Category: Columns & Blogs

Ghost Stallions of Owyhee County

If it sounds like a stanza out of the famous song Ghost Riders in the Sky, you wouldn’t be wrong. Stories by cowboys in the Owyhee Mountains tell of a ghost pack of phantom horses led by a white stallion that show up when cowboys and farmers are in trouble. Apparently, they come out of a rift in the clouds and lead the troubled towards help according to legend.


So what inspires me to write this blog? Not much obviously over the last few weeks as this is the first one in 15 days. I’ve been busy with my new project… getting the NorthEnd Organic Nursery up and running. (It’s at the old Hillside Nursery location on Hill Road BTW.)
But inspiration sometimes comes from a swift kick, which is what I got from the publisher this morning in the form of a text message threatening to pull down the blog because I haven’t written in a while.

Another reason I don’t feel like writing is that the sun is out today. It inspires me to get out in the garden.


POSTED BY ON FRI, JAN 29, 2010 AT 8:09 PM

I awoke very early this morning to the sound of licking. The cat was on the bed licking itself, its motions creating a slight 1.0 tremor. Then I noticed that the dogs that sleep around the bed were licking themselves, too. A throat gurgle, a bit of vomiting sounds, gums slapping to get it back down, then more licking. I could not get that sound out of my head. I imagined my own mouth filled with hair and vomit. I was not going back to sleep.

If someone wanted to make an alarm clock that had the most effective sound to wake one up, it would be licking. I’m not saying the sound of a puppy licking a baby’s face. That’s kind of cute and we all know puppy’s slobber is almost sterile. Nosiree. I’m thinking of the sound a dog makes in the dark while it preens its own privates. It’s not a quick licking sound. It’s the long strokes of the tongue as it self-oralizes. It’s worse than the nightmares I suffer after a pizza binge.

I once had a cat that would jump on the bed, stalk toward my head in a silent manner that didn’t wake me, and lick my exposed armpits. I would wake up to a raspy tongue grooming the fine locks of pit hair I had so carefully cultivated. It was a feeling like no other. I wouldn’t necessarily label it a disgusting feeling, but neither would I call it enjoyable. It was one of those strange feelings you allow to continue just to see what may happen. Who knows, I could come to enjoy it later, or at some point make my mind up that I didn’t like it. The idea that it was weird never was part of the decision. It just was. If a cat today decided to lick my armpits again, I would let it, just to allow myself to go into that lucid state of “Hmmmmm, that’s interesting.”

It’s funny that licking can create such an emotional reaction in us. Under the right circumstances it’s a powerful erotic narcotic. Done in jest, or by a smelly hippy, it can be downright disgusting. Between humans it is quite poly-reactionary, with both nice, naughty and gross qualities depending upon the circumstances.

Between man and beast, in my opinion it mostly is just disgusting. For most of us, it is an involuntary act. We are attacked by a beast whose only method of showing us affection is an eight inch wet one. I won’t delve into the subculture of consensual naughty licking between man and beast as I think that is disgusting, too. To each their own. Just do it in private.

I’ve been witness to beasts licking their masters. Most of us have. Humans allowing their beasts to lick their face, long animus tongues sloppily stroking a face and trying to sneak in a Frenchy. One of the beasts at our house will sneak in a Frenchy if you’re not careful. It disgusts me. I watch that dog lick things I wouldn’t pick up with a full hazmat suit on. But occasionally, she gets you. It makes me ill just to think about it.

This morning I could not go back to sleep. And being woken up by those sounds set the tone for my day. Even as I write this, I’m still annoyed at the beasts of this house. As I write this one is snoring behind me and I know, some time in the middle of the night, when all is dark and quiet, he will begin to lick himself. That thought makes me want to excommunicate him from my sleeping abode, but the punishment would be worse for the enforcer. I would have to listen to him scratch at the door all night.


