Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Act of Contrition

Contrition is a word that will perk up Catholic ears when ever it is mentioned. It’s probably because we all had to learn the prayer “Act of Contrition” by heart. There were other Acts, Faith, Hope and Charity, but we never had to learn them. The Act of Contrition was special to our oppressors.

Contrition is defined as a sincere remorse for wrongdoing; repentance. The prayer was: "O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven, and the pains of Hell; but most of all because I love Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen."

With this said you non Catholics may have a better idea why those that grew up in the faith are so fucked up. Instilling that sort of hell fire guilt in children that are too young to even know what a sin is is simply unconscionable.

I have to admit that I have learned to keep my mouth shut on a lot of topics over the years. I don’t speak much these days. Rather than offer my opinion when asked I often just shrug my shoulders as though I don’t have an opinion, or put a stupid look on my face as though I have no understanding what so ever. I understand contrition and remember it as a terrible feeling.

You can also see contrition coming over people when they step back and realize what they have done or said. I’m sure judges in the justice system see it all the time and know when it is sincere. I know someone that recently flamed a family member via email. She knew shortly after she pulled the trigger it was a mistake. I can really empathize because I know the feeling of not being able to take something back.

For those of you that are going through your own little contrition, I feel for you. There should be a Matron or a Patron Saint for you, but until there is a martyr assigned to your cause I will gladly empathize with your burden. Signed, St. Guy of Astoria-Rust.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Time For Term Limits at KMUN

I recently had a KMUN programmer ask me if I have been listening to KMUN and I told him that I can’t listen to that station any more. He asked why and I told him it was because of all the constant on-air editorializing by many of the programmers.

I mentioned this to my wife and she told me she stopped listening to KMUN as well and instead listens to the OPB station in Portland. I mentioned that I listen to college radio stations through iTunes and that I’m hearing new stuff every day.

We discussed KMUN further and came to agree that their programmers are stuck. They play the same crap over and over. Most programmers there are older than us and they don’t seem to be able to go out of their comfort zone and play something new.

I do think that Liam, Cynthia, Dave, Susie and Krist to go out on a limb, but their air shifts are few and far between. There is one programmer that seems only able to play Greg Brown and Van Morrison. Another has a depressing attachment to Klezmer music, and do they really need to have a weekly Country Swing show that never plays any Country Swing music? How many people are really all that interested in Swedish accordion music? And that nostalgic old rock show of music that wasn’t all that interesting when it first came out forty years ago, Ho Boy!

KMUN, it’s time to shake things up. It’s like having parents that were hung up on Lawrence Welk. You couldn’t get them to play or listen to anything else. KMUN, your programmers have become our parents. They are stuck in the 60s. Please encourage people in their 20s to become programmers to take over and keep it fresh. And please tell your programmers to keep their damn opinions to themselves while they are on the air. If they want to fart out opinions give them a call in opinion show at two in the morning.

For me, until this station gets more interesting I’ll be tuned into WNYU, WCDB, WRVU and WVTC via iTunes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Phone Wars

You know how so many things are cause and effect related like how it will rain when you wash your car. I have one that gets me every time.

First, let me state that I don’t like telephones. I don’t like to talk on the phone. It is rare that I ever get phone calls. The only calls I get are from the lumber yard telling me my order is in or from former students wanting some advice. On the other hand, my wife hates talking on the phone, too, but she gets probably 20 calls before I ever get one.

Back to cause and effect, I can guarantee that if I go down for a nap the phone will ring the moment I enter REM sleep. These calls are never for me. They are usually survey calls, political ads or wrong numbers. I need to turn off the ringers if only I could remember to turn them back on.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Eagle Has Landed

We took the horses out for a trail ride today. We wanted to see the true trail capabilities of the new horse. He was a little shy of going through water, but he followed my horse; who will go through just about anything. By the end of the ride both horses waded through several pools of water deep enough that we had to lift the stirrups to prevent our feet from getting wet.

One highlight was when we finally got to the beach. We access the beach at the same location that cars access the beach. Here we have the ocean, the beach, the dunes and then the woods. There are large wooden poles in the dunes that mark the auto beach access. They don’t want people making their own trails through the dunes so they have marked areas for access.

It was atop one of these poles where we came upon a bald eagle. We see bald eagles around here all the time, but this was the closes I have ever come to one. It was close enough to see its eye color. It wasn’t concerned with us being there. We rode on the beach for a while and came back along the same path and the eagle was still there a half hour later.

