Monday Resolution

Whereas shit happens;

Whereas there is no plumbing fairy;

Whereas I finance and maintain my own water/septic system from wellhead to leech field;

Whereas much of civilization depends on men wielding a round pointed shovel; and

Whereas a country boy can survive; now therefore be it

Resolved that Adaptive Curmudgeon:

  1. fixed the shitter, within a reasonably lax standard of fixed;
  2. has a back ache that ‘aint going away any time soon; and
  3. any twerp on the cover of Mother Earth News blovating about the ease of “voluntary simplicity” will get walloped with the aforementioned round pointed shovel.
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That’s Going On The Blog

Two brief moments that deserve mention:


Mr. Curmudgeon: “How was book club?”

Mrs. Curmudgeon: “It was great we had wine…”

Mr.: “And the book?”

Mrs.: “We watched a movie.”

Mr.: “You watched a movie?!? At book club?”

Mrs.: “It was about a writer…”

Mr.: “A movie? At. Book. Club.”

Mrs.: “It was very good. Had Will Ferrell…”

Mr.: “You went to book club and watched a movie… with Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights?”

Mrs.: “Shut up.”

Mr.: “I’m puttin’ this on my blog.”

Mrs.: “Ugh!”


Me: “I just got back from the kid’s school.”

Mrs.: “How did it go?”

Me: “I’ve come up with a great name for a girl power glam rock band.”

Mrs.: “Oh god not that one woman…”

Me: “Yep. ‘Scary Mary and the Stoners’ is going to top the charts.”

Mrs.: “Remember the good old days when the kids were the dumb ones?”

Me: “That’s going on the blog!”

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Thoughts About Brothers Oregon

In my last post I wrote this:

“Ninety miles west of Burns is a semi-abandoned “town” called Brothers. There’s not much there. I dimly recall a few collapsed buildings. There’s maybe a dozen residents and twice as many jack rabbits. There is always a cop at Brothers. The cop is always manning a speed trap. Once you pass the cop you’ve passed the first attempt to “harvest” you (or at least your money). Whether it’s a speed trap or a freak selling organic granola you’ll be “harvested” all the way to the Pacific. Hold your wallet tight.”

I knew I was telling the truth but had no idea there was photographic proof. Luckily my readers were far ahead of me (hat trip to “Malatrope”!).

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a Google street view of Brothers, OR (or click this link).BrothersORNotice the busy traffic in the background? We live in a nation that has Chicago and have chosen to position highly trained and well equipped men and women… here.

 

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Thoughts About Burns Oregon

[Warning: I’m not specifically aiming to talk about politics today. If you want that, go somewhere else.]

Many years ago was on a motorcycle ride across the American west. After doing my time on the Interstate I hung a left and roared off to the middle of nowhere. I took one of my favorite roads that leads to one of my favorite pieces of nowhere. I felt home.

Johnny Cash knows all about my favorite road:

“I was totin’ my pack along the dusty Winnemucca road
When along came a semi with a high canvas covered load
If you’re goin’ to Winnemucca, Mack, with me you can ride
And so I climbed into the cab and then I settled down inside
He asked me if I’d seen a road with so much dust and sand
And I said, ‘Listen! I’ve traveled every road in this here land’…”

A weight lifted from my shoulders and I sung the song into my helmet. (It’s a good song!) In Johnny’s song he was travelling south. I was heading north. In my eyes that’s the superior direction. I’d spent a sleepless night in a smoky shithole hotel attached to a noisy shithole casino. Time to shake off the florescent lights and jangling gambling consoles.

Just north of Winnemucca there are sand dunes. I stopped to check ’em out. Why not? Some folks stop and smell the roses. I stop and sift the sand dunes.

An hour later, somewhere around the border between Nevada and Oregon, I stopped again. (You do know that Nevada borders Oregon don’t you?)

In a little gravel spot, I stopped to take a swig of water. After checking for snakes I laid down in the shade of my bike. I fell instantly and deeply asleep.

As a man gets older he gathers memories. A first kiss, birth of a child, whatever. I’m here to tell you that an hour’s nap in the shade of a motorcycle on the dusty Winnemucca road will be remembered as one of the most stress free moments in my life. Perhaps some men never experience such peace?

If I could have, I’d have never left. But of course life isn’t like that. After an hour or so I got up, brushed off the dirt, and rolled on. Soon I arrived at one of my favorite little towns; Burns, Oregon.

I like Burns. It’s far enough from Boise to be unaffected by city issues. It’s far enough from the wet, feverish, hippie infested Oregon coast to avoid most of the bullshit. Nobody passes through Burns by accident. Americans generally stick with Interstates which keep them 135 miles to the east or 220 miles to the south. It’s pretty but the dial is turned humbly below the high wattage scenery that attracts rich people and real estate developers (I’m lookin’ at you Jackson Hole).

Speaking of gorgeous places that foul their own nest; Bend is 131 miles to the west. When you’re ready to buy a $30 t-shirt and slurp fat-free frozen yoghurt, Bend is waiting to entertain you. Fifty years ago Bend was probably just like Burns. That time has passed.

You can ride the empty road from Winnemucca, tank up on gas and coffee at Burns, and then roll on through to Bend for 350 miles of peace. Keep an eye open for antelope.

If you haven’t done it, you should. What better things are you doing with your time?

Ninety miles west of Burns is a semi-abandoned “town” called Brothers. There’s not much there. I dimly recall a few collapsed buildings. There’s maybe a dozen residents and twice as many jack rabbits. There is always a cop at Brothers. The cop is always manning a speed trap. Once you pass the cop you’ve passed the first attempt to “harvest” you (or at least your money). Whether it’s a speed trap or a freak selling organic granola you’ll be “harvested” all the way to the Pacific. Hold your wallet tight.


Now for the news. Unless you live under a rock, you’re aware there’s a standoff in Burns. It started January 2nd and continues to this day. I don’t have a dog in that fight. I don’t know if the law enforcement officers are saints seeking peaceful resolution or tin horn tyrants on a rampage. I don’t know if the ranchers are selfless patriots or twitchy edge cases. I’m not there. You aren’t either. Maybe the standoff is the amalgamation of all human aspirations and frailties; good and bad.

What I do know is there’s a reason it didn’t pop up in other equally rural places. Stowe Vermont or Hazard Kentucky remain unnoticed. Most of the land in Burns is tied up. Maybe it’s for ducks or maybe it’s for grazing or maybe it’s because we in America worked out only the shakiest compromise between “privately owned land” and “a zillion acres of sagebrush”.

The people there, who are few, must jostle against and work with the government which is (obviously) run by the many, for the many, all of whom live far away. Who is surprised that friction develops between locals who are bossed around and management which is beholden to distantly removed places? I see no clear winner in that. City folks obviously have a say; them that pays the fiddler picks the tune and their income taxes finance duck projects they’ll never see and grass for cows they don’t own. But given that awesome power what informed notions could they have? How can a banker in Boston relate to a man who’s business model collapses when someone draws a line on a map and demands a fence be built there? Perhaps the banker just likes salmon dinner and means to make wise choices? Who doesn’t like salmon dinner?

I don’t know the solution. Maybe there isn’t one. But I sure like Burns and wish it well. I hope the situation mellows. Reticence and caution when pushing around other people is wise. That goes for everyone. Locals are in the thick of it but also involved are Subaru driving vegans who are in the habit of noodling about in peoples lives, however indirectly, from a thousand miles away.

A.C.

P.S. The Brothers speed trap has never caught me so don’t accuse me of sour grapes. I just resent revenue generation operations. It’s personal. I grew up during the collective insanity of the 55 MPH speed limit. I’ll never see a speed trap without feeling a brief surge of venom.

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Cavalry Pony

I cringe in terror as I post this:

death-sparkle“FORT HOOD, Texas — Army 1st Lt. Gina Caffey, the first woman selected to attend the Maneuver Captain’s Career course in Fort Benning, Ga., is mere days away from being crushed when she discovers the tragic lack of ponies the modern Cavalry Branch offers to its female officers, sources say…”


The link which, in case you’re a total moron and haven’t figured it out yet, is satire. It was sent to me by a good friend. It led to this conversation:

Friend: “Hey A.C. I sent you a link. You’ve totally got to post it.”

Me: “Sure, I’m always up for…” click click click… “ARE YOU SHITTING ME?!?”

Friend: “It’s hilarious.”

Me: “It’s got a pony. Do you have any idea how uptight the pony people are? I’ll be getting death threats in glittery font.”

Friend: “Oh c’mon.”

Me: “This is 2016, if I do anything other than genuflect at women in military combat I’m going to have to bake a gay wedding cake or something.”

Friend: “But it’s satire.”

Me: “Hillary Clinton will drone strike my server. The drone will probably be painted pink.”

Friend: “Satire.”

Me: “Fine, but if I get a bunch of nasty comments from people of indiscriminate gender who couldn’t pass boot camp but spend hours bitching about it…”

Friend: “Wimp.”

Me: “Sigh… here goes.”

 

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Star Wars Movie Review Followup

Someone at BBC Lounge linked to my rant about Star Wars. (Whoever you are, thanks.) This made me happy for reasons which have nothing to do with hit counts. Three particular details stand out:

First: BBC is not a decrepit news organization, it’s a forum about bass boats. I wrote about Star Wars and gained attention amid the bass boats. Who could have seen that coming? Meanwhile people who really dig fishing wound up, en masse, reading my blog which is as much about smoked tractors and homicidal trees as anything. (Really it’s a blog about nothing.) It’s totally random and therefore delightful.

Second: Reply #16 on the Bass Boat Forum did wonders for my ego.

“I am kind of thinking that the review is better than the movie. Lol”

Third: Reply #26 crushed my ego back to the appropriate size.

“The guy that did the review is a total douche canoe”

So there you have it. We live in an unpredictable world that makes no sense. Somehow that means I’m either a superlative reviewer or a douche canoe (or both!). I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A.C.

P.S. I still miss Darth.

 

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Star Wars And The Curmudgeon

A Curmudgeon lifestyle means ignoring big social events until a few weeks later when more favorable terms arise. I just watched Star Wars. No lines. No crowds. Cheap tickets. Just me and the kids and overpriced popcorn in a half empty theater.

The drawback is a perpetual timeshift with everyone else. I’m writing about Star Wars when (almost) everyone else has forgotten about it. Which is my point; it wasn’t bad but it’s forgettable. I can’t stop myself. Bitching must ensue. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.):

  • Overall it wasn’t bad. Nor was it great. It was mathematically mediocre, just like the countless movies J. J. Abrams, Disney’s Corporate Overlords, and associated vat grown entities excrete annually onto the silver screen. After dozens of superheroes and a seventh Star Wars rehash I’m worried. What did Hollywood do with all the interesting people? Are they chained in a basement somewhere? They made a workmanlike chunk of market tested tapioca. I yearn for more. Star Wars has devolved to the spaghetti western of our time.
  • Speaking of “carefully mediocre”: It was a sad reminder that the first Star Wars was unusual and creative.
    • Must we admit that 1977 had creativity (space based fighting monk ninjas with magic swords) but 2015 is a mental dead zone? “The same magic sword but now it’s red.” Really? Disney (or whomever is milking this cow) is reduced to a new sword analogue in every episode; now it’s green, now it’s a two sided staff, now it’s nunchucks. Is that all we’ve got?
    • The sameness was intentional and I suppose if I were autistic and needed patterns to feel safe I’d like it. I’m not and I don’t. Must I “witness the power of the the third consecutive big spherical object of menace with a planet killing superbeam and a small vulnerable weak spot”? I suspect a lot of people did like it. Maybe people like to repeat a mantra?
    • Speaking of mindless repetition: Are people in a galaxy far far away really really stupid?
      • By the time you’ve blown up the third death star even the death star manufacturing trade association would give up.
      • Hannibal attacked Rome in 218 BC with elephants. History remembers him as an epic bad ass because elephants were the death star of the ancient world. If it was a bad idea and Hannibal had frozen three fleets of elephants in the Alps he’d be on a Cracked list instead a historic bad ass.
    • Speaking of stupidity: How am I supposed to be afraid of bad guys who are borderline retarded? Modern movie makers can’t even imagine a true villain. The current Darth Vader analogue (Kylo Ren) breaks shit when he gets bad news. This is to bad ass as a hamster is to a cobra. Compare this snivelling freak to the original 1977 Darth Vader. My good pal Darth had style! This is how a proper bad guy should operate:
      • Darth never drew his magic light sabre sword of nastiness until he was about to kill someone. This is bad ass 101 and it’s universal. In Dune a drawn crysknife cannot be sheathed until it draws blood. Everyone knows this.
      • Speaking of killing, when Obi Wan was mucking around Darth’s military base super bad ass Darth sensed him and sought calmly and intelligently to find his quarry. He didn’t start by kicking over the coffee pot in the stormtrooper breakroom. He went alone because super bad asses roll like that. He found and killed Obi. Did I mention Darth was evil?
      • Kylo Ren periodically goes ape and smashes someone’s workstation. We don’t even put up with this level of bullshit on a football team. If Darth saw such misuse of an elegant weapon of a more civilized age he’d pound some humility into the little shit. More likely he’d kill him. What’s the point of evil if you lack control? Hollywood needs to grok the difference between a totalitarian monster and a thug carjacking a Honda.
    • Speaking of failed role models: Princess Leia and Indiana Jones had a space divorce and spawned an idiot son who’s both a fuck up and menace to civilization? The whole world at the fingertips of well paid writers with all the cocaine they need came up with a twentieth century broken home? Harrison Ford and Carrie Fischer looked like two sad old boring has beens discussing which one should drive junior to Band camp. Happily ever after could have worked. Solo pumped and dumped her could have worked. Leia shoved Solo out an airlock in a pre-menstral fit would have worked. But “junior hasn’t done well in school so he’s a Sith” was pathetic.
    • Speaking of Pathetic:
      • Han Solo, in 30+/- years, has accomplished absolutely nothing. He started out as a harried vaguely unsuccessful smuggler hired by a desert freak and a clueless farmboy. Three decades later he has managed to develop as a man and a human being into a smuggler who’s still on the run from his debts. In the meantime he lost his ship (!) and had a crappy semi-resolved entanglement with Leia. Perhaps he has a drinking problem? Maybe he and the Wookie are co-dependent losers?
      • Carrie Fisher, has aged poorly and looked like the kind of harridan who’d come to a homeowner’s meeting to bitch about your mailbox color. She sounded like  Hillary Clinton discussing NFTA agreements. If this is all that the rebels / freedom fighters can come up with maybe they deserve to lose.
      • The fact that Harrison Ford looks hunky and Carrie Fisher looks like a dishrag is proof that life is unfair. I’m sorry Mrs. Fisher. As a man who’s ageing to look like Keith Richard’s ashtray I can sympathise. Perhaps Harrison Ford has a deal with Satan?
    • Speaking of people who have learned nothing: Luke, the chosen one, has skipped town yet everyone still pines for him? For literally decades they’ve prayed their saviour will Yoda up and save them. Except Yoda was chillin’ in a swamp when the world needed him. That’s what we call a hint. The dude’s got a cell phone. If he wanted to help the rebels he’d call. In the meantime leave the man alone. Maybe he’s studying cool Jedi arts. Maybe he’s writing Sparkly Vampire fan fiction. That’s his business. He wasn’t supposed to shoulder the whole universe and if “save us Luke” is all you’ve got since 1977 you’re not trying.
    • Which is really what it all boils down to isn’t it? They’re not trying. The first story, even if it was only a space adventure, tried to be a complete story arc. It wasn’t Beowulf or Hamlet but it gave it a shot and it was different. Not a rehash of Star Trek. Now, like much of America, it’s locked in time and cannot grow. We’re going to have decades of Disneyfied Star Wars until they blend in with James Bond and Pokemon and Power Rangers and all of the other things that repeat the same tune forever. Back in 1977 I wanted to see good and evil continue their epic struggle. Over time it has become a snippy teenager stabbing an old man doing a cameo appearance. Weak!

Darth, I miss ya.

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