Stompin' on the Terra

"And he said, 'Stomp upon the Terra.'" – Lord Buckley (via Hunter Thompson)

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Location: Plum Island, Massachusetts

25 May 2006

Calling Julie Andrews

There's a right and a wrong way to break in a new car. Getting into an accident on the way out of the dealer's lot is, for instance, the wrong way. Thankfully, I opted for the better "no accidents on the way home" plan instead.

Whichever plan you choose, there are a few more subtle must-dos that need to be addressed when you get a new car. For instance, it's imperative that the first piece of music played on the car stereo be something chosen for just such an occasion. When I picked up my F-250 back in 2001, I took a Jerry Jeff Walker cassette ("Live at Gruene Hall") with me -- it was cued up to "The Pickup Truck Song." That was a no-brainer.

This evening, for the debut of my new CR-V, I struggled. I've been on a Buffett tear lately. How about the Grateful Dead, Cornell '77? Maybe something aggressive like the Clash, London Calling.

In the end, I went with the "heavyweight champion of the world," as he's been called. No, not Muhammad Ali.

John Coltrane. "My Favorite Things."

Also part of the breaking-in process is choosing an appropriate name. As with the music selection before I went to the dealer, I'm at a loss. So here's a challenge to anyone reading this: submit your suggestions for a name for the new wheels. The prize? Um, well, not a damned thing, save for acknowledgement on the pages herein -- that's as close to immortality as you're likely to get on this planet. Give it a shot. Drop me a line.

Muchas gracias.

Before and After

An era comes to a close...

I'd been thinking about a change for some time. It was like a pair of jeans that just didn't fit all that well anymore. They were still cool -- at least in my mind -- but maybe, you know, it was time to get with the program, ya know?! Then, when I spent ninety-three bucks to fill the tank, all of a sudden the Super Duty, Super Cab, Longbed V-10 4x4 F-250 no longer made a lot of sense.

Yeah. I know what you're thinking: An F-250 Super Duty, Super Cab, LONGbed, V-10 four-by-four?! Also known as: "an aircraft carrier."

There was a time when I swore I'd never again not own a truck. Of course, that was back when I actually used the word "never," something I no longer do. But pickups were just so damned useful. I could sleep in the back comfortably. I could haul a tank (should the need ever arise...). I could move from the Lower 48 and carry most of my stuff myself.

But once the snowmobile was gone, and the trailer too, there was absolutely zero need for the beast. In its place has come some sensibility: a Honda CR-V. Twice the mileage (and then some), fits in the garage MUCH easier, and, to put it simply, not so damned ridiculous.

Not sure what took so damned long.

Now I'm like the 17-year-old who gets his mom's old Subaru and sits in it in the garage. I'm sitting here listening to the Alaska Aces play in the ECHL finals on AM radio in my new-smelling car with nine -- NINE! -- miles on it. Ahhh...

And the Aces just scored. It's all good...

18 May 2006

Rest Easy...Your Air Force Works Tonight

This is the man who says that eavesdropping on Americans' phone calls is legal; the man set to run the CIA. Looks more like that old comic character Henry than James Bond. Although that is an expression we're used to seeing in the Bush Administration. Gen. Michael Hayden should fit in nicely.

(AP photo from Yahoo)

17 May 2006

The Tourism Department's Nightmare

Wilkommen. Bienvenue. Welcome.

And behold, the Alaska translation:

My kinda place...

14 May 2006

Easy Rider

Another beee-ooo-teee-ful day in Southcentral Alaska. Naturally, there was a quandary:
Work in the yard...go for a motorcycle ride.
Work in the yard...go for a motorcycle ride.
Guess which won?

Observation: it's tough to shoot a self-portrait while you're riding a motorcycle.

13 May 2006

The Ugliest Bike Path in America

Yes, there were 12 miles of being wedged in between a bashed guard rail and an endless stream of oversized-load boat trailers headed for their annual return to the saltwater (twice actually, it's an out-and-back). But what else was there? How about 26 miles (13 each way) of:
* Snow-covered glacial peaks shimmering -- literally shimmering -- in the warm sunshine.
* The biggest tides in North America coursing through the fjord cutting in from the Pacific Ocean.
* Bald eagles scouting for their next meal, so calm that when I shouted "Hey!" one fella actually startled, fluffed up his feathers and turned to see who had broken his concentration.
* Countless ducks, in pairs, newly returned from warmer climes and dancing on the puddles filling below avalanche paths.
* Virtually no wind; this in a wind-tunnel fjord that prompts the local meteorologists to qualify the local weather forecast for that area alone.
* A suntanned face. In Alaska. In mid-May. And I'm not up on Denali.
As the ad says: Priceless.

03 May 2006

A (hopefully) quiet debut...

Well, here goes. The curmudgeon, the anachronism, the dinosaur joins the 21st century. We're gonna cover a lot of ground hereabouts. From outdoor fun to health and fitness; politics (how can you not cover that nowadays?!) to literature and writing; fun in the sun to fun in the snow; and, of course, that unique state of mind that is "life in Alaska." We'll see what happens...