They Did it on Purpose

The Biden administration blames: Putin’s invasion of Ukraine; Greedy big oil companies; refineries and people driving gas guzzlers for gasoline prices hovering at $5 per gallon nation-wide and much more in certain states.

Of course, that is bullshit. This is exactly what they wanted. Biden is on video and in debates saying exactly that. He and his climate zealots want to destroy the US fossil fuel industry. And, amazingly, they expect voters to be happy to pay for it. With every poll they are learning that voters are NOT happy and Democrats are beginning to panic as the mid-term elections creep closer. Yet they doggedly stick to the idea that high gas prices will encourage people to buy an electric car.

Biden was on TV this morning touting an idea to temporarily suspend the 18-cents-per-gallon Federal gas tax. Even Obama thought that was a lame idea. Then he lapsed into blaming the usual suspects for high gas prices. Most people know that his policies of reducing drilling offshore and on Federal land and the heaping of more stringent regulations on drilling and refining are to blame. Oil production is down 9% since Biden took office. Those who do not know that will be informed in the ads during the upcoming campaigns.

Biden has been sucking 1million barrels a day out of the Strategic Oil Reserve. This, cynically, will end just before the mid-terms. He also mandated burning more ethanol this summer and that will further influence grain and food prices. Good luck after that. Ironically, if Biden had not shut down the Keystone XL pipeline we could be getting 900,000 barrels a day from friendly Canada instead of begging Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Shutting down oil and gas drilling in the US and the millions of jobs in the US and buying oil from hostile countries seems crazy to me.

Democrats, at least the more liberal ones, have always believed in open borders. Trump had the border under control and was proceeding with a border wall and the “remain in Mexico policy”. Once Biden was in the oval office he halted construction of the wall and signaled that immigrants were welcome to cross the southern border at will. Huge caravans from Central America and really all over the world, headed for the border. People are processed, given a notice to appear, often a cell phone and flown or bused all over the country. So far, since Biden took office, more than one million illegals have been released into the US. This does not count the as many as 800,000 “got aways” that snuck across while border agents were busy processing massive numbers of illegals. These guys are the ones smuggling drugs. (You may have heard that more than 100,000 people died of Fentanyl overdoses in the last year). So far they have caught 60 men on the terror watch list. I wonder how many terrorists were among the got-aways?

The cost of taking care of these people exceeds $300 billion dollars for welfare, medical care, education, the WIC program, etc. Taxpayers pay for that.

So, we have a crisis at the border because they wanted it. Democrats have always believed that if they brought in enough people and gave them free stuff that they would reliably vote Democrat. They may live to regret it because the Hispanics are leaving the Democrat Party, as demonstrated by the recent election of Republican Mayra Flores in the 34th District in Texas, a long-held blue area. Biden’s approval rating among Hispanic voters has dropped into the low 20s. One of the sources for their animus toward Democrats is the border crisis.

With inflation at around 8.6% and higher for many necessities of life, we are certainly headed for a recession. The Feds tepid efforts to curb inflation suggests that it may last a long time. I lived through one in the late 70s and early 80s and it is not fun.

It took Reagan’s vision and courage to break the inflationary cycle and usher in decades of prosperity. Not gonna happen with this bunch in the White House.

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Donald Trump has consistently claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Ordinary citizen were ostracized for saying that. If you mentioned it on Twitter or Facebook you were thrown off those platforms. The talking heads on TV poopooed the idea, and your friends would think you were nuts if you even suggested it. But as the months have passed, there has been increasing evidence that there was, indeed, some very funny things going on in this past election.

Mark Zukerberg, the multi-billionaire of Facebook fame, gave some $419 million dollars to election offices in heavily Democrat precincts to “help count” the votes and to fund the placement of ballot drop boxes. Many Democrat operatives were hired to assist in counting the votes that were coming in because of the mass mailing of ballots. They also used this money to hire people to go to people’s doors and “help” folks fill out their ballots, AKA as ballot harvesting, which is illegal in many states [].

Zukerberg skirted campaign finance rules by using a non-profit named the Center for Tech and Civic Life funded by Zuk and his wife. All of this money was dumped into key battle-ground states and in heavily minority counties. These so called “swing states” usually provide the difference in the 50-50 USA.

I thought, at the time, that mass mailing of ballots that could be mailed back or dumped in drop boxes would present great opportunity for election fraud. I also knew that the Democrats were desperate to get rid of Trump and had little compunction about cheating to accomplish that task. When I said that, my left leaning friends jumped up and down and said that there was no evidence of widespread cheating in elections. But, the much higher turnout in certain counties suggested that something fishy was going on. Investigations by the Attorney General’s office in Wisconsin show that CTCL’s efforts threw the state’s electoral votes to Biden.

Now comes proof. True the Vote [] is an organization located in Houston, Texas headed by Catherine Engelbricht. Their mission is to investigate voter fraud. They conducted an exhaustive investigation of the 2020 Presidential election using sophisticated techniques.

First, they obtained 10 trillion geo-tracking cell phone pings whose owners interacted with ballot drop boxes in five swing states. They also found that these so called “mules” also visited the offices of Biden non-profits. Obviously, the mules were being paid per vote by Biden operatives, an illegal act.

They then obtained five million minutes of government video of these drop boxes. They found that the mules repeatedly visited the drop boxes and stuffed fists full of ballots at each visit. They finally concluded that over 2000 mules visited an average of 38 drop boxes each. They calculated that these mules resulted in an increase of 380,000 extra votes in the five swing states. Since these extra votes were coming from heavily Democrat districts we can safely assume these guys were not stuffing Trump votes in the boxes.

This worked so well for the Democrats that as soon as they took control of both houses of congress and the White House they immediately proposed HR 1 and SR 1 to nationalize the elections and sanctify mailing out millions of ballots. That’s forbidden by the Constitution, by the way. Those drop boxes are a blessing to Democrats who howl bloody murder at the suggestion that you provide an ID to vote. They claim it’s racist because minority folks to not have a photo ID, so it’s voter suppression. That is laughably absurd since it is virtually impossible to function in modern society without one.* 

An election is coming in November and the Democrats are worried and they should be.

*This Ami Horowitz video, How white liberals really view black voters, is short and worth a watch.

Also, if you would like to watch 2000 Mules, the documentary about this investigation of fraud, you can watch it here:

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Oil Wars

Everyone knows that the global warming/climate change true believers in the Biden Administration hate fossil fuels and want to eliminate its use. One of Joe’s first acts was to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline while inexplicably opening up the Russian Nord Stream 2. The other blow struck against devil oil was to shut down drilling on federal land, off shore and in Alaska. The final kick in the ass to oil companies has been to pressure banks to refuse to lend money to oil companies for drilling and exploration and cancelling leases for drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.

The result was to take the US from being a net exporter of oil to an importer, especially from Russia. It also more than doubled the cost of a barrel of oil to $93. Everyone feels this when they pull up to the pump to fill up or when they pay their monthly heating bill. Indirectly it is felt in the increase in cost of everything as fuel costs increase costs for shipments and delivery. Inflation is now running at 7.5% and certainly headed higher.

Sale of Russian oil and gas accounts for 60% of its exports and 30% of its GDP. Much of Europe relies heavily on it as does the East Coast of the US. It’s not as if the US has any shortage of natural gas. The nearby Marcellus shale deposit covers much of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. New York State will not allow fracking so it is not produced there and, global warming true believers and their well-financed lawyers have prevented any pipelines from being built to deliver it. They need it, but can’t get it, so they buy it from the Russians.

There appears little doubt that Putin will invade Ukraine and Biden has threatened to shut down the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. This will certainly cause oil prices to jump up even higher. If Russia retaliated by stopping shipments of gas to the US, the east coast of the US would be in deep shit. The issue is not that we do not have enough natural gas, it’s that there are not sufficient pipelines to deliver it!

Biden’s team has put the US in this box and his global warming fanatics will not permit him to get out of it. I suspect gasoline prices at the pump will be at least $7.00/gallon by the time mid-term elections roll around and Biden’s approval rating will be near 30%. Let’s just hope we don’t find ourselves in another war over oil, especially when we are sitting on oceans of it.

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Sometimes you meet someone and immediately know that you are kindred spirits. So it was with Daniel Jacques.

Daniel Jacques and Dick, probably early 1990s.

We met through a VeriFone connection. The sales representative in Paris, by the name of Pam Umvarski, sent out an email asking if anyone could find an internship for the son of one of her customers. Our company, Stone-West, Inc. was doing well as the sales territory for VeriFone in the Mid-west and we had recently purchased a cottage on a nearby lake. We had kids at home about this young man’s age, so Loi and I agreed to offer him a job for the summer and live at our house. Fred Laluyaux came to the US and spent two summers at our house.

Through Fred, we met his father and eventually his father’s boss, Daniel Jacques. We hit it off immediately. I discovered he loved to hunt and had made frequent trips to Africa. He owned a large home outside of Paris decorated with a lot of African art.  He also belonged to a hunting club about 70 k south of Paris. He had a great sense of humor and a sense of adventure. Daniel used to tell people, “Dick and I were in the Navy together. Not the same Navy, or at the same time, but we were in the Navy together.”

We started visiting each other a couple of times a year. He usually visited us in the summer and he would bring along a couple of great wines from his extensive cellar and carefully wrapped packages of Normandy cheese. These were unpasteurized, thus forbidden in the US. Once opened, they continued to ripen, and by the second day they started to stink badly. Loi would place them in a Tupperware container inside a bigger container lined with baking soda. The works went into the garage. By the third day, the only place you could eat the stuff was on the pontoon boat out on the lake. Excellent with a nice glass of red wine. Good thing they didn’t taste like they smell. He did not want me to drink the wines he brought with him, and twenty years later, they were worth a lot of money. But there are limits to how long they will last, and so we had some special dinners and gradually drank them.

We started visiting France, and Daniel and his girlfriend gave us the grand tour. We toured Normandy, Loire, the south of France and Burgundy. On one trip in July he picked us up at the airport, drove to an airfield and we boarded a helicopter. We saw the Chateaus de Loire from the air. Then we toured several of them on the ground. Wow! Talk about wealth inequality.

Château de Chambord in Loire

Not sure which one this is…there are so many gorgeous châteaux….

I had a chance to visit his hunting club a couple of times. I hunted with one of Daniel’s shotguns, which was illegal because I had no license, but the place was isolated. They had about 400 acres with some planted cornfields, fields and woods. They raised pheasants and chukar partridge they called perdrix. The land also supported huge hares, wild pigs and small deer. A very old stone house was the clubhouse and women came out from the local village to fix lunch. Everyone consumed wine with lunch before heading out for the afternoon shoot. Sounds safe…

I was astounded by how unsafe the hunting was. They all wore dark green hunting clothes. Not a touch of orange around.

The groups of hunters walked into each other all the time, especially in the woods. They blasted away at the hares on the ground with dogs running around. They waited until dark to hunt ducks on a small pond. Since guys surrounded the pond, when the ducks came in, you were shooting across the pond at each other. When I got home from that trip, I went to the hunting store and bought a dozen orange caps and dog collars. I was afraid someone was going to get shot. Eventually, Daniel’s new wife was shot by a guy in a group walking toward them. She caught a BB in the corner of her eye. A quarter of an inch to the right and she would have lost the eye. Loi and I made her an orange cap with construction goggles attached and long blond pigtails and a whistle sewn on it.

Daniel had a receipt printer business that was very successful, so he had disposable cash.  We decided to go elk hunting in Montana at a place I had discovered on a fly fishing trip. He arrived in Wisconsin and we went gear shopping. I insisted on a survival kit with space blanket, candles, waterproof matches, a whistle and mirror. He made fun of me. 

One thing about Europeans, especially the French, is they have no concept of how big the US is. In the mountains of France there is another village 5 kilometers away. In Montana, where we were hunting, if you went the wrong way it could be 50 miles to the next road. Once we were moose hunting in northern BC and passed through a small town; really, it was collection of just a few buildings. Outside of this tiny village there was a sign that said, “Next fuel 142 km.” Daniel shouted, “Pull over!” He jumped out and ran back to take a photo of the sign. As he got back in the truck, he laughed and said, “My buddies back in Paris are not going to believe that sign.”

Anyway, Daniel shot an elk the first day in Montana and he decided to just hunt around the cabin while I went with the guide. It had been snowing heavily at 6,000 feet where the cabin sat. He walked out on what looked like firm ground but actually was a fallen tree covered with snow. He broke through and fell on his ass about 8 feet below into a nearly dry creek bed. If he had broken his leg, he would be stuck there overnight. Finding him would be almost impossible because the falling snow was covering his tracks. With his space blanket and candle, he could survive the night; and with his whistle, help us find him when we returned. He hiked down the ditch until he could find a place to crawl out. He no longer made fun of the survival kit.

The next year, we had another elk hunt booked, but first he was coming to Washington to hunt ducks and pheasants at a property Dave Alexander and I owned in central Washington. There was no phone or electricity, and we were putting the finishing touches on the outdoor john. No one really knew how to get in touch with us. They were desperately trying to find us because Daniel’s son, who had a drug problem, fell off the back of a moored sailboat and drowned.
They finally located a guy at a lumberyard in Moses Lake who had delivered lumber to the place, and he drove out to the cabin and told Daniel to phone his office. I drove him to town and he got the bad news. He got his gear and I drove him to Spokane, the nearest major airport. My office was arranging flights, but he couldn’t get out until the next morning so we stayed at the airport Marriott. At the hotel restaurant that night, we both sat there crying. The staff must have thought we were gay lovers breaking up. The next morning, I put him on a plane. I regret to this day that I did not go with him. He had his daughters and ex-wife plus lots of close friends, but still…

Daniel visited us in the middle of the winter in Wisconsin. I woke up and saw Daniel cautiously walking out on the frozen lake with our setter, Doc. He was testing the ice with every step, when a pickup truck roared by 50 yards further out. I guess he didn’t realize that the ice was 3 feet thick!

Daniel smoked like a chimney and although he quit numerous times always came back to it. One time on my visit to Paris, he insisted we go to a Tahitian bar in Montmartre. He had been to Tahiti many times when he was in the Navy and had a taste for Tahitian music. We spent several hours there, drinking and listening to the live band. On the drive back, I was on him again about smoking so he said, “Ok, I quit.” He rolled the window down and tossed his pack of cigarettes out the window. Three blocks later, he stopped the car and asked a guy walking down the street if he could borrow a cigarette. He fired up and we headed to his house. I could only laugh.

I could tell so many more stories about Daniel. It’s been nearly two years since my phone rang at 5 am. It was Daniel and he asked me if I knew any Alzheimer’s doctors. I had to tell him I did not. He said, “I’m having a good day today. On my bad days I cannot remember my name.”

I tried to call his home and cell number in subsequent weeks to no avail. I did not know the married names of his daughters. Fred also tried to find him, and even contacted his former friend and employee. His wife had left him and we couldn’t find her either. So, he’s either in a home or dead. At this point I doubt that he would even recognize me.

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Politicians and health bureaucrats love mandates. The “health emergency” grants them the power to boss us around. Whether it makes any sense or does any good is beside the point. They were beginning to loosen up because the people are fed up and getting a little feisty. But, here comes the new variant, Omicron. Whoopie! Time to slap on the mandates again. Did they work the first time? Not really. But, they don’t seem to have a clue what else to do and they are afraid that they will be blamed if lots of people die and they did nothing.

The driving principal of the Biden White House has been to reverse or undo anything that Trump did, even if it made perfect sense and had benefits to Americans. This is evident in everything they do from the border wall to the Keystone pipeline to taxes. Everything. That is almost certainly why they ignore therapeutics for COVID. Trump gave Joe three vaccines but he was also wisely looking for therapeutics and often widely mocked for it in the media. The Biden Administration has completely ignored therapeutics. Their only game plan is pushing vaccines, masks and mandates.

Trump was also the first president to goad the FDA to grant compassionate use for seriously ill patients. He also kicked their asses to grant emergency use authorizations for the vaccines. However, the Biden boys are letting the FDA return to their extra cautious approach and are letting some promising COVID drugs languish in regulatory purgatory while people are dying.

One of the most promising is Pfizer’s Paxlovid an antiviral that has shown 89% effectiveness in preventing hospitalizations and death. Another promising drug is Molnupiravir, also an antiviral. It, too, awaits approval.

There are a number of drugs that have been approved or are under emergency use authorization. Astra Zeneca’s Evusheld is a prophylaxis against COVID and has a 70% effectiveness in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida (who the left both fears and hates) long ago set up clinics all over the state to administer this and other drugs like Regeneron and monocolonal anti-bodies to any and all. That’s why they have avoided the lockdowns, closed business and schools and still avoided massive deaths.

Other treatment for the virus include: Dexamethasone for serious infections with people on ventilators; rendevsir; convalescent plasma and invermectin. They seem to be a herd of deer caught in the headlights as Omicron sweeps the nation. They are totally unprepared for the massive amount of testing now in demand and are struggling to catch up.

Biden may get lucky and Omicron may not be as serious as worried bureaucrats anticipate. Although Omicron infections now dominate at over 70% of all infections and has been found in nearly every state, there has been only one death in the US. It was a 50 year old male who was unvaccinated and had underlying heath issues. The vast majority of infections appear to be extremely mild and time will tell us if this is the end of COVID. That’s what happened with the Spanish flu. It mutated into a mild strain and faded away. Let’s pray that is what’s happening. Then Biden can boast how he cured COVID. Sure.

Editor’s note:  This is a couple weeks out of date due to personal family matters, but it’s good, so it’s worth publishing. K.

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Short Hits

Rather than write a long blog post on the long list of issues that face us these days, I thought I’d write short takes on them.

Voter Fraud.

You are not allowed to say that there was voter fraud in the last election although there clearly were several states where it happened. Many states, especially swing states used the excuse of COVID-19 to change voter laws that paved the way for fraud. If there was no fraud, as Democrats insist, why are they pushing HR-1 in the House and SR 1 in the Senate? If these were to pass it would enshrine the “emergency” rules of the last election in all future elections. It would also be a federal takeover of the constitutionally mandated responsibility for overseeing elections from the states. It is a blatant power grab by the Democrats.

Boys in Girls Sports.

IOC backs transgender weightlifter's selection for Tokyo, says to review  rules later | Reuters

Just because a boy “identifies” as a girl does not make him a girl. If he has a pecker he’s a boy and if she has a vagina she’s a girl. Keep it simple. Of course, there is much more to it than that. I guy could, under that scheme, cut his cock off, although I doubt many young men would be much interested in that idea. They only recently figured out how much fun that toy could be. Even if they did, that’s not the only biological difference. Muscle-mass, bone density and other characteristics make men stronger and leaner. It’s cheating to allow them to compete against the girls. Moreover, it is unfair to the girls who compete in athletics and may deny them scholarships to college.

Cancelling Trump.

Can the president cancel the 2020 election over coronavirus? - The Boston  Globe

The social media has used the January 6th riot to forbid Trump from commenting on Twitter or Facebook.
The liberals that own these platforms want him silenced. They fear him. The singular policy of the Biden administration that I can discern is to cancel and reverse everything that Trump did. No matter if it was wise policy or good for the country, it has to go. It is not just the border mess that reversing Trump’s policies has caused. Energy independence, lifting sanctions on Iran, soft treatment of Russia, middle east policies, spending money in absurd amounts that will guarantee inflation and favoring Palestinians are all disasters waiting to happen. It’s as if the people in the White House who are leading Joe around by his necktie are so obsessed with stamping out any memory of Trump that they are oblivious to the cliff in front of them.

It’s not just his policies that were cancelled. If he said something was green, the media and the Democrats (I repeat myself) would gang up and insist it was blue. For example:
Trump said early on that COVID likely came from a lab in Wuhan, China. That was poo-poo’d and Fauci and the media insisted that was BS. Now it turns out that is almost certainly did originate there either as an accident of intentional by the CCP. Same with hydroxycloroquine. Trump said it helped and speeded recovery from the virus and the media went nuts. Now however, new studies have come out showing it IS effective.

Training us to obey.

▷ Obey Fist Large Format by Shepard Fairey (Obey), 2019 | Print | Artsper  (617568)

(Artist for this “Obey” poster is Shepard Fairey alias Obey, who was born in 1970 in Charleston, US)

The arrival of COVID has given the green light to authoritarian government officials to flex their need to control people under the guise of an “emergency”. Businesses were shut down, people were restricted in many various ways; wear a mask, stay 6 ft apart, restaurants were either closed or seating limited, border crossings were restricted, etc. The government was training people to obey and punishments for transgressors swift and extreme. One of the most egregious examples happened late last month in Michigan, probably the state with the most insane rules. A restaurant owner did not comply with a closure order and was arrested and thrown in jail. This was on top of a $15,000 fine! Governor Whitner of MI violated her own rules but AG Nessel is not throwing her in the slammer. In fact, she only arrested the restaurant owner after she appeared on the Tucker Carlson show.

So, we will be well trained when the next “emergency” comes along and that, my friends, will be climate change.

The Border.

Rush's Analysis of the Border Crisis Applies Right Now - The Rush Limbaugh  Show

This is turning into a real crisis and the Biden team, particularly Kamala Harris, seem disinterested it reversing the policies that have cause it. They do actually want another two million migrants to enter the country via the southern border this year, send them to various states, get them hooked on government handouts and vote Democrat. IOWs it’s intentional.

After the Democrats found out that Trump was going to visit the border, they hustled Kamala Harris down there for a quick photo op. She’s supposed to be in charge of the border but had been AWOL until then.

The last several months there have been an average of 200,000 migrants per month creating a huge crisis in handling all of them. To add to the problem, many of them are testing positive for COVID. To make matters worse, they are secretly flying and bussing these folks all across the country. Talk about a mass spreader event!

This was a big issue in the 2016 election and will be again in 2022.


At G-7, Biden is slow, confused and seemingly dazed - Washington Times

It is increasingly embarrassing to watch good ol’ Uncle Joe fumble and stumble his way through his limited public appearances. His staff attempts to protect him by restricting his schedule, tightly controlling the number of questions he handles and which friendly journalists he calls on. I had my doubts that he would hang on this long. I thought they would invoke the 25th Amendment and send him out to pasture. That would make Kamala the Cackler in Chief. This will be a problem. We are learning more about her background and character. Many doubt that she could even pass a security background check because of her ties to Marxist ideals and Chinese associations. The media and the Democrats worked tirelessly to get rid of Trump so as a replacement we get a guy with dementia and a Marxist for a replacement.

The Economy.

Report: 1.2 million part time jobs available

Between Trump and the Federal Reserve they dumped $5 trillion dollars into the economy to combat the effects of the COVID shutdowns and help the unemployed. The Democrats are going to top that number with the recently passed “infrastructure” package of $1.9 trillion and now are threatening to pass, without a single GOP vote, a $3.5 trillion dollar package. Not much of the infrastructure bill actually goes to what we think of by that name and the 3.5T is a socialism and climate change pork fest

The result of dumping all this money is predictable and inflation is surging. Inflation is the cruelest tax of all and hits the middle and lower classes hardest. Gasoline prices are climbing. More on that later. Food prices are rising rapidly, as are autos, car rental and lumber. I remember the inflation of the 70s and it wasn’t pretty.

Opening things up after the draconian shutdown policies would have resulted in growth without throwing all that money at the economy. Doubling unemployment payments plus direct bonus payments from government created the odd circumstances that in many cases it paid better to stay home that get a job. The result of that wrongheaded policy was that employers could not find willing workers! There are over 10 million jobs in the US going begging.


Tax Burden Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image. Image 15421430.

The massive spending package also has some provisions buried in it that would substantially raise taxes. In general they want to increase taxes on high earners and have proposed to increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% as well as tightening up the taxation of foreign earning of US corporations.

The big hit is to individuals owning stock and that’s is almost everyone when you consider retirement plans. They want to bump the capital gains rate from 23.8% to 43.4%! The Biden plan would also change the estate tax to reduce the exemption from $11.5 million to $1 million and bump the rate to 40%.

In an article in the WSJ today Art Laffer (the architect of Reagan’s highly successful economic plan) and Steven Moore, they remind us of the “Misery Index”, the economic disaster of the Carter presidency in the 70s. The MI was calculated by adding the unemployment rate to the rate of inflation. When Reagan took office it stood at 22%! We lived it and it WAS miserable. The interest rate to buy a house or car stood at 18%.  Biden and his merry band of progressives is leading the US down the same fateful road. Trump followed the same formula as Reagan and the country prospered. Biden is going to destroy that and more.

Oil Shortage.

Energy Crisis (1970s) - HISTORY

The first thing Biden did in office was to issue an executive order shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline with all the materials laying on the ground. Put 10,000 highly paid workers out of a job. Of course, he did the same thing with the border wall. He then banned fracking on Federal land and stopped drilling in Alaska. You get the feeling he doesn’t like oil and gas. So the US that had been energy independent under Trump, was now buying oil from OPEC and gasoline prices rose an average of a buck a gallon from last year.

Voters notice that shit. Recognizing the unpopularity of high gas prices, anti-oil Joe this week was begging OPEC countries to pump more oil! Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.

Critical Race Theory.

The Truth About Critical Race Theory - WSJ

Parents are beginning to revolt over this teaching of racism in the public schools. Racial tolerance and equality has made tremendous strides since I was in school in the 50s. Why erase all that by teaching children that the most important aspect of their lives is the color of their skin? Why teach children that they are either victims or oppressors based on simply their skin color?

It’s no wonder parents are pissed. Perhaps this will be the lever to break the power of the teachers unions and let the money follow the students to private schools? It’s well past time.

The Polls.

The six-month holiday is over. Biden and Harris are both plunging in the polls, and why not? The above litany of failed policies are beginning to get through to the American voters. Even the mainstream media cannot protect them from the failures. If this mess continues until 2022 the midterms elections will be a bloodbath.

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The Soul: A short story

The old man shambled down the sidewalk at his usual time. Walking hunched over, he pushed his walker before him. On one handle of the walker he had a cup holder, and on the other a bell, similar to the ones children had on their bikes in decades past. As slow as he moved, it seemed unlikely he would need to warn anyone to get out of his way.

He always dressed the same – baggy khakis, runners that had once been white, and, despite the warming morning, a tattered Carhartt coat. Atop his white shaggy-haired head he wore a greasy Seattle Mariners ball cap.

He turned into Starbucks and after a time exited with a cup of coffee in the cup holder. He chose a table in the sun and turned his face to it for several long minutes. It had been a trying, wet winter in southern British Columbia and he relished the opportunity to warm his bones. Fishing a newspaper out of his walker and reading glasses out of his jacket, he commenced to read.

When he looked up, he noticed an ancient, wrinkled woman at the next table who was staring at him. She had brilliant blue eyes that did not fit with her otherwise weathered face. A loose flowered-print dress hung on her gaunt frame like an old curtain. She smiled exposing tiny, white, perfect teeth and nodded at him. The man gave an almost imperceptible nod, took a swallow of the coffee, and returned to reading.

When he looked up again, he noticed a young, slender woman approaching, pushing a baby stroller. She was dressed in the young woman’s uniform of skin-tight black leggings, tight black top that exposed a slice of skin, and black knee-high leather boots, with a Kate Spade handbag slung over one arm, and Chanel sunglasses. She held her phone in her right hand with flashing thumb on the screen as she deftly navigated the stroller with her left while entering the Starbucks. As she came out, she took the adjacent table, holding her decadent iced mocha Frappuccino concoction, faced the child away from the sun, and extracted her phone from her purse. She began texting, ignoring the child. She kept pushing her unruly blonde hair back. The old crone muttered, “High maintenance.” The old man looked up at the blonde to see if she had heard, but she was completely absorbed in her phone.

The child was perhaps one or one-and-a-half years old with pale pink skin and light brown hair. His eyes were the same dazzling blue as the old crone’s and were gazing directly into the old man’s eyes.

“Happens to you a lot,” said the crone.

“What?” replied the old man.

“Young children stare into your eyes all the time.”

To which he responded, “How would you know that?”

“I know things. They look deep into your eyes to examine your soul,” she replied. The old man looked up and the mother was texting, paying no attention to the infant who was still staring into his eyes and smiling.

“Oh, I get it,” the man replied. “The eyes are the windows to the soul, or mirrors, or something.”

“It’s windows, according to the Bible and the ancient Greeks,” the crone informed him.

“Ok, but why would a child, a baby really, be interested in my soul?” he queried.

She replied, “Oh, think about it.”

The mother took a last gulp of coffee, slipped the phone into her purse, and rose. She wheeled the stroller around and the child turned his head for a last look at the old man. When he turned back to talk to the crone, she was gone.

The next morning, as the old man exited the Starbucks, the crone sat at an empty table and nodded at a seat across from her. He maneuvered his walker around the empty chairs and sat with a groan. “I’ve been thinking about what you said and wondered why a small child would want to see my soul.”

Her blue eyes twinkled and she replied, “To see if it is a good one.”

He shook his head. “So a child that cannot even talk is going to make judgements about my soul, my character?”


“That’s absurd. It seems far more likely they are looking to see if I am a threat. Maybe it’s a vestigial thing from caveman days. Maybe the men of the cave are unsuccessful hunting for a couple of days and the kid starts looking like a tasty supper.”

The old crone gave a wrinkled grin and replied, “Sure. That’s the logical explanation, but incorrect.”

“Why do you claim to know this stuff? Who are you anyway? Where are you from?”

“My name is Aristillia and I come from a place and time as ancient as the Earth and the stars.”

“Oh, bullshit lady! You’re nuts and likely escaped from some mental hospital!”

“I am not crazy, Charles.”

“Hey, how do you know my name?”

“I know a lot of things, Charles. I know about the lump in your chest and I know the diagnosis of that cancer.”

He took a sip of the coffee and stared at her. “Have you been talking to my doctor?”

“Doctor Chang? No, never met the man.”

“Then how……?” He frowned and his bushy white eyebrows nearly touched.

“Charles, I know you have lived a good and honorable life. Good to your wife and generous with your friends and the church. I know that you and your wife were unable to have children, but you volunteered as a coach and Boy Scout leader. You are very honest. In short, Charles, you have a good soul.”

He sat gripping the coffee cup but not moving. “So why are you here talking to me?”

“I am your guide. I will guide your soul to a suitable new home with a young, worthy child. It’s a common assumption among all religions. An “afterlife” gives people comfort. You’re good, you go to heaven, but if you’re bad you go to hell. It encourages good behavior in society, or at least it used to.”

“So, you’re saying that souls don’t go to heaven or hell but are…er…recycled? Isn’t that reincarnation?”

“No, societies that believe in reincarnation believe that your soul, your essence can come back as an animal, a bird, or even a slug. What I am telling you is that your soul goes to another young human. In your case, a worthy one.”

“Maybe like that kid that was staring at me yesterday?”

“Unfortunately, no. You have heard of nature vs. nurture right? It takes both to produce a righteous human and that child, unfortunately, doesn’t have enough of the nurture to weather the misfortunes that are coming his way.”

“How can you possibly know this kind of shit?”

“I told you, I know a lot.”

“Are you saying that a good soul or character cannot overcome bad nurturing?”

“Sure it can, but it’s longer odds.”

“Let me ask you a question. Does everyone get a ‘guide’?”

“Obviously not. People die suddenly in accidents, in wars or murders. Those souls go into a pool and are randomly given to newborns. The number of people who get a guide is extremely small.”

“But, why me?”

“Well, as you might have guessed, a lot of people lead good lives and have good souls, but you were exceptional. Caring for your wife all those years with her dementia counts for a lot.”

“I didn’t think it was anything but my duty, and I loved my wife. Remember that ‘through sickness or in heath’ vow?”

“Of course. But she would not have known in the last couple of years if you had simply put her into a home.” The old man had his head down and the baseball cap covered his face. When he lifted his head, she could see a single tear creeping through the silver stubble on his cheeks.

“We better not be on candid camera or something. If this is a hoax I am going to be seriously pissed. There better not be someone filming us.”

“I promise you it is not a hoax.”

“Do I get to choose the kid to get my soul?”

“Yes. It’s rare, but you’ve earned it.”

“Ok, then I choose that kid that was here with the blonde mother.”

“I told you, he is going to have a very difficult youth and young adulthood. There will be divorce, abandonment, and abuse.”

“I guess he’ll need good character to survive it. How do I designate him?”

“Wait here. The woman will come back with the child and all you need to do is put your hand on the top of his head.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it. Just wait here every morning at your usual time and she will show up eventually.”

“What if I die before she shows up?”

“Don’t worry–she’ll be here. Remember…I know things.”

“Will I see you again?”

“No, Charles. My work here is finished. I have others to guide.”

“Well then, goodbye and thanks.”

Several months later, two months after Charles had passed, the crone visited the Starbucks again. As chance would have it, the high maintenance blonde was there with the boy. As the crone sat, the boy gazed into her eyes, smiled, and gave a distinctive nod.

I wrote this story after reading the book ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King.

His technique is to just sit down and start a story with no real idea where it’s going.  I tried it with this story.

Thanks to Bud and G.G. Dreon and, of course, daughter Karen for their suggestions and editing.  This my first short story in awhile so let me know if you like it.

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Blizzard of the Century

In the 70s we were living in Minnesota. At the time I was working for the Cold Spring Granite Company running their construction subsidiary. We were building a house on a small lake about 8 miles from the town of Cold Spring, population 2500.

When I say “building” I mean actually doing the work ourselves; nights, weekends and holidays. I had finished laying up the granite split face fireplace interior in time to get carpet down for Christmas, but the chimney was unfinished. Although we had a wood supply, the unfinished chimney would play a role in January of 1975 on Super Bowl weekend.


As Super Bowl weekend approached the people in Minnesota were hopeful that the Vikes could prevail on their third try at a victory. But…

A troubling storm was forming in the Pacific and came ashore on January 8th. It crossed the Rockies on the 9th where it performed a classic Panhandle Hook and swung south to Oklahoma. There it met warm tropical air coming up from the Gulf and heading for the upper Midwest and intensified. As it approached the Minnesota border the barometer hit a record low of 28.38. After colliding with Arctic air moving southward the snow began.

Mike, our youngest, was 2 ½ at the time and his sister, Karen 4 ½, and our oldest, Tara at 6 ½, the only one attending school. They sent the kids home from school early anticipating the heavy snow and the narrow roads that the buses would need to traverse to get all the kids to their rural farms and homes.


It started to snow heavily on Friday afternoon of the 10th and I decided to head home early. Charlie Krebsbach car pooled with me. He lived on the north of Big Fish Lake, the lake adjacent to our own Watab Lake. These lakes are common in this part of Minnesota due to millions of years of advancing and retreating glaciers.

I drove a ’68 Pontiac, a heavy bodied sedan, that had been further fortified by its previous owner and looked like a reinforced stock car for racing. We called it the “Freeway Flier”.

Image result for 1968 pontiac sedan

The snow started falling heavier as we headed up the narrow two-lane road toward home some eight miles away. The flakes were like duck feathers, the kind that stack up in a hurry. With snow-covered farmers fields on each side and white out conditions, I was really worried about putting the Pontiac in the ditch. Charlie had his nose glued to the windshield picking out the next telephone poles and directing me to “go a little left or right” trying to keep us in the middle of the road. I was staring straight ahead, sweating the sudden appearance of a truck coming the other way.

We made it to Charlie’s place and I headed the mile or so to my turn off. We lived in a small complex of about fifteen homes on an oval-shaped dirt road. Six or so of the houses, including ours, perched on the lake front side. The problem: There was a steep hill to climb to get up to our little complex. I barely made it up and, it turned out, was the last car to do so.

The wind picked up and they were predicting temperatures dropping to 10 degrees below and wind speeds up to 90 mph, meaning it was almost a certainty that we would lose power. I went next door to talk to our neighbors, the Fahrney’s, a couple with two teenage daughters. They were generous Christian people and Bill and I agreed that our family would freeze without a functioning fireplace. He offered for us to move into their house for the duration of the storm. Bill and I would keep his two fire places going 24 hours a day and use his wood pile and mine to feed them.

I went back to our house and drained the pipes and sponged all the water out of the toilets. Our place had electric heat, so without power, our place would get as cold as outside. We also had a central well in our little group of houses, but without electricity, there would be no pump so we would have no water, either!

The wind howled and it snowed heavily throughout Friday night, and we lost power early in the evening. Bill and I fed the fireplaces. The five kids and two mothers huddled around the fires. Bill’s fireplaces were not “heatilators”, the kind that allows cool air to enter at the bottom and to flow around the firebox before exiting at the top as heated air. They are much more effective than simply relying on radiant heat. In addition, the high winds blowing across the chimney caused the heat to be sucked up the chimney and promoted infiltration of the freezing air from outside. But it’s all we had, so we kept the fires roaring.

Dawn Saturday revealed a total white out and roaring winds. You couldn’t see 10 feet. The temperature had dropped to -10. The wind chill reached -80 degrees. When we went outside to get more wood, any exposed skin felt like a blowtorch had been applied.

Without water and nine people in the house, we were soon worrying about the toilets. You can’t flush them without water.

Everyone in the complex needed water so two neighborhood guys who owned snowmobiles made a heroic trip to fetch a generator. From who I had no idea. I don’t know how they found their way either. They told us the landscape had completely changed with huge 20’ snowdrifts and visibility near zero. With the generator we could get the pumps running and get water to all the houses.

The wind and snow continued at the same intensity all Saturday night and into mid-morning Sunday. Then it just stopped. Still cold… maybe zero, but people from Minnesota are used to that. We crawled out of our houses to almost two feet of snow on the level and daunting snow drifts. As we dug through the stuff we noticed black streaks veining the snow, topsoil blown off the plowed fields of the Dakotas and western Minnesota. We called it “snert”.

After all the neighbors finished digging out the cars at the bottom of the hill and manhandling them up the hill so the snowplow could get through it was midafternoon. Wonder of wonders, the power came on minutes before the kick off for the Super Bowl. The Vikings lost to the Steelers 16 to 6.

One footnote: Once we had all recovered and dug out from the blizzard, including the massive snowdrift that had piled up on the corner of the road, I started to think about how helpless we were during the storm. There was absolutely no way for an ambulance or fire truck to get to us. And, if one of our kids got sick or injured no way for us to find our way to the St. Cloud Hospital over the back roads. There were no snowplows out because they could not see where in the Hell they were going! Anyway, if you were stranded or stuck you would freeze to death in very short order. It was the first and last time I ever felt completely isolated and helpless.

A couple years later, after the blizzard of 1978.


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The Strategy

The Democrats have been trying to get rid of Trump since the moment he was declared President.  He is not a politician and it often showed.  He was congenitally unable to resist “punching back” when attacked or finding nuanced answers to provocative questions.  Worse, he often acted like an arrogant asshole.

He had threatened to “drain the swamp” and many politicians, including Republicans, were not much interested in that because all the entrenched politicians were sucking at the teat of the money cow that marches through Washington.  AKA, the Swamp.

The Democrats and Hillary concocted the Russian hoax to tarnish Trump and to divert attention away from the actual Russian collusion of the Democrats and Hillary’s play for pay scheme run through the Clinton Foundation. Diverting attention away from Hillary’s emails was a bonus.  That investigation went on for over three years at a cost of some $35+ million.  In the end it was a big nothing.  I see Hillary’s still hanging on to the Russian collusion narrative despite Trump leaving office tomorrow. Rep. Adam Schiff can’t seem to let it go either and we are still awaiting the “conclusive evidence” he had to prove Trump colluded with those dastardly Russians.

The Democrats were afraid that if he got a second term that the movement he started would be impossible to contain.  He was gaining support among black and Hispanic voters with his policies and his promise of school choice and more charter schools and that held great appeal to inner city blacks with their kids trapped in terrible public schools.  The teacher’s unions were terrified of that possibility, but not as much as the Democrats.

They have relied on the 90 percent of blacks to vote for them  for decades.  The Trump populist movement also brought blue collar workers strongly behind Trump.  Wages for blacks actually went up during the Trump years.

With the economy booming along Trump’s reelection looked pretty certain.  Something had to be done and then they got a gift…. COVID-19 arrived from China.  A disaster and people were dying.  As Jane Fonda put it, “It was a gift from God for the Democrats.”  Pretty cold.  They planned to use it to finally get rid of Trump.  They had a very detailed plan. First, of course was to blame Trump for the pandemic and every death.

To start the Democrats had to find a candidate that they could call “moderate”.  Joe Biden, a five-decade creature of Washington fit the bill.  COVID gave them an excuse to hide him in his home in Delaware and not be exposed to any questions about what he planned to do.  Also, it prevented the public seeing just how “cognitively challenged” Joe has become.

They were sure they could get away with this because during the summer the Democrats hired 600 lawyers to challenge mail in ballot and signature verification rules in critical battleground states.  The US constitution states that the state legislatures are the ones to set election rules.  But, using sympathetic partisan judges, they managed to change the rules without legislative approval.  They also recruited 10,000 volunteers to be present at polling places to “insure votes are counted correctly”.  Right.

So millions of ballots were sent out to people who had not even requested them through the normal absentee system. All developed countries either forbid mail in ballots or severely restrict them because of the potential for fraud.

But states purposely sent out millions of ballots.  Michigan, for example, sent out ballots during the summer before the election to every resident of the state! With no possible means of verifying if those ballots sent in were legitimate or not it seems obvious that massive fraud occurred.  Without a complete audit there is no way to check.  Some states, like Georgia, destroy the ballots after the election.

Other states, critical “battleground states”, had similar mass mail in ballots. As would be expected, the number of votes in this election exceeded anything in modern history.  No one knows how many were fraudulent.  However, now it is forbidden to question the validity of the election.  Even Fox News won’t mention it.  If you say it on social media you are summarily cancelled from the sites.

The second piece of the strategy to get rid of Trump was the collective negative press.  Several studies have shown that the news stories in papers and on TV were over 90% negative.  Worse, they never made a peep about any of his accomplishments.  Their hatred extended to Melania, the beautiful and classy First Lady. Hollywood and late night TV hosts constantly spewed lies and hate toward the entire Trump family.

Of course, the flip side of the media bias was the cover-up of Biden’s verbal and foolish gaffs. The media let him hide from any questions about what he planned to do.  The media praised him for staying out of the spotlight because of the COVID issue.

One of the most brazen of media (social and legacy) was to completely black out the damning NY Post articles exposing the corruption of Hunter and the rest of the Biden family.  This was three weeks before the election!  Twitter and Facebook would ban anyone who tried to send the article to anyone.  This is election fraud and manipulation and exposes the hypocrisy of the politicians who get big donations from these media giants.

The other essential piece of the strategy was to preserve the black vote.  Candice Owens, in her excellent book Black Out, describes how Lyndon Johnson developed policies to insure blacks would vote Democrat for decades.  Every election cycle they pander for the black vote and use it to win elections and ignore them after the election.

Blacks were approving of Trump’s policies and doubting that Democrats were going to enact any change to benefit their communities ravaged by crime and poverty.  They wanted better schools and Trump had given it to them. He also set up inner city opportunity zones to provide jobs.  Trump threatened to chew into the black vote.

During the summer, there had been numerous riots and protests over police shootings of black criminals.  Liberal cities like Seattle and LA were calling for defunding the police.  Then came George Floyd.  Caught on video with a police officer kneeling on his neck, George died.  You would think that the unfortunate George was a saint.  He fact he was a career criminal and drug addict.  He had been imprisoned five times, the last time for five years for armed robbery. At the time of his death, he had the following drugs in his system; fentanyl, meth, cannabis and morphine.  These likely contributed to his death.  No matter.  He was immediately granted sainthood and downtown Minneapolis was burned in horrific riots as retribution.  Black Lives Matter, a Marxist organization, stepped in to riot and protest in numerous cities across the US.  Funding for this destructive organization flooded in from liberals in Hollywood and big business hoping to be spared the wrath of BLM. After another death at the hands of a police officer, Kenosha, WI burned. BLM and Antifa joined protests with destruction and mayhem.  The unspoken narrative being…. If you get rid of Trump this will stop.

George Floyd laid to rest after funeral service in Houston - Times of India

Meanwhile, George received several funerals worthy of Mandela or a past president.  It was broadcast on live TV.

All together, these efforts managed to contain an outbreak of blacks voting for Trump.  This was, of course, assisted by some very questionable vote counting in inner city districts.  Hundreds of affidavits filed to attest to vote counting irregularities simply got ignored.

75 million Americans think they got screwed and the last Trump rally in DC saw a couple of hundred nut jobs break into the Capitol Building.  The Dems called a snap impeachment and a trial will start in the Senate on February 8th.  Unfortunately, the Constitution says that impeachment is for “removal of the President”. But, he’s no longer President!  The Pelosi comedy continues.

Now it is clear that the Biden Presidency is anything but moderate and is, in fact, the most liberal in history.

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Fish Chowder

I made up the recipe for fish chowder while on a canoe trip to the wilderness area near the border of Manitoba and Ontario in 1961. I still use essentially the same recipe today.

This story began when I decided to take a sabbatical from Cornell after my freshman year to hitchhike around the US and grow up. After hitching to Miami, I got a job as a deckhand on the Brigantine Yankee, where I spent nearly six months sailing around the Bahamas for Windjammer Cruises. There I met Jack Alexander, a passenger from Minnesota. I guided him on a couple of SCUBA dives and towed him back to the ship with his tank empty and sharks circling.

I had the 4 to 8 watches, morning and evening, with the Captain because the Skipper was teaching me celestial navigation. At about 7 am, he would go below to clean up for breakfast with the guests. Before that, I would run forward to the galley to get a cup of coffee. Nobody could cross the threshold of Frank’s galley except for the Captain and me. I was Frank’s pal because I’d bring him a nice grouper now and then so he could make his chowder, and gig enough lobsters to feed everybody on board when we anchored off Great Isaac’s Lighthouse.

