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Three score and ten or more

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I really have to explain this post a little. Patrick, in his Born Again Redneck block complained that a raccoon had killed one of his favorite ducks, and went on a mini-rampage against raccoons, pointing out that they are not only scavengers, but killers of other small animals and that they spread a disease to which people may fall victim. The disease is spread through raccoon poop and Patrick decided that it would be more practical to trap and kill raccoons than to police his yard for raccoon poop. It was at that point that I posted the comment on his blog that follows. It is repeated here with his permission.

Well, first and foremost I intend to avoid eating raccoon poop whenever possible. (it has never been on my recommended list). I did make a try at eating a raccoon once. It was at a time when I was a starving graduate assistant with four kids and almost no income. A neighbor (we lived in an old military complex that had been converted into graduate, married, student housing) came to me one day an asked if I had ever eaten coon. I replied that I had not, "Why?"

It seemed that he had come across a source of raccoon meat that was cheap and reliable. (Our primary source of protein at the time was chicken backs and necks for seventeen cents a pound at a local store.) He also stated that it made good barbeque. The "source" offered 12 to 17 pound coons for a flat price of five dollars. Twelve pound of meat for five dollars seemed okay to me so I put in my five and waited on delivery the next Saturday.

The bloom came off the rose in several steps. First, when it arrived, it had been cleaned except for the right paw which still had fur and little fingernails. I asked the delivery person why, and he stated that they always left the right paw intact so that customers would know for sure that they weren't getting a dog or cat. (It seemed that some unscrupulous folk were deceiving the locals by reselling skinned out critters that had been "rescued" from the local pound.)

The second bloom remover started with the seller's advice that the carcass should be soaked overnight in cold water containing about half a pound of salt. Without soaking, the meat was, he said, a little gamey.

I accepted the meat, removed the aforementioned paw and placed the carcass in the sink with water, ice and the prescribed amount of salt.

The third bloom remover came the next morning when the whole family trouped into the kitchen to find out what stank to high heaven. The five dollar meat not only smelled foul, but had turned, (fat and all, I didn't mention that the thing was covered in a one or more inch layer of fat) a revolting Halloween Grey. The fat was not only grey but now had a really interesting texture that I can't really describe.

The three of our children who were old enough to talk expressed strong reservations about eating that thing, regardless of how it was cooked, and even showed some doubt about eating anything that would ever come out of that sink again (the sink had also taken on a thick greasy coating with the grey pallor of the fat and the meat.)

WE agreed on its non edibility, but were then faced with the question of what to do with the critter. After a number of false steps we gave the thing to another graduate student in the complex who was getting paid the same stipend I was, but who had SIX children, and might naturally be less fussy. He told me that he barbequed Greyling (it had acquired a name in our house) and that it was enjoyed by all. I think he was putting me on.

Monday, September 24, 2007


This has been an interesting day for an old coot like me who has strong feelings about communication. I guess the first thing that hit me was all the fuss about Iran's President speaking at Columbia. I think Universities should give as much opportunity for as many points of view as possible. I spent much of my life working toward a PhD in Communication, and I am truly offended by the effort to prevent exposure to anyone's ideas.

I think back to my time at Southern Illinois University, and the invitation that was given to Hubert Humphrey, the Vice President of the U.S. and candidate for presidential nomination. The scholars of SIU hooted him off the stage and came close enough to a riot to really get the secret service types on the alert. I was ashamed of my university, my colleagues, and my students. You can only effectively work against clap trap (and I disagreed with Humphrey about almost everything) if you listen to it and give it the opportunity to shake it's nuts out of the tree.. For a conservative to object to universities giving speaking time to anyone is silly, conservatives are the one's whose ideas are most stifled by academia. (I know, we can scream that Columbia kicked out the ROTC, they ought to keep out the Iranians, but that stupid logic is the same kind that says because the law didn't come down hard on white guys who hung nooses in a tree, some black guys should be able to beat hell out of some other white guy and get a free pass, I'm sorry but no one, conservative or liberal should approve that. Most of our parents corrected us when we tried to justify our acts because "Look what Johnny did!" and our parents were right.

Of course some legal action against the authorities for what they didn't do about the nooses would also be a good idea)

The way it worked out at Columbia, I sadly fear that Columbia's presidential introduction/castigation played to Abidinijad's (or how ever you spell it, I'm and old man) audience in the Arab world beautifully. Think how much better it would have been with a courteous, brief introduction, then when "Abby" said "We have no homosexuals in Iran", the laughter would have been so much more appropriate to "Abby"'s audience in the middle east ( and here).

