Monday, May 31, 2010


Siftables, Check them out!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Power of the Boom Box

Big thanks to Dalia for turning me onto to this video a couple months ago.

The Lonely Island

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Modest Blue Mamba

I was having a conversation with the Blue Mamba the other day and somehow our conversation moved onto nudity in acceptable places. She asked me if I thought it was acceptable to shower and be nude in a public locker room. Though I admitted that I wouldn’t personally go into a public locker room, I didn’t see any harm in others doing so. She then revealed her modesty to me telling me she scolded someone that did go nude in a public locker room. She said to them, “You know, this isn’t Europe!”

Friday, May 28, 2010


Maybe I am a dullard who is incapable of feeling most forms of pain. I know I ripped one of the muscles of my right bicep and it protrudes unnaturally. I didn’t feel a thing.

My newest feat in enduring pain was going to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned and I slept through the appointment. And no I wasn’t on nitrous oxide or any pain killers. I just slept like a baby. It makes me wonder what other pain I should be sensing that I’m not.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Art Parody

I was thinking about the art of art parody. There are piece that lend themselves to this art very well because of their notoriety. I think Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” is the most parodied. DaVinci’s “Last Supper” and the” Mona Lisa” are the next two most often parodied. Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” has seen a lot of parody action. Michelangelo’s” Creation” has been extensively reworked as has Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks.

Interesting to me is that both Hopper and Wood are 20th century painters and though daVinci and Michelangelo had a five-hundred year lead on them, their notoriety is stellar. Another interesting thing is that one doesn’t have to go far to find nearly every painting in existence has been parodied by the Simpsons.

I hope that the parody artists will expand their horizon to more obscure artists in the future because it is through them that we are awakened to the beauty of the original works.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Are You Hung Up?

Like many of us I too have become bored with the Internet. This is evident in how much time is spent on Facebook. None of us should be bored enough to resort to using Facebook as entertainment.

My morning computer ritual is to check and answer email. Then I check the blogs; I check the forums and then see what’s on North Coast Oregon. I recently added something new to the ritual. I check the Astoria Dispatch to see what calls our emergency responders were called to in the last 24 hours. I also get to read who got arrested. Most of it is the same every day, MVA, suicidal someone or other, noise complaint, dog complaint, traffic stop and assistance rendered.

One thing that happens at least five times every day is the 911 hang-up call. People call 911 and hang up. When this happens the dispatcher immediately gets a screen that tells them who called or where the call came from. Then they have to send out an officer to make sure everything is really OK, or not.

Often people say their phone dialed itself, but the statistical unlikely hood of this happening over five times a day at one dispatch center is incredible. I’ve had telephones all of my life and I’ve had a cell phone for the last 16 years and I have never dialed 911 accidentally. I’ve only dialed it once intentionally when a driver went off the road by the Quartz Creek Bridge on Highway 26 in a winter storm.

How is it people can’t figure out how to prevent these false alarms calls in the first place?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wolfram Alpha

I am a big fan of mathematics. That doesn’t mean I’m any good at it. My math skills have by now probably regressed to a pre-algebra state. I’d probably even have trouble with fractions. Being poor at math does not preclude me from being a fan, just as those with no athletic ability can be fans of sport.

I found a Stephen Wolfram lecture from February 2010 on a couple weeks ago. The title of the talk was, Computing a Theory of Everything. Wolfram discusses how nearly all human knowledge can be made computable. Living in the Internet age every one has access to answers of issues on nearly every level.

Building on his program, Mathematica ,Wolfram created a program called Wolfram | Aalpha, which goes far beyond a search engine. It is an information engine. If you enter a question into a search engine you are often directed to sites where you may or may not find the answer you seek. Wolfram | Alpha on the other hand answers your question. It is primarily based in mathematics and statistics; however I’ve been surprised how many questions it will answer. I asked it how many people are in the military and the detailed answer was astounding. You can ask this program nearly any scientific question and you will find an accurate answer.