It was a good day, but it was the kind of day that would have been good and remarkable no matter what I had done.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Another Change

Though I’ve only been here for 22 years now I’ve seen a lot of changes. There is a lot of trial and error in doing business in a new community. In the last 22 years I have switched banks three times. I don’t know why, but I guess it was a sound decision at the time. I have switched pharmacies three times. One always messed things up and the other had inconvenient hours. I’ve switched my grocery buying four or five times. Some of the markets are no longer here, and another I just don’t like. I’ve switched mechanics four times, one shop seemed totally inept; another closed down another is always booked out months in advance. There are restaurants I no longer ever visit because of disappointment compiled over many visits.

Every where I do business I like to give the establishment or the service the benefit of the doubt. If something is messed up they get two more chances for my business. However some are wrong right out of the box. Once while trying to hire someone to do some logging work for us, the fellow that came to give us an estimate insulted my wife’s horse. That was the last for him and he missed the opportunity to earn tens of thousands of dollars for a six week job.

We recently severed our relationship with a Farrier that we’ve been using for close to ten years now. He was good. His work was great compared to other shoer/trimmers out there. He was able to work with difficult horses and he never injured one of our horses. His vast experience gave him an eye things other farriers missed. Sure he had some quirks about showing up on the scheduled day that was set two months in advance, but I could work around that usually. Only once did I have to call his competition because I simply couldn’t get in touch with him before a camping trip. Though disappointed, we usually we able to bend for his scheduling difficulties.

Finally we were brokering a deal with him in a matter unrelated to shoeing or trimming and when we were down to the wire he was no where to be found. All his promises floated away. We couldn’t reach him by phone and he didn’t reply to our voicemails. Rather than getting in touch with us and telling us that he was unable to live up to the terms he presented us, he chose to ignore us. Ten years of his fine work; ten years of my checks always being good; ten years of conversations and advice and ten years of gifts from us all water under the bridge.

Today we move on to a new farrier. He’s a young fellow with only a couple years of work under his belt, but I’m hopeful he’s the farrier we’ll use until we are too old to have horses.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Mill

Yesterdays post about rust reminded me that I am indirectly a product of steel. My father worked in a steel mill. He also had a business in town where he worked during the day, but every night at 5pm he’d head of to his job at the mill. Though his business supplemented his income and provided him with luxuries that were business expenses, it was the mill was what put the food on the table; the roof over our heads, and the fillings in my teeth.

In our town nearly everyone could see the mill and we could smell the mill. To this day I am fond of the smell of burning coke and I always visit a traditional blacksmith demo any time I see one at a fair or an expo just for a sniff of my past.

The funny thing about the mill back then was the lack of OSHA regulations. I remember being out late as a teen and before going home I’d drive to the mill to visit my father at work. The guard at the gate knew my car and always let me in. I’d park where the evening shift parked. There would be fewer than fifteen cars parked there; most people walked to work.

I’d first look for my father in his office and if he wasn’t there I’d wander out to the floor of the mill. The mill was probably a third of a mile long, and there were usually two areas of activity where I could find him. There was always a crew by the cupola pouring molten metal into forms. On the North end there was the shakers and the 100 ton crane. I actually scaled the ladder to that crane and operated it under the guidance of the operator. I actually lifted a 50 ton casting from the shaker and hauled it down and placed it on a railroad car. OSHA would have closed the plant down had they been in existence at that time.

No one ever wore hard hats in the mill. They wore pork-pie hats or toques just to keep the dust out of their hair. There was no ear protection or respirators. The air was thick with smoke and dust. One could almost see the opposite end of the plant on a good day. I was able to roam the shop freely in my sneakers. Times were so different back then. It’s funny to think that one day these will be the good old days of freedom to the present generation that will say, ”we got away with murder back in 2010.” Or so they will think.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


With the name Astoria-Rust, you might think that I’d write about rust once in a while, but frankly I’m not all that interested in rust. My horse trailer is getting rusty and I plan on doing some body work on it in the up-coming weeks. I have some tools that have a patina of rust on them just from the moisture in the air.

Cars don’t seem to rust like they used to. Back on the East coast the roads were salted in the winter. It was crazy to buy a car without an under-coat. I’ve seen cars reduced to a rusty heap in two winters back there. I wonder if they are just using better alloys now or if it’s the lack of rock salt on our roads that saves our cars here.

