Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Because I Can

I’ve been through a lot of things, things I want to remember so I have been just jotting down the thoughts in three line poems. This is an attempt to synthesize the thoughts down to the smallest level that will still allow me to smell the woods, hear the birds, and feel the nip in the air. They aren’t Haiku because I don’t do the syllable count. There are several reasons for this, including the fact I am too lazy to count syllables every time I want to get a thought down. Because I just jot them down without any editing they tend to be a bit rough at times. The only rule is they have to bring the experience back to me in total.

I like sharing these –they are actually pieces of my life and since Blogs are supposed to be biographical in nature I suspect my memories qualify.

Old men sitting spitting
Quiet June morning
Talking price of wheat

Cactus Wren hopping through June litter
Unhappy I am there
Focused on food

Metal prong
Play tune on tender teeth
No cavities today

Sun is 110
Shade 111
Nowhere to hide

Three lines
Not haiku
Random sparks

Coals glow
Smell of spice
Ribs sizzle

Snow on outstretched fingers
Creaking in the wind
Sitting on a snag

Deer at gunpoint
Eating greens
Let the doe pass

Dakota winter
Waiting for turkeys
Chickadees play on my hat

Upside down Nuthatch
on winter wood
Looking for his dinner

Haunting howl
Beagle tracking
Far down the trail

Breeze stirs
Winter woods
My moustache is frozen

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Cook

Did a lot of cooking over the Memorial weekend, mostly grilling, of course. Here are some pictures of the food – note the unburned potatoes!

Raw potatoes covered in lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.

Cooked Soulvaki, Potatoes, and veggie skewer. All components of the meal use the same spices and flavorings. Potatoes came out unscathed.

Potatochip with image of the Virgin Mary (ok it kind of looked like Elvis if you rotated it a bit in the light). I was going to put it up on E-Bay, but my daughter ate it (the chip, not E-bay).

Monday, May 29, 2006

Don't Ever Forget

On a day that has become a chance for American commerce to offer you all sorts of savings on cars, sheets, furniture, and whatever other crap they have to peddle to people that have the day off, the true meaning has become submerged in the bullshit. Don’t ever forget them. The soldiers that are buried in some foreign place, the soldiers under the neat rows of white grave markers in your town, the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to a country that is so willing to forget them and the soldiers who have retired.

Say what you will about the politicians that have second guessed and sold the soldier out, the lies that people in charge of the government have used to employ the military, but never ever malign the soldier, the flag, and his or her sacrifice.

The photo is one I took while at Flanders. The picture is gray and colorless much as the Belgian day I took it but it some how seems fitting. Even the famed poppies were to sad to make an appearance it seems…

Happy Memorial Day to you all and please take a moment, just a moment and think of those who serve, have served, and those who have paid the ultimate price.

Home Again

There are as many definitions as to what a friend is as there are people who believe they know.  For me, that state of being called friendship was defined while at the Teacher’s picnic yesterday (a quick note:  I am not a teacher.  I am sure many of you will be relieved to know that the children are safe – well at least from me).  

My wife and I showed up to the host’s house and wandered into he back where the principal’s husband looked, smiled, and then handed me a pair of grill tongs – we were picking up right where we left off from the last time standing in front of a couple grills while we jawed about nothing in particular.  

The small gesture of extending me those tongs and the trust and confidence that went with them was one of the singular most heart warming things I have had happen to me in a good long time.    Maybe much ado about nothing to most, but it felt like being welcomed home and can’t beat that…  

Saturday, May 27, 2006

It's a Muntiny I Tell You!

Every night ‘Strella and I play a game, when she isn’t busy thieving mom’s blanket. When get up in the night for a bit, ‘Strella makes a bee line for my pillow. She knows she’ll get some attention from me when I get back and I suspect she thinks this is uproariously funny. Yukon refuses to play and just gives the impression he can’t believe someone is taking his picture in the middle of the night…

Friday, May 26, 2006

It Ain't the cookin' so much as the Eatin'

Food Quest 2006

Sick as it might sound I do love to cook. I really enjoy different kinds of dishes, particularly from other countries or parts of the US. Please post your favorite recipe, hopefully something unique to your area; I’ll post a couple of my favorites farther on down the road – fair’s fair…

I will try out the recipe and the one that is judged tastiest (I have an impartial Husky judging panel waiting in the wings) will be awarded honorable mention and a donation of $100 will be made to the local food bank in that person’s name.

All right, I admit it, I stole Seb’s idea about making the donation, but it was such a good idea I couldn’t resist.

Warning: if you submit a recipe for bakery I won’t be responsible for the results. In my attempts at baking the fire extinguisher has proven more useful than the oven.

Sand in My Boots

Desert night
Red streak
Don mask and gloves

Sirens wail
Scuds miss

Tent life
Smell of canvas
Clings to me still

Thursday, May 25, 2006

This Ain't Exactly a Round of Jeopardy!

Here’s one for all you quiz lovers, and apparently there are many of you from what I have seen on other Blogs. This quiz answers the unasked question - how stupid am I? It is an easy quiz, only one question and all you have to do is pick an answer, just one step up from “True or False"…

What do you do when you take time off from work?
a. Go out on the town
b. Run off to exotic places
c. Stay home and clean the F**king house
d. Sit on the couch watching American Idol and sniffing nail polish remover

If you answered a, bravo, you have half a brain in your noggin

If you answered b you are Einstein smart and please, for the love of whatever god you believe in, take me with you

If you answered c, you are a completed dumb F**k just like me. I recommend a good solid blow the head with the biggest hammer you can lay your hands on

If you answered D, lay off the TV and polish remover or you won’t have any brains left and wind up staying home cleaning the F**king house.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Homage to "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised", heard on the radio Monday morning

The Revolution was not televised
Nor Martinized or any way ized
Jerry Reubens wears a suit
The Revolution was not televised
Revised or super-sized
The cameras were all in Vietnam
The revolution was not televised
Scrutinized or homogenized
The Kent State dead are ashes in our mouths
The long hair is gone with the dreams and hopes
A slave to society
Demoted to third world status and stripped of morality, mortality, in certain finality
The revolution was not televised
Or sanitized or securitized
We sold our children out
The revolution was not televised
Prioritized or hermaphrodized
The barefoot girl in Calgary an ancient dream
The sounds of her recorder taps for an unfinished battle
Weed soaked minds in smoky trailer houses
Contemplate Chicago conventions
Lives wasted
Washington fat cats and running dogs
The revolution was not televised
Evangelized or whitenized
Haight-Ashbury is a ghetto of the mind
Timothy Leary’s dead
The revolution was not televised
demilitarized or sur-prised
Te revolution was not televised
The revolution was not televised
Neither white nor dark achieved freedom
The wealthy cut their hair and went back to work
The revolution was not televised
Ghosts of forgotten soldiers wander Brady street
Cold Black wall for the rest
The revolution was not televised
our young still die in rich man’s wars
The revolution was not televised
Hippies turn to mysticism
Sell tie dyed shirts by the side of the road
The revolution was not televised
Nor VHSitized or digitized
Its smoldering ember behind aged eyes
The revolution was not televised

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Don't Push the Button!!

I see more and more Blogs with buttons at the top that you can click to help a worthy cause. I think it is wonderful that Blogger’s support their favorite causes. I suspect there may be some unworthy causes too, so I came up with a few buttons of my own. Here are a few buttons you probably wouldn’t want to click:

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bite This!

It is unfortunate that there are those how have apparently spent too much time in Illinois and have become Cheesaphobes. Maligning string cheese, cheddar, swiss, and any other fine upstanding cheese you care to mention. Except the stinky runny nasty goat-shit the French pass off as cheese to the snooty goat shit cheese eaters. Feel free to disrespect that crap on the bottom of a hooker’s shoe cheese anytime you like.

Anyway, a certain FIB has been going on about eating too much cheese, hardly possible as far as I can see. Doctors are always telling you to drink your frikkin’ milk and cheese is made out of milk. Hell, dairy even has its own group, even on the new improved government food pyramid. As far as I am concerned anyone that tells me I eat too much cheese must be a retard.

Anyway I will continue to eat cheese ‘til the cows come home – to make me more frikkin’ cheese. Yeah, it’ll probably make my heart seize up one of these days, but if I can’t have cheese I don’t see much point in being around any way.

So don’t cheese me off and keep your runny damn snot-nose outta my dairy drawer you FIB lookin’ cheese hater!!

Not brought to you by the Dairy Council of Buttslamistan

Nazification of the Neighborhood

Our HOA meets tomorrow night to discuss, among other things, parking in the street. They have been very democratic by allowing a vote on their internet site; however, they have already hired a towing company to tow cars – sounds like a typical NAZI style done deal to me. Maybe they are practicing to be real honest to goodness backstabbing snake- licking inbred politicians.

It will be interesting to meet with these Fascist bastards face-to-face an congratulate them for outstanding bastardliness. It is wonderful that in this great country of ours that forces our version of democracy in the rest of the world allows little freedom in one’s home.

Sieg Heil,



Fall Night
Barns slide by
Lights glow yellow

Flanders in Summer
Crosses Sail
Seas of poppies

Life for what
Marking time
Sad narcosis

St Marks
Pigeons, pigeons
Bird-shit piazza

Wind freshens
The lake froths
Rain stipples the waters

Wife’s laughter
Reminds me
I seek her out

Cows in file
Indian style
Head to/from the barn

Daffy Duck Kisses Hitler
Didn’t even know
They were friends

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Backyard Wildlife Fun

Some pictures of backyard denizens taken while creamating some barley bread on the grill. The fire gods have to eat too, I suppose.

Brits wear bears

Brits wear bears
On their noggins
Polagriz endangered

Dedicated to our neighbors to the North and their right to kill, skin, and export polagriz.

