Sunday, May 31, 2009


I am an early riser. I am us usually at 4:30am every morning. I set my alarm for 5:00am but it is rare that the alarm ever wakes me.

One advantage of waking up early is that I often get more done by the time most people wake up than most people get done all day.

One disadvantage of waking up early and getting so much done is that I start to fade around lunch time. I no longer resist the urge to wind thing down for a bit after lunch. I have lunch and then I go down for a nap. It takes me under five minutes to fall asleep and I usually sleep for a little under an hour. When I wake up I consider my options. The naps feel so good that I consider trying for another hour, but somehow I find some motivation to go out and accomplish more.

I have to wonder about all the people that tell me that they never nap or that they can’t nap. Oddly I don’t enjoy going to bed for the night all that much, but naps are supreme.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Columbia River Beach

We had a really cool horse ride earlier this week. We went out to Fort Stevens Parking Lot A and rather than riding south to the Peter Iredale we rode north to the Jetty. There we rode some paths that took us to Parking Lot C and then to the North side of the Jetty and then to the beach that runs along the Columbia River to Retirement Beach.

Horse riding at the beach is always a crap shoot. Horses will take one day like it’s nothing special, and then next day like sharks are going to jump out of the water at them. Some days they will walk over beach logs and other days they will regard the logs as though they were tigers. The ride out was great, but on the ride back my gelding finally figured that one mare was in heat and the other mare was coming into heat. It was at that point that he reconnected with his former studliness and he started to prance and strut. He was showing off for the girls and I could barely get his attention. I don’t like yarding on a horse’s mouth because they can quickly learn to go against the bit, but I fortunately had a lead rope attached to a rope halter under his bridle. That got his attention…somewhat.

It isn’t a pleasant trip back down the beach when you constantly have to pay attention and correct bad behavior. I was nearly at the point of getting off and walking the rest of the way. It is amazing how brain chemistry works long after a horse has been gelded. It’s not easy to stem sexual attitude in nature, and I plan not riding with a horse in heat again.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Weekend at Burn-ies

As I’ve often said, I moved here for the gloom, but with this said one must make hay while the sun shines. I have a lot or hay to make, so to speak. I have drainage to dig, I have gardens to tend, I have lawn to cut, and a rainy May can really set one back.

Oddly we haven’t had much rain this month. Normally it rains here until the 4th of July, but this year our sky has been clear and drying winds kick up in the early afternoon now that there are no longer any trees to cut the wind. The winds keep up until the sun sets.

My neighbor and I have been continuing with the clean-up from the December 2007 storm and we have been piling brush and logs for months. Monday morning was calm so I set the pile aflame. The pile was dry enough that it caught fire quickly and it burned hot. It was so hot that it burned stumps. It burned very well so that most of the fuel was gone before the afternoon winds kicked in.

I’m always amazed by slash fires. They burn so big and wild and hot that it seems they would easily go out of control, but they rarely do. Everything is so dry now that it seems like a recipe for disaster. I’m really glad I didn’t wait much longer to burn this pile. Fire season will start in a couple weeks and that will end all burning until October. I didn’t want to look at that pile all summer. It’s much nicer looking at the ash pile.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ace of Spades

I’m always amazed by how much antique garbage I find whenever I have a digging project on my property. In the past I’ve uncovered two cars. One was a Studebaker truck with the name Astoria Towing still readable on the door.

This began a digging project on Friday. Since no one has yet granted me my ongoing wish of a shiny new back hoe, I am doing all my digging by hand and I question my sanity with every shovel full of clay that I unearth. Amazingly I am finding a lot of strange stuff that was dumped and buried in my back yard years ago. I’ve found a few interesting electrical insulators. I found a lot of rusty hard ware. I found an electric iron and lots of broken glass and, vacuum tubes. I found a brick dump and some interesting rocks.

So far the trench is 45 feet long, two feet wide and two feet deep. I still have 75 feet further to dig and I wonder what I will find with every thrust of the spade.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Bean Field Revisited

Darev mentioned in a reply to a story the other day about going to a map site on the Internet where you can actually drive by and see places. That got me thinking so I went to the site and took a drive by of the house where I grew p and where my mother still lives. I was also able to see the bean field.

The photo above shows me on a tricycle with my eldest brother’s girlfriend. I was five years old and behind me is a portion of the Bean Field. I’ve written often about the Bean Field be it where the Army bivouacked on their way from Fort Dix to Fort Drum, or where the Carnivals landed when they came through town every year and where the local fire departments held their annual turkey shoots.

From the photo above you can get a feel for what the Bean Field looked like and why it was an enchanted land of wonderment for a boy such as myself. The photo below is a satellite image of the Bean Field as it is today. So sad.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Scotch Broom

We have a real invasive plant here in the Northwest called Scotch Broom. It was planted along high ways as a break, but ODOT realized too late just how invasive this plant really is.

Any open area here is quickly invaded and it chokes out nearly all the native plants. Even my new pastures were invaded and I kept up with them pulling up hundreds every time I walked through the fields. The woods that I had logged years ago sprouted scotch broom immediately. Those plants are now large so I use a weed wrench to pull them. They have a long straight tap root, so they can be pulled out. I’ve heard that the seeds can live and remain vital for at least 25 years.

Oddly these plants are somewhat attractive. They have a wonderful yellow bloom like forsythias. There are some that are blood red and others that are pale yellow, dark yellow, orange and pink. I was recently somewhere where I saw a dwarfed scotch broom with delicate stems and tiny white flowers.

This plant has a high oil content which is perfect for making fuel. It burns like napalm. t’s too bad that this weed isn’t being used for anything. There is so much potential but for now it only marks land that isn’t being tended.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Field of Dreams

The sunny and dry weather we’ve been having lately brought back a childhood memory. I drove by a hay field the other day. It was a breezy day and I could see the wind dancing on the seed heads of the grasses.

I’ve written before about growing up and living across from a big field. It was called the bean field, however the days of growing beans in that field had ended long before I was born. During my early life it was just a hay field. By the time June came around the field was thick with hay. When I made the field my private play ground I was just tall enough to see over the top of the grass, but I could easily go down and feel comfortably lost in my private jungle of grass.

I spent hours, days, months and years in that field. I discovered the insects of the field. I discovered warrens of rabbits. I discovered the birds that lived there. I discovered the joys of resting my head and body among the grasses and watching clouds drift by in the summer sky.

I remember being in the field at dusk and seeing a rise of fire flies flashing like millions of out of sync marquee lights or like fireworks from the next town over.

When I left New Jersey nearly 22 years ago there was probably only five acres of that field left. What was left wasn’t pretty at all. It had been developed into a shopping center on one end and the other end was the home for a bank and a failed shopping center that was never developed further than the cinder block stage. Though I haven’t seen it I understand all the remaining real estate of the field and the wooded hills in the back ground are all over-priced condominiums now.

When I drove by the local field the other day I hoped that there was a kid like me that lived near-by that is able to take advantage of the wonders that fields like that have to offer. I’ve forgotten many of the school lessons that I learned during those years, but I’ll never forget the lessons I learned in that field.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Abandoning Law

It is interesting to me that I know six people with Law degrees that have given up practicing law. Think of all those years in school to find you don’t like your chosen profession. Everyone I know with a medical degree is currently in practice, but not the lawyers. This profession must be much worse than anyone can imagine.

It isn’t all that unusual that people with degrees find themselves working in fields other that what they were educated for. I understand that because you choose your major when you are 18 years old and by the time you are in your late 20s you see the world much differently. During my college career I changed my major every year and never worked in any of my fields of study.

Law is a serious commitment. You don’t just drift through academia and end up with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence. It takes time, money and brains to go through all those hoops. It also takes courage to abandon that career when you realize it was all a big mistake.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


It’s interesting how quickly eye wear goes out of fashion. I remember my first pair of glasses when I was about 12 years old. It was a black plastic pair that was reminiscent of Henry Kissinger or Woody Allen. By the time I got into high school the fashion had changed to square wire rim and then it went to aviators. Then in the 70 substantial wire (metal) rims were back in along with photo-gray lenses.

For me after that was my contact years and I wore unfashionable glasses only when my lenses were bothering my eyes. Eventually I got a new pair that was round kind of like Harry Potter or John Lennon glasses. Those were in for about two years and then I got and still have ovular glasses, but my favorite pair presently is my rimless bi-focals.

The time is coming for a new pair. I have no idea what is in style. I think I’m a bit too old for those snotty plastic squinty things. I'm not one of those "Look at Me!, Look at Me!" types that would go the Elton John route. I have no idea why Bono wears yellow wood shop glasses. I hope that I find one of the styles I once wore would come back in fashion so I could save on the frames, but that never happens in ones’ life time. Any suggestions out there?

