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Dancing with bears or using an iPhone which is easier?

July 24, 2016

We cut the power as we approached the shoreline and the boat silently rolled up onto the beach. It was late May and we were inspecting the various bear bait stations we had set up weeks earlier to see if there was any sign of bears visiting. Being an assistant hunting guide, in Alaska, was basically a nice way of saying I was back in school and learning the ropes, only this time a mistake in school could cost you your life.

Now learning anything new as one gets older takes longer for things to sink in and I am sure if I could turn your computers camera on I am sure I would find most of you black-bear-montana-01smiling at this, but I am serious there is actually a mathematical formula for this. It shows that each individuals learning time is directly proportionate to ones age and stubbornness factor. Now that age thing is fudge-able because we do not all loose our neurons at the same rate as each other, but it has been noted that those that are stubborn almost always find it hard to learn and accept new things.

I guess I was lucky when I was learning to hunt bears I not only was a ‘young’ 50 year old I also had a good Master hunting guide to teach me. Though he never made his teaching easy the lessons learned allowed me to survive 30 ‘close encounters’ with bears while being with clients. To him their was no place for stubbornness when it came to peoples safety.

The iPhone is a totally different situation when you consider no one can die from not understanding their phone. For the past 14 years I have only had an old basic flip phone, because there was never any need to pay for a phone contract, or have a ‘smart phone’, when you only used the phone only four times a month, and had no access to the internet. Now however living in civilization it is a different story because the urge to call my son and daughter happens more frequently and using that old ‘go phone’ suddenly becomes more expensive than signing up for a regular phone service.

Enter my son… he has over the years upgraded his phones and gave me one of his older iPhone’s and a connection deal that one could hardly turn down. But along with the now 24/7 access comes a phone that to me is akin to learning how to operate the controls of a 757. Yes I finally accepted the offer but now I am faced with the daunting task of learning how to use it.

Yesterday was my first day alone with it and I jumped in to that brave new world and tried to send a text… but ended up so frustrated I just gave up and used the old flip-phone. With more ‘icons’ staring at me then lights on the dashboard of my truck I have relegated it to just phone calls for now. This however makes me even more amazed when I see grade school aged children zip through their icons and do the same amazing things I do on my computer. Unlike my journey from Atari, Macintosh Duo to iMac I learned in steps but these children started out with a smart phone…. never knowing what a party line was.

I am sure I will grump and groan
and it may take some time
but I know I will master that smart phone
…and unlike dancing with bears
one mistake
will not jeopardize
your life.

The ‘sound’ of memories… Alaska revisited

July 18, 2016

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The slight breeze barely moved the humid air around me as I greeted another morning in Texas. I slowly sipped the warm coffee which almost matched the humid air when off in the distance a sound broke through my reverie and it brought back a flood of memories. You know how it is when you first awaken and normal sounds take an extra second for your brain to analyze and finally revel what it was, well today was no different for me. That repetitive sound I was hearing was the sound of someone hammering a nail.

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I knew I should have had another cup of coffee

OK to most of you not an earth shattering sound and not something you would dwell on but to me it evoked a mental image of hearing that sound coming from down the hill at the building site of Kara’s home and it meant one thing, I was late in getting down there. We had so far built a two story 2,400 sq foot home for Rose’s mother and another smaller two story home, called the shop, even further down the hill, but now we were working on a place for Rose’s daughter to live and this would be even bigger with three stories and close to 3,000 sq feet.

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Even with smoke from a nearby fire construction continues

In any event the sound let me know someone was already at work while I was still waking up. I quickly finished my coffee and grabbed some tools and headed down to the building site. It is strange to think back on this memory as I sit here in the Texas heat because building construction was never something I ever thought I would end up doing. I mean besides my stint with the Army almost my entire life was spent running a printing press. Sure over the years there were many projects my wife wanted me to do like remodeling the basement on our first home, but Jumping in with both feet and helping to build “homes” was never even thought possible.

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A home for Rose’s mother

Then again life’s road takes you to some different places and here in Alaska I guess, after my stint as a hunting and fishing guide, I was destined to ‘bang nails’. That sound heard from far away this morning rekindled strong memories of work I am proud to say I was a part of, but would never have happened if I had not come to Alaska. I guess what I am trying to say is we never know what we can accomplish unless we try. Yes we may not be successful in every new endeavor we try, but one never knows what one can accomplish unless we reach beyond our grasp.

