Saturday, October 21, 2017

Getting up late today

which was rare but happens a little more often these days.

I think I'm going to make chili today which is no bit thing. Chili is a simple saddle tramp meal and not some dish that requires the skills of a gourmet chef.

I think that big chili cooking contests are a joke because it is making s big thing out of nothing. Chili is no bit thing when you look at what it started as.

It was and still is a simple saddle tramp dish cooked on a cast iron skillet and the basis of it is beef, originally from an old steer. The beef is coupled with a few peppers and maybe a few beans. It's a 'whatever you have' simple meal. Nothing more, nothing less.

All that being said, I can whip up a decent bowl of red in jig time. 

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Friday, October 20, 2017

Something really cool happened

while I was away.

A little over 3 weeks ago I spread a bunch of grass seed on the wayback in the areas I weeded. I figured it would germinate come spring.


It took right off and I came home to a wonderful thick, lush grass covered hillside.

Come early spring I'll just reseed the few small patches I missed.

Grass comes up early and will help keep the weeds from springing up, I hope. 

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wow! This trip must have beat the hell out of me!

I got home last night, had two beers and forced myself to stay up until 2130.


I slept until well after noon. Even the cat couldn't wake me and I know he was rubbing his nose in my face all night.

I have not done that in decades.

I do feel pretty good now, though.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gee Auntie Jean, did you really do that?

Someone asked that knows me and read one of these posts commented, “Hey, that wasn’t Joe Blow that did that, that was John Livingston! Why did you say it was Joe Blow?”

I don’t think he was wearing his thinking cap when he asked me that.

A lot of what I write about happened thirty or forty years ago and over the years things have changed.  Getting crocked in what was pretty close to a frontier town and doing something crazy back then is not the present day norm for a civilized part of the Lower 48.

When I arrived in the Pittsburgh area after over a decade in Alaska I stopped going to bars almost entirely. This was because of culture shock among other things. However, it was mainly because I realized I had to retrain entirely. Things that would (maybe) draw raised eyebrows up north would mean a ride to jail here in the states.

The reason I do not mention any names is because many of us were caught up in the times and did things that would likely get them thrown into jail in the states. Mentioning names would mean some poor guy sitting there with his grandkids would wind up having a lot of explaining to do over what was then nothing.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

You heard it here.

It looks like the NFL is going ape $hit over the simple fact that they are rapidly losing their audience. It sounds like NFL is starting to stand for ‘No Fans Left’.

Of course, the next step for the NFL is to play the race card. I just Googled it and it says that about 70% of the NFL players are black so we can expect that one soon.

“If you don’t watch NFL football you’re a racist!”

In return, I will reply, “Then I guess I’m a racist,” and that will pretty much end it right then and there.  There’s not a whole lot that can be said after that.

It’s an old trick I have been using for decades. If accused I admit to it. Often times I confess to something worse!  Sometimes make up all sorts of twisted details on how I supposedly did it.

Once some clown tried start a rumor that I had enjoyed carnal knowledge of barnyard animals and I denied it simply by telling my accuser to get the story straight. “It was the buffalo at the Broadmoor Zoo,” I replied.
Then I gave a pretty good off the top of my head explanation on how I had stolen a stepladder from a painter, carted it to the zoo, sneaked in, gotten into the enclosure and so on. By the time I was halfway through everyone was rolling on the floor laughing themselves silly and my accuser was pretty embarrassed.

By the time I got to the hanging on for dear life part my audience was falling off of their barstools. My accuser was beet red.

This is along the lines as to how I am going to handle it when the NFL decides to play the race card. They can kiss my ass.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Monday, October 16, 2017

Come spring the college kids and transients

 would wander into Kodiak for the summer and scout around looking for work and places to live.

One of my hacks is that I would keep a fishing pole and a little tackle outside the trailer. It was there because I would quietly permit some of the more respectable newcomers to borrow it to catch fish to feed themselves.

After a while I didn’t even have to bother to go fishing myself because the deal was that if they caught one fish it was theirs. If they caught two or three I got one. If they got four or more I only got two because that’s how many I could go through before they started going bad.