Friday, May 22, 2009


I am sick of “green.” There is a local pitch man that has radio commercials where he states he is “Green” and is personally responsible for keeping tons of carbon out of the atmosphere whenever you buy a car from him. This is total bull shit. If he wanted to eliminate carbon he should rent a track hoe and bury the cars on his lot his lot and start selling bicycles. I don’t care if you think you are doing the planet a favor by driving a Pious, you just aren’t. You are still burning fossil fuel and to top it off you are driving around with more heavy metals and weight from the batteries.

The there is the Johnson Company promos that show the company using methane from the land fill and wind power. Well that’s nice, but what about all that poison you are putting in plastic bottles and selling to people. And buy the way, those plastic bottles you are using used four times the water that the containers could hold just to make the plastic for your poison and future land fill.

I used to consider my self a green advocate, but these hucksters are giving green a bad name. I now go out of my way to not buy anything that boasts of its greeness. At least the non-green companies are being honest.

It seems the definition of being green is like being a little bit pregnant. Either you are or you aren’t. Yes, it is a good idea to turn off the juice when not in use, but don’t pat yourself on the back too hard. It should be common sense not to be wasteful, though sense is rarely common these days.

If you want to be green, stop going places you don’t need to go. Do you work out of town? Get a job closer to home, preferably in your home. “Why are you buying food that had to be trucked or shipped thousands of miles to get here? "I’ll be green, but I won’t do without my coffee, orange juice, chocolate and bananas.”

If want to pat yourself on the back for crawling out from under a rock and using modern materials in renovations on your house and buildings, good for you, but I hope you are in the process of downsizing in order to make it a worthwhile pat on the back. If you are in a historic home and you are holding on to your single pane windows for the authentic historical look, you are a douche; plain and simple.

All I’m trying to say is that no one is really green, and if you were you wouldn’t be reading this right now. So get off your green high horse and shut the fuck up and go for a walk.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What Bugs Me

We rode our horses last weekend. We were riding in a quasi swampy area. After stopping for only a moment we found ourselves enveloped in a fog of mosquitoes. I am aware that only female mosquitoes are after blood, the males are vegetarian. I just wonder how these insects survive. It doesn’t seem that there are enough mammals to support their life cycles.

I imagine that if we stayed put for five minutes we would have been totally covered. Though we were armed with repellent, it is still an uncomfortable situation to be in knowing all the diseases of which mosquitoes are vectors for. We trotted off leaving the cloud behind us. Fortunately the mosquitoes can’t fly as quickly as horses can move out, but still we found some that had the good timing to be flying closely as we passed and were able to attach themselves.

Now if the horses can learn to out-run yellow jackets later this summer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rap Haters Tune Out

Yesterday was the big day for Eminem fans. Relapse was released, which is his first studio recording in four years.

This collection lacks some of the blatant humor of his previous releases, but the humor is still there, well tucked away in the lyrics. It becomes much more obvious in the video of Rock Star where he shines a spotlight on starlets of music and Hollywood.

I know that times are hard and shelling out some good cash for a new Eminem album is always a risky thing, but fortunately you can get a taste and see two full-length videos and hear 30 second snippets of the rest of the collection at the website

Yes, Em continues to whine on about his rotten childhood, his anger management, his daughter, his mother(Mommy Issues), his problems with substance abuse and the subsequent treatment, but he seems to have branched out a bit more with this album. The production values of this collection is second to none.

While listening, one also realized that Em is a master of making tongue twisters sound easy. This guy has incredible ability and agility of cadence and making all the words come out as though they were designed by an engineer to fit exactly the way that they do. This is rarer than one might think in Hip Hop and Rap. I find that only Em and Snoop Dogg have this mastery of linguistics. The difference being that Snoop is cool and never shouts, but Eminem belts it out like a crisp punch in the face. I never thought a punch in the face could be so good.

Em was on Jimmy Kimmel last week. Em seemed out of his element with his shifty eyes, it seemed he was looking for an escape route. Em was also on spots on Family Guy this week. Though he may appear to be going main stream, his new collection is no where near main stream.