One rusty image I have in mind is railroad tracks. The house I grew up in was close to a railroad. This rail bed had four sets of tracks; and north and a south commuter track and a north and a south freight track. I walked over these tracks every day on my way to school. The steel that was used for these tracks would rust even if there was a hint of rain. If there was a passing shower where only a few drops of rain fell upon the tracks one could see the water droplets rust the rails where they hit like leopard spots.

The tracks were never rusty for long. All it took was one train going down the line and the tracks that were ridden on were buffed to be as shinny as a new pocket watch. One would think that there would be piles of rust dust beside the tracks, but the fine power was whisked away with the breeze.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Sip

I love watching animals drink. There is a special feeling that all is well when lean over and touch their lips or tongue to water. It’s not just horses drinking, but cats, birds, chickens and even honey bees. Dogs are totally disgusting drinkers, especially when they drink from a toilet, but I do sympathize with their thirst and their act of quenching a need for hydration.

I think that people over-hydrate themselves. Some doctor proclaimed that people should drink 64 ounces a day and people often try to meet or exceed that standard, however I think they become addicted to the act of drinking, unnecessarily. A rule of thumb is drink more if you sweat. If your urine is dark in color you aren’t drinking enough.

Back to the animals; they seem to know much and when to drink. You’ve probably heard the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. It is so good to see a horse take a deep drought. I have a friend that has murky well water, and new arrivals sometimes will not drink for days.

Many city park have fountains that were created to water the horses back in the old days. There was a spot in the river back in my home town that was known as "Horse Drinks" where teamsters would take their horses to drink on their way through town. There was enough room to turn a cart around in the stream.

My horses get to drink rain water and they love it. We recently brought a new horse home. After riding in the trailer for an hour and a half, we brought him out and let him eat some lawn grass. When we put him in his corral he went right over to the water trough. First he sniffed it and then took one sip as a wine taster might evaluate the first sip. It was to his liking so he tucked in and slurped up a gallon or so of the water we have on tap.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Writing Magic

I did a post on Sunday about the rock opera Passing Strange and I’ve been listening to the soundtrack non stop for at least a week now. I commented on how intelligent many of the lyrics are in this show. Here are a few examples of the phrases that caught my attention.

In the opening of the opera there is a part about going to Baptist church where Stew sings the phrases:

And he saw the jet black deacons with the “don’t you do that” frowns,
And a collection of verbs disguised as nouns.

Later in the play he arrives in Amsterdam to the shock that hashish is on the menu. The locals describe life in Amsterdam to him with the poetic verses:

The enlightened aren’t frightened; we let our spirits roam,
And we’re the freedom experts so don’t try this at home.
You can trip all day till your mind just melts, it makes Berkley look like the bible belt.

Eventually he lands in Berlin and he describes the city as:

Berlin, a black hole with taxis and a forest of sharp corners.

Finally a nice little lyric is tucked into one of the songs:
…Then you told me my pain entertains.

Sometimes I find the imagery fascinating. Some song writers are the best writers out there. I’m finding gems in Stew’s other work with his group, The Negro Problem. I hope you can check them out.

Monday, March 22, 2010


OK, I’m giving GPS another chance. I got one for the truck and it’s been pretty useful, but at the same time I’m surprised how inaccurate it can be.

The first day I got it we had to deliver a horse we sold to the new owner in Clatskanie. For those of you that don’t realize, Clatskanie is like Astoria; it’s everywhere. Think of it, Astoria is Most of the Lewis and Clark Valley, Youngs River Valley, all of the city and then out to Westport. Clatskanie goes all the way from Westport to Vernonia and over to Longview, so there is a lot of opportunity to get lost.

Thankfully the GPS maiden voyage in the dark took us to the exact address. Had I just used directions I probably would have been lost due to missing road signs. Oddly there was a problem on the way home. It did navigate us on the exact route to get back home, but the GPS coordinates puts my home address two houses to the North. It’s off by 500 feet. It also doesn’t recognize the names of a lot of roads.

