Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Temple Grandin Movie

I’ve written about Temple Grandin in the past and for those of you that want to see an amazing story seek out the HBO film, Temple Grandin which was released on DVD on September 17.

This film is the story of Temple, an autistic woman who over came all sorts of obstacles to rise through academia and finally achieve a Ph.D. She is animal expert and an engineer. She sees in pictures and has a photographic memory.

Being autistic, Temple says she sees and reacts to things the same way that animals see and relate to. She single-handedly redesigned the architecture and changed the mind set of most feed yards and slaughter houses so animal will live without fear and cruelty. She uses the behavior of animals to customize accommodating dips and chutes where cattle will walk willingly without prodding. My words can not do justice to the magnitude of her work.

Trust me, if you are into animals at any level you will like this film. When you are done watching it go back to the Special Features and watch the film again with the Director and Temple Grandin’s commentary. This film will make you want to read all her books.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Body and Fender

I was transported back to my childhood while doing the body work on my horse trailer last week. My uncle owned an auto body shop down the road from our house when I was a lad. His shop was on my kid loop.

Kids are a lot like dogs and cats. When you let them out they usually go around to the same places to check things out. My wife calls it perambulating the parameter. I like that.

As a kid I had a circuit that I’d do to check out things of interest to me like the stream that went under the railroad by the ford dealer just to see the frogs jump in the water when they saw me looking at them from the bridge. I’d check out the exposed rocks in the quarry area behind the bean field. I had a dozen or so places to go, but one place I often checked out was my uncle’s body shop.

In a previous life his shop was an American Motors dealership. They moved further down the road and he bought the two-bay shop from them and turned it into a body shop. It was a simple building like an old service station. As stated it had two bays with glass garage doors. There was a tool room and an office. Behind the office was another room that was larger than the office. There was nothing in this room other than pin-up of bare breasted women from magazine centerfolds and calendars. I never did ask why he had this, for lack of a better term, ”gallery.” Actually I don’t even want to know.

Anyway, it was the smell of the body repair material that transported me back to his shop. It was the smell of the fiberglass. It was the smell of the body filler. It was the sound of the angle grinder and the sanders. It was the flakes of dried body filler that I pealed away with the cheese grader. It was mostly the smell of it all that took me back.

As a kid I didn’t go there to see how they repaired things. I was more interested in seeing the crashed cars that were in the Q to be repaired. Every car had a story, but to hear the stories I had to be in the work room where they worked with fiberglass and Bondo. The smells permeated my very being where if I smell them today I can become 10 years old again.

As I applied and removed things from the surface of the fenders, I could see myself dressed in baggy gray pants with a matching gray shirt with my name embroidered above the pocket. It is a career I’m glad I had not chosen, but the moment allowed this momentary fantasy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rust in Astoria

Rust is one of the problems with living in a wet climate and not having a big pole building in which to store things. Such is the case with my horse trailer. There were major rust spots in the front where the two sheets of steel joined. The eaten away holes were large enough to pass a cup of coffee through. There was also a lot of rust on the fenders as demonstrated in the photo above.

I know that had I taken the trailer to a body shop the repairs would have cost more than what I paid for the trailer. It was time for me to learn how to do body work. I’ve known people in the Auto Body business and they were by no means rocket scientists; if they could do it, so could I.

I started by watching a five or six part Bondo video on Youtube and it was far easier than I thought it would be. I already had all of the tools. All I needed was a trip to the auto parts store for the supplies I needed. I also had to go to City Lumber for some thick galvanized flashing.

The first thing I did was to cut away the rust in the front and I riveted the flashing in place. Then I took my angle grinder to the fenders. Without going into long detail on the preparations I fiber glassed over the holes and then I eventually used body filler tom smooth and blend the surfaces. I ran out of time as I watched the marine layer move in on Saturday so I hit the exposed areas with primer. I can come back to it later with the top coat to blend everything perfectly, prime it, paint it and finish it.

Here are the after photos.

Monday, September 27, 2010

To Go is to Return

I hope you enjoyed the skits I’ve posted over the last several days. I recall they were fun to write, though I don’t have it in me any longer to write any new ones. The climate around here then was just perfect for parody, but somehow I don’t find things quite so amusing any more. People are just too pissed off and seem to have lost all compassion, objectivity and empathy for issues, ideas and visions.

Every now and then I will get a flash about writing a skit about a local situation, but I let those flashes fade away because I no longer want to get involved in any local issues or politics. I have totally lost faith with the local radio and printed news media. I think they produce better fiction than my attempts at parody. KAST local news seems to have risen above the pack with honest and earnest depictions of what is happening. But I feel that station is in the midst of some sort of implosion.

