The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Ramona's picture

    The Oregon Stand-Off That Wasn't. Isn't. Ain't.

    You should know I'm writing today not to inform or enlighten but simply to make fun.  Those militia guys in Oregon holding the Malheur Wildlife Refuge building hostage are like big-footed rodeo clowns in cowboy hats and their pratfalls are just too good to pass up. 

    (Don't judge me, okay? I'm from Michigan.  It's hell there, where it's not the citizens taking over the government, it's the government taking over the citizens--and not in a good way.  I need a laugh.)

    The backstory in brief:  The Hammond family, ranchers leasing federal land in Oregon, near where the "stand-off" is taking place, were accused of deliberately setting fires on government property. The alleged violations vary from covering up an illegal deer hunt to burning down forests, either to create firebreaks or to create more grazing land.  They've been embroiled in court battles for years, trying to make the case that even though the Feds (that's us) own the land, the fact that they pay good money to lease it should give them the right to lay waste to it if they so choose.  They see themselves as homesteaders, with the ultimate goal complete ownership.  The Feds keep saying "uh-uh".

    Enter the sons of Cliven Bundy (remember him?), who live in Nevada but got wind of the Hammond's plight in Oregon and decided it was time to resurrect an armed insurrection against the gov'mint.  And, since they and their cohorts are apparently between jobs with plenty of time on their hands, now was as good a time as any.

    They went on up there on their own, without so much as an invite from the Hammonds and found to their surprise that. . .OMG. . .they weren't even welcome!  In fact, the Hammonds and their neighbors got downright hostile, putting up signs that read, "Bundy Militia go home"  and "No Bundy caliphate".  So the Bundy Bunch took it on themselves to occupy a vacant Fish and Wildlife building instead.  For God and country and something, something. 

    Someone said they just happened to find a ring of keys near the building, which kind of takes away from the whole potential shoot-em-up, bust-in-there-by-god scenario, but the point is, they took over a government building.  Armed to the teeth.  With guns and everything.

    Everything except warm socks and toilet paper and snacks, which can be a problem in the Oregon boonies in winter. So this motley handful of brave men took to Facebook to rally the troops, sending out requests for supplies, releasing a (irony alert!) United States Post Office box number so that shipments can arrive safely.

    At first the Bundy bunch said they were willing to stay there forever, if necessary.  They said they might have to kill or be killed.  They have guns.  They have ammunition.  They have an old guy sitting under a blue tarp who appears to be their PR person.  He talks to the press, who seem to have no problem coming and going. 

    In fact nobody seems to have a problem coming or going, including the Bundy bunch:

    Their supplies look to be dwindling and militia men who overtook the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon have pleaded with sympathizers to send food, but law enforcement tell TPM that the men are free to resupply on their own.  
    "Right now, they are allowed to come and go as they want," says Bill Fugate, a spokesman for the Oregon State police. 

    This is not turning out the way the Bundy boys wanted it.  Even their father, the notorious Cliven, is confused by it:

    “I don’t quite understand how much they’re going to accomplish,” Bundy said. “I think of it this way: what business does the Bundy family have in Harney County, Oregon?”

    To add to the insurrectionists' embarrassment, County residents at a town hall meeting yesterday gave nearly unanimous approval for the "siege" to end:

    Multiple residents volunteered to travel with Ward to the refuge Thursday morning and ask the militants to go. “Someone from Harney County, or a group of us, needs to tell them we recognize what you’ve done, but it’s time for you to go home to your families,” said county resident Rob Frank.
    Frank said he sympathizes with the group’s anti-federalist views, but believes their tactics will fail to accomplish anything. “They’re welcome to leave, and I’ll escort them out of the county,” said Ward, who added that he didn’t want to see the situation end in bloodshed.
    Earlier in the day, Bundy said he and the other people at the refuge did plan to leave eventually. “There is a time to go home. We recognize that,” he said. “We don’t feel it’s quite time yet.”

    I'll be honest: I'm hoping it's not over before I finish this.  I sincerely want to make fun and I have a feeling the ending won't be nearly as flat-out wacky as what's happening right now.  A big fat nothing is my guess. 

    So let's go on with the show.

    I'm begging you.


    (Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices and Crooks and Liars)



    I'll be honest: I'm hoping it's not over before I finish this.


    Yeah, a big fat nothing burger is my guess, too.

    The Bundy's, not Al and Peggy, but the other Bundy's, look like they're trying to drum up off season jobs for themselves. It's kinda slow on a ranch in the wintertime. So, why not travel around to places where a little bit of anti-government sentiment is brewing and try and stir the shit a little? Plus, there's always a chance they can shoot their guns.

    Reminds me little bit of those protest groups that went around to the communities that wanted to accept the child refugees from Central America to try and discourage any placement in homes in the area. The protesters weren't even from those communities. They just wanted to stir the shit.

    But, at least they didn't ask for snacks.

    Still.  I mean, can't those Bundy's do jigsaw puzzles in their off time instead?

    Still.  I mean, can't those Bundy's do jigsaw puzzles in their off time instead?

    A little community service would be good, too.

    These nuts are following people around town. The local sheriff noted that they were following his family including his parents. The local tribe noted they would be dead if they took over the refuge. These idiots have done more to verify the double standard minorities face from law enforcement. They also demonstrate to white Conservatives that these militia members are a clear and present danger. Anyone who does not ahead to the bizarre Biblical and Constitutional interpretations of the nitwits is at risk.

    It seems a bit odd to me that some people talk about the National Forests belonging to 'us' but apparently not to the people who live there and depend on them for survival. I agree and have observed that some ranchers abuse their leased lands but they cannot destroy them and survive, they have to maintain them at some level of productivity to profit now and in the future from their use. Whatever the Feds say the precautionary and remedial fires set by the rancher in Oregon were not attempts to destroy the forest and i doubt they were hiding poaching, locals know how to poach and setting fires only attracts the Feds.

    There is little that is natural about these landscapes they have been clear-cut long ago and the regrowth has to be managed or the catastrophic wildfires we have seeing recently will destroy much of these forests permanently and it may already be too late.

    The militia takeover in Oregon is just a symptom of a dying way of life and security in the rural West and it started here in NM with the Catron County War over the Spotted Owl and logging, the Feds won and the local economy collapsed.  The owl was saved, for a while, but the forest it needed for survival was completely destroyed in two catastrophic wildfires a few years ago.


    There's an old cliche, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." Most of your facts are wrong.

    There's not enough land in the Maheur refuge for the people to survive on. Only a few ranchers could use it. They could make a very good living perhaps even get modestly rich using land they didn't own but the benefits to the community would be minimal.  If everybody tried to run cattle there each resident would only get to run a few cows. No one could survive on that. Those who survive on tourism from bird watchers would lose out if cattle over ran the refuge. It's about competing interests and the Tragedy of the Commons.

    Areas like the Maheur refuge were never clear cut. They weren't old growth forests but sagebrush prairie. Totally different ecosystem.

    I don't know about the spotted owl in NM but I did follow the controversy in Washington and Oregon. While it's true that loggers lost jobs when clear cutting the old growth forests was stopped the job loss was inevitable. Over 90% of the old growth forests had already been clear cut with the remnants mostly on federal land. The loggers could have worked for maybe a dozen more years until every last bit of the old growth forests were cut down to the last tree. Then the jobs would have been gone. The choice was when not if the jobs were lost.

    I'm not sure about this area of Oregon but if there are junipers it is a transitional area around the ranchers land, these areas were cleared for rail ties and mine timbers and Mona wrote above they were charged with burning down 'forest'.

    This story is about one rancher who the Federal Government has been trying to force off his 10,000 private acres to add them to the refuge not about adding more ranches. This is how the important, if ignored, story of how these rural areas economies are destroyed for seemingly good reasons especially to those people who don't live there. If the Hammonds sell their ranch to the government or Nature Conservancy who gift it to the government there will be no more taxes paid to local schools or any of the other money spent by the ranch in the community

    Tourism and its low paying service jobs are not a desirable replacement for a productive economy but these rural people have no real power against the Feds and the Liberal 'it belongs to us' backers. If they discover oil or gas under this refuge expect the great stewards of Our Lands to quickly have the oil companies lining up their drilling rigs all around this reserve.


     I won't apologize for my "it belongs to us" attitude.  If it weren't for those few leaders and activists who fight against privatizing and paving every inch of our land we would have no open spaces, no public lands.  The western land leases are a fair compromise and most of us understand why they're permitted.  Eminent domain is not the issue here; these ranchers entered into lease arrangements with the Feds and now they want more.  They want to own the property they've been leasing, turning public land into private land.  There will probably come a day when all of the US falls into private hands, but not now.  I'm happy to say.

    It is the US government that turns our land over to private interests for exploitation, the most recent was John McCain's sponsored but  bipartisan supported transfer of sacred Apache land in AZ to a foreign mining interest.  While these somewhat misguided reactions from local western interests are seeking more local control not private ownership of these lands. Powerful moneyed interests have influence at both levels, state and federal, so the locals would probably get screwed anyway and local stewardship is no guarantee of wise use of the lands because these people depend on exploitation of  the land for their livelihood.

    The root of the problem is there has been little or no compromise by the Feds and no remedies for the dramatic damage to local economies caused by these land restrictions and removals from local use.

    The Feds use these high profile environmental victories for PR and to attract praise from the big Enviro NGOs while at the same time opening the Arctic to  oil  drilling and many other business deals across the country including tar sands mining in Utah.

    These militia actions are quite pathetic and most rural people in the West are resigned to their fate of being the last generation of somewhat independent people on the frontier.

    The land belongs to the Paiutes. The Bundys are white supremacists who want to give the land to white ranchers. The Paiutes seem to be more willing to work with the US government who is protecting sacred artifacts rather than the Bundys who want to steal the land. The Paiutes were cheated by the US government and now the Bundys want to cheat them again. The Paiutes are the truly independent frontier people in this situation, not the ranchers.

    While the white supremacists who came to get a government handout are the focus of the story. The real story is the theft of Paiute land promised to them in a treaty.

    I also won't apologize. Those "productive" economies were based on exploitation and destruction. I doubt you're ignorant of that fact and I doubt you would want to see a return to such destructive practices. But for the sake of argument I'll pretend I think you're serious.

    I live on a mining ghost town on 360 acres of fenced in private land surrounded by the Coronado National Forest. I've lived here 5 years and I hike everyday. The effect on the land from cattle grazing is worse than I read before I moved here and saw it first hand. Every run off lake except the two lakes on the property is an open cow sewer. There's no fish, no aquatic wide life. In the summer the waters bubbles from the decaying cow shit. Locals come here to swim because the lakes on the "public land" aren't usable by the public.

    Luckily the rancher that has the grazing permits for this area rarely uses the watershed above the Ruby lakes. The one spring he did it caused a massive fish kill in our lakes when the monsoon rains washed the shit into our lakes. The lakes recovered but if he grazed his cattle there every year that would be the end of the last small lakes in the National Forest.

    I've been told by three Arizona Fish and Game and National Forest employees that only 1% of American Cattle graze on public land. I was surprised it was so low. I haven't been able to independently verify that but considering that 3 different people at 3 different times who work in this field came up with the same number I tend to trust it. Considering the destruction I'd like to see all grazing on public land ended. A person isn't independent if they're relying on grazing permits on public land. It's a welfare program for a few wealthy ranchers.

    Whether they started the fire to hide their crime or not the Hammonds admitted to poaching three deer at one time, three! That was likely the whole small herd likely all females. Males are solitary. That was probably not the only time they poached on the refuge that year. If every resident around the Maheur Refuge took three deer a year the next year there would likely be no deer. As a hunter I'm appalled by such greed with no consideration of sustainability or the rights of the other hunters, their neighbors, in the area. And you're actually defending such behavior.

    I could discuss the toxic wastes left behind by miners in this area that I've seen with my own eyes. That's the legacy of the productive economy that you're defending. So I won't apologize that I don't want to go back to it and in fact would like to see more stringent environmental regulations.

    I have to make an effort to remember when a shortage of deer was a problem. I summer on a once deer- free island. At some point-according to local legend- a yacht coming from the mainland fished a swimming deer out of the water and took them to the shore.This one. Then brought another deer to be a mate of #1.

    We now have an over abundance of the animal. Not their fault of course. 

    It depends on where you live. I grew up in Pennsylvania and now I'm living in southern Arizona. Totally different bio-regions. And totally different in population pressure and wilderness acreage. In Pa hunting regulations allow taking both antlered and anterless deer. In Arizona a deer must at least have a spike. There's not enough rain here and not enough grazing to sustainably allow hunters to take females. Also there are still large predators in the west. There are several mountain lions just in the area I live in as well as bobcats and coyote packs. Mountain lions are hard to spot but I've seen some two times. Bobcats and coyotes aren't big deer hunters but if we don't want to drive the lions to extinction there needs to be sufficient herd animals for them to feed on.

    Some people in all rural areas poach but it's only a small percentage of hunters. If every hunter poached we'd wipe out the deer population in the arid west. Locals accept a moderate amount of poaching but when someone gets out of hand there's push back. In the west deer herds are small,  3 to 6 females and kids. When someone begins to take out a few deer at a time or wipes out whole herds the rumor mill spreads it throughout the community and the peer pressure condemnation is felt by the offending party.


    I don't doubt that the Feds make dumb moves when they're trying to balance the scales on productive vs. destructive land use, but past experience tells us that ranchers and farmers aren't the greatest at being stewards of the land.  Their interests are in their bottom lines, understandably, while our interests are in preserving lands for future generations.

    But I still say that Bundy Bunch is funny.

    And thanks, OK, for your story.  I would love to hear more about your experiences out there

    Not all ranchers are good stewards of grazing land but the state and the Feds don't seem to be doing their management job in your area, what have they said or done about these problems? I've seen similar problems here in NM and had the same reaction but a compromise could be reached that protects both the environment and the people who live there. This problem becomes more complicated when the ranch owner is not local or even a rancher.

    Pushing people off the land and out of work along with undermining local economies because they are small seems to me to be rather cold and calculating, even selfish. This is what happens when people with different histories and lifestyles don't find ways to cooperate or at least interact directly, they become enemies and seek to destroy the Other. The rancher makes an easy target but they are only a part of the local people and economy although an important part. If they are removed all the little people who service them will suffer and there will be more Ghost Towns throughout the West.

    There are 330 million people in the US mostly in cities who demand gadgets and other modern conveniences so if you want to stop mining or other exploitation and destruction you have to deal with them first. If you are just a NIMBY proponent you are supporting exporting the destruction to someone else's back yard. Even with the strict regulation on mining we have now it is still destruction and produces pollution although it is better contained now.

    If you don't mind my asking, what drew you to living in a ghost town?

    Not everyone thinks the Feds are the bad guys or that public lands are the scourge of the west.  There's this guy. And then, hoo boy!  There's this woman.

    Good links. Mona they help to keep this issue superficial and about these outsider extremists. The first one cleverly portrays anyone wearing a western hat as extreme and then goes on to promote bird watchers as the economic demographic that will save the poor rural westerner if they would only submit to the better educated experts and their statistics. The clown who wrote this drivel did use the passive aggressive format to claim that he 'knew'  some Good Ranchers who know how to behave and accept their fate.

    The second link  about the understandably irate local rancher's,  certainly no Xtian fundamentalist, rejection of these outsiders bringing bad PR to their area was informative because she mentioned the High Desert Partnership a progressive sounding org that is supposedly addressing the underlying issues in a harmonious cooperative way. I visited their site and they have an impressive list of collaborators including all the federal agencies, a number of the powerful national Enviro orgs and locals. They are connected with other regional and state orgs and have been operating for about a decade, i think.

    With all of this backing and expertise I expected to find some success stories or at least progress reports about this area of Oregon and the rural people they claim to be assisting. What i discovered was that they have big plans and proposals and have created some well paying jobs for their leadership and other professionals along with securing grants from the usual sources while printing glossy web pages to attract donations. At least one Oregon university is involved and they're probably getting nice grants for their researchers and paper writers to assist in this and other similar projects.

    They did mention the forest thinning projects, invasive juniper clearing and how in the future their might be some local benefit from the wood cleared in these projects if a market can be found, biomass was mentioned. Other than that there wasn't much except rhetoric and offers of education for local youth underwritten by Colin Powell's America's Promise.

    There was a project to remove the carp, by fishing them out, from the lake in the preserve that could have produced some temporary work for local youth and others but these  wise leaders hired a private fishing company to profit from that project.



    Great work, Peter.  I'll be waiting breathlessly for your report on the Bundy bunch and how their militia (and others like them) aid in community services, employment, and land stewardship.

    I may have overwhelmed you with my fact finding report about the lack of real improvement in the lives of rural people in Oregon but your snide projection about the Bundy bunch was uncalled for.

    I thought i made it clear i support the local people, including the irate rancher woman, not outsiders neither Bundy nor the ineffective Big Enviro orgs.

    What's overwhelming is how you could read those articles and call them "superficial".  There is nothing superficial about the woman's response:

    The Harney County resident of 64 years explained that she was a rancher and had devoted years working with officials to modernize the handling of federal lands.

    "The progress we've made in this community compared with the sh*t we went through years ago when you could not stand in talk to a manager," she told the crowd. "Granted, it's not a lot of progress but it's coming."

    Marshall pointed out that an organization called the High Desert Partnership was already working "damn hard" for the residents of Harney County.

    "We are the poster child of the ranching community, of the environmental community, of the government community!" she exclaimed. "Have we ever had anybody put together a refuge plan in this god damn nation? Hell, no, we haven't! But it happened here and it happened in Harney County."

    The rancher begged residents "not to destroy everything we're doing because we have to make a stand for everything in the god damn past."

    "This is our time now! It is not what we did 100 years ago or 60 years ago or 30 years ago!" Marshall shouted. "It's our moment right now. We don't know our future, but I'll tell you what. It's better than what we had.

    It's clear that the Feds aren't going away and they have the power. That may or may not be a good thing, but it's a fact.  The people in those communities know they have to work WITH the Feds and not against them. That's the point of both of the articles I cited.

    I already said that i agreed with Marshall's statement about the outsiders but the rest of her opinion/appeal was weak as my research of HDP showed and she even admitted to 'not a lot of progress' even though they are working 'damn hard'

    Marshall's  statements are not the most superficial, that award goes to the fringe Liberal blogs and twitters  that cherrypicked her statement  from among 30 others at that meeting as representing the positions of local ranchers and residents.

    A local newspaper offered a less Facebook oriented and more comprehensive account of the well attended meeting. The speakers and crowd  rejected the occupation but many appreciated the national exposure that it brought to their never ending problems with the Feds. The largest applause was for speakers who addressed those problems not the squeaky-wheel appeal of one woman.

    The Refuge is on ancestral Paiute land. The white ranchers have no standing. They are trying to steal Paiute land.

    There may be a solution for this standoff if the Feds make a deal with the Paiutes (Water Utes) for a share of the grazing and tourist revenues from the refuge. Infiltrating and disarming these, none to bright, outsiders after delivering a peace offering of a case of good whiskey should be easy.

    The only problem that might arise is if the people who the Paiutes stole this land from decide they have rights to this land and demand their share.

    If you can find those people, they can lay claim to the land. The Bundys and the ranchers want either a government handout or the theft of ancestral land.

    Like many others here there's a limit to how much I will talk about my job. I don't want to publicly post things that might draw negative attention to the historical site where I'm the caretaker.

    I don't think the management of this national forest is any different than the management of federal lands in similar bio-regions. Cattle didn't evolve in the arid west and are different from native species. Deer and other native herd animals are browsers. They are constantly on the move. Cows are grazers. They stay in one place until they have consumed everything edible down to the ground before they move on. That alone is destructive to this arid ecosystem. They also need more water than native species so they tend to hang around ponds.

    In these mountainous regions there are numerous pockets that fill up during the monsoon season and many never dry out. Since they are just run off ponds, not stream or spring fed, they vary considerably in size over the year. As much as half or even a quarter as large as the peak during the monsoons. As the lake shrinks during the dry season the cows move in to drink, and shit. When the monsoons come the lake expands and all that shit is submerged.

