My wife and I were down in Bend, Oregon, the other day, to visit with some friends and to spend the afternoon watching the Oregon Ducks smash helmets with the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl. I had no dog in the fight – my alma maters are both mired in long-term football mediocrity — so instead of pulling for one side or the other I played the role of annoying snarky guy while munching on some terrific jalapeno poppers and perfectly smoked – and I really do mean perfectly — short ribs. It was a great afternoon full of delightfully low-brow conversation.
On the same afternoon that I zipped my grandfather into a body bag – he was fortunate to die at home, in his own bed, and the last words he heard on this earth were my grandmother saying she loved him — I inherited one of his old rifles. It was a single shot .22 with a scope from the old regime – decent glass in its day – that he used to teach my father and uncles to shoot in their sprawling back yard in North Hollywood. Under the house he built a pistol range.
“History is human nature writ large, and the better you understand the past, the better you’ll understand people in general, including those of our own day.” — James Carlos Blake * There is a pernicious movement afoot to push aside liberal arts education in favor of more “practical” education. This reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what is […]
As I was reading and writing last night–sketching various attempts at an end of the decade post, I came across a wonderful passage from “The Powder River Expedition Journals of Colonel Richard Irving Dodge.” This was a book I bought myself for Christmas because I maintain an abiding interest in that period of our history and also because I have a long-running fascination with immediate accounts written by the people who were on the ground when events unfolded. That’s true from Caesar to Tacitus, from Samuel Pepys to the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and beyond. I buy them and read them whenever I can.
May you feast on fat cow and may Father Christmas load your packs with gunpowder, ham hocks and guitar strings!
I’m growing older but not up My metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck Let those winds of time blow over my head I’d rather die while I’m livin’ than live while I’m dead — Jimmy Buffett The winds of change have been blowing pretty hard around here of late. Some men of my community who were […]
At 0700 it is dead calm and coal-mine dark here on the Figure 8 Ranch. I’ve got a cup of tea on my desk and just came in from feeding the horses. My face is still cold. From the window where I work I can see the merest outline of the ponderosas, and a soft yellow light spilling out of the barn where I leave the stall lights on for the horses. The light glows yellow on the ice in the paddocks. I can’t prove it, but I think that light works for the horses the same way a night-light works to settle the nerves of children afraid of the dark.
You got to get behind the mule In the morning and plow… — Tom Waits A friend told me the other day that her daughter was complaining that none of her teachers or classes in school inspired her. My friend and I were both a little bemused; we couldn’t recall that we ever thought we were supposed […]
It seems to be that, at some level, the Happy People of the taiga have made a lasting peace with the notion that the challenges and inconveniences of life are natural, and healthy, and can even be fun. Hunting cabin in the middle of nowhere collapsed? No problem, I’ll just build a little fire and whistle a little tune. It’s hard not to love a mindset, a richly lived nonchalance, like that.
Hey pards! The Running Iron Trading Post is open — you can now ride for the brand at coffeeshop or shooting range. (Link at the top of the page). The cap looks sharp on the range — and anecdotal evidence suggests that it actually improves your shooting. The stickers class up a guitar case or a laptop. […]
“I have in this War a burning private grudge — which would probably make me a better soldier at 49 than I was at 22: against that ruddy little ignoramus Adolf Hitler … Ruining, perverting, misapplying, and making for ever accursed, that noble northern spirit, a supreme contribution to Europe, which I have ever loved, and tried to present in […]
An ad campaign designed to get local folks thinking about east-west connectivity in Bend and encourage participation in a transportation survey has run afoul of cancel culture. The billboard that loomed over the intersection of 9th and Wilson depicted a covered wagon trekking across the high desert, with the tagline: “Traveling East to West still tough?” and […]