Category Archives: Alaska

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

 We were very pleased the other day when we saw that one of these little fellows moved into the big lilac bush in front of our house.  This is not an actual photo of ours, just a representative sample of this little creature, a Least Weasel.  These little guys never stop moving around and we haven’t gotten a good photo yet.

What makes these little nonstop predators interesting is that they are not only the smallest of the Mustelidae, but that they are the smallest of the order Carnivora altogether.  They look like an elongated mouse with sharp little predatory teeth.  Their metabolisms require them to eat, a lot, so their constant movement is pretty much a nonstop search for mice, hibernating bugs and sleeping birds. They’re obviously good at it, because this is a widespread, successful, circumboreal species – they are found not only in North America but also Asia and Europe.

We’ve enjoyed watching ours when we can see him (yes, I’m presuming his gender), and it’s just great living in a place where we have these kinds of critters for neighbors.  We’ve named him Herman the Ermine.

And so…

On To the Links!

Jan 6, 2021 vs. the Summer 2020 riots.  Interesting stuff.

RIP, Sidney Poitier.  One of the greats.

Sieg Heil to you too, asshole.

Chuck Schumer can fuck right off.  More on that:  No, you weren’t, you mendacious, dissembling horse’s ass.

America is not a democracy.  No shit – I’ve been saying this for years.  But this writer wants America to move towards greater democracy, and away from what we are – a constitutional republic.  That would be disastrous.

Robert Stacy McCain brings us an Aspiring Rapper Update, and Still Another Aspiring Rapper Update.

Haw haw haw!Dogs and cats, living together – mass hysteria!

Purveyors of nitwittery on Amazon.  Who knew?

Russian thinks America is bluffing.  They’re probably right.

Honestly, Ford screwed the pooch on the new Bronco.  If they would have brought out a manual-transmission, normally aspirated V8, manual hubs, manual transfer case, crank windows and manual door-lock recreation of the original Bronco, I’d have been interested.  This doodad-laden thing?  Nah.

#EmptyShelvesJoe

Why can’t America win a war?  Because our military is now an equal-opportunity woke jobs program, not an organization intended to close with and destroy the enemy by overwhelming fire, maneuver and shock effect.

I love a happy ending.

This Week’s Idiots:

Adam Schiff-for-Brains is an idiot.

The LA Times’ Robin Abcarian is an idiot.

Too much bang bang from Fang Fang make Swallwell dumb dumb.

The New Yorker’s David Remnick is an idiot.

USAToday’s Derrick Johnson is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) continues to be a partisan hack, and an idiot.

An idiot loses her idiot platform at an idiot network.  At MSNBC, it’s idiots all the way down.

The Guardian’s David Daley is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Faith Hill is kind of a big deal in country music, and one of her best-known tunes is her 1999 song Breathe, from the album of the same name.  While the album cut of that song is good, there’s a version I like better; her 2003 television special When the Lights Go Down included a version of Breathe where she is accompanied by one of the immortals of rock & roll, none other than the great Carlos Santana. 

The video includes not only the performance but a few shots of Faith (who appears to be as nervous as a schoolgirl) meeting Carlos, and Carlos describing how her song had touched him, which is why he wanted to play it with her – and note, mind you, how he lets Faith take the lead, and just accompanies her with his typically brilliant guitar work.  A true professional and a great song.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Boy howdy, is it cold.

Brr!

Temps here in the Susitna Valley haven’t been above zero since Sunday, and overnight lows have been approaching twenty below.  But it’s Alaska, not Hawaii, so we kind of expect this kind of weather in January.  In fact, speaking only for Mrs. Animal and yt. obdt., we kind of enjoy it.  It’s not the cold so much that we enjoy, mind; it’s feeling proofed against it.

Our oil tank is full, we have plenty of firewood, our house is snug and well-insulated.  The pantry and freezer are both well-stocked.  In fact we could get by without having to go to the grocery store, probably, until the first of February.  We do have to go out to walk across the driveway to the office, but that little building is warm as well, although the heat there is electric; I’m going to eventually have to install something more efficient.

