Friday, June 24, 2016

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Difference between Men and Boys

is the resolution of their toys.

Fourteen miles in on a twenty-one mile hike
I've seen them before.  I ought to know what they are.  I do not.  Please enlighten me in the comments.

The hills were alive with Swallowtail Butterflies.
Dock diving demo at the new Leerburg storefront

Across the road a hen heading back to her nest

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Bluebird vs House Wren

For the last 12 years bluebirds have nested in the front yard.  This is the first year they've had some competition from a House Wren.

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)

Sometimes there are Sparks

I've known men who loved Muhammad Ali. I've known those who hated him. I don't know anyone who did not live in awe of him.

Let's not paper over the controversies. Let us not forget the harder parts of the narrative. In that complex story we find the truth about America: from the beginning we've been striving to reach our ideals and one only strives when they are failing.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." In an intellectually and culturally diverse republic I'd say, as iron sharpens iron, one freely shared experience sharpens another. Sometimes when iron strikes iron, there are sparks.

When we honor the "Louisville Lip," we honor the tradition and the history that forged him. A tradition that is as American as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Wisconsin Blue

I choose to believe that this is one of those brain teasing pictures where it is possible to see two different images it you stare long enough.

I say this because for a full thirty seconds I sat amazed that a graffiti artist would commemorate the fact that Barack Obama won the state of Wisconsin in 2008 and 2012.  By why did the artist include the UP in their image of Wisconsin.  And, wait, why is it dated 2016?

Then I saw the bird.

Alright, maybe I am just a bit dense or, maybe, I need to tune down the political banter in my mind and get outside a little more.

But Everyone Dies Eventually

Of course you can die just crossing the street, passing a semi on the interstate, or taking to large a bite of your hamburger so, yes, make a plan, get out there, but be prudent about it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

St. Anthony Falls

From Wikipedia:

Antoine Hennepin was born in Ath in the Spanish Netherlands (present-day Hainaut, Belgium). In 1659, Béthune, the town where he lived, was captured by the army ofLouis XIV of France. Henri Joulet, who accompanied Hennepin and wrote his own journal of their travels, called Hennepin a Fleming (i.e. a native of Flanders).
At the request of Louis XIV the Récollets sent four missionaries to New France in May 1675, including Hennepin, accompanied byRené Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle. In 1678, Hennepin was ordered by his provincial superior to accompany La Salle on an expedition to explore the western part of New France. Hennepin was 39 when he departed in 1679 with La Salle from Quebec Cityto construct the 45-ton barque Le Griffon, sail through the Great Lakes, and explore the unknown West. 
Hennepin was with La Salle at the construction of Fort Crevecouer (near present-day Peoria, Illinois) in January 1680. In February, La Salle sent Hennepin and two others as an advance party to search for the Mississippi River. The party followed the Illinois River to its junction with the Mississippi. Shortly thereafter, Hennepin was captured by a Sioux war party and carried off for a time into what is now the state of Minnesota.[2]In September 1680, thanks to Daniel Greysolon, Sieur Du Lhut, Hennepin and the others were given canoes and allowed to leave, eventually returning to Quebec. Hennepin returned to France and was never allowed by his order to return to North America.[3] Local historians credit the Franciscan Récollet friar as the first European to step ashore at the site of present-day Hannibal, Missouri.[4] 
Two great waterfalls were brought to the world's attention by Hennepin: Niagara Falls, with the most voluminous flow of any in North America, and the Saint Anthony Falls in what is now Minneapolis, the only waterfall on the Mississippi River

Painting by Douglas Volk.  The First People's were not impressed.

Winter is Coming

I am one of those people who read the Game of Thrones books and has been analyzing the HBO serialization with concern.  Two things the books capture in more grim detail: winter is coming and winter does not give a f*ck about who lives or dies. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Archery Kids

Both of the boys have really improved this winter.  Just a couple more years and they will be ready to take out bow-hunting.

Writer's Block

The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Monday, May 30, 2016

U of M Class of 2016

Every new beginning begins with an ending.  Some endings are celebrated, others are mourned, most come with rituals.

May crept up on me.  I hardly thought about graduation until I was surprised by this sight on the University of Minnesota campus.

So I am looking for a pair of walking shoes in a 10 1/2.

Girls Just Wanna Hunt

Sparta just wants to go about Darwin's work.

She discovered a fresh den under a brush pile.  It appeared to be occupied but I had to pull her out and go to the pay job.

If She had a Man

Friday, May 27, 2016

Johnny Law

Do the best you can,
to be a good man.