You can try it at:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rodeo Cruelty

Back in April there was a big push to ban animal circuses in Clatsop County. The topic was brought before the Board of Commissioners, but I don’t recall the outcome and perhaps one of the readers can remind us how it went.

I can see the reasons and emotions behind this petition; however I am puzzled that this petition didn’t include Rodeos. Every year for the last few years the Rodeo comes to the Fair Grounds and if you’ve ever been to one you will note that this is an event of animal cruelty of a high order. Being a horse owner I could never imaging kicking my horse in the neck with spurs. This is a big part of Bronc Riding. I’ve seen calf roping events where the calfs left the arena staggering and barely able to negotiate walking from being roped by the neck and being brought to an abrupt halt, thrown on the ground and further restrained.

During Rodeo season these animals are trucked thousands of miles in the back of large stock trailers and rarely get to spend time in open pastures.

Rodeo proponents will claim it is a western tradition and a ritual of those that love the Western Lifestyle, but slavery was once a tradition in this country as well. Cowboys don’t rope calfs several times a week. They may do it a couple times for inoculations or branding. Horses are no longer broke with the old bucking bronc tradition. Horses are now tamed with psychology and use of horses’ natural reaction to situations; making the right decisions easy and the wrong decisions difficult.

There is absolutely no reason to girth a bull’s stomach with a rope to ride a bull other than bragging rites of the rider who can stay on for eight seconds.

If we want to be on the forefront of banning animal cruelty in Clatsop County we can’t stop with the circus. We need to ban the rodeo as well.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Love Incentive

Yet another reason to not wash the truck.
Dirty Car Art

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Another lazy post from me. Tunng is a group of folk musicians from the UK. They are a lot like Iron and Wine. I find this video particularly fascinating. Enjoy and check out their other stuff.

Tunng-Bullets Video

Friday, May 21, 2010

Giveitaway, Giveitaway,Giveitaway Now...

After doing something for three days in a row recently I realized I had a trend going and I’m trying to keep it up every day now. What I’m trying to do is give something away every day. Sometimes it’s easy and other days it’s difficult to find something that someone can use.

The big benefit is that after a year I will have 365 fewer things cluttering my life. A lot of it is little dopey things. They are usually trinkets that amuse for a moment and then sit in a drawer until given away again. Sometimes I give away some of my products. It can be anything. It’s a win-win and the people on the receiving end are usually appreciative. Try it. Give away something every day.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Angel of Death

For those of you who aren't part of the magic of Facebook and aren't friends with me or a handful of my friends; you probably haven't seen this excellent video. It's really funny and not what you think. Thirty seconds and you'll be hooked.

Slayer Goes To Church

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Shack Sweet Shack

I know we have all seen abandoned houses or shacks, especially in rural areas. Many of the ones I’ve seen were liven in by single old men. These men maintained their homes until they were physically unable to because of age. As pensioners they could not afford contractors either. They lived in their homes and together they and their homes became old and decrepit.

When the old men moved because they were no longer able to care for themselves, or when they died their homes only seem to last a few more years before a slow steady collapse began or before the local fire brigade used their home in a fire training exercise.

There was one of these homes next to me when I first moved here. I recall seeing the old carpenter that lived there. We waved to one another on occasion but we never spoke. He was old and frail and moved in with his daughter shortly after I arrived. I made some attempts to buy his home and property after he moved out, but the family wasn’t interested in selling. The house sat empty for years and then one Tuesday night the Lewis and Clark Fire Department arrived for their fire exercise. The blaze lit up the October evening sky. I could feel the heat three hundred feet away. It was sad to see that a once loved home turned to ash.

A part of me is heart broken when I see this because I can project myself and my home into that same future. My home keeps me warm and safe and has done the same for people for 85 years. I’ve made many additions and improvements to it over the years as has each previous owner. I hope there is someone to continue living in my home long after me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Mantel

I was recently reminded of the fireplace where I used to stay at the lake in Canada. It was made of brick and was positioned in the middle of the structure to distribute the heat evenly. It’s mass could generate long after the fire had burned out.