So in conclusion I do recommend this collection. Slim Shady is back.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I "Can" Count to 51

The person who is my source for hay let me know that she had fifty bales to spare, so I made the pilgrimage to Jewell first thing Sunday morning. This hay is absolutely the best. I can buy $19 bales of orchard grass and sometimes the horses waste it, but this hay from Jewell has all sorts of goodies in it. The horsed leave tongue prints on the mats from licking up every last crumb. The bales are smaller and lighter, but there is never any waste. It’s also easier to figure how much to feed; I go through one bale between two horses every day. I know that I will run out of hay on July 6.

The funny thing is that I can fit 40 bales in the horse trailer if I pack it right, nine bales in the truck bed and U usually throw the extra bale in the trailer tack room. Counting bales is a lot like counting sheep or chickens. Get distracted for a second and you lose count. I always try for 50 bales, but I usually end up bringing home48 or 49.

This time I purchased 51 bales, and when I got home an unloaded there were 51 bales present. Finally I’ve learned how to count.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Hazards of Love

I am always hopeful. I am especially when I hear that the Decemberists are coming out with a new release. I am hopeful that they will one day have a song that is comparable to “The Mariner’s Revenge Song”

But it seems I am always disappointed. Their new collection, The Hazards of Love prolongs my disappointment for yet another year.

Colin Meloy is probably the most literate lyricist working today. He uses words that are mellifluous with impressions of another time. Compounding that with his distinct vocal style one would imagine that he grew up in a small stone house that is heated with peat in the British Isles.

It’s not that the Decemberists musical collections are not good; they are good, but I am put off by their floundering. Listening to one of their albums you might think you had five CDs loaded in your player with the random button on. One song will be earthy and literate but that will be followed by something reminiscent of Black Sabbath, followed by something that sounds like ELP or Yes and they return to the Mediaeval sound.

The concepts of these collections are great, magical and all sorts of other complimentary adjectives, but I just wish they would stick in one style for each collection. Really Colin, if you wanted to do an entire album with a Coleman Hawkins score, I could go for it, or if you want to do an entire album with percussion I’d go for that, but please stick with one period,

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Weak LInk

No matter how one tries to secure everything there is always a weak link. When I joined my new chicks to my established flock of hens I worried that the pecking order may be fatal for some but oddly it all went smoothly. I was pretty impressed with tolerance the established flock showed for the new chicks which are now half sized.

I built their enclosure to keep them in and predators out and it was all so good until yesterday when I went out to collect eggs. One of the new chicks was ripped apart and hung up on a portion of the chicken wire where some creature broke in with brute force. Another chick was missing as well.

I did my best to re-secure the fence, propping logs and blocks at any possible entry point. The creature found the weakest link and hopefully I can keep it at bay until I double my fencing.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I find it interesting to see people get nervous. Not that I don’t have empathy for them, I do, but I just don’t understand getting nervous over things. My empathy comes only from my understanding of being anxious, which doesn’t happen to me often. My anxiety only comes from lateness. It’s not nervousness, it just a “Come-On!” kind of a thing. I don’t like being late and I don’t like when things that involve me are late.

I don’t know what it is about my make-up, but I just don’t get nervous. I wonder why I see the world differently than those who do get nervous. Being nervous never seems to help a situation so I find it odd that people don’t realize that at an early age and get over it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Well, Well, Well

I find it a wonder that anyone can ever learn English. We seem to have too many words with the same meaning. Take the title of this post, “Well, Well, Well.” I once asked if a “Well Wisher” was someone that uses a wishing well or someone that was wishing you well. “Well”, it depends. “Well” can refer to a source of water, oil or money. One can “well” up with tears. “Well” can refer to a physical, mental or emotional state. “Well” is something you can do with proficiency. “Well” can also mean in addition to or a supposition. “Well” can also be a turning point in a conversation. There are also stair “wells”.

So when you see someone struggling with our language please show a little sympathy. This is only one example of the many linguistic challenges our language presents to its learners. English is a mine field.

This reminds me of one of Syd’s stories. Her partner, a native Spanish speaker once went to the hardware store and asked for caulk. Imagine an attractive woman in the midst of burley hardware guys; slightly mispronouncing that word.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Travel Trauma

When fuel prices were high last year, I saw people actually curtailing their travel and plotting how to get more things done any time they pulled their vehicle out of their driveways. It was a good thing to see people making a conscious attempt to change their behavior regardless if it was to save money or save the earth.

My wife recently returned from a trip with her sister. She’s been back for a couple weeks now and she is now just starting to speak of a new sort of trauma that she calls Travelers Guilt. I knew immediately what she meant. Aside from constant cultural invasion to lands of which we have no business being in; there is all the expended fuel to take people from one place to another.

