As COVID-19 began hitting urban centers in March and governors began issuing lockdown orders, sheriffs began quelling rumors of checkpoints and mass arrests. “This is not Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia where you are asked for your papers!” wrote Sheriff Scott Nichols of Franklin County, Maine.
On a beautiful November day John Maloney delivered a sweet, brilliant eulogy for his friend Frenchy, voicing the admiration we all felt. Marines shed uncontrollable tears, duty bound to serve in Iraq and resolved to stay tight and honor this sacrifice. My unit prepared for Iraq and an instructor noted one unit that performed better than mine. It was John’s.
Please consider a contribution. I know money is tight and times are rough all over, but we keep trying to make important work in the meantime. My budget will be short and I will lose money, but I’d like to pay the right people and get this out into the world. Len’s story is worthy and I promise to make one hell of a film. Thanks for thinking on it, anyway.
Remember back in January, before we sent SWAT Teams into restaurants after diners and before we jailed hairdressers or governors outlawed vegetable seeds? If those things don’t disturb every fiber in your body…well, they just should that’s all.
I’ve been riding every day — weather permitting — this spring which has been great for my mental health and even better for my youngest horse, Remington. He’s a long four year-old this spring and coming out of our mild winter is showing signs of maturity and “getting it” that are beyond his age and super encouraging for the future.
One benefit of this Covid Spring is that we all get the chance to reexamine our priorities, which can become wildly skewed in lengthy periods of prosperity. We’ve been prosperous for a very long time, most of us entirely unscathed by our various wars and rumors of wars, and on the macro level we may have forgotten that our extraordinary wealth is historically unusual, requires vigilance and constant maintenance, and is also an addiction.
In February, 1944, Lt. Ed Charles was a Navigator in the 336th Squadron, 95th Bomb Group out of Horham, England. One night he was sleeping in the barracks when the door flew open and the C.Q. (Charge of Quarters) went probing through the darkness with a flashlight. “Is there an empty bunk in there? We have a new arrival and he needs a place to sleep.” Ed told the CQ the bunk next to his was vacant. He sat up. He offered to help the new guy unpack his gear and get squared away.
I let the dogs out late the other night and looked up in the sky to see a train of satellites — forty, fifty, sixty of them — racing through the stars. It is a testament to effective quarantine — and a purpose-built informational firewall — that I didn’t know what I was seeing, and so had one of those increasingly rare moments in life where everything was startlingly new, and fresh, and even exciting.
In response to wildly irresponsible remarks made by the artist David Hockney, who told the NY Post that smokers are immune to the coronavirus, the Figure 8 Ranch assembled our emergency response team for a counter-briefing. Here is an unclassified transcript of the briefing for widest dissemination…
The seasons have finally turned here in the Cascades, which mostly means a ton of work. Spring in the mountains is a cranky bitch, like the old flatbed Studebaker I drove when chasing cows on the Fish Creek Ranch out of Eureka, Nevada. It took a full can of starting fluid every morning to get that motor to run but she would eventually cough and snort and whine and then finally crank in a cloud of black and blue smoke.
I am now 72 hours into a self-imposed news blackout and the results have been marvelous. The decision to quarantine my mind, and spare it the slings and arrows of fear-based journalism and morale-sucking stupidity, was actually compelled by a mistake.
Shakespeare was right, of course. We come sliding into the world and, drawing our first breath in it, seem to somehow intuit life’s pre-eminent lesson: we are entitled to precisely nothing — not food, not water, not toilet paper, and certainly not surgical masks and ventilators. And so it is that in our first few moments in the arena we give a great angry cry in protest — until someone sticks a tit in our mouths.