Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I'm Here to Stay

I have decided to make this my only blog. Consequently I am abandoning Rural Rantings in favor of this site. I like the title better, it doesn't make me feel like a grouch old fart. I'm really not very grouchy at all, but I suppose the old fart tag does fit.

While surfing through blogs on Blogspot I ran across one site that made me laugh. The author promised to be fair and truthful no matter who it touched. He then proceeded to blast Al Gore and his "Inconvenient Truth" documentary because Al owns several homes and cars and perhaps even an airplane. The writer seemed to think that Al Gore's ownership of multiple homes and cars disqualified him from warning the world about Global Warming. I kind of got the feeling that our teller of truth was following the old Republican tactic of defaming anyone who disagrees with the current administration. The fact of the matter is that no matter whet you think about Al Gore, he is telling an "Inconvenient Truth". The scientific community agrees that global warming is very real and that we must do what we can to reduce our part in causing it. We should all demand better fuel efficiency in our transportation. We should all use cleaner fossil fuels. We should all insulate our homes and businesses to reduce the ammount of heating fuel and air conditioning we use. I'm not sure where our fair and truthful writer got his facts about Gore's home ownership, but it sounded like something Rush Limbaugh would say. And we all know that Rush has never met a half-truth that he didn't like.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Slick Roads

Yesterday morning I almost wrecked my car. I was driving in about 4 - 5 inches of wet snow when the car went into a skid. It happened so fast I had no warning, and I just had to react. I first tried stepping on the gas to let the front wheel drive pull it out of the skid, but it was too slick for the studs on the front wheels to grab. So, I steered in the direction of the skid and took my foot off the gas. I tapped the brakes lightly and rode it out. I was all over the road for about 200 yards, at one point I was nearly crosswise of the road. I finally got it under control and decided that I didn't need to go where I was heading. I turned around and went home, carefully. I used to wonder how people slid off the road in snowy weather. Now I know. I was only going about 40 mph, but that was obviously too fast. That is as close as I have ever been to wrecking a car. The same thing happened to my wife about 8 years ago, but she was passing a truck and I was in the passenger seat. That was really hairy, those truck lug nuts look very scary when you're staring them in the face. She did a great job of getting in under control without scratching any paint, but she was really shook for a while. I guess the lesson is, slow down and live...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More Pictures

This is a picture taken of Steens Mountain in Southeastern Oregon. Access to the Steens Mountain Loop Road is from the hamlet of Frenchglen, Oregon. The Steens are fault block mountains that have been heavilly glaciated. The western side of the mountain is a gentle slope rising to a height of over 9000 feet. The eastern escarpment is a sheer drop to the Alvord Desert over 5000 feet below. Because of the gentle slope you can drive to the top on a well maintained gravel road. The road is closed in the winter due to snow and generally opens in mid June. The picture shows one of the several glaciated gorges running to the west. This particular one is called Keiger Gorge and is home to the Keiger Mustang, a specific breed of wild horse thought to be direct descendants of the Spanish horses introduced to the Americas in the 16th century.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

How about a Picture?

This is a picture of the Grande Ronde River taken from Rattlesnake Grade on the Washington side. The highway starts on top on the Oregon side of the river and winds down to river level, crosses the river and the state line and then winds back up the Washington side. A couple of miles downriver from this point the river runs into the Snake River at the northern end of Hell's Canyon.

The other picture is from the Snake River itself at the bottom of Hell's Canyon. River level is only a few hundred feet above sea level, while the mountains on either side of the river rise to over 8000 feet.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

This is another one of those holidays that has its roots in Christianity but has lost all religious connections. The main historic event connected with Valentine's Day is the St. Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago in the 30's by Al Capone's mobsters. At least I think they were Al's guys. I'm sure if you asked anyone on the street who St. Valentine was they wouldn't have an answer. I just have a faint recollection of Valentine being martyred, possibly by arrows shot into his flesh, but that may be mixed up with cupid and his bow and arrows.

Valentine's Day is now associated with pledging your love to your sweetheart and that is nice. It's a good thing to set a day aside to show your love, although unfortunately, it's now something that is expected. That kind of takes some of the fun out of it. I have started buying a $3.88 bunch of flowers at Wal-Mart while I'm shopping and giving them to a stranger (so far always female) standing in line. They are always surprised and elated. Makes it fun. Just like giving your sweetie some flowers for no particular reason, makes it fun. Well, anyway, Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Coast Pictures

We visited the Oregon Coast this fall and one day we drove over the bridge at Astoria to Cape Disappoinment on the Washington side. These pictures show the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse looking north towards Long Beach. The other photo shows the beach and the jetty at the Columbia River Bar, one of the most dangerous river mouths on the Pacific Coast.

Monday, February 5, 2007


Watched the Super Bowl yesterday. It did have a few moments of excitement, but not nearly as much excitement as the hype would have us believe. I didn't have much invested in either team, it was only the second Pro game I watched this year. My wife and I have become Patriots fans since our daughter and her family moved to Massachusetts, so we watched them play the Colts in the division playoffs. That was a pretty exciting game, but I still can't figure out how a team can look so bad for 3 quarters and then come on like gangbusters. Reminds me of Pro basketball, you only need to watch the last 2 minutes. Back to the Super Bowl. Besides seeing the Bears self destruct, Phil Simms' color(?) commentary was so inane about the great Colts' defense I was about ready to gag. The whole game seemed to me to be about the best loser wins. The Colts' offense dominated and scored 22 points. That is not domination. 50 points is domination, 22 offensive points is a sputtering offense or a tough defense and Chicago's defense was not too tough. I mean, after all, the Colts were in the red zone 7 times and came up with 2 td's and 3 fg's. Ho hum...Chicago's offense couldn't put 2 first downs together and this was the best in the NFC? Their defense was pretty good in the red zone, only allowed 2 td's. I would rather watch a replay of the Fiesta Bowl. That was exciting! Well at least we will have golf to watch from now on. Won't be nearly as boring. I need to re-read this next year so I can remember to watch The Closer marathon on Super Bowl Sunday. We are such sheep!