It was a cold climate there even during the summer. We had a fire nearly every night. In all the summers I spent there I can think of only two evenings where we didn’t have a fire.

The fire place had a couple ledges built into it like graduated mantels. On these mantels were placed items of local legend such as a twice chewed beaver log. The story was that a beaver gnawed down a tree that fell on him and he had to gnaw away another section to free him self. There was a splendid example of birds-eye maple from split wood. There were those fungus things that grow on trees that people dried and painted scenes of nature on. There were photos of old-timers from the 20’s and 30’s holding strings of fish they had caught from the lake; strings with sixty or more fish. There were also several very ornate antique kerosene lanterns on the ledges.

The objects on that fire place were a touchstone for me. Every year that I returned to the lake I immediately reacquainted myself with the objects. There were other things on the ledges but thirty five years has stripped some of them away from my memory, but the objects mentioned here are still very much in my mind. I can still feel the weight of the objects in my hands. I clearly remember their colors, their smells and their dimensions. They are all in my mind as though I just looked at them.

Monday, May 17, 2010


What is it that makes someone a born leader? How it is one person’s vision of the future is better than another person’s vision? I’ve been in leadership positions before and it isn’t all that difficult, but I never enjoyed it. I’m in a leadership position right now with an organization and I’m looking forward to stepping down in six months. I don’t want to know about the petty stuff that goes on behind the scenes and have to wield commonsense and wisdom to keep things from getting out of control.

Here we are again at another election season. I realized long ago that I shouldn’t wager on elections because who really knows? Though, a wager is often the only positive thing that comes from an election. If you win or lose, the results are immediate and not one that history dictates.

There are several things I don’t like about elections; lawn signs come to mind as a waste especially when one displays every sign their party has to offer. Trust me, if you have an anti LNG sign on your lawn that should be enough to tell the world who you’ll be voting for. We can go right down the line with no surprises. Sadly all these signs are destine to litter land-fills next week.

I don’t like that having no party affiliation I am not allowed to vote for anyone on the primary ticket for either party. Allowing everyone to vote for any candidate will immediately let all candidates know where they stand with their wild cards; Independent voters.

I don’t like it when multiple candidates run as a philosophical block. It shows their like-mindedness will prevent them from listening to reason when it is called for. One will be doing it because they have some secret pact.

I wish candidates would end their relationships with political parties. This way people would really pick candidates for their personal merits rather that the block of ideals the party stands for. It would free candidates to think for themselves and come up with ideas and policies that don’t fit a pattern. I know that the party throws money at a candidate, but to me the party system is unacceptable.

It is said that people get the government they deserve and how ever this election turns out a lot of people will feel cheated. There is no longer a middle road. The tricks of the parties are dirty and getting dirtier all the time. We are more divided because of the politics. In this climate there are no winners.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Again With The Eggs

When I wrote the other day about how much better my hens eggs are in comparison to supermarket eggs, Rich sent me an article that was at Mother Earth News

Eggs that are from chickens kept in the same condition as mine have:

1⁄3 less cholesterol
1⁄4 less saturated fat
2⁄3 more vitamin A
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene
4 to 6 times as much vitamin D
as typical supermarket eggs.

OK, I promise this will be the last post on eggs for a while. Go eat some and re-order.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I was working on some trails on Thursday and I was amaze by the volume of mosquitoes in the area. It was like Alaska. I had been warned to bring repellant, but that was the only thing I forgot to bring. A friend had some but not nearly enough to bathe in.

I sliced through a cloud of them with my chainsaw and must have gotten some of them, but they came in an endless stream. I then realized that mosquitoes probably don’t like gasoline very much so I spilled some fuel on my hands and rubbed it on my shirt and my neck and face. It worked pretty well.

I was reminded of the mosquitoes in Canada in May where we would wear mosquito nets and gloves to keep safe from mosquitoes and black flies. We could see clouds of them moving across the lake toward us. We would slather ourselves with 6-12 and light punks and cigars. When the mosquitoes arrived the fishing got better. It was a trade- off.