POSTED BY ON MON, JAN 11, 2010 AT 8:24 AM

Some people claim to be animal people. Sure, their chihuahua and parakeet are cute, and they love them, but they pale in comparison to other’s unbounded obsession with their pets. At an extreme, these people become pet collectors extraordinaire, the cat ladies, animal hoaders. You know the types. You’ve seen them on the news when the humane society and police show up to forcibly remove hundreds of animals. Once the live ones are gone, they begin to remove the dead ones. They find them in the garage, under boxes of tax records from 1987 and in the backyard behind bushes. Those are the extremist.

For every person that loves their animals to death, there are many more that love them to life.

Now according to the laws of the city, you are only supposed to have a few animals in or around your abode. You are allowed to have four dogs, four cats or a combination of both without obtaining a kennel license. You can have up to three chickens, as long as they are not roosters. All animals are supposed to have pet tags and be registered.

If you have an acre or more of property within the city limits, you can have two animal units. An animal unit is defined as one horse, mule, cow, llama, four sheep, four goats, four swine, 12 chickens, 12 ducks, six geese, or 10 rabbits. That’s it, unless you have a waiver, are grandfathered with animals on the property, or fall under the 4H or FFA rules.

OK, now that we have the rules established, we can truthfully that most animal lovers break these rules. According to an unscientific search across the internet, about 80% of pets are unlicensed, and those are just the dogs and cats. In todays popular pet world, other animals such as chickens, pigs, hedgehogs and other pseudo wild animals qualify as loveable companions. Growing up we had a neighbor that loved her pet racoon. It was all cute and curious and fun, until it leapt onto your head from a high shelf in the kitchen just for kicks and scratched your face. As a child I had a pet squirrel I had raised from just a squirrelette but it was an outdoor pet until an owl decided it wanted a squirrel too one day. My mother gifted me a cherry headed conure that I despised. It was loud, obnoxious and mean. I hated that bird. When I learned that they live for many, many years, I quickly found a new home for it.

Chickens are becoming quite popular and within my own little world I’m aware of several folks who break the three chicken rule. But what about the four cat or dog policy? Again, I visit many households where this is broken too.

Now four Saint Bernards is dramatically different from four teacup poodles. And although you’re not supposed to allow your cats to roam free, is an outdoor cat that comes home every couple of days considered one animal, or a half?

I’m only ruminating about this, much like a cow chews cud. I’d love a cow, a goat or something I could milk, but I live on much less than an acre and the neighbors might begin to get suspicious of a large hoofed animal on the property. You are also not supposed to have ostriches.

So when it comes to those folks who break these rules, the extreme animal lovers, realize they are all around us, hiding in their houses, pseudo hoarding their animals, breaking the rules and you don’t find out about them until the carcasses begin to stink.

A New Year’s Revolution

POSTED BY ON FRI, JAN 1, 2010 AT 7:42 PM

I try to do something without any need of mindfulness every first of the year. Today I visited the bookstore that bears my name but no other relation and I wanted to see what the books of the world have to offer.

“There’s a fuck of a lot of books,” a friend once told me adding, “and a fuck of a lot of authors.”

Yes there are, and some of my favorite sections include history, current affairs and media relations. It’s just a habit of my past jobs that sends me to these aisles. But one thing I noticed today was that a lot of the books were turned upside down and backwards on the shelves. At first I noticed one or two, then upon recognizing the pattern, I noticed more. Upon turning them over I realized that the common denominator was that the covers of these turned over tomes all had Barack Obama on the cover.

OK, besides righting them to the correct orientation, I felt it was necessary to also comment on this public censorship that is occurring in this public forum. Is it racism, politics or some deeper hate that is filtering through? I am concerned about this self-rightiousness of censoring what is available in public commercial retail stores by the general public who is offended about the subject matter of certain books.

I mean, what the hell? Who do these fuckers think they are? Who are they to censor the imagery that tells us what are the pages within? I don’t turn over “W” books. Never have. And I’m pretty radical. Let people choose to pick up a book based on it’s cover or not. Don’t choose for them.

Then, over in the art and photography section, while looking for cool photographer books, I noticed that any book that had any semblance of nudity on the cover was turned over, showing the backside instead of the enticing cover.

Who are these prudes? Who are these self proclaimed moral douchebags? Oh, it’s on.

I think this is a war. Next time you are in a bookstore or newsstand, turn over a magazine or book you are morally opposed to. After all, everyone else is doing it.

The downhill push

POSTED BY ON SAT, NOV 28, 2009 AT 9:25 AM

So we’re off to the races with the finish line being Christmas. The propoganda of a new economy rising from the ashes just might inspire many of us to sink deeper into credit card debt, but I’m not buying it. I’m still slowly spiraling downward into financial hell and I don’t see any kind of lifeline being thrown the little liferafts like me. The only ships being saved are the supertankers.

I didn’t buy a single thing on Buy Nothing Day (the Friday after Thanksgiving also known as Black Friday). I didn’t have any money to buy it with. I’m seriously thinking that this year’s Christmas I’ll only give my love and respect. It’s the thought that counts right?

I like what Justin twitter’s his father says on “Shit My Dad Says”. Pop rails, “”Everybody’s broke, so here’s the rule for Christmas this year; if you still shit your pants, you get a present. Otherwise tough shit.”

Another birthday come and gone

POSTED BY ON FRI, DEC 11, 2009 AT 8:54 AM

These days, with Facebook, Myspace and other social networking sites, even if one has sunk into a vegetative state, we can still be reminded of our birthday. We are reminded of all our internet “friend’s” birthdays too.

Yesterday, I was feeling low and actually trolled for birthday wishes on Facebook in addition to the reminders that went out automatically. It’s kind of like self-affirmations in the mirror. “I hear it’s your birthday. It’s my birthday too. You look good for 42 years. There’s mileage on the chassy and the mpg is dwindling, but you still run. Count your blessings.”

So yesterday, friends, former coworkers, distant cousins, high school friends who have reconnected through the magic of Facebook and others wished me a happy birthday. My own spawn, however, didn’t until I reminded them. That’s sad.

A ho in one

POSTED BY ON MON, DEC 7, 2009 AT 8:33 PM

OK, since everyone else is doing it I think I must break my silence too. I’m one of Tiger Woods’ mistresses. I couldn’t let all those other hos nab the spotlight. I need my fame too. I deserve it. I worked hard for that title. Besides, he told me I was the only one. What happened to loyalty?

I have the text messages to prove it. I’m not proud of our tryst, after all, he is a married man, but maybe not for long. We met in an airport bar, one of many on the PGA circuit. He bought me a drink, a Rob Roy if memory serves. We talked about drivers, and balls, and his wife’s explosive temper. Then he put his hand on my knee. The rest is history.

I am now entertaining offers from InTouch, Star and the National Enquirer for my story and pictures. You’ll have to see who wins the bidding war. It should be out in a week. Besides, I feel like now is the time to cash in on this travesty.

Throw away your cable

POSTED BY ON SUN, DEC 6, 2009 AT 10:13 AM

I recently reactivated my Netflix account and discovered that the online downloading of movies is working for Macs now. I had cancelled my membership to save a little money a the time, and because I had cable I didn’t see much need for it.

My cable watching habits were simple when I judiciously used the DVR. My regular haunts were The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Storm Chasers, various ghost hunting shows, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, and a smattering of UFO and monster hunting shows. And sometimes the various Stargate spinoffs were viewed with a bag of Cheetoes and a glass of whiskey. Yes, I’m a media geek. Don’t judge me.

So when we decided to wean ourselves from Television programming and revert to only watching movies I was pleasantly surprised to find that Netflix had gotten the instant downloading working for Macs. It probably has been working on Macs for quite some time but sometimes I’m a little slow to the game.

And, searching around I found many of the television series that I used to watch are available for instant downloading through Netflix and other online websites. Not wanting to sound like an advertisement, but when you look at the cost savings, it’s huge.
Instead of paying $80 a month for cable, I’m now paying $14 a month for unlimited downloads (plus DVDs coming in the mail). And if I want to watch the Daily Show or Colbert Report, or Heroes, then all I have to do is use

In a time when everyone is trying to save a little money, we’re saving $66 a month and we’re watching better stuff on TV. That ain’t chump change.