Another funny thing is when you go past where it tells you to turn. It has a snotty voice that comes up to tell you that you blew it and it is recalculating your route. The voice was so snotty I changed it to a voice with an Aussie accent. This voice was even snottier than the American accented voice. I now have it set on the British accent which for now seems much more civilized.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Passing Strange

I know I’ve recently asked that you all listen to Owen Pallett which has some very theatrical overtones and once again I have to suggest something from the theater community. Trust me, under normal circumstances musical theater turns my stomach, but every once in a while something like Zappa’s Thing Fish comes along. Today we are not talking about Thing Fish, but talking about Passing Strange.

Passing Strange is a Rock Musical about a musician from California who goes to Europe to play his music and get an education in life. If you are at all familiar with Zappa’s Joe’s Garage, you may see some similarities, however this Rock Opera stands well on its own.

Composed and performed by a fellow that goes by the only name, “Stew” and a person he calls his partner Heidi Rodewald, have been working together in their band, “The Negro Problem.” Their music is great rock and great theater. It's harmonically pretty complex, complicated and sophisticated. Some melodies are haunting. The lyrics complex and intelligently written phrases that are thought provoking in structure and content.

This play was shown on PBS in its entirety and fortunately you should be able to find the two disk set at Netflicks. There is also a soundtrack, which I’ve been listening to all week.

This performance was captured on film by Spike Lee, though if you see any of the promotional material you’d think Lee, wrote, starred in the feature, but this is not so. All credit should go to Stew and Heidi and the incredible actors.

Here is the trailer. Passing Strange

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Local Agriculture

While reading the Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan I came to realize how inexpensive our food really is and how underpaid farmers are. I’m sure no one ever wants to spend more or spend unreasonably for the food they get because the Walmart culture has lowered the bar and raised the expectation of consumers that it all should be nearly free. Too bad the Walmart mind-set hasn’t swept through the insurance industry.

Pollan spent some time on a farm that was an omni-culture farm that has several lines of agriculture going on at once as opposed to a mono-culture farm that just raises or grows one product. When Pollan saw the expense and work that was involved in the egg producing portion of the farm he proclaimed that the price of $1.00 and egg sounded reasonable to him.

I am in the egg business, but I’m not big enough to do it as more than a hobby. I’ve had people sample the eggs we produce and one would like to buy 15 dozen a week and another could use 50 dozen. Right now We are getting 10 to 11 dozen a week. The problem with going commercial rather than hobby is that we would need to get many more chickens, build a larger facility and become licensed, which has even more complications and expenses. We would have to weigh, candle and rate each egg. We would need a processing facility with hot and cold running water; not the kitchen. We would need a building that can be maintained at 45F degrees . The added expense would probably never see a break even point in my life time.

Right now we are selling eggs for around 33 cents each and at this point we are breaking even on the feed, but we have a long way to go to pay for the Super Max. Our customers know the quality. It is very obvious when one sees the color of the yolks and how firmly the eggs stand in the pan. Sure you can get those white eggs from the supermarket for about 10 cents each, but this is truly a case where you get what you pay for. Please support local agriculture.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dave's Killer Bread

I’ve always loved bread. I love the smell, the taste and the texture of it. Growing up on the east coast I recall often having a buttered hard roll for breakfast. I have yet to find a bread here on the west coast that compares to the east coast hard roll. Though I’m sure that the homogenization process that has swept over the entire country, making everything the same from coast to coast has turned the east coast bread as bland as what they’ve been eating out here for years.

I know I should be buying all my bread from the Blue Scorcher which is the only game in town for really good artisan breads, but I don’t get down town as often as I’d like. I am always on the quest for good bread with nuts and seeds in it. Even when in the grocery store I’ve been fooled by commercially produced seed breads only to find the seeds on the crust and not in the bread itself.

I recently saw a spot on the news about Portland bakery, Dave’s Killer Breads. Dave was a meth head and spent several years in jail. He one day decided his life was going nowhere so joined the family business his father started. He developed his own recipes and used all natural and organic (or so he thinks) ingredients. I picked up couple loaves of his “Good Seed” bread and I was pleasantly delighted. The bread was a bit sweeter than I like a bread to be, but it had an excellent body and as far as seeds go it was like visiting a bird feeder. By the way, I found this bread at Costco.

If you want to know more about Dave and his Killer Breads you can got to

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Year to Remember

I recently heard someone use the term B.C. and I realized that is now an archaic term. B.C. in most historic circles refers to the time Before Christ. The reason this is archaic is that not all faiths or lack of faiths on earth recognize the Christ time as significant. So now it is proper to use the term B.C.E. or Before Common Era. A.D. standing for Anno Domini, “The year of the Lord” is archaic and replaced C.E., ”Common Era”, which is the scientific preferred use unless the years deemed as BC and AD directly relate to Jesus. Some incorrectly think A.D. means “After Death” of Christ, which puts them at odds with the rest of the calendar by 33 years.

If this doesn’t spur some confusion, consider the use of a year descriptor A.U.C. or A.U. which comes from Ab Urbe Condita which is Latin for the founding of the city of Rome, which was roughly 753 B.C.E.

If that isn’t enough there is always the Mayan Calendar which runs from 11 August, 3114 B.C.E. to the year 2012 C.E.
However, according to "accepted history" the first clearly “Maya” settlements were established in approximately 1800 B.C.E. of the Pacific Coast and were totally replaced by the Spanish in 1697 C.E.

2010 is Year 4707 in the Chinese Calendar. 2010 is also year 5570 in the Jewish calendar which makes me wonder what the Jews were eating for the first 863. I can just hear the entire culture shout “mazal tov “when the first Chinese restaurant opened on the East Side.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Whole Frauds

As many of you long time readers here know I am very suspicious of the entire organic industry and the agriculturalist that bend the rules so their products can be labeled “Organic.” The largest organic milk producer in the United States makes the organic claim because they feed their cows organically produced food and grain, however these cows never see a pasture. They are locked up like veal and fed.

I’ve had my bouts with the Oregon certifying agency, Oregon Tilth, causing them to change many of their regulations. However their underling silliness is still deeply rooted the fantasy world of KumBiaYa singing tea drinkers.

I was delighted to come upon this video that was presented on Tango’s Facebook page. Tango has been on a rant lately which reminds me of my own rages against factory farms and Monsanto a couple of years ago here on this blog.

Please watch this video on Whole Foods, or as some people call it, “Whole Paycheck” and what they are selling as “Organic.”

Whole Foods Organic

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

TV History Part 3

Other moments of historic TV were related to NASA. As kids in school all classes would stop so we could watch each and every launch. It was a big deal back then. I remember Apollo VIII on Christmas Eve 1968. Though I was watching the Moon orbit in my bedroom on a 12 inch black and white TV, I somehow remember the event in vivid color. After that there was Apollo XI the first Moon landing. The shuttle flights were unique for a time but no one will ever forget what we saw when Columbia and Challenger disintegrate before our eyes.

The 1st Gulf War had some people watching constantly. This was the first time a war was televised. We watched Wolf Blitzer and Bernie Shaw give us play by play updates on CNN as we watched endless streams of tracers going skyward in an attempt to shoot down the stealth bombers.

Finally the last noteworthy television images were of the Twin Towers at the World Trade center. These were powerful images still fresh in everyone’s mind. This may be the first memorable TV image for many people that are too young to have witnessed the other things I’ve written about over the last few days. I’m sure that there will be more classic historical events to view in their and my remaining lifetimes.

Now that most people carry devices with them that can record movie footage of events there is a good chance that history will rarely escape documentation. We each now have the potential of being the next Zapruder. Are you ready?

Monday, March 15, 2010

TV History Part 2

Another historical event in history the world got to witness was the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the aftermath. I remember clearly being in school, Catholic School, third grade. It was a Friday in November, 1963. Suddenly the face of the Mother Superior appeared in window of the door to the class room. She tapped her Jesus wedding ring on the glass. When ever this happened the Nun that was teaching us hurried to the door. Mother Superior was never a frivolous ring rapper. It was only at times of major importance when she called for the attention of our Nun.

I heard her brief instructions which were, “Turn on the TV.” The channel was of no importance they all were covering the assassination. That coverage in school wasn’t as memorable as the moment itself. More memorable to me was the event two days later. I was playing with a friend and her mother had the TV on and the mother came into the room and told us to watch the important event coming up live. It was then I witnessed on live TV Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. It was the first of very few live televised Deaths I’ve seen.

This was another historic television event I will never forget.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

TV History Part 1

Most of us think of television as a somewhat necessary evil. Like junk food sometimes it tastes good but it is bad for us. I was thinking about the several historic events that I’ve seen on television in my life time that I would have had no way of seeing had it not been for the blue flame.