However I never did tell them about the crab ring off of the fuel dock because I knew that if word got out they would pick it clean.

I managed to get quite a number of fish that way during the runs. If something happened and a fish went bad it was no biggie. I’d use it to bait the crab pot at the fuel dock. Still, I ate an awful lot of fresh salmon during the late spring through the fall. Occasionally I’d snag a bunch and bring them to someone I knew that would smoke them and I’d get some smoked salmon out of the deal.

In the spring during the herring season I’d manage to get some herring from a fisherman if it was really fresh. I’d generally trade beer for it and give the herring to one of the locals, an older woman and she’d give me a couple of jars of pickled herring after she pickled it.
I could also get pickled octopus out of the same kind of deal but that was later when I lived on a sailboat.

There was also enough housing going up so I could find work doing that. It paid reasonably well and it was pretty good work and exercise.

Seeing I didn’t have to pay rent I was doing fairly well and wound up with plenty of time to spend doing fun things like hike, hunt, fish and just plain goof off. One summer I ran a small bush plane air service as the office person and general dog’s body. It paid next to nothing but the guys would let me fly the airplanes from time to time. I never did solo but I did learn a lot and had a lot of fun.

One of the joys of life there was that I had options most people never have. I wasn’t chasing the almighty dollar. I worked to live instead of live to work and I could easily afford to take a job for less pay that I enjoyed rather than take a job I hated for more money. To this day I call that a HUGE luxury and have always been grateful I was able to live that way.

Occasionally I’d run into a tourist and invite them over for a crab boil or grilled salmon. This wasn’t totally altruistic, though. Most of them would return the favor by taking me to dinner the following evening.

I’d grill salmon on a hibachi which was at least semi civilized. However it was a crab boil that would make me wonder about some people.  I’d boil crabs in this big dented fire-blackened pot that looked like hell and looked like it should have been scrapped years ago. I’d serve my guests off of enameled camp ware with the mismatched flatware I had scored at the Mission. A roll of paper towels served as napkins.

Instead of being appalled, most of them were delighted. It was kind of funny. Most of them loved it! One time Jack Lemmon (the actor) was visiting town and was walking down Cannery Row when I was just starting to cook a salmon fillet. I offered him a piece and he took me up on it. He ran down and got a six-pack while I cooked it. He was a nice guy. (I was in the B&B bar later that day and he walked in and got pranked by the bartender. He laughed along with the rest of us. What a neat guy!)

All in all it was a pretty good life. If I wanted something I got off my ass and earned the money to pay for it. I paid my way and still had all sorts of opportunity to do as I saw fit.

There was one thing that I did have to deal with periodically and that was when someone or another would get all pissy and gripe about people camping inside the city limits. There would be a brief ‘clean up the town’ doing and I’d generally move the trailer outside the city limits for a while only to return.

The police were actually pretty good about this. Several of the officers I knew on sight would see me and let me know in advance so I could avoid trouble. That was kind of them and was a win/win deal. It saved both of us trouble and I always appreciated the heads up.

The truth if the matter is that I was in a nether world where my existence was illegal. However, the rules were seldom enforced if people behaved themselves. At the time there was a serious housing shortage and rents were through the roof. If I decided to rent a place it was either going to be with roommates or I would have to find a very steady job and work full time to make ends meet. There would be little time or money even to go out for a beer.

The police knew this and knew who was an asset to the community and who was not and enforced the laws accordingly. In a way it was a good thing because it made me behave myself.

This is a pretty good time to interject something. While drugs were everywhere, Kodiak had no drug problem. Anyone could get anything they wanted, hence no problem. Cocaine was expensive as hell and a bag of good pot cost an awful lot of money, too when you compared it to stateside prices. I steered clear of this basically for this reason. A bar owner once said I could feed my belly or I could feed my nose. I chose to feed my belly and never looked back. Liquor and Camels were affordable, while coke and pot wasn’t. It wasn’t worth my effort.

I saw too many fortunes squandered away on cocaine, heroin and speed and count my lucky stars I never did get into that world.

Looking back on it, only a part of it was the money. I saw early on that almost everyone involved seemed to have money, legal problems and were constantly getting their places burgled. On occasion it extended all the way to murder if you investigated things far enough. A couple people I knew got shot at and one guy went to Anchorage with a huge wad of cash to score cocaine for resale. He was found dead in the Anchorage dump. Needless to say, his money disappeared with his life. I wanted no part of that lifestyle. I do believe the police knew this and it was a big part of why I got left alone.
I had a friend get ten days (non drug/alcohol related) once and I decided to visit him. I brought him a cake with a file sticking out of both ends of it. I made it clear I was not REALLY trying to smuggle something illegal.  Needless to say, the officer saw it, removed it and looked at me. I told him that when he gave my friend the cake to tell him they had to pull a file out of it. He shook his head and chuckled a bit.

I visited him like he was a bank robber in a gangster movie and later when they gave him the cake they gave him a good natured drubbing about finding the file.

When he got out he went straight to Solly’s Office and bitched at the guys for not visiting him and said I was the only one that visited him and that I had at least brought him a cake with a file in it. That got me a lot of drinks bought for me when word went out.

I do remember one night when was out of propane for my heater. I had been out of town a few days and returned. I was out of propane and there was a note and some money on the counter. One of the guys had needed a place to stay for a couple of nights and had run the propane out. The place was also cleaned and smelled of Pine-Sol.

I took the empty propane bottle and headed downtown. It was a really cold night. A police car stopped and offered me a ride. On the way down I explained what the deal was. The fuel dock was closed and I was going to try and get one of the guys to ‘drift’ enough propane from his bottle to mine to get me through the night. The cop told me it would probably be easier for me to overnight in the jail and take care of it in the morning. I dropped the bottle off outside the police station and ran downtown for a burger and a beer and returned and slept in the jail that night.

After I was released I wandered down and refilled the bottle.

One of the people that was pretty good to me was the building inspector. He was a Borough official and had clout in and out of the city proper. From time to time the Borough would try and shuffle us camper types around and the building inspector was the person that was supposed to make us move. He’d leave me a note that it was time to move and I’d find another place.

A couple of times he made suggestions as to where I ought to hide out next. It didn’t take me long to figure out that he was sending me somewhere that was littered. I’d clean the area up and be left alone. This was one of the rewards of keeping a clean campsite.

All in all life was a pretty good deal any way I sliced it.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The downtown restaurant job.

One of the neat thing about living in a small trailer is that I could simply move anytime I felt like it. Sometimes I would move it to a construction site if I was working there. It made it easy to get to work and I could prepare a hot lunch or keep things cold. It had both a propane stove and refrigerator.

I was working on a job once when someone fairly well dressed appeared and introduced himself as the local OSHA inspector. We were doing nothing wrong, he explained. He just wanted to make what he called a contact report.

He asked my name. I gave it to him.
Then he asked me my address and I told him I didn’t have one. He looked stunned. I pointed to the trailer and told him I lived in it and parked it in a different place every night.

He suggested that perhaps he could put down ‘General Delivery’ and I told him it would likely be returned because I hadn’t been to the post office in months.

Then he asked me how I addressed my tax returns and I told him I left the address blank but filled in everything else. His eyes opened wide and he asked what would happen if the IRS wanted me. I shrugged and told him they’d probably just have to get the FBI to track me down. He shook his head.

He looked at one of the other guys and called him over. He had given up on me and was looking for a softer target.

He asked the man his name and the guy said he was John W. Lewinski and spelled it out for him. Then the Osha man asked him his address and he triumphantly pointer to the pickup with a camper on it that was parked next to my trailer.

“I’m Piccolo’s next door neighbor,” he announced.

The OSHA man caved in then and there and started laughing. He asked us what we were doing at 7 that night because he wanted to buy us a drink and hear about how two guys could go through life without an address.
We had a pretty good time together and I told him that in the future I’d use a friend’s PO box so as to make it easy for him to do his job.

