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Monday, April 18, 2022

A Pirate Looks at 70 !!!

 Well…, I graduated High School in 1970…, and now some 50 plus a couple of years later…, I am turning 70 on my birthday.  Yeah…, I figured that I should retire at 70 to secure the top level of Social Security dividends.  A few hundred extra dollars a month may not seem like much…, unless you need it…, for food or meds or beer.  But as important as that stipend was…, the fact that Julie and her health problems would be 65 years old and Medicare eligible just a couple of weeks after I turned 70 were a major financial consideration.  I planned to keep the job and the medical coverage it provided until then.  But our WA state governor decided that it was within his authority to mandate experimental “vaccinations” for COVID-19 for state employees by October of 2021…, or termination.  It cost us over a thousand dollars a month to keep the medical coverage in effect and a few hundred a month off SS retirement and probably less than a few hundred in reduced WA state retirement benefits from the early retirement.  And that isn’t all…, unused annual leave is paid at full rate…, and I could have garnered close to three or four thousand extra dollars for six or seven more months on the job in addition to the decent salary during that time period.  Sick Leave was only reimbursed at 25%…, it would have added a few hundred dollars to the stash that already measured nearly 15K.  Yeah…, I didn’t abuse…, or even use much sick leave over just short of 25 years…, little things add up.  It was put into an untaxed medical account that we have been using to pay the extra medical insurance premiums that the “early” retirement has cost us…, and there will be a little left over now that Julie will be Medicare covered in less than a month.

Yeah…, refusing to bend over and take the jabs cost Julie and I a pretty penny…, but I am feeling better about it every day.  If you voluntarily took the jabs…, and now the "boosters"..., or if you were forced to…, I recommend that you don’t read a certain book by a well known deceased political figure’s son.  It scares me for all of you…, but I want to make clear that I hope with all sincerity that he is as wrong as the main stream media and the powers that be who are shielding you from his investigation by censoring coverage of the book and labeling it “misinformation” and "propaganda"…, even though it is meticulously footnoted for authentication.

Back in 2017 I signed off on my birthday blog post…, “Now…, let’s all hang on…, and I do mean hang on tight…, and do our very best to enjoy our remaining rides around the sun.”  And three years later I started my birthday blog with…, “Well..., you can’t say I didn’t warn you to hold on tight three years ago..., when I last updated The Blog.”  I commented on the medical healthcare system, climate change, The Chump…, and COVID-19.  I said, “Yeah..., take some common sense precautions if you are healthy..., and more precaution if you are at risk..., but I don’t believe that there is reason to panic or carry things too far.  The thinking that we can keep this lockdown and mask up routine going  until they find a vaccine is pie in the sky hopium.  We have never found a vaccine for the common cold virus and we won’t find a miracle cure for this one.”  I’ll stand by that statement…, but I ended the piece with this warning…, “Oh..., and don’t forget to hang on tight..., this ride is going to be one to remember.” 

I was more worried about the world financial situation and the “growth at any cost” neoliberal capitalistic push…, and it appears very near now.  In the 2017 piece I said, “And the military industrial complex…, or as I refer to it…, the Bomb and Bullet Builders, are about the only economic engine still firing these days.  I have always contended that the Wee Bush drug us into the Iraq War with lies about weapons of mass destruction and mushroom clouds on the horizon in order to ‘get the economy going.’”  Still true today…, we poked the bear with a shape stick for so long he had finally had enough and no choice but to turn around and confront the stick.  We don’t care…, we will just supply our surrogate with more sticks and we won’t have to wield them ourselves…, but our “defense industry” will reap the profits.  Not to worry…, the folks screaming nuclear war don’t have a clue.  The “shot callers” are only in it for the money…, and nukes would end that game.  Yeah..., I have been making fun of the big bad bear stories since 2016…, but we have finally managed to to poke him to the point we think we can blame him for the consequences…, and it is sad that so many have bought that line.

Well…, I guess your take away on this birthday post could be…, OH MY GOSH…, things are still getting worse…, climate change, medical coverage, COVID-19, war games and financial manipulation…, or you can say that none of those things have killed us yet so I am just a screaming Karen and pay no attention to me when I say again…, “Hang On…, Hang On Tight”.  

Yeah…, these ’20’s have not been kind to us personally…, a house fire in the middle of winter in 2020…, lost an unforgettable partner in late 2020…, lost my only brother in late 2021…, and now a forced early retirement in 2021.  But we are hanging in there and are as happy as we can be and looking forward to better times ahead here on The Ranch…, and wishing you all the same…, better times that is.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

 MY BROTHER - Larry Spence

Born       February 7, 1954

Passed   October  5, 2021


                                  This picture is a little water damaged…, but I believe it is the one he would want

                              posted…, sitting on the old Skagit with a perfectly spooling mainline drum.

Well…, the pain, misery and medical problems that plagued him these last few years are at a merciful end for my Brother and Best Friend Larry.  He passed away peacefully after his boys, Keith, A.J., Bert and their significant others, Chelsea Spence and Rebecca Brackett helped make that transition as meaningful and pain free as possible at his longtime home in Weippe, ID.

The High-Powered Spence Boys (and Hailey Kay)..., Scott R., A.J., Keith, Brother Larry, Hailey Kay, Bert..., and the Red Headed High-Baller..., Reid.

A few years ago, in an attempt to rescue a small child next to him, when a stunt riding motorcyclist lost control, entered the crowd watching and the high revving and hot cycle landed atop the toddler.  The effort on Larry’s part saved the little girl from more severe injury…, but cost him a nearly disabling broken ankle.  Then while on the mend he went to work before the doctor had released him to return…, and a heavy pipe dropped on the same ankle causing another year long recuperation and pain.  He was also suffering from diabetes and losing teeth…, most of which he pulled himself.  He made it clear that he felt there was no longterm bright future ahead and was ready to face whatever was to come with dignity and courage and not fight what he felt would eventually be a losing battle from some hospital or nursing home bed.  So he made out his will with the help of his boys and made them promise to stand by his wishes to remain at home until the end…., and as tough as it was for them.., they honored that wish.


Larry was born to That Good Lookin’ Al and Wanda Spence and lived in Weippe his entire life, He went to school there and eventually graduated from the consolidated Weippe-Pierce High School of Timberline in 1972.  

                                                                Me...., Larry

                                                                Mom - Wanda..., Dad- Good Lookin' Al 

He then went to work for Bill Maki of Maki Manufacturing, Inc. for several years.  He always considered that experience as one of the most fruitful and fulfilling of his life and considered Bill his lifelong mentor.  I was fortunate enough to witness, on many occasions, those skills as Larry and I worked for Carney Pole for a few years and then bought an old Skagit SJ4 RT swing yarder and became contract loggers for about eight years.  There is no doubt that Larry’s mechanical abilities learned under Bill’s watchful eye were a major contribution to the success of both ventures…, and the most meaningful of the last visitors Larry had was Bill Maki.

About the only thing that Larry liked better than mechanicing on heavy equipment and being a machinist…, was operating a yarder, cable loader, cat or grader..., and by unanimous conscientious..., he excelled in all of the above.  He continued to operate the equipment acquired by Spence Brothers Logging and bought me out after I moved to Forks, WA in 1987.   He went on to acquire even more logging equipment under his business Idaho Crane and Machine.  More than he could fit into his world class dream shop that he finally got built on his Weippe property.  

                                                      Larry's World Class Shop
Larry operating the old Skagit

The Old Skagit

That's Cousin Jimmy Spence watching a big one come up

We didn't always yard logs..., sometimes we yarded loaders or log trucks over the bank  :) 
Brother Larry is far left and I am far right.

We spent several summers on this Eagle Point job..., this viewpoint is about 3000 vertical feet
above the North Fork of the Clearwater River.  This is one of our best crews on a Friday after work.
Jimmy Spence on the left, Jack Smith, Big Jerry Johnstun, Brother Larry and Dave Daniels.

When he was on his own he got a job dismantling railroad                                     trestles between Headquarters and Jaype.  He hadn't                                          started this one yet.

                                        This one is about half way down

                               I don't know who was running the cat..., glad it wasn't me !!!!


                                            Plenty of Work Ahead

In later years he hired on for the Weippe chapter of the Clearwater County Road Department and was well known and highly praised county wide as the best grader operator ever…, whether it was shaping up and maintaining gravel roads or keeping them and many driveways clear of snow in the winter time.  The shop I mentioned now houses lathes, drill presses, milling machines, compressors, cutting torches, welders and tools that I have no idea how to operate,  That “shed” as he referred to it was one bright spot over the last few years…, but not the brightest.

                                               A few beers with friends in the "shed"  :)  

                                   He hadn't finished the walls yet.

                                            Probably because he was too busy shooing  :) 

                                              The walls are looking better now...,

                                            Just getting started on filling it up..., 

The brightest would be the birth of his grandson Reid in 2019 and his granddaughter Hailey Kay in 2021.  

                                                        Reid and Hailey Kay Spence

                                                             Hailey Kay Spence

               A boy needs his own saddle..., so I gave him one..., and he gave his sister a ride.