When I first moved here I didn’t know much about local people or events. All I cared for was the land I lived on. I was pretty happy back then. I’d like to get back to that where all I care about is the land upon which I live. I’d like to block out what every else is saying and doing. I want to plant more trees to block my view of others that are new to my neighborhood. I’ve stopped reading local papers and I’ve stopped listening to local radio. I’m well on my way to restoring my personal joy of living here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Directions, Lewis and Clark Style

Today is the final day of my skits. This was the money script that I still hear people talking about today. If you aren't from around here, I swear that these are the actual directions from Airport Hill to the Natel Grange.

Directions, Lewis and Clark Style

A couple find themselves lost while driving on Business Route 101 to the Natel Grange. The woman is driving and the man searches for the directions.

I remember the directions said to turn onto this road, but now I can’t find the piece of paper I had the direction written on.

Let’s ask that man at the bottom of the hill. He looks like a local.

What makes you think he’s a local?

The flannel shirt and the coon skin hat are a give-away.

They pull over. The man rolls down his window.

Hi! Can you give us directions to the Natel Grange?

Sure can stranger! I guess you’re both heading to the Lewis and Clark Ho-Down…it ought to be a blast. Well the fastest way to get there is to turn around and take a left on to Fort Clatsop Road and go past Fort Clatsop, that’s where Lewis and Clark spent the winter. Anyway, that’s the tricky route because once you go past the Lewis and Clark Main Line you have to find the bridge. If you miss the turn off at the little Lewis and Clark bridge over the Lewis and Clark River, you’ll end up taking Lewis and Clark
Road all the way to Seaside. So I’ll suggest you go straight down this road and cross the Lewis and Clark Draw Bridge over the Lewis and Clark River. You’ll drive by the Lewis and Clark fire station #1 on the left and then you’ll pass the Lewis and Clark Water Department. Keep going straight until you come to a strange intersection. There’s a gas station on the corner. It might be a Mobil station, it might be a BP station or it might be a Union 76 station. It might even be some other station 15 minutes from now. It changes every so often, but don’t let that worry you. If you get lost just ask for the gas station in Lewis and Clark and you’ll get there.

Hey, don’t I recognize you from Lewis and Clark College?

No, I’ve never been there.

Well then, right after the Lewis and Clark station you’ll make a right on to Lewis and Clark Road. That’s at the Lewis and Clark Nursery which is in front of the Lewis and Clark Golf Course and the soon-to-be Lewis and Clark RV Park. You’ll drive by the Lewis and Clark School. At this point you will be in the area that is known as Lewis and Clark.

Keep driving and you’ll pass the Lewis and Clark Bible Church and another couple miles down the road you’ll see the Lewis and Clarke Cemetery. Oddly they spell Clarke with an “E” “C-L-A-R-K-E”. I never have figured that one out.

Anyway, keep driving down Lewis and Clark Road and it will turn into Logan Road. Don’t make the mistake of going over the little Lewis and Clark bridge that goes over the Lewis and Clark River that is up-stream from here because that will put you on to the Lewis and Clark Road that will take you to Seaside.

Anyway, Lewis and Clark turns into Logan Road and the Grange will be a couple hundred feet on the left. If you drive by the other Lewis and Clark Fire Station #2 you went about a half mile too far.

So what you are saying is that we go over the Lewis and Clark Draw Bridge over the Lewis and Clark River Past the Lewis and Clark Fire Station, pass the Lewis and Clark Water Department, pass the Lewis and Clark Gas Station then go onto Lewis and Clark Road, by the Lewis and Clark Nursery that is in front of the Lewis and Clark Golf Course and the soon-to-be Lewis and Clark RV Park, into Lewis and Clark, pass the Lewis and Clark School and then the Lewis and Clark Bible Church and then the Lewis and Clarke Cemetery “Clarke spelled with an “E”. Then get off Lewis and Clark Road and go onto Logan Rd…Right

It sounds to me like you have it. When you get there tell them that Clark Lewis sent you.
See ya!

The woman and man drive away.
I think they are way too into Lewis and Clark out here.

Yeah, and you thought Idaho was a scary place.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vision of the Future

Here is a piece I wrote after having a funny idea of what would happen if Lewis was a Republican and if Clark was a Democrat.

Vision of the Future

Lewis and Clark are sitting around a table envisioning the future of their new found land.

Clark: (glancing across the horizon)
This sure is some beautiful country. I hope Jefferson doesn’t have any major plans to develop and build it up like the East Coast.

Are you kidding? He’d be crazy not to cash in on what’s here.

Cash in? What do you mean?

Look at these trees. They are hundreds of years old and straight as arrows. We can use them build railroads that can haul thousands of people out here and have enough left over to build each person a house to live in.

OK, how do you plan to feed all those people?

Fish, there are billions of fish in the river. We can feed people for a hundred years with the fish in the river.

After you cut down all the trees and eat all the fish, what then? Do you drape the empty nets over the stumps, call it good and move somewhere else?

No you pull the stumps and make the place look like Ireland. It will be green and pastoral. Cows like green grass.

And when the beef industry goes flat?

You create golf courses, garden shops and RV Parks.

Will golf courses, garden shops and RV parks pay living wages to their employees.

Of course not. The economy will promote some criminal activity as a result, but the police will be paid well to keep order. Teachers and social workers will come along and then there will be several other well paid people around who will get paid to make the have-nots feel better about their lot in life. It’s a whole cultural / psychological juggernaut. The future economy will depend on it keeping in perfect balance.

So your have-nots are doomed, and you don’t think that they will ever catch on that the success of the educated class depends on their doom?

That’s the beauty of it. When things look hopeless we can bring in some carpet bagger industry with an unsafe product that isn’t wanted anywhere else. We’ll get the word out about how bad it will be for the community and the have-nots will vote it down and feel good that they value safety over a living wage. They aren’t going to get hurt watering the lawn at the golf course. So what if they don’t make any money, at least they get to go home to their family every night. It’s a “Family Value” thing…(pauses momentarily in thought) Wow! “Family Values.” That’s golden…that phase is money in the bank…That’s political capital, what a great spin.

You are so greedy, man! Why can’t you give anything to the poor to elevate them from their condition?

I will give the best thing they could ever ask for.

OK, I’ll bite. What could that possibly be?

Churches! We will build them churches so they will understand that it is easier for a camel pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man into the kingdom of Heaven.

You are so full of crap. You know damn well that if the poor didn’t believe in God they would murder all the rich people.

(Smirking)Ain’t that the truth Brother! Ain’t that the truth…I’m counting on it. So as I was saying, we will build churches in every neighborhood.

And when churches aren’t enough to stave their misery?

Then we go to war.

And when the war is over?

Then we build them a Wal*Mart. That will perpetuate the whole thing for fifty years or longer.

You have all the answers don’t you?

Yep, that’s why we are not listed alphabetically. The brains get top billing. It’s “Lewis and Clark”, remember that. (Lewis stands to head off to bed)
I’m going to hit the sack and dream about the future. You best get ready to fill your pockets. Good night, William (Lewis exits the stage muttering) Stinking Liberal.

Good night, Meriwether…
(Wonders aloud after Lewis is off the stage)
Somehow, I get the feeling I should kill him in his sleep...
Nah, he’s actually a good guy. He’ll forget all about it on the trip home to civilization.

Friday, September 24, 2010

New to the Area

Here is a piece I wrote back in 2003 for people who plan to move to this area.

Here is a Public Service Announce for all who are new to this area from the East Coast.

So you’ve moved to Clatsop County. There are many things you should be aware of before you try to assimilate yourself into the culture here. First you must make yourself aware that if you have come here from the East Coast, you have relocated yourself close to three thousand miles away from what you are familiar with. That would be like moving from London to somewhere in central Russia. Imagine the cultural differences. Sure we are still in the same country, but that’s the only link you will now have to the outside world. Here are the things you will need to know:

As for the Geography:
The geography here is a lot like that of Maine, and some of the coastline is like Long Island, N.Y. However there are no moose, black flies, annoying Down East accents, annoying Long Island accents, sugar maples, Bass Shoe outlets or snow.

As for the Food:
Do you like lobster and soft shell crab? Forget them. The closet you will come to that sort of eating will come in the form of dungenous crab. It’s not a bad substitute, but it still isn’t same. Forget snapper blue and flounder as well, here you will get salmon, and you will get sick of it after the first two parties you attend.

Luckily, products that you are used to have finally made it out here in the last ten years. You will be able to find Bryers Ice Cream, Thomas’s English Muffins and Yoo Hoo, but you will be hard pressed to find a bakery that can live up to your standards. Bagels? Forget them. There are some places here that make good bagels, but you will not fully appreciate them until you’ve been deprived of a real bagel for about a year. As for good bread forget it. Pizza? Learn to make your own. They do real bad things to Pizza out here. You don’t want to know about it. It will just make you sob and wish you never moved here. Also forget about French Onion soup. Get used to clam and salmon chowder.

As for the Language:
Get used to words like “ruff” that is the thing on top of your house. “Ruts” are what we know as roots. “Pop” is soda, a “sack” is a bag, a “rig” is a truck, a “snag” is what’s left of a dead tree, “Sex” is the number six, and “Sea-meant” is cement. Also get used to no one ever saying, fugetaboutid, douche bag, and fuggin-A. If you hear someone talking about Eye-Talian food, they mean Italian.

As for You:
Be prepared that people will think that you are in the witness protection program until they get to know you. Then they will finally accept you even if you are.

As far as Them:
There are many cultures here, some of which are Loggers, Fishermen, Good-Old-Boys (not the red neck type, but rather old time locals), Religious Right Wingers, Old Hippies, Artists, and Coasties. Each is an exclusive club, and impossible to get into unless you are able to do a convincing job of hiding your past identity as an outsider.

As for Clothing:
So you used to shop as Lord and Taylor, and at Barneys. The best thing you can do is to donate all your old clothing to a thrift store and buy blue jeans, flannel shirts and muck boots. Jeans, flannel and muck boots is every-day wear here, and it is also formal wear. You may want to get a hat as well. Diners at the best restaurants are dressed as though they just spent the day clear-cutting forests. It is only an illusion because real loggers wear lace-less shoes and rip out the cuffs off their pants so they can run away from falling trees and not get hung up in the brush. Their formal clothing resembles their work clothing, but it doesn’t smell like engine exhaust and bar chain oil, or fish. People who do not dress like this are usually outsiders, and are viewed suspiciously.

As far as Housing:
Forget about stone or brick cottages. Forget about having a basement, if you are lucky you’ll have a crawl space, however most houses are built on slabs of concrete. Forget about divided light windows that are slid upward to open. Here windows slide from side to side. Forget about finding a house with nice siding because most are sided with T-111, which is like exterior plywood paneling. Forget about colonial, saltbox colonial and Cape Cod houses. Get used to manufactured homes or stick built homes that look like triple wide trailers with shingled roofs. There are some older Victorian, Queen Ann and Italianate homes here, but the expense of owning and repairing one of those is prohibitive. Nothing in them is square, level, or of a standard size, and dry rot is a constant companion.

As far as Events and Activities:
There are several annual activities here:
The Crab and Seafood Festival: a good place to get drunk and meet others who are drunk.
The Sand Castle Festival: locals only attend this event once, and no one ever builds a sand castle.
The Fisher’s Poetry Festival: locals attend this event only once, then they return home depressed and attempt to take their own lives.
The Scandinavian Festival: is where locals get to show outsiders that they come from a place where their ancestors dressed in funny clothing and ate bad food.
The County Fair: is for locals who just can’t get enough of the smell of pig shit, and kettle corn.
The Monster Bash: an event that is used to keep your little monsters from defacing local store fronts.
Regatta: Fishing boats on parade, and it has about as much charm as a prison bus.

As far as Fascination:
People will be truly fascinated by you if you tell them that you’ve ever been to New York City. They will tell you that they’d love to go to NYC to see a real Broadway play. People also seem to think that New York is a safe place to visit. They may even try to fake a New York accent. Try to be tolerant. Remember these people only know what they’ve seen in movies and on TV. They do not fully understand doing business with the mob. They have never witnessed Wilding in Central Park. They have never driven through the South Bronx. A squeegee guy at the 42nd street entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel has never confronted them. They have never been asked to play three card monty, or offered the opportunity to purchase a thirty-dollar Rolex. They have never seen nicely dressed businessmen masturbating in the bathroom at the Port Authority. The best advice you can give them is to tell them that they should go to New York and see it for themselves. Then watch how their behavior changes when they return to Clatsop County. They will close their shades, bar their windows and add more dead bolts to their doors.

As far as Vacations:
Never make the mistake of telling anyone here that you are going on an exotic vacation. Exotic is not acceptable to locals, especially if you are going to California. It’s OK if you have made exotic trips before you moved here, of if you visited these places while you were in the service.
Acceptable places to go are: Alaska, Idaho, Washington State, Minnesota, Reno and anywhere in Oregon. You start getting into boarder line exotic places if you go to Victoria BC, Montana, Utah, and Vancouver B.C. If you boast about going anywhere else you may as well put a bumper sticker on your car that says “I like spotted owls, sea lions, and I think they should outlaw hunting, logging and God.”

As for Who To Dislike:
On the East Coast you probably disliked anyone from the Deep South. Here you will be required to dislike anyone from California. The term for anything from California is Californication. However when you want to sell your house and your real estate agent tells you what the true market value of your house is you will be bummed. You will try to sell the house yourself for twice that price, and hope at a Californian comes along to buy it. If there’s been a recent disaster in California there is a good chance that one will come up and buy it from you.

Good luck with your assimilation and welcome to Clatsop County.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On The Air

This is a piece I wrote while reflecting back on my college radio days and radio in general. Radio, though theater of the mind was relegated to the back burner after TV became popular in the 50s. If you looked like Dean Martin you got a TV show, but if you looked like Larry King and Howard Stern radio was your only hope until the 1990s when TV had run its course and was desperate for anything to fill time slots. This being, those in radio were often depressed and cried out for attention. Radio was and is still the second lowest rung of the entertainment business. Only lower would be clowns that work birthday parties and mimes.

Today I present to you my skit:

On The Air

Table, chair, microphone, headphones, a half empty bottle of booze, fake radio control panel, On The Air sign.

Cast on stage: DJ Don Roberts, a seasoned wise-cracking hipster career disk jocky. He sips from a booze bottle as he listens to each caller.

Voices on phone:
Jane from Alderbrook has the voice of an uptight woman, words are crisp, well pronounced.
Robert from Uppertown has a regular voice with a local twang.
Kelly from Uniontown has the voice of a high school boy or girl. All sentences end with an upward inflection like it was a question.
Skip from Smith Point has a mopey, whimpy voice like there is a dark cloud over him.
Shirley from Ilwaco has a bubbly enthusiastic voice.
Willie from Bond Street has a dopey voice.
Margaret from Knappa has a husky voice with a twang.
Cathy from South Slope has an educated female voice.
Craig from Warrenton any voice.

