Thursday, July 5, 2018

The mom and pop corner store evolves

At the corner of the Old Glenn Highway and Plumley Road.
The glass case on top of the counter holds samples of the

various products. What we used to call paraphernalia 
fills the displays below.
Here's one the big box stores probably aren't going to put out of business anytime soon. These folks just opened today. I noticed it earlier when I went to town and came back with my camera after I returned.
     It's a nice clean operation and they even have their own grow. Certainly not like our dealings in dark alleys years ago. I talked with the owner for a bit and he seems quite knowledgable. He asked me how long since I had any and I said quite a while. He pulled out a cannister and opened it. He said I'd probably recognize the odor as it was from a strain that has been growing in this valley since the 80s. It did have a pungent earthly smell that seemed vaguely familiar. He seemed a little disappointed with my response until I told him the last time I'd had any was in the 60s. Then we both had a laugh.
The grow, with our favorite blogger on the bars.
Complexities between state and federal laws have made
banks shy away from this industry, so it always has to 
be a cash transaction. It's handy to have an ATM around.
     He got busy with customers  but said when I told him I had taken a picture of the outside of the building that I was welcome to shoot some inside as well. He had customers whom I thought might be nervous about my taking pictures so I waited until they were gone.
    Meanwhile I looked over the wares. Prices seemed to be in line with what I've read about what stores in Anchorage charged, much more than what we used to pay in those dark alleys however.
     Then when the place cleared out I pulled up my camera. The owner even took a shot of me next to a window that looked out into his grow building, yup, that's it growing in the background. About those bars, I told him he must have quite a scam going, sell somebody some pot and then bust them and toss them behind bars for possession.
    Oh, wait, it's legal now, everything's done in daylight and the state is collecting more than a million dollars a month in taxes from the industry.
     Far out, man.
Managing marijuana in Alaska

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Thoughts and prayers? Fill in the blanks

One day the #fakepresident says the press is the enemy of the people. The next day some asshat
shoots up a newsroom killing five people. To which the #fakepresident tweets:
@reealDonaldTrump: Prior to departing Wisconsin, I was briefed on the shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.
You can only imagine what he said aside to his cohorts who encourage his constant assaults on the #fakenews, #failingnewyorktimes, #criminalCNN and every other shot he has taken at the news media. Perhaps we will hear it from him in a tweet overnight.

Here's what I think of that:
@reealDonaldTrump: Prior to departing xxxx, I was briefed on the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.

@reealDonaldTrump: Prior to departing xxxx, I was briefed on the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.

@reealDonaldTrump: Prior to departing xxxxx, I was briefed on the shooting at the Pulse in Orlando Florida. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.

@reealDonaldTrump: Prior to departing xxxx, I was briefed on the 154 mass shootings in the United States this year. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.

Do you get the picture? Fill in the blanks for tomorrow's headline:
@reealDonaldTrump: Prior to departing ___________, I was briefed on the shooting at _____________ in _____________. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.

Last Friday the #fakepresident was at some sort of ceremony for the families of 11 people supposedly killed by immigrants illegally in this country. Eleven. He signed large pictures of the victims and used the occasion to continue his assault on folks crossing border so he can separate their families and hide their children as if the perpetrators of these crimes constituted the majority of the people seeking refuge. I don't remember and thoughts and prayers for these 11 people, at least until it is politically advantageous (he thinks) to parade their families in front of the whole country in order to convince us his immigration policies are just.

With sincere sympathy for those 11 families, I wonder how big a stadium he would need to bring out the families of people killed by mass shooters just since he took office. Yet there is no concern from the administration for those people .

No, instead of that a Stoneman Douglas student sees his home surrounded by police in a SWAT prank. An articulate student is vilified with every insult you can imagine hateful people coming up with for a high school girl who shaves her head. No thoughts and prayers there. And no action. But of course the overwhelming majority of those shooters are white American males, the same group whose families are based among the immigrant people and include the #fakepresident himself.

Gawd I am sick of thinking about this stuff, let alone writing about it. In the late of the evening as the fascism shroud pulled over the land he reached for the whiskey.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

You can see me, but I'm not here

     All my life on many occasions, my mind has slipped away into some thought dream or reverie. At times it has gotten me into trouble; just yesterday I almost slammed into a slow-moving vehicle on a 55-mph road, I mean stand-on-the brakes almost. At other times it has been a great source of creativity. There was a time I spent throwing heads onto 396 and 427 cubic inch Chevy engines while a partner on the other side of the line did the same. One night he leaned over and asked "Where are you, Tim."
     With no thought at all I responded, "I'm in Montana herding sheep." And, in my head I was. He just said "cool" as if it were as normal as standing in a factory lifting 86-pound cylinder heads twice at a rate of around 100 an hour. He was probably off somewhere himself in this mindless job we had.
     Well, yesterday it happened during physical therapy. Yes, I am still recovering from last winter at the East Pole. (I just noticed, even after three glasses of wine I can type and spell better than the #fakepresident.) Anyway, I have developed a rapport with my main therapist. Several times early on while he was massaging my damaged shoulder he asked me why I was smiling. I finally explained sometimes I drift off into my mind and go places. That was OK with him, he actually kind of joked about it in a friendly way while I took some refuge in the excuse that it's about writing. One day I heard him tell another therapist,"he smiles and I have no idea where he is any more."
     So, yesterday I went in at noon instead of my regular time which meant I had to deal with three therapists instead of one because I was the only patient in the place.
     All friendly and cool, by the way, but the one woman was the primary for a while. I had only worked with her once before. I was doing some stretches with an elastic band, pulling it across my body at about stomach level. Over time I had learned you need perfect posture to do these things, body straight up, arms bent at the elbow at 90 degrees, shoulders relaxed. For this exercise to be effective, you need to maintain that but it's so easy to hunch your shoulders to pull that damned elastic stuff. I have graduated from light blue to pink and now orange, each of which takes a little more effort to pull.
     Anyway all three of them are watching me and my mind is taking off. Often I caught myself and fixed my shoulders which was always the biggest deviance I made from what they wanted.
Almost exasperated, the woman said once more to straighten my shoulders. I looked her straight in the eyes and then the other guy, and I said, "You have to understand, I am not always here."
     The usual therapist, who was doing some computer work behind the other two, laughed out loud. "That's true," he said, "I see him smile and I have no idea what's going on there, where he is."
     I looked at the woman who had been watching me and shrugged my shoulders to which she said, "that's it, now keep it up."

Friday, June 15, 2018

Accidental garden

No idea what this is, pretty sure it's a flower.
From experience, these are probably
sunflowers spilled from feeders.
For lack of a better excuse as I considered not planting a garden this year, I convinced myself I needed to let the
Does clover grow this tall?
Perennial lettuce.

raised boxes and other plots go fallow for a year to let them rejuvenate. I covered the soil in the four raised boxes after raking in a layer of compost, then garden cloth to prevent excessive weed growth.
Weeds or flowers?
For the largest plot, the 8x35 stretch along the front of the house I chose to leave it open and planned to go through it for weeds occasionally. Dealing with weeds around here is mindful of cartoon coyote mother trying to control five pups. When she has four pinned down a fifth one walks in. She lets go of one pup and two others escape while she grabs the fifth. As she goes along it looks like a four-footed version of wack-a-mole.
Some flower from last year.
They popped up everywhere and are now pretty much out of control out there mocking me every time I look out the window.
But among the weeds there have come up some surprises, plants that look like they belong in a garden and except for two I have no idea what they are. That's what the pictures are.
I did plant the long box out by the road with potatoes and the first ones popped up in the last day or so.
Potato finally poking through.
Meanwhile as I tackle weeds, now I have to be careful not to wack out a plant I want to see. Gardening in Alaska, what a trip. The people on the Mat-Su gardening facebook page I follow who take it all so seriously don't have nearly the fun I have. But then, they seem to have greater success in actually growing what they want to grow. They probably eat better, too.
I guess it all depends on what you consider success.

And of course there are the wild roses.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

When good people do nothing

In college my minor was political science. Despite what some folks may think of liberal
college education I came out of that with the idealized concept of Congress and especially the Senate as arbiters and leaders and, yes, statesmen at the national and international level. Imagine the shock of realization that they saw their jobs as selfishly channeling as much federal money as possible into their own districts.
Alaska's gang proved particularly adept at that. While they connived to extract every possible dollar out of the federal government into something for Alaska, they mostly voted along the lines of whatever party they thought they represented, statesmanship be damned, morality too.
But the evolution didn't stop there. In the years that followed that first lucid non-idealistic awareness, the representation changed to what exists now, where they represent not the people, barely their own districts anymore and now represent the monied interests of the country, legislating for huge corporations and ultra rich barons who in turn fund the campaigns that keep the people who represent them in power while they rake in huge profits and impoverish their own employees.
And the nation has blithely followed along. A noisy ignorant plurality of Americans vote against their own interests because of the manufactured fears along religious, racial and patriotic lines. Their rulers twist every negative issue to keep those fears alive. A football player kneels during the national anthem to bring attention to the racism in this country and is vilified for disrespect to the anthem and the flag and the autocrats silence the original message in a cacophony of patriotic shouting.
We even shrug off the massacre of our children by gun-toting maniacs, while those supposedly representing the masses, actually only represent a well funded- organization that represents gun manufacturers and uses their money to influence those public representatives.
We cruelly separate children from their parents in the fear of too many brown people coming into the country. Meanwhile crops die in the fields because no red-blooded American wants to pick them — that's menial labor always done by those same people we are now sending back to their own countries to be murdered while their children languish in fear behind the wires of what can only be called concentration camps.
And what does a large segment of that coalition of the rich whose whole existence is based on the moral of "love thy neighbor" do? Nothing. Nada. Oh yeah one of them pleaded with his followers to provide him with enough money to buy an $80 million private jet airplane. Maybe that would bring him closer to god, because nothing he does on terra firma is going to if the teachings are correct. The rest could care less as they worship in billion-dollar cathedrals, the kind Jesus and Sampson tried to tear down.
An for crying out loud we have to teach our children how to stay alive when someone starts shooting up their schools. Is there anything imaginably worse than that?
There are so many instances where the oligarchy has mistreated the people who support it with their labor and their acquiescence, they can't all be listed in a single polemic that anyone would read.
It has caused a national malaise, a sort of background depression that comes to the fore every so often when the #fakepresident that ignorant plurality elected does something so outrageous we almost can't believe it. Consider this as a prime example. That #fakepresident is about to attend a historic meeting with the dictator of North Korea. This has not been done since Korea was left divided by a hot war and then a cold war since the 1950s, with a history dating into the mid 1800s. What does this #fakepresident say and do with that for background? He says he doesn't need to and won't do any preparations for the meeting. He will "read" his counterpart and that is all he needs. What could go wrong with that? Yet we shrug our shoulders and pass it off as "well that's Trump." Then we wait anxiously to see how what outrage he commits this time.
The question is what is the next step in that progression of the evolution by government representation in this country? All of the options except one are almost unthinkable. Photographs of children behind chain link in America today raise too-vivid parallels to those photos we have seen in history books of children in their striped outfits staring out from behind barbed wire in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Are we going to keep shrugging our shoulders and letting it happen? That's what Germans did in the years leading to that great war
That one option is out there, but when 67 percent of those eligible fail to vote even in a presidential election, what hope is there? It can be changed but it is going to take an effort, even if it is only to take an hour out of our precious lives to vote in November, while we are still allowed to vote. The alternative is unthinkable. If we are going to act in fear let's make sure we fear the right thing. The longer we let it go on, the longer it's going to take to repair the damage.
Here's a start. This summer students who started the March for our Lives movement after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida, are taking a bus tour to register young people to vote. They plan to visit 20 states with more than 50 stops and also every congressional district in Florida. The first stop is June 15 in Chicago. They are targeting the four million people who will turn 18 this year. Now there's a voting bloc.
And take heart, things like this worked once before:


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