Friday, November 12, 2010

And The Very Latest From The Frozen Tundra...

It has been rather uneventful up here in the Frozen Tundra lately.

Sarah has been working her butt off trying to get the “Guest House” in shape, and as usual I haven’t been any help. Sometimes I feel pretty damn worthless. When I was younger, I was always doing things around the house and yard, but now I'm just too damn worn out. But, it is hard to see her work so very hard and not be able to jump in and help.

Sarah’s ex, Pat Shafer gave us a couple of really nice pieces of deer meat (a backstrap and a flank). I don’t have any good knives right now but, I did the best that I could with what I had to work with, and got some nice steaks, two roasts, some tenders, and some stew meat out of the pieces. So far I fried up the tenders and they were wonderful!

Sarah has been trying to teach me how to play WOW, but sometimes we both think that it might be a lost cause. I am a dwarf hunter named STONEWOLLF and she is a dwarf priest named SHARRASS. My avatar really looks a whole lot like me, which in itself makes the whole damn thing pretty scary. I like the game and the concepts and I appreciate how wonderful the graphics are…I just suck at games.

The Legion had a special Veteran’s Day Dinner, they have wonderful food and it is cheap. The special dinner was chicken breast in gravy, cheesy mashed potatoes, corn and Cole slaw. There was chocolate cake for dessert, and the whole thing was $5 a plate. The beverage was extra, but wow…the food was good and you can’t eat at either McDonald’s or Subway that cheap. They had a drawing for ten $10 prizes, and I won one of them. So the only money we spent was for the beverage. The speaker was the District Commander out of Moorhead, he retired after 37 years as full colonel in the Air Force, it is even more remarkable since he rose from the ranks. He taught school for about eleven years and the started his own insurance agency. He was a really good speaker and it was really an excellent way to spend Veteran’s Day.

Well, it is my first Game Night. Sarah and her friends used to have them quite regularly, but haven't had any since she has been married to me. Sarah and I played Trivial Pursuit as a team, and while we didn't win the game, we had the most correct answers. It was really fun and I look forward to doing it again.

So, I am up here in the Frozen Tundra trying to stay warm because it’s “colder than a well-digger’s ass” right now, and it just started to snow. Oh, whoop-de-do!

And that’s the absolute truth, give or take a lie or two…see you next time!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More Musings About My Life In TRF

Continuing my thoughts about living up here in the Frozen Tundra, other than the unbelievably cold winters and needing a “Rocket Train” to get anywhere, this is a wonderful place to live.

As cold as it is, most of the people are extremely warm and friendly. In some ways it is like stepping back in time to the early Sixties or even the Fifties. I had some misconceptions about the folks up here because of their mania for guns, their support for right to life, and their nationalistic pride. I almost figured them for “Tea Partiers”. I was really wrong.

When I began doing research on the candidates to vote this year, I discovered that they voted Democratic in overwhelming numbers. So much for assumptions…this is probably one of the Bluest areas in Minnesota.

I recently joined the Edlund-Holmstrom Post 117 of the American Legion. It made me feel wonderful because other than the Post commander, who is significantly younger than me, I was a “Youngun”. The fellow who signed me up had to keep adjusting his Ear Trumpet in order to hear my name and address and everyone was using either a cane or a walker. There are five hundred and some members…but only about twenty are active. Both the Mid Term Elections and the Legion meeting fell on Sarah’s birthday so we decided to have dinner there…good decision, we had some of the best food that we had in a very long time and it was cheaper than McDonalds.

On a different subject, we recently purchased the trailer next door, and will soon become “trailer trash slum lords”. It has been wonderful because it has allowed Sarah to exercise her nesting tendencies. She has made our temporary guest house into a lovely vacation cottage. It is really pretty spectacular, but she has worn herself out doing it.

Oh, and when we were out the other evening we had left Elsie in the entry way as normally do, but she got bored and decided to attempt suicide by shredding the beautiful Schefflera that Sarah got for her birthday last year. This is one of the most toxic plants to dogs, so I had to flush out her mouth with water and give her about three bowls of milk. She doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects, but I have never had a dog with as many suicidal tendencies. The next task was trying to prevent Sarah from committing pupacide.

And that is the absolute truth…give or take a lie or two!

See you next time!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mid Term Election Blues

Wow, I didn’t know how to respond to the absolute ignorance of the American Public. There was a chance to accomplish so much and now I see a nation of lemmings rushing over a cliff.

I didn’t know what to do with my frustration so I composed this little piece of doggerel which, when accompanied by some music in the style of a very early Dylan becomes a very bad song. At the request of one of my blog followers it is today’s posting.

Mid Term Election Blues

Our hearts are so heavy as if filled with sand
As idiots rejoice all over this land
There is serious concern for this country’s demise
When Bachmann’s reelected and Ron Paul survives
It’s shameful to think that the land of the free
Can be purchased by lobbyists, if they have the fee

There was so much optimism in 2008
We looked on in wonder and thought it was great
When our shiny young President stepped into the fray
To see it slip away is a very sad day
Our global respect was on the rise
Now the sound that you hear are international sighs

Our enemies are cheering in mass celebration
At the absolute foolishness of this great nation
And on the horizon a specter may arise
A Palin Presidency based upon lies
If that were to happen it could be the end
For among all our allies we’d not have a friend

I fear for our forces deployed everywhere
Because these people pretend, they don’t really care
People don’t count, no, people don’t matter
The “Fat Cat’s on Wall Street and in Boardrooms
Have the money to scatter
All of our troops, each son & each daughter
Will only end up used as cannon fodder

With Ralph Reed as our moral guide
We’ll only end up “With God on our side”
They’re will be no diversity or middle class gains
We’ll become more “Third World” with all of their pains
Both very rich and very poor will expand
You might see some “Black Shirts” and the return of the Klan
But free thought and progress won’t happen here
Our citizens are content to watch Fox and drink beer

My vocabulary has recently included “Hoser” and “Eh!”
‘Cause I might just have to move to Canada-yeh!

I hope to get in a better mood soon…but until then. see you all next time…

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Rant is a Rant

There are a couple of things on my mind today (although my children don’t think that there is much left of it).

First: It absolutely amazes me that conservatives get away with so much misleading bullshit.

Then I got to thinking one of the people that they idolize is Ronald Reagan. Would you like some quotes that he made?

“Well, I learned a lot…I went down to (Latin America) to find out from them and (learn) their views. You’d be surprised. They’re all individual countries.”

“I’m not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.”

“Facts are stupid things.”

So we actually end up with a straight line from Reagan to “W” drawn with a red crayon, and it is only a dotted line away from Palin, Bachmann, Beck, and the others.

There have been several books written that had the title “A Nation of Sheep”. However, they were all written from the Conservative perspective and attempting to illustrate how America was “going to hell in a hand basket” because of Liberals and the encroachment of the federal government.

I have a suggestion for a new title…”A Nation of Lemmings” and it is about how a country can mindlessly follow FOX NOISE, Beck, Palin, Bachmann, and company off a cliff and into the abyss. It includes: racism from the pulpit, the use of misinformation and disinformation to rally those individuals that can’t or won’t think for themselves to act against the “greater good for the country”. It even persuades them to act against their own interests to keep a malevolent group of individuals in power. These people do not understand or care about the poor or the middle class. They will ensure that they make profits at any cost. They bought and paid for by the lobbyists who got them elected.

Second: I think it is unconscionable that "batshit crazy" protesters choose to disrupt and carry obnoxious signs to military funerals. The call it First Amendment rights, I call it bullshit.

Oral arguments for the case Snyder v Phelps began before the Supreme Court this week.

The Westboro Baptist Church (pretty much a cult because they are disowned by all other Baptist congregations) of Topeka, Kansas is headed by Fred Phelps.
On March 3, 2006, Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder was killed in Iraq in the line of duty. His funeral was held in his hometown of Westminster, Maryland at Saint John’s Catholic Church.

After notifying the media seven members of the Westboro Baptist Church showed up outside the church where Matthew’s funeral was being held carrying the following signs:
“America is Doomed”
“God hates the USA/Thank God for 911”
“Pope in Hell”
“Semper Fi Fags”
“Thank God for Dead Soldiers”
“Don’t Pray for the USA”
“Thank God for IEDs”
“Priests Rape Boys”
“God hates Fags”

I have a very simple solution to the entire situation. Since the congregation of about sixty (50 of whom are Phelps family members) hates this country so passionately...put them on a C-17 and take them to Iraq where they can experience those IEDs that God loves “up close and personal.”

That’s all for now…see you next time!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Concerning TRF

I have occasionally written about Thief River Falls. But I need to say a little more about my new hometown.

Thief River Falls is a town of about 8,500 that the Red River runs through and exists somewhere between Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon and the Cohen Brothers’ Fargo. Life is quite different up here in the Frozen Tundra.

I mentioned before that you could leave your car running while you were shopping, and walk through TRF any time, day or night with no worries. People leave their cars with their keys in them and their doors unlocked.

Marge Gunderson has been cloned many, many times and lives happily in TRF. You don’t have to go very far to hear UFFDA, or Ya betcha, or Don’t ya know. A typical conversation runs something like this: “We were at the Legion don’t ya know and UFFDA they were serving the best tater tot hotdish, ya betcha."

Thief River Falls has a Sears, a J C Penny’s, a hardware store, a few gas stations, two Chinese restaurants and a few fast food places. There is Dee’s Diner and the Lantern, a few bars, three banks, a couple of really good grocery stores, and five or six gas stations. The residents were sure that “it was on the map” when Walmart put in a store with a grocery deprtment.

Walmart shopping in TRF is a very different experience for me. There are little clusters of people who have “parked” their grocery carts and are engaged in conversations about church and school, kids and grandkids, and in-laws and outlaws. It is a place where a perfect stranger walks up to me and says: “UFFDA, those are some nice whiskers”, or “I didn’t get everything on my Christmas list last year, don’t ya know,” or “Ya, you betcha, I knew that this was the Frozen Tundra, and seeing you I am sure of it.”

Typical conversations at Dee’s Diner run something like this: the weather, sugar beets, the weather, soybeans, the weather, those damn Vikings, the weather, that damn Gopher football team, the weather, “sledding” (snowmobiling to the uninitiated), the weather, combines, the weather, guns and ammo, the weather, who hit a deer or got hit by a deer, and the weather. There is usually a table with a Sherriff’s Deputy and a few city policemen sitting at it, and sometimes they join the conversation, but most of the time the talk amongst themselves about chasing speeders and DWI arrests, oh, and guns and ammo, and the weather.

Now it may sound like I am poking fun at these people…I’m not they are the most honest, genuine people I have met, and it is the place where if you need help someone is always there, and you can still make any deal with a handshake.

That’s all for now…see you next time!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The 50th High School Reunion

I really need to tell you a little about the Class Reunion. It was the 50th Reunion for the Class of 1960 of Johnson High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

I didn’t go to any of the other reunions because I thought that it would just be another time when a bunch of people who didn’t really know each other sat around trying to impress each other with lies and BS. After talking to some good friends who attended all of them, I found that I was exactly right.

There were 506 who graduated in the Johnson Class of 1960, and probably about 300 attended. For my reader’s information I graduated 55th, and that was with a schedule that included: three years of Latin, two years of French, Geometry and higher algebra, biology, chemistry and physics, three years of history/social sciences and three years of English. My senior year, I was the only boy in a class with 22 girls who took advanced English. This class concentrated on teaching you to write themes and reports at a college level. It was one of the best classes that I ever took. Well, that is enough about that.

I was really happy that I didn’t encounter any of the nonsense that occurred at the earlier reunions. It was like retirement had become a “leveler” and everyone was back to being classmates.

Johnson was a blue-collar high school on the Eastside of Saint Paul in 1960. In some ways the movie “Blackboard Jungle” could have been filmed there. It had the usual amount of cliques and groups that were exclusive, but there was more ability to bridge from one group to another, and to have friends that were in many different groups. I was fortunate to have friends in several groups.

There were some really “badass” guys wearing the black t-shirts with their cigarettes rolled up in the sleeves. There was an area in the parking lot where smoking was condoned (it was of course illegal unless you were 18), but there was a lot of times that people were caught smoking in the bathrooms. Sometimes when you went into the boy’s bathroom, the air was actually blue because of all the cigarette smoke. The “Charlie Brown” of the late fifties song was alive and well at Johnson.

The strange and wonderful thing is that this class produced at least a dozen PhDs, (including one who worked for NASA) a couple of MDs, a couple of DDS’s, and ten or more CEOs of major corporations. But we won’t go into how many were incarcerated or ended up being shot during the commission of a crime. That would be just a “guesstimate” at any rate.

Most of those that attended shared some fondness for each other, and I would have loved to have been able to spend more time with them.

…and that’s the absolute truth…give or take a lie or two!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Catching up - Part Two

It has rained for a couple of days now and that means that my rheumatoid arthritis “flares”. It is cold and damp and wet.

When we got back from Kentucky my defibrillator went off because I was going into ventricular tachycardia. My heart rate went to 230 before I got shocked, it went off a second time in the same week, and I began to have some heart issues that were somewhat relieved by nitro. I went to the ER at our hospital in TRF and they sent me by ambulance to Fargo. I was in the ICU for four days and my dear wife stayed with me the whole time sleeping in a chair and waiting on me. They put me on an IV nitro drip and almost immediately I was feeling pretty good again. When I left the hospital Dr. Ontaro, the cardiologist that handles pacemaker/defibrillator patients put me on a ne anti-arrhythmic drug called Pacerone. Well, it has about three pages of side effects and I developed most of them.

Sarah was leaving for Tennessee because she did not get to see her mother when we took our RV trip and my granddaughters Bryanna and McKenzie were celebrating their birthdays together. Well, I was not able to stay for the party but I did get to see them and give them their gifts. I went back on my oxygen generator and was pretty miserable for all of Labor Day weekend.

Sarah did have a wonderful visit with her mother, and her brother and sister-in-law came up with their two sons. She hadn’t seen her mother or her nephews in about ten years, so I was very happy that she didn’t cancel her trip. She also got to meet her grand-nephew Jay Carter DuRoy (who will always be Leroy DuRoy to me). He was born between the RV visit and her return to Tennessee. So she got to hold him while he was still very much a baby.

I gradually got better and now I just have extreme fatigue. Dr. Ashok Patel my regular doctor cut my dose in half and he said that in three or four weeks he might be able to halve it again.

We went to my 50th High School Class Reunion in the Cities and that was really fun, but I had to cut my visits short with some of the people that I had not seen since graduation because of my breathing. I had to go back on the generator.

However,we did get to spend some quality time with my granddaughters: Bryanna, Danielle, and McKenzie. That was fun because it had been a long time since we had a chance to have time enough to visit.

That’s all for now…and I promise that the next posting will be whine free!