Moanday and Counting Down

Luna moth, found in front of a book store....
Luna moth, found in front of a book store.... photographed from Up North...
Luna, photographed from Australia.
Luna, photographed from Australia.

One of those days. Picked fresh black cap razzies this morning for oatmeal; and enjoyed Julie Robson’s Iron County chokecherry wine tonight with dinner. Ahhh, nature’s bounty. We expect lots of bloobs, some razz and perhaps early thimbleberries in the Keweenaw woon.  Robochef dropped by to pick up the community cooler for his jaunt to Mullet Lake with his clan for the 4th; Big Joel and son Ryan were here finishing tree removal (old, rotting cherries), and planning and preps continue for the U.P. sojourn. Today was first aid, emergency med supplies, and flies. Counting Rx pills to see what refills are needed, and of course Shanny got his weekly Greenie. Sad word from CO Dave Painter tonight. Jake, the Painter’s noble old yellow lab, met the green-dream

Da boid widout his ma, sittin on da front porch...
Da boid widout his ma, sittin on da front porch...
My retired agent Betsy Nolan and Hubby of 20 years Bob Kunze -- in their native San Franciso habitat.
My retired agent Betsy Nolan and Hubby of 20 years Bob Kunze -- in their native San Franciso habitat.
Run, kid, run!!!!
Run, kid, run!!!!

A sad time. Jake was a fine, fine dog and will  be missed by the Painter family.  Tomorrow some local biz, then it’s time to organize worm and spinning gear for brookies, and rockhounding equipment. Shopping for takealong food is pretty much complete. This week it’s cooking double and triple meals, with extra to freeze for up north. Tonight was honey chicken thighs with hot Thai red peppers. Very nice indeed.

Last night I encountered a loud-chirping robin babe on front porch; looks like it’s tail feathers got injured/removed/something. It could run and sort of fly glide, but couldn’t get any altitude. Mom and or dad hung around bringing it worms. Still here this morning, but I saw it fly into the neighbors’ yard, so perhaps it will be all right. Also, yesterday after return from Niles saw baby rabbit stretched out in clover on the side of the house. I laughed out loud! And coming back saw doe and faw scamper across the road and hustle into a vineyard.  The heat here has finally dropped and the summer 70s are upon us, which is fine by me. Hoping no 90 plus stuff in the U.P, this summer, but you never know.  Last week, going into a book store, found a Luna moth, dessicated in 90+ heat. Picked it up coming out to get some pix. So many interesting things around us. I share from all. Colleague Liz Jakeway and I one summer evening  met a more-than-a-smidge innebriated Dane in Copenhagen, who proclaimed to to us that as a Danish man, he, “Knows the all.” Say what?

Over.

Demondog. Technically a grandpup, but he looks a lot like Yoda on speed. Hey, he's da Chicago Dawg.
Demondog. Technically a grandpup, but Cooper looks a lot like Yoda OD's on speed. Hey, he's da Chicago Dawg.
Hey, what's up doc? A wabbit could do a lot woyse den livin in Heywood's back yod....
Hey, what's up doc? A wabbit could do a lot woyse den livin in Heywood's back yawd....

Lo and Behold

Not sure what to say. When Christopher designed the site he insisted a forum was de rigueur, and I grumbled and he put it there. And I never checked it until today! To those of you who’ve been using it, thanks and sorry I ignored you. I’d sign in now, but I can’t figure out how so I will have to talk to the technoillogicals first.  Sheesh and Duh. Over.

June-July Reading

I’m often asked what I read. What follows is a list of what will be June’s consumption, and what I plan so far for July. The list is more or less in the order I read, or will read them. Enjoy.  Best reads: Two asterisks in front of the entry.  I haven’t finished CJ Box or Evanovich yet, but both authors are always good reads. Over.

** Susan R. Martin. Wonderful Power. [NF]

** Richard Wrangham. Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. [NF]

Mark Twain. A Tramp Abroad. [NF]

** Bertram Fields. Players: The Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare. [NF]

Richard Buchko Jr. The Keweenaw Puzzle: Revealing the Truth, and Uncovering Facts of Keweenaw Stories and Legends. [NF]

Anita Andreine Ahearn. Copper Range Chronicled: A Family and an Era. [NF]

Brenda Wineapple. Sisterbrother: Gertrude and Leo Stein. [NF]

Josh Bishop. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [NF]

Ed, Dale Peterson. Jane Goodall: Africa in My Blood. [NF]

Colleen Cable. Without a Trace.

Mark Twain’s Short Stories

Stef Penney. The Tenderness of Wolves.

David Mamet. Wilson.

Stephen Leather. Private Dancer.

Linda H. Davis. Chas Addams [NF]

** Sprague Taylor. Tahquamenon Country: A Look At Its Past. [NF]

** Bob Butz. An Uncrowded Place. [NF]

** Calvin Hoffman. The Murder of the Man Who Was Shakespeare [NF]

** Daryl Pinksen. Marlowe’s Ghost: The Blacklisting of the Man Who Was Shakespeare. [NF]

Tana French. In the Woods.

** Willie Morris. Taps.

** Henry Kisor. Flight of the Gin Fizz.[NF]

C.J. Box. Below Zero.

Janet Evanovich. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen.

JULY

Brenda James and Wm Rubinstein. The Truth Will Out: Unmasking the Real Shakespeare. [NF]

Peter Ackroyd. Shakespeare: The Biography [NF]

Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The Angel’s Game.

Natalie Angier. The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science. [NF]

Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza. Blackout.

Peter Jenkins. Along the Edge of America. [NF]

Michael Wood. In Search of Shakespare. [NF]

You Know You’re a Cop if…

A Yooper pal in law enforcement sent me the following, which I have amended in a couple of place to include COs. Enjoy.

1. You have the bladder capacity of five normal people.

2. You have restrained someone & it was not a sexual experience.

3. You believe 50 percent of people are a waste of good air.

4. Your idea of fun is a “man with gun” call.

5. You run a criminal background check on anyone who seems friendly to you.

6. You believe in the aerial spraying of Prozac and birth control pills.

7. You disbelieve 90 percent of what you hear, and 75 percent of what you see.

8. Your weekends off are planned a year in advance.

9. You believe the government should require a permit to reproduce.

10. You refer to your favorite restaurant by the intersection where it is located. ( COs don’t have favorite restaurants. They prefer stop and robs in the most convenient locations.

11. You think there ought to be a seminar entitled: Suicide: Getting It Right the First Time.”

12. You have put the phone on hold before laughing uncontrollably.

13. You think caffeine ought to be available in IV form, with a permanent shunt installed in your non-gun arm.

14. You know that anyone who tells you ‘I had two beers’ will blow more than 1.5 on the breathalyzer.

15. You learn a lot about paranoia just by following people around.

16. It’s normal to have dead fish and animals in the fridge.

17. People have asked, Are you a real cop? Or, why are you messing with me when people are out there committing real crimes?

18. When people flag you down and ask directions to strange places you always know where they are located.

19. You are the only person introduced at social gatherings by your profession.

20. You walk into places and people think it’s funny to grab a buddy and yell, “They’ve come to get you Bill!”

21. You don’t see daylight from November until May.

22. You’ve written off guns and ammo as business expenses.

23. You believe unspeakable evil will befall you if anyone says, “Boy, it sure is quiet tonight!”

24. Talking about dismemberments over a meal is perfectly normal.

25. You like hearing, ‘Hey, these handcuffs are too tight.’

26. You’ve left more meals on restaurant tables than you’ve eaten.

27. Over.

Hodge of Podge

This is a collection of events and things, not quite stream of contentiousness, but running along that line.

I would have entitled it differently, but the entry is too long for software.

Herein we shall shall address: The Slipstream of Incompetent Killing; A Cautionary Tale of Frustration and Similar Nonhuman Interactions Concerning Charter Communications’s Inoperative  High-Speed Internet Line; Mysteries  of Hexagenia Limbata Flies; Debates Over the Real Identity of  Wm. Shake-Spear, That is, He or She Who Actually Penned the Plays, (or Shagspur or  Whomsoever —  Spell It  as Thou Wish);Passage of of  the Summer Solstace: and, What is The Sound of a Falling Tree, When You Are Sleeping Within Ten feet Of It?

Playbill stated, let us away anon.

Sometimes you have to take a deep breath and reconsider something you’ve done.For example: The explosion of chipmunks and squirrels in the neighborhood is beyond comparison over my 38 years in this house. Chippies have even been in the garage, chowing down on birdseed in their storage boxes. Chippies everywhere and they come to the bird feeders from five, six houses away — and greater distances. So I bought a live-trap cage,  figuring I’d trap and eliminate some.By eliminate I mean kill, not spend $2.75 per-gallon-gas to relocate the sorry little problem rodents like wolves and bears.

It took a few days, and several trap placements  to get a result, but finally the trap sprung (peanut butter was the magic bait).  It then took me ten shots with the Red Ryder to finally dispatch the poor creature —  this during pained rodental screams, writhing, flip flopping, and such suffering and pain as I have rarely witnessed and administered by yours truly, the hotshot outdoorsman, the result being I felt like a total shit, but continued to bling until I finished the job. In the cage it’s too difficult to make a single kill shot, therefore there will be no more BBs flying. The next trapee goes via Green Streamer to a land far, far away, and I do not use that as a euphemism for a dirt nap.

It’s Sunday night, Summer Solstace,  the sun’s been out today after couple of nights of nasty thunder bumpers and sundry atmospheric hysterics. And, the high-speed cable was down since 0300 Friday morning. When I called Charter Communications, midday  Friday I had to go through the entire prompt menu to reach a computer-germinated, estrogenically androidal voice which said most woodenly: “We have an important message for you!”  Do tell: The message was that Charter was aware that phones, cable, and high speed lines were all out in my area. Huh and duh. Obviously the phone wasn’t out, nor was my cable, but definootely the high-speed had been derailed.If  the message was so damned important, why did I have to go through an entire menu to receive it? Especially since it involved outage of all of their services?  By Saturday they had changed the call-in-system to greeting all calls with a message about the outage, blah blah, no need to traverse menus.  Hey it was some improvement, but the stark reality remained that  the high-speed line remained inop – which is a nice civilian word for FUBAR.  They asked then if I would like to be called when it was back on line, and I assented. By late Sunday night Charter was  back to making me go through the menu to get my same “important message” unchanged since I heard it both Friday and Saturday. Charter is tres expensive, and neither the organization nor its employees appear to have the slightest concept of service or care a wit about customers. After years of gobbling up other cable outfits, Charter reportedly has deep financial problems and is said to be treading water in the wilderness of Chapter-Number Land.  But last night I talked to a woman who told me she would reset my modem, which allegedly she did. Still no go. So I went to bed. Awww.

I wrote this off line to upload when [if?] the service came back, presumably sometime in this calendar year, but with Charter you never know. As that great philosopher Yogi Berra once told us, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” And if this fork involves another vendor for cable service, take that one. Please. One final thought: will Charter knock 10 percent off the high-speed bill if the cable is down 3 days, which is ten percent of June? Don’t take bets. So, this morning I go through the whole damn exercise again and now we learn that the modem is not working and that Charter can send someone to replace it around Wednesday (or it could be Thursday) OR I could go pick up a new one at the Charter office. Thence there to fetch, a new modem is conveyed home and then another Charter menu to get some Forn-based Bobo to activate the damn thing and finally around noon, after 81 hours, I am back in business, figuratively Of course if this was a business with customers trying to place orders, or transact other business, I and they  would be SOL, but this is the cyber-nether — where 90 percent reliability is bragged about. Last night at 2330 I talked to a Charter rep in the Philippines (ISYN) who basically wanted me to disassemble my entire system. Double talk. I told her about the messages and how they were supposed to call me. She had no explanation of why not.  Wonderful. Customer service from The Philippines. Sweet. Let’s hear it for the captains and lieutenants of American industry. Obviously we outsource to the PI because workers there are more competent technically than are workers in this country. Excuse my sarcasm, but this argument from business is abject bullshit,and has been for decades. Outsourcing is about bottom line and profit, nothing else. Employees area strictly an expense, never an asset in this day and age and all institutional memory is fading fast.

Changing the subject: less than three weeks or so and we’re off to the Yoop. Not sure I will be blogging  (this always sounds to me like a made up word for blind-logging, which fits in a way) but will at least drop into one of the community libraries in the Keweenaw or elsewhere to see if I can connect to the blog. If so, might post from there. Otherwise, the aural null will descend upon us for some time until our return and I can get sorted out to write and post pix.

Sad to say there will be no hex fishing for this household this year. Budget realities nec issittated some belt-tightening and prioritizing (sound familiar?). Decisions made, I can’t help obsessing about big brown trout slurping ginormous  flies in deep the ink of night, and me not being there to keep them on their toes (fins?). There’s no report of of hex flies on local lakes around here yet, which suggests the whole hatch will be late this year, here and north of here. If it runs really late, it should go long into July on the upper Manistee, as it did at least once before. Hex flies hatch in one place and tend to migrate up river to await mating. These swarms are so large they have been seen on dopler radars. If you are sitting on the river and they pass overhead, it sounds like a swarm of Harley Hawgs passing over you in mass  formation. Very, very strange indeed, and therefore wonderful.

As history: July 18, 2001, Joe Guild and I fished with yarn flies all day, floating the Manistee, and hit an unexpected hex hatch and spinner fall at dark. No giant fish that night, but lots of respectable 14-17-inchers. Brook trout that day were mostly in the middle of the river and looking up aggressively, not cowering close to the usual bankside cover. Normally we fish hex the third week of June, so this day was weeks later than usual, which again goes to prove that MaNat has her own timetable and rationales. Every time you start thinking you have the fishing thing figured out, you learn otherwise.

Last summer rain kept the Kalamazoo River blown out for most wading for most of the summer. This year is looking like a repeat of that scenario, which is too bad. In case you don’t know it, the poisoned waters of the Kalamazoo are home to a sizeable population of scrappy smallies. I don’t do canoes, so if there’s no wading, there’s no fishing. I’ve got a float tube, but it’s too much work especially on a long river float.

The grand-puppies were here this weekend, Mssrs. Cooper and MacThor, both vying to be alpha dog within the pack of canids and humans. Shanny just rolled his brown eyes at the upstarts.  Hey, life could be more fun if dogs were in charge!

The things going on in Iran are extremely interesting and troublesome, but I wonder if our media are making more out of what it all means than it actually does. For one thing no media are allowed to operate inside Iran at the moment, and here’s a preview of what America will be like when newspapers fade into history to be supplanted only by the chaos of the internet and Twitter and Facebook, etc.  One wonders where they events in Iran will lead. From my limited perspective, the “opposition” reminds me of Martin Luther, not wanting to overthrow the church, but to take it back to its original values. Some or our politicians want change in Iran; sometimes you get what you ask for and only then decide that’s not what you wanted. Let’s hope that’s not the play-out on this set of circumstances. And as for encouraging the Iranian people to revolt [southern Iraq, Hungary, the Czechs, etc], it seems that every time we do that we hang people out to dry, so why listen to the the American government? We’re not so good at stepping up when people need us.

I continue my lifelong interest in Shakespeare and am, of course, intrigued by various schools debating whether the simple man from Stratford on Avon was the actual author, or played some other role for the genuine author.  Many others have been put forward as candidates for the true author, but I wonder something else.

Part of the mystery stems from a couple of things: When Queen Elizabeth died, Shakespeare penned not a word in memorium, a singular oversight in that time for a lot of valid reasons – while all of his literary colleagues waxed on and on about Bess. And, when Shakespeare died, there was not a single word written about him, at least none that has survived. Now Shakespeare likewise never wrote anything nice about his poetical competitors and colleagues, so maybe the omission on the queen is explainable, And likewise, if he never commented on other poets, maybe they ignored his death intentionally. Who knows, but it is really odd,  nothing written at all by his colleagues, collaborators or admirers. Or by anyone in his town of Stratford of Avon. And nothing in his will about any of his literary works or business. We have no rough drafts, no manuscripts, no nothing from his writing career and in this regard it is like he either did none of it, or perhaps someone else did.  In the years when he was most productive he was living in Stratford and presumably commuting.  Odd to the nth degree, I’d say.

Okay, if the dude was indeed the greatest and most successful poet in England in his day–  and thereafter– and fawned over by intellectuals and the nobility and the vulgar general alike (in today’s parlance, that would be the general public —  us’ns), and the object of jealousy and admiration of his contemporary writers, why would there be no mention by anyone of his passing? Not a word.

Mayhaps the answer is that Shakespeare’s true greatness was undiscovered until long after his demise and that he became a much bigger phenomenon in the popular mind of later ages than he ever was in his own time. This certainly has happened to other great writers – and many painters for that matter.

I know: too much time on my hands. But still. Not that they compare exactly, but if Steven Spielberg passed away, is it thinkable this could go publicly unnoticed? I thinketh not.

Okay, most importantly at the moment; any one out there ever use live leeches to inveigle brook trout in streams? If so, and you don’t mind, let me know how that went and how you rigged your gear. We mean to eat brook trout this trip to the UP and  will not be messing with a flyrod to achieve the desired end. Meat fishing requires garden hackle, something alive and wiggling to be sacrificed in return for a fine fried repast

Early this morning, a branch cracked like a rifle, and fell into the backyard, landing not ten feet from the bed, but inflicting no major damage except to a small section of fencing. For something two feet in diameter, we are lucky nothing animate was frolicking below when the branch fell. Ergo, it will be chainsaw and removal time soon. It’s always something, eh?

Enjoy summer. It’s here!

Over.

Good News: Hail to Turf, Dancing Bear & Megan-The-Laser

This  Saturday past Spartan Turf Kauffman was named to the Michigan Lacrosse Hall of Fame, an honor deserved by few and granted to fewer.  I had the pleasure of being Turf’s teammate in the mists of the past. Turf was the primary mover in getting men’s lacrosse elevated to varsity status at MSU,  and undoubtedly will play a major role in its reinstatement down the road. In related news: My old teammate “Dancing Bear” Bill Prahler’s Okemos girls went through the high school lacrosse season undefeated, ending with winning the state championship this month. Congrats to the Bear as well. While most of us get on to doing other things, a few individuals always grab hold of important things and take them to where they need to be, leaving indelible legacies in keeping with their visions of what can be. Turf and Bill, old teammate Mike Jolly, and some others are dramatic cases in point. They walk the talk: Few among us can say that.

Also this weekend, Junior Megan Putnam, who lives across the street, led her Kalamazoo Hackett High School team to a Michigan state soccer championship. Her coach is Tim Halloran, who played for me when he was 14 and showed way back then that he was he was a leader.

Well done Turf and Bill and Meg and Tim.

Over.

In Mourning, alas

Congratulations to the Pittsburg Penguinisimos.  But that’s enough on hockey.

Photos tonight from the bottom of Hell’s Hill on Lake Michigan. I love Septarian nodules (lightning stones) because of all the messages they bring to us  from nature.

This summer get out and look around, and open your eyes to all the  possibilities and natural things around us. No dress rehearsals, folks. This life, one to a customer. Go for it now.

Over.

This sign in Glendale Michigan, on M-43. Hey, we all have our own definitions of summer.
This sign in Glendale Michigan, on M-43. Hey, we all have our own definitions of summer.
Fertility stone in her (un) natural habitat.
Fertility stone in her (un) natural habitat.
"Hi." Gotta love a stone that talks to you!
"Hi." Gotta love a stone that talks to you!
Take your pick: figure skater with arm and leg up, or a deer.
Take your pick: figure skater with arm and leg up, or a deer.
Unicorn
Unicorn
Summer colors on display.
Summer colors on display.

Hell’s Hill, Nature’s Fertility Statue and Vietnamese-ish Eats

Hit the Lake Michigan beach for a lightning stone hunt at 7 this morning and pulled out at 11:30 as squalls swept across  Lake Michigan to settle in for the afternoon. South of us there were fishing boats in a cluster and to the north a sailing regatta, and the water relatively calm. Shanahan found only one deer bone to nibble on. Photos tomorrow night or Monday, including Mother Nature’s Fertility Statue.

Dinner tonight a great recipe from web site, Eating Well: Stir-Fry Pork with Vietnamese Flavors. I highly recommend this and you can bet that Grady Service will be sampling it somewhere along the way.

MAKINGS:

2 TBSPs finely chopped fresh ginger.

2 serrano or jalepeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped.

4 cloves garlic, freshly chopped (we used 6)

3 TBSPN  fish sauce.

2 TBSPNs orange juice, divided.

1 TeaSPN cornstarch

1/2 Tea SPN freshly ground pepper.

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut across the grain into 1/4-inch slices.

1 TBSP sugar

3 TeaSPN canola oil, divided.

3 TBSPNs Fish Sauce

2 cups finely slice onions (2-4 onions)

1/4 cup slice fresh cilantro leaves.

WHAT TO DO:

1. Combine ginger, peppers, garlic, 1 TBSPN of fish sauce, 1 TBSPN of the OJ, cornstarch and black pepper in a shallow dish. Add pork and tosse to coat it with the marinade. Set aside to marinate 10-20 minutes.

2. Mix sugar, the remaining 2 TBSNs of fish sauce and 1 TBSPN OJ in a small bowl.

3. Heat a wok over high heat. Swirl in 1 TeaSPN of canola oil. Add onions and cook, stirring, until limp and carmelized, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onions to a plate. Wipe out the pan. Add the remaining 2 TeaSPN of canola to the pan and increase heat to high. Slowly drop in pork and stir fry until browned and just cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Add the reserve fish sauce/ OJ mixture and the reserved onions; toss until the pork is coated with sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve over rice, or a baked sweet potato. This recipe makes four servings, each serving 243 cals. The flavor is spicy but not overwhelming, very tasty. Next time we’ll put some Thai hot peppers on top as garnish with the cilantro, but the recipe is delicious as is.

Over.

Mixed Messages RE: Conservation Officer Study

The following was in the Gongwer news service report on June 5. I have been confused and disturbed since reading it, especially those parts relating to backing up other law enforcement personnel. I’m not going to say much except to say that COs are often the law enforcement types most likely to be at the scene of a crime or lawbreak just before it happens, or while it is happening, and to intervene to stop it. This happens to other cops, but not as often as to COs and I think a lot of people don’t understand this reality of the job. The last thing I’d say is this: If I depend on you to take my back, you’ve got to be able to depend on me to do the same for you.  The cost of confusion, hesitation,  or delay in the whole issue of backing up officers — regardless of their agency or uniform– is too horrible to contemplate. Period.

Over.

STUDY: CONSERVATION OFFICERS ARE SPECIAL PEOPLE
It takes a certain kind of person with just the right skills to be a conservation officer, according to a job analysis of the position conducted for the Department of Natural Resources and presented to the Natural Resources Commission.

In addition to the law enforcement training and the background in natural resources issues, the study, released Thursday, found the officers also need traits that don’t come from a book.

“Eight of the top group of 19 knowledge, skills, abilities, and traits ranked by the respondents are characteristics that are typically not trainable, though they may be polished and developed,” the report said.

Among those traits the COs said were needed for their work were honesty, integrity, flexibility and a passion for the outdoors.

And Michael Comer with the Department of State Police Behavioral Science Unit, who helped conduct the study, said COs also need to be prepared for situations that that would face few traditional law enforcement officers.

“I have a new and really deep respect for conservation officers,” he said.   “Is was really struck by the wide variety of activities COs engage in.   I was also struck by how often they work alone and how far away backup is.   They have to be skilled at sizing up a situation very quickly.”

They also have more visibility to the public than traditional law enforcement, he said.   “Most police officers do not want people to know where they live,” he said.   “Everybody knows where the conservation officers live.   People often come to their houses uninvited, often to have confrontations with the families.”

But John Van Hoesen with the DNR human resources office and a co-author of the report, also noted that, relative to other law enforcement, more of their interactions with the public are positive.   “They may be just talking and see how well the fish are running,” he said, rather than responding to a complaint or disturbance.

Among the recommendations from the study was for both COs and supervisors to review the findings and be sure the officers’ duties and job descriptions aligned, with either being adjusted as necessary.   The report also called for the department to find funds for training on some of the technical aspects of the job.

DNR Director Becky Humphries did not address the training funds, but said given current funding trends one part of the CO job could be phased out: backing up other law enforcement.   “We’re hearing rumbles that we might lose all general fund support,” Ms. Humphries said.   “We cannot use game and fish funding to do that work.   We won’t have an appropriate funding source to do that backup, though clearly they’re not going to let a fellow officer hang.”