Winter in the north country: white, grey and tan. Out the window I see the elm trees, still broken from the Valentine's Day ice storm. Old buddy Phil says he'll come over and cut them up for me sometime, maybe when the snow pack is deeper so he can walk on the slope safer. Phil loves to climb trees with a chain saw hanging from his belt. he even went out and bought the gear: boots, harnesses and ropes. I have to say he's good at it. He can drop a tree within a couple feet of where we need it. I do have a slight problem with his enthusiasm, though. Sometimes he gets cutting and he fails to recall which trees I want only slightly chopped up, like say an ash or oak. Most folks want them cut to 18" for stove burning, but I bonfire or I sculpt wood, so I want it left fairly long. Phil worries about my back, I guess, so he cuts them nice and short. I suppose since I don't yet own a re-saw or big band saw it makes sense but since the trees have to age before re-sawing I'd like to have the option of stacking them to dry. He's looking out for me, though and I do appreciate it.
We put out salt for the deer sleeping in the back yard, also some feed. I'm hoping they will continue to hang out in the brambles as they make nice paths and eat some of the brambles back. They're like goats who don't cry all the time for Mama. It is odd, though, later in the year to be picking berries in bushes that smell strongly of musk. There's a red fox family out there too and a skunk lives under the woodshed, so we keep pretty busy. So long as Pepe doesn't feel the need to spray me he/she can live under the woodshed all they want. Somebody seems to be living under the kiln shed, though, and the area around the kiln seems to be settling at one corner and that ain't good. I poked with a metal bar and I think I found the tunnel but it might be one left from the Mother of All Woodchucks. I killed her with chlorine gas. Yeah, pretty nasty stuff but nothing seems to be working and she/he was way too big for the Havaheart trap. So I mixed ammonia and chlorine in a milk jug and turned it upside down in the tunnel mouth. Just like WWI or Saddam in Kurdistan. Bad company.
I'd like to comment a bit on the strange case of the Missing News. I read a great deal online. I read Reuters, BBC, NYTimes, Washington Post, Huffington Post, AP, and any links found that direct me to the original news source. Considering that there are people dying "in my name" out there, I want to know why. It used to be I would turn on the PBS station first thing in the morning. Now instead of BBC I get Barney. So I turn to CNN and I get a ditsy bimbo with possibly a high school education chattering away about Brad and Angelie or a skateboarding dog. So I turn to the other CNN and get a less ditsy bimbo with a college degree chattering about her blog, her emails, her contests and the weather guy. That leaves me with channel 6 with two drunks staring at each other and talking about the last story they read. Channel 10 has decent news coverage and a weather guy who seems rational. Channel 13 is like 6 only without the staring. At this point I know all about the weather. I know the polls on the election. I have seen the sound bite of the day and the secret word for Robins contest of the day. But I have no idea what we are doing to end the war, why we are not impeaching the war criminals in Washington, or what the rest of the planet is doing. So I go online and read and follow the news. Imagine a life before the internet... oh yeah, the networks used to broadcast the news. So let's talk about Walter Cronkite.
Back in the day we could turn on the TV and listen to a man of some considerable veracity tell us what was going on in the world. Walter would tell us about world events with a calm, intelligent manner and we knew that if it was in fact important he would lift an eyebrow or pause at a key point. He did not have a partner to read every other line on the teleprompter. He did not have a newsletter or contests. What he had was our trust. Now, oddly enough he seems to feel that he needs to speak out from time to time even after retiring to the old newscaster's home. The reason is exactly what I described before about my search for the news. Walter seems to feel, also, that the government is working very hard at disinformation, lies and misleading and conflicting public statements by various voices in the administration. In other words he seems to feel that the News should also be the Truth. What a quaint idea. An educated public having the tools to understand the issues that impact on us all could very well be expected to make intelligent choices. We might even understand how badly our system of government has been shredded to the benefit of a handful of wealthy businessmen. That might make the public actually get out and vote and even demand that the votes get counted. Ooooo. That one scares the tiny mind in the White House!
I remember watching Walter remove his glasses and painfully announce the death by assassination of President Kennedy. Dad came home for lunch and I told him and we watched on TV while they searched for the lone gunman. That was the last time our government changed hands by the act of a single lunatic. Now it changes hands with an entire team of psychologically
damaged individuals handling the "news" and determining when to stop the vote counting to ensure their picks make it in. Actually I suppose that since they count some of the votes we still can call it an election, but many of the votes counted were placed there into the machines before the election, so it's a hard call to make. Walter always made me feel like an American and when he and Dad were in the room with me watching the car drive off with a screaming Jackie and Secret Servicemen hanging onto the doors I felt connected and involved. Now, watching Robin babble about her newsletter and her videos while flashing vast amounts of thigh I have to say things have degenerated rather a lot. Maybe Walter had good legs or not, but he never flashed them at me and he never had contests to win posters of him. I like legs, don't get me wrong. I have always liked looking at legs attached to good looking women, but I have found in the last 50+ years that women who show off their legs tend to not have a good opinion of men and by and large have experiences to illustrate how easy it is to distract and confuse them. I was distracted enough to marry two women based on their nice legs. Not at the same time, mind you. I was not that distracted. But legs are bad things to judge by, it seems, when what you are judging is credibility and intelligence. Maybe even sanity. Walter was very sane and seems even more so, but in the last years CNN has shown more legs and skateboarding animals and less news worthy of a Cronkite raised eyebrow. The metaphor might be watching an animal sinking into the LaBrea tarpits. The news goes slowly into the black ooze, bleating out it's cries of terror and passing out posters of long legged bimbettes. Walter takes off his glasses and slowly pinches the bridge of his nose while mumbling under his breath something about "assholes".
The cold war is starting up again with no white hats to be seen. Israel still gets it's billions of military aid from a country sinking deep into the black ooze of fascism. The world continues to seek another way to help the helpless now that America has abandoned the sense of ethics which Walter honed to perfection and which the President and his cabal of war criminals has never understood or valued. The old Soviet Union may be somewhat dismantled but like a company taken over by new management it simply regroups, re-imprisons and rearms, happily secure in the knowledge that they will all make a lot of money while doing absolutely no work whatsoever except for occasionally signing their name. What a great life. They learned Fierce Capitalism very well, but then it's not that different from the way Stalin ruled on the left or Hitler on the right. It's easy to teach cruelty, not so easy to teach ethics. Usually you teach by example, ala Jesus or Ghandi so it should be no great surprise that as we torture, murder and lie the Russians are once again setting up shop and fixing elections, torturing dissidents and murdering ex-spies. So we're all one big happy family, except the Iranians who are building bomb shelters and squirreling away their retirement in Swiss accounts.
Walter takes off his glasses and wipes away a big salty tear. He looks up at the cameras and says in that wonderful voice of his, "The Republic is officially dead. Nobody knows when we shall see the likes of Her again. May the Deity have mercy on our souls."
George spits out a pork rind and calls in Condi. "Condi, get somebody in that station and kill that bastard!"