I don’t know how much fuel it takes to fly across the country, but considering you can take the amount of fuel and divide by the passengers, each passenger has a related fuel usage. Considering how many times I have flown across the country and across the Pacific I am probably responsible for one entire flight and the fuel it has burned. I have little to show for it. Sure maybe some photographs and memories, but in reality I should have stayed home and donated the money I spent to a worthy cause.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Please Don't Call Me

Thanks to our pal Moose who sent this to me.

If you think holding a cell phone up to your head is safe,
please watch this video.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


After living here for over 21 years now I had never seen or smelled any signs of skunks. We had a big storm in 2007 which blew down nearly all the trees where I live, and logging took all that remained. It seems now we are living in a skunk friendly environment.

I smelled the first spray a few months back, but the other night it got close to home. It was in the evening and the smell came into our home with closed windows and doors. A few moments later we saw our hairy tuxedo cat looking at us through the glass door. This cat looks a little like a skunk so we envisioned a Peppy Le Pew scenario going on where he was trying to romance a look alike.

He didn't get a full dose, but enough of one that he has been outside since. We did bring him in to bathe him. We looked up solutions on the net. Tomato Juice doesn't work, and we had limited success with apple cider vinegar and dish soap. We had limited success with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

We will next try skunk shampoo that we got from our vet.

Monday, May 11, 2009


There are endless ways to compare the differences between the sexes in nearly every situation. Last week Lori had a comment asking if I had packed some extra clothing for my wife and I did not.

When I travel alone I can pack for myself in three minutes; a couple things from this drawer and a couple things from that drawer; roll up three shirts and a couple pants, stuff it into a gym bag and off I go. I usually stay in hotels that have irons if something became wrinkled in transit I can fix it before I go out in public.

This is not the case when I don’t travel alone. My packing is taken apart and shirts and pants are hung in a clothing bag with her clothing. It is carefully folded into the suit case and buttoned into place. When we get to the hotel it comes out of the bag and gets hung in the armoire and incidentals go into the drawers.

I always pack enough, not too much nor too little. It has always worked for me. My wife on the other hand packs way too much. This time she expected a warmer climate and was surprised by the snow so she packed a lot of inappropriate clothing. Rather than going on a major shopping spree we visited a thrift store to get her something warmer to wear; so crisis was averted.

The funny thing about thrift shops is that they are a museum of sorts of the local culture. I could tell I was in horse country because this thrift store sold horse tack in their sporting good section. I like that.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Two Birds, One Stone

Happy Mothers Day to all of you that have made that ultimate life changing sacrifice. I have no concept of how you did and continue doing it.

Another thing I am quietly celebrating today is the third anniversary of Astoria Rust. I wonder how many novels I could have written had I channeled my energy in that direction instead. Oh well, at least here I have readers.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


Most of you who have reading this blog over the years have seen a few instances where I’ve totally changed my mind on certain topics. I really respect those who are able to change their minds and admit it.

My father-in-Law is an opinionated old guy. He is inflexible and set in his ways on just about every topic we have ever discussed. I’ve had enough conversations with him that I know the exact what he will say and when he will say it. I know the exact words and phrases he will use.

He has been a life-long conservative. He is always talking about repealing taxes, making government smaller and complaining about people that are on the dole and corporations that are on the dole as well. This guy could make Rush and Lars look like liberal pussies.

He just returned from a trip to Sweden where he came to an unlikely realization. He said that he had been wrong about politics all his life and if anyone doesn’t believe that Socialism actually works they should visit Sweden.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Takling My Language

I was talking about disease, parasites and maladies during one portion of my class last weekend, and there was one woman that was really tuned in to the presentation. And when this slide came up I could hear her say, “Oh those dirty rat bastards!”

I paused and broke out laughing. I guess I should have asked her if she reads Astoria Rust, but I was laughing too hard. If that was you in my class last Saturday, please let me know. I want to personally thank you for bringing joy to my life in class.

And you are right, they are dirty rat bastards!

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Normally I travel alone, but this time my wife wanted to come with me since she has never been to one of my classes. When I travel alone I simply go to my destination, do my thing and return the next day. I’m not a very good tourist, however my wife is and I’ve heard her mention that she has never been to certain places, so I try to plan some extra side trip time into my plans.

