Friday, August 03, 2007

Letter Home


Dear Ma and Pa:

I am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before maybe all of the places are filled.

I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m., but am getting so I like to sleep late.

Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there's warm water.

Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc, but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you till noon when you get fed again.

It's no wonder these city boys can't walk much. We go on "route marches", which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it's not my place to tell him different. A "route march" is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks. The country is nice but awful flat.

The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The Capt. is like the school board. Majors and colonels just ride around and frown. They don't bother you none.

This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don't know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don't move, and it ain't shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don't even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain't like fighting with that ole bull at home. I'm about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake. I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I'm only 5'6" and 130 pounds, and he's 6'8" and weighs near 300 pounds dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter,


Source: I got this joke in an e-mail.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Thleen-Git Legend of the Creation of Water

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A Thleen-Git (Tlingit) Legend of the Creation of Water - adapted by The North Star, Vol.4, No. 12, November 1891, Sitka, Alaska

When Yea'hl created the world for his people, Thleen-Git, he did not provide water for them to drink. Ganook, a most powerful chief and magician had control of all fresh water. Ganook lived in a distant world; it was almost impossible to gain access into the house where he jealously guarded the water. But Yea'hl was wise. The White Yea'hl must provide water for his people whom he had created.

After a journey of many days he came to the magician's house. The White Bird changed into a man. He saluted Ganook with the familiarity of an old friend, "I am cold, my noble partner, you have there a nice warm fire. You will let me warm myself?"

By some power Yea'hl exercised over Ganook he forgot for the time his precious water. The house was very warm, and after a time Ganook, the mighty magician fell asleep. Immediately Yea'hl changed into a beautiful white bird again. Filling his beak with the coveted water, he flew straight to the opening in the roof, which served as a chimney and ventilator to Ganook's house.

But the White Bird was not to escape so easily. The magician awoke and saw the trap in which he had been so artfully ensnared. "My powers, hold him I command you!" he roared. Instantly Yea'hl felt himself held by a thousand invisible chains. The magician built a fire of pitch and wet wood, from which a thick cloud of smoke rolled upwards and enveloped the White Bird completely.

When, almost dead, Yea'hl flew out into the world through the opening, he found himself totally black. The smoke from the fire of the wicked magician had blackened forever the beautiful white feathers. To this day the Raven is black. As he flew he dropped the water from his beak; the large drops made great lakes and rivers, small drops made ponds and springs.

Thus the Raven distributed water over the land which he created.

NOTE: I was reading about the current phonetic pronunciations of on wikipedia. They say /'tlɪŋkɪt/ is considered inaccurate. Far be it from me to disagree with whoever wrote that, but my Tlingit friends and relatives can't be all that wrong in how they pronounce the word that describes their cultural identity and langage, can they? LOL. Ha. Actually, I think the hundred-year-old phoentic "thleen-git" is not that far off.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Google Earth Challenge

It is interesting that I should find this Google Earth Challenge on Meeyauw's blog today, because I was reading about a nearby confluence in the other window. The Degree Confluence Project's ( goal is "to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location. The pictures, and stories about the visits, will then be posted" on their Web site. There is a confluence up at Lake Tahoe and I figured out where thanks to Google Earth. 39°N 120°W is located at the crook in the California and Nevada stateline (the white line in the picture below). By the way, I'm using Corel PSP to capture screen prints from Google Earth.

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I don't recall having heard that geographical trivia question about the Cal-Neva border coinciding with a confluence at that spot.

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But, I would know how to find the stateline at Stateline, Nevada. It's pretty easy to tell because there are no casinos across the street in South Lake Tahoe, California.

Okay, so on to other places of interest...

This is desert valley where I work. Or part of the valley.

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"Patrick" is about 10 miles from the edge of Sparks, Nevada in the desert. I think the post office calls it McCarren, Nevada. Anyway, it is just a business complex. No one lives out there. I work near one of the warehouses that picks up Dell computers off a chartered plane from Asia before shipping them out to US customers. I also work near a dog food factory that stinks the place up and backs up the traffic when the train is stopping by to get their product. Then there is the constuction company that has denuded the hill on their property, thus adds dust to the wind in the area. Last month there was a dust storm that was so fierce two of my coworkers had shattered windows in their vehicles. There is also an "adult entertainment complex" that gets the most traffic (Wikidepdia's description of the brothel).

Back in Reno...

This is where I live.

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It looks to me as though they caught Santa Claus on the roof in broad daylight. I can not figure out what that red shape is. Of course, I've yet to crawl around up on the roof.

Google Earth is so much fun! Type in someplace you want to see and it takes you on a "space ship" ride to the next destination.

The resolution of the ground images around Dillingham, Alaska where I lived prior to Reno is too poor to find my old house. Dillingham is located along the shores of Bristol Bay in Southwest Alaska.

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I added a few images using Panoramio. Maybe one will get added too Google Earth. It doesn't happen right away.

That is about all for now. Have a great day.

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Where the Hell is Matt?

Where the Hell is Matt?

I know I had this on my blog somewhere before but couldn't find it today. Google Earth has a special feature (Google Earth KML: Be Where Matt Was) where you can visit these places.

Old News

I enjoy checking out the National Geographic News (among other things on their Web site). This month they reported about Exotic Animals Rescued at L.A. Airport (Photo Gallery included).

The photo gallery article opens: "Smugglers often resort to extreme measures to bring illegal animals into the United States. [Two] lesser slow lorises, a type of monkey, were discovered in a man's underwear at the Los Angeles Airport in 2002."

Those poor monkeys. If you look at the image on National Geographic you'll note they look quite traumatized.

Can you imagine the looks that guy was getting on the plane when his monkeys were wiggling? Or when people heard him whispering at his crotch, "Would you sit still. Oh. No. Oh my. Ouch. Stop biting!"

Thank goodness that the monkey's survived their ordeal. CNN reported that the monkeys ended up at the Los Angeles Zoo.

I found this old blog post that gave a little more information about the guy with the monkey in his pants. Apparently, on appeal (the guy appealed the decision after he confessed to having monkeys in his pants and then produced them for authorities?), Justice Bedsworth commented, "There is no non-culpable reason for having monkeys in your underpants."

If there is no non-culpable reason for having monkeys in his underpants, other than the obvious he was trying to smuggle in pets for idiots that buy illegal animals, why did he have them there.

Do you suppose the person who put together the "RELATED STORIES" section of the photo gallery article at National Geographic realized that "sick puppy" has more than one meaning?

Sick Puppies Smuggled From Mexico for Sale in U.S. (January 30, 2006)

With regards to smuggling puppies from Mexico....

I don't get it. Don't these people realize that we have so many unwanted pets already in the United States that we have them murdered (euthanized for those of you that prefer that word?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI worry about the animal rights of "exotic pets". For most pets, actually. I don't think most people should own domestic dogs and cats. And, the desire to own exotic animals is something I am so pleased seems to be in decline. When I was a kid it was fairly common to know someone that owned a monkey or skunk or some other exotic pet. These days I only know parrot and macaw owners. They're the last of the exotic pets that we need to stop wanting to own. When I was a child I always wanted a macaw, until I realized just what I'd be destroying. You can read more about macaws at the Macaw Landing Foundation's website. If you're in the Portland, Oregon area you can arrange a visit. I'm not likely to run out and buy How to Save the World in Your Spare Time by Elizabeth May, but I do support causes that protect animals from idiots like the guy with the monkey in his pants.