But don't you trust Johnny Law.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Seven Things to Remember

I have been a moral maxim maker since about the age of 13.  It was the 1980's and we still had to deal with bullies the old fashioned way: you either knocked them down or demonstrated you were willing to get knocked down before backing down.

It is hard to imagine too many kids these days saying with pre-serum, beat to a pulp, Steve Rogers, "I can do this all day."

My first maxim went something like, "Fear is an emotion; it is not a moral argument."  My point to myself being, fear would never help me understand the right thing to do at any given moment.  It could only tell me how I feel about doing the right thing at any given moment.

Since that time, rules have come and rules have gone.  Some will always be with me.  Others have passed into oblivion.

My current list, none of them in anyway original to me, looks like this

1: Some things are in your control and others are not.  You are not responsible for anything outside of your control.

2:  If the universe is not meeting your expectations, the universe is not the one at fault.

3:  Everything has two handles, but it can only be carried by one.

4:  Being disturbed is a state of mind and my state of mind resides within my control.  No event is disturbing unless I choose to be disturbed by it.

5:  Avoid judgments of either praise or blame: speak the facts.

6:  False beliefs will lead you to inflict harm upon yourself and others.  Give them no quarter.

7:  Expect every one and every thing to act according to their habit.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Noise Desensitizing

He'd rather be the one doing the killing but, all in all, Stoic could care less about firearms.

Sparta has developed a reactivity to sudden loud noises that, if I can not eliminate, I would like to reduce.

A local 4-H group had an air rifle competition this last weekend.  There were a lot of snaps and pops from the air rifles and some shotgun blasts from a trap shoot a few hundred yards away.  She's not cured.  It will take a lot of ongoing work.  By the end of the three hours, however, she was resting under a picnic table not thirty yards from where trap was being shot.

Aim to the left and a little low,
'cause those old iron sights shoot high and to the right."

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Good Old Days

Not every stage in life is the right time to train a dog to accompany you on every adventure.

Not every dog is an appropriate candidate for such training.

Yet the joy that comes from being able to take your dog with you is real and worth the effort and the present age provides more opportunities than any other time in human history.

When I was a kid, there was no such thing as a dog friendly business.  Taking your dog with, meant they sat in the back of the truck while you ran your errands.  Today their are, for the well-behaved canine, dog friendly bars, box stores, and dog night at the ball game.

Every day can be a dog party: a big dog party.

That pitcher just hasn't got it today.

Didn't your Father teach you, "pretzels are sweeter when shared?"

"♫Root, root, root for the home team...♫"

The she-child has glad she could take her "first friend" along.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Suddenly I See

The weekend arrives.
Be excellent to one another,
party on dudes,

and remember who you want to be next week.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Product Placement

Every year a few people commit suicide by jumping from the higher bridges over the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities.

Kudos to the University for recognizing the risk.  The signs are meant to grab the readers attention as they start to think about suicide, upstream from the waterfall if you like.  Making someone self-aware of help at the very time they begin to have those thoughts of jumping.

For more information on the use and effectiveness of crisis call lines, read here.
 There are essentially three main ways to prevent suicide: treatment; means prevention; and access to prevention resources. At the time, Hines wasn’t properly being treated for bipolar disorder; the Golden Gate Bridge has no physical barriers to prevent suicide attempts; and as for the bridge’s suicide prevention call box, Hines didn’t know it was there.
“Had I known, I’m sure I would’ve called,” he says, “because I desperately wanted to talk to somebody.”
Back in New York City’s suicide prevention call center, I ask Draper if it’s difficult to come in to work each day, to motivate his employees to take another call and assure them that what they’re all doing is actually working.
“When I tell people what I do, they say, ‘Oh, Draper, that must be really depressing,’” he says. “And I say, man, I’m in the suicide prevention business, not the suicide business. What I see every day and what our crisis center staff hears every day is hope. And they know that they’re a part of that.”
He says it’s important to remember that 1.1 million adults are attempting suicide every year, but 38,000 are actually dying by suicide.
“What that is telling us is that by and large, the overwhelming majority of suicides are being prevented,” he says. “And those stories are not being told.”

Hug an Epicurean

May is "Hug an Epicurean" Month.

See the original here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Thank Zeus for Experts

You can always tell as city kid, but you can't tell him much.

The pundits ask why those of us in fly-over land recoil at the solutions offered by coastal elites.  The thing is sometimes we hear those coastal elites talk about something we actually know something about, and they reveal themselves to be idiots.  If they don't know how to handle a growing deer population, what else do they not know about?

Experts Call City's Deer Vasectomy Plan "Really Stupid"

Last week, the de Blasio administration unveiled their plans to manage Staten Island's exploding deer population by giving every single male deer a vasectomy. However, some experts are questioning their solution—a Cornell University ecologist told the Staten Island Advance, "It's difficult for me to come up with all the reasons why this is a really stupid plan. It's ridiculous from the onset."  
The city hopes to perform vasectomies over the next three years in order to bring down the deer population by 10-30%. But biologists say this really won't do anything.
Read the whole thing here.

What the Dog Nose

From ARS Technia:


The chemicals we off-gas change when we watch something funny or thrilling

One day, air testing over a theater audience could be used to review new movies.

In cartoon worlds, squiggly lines over characters are reserved for the exceptionally smelly. But, in reality, everyone deserves those little squiggles: each of us is constantly emitting a steady stream of gases and microbes, as well as smells. And those gases may be able to reveal more about us than what we last ate (and whether it agreed with us). Our gases may also divulge what we think about movies. 
In a study involving 9,500 moviegoers, researchers found that the chemicals that audience members off-gas while viewing a film reproducibly vary depending on the type of scene they’re watching. Specifically, the researchers noted synchronized changes in the amounts of specific gases during funny and thrilling bits of movies. The finding, published in the journal Scientific Reports, provides a whiff of evidence that humans may use volatile chemicals as signals, the authors argue. While far more data would be needed to support such a speculation, the authors still note that audience emissions may be useful for evaluating whether movies are truly funny or thrilling. 
For the study, researchers hooked up a proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS) to the out-going air vents of a theater during 108 showings of 16 different films, including BuddyThe Hobbit, and Carrie. The PRT-MS measured 100 of the 872 volatile chemicals humans are known to emit, with a detection limit of sub-parts per billion.

Read the whole thing here:

That's the (Golden) Ticket

From NBC 26,
NEENAH, Wis. (WLUK) -- Here's one gold fish you won't find in an aquarium.Steve Volkman says he was fishing for crappie on the Fox River in Neenah Friday. When he got a bite, it seemed like a typical crappie - until he got a look at it. 
The fish was a bright gold color, different from the white, green and black spotted pattern other black crappies display.
On the Fox River in downtown Neenah, the black crappie spawning run is underway."Pretty slow yet, but we're getting a few," said Steven Volkman, Neenah."Fish on," yelled one fisherman. 
On Monday morning, anglers were catching fish, but last Friday morning, Volkman says one bite in particular changed everything. 
"My magical golden crappie appeared, and we were pretty startled," he said."I looked at it, and thought my glasses were playing tricks on me," said Donnie Lornson, Menasha. 
Lornson saw something too."When he pulled it out, I says, you got an orange crappie there. Yeah, it was different," said Lornson. 
Lornson took pictures and the orange fish was soon a cyber-sensation. Volkman brought the fish to the Department of Natural Resources office in Oshkosh. 
"We were as stumped as the angler was when it came in. We had never seen anything like this," said Ryan Koenigs, D.N.R. Senior Fisheries Biologist. 
Koenigs says he moved the crappie to the laboratory, took photographs and consulted other fish biologists. 
"The fish has a pigment mutation. So it's not expressing the normal darker pigments that you would have on a black crappie, which normally are going to be black green and silver," he said. 
Biologists say the 10 1/2-inch female fish was healthy, and was full of eggs.

From 610 KDAL,
DULUTH, MN (KDAL) - The survey taken over the winter of 2016 shows that white-nose syndrome has spread to new sites in Wisconsin, including Douglas County, and is starting to take a toll on the bat population.  
The fungal disease has been spreading across the country from New York and is now found in 28 states and into Canada.  Estimates are that upwards of 6 million bats have died from the disease that causes hibernating bats to wake frequently, depleting their energy and causing them to die of starvation, or the cold. 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist, Paul White, tells KDAL news the disease may have spread to Douglas County from the Soudan Mine area of Minnesota or from the U-P of Michigan. 

I am glad to report that my bats returned again this spring but with White Nose reported just to the south, I have to wonder if they'll still be returning in five years.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mistakes Are Only Horses

Last night that spark of human genius who went by the name of "Guy Clark" passed into cold darkness. Today his ember rests, but we will be singing his songs until our own sparks go dark.

Now, a ramblin' Jack Elliot said, "I got these lines in my face
Tryin' to straighten out the wrinkles in my life
When I think of all the fools I've been
It's a wonder that I've sailed this many miles" 
To which Larry Mahan replied, he said, "The sweet bird of youth
Was sittin' on my shoulder yesterday
But she's always changin' partners
And I always knew she'd up and fly away" 
Let's stayin' up all night in the Driskill Hotel
Ramblin' Jack and Mahan was cowboyed all to hell
And the room smelled like bulls, the words sound like songs
Now, there's a pair to draw to boys, I would not steer you wrong 
So, ol' ramblin' Jack said, he said, "I recall a time
I set my soul on fire just for show
All it ever taught me was
The more I learn the less I seem to know" 
Ol' Mahan crawled out from behind a couch and said, "Jack"
He said, "As far as I can see, mistakes are only horses in disguise
Ain't no need to ride 'em over
'Cause we could not ride them different if we tried" 
And let's stayin' up all night in the Driskill Hotel
Ramblin' Jack and Mahan was cowboyed all to hell
And the room smelled like bulls, the words sound like songs
Now, there's a pair to draw to boys, I would not steer you wrong, ooh 
Stayin' up all night in the Driskill Hotel, ooh
Ramblin' Jack and Mahan was cowboyed all to hell
And the room smelled like bulls, the words sound like songs
Now, there's a pair to draw to boys, I would not steer you wrong 
Yes, certainly my fair [Incomprehensible], ooh

Keep One as a Control

Friday, May 13, 2016

Thursday, May 12, 2016

On Culture Wars, Trumpism, and My Self-Described Liberators:

I find it kinda ironic when liberal friends who've never been tempted to vote for a pachyderm and who are dumbfounded by the rise of Trumpism, are instant experts on whose to blame for the phenomenon.
Your attempts to externalize responsibility are understandable but misguided.
I am a libertarian, not a progressive, but let me come to you as a friend and sometimes ally who, despite underestimating Trumpism, understands it.
When dismissive snark moved from your dinner parties and Jon Stewart began broadcasting it into every one's living room, you weren't laughing with your fellow Americans, you were laughing at them. They knew this. They pay for cable too.
When you stopped reasoning with your fellow citizens and resorted to shutting them up by shouting "xenophobe," "racist," "homophobe," you were winning political battles while hardening hearts and minds against you.
When you were not content to merely win the Culture Wars but attempt to humiliate your fellow Americans in their own churches by attempting to redact not just shared social institutions, but their religious convictions, you revealed yourselves as the fundamentalists bent on your own form of holy struggle.
You delegitimized even the opposition which was sympathetic to your concerns and just wanted their concerns heard in turn; you laid the dead wood which is the tinder feeding this fire.
They are Americans and they demand the respect worthy of fellow citizens. If you will not give it, they will take it: by any means necessary. Even if, working together, we defeat Trump in a landslide, the progressive attempt to reconstruct the "unwashed masses" needs to end. We refuse to be subjugated by anyone, much less the likes of you.
You think of yourselves as liberators. You are viewed as an occupying force. In election 2016 the occupied have begun treating you as such and you will not convince them otherwise by laughing at them.
In the meantime, however, I will not vote my fears by casting a ballot for Hillary Clinton, or any other Donk who might be nominated, should she be indicted.  I will be voting my hopes, Gary Johnson 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Hammock Camping

I took the kids and two terriers camping a couple of weeks ago.  Despite the fact that dogs and children required some time to acclimate to camp life, I think everyone had a good time.

I think I am really going to enjoy my camping hammock.  The only draw back being that my mummy bag makes it real hard to get settled in at night or out of an evening.  You want to make sure you lay off the beverages a couple hours before going to bed.  That or you need to make sure you have a well labeled pee bottle available.

The temperatures on our first night hit freezing.  Once the nights warm up a bit and I don't feel the need to be quite so enveloped in synthetic down, it might be a good fit for my summer plans.

Sparta slept with me and and settled in quite well.  Stoic slept in the kids' tent and had to deal with the flopping of three pre-teens
We'll head out again in June.  This time for a little backwoods fishing.

A Snake in the Grass

It was actually the biggest snake I have seen living in Wisconsin.  That's not saying much, but by local standards, it was big.

The dogs are not accustomed to interacting with snakes, either as something to be avoided or as prey.  It doesn't smell like a rodent.  More importantly, it doesn't move like a rodent.  It does not have a neck, at least not in the same fashion that a rodent has a neck.  In the video below you can see how perplexed the dogs are, well, except for Stoic.

I rescued it from the dogs on two occasions but it kept on moving toward the house, and Stoic kept on finding it.  I am sorry to report that he did eventually kill it, still, little snake, I did all I could.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Constant Companion

I've yet to have a day too long that Stoic doesn't want to spend every second of it with me.

The only time he appears agitated is when the kids go out to do chores or play in the yard and fail to take him with them.