This little guy has resided outside our front door for several weeks. At first we thought wolf spider, but then learned that wolf spiders do not make webs. My wife has an app that says it is an orb weaver, and I have looked at many photos of that species, none matching this one.
The image is beneath the fold. Please enlighten me as to what it is. (It is about 1/2 inch in size.)
Dave Klausler writes here on occasion. Now, just between us, we do not know if a word he writes is true, but heck, writing is writing, and I like it. Did Hemingway ever do anything in real life that he used Nick Adams to relate to us? I thought that I would take an opportunity here to tell a true story (are you reading me correctly, Dave?), one that nearly cost me my life even if I did not kill a bear. Maybe I would have been hauled out on a helicopter after rescue by a stray mountain lion.
We lived in Bozeman, and I was invited to accompany a couple of older gentlemen to Black Diamond Lake in the Spanish Peaks, part of the Gallatin Range. At a certain point we had to leave the trail and cross Spanish Creek, after which there was no trail. There was a log straddling the creek, which is why Bill, our leader, knew where to turn. The task at this point was to remember the route, as I would be coming back alone. Bill and a man I’d never met before, a doctor named Paul, had a few years on me. I was in my fifties, they in their sixties. Consequently, every now and then, we stopped, dropped our packs, and napped.
Well, we are embroiled in another huge land grab, this time in the Swan Valley, in western Montana, a magical place near and dear to my heart. I lived in Swan Lake between 1977 and 1992 and enjoyed an “early retirement” at age 30 for several years, just to get a feel for what retirement meant. I hiked, climbed, camped, boated, fished, hunted, and all the things one can possibly imagine in a valley with little private land, and even fewer local, year-round residents. It’s all up for grabs now, and the prognosis does not look or feel good.
A while back POM discussed a land grab in the Crazy Mountains, located between Livingston and Big Timber, where an elite developer wants to heli-ski and trek and generally exploit the undeveloped forest and mountains for private profit, catering to the .01%.
Rather than write an article, per se, I’m just going to paste my comments to the U.S. Forest Service, who are facilitating this transfer of land and assets from a “mom and pop” lease/operator to a global, heli-ski/ski area/destination resort conglomerate who will mow down what’s there and put up a mini-Disneyland with all the glitz and glitter necessary to attract celebs and uber-rich jet-setters to play in the once-wild forest and mountain environment that has become super popular since the “lockdowns” of the past few years. The Great Reset is moving at warp speed in Montana. Fasten your chin straps if you intend to stay and fight (v. selling out and moving to Ecuador, or Costa Rico, like so many others have already done).
The U.S. Forest Service is accepting comments until September 21, 2022, so if you are so motivated, add your .02, and help make history. Game on!
Use the following comments in any way you see fit. Copy, cut and paste, paraphrase, whatever. Just remember to file your comments before the 09/21 deadline.
Nah, he’s cool, mostly, I just liked that title. We’ll get to him later.
“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”
Only relatively recently have I used this e-mail account for my private communication. Historically, I used the corporate account that I was linked with via employment. Because of that and being reduced-in-staff [because of my age] (I had no means to sue a billion-dollar company), I cannot locate my trip report from a family vacation over a dozen years ago. Strange, but I also cannot locate either my complete digital electronic images or photographs from the same trip. By memory alone, I think that the trip included Niagara Falls, Mount Marcy (NY highpoint), Mount Mansfield (VT) and Jerimoth Hill (RI) – which was a boulder on a trail (really). Missing is the highpoint of Maine – Mount Katahdin (5,269’).
My memory also says that #1 Son and I turned back high on Katahdin due to high winds and near zero visibility in the fog and rain. I recall being very concerned that he would have dangerous difficulty on the even more slippery exposed rock and sparse re-bar hand holds. I thought, back then, that he was a little kid. It was only after we had returned home that I dug a little deeper into maps, trails, images and trip reports that we had halted just a quarter-mile mile from the summit. In good visibility, we would have been able to see the summit. More on this later.
Wifey and I reviewed, and I found just seventeen images – NONE of the hike up. It turns out that #1 Son was almost FIFTEEN – but he was a very slight kid – very much like his father in his youth. Photos show his height just to my shoulder; so maybe five-one. Anyway, my thoughts remain clear about one thing: it would have been too dangerous for him on the worsening wet and very steep descent.
I did not know that when Ab asked me to be on his podcast last night that he wanted to talk about, of all things, 9/11. I really wasn’t prepared, and in fact, have not written much about that day over the years because others have it covered. It is so big, so much research has been done, and more yet to be done.
One guy who has done yeoman’s work on that day is Simon Shack. The podcast below is over two hours, pretty daunting, I know. If anything, listen to the first hour, which is Simon. It is really interesting.
Jerry Seinfeld has enjoyed enormous success in his life. I have tried to think of other men named “Jerry” who have had similar fortune, and after Lewis and Lee Lewis, come up short. Help me out. Nicknames don’t work on serious people so well, even as friends knew him as Gerry Ford, and not Gerald. He was “Johnny ” Carson, not John.
I like Seinfeld, and do not envy him one dollar of his well-deserved popularity. Comics have a reputation of being angry. He is not angry at us. He is just annoyed. There’s a difference.
I wish him continued success, and also say this knowing he will never make another movie. He knows better, and learns sometimes the hard way. He works hard at his craft, even today trying out his material in comedy clubs to see what works and what does not. He never phones it in, never expects that people will laugh merely because he is Seinfeld. Each joke is finely crafted, each word in place, not to be substituted for another.
I am going to include some tables and graphs in this presentation, easily understood ones. I asked myself yesterday morning about the number of deaths (only in the US, not worldwide) during the Sars-COV-2 (Covid-19) pandemic. There was a time when pandemics were defined by “excess deaths,” but oddly that definition was replaced before Covid with the following:
[An] outbreak of infectious disease that occurs over a wide geographical area and that is of high prevalence, generally affecting a significant proportion of the world’s population, usually over the course of several months.
Deaths are no longer a factor in pandemics. I think that is odd. We generally define past pandemics by excess deaths.
This post, as I envision it, will be a ramble about a number of topics not even related, but hopefully that generate interest and comments over the weekend. But first, I want to highlight a comment from yesterday, as I recall, on the Carl Sagan post:
Yeah, agreed on Sagan, and his successor in scientific fraud, Neal DeGrasse Tyson. I did not want this post to be a forum on Sagan, as he did say some useful things, as in “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
As long as I am leading with my chin, I will lead with that, but the reason I want to highlight the comment is that in the history of this little blog, it is number 50,000. I did at one time eliminate a large number of posts as part of a general cleanup, and when a post is discarded all comments underneath it go too, but officially, that it #50K.
This subject came up in the post beneath (A Tale of Two Countries) about the 14th Amendment. Was the South legally justified in seceding from the United States? BMSeattle left a comment that summed up my attitude on the question, here. Of course it was justified! Voluntary going in, voluntary going out.
My only thought about the violent response was what we now call “Balkanization,” or the fragmentation of a large region or country into smaller countries, as happened with Yugoslavia after the death of Marshall Tito. While it may seem a normal and legitimate process, it is usually accompanied by warfare. I was once years ago listening to Larry King on radio late at night, not being a good sleeper. He had on a CIA analyst, and he commented on the United States. I paraphrase: “The remarkable thing about this country is that it has held together as long as it has, and not fragmented.”
Barack Obama is said to be a “constitutional scholar”. He is no such thing, although I grant the man his due in terms of real abilities, such as personal charisma and a sense of humor. The reasons I say he is no scholar are two:
The “ghost of Columbia”. In this story, at least two former students are suspicious that Obama ever attended there. There is little in the record, perhaps one photograph and an alleged roommate, such details easily planted by spooks. More importantly, a legendary Columbia professor, Henry Graff, has no memory of Obama ever being there. He taught American history and diplomatic history there, and says that any student of note who ever passed through there before going on to public reputation took his classes. Obama did not. He was never there.
Secondly, any serious constitutional scholar knows that our governing document is fractured and flawed, and that attempts to reassemble it are pointless. James Madison is considered the “Father” of the Constitution, a man who understood it better than any in his time, including the “Founding Fathers”. Pause on his words: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will the most part be connected. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people; and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.