But, yes, by the time April rolls around, we’ll be more than ready for spring.  And so, with that said…

On To the Links!

Here’s the thing:  Show me where the word “democracy” appears in the Constitution.

This is known as belaboring the obvious.

Yeah, I’m sure that’s gonna go well.

Canadian gun owners:  “We will not comply!”

This is sure to end well.

The Squirrel Mafia invades Wales.  That’s just nuts.

Oh, sure, it’s OK for them to have pipelines.

This is also known as belaboring the obvious.

RIP Betty White. 

RIP Richard Leakey.

I remember when Scientific American was a respectable publication.  Not any more.  Now they’re engaging in anti-GMO kookery and tarring (hah!) respected biologist Edward O. Wilson as a racist.  Who do think they are – CNN?

Imagine the 2024 Democrat Presidential primaries featuring the dimwit Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex against Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua.  If that happens I’m buying stock in popcorn companies.  The debates alone would be hilarious.

Why the hell would anyone give a shit about Anthony Blinken’s Spotify playlist, and why the hell is the government paying someone with taxpayer funds to post this horseshit?

We can hope.

This Week’s Idiots:

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

David Axelrod is an idiot.

The Hill’s Alan Cohn is an idiot.

Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex (Repeat Offender Alert) is still an idiot.

NY Mag’s Ed Kilgore is an idiot.

The New York Daily News’ Norm Ornstein is an idiot.

CNN’s Dean Obeidallah is an idiot.

Salon’s Amanda Marcotte (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

The late Nineties and early years of the new century saw the explosion of digital music and streaming audio, which led to lots of little local and regional bands suddenly being able to gain a larger following.  One of those was the New England band Grey Eye Glances (originally Sojourn).  They had a neat, easy style, with a few peppier tunes like The Me You See and Halfway Back.  Of all their songs, one of my favorites is Angel, which comes from their 1997 album Eventide.  This is a nice, relaxing song, perfect for long winter evenings in a warm house.  Here is that tune – enjoy.

Rule Five Goodbye 2021 Friday

Well, it’s certainly been an eventful year.  January saw us gifted with another grandson, a 10-1/2 pound chunk that his parents call “Moose.”  This makes grandchild number six, three of each sort.  All of our offspring are doing just great, and the family’s happy progress through the year was  marred only the loss of one of my sisters to cancer.

When 2021 dawned, Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. were still residents of ever-more-loony Colorado, which is fast transitioning to California East.  But we had already purchased our new home in Alaska, and before the first month of 2021 was out we were officially residents of the Great Land.  We have to wait twelve months for resident hunting and fishing licenses and Permanent Fund eligibility, but believe me, it’s worth it.  This next year we expect to reap full benefit of Alaska’s wondrous hunting, fishing and other outdoor opportunities.

Just the bird hunting alone should keep us well-fed.  Right in our area we have spruce grouse and a few ruffed grouse; the limit is 15 per day, with 30 in possession, from which data we can conclude that there are shitloads of birds about, and our observations to date have supported that assessment.

Of our move, which we have worked towards and planned for twenty years or more, I can only say this:  Both of us are delighted with the transition, and agree that this was the best move – and perhaps the most timely move – that we have ever made in our life together.

Now, you ask, why would I add that ‘most timely’ remark?  Well, I’m a-gonna tell you.

I mentioned the ever-more-loony Colorado.  Well, with a few exceptions, most of the lower 48 went a little bit nuts this year.  The Kung Flu Panic is now in its second year, and the power-mad at various levels of government and corporate leadership show little signs of loosening things up, despite the ineffectiveness of their largely illegal actions to date.  A whole bunch of our major cities are seeing big spikes in violent crime, with several breaking all previous records on the murder rate, and local DAs and city pols seem unwilling to take any real action; indeed, they are in some cases actively encouraging it.

But up here in the Great Land, things are pretty quiet.  The Moo Goo Gai Panic has largely blown over, at least outside of Anchorage.  Some of our local friends have contracted the bug, but everyone we know suffered mild symptoms, stayed home for a week or two, and got over it, gaining some nice natural immunity in the process.  The only time we’ve seen masks is when we’ve had to go to Anchorage for some things; that city supposedly has a mask rule, but it’s widely ignored.  The exception to that is in the summer, where the presence of masks makes it easier to spot the tourists.

Crime isn’t an issue here, at least not the same way.  Alaska does have some problems; alcohol and drug abuse is an issue, especially in some of the more remote communities where isolation is a problem.  Some people don’t do well when isolated (although Mrs. Animal and I sort of enjoy it) and that problem is sometimes reflected in behavior.

But other crimes?  The fastest way I can think of to get shot hereabouts would be to kick in someone’s door in the middle of the night.  Almost everyone here has guns, not so much due to worry of home invasions but rather some of our larger, more aggressive wildlife, and that’s a pretty strong deterrent.

Meanwhile, in the Imperial City, we’re saddled with a supposed President who was a bumbling mediocrity throughout his tenures as a Senator and Vice President; now he’s a senile bumbling mediocrity that has to be carefully shielded from questions by an increasingly confused media.

His second-in-command, one 25th Amendment action away from the Presidency, is not even up to the level of a mediocrity; she’s a cackling harpy, one of the dumbest people to ever hold high office, and is only nationally known because of her rise to political prominence in California atop Willie Brown’s penis.

But wait!  There’s more!

One of the few silver linings behind this clusterfuck is that the GOP is looking to score an electoral landslide in the 2022 mid-term elections.  That’s a little encouraging; the Republicans are driving us off the same fiscal cliff, but a little more slowly.   But have you ever known a political party more adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?  And assuming they do win – well, I’ll give the Democrats credit for one thing, when they get power, they use it.  The GOP had complete control from 2017 to 2019.  Where was the Obamacare repeal?  Nationwide CCW reciprocity?  All the other stuff they promised?

Well, we’ll see.

In the meantime – to all you True Believers, who have been reading these virtual pages for the last year and will (one hopes) will continue reading – our fondest, warmest wishes for a happy, safe, healthy, productive and profitable 2022.  This evening, I will hoist one in your honor.  Prost!

Animal’s Daily Migration News

Ever thought of ex-pat-ing?  Read this:  In Biden’s America, Americans Should Go Where They’re Treated Best.  Well, quite.  The thing is, for some of us, that might not be America – not any longer.  Excerpt:

With President Joe Biden’s approval rating down to 36%, he is now more unpopular than his two predecessors ever were in office.

But, beyond politics, the very idea of America is losing luster. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (and rising) believe their country is headed in the wrong direction. For decades, it was assumed that America is the place to be an entrepreneur. The U.S. economy was synonymous with the American Dream. No longer: Upward mobility may be more alive in Canada than in America.

Indeed, upward mobility has been disincentivized, while the climbers are punished for daring to succeed. Government benefits are plentiful, while “taxing the rich” is the easiest refrain in politics. Under Biden’s Build Back Better plan, the average top tax rate on personal income would reach 57.4% in the United States — the highest rate in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). All 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., would impose top tax rates on personal income exceeding 50%.

Today’s experiment in Big Government won’t end well for the United States. But it will make entrepreneurs, investors, and other wealthy Americans reconsider their place in the world and reevaluate their options — and that’s a good thing. Countries should compete for residents. If people aren’t treated well in one country, why shouldn’t they go where they’re treated better?

People with means ultimately go where they’re treated best, and Americans are reaping the benefits of globalization more than ever before. From Croatia to the Caribbean, digital nomads across the socioeconomic spectrum are leaving one lifestyle for a better one. 

Look to see this trend continue.

This is our move writ large, to some extent; Mrs. Animal and I had planned our move to the Great Land beginning about twenty years ago, and while politics and economics weren’t the primary drivers for our move, over the last couple of years they greatly increased our anxiousness to have the move done.  Our primary drivers for selecting Alaska were the hunting and fishing, the scenery, and the 2nd-Amendment friendliness of the state; moving into a small community where almost everyone you meet is familiar was a big plus, too.

