Thursday, July 28, 2016

Montana Summer 2016

Does it seem weird to anyone else to be putting in the date of '2016'.....???? WTF are the personal jet packs?? You bastards promised them, remember? And the Jetson cars, etc. 

Anyway, health has been weirdly good the last couple days, so I went out this morning fishing, a couple streams less than a half hour from here:

Nice stream, a section of a well known river near here, but oddly rarely visited. I caught two nice brookies there this morning. Here's the first:

About 12 inches, kept two, going to have for dinner tomorrow. Tonight is BLT's. 

Back in Butte, life back in the slow lane. 


Monday, July 25, 2016

Hillary haters, or the lesser of two weevils

Old Navy joke (weevils) I've been listening to NPR today, to all Bernie's people say how they are voting for Trump.

Ok, so your moral standards are such that you just can't bring yourself to vote for someone who has been a Clinton, and all that seems to entail. Fine, there's a precedent:  George Bush can thank those who voted for Ralph Nader our of 'moral' issues and 'integrity'.  Let's all reflect on how well his presidency went, Iraq, etc.

So let's look at what then you are voting for, and by the way, a non vote in this election is a vote for Trump.

First, even though the fellow who ghost wrote Trump's 'best seller' book, Tony Schwartz, says that in is hundreds of interviews and sessions with the man that he thinks he lies about 90% of the time, saying whatever he thinks makes him look good at the moment.  Let's set that aside, and for a moment, take the man at his word.  Here's some stuff he's said in the recent past:

Said he would force the military to commit war crimes (torture of prisoners)

Proposed to create a database system to track Muslims in the U.S.

Advocated assassinating terrorists’ families

Urged supporters to beat up protesters at his rallies

Disparaged Sen. John McCain's military service because he was captured by the North Vietnamese

There are so many more, it seems pointless to list them. Misogyny, racism, it's all there. Just check it out. The weird thing is perfectly normal people are saying 'oh, it's ok. I don't mind'. 

And there is his VP choice. Let's look at some of his words:

What he said: "I long for the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history." Like that idea do you? 

"The timeless values of abstinence and marital faithfulness before condom distribution are the cure for what ails the families of Africa. It is important that we not just send them money, but we must send them values that work." This is in response to question about his opposing sending condoms to Africa

 "Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior."   Like the idea of 'conversion therapy do you?

"Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion."  A total reversal of current's that suit you?

 "Global warming is a myth...There, I said it. Just like the 'new Ice Age' scare of the 1970s, the environmental movement has found a new chant for their latest 'Chicken Little' attempt to raise taxes and grow centralized governmental power. The chant is 'the sky is warming! the sky is warming!'"  No comment needed. 

It goes on and on, for both these bozos. 

So, this is your choice.  If you are changing your vote from Hillary to Trump because of some dislike of Hillary, here's what you're getting.  Just don't kid yourself about the consequences of your choice.  

Am I wild about Hillary? No. Would I rather have Bernie? Maybe.  Do I want Trump as a choice instead of Hillary, just out of spite? Only if I really am pissed at America, and I'd like to see how they fare under a demagogue like him. I can leave the country for four years, and read about it in the International Herald Tribune over coffee in Barcelona, or maybe Lisbon.

Get your head out of your you know where, America.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Politics or food, politics or food.....

Let's ignore for the moment the events of the 'repubs and 'dems conventions, and focus on something really important.

Pork Shoulder Roast.

At the end, after it's been 'pulled', and paired with pinto beans, rice and salad, with a nice hot salsa as a side, it looks like this:

One of the best things about it, other than the taste and the fact you'll eat too much of it, is how easy it is to prepare. Here's my method:

Coast a pork shoulder with some commercial pork rub, any will do. I've used several different ones, they all turn out fine. 

Put the roast in one of those baking bags, I use the turkey size ones, tie it off, cut the plastic off near the tie (comes with the bags), put one small slice in the top of the bag, put it in the oven at 275f for 4 to 5 hours.  Cut it out of the bag, toss the bag, cover with bbq sauce, again I don't think it makes much difference which one, turn oven up to 300 for maybe an hour, take out, let cool for a few minutes, and pull it apart. 