My first memory of its importance was one Sunday evening when I was playing in my bedroom as a child. My parents called me and told me to come down stairs and watch something that I’d never forget. I couldn’t imagine what was so important. On our black and white console set stood Ed Sullivan introducing the Beatles. To this day I have no idea how my parents knew this was an important moment in history. They certainly weren’t big music fans and they certainly didn’t like the Beatles.

I sat cross legged on the floor and took it all in. I can honestly say that my mind was opened to something new that stayed with me to this day. This event was later cursed by those with conservative values. Some cursed Sullivan for bringing the Beatles and their Ilk to the United States. Their influence changed everything and that was one genie that would never go back into the bottle.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Safe At Home

My chickens just caught a break on Monday. Normally they get let out to free range all day, but a combination of us being busy and the weather being stormy, we left them cooped up all day in the Super Max coop and run. The break they caught was there was a new dog running loose. It was trying it’s hardest to get in the chicken yard which got all the chickens pretty upset. When the dog saw me it scurried away.

At around 8pm a car drove up into my driveway. I didn’t recognize the car or the man getting out of it. As it turned out he was a very apologetic new neighbor. Somehow it was his dog that got out and roamed the neighborhood all day and killed some other neighbors’ chickens. This new neighbor was just making sure he covered all the bases in damage control. We gave him a dozen eggs to thank him for his concerns and for being a good neighbor.

It was nice to see a neighbor being proactive. The last time this happened with another neighbor dog, I had to approach the owner and that dog was bringing the chickens home.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bad Canadians

I want all you Canadians to go out to the tree and cut a switch and meet me in the wood shed. Did you honestly think you were going to keep Owen Pallett from us for ever? Don’t play dumb up there and don’t go running for the doughnut shop either. I’m telling and you can’t stop me.

A Canadian composer, violinist, keyboardist came to my attention this week. His name is Owen Pallet. He’s from Toronto and his music is best described as a combination of Kurt Weill and Rufus Wainwright. His genre is called Baroque Pop or Indy. I'm not big on theatrical music, but this stuff goes far beyond theater music with it's minimalist over-tones. This stuff is totally interesting.

In the video clip you will see him building audio tracks in a performance. It just gets more and more interesting. You may want to check out his other videos on Youtube, or just go on the internet and find his album Heartland. It is a very unique collection and nothing like any music you’ve heard before.

Click here to see an Owen Pallett video.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thanks Mo3

While I didn’t have a worthwhile idea to write about on Monday, with no intention of disrespecting Jaysus whose link I ran instead of a post; long time friend and blogger, Mother of Three sent me a list of things she’d like to see me write about.

Rather than spending a day writing about each, I’m going to write about all these topics all at once because they are all related and some I doubt I’ll have much to say about So here are Mo3 ideas:

1. "The frustration of writer's block and How to break writer's block " Being I am rarely on a paid deadline to produce anything I don’t really care about writers block. If I feel like I need to express myself when I don’t have ideas I’ll do something I’ve never done before and the unique experience will always bring on the words.

2. "Things I hate about other drivers" Ahh, you aren’t going to get me to say anything nasty about Auntie…

3. “Things I hate about other blogs" I avoid blogs I don’t like. Some of them are probably excellent blogs, but they just don’t strike me as something I’m interest in for one reason or another.

4. "Top 10 blog mistakes" For me, the one with a short attention span, I feel that long posts without illustration are very boring. Blogs that are so inside don’t interest me either. I also like blogs that post regularly, be it daily, weekly, monthly, or even seasonally.

5. "Worst things about getting old" Hurting in the places where I used to play. Really, just not having the energy I once had. I used to be able to do physical work for 12 to 16 hours a day. Now I have late starts, after 10. Then I have a nap around one, then I have lunch and I’m lucky if I get out again by 3 and I try to have it all over by 5:00pm

6. "Best things about getting old" Somehow I feel like I get more respect, like my white hair qualifies me as someone with expertise or something. I still feel I’m the same douche I’ve always been, I just look more respectable.

7. "Things I've learned about bloggers just by reading their blogs" There are people that shine from their writing. I’ve made a lot of friends, be it sometimes virtual friends. I’ve had people open up to me as I’ve opened to them. I’ve also lost friends because of my opinions. The blogs I read regularly these days and look forward to their every post is Beth’s, Darev’s, Donna’s, Syd’s and, Tango’s. There are others that don’t post quite so often that I enjoy as well, Amy, Dalia, Mother of Three to name a few. There are people like myself that have been around for years, like Jaggy, g and Mel, Weese and we still read one another , at least I know I’m reading their stuff. I’ve got to meet other blog friends, Lori Hahn and Trop. I love them dearly and read their every word. I have to say I do get upset when people shut their blogs down like Auntie and Heather. And I’m upset when people with a lot of humor to offer like Moose have no intention of ever blogging.