He was good to his word and for the rest of the time I lived in Kodiak he was always someone I enjoyed running into.

He’s gone now. I just read where he died of cancer in April, 2014.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Saturday, October 14, 2017

I am not going to post about holing up in Washington State

 for the winter of 78-79 save to say I didn’t hitch hike back to Kodiak. I drove up in a pickup. 

I don’t recall a whole lot of my return save to say I did look up a few people asked then to keep an eye out for something for me to do. While I had enjoyed the previous spring, summer and fall I wanted to make a few bucks and find a way to dig in. I wanted to stay in Kodiak for a while and establish some kind of roots there.

I wanted to make a few bucks and have a roof of sorts over my head.

It didn’t take long before someone told me to haul ass down to one of the canneries and talk to a guy there. I drove right on down and found that the cannery in Kodiak had a sister cannery out in Naknek that needed a basic carpenter for a season. I was offered a job and even though the wages were less than union scale I took it because it included room and board. I was handed a purchase order for a flight to Naknek made out to Kodiak Western airlines, a local operator that serviced the peninsula.

I went straight to Kraft’s and picked up about four cartons of Camels because I knew it likely be a month before I had an opportunity to buy any more. (I was wrong. There was a general store in Naknek.)

Ten minutes later I was stashing my pack and tools at the Kodiak Western building and was back in my pickup. I ran it out the road to a friend’s place and parked it off to one side of their driveway. I had previously gotten the OK to do this and had already trained the homeowner on how to start the tired old Dodge slant six. The ignition key had long been replaced with a pair of toggle switches, one of which ran the starter was spring loaded. This meant they would not have to worry about losing my keys. I also slipped a starting checklist under their door.

When I got back to the Kodiak Western building there were no flights headed out so I simply walked over to one of the airplanes, a huge Grumman Goose, climbed in and spread my sleeping gear out on the deck.

An employee saw me, came out as I was laying down for a late nap, looked in, saw me and laughed. I looked at her and knew she was the woman that had issued my ticket and she simply told me not to do anything stupid. I sighed in relief and took a little catnap before I wandered over to Solly’s Office for a burger and a beer.

The days were pretty long that time of year so I had to be careful. I made a quick pass through Tony’s, the Village, The Ships and wandered up to the Breakers and finished my rounds at the Mecca. It was still daylight when I returned to the airplane and sacked out.

I woke up fairly early and ran over to the Mecca and washed up in the man’s room, ate a quick breakfast and checked back in at Kodiak Western. My flight was later on that day so I checked out the airplanes on the flight line. They were mostly Beavers and Cessnas, all of which were on floats. Outside the KW building there was a pair of Grummans. The Grumman Goose is an amphib.

I am wording this carefully because while the plural of the bird of the same name is ‘geese’ there have been arguments that persist to this day over the plural of the airplane. Some say Grumman Geese, others say Grumman Gooses. I ain’t touching that one with a ten foot pole.

At the appointed time I boarded and got the front seat which was a real plus. It had the best view. Everyone got on and the pilot drove the Goose down the ramp into the channel and raised the landing gear. When the gear was up he poured on the coal and we lifted out of the channel and started to cross Kodiak Island headed for Naknek.

I was met at King Salmon airport and taken to the alleged cannery in a pretty beat up old Jeep that looked like hell but ran pretty good. I met the rest of the construction gang and instantly found myself appointed lead carpenter.
Living conditions were as advertised. They were rough and meals were taken at a local restaurant, basically a diner of sorts. The food was pretty good.

The first thing I had to do there was form up a low wall for use as a foundation. A steel building was going up there.  When it was formed we were going to pour it Old School, meaning we would mix bags of cement in a mixer. There was no concrete plant in the area.

The crew was great and everyone turned to. Most of them were cheerful college kids that were there for fun, adventure and a few bucks for tuition. We worked hard and played hard. We got the thing poured ahead of schedule and found time to work on our bunkroom. Overtime was unlimited so we could make some pretty good money.

The actual steel building was put up by an outside contractor and the guys lived right alongside us. We pitched in some and got done ahead of schedule. What was interesting is that the contractor boss said our job was better than most foundations built by professionals. We were pretty proud.

The salmon season started and the construction guys turned into cannery workers but I was kept as a carpenter and stayed busy doing any number of things. I worked in the bunkhouse, mended the dock and a pile of other things.
As the salmon started to pick up more fish workers arrived and the cookhouse opened and we started eating on site. The cook was a real character. In addition to feeding us he put on quite a show.

The fresh fish workers were younger and some of them were kind of timid. The first meal they ate with us in the cookhouse was hilarious. It was a steak night. We were seated snarling like tigers and the cook came out and plopped a huge plate of steaks onto the table and we attacked it, grabbing what we could. The timid souls looked at their empty plates across at us as we wolfed down two or even three steaks.

The cook came out with a stick and started playfully smacking us as he put out another plateful of steaks and made sure the newbies got a steak. They looked at him gratefully. One of us swiped a steak off of one of the kid’s plates and the cook whacked him with his stick and made him give it back.

Of course it was a big act and the kids caught on after a while. The next meal everything settled down to the placid level of a bar brawl and things were normal.

While the fish workers worked, I stayed busy and a few weeks later the run was over and things slowed down.

The mechanics of the fish processing was simple. They’d take in fish, gut and behead them, put them into a huge tote, ice them and load them onto a truck and run to King Salmon airport. They would go onto a DC-10 and be flown into Kodiak for further processing.

At the end of the season I was flown back to Kodiak in the DC-10. It was a fun run and the pilot let me sit in the copilot’s seat and actually fly the plane under his watchful eye.  It was pretty cool and he took it back from me on final approach to Kodiak.

I went back to the office that had hired me and was handed $100 cash and told to come back in the morning. I jumped into a cab and recovered my truck. I shot some ether into the carburetor and it surprised me by starting right up. I headed downtown, recovered my gear and sacked out in the cab of the pickup that I parked on Cannery Row.

I woke up a little late, grabbed my pack and headed to the laundromat and grabbed a shower and did my laundry. Afterwards I reported to the cannery and was taken into an office. He handed me a check and we went through the time sheets. He explained that if there was a discrepancy he would make it good. Interestingly enough, I saw I was overpaid about $250 because I had told the cannery to pick me up a Milwaukee worm drive saw and deduct it from my pay. The saw was in my possession and when I brought it up he grinned and told me to forget it.

I now had some fairly serious cash and started looking for a place to stay and inside of two days I got lucky.

On Cannery Row I met a college aged couple living in a tiny trailer. They had towed it up to Kodiak and their truck had died. They were headed back to school and the trailer had saved them a fortune in rent but there was no way to bring it back. I asked where they were from and found out they were from Tacoma. I told them to wait a few minutes and ran into a travel agency and got the price of a couple of one way tickets to Seattle and returned.

I offered them a pair of tickets home and they accepted. I threw in my little pup tent and gave them a ride to Fort Abercrombie as they had another few days work left in a cannery before they went home.

A few days later I met them and gave them a ride to the airport.
For the next couple of years I called the little trailer home. It was tiny and I could park it and save a fortune in rent. Some of the guys nicknamed it ‘The Stay Free Mini Pad’.

A couple of months later when I changed the registration on my pickup to Alaskan I had to supply a mailing and a physical address. I used General Delivery for my mailing address. My physical address was listed as ‘Stay Free Mini Pad, Kodiak, AK 99615’. I mailed it in and when I got my title back that is what it was listed as. 

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Friday, October 13, 2017

Life in a WW2 bunker wasn't too bad

For a while I lived in a WW2 bunker in Kodiak.

It was dry, solid and not too likely to fall in on me because it was made of concrete and several feet thick. It had a gorgeous view overlooking Monashka Bay and you could see the ferry going to Port Lions every so often. I had a bunk of sorts made of scrap lumber to keep me off of the concrete deck at night. I also had a small table I kept my primus stove on for cooking. The table could double as a bunk if needed.

The observation/machine gun slits let in enough light so I could get around during the day. They also seemed to let in very little rain or snow so the floor was generally pretty dry.

There was a nearby porta potty and there was water available nearby so one could stay fairly clean. I had a cold water shower rigged that was at least useful. Still, a warm water shower from the laundromat was a lot nicer. I seldom used the cold water shower. It was only a buck or two for a nice shower. However the homebrew shower was there if I needed it.

There was also an air vent that caused some discussion about putting in a barrel stove but someone had tried that and the powers that be nixed it.
All in all it was a fairly comfortable life that would be interrupted by being kicked out for about a week every month or so. The park ranger would give us the boot and we’d leave. He once told me to simply leave my bunk and table because he knew I’d be back in about a week.

About a week later I’d return and start another month or so. It was somewhat cyclic and I understood the drill. Someone would get on the ranger’s ass over people living in Abercrombie and he’d boot us out and report that people that had overstayed had been booted out.

Camping was legal there but there was a limit as to how long one could stay. However, there was no real rule regarding how many days per year one could stay, hence the ability to return.

Of course, I did not own the bunker and had no real rights. Every so often I would find a temporary roommate had appeared. I had no objections just so long as they were not too much of a slob and used the trash can located three feet outside of the door.

It really wasn’t too secure but I had already made a couple of friends and could stash my tools and any semi valuables at their place and could retrieve them anytime I needed to. It was a lesson I learned the hard way. I had been ripped off for most of my hand tools and my rifle, and old WW2 Mauser. If you find a German Mauser with a serial number of 3177T please let me know. I’d LOVE to have it back.

A couple of times I would arrive home to find an odd can of beans or hash missing. On the other hand, sometimes I’d find a few things dropped off, mainly Rainier beer. It all seemed to come out in the wash. Sometimes I’d find a couple dented cans of salmon or shrimp, most likely left by someone that worked in a cannery.

Transportation was no problem as I could either walk a couple of miles to town if I had to. I don’t remember walking all the way, though. Someone always seemed to stop and give me a ride.

For a guy in his twenties with no responsibilities it was a pretty good deal. It cost me exactly nothing. In short, life was pretty good.

While I didn’t have much, I didn’t need much and I had the one thing that most people didn’t have. I had time. I also had the ability to make a little money by working odd jobs. There were a lot of them to be had if I wanted them. I could afford to work to live instead of live to work.

What was amazing was that I paid very little for food. One would think that food in Alaska would be expensive and if I bought it food was expensive as compared to what it cost in the Lower 48. However, there was fish and venison to be had simply for the taking. There was a crab ring off of the fuel dock that was constantly full of King crab, free for the taking. Etiquette required only rebaiting it after taking a few crabs. The bait was free.

Salmon could be caught in the Buskin River, other fish I could catch off of the cannery docks. Sometimes I would trade an extra salmon or a couple of crabs for something else with fellow campers. Venison was pretty much a freebie as I knew a couple of poachers. They occasionally poached one of the King’s deer. (It’s an Anglo- Saxon thing. You wouldn’t understand.)

In addition to that I traded my skills along the way and pretty much lived on a barter economy. I’d fix things or make stuff and trade it for whatever I needed. Sometimes people would hire me to do carpentry. I had basic tools so I was good to go there.

Because I was somewhat talented I was welcome in a number of camps. I made myself useful. I recall more than one camper that I helped out by teaching them a few tricks. I taught a few people how to properly ‘ditch’ a tent to keep from getting flooded out in the rain that was pretty frequent.

Another time this couple had a rally leaky tent. I spied a tarp in a dumpster and snagged it along with some rope. I rigged a fly for their tent and from then on they stayed dry. I ate over their camp several times after that. It had cost me nothing.

My expenses were low so much of what I made I kept. When I left I had a few bucks to live comfortably on for a while until I found work in Seattle.

Between May and October that year I had one hell of a comfortable Alaskan existence with little fuss or bother.  Come October I left for the Seattle area and jungled up for the winter but that’s another story.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Thursday, October 12, 2017

One night in Kodiak.

My first summer in Kodiak I really had no fixed base. I didn’t really need one.

I was fairly comfortable sleeping just about anywhere that was dry and I was a very experienced camper. I was also pretty resourceful.

It was a really wet and nasty day and I had just gotten evicted from Fort Abercrombie. I had been living in a nice, dry WW2 bunker there with a gorgeous view. This meant I had to stay away from the place for about a week before I could resume camping there. Every so often they would evict a bunch of people for whatever reason. You moved to somewhere else and returned a week or ten days later. I believe it was political. I think the ranger wanted to get some muckety muck off of his back or whatever.

I didn’t really want to pitch my tent in the rain. I did have a few options, though. However I didn’t want to use any of them now. I was saving them for if push came to shove.

Parking my pack in a pal’s pickup I wandered into the Mecca, a bar and restaurant in the downtown mall. I entered using the street entrance instead of the mall entrance. As I entered I noticed something. It was the bandstand. There was an opening there.

I had used it before to stash my pack under while I ate or drank but just then I had a flash of an idea. I knew the band wasn’t going to be playing tonight. The bar would be fairly quiet and I realized that if I was cagey I could probably get a pretty good night’s sleep under the bandstand.

I went back to my pal’s pickup and rearranged my pack so as to be able to get my sleeping bad and poncho liner out in a cramped area and set things up. I also made sure I could do this in the dark because a flashlight might give me away.

I grabbed the pack and returned to the Mecca and as I entered I stuffed my pack into the opening. Then I sat down and ordered a nice heated double cognac as a nightcap.

I also made sure I peed. I knew that I’d be in hot water if I had to answer the call of nature in the middle of the night.

The cognac made me sleepy and I decided to hit the rack under the bandstand. I shuffled toward the door, glanced around reached for my pack and made a quick undetected dive for the hole and squirmed right in pushing my pack. As I spun around on my belly to peep out and see if I had gotten away with it I heard an “Oooff!”

“Who are you?” I whispered.

“Dave. Is that you, Pic? You should have made your reservations two weeks ago!” was the whispered answer.

The bandstand was about two feet high and the joists were 2x6s which gave a clear area of about 18 inches to work with unless you were between the joists. I managed to dig out my sleeping bag which I would use as a cushion beneath me and I covered myself with the poncho liner. I was good to go and dozed off.

I woke about 0730 and peeped out. Dave was already gone and the bar was empty. I slipped out and quickly repacked my bag in the little stairway in the street exit and put my pack back under the bandstand.

The restaurant was next door, open and serving breakfast. The restrooms the restaurants used were in the bar so I ran in and washed my face as best I could and quietly slipped into the restaurant and sat down and ordered breakfast.

By the time I finished breakfast the bar had reopened so I wandered back in, slipped by the bandstand opening, grabbed my pack and wandered outside.

All in all it wasn’t a bad place to sleep in an emergency if the band had the night off. I used it a couple of times but only if the band was taking the night off after I tried it once when they were playing.

It’s kind of hard sleeping with people beating drums and playing electric guitars just over your head and the bass rifts vibrated through you. I tried it one night and finally dozed off. When the band stopped I went out like a light and overslept. There were people in the bar when I woke up so I had to be slick.

I had not unrolled my bag but had slept wrapped in a poncho liner. I wadded it up and jammed it in my pack as best I could and crept out feet first. When I was spotted as I thought I would be I said I had stashed my pack there overnight. I said one of the musicians had probably pushed it in deep with a guitar case.

Someone saw my sleeping bag and asked where I had slept. I grinned at them, winked and said, "I got lucky," and they laughed. 

As I write this I wonder what would have happened if I used “Under the Mecca bandstand” as a residential address for anything official. Probably nothing. Looking back on things it sounds pretty strange but when I lived in Kodiak things like this for me were pretty much the norm.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I just read where some church in Kentucky

 is offering to pay a dollar a round for ammunition to get it off the street.

This ought to go down as one of the stupidest things I have heard yet as a brick of .22LR contains 500 rounds and runs maybe thirty bucks. Surplus 7.62x39 and 5.56 mm is a lot cheaper than a buck a round especially if you buy it in bulk.

It’s go to the store and then take it to the church time and cash in. Buying ten bricks for about three hundred bucks and turning it in means about a $4700 profit.

I would imagine that the church is thinking that maybe a handful of people with an odd box of 20 is coming. Non shooters really have no clue as to how much ammo a serious shooter can go through in a single afternoon much less a season. One season years ago I ran through over 20,000 rounds of centerfire and God only knows how much .22LR.

That wasn’t a lot by serious shooter standards but it was a LOT by non- shooter or even hunter standards. Hunters for the most part don’t shoot a whole lot.

This ought to be good. I can see someone with 20,000 rounds showing up.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

This arrived in my email inbox. I'm passing it along.

You graduated high school in 2011.  Your teenage years were a struggle.  You grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.  Your mother was the leader of the family and worked tirelessly to keep a roof over your head and food on your plate.  Academics were a struggle for you and your grades were mediocre at best. The only thing that made you stand out is you weighed 225 lbs and could run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds while carrying a football.  

Your best friend was just like you, except he didn’t play football.  Instead of going to football practice after school, he went to work at McDonalds for minimum wage.  You were recruited by all the big colleges and spent every weekend of your senior year making visits to universities where coaches and boosters tried to convince you their school was best.  They laid out the red carpet for you. Your best friend worked double shifts at Mickey D’s.  College was not an option for him.  On the day you signed with Big State University, your best friend signed paperwork with his Army recruiter.  You went to summer workouts.  He went to basic training.

You spent the next four years living in the athletic dorm, eating at the training table. You spent your Saturdays on the football field, cheered on by adoring fans.  Tutors attended to your every academic need.  You attended class when you felt like it. Sure, you worked hard.  You lifted weights, ran sprints, studied plays, and soon became one of the top football players in the country.  Your best friend was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. While you were in college, he deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice.  He became a Sergeant and led a squad of 19 year old soldiers who grew up just like he did.  He shed his blood in Afghanistan and watched young American's give their lives, limbs, and innocence for the USA. 

You went to the NFL combine and scored off the charts.  You hired an agent and waited for draft day.  You were drafted in the first round and your agent immediately went to work, ensuring that you received the most money possible. You signed for $16 million although you had never played a single down of professional football.  Your best friend re-enlisted in the Army for four more years. As a combat tested sergeant, he will be paid $32,000 per year.

You will drive a Ferrari on the streets of South Beach.  He will ride in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter with 10 other combat loaded soldiers.  You will sleep at the Ritz.  He will dig a hole in the ground and try to sleep.  You will “make it rain” in the club.  He will pray for rain as the temperature reaches 120 degrees.
On Sunday, you will run into a stadium as tens of thousands of fans cheer and yell your name.  For your best friend, there is little difference between Sunday and any other day of the week.  There are no adoring fans.  There are only people trying to kill him and his soldiers. Every now and then, he and his soldiers leave the front lines and “go to the rear” to rest.  He might be lucky enough to catch an NFL game on TV.  When the National Anthem plays and you take a knee, he will jump to his feet and salute the television.  While you protest the unfairness of life in the United States, he will give thanks to God that he has the honor of defending his great country.

To the players of the NFL:  We are the people who buy your tickets, watch you on TV, and wear your jerseys.  We anxiously wait for Sundays so we can cheer for you and marvel at your athleticism. Although we love to watch you play, we care little about your opinions until you offend us. You have the absolute right to express yourselves, but we have the absolute right to boycott you.  We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth.  We should be ashamed for putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right.  But now you have gone too far. You have insulted our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans. You are living the American dream, yet you disparage our great country.  I am done with NFL football and encourage all like minded Americans to boycott the NFL as well.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY