Friday, October 31, 2008

Three million to study bears in Montana

I wish John McCain would stop using the three million dollars to study grizzly bears in Montana as an example of wasteful pork spending. He did it again Thursday. It makes me glad I didn't vote for him. McCain didn't bother to come to Montana this whole campaign. Obama on the other hand went there 5 or 6 times.

Now I realize that the republicans have no interest in science, but you'd think they'd have some interest in creation, and you'd think they'd understand that a lot of money is generated when people come to Montana with the hope of seeing a bear or a bighorn or perhaps just to fish for trout. There was a piece on the News Hour tonight featuring trout fishing in Montana and global warming.

Well it just so happens that trout fishing in Montana is a three hundred million dollar a year industry according to the piece on the News Hour. Trout die if the water gets above 78 degrees. There has been a 5-7 degree rise in river water temps in Montana since the 1950s. We wouldn't know these things if we didn't study them...

A couple of years ago we had a German couple who were touring the west stay with us at our cabin. One of the things they wanted to do in Montana was they wanted to see a bear. So I asked them through an interpretur,. "Don't you have bears in Germany?" No.. "What about that city?" I asked,.. "Don't you have a city named after a bear?". I guess they killed all of their bears a long time ago.

Well The Grizzlies are pretty popular in Montana. As a University of Montana alum and former Griz I take issue with John McCain. Most likely his wife has a wardrobe that cost millions. I noticed some pretty serious bling too. Palin has only been in the picture for a couple of months and the tab was $150k for her wardrobe. Now that's wasteful spending... John....

Do me a favor. After you loose the election, don't move to Montana. Go to Wyoming and hang with Cheney. Just don't go hunting with him.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bighorn Ram

Ok Curt.. this Bighorn picture is for you! :) Click on the picture to get up close and personal. It seemed that everywhere I went in Montana Sunday I ran into Bighorns! I'm not kidding. This one was about 50 miles from the others in my last post. I'm pretty sure you know where this is Curt, but we won't tell anyone else... None of these rams were like the one I saw on Wild Horse Island though. That BIGHORN was a monster and one of the biggest Bighorns I've ever seen. I got really close to that one too.

Fact is,.. I think I'm going to put together a collection of my Bighorn photos on the side bar for all to see :) I've been thinking about that for a while now, as Bighorns are my favorite big game animal and I have quite a few photos.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bighorn sheep photos

I call this picture, "bighorn behind fence". I'm just kidding... I actually call it "barbed wire and bighorn". Well not really... I'm afraid if I'd gotten out of the car the sheep would have skedaddled, and then I'd have to call the pictures "bighorns in the distance". :)

There were some bighorn sheep next to the highway in Montana today and they were horny. ( Sorry,..I couldn't resist) The rams were trying to cut out ewes for themselves so they were pushing eachother around. It was kind of fun to watch. One moment it was like nothing was going on and all of the sheep were grazing, and the next moment one of the rams would cop an attitude and spring into action.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jesus freak

Our cars and trucks define us. I think the font choice is a little dark for this decal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Needles and pins

I bought a couple of CDs today. I was running out of road trip music. I went to get Charlie Haden Rambling Boy and I also bought Lucinda Williams "Sweet Old World" as sort of an afterthought as they had a low price on it.

If you are reading Curt, you'd like the Rambling Boy CD. You'd like the Lucinda Williams too but I suspect you might already have that one.

If you click on the Rambling Boy link and have highspeed you can listen to the album as it just starts to play. Charlie Haden is a jazz bassist who plays with Pat Metheny but this ablum is sort of classic country/ bluegrass. It has several greats on it. Pat Metheny, Vince Gill, Ricky Scaggs, Rosane Cash, Bruce Hornsby, Dan Tyminsky on mandolin and Jerry Douglas on Dobro. But the real reason I bought it was because of Haden's three daughters, Petra, Rachel, and Tanya's three part harmony. Their voices blend in a very special way I guess because they are sisters.

In this recording Haden goes back to his family roots. I can sort of relate to that. When I was young we played music together as a family in the cabin. I'd play mandolin and guitar with my dad who played banjo. My mom played church hymns on an old pump organ. We'd have a fire going in the fire place and make popcorn. That's a pretty simple pleasure.

My mom was classically trained and my dad an old time musician. I was somewhere in the middle. Piano lessons and violin in orchestra.

I was repsonsible for keeping my dad's banjo in tune. It was hanging on the wall in a room I had to go through to get to my room. So every now and then when I went by I'd take it down and tune and hang it back up. Now and then I'd have to put new strings on it. I hated doing that as sometimes I'd break the high string on it and my old man would be mad as it wasn't easy to get strings for it. There was something about it that made it really tricky to get that high string all the way up to pitch without breaking it.

Talk about being on needles and pins tuning that string! tink..tink..tink.. BOING! :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Flathead Lake picture

Here's another picture I took this morning as the sun rose over Flathead Lake in Montana.

Merganser picture

A merganser cruising the bay this morning.

I retain the rights to all of my photos.  Please do not use without permission.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Making up

Here's a picture I took tonight of the bay. It had been stormy all day and even as I launched my boat it was raining. Before it got dark the sky opened up as if to resolve a quarrel.

Christopher Buckley endorses Obama

Would the late William F Buckley Jr. be rolling over in his grave at the news of his son Christopher Buckley endorsing Barak Obama? I don't think so, but Christopher Buckley has resigned from the conservative magazine, National Review, that his father founded.

In a Huffington Post article by Jason Linkins, the young Buckley is quoted as saying this about the state of the conservative movement;

"I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of "conservative" government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance."

What I find interesting about this is the fact that he left the magazine over his endorsement of Obama, and that they were quick to accept his resignation. It reminds me of when Bush said either you are with us or against us and the lack of tollerance for a "reasoned argument for the opposition". McCain's nomination and campaign is reflective of the situation within the conservative right, and this lack of unity is what will most likely cost them the election.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Country twang

I was sitting at my computer today with my headphones on listening to country music while I worked...

"Hey baby I'm a country man,
why don't you come and join me in my new deer stand,..."

Well,..I guess it wasn't as bad as, "I want to get you in the sticks and check you for ticks"... or however that goes.

And come to think of it, whatever happened to Wordpecker?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tamarack Larch

I haven't posted any cyber trees lately. Here's a young Tamarack /Larch tree about to change color and drop its needles for the winter. I think the Tamarack is my favorite tree. This one was deep in the forest along a stream enjoying a bit of warmth from the sun before winter settles in.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Grouse hunting

I went to hunting camp this weekend. Mostly just for a camp out but I like to hunt for ruffed grouse. They are like wild chickens. And they taste just like chicken. I know people always say that but these things really sort of do... I got one grouse and that's all I wanted. I use an old LeFever Nitro Special .410 double barrel shotgun that was given to me as a birthday present from my dad. Pretty rare old shotgun and perfect for grouse as it won't destroy them. I'm going to eat my grouse tomorrow night and I usually only have this meal once a year. Here's how I cook them.

First I breast the bird. I won't go into detail about that, but you end up with the breast back and ribs only, no wings and no legs. You can save and eat the legs but I sort of feel like Survivorman if I do that. They aren't big like chicken legs. The breast is what you eat. Ruffed Grouse breast is white meat. I put the breast in salt water over night. It sort of cures and cleans it and removes the gamey taste. Then I take it out of that and fillet the breasts. I marinade them in a mixture of olive oil garlic Italian parsley and fresh lemon juice for a couple of hours in the fridge. Then I quickly saute it in olive oil and a little dry white wine. I've tried a lot of different ways to cook grouse but this is best, and it's really good.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Turn things around

The past few weeks I've been sleeping with the window open as much as possible. The wind has been blowing at night and I like to hear the sound of it in the trees as I sleep.

"I think we should bring it about!" I shouted back to Mr. C who was at the helm of his scow boat. He just looked up at the main sail. I don't think he heard me, I thought. I was maning the jib, and growing more and more uncomfortable with the wind the farther we sailed out into the bay. We had a boatload of summer guests on board for no doubt for their first sail. They laughed and talked with no clue of how easily the boat could go over. He wasn't paying attention to me, I thought,.. Or he couldn't hear me.

Sometimes the wind would blow so hard at night that it was blowing asphalt shingles off of my house. I could hear noises coming from the roof. Well I don't have to go up there tonight anway, I thought as I turned over in bed. I can fix the roof when when the wind dies down. No one could expect me to do anything about it right now anyway...

With each strong puff Mr. C would point the boat upwind and relieve the pressure from the sails. Exactly the right thing to do on a scow boat to avoid a capsize, but kind of tricky too because if the boat stops control is lost and the wind can knock you over. He kept feathering it like this, and I had to trim the jib in unison. If I eased off, the jib would stop pulling so I tried to match his moves. "Are you good with this wind!?" I tried again, feeling somewhat helpless on the bow as I was getting more and more confused about what to do. The farther away from shore we got the stronger the wind. Finally word got back to him that I was concerned, and we agreed to bring the boat around and get off of the bay, but we had to wait for a lull in the wind to make our turn. So farther and farther out we sailed waiting for our chance to turn around, waiting for that lull in the wind.

How often is that true I wondered?.. How often do people keep going in the wrong direction waiting for a chance to turn things around? A chance to go back to where they started from.

It's gotten a little too cold to sleep with the windows open now. When the wind blows it removes leaves from the trees and with them any memory of summer. I'll be able to see the ridge again through the empty branches I thought as I left my house for work in the morning.

"You'd better do something about your roof." the neighbor warned from his side of the fence.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

McCain Obama debate

I just got done watching the 2nd presidential debate. I don't know why McCain likes the "town hall" format so much,.. it forces him to stand up and walk around. He looks like he's about ready for a walker, and I really don't like being called "friend" I have a problem with that. McCain said "my friends" over and over. He hasn't earned my friendship at all. It's been my experience that when someone calls me friend, they really aren't my friend.

Browkaw sucked. All of the rest of the moderators have wanted to get the candidates to engage with eachother and Brokaw kept keeping them from doing so and insisted on sticking to the rules. So thumbs down to Brokaw. He's no Tim Russert. Bob Shieffer will moderate the next debate and that's good. Saving the best for last.

In the first part of the debate and throughout the debate actually, I thought Obama's answers had much more substance than McCain. McCain threw out taking points lacking substance and then faulted Obama, and kept bringing up his past record. I'm not sure anyone cares so much about the past right now.

McCain started to make a little sense to me when he talked about Russia and Ukraine, but on the subject of Pakistan and Iran I thought Obama showed more reason. I think leaving global conflicts up to military generals is an archaine armchair approach to dealing with these problems. McCain kept bringing up General Petraeus. I'd rather have Petraeus debate Obama at this point. We might learn more.

In the end and on almost every point, I thought Obama showed more substance than McCain.

McCain lost, Browkaw lost, Obama won.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A river runs through it

Ok so here is a picture of don, aka me. You won't see many pictures of don on bicycle log... (I always say that) but it's true... I looked just like Brad Pitt!... Well sort of a young Brad Pitt anyway... :) you can click to see me bigger.

Well at least I grew up in the church that the movie A River Runs Through It was based on. I watched that movie again yesterday on TV... Part of it anyway. The part where Brad Pitt was catching a great big trout while fly fishing on the Blackfoot river. They filmed most of the river scenes on the Gallatin River actually, and the church they used in the movie was also somewhere down there too. Here's a picture of the real church.

When the movie came out the congregation was somewhat offended by profanity used in the film. People who went to this church back then and even now didn't/ don't talk like that,.. well not back then anyway. As you might know bicycle log is a profanity free zone. Not so much because I went to this church although that probably has something to do with it,.. It's more for the little kids and something Veronica once wrote when Marta was first born.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Cloud house

A house in Peaceful Valley from my adventures today. Good place for a pink toilet. I could have hooked them up.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Pink toilet

Craigslist often has some nice phtography. I might start a section on my blog devoted to it... I try not to post other people's photography but this toilet was in the free section! This would be a good picture to hang in the bathroom. If a guy was color blind it'd be a pretty good deal. I had to think twice about it. I'm kind of a junk collector. Somewhere in my basement I have the perfect black and white snake skin toilet seat for it...

There is also some good writing on Craigslist. HERE is a good example.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Palin and the VP Debate

Ok so here are my thoughts on VP debate. I guess I owe it to anyone who has been reading.

First of all, I must tell you that my first pick for president at the begining of this campaign was Joe Biden. I've watched a lot of Meet the Press and Face the Nation and this guy in my opinion is qualified to be president. So I have a bias in this respect.

Sadly what is sold to the public is a popularity contest.

I think what defined this debate was the fact that Palin didn't totally F up. Debate boot camp did well by her. My impression is that she looked great on camera. I have been faulted by some perhaps "feminists" when I blogged about what a female politician would wear, and I cited Yulia Tymoshenko as an example of a great looking female politician. My criticizm wasn't about women as politicians, it was about the so called dress suit, which I hate. To Sarah Palin's credit she looked fantastic!

Ok so that sounds sexist. But I'm not kidding she's very photogenic, and has great legs. I don't think there's any question about it, but I disagree with her politics. With regard to this more drilling for oil, I don't think there's any assurance that the oil from more drilling in Alaska would be only for consumption in the United States. It's a free market and the oil companies are free to sell the oil on the open market to those who would pay the most. So this whole "drill baby drill" thing doesn't make much sense in the context that Palin argues. Like this drilling is going to solve our oil cost problems... What the heck? Alaskans get a kickback and the oil gets sold on the free market.

A lot of the debate had to do with Afganistan, Iran, and the war in Iraq. I have a problem with starting a war and then relying on generals to know what's best. I don't think might makes right. If this is true then I think we should elect a military general for president and nothing less. If General Petraeus knows what's best for the country, then why don't we just have him as president?

As far as looks go, Biden needs to go and see someone about his hair. Having said that, I totally agree with him on the issues and think he would make a far better VP than Palin and would make a great president.

I guess I should add that I thought Biden won the debate.