Saturday, October 29, 2016

A visit

I'm made some posts in the past about my son Henry.  He's between the daughters in age, got out of the military (Army Rangers) after 6 years, is living in Portland, working, going to PCC, doing well.

Here's a couple of pictures of him, a few years ago, in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of each, I think:

Henry is doing very well, and once you get past the fact he's around six two, and has wide shoulders, is a disarmingly nice guy.  

As I mentioned, he's in school, also working full time, and has a new person he seems attached to, in a serious way. They were just out here for a couple days, her name is Kate. She's Irish, though appearances can sometimes deceive. 

I think Henry may be onto something here. 

Always a wonder and fascination to see your kids lives develop, eh? 

Not many more days, folks. Keep your spirits up, hope for the best. 


Monday, October 24, 2016

Empathy? No, nor understanding. But a common experience.

So lately I might have been a bit harsh on Mr. Trump, eh? Yes, yes, I despise the man, everything he stands for, etc, etc. But that shouldn't stand in the way recognizing a common humanity, should it? I've searched for something, just something, that could make me understand him, to see him as a human being, which I do not, quite frankly.

But it's our goal, as the humanists of the previous centuries have told us, to try. Those you think unacceptable to the human race, try to see them in a new light, that shows they are human with similarities to ourselves.

So I tried, and I did. Here's how Trump and I are similar. Bear with me for a moment.  It takes a moment of explanation.

We have to go back to my callow youth, a beardless (well, almost) boy.  High school senior, I skied, competitively.  I made the junior olympics the previous year, and Jack Meissner, hired me as a part time instructor.

One weekend, in 1963, I wasn't working as an instructor and my brother in law and sister went skiing up at Bachelor. I met them in a ski line, waiting for a chair. I fell in with them talking to a young woman, a bit older than me, but good looking.  I joined them in line, they introduced me to her, I didn't recognise her name.

It ended up we rode up the chair together (two person chair, old style), she noticed my instructor jacket, I probably preened a bit, and offered her a bit of instruction. I'll follow you down, give you some tips, I probably said.

Thing is, it was Jean Saubert. She was the current US Champion in downhill, and the next year would win a bronze medal in the '64 olympics. I had no idea. 

We got off the chair, I suggested she ski down, I'd follow her, we'd stop, I'd offer tips. 

After maybe 100 yards I realized if I tried to keep up  I'd be dead. I went off to the side, went to another run, hoped to god I'd not run into her the rest of the day. 

When told what I'd said to her, my brother in law and sister shook their heads. Hubris might have been mentioned. 

So, there it is. What the Donald and I have in common. 

We've both been handed our asses on a platter by a woman. 

Best I can do, only resemblance I can find. 


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Just a late fall day

Had our first snow almost a month ago, it's melted both times. Maybe next time it'll be here to stay for months, varies from year to year.

It's Saturday, no school up at the University a half block up the hill, so it's usually quiet. More so today, it's warm, 58 outside, so I have the front door open for maybe the last time this year.

My two mountain ash have shed all the leaves, a few seed pods remain. The view, up and down the street:

Quiet, peaceful. Perhaps it's what people in Aleppo, or Madaya might call American privilege. Sort of what's been termed 'white privilege' in common political terms, on a broader scale. The privilege of peace. Of freedom from organized violence, repression.

On a quiet Saturday afternoon I sit in peace in my living room, looking at a mountain, seeing the occasional deer. I don't see approaching helicopters, tanks, troops. I talked to all my kids, I don't wonder if they are alive, or where they are. I think about having leftover pasta ala carbonara, and a salad. I don't wonder if I have enough rice to feed my kids. 

Is this our birthright in some way? Is 'American Exceptionalism' extend to us always having enough to eat, schools for our kids, ability to travel, move where we want? If so, what have we done to deserve it? Is it something handed down to us by the 'Greatest Generation'? Is it like Trump's wealth, inherited from his father, without which he'd be a used car salesman? 

I know a few of my readers, god knows why they stay, have experienced or are experiencing a form of poverty; not having enough to get by month to month. Most of us though have led lives of privilege. Why?

For your consideration I'd like to suggest we've had this to some extent on the back of the other peoples of the world. The farmers in Mexico who grow our vegs, our coffee in Central America, our clothes in China and Thailand. Who work for enough to feed their family rice and beans. 

This will change someday, perhaps soon. No imbalance lasts, laws of physics tell us that. 

Just some idle thoughts on a Saturday afternoon, in peaceful Montana. 


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Go Here

My last entry was pretty uninspired, so I'd like to give you some fresh material. Some, perhaps many of you have read this woman's blog. If not, prepare for a treat.

I'm going to link you her last post, as of this day. I encourage you to look back at her other writings. Who'da thought a ex-mail person would have collected this much info on human behaviour??

I say it's evidence to suspect all those people who deliver your mail of malfeasance of one kind or another. This woman just figures too much out.

I see a bit of Ken Kesey's writing in hers, not sure what she would think about that. I met Kesey twice, and I think he'd be tickled by her stuff. In it's own way, though she's not a 'native' (which we small 'n' natives put far too much importance on...) she captures the voice of Oregon.

Read her stuff. Enjoy.  I attach a picture from her blog....Mt. Bachelor, where I learned to ski when it had just a rope tow, to being an instructor, to having my wife try to kill me in '69.  She has good pics too.


Who didn't see this coming????

Trump and Clinton were asked if they'd concede the election if they lost.  Asked if he would concede if he loses the election, Trump said, "I will look at it at the time."

John McCain weighed in after the debate: McCain said in a statement that he doesn't know who will win this presidential election. But he says the loser has always congratulated the winner and called him "my president."
McCain said, "That's not just the Republican way or the Democratic way. It's the American way. This election must not be any different."
Did anybody not see this coming months ago?  
The look on Trump's face through most of the debate reminded me of a 5th grader that wandered into a graduate seminar on quantum physics, and decided to try and bluff his way through. 
Actually, 5th grade boy pretty much summarizes Trump's personality. 
A good meme I saw this morning in the SF Chronicle. 

Damn, I miss Molly Ivins this 'election'. 

Two and a half weeks, gird your loins, grit your teeth, get a refill on that xanax. Oh, and don't forget to vote. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Why I have trouble not randomly running people over with my truck

Interviews with 'average Montanans' at a bowling alley in Anaconda, about 20 miles from here.


"I'm going to be voting Republican, and I've been a Republican and am going to vote for Trump," Price says.
"I just don't like anybody that will take our own soldiers and kill 'em, y'know? Clinton, in Benghazi, she did nothing. She had everything in the world there to do something, she didn't do anything. So there's no way on God's given earth I'd vote for her,” Price adds.
“Mr. Trump, all the way,” Hall says.
CCC: When did you decide that you were all about Trump?
John Hall: When I found out Hillary was running. I like our regular guys right now, Zinke, for sure. Who else is running?"

I'm going to go get a bite for lunch in a minute, and no fat white guys with red baseball caps are advised to cross the road in front of me.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Sunday Funnies, except not really...

At one point, then the lowest in the political landscape I remember, political cartoon were barbed, and funny. They exaggerated characteristics, physical and mannerisms, made them both funny and mildly barbed. Now, not so much.

Now, they are reflecting reality. An election so different than others in the last hundred years or longer that there is no comparison, nothing to measure it against.

For cartoonists, one of the best I know of, Horsey, used to be in Seattle until he moved to a larger audience, it's tough.  How do you mimic, or exaggerate, something that is a cartoon of it'self?

Following are Horsey's and a few other's offerings.  Usually these talented people can draw some humour out of a person, or issue. Now, not so much.

I'll leave it at that. Interestingly, the one instance there was something similar in the past is back in the revolutionary days, the mid to late eighteenth century. Broadsides, political pamphlets, usually nailed to lamposts, often had drawings like these in nature. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Nigeria!  Who'd a thought, but it seems our president-wannabe and the current President of Nigeria have a lot in common.

The  first lady of Nigeria, displeased with her husband's job performance said she'd not support his re-election.  Upon hearing this the Nigerian leader said "I don't know what party she belongs to, but her place is in my kitchen, living room and the other room."

Mr. Trump, you have a brother from another mother, as the saying goes. I'm sure you two will be great buddies. This echo's many things Trump has said, his disdain for women as anything but sex objects, even his own daughters.

The thing is, nobody is interested anymore, with the thing, facts, that would have ended a presidential bid in it's very tracks. Trump rolls on. You belittle vets, including a POW. Trump rolls on. Etc, etc, ad nauseum.

It seems likely that he will lose.  Then what? The call, usually late at night that congratulates the new president-elect? No, that won't happen. First time in modern history, but that isn't Trump's concern.

So what will we do, I ask, with all those Americans that voted for Trump.  In good conscience. With full knowledge of what he is, what kind of man he is, and, uncaring, checked the ballot anyhow?  Say "you're ok, just voicing your opinion."  I'm not ready to do that.  I think there may be millions of citizens who do not reflect, even remotely, what I think it is to be 'American'. I guess we could forget, even forgive, it that's the word. Germany did it when the wall came down. Welcomed the East German, GDR, back into the fold, supported them, helped financially. Could we do something so much less complex than that? Simply agree to go back to being civil and how we've managed to survive 200 years?

Not sure that's gonna happen.  Trump has succeeded in what might have been his original mission, if I'd give him credit for that much intelligence. The division of the US.  The clear declaration, understanding, that there are groups of people out there, our neighbors, that are not interested in being what we understand as the classic 'American'. Understanding, accepting, willing to work with other people, cultures, adapt.

They want it their way, and no other. And others need to do it their way.  This isn't new, it's called 'Nativism' in Sociology and politics. Been here before.

Places like the modern Nigeria, with the President of that country making clear he thinks women's place is in the kitchen are not new, or unique.  What is, is finally we, the modern United States, have found a potential leader that agree's with them.

I'm not sure what kind of accolades that deserves. It deserves something.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Another thing that's back....

17f on the back porch this morning as I was making coffee.  The front yard is a god-awful mix of leaves and snow.  4 inches or so of snow, I may not see the grass until April. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

It's baaaack.......

In the tree, this afternoon.  The cat is not safe. First, a song to go with the pic, not necessarily appropriate, but what the hell.

Und now, the boyfriend:

Yup. The Great Horned Owl.  Back in the tree. Staring at the cat. 

We'll see how this drama plays out in the next day or two. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

It's become a different question

For the last year we've been discussing whether or not Trump could or should be President.  Events of the last couple days have made that question moot.  They have made any doubt about Mrs. Clinton's abilities or judgement irrelevant.

The question now is this: Would want/let your daughter, wife or any woman you know to be alone in a room with this man?

If this came as a surprise to anyone, they've not been paying attention.  This is the guy that so many have said "I like that he speaks his mind." or "He's not PC, I like that."  Well, you got your guy. In spades.  

Interestingly, there are those out there, apparently not just a few, approve of his actions and words. Perhaps they think it opens the door for them to act the same, it unleashes the little spiders in their brains.  

We are hearing, and will continue to hear, excuses, rationals.  None of them, not one, makes Trump an acceptable human being, let alone someone who should lead a nation. Idi Amin didn't kill as many people as Hitler, so that makes him ok?  

It makes what, at the time seemed an error, Hillary calling many of Trump's supporters 'deplorable' seem way too understated.  I'm saying that anyone who would vote for Trump now Scum. With a capital 'S'. 

I'ts interesting to see how ready this country was for one man, one demagogue, to set us back literally decades.  We were primed and ready for someone to tell us it was ok to act on our racial intolerance and hatred of women. And boy, did many jump on that bandwagon.  

By the way, this one tape of Trump acting like Trump is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are many others out there, most even worse than this, waiting their turn.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

An Unexpected Email

A couple days ago I got an email from Don Benton, a state legislature  GOP rep from WA. He's also apparently the coordinator for Trump in the west. The email asked if I would call and talk to voters about Trump, and how I could even do it from home!

My reply:

Mr. Trump


M. Mulligan

Oct 5 (1 day ago)
to dbenton
Got your solicitation in the email today to call people about Mr. Trump.  I'd be happy to talk to people about him, in fact, I already have. 