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Kara’s home in the wilderness

Our journey down life’s road
has many branches
and unless we explore them
we will never know what we have lost.

However like life itself

all things come to the end of the road eventually

and sadly

this 80 acres in the Northern Alaskan wilderness

is now for sale.

Dallas an example of understanding between black lives matter and all lives matter

July 13, 2016

The snowstorm that had been raging for days with high winds had snow-drifts measured in feet not inches was slowly letting up and it was now time to dig our way out. But this was not to be because our plow was broken and we were looking at weeks of shoveling. Instead word got out to the families in the area and soon we had a crew of kids and adults shoveling the way clear to the highway, with me thinking only in Alaska do you find this unity of people. Where without being asked one family helps another when there is need….. well I was wrong.

A couple days ago I read an article about the new black panthers party wanting a separate nation, no doubt partially born out of the frustration because of the shootings of young black men by law enforcement officers. A separate nation, really, how will that make their lives better? I can also see frustration arising because of the violence that ensues in places like Baltimore, Chicago, Louisiana and Ferguson Missouri during marches in protest of those shootings, but this also will still not be rectified by having a separate nation.

Is everyone so blind that they do not see that the violence was caused by a few within that protest. Can you not see that the parents, family and friends of those shot just want the government to see how angry and frustrated they are and not that they want to destroy business and start a riot. A lot has been said against black lives matter because of their myopic view that the police are shooting only young black men. But something happened that made me realize that just like in those riots during the protests it is a small number inciting violence that makes us think all black lives matter people are out for vengeance.

A hint of a solution was seen right here in Dallas the other night when a group of black lives matter demonstrators and all lives matter demonstrators confronted each other. Now one would think this is like lighting a match while soaked in gasoline, I did, but the results gave me pause and allowed a glimmer of hope to shine when the black lives matter people crossed the street and confronted the all lives matter people. They talked…. cried…. hugged and then they prayed together because they realized that indeed all lives do matter.

Here in Dallas
we were witness to a small example
of people working together
to end the hatred
if only
this example of understanding
would spread.

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Please take a minute and watch this video

 

 

The unending search for purpose in life

July 11, 2016

Prologue…

Dear reader I believe no mater who you are there are times when all of us has a dark cloud pass over our soul, and what follows is the result of one passing through my consciousness yesterday. It was so intense it motivated me to put what I was feeling into words, so that others who experience this will understand they are not alone. Then last night a brief torrential downpour not only washed the environment clean, but my mind as well, and this morning a with a mild temperature and slight breeze my mind and soul was back to its grumpy old self.

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‘p0p’ by Anthony

There are times when I look down the road ahead and see… nothing. A blank void where nothing has any meaning and is illuminated only by violent flashes of lightning that appear as if they could literally tear the would apart. When in my life did I arrive at a place like this? At what point did my life of walking forcefully in one direction have no more foothold? …and what if anything should I do about it?

Growing up we have a tendency to try new things, ignoring any possible harmful ramifications, because we are looking for purpose in our lives. At times these ramifications take on a life of their own and blind us to the quest we were originally pursuing. Some detours were not unexpected like military service but these only halted our quest for a short time. Others like marriage and family totally stopped any further quest because they would involve total commitment for the rest of our life… maybe.

With family one’s children grow and leave for their own personal quest but with marriage we know it is ’till death do you part’. Well guess what, that one bond we have with all of humanity death, it does come to your partner in the marriage and then… oh yes then we are truly adrift. After decades upon decades never opening the mental closet with the armor we used on our quest we are once again facing that original, what will we do with the rest of our life.

Some never recover from the pain of that life long love, others open the closet and done their sword and walking stick and continue the quest. But then there are others who after walking the road and searching for that unknown thing that will make their life full of purpose, stop and say it is enough. They find a comfortable place to hide from their consciousness and live not for the quest but survival.

But even then life is cruel and as we get older that very survival becomes harder and harder, until you surrender and crawl out of that mental hiding cave and move to anyplace that can make your old age a bit easier. However like I just said life is cruel and even in that ‘new world’ of comfort you find that there is still no purpose in life……

Looking back at almost a century of this quest
one wonders if it is time to walk into
the lightning
or walk much slower forward
to the end of the road.

