Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Imnaha Canyon Quiz

Test your knowledge of the Imnaha Canyon with this quiz –

True or false: Imnaha garden tomatoes are the finest in all the land, often growing to the size of softballs.

False. The correct answer is bocce balls.

Complete the following sentence: Fishing the Imnaha River is _______.

. . . not advised if you will be in Jon's way.

If you look carefully on the opposite riverbank in the photo below you see ______.

Answer: Cam Scott, Fishtrap Writer In Residence, fishing for steelhead with a sunburst lighting things up. (Also accepted: "sun rays" in place of sunburst.)

Multiple choice –

Wynne Auld is shown here:

A) Bugling for elk.
B) Using a cooking pot for a mirror.
C) Nobody really knows.
D) Drinking coffee.

Answer: D. Drinking coffee. Not pictured: wiping coffee off her jacket.

Moving onto the bonus round, give yourself extra points if you don't know where this next photo was taken because I don't want you to know where Cam and I were fishing.

Story problem: If Jon manages to catch a steelhead and Cam nets it for him but Jon messes around getting the fish's teeth off the mesh of the net and a train leaves Saint Louis at the same time, then the picture of Jon holding the fish will take place when?

Answer: Never. The fish has enough of this nonsense and just releases itself.

And finally, for the audio daily double, make the sound a beaver makes when gnawing down trees and then chewing the bark off, because, man, the beavers are on a rampage down there right now. I saw more beaver activity in two days than an entire season of watching Oregon State football.

That concludes the Imnaha River Canyon quiz. If you scored 48 points or more you win an order of fried gizzards from the Imnaha Tavern. Just send the receipt to my house, c/o Gizzard Sweepstakes Rebate Division.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Plea for Longer Receipts from Staples

I bought two items, Staples. Two.

All I get is four-feet of receipt? Why you holding out on me? I appreciate the Dostoevsky novel you included after the UPC numbers, but it's not one his better stories.

No trick photography needed....that's just a straight-up shot of enough receipt to produce diminishing perspective. 

To circle the earth with receipts from Staples, my calculations indicate I'll need to buy at least four items on my next visit to your fine store.

But how much of your markup goes to offset the barrels of ink piped into your receipt printing devices? Do you have forests in the back warehouse where you harvest the pulp to keep up with these receipts?

You insecure? Catch Officemax peeking at you from the next urinal over?

So many questions.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Writing advice from October 1941

Picked up a stack of Writer's Digest journals from the 1940s at the Fishtrap Good Book Sale and discovered I much prefer the publishing market in the age of fedoras over modernday.

 Twenty bucks on me to place fourth.

If editors won't reply to my submissions in 2012, I might as well send manuscripts back in time. Save on postage. And this here cartoon resonates, having just done my taxes and licked the flap this morning on a story to send in at the PO today.

And you post offices have got to quit raising the price of a stamp by a penny every time I go mail something. 
My desk is awash in one cent upgrade stamps.

A letter from J. A. Kugelmass :

To Mr. J. A. Kugelmass:


Your letter from 1941 has made it to the future. The word 'interlards,' however, did not. I've never seen that before and it sounds like a baking term for mixing the batter of something fattening.

I'm not sure what those 'complimentary manifestations' you mention are either, Kugelmass. They sound like something you win in a raffle at a psychic's convention.

Good for you, for barring the macabre, the gruesome and the amoral. Especially rape scenes. You and I and everyone on earth except rapists agree there should be no rape evermore.

Your vision of cleaner true detective material, you'll be pleased to know, has caught on and spread to all facets of writing and story telling. Especially movies. The stronger swear words are largely avoided and, all in all, shit's pretty wholesome these days.

Your paragraph at the end there, starting with, "cognizant of the desirability of being a spearpoint . . ." has had 71 years to start making sense and it's still working on it. I'm not sure if I do want you to elaborate if you're going to go about it like that.

Cordially yours,

Jonathan Rombach
The Future

. . . . and, hey, there's a hell of a deal on noiseless ipad prototypes on the back page.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ma Nature and Science vs. Woody Guthrie vs. traffic laws

I follow Woody Guthrie's advice about signs – on the back side they don't say nothin' and that sign was made for you and me.

So I generally skip the front and just read the backs of signs.

On a recent sunny morning after a cold night, though, I saw this:

Which seemed to say something. So I was forced to read the business side. Which looked like this:

So we've got a Do Not Pass sign passing through itself. Interesting. This gave me a pain between my ears trying to figure out if this proves that natural laws of heat transference or whatever supercede traffic laws, which might demonstrate an inherent fallibility of Do Not Pass signs, thereby casting doubt on the authority of all metal signs, which could lead to total anarchy and Woody Guthrie being right all along...in reverse...or...I don't know.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Beating a dead shark that has been jumped

Hey, everyone in the world – could you not ever again say something has Jumped the Shark? That would be great.

Sad when a clever means to express something having gone beyond goes beyond, but there you have it. I'm weary of the shark jumping. I want the next person responsible for me seeing or hearing that phrase to be eaten by a shark after Henry Winkler throws them into the tank.

That is all.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Going by the rules in Hells Canyon

Wallowa County Chieftain column 2/1/12:
And Furthermore Jon Rombach

Mike Baird is a good friend of mine. Usually. We had a communication breakdown recently when he asked if I wanted to go along with a Forest Service cleanup crew in Hells Canyon to pick up trash at campsites.

I’ve spent some time as a river guide, which taught me a few things. When someone asks if you are willing to pick things up at campsites, you need more specifics. I enjoy hauling honest garbage off the river. By honest I mean stuff that got away by accident. Lost shoes, water bottles. Seems like a good deed. Sometimes you find good stuff. River schwag. I’ve found carabiners, a headlamp, lifetime supply of bobbers, an anchor I now use on my fishing boat.

Less fun is picking up intentional discards. Bottles and cans above the waterline. Half-burnt plastic from fire rings. Food thrown on the beach that attracts yellow jackets and ants. Then there’s the extreme category of things that some people somehow think is OK to leave behind where they know others will be camping. Gross things. Yucky. Things the rules say you are supposed to pack out in a portable toilet. Those things. Technically it’s biodegradable, given enough time. That’s no consolation when you start to pitch your tent and find something that hasn’t had near enough time.

I truly don’t understand the thought process, or lack of one, of somebody who leaves such things near a camp, or sometimes right in a trail. At least wander off and dig a hole. Do something other than the barnyard technique. If someone leaves a door ajar we ask if they were born in a barn. Sad to say, some individuals need to be asked if they were potty trained in a pasture. That’s not even littering, it’s . . . never mind. It ends in ittering and rhymes and is probably the perfect term, but I’ll let it go. This is a family paper. Sorry. I’ll get back on track here.

Most folks observe the rules, which coincide nicely with common courtesy, and I don’t want to give the impression this is a major problem in Hells Canyon. But it does take place and I can’t imagine anyone enjoying the discovery of such things.

So I specifically asked Mike if we would be picking up poop.

“What? no,” he said. “Don’t be silly.”

I signed on as a cleanup volunteer and arrived at the Forest Service office to be greeted with this question: “So, you ready to pick up some poop?”

Wire. I can handle packing out wire.

First, the good news. Hells Canyon looks great in January. Bighorn sheep, elk, deer, golden eagles, bald eagles, receding hairline eagles, hawks, herons, owls, wild turkeys – wild things all over the place down there. Sweatshirt weather during the day and the stars at night were bigger and brighter than inside the left ventricle of Texas. Just gorgeous.

And then – sigh – there was the doodie. One specimen, behind the old ranch house at Cache Creek, I didn’t mind checking out, as it was either left by a big ol’ coyote or perhaps a middlin’ wolf.

Who's afraid of the big brown loaf?

By the way, heard the news about wolves being in Wallowa County? I’m no scat expert, but I do know if it has a bunch of deer hairs it probably wasn’t left by a human. And if there’s Charmin next to it, the odds are slight it was left by a canid.

As for the other specimens, watch for CSI: Campsite. My new TV series where I hire other people to take DNA samples from objectionable souvenirs left where they shouldn’t be. These samples will be processed in a forensics lab to learn the home address of the guilty party. A sign advertising ‘Public Toilet’ will then be placed on their front lawns, following the logic of the homeowner that it’s OK to go boom-boom where others will not be able to avoid encountering such a thing. I think it’s only fair. Poetic, even.

A litter box. Some idgets treat Hells Canyon like a litter box.

I want justice. I want people with opposable thumbs and big brains with supposed rank above animals to start acting like it. I want to volunteer again to clean up Hells Canyon campsites and not need a kitty litter scoop. I don’t think that’s an extravagant request. Hells Canyon is a treasure. Being around a treasure is supposed to make you want to bury things. Follow that instinct if you can’t go by the rules and pack it out.