Great Isaac’s Lighthouse, Bimini, Bahamas

Jack Alexander rose early and, after being rebuffed by Frank (perpetually cranky), talked me into getting him a cup of coffee. We did a lot of talking while I had the wheel.

The Brigantine Yankee

After five months I had to regrettably leave the Yankee because I needed money to go back to Cornell. I had just turned 19 while aboard and returned to hitchhiking, this time to the West coast. I traveled with Rip Bliss, a fellow crewman from Yankee. We first hitched to Chicago so we could go the entire length of Route 66. This adventure is covered extensively in the blog post, “Hitching”.

Once we finally made it to Los Angles, we turned north, and on May 1st, arrived in Seattle. I was pretty much out of cash and Rip completely out. We needed jobs and quickly. After being rejected by the Smoke Jumpers, we hooked up with the Forest Service Pine Shoot moth survey. We traveled around western Washington driving through neighborhoods looking for the moths in garden shrubs. It was a blessing as we were on per diem and therefore had food and lodging covered. That ended when I got sent back to the headquarters to take over the office and rearing of the samples we collected. We raised the samples so we could identify the adults. I had taken a semester of entomology so I was the most qualified. Ha!

The HQ was an abandoned lumber warehouse, so no bed, no fridge, and no stove. With a hot plate, a few pans I bought in a Seattle hock shop, and by running cold water slowly in the bathroom sink overflow, I had the food situation covered. I slept on a half couch with my feet on a folding chair and covered myself with a Marine blanket from my duffle bag. It sucked.

About two weeks of that routine, a letter from Jack Alexander arrived. He wanted me to call him about a job in Minnesota. So I called and Jack explained he wanted me to play big brother to his two boys while living at a cottage on a lake. I was suspicious. It sounded too good, so I was hesitant to commit. I was only 19 but had seen enough to be suspicious. He said that he would send me a plane ticket to come and look it over and a return ticket. If I decided to take the job, I would fly back with my gear after giving my notice to the Forestry Service.

I had only been on two airplanes in my young life, both courtesy of the US Navy. I flew to Pensacola Naval Air Station during spring break of my freshman year. They were trying to convince young NROTC students to sign up for pilot training after graduation. I had no intention of being a pilot but I enjoyed eating, and since the fraternity house where I worked for my food would be closed, my food source was gone. I knew the Navy would feed me three squares a day, so I went.

The Carevelle jet flight from Seattle to Minneapolis was nothing like the Navy DC-3 and T33 trainer. Champagne and steak!

I got to meet the boys–John, 13 and David, 9–and see the situation first hand. Jack visited that evening he explained that as VP of Sales for the granite company he was absent much of the time.  His wife was a wheelchair bound MS victim and he did not want to leave the boys alone all summer.  Jack’s cabin was under construction, so I stayed at his Dad’s cabin (also named John) directly across Big Fish Lake.

My job was to spend time with the boys and teach them swimming, sailing and anything else I could think of, while getting a nominal hourly wage for working at John’s place cutting brush, chopping wood, and other odd jobs.  Jack would supplement my pay at the end of the year sufficiently to return to Cornell. I would still need to work for my food, and likely get some scholarships and loans to pull it together, but it was such a good deal I could hardly refuse.

So I returned and set up housekeeping in John’s cottage. We had swim lessons, some gymnastics and fishing. We built a dock and a float, and I climbed a huge tree and we hung a thick rope from it to make a rope swing. During working hours, we continued work on John Senior’s acreage of woods across the lake.

We noticed a pair of hawks building a nest up high in a very tall tree and thought I’d try to capture one of the chicks just before it learned how to fly.

Jack bought a small sailboat and a number of others on the lake did likewise. I had to rig most of them since they came disassembled and no one else seemed to know much about it. I started teaching people how to sail.

During the first week of June we took a canoe trip to the wild area north of Lake Superior and outfitted with Gun Flint Lodge.

There were 8 of us in three canoes: Jack, John, and Dave and Zeke Zenner and his three boys, Guy, Mark, and Dain. The campsites were already established as this was a common canoe trip route. Nonetheless, it was rugged enough for the young kids. The fishing was fantastic! We caught pike, lake trout, small mouth bass and plenty of big walleyes. Jack landed the biggest walleye I had ever seen before or since, weighing in at 12 to 13 lbs but there were a number of others in the 4 to 7 lb class.

At the conclusion of that trip, Jack asked if John and I would like to stay another few days. Answer, Yes. We resupplied and headed out for exploring some different and off the beaten path lakes. We fished Ogiskemunche, Jasper, Kingfisher and Rice. The portage into Rice was so overgrown that I had to force the canoe I had on my shoulders through the brush and collect swarms of mosquitos under the canoe. We caught some rainbows in there and bass, walleyes and lake trout in the other lakes.

By the time we got back the baby hawks were nearing the day that they would leave the nest so we decided it was time.  We knew that mama and papa hawk were not going to be thrilled with me swiping one of their chicks so I bundled up with a canvas rain jacket with towels across my shoulders underneath. I wore a hard hat held in place by the hood of the rain jacket. The climb up the tree would be tricky because for the first 35 feet or so there were no branches and the tree was pretty thick.  Fortunately, I never gave much thought to falling.  The hawk parents were repeatedly dive bombing me and screeching although they never actually hit me.  I grabbed a chick and dropped him into the bushes below.  He spread his wings to break his fall and he survived.

We put him on a perch we had built out in the yard and started to feed him chipmunks.  As he grew and the chipmunk population declined we switched to stew beef.  We knew little about training a hawk but constructed a lure that we would swing around and reward him when he attacked it.  Since he was not restrained to the perch he eventually flew up into the surrounding trees and the training program stalled.

We had other things to think about as we started planning a trip in August to an area outside of Lac Du Bonnet, Manitoba, located about 90 miles north of Winnipeg. Cold Spring Granite had a quarry and factory there. Jack ordered two fiberglass canoes and had them shipped to the plant. (We’d used aluminum canoes at Gun Flint and they were too noisy.)

As the weeks passed, we got more serious about planning for the trip. First, we got maps and aerial photos of the area where we planned to go. The photos we laminated in plastic with a piece of cardboard. These were more detailed than the map.

The plan was for John and me to go in to the area the first ten days and then Jack would fly in and meet us at Trapline Lake. He would bring David and a second canoe, plus enough food for the four of us for an additional ten days. This was going to require some careful planning and since it was a lengthy trip and we had to carry everything over portages, we couldn’t take a lot of excess gear.

In addition to a tent and sleeping bags we would need cooking pots and utensils. I owned a cooking set of nesting pots, dishes and frying pans. We also bought a reflector oven made of aluminum that collapsed into a flat piece. Of course, an axe, fishing gear, dish soap and our personal items but few clothes. We had a serious first aid kit including suturing kit. We had seen it done when Doc Kelly sewed up Jack’s hand that had been cut with a power saw. I sure hoped I would not have to do that.

Food would be a critical item and with no refrigeration nothing like that would be possible. Nor could we take a lot of canned goods. Too heavy. We did find some freeze dried dinners that we could rely on but it was clear that most of our meals would be fish.

We did have a secret weapon. Really secret. We smuggled in a .22 Armalite rifle that disassembled and all the parts fit in the plastic stock. The whole thing was about a foot long or so and fit nicely into a rolled up sleeping bag. I thought we’d augment our fish diet with small game. What we discovered was that young ducks that could not quite fly were pretty easy to shoot from a quiet canoe. Mighty tasty grilled over a wood fire. The grouse were tame as chickens but the pine squirrels tasted horrible.

We made our own jerky, beef sliced in ¼” thick pieces about 2” wide and 7” long, rolled in a mix of salt, pepper and allspice and hung outside in the sun to dry.

I planned to make Bannock in the reflector oven. It was basically a baking powder biscuit that I made into two large loafs. Big fire with fireplace to direct heat and an eyeball for when baked. Carrying bread was impractical so flour instead.

The plan: I would make two sets of food packs, the first for John and me to take and a second set for Jack to pick up at the cabin.

With all this going on, poor Rip had been neglected. He had not learned how to hunt and would fly out of the trees toward you when you came out of the cabin. We’d throw him a few chunks of beef stew meat. Never gave much thought to what he would do after we left for 20 days.

John and I left on the train from St. Cloud, MN for the overnight to Winnipeg and were met there by one of the employees from the granite company. We went to the plant and picked up the canoe, and he then drove us to the drop off point at Rainier Lake.

This probably seems crazy today in the era of helicoptering parenting. Here we were a 19 year old and a 13 year old heading out into what was pretty much uninhabited territory with no radio or phone to contact anyone if something bad happened to one of us. It would take days for us to get back to the mining road where were scheduled to be picked up in 20 days! We had no idea how much traffic was going up and down that dirt track, if ever. But we were young and never considered the possibility of tragedy.

So we pushed off and started paddling. We had several lakes to get trough to get to Trapline and a number of portages, one almost a mile long. There is some debate about the sequence of lakes but it appears it was Coleman and Bain before we got the long paddle up Wilson and Trapline. The portages required two trips for both of us to get all the gear across. I think it took us three or four days of serious paddling to get to the far end of Trapline where we set up our base camp on an island. As we traveled we’d find a breezy point on which to camp that would keep the mosquitos somewhat a bay. The black flies, much more nasty biters, die off after their swarms in the spring.

We stopped for lunch on sunny points and ate our thick beef jerky and split a loaf of bannock that we washed down with lake water. We made our way into Trapline Lake, a long and very large lake. Since we left the mining road we had seen no one and few, if any, signs of people previously camping anywhere we stopped.

At our perfect site on the island, we built a big fire pit with large flat rocks to direct the heat into the reflector oven, cut pine boughs to put under our sleeping bags, and built a latrine back in the woods well away from the camp.

Fishing was stupid easy. In the morning we could catch two perfect pan sized walleyes that we’d bonk, filet, dip in corn meal and fry in bacon grease. The Crisco we used to bake the bannock and the slab bacon for frying we often ate the fish with a side of oatmeal or Ralston with sugar. No milk.

Trapline Lake is in Ontario so we’d crossed the border at some point and we had no fishing licenses for Ontario. Since we had not seen another human it did not seem worth worrying about.

From our base camp, John and I explored the lake. We had found that our aerial photos were much more useful than our maps. As we explored, we fished at one channel not far from our camp. We both hooked a walleye at the same time so we pulled up on a small island and started chucking our spoons out into the channel. In 45 minutes we caught 33 walleyes!

We also discovered an old, fallen-down, log trappers cabin on the opposite side of the channel. That was the only sign of human habitation we’d seen on the trip. We caught lots of northern pike and even baked one in the reflector oven. Bony but tasty. (We did not then know the technique for cutting out the pesky Y-bones.)

We noticed that there was a small lake that showed clearly on the aerial photo that was not on the map and wondered if the series of channels and small lakes would allow us to gain access to that lake. We decided to wait and do that when Jack and Dave flew in the next day.

Meanwhile, Jack headed out to the cottage to pick up the food packs for the remainder of the trip. As he got out of the car, Rip was trying to land on his head. Rip was unafraid of humans and depended on them for food. John and I had cleaned out the fridge before we left but had missed a couple of moldy hot dogs. Jack tossed the hot dogs out the door and sprinted for the car with the packs. We found out later that Rip had been sitting on the roof of the home of an elderly couple that lived a couple of hundred yards away. He would fly down when they were trying to leave and scared the shit out of them. We never confessed.

The Beaver float plane landed and deposited Jack, David, the canoe and all their gear at our camp on the island. Jack had thoughtfully added fresh steaks and a 12 pack of beer to the food list. We carefully knotted the necks of the bottles of beer to a line and lowered them off a rocky shelf. You only had to go down about 6’ to find really cold water, a fact we discovered while swimming. That night we had a feast of grilled steaks, baked potatoes and cold beer.

John and I had already discovered that a warm sunny day was good for a swim and for washing your clothes. As I said we did not carry a lot of clothes so we’d wash them in the lake, drape them over shrubs to dry while we took a swim and ate lunch.

John in his tidy whities.

The next day we headed up to locate out to see if we could find the mysterious lake that only showed on the aerial photo. As we paddled up the wide channel it would narrow and we’d find a beaver dam. We dragged the canoes around the dams and continued.

Finally, we came to a rocky hill at the end of a wide section of the channel. Although we could see a cut in the hill, we could not get to it because a reed bed blocked the end of the lake. Eventually we found a narrow channel through the reed bed, and after a short trip up a creek and a lift over a beaver dam, we paddled into the lake. As we sat there admiring the lake, we noticed a deer standing on the sunny hillside to our right. David flipped his spoon on a short cast and immediately hooked a nice walleye.

As we explored the lake, it seemed that no one had ever camped there for we could find no old campsites. The fishing was fantastic. David’s three biggest walleyes in one day weighed in at 18 lbs!

We named the lake Our Lake.

David holding a walleye

John fishing in the canoe.

This lake was untouched and the fishing was amazing. We never did go deep for lake trout because we only had spinning gear, and lakers at that time of year would be deep. One day, John and I snuck up on a huge black bear tearing into a rotten log. The wind was blowing hard and we pushed thru the reeds. A spoon clanked against the side of the canoe and when he stood up we realized we were way too close. You could see the flies buzzing around his head! Fortunately, he dropped down and took off up the hill, crashing thru the brush as he went. We had no bear problems with our food. They had not yet learned you could steal easy food from humans.

Another day, we saw a big bull moose standing in the lake eating lily pads. The sun was setting behind us casting a band of reflected light across the lake. We paddled right in that sunlight reflected off the water when he had his head down and sat still when he had his head up. Jack was looking through the Kodak camera and did not realize how close we were. He clicked the camera and could then see it. And he was 16 feet closer than I was in the stern! The moose bolted for the shore, lunging and swimming and as hard as we paddled, we would not catch up with him.

On this trip, my fish chowder was created.

First, in the big kettle I would fry up some thick strips of bacon.
Remove them and set aside.
Then in the bacon fat I would soften a chopped onion.
Add about a quart of water and toss in a couple of sectioned carrots and a couple of potatoes. Salt and pepper. (Now I use chopped garlic and soften with the onion.)
When the carrots and potatoes are soft add the chunks of fish, usually 1” squares. Stir in instant mashed potatoes to thicken.
Top your bowl of chowder with the crumbled bacon.

If we had left overs we would add some liquid, more fish and bits of leftover duck or grouse. We’d call that “Conglomeration Stew”.

The following year, immediately after my return from my sophomore year, all four of us headed back to Our Lake. I have no photos of that trip or any written journal. On that trip, John Sr., Jack’s father, flew in with Pat, Jack’s half brother. When they flew out ,the now-heavier Beaver had a hell of a time getting enough altitude to get out of there. He took several runs at it before he could clear the ridge at the end of the lake. Scary.

In 1963, for a change of pace, we took a different trip to a place recommended by Doc Selznick. We called it derisively “Selznick’s Wilderness”. It was far from it. At one point we found ourselves paddling next to a busy paved highway. I seem to remember that Pat was on that trip and maybe Clint Elston?

One note on Rip the hawk. Early on, I had taught him to respond to my shrill whistle. I did not know if he survived the winter. After we returned from the canoe trip, I went outside the cabin and gave a whistle. He screeched in return and I could see him flying around in the trees but he did not come down. I was glad he survived.

Jack Alexander, born 1925, died 2018.

Thanks for all the great adventures, Jack!


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