Here's a post about him, one of several, that I made regarding Mr. Trump on my blog. I don't have a ton of followers, around 42, but they seemed to respond to it.  Let me know what you think.


Mike Mulligan
Butte, MT

Don Benton

8:19 PM (13 hours ago)
to me
Dear Volunteer,
We are asking all volunteers who want to help elect Donald Trump to go to the website at: and sign up for Trump Talk in the center of the page right under the photo.

You can start helping us right away if you sign up here. Call us with any questions after we send you your log in number.
Thank you for helping our movement and Mr. Trump Make America Great again.
Senator Don Benton
Western Regional Political Coordinator
Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

From: M. Mulligan <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 8:13 AM
To: Don Benton
Subject: Mr. Trump

M. Mulligan

7:57 AM (2 hours ago)
to Don
Don (or, more likely, staffer)
I'm making a wild guess you didn't really read the email I sent yesterday about mr trump yesterday. Nor look at the link, my blog.  It's true what I said about already talking about him for some time, it's just not what you might think. Here's another shot at it:

We'll see what they say, but if they send me a phone list, I'll call them. You betcha. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fall errata

A bad luck day for a hunter, out scouting out elk just south here. The headline in today's rag:

Sow bear attacks man twice in one day; he escapes, drives himself to Ennis hospital

Also, two days ago:

Bear sighting puts Hillcrest Elementary on lockdown for nearly 90 minutes Thursday morning

The offending bear left without playing on the swings. 

Yesterday I went out to get in the truck and happened to look up. There, perched above me about 15 feet was this critter:

A Great Horned Owl.  First one I've ever seen in town. 

It's also fall, and while we don't have the colors of New England, we can do a bit of 'leaf peeping' of our own.

Hope all have had a good weekend. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Old Memories. Maybe why we should remember

Around this time, nearly 50 years ago. A kid who'd opted out of college, thinking he couldn't afford it, wanted the GI Bill and thought the easiest way for it was to enlist, in the Navy. After all, ships didn't go to that new place, Vietnam, right?

So as we follow what happened, in late 68 he was up near the Laos border with Vietnam. Maybe even on the Laos side, just a bit. 50 kilometers or so. Few now know what that meant, that it was illegal, that our president, Nixon, said we were not there. Our SecState, Kissinger, confirmed that, so no, I guess that corpsman couldn't have been there with a platoon of Marines from the 3rdMarDiv, could he.

Anyway, in this imaginary world, in the wooded are you can see behind the squad in the back, a firefight ensued about a hour after this was taken by the chopper pilot that flew us in. A quick one, the opfor wasn't more that a few VC I think. Couldn't have lasted more that 15 minutes or so, the last few just silence while we listened. The corpsman was near the squad leader, a Sgt., a few meters back. No fire for 5 minutes, the corpsman started forward, going from left to right, across our squad formation. Confirming everyone was ok, no wounds.  

Near the middle, a semi-circle of sorts, the corpsman finds him.  He didn't really know him, a few beers at the base club, chat here and there. He's on his back, arms outspread. Back of his head has a large section gone, laying in the mud a foot or so away. Another odd thing, his right boot is off. and his sock.  His M-16 is stock down, pointing up and away. His foot, toe, is in the trigger guard of the rifle.

The corpsman squatted there, looking, figuring, wondering. Why the fuck would he remove his boot and sock, put the barrel of his rifle, and pop off a round through the top of his mouth?  WTF? 

Doing his job, the corpsman looked the Marine over, then noticed the large blood stain on his utilities. In the crotch. He'd take a round right in the genitalia. Turning him over, an even larger stain just below his butt in the pants. 

Wasn't hard to put it all together, except the pain he must have been going through. And the anguish, mixed up, ignorant, misinformed information he had. Only option out, right? 

The corpsman zipped his bag up, tagged him 'KIA', checked the space that indicated no further examination or autopsy required. 

Another day in the bush, back then.  But soon, I and those like me, will be gone.  Just like the last WW2 guys and Korea guys are gone. And I mean gone, what we did, and most importantly why we were sent off to do it, is going to be gone, kaput. It wasn't all for the good and glory, kids. Sometimes the stuff we did was not right. We didn't know, but we did it. Take a lesson.