I guess if I have learned anything from the blogs I read is who is of good stable mental health and who is delusional. With Rust I see I am often both, but I’m not confessing to anything.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Ain't Dead Yet

OK, calm the frig down. I just didn’t have an idea for a post yesterday. Between that and being too lazy to look through my tickler file of things I want to write about; I took an easy way out.

I am not closing down Rust any time soon, and if I were it wouldn’t be with a whimper of a pathetic post. There would be a count-down to the final day and there would be a party at the end. I’d even invite the people I’ve pissed off over the years.

Leslie did a Facebook post about the demise of Rust yesterday and she got responses from Rust readers; many I have never met, heard from or knew were reading regularly.

I liken Rust to a dairy farm. One doesn’t get a day off on a dairy. The first milking of the day is when I log in during the morning to reply to the comments from the previous days post. The next milking is when I return later and post a story or two that will post automatically at 4:00am on what ever date I want it to run.

There have been times where I’ve had something like 30 posts ready to go and there have been other times where I put the finishing key strokes at 10pm on a piece that will up-load at 4am.

I was heartened to see all the positive feed back on Leslie’s post. Thanks everyone, but I'm here to stay.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


After 1,378 posts I've got nothing. You may want to visit another of my favorite blogs.Jaysus Says

Monday, March 08, 2010

Herd of One

Horses are herd animals. They don’t like being alone. Even if they don’t like and bully a pasture mate they get really upset if the pasture mate is ever removed or out of sight. It’s a lot like an abusive relationship. This is the case with most horses. They have a pecking order, too.

Though it is rare, some horses do bond positively with one another from time to time. I recall bringing a horse home that belonged to a woman that was the sister of the woman that sold us another horse earlier. These two horses hadn’t seen one another for five or six years, but when we put them together there was a love fest and they were never apart the entire time we had them both at our place. They were long lost friends that were reunited.

My horse is about to become an “only horse” again for the next week in preparation for the arrival of our new horse. He’s been through this before. We’ve had horses here on a trial basis. He bonds with them and when the horses go back he will call for then for the first day. He will be anxious for another day, but then he resigns to being an only horse again. Then when we bring in a new horse he gets all puffy to show this is his place and he is the king. The funny thing was that he was the low horse in the pecking order at the farm where I got him. Pairing any two horses is always a crap shoot. I wonder how it will all work out.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Pecking Order

Chickens don’t get upset unless some of their flock gets killed and they witness the act, but it isn’t long before they are on to something else. However if you add a new chicken they all have to work out a new pecking order. A new chicken starts out at the bottom, but can quickly move up through the ranks. One can easily see the pecking order by which chickens consistently their coop at night. There are those that must stay outside until the other chickens pick their roost inside.

Blue, the rooster, doesn't care where the hens are unless he is in the mood to mate, which is about every five minutes. He doesn't show any bond to any particular breed or any particular hen.

Other than the pecking order, some of the hens stick together with other hens of their breed. I find this most interesting because this group of chickens has all been together since the first day of their lives. They were all treated the same, yet they are often seen flocking with their own kind as though there were no underlying pecking order, but when it comes to food or the best place to settle for the night, there is competition. It's pretty interesting stuff.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Animal Attraction Part I

I find it interesting what happens when you add or subtract an animal from a group. Recently my father-in-law dropped his cat off for us to take care while he spent a couple weeks out of town. His cat is nice but very big and muscular; not fat. Our little female cat accepted him and ignored him right away, but our male cat scrapped with him immediately and does so again every time their paths cross. Sam, the guest cat could easily kick my male cat’s butt. He out weighs him in muscle mass easily by 25%. Sam is just letting my cat feel superior.

When Sam goes back home today the other cats will have no reaction. It will be like he was never there. Sam will probably be delighted to going home where his creature comforts and routines have been established. He will need to reconnect with the life he had before his stay with us.

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Concept of a Soul

I wonder who was the first to dream up the concept of the soul. I know that just about everything we have ever heard about Hell was made up by Dante so the soul must have come from some writer as well.

When I was growing up we were told that our souls were clear, but as we sinned our souls would become stained. There was the proverbial “black mark” on ones soul. Minor sins would be a blemish on the soul, but a major sin would be a black mark or a stain.

I always pictured a soul to look like a pair of lungs probably because of the internal movement as opposed to the occasional awareness one has of their heart. I mean you shouldn’t be aware of your liver or other internal organs, but the lungs feel alive like there is something inside you moving around like another entity; nearly foreign and living on its own. When people die their lungs stop moving and their soul leaves their body with the last exhalation.

I suppose some people see their soul as an exact see-through version of themselves that takes up the same space, but it makes me wonder why a soul would need a mouth or an anus. Souls shouldn’t have to eat. I mean it would be a sad joke if our eternal counterparts would be on the eternal journey of finding the best pizza in the universe. Worse yet if your soul ever found the best pizza, what would you do with the rest of eternity? Furthermore, where does a soul defecate?

This whole soul thing sounds hokey to me.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

For The Head

This is the time of year when I begin the lecture tour circuit. I’m glad that I will be doing fewer events this year that require over-night stays. I came to this conclusion while in a hotel for two days last weekend. It was a good hotel with all the bla-bla that comes with a good hotel, but one thing that never lives up to my expectations and that is the hotel pillows.

I know I could bring my own pillows, but I just feel douchy doing that and it’s just more stuff to bring. My personal preference is a firm pillow. I’d even be happy with a sack of flax seed. At home I use Tempurpedic memory foam pillows. They are the best. They are expensive but worth it.

Hotel pillows are too soft, where if one puts their head upon it your head sinks to the bottom and these two pillow wings go up the side and wrap around your head like some strange ear muff. It’s like sleeping on an underinflated balloon.

It seems that it’s hard to find a good pillow these days since it is rare to find a down pillow. It is said that too many people with allergies had problems with the down, but I grew up with down pillows and I miss them.

For now I’m glad that I will be returning home from my day lectures. There’s no place like home.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Better Horse

I’ve learned on several occasions that there are certain people to ask for advice and certain people not to ask. I felt bad when I saw someone seeking advice about a show horse from a trail rider last weekend. I find it rare that trail riders know much more than how to make their horses go forward, side to side and sometimes back up. They may know how to coax their horses to go over, around or through obstacles. They generally know how to feed and care for their animals, but that is where a lot of the understand stops.

Sure many of them have spent hours watching clinicians such as Clinton Anderson and Pat Pirelli on RFD-TV, yet most trail riders ride green broke horses. They may have good sweet natured horses that don’t panic under pressure, but they are still green broke and lack the knowledge and collection a well trained horse would have. A moderately well trained horse has three months of professional training which gives it a good foundation. More training than that is better.

We are in the process of buying a horse that has a two year history with a trainer. This horse is incredible to say the least. It is a push button horse that does what ever it is asked to do without question or pause. We cracked whips all around the horse and it never flinched. We saw the trainer use a lasso over the horses’ head, rope a water barrel and drag the barrel through the arena. It will be bomb proof on the trail which will make events much safer for the rider and for the other riders in the party. Like a well trained dog, a well trained horse knows better than to do goofy things that endanger everyone around it. That's the sort of horse I'd rather be around. Yes, this type of horse costs more, but it's worth the added expense.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Port Problems

With years of constant conflict, accusations of back room deals and wrong-doing; the Port of Astoria seems to be the biggest political pain in the ass we have.

County residents dump tons of money into this black hole with very little to show for it. There is always a carrot being held out just before our noses, but they port has yet to become self sufficient. Maybe it’s time we consider selling the Port’s assets and letting private industry have a stab at making some of the port functions profitable.

The only the thing the port seems to be doing right at this time is the cruise ships. These ships directly contribute a lot to the local economy of local merchants, or so I hear. I’d like to see some figures on that. However I don’t see any of the other port activities contributing to the financial well being of this community. It seems to me we’d all be better off closing it down, decommissioning the board and letting a private interest take over portions and add revenue to the community rather than constantly draining it. Am I the only person considering this?

Monday, March 01, 2010


Today I will share with you a different kind of a Sick Day post. I came upon this video after a comment here tried to guide us to a South African rap singer. Somehow I think it was a video reply to that rapper. It's funny, but sick so be forewarned.
Sick Day Movie