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Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Yesterday I received an e-mail from my cousin in Arkansas. She keeps me informed of goings on and I appreciate her messages. She wrote that her husband and brother (another cousin) had gone to “the farm” at three a.m. on a deer hunting foray. The farm she mentioned is owned by her husband and he drives about a hundred miles at least once a week, sometimes more often, to see how things are going and to consult with his manager.

This year, his crops are soy beans and rice. At least one of the rice fields has been harvested but the soy beans were largely destroyed under a deluge of rain that extended over several days and inundated the crop land. Such is the fate of farmers. It’s a risky business.

The farm is large and meanders in and out of stands of woods. The crops are ringed by dirt roads that form a boundary between the woods and the crop land. And running through the crops are a series of smaller roads, small dikes, and irrigation canals. Water for the crops is diverted from creeks and streams that run through the woods by a series of diversion dams between the woods and the crops.

The woods are a convenient home for deer and smaller wildlife, and the crop lands are prime sources of food for them. When my cousin’s husband gave me a tour of the farm a couple of months ago, we saw several herds of deer browsing along the edges of the soybeans, which were still thriving at that time. The deer were easily visible from our ground-level position on the perimeter road, and had anyone had the inclination and a deer rifle, he could easily have shot one maybe two deer before they bolted.

But the accepted method of deer hunting is from a deer stand. For lack of a better description, a deer stand is like a small tree-house constructed on the trunk of a tree about 30 feet from the ground. A stand is really nothing more than a platform anchored to the tree with two by fours as braces.

Hunters access the stand by climbing a wooden ladder. Then, they wait for the deer to appear in their view. If the deer are near enough for a clear shot, then the hunter is likely to kill his limit in short order. If there are two hunters, both may kill their limit before the day is over.

On the day I visited, my cousin’s husband pointed out several strategically placed deer stands. Even from ground level, the crops spread out before me for well over a thousand yards. From the vantage point of one of the elevated stands, a hunter could see much further. A hunter with a high-powered deer rifle with a scope can score a hit easily from that distance.

As we drove around the farm and the woods, with my cousin’s husband explaining the intricacies of farming, I began to think about my own hunting days. I was young then, very young, and a part of the culture of the time and place. My favorite reading material was the Shooters Bible, at that time a flashy publication advertising every make of gun anyone could imagine.

I myself owned four guns, a .22 caliber plinking rifle, a .20 gauge shotgun for small birds and varmints, a .12 gauge shotgun once owned by my granddad for quail, pheasants, and rabbits, and a  bolt-action 7-millimeter Belgium Mauser. This latter gun is a mystery. I can’t remember how I came to have it in my possession. I just remember driving to a gravel pit with friends and shooting cans with it. This was one hell of a powerful rifle, literally blowing a can to smithereens.

Because of my background, I entered the military service quite familiar with guns. I was very accurate with the M-1 Carbine used then by the Air Force. I could easily hit the bull’s eye with regularity, and at one time I was asked to join the rifle team. I declined respectfully. Although I was a good shot, I didn’t want to spend my service time on a rifle range. Competition firing isn’t just a matter of picking up a gun and shooting it when your turn comes. Consistent accuracy takes a lot of practice to achieve. I was too undisciplined then.

After my service time ended, I never returned to the old home place except for brief visits and I never hunted again. It wasn’t that I suddenly became anti-gun. My life following my discharge from the service became filled with family, job, and various other sports, primarily baseball at first but eventually fast-pitch softball. I played in a city league for a few years and hung it up in favor of golf. That’s where my life stands at the present.

When I received my cousin’s e-mail, I wondered what I would do if her husband asked me to accompany him to the farm for deer hunting. I knew that I wouldn’t, so the only issue was how to say no gracefully. I finally settled on a straightforward and honest answer. “No, thanks, but I appreciate the invitation,” I would say simply without embellishment or excuse. If I were pressed further, I would add, “I don’t hunt anymore. It’s merely a matter of my personal preference, but I certainly don’t object to other people hunting,” I intend to avoid a never-ending series of excuses about guns and hunting. It’s counterproductive.

The truth of the matter is, a truth I will never tell my cousin, shooting a deer with a high-powered deer rifle is too easy. Where is the challenge? The process might be fair if the deer had a rifle, too. Besides, I am at a stage of economic independence that I don’t need to hunt to eat. Some people do, of course. Let them. Me, I just trot down to Safeway and browse the aisles, hunting for a can of SPAM.

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I’m watching the President’s Cup golf match televised from San Francisco’s Harding Park Golf Course. This magnificent example of San Francisco’s beauty winds around Lake Merced not too far from the main campus of San Francisco State University where, in a moment of insanity, I once enrolled.

The President’s Cup is a golfing match between a United States team of top professional golfers and a team referred to as the International team, meaning it’s players are from various countries around the world. At the moment, the U.S. team is leading, but the skill level of the international players could mean anything is possible before the fat golfer swings.

One of my disconcerting habits when I watch golf is a tendency to spend more time looking at the galleries than the action on the course. For me, that’s normal behavior. I can hear the announcers and commentators as they explain what’s happing but I am equally interested in spotting notables in the crowd. For example, I wonder if the Mayor of San Francisco is following his favorite golfer. He’s an amateur golfer himself, so I imagine he’s been there on and off, although he probably doesn’t spend a whole day in attendance. Maybe, and this is just a guess, he’ll show up on the last day when the trophies are handed out.

I also wonder if any members of San Francisco’s famed Cougar Class are lurking around, waiting for a chance to pounce on a healthy young golfing stud. A large proportion of the gallery consists of females, but it’s difficult if not impossible to separate a Cougar from the pack. Human Cougars ordinarily don’t wear signs or stripped blouses.

As I’ve watched and admired the golf swings of the world’s top golfers, a disconcerting thought occurred to me. Neither the U.S. team nor the International team has a single woman player on it. In this land of equality and freedom for all, you’d think PGA officials could at least acknowledge the existence of the women in our society. After all, the President is the President of women as well as men. Sure, the PGA has a ladies golfing division, which is appropriately called “Ladies Professional Golfer’s Association” because it has no male members. The LPGA has its own tour and tournaments, so women professional golfers haven’t been totally ignored.

Still, one would think a match so important that it is called “The Presidents Cup” would in some small way include women players as well as men. It’s only fair, and America is, after all, a land of fairness.

So, here’s my modest proposal. The Presidents Cup matches would consist of two divisions, The Presidents Cup for men and The First Ladies Cup for women. One advantage of a First Ladies Cