Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Presenting my new favorite photo

Lazy Uncle recliner at the Crawford residence, with Anna and tiny Jack.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

These birds are doing one of two things

I go out my front door a couple mornings ago, it's nosehair-freezing cold and I see a commotion underway, which looks to be a little chickenhawk or some such bird tussling with another bird out on the snow.

The snow, I say, the snow's so deep the farmers have to jack up the cows so they can milk 'em.

The snow's not really all that deep and this probably isn't a chickenhawk, but if both were true then that Foghorn Leghorn quote would have been about the best thing ever.

Before I got my camera the bird underneath was flailing its wings all around and what I thought was going on was some Trials of Life action on a cold morning with a hawk-like creature having picked off a quail, which bobble around my yard a lot.

It looked like the bird on top was eating the bird on the bottom. I mean, look at this –

But then top bird flew off and I expected to see it carrying a quail. 

Instead, now there were two of the same looking birds and they were flying around all zippity together, like everything was fine.

So I thought . . . no, it can't be. Surely romance can't be in the air when the air is single-digit cold.

Can it?

There are worse ways to stay warm, I guess.

So I went to investigate and found the wing fluttered snow with a little dislodged feather and a spot of blood.

Can't really see either in this photo, but I don't know how to photoshop in yellow circles to point this stuff out.

So I don't know what those birds were up to. Either (edited) or fightin', I guess.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stomach cancer success story

Five years ago Mike Jordan learned he had a bad case of the stage-four stomach cancers.

And stomach cancer found out it had a bad case of the Mike Jordans.

Mike Jordan won that war.

Here's to your clean bill of health, Michael. Hallelujah.

Waltzing Right Out

'And Furthermore' Wallowa County Chieftain, January 2013

 My New Year’s resolution last year was to not make any New Year’s resolutions this year. I’ve broken most of my resolutions in the past, so it seemed best to break the cycle. But I’m going to break my resolution to not make resolutions because I came up with an even better approach. The weak link responsible for breaking previous resolutions was always me, so I realized I should just make New Year’s resolutions for other people. This is a much better system.

I’ll start with the important stuff. Road construction traffic flaggers, this resolution is for you. This year I don’t want you motioning toward the only possible route to take more than once per car. I know you’ve got a job to do. But believe me, we all know which way to go. We can see the bright orange cones. Not only can we can see the other line of cars that just went by, we’ve been praying for them to get here. The flashing light on the pilot car with a gigantic FOLLOW ME sign does a fantastic job of getting the message across. We get it.

Tom Farnam practicing tai chi with a road sign.

Yet you insist on pointing and waving and pointing and waving as if you’re going to avert some kind of disaster. The only people who would need that much instruction are screened by the DMV because they don’t issue drivers licenses to infants. So, please. Just stop with the constant arm waving. Every time you do that I feel obliged to act confused and pretend I’m going to drive over the cones like I don’t understand and I say we just call a truce. You can make your one arm motion per vehicle and stop at that. Just turning the sign around to SLOW is more than enough. But I’ll give you the one arm motion as a compromise. Thank you. That’s been bothering me for quite a while.

Now, pedestrians crossing our Main Streets out here, I’ve got a resolution for you. This may be unpopular with the Tourism Board because it’s directed at visitors. It’s pretty common practice out here for rigs to stop and let people walk across the street. It’s one of those quaint country living things. Courtesy. I’m all for it. But it’s a two-way street, this courtesy. According to a survey I did this past tourism season, everybody eating an ice cream cone on Main Steet in Joseph just waltzed right out in front of my truck paying no never mind. I know that’s not how it works in the city because there wouldn’t be anyone left in the city if that’s how you operated.

So my resolution for people about to walk out in front of me this year is that you look up first and wait half a second. I will slow down and wave you across – not more than once because that’s the new limit  – then you will say, Gosh, people sure are nice out here and that will be it. Otherwise I’m going to park, get out and start following you around, walking slowly across your path as you try to go about your business.

That’s about as far as I got on making resolutions for other people. Let’s see . . . world peace, I guess . . . no, I take that back. Most everybody’s been calling for world peace off and on since way back and it doesn’t seem to do any good. So I’m sticking with courtesy. Everybody, your New Year’s resolution for this year is just courtesy. It’s a nice one-word shorthand for “Do unto others” and “Walk a mile in someone’s shoes” and all those other fine guidelines that seem to lose traction at the first sign of friction.

You don’t even have to be especially nice. You can not like someone or something and still be courteous. It will look like sarcasm maybe, but that’s just a risk you’re going to have to take.

So Happy New Year to everyone in Wallowa County, also the fine folks at the Mayan calendar factory and everyone else out there. Now go be courteous.

Jon Rombach is a local columnist for the Chieftain. His mom taught him to look both ways before crossing the street. And to be courteous. She’s a nice lady. You’d like her.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Free Neutering for Brass Monkeys

Cold out there. Colder'n a gut-shot bitch wolf dog with nine suckin' pups pullin' a number four trap up a hill in the dead of winter in the middle of a snowstorm with a mouth full of porcupine quills.

That, I should mention, is some Tom Waits that I neither googled nor listened to again to be sure, so I could be off, but pretty sure them lines are engraved in my grey matter. Can't remember my pin number to the new debit card, but I've got Tommy Waits lines firmly committed to memory.

Notice the zero. And notice the red thing under it. That's the thermo at 8 this morn.

 And this is a horsey in the cold.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Heated doghouse floor

Miss Bula got an upgrade to her log home with radiant heat flooring, aka a heating pad from the hardware store under a new poofy foam mattress and upholstery.

Actually, it's wall-to-wall poofiness. I figured what the hell, pad the sides too. The arms and back on my couch have padding and she seems to like crawling up there, so let's give this house the full treatment.

Teaching her to use the controls wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. For an old dog she picked right up on it.