Thursday there was no trade-off. It was all mosquitoes and no fish. It’s a wonder anything can survive them in the wild.

Friday, May 14, 2010


One problem I had with my gelding was that he was bossy and protective of my wife’s mare. He’d try to bite or kick out at any gelding that got close to her. I was always on alert when riding and often it wasn’t fun because if I let down my guard he’d seize the opportunity. Even when it was just he and the mare together, he’d boss her around letting her know she belonged to him.

After having the mare for nearly two years we sold her and bought her another horse; this time it’s a gelding. This horse is small, 14 hands and mine is 16 hands so I figured my horse would again take charge.

Horses have a really good communication system worked out. Their movements speak volumes to one another. Immediately the new horse looks at my horse and pins his ears back, saying I don’t like you. Then the new horse tosses its head which in horse language means, “Go F… Yourself!” Then my horse lowers his head to say that he is of lesser status than the new horse.

It was sad seeing my horse lose some spirit to a younger gelding, but it was good to see that he was able to take a lesson in humility.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Broody No More

I finally ended it. That broody hen that’s been sitting on eggs for the last two weeks has been removed from the nest box. Every day I’d find three or four eggs on the floor under her nest box that she kicked out of the nest. I destroyed those eggs because there was no way of finding how long she’d been sitting on them. Upon breaking they appeared to be normal with no chicks in them. Then I took a few eggs from the clutch of eggs that were under her to see if there was any embryo development; there was none, so I removed the rest of the eggs and found the same. So every day she gets rousted from her nest and the eggs are collected.

If I ever want to raise my own chicks I’ll borrow my friend’s incubator and leave the hens out of it. It seems as though the hens have lost the ability to do it correctly.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Great Lectures

Remember how it was when you were in college and you got to hear a great lectures that influenced you or changed your life in some way. Some lecturers can make the most mundane things interesting. Even if you didn’t attend lectures in college you may have heard an inspiring motivational speaker or a gifted preacher. Some politicians are great speakers as well.

There is a really cool website that features great speakers and you can find it at I first found this site last year when someone turned me onto Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk called “A Stroke of Insight.”

Moose directed me back there this week to a talk on sustainable aquaculture. I’ve been spending my spare time watching several talks at random and I have yet to be disappointed and I’m learning a lot from every time I tune in.

So if you are wasting time with your TV take out a half hour or so and find a topic you want to learn something about. You won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wasting the Stimulus

I don’t have any problem with economic stimulus. But I have to wonder why this money made its way to repave over a mile of Lewis and Clark Road all the way to Tucker Creek? Yes there were a couple patches that needed to be done on the northern section where they replace some culvert pipes, but this road was good and now they are laying a new 3 or 4 inch top over a perfectly good road.

If they wanted to pave a road that really needs improvement they should have paved Youngs River Road which much of it has a concrete base that that is. Aren’t there some bridges that need some maintenance? Maybe repave some of Rt. 202. Maybe work on the train tracks along the Columbia.

I can’t imagine how much it cost to pave a mile or so of road. I know how much it costs to pave a driveway. This money could have been better spent elsewhere.

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10th

Here it is May 10th already. This day marks the 4th year since the inception of Astoria-Rust. Man, have we ever been down some strange roads together.

What do I have to say about this momentous occasion? Not a damn thing but thanks to those that have been reading over the years. A special thanks to those readers with a sense of humor.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


I pre-ordered a book a couple months ago and it arrived yesterday. Some of you may be familiar with this author, Justin Halpern who started it all on Twitter. Then he got a website and he’s on Facebook as well. He was discovered and now he has a book deal, William Shatner reads his work and there is a CBS pilot series in the works.

It is the story of a young man that moves back in with his parents and he starts writing down quotes of the goofy stuff his father says. The book and the sites and everything else is titled “Shit My Dad Says.”

This book is a lot of fun, but if you are waiting for the paperback you can catch some of the fine quotes at

Saturday, May 08, 2010

There Be Chickies!

Most of the chicks have hatched out. They are coming out all sorts of colors. Some have black legs and beaks. Others look like pure breed Buff Orpingtons. I’m looking forward to seeing them in two weeks.

I was surprised to hear the chicks chirping inside their shells before they hatched. They seem exhausted from hatching, but after 12 hours they are spending more time standing and eating. I love chicks.

Friday, May 07, 2010

What it Says and What it Means

I find food labeling lacking in truth. They craft words and phrases that sound much better than what is really going on. Let me take on the egg industry. I have a small contingent of egg customers who can’t believe the quality of my hens’ eggs over any store bought egg.

At the supermarket you will see enticing words like “grain fed” which means their chickens are fed corn and soy. “Cage Free” sounds good, but this usually means chickens get to roam freely in a giant barn, usually ankle deep in manure. They never get to go outside. Sadly “Free Range” often means the same thing and it often even means a cage that is large enough for a chicken to actually walk around in.

My favorite is “Vegetarian Diet.” It makes one think that the chickens are living on a meat free commune in the foot hills. Chickens are not vegetarians and should not be subjected to this foolishness. Chickens eat bugs and grubs. Chickens will eat one another if the opportunity arises.

Since “Free Range” can have so many hidden meanings, folk that have real free range hens now use the term “Pasture Ranged.” This means our chickens actually do go outdoors and scratch around in the grass and eat seeds and bugs and dirt and all kinds of stuff. These things are where they get their natural proteins that makes their eggs healthier and more nutritious.

If you open an egg and the yolk isn’t the color of a pale pumpkin, you just an egg from an undernourished hen. Notice the difference in the color of the egg on the left in the photo above compared to the two on the right. Also see the comparison below. There is a difference.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Gifted

It is a treasure to come upon someone who is gifted. One area where I am ungifted is in the realm of mechanical issues. I am expert at finding problems with my truck. I can detect when something just doesn’t look, feel or sound right, but that is the limit.

I’ve had a new problem come up with the truck. When the engine is cold I’ll turn the key and the starter will make a minor effort, maybe a half turn and then there is silence. Next I turn the key again and it starts right up on the second try. It starts the first time with a warm engine. I figured the starter is going.

Lately my step son has been visiting on Sundays. His mother told me I should have him look at it. This kid is a gifted mechanic. He learned his trade while working at some garage in Idaho. They loved him because he has thin hands and can reach mechanical objects that most thick fingered mechanics couldn’t even attempt. He’s helped me out on several occasions with things I couldn’t reach.

Anyway, he came over on Saturday and I explained the symptoms I was having with the starter. Without and questions he said, “Your ground wire from the battery is loose.” I thought, ”WTF?”

I took him out, he popped the hood and easily lifted the connector from the battery ground terminal. I tightened it down and the problem was solved.

Any shop could have easily convinced me that I needed to replace my starter. It’s nice having a gifted mechanic in the family.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

You're a Card. You're the Whole Deck and You Should Be Dealt With.

I finally did it. I ordered business cards. I really have to get serious about business. I’m becoming too much like local contractors. No, I’m not that bad… Not that my business is like contracting. It’s much more casual and word-of-mouth as business should be.

This is not to say I have ever been a no show for a class or speak engagement; paid or gratis. I am very serious about being where I’m supposed to be and give it my 100%. It’s my products that I’m lax on, which is funny because I run the egg business really well. I collect the eggs daily, clean and dry them comparable to industry standards. I package them and get them to customers usually within a day of the order.

It’s the honey and hive products that I’m lax on. I tell people all year that the new honey crop will be in around August, but by the time I get around to extracting, bottling and labeling it we are getting into October.

Then there are the creams and balms. I usually make batches in advance and though people order it, it takes me on average of three weeks to do the labeling. Jars and tubes are all ready to go except the labels. Labeling takes me only a few minutes. I have them all printed, but somehow I always put it off applying the labels to the jars and tubes.

I’ve never been big on business cards simply because I don’t collect them and I assume others are like me and pitch them as soon as they get home and empty their pockets. However, so often I am asked for one. Sometimes I scroll my number or email address on scrap paper for someone, but business cards are so much cleaner. I’m sure they will bring more contacts my way, whom I hope not to disappoint. I just hope the cards don’t attract people to call and chit-chat with me. I hate phone chit-chat.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Sea

I’ve always wanted to write about the sea, but I just don’t have the sea in my blood. At least I don’t have it in a large enough quantity where there is real passion. I remember going to the sea as a child. We’d take day trips to the “Shore” as we called it back east. I swam and body surfed. I’ve tasted the salt water and got sand and shells in my bathing suit.

I’ve seen the ocean from several the East Coast states that have a coast line from Maine to Florida. I’ve experienced the Pacific Ocean on the West Coast; California, Oregon, Washington and Canada. I’ve snorkeled off three Hawaiian Islands. I’ve seen white, black and green sand beaches. I’ve flown several times over the vastness of the Pacific from an altitude where one cans till see the foam of the waves breaking below.

I am fascinated by the ocean, but I just don’t have a strong passion for it. I would love to be out on the middle of the ocean on a starry night. I’d love to travel through a gyre. I’d love to experience St. Elmo’s Fire. I’d love to see flying fish and I’m sure there are so many remarkable things out there to write about. However the reality is that I will probably never go on a cruise. I’ll never be in the Navy and I’ll never work on an ocean going vessel. I probably have as much chance visiting the Kuiper Belt than I have of crossing the surface of the sea.

I suppose I better stick to writing about the things I know.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Sick Day XXXIV

Why do people ask if they can ask a question? Why don’t they just ask the friggin question in the first place? How many times have you ever heard anyone say “No, you may not ask me a question.”

So I get sick when I hear “May I ask you a question?”, “Let me ask you this?”, or even, “Hey, I’ve got a question for you.”

Just ask it; you rat bastard!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Decemberists

We went to see the Decemberists last night (Friday)at the Liberty. Great concert!

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a concert and I found it interesting how the audience dynamic has changed over the years. It used to be that when we went to a concert we suffered through the opening act and were polite. This is no longer the case. As the opening act played lullabys for an hour most people left the concert hall and went for a walk or to the McTavish Room for drinks. Those that remained in their seats made phone calls, texted friends and did all they could from shouting out, “Enough!” Well the last part was me.

Yes, the opening act had more musical talent than I; however they didn’t have the common sense not to subject others to their talent.

Anyway, I was totally surprised by the showmanship of the Decemberists. Their sound system was a bit muddy but somehow everything worked out.

The high-light of the night was when they did the Mariners Revenge song as their encore. Normally the part of the mother singing the words, “Find him, bind him, tie him with a rope and break his fingers to splinters…” is sung with two voices. As it was being sung by one voice, Collin put his microphone down to a little girl singing at the stage front. It was perfect. Her voice was perfect. She knew the words and was in perfect pitch.

After the show we explored some of Astoria’s night life until 12:30. Yeah, hours past my bed time… I’d almost like to write about some of the after parties, but it’s best I don’t.

The Decemberists will be recording a new collection in a couple weeks, which is great since I wearing out The Hazards of Love and Crane Wife. If you ever have the opportunity to see them live, you will be entertained.

Here are some Youtubes of it.

16 Military Wives
Crane Wife
Sons and Daughters

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Animal Police On Patrol

Living out in the country, or what was once considered as the country, one finds many things that will slow you down as you drive to or from town. I mentioned the speed duck last week, whom I haven’t seen since the day that story posted. I often have my journey slowed because of cows or elk in the road. Sometimes it’s a beaver or nutria in the road. Occasionally there is a horse, sheep or goat in the road. Sometimes I’ve slowed for chickens, geese and guinea foul. Let’s not forget deer or frogs or cats and dogs.

Today I experienced something totally new. I was slowing down near the speed duck’s home and suddenly something darted out in front of my truck and ran ahead as though it wanted me to chase it. It was a peacock and it was really trotting out. I slowed down even further and after about 100 feet it finally went to the side of the road and let me pass. He was a beautiful bird and I hope to see him again when he isn’t running.