Serve with sides of your choice. Potato salad is good, cole slaw is good, etc. I'm partial to pinto beans. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

I knew something sounded familiar.......with edit/addition

Last night, hearing the Trump say that he was the only man who could cure all the ills of the US, I thought it sounded a bit familiar.

The following has two words changed from the original, you can guess which words:

VII.  We believe that Donald Trump  was the gift of an inscrutable Providence to a world on the brink of radical Islamic catastrophe, and that only the blazing spirit of this heroic man can give us the strength and inspiration to rise from the depths of persecution and hatred, to bring the world a new birth of radiant idealism, realistic peace, international order and social justice for all men.

This is the last tenent of the American Nazi party, formed by Lincoln Rockwell shortly after WW2.  The two things I changed/substituted was Trump for Hitler, and Islam for Jews. 

Seems like we have millions of people ready to don brown shirts and hit the streets. 

Addendum: this afternoon I read the latest David Brooks, a conservative, latest column in the NY Times. It's worth a click:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Actual Pizza, here in the US

As the RNC and the Trump Magic Machine does it's thing in the home of one of the best medical center's in the world, I have no words or really care. But it appears the Republican Party has proved the old adage: "no one has ever gone broke underestimating the American public."

So, let's talk pizza.  As a teen in Bend Oregon, Shakey's Pizza Parlor on South 3rd was my favorite hangout. A Italian sausage with black olives was my favorite.

In the next couple decades, I continued to eat American pizza, it was never something I raved about, but I liked it fine. I had no reference, no comparison.

Then I went to Europe, then to Italy. Eating pizza there was a defining experience; I'd never had anything like it. It resembled American pizza in the same way a Ford Pinto  resembles a Ferrari 350 GTO.

I stared at it, a simple margherita. could something taste like this, and be called something I'd been eating for years without notice?

Since that time, I've avoided pizza back here in the US. Until this week, when my friend L., who lived in Naples, took me to this place in Fullerton, an unpromising Orange County pizza joint.

Fuoco Pizzeria Napoletana.  Wood ovens, knowledgeable servers, and imported buffalo mozzarella cheese.  It was damn close to Italy.

It was rather good. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Is it 1968 redux?

Baton Rouge, Texas, France, everywhere. For those few of you as old as me to remember, actually have experienced '68, we wonder. Is this like those times?

No, it's not. There are probably, if we exclude what the Soviets did in Hungary and a few other countries, more deaths now than back then. Especially if we include the atrocities of the ISIS and other jihad groups, which we didn't have then. But that isn't the main thing that's different, that to my mind makes this time more dangerous, more disturbing than those times. Here in the Us we had Kent State, Jackson State, and a few others. 6 or so deaths, shootings. Look at the last month here in the US. 

Remember the hope back then, you geezers of my age? Remember the hope, the feeling of Spring in the air? What Reagan later co-opted as "Morning in America"? When that was the actual feeling? 

For you born after maybe '58 or so, it's hard to explain or ask you to imagine, but it was a time of real promise, when we thought we were winning. We, the people. 

Silly, I know. But, there was a time when we thought it was actually going to happen. Silly us. 

Nixon, then Reagan, didn't totally strip us of hope, but Bush, the rise of the GOP and Gengrich and his like,  then the failure of President Obama to carry through with the promise of a new time that finally left me devoid of hope. 

So is it the time of 1968 again, as some are suggesting? Emphatic no. Not at all. Back then we had hope, we had a new government coming in in the US, hopefully RFK, in France, even in some of the Soviet states. It was actually a time of hope, and some optimism. 

What have we now?  We have the proliferation of assault weapons in the US (which were illegal then), we have the rise of nativism and nationalism here, via Trump and the tea party, and in Europe the continuing blossoming of right wing nationalist parties, similar to the post WW1 era, like Madame La Pen in France. 

So no, it's not 1968. It's somewhat Orwellian, 1984, but he missed it be several decades. 

If one studies history, the average 'life' of a country, a nation, is around 200 to 300 years. We're just about approaching that time. Will 'American Exceptionalism' prevail above all, make us as different from the rest as we'd like to believe?   You tell me. 


Friday, July 15, 2016

Letting the current take over

In the recent evenings this summer I've  walked down and stand in the trees, cottonwood lining the Big Hole in light paused just so in the leaves, as if the change in the river here were not simply known to me, but apprehended. I did not start out this way; I began with the worst sort of ignorance, the grossest inquiries. Now I ask very little. I haven't fished but once or twice. Mostly I watch.  I observe the swift movement of water through the nation of fish at my feet. I wonder privately if there are for them, as rare for me, moments of faith, however brief.

The river comes around from the southeast to the east at this point: a clean shift of direction, water deep and fast on the outside of the curve, flowing slower over the lip of a broad gravel bar on the inside, continuing into a field of shattered boulders to the west.

I kneel and slip my hands like eels beneath the surface of the water. I feel the wearing away of the outer ridge, the exposure of roots, the undermining. I imagine eyes in the tips of my fingers, like the eye-stalks of crawdads. Fish stare at my hands, conscious of the trespass. the thought that I might be observed disturbs me.

I've wanted to take the measure of this turn in the river, grasp it, for my own reasons. I feel closer to it now. I know which deer drink at which spots on this bank. I know of the small screech owl nesting opposite. I am familiar with the raccoon and fisher whose tracks appear here, can even tell them apart by their prints. One memorable morning I saw the track of a grizzly fresh in the sand as I waded past.

The attempt to wrestle meaning from this spot began poorly, with illness. A pain, slow in coming like so many that seemed in my back, then in my chest. An ache, yearning, as strong as the wish to be loved, a pain along my self. As the weeks went on I moved about less and less, until finally I merely sat home, the recliner tilted back.

I began to think (as on a staircase descending to an unsure level within myself) about the turns in the river, and how they pertained to me, to my life. If I could understand the turns in the river, I could imitate it, I reasoned. Understand it, I could understand my life, what it has meant.

Thus became a search, doomed to failure.

I finally reduced the bend in the river, and my life, to an elegant, verbal equation. This happened at night, and I let it sink in, then got up and went to bed. I knew I didn't have the strength then to realize them, but I felt the worst, the uncertainty, was past.

I woke during the night to sounds of birds, the few that live in early summer in Montana. They told me much, my mistakes, things I can't speak of here. They departed, leaving the odor of bruised grass and cracked bone in the air. I knew my understanding was incorrect.

I have lost, as I might have inferred, some sense of myself. I no longer require as much. And though I am not hopeful of recovery in a final sense, an adjustment as smooth as the way the river lies against the earth at this point, this is no longer the issue with me. I am more interested in this: from above, to a hawk, the bend must appear only natural and I for the moment a part. A greater whole we are all part of. It seems we all, me and them, are one. This has somewhat dismantled my loneliness, and my fear of the end.

Like the river, I'll flow out to sea, become part of the greater world around us. This idea gives me comfort.

I will tell you something. It is to the thought of the river's banks that I most frequently return, their wordless emergence at a headwaters, the control they urge on the direction of the river, mile after mile, and their disappearance here on the beach as the river enters the ocean. It occurs to me that at the very end the river is suddenly abandoned, that just before it's finished the edges disappear completely, that in this moment a whole life is revealed. The banks of my river, my life, have been my family, my friends. The fact that someday I must leave them, and they must release me is not a cause of dismay. Like the river, we all must join the sea someday.

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 10th, so is this the first of the year or the last of the year?

15 miles south of Butte, taken this morning. Snow level dropped to 6500ft. So is this the first snow of the year, or the last? I'm in SoCal, don't have to worry about it, a buddy from Dillon sent it to me. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Similar post to last, a chance meeting

Sometime in 2005 or so, give or take a year, I was on a flight from SLC to SF. It was one of the larger regional jets, a 70 seater, that had 6-8 first class seats. As I remember, memory being what it is at nearly 71, at the end of boarding this guy gets on, sits in the isle seat next to me. Middle age, younger than me by at least a decade. Nothing remarkable about him, medium build, around my height, etc. I flew nearly every week, there was nothing about this guy that indicated he was any different than the usual sales/engineer/software guy that was usually in the seat next to me.

Two hour flight, we took off, settled in, got water from the flight attendants, etc. After a bit we exchanged pleasantries. I think he actually started it. The 'What do you do, where do you live, etc'. It got around to my turn and I asked the same, what he did. "I'm retired." he said. I may have pursed my lips or raised my eyebrows. I do remember I asked "Oh, what did you do that you retired at your age?" I was expecting a software startup answer. "Football", he answered. "Oh, professional?" I asked. He nodded. "What position?" I asked, he was clearly not one of the huge players you see on tv. "Quarterback" he said. Me nodding. "Oh, what team?" "San Francisco" was the answer.

Yeah, it was Steve Young. Now, had it been Joe Montana, I would have recognized him. We chatted through the rest of the hour, he was coming from a gratis coaching and speaking session at BYU, his alma mater. 

We got off the plane together, walked down to baggage claim, no one met him, he walked with a bit of a limp. Nice guy. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

A diversionary post

I haven't been able to process the events of the last few days, so in the meantime I'll tell you a story of a chance meeting.

Sometime in the summer of '98 I was on an afternoon flight from Salt Lake City back to Butte, a regional 50 seat jet two seats on each side of the isle. I was near the front, maybe the very front, window. Next to me was a mid teen girl. She had a friend, a seat back on the other side. From the time we boarded she was half turned in her seat talking to her friend, in a fairly loud voice. She was in the window seat, so she was talking not only back but over the seats on the other side. Next to her was a middle age guy, maybe my age.

Thinking I didn't want to listen to this 'OMG' chatter for over an hour, I turned, suggested to the guy sitting next to her friend that he exchange places with the girl next to me. He quickly agreed, settled in and we introduced: "Hi, I'm Mike. Hi, Bill". We settled back, the plane took off, and after a few minutes we started talking, usual stuff: "Live in Butte? Travel often? What do you do?" etc.

He asked some questions about what I did, the project I was on (Pfizer, inhaled insulin), I asked what he did. "Actor". "Stage, what?" I asked. "Some stage, yeah. Mostly film." he said. "Oh, anything I might have seen?" asks I. He hesitated. "Um, Independence Day?" he said. I brighten, "Oh, I saw that with my daughter. Who did you play in that?" He hesitated again. "The President." he said. A pause on my side "Really?" I think I said. He nodded. We talked a bit about why he was going to Butte.

As it turns out, his brother is a endocrine doc in Butte, John, that I'd been working with for a few years. They have a ranch near Butte, his brother and he hire a manager, but visit it often.

He was recently in town, and stopped by a local school play. A very nice guy, quite unprepossessing. 
Bill Pullman. 
I called my daughters that night to ask if they'd heard of him, and related the story. Two long sighs...."jesus, dad...." 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Closet Trump Supporters or Hillary-phobes, Please Speak Up

One constant complaint I read and hear about Hillary Clinton from Trump supporters is that she is 'dishonest' and 'untrustworthy'.

My puzzlement and question is this: How can a Trump supporter call anyone else 'dishonest' with a straight face?  Trump, in almost every speech, Tweet or whatever lies. He makes claims that are totally untrue. He says things that have no basis in fact. Pretty much the definition of a lie, right?

His latest, which by now is probably been topped by something else is about Saddam Hussein's reign in Iraq. And when questioned about it he either shrugs and changes the subject, or actually once said "I don't have time to check facts". And that's a fact.

So if you're out there, please tell me. How can you support Trump on one hand, and think of Clinton as a liar and dishonest, when your candidate is the very embodiment of both terms.


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Orange Co.

There are a few benefits to being in a larger city than my small town.
Massaman Curry
Kee Mao

Lovely Chinese and Thai food. This place is only a few blocks from L.'s place.