Mingo Unchained

This is Dr. Mingo. Adaptive has been doing some software housekeeping in anticipation of refurbishing his cyber-bunker. In a complete failure of OPSEC, he gave me access. He made me promise that I would “use this power only for good, never for evil”, which is cute but… No.

Adaptive needs to be ridiculed and the first test is to see if I can make a live post before he notices it:

“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to – The Outer Limits.”

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Shotgun Guitar

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Hunting With The Curmudgeon: Pics Or It Didn’t Happen

There’s been a mild debate behind the scenes here at Curmudgeon Compound. It’s all about transparency versus paranoia.

Dr. Mingo, who is the saner (and far less secretive) of the two of us, says I should post a photo of the buck. Why? Because that’s what men do. (He’s correct. There are men who’ll show you a photo of an elk or a fish sooner than they’ll show you a picture of their kids. This is good thinking because I generally don’t want to see a photo of some schmuck’s kid.)

From a logical point of view Dr. Mingo is correct. “Pics or it didn’t happen” encourages the transparency our world craves. I usually love transparency. Yet, the people reading this post might be wondering if “Adaptive Curmudgeon” is for real. Perhaps I’m a 13 year old Chinese girl in Beijing, a Seattle Hipster’s alternate personality, or an experimental AI that passes the Turing test but sometimes talks to trees. (Hint: I’m just a generic ‘Merican male, but you already knew that.)

America might be a more stable Republic if we took transparency to heart. Ideally we should round up every employee of the mainstream media and tattoo “Pics or it didn’t happen” on their ass. The only drawback to my wise suggestion is Paul Krugman. Some poor soul would have to look at Paul Krugman’s ass and after all the economic bullshit pulled out of that orifice it’s going to look like the gateway to a deluded and incomprehensible hell. Nobody wants to see that!

So logically, I should post a photo of the buck.

On the other hand… fuck no!

Yeah I’m sayin’ it. The world needs Curmudgeons. There aren’t many of us left. We’ve been hounded since childhood. We’ve endured “group projects”, “group hugs”, and the ultimate “group navel gazing” that is social media. Those last few strange beings that still refuse to post their breakfast choices on Facebook need space. Give us a break, we’re mostly harmless.

“I took a photo of the buck in a trailer, there is no personal information in that photo.” Argues Mingo. (He’s right. Unless you’re going to magically reconstruct my DNA from the trailer’s corrugation pattern, it’s just a dead deer.)

“Fuck you.” I explain.

I’m reticent. I’m not sure why. As I always do when I need deeper wisdom, I consult my dog.

“Dog, what should I do?” (Note I’m not telling you my dog’s name. Why that should matter is beyond me. It’s not like my dog’s name is somehow important…)

“You’re being illogical.” My dog cuts my thoughts short. “You spent a dozen posts naming and renaming Bowling Pin Chicken.” We both bow our heads briefly in silent reverence for the freest creature either of us has known. (He died as he lived, free and stupid.) Then the dog continues. “You posted the duck’s name(s) when it suited you but act like I’m an international spy.”

“I see your point. So I should post the buck photo despite my illogical misgivings?” I ask.

But the dog is ignoring me. It sniffs a plant and squats like it’s going to take a dump on it. Suddenly it changes it’s mind and strides forward to a different plant three yards closer to the mailbox. On this plant, which looks identical to the first plant, it drops a load.

“As I was saying, what should I do about…”

“Did you see that?” The dog interrupts.


“The first plant. A fescue I believe. I was fixing to air bomb it… but then I switched to the other plant. I think it was a yarrow. Buried it!” The dog is talking to me slowly; as if I were particularly dense.

“Yeah, I smelled it too. So you’ve got a thing for yarrow over fescue.?” I’m trying to keep up with the dog’s logic.

“Nope, a plant’s a plant. I just felt like crapping on a yarrow today.”

I turn this over in my mind while the dog enjoys the breeze. “So you’re saying…”

“Crap where you wish for the world is yours to behold.” The dog shakes it’s head. “Humans overthink things.”

“I see.” My dog is wise.

So, for those of you who really want to see a photo of the buck, I’ve provided a link here.

Happy viewing.


P.S. I’ve been trying for the last month to avoid posting about politics. It’s hard. It’s meant to be my Christmas gift to the world. Like all homemade Christmas gifts, it’s flawed; I went on a half dozen non-specific rants. I can’t help myself! (Keeping my mouth shut during the biggest tsunami of schadenfreude of the decade is hard!) Anyway if you see a hipster who’s in week four of post-election freakout give em a hand up. Smile, pony up for a non-ironic Pabst, and point out that so far cattle cars filled with unemployed baristas aren’t being shipped to… um wherever they’d fear… Texas maybe? Anyway tell ’em there is just the tiniest possibility that Trump isn’t the Antichrist and he probably doesn’t have minions in KKK sheets ready to invade Boston. Perhaps they’ll see that life doesn’t lose meaning when your team loses an election. Hopefully that’ll cheer ’em up. (Or, if you can punch ’em in the balls instead. We all spread Christmas cheer in our own way.)

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Scrabble Joke

Joke of the day:

“I accidentally swallowed a handful of Scrabble tiles today.

My next bowel movement could spell disaster.”

Hat tip to Bayou Renaissance Man.

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The Risks Of A Caribou Hunt

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Too Late For Thanksgiving / It’s Gonna’ Be Alright

In case you’re wondering why I’m posting cartoons, hunting stories, and poetry, it’s because I’m trying to avoid taking it all too seriously. Getting pulled down in the political mire right now is a bad idea.

The press and liberals (but I repeat myself) are in week #3 of crapping their pants after an election cycle of concentrated asshattery. That’s just too much stupid for one universe. I don’t want to add to it lest the whole thing folds in on itself and form a white dwarf cinder core of inescapable dumbass and I feel guilty for contributing. (If it happens without me that’s not my problem.)

Like any sane person, I’m enjoying their meltdown (because schadenfreude is delicious) but I’m also hoping time and cold weather will bring most of the nitwits back to their senses. When January 20th rolls around and they’re not all herded into cattle cars by Cheeto Jesus maybe they’ll be ready to crawl off their fainting couch? One can hope. If they weep constantly for four or eight years it’s going to be unbearable.

In the meantime lets all try to keep it light while half the nation digests and excretes the propaganda that was shoved down their throat. Nobody likes finding out they were totally full of shit. Go hug a hippie and tell ’em it’s going to be OK. (Of course, you’re welcome to kick ’em in the nuts after that ’cause grown ups don’t need a hug after an election. Your call.)


P.S. Perhaps it’s time to explain where Bart went. I’ve been too busy so far but if the freaks don’t calm down or recount maneuvering gets serious I’ll make time. Satire is the least disruptive cure to a world where half the populace is hyperventilating.

Hat tip to Blue’s Blog.

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Hunting Poetry

One of the comments to Hunting with the Curmudgeon: Part Seven: Last In Series deserves it’s own post. It reminded me that I was failing to write about the sublime in a hunt and safely focusing on the mundane.

Those of us who hunt understand the depth and spirituality of the endeavor. However, we don’t usually share it; at least not in words. We’ll drag willing novices into the deepest forest in the hopes that they’ll see it themselves, but we won’t verbalize the deeper meaning of the hunt. It’s one of those “if I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand” moments. If you’re a hunter you already know. If you’re not, it’s gap not easily bridged.

That’s probably why my hunting story involved ranting about intrusive smart phones and insulting the service guy at Goose Hill. Writing with soul and beauty is difficult. Jason Reynolds gave it a shot and I’m glad he did. Enjoy:

Each Year I Go Into the Woods

A Poem, Quatrain, Ballad or something of the sort by: Jason Reynolds

Each year I go into the woods;
I tell others it is to hunt those deer!
The truth: it is to put my feet where grandfather stood
Find my soul and wrestle my fear.

Sitting on the ground, trying not to be found,
Melting into the solemn autumn, white flag on a big buck’s bottom,
Singular concentration trying not to blink wrong, the birds sing their song;
About the time the crickets cease, the sun’s arising and so is the peace.

The sassy doe with her inquisitive bow and teasing stomp,
Mere feet from me I find pleasure in her attitude;
Earthen air fills my lungs and my heart awakes to nature’s pomp,
The leaves float down to me here where lives all solitude.

My only quarrel is with the squirrels,
The only plight with the breeze that carries my abbreviated sneeze;
Eyes begin to droop until I see that majestic deer stoop,
And it is on again: me against him it is time to win!

Sneaky as can be the allusive antler carrier is a bruiser,
A mystical mammal showing only his face;
I work hard to beat him at his game but I am the loser,
Like my stress he’s disappeared and I am put back in my place.

Hunting is less and less about the actual killing,
More and more it is being with like-minded burley men who seek balance,
As we escape the chaos of life to rediscover it is well worth living.
Nature has no substitute: refreshment is found in the woods alongside man’s silence.

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Political Definition Of Gun Violence

Hat tip to IMAO and Dana Summers.

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We Are Not Alone

I tried mightily to avoid the election day biased media circle jerk (with mixed success). I thought I was the only one. Yet a kindred spirit (link) did the same (without the hunting):

On election day, I went to bed after my personal news black-out.

Just as my counting of election signs led me to vent about propaganda (and more importantly that propaganda hurts!) he has similar observations:

I live in a true alternative universe. It is starting to wear me down.

Go there and read it all. (Hat tip here and here.)

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Hunting with the Curmudgeon: Part Seven: Last In Series

Conditions the next day were wonderful. The weather was favorable and we saw glimpses of deer here and there; just enough to convince me we weren’t wasting our time.

Unfortunately, the outside world was relentlessly intruding. Dr. Mingo’s phone leapt from his pocket every few minutes to dump new atrocities from Facebook into his head.

“They’re rioting in Portland!” He fumed.

“That’s why I don’t live in Portland.” I reasoned.

A truth I’m only gradually understanding is that whiners faffing about for stupid reasons is not my problem. Moreover, thinking about it is not my responsibility. I don’t know why I ever thought it was?

I’ve nothing against Portland. Powell’s books, good beer & coffee… I hope the place thrives. But if they’re intent on screwing themselves, why should that rest on my shoulders? If I mess up with a chainsaw and drop an oak on my truck is that their problem?

Facebook (and other media) obfuscate the irrelevancy of recreational protests. Screaming fools don’t have the slightest influence on the chickadees in a spruce bow. Goods and services emanating from socialist asylums are increasingly irrelevant. Who cares about gay wedding cakes, bad music, inaccurate reporting, crime, and whining? Tangible components of civilization like spark plugs, power generation, food, diesel, beer, and bacon are more important. The hobbies of tattooed potheads fade compared what matters. Thus, I’m learning to avoid entertaining nitwit behavior as if it’s relevant.

Protests seem oddly masturbatory. Everyone protesting in Portland already voted for The Felon. Didn’t she win Oregon? Congratulations protesters, you successfully voted and registered your desires, that’s all you get in the real world. What’s left to get upset about? That they lost? Do they really want the violent overthrow of a lawfully elected president? If so, why are they protesting in their backyard? Why not a place Hillary lost? Texas perhaps? Until baristas and unemployed poets take effective action they’re just theatric nincompoops. Show some initiative. Get in their one operating vehicle and carpool to D.C.? But then they’d do what? Overthrow “the man”? Who’s “the man” and is that their end game? That’s the point; they don’t have the slightest clue what they want. They just prefer “protesting” to “adulting”. I get it: “adulting” sucks; going to work, paying taxes, changing the oil, fixing leaky pipes, raising kids, washing dishes… it’s hard

I berated Dr. Mingo; “put that goddamn phone away, it’s heroin with a battery.” It was no use. Dr. Mingo tried to ignore his phone but the infernal device rang; someone called with “have you seen what’s on the news?”

I heard about it from Mrs. Curmudgeon too. She reported mass crying among certain crowds. Really? I understand sorrow. Nobody likes to lose. But crying? I’d planned a shopping spree if Hillary won. It would be expensive and probably futile. It was my best guess as to what I’d need as we continued Venezuelan-izing the nation. Given the Hairball’s win I got to avoid the expense. Had it gone the other way I wouldn’t cry. Who cries?

I fought it off and returned to reality. The wind shifted and a squirrel rustled leaves in a way that sounded like a deer. The game was still afoot.

We hunted all day and accomplished nothing. “Nothing” isn’t a fair description. Hunting is such that you’ve absolutely failed at a major objective right up into the moment you succeed.

Eventually it was sunset. Dr. Mingo was in a tree several hundred yards away and I was in “the junk heap” (the rickety stand from which Dr. Mingo had spied a buck days ago). Maybe this year would be a wash. Last year I didn’t connect either; 2015 was ruined by “The Patchouli Incident”. My fault! No excuses! I suck.

I sighed, two years without a deer in the freezer? The sun was down; still light to see but time was short.

Holy shit! A nice buck materialized in the brush. Don’t see them often. Mingo definitely made a clean miss. This was obviously “his” buck.

My pulse doubled and I felt the adrenaline surge all hunters know.

I like to wait. Wait as long as I can. Take all the time in the world to aim. Savor the last minute of the hunt. (Sometimes this bites me on the ass!)

“Mingo, is gonna’ be crushed.” I thought.

A friend, a good friend, a really extremely amazingly awesome friend… would let this buck walk in the hopes Mingo would get the shot he craved. Jesus man, was I really thinking that?!?

There was a doe deeper in the brush. No chance at the doe.

The light was fading fast. I dialed down the power on my scope and it was plenty bright enough. I love my scope! I had slightly lighter bullet weight than usual and the buck was heavier than my usual does. Bullet placement is everything, time to put up or shut up.

I flipped off the safety. Took a breath. There was no more time to wait for the doe. Sorry Mingo, the freezer calls. Better drop the buck hard, the moon wouldn’t be up tonight and it would be a bitch to track.

Breathe out. Forget everything else. Squeeze.

The shot was true. I knew it as soon as the hammer fell. I watched carefully because there was no snow for tracking. The doe, much larger than I thought, tore off in my peripheral vision. Maybe Mingo would get her.

I needn’t worry about the lighter bullet. I’d connected well. The buck bounded straight up and came crashing down on his nose, but it quickly struggled to his feet.

I don’t like tracking. I cycled the bolt and aimed again. The buck bunny hopped twice more; I’ve rarely seen that kind of behavior. I must have hit something vital. I could put a round in his hind quarter; good target. But I waited. No need to panic and waste meat. He veered toward a nearby spruce and I got a glimpse of rear leg. I tried to take out the bony part. (A deer isn’t down until it’s really down.) The buck didn’t notice my last shot and disappeared from view.

I found him right behind that tree. I’d taken out a front leg, both lungs, and possibly the heart itself. (Hard to tell about that.) Bullet placement rules! There was a hole in one rear leg. No wasted meat but it probably didn’t matter much either.

Mingo heard my shot just as three does walked into view. One large and two small. All were legal. He was against a tree and couldn’t twist around enough to get a view of the large one. He drew a bead on a small one. New scope, easy close shot.

He hesitated. Too small. He had a few more days left to hunt. No rush. He waited until end of shooting hours and the large doe never presented a shot. All three wandered off.

By then I’d texted:


He waited for the next text…


Life is like that. Mingo had his chance but I got the buck. He could have blocked the highway angrily demanding a recount, but that’s not what men do. Instead he grumbled most of the next day (which is what men do) before eventually admitting everything worked out as it should. He also helped me bring out the buck. I appreciated the help.

We hunted a few more days but weren’t overly motivated once the freezer was full. We got distracted fixing a broken garage door. As hunting seasons go… it was a good one.


P.S. Dr. Mingo wanted to point out he didn’t lift a damn finger while I was dressing it (and smiled and drank my beer while I was asses and elbows deep in blood and guts) because it wasn’t his buck.

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