Larry married twice, neither of which lasted, but the first marriage produced Keith Spence of Lewiston and A.J. Spence (Rebecca Brackett) of Lewiston.  The second marriage produced Bert Spence (Chelsea) of Orofino.  He also adopted Brianne Page (Christopher) and Stacy Wright (Glen) of Orofino and has five adopted grandchildren via them…, Evan, Megan, and Taran and Phoenix and Aevlyn, respectively.  His parents proceeded him in passing but he is survived by the aforementioned children and grandchildren as well as his brother Scott R of Forks,  WA, and many cousins and friends scattered throughout the Pacific Northwest.

At his request he will be cremated and no services are planned.  The family asks that he only be remembered for his kindness, consideration and generosity to everyone who knew him.

RIP Brother Larry.

                                                                    Larry and Me

                                                                    Larry and Me

           I have often referred to this picture as me and my two brothers, Larry and Jack Smith.

                           Larry was big boned and aways a little on the heavy side.

                      He knew that losing weight the way he was, was not a healthy sign.

"Lay down my brother
Take it easy, take it slow
Lay down my brother
Rest a while, let it go

It's a long hard road in the wind and the rain
But you finally made it through
Odds are you'll be goin' again
But the odds won't be ridin' with you

You've been workin' every minute, every hour, every day
Still the work is never done
The life you love is passin' away
But you feel you've only begun"

                                Robert Earl Keen

Friday, September 18, 2020

John "Savage" Thompson

John "Savage" Thompson
Born :  March 18, 1950
Passed:  August 9, 2020

 Well…, he always said, “They’ll never take me alive”…, and there is no chance of it now.  He passed away of natural causes on August 9, 2020.  I thought 2020 was cruel and depraved and sadistic after the fire and all…, not to mention climate change…, COVID-19…, financial Armagedon.., and the political three ring circus running non-stop through this country…, yeah…, “clowns to the left of me…, jokers to the right…, stuck in the middle”… wish you were still here to help pilot me through this quagmire.

Whoever is calling the shots now days got this one completely wrong.  Not that it could not have happened at other times back down the road on some pretty wild rides.  And I was along on a few of them.  Did you notice the missing ring finger on his left hand on the photo above?  Yeah…, I was along on that ride.  

Happy Hour at The Clearwater Club is over…, we pile into his Mazda pickup with three of wildest of the wild women…, it was a bit crowded and that caused a wide turn and little detour up over the wrong side of the road curb…, that a cop happened to witness and thought he ought  to investigate.  It was just two blocks to his parents house…, and we beat the cop there and Savage headed into Mom’s house…, thee Wild Woman…, who would spend the rest of her life with him .., stepped up and told the cop that it was her that piloted the Mazda up over wrong side of the curb and pulled into John Thompson’s Mom’s driveway.  OK.., this cop is a bit more Andy than he is Barney …, and says, “Look I am sure I saw John Thompson exit this vehicle and run towards the house…, “ and Jeannie says.., “No, no.., it was me.., “ .., and Mom arrives on the scene…, and Andy departs the scene grinning and shaking his head.

HOME FREE  !!!  Thunder Storm brewing…, and The Great Escape executed…. Somewhere near Zan’s Beach on the way to Weippe…, it cut loose …., and so did the traction on the Mazda…, and it didn’t seem like too bad a deal to be upright and perched atop a boulder battling the Clearwater River.  Seemed like a secure position at the moment…. , and nobody was injured…, so Savage was in the bed of the little truck gettting a suitcase…., and I thought it would be a good idea to get the bottle of R&R from under the seat in the cab.  I was about half way inside the cab on my stomach reaching under the seat when the little truck cut loose from the boulder.  It kind of catapulted me over the top of the rolling pickup on down into the river and I remember being on my hands and knees in the water and making a wild scramble to get out of the way of the little pickup rolling my way.  When I made it back up to the highway there was Savage…, with a missing finger.  A couple of friends from up on The Hill made a timely entrance and got us all to the hospital.