Black and white… one thing in common

July 8, 2016

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When going to bed last night I turned on the radio to the news of the slaughter of 5 police officers and the wounding of 11 other officers and civilians just miles away from my apartment. This happened hours after I had just started writing a posting dealing with the recent shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. That posting was a direct result of a posting by another writer on a WordPress blog lamenting the fact why does the shootings of African Americans continue.

That posting written by a 22 year old black male, (as he described himself), contained some harsh truths that made me stop and think. I would challenge all of my readers to visit his blog and read this posting. He was unsettled over the fact that he had, “come to the realization that there is little to no hope the change that we want will be arriving any time soon”. In light of his eloquent words and the events last night here in Dallas, we can all see his words have come to fruition.

As a white male I have always given law enforcement officers the benefit of a doubt and the thought that they would act out of hatred or racism never entered my mind. Yes I know just like throughout society as a whole there are many people with short fuses who will react violently when pressed, I just assume those people would be weeded out before becoming police officers.

However the police in those last two shootings and other police involved in shootings before that, did not go out to with the intent to hunt and kill innocent black men, whereas in last nights incident the police were hunted. The one suspect that the police negotiated with before he died told police that, “ the end is coming, and he’s going to hurt and kill more of us”.

So with continued racial unrest rampant across the nation
and violent outbursts like what happened here in Dallas
I see this situation as the young man stated only continuing with…
“little or no hope that change will arrive any time soon”.

The rule of law is only for ‘we the people’ !

July 8, 2016

It was a early Sunday morning and I was driving though Fairbanks for the first time looking for an ATM. I saw a bank about a block down a side street and slowed for the turn to go to that bank. Within seconds I heard the beep of a police car siren as he pulled up behind me. The officer explained I did not come to a full stop before making the turn which had a stop sign. I tried to enplain that I never noticed the sign because I was looking for a bank with an ATM, but my words did not move him and I ended up paying the $75 ticket.

Yes you and I are bound by laws that by and large are for our own benefit, and when we disobey these laws and are caught we must pay the price. So I ask you why is it only those without any power, (political or financial), are bound by these laws. I can also hear many of you say millions of poor and middle class people are every day breaking the law when they cross our border illegally or overstaying their visa, but even this lawlessness can be traced back to those in power who tell them they will not be prosecuted.

This past week we have seen a glaring example of this abuse of power when the FBI refused to prosecute Clinton for acts that would put anyone of us regular citizens in jail. To put the icing on the cake even though the director of the GettyImages-509016860-640x482FBI James Comey said, “With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust,” yet they would not file any charges.

One would think at the very least they would revoke her security clearance because Director Comey said, ‘that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services’. One would also think that since secrecy is a virtual religion in Washington and those who violate its dogma have been punished in the harshest and most excessive manner – at least when they possess little political power or influence. The Obama administration has prosecuted more leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined. The FBI has refused to comment on whether Clinton and the handful of State Department aides who transmitted classified intelligence on her private network retained their security clearances in light of the FBI investigation into their activities.

Americans across the nation reacted in anger at the FBI’s refusal to indite Clinton many stating that ‘If Hillary doesn’t obey the law why should I‘ and I have to agree with them except that if ‘we the people’ attempted to try anything close to this we would end up in federal prison for a long, long time. You may have notice I am trying to stay away from writing about current political events, this is because you can only swim against the current for so long before the stress kills you, meaning there is absolutely nothing you or I can do about it!

Hillary’s free pass is but another example
of the power
of those running this nation,
and both democrats and republicans know
they are answerable to no one.

A monkey on my back… a 60 second explanation

July 7, 2016

Some of you have asked me about the the ‘monkey and skull’ sculpture
and my categorizing a posting as ‘area 51’
and I thought I would take a minute to explain both of them to you.

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Most of the time when I use the category ‘Area 51’ it is because I have no idea how to categorize what the posting is about. It may touch on or begin with some newsworthy event or have a taste of political ramifications but it wonders off on a tangent that is at times a bit bizarre. Or it may indeed have something to do with the paranormal thus I have created the ‘Area 51’ category.

The ‘monkey and skull’ photograph is one of the last sculptures my wife painted and fired before she died. The monkey looking at the skull in what appears to be consternation and wonderment signifies to me one pondering something totally alien to them. What is not seen in this edited version of the photograph is that the monkey is sitting on a pile of books with the top one being Darwin’s theory of evolution.

So I use the sculpture and or Area 51 category
to denote a posting that I think deserves a serious second look.