A single white spotlight shines down on the radio announcer as he begins his show.

Intro music fades, dialogue begins:

DJ: Good evening listeners. This is Don Roberts and I will be your host during our overnight journey as our planet hurls itself through the solar system into another day. In the infinite wisdom of the radio gods who sign my paycheck, our humble station is going through a format change. Yes, another one. We are trying to find our niche. If you are as tired of all the format changes as I am, please listen to us 24 hours a day, and buy all the products that our advertisers are pushing. This madness has to end.

OK, we were talking about a format change. If you were keeping score, last year at this time we played country music, but our listeners didn’t buy enough Red Man and Moon Pies to keep the advertisers happy. I pleaded with the listeners. I told them, “Please buy Red Man and Moon Pies every time you git to the convenience store.” Well they didn’t listen and they lost their only Country radio station.

Then we went to syndicated conservative talk shows. Why Rush Limbaugh had to lose his hearing instead of his voice is still a mystery to me. It was hard for me not to open the mike during his shows make noises to let the listeners think that Ol Rush couldn’t hear or control himself. Anyway, the sound of radios being turned off during his show was deafening, so maybe that’s why he lost his hearing.

After four months of that non-sense we ventured into the abyss of the caterwauling retro-70’s music. Man, we must have really had good drugs in the 70. That was the only way we could listen to that crap. And why radio stations try to revive it is beyond me.

Now, if you were listening a half-hour ago, you may want to dust off your bible and start reading it again because Christian Contemporary is no longer here on your dial. We have removed the Zion Curtain from these radio waves.

We are now embarking upon the second lowest rung of radio. Nope, not call-in sports radio; that’s the lowest. Our airwaves now belong to you. We are officially a 24 hour, 7 day a week radio phone in station. You can call us and talk about issues that are important to you, be it local, national, global or personal. I am here to take your calls at 325-0000. Give me a call, let’s chat.

OK, we have Jane on the line from Alderbrook. What do you have to say for yourself Jane?

Jane: Hi Don, I’m upset that you are not going to play all that inspirational music anymore.

DJ: Sorry, Jane. It’s time for you to turn the other cheek and forge ahead as we forge ahead.

Jane: Your entire radio station is going to go to Hell for abandoning the Lords Work.

DJ: Jane, we here at the radio station are already in Hell. That’s the nature of the radio business, and since there are no local TV stations in Astoria there is no hope for redemption or absolution for any of us who are employed here. May whatever gods you patronize bless your…never mind.

Next we have Robert from upper town. Robert, what do you have to say for yourself?

Robert: Hey Don! Love your new format.

DJ: Ho boy! Don’t get used to it. What’s on your mind Robert?

Robert: OK, well, I’m a fisherman, and I’m out on the water a lot. My problem is that when I come home after being away for a couple of weeks my girlfriend seems resentful for my coming home for the first couple of days. Should I dump her?

DJ: Whoa Cowboy, it isn’t her, it’s you. Believe me, I’ve been in bars when the fleet came in. You guys stink so bad from fish that you could knock a bull dog off a meat wagon with the smell. My advice is to come home, book yourself into a hotel, throw away your clothing, especially that stupid baseball cap, and the dirty white sneakers, and spend an afternoon in a hot shower with a bucket of borax. Then go visit your girlfriend a day late and everything will be fine.

We have Kelly from Uniontown. Kelly, what do you have to say for yourself?

Kelly: Hi Don, I’m in high school and I always wanted to become a disc jockey or an announcer on the radio. Can you give me any advice?

DJ: Yes! Don’t do it! However if you insist on working in the radio business, you should drop out of school, get married and divorced several times, and develop a taste for cheap alcohol. Living out of you car is also a plus. As long as you have a good voice and are able to read you can expect to make at least minimum wage in a small market like this. Remember, this is the lowest rung of the entertainment business. If you lower your expectations you’ll do well.

Next we have Skip from Smith Point. Skip, what do you have to say for yourself?

Skip: Hey Don. I’m in love with the most beautiful woman in the world, and she won’t give me the time of day. How can I win her over?

DJ: That is a big problem, Skip. Your problem reminds me of an evening I spent in the lounge of the Ship Inn. There were about five of us bellied up to the bar when suddenly this woman walks in alone. She was an absolute knockout. Four of us looked up with our mouths open, but my pal Hank only glanced quickly and returned to his beer.
“Hank” we said, “Didn’t you take a good look at her?” Then Hank said to us, “Somewhere, somebody is sick of her.” It was then that I realized that he was right. I always got really sick of all the crap that pretty women put me through. Now, Skip, the moral to that story is to go and fall in love with someone less attractive. What you want is that knockout woman, but what you need is someone who is “convenience store ugly.” So what if a couple of teeth are missing. So what if she smells like tobacco, she may keep aphids away form your houseplants. The “convenience store ugly” woman will love you back every time.

We have Shirley from Ilwaco. Shirley, what do you have to say for yourself?

Shirley: Hi Don, I calling from my cell phone. I’m driving across the bridge, and I have a lot to talk about.

DJ: I only have one thing to say, Shirley. Hang up and drive, you idiot!

We have Jane from Alderbrook back on the line,

Jane: Do you know why I’m calling back?

DJ: Yes, Jane. Because you can’t afford a therapist.

Next we have Willie from Bond Street. Willie, what do you have to say for yourself.

Willie: Yeah Don, my car is running like crap, and someone told me that I should put in some new spark plugs. I called a mechanic and he want’s 50 bucks to do the job. Someone told me it’s an easy job, so I’m going to try to do it myself. I have only 20 bucks to my name, can I buy four spark plugs with 20 bucks?

DJ: Yes Willie, I’m sure you can buy 4 spark plugs with your 20 dollars, and still have plenty of money left over for cab fare.

We have Margaret from the Knappa, what’s on your mind tonight, Margaret?

Margaret: Hi Don. I've met a wonderful man I'd like to marry, however, he is my ex-daughter-in-laws father. Do you see any problem with this?

DJ: Funny, this reminds me of a song I once wrote called "Did Your Uncle Play the Banjo When Your Father Married His Sister?" Actually, I see no problem with this, that is if you don't mind your family tree looking like a flag pole which has been decorated with cork screws. Margaret, before making this commitment, you would be well advised to travel outside your trailer park, and see what else is out there. Maybe there is a second or third cousin who would better deserve your passion. Also, please be sure to get your tubes tied before you continue down any of these paths, and remember that Veterinarians charge much less that regular doctors.

Next we have Kathy from the South Slope on the line. What’s on your mind tonight, Kathy?

Kathy: Hi Don, I work for a big local company. A co-worker asked me out on a date. We have a strict no dating policy. I explained the policy to him and his response was "rules are meant to be broken. I won't tell if you won't tell." He will not take “No” for an answer. He hasn’t been rude but he is persistent. I don’t want to jeopardize my job. How can I get him to take No for an answer.

DJ: Kathy, you can do this the slow way or the fast way. The slow way is to marry him, and divorce him and get half of what he owns because you had to quit your job to be with him. Or you can bring a sexual harassment suit against him, and get half of what he owns right away. You've obviously already said no to him, so you have grounds.

If this is unacceptable, you can tell him that you are three months pregnant, and you don't want to date until the baby is born. Men can’t stand someone else's baby. He will avoid you like the plague.

Craig from Warrenton is up next. What’s on your mind Craig?

Craig: Yeah Don, I have a blind date on Friday night and it's been awhile since I've been out on one.... Could you give me some etiquette tips?

DJ: Boy do I have advice for you, Craig, and I speak from experience with this one. There are many fine points that you must observe. First, don't mess with her dog. The dog is working, and should not be distracted from keeping her master safe. Next, do not use statements like "blind ally", "blind ambition", or "blind siding". If asked about your apartment, use words like "window dressing" not blinds. There are advantages of dating blind people. No need to dress up or even be attractive. You don't have to worry if you have something stuck in your teeth, and she won't be looking at other men. If she is a big tipper, she will not be able to see you skim some of the cash off the table when you leave. If you go back to your place for some "fun", leave the lights on, and bring out the video camera. Good luck.

Well the clock on the wall says it time for me to get out of here. This has been the Don Roberts show and I’ll be back tomorrow night to take your calls. So remember, if I don’t see you in the future, I’ll see you in the pasture. Good night Astoria.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The L&C Experience

Back when I wrote this we were coming up to the Bi-Centennial of Lewis and Clark Expedition. The call for scripts was sent out and I had several related to the topic. This piece was slipped between other skits like a commercial announcement.

I present to you The Total Lewis and Clark Experience.

It is now time for a commercial break. The show this hour is brought to you by:
The Lewis and Clark Experience

As the Lewis and Clark Bi-Centennial quickly approaches I want to make everyone aware of the “Total Lewis and Clark Experience” which is a way for all history buffs to fully experience the historical events that the great explorers enjoyed two hundred years ago.

The Lewis and Clark Experience is a comprehensive travel package, and for a mere $25,000 (Per person double occupancy), you too can walk the walk and talk the talk.

You will be housed in a rustic yet airy timber shack, and warmed by our smoky, wet wood fires. Also as a bonus your mattress will keep you busy with an infestation of the finest local fleas. Also every guest will be infected with syphilis and be given doses of mercury as an added bonus. Pets are welcome.

Belly up to the table for such delicacies as jerky, salmon, elk, dog, and hopefully whale blubber; that is if one washes up on shore as a seasonal event.

Day Trips
There will be daily cedar dug-out canoe excursions and races. There will be weekly treks to the coast to look for beached seafood. There will also be an excursion where we will meet up with the “Total Gandhi Experience” members. Together we will make salt by the sea.

You will be given weapons, beads, knives and knots of tobacco for trade with the locals. Oddly these objects are still very desirable to the locals. You will be surprised what you will get in trade for these objects. Visitors in the past have gotten things such as, a GMC pickup truck, a half rack of Hams, an ex-wife, a steelhead rod and real, a chain saw, and a bag of shrimp.

So Book Now! For more information call us anytime at 1-800-IM-A-DOPE.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hair ER

I finally broke down and went in for a hair cut. I drove all the way into town specifically to get a hair cut, but when I got there I found six people were ahead of me. I figured I’d wait, but the more I looked at that the others that were waiting for their turns in the chair I realized that none of them need a hair cut. They all had short hair.

It was then that I wished barber shops should be run like an emergency room. If there was hair triage I would have been immediately rushed in and revived. I would be the one in most need of help. All others would be considered hair hypochondriacs unless they had out of control hair like me.

I wonder if a hair cut is a weekly discipline for some. I swear that some people in the waiting area could not have had more than one week’s growth. I know it’s important to support your local practitioner, but be reasonable, you may be clogging up the system. Here’s the way I do it. About six weeks after I get a haircut I start looking a little wild again. It’s at that point I give it at least another month. This way when it is cut I get a noticeable difference.

Monday, September 20, 2010

OK, I'm Back and You Get A Homework Assignment

Thanks for all your concerns of my well being in my brief absence from this blog. It’s the first break I’ve taken in four years. What happened and where have I been? No, I wasn’t visiting the Isle of Mann as the picture in the previous post suggests. I posted that because I was running in circles.

I could tell you I’ve been away all this time washing my truck. Not only would that be totally believable considering how dirty it was and yes I did wash, vacuum and roughly detailed it. This does not account for the several days that I’ve been away from writing.

I wasn’t even away camping with the horses and out of WiFi range. I’ve been home the entire time. I guess I just ran out of things to say and I gave myself an exercise in discipline not to write. You see, I didn’t sleep well unless there is something ready for the auto-post at 4am every morning. I was neurotic about having content every day. I’m over it. Now if I have it I’ll put it out and if I don’t I won’t. I started sleeping better when I quit worrying.

One funny thing about being gone, I went over to look at my stats for the last week. More individual visitors stopped by this blog while I wasn’t posting.

I have a weeks worth of stuff to post and after that who knows.

While I have you here I have a homework assignment for you. Please read this post from my archives. It will be relevant later this week when I post other never before posted skits I've written in the past.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Will Return on Monday

Friday, September 10, 2010

Avast It Already

Remember how this blog was key in reviving the word “Keen!” a couple years ago? I actually heard people using the work “Keen” for about a month after that post. After the post yesterday I’d now like to revive the word “Avast.” So anytime you want someone to stop, pause or hold on tell them “Avast!”

I know you’ll feel like a total douche the first time you do it but you’ll see; it will catch on. Someone will probably even (eventually) remake the Sam and Dave song to Avast, I’ Coming …

If you are on the phone, avast someone rather than putting them on hold. Tell people you are going to avast at the store on the way home. There are so many opportunities to use the word avast every day. You’ll see, it becomes easier and easier.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


I'm still plugging away at Moby-Dick and I'm up to chapter 85. I will probably have a weeks worth of post when I'm finished, but for now I'm fascinated with the language used in the book that is no longer used today. One word in particular, "Avast." It keeps popping up during the voyage. Since it's a word I rarely have ever heard until the I started using Avast virus protection on my computers I figured I'd look it up to get the real meaning because the word is used so freely in the book it could mean anything.

Avast means to hold in place or stop and the entomology probably comes from the Dutch phrase "houd vast" which means hold fast.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Is There An Economic Reality?

Being September one can smell hints of autumn in the air. Also the air is scented with the up-coming political season. I always find it funny how people think it is scandalous when a politician can not answer a simple questions such as "What is the price of milk?" I do most of the shopping at our house and I couldn't tell you the price of most of the things I purchase. So in the political scene candidates are sharpening their skills all over the country today memorizing the price of milk.

I do find it charming when some people haven't a clue about the price of things. I was standing around a camp fire last night talking with a fellow that is probably 15 years my senior. We were talking about hair cuts. I just got one last week and he confirmed he has been cutting his own hair since he got out of the service in the 60s. He said to me something like, "I'd bet a person has to pay $5 to get a hair cut these days." He was somewhat shocked when I told him that a $10 cut could still be found around here, but $12 is more the norm.

Funnier still are people reading this who live in bigger cities where I imagine one will pay $15 to $30 for a cut. I guess everyone is out of touch with the reality of others.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


I wrote a few months ago about what a pain it is to change the oil in both my truck and in my wife's car and that I was going to invest in a device where you place a hose down the dip stick shaft and pump the oil out.

Yesterday I borrowed my brother's pump to see if it would work on our vehicles. It worked great on my wife's Subaru, but I couldn't get it to work on my truck. The problem is that I still needed to partially remove her skid plate to access the oil filter on the Subaru.

It is disappointing that I'll still have to crawl under both vehicles every couple months, but not so disappointing that I'll pay to have it done.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Day Off

Yep, finally nothing to say.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

None of Your Bees Wax, Part II

Continuing with yesterdays topic, when I have a bucket of miscellaneous bits of wax I place them in a solar wax melter I built. It is a box with a small double pane window. On the top section I have a 9-inch square baking pan with a hole to train the melted wax on one side. The melted wax drips out of that pan into a bread pan. I place the solar wax melter at an angle to collect the maximum amount of the suns rays. After one batch melts I'll add more wax through out the day.

After the sun goes down the wax solidifies into an ingot that I remove from the pan. This wax is pretty pure, but it still has some impurities in it that need to be further refined by placing the ingots in a pair of nylons and reheating in a double boiler. Once refined again I pour the wax into forms that produce one-ounce ingots. This measured amount makes it easy to add the proper amount of wax into formulas that I use to make creams and balms.

Many people produce candles and I'm sure I have enough wax on hand to produce at least a hundred of them, but I use my wax sparingly because it is a rather precious commodity.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

None of Your Bees Wax

Honey bees are insects that use every inch of space provided to them. They like just enough space to maneuver and they fill any additional space with wax comb to store nectar, pollen or brood. When ever I inspect my colonies I bring a small bucket to hold all the extra wax I cut away.

Wax is a lipid substance that the bees produce in small clear flakes that exits their bodies in the joining plates in their abdomen. They then chew the flakes and their saliva turns the wax white. Then they place it to build their desired structures. Honey bees have to eat 8 pounds of honey to produce one pound of wax.

Tomorrow I'll write about my rendering process.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Compost Happens

We used to have a large garden that that required a lot of compost. I had a four-bin system in which I rotated the compost in various stages. When we got horses we converted most of the garden space to something the horses could use and the photo above is the shed I built to compost the horse manure.

Since then new gardens are springing up around here, so we started to compost on a smaller scale. We got a 55 gallon drum with an latch-able top, drilled holes in it for ventilation and carved in a door that opens to put things in it. I built a stand with casters so the barrel can be rolled in place to stir it all up. However this system is difficult to maintain when you have too much or too little material to compost.

We got a tip that Ocean Spray on the Long Beach Peninsula is rotating out some old cranberry boxes. They have stacks of them they are giving away. The sides are attached to one another by stapled in straps and they fold flat for transport. You can get about ten boxes on a pick-up truck.

Simply open the boxes up and you have instant compost bins. We are going to cut out the front panels to make it easier to move the contents from one bin to the next.

Now all I need to do is place some sort of hinged cover on them to control the moisture intake from the rain.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Another Reason Many Men Are Idiots

This title is a little misleading because I know a great many women who are idiots as well, or at least well on their way to becoming one.

What I'm talking about here is that I get to see a lot of people riding horses. I am one of the few males. Most riders I see in groups are women with probably 1 male for every 25 women. I'd say 95% of women wear helmets when they ride, but I am the only man I ever see wearing one. Sure helmets look dorky, but head injuries look even dorkier. Come on guys, are you that stupid?

I've fallen from a horse three times in the last ten years, once on sand, once in the ocean and once in a swamp. All there times I was on well trained dead broke horses, but I wasn't paying attention and ended up flying through the air. Had the surfaces I landed on not been soft I could have had serious injuries. A log, rock or even pavement could have done me in.

Sure, I was in macho mode for years but at the same time I've seen so many people suffer injuries. I realized that I wear a helmet when I ride my bicycle and when I ride my horse I often going at faster than I go on a bike and I'm higher up. A fall could easily render me brain damaged.

It's funny, but I get a good feeling when I see kids wearing helmets while riding their bikes. At the same time I want to shout at the kids that aren't wearing them. Having had a relative in a rehabilitation hospital where most patients were recovering from brain injuries; I've seen how little it takes to injure ones brain and have a life altered forever.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Where Are the Boats?

While in Hammond the other day I noticed how many boats were coming and going. It seemed that every other vehicle was towing a boat. Then on my drive home I noticed how many boats people had parked in their yards and driveways.

OK, here is the strange thing when you put it all together. With all the water we have here and with all the boats I see in the area there are no boat dealerships in our county. Sure, you can get buy an outboard motor at John Deere. You can get your propeller repaired in Warrenton, but you can't purchase a new boat other than a kayak.

I've been to lakes where there were marinas with boat sales. You can even buy a boat on the TV Highway in Beaverton with no water in sight for 30 miles. How come there are no boat dealers here? If this community can support three new car dealerships it should be able to support a business that sells fishing boats.