That wasn’t the first time we exchanged pleasantries between us in a hospital…, but I do believe it was the last.  The first was after the Blue Mountain Rock Festival at the University of Idaho in Moscow.  Yeah…, it must have been The Russians…, witnessing Savage taking a little nap during the festivities…, delivered a swift kick to the jaw.  The next day I stopped in at the hospital to listen to him talk through a wired shut mouth.  The other time it was he who took me to the hospital to get a split lip stitched up.  And well he should have…, he was the one who took us to the biker gang, Highwaymen’s Club House in Lewiston…, and by the time we left there…, with four of us in an old Dodge Power Wagon…, our driver decided to do a burn out from the stop sign before turning right on Snake River Avenue.  It took us by surprise and the momentum pushed that driver nearly out the door that was not properly secured…, hanging onto the steering wheel with one hand to keep from landing out on the street does not allow you to straighten out the turn…, and we crashed right into the rock wall.  We all kind of went our separate ways…, but managed to find our way back to Savage’s house in Clarkston, WA…., without my 10x Beaver Stetson cowboy hat I might add.  I didn’t think things were that bad…, the bleeding had pretty much stopped and we had opened up a new bottle of 100 proof Wild Turkey…, and after a few shots I let them take me to the hospital…, where my mustache got shaved for the only time in the last 40 some years.

Hey…, they weren’t all bat shit crazy adventures…, but when he bought the raft…, I went right down and bought a Stearns life vest…, and still have it.  But I never bought a parachute when he bought the hang glider…, and I never went along on any of those rides.  And I am glad that he had provided wet suits that spring day when we rafted the Irish Railroad Rapids of the North Fork of the Clearwater River.  As we scouted the rapids I told his drop dead gorgeous sister Ellen…, that she should position herself with her 35mm camera right below a big flat rock where the main channel was hitting hard…, I told her we would probably end up right on top of it.  Well…, we did slide right up there…, held steady for a moment…, and slide right back into the main channel…, and hit it with a little more force than I was prepared for.  It threw me right out of the raft…, but I managed to  grab the life line on the raft with my free hand…, and kept my beer upright with the other hand.  Knowing the priorities…, Rob Christopherson saved my beer first…, then dragged me back into the raft.  And ever foxy Ellen has the pictures to prove it.  Speaking of Ellen,,., reminds me of the Marshall Tucker Band concert in Pullman, WA that Savage secured tickets for me and her…, thank you brother…, many thanks indeed.  I just could not seem to secure a date with her on my own.

And another big thank you for coming all the way up to Weippe…, tracking me down and taking me to Troy, OR…, for The River Bottom Stomp.  Yeah…, when Credence Clearwater Revival broke up…, John Fogerty found the most isolated place that I have ever been…, and settled in.  But every year they held a little get together in Troy…, there were even Hollywood stunt men there doing flaming dives off the bridge over the Grand Ronde River and rockin’ all night.  I was never a CCR fan prior to that…, but I have been a Fogerty fan ever since.

I am not sure that I had really met “Savage”…, and never could figure out how he acquired that handle…, he was a lot more fun lovin’ and full of laughs and good humor than anything else…  but on the night of The Weippe Rodeo…, I got a little ahead of myself and had to take a little nap…, and a gal that I had admonished a few days before for waking me up on a work night and not performing as she should have…, woke me up again with intentions of making things right.  Well…, as we we headed for my bedroom.., we found it occupied by Savage and another female figure.  And not many weeks later after I knew him better he caught up with me at The Logger’s Lodge…, I was eating a cheeseburger…, in paradise…, and he says that he was just over at my place and the cops were there…,  asking questions.  Well…, I knew that there was some stuff there that I didn’t want discovered.., so I went to a friends house to spend the night.  We had to work the next day so I head to my place to suit up and build a lunch about four in he morning…, when I hear the gravel  crunching of a slow moving vehicle outside…, I peek out the window to see a F-ing cop car!  Well…, I have had some panic attacks in my day…, but if that isn’t the Oscar winner…, I don’t know what is.  I am sure you have all had to double flush a toilet…, and waiting for the bowl to fill back up can seem a little slow…, but when you are expecting the front door to be busted open by jack booted thugs…, time can literally stand still.  Well…, that door didn’t get busted down…, and my heart held up…, but some other stuff went needlessly down the drain.  Found out later that the boys living downstairs were the suspects…, they had robbed the local store for food…, my friend Jack Smith wrote a song about it…, “Weippe Hamburgers Don’t Turn Me On.”

One night up in Weippe we were  in the apartment of my cousin and her friend…, they had managed to ditch us…, can’t imagine why… but they hadn’t locked the door to their apartment…, and there we were…, Savage pulls out his 380 Walther and aims it at the door knob…, I am thinking he is bluffing…, I should have known better.  Well…, no more damage than that Belgein made Walther 380 made to that cheap door knob…, he graduated to a Smith & Wesson Model 59 with a 15 round clip soon after.

Probably a good thing that he didn’t have it when he and another guy got back from a logging gig in AK.  Yeah…, they had a bit of cash and hit Tacoma where some guys were brewing a concoction they called Mescaline…, that tested out to be LSD.  Well…, they did take him alive that night…, and when his partner made it back to Weippe and told the story…, I volunteered to drive back to Tacoma to help bail him out.  I didn’t have the money to bail him out…, his partner did…,but when they told him that if he waited until until he appeared in court on Monday he would be release with a $25 fine instead of a $250 bail.  His partner opted for the $25 option…, I wish I would have had the money partner…, you would have come home with us.

RIP brother…, nah…, raise a little hell…, a lot of hell…, it will make it easier for me to track you down…, and you won’t have any trouble recognizing me…, I will be the guy in the cowboy hat with the orange Stearns life jacket on..., lookin' for another ride!!!

Well..., I am sure he had his boots on..., Whites I am sure..., I can't seem to get the link to work here..., but if you copy and paste the link to your address bar you can get, "Play a Train Song" by Robert Earl Keen.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Ruminations - 2020

Well..., you can’t say I didn’t warn you to hold on tight three years ago..., when I last updated The Blog.  And it is damn good thing I took my own advise to heart.  These last three years have been quite the rides around the sun..., let me tell you. 

From a personal perspective it appears to be one speed bump after another.  In December of 2017 I took Julie to Bremerton for what was supposed to be a minor surgery..., as I was out in the waiting room the doctor came out and said there were some major issues and she would be in the hospital for a while.  I didn’t even have a tooth brush or razor with me..., I had to buy those and get a motel room.  She ended up spending four days in the Intensive Care Unit.  We didn’t own a cell phone (still don’t) and I had to borrow a cell phone from someone at the hospital to call the job supervisor and say, “I don’t know when I will be back”.  And the gals running the Motel 6 flipped a switch for me so I could make some long distance calls to let some folks know what was going on.  If I had had my address book with me I could have alerted a few more people. 

A few lessons were learned from that one..., the most important..., was the importance of medical insurance.  When they send you a statement they make sure to remind you of that fact..., they show you in 20 point font what it would have cost you without it.  Over $378,000. 

Even if we only had to pay the price the insurance was charged..., under half price..., it would have been financially devastating for us.  A lot of folks out at the job ask me when I will be retiring..., with an air of, “Shouldn’t an old fart like you be put out to pasture already?”  I have a copy of the insurance statement on my desk and tell them I won’t be retiring until Julie is old enough to get on Medicare.  That will be a couple more years down the road for sure..., now that Bernie has dropped out of the Presidential campaign.  Not too likely that we would get Medicare for All even if he had been elected..., too many politicians..., from both parties..., are raking in too much money from those health insurance companies that are raking in billions to see that happen.

And don’t believe for a minute that those health insurance companies will be hurt by this COVID-19 debacle.  Since Obama Care was enacted they are operating virtually on a cost plus agenda.  They are guaranteed a profit margin..., so the more money they have to spend..., the more money they get to make by raising cost of their plans.  And after all the bluff that the Republicans spewed with vote after vote to repeal Obama Care while the Democrats were in control and all the bluster from The Chump that one of his first priorities would be to repeal it..., when they had the chance with control of the Executive, House and Senate..., it didn’t happen..., see above..., too many politicians are raking in too much money from those health insurance companies to see that happen.  It is all a big money game..., and the big money is literally flowing out..., again..., to rescue the mighty corporations while they sit on their asses..., and our asses are ordered to stay home and wait for a check that might cover the rent..., for a month...,  if we are lucky.

Yeah..., keep on hanging on.  According to Google...,  “In 2017, 335 natural disaster affected over 95.6 million people, killing an additional 9,697 and costing a total of US $335 billion.” “In 2018, there were 315 natural disaster events recored with 11,804 deaths, over 68 million people affected and US $ 131.7 billion in economic losses across the world.”  “In 2019, there were a total of 409 natural disasters events worldwide.”  Hurricanes, typhoons, wildfires, heat waves, droughts, flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis, melting polar icecaps, warming and acidifying oceans, coral reef bleaching, fresh water shortage, global warming and climate change are raging..., and nothing is being done about it.

What’s in store for the 2020’s?  I hope our personal experience isn’t a harbinger.  Yeah..., on 1/31/20 I pulled into the driveway of The Ranch after a day at the job..., to see the double wide afire. 

I can’t blame that on The Chump or Climate Change..., or maybe I can.  The Chump denies it..., and the storm that caused the generator to be started because of the power outage could be Climate Change related.  But no need to dwell on that..., it is what it is.  The place didn’t burn to the ground..., we saved a lot of stuff..., my computers, my guns, art work, too many books and record albums, lots of clothes..., but the place is not fixable and The Saddle Bar(n) is now crammed full of that “stuff”.   No human or animal casualties..., thankfully.  We had a little stash of money that enabled us to buy a small camper trailer and we are getting by just fine..., wondering what the future will bring us next. 

One thing that I am sure of is that we won’t have The Chump to kick around much longer.  I have commented to several friends on Facebook not to worry when they say that he will get re-elected.  No matter how hard the Doofus Democrats try to give it away..., and good gosh they are doing everything they can..., short of running Hillary again.  And don’t be shocked if they replace babbling Joe Biden with her..., or if she gets chosen as Vice President running mate for The Babbler.  Yeah..., even Hillary would win against The Chump this time.  She won the popular vote by nearly three million votes last time..., and all the folks that stayed out of the voting booths because they could not stomach a vote for her and because all the polls and pundits said she was a sure thing last time will be out there voting against The Chump this time.  The Chump may not have lost any supporters..., even after needlessly killing a lot of folks by waffling  on the COVID-19 response until the situation was so dire, even he could no longer deny it..., yeah they still love and support him.  But he hasn’t gained any new supporters and he has earned the wrath of many who just thought he was a doofus and a joke.

Speaking of COVID-19..., the delayed response and failure to isolate and contain it early on led to an explosion of infections that was indeed scary.  In the beginning the number of positive cases in the U.S. was doubling about every four days and increasing nearly 20% every 24 hours.  The number of deaths in 24 hours was doubling every three days and increasing at a rate of 36%.  With numbers like that it is easy to see why alarm bells were ringing and the projections were for millions of deaths in America alone.  But it has tapered off immensely..., as of 5/1/20..., about a month later..., it is taking almost 25 days to double the number of positive cases and they are increasing at just a 3% clip.  The deaths are taking 21 days to double and increasing at a 3% rate.  This trend is most definitely a good sign..., that isn’t getting much attention.  Here's a link  The media like to report just the numbers..., “2000” deaths a day the headlines scream!  Don’t get me wrong..., that is bad..., but not nearly so bad as it would be if the initial numbers had continued in the manner they started out at.  And a couple days in late  April only recorded 1000 deaths. It is debatable whether the “lockdown” has actually been the cause of this trend..., I tend to side with those who say it was unnecessary and ineffective.  Mike Whitney says 

The lockdown was conjured up by made-for-TV infectious disease experts who based their recommendations on the results of discredited computer models that don’t square with reality. In short, their calculations were wrong, thus, the policy they cobbled together, is also wrong. This is not a liberal vs conservative issue.  This is not a Democrat vs Republican issue. The issue is whether policy should be shaped by data and science or by fake computer models and the relentless fear-mongering of the media. That is the heart of the matter.
The virus isn’t something we choose or don’t choose, and it’s certainly not something that can be avoided by bolting the door and hiding under the bed. There are only two paths to immunity: Vaccine or the natural immune response of antibodies. That’s it! There is no third path. Self quarantine is not a solution, at best it’s a temporary fix.  Eventually, everyone will have to emerge from their respective spider-holes and reenter the real world. What other choice is there?

The social distancing certainly helps..., we have known that for years just from dealing with cold and flu virus..., but the masks are really only necessary if you are around someone infected or if you yourself are infected.  I know..., you never know who might have it or even if you might have it yourself..., but if you don’t get close enough to let people drool on you..., you shouldn’t be in too much danger.  Yeah..., take some common sense precautions if you are healthy..., and more precaution if you are at risk..., but I don’t believe that there is reason to panic or carry things too far.  The thinking that we can keep this lockdown and mask up routine going  until they find a vaccine is pie in the sky hopium.  We have never found a vaccine for the common cold virus and we won’t find a miracle cure for this one.  Keep in mind that this virus didn’t “wipe out” any cruise ships or nursing homes..., the survivors significantly out numbered the deaths..., so there is some kind of immunity in our bodies that can be tapped..., and it looks to me like that immunity is being spread.  Let’s hope that it is spreading faster than the virus.  

We must not forget about the financial-economic situation that this COVID-19 calamity has “caused”..., bullshit..., I call bullshit.  It is a a “God send” I am sure Goldman Sachs is saying..., something to blame the the meltdown on.  In 2008 Goldman and all the other To Big to Fail Banks and Wall Street were bailed out and given a new lease on life by the Federal Reserve and the bought and paid for politicians..., with not so much as a reprimand or corrective action taken.  In fact..., nothing was done to insure that this would never happen again.  Well..., here we are..., with another bailout that literally dwarfs the 2008 one.  And me and you are still waiting for $1200 “stimulus checks” to see us through a stay home with no income lockdown and a make your own mask pandemic..., while the plutocrats are raking in $billions.  Yeah..., and to pay for it..., our taxes will be transferred from safely net programs to million and billioniers to pay for their tax cuts.  Who needs food stamp money when we can give it to rich bastards that know how to put the money to good use..., by buying back stocks, paying out dividends to stock holders and “compensating” CEO’s and other executives for screwing over the hired help?  

Well..., I guess that is about enough for now..., hope you are fairing a bit better than us.  We will keep plugging along..., for as long as they let us.  Oh..., and don’t forget to hang on tight..., this ride is going to be one to remember.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Another Trip Around the Sun

Oh yeah…, another trip around the sun…, and damn, that was a quick one.  But they all are these days.  This trip won’t officially end for me for a few more days yet…, but it is close enough to reflect back on it a bit…, I guess.  I did manage to slow down long enough to slip a secret weapon into my wallet before I turn 65…, though I do hope to hell that I don’t get any more use out of that Medicare Card than I got out of the secret weapon that wore out a couple of wallets back in the junior and high school days…, when it seemed like the years would never end…, and it seemed that I would never get a chance to get that secret weapon out and use it.

Hear 'em singing happy birthday
Better think about the wish I make
This year gone by
Ain't been a piece a cake.

Everyday’s a revolution
Pull it together and it comes undone
Just one more candle
And a trip around the sun.

Well…, I don’t know what I could wish for.., that I haven’t already got…, and I just don’t have room for much more of any material things anyway.  OK…, I’ll just wish for one more ice cold beer…, and that’s never far out of reach here in The Saddle Bar(n).  You can keep the cake…, but I will warn you that processed white sugar is not good for you...,  there is ample evidence that white sugar robs the body of B vitamins, disrupts calcium metabolism and has a deleterious effect on the nervous system.

I guess I could wish for world peace…, but that isn’t conducive to economic growth.  And the military industrial complex…, or as I refer to it…, the Bomb and Bullet Builders, are about the only economic engine still firing these days.  I have always contended that the Wee Bush drug us into the Iraq War with lies about weapons of mass destruction and mushroom clouds on the horizon in order to “get the economy going.”  That worked just well enough to get him re-elected…, and if the economy would have held on just a little longer and it hadn’t all blown up in his face…, he could have smirked off to paint his toe nails in his bathtub…, swearing that it was all Obama’s fault.  Obama knew the score as well…, but played the game a little better.  Not nearly as many empty American boots on parade during his watch…, but maybe I should add “Drones” to my Bomb and Bullet Builders tag…, and note that he left a lot of bootless foreign bodies behind in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan…, and who knows where all else.  Now…, the current degenerate killer occupying the White House seems to be catching on quick and forgetting what he campaigned on.  Yeah…, 59 Tomahawk missiles, at about 1.59 million dollars apiece to Raytheon, unleashed for reasons at least as dubious as the reasons  for the Wee Bush’s 15 year war on Iraq.  More troops are being sent into battle in more hot spots and more US strikes have been carried out in Yemen during a recent five day period than were launched during any other full year on record.  As I write this…, there is a US Navy task force steaming full speed ahead to North Korean waters and Trump has unleashed a MOAB…, Mother Of All Bombs on Afghanistan .  Why waste a wish…, who knows how many more I will get?  I’m not taking any chances with that damn processed white sugar though…, so maybe I will fare thee well for a few more trips around the sun yet.

I'm just hangin’ on while this old world keeps spinnin’
And it's good to know it's out of my control.
If there's one thing that I've learned from all this livin’
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go.

Well…, don’t worry.  I’m not about to let go.  I wouldn’t miss this upcoming circus for all the tea in China.  Speaking of China…, they seem to be building some suspicious looking island just off their coast  and over 10,000 miles off our US coast…, and we are squealing like stuck pigs that it is a military provocation directed at our Homeland.  Practically an act of war…, I am sure John McCain would say.  While at the same time…, we are shocked!  And I do meant SHOCKED !…, that the damn Russians have the nerve to say, “What the fuck?” when we instigate a coup in Ukraine, accuse them of "invading" Crimea,  and deploy missiles and the biggest troop and tank contingent since WW II in Poland…, about 10 miles from the Russian border . Is it any wonder that they want to find out what is going on in our muddled minds?  There is no doubt that during the campaign, there was a massive electronic “phishing” expedition by the Russians.  I made fun of it on my blog…, noting that I got some 800 hits in a month.  It didn’t seem to scare me as much as it did the surveillance sleuths in our deep state “intelligence” agencies…, and if the Russians really meant any harm…, there is no evidence of it.  And if they did help to defeat the blond toadstool who was hell bent on seeing just how far she could push them…, many thanks men…, many, many thanks.  Or so I thought…, until the Trumpster showed his true toadstool colors.  I would still much rather shake my head and wonder what goofy, oddball, doomed for failure plan the Trumpster will come up with next…, than sit here wondering just when the cackling hen would panic over another “phishing expedition” and pounce on the big red button…, or heaven forbid…, get loose with a bayonet in hand.  I am pretty sure that she imbibed in excess processed white sugar in the past…, and the visual evidence confirms that she still does.

No you never see it comin’
Always wind up wondering where it went
Only time will tell
If it was time well spent.

It’s another revelation
Celebrating what I should have done
With these souvenirs 
Of my trip around the sun.

A couple trips around the sun ago…, I penned a piece about the old home stomping grounds in north central Idaho and climate change.  Since that time the area has experienced the worst forest fire season in history during the summer of 2015.  While I was on the phone with my brother Larry…, he said, “Hold on…, the cops are here!”  Hold on hell…, I made a run for it.  Old Hippie habits die hard.  It was OK though…, I grabbed a couple more beers out of The Saddle Bar(n) while I was out there.  When I got back to the phone he said they were there issuing warnings…, not a mandatory evacuation at that time…, but to be ready for one if things got worse.  Luckily they didn’t.  This winter of 2016 – 17…, they got what still hasn’t been called…, but could be record snowfall…, with an abrupt warming and rain to follow close on.  Flooding, slides and washouts…, the County issued a disaster declaration to free up funds so repair work could begin immediately, without a bid process.  He works on a road crew for Clearwater County and I was expecting that he would probably be out working when I called.  He returned my call about a week later and said that he had indeed been busy and that he had never seen anything like the weather they were experiencing.  Yeah…, the Arctic has experienced 30 degree above normal temperatures, records are being broken monthly for temperatures and ice loss.  An iceberg the size of Delaware is ready to calve off the ice shelf in the Antarctic and the glaciers there are melting at alarming rates, Greenland is pouring fresh water from its melting glaciers into the ocean and sea levels are rising the world over  Practically the entire world got together and adopted the Paris Climate agreement during this last trip around the sun, determining that we had to do something about climate change immediately.  But we needn’t worry…, it’s all a hoax…, so says our new President.  I think someone has been slipping him the processed white sugar…, in bigly yuge doses.

I'm just hanging on while this old world keeps spinnin’
And it's good to know it's out of my control.
If there's one thing that I've learned from all this livin’
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go.

Yeah…, I plan to hang around and watch the show…, maybe even participate in it now and then…, when the need arises.  The CO2 levels that are widely believed to be a significant factor in warming up our little spaceship earth…, seems to have been kind to the potato garden and the pastures last year and the Spruce trees were producing cones like I have never seen.  There were record worldwide grain crops last year and there is no place to store all the excess grain that the farmers don't want to sell at the low prices offered  Yeah…, excess food and low prices…, world hunger solved…, right?  Yeah…, make a wish.  Anyway…, the dogs, horses, cats, chickens and ducks don’t seem too alarmed about the climate…, so I am not ready to panic either.  The people of the world seem to almost yearn for some sort of catastrophic, world ending apocalypse…, whether it is Nostradamus predictions, the Mayan Calendar, the Hale Bopp Comet…, or Nibiru.  I am more of a "Long Emergency" and "Catabolic Collapse" believer myself.  The climate doomers feel that massive methane releases  in the Arctic will dramatically accelerate the warming trend.  I think old mother earth is trying to cool and de-acidify our dying oceans to hold off that methane release by feeding all that ice cold glacier melt into them.  So…, I guess I really don’t know for sure what is going to happen…, but I do know one thing for sure…, I don’t want any processed white sugar…, but I will have another ice cold beer…, thank you…, and maybe a shot of 1800 reposado gold tequila.

Now…, let’s all hang on…, and I do mean hang on tight…, and do our very best to enjoy our remaining rides around the sun.

Yes I'll make a resolution
Then I'll never make another one.
Just enjoy this ride on my
Trip around the sun.

Just enjoy this ride
On my trip around the sun
Just enjoy this ride
Till the ride is done.

Written by Al Anderson, Stephen Bruton, and Sharon Vaughn.
Performed by Jimmy Buffett and Martina McBride