Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I read this comment on another website and thought it was rather interesting.

"An instructor pointed out to me that once you are four generations away from your agricultural base, you lose touch with life and reality. Hence farm boys and girls understand the cycle of life, plants and critters. City folks think you can get everything from a supermarket and that killing is cruel. More liberals in the cities than country."

This comment is duly noted.

Frankly I think it is closer to two or three generations.

I am looking at a number of people I grew up with and see that very few people went into any fields that involved growing things or working with animals in one form or another.. 

I can think of a small time dairy farmer, and a couple of  fisherman. That's about it.

I know of a social worker, a few teachers, an attorney, a small buisnessman. Incidentally the small businessman has run a small town type lumberyard for years and it is still there. He managed to survive a Lowe's and  Home Depot moving into town and that speaks voumes for him. More than one became teachers and returned to the same school system they had left after college. (I wonder about that. I've covered  this one before. Holy Welcome Back, Kotter.)

The bottom line is that a lot of people I grew up with have strayed away from being close to nature and look at things far differently than those of us that have lived in the out of doors.

Personally I have lived in a couple of far-flung remote outposts. I've also spent a period of time in bear country where I had no electricity or running water. The simple act of answering nature's call meant grabbing a shotgun to take with me. Food, stored away from camp in a tree, was brought into camp, cooked immediately, eaten and the scraps were discarded far away from camp.

It seems that most of my peers grew up living entirely in a man-made world and have not been near how the natural part of the world works.

I suppose they think that meat and produce comes from the back room of a supermarket or something along these lines.

Several years ago I mentioned that venison was a part of y diet and that I occasionally shot a deer to fill the freezer. The person I told that to seemed upset and called it barbaric and cruel in one breath and in the next they told me about the Angus steaks they had ordered from a butcher someplace.

They called me barbaric for harvesting a game animal with a clean kill in one breath and bragged about the product of a slaughterhouse in the next. Apparently they have never seen where that beautiful Angus steak comes from. 

I've also heard of a hunter being chided for killing a poor animal by someone in a Burger King parking lot as the accuser was on their way in to wolf down on a BK triple or two made of greasy beef that someone else at a meat packing plant had killed.

Incidentally wild venison is generally a lot healthier than ranch raised beef. For one thing it is lower in cholesterol.

Slaughterhouses are outright nasty to watch. They simply kill animals systematically, one right after the other. It's a processing line of killing, yet harvesting a game animal seems barbaric to them. Those animals know their demise is coming and often die panicked deaths. A deer, properly harvested,  simply drops dead.

Incidentally a farm butchered hog or cow generally dies quickly and humanely.

To an outdoorsman, venision or other wild game is simply do-it-yourself meat. To someone that has been detatched from nature they simply can't fathom doing their own butchering.

People that are removed from nature seem to develop a strange sense of reality. They tend to grow dependent on others to do their dirty work. Many of them go so far as to make fun of and look down on those that do the behind the scenes work to make their lives simpler.

I used to watch eagles along Cannery Row in Kodiak swoop down on sea gulls and other birds. Swoop, bam! dead!

Animals in the wild have a food chain and it is as simple as that. Four or five generations away from the agricultural base  and a couple of Walt Disney movies later and these people now believe that the animals in the woods are one big happy family.

Incidentally I read somewhere that someone claimed that a deer was trying to find a bear to help him. Truth is, the bear, given the chance, would relish the opportunity to meet the deer up close and personal because it would give the bear a pretty good venison meal with leftovers to boot.

You can tell who is who in a heartbeat simply by carrying a deer home and listening. If you pass someone listen. If you hear digestive juices flowing the person is likely a country person that is close to the farm or not too far away.

If you hear them sob "You killed Bambi!" they've been a couple generations away from the farm.

My late father-in-law was a farm kid and it never left him even though he graduated from college and worked for a major corporation. He wasn't a hunter, but understood it.

It was fun one Christmas time when we went to a place that had hay rides. We didn't go for one but when he saw the Belgiums that were pulling the wagon his face lit up and he headed straight for them. It was special watching his face light up as he petted and examined them and for the rest of the evening it was all he spoke of.

Here was a man that had been a corporate type for his entire career that had simply slipped back into his childhood roots. It was wonderful to watch.

It was also interesting listening to the way he spoke about my cat. He simply picked him up and examined him with sure, kind hands. the cat, Tokie, who generally didn't like people too much responded by letting him examine him, which was rare.

He never slighted me for hunting or commercial fishing as he understood the real ways of the world. He understood nature  because as a farm kid he had to. It was the family livelihood. It was ingrained in him as an infant.

I can't say we were friends, but we respected each other in matters involving nature, working with tools and basic economics. He said the death of this country would be debt and I can't say he was far off.

He sure wasn't too far off the farm he grew up on, either.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Monday, July 28, 2014

Yesterday's post drew an interesting comment.

Seems someone decided to change careers at the age of 37.

My guess is that he didn't like what he was doing beforehand and wanted to make more money so he did what he had to do to improve his lot.

He can take the mask off because he isn't the Lone Ranger.

I was 38 years old when I decided to change careers and it didn't take too long for me to get ahead.

I took an entry level job back in January of 1990 for peanuts and by November of that year my position had changed and my pay had more than doubled.

It didn't take a whole lot, either. All I had to do was put down the beer mug for a bit and pick up a book and study.

I admit I had to be somewhat assertive and sell myself but it didn't take a whole lot looking back on it. It was sure worth it, though.

Truth is that I did my homework and boned up before I even thought of applying for a company training program. I went in and was promptly told I didn't have enough seniority.

I asked to take the test anyway, "as practice for when I do have seniority". I maxed it. 100%.

Three weeks later when I reported back to work I was told to report to the training people. They were a little red faced when they told me I had best plan on entering the training program. Seniority was waived. I was told that they would look a little foolish if they didn't let the only person that had maxed the test into the program.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Sunday, July 27, 2014

One of the things that comes up every so often is that the minimum wage ought to be raised.

The hue and cry for this is that 'those poor people on minimum wage' deserve a raise.

While that may sound all fine and dandy the truth is that there really are not a whole lot of people working for minimum wage that I have run into that have any motivation at all.

A plumber I know said that unless you are either in school or some kind of training or apprenticeship and working at an entry level job in your mid twenties then you are most likely a dud to begin with.

I tend to agree with him.

If you are in your mid 20s and still flipping burgers you ought to either resign yourself to it or get motivated. Nobody's going to come up to you and offer you a way to get ahead. You have to do that on your own.

Incidentally, you can change if you want to at just about any age. For what it's worth I didn't embark on my present career until I was almost 40. I went to sea as an ordinary seaman for peanuts and put my ass in gear.

In a year's time I was no longer an ordinary, I was an AB with a tankerman's endorsement and my pay had damn near doubled. 

I suppose there were and likely still are a few people that resented me. They're still in the entry level position they were in when I met them. They had choices and opted for beer and strip clubs. I opted for hitting the books and entering every training program the company offered.

They made their choice, I made mine.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A few years ago

 there was a fairly small grocery store I used to buy a few odds and ends from when I was in the area.

Seamen are generally pretty hard up for places to purchase grub as we don't have an amphibious vehicle to run us in and out of places to get grub. This place was located just outside of an oil refinery we pulled into to load or discharge.

I remember that the women that worked there were actually working there as a second family income and they told me thay were getting their health insurance from their husbands.

They also said that they were most likely going to lose their jobs when the state mandated that employers provide health insurance. 

Truth is the place looked like it was on their last legs and were staggering around like a boxer trying to avoid the inevitible knockout that was coming.

Part of this was competition from a chain and part of this was the neighborhood slowly declining.

The owner was well past retirement age and more or less kept the place open as a courtesy to the employees that had served him well through the heyday. The women that worked there knew this and were not bashful in mentioning this.

I believe the final nail in the coffin was the health insurance requirement that was enacted in that particular state. Another four or five jobs lost and another vacant storefront in a declining neighborhood.

I suppose that if they had not had health insurance thrust upon them they would have gone belly up when the minimum wage was raised.

Still, the point is that there are a lot of little guys out there struggling to make some semblence of a living with a small business and they don't need government intervention to make things harder on them.

The truth of the matter as I see it is this little market was on the ropes when government came in and delivered the knockout. I suppose it may have well gone under eventually but it sure didn't need government help to fail.

It's hard enough to run a small business and little guys don't need any more help from Uncle Sam.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Friday, July 25, 2014

Every so often there comes a time to stop and rethink things


Some time ago I almost had what would have been a serious traffic accident and it scared the hell out of me.

I was in the wrong and won't get into the details save had I not been in a hurry I would not have had the close call happen.

It wasn't long ago I'd shrug off close calls but for some reason this one was different. It was out of character. Maybe it was a wake-up call for me to slow down a bit and take in more of the scenery. I hope so because that's what I am going to do from now on.

We often get in a hurry to get someplace and the truth is that when we get there we are only going to do nothing.

When I get to work I generally overnight in a motel and when I get off and go home I'm just looking forward to doing something like mowing the lawn.

I suppose I can get there a little later as the motel or the lawn are not going anywhere fast and will still be there when I get home.

I think that one of these days soon I am going to either get up a little earlier or get off work a little earlier and drive the backroads home instead of hurrying.

I'll take in a little more Americana and see the sights and smell the smells.

Some time ago I took a US route across Pennsylvania and stopped off when I saw something worth seeing. I came home with a can of maple syrup and the memory of watching a pretty good Pony League ball game.

It was fun stopping off at some Dutchman's place and buying the syrup. He also gave me a tour of his work shop where he makes cabinets.

The ball game was pretty neat, too. Unlike a professional game with overpriced hot dogs, the dogs thee were a buck apiece and I had a ice cold beer and chatted with a couple of the parents.

It was good seeing those kids play their hearts out for love of the game as opposed to a bunch of overpaid big egos out on the field playing for the big bucks.

Maybe that close call was a good thing and I can use the heads up it gave me to my advantage.

There are a few other things I am going to rethink.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I do not know why

 but from time to time women approach me under certain circumstances and ask me questions about how guys think.

A little while ago someone asked me to meet him at a halfway point which I did. We picked a place that we both knew the location of and called it good. It was actually a bar and I got there first.

I was early so I sat down at the bar and ordered a coke because I seldom drive even after a single drink and never drive after two. The bar was a little crowded and some young lass of about 30 or 35 sat down next to me. She was pleasant and I quickly surmised she was doing the same thing I was, which is to say she was waiting for someone.

We chatted and as we were I thought that if this was back in Kodiak I would have likely challenged her to a cribbage game to pass the time. They don't do that in stateside bars though. Every Alaskan bar used to have a deck of well worn cards and a cribbage board in it.

After a while I guess she grew comfortable chatting with me. Maybe she thought of ma as a fatherly figure or something. Then lowered her voice a bit and and asked me what guys talk about when they are out drinking. Was it sports?

I, of course, looked around like some kind of mafioso type getting ready to give the order for someone to be whacked. 

I drew my head in and lowered my voice. She lowered her head and looked at me like I was some kind of Indian guru that was getting ready to tell her the true meaning of life.

"The younger guys," I said. "They talk about their jobs and girlfriends."

She nodded, sucking in my precious pearls of wisdom.

"Middle aged guys talk about their jobs, wives and kids," I continued.

She listened carefully, most likely because whe was entering middle age and realized it. She nodded.

" The older guys gripe about their prostates," I finished.

"Really?" she asked.

"That's about it," I replied.

"Thank you," she said.

I caught me friend coming through the door so I excused myself and bailed out. 

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

David Codrea is wrong.

He said he was Larry Pratt. He's not. He's David Codrea.

I'm  Larry Pratt.


I'm Larry Pratt

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY