’t be long before you forget the finer details.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The British Invasion

Back when I used to do a radio show in college, one of my time slots was dedicated to British Imports. If you went to any record store back then all albums were incased in shrink wrap, but when you got to the import section the shrink wrapped albums were also placed into an open on one end plastic sleeve. I guess it was a value added thing. I collected all sorts of imports and nearly half of my collection of 1,500 albums were imports. Most were British, but there were a few from Germany and Italy.

A few years ago a collector came down from Seattle and bought half of my collection. He filled box after box of my imports. It dawned on me that there was a lot of musical talent that hailed from United Kingdom. I can’t think of any state in the USA that could boast of as much creative talent. Sure a lot of really good music people come from California, New York and Texas, but those three states together couldn’t match what was coming out of the UK. The only thing that comes close is Nashville to the Country Music creative essence.

In one generation there was the Beatles, Stones, Who, Led Zep, Cream and hundreds of others. How was it possible for one region of the world, or better yet, one rather small country to produce all this talent?

I wonder if the kids in the UK have more exposure to music at an early age. The term, “British Invasion” was used back in the 60s to describe the musical movement, but I think that was an understatement. It seems that most American music other than the Beach Boys was directly influenced by the Brits. Oddly a lot of their music was influenced by American Blues.

I wish a new musical invasion would happen. There just doesn’t seem to be anything that sounds new or even clever these days.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Harmonicas Are A Little Less Evil

I’ve written before about musical instruments that annoy the crap out of me. I have to admit that I may have to revise my evaluation of the harmonica after watching this video.

Now I’ll need to find something to turn me around on my opinion of bag pipes.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I love hearing people from the East Coast bring interviewed on the news. There was a plane that ditched into the Hudson River last Thursday. I'm sure you heard that all on board survived. There will now be endless interviews of the survivors but one in particular caught my recovering Catholic ear.

I know I've written a few things about growing up Catholic and please bear with me because there is another one coming up this week.

Anyway, all good Catholic knows their prayers. There is the sign of the cross, there are Hail Marys and Our Fathers. Those are the main stay, rock solid prayers. They are given out as penance and said when one goes to bed or finds any reason to pray. It isn't just say it once and you're good to go. These prayers are said in repetition. As penance you are sentenced to say five Hail Marys and ten Our Fathers for major offenses.

There were times in the Mass when parishioners said prayers like Hail Mary in unison and if you've never heard it before it sounds like the Borg on Star Trek talking in the voice of the collective. "Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated."

Prayer is so ingrained in the Catholic psyche that it becomes a reaction to many forms of stress. It used to be common to see a batter in a baseball game make the sign of the cross before stepping up to the plate. Anytime something went wrong with the TV or the movie projector when I was in school, the nuns would start reciting prayers until they remidied the problem.

So, I'm watching CNBC on Thursday night and there was an interview with a guy who was describing what was going on in the plane as it was going down. He said in a Long Island accent, "We knew we were going down and everyone on the plane was like saying five Hail Marys!"

I couldn't contain my laughter. In my imagination I could see all the passengers saying the hail Mary in Unison. He was totally assimilated in the Catholic Borg Consciousness.

If you are interested here is the prayer:

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Tuna Fridays

I’ve written before about my attending Catholic School from Kindergarten to eight grade. Many of you that were born after 1965 may have a different impression of Catholicism than what it really was before that year. 1965 was the rear of reform for the church. This reform was known as Vatican II and it changed everything. All the old ingrained behaviors went out the window, though many resisted the change and probably still do to this day.

Vatican II turned the altar around so the priest faced the people, removing the mystery of what was going on at the altar. Women no longer had to wear hats while inside a church. Mass was now done in English and Latin faded away. The nuns were allowed to show their hair and wear shorter skirts as long as they wore thick black stocking on their legs. We no longer had to eat only fish on Fridays.

The reason I post this is because I was recently made some tuna salad. You know how a smell can take you back? I made a tuna sandwich recently, but before eating it I had to go and get something from my shop that I wanted to work on after lunch. Upon re-entering the kitchen where my plated sandwich waited for me; the scent of tuna entered my olfactory sense that had been cleared by the visit to my shop. It took me back to walking into my school cafeteria on a Friday afternoon where there were a hundred children munching on their Friday tuna sandwiches. The tuna waft was best described as remarkable.

Then I think back to the beatings that some kids got when their moms screwed up and put a ham sandwich in their lunch by mistake. Peanut butter or cheese sandwiches were OK but no other meat other than fish was permissible on Fridays. The nuns would go down the row of tables inspecting everyone’s lunch.

I will post this memory on Friday, and if you read it around lunch time, you can bet I will not be eating tuna.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why Roosters are Slaughtered

I always enjoy giving non-country folks a taste of country life. Someone recently asked me why I slaughter only my roosters. Syd sent this to me this morning and the next time someone asks me that question I'll guide them to this link.
Wake Up!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sorry, Really I Am.

You know, I never give much thought to the people that will be reading this stuff I write. I just figure that you are old friends that I pass on the street and ask me how I’m doing and I reply with a little story. After all these years I just write. A thought comes to mind, I hack it into the keyboard, attach a photo, set it to post automatically at 4:00 AM and then I forget about it. I go back to my normal surprise of what I’ve posted after I wake up on the following day and then I reply to those that comment.

The only time this process goes awry is when someone new comes along. The other day I got a phone call from someone asking me if I write the Astoria Rust Blog. She’s a friend I’ve known for close to 15 years now so I fessed up that it is my blog.

After our conversation ended I had to go to the blog to see what I had written over the last month, just to see what impression I’m leaving out there these days. Those that have been with me from the start have seen many styles come alive and eventually die here. Anyway, I looked over what I had written so far in 2009, and beside the Death Pool and the suckage of Safeway there hasn’t been anything all that remarkable. So now I feel that I need to apologize for allowing this blog to become so bland. Really,if this blog were on my blogroll I’d delete it. Sorry, I’ll try to put more into what you come here to read every day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How Can I Not Be A Drunk?

I don’t drink much. During the last year I have had three beers, one Campari on ice, four glasses of wine and one glass of vodka spiked punch. You’d think I’d be a drunk having grown up before the current morality battalions took control of the media. It’s a wonder my generation aren’t all drunks.

This all comes to mind because I was thinking about a fight song that was sung at all high school football games when I was growing up. I don’t like football so I haven’t been to a high school football game since I was 12, but I can’t imagine this song being sung anymore. I substitute the name “Bla Bla” for the name of the high school. Here are the words:

Three cheers for old Bla Bla High,
You bring the Scotch and I’ll bring the Rye,
Send the Freshmen out for Gin
And don’t let a sober Sophomore in.
We never stumble, we never fall,
We sober up on wood alcohol,
When we yell we yell like Hell,
For the glory of Bla Bla High.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I recently became aware of how many mature adult men I know that are named Kenny. They are not Kens or Kenneths, but they are all Kennys. All five of them are Kennys and proud of it. You don’t often hear of adult Joeys, Billys or Bobbys, but I guess it’s OK to be an adult named Kenny.

There are even a bunch of famous Kennys as well, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Chesney, Kenny Loggins, Kenny G. The only two quasi famous Kens I know of are Ken Nordine and Ken Berry.

Maybe it just me but when I hear their spouses talk of them I always think they are talking about their children, and then it hits me, “Oh it’s that hairy guy they are married to.”

So to all you Kennys out there, rock on!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Imagine you were making a roast one day and something happened where you fell asleep and when you awoke the entire house was filled with smoke. To make matters worse imagine that you couldn’t open the doors or windows or turn a vent. You are stuck and you have to live in a stinky smoky house that will take days for all the smoke to settle or dissipate.

Now take a look at all the rivers in our area. How do the fish live in the rivers that are not only muddy from all the rain we’ve had but they are nearly lahars consisting of trees, rocks from landslides and the occasional abandoned car? How can fish breathe and survive in that environment? Can fish cough? I mean poor fish; poor nice fish. I just can’t imagine what it must be like for them.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


One more day on water, if I may. If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time you may remember when I used to post a lot of green stuff. I preached about reuse, recycle and all that crap that you shouldn’t have to be told to do unless you live under a rock as a slack jawed, mouth breathing knuckle dragging window licker. I also preached about how evil plastic water bottles are. It takes something like 4 liters of water to produce a one liter bottle.

Recently I wrote that we have been using glass bottles for drinking water instead of refilling plastic bottles. I’ve been looking for a stainless steel water bottle, but the prices are usually over $20. I’m for saving the planet and all that crap, but 20 bucks is 20 bucks. You can feed a family several meals for $20.

Finally after an internet search I found the perfect stainless water bottle at It’s a 24 ounce container with two unscrewable caps. One is or drinking and another larger cap for cleaning or adding ice. It comes with a strap and a crampon and it sells for $12.95. If you are in the market to get away from all that evil plastic it’s a good investment. Anyway, that’s my environmentalist tip for the year. (Hey look everybody, Guy has finally sunk to hawking shit on his blog!)

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Drink for the Horses

I’ve written before about archaic geographical names, like a spot in the river where I grew up being named “Horse Drinks.” As a horse owner I know how important water is to horses. They can go through a lot of water even on cold rainy days.

I really appreciate it when I visit the old section of a city, such as Victoria, B.C. where water fountains of the old days remain. Many of these fountains have special drinking areas for horses.

I know that whenever I am out on the trails with my horses I always find an opportunity for my horses to drink, be it a stream or a puddle. I lead them to it and leave it up to them to drink it or not. I've had horses that would drink from a hose. I once had a horse that would drink out of a bottle. That’s a cool thing about owning a horse that a kid owned. Kids teach their horses all kinds of crazy stuff.

I get upset when I go places and see the water facilities for horses lacking, or water that is old and standing with mosquito larvae and scum in it. Some horses do bad things to their water. I’ve seen some dunk their heads and faces in it. One horse I looked at to buy wouldn’t eat his hay unless he dunked it first. I have yet to see a horse poop in the water trough. It’s like even they know what is unacceptable. I’ve see horses finish their water and start kicking their water bucket around to get your attention to refill it.

For me watering is easy in the winter. I have the down spouts feed directly into their troughs. Just a mist of a rain fills them right up. They have a constant supply of clean cold water. However when the rains end I fill their troughs twice a day.

I guess I’m writing this so that all of you with pets will take a look at their water bowls. Yes, I know your pets probably drink from the toilet, but maybe if you kept their water bowls fresh and clean they would have a safer alternative.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I never thought that having a blog would include endorsement deals. Since I’m not being paid to endorse this product I will assume the product is endorsing this blog. If you don’t get it, read the name of the product.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Good Look

Recently had the honor of spending some time at an event with Black Mamba. She’d think I am crazy for calling it an honor, but I truly feel that way. Black Mamba presents very well. She is a person of stunning pulchritude in mind, spirit, face, form and style. There are people that make ill-guided efforts to present them selves with a look that is commissary with their positions. Black Mamba seems to possess the innate skill to get it absolutely right. It all has to do with confidence, focus and a bunch of other things like never wanting to come off as a skank.

Anyway, we were at this function together when two women in rather high powered positions sit near us. I noticed right away these two women either took absolutely no time regarding their professional presentation of themselves or they just didn’t care how they looked. Black Mamba’s hair is professionally styled and colored and it frames her face and frames her attitude. On the other hand the two women obviously colored their hair them selves and possibly even cut their hair themselves. Every hair was the same color without high lights or undertones. They looked like they were wearing bad wigs made from plastic fibers.

I know it sounds shallow of me, but I gave the whole thing a lot of thought. I appreciate art and landscapes. I enjoy a beautiful sunrise and the sight of a star filled sky. Why not admit to enjoying when someone presents them self so well. I later emailed Black Mamba and told her in non flirtatious manner that I appreciate how she presents herself. Sometimes it’s a nice thing to hear.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Politics and Hair

This year I watched both the Republican and the Democrat Conventions. I was watching it more to see if there was specific looks that were sported by each side, and it was obvious, as I suspected. In the Republican audience there were the same six persons of color that the cameras would come to; everyone else was lily white and that wasn’t at all shocking. What really surprised me was the Blond Republican Wife Syndrome. Nine out of ten women in the crowd were blonds with hair that was way too blond to be a natural color for an adult and a solid color with no high lights or undertones.. On the other hand at the Democrat convention the women sported salt and pepper hair and not particularly stylish cuts.

This got me thinking about the political leanings of the people I know and it is true than most of the Republican women I know have blond hair, and most of the Democrat women I know have salt and pepper hair. There could be a lot to be said for reality verses illusion, natural verses artificial or even self image verses a lack of one, but I’m going to leave that to the sociologists.

One thing I will leave you with is that on recent shopping expeditions I noticed that the shoppers in Safeway were more than likely Democrats and the shoppers in Fred Meyer lean more towards being Republicans.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Writing about tea yesterday reminded me of other tea experiences in my life. As a child one of my favorite snacks was tea and toast. Tea is very conducive to dunking. Milk is really the only other dunking liquid. Dunking things in water, orange juice, beer or even coffee just doesn’t cut it. Tea is in that sense a prefect beverage.

Later in life I had a friend that was born into a Jewish family that kept a Kosher kitchen. I became really close to the family and spent a lot of time there. He mother professed that tea was the drink that was served with a beef or dairy meal because most people put milk in their coffee and that would render the meal un-Kosher. On the other hand tea was not usually taken with milk, so it was perfect at the end of beef or dairy meals. Coffee was served with other meals.

Another “nicety” of this Jewish mother was that everything was “nice” to here. As soon as I would show up she would say, “How about a pot of nice tea?” It was never a nice pot of tea, but a pot of “nice tea.” When dining at their home she would announce, “You should stay and eat. We are going to have a nice fish tonight.”

It must be a Jewish thing because I’ve heard other Jews say that they went out to eat and they had a nice piece of fish. I can’t recall any other culture that I’ve come in contact with that thought co kindly for the food they are by calling it nice. The food of most cultures does not come close to being at all nice. You can say the word nice in the same sentence as Kim Chi, or lutefisk.

So the assignment for all readers here today is to have something nice to eat and make sure you address it as “nice.” It does make a difference.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Lapsang Souchong

Normally I only drink tea when I know the coffee will be bad. You can count on bad coffee at most restaurants, hotel rooms, catered affairs and seminars. Often the tea at these places and functions is bad as well. Generally, tea in bags is usually bad.

I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was in my late 20s. I remember it well because it was really good coffee and it really worked as a stimulant. Before then all I had was tea. While I was in high school my photography teacher turned me onto Lapsang Souchong. According to Wikipedia: This is a black tea originally from the Wuyi region of the Chinese province of Fujian. It is a smoked tea. Lapsang is distinctive from all other types of tea because Lapsang leaves are traditionally smoke-dried over pinewood fires, taking on a distinctive smoky flavor.

Lately we’ve been having afternoon tea at my place, but I’ve been getting sick of the tasteless black teas that I’ve been drinking. I found that I squirreled away a bag of Lapsang Souchong, and I filled a tea ball with this stuff and it revived my love for tea.

I’m not sure why I limit myself to one cup at a time. I really need to start making it by the pot. It’s that good. Of all the smoked delicacies out there like smoked fish, smoked cheese, smoked mushrooms; a smoked liquid is just amazing.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

What Happened to the Movies?

With all the recent bad weather we became victims of cabin fever. We avoided the stores starting the week before the 25 because of the crowd. Add to that the nasty road conditions and then you get the two of us looking at one another for several days.

We decided that maybe a trip to the video store was in order. There was a time when we would see every art film that hit the theaters in Portland. Since then there had been promise that local cinemas would dedicate one of their screens or one day to art films and that promise fizzled fast. We no longer go to Portland on leisure often enough to keep up on what is good and what is not. I haven’t been to a theater in the last five years; sad but true.

As we strolled down the wall of recent releases I was shocked at the movie wasteland. The wall was filled with films that were in the theater for a week; if that long. There was nothing outstanding. They were mostly chick flicks and movies for 16 year old white boys. After looking for nearly an hour I left with the new Morgan Spurlock documentary, Looking for Osama, which was cute at best. I was pleasantly surprised by my wife's selection, Stranger Than Fiction. I groaned when I saw Will Farrell as a cast member, but this is a really good film. It has Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson and Tom (hasn't been in a film in 17 years) Hulce. This is a quasi narrated film. It's worth a look.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Safeway Sucks

In this area there are people that are dedicated to their favorite grocery store. Auntie had a recent rant about Fred Meyer in favor of her beloved Safeway. I went to Safeway on Monday and my observations are as follows:

The store was really cold. I don’t know if they were having heating problems, but normally I enjoy the cold, but this was too much for me. Next if you intend to buy milk, bring a magnifying glass if you want to tell the whole milk from the 1 and 2%. Though the wine selection is good it is too dark to actually read a bottle.

What’s with the generic O products? I know they are there to appease those people that not only believe that organic products are better, but also believe everything labeled organic is actually organic. When I see the O label all I can think of is Oprah …no sale.

This is a rather new store that was designed for efficient shopping. I am usually annoyed by over loaded end caps in stores, but this Safeway puts end caps in their isles. You get half way down an isle and there is a cage of crap for sale that makes it impossible for two carts to go down the same isle. I know it is a ploy to get you to stand in an isle longer, but I don’t play that game.

Safeway has to be the noisiest shopping environment I’ve ever been in. The music on the intercom was loud and annoying and often punctuated with sales announcements and calls for employees to react to something. There are better communication tools available than ear piercing squawks.

Finally, why do they insist on calling you by name on your way through the check out? Unless your name is Smith or Brown they will mispronounce it. Even when they do get it right it doesn’t make me want to bond with the chaser or the corporation.

I left Safeway feeling cold, insulted, deceived and assaulted. I’m going back to Ken’s in Warrenton.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Death Pool 2009

I guess it is pretty much a given that if you appear on my Death Pool list you will probably have good health. I only predicted the deaths of three people in the last two years; Kurt Vonnegut, Don Ho and Angel Harvey.

It is unbelievable that Fidel Castro, Stephen Hawkings, Jerry Lewis and Andy Rooney from the 2007 list are still alive, though we almost had Fidel. It is also unbelievable that Willford Brimley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Marian McPartland and Britney Spears are still alive from the 2008 list, but we almost had Britney.

Best of luck to you that are playing along at home. Without further ado, here is the official Astoria Rust 2009 Death Pool:

Phyllis Diller
Liz Taylor
Grace Slick
Shirley Temple Black
Nancy Reagan
Dorris Day
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Farrah Fawcett
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Ted Kennedy
Toots Theilsman
Ram Dass
George McGovern
Louis Farrakhan
Mike Wallace
Willard Scott
Nelson Mandela
Soupy Sales