Future Polagriz Noggin Warmer for Brit Troops

(I think the dude on the far left might be Nanuk, but that hasn't been confirmed)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

BoBo Chinese Restaurant

Exterior - don't forget to stop by Mabel's Wig Emporium when you are done eating!
Well, you didn't come for the ambiance, only the food...
You won’t need tux and tails for this place, but if you are after some good Chinese food at reasonable prices you can’t go wrong. I usually get the Pork Egg Fu young, but his time opted for BoBo Chicken and my wife had lunch with the general – General Tso that is. I have to admit the BoBo chicken wasn’t all that great. Most Chinese restaurants serve this dish under one guise or another, breaded pieces of chicken that has been fried. I have even had duck prepared this way. Chen Wok has the same dish served with a sauce. The General’s chicken came off much better. It was just about right on as far as sweetness and heat. The dish is very reminiscent of their Kung Pao - most excellent.
The Soup - as Charlie Bucket's mom said in In Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, "Nothing goes better with cabbage then more cabbage"
BoBo Chicken
General Tso's Chicken

The egg roll was cliché, and between that and the egg drop soup I had my adult weekly requirement of cabbage. None of the cabbage was wasted. The rice served with both dishes is a fried rice, it is quite good, butt he wonton was so hard I think you could have used it to cut glass. Despite this I can still recommend the restaurant as most of the dishes are well executed.

Fog Revisited

Fog is a cloud on the ground,
Save when it clouds man’s mind
It confuses the raging battle

The horn sounds on Michigan’s shores ripping the soul from body
Crushing the heart with sonorous vibration
The fog billows over the hushed waters,
Lapping of small waves against dirty sands

The fog hides ship killers
The mariner’s wife will cry tonight
Her sailor sleeps in Michigan’s icy depths

Fog is a cloud on the ground
Save when it clouds man’s mind

Friday, May 19, 2006

Just A Spoof

灼烧的手指折叠曲奇饼 (Burning Fingers Folding Cookies)

Thousands of years ago a Chinese philosopher shared little snippets of his genius with the world. It was these very same snippets, loosely translated and printed in red on tiny strips of paper that Yang Yin tucked into each fortune cookie that came off her press. Little did that philosopher realize his life’s work was being used to amuse round-eyes in some little Chinese chop seuy house. After dropping a cookie Yang Yin would laugh and remark “that is how the cookie crumbles", though secretly she wept as though each broken cookie was as the death of one of her children.

She worked in the tiny cookie bakery baking, folding, and tucking fortunes into cookies, then sealing them in plastic bags so some Occidental diner could leave a Chinese restaurant satisfied that he had just capped off his meal with an authentic Chinese desert. Little did he realize that like the chop seuy and the egg roll he had just eaten it was a lie and a sham, something Westerners came to believe the philosopher that wrote those little pearls would eat when he took time away from his philosophizing to nourish the body instead of the soul.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Why I am not a Plumber

My wife broke the kitchen faucet; at least she was the last one to see it alive and so began the career of Bob the Plumber. It’s like Bob the Builder, only with more cursing involved.

The space under the kitchen sink is not designed for an old, inflexible fat dude. I knew it was going to be a chore just wedging myself in the cabinet, but I had replaced this faucet once before and didn’t remember it being too bad. The Alzheimer’s Foundation says the memory is the first thing to go and they are right on in this case.

It took me several hours to remove the old faucet. The first hour was spent digging out the garage to the point where I could find the tools. It is hot here in Arizona and the garage is stifling, so before I could clean it I had to turnpower up the little A/C unit I had installed which requires a remote control. The batteries for the remote to the cooling unit were dead, of course. I replaced the batteries and began sifting through the debris looking for the necessary equipment. As I dug through various layers, I prayed no nasties had taken up residence in the pile. I finally found my basin wrench (if there was a god, and I am not saying there is, the basin wrench and the left turn arrow at the intersection would be his most significant gifts to humankind), a crescent wrench, and the clamp light.

The health professionals tell you never put anything larger then you elbow in your ear. It is a big laugh for them because of course it is impossible to put your elbow in your ear, or so I thought. As I twined my arm through the space by drainpipe avoiding the water filtration tank and the garbage disposal, I wound up slapping myself and then sure enough, my elbow became firmly lodged in my ear. That probably accounts for the sever cramp in my shoulder this morning. I was bending in directions humans, particularly old fat humans are not designed to bend. I had to cut one of the feed hoses in order to undo the fitting, but I figured there were feed hoses in the box with the new faucet. This was a big mistake on my part.

I finally horsed the old faucet out of the sink and prepared to install the new faucet. Now you probably saw this coming – there were no new feed hoses in the box with the new faucet. I should have known, working with computers as I do; when you buy a printer, the manufactures never provide the cable you need to lash it up to your PC. The plumbing fixture industry has apparently embraced that cost-cutting tactic whole-heartedly. That was another trip to Lowes.

That is pretty much where we leave the intrepid “Bob the Plumber”. Hopefully tonight will be his finest hour and water will once again run, but hopefully run where it is supposed to be running.

Next: Boating with Bob

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Been in here too many times

Raw wood floors
Planks stained with beer and whiskey
Particle board shows through the walls
Can is on the fritz
Waitress is older than Saul
Still proud of her sagging tits
Waits on the juke
Stale beer in the air
Drink from the bottle
Why should I care
The bar is mahogany
The stools rock and creak
Pitcher is only two bucks
That’s pretty hard to beat
No ladies in this bar
Just hard drinkin’ men
Most wanted with jailhouse tattoos
Have another shot
Nothing left to lose
Barkeep wipes the counter with her filthy rag
Light behind the bar flickers as it starts to fade
Dude on the end still wearing’ his shades
Dance floor’s chipped and worn
No one dances there anymore
This place isn’t about beginnings
Just middles and ends

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Up North

I had the good luck to be hired on at a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) camp near Minong, Wisconsin as a counselor. I may not have been the best choice to shepherd impressionable youth, but some of the boys were there to atone for various crimes against humanity. I guess the judge figured the hard work would help reform them. I even had one dad tell me to “make a man out of his son”. Not something you want to hear up in the North woods with nothing but dudes around.

I don’t know if any of the kids came away reformed, but Northern Wisconsin is a great place for personal reflection. The seemingly endless forest, the beautiful lakes, wild life, and general peace and quiet makes the area a must visit kind of place. I loved it. I had fun with the kids, worked with them and a forester on various forestry projects and enjoyed the outdoors.

Being in Forestry, I spent a lot of time in pine plantations. White or Red Pine was the preferred species, but they got a lot of volunteers including Jack Pine and Scrub Oak. It was our job to work our way through the tree farm and cut anything that wasn’t one of the preferred trees. Sometimes we had to thin the rows so the trees wouldn’t become stunted from the competition for space with their fellows. Truth be told I kind of hated cutting any trees out – just didn’t seem right, but these trees were destined to become either lumber, press board, or other tree products. We had poplar plantations as well, though I never worked one of those. The poplar was most likely going to fins its way to a paper mill.

Logging operations were interesting to watch, but they left quite a mess. It wasn’t all bad, deer loved the scarred logging areas – it made it easier to find food. Burned areas were popular too – I was told the deer liked to come in and lick the ash to pick up minerals they needed.

I hope that the next time you consider taking a break from all the hustle and bustle you might consider Northern Wisconsin. The vistas are gorgeous, Lake Superior is impressive, the Chequamegon Forest almost seems primeval, though thanks to the timber barons, very little if nay of the original forest remains. Clear cutting was the order of the day and led to disasters at places like Antigo and Peshtigo. Logging companies to day realize the necessity of replanting as they cut so there is lumber for future generations and perhaps more importantly, woods for the children – there is no better teacher than the forest.

I really need to get back up there and immerse myself in the solitude. I remember walking down a sand road studded with roosting Woodcock, reaching down and plucking blueberries from plants in the pine plantations, and learning about the flora and fauna of a bog. Best of all when I close my eyes I can see the place without having to concentrate much, a very pleasant memory indeed.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Panzer v Butterfly

Yukon stalking his prey

There are hunting dogs that will drag down a Puma, but we have a very special boy – he hunts flies. It is like hunting butterflies with a tank. Seeing Yukon in mid pounce, 85 pounds of rage screaming from the sky and down on an unsuspecting fly is poetry in motion - ok, it is more like a limerick. He does catch them though, amazing in that I didn’t figure he could even catch his own tail. Besides being fun to watch it has dramatically cut down on the number of flies around the house. I am waiting for him to misjudge a pounce and go through a wall, but so far he hasn’t done too badly.

Now ‘Strella Dog, she is an extreme hunter, she goes gunning for hornets. Flies are for sissies!!

Bring it!!

Weirdness at Tea and Books


This is what I saw when I went to your blog, most strange..

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Time to Cut Bait

All right, if the volcano blow you gots to go – waving a bag of chicken lips and chanting at the thing isn’t going to make it stop erupting. Get on your bike and get out. I don’t care which god du jour you are doing, he/she/it isn’t going to be of any help. Might as well write a letter to Santa asking him for a magma resistant jockstrap.

M-Day pt2

Mother’s Day 06 is history but what a wonderful weekend it was. Nice to have the kids over (the dogs were ecstatic; they love the extra attention and handouts). I think my wife was pretty happy with the whole thing. Our son is back from Spain and hopefully the AF will let him alone for a while. He called and it was nice to hear how he, his wife, and the grandpuppy have been.

I got a little carried way with the Mother’s Day dinner, made some of my wife’s favorites but too many and too much. The kids benefit because they have food to take home with them, I have lunch for a couple days – nothing will got to waste.

We had salad with Calamata olives, walnuts, red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, and grape tomatoes. I made pork and beans – I cheat and take canned po’k & beans and doctor it up. In this case a can of chopped Jalapeños, a ¼ cup of the BBQ sauce from yesterday, and chopped up kielbasa that was left over from Saturday.

I made up a squash medley with chayote squash (Georgia O’Keefe would have liked that squash), zucchini, yellow squash, baby portobello, red onion, and green peppers. Doused the mixture with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh oregano, then put it on the grill.

We had to have Bratwurst and Italian sausage with sautéed onions and green peppers and I made some Greek style pan fried potatoes.

Fortunately the kids took most of the stuff.

Now it is time to perform my last act on the fine Mother’s Day and tackle the dishes. Hope you all had a nice weekend as well!!

Mother's Day weekend pt1

Ah, Mother’s Day weekend and the grill is getting a real work out. It is hot outside so I get a break on the charcoal, even a small handful of lump charcoal produces some intense heat. I grilled some Kielbasa the other day and I believe I could have dispensed with the charcoal all together and just closed the lid on the grill. It was up to 101 in the back yard.

My daughter and her husband came to visit – I wasn’t sure when they’d get here so I didn’t pull the ribs out of the fridge until I saw the whites of their eyes. This precluded doing the usual mustard and dry rub for seasoning as the ribs would have to go overnight, so I made a sauce. I generally don’t care for using BBQ sauce, preferring to go with the rub method but BBQ sauce is easy to put together in a hurry.

Be aware I really like to bring the heat, so feel free to adjust the amount of hot pepper. In fact this recipe is pretty basic, so feel to play around with it ‘til it suits your taste. I used about 2 cups of Ketchup, 2 Tbs Whiskey, 1/8 Tsp Liquid Smoke (this stuff has a really strong flavor so a little goes a long way), and about 2 Tbs of Molasses. I like the Oriental concept of contrasts with in a sauce, so I try to balance things out a bit. Besides I like the look on folk’s faces as they are enjoying the sweet taste of the sauce and suddenly the heat kicks in – now that’s funny.

I chose St Louis Style ribs because they tend to be a bit meatier and that’s what the store had, though baby-backs are great too. I remove the layer of skin-like silvery tissue from the backs of the ribsones. It can be the devil’s own to remove, but it pays off in two ways; the rib meat can soak up seasoning from the back of the rack of ribs, and your guests don’t put their jaw muscles through a Pilates workout trying to eat the ribs. I applied some salt and pepper then tossed them on the grill.

I had problems with the charcoal, some stores let the stuff get wet and then charcoal is tough to start and never seems to come up to its full potential. I use lump charcoal because I don’t fancy cooking over petroleum byproducts found in most briquettes.

As the ribs cook I slather them with a mop sauce, in this case 2 Tbs of dried red pepper flakes and a ¼ cup of brown sugar dissolved in quart of apple cider vinegar. I just baste the top of the ribs with this from time to time to add some flavor and keep them moist. I use indirect heat (coals on either side of the ribs) and will sometimes place a tinfoil pan of beer directly under the ribs to help with moisture and catch and drippings.

Can’t say as I make the best ribs in the world, but I don’t get any complaints…

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sun Sets Short Thoughts

Sun Sets
     Hush Falls
Thoughts undisturbed

     Birds in shade     

Not my eyes
     Mother, brother, father
Stare out

Friday, May 12, 2006

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

“That’s not a beer, now this, this is a beer…”

"Life’s to Short to Drink Shitty Beer…"
Ben Franklin , 1776

There are beers and then there are stuff large corporations call beer and foist on the American public. The Mega-brewery dominates the scene, and there are NASCAR watching, livestock fornicating hill folk that are perfectly content with that. Hell, six dollars for a whole case, it has to be good. Fortunately, beer production has come full circle. Originally, many towns had their own breweries, this was necessary because there weren’t long haul refrigerated trucks clogging our highways, driven by large Budwieser swilling livestock fornicators. Beer spoiled easily (well it used to before big business started adding crap) so if you wanted beer you either bought it locally or made it. Even my German Uncle had a hygrometer in the basement – ain’t no German going to do without his beer. Leinenkugle’s in Chippewa Falls was one such brewery and they are still in operation albeit under the auspices of the Miller Brewing Company. The past ten years or so have seen a resurgence of small local custom breweries and Brew Pubs, like Four Peaks here in Arizona. They actually care about how their product tastes and aren’t worried about putting out something that will help Bubba get smashed for under $3.00. Not all the beer coming out of these small breweries is great; to be sure some of the beer coming out of these tastes like crap, but it is the experimentation that leads to better beer.

Next time you are in a market give the big brewery shelves a pass and check out some of the lesser-known offerings. When in a bar forego the Budwiser tapper and ask the bartender what kind of local stuff he has to offer or you can guzzle your pitcher of mega-company beer and turn back to the stockcar race on the TV behind the bar while you pine for your daddy’s sheep. Your choice.

Next Time: I catch you drinking Budwiser while you are visiting Germany and I’ll personally kick your ass, hillbilly.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It was Like That When We Got here...

Cave Painting showing early man "cliff hunting"

Finally some good news for mankind. While we have been in the driver’s seat rushing quite a few species to extinction we caught a break on the mammoth rap. The story goes when we were all named Ugh or Og, liked our wenches freshly clubbed, and ate damn near anything we could find (if it wasn’t already busy eating us, so to speak) we drove pret’ near all the mammoths over cliffs so we could eat them, so to speak. Ok, none of the mammoth was wasted as the story goes, but I suspect that is revisionist history, made up so we wouldn’t feel bad about putting an end to an entire population of animals. “Og, its ok, we used every last mammoth scrap, they didn’t die in vain”.

Now it appears that while early man did hunt the living shit out of the mammoth, elk, and every other giant hairy vermin ridden Ice age animal, it looks as though the main reason they disappeared is because they were too stupid to come out of the weather. Sort of like people who insist on building below sea level in hurricane country. Unfortunately for the Mammoth it didn’t have a government to bail them out.

The details in the article I read were a bit vague on what troubles adapting to climate change the brutes (mammoths, not Louisianans) experienced, but at least Og wasn’t employing weapons of mass destruction. Mankind has the passenger pigeon, Dodo, and almost the spotted owl (particularly good on toast) merit badges pinned proudly on our chest. The extinction list is long and we should hang our heads, but they can no longer pin the mammoth mayhem on us.

It was bound to happen sooner or late anyway. Buffalo Bill would have been called Mammoth Mike; PETA would be tossing blood on women wearing mammoth fur coats – if they could get past the smell. Something the size of a small building with huge tusks is not something you want strolling around the town square so Mammoth Mike would pileup the carcasses to feed the railroad, future NASCAR enthusiasts would be out seeing how many they could “bag” in one day, and Clem from the Ozarks would be out there chasing them with a ladder trying to hump one.

Another Nature note, perhaps bad news for some of Nanuk’s fellow countrymen, they found a Polar Bear that had crossed with a Grizzly Bear. You take two of the meanest nastiest creatures on the North American continent and breed them, you are going to need Polar Bear Pete or Grizzly Gary to come on up and deal with the problem posthaste. That or spend a lot of time indoors…

Blackhole of Comments

Just a quick note - I am seeing comments on my e-mail alert, but they are not appearing on the Blog site for whatever reason. Be assured I read them and enjoy them. I do not know what the problem is, but I haven't been deleting anything. I expect it is one of those things that will eventually iron itself out.



Fragments of Wetlands

Germania is a Crane marsh.  My memories of the place are a bit dim save for the call of the Sand Hills, watching them circle in random steeps and alight in the cattails.  We must have doe an Overnight because I remember Molitor, the field zoology prof frying breakfast.  It was the first time I had seen someone make a hole in the middle of a slice of bread, lay it in a greased cast iron skillet and drop an egg into the hole.  It was kind of like a proto breakfast sandwich.

Some of the memories blend in with trips to Horicon, another marsh.  Horicon is a truck stop for geese on their way South, much to the dismay of farmers whose fields are full of corn hungry birds.  It is nice to see so many geese – folks come from all over to watch them. I suspect there may be more people watching the geese drop from the sky into the fen than are out looking at the fall colors.  

Some of the boys woke early and fished catching painfully thin Pike and dubbing them snakes.  They looked like a whip with a huge predatory head, a throw back to some primeval time. In fact the marsh is primeval, the dance of cranes and gees has been going on long before man knapped his first point and vandalized the muddy edges of the marsh with his footprints.

My father took us to visit Horicon when we were kids and I remember the incessant honking. The fields around Horicon moved and seethed with Canadian Geese, Snow Geese, and other migratory waterfall.  Botulism has since taken its toll, the level of the water I the marsh dropped exposing the humus black rich mud which acted as a medium for the bacteria.  Another enemy was lead, not only fired at the birds during hunting season but more subtle  killer when the birds fed on bottom plants scooping up lead pellets with the vegetation.   Over hunting, draining marshes for development, and various afflictions have taken their toll on all migratory waterfowl.  

I hope it never gets to the point that the fading memories of  an old ex-student aren’t the only thing left, as I become one of the old men on the stoop by some small town market reminiscing about the old days and the passing kids pay no heed to us idlers.

Awake Before the Alarm

Fred Rules
     Empty Kingdom
Doesn’t play well with others

Fangs out
        Six o’clock
Another mort

Balcony valley
     Tornados streak
Much too low

Island in the mist
     Glowing white palace
Drowned King

Girls Dance for Dollars
     Lithe and fluid
Much too old

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Bluffs 1973

Mississippi Bluffs above Potosi, WI

I was fortunate enough to be part of a study on Raptors migrating along the Mississippi flyway. I spent time with a budding ornithologist and biology fanatic and I learned more from him then any classroom. It was a real gift. We spent hours on the bluffs scanning the skies for Redtails, Broadwings, Roughlegs and any other hawks, falcons, or eagles that might happen along. I learned to distinguish between the V shaped wings and rocky flight of a vulture and the straight and level of an Eagle, both large birds. The study did wonders for my vision as well – we had a running game to see who could spot and identify a migrating bird first, it got to the point that I could even see some of the monarch butterflies migrating, though I had to use the binoculars on those. Broadwings apparently eat the Monarchs as sort of an in-flight snack on their way South.

Raptors are the sports cars of the bird world. We always referred to other birds as “Dickie Birds” barely worth notice and scorned those who did, although with Christmas counts you couldn’t be quite so egalitarian and had to break down and ID the little guys too. We stayed at a friend’s house in Poynette and set up a mist net to trap small winter residents and came up with chickadees, nuthatches, sparrows and finches. One Chickadee pecked my thumb mercilessly as I tried to free it from the mist net. I also learned that the bird’s distress call (they were none to happy being enmeshed in the net) is Omni directional – it sound as though the call is all around all around you. That keeps any predators from locating the bird. No harm came to the little guys; they were measured, banded, and sent on their way.

The ultimate in Migration watching had to be Hawk Ridge in Duluth Minnesota where “kettles” of hawks boiled across the sky. There could be several different species all sharing the same rising air current or kettle. I saw my first Merlin as well as Harriers, and falcons. Just being up on Hawk Ridge in the Fall is a treat, the colors are fantastic and the view breath taking.

Time passes as is its wont and I probably couldn’t tell a hawk from an owl at this point (that’s not entirely accurate) but I have some fond memories of those times and the beauty of the Mississippi bluffs is etched deeply and irrevocably in my mind

For Her

I did nothing
Flowers from the market
No particular reason


The weeds dance
     Fred Lurks
With evil intent

Drunken Fastnacht
Crazy eyed maidchen

Cold fog
     Quiet sand
Heron’s gentle step

Bird Count

Bird Count Poynette, Wisconsin 1972

I used to be an avid birder, not so much any longer. Back when cold mattered very little to me I ventured out into the countryside of Poynette, Wisconsin with a small group for the annual Christmas Count. The idea was to count the various species of birds and then with the magic of mathematics insert your numbers into a formula, crunch them, and figure out winter bird populations for the area. Several counts went on throughout the state simultaneously and the results were compiled in the Badger Birder. I, in fact, was mentioned in the birder that year for having spotted a Herring Gull out of its normal winter range. Doubtless that rattled the very halls of science, but it was still nice seeing my name in print on something other than a police blotter.

Snow dampens all the sounds and there was plenty that year. I was up at Goose Pond conducting the count with a friend and we wandered into a stand of pines. The pines literally exploded, snow flying everywhere – a good amount of it down my neck. The noise from about fifteen pheasants lodged up in the branches of the pines all launching out at once was deafening. It was even quieter just before the dawn, though the dawn promised to be gray and sullen. Our group was out in a small wood lot, the fellow destined to become a biologist for the state running a tape recorded voice of the Great Horned Owl - “Who, who, who cooks for you aaaaaall”. Play, then listen…play, then listen, hoping for an answer. And an answer came, a query as to who dared trespass on the lord of the trees demesne, sending some sort of primal shiver down the spine. I recommend you read “An Owl Moon” by Jane Yolen if ever you get the chance. Yes, it is a children’s book, but it captures the wonder of a child hearing an owl call for the first time. I live that wonder every time I hear it, though it has been a long time since I have haunted the Wisconsin woods.

Mind of Their Own

How many husks
Could a husky husk
If a husky cared to husk

Yes, It is all my fault, so sorry to whoever or whatever you are or were

My house sits on what used to be an agricultural field. Cotton grew here that is certain, I can see the water tower for the gin still standing, though the onset of a Wal-Mart will bring an end to the rusty tower’s reign over the plow rutted fields. No migrants needed to harvest the roses, or melons, the orange groves only a mile distant are starved of their water so builders can put in a new mall or whatever will best line their pockets.
Even the desert is chewed away to make room for latest clothing store or other innovation to part the hardworking citizens from there money for that is what we are all about anymore. It is shameful that subdivision crowd up against ground where the originals carved crude marks into the dark basalt – who knows why, the secret went with them, they are long gone. Perhaps it is a cycle where groups replace each other land use changes, though I fear it is not for the better.

I am in no small part responsible for the destruction of this farm land. Good agricultural land is also best for growing subdivisions and cities. In my attempt to escape winter’s harsh bite I have caused a piece of arable land to become a site of mud coated box of chicken-wire and particleboard. Something to keep the sun off my bald head I suppose.

Tomorrow I will mock the former use of the land by planting herbs I have lined up along my walk. Rosemary (I love the fresh pure smell), Basil, Thyme, and Oregano. If I don’t kill them as in the past, they will grace various salads, soups, and other meals. With luck they will send their roots down to chisel the minerals out of the tight soil, split atoms, do their solar powered chemical magic and turn the sun beaten ground into energy.

Skip This Part, Insane Rambling Brought on by little sleep - sleep lost because I am undoubtedly a Monster

I have regrets. I miss Wisconsin and in my heart think of it as home, though I wandered more then stayed. I often think of forsaking the desert and going back, though I doubt I could stand the cold, I relish the thought of having no neighbors. At present I can almost stretch out y arms and touch my neighbor’s house. We are side-by-each and that arrangement is typical of Arizona and other places experiencing booms where developers work to squeeze every nickel out of the ground. Sometimes my wife accuses me of wanting to live on my own island and this may be so. There are times I feel I need to be away from others of my kind, yet I am drawn to them – man is a social animal.

The Part Where I am Directly Responsible for all the World’s Problems – This is pure venting and not worth reading.

Oh, and now we must say Man, woman, and all in between are social animals. I must be so very careful in choosing words that I do not offend someone or something lest I be branded. I made a comment about dredals and became Anti-Semite. Used the word gay and became a homophobe. Ah yes, I am the vilest death-camp guard that stalked the earth and there is no doubt of that. There are those, however, eager to label that use phobe to denote a fear of some groups of people. Fear is far from the mark. I am sure I will be charged with crimes against humanity for this next statement but it is not fear but disgust on my part. Maybe watching us murder each other or fornicate on TV has made us numb and now things I was taught were bad are now ok. Hell, lots of folks do this or that so now, by default, it is the norm. If you express an opinion that isn’t to their liking they are quick to vilify you and force their version of morality on you like it or not.

I do have a penchant for saying things without thinking but am to the point where if folks get a bent out of shape over a comment and decide I am a phobe, or NAZI, or a son-of-a-bitch or whatever hurtful remark they might use to put me in my “proper” place then to whatever hell they believe in with them. Seems nothing can be said with out treading on someone’s rights, feelings, and having it quickly and unerringly pointed out. I don’t want to purposely hurt anyone’s feelings, maybe my point of view is out of date and yes I am terribly thoughtless, but I am through apologizing for not agreeing with certain lifestyles or attitudes I was raised to believe are not right. The Civil rights movement was a good thing, I firmly believe the Indians (ah shit, there he goes again) are entitled to the Black Hills in South Dakota, Custer was a bastard not a hero. I honestly like people and enjoy the spirit of community but goddammit to the lower reaches of all the hells I refuse to put up with the self righteous holier than thou horseshit simply because I made a some wisecrack. Hallelujah fuck it all!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Line Thai Restaurant

Line Thai Restaurant

I am not terribly sure what is behind the name of the Restaurant, but the food is authentic and the ambience is good for a small restaurant. It is nice to know I don’t have to drive all the way to “Snottsdale” for great Thai food. This Thai place is just down Bell in Sun City. I have had the Kaen Ped (Red Curry) and the Phat Thai, a signature Thai dish. Both were delicious, well presented, and well prepared. The spices were right on, the portions generous, and the plating attractive. The staff is attentive and cordial, the owner takes the time to stop by and greet the customers.

Phat Thai

The Phat Thai has shrimp and chicken on a bed of vermicelli noodles with crushed peanuts and a very spicy sauce. Thai food is noted for its heat and this dish was no exception. It was just the right amount of bite without being overbearing.

Line Thai
9805 W. Bell Road
Sun City, AZ 85351
Dining Room


Murder of a Small Arizona Town

El Mirage sleeps in the sun
Its Death draws nigh
Builders dig the foundation of greed

Monday, May 08, 2006

Ambling Down Memory Lane

I strongly caution all readers that the article below is not for the faint of heart or squeamish and involves industrial pastry abuse.

Talking with my brother a couple weeks ago I was reminded of some of our more twisted escapades, particularly the one that resulted in me never again being able to look at Hostess bakery products without laughing. He made an abortive attempt at baking a Chocolate Lamb Cake (a cake made to look like a lamb, not made out of lamb) for Easter where a large hunk of lamb became detached. The hunk was roughly in the shape of a Paul Bunyanesque Suzy Q, so with a little frosting in between my brother was in business.

First we have to have some background here – especially for you Commonwealther’s and continental types who don’t know a Suzy Q from a HoHo. You probably had Suzy Q’s, but to make their product more popular for the Euro-kinder Hostess probably called them “Choco Kuchen Crumpet Puffs” or something to that affect. Suzy Q’s were simply two oblong layers of devil’s-food cake with a layer of some sort of whipped sweet filling in between. It is generally best not to read the ingredients part of the labels on these things.

Actually, thinking back there probably wasn’t anything listed on the label. In our day you bought the damn food and you ate it and just shut the hell up. You didn’t have little Miss size double-aught worrying how many carbs were in the damn thing or some nutter worrying abut the percentage of rat hairs by volume. There was no freshness date stamp, because freshness wasn’t a problem. They still have the damn things stored in abandoned missile silos in Nevada right next to the government cheese and they are as good as the day they got squirted into their bright little wrappers. Some parts of the “Good Old Days” were good indeed.

Ok, everyone with me – an industrial strength baked treat that came out of a filthy back alley Hostess lab somewhere wrapped in cellophane and placed on store shelves for consumption by unwitting consumers with no regard to their appearance that will still be here after we are all long gone. They were great!!

In this part you have to go backwards to go forward…

My brother and I were often released on our own recognizance, a horrid misjudgment on the parts of out parents. From vandalizing the toy section at the market to impromptu taste testing we were a Grocer’s worst nightmare. Tossing a ball over the Aisles to see if we could get a scream or breaking open a package of plastic toy scissors and trying to cut the package with them ‘til they blew into so much shrapnel, ah yes, there be monsters. The Suzy Q incident happened on a calm Spring day when my brother and I were trolling the local mega-mart in search of amusement.

We came to the Industrial strength pastry shelf and there they were – Suzy Q’s, one pack carefully place in front of the next right to the edge of the display. Suddenly my brother cocks back and punches the stack o’ Qs so they compact down into one huge glob of Susie-mush in the back of the shelf and says “There, now they have room for more”. There were probably about 10 to 12 packages and now there was just a large poof of cream mixed with cake debris and burst cellophane packaging. You might not think much of that one way or the other, but I swear to this day that was about the funniest damn thing I ever saw. Hell, sometimes I’ll just be sitting there, think about it and burst out laughing. Hey, those sudden outbursts get me a seat on the bus all by myself so don’t knock it.

Hopefully if the Hostess people scan Blogs looking for pastry criminals (I am sure my brother is on the most wanted list) we are covered by the statue of limitations on bakery abuse. Oh, and Hostess dudes, just kidding about the filthy back alley lab and rat hairs, I am sure your quality control is right up there with the folks that turn out ground beef. And like all the hostess stuff, including the picture I pirated from their site is covered by copyrights, and all that good stuff. Nanuk has me all kinds of paranoid now. Nanuk, please don't sue me for linking to your intellectual property - hey come on, I gave you credit!!!!!

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