    A couple of decades ago there was some push to fence in the lakes and water the cattle some distance away in troughs. But all that costs money. The ranchers don't care about the quality of the lakes beyond that the cattle can drink it. The national forests and BLM land is underfunded.

    Perhaps your NM federal lands is not mountainous and a different bio-region and doesn't have this problem. But I'm sure there is destruction and environmental degradation from grazing of non native cows there.

    PS to add: As to your comments on mining, I would question how much mining is done on public land and now much is already done on private land. If the proportion is similar to the beef industry where only 1% of American cows are grazed on public land than it can be curtailed. But I haven't advocated no mining on federal land. I've simply pointed out that much of the mining done in the past left toxic residue. Any future mining done on public land should be priced at market value and there should be strict environmental regulations for both the operations as well as reclamation. Pubic lands shouldn't be used as a welfare program for a few wealthy ranchers or a few mining corporations.

    Thanks for replying and i am a bit envious of your job even if it is in a damaged area of our forest/mountain  lands, Frontier  history especially in the Four Corners states is fascinating and i investigate it whenever possible.

    I fought forest fires in NM and CA and worked in the forest but was never able to stay and settle but have spent many years camping, hiking and fishing mostly in the Gila Wilderness, an untouched area as all wilderness is.

    The lakes you describe may be natural water catchments or just cattle tanks built by the rancher or FS but in either case they are stagnant and quickly become anaerobic unfit for fish or recreational use, the bubbling you observed shows that.

    It's true that cattle didn't evolve here but neither did humans and we have modified our environment and have to manage not just cattle but also the native animals in our modified forests and grasslands. We have to use hunting to control deer populations because we  exterminated the wolf and Grizzly bear from the SW mountains. Because of this meddling with nature deer  population irruptions did enormous damage to the Kaibab and Gila forests in the early 1900's and altered these forests permanently. Aldo Leopold, who headed the Forest Service here at that time, wrote about  these disasters and developed his scientific management ideas because of them, Zane Grey wrote a novel about the 100.000 deer herd on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and a futile attempt to herd 25,000 deer across the canyon to the South Rim to use them  as a tourist attraction, a sad story but based on actual history.

    NM federal lands are mostly located in our 87 mountain ranges with 222 10k+ peaks and the same problems with grazing occur here but it is being managed. Our biggest rancher is Ted Turner with three huge private spreads where he raises bison not cattle, one of his ranches is in the middle of NF land in northern NM. He is trying to show local ranchers that bison can  be an profitable alternative to cattle but it is a difficult animal to ranch.


    I'm not livng in a ghost town to live in a ghost town. It's just a job. I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of PA and always loved being out in  natural places. As a child I got interested in edible wild plants. As I got older I began to study botany and medicinal wild plants. Even as a teenager I went to even more remote places to camp and hike. Over the years I've looked for ways that I could make enough money to live a simple life that gave me as much free time as possible to spend time in wilderness areas or at least somewhat natural areas. As you've pointed out even most wilderness areas aren't truly natural as they've been clear cut and, hopefully, reforested. I'm just lucky to find a job with enough pay that allows me to live in the Coronada National Forest.

    We actually have more in common than you might think. While I didn't grow up on an organic farm my family put in a large organic garden, 150' by 200', enough, with freezing, canning, and drying, to grow all the vegetables we ate all year. We also had a large strawberry patch, asparagas patch, and numerous fruit and nut trees. So I've lived a nature based life from childhood both from a wilderness prospective as well as an agricultural perspective.

    While what we write here is important for saving the world and preventing the next comet strike, it'd be great if you find time to write down (elsewhere) some of this lifetime observance of nature and practical thoughts that might be lost on the next generation living in cities and dealing with decisions about land use and nature with no experience.

    I think it was you that posted the URL to the graph about where all the mammals are - humans, cows, pigs, horses and a few goats and not much else - I passed it on to my kid's geography teacher who was quite grateful.

    My wife this morning is showing me nice packaging of used stuff going out - not much profit in that, but looks amazing and will give the buyer a "wow" when they get it in the mail. The opposite of an Amazon mass distribution approach. She always buys nice real stamps in the post office instead of metered stamps - and over here we get some beautiful stamps, not homages to politicians. Something always special about getting a package covered in nice exotic pictures. 

    One day presumably the shift to uncaring hyper-efficiency will reap some peace dividends where we can restore some beauty - if we haven't destroyed any concept of it by then. And with eternal copyrights, we've even killed the tradition of passing on free stuff to later generations.

    While what we write here is important for saving the world and preventing the next comet strike, it'd be great if you find time to write down (elsewhere) some of this lifetime observance of nature and practical thoughts that might be lost on the next generation living in cities and dealing with decisions about land use and nature with no experience.


    It's not about time. Writing is a skill and an art form. I think I can tell a good story now and then with a group of friends but trying to convey feelings and emotion with just the written words is different. I really admire those who can write heart warming stories of their personal experiences and connect them together to an overarching theme. Like Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  Such a beautiful book about her experiences in nature. I always come off ponderous and dry when I write so I tend to restrict myself to subjects where ponderous and dry is an asset. But I may respond to your encouragement so I decided to post this disclaimer before/in case I do.

    Yes, "time" is a simplification. It's the horror of self-examination, the Zen of nonmovement in a chair, the masochism of putting intimate thoughts out in public, and other unappetizing aspects to writing. "Time" is the clean safehouse version, a euphemism. Good luck if you decide to take this mission.

    Ok, I love Annie Dillard and others who write like her. I've wasted a lot of time either trying to write like the writers I admire or deciding I could never write like them so why even try?  The key word is "wasted".  Writers write from their own experiences and in their own voices.  That's what makes them unique, and if they don't trigger something in one reader, they will in another. 

    If you have a story to tell, tell it.  Fear is the writer's worst enemy.

    Peter, I mostly see your posts as conspiracy laden screeds puncutated by humorous language twists meant to instigate readers predisposed to be angered by you. Great shtick.

    But once in awhile you present a position that while still somewhat polarizing is worth consideration. This comment isn't regarding any particular one; it's because I'm curious why you don't stick to the latter more often. Understand - I get that your persona is what it is. But if you want to actually be heard you can be.

    If you can, please explain what conspiracy laden screeds you are referring to. Conspiracies are common in our world but i usually try to debunk the weak or far fetched theories. We also live in a very polarized country and I think I am attempting to bring a less polarizing perspective to counter the 'this is our land', to hell with the people who live there, selfish attitude of some comments. I don't think any individual can speak for the whole country only themselves. The government controls this land and they, not the people, decide how it is used unless you believe the myth that the people control the government.

    I don't think I could or would compromise my persona to appease others or to seek recognition, some people will listen while others won't but I always welcome discussion and debate.


    I apologize for the delay, I've just now seen your comment.

    Rather than quote instances wherein I found your comments at least incendiary, and at best provocative, I'd much rather focus on the positive. That was my point - you have a voice that you rarely appear to use. And you've used it well towards the end of this thread and in your response to me, but not so much on a regular basis. Let's be real, Peter. You know what and why you write what you do. The choice is, of course, yours.

    I would never dream of asking or expecting you to compromise anything, or to change your persona for recognition. Silliness, that. All I'm saying is that you accomplish more of what you seem to desire - real debate - when you engage in it.

    Somewhat off the topic but  Malhuer  makes me think of the cautious Right Wing attacks on Obama for not wiping out Isis. Reminding me of the old saw about 'let's you and him fight'

    Right now there seems (don't know what the polls show) to be  fairly strong public support for a "splendid little war" against that particular lot of  Muslim fanatics and I anticipate right wing fringes positing Isis and Malhuer as twin examples of Obama wimpishness.  

    Along with his tearing up over Newtown.

    Oh well. 


    Flavius, I hereby render unto you the Dayly Line of the Week for this here Dagblog Site, given to you from all of me. hahahaahhahaha



    It just hit me. hahhhahahahaha

    There is something so very magical in this line

    When you're old enough you can dine out on lines that someone else invented  70 years ago. There's no joke like an old joke  . Forgotten.


    "Old saw" and all this fight talk reminded me....



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