(I am glad that they didn't let the little creep go down an put a hypocritical wreath at Ground Zero)

Let everyone speak, let everyone listen, only then will the truth (whatever it is) come out of the cauldron of open ideas. (at the same time let's hope that groups like FIRE the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education will keep after the colleges to let both sides come out-- If you haven't looked at the FIRE blog--which I am too inept to link- you ought to.)

It has nothing to do with the topic above, but I just posted a long tale about my first experience with raccoons as a food group in the comment section of Born Again Redneck's blog that I may go back and steal to put in here. I'm still trying to steer clear of politics but once in awhile I have to anger my friends and confabulate my enemies

Saturday, September 22, 2007

This will be quick and to the point (or not). I heard a commercial for one of the "One call, that's all" attorneys just now that concluded with the words "****** helped us get the money we deserve."
Now I have no way of knowing anything about the case in question so I don't know whether this individual deserved money or jail time, it was the word "deserve" that caught my ear. I have heard it so much in commercials, in sermons, in a variety of different contexts.

This afternoon, in a commercial for credit counseling or cancelling company that required that a new customer have at least forty thousand dollars in credit card debt, the man on the air said "********** helped us get out of debt and get the credit we deserved." You explain to me how anyone with forty thousand dollars in unpaid credit card debt deserves ANYTHING. (Except perhaps --- well, I can't think of anything good.

WE live in a country, however, that encourages us to belief that somebody else should take care of us in every situation. My favorite unabridged dictionary is the Colliers Unabridged Dictionary, 1926 edition. This dictionary defines "deserve" as "to earn by service, to be justly entitled to, or worthy of; merit" I think that we all need to analyze the things we think we deserve, and to determine whether they are earned by merit, or by the often repeated cliche that "WE DESERVE- - - - because of who we are and where we live, and therefore we should have it.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I haven't posted anything in about a month. Probably. most of those who follow my blog have quit searching for anything new, and that's okay. Ultimately this blog, and most of what is written by most of us is written just because the writer has a need to express him/her self.
I came home from Washington State healthier than I have been in years. Helping my son move and doing my own moving pushed my body into doing things it had forgotten were possible. Every time I sat down at the computer, I felt that I was wasting "health" time that God had given me and that I had better get busy and do the real things.

At the same time, we faced real disappointments. We had a sales contract on our old house that was dependent on rezoning. We were cautiously optimistic because the people who wanted our house really wanted something to stabilize the neighborhood. Unfortunately the wonderful little neighborhood we moved into in 1975 has become a rental neighborhood for students. On our little three block street there are only two of the old owner residents, the rest of the homes are essentially mini-dormitories. In spite of our optimism, when the case went before the city council three near-bye residents and one from several blocks away protested before the council and the zoning was rejected, so I am faced with doing what remodeling is necessary to get it ready as a rental. More STUFF to do and less urge to sit down at the computer.

Day before yesterday, I began to have a really intense pain in the area where my right hip meets the femur, and I haven't been able to sleep much for two nights. Since I hadn't done anything physical to justify the pain, I began to dream (in those moments when I COULD sleep) that I had bone cancer or some other terrible thing. (What can I say, I have written earlier about my ongoing hypochondria.) Suddenly there is less urge (mostly because I can't physically do it) to remodel, set up my sculpting studio, etc. etc., etc. This is what I call Coot habitually instigated pessimism, or CHIP (You all know my fondness for acronyms.). Today I broke down and went to the doctor who didn't have a clue what was wrong with me but sent me in for hip and joint XRays. I also got a prescription for lortabs, which I will resist taking except at night for sleeping.

The stupid thing is that once I got the X rays and the pills the pain decreased by fifty percent. I am not sure whether I am thrilled or disappointed. What kind of hypochondriac can build up a good nightmare about a pain that begins to feel better after one series of X rays.

Anyway I went for two days without doing any constructive thing to either house and the world didn't come to an end, so it seemed like a good time to sit down and blow off a little steam on the computer. The fact that the pain got so much better so easily means that my little rant won't even get any sympathy from anyone. What fun is that. Maybe if I insert a "sob, sob" somewhere up above? Naaah! Anyway, I hope to use the newphysical me to finish about four posts that sit in my "word" file unfinished. We'll see.