But the appeal of being an ex-pat, well, I guess I can see that – if you aren’t too determined to hang on to your gun collection, as the 2nd Amendment is something kind of unique to the U.S. – for now.  But yes, there are plenty of places that are more tax- and business-friendly than Biden(‘s handlers) America, and who knows if that will change?  Or are we still counting on the GOP to change that when/if they are in control again?  The same GOP that repealed Obamacare?  That gave us nationwide CCW reciprocity?  That removed the idiotic NFA restrictions on suppressors?  That GOP?

There’s a lot to like about Japan.

The “Tax the Rich” RHEEEEE is likely to continue, and of course the rich are the people with the most latitude to move off-shore, which will just continue the economic downfall of America.  It’s too bad.

It would take a lot to get Mrs. Animal and I to go ex-pat.  If we did have to – and I know this would mean giving up the gun collection – we would probably go to Japan, if they’d have us.  We already know the country and the culture, we like it there, Mrs. Animal speaks and reads Japanese, and other than gun ownership it’s a pretty decent place.  What about you, True Believers?  If you had to bail, where would you go?

Rule Five Climate Model Friday

Another interesting piece from Issues & Insights, this one on ugly climate models.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow.

The narrative that man is cooking his planet like an overdone Thanksgiving turkey has survived only because the media have propped it up. But we’re confident that eventually the story will collapse. The evidence does not favor the climate alarmists.

A most-recent example that should help tilt the scales back toward sanity: Researchers have found that warming in the Arctic Ocean is not a recent event that coincides with post-war industrial acceleration and the growth of automobile ownership. It began at the outset of the previous century.

According to a University of Cambridge study, the warming arrived “decades earlier than records suggest,” and is “due to warmer water flowing into the delicate polar ecosystem from the Atlantic Ocean,” says Science Daily

“The results, reported in the journal Science Advances, provide the first historical perspective on Atlantification of the Arctic Ocean and reveal a connection with the North Atlantic that is much stronger than previously thought.”

In other words, there are climate and environmental influences that still aren’t fully understood.

Like, all of them, pretty much.  Oh, sure, we understand weather enough to look at patterns and predict the weather 7-10 days out.  But climate is a different story, being as that (as generally accepted) climate works on longer time scales, from tens to hundreds of thousands of years.

Climate is also a vast, utterly chaotic system.  Deriving computer models to predict long-term climate changes is much like deriving computer models to replace animal testing in pharmaceutical development; the best computer models humans can produce are laughably crude compared to the natural phenomena they attempt to model.

While tremendously consequential, the Arctic findings themselves are only part of the story. What they imply is important, too. Researchers concluded “that their results also expose a possible flaw in climate models, because they do not reproduce this early Atlantification at the beginning of the last century,” says Science Daily.

Possible? There’s much to suggest that the models the world is expected to bow to have missed the mark by a wide margin.

“When the history of climate modeling comes to be written in some distant future, the major story may well be how the easy, computable answer turned out to be the wrong one, resulting in overestimated warming and false scares from the enhanced (man-made) greenhouse effect,” Robert L. Bradley Jr. wrote a few months ago for the American Institute for Economic Research.

That future may not be all that distant.  Even the militant green movement is beginning to shed supporters, a trend that will hopefully continue;  see Michael Shellenberger’s Apocalypse Never for an example.

Economist David R. Henderson and visiting Hoover Institution fellow Charles L. Hooper say that because “we have virtually no ability to run controlled experiments, such as raising and lowering CO2 levels in the atmosphere and measuring the resulting change in temperatures,” researchers “build elaborate computer models that use physics to calculate how energy flows into, through, and out of our planet’s land, water, and atmosphere.”

The models, therefore, “have serious limitations that drastically limit their value in making predictions and in guiding policy.” The data that are fed into them are so lacking in value that we should be skeptical of anything they spit out.

Reality will ultimately catch up to the climate hyperbole. And soon, we hope. The media and the politicians and activists whipping up and perpetuating fear are in line for a reckoning.

While the Appeal to Authority here is a bit weak – citing an economist on climate issues – the point is well taken.  Too many pols in Washington and activists all over the globe, like a certain Swedish teenager we could name, are screeching about the sky falling and wanting us to take action with devastating economic impact based on these flawed models.

But here’s the larger issue, and it’s one that I’ve brought up before on this topic:  Hubris.  Who the hell are we to determine what the Earth’s “correct” temperature range is?  This little blue-green sphere is a tad over four and a half billion years old.  Through most of that time it’s been a lot warmer than it is now.  As recently as the Eocene, maybe the Oligocene, there were no polar icecaps.  In the more recent interglacials, global temps were higher than now.  During the Roman occupation of Britain, there were vinyards that would not survive today’s British climate.  Here in the Great Land, at this time of year, a lot of us wouldn’t much mind a little bit of global warming.

Our oldest daughter has worked in emergency rooms for about fifteen years now.  One of her Laws of the ER is this:  “At a cardiac arrest, the first thing to do is to take your own pulse.”  In other words, stop, take a couple of deep breaths, and think for a moment.  The whole world could stand to follow this approach, not just on this issue but many others as well.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Starting Sunday evening, a winter storm came down on the Susitna Valley, dumping a foot or so of the white stuff on the country from Talkeetna north.  The week to come is supposed to be clear and cold, which will allow folks some time to dig out.  But down here south of Willow, it was kind of a nothing-burger; a couple of inches of nice fluffy snow and one mild day with some wind.  But rest assured, more snow will be coming.

Winter sunset in the Great Land.

The one down side on this winter weather is that we occasionally have doctor’s appointments that take us on the 90-minute drive to Anchorage.  In warmer weather, that trip is just annoying.  In winter, it can be downright unsettling.  But, as with everything, living in the Great Land comes with a few ups and downs – and believe you me, the ups sure as shootin’ outweigh the downs.

Now then…

On To the Links!

“Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledged Thursday that “transitory” is not the best word to use to describe rising inflation in the United States.”  No shit, Sherlock.

Quick answer:  No, there is no right to an education.

This should come as no surprise; the guy’s entire career has been a tissue of whoppers.

Yes.  It was his fault.

Now DeSantis Derangement Syndrome is a thing.  And will continue to be, I’m guessing; I expect him to run for President, if not in this cycle, then the next.

Speaking of which; uninformed libs RHEEEEEed over another DeSantis action and self-owned.  Hah.

What an asshole.

Rats leaving a sinking ship.

Still just thirty years away.

Racist and clueless.

Fun as that would be, nothing is ever permanent.

I’m surprised it’s as high as 22%.

Color me skeptical.

This Week’s Idiots:

Salon‘s Jim Sleeper is an idiot.

The American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner is an idiot.

Slate’s Jordan Weissmann (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Robert Reich is still a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

Slate’s Lili Loofbourow is an idiot.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Atlantic’s Barton Gellman is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Brewer & Shipley’s 1971 tune One Toke Over the Line has the distinction of having been banned from radio play over big parts of the country, due to the marijuana references mixed in with Biblical ones (I’m one toke over the line, sweet Jesus, one toke over the line).  Banning songs from radio play wasn’t unknown; when I was in high school, the Nazareth song Hair of the Dog was banned for the line Now you’re messing with a, a son of a bitch and everyone from that era is familiar with Charlie Daniel’s cleaned-up radio version of The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

Brewer & Shipley’s tune, while it upset some folks, most notably then Vice-President Spiro Agnew, is still kind of a fun, irreverent take on the culture of the late Sixties and early Seventies.  And the duo made up for the lack of radio play in some areas by performing this song at concerts across the country, most notably while opening for Melanie in 1971-72.

And here, for your enjoyment, is that song; take it or leave it, but I like it.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Winter’s on the way for most of the Forty-Eight.  But for us, it’s already here, and has been for some time!

First snow.

Last week saw our first significant snowfall here in the Great Land, with six inches of the white stuff landing on us Thursday and Friday.  This week it’s sunny all week, with high temps in the single digits and lows around zero.  Up here six inches of snow and single-digit temps are no big deal, mind you; this is, after all, Alaska, not Miami Beach.

With that comes shorter days, which is taking a little getting used to.  Right now it’s not really light until a bit after 0900, with the sun setting about 1600.  The next month will see some more shaved off of that, at least until the arc starts to bend back towards spring again.  But what we love about winter here is this:  The snow is a lovely, pristine white, and stays that way.  No city gunk messing up the view.  It’s like the land has pulled a clean white blanket of snow over itself, and will sleep until spring.

With that said…

On To the Links!

Will President Biden(‘s handlers) turn the U.S. military on the citizens?  And how will the military react?

It’s not so much that Democrats are engaging in “woke” stupidity.  It’s more that they’re actually incompetent.

We take our heroes where we finds ’em.

The current state of the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration.

Is President Biden(‘s handlers) the second coming of Herbert Hoover?  Well, given how things are at the moment, I wouldn’t rule it out.  Seems like lots of folks aren’t too happy about it.

More on that same note.

This is what happens when your primary criteria for a VP candidate are “brown skin and a vagina.”

Seems our ancestors took several tries at getting into Europe.

It’s not even The Police’s best song.

A meteor just gave Earth a haircut.  Yipes!

Keep your damn booger-hook off the bang-switch!  What an asshole.

No shit, Sherlock.

I’m wondering if this is the start of a trend.

Yes.

Holy crap!  A 128-foot long dinosaur.

President Biden(‘s handlers) throw Taiwan under the bus.

President Biden(‘s handlers) throw U.S. consumers under the bus.

We should all be really grateful that this asshole never ended up on the Supreme Court.

This Week’s Idiots:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Tony Norman is an idiot.

538’s Hakeem Jefferson and Michael Tesler are both idiots.

Jacobin’s Luke Savage is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a cheap partisan hack, and an idiot.

The New York TimesBryce Covert is an idiot.

The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington is an idiot.

The New Yorker’s John Cassidy is an idiot.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Brown is an idiot.

Bloomberg’s Allison Schrager is an idiot.

The Nation‘s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Being as stupid as MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross should be physically painful.

The Nation’s Kali Holloway is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Something a little different this week.

In 1998 Sunrise Inc. and director Shinichirō Watanabe released what was to be one of Japanese animation’s benchmark series:  Cowboy Bebop.  Having worked, lived in and traveled around Japan, I have a pretty good understanding on how prevalent anime is in Japanese culture, but it’s pretty damn common over here as well.  Some pretty serious work has appeared in the format, such as Mushishi, Ghost in the Shell and Spice and Wolf, but Cowboy Bebop set the standard, with well-choreographed action, good character development and an amazing soundtrack.

Now Netflix is bringing out a live-action adaptation.  I’m not sure how this will play out, but the trailer looks interesting.  We’ll see.  It starts this Friday, and I expect Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. will be tuning in.

Rule Five Six Decades Friday

Life is full of little milestones, and sometimes some larger ones.  Tomorrow morning, at around 8:00 AM, I will reach one of those more significant milestones:  Sixty years of age.

Age sixty doesn’t carry quite the senior-citizen status it did a few years ago, although I am beginning to see some of the benefits of that status, in odd little things like breaks on theater ticket prices, the occasional ten percent off on senior days at the grocery, and so on.  Probably the most significant of these benefits is a lifetime general hunting and fishing license here in our new Alaska home, which allows me to take a wide variety of fish, small and large game, and exempts me from the King salmon stamp and state waterfowl stamp requirements.  That’s nice, but what’s a little more interesting, for me, is to look back on these last six decades.  All in all, I’ve had a good time.

Not many folks are familiar with my birthplace:  Oelwein, Iowa.  The farm my parents were working at the time is gone now, having been absorbed into a wildlife refuge.  I spent most of my youth in Blackhawk and Allamakee counties.  But that’s just location.

I was fortunate in having strong, capable parents.  My father and grandfathers, as fine a group of men as ever drew breath, taught me early on the things a man needs to know to be a man:  Courage, determination, the value of education and, more than that, knowledge.  The value of work.  From all of them I learned what it was to maintain a rural home, to raise crops and stock, to hunt, to fish, to shoot straight, to build.  The Old Man was also an artist of some repute, for years one of his paintings always was on display in his dedicated place in the Iowa state capitol.

My mother was the first to show me what unconditional love meant, and also that a woman can fill what was then the traditional home-making role while being tough and capable – certainly not oppressed by anyone.  She was, as the Old Man would have admitted, a better angler than even he, and her knowledge of northeastern Iowa wildflowers was unmatched; botany professors from universities around the Midwest brought students to our Allamakee County home to have Mom escort them through our wooded hills and hear her describe the plants that grew there.

From that foundation I’ve moved through my life.  My time in the Army changed me, as the Old Man, a World War Two veteran, and my paternal grandfather, a Great War veteran, said it would, in ways that people who have not served would not understand.  That service also led me to the single greatest blessing of my life:  My own dear Mrs. Animal, who I met during Operation Desert Storm.

The values learned in my youth served well in my civilian career:  Hard work, perseverance, reliability.  Moving into self-employment as an independent consultant re-enforced those attributes, and I have now spent over half my career as such, in contract work.  Success in such depends on reliability; being known as the guy who can get the job done, on time if not ahead of time, on budget if not under budget.  In the course of that career I’ve been to some interesting places:  Japan, China, South Africa, Germany, Ireland, as well as all over Canada, Mexico and the United States.  Some of those places (Japan) I came to love; others (China) I don’t care if I never see again.  But I wouldn’t go back and change a thing; travel gives one a lot of perspective that may be gained in no other way.

Colorado was a great place to live when I moved there in the late Eighties, and Mrs. Animal and I loved our home there, the natural beauty that state holds, and we raised our family there.  But as anyone who has long read these virtual pages are familiar with our unhappiness with the direction that state has taken as well as our ever-increasing love of the Great Land, and so as Americans have done since the Founding, we voted with our feet and made our home in Alaska, where we intend to spend the rest of our lives.

So, six decades.

I’ve always been the guy to look forward, not back.  While this milestone is one of some significance, still, there is a lot to look forward to.  In a few more years, retirement from my primary career will give me more time for other pursuits, writing, fishing, hunting, exploring the vastness of the Great Land.  All with Mrs. Animal by my side, of course.  We look forward to seeing our four daughters and (so far) six grandchildren continue down their own lives’ paths, and when possible, to welcome them as well as old friends to visit us in this place which is, for most, a once or twice in a lifetime vacation but, for us, is home.

It’s been a great ride so far.  I’ll continue to push ahead as I always have; an intelligent person, after all, should be able to live a thousand years and never run out of things to do.  As for me, I have every intention of living forever, and from my point of view, I will.

Hang in there, folks.  You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!
Working on the firewood.

We’re quickly sliding into autumn here in the Great Land.  That means laying in a supply of firewood, of course.  While our property isn’t expansive enough to allow us to take all our firewood needs here, at least this year there were a few down birches the power company cut for being too close the power lines.  In such cases the downed trees are left for the landowner, and so now I have a good supply of decent stove wood that just needs to be cut, split and stacked.

That’s the work part of autumn.  The fun part, at least this year, is this:  Last Sunday, Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. took a drive up Denali way, to see the fading summer and enjoy a late Sunday breakfast at a favorite place of ours a ways north of Cantwell.  It was a gorgeous, clear day in between the usual run of clouds and rain we get this time of year.  Since we probably won’t go up much north of Talkeetna in the winter, we wanted to make sure to have at least one more drive a little ways north before snow falls.  It was a perfect day, and another reminder of why we moved here.  Here, have a look:

And now…

On To the Links!

President Biden(‘s handlers) still trying to blame Trump for their fuck-ups.

Who’s falling faster – Afghanistan or Joe Biden?

This is not Saigon.  It’s worse.

But hey!  No more mean tweets!

What We’ve Learned About Team Biden’s Incompetence.  Some of us saw this coming.

This could fill several volumes.

It’s not a loophole, dummy.  It’s called “the law as it’s written.”

No, he’s not fit to lead the nation – in fact he’s not fit to haul guts to a bear.

When your opponent is making a fatal mistake – let him.

DeSantis 2024!

This Week’s Idiots:

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Salon‘s Chauncey DeVega is an idiot.

Keith Ellison and all his et als are all idiots.

(Retired Air Force general and former CIA and NSA chief) Michael Hayden is an idiot.

Queen Nancy and all of her court are all massive hypocrites and idiots.

CNN’s Jonathan Sackner-Bernstein is an idiot.

The Nation‘s John Nichols (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Eric Holder is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Alaskan I am now, but at heart I’m still a rural/small-town kid from eastern Iowa, and I suppose I always will be.  One place I remember well from my youth is Grundy County.  This place contains some of the world’s finest farmland and, back in the day, had some great pheasant and rabbit hunting.  Most of my family lives in eastern Iowa today, and I’m pretty pleased to see the grandkids growing up in farm country, involved in 4H, and living a clean, healthy life far away from our ever-more-screwed up cities.

Back to Grundy County.  Here, from country singer John Michael Montgomery, is a look at that agricultural world, wrapped around his song Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident.)  And boy howdy can this girl dance.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Here in the Great Land, our summers are short and mild, while our winters are long and cold.  We know that and expect it – this is Alaska, after all, not Miami Beach.

What a lot of people don’t get about the summers here, though, is how wet they are.  It’s been raining on and off pretty much the last two weeks.  During that time, at the gas station and our favorite lunch spot/watering hole, I’ve heard a few summer vacationers express surprise at that, although every vacation guide cautions visitors to bring rain gear.  Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. knew that when we moved here, but then we had spent a lot of time here pre-move.

Alaska’s state flower – the Forget-Me-Not.

Unlike a lot of places – those with April showers bringing May flowers – Alaska’s driest month is April.   The wettest is September.  In October it starts to snow.  And that’s OK.  After thirty years in arid Colorado, it’s nice being someplace green, and the rain and snow is what makes that happen.

We just keep learning more and more about this place, and every day, for a wide variety of reasons, we’re happy to have made this move.

And with that…

On To the Links!

What the actual fuck is wrong with these people?

President Biden(‘s handlers) destroy U.S. oil production, then go hat-in-hand to OPEC.  You just can’t make this stuff up.

Science!

This mammoth, in his lifetime, walked far enough to have circumnavigated the planet – twice.  Neat.

Near-perfect cave lion cub uncovered.  Neat.

Yellowstone isn’t really a “super” volcano.  Neat!

America’s woke generals are a disaster.  No shit.

Biden is failing.  Again, no shit.

Haw haw haw!

OPEC to President Biden(‘s handlers):  Fuck off.

Gosh, who could have seen this coming?

Nothing.  Fuck off.

No shit, Sherlock.

On the bloody morning after, one tin soldier rides away.

This Week’s Idiots:

The LA Times‘ Virginia Heffernan is an idiot.

Paul Krugman (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a partisan hack, and an idiot.

MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem is an idiot.

Mother Jones’ Michael Mechanic is an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) is still a sawed-off jerk, and an idiot.

Salon’s Cody Cain is a particularly egregious idiot.

The Hill‘s Nancy Altman is an idiot.

Jonah Goldberg is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

If you’re talking about country music, you only need two words:

George.

Strait.

George’s career spans decades.  His style hasn’t changed much – his voice is butter-smooth, his lyrics speak to us folks in flyover country.  And, unlike a lot of celebrities, his personal life is… well, normal, not the train wreck that seems to afflict so many in show business.

Here, from his 2001 album The Road Less Traveled, is one of my favorite George Strait songs:  Run.  Enjoy.