There is a point when you drive over Mt. Hood in any direction you find your windshield filled with the fantastic and majestic mountain. Your entire windshield frame is filled with the sight of pristine snow and rocky out-crops. It’s hard watching the road.

Though my wife has been to Mt. Hood before she has never been to the Timber Line Lodge. It has been 20 years since I had last been there. For those of you that have never been to Oregon but who have seen the film, “The Shining”, that’s Timberline.

Expecting the Central Oregon heat she was dressed in shorts. I didn’t tell her we were going there. The temperature was probably 30 degrees with a 60 MPH mountain wind. I had always visited Timberline in August when you could actually see the first two floors and not have to go up to the third floor to look out the window.

There is a lot of great WPA art and craft work there. If you want to see some got to and search Timberline Lodge.

Somehow Mt. Hood doesn’t creep me out. I’ve been on mountains before that are just creepy; Mt. Washington in New Hampshire is particularly creepy. Mt. St. Helens is pretty creepy. I don’t know why Mt. Hood isn’t creepy to me. Standing there at 6000 feet in elevation looking at geology that suggests a violent volcanic past and knowing there are many steam vents and hot springs in the area are a constant reminder that the mountain has a direct connection to the magma at the core of the earth. Just below where I stand is a potential explosion waiting to happen at any moment gives on an uneasy feeling when you think about it. The trick is to not think about it.

We spent a pleasant couple of hours there, and we plan to go and spend the night sometime this summer.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Guy On The Tube

I often call my lectures and classes the Dog and Pony Show. Not because I particularly address dogs or ponys in my talks, but more so because I bring all sorts of equipment and specimens preserved in glass vials filled with alcohol. I bring a computer and a digital projector, and when it’s all set up I talk for six or seven hours. It’s like the circus has come to town, freak show and all.

I don’t mean to demean what I do; I just like to look at things differently from time to time. My talks and classes are pretty important to those in agriculture. I just did one last weekend in Central Oregon and had eighty students that not only stayed through the lecture but stayed on for an hour afterwards to ask questions.

Word got out to the local media that I was coming to town and one of the TV stations asked if I could come by the studio for a live interview. Though I’ve had TV news cover my speaking engagements before, filming while I lectured, this was the first time I’ve ever been invited for an in-studio sit down chat.

It was pretty cool. My wife and I showed up on time and we were seated in the news room where a couple guys where hammering out news script for the 11:00 news. I was to be on during the end of the last news segment. We wandered around and were able to look in through the darkened glass on the control room which was a small room with several consoles and two extremely large screens that were divided into multiple screen in screen images.

Behind the back wall of the control room was the studio. The control room viewed what was going on in the studio on screen, not through a window.

Walking into the studio was like walking onto the bridge of a movie spaceship. Everything was big and bright and shiny. There were large screen video displays everywhere, even under the desks. It was beautiful and breathtaking and designed to look great and futuristic with lots of color and movement.

The producer hooked a wireless mike to lapel and introduced me to the anchor that was going to interview me. He seemed like a nice fellow and looked the part of someone with a good TV face. His hands showed that he never worked in the woods and that he has probably never changed the oil in his car.

The interview in total was six minutes long; two three minute segments with a commercial spot in the middle. Time went so quickly. The anchor told me that if you are ever told you have six minutes to live, don’t live out your final minutes in Television, the time goes too quickly.

It was a good experience, though I didn’t get to see it. I went to do the class on Saturday, and nearly everyone in the class had seen my segment. They told me I did a good job. It was fun. I've used up six of my fifteen minutes of fame.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

It's Odd All Over

When you travel you sometimes see things that strike you as odd. We have odd things here as well, but we live with them and have accepted them for years. We either understand them or just have no reason to question them. Here people can be in awe of the No Cunits sign in Jeffers Gardens. They can be in awe of the Chief Condomhead statue. They can be awed by our signs that say “Congestion” on our narrow country roads. They can be in awe of the combination of the sign for the Oregon Youth Authority (youth prison)and Animal Shelter.

I was at a conference in Boise, Idaho last year and from the hotel parking lot I could see three bridal shops. These weren’t little mom and pop bridal shops, but three big box bridal shops. Are there that many people getting married in Boise to justify three big box bridal shops?

Recently in the high sage brush range in Central Oregon I saw a leather recliner in the middle of this sage brush vastness. There didn’t appear to be any roads or houses nearby. And one would have to go through some barbed wire to place a chair out there. It looked like a lovely place to sit with a cold drink and watch the world go by.

Heading West over Route 26 in the Mt Hood National Forest, East of Mt. Hood at around 4000 feet in elevation, both sides of the road is lined with trees and snow. This is deep forest, yet there is a highway warning sign to indicate there are cows present. WTF? Cows at 4000’?

For you that are curious, here are two local photos.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sick Day XXVI

I am sick of the self appointed safety police. Everyone knows someone that is like that. They were probably Safety Patrol kids in grade school and now as adults they lecture about what you should keep on hand in the event of an emergency. When they pop the trunk of their cars they are better equipped than most emergency responders. They have gas masks, radiation badges, flairs and a snake bite kit among a warehouse of medical supplies. I bet some carry the Jaws of Life in their trunks as well.

They send out emails on what to do if you are having a heart attack while driving or info they just downloaded from the Homeland Security site. They can often be seen directing traffic at crash scenes before the emergency responders get there. They use their portable scanners just so they don’t miss a single one.

I know they want to save the world and maybe get a free coffee in Heaven, but they need to leave me the hell alone. Yes, I know I am supposed to have a blade guard on my table saw, but many cuts I make won’t work with a guard. If I hurt myself you can nominate me for a Darwin Award; I’d be OK with that. I know all the stupid things I do and I know the potential consequences.

Companies don’t need weekly safety talks, nor do they need safety committees. These things waste time and money. People that behave unsafely deserve what they get. It’s called natural selection and it is a good way to cull the stupid people from your payroll. Sure your insurance premiums may go up a bit, but you’ll eventually have a smarter workforce.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A Woman's Touch

I have to say that I love women. There are only three or four men on the planet that I feel I could actually hang out with for more than an hour or so, but this hang-out time would have to be limited to every year or so. I have a much higher tolerance for hanging around women.

Women, on the other hand can be good companions. They normally don’t have a ridged side like most men. They can quiet children and animals. They actually look good while dancing as opposed to most men that look like beached fish trying to get back into the water.

Women have nicer hand writing. Their letters are open, rounded, generous and readable. Women are sympathetic and empathetic. I know it sounds sexist, but women are seemingly better at more things than men. I’m surprised they don’t rule the world.

I am shocked when I see women that don’t have confidence when taking on new ventures considering all the things they do so well seemingly by instinct. I’m also shocked to see the over confidence that men seem to have.

So to all the women that read here, thanks for making the world a better place. To all the guys that read this, don't forget about Mother's Day on May 10th.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Blogging While Impaired

Every once in a while I’ll read a post that someone obviously wrote when they were drunk. These posts seem to disappear about ten hours later. I wonder how much alcohol it takes before some of those diatribes actually sound good, plausible and post worthy.

I, on the other hand am nearly always in control of my writing except for occasional errant spelling (shut up Moose) and misuse of grammar. Maybe my facts are out of order at times as well, but it’s the way I see things.

The other night I was writing while impaired. I wasn’t drunk or high, but I was sleepy. I fell asleep with my fingers on the key board. I awoke to find several pages of the letter “L” had been written during my brief nap. I’m glad that one didn’t auto post.

Friday, May 01, 2009

May 1, 1912

Today, May 1st is my father’s birthday. If he were still alive he would be 97 this year.

I grew up in a situation that is rare today. My parents never divorced and they had been married for over 40 years. My mother was a stay at home mom that reared four children. My father owned a business by day, but also worked from 5pm to 2am at a local steel mill. We wanted for nothing. He didn’t have a lot of time, but he was always there when we needed him.

I can honestly say that I never heard him utter an ill word about anyone. He was a positive person. At an early age I was skeptical about people and their intentions. There were people I didn’t like just from their looks, but he would talk with anyone and find a golden center to everyone.

I was talking with my mother the other day. She was complimenting one of my nephews on his parenting skills and how he involved he is in the care and upbringing of his child. That didn’t happen in the old days. I don’t think my father ever changed or washed a diaper. He never cooked a meal or made the bed. Back then fathers worked and often worked themselves to death. Though they weren’t involved in the daily home scut work they were the foundation of the stability of the family.

I’m not saying that the modern family unit lacks stability. I am only commenting on the stability my father provided our family unit. The photo above is of my parents before children. I have no idea why they are posed on a tank. My father was never in the military.