Saturday, March 12, 2016

There goes the neighborhood

It's oveer there somewhere.
This is going to get convoluted before it becomes clear. It begins in Missouri early in the 1800s. Daniel Boone lived there then close to the end of his days. He had moved west as he said every time he coud see the smoke from his neighbor's chimney.
Growing up, Daniel Boone was one of my heroes, along with Davy Crockett (the real one, not the Disney version). When others played Cowboys and Indians, I played Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. I even had an argument with an eighth grade teacher who said the cowboys were the most romantic figures in American history.
Fast forward, now, to the 1980s, the decade I finally lived out my childhood fantasies and built a small cabin in the wilderness. I couldn't see any neighbor's smoke but I could hear them now and then. I'm pretty sure Davy and Daniel never had to deal wkith chainsaws. While I was building, a fellow who had lived in the area for 12 years came by now and then. We had some pleasant talks and remain friends, but in one of those talks I realized at least to him I was on the wrong end of Daniel Boone's curve. I was telling this fellow how since I was a kid I had wanted to do this but I noticed he was very quiet and then it hit me. Tentatively I said I am part of your problem, aren't I? He was too polite to do anything but nod and look away. Still in those years the woods generally left us our solitude unless we wanted out of it for a while.
Fast forward again, about 30 years to the day I came out here a couple of years ago and looked across the arroyo at a new cabin under construction. Worse than smoke, I could see the cabin. I felt violated, now like my friend somebody was part of my problem, but of course whoever was buidling over there had a dream too so I made my peace with it and ignored it as much as I could. I decided the neighborhood was probably still all right especially considering I and probably they only come out on weekends and chances were good we woudn't come out on the same weekends.
A feeder brought a more welcome neighbor.
Now, to get into the next part you have to understand I don't like bicycles. It goes back to teenage years after I had outgrown Daniel and Davy and had to ride one of those two miles into town, and hide it in an alley so I could hang out with my buddies, many of whom had cars. It carried through to Anchorage where people riding fat-tired bikes challenge pickup trucks the size of tanks for the right of way on slushy winter streets. And then they whine about it in letters to the edior. I just don't like bicycles. I wanted to shoot the first fat-tire bicycle rider I saw on our trail.
So now here goes the part about the neighborhood going to hell. The new cabin kind of blocks the trail I usually cut up to the small lake west of the cabin. So I set out to find a trail some friends of mine use that in the past cut across the far end of the lake. I thought I had found it and headed along it but ended up in somebody's back yard. No one home. I used their trail to go back down to the main one and in time came across the trail to the new neighbor's place. I hadn't heard anything and couldn't discern any tracks so I assumed no one was there. I went up it planning to go right on by and check out the lake.
But as I passed the house I saw something on the porch that sent a chill through me. BICYCLES! Fat-tired bicycles. OMG, someone was there and, gasp, they came in on bicycles. How am I supposed to brag about living in the Bush when you can get here on a bicycle. And I was stuck. At this point the polite thing to do was stop, say hello and intruduce myself rather than ride rudely with my loud machine through their yard. I couldn't see into the house and I didn't want to shout, so I shut off the machine, waved and waited to see if anyone came out.
A young couple came out shortly. dressed from head to toe in LL Bean and REI fashions. We exchanged introductions and pleasantries and I explained what I was doing in their yard and apologized, and that was that.
I headed off and made a tour of the lake, then bushwacked a trail back to my house only to sit on the porch in the sun contemplating the intrusions of bicyclists into my wilderness.Of course they are sitting over there shaking their heads at a crazy old fart who rides a noisy, stinky snowmachine.
In the long run I guess Bob Dylan had it right: "You can be in my dream if I can be in yours," if a bit grudgingly.


  1. Joe May I've always imagined the settling of the West to be someone whacking out a trail beyond the last settler, building his cabin, and six months later having another settler come down his road (with a wife, a cow, and six kids), tip his hat, say "howdy", and start whacking out the next five miles of westward road. So help me God, it happened to me here 44 years ago... from facebook

  2. I hate the self-righteous bike people too. And I live in terror of hitting one as they ride on the two lane highway with no shoulder or bike lane, around a blind curve.

    To a lesser extent than your experience, it's been bothering me lately that so often I am behind (slow) drivers on our narrow, badly paved country road when there never used to be anyone else as far as the eye could see. I shouldn't begrudge them seeking the peace that I have, but...


Interesting quotations

· " “Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” Stephen King

The thing about ignornance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeareon Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve