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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Ceremonies of the Horsemen

When the Tom McGuane book, "Some Horses" came out in 1999..., I had Amazon send a hard copy edition to my dear old Dad.  I got a call from him soon after.  He said that he was surprised when it unexpectedly arrived in the mail and that he opened the package up at the post office..., then went straight home..., and read it through.  Well..., if the old boy was still around..., he would be getting another book in the mail.  The one pictured here.

Yeah..., I was first exposed to Tom Russell by his writing on his old blog..., and that drew me to his music..., which I have written about..., here..., and..., here.  I even fashioned a few YouTube video slide shows..., here..., here..., and here.

About five years ago Tom started writing a column for an online magazine called Ranch & Reata.  It was a high class and beautiful production..., though a bit slow and clunky loading for those of us still stuck in the dial up dark ages out on the ranch.  I only got to read a couple of the essays before the magazine hid behind a pay wall.  So I was pretty excited to see that the essays had been collected in book form..., and I was not disappointed.

From the opening essay about the famous bronc rider Casey Tibbs and scattered though out the book I was having flashbacks of that dear old Dad of mine.  I don't recall us specifically seeing Casey ride at The Lewiston Roundup..., but it is a distinct possibility..., and I certainly knew his name as one of the great ones. And I pretty much grew up with a Johnny Cash sound track in my head..., along with Marty Robbins, Tex Ritter and Hank Williams...., all of whom appear in book.  And Tom writes of the pack horse men like Rayburn Crane in the high Sierra and Russ Knox in the Grand Canyon that bring back hunting camp memories. 

OK..., not all of the memories that Tom brought back are so fondly remembered..., I wish I could forget an incident of my own that involved the subject of Tom's essay on Tequila...,
After reaching the bottom and eating the worm I thought my chair was dancing the cumbia.  I toppled over backwards, spun a few times, and passed out.  I was ushered into a long and nightmare laden sleep, broken only by the sounds of six a.m. garbage trucks at first light, and the smell of bagels steaming up from the shop below.  I was alive.  There were no mystic revelation in the journey.  No Aztec maidens or curanderos named Don Juan.  My tongue felt like it had swept the bottom of the Sonora desert.  Lesson learned.  From the worm.
I haven't been too fond of Tequila since I did my own tongue sweeping of something way worse tasting than any desert sand.  But it is a testament to the quality of Tom's writing..., that I find myself wanting to seek out a 100% Agave Reposado..., maybe..., after I get this posted and the chores done today.

Yeah..., if you are a fan of anything western in nature you will find something that will utterly delight you in many of the 25 essays found in "Ceremonies of the Horseman: The Ranch and Riata Essays".  And those that don't utterly delight you..., will certainly be more than pleasing.  My only disappointments..., were running out of stories..., and not being able to share them with my dear old Dad.

So I will share them with you..., get the book.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Have the Frogs..., Finally..., Hopped Out of the Pot?

Over on Facebook I commented..., on a couple of posts..., regarding the protests of the Donald's election. The posts were denegrating the protesters. My comment...,
Well..., I am glad to see people in the streets..., it might be a bit misguided in this instance..., but that's what it took to turn this country around after ten years of war in Vietnam..., hope that it doesn't take the National Guard to start killing students to put a stop to the last 15 years of war. Whatever it takes.
Yeah..., the mainstream media is trying to portray..., spin?... the protests as only being about Trumps personality shortcoming..., and many they are.  They also seem to be saying that the protesters are all Hillary supporters and are displaying a "poor loser" mentality. But the MSM has been so wrong about everything else throughout this election that I don't put much faith in their analysis of anything.

The protesters appear to me to be the frogs that have been simmering in that pot of water..., and instead of getting that gradually increasing temperature rise that a Hillary victory would have surely cooked them..., the temperature was cranked up by the Trump victory and they have hopped right out of the pot to protest.  Right on I say.  If a Trump victory is what it takes to shake people up then I will celebrate it..., though I was not a Trump or Hillary supporter..., I wrote in Bernie on my ballot.  I endorsed and gave money to Bernie early on..., when I thought that plutocrats and oligarchs of the GOP would run Jeb Bush against Hillary.  The First Time...., posted in August 2015.

Later in February of 2016..., when it became apparent that Trump had..., to my disbelief..., somehow thwarted the powers that be in the GOP and would be their nominee..., I doubled down on Bernie..., because of my fear and loathing of both Hillary and Trump.  Here is a snip of the comment I made over at The Agonist Blog some ten months ago...,
Earlier this week I floated another $100 to Bernie…, and now my emails asking for more are addressed to “Scott R.” instead of just “Scott”. Makes you think that there are real and thoughtful people running his show.
I do think though…, that a lot of Bernie supporters are really just anti-Hillaryers. If it comes down to her and Trump…, the only way she will win is if the Republicans vote for her out of spite for Trump. And a lot of Bernie supporters are likely to vote for Trump rather than Hillary. I sit on that fence myself.
So..., maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised that Trump won..., I called it back then.  But with the MSM, the military industrial complex, the fossil fuel industry, big pharma and health insurance industries..., and most of all..., Wall Street and Goldman Sachs..., not to mention all the shot callers in the GOP..., pushing and pulling for her..., and all the polls showing she would win..., I grudgingly accepted it.  I went to bed about 9:30 Tuesday night thinking that there was no way that the powers that be would let her lose..., even after Florida had been called for Trump.  After all..., the Dow futures had dropped 1000 points when it looked like a tighter race than predicated.  Wall Street had a whole lot of money invested in Hillary..., and they were showing their displeasure at the prospects of a Trump win.  But it didn't take them long to face up to reality when Trump actually won.  Yeah..., the Dow didn't just bounce back..., it hopped up to near a record high.  They really aren't that alarmed about the Trump victory..., and neither am I.

As Dave Lindorff over at CounterPunch says in The Silver Linings in Trumps Win...,
Let’s look on the bright side.
Donald J. Trump is the next president of the United States. His stunning victory over Hillary Clinton came after he had first crushed the Republican Party establishment, steamrollering all the candidates it put forward and defeating party leaders’ concerted efforts to deny him the nomination as he rolled up victory after victory in that party’s primaries.
But Trump did more than that. He also, along with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, smashed the Democratic Party establishment too.
He goes on to say...,
Most importantly, it seems likely that we will no longer have to worry about the US going to war with Russia.  While Hillary Clinton, with her stated desire to establish a “no-fly zone” in Syria that even leading generals said would mean “war with Russia,” Donald Trump throughout the campaign made it clear that he did not want the US confronting Russia. He said, to the consternation of most establishment Republicans, that he thought the two countries “should be working together.”  That view, if he is serious, bodes well for Syrians, and for Ukrainians as well. Trump has also condemned NATO, which since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been converted into a military adjunct to aggressive US efforts around the globe to sow chaos, mayhem and regime change — something Trump has opposed. With luck Trump, who recognizes that Americans do not want endless war, may act to neuter NATO, hopefully by withdrawing US funding for the organization and allowing it to fade away — something that should have happened in 1990 when the Berlin Wall came down. 
 Lindorff goes on to chronicle all of Trumps shortcoming..., as I have already acknowledged..., there are many..., but says...,
On balance though, I would argue that Trump’s victory and his drubbing of a Democratic Party that has been fleeing from its New Deal and Great Society past for decades, is what is needed if we are to have any hope of restoring any kind of popular sovereignty in a US that was sleep-walking into a kind of corporatist oligarchy. Trump, along with the Sanders movement during the Democratic primaries, effectively tossed a molotov cocktail into that whole system.
 He sums up his piece this way...,
But that’s all history now. At this point, it’s on all of us on the left, and in the rest of the Democratic base — the working class, union rank-and-file, people of color, immigrants, feminists, environmental activists and peace activists —  to pick up the pieces and to build a movement of resistance and a new political party of the left to keep socialism on the political agenda in America and to fight for real progressive change and real democracy.
 Which brings us back to the current protests.  I think that the MSM is wrong about those people out in the streets.  They don't look like Hillary supporters to me..., they look more like Bernie supporters.  In rally after rally it was noted that young voters were out in force..., and I also believe that the violence is being pumped up and misapplied..., just as it was during the Trump rallies.  I believe that there has been a seething anger building in this county for quite some time now and has been ready to boil over.  The current election has demonstrated the very worst that this county has to offer. The protests may be a bit misguided at this point..., my hope is that the anger can be harnessed and applied in a positive way.  Martin Luther King preached none violent protest with eloquent words..., but it took people in the streets to accomplish what was accomplished. The Vietnam War might still be going on if it wasn't for people in the streets..., how long have we been in Afghanistan and Iraq? OccupyWall Street was a good..., but short lived start.  Standing Rock is hanging on.

Yeah..., Lindorff may say that the..., "...US has been sleepwalking into a corpratist oligarchy"..., but I say that we have been a batch of frogs slowly snoozing and simmering away in the pot.  I hope we have hopped out of that pot now.

Sunday, July 31, 2016


At least to my blog.  Yeah..., the Scott R. - The Quillayute Cowboy blog has been getting an unprecedented number of hits lately.  I usually get a bit of a bounce when I link to a new post on my Facebook page..., but I haven’t posted a new piece since “Those Good Ole Days” back on 7/8/16..., and it only garnered 83 hits since then. And my best recent post, “The Drive” got 446 hits since 4/30/16.  

So..., I was a bit curious about who was hitting my blog so hard the last three weeks or so.  Blogger Dashboard shows this for the last month...,


United States



And just last week it was...,


United States


Friday, July 8, 2016

Those Good Ole Days

I was born in 1952…, so when I try to sum up my life in as few words as possible…, I say that I was born in the 50’s…., grew up in the 60’s…, came of age in the 70’s…, somehow survived the 80’s…, built a nest in the 90’s…, tried to feather the nest in in the 00’s…, and am sometimes wondering why in these 10’s?

Sometime in those 80’s I tried to pen the lyrics to a song about those 70’s…, a time that those of us around my age were trying to recreate the magic of the psychedelic 60’s that we were a little too young to experience firsthand.  Why couldn’t we have our own Woodstock?  We tried.

Those Good Ole Days
Been tunin’ up all day,
Now we’re feelin’ right.
Gonna head out for Tacoma,
In the middle of the night.
Jerry’s passed out in the backseat,
Got Bruce behind the wheel.
Goin’ mostly for the party,
But just might make a deal.

Friday, June 10, 2016

What Do You Call It?

Irony?  I once wrote that I may not be able to define irony for you…, but I know it when it slaps me upside the head.  The dictionary says, “… a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects…”.  Or maybe you should call it disrespect…, or insulting?

I am sure it was merely coincidence that the five part-eight hour documentary “OJ: Made in America” was scheduled for TV release on June 11, 2016…, just a week after the passing of Muhammad Ali.  OJ and Ali were both great athletes…, but only one was a great man…, The Greatest.  If there is any doubt in your mind about which one that is…, don’t bother reading any further.

Friday, June 3, 2016

There's A Double Trouble Bubble Brewing

We’ve seen and survived some pretty nasty bubbles in the past.  The Tulip Bubble, The South Sea Company Bubble, The Florida Real Estate Bubble, The 1929 Stock Market Bubble, The Japanese Asset Price Bubble, The Dot- Com Bubble, The Housing Bubble(s), The Subprime Bubble, The Debt Bubble, The Financial Bubble…, and no one saw this one coming either.  But we may have a chance to turn it around before this Bubble Bursts.  And by “us”…, I mean the working man or woman, common folks, debt serfs…, beer drinkers.  I doubt that we will have much help from the plutocrats and oligarchs or the politicians or CEO’s or other scum of the earth.  They aren’t beer drinkers and wouldn’t stoop to buying a beer for a working man…, if they ever got close enough to one to do so.
Say what?  I am speaking of The Beer Bubble.  Haven’t heard of it?  I told you already that no one saw it coming…, but here it is…, World Domination - the Chinese Now Drink More Beer Than Anyone  .  And the Double Bubble I referred to?  Here it is…, Corprate Overlords Will Soon Own 1 Out of Every 3 Beers Made On Earth.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Drive

Along about April or May of every year when the high county around Hemlock Butte and Rocky Ridge Lake were still socked in and buried in perhaps 10 feet or more of frozen snow at over 5,600 feet in elevation…, Lewiston, ID at barely 700 feet above sea level…, had been snow free for many months and the flower and vegetable gardeners weren’t much worried about any killing frosts.  As we would head east up US 12 along the Clearwater River toward Weippe and home in our old car, my Dad would look across the river at that giant, smoke belching, rotten-egg smelling, Potlatch Forests, Inc. pulp mill and say, “Well…, looks like they are getting mighty short of logs…, guess I better sign on for The Drive this year.”  He never did sign on when I knew him though.  He had been on a couple, or maybe a few, before I was born, or when I was too young to remember.  Strange how those little details never seem to matter…, until it is too late to sort them out.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

"Rack'em Up !"

It isn’t a feeling that I get often…, or ever often got for that matter.  It’s been a good many years since I shuffled around a pool table…, and even back in the days when it was an all too common occurrence…, I did way more rackin’ myself than I ever did instructing others to do so.

But every once in while…, OK, make that, great while…, I had one of those nights when the stars all aligned and that old pool cue had a laser light in the tip.  And you could literally feel the fear and self-doubt building in the local hustler as game after game was slipping away…, and after sinking another 8-ball…, you take a long pull out of a bottle of ice cold Hamm’s…, sit it down firmly…, look him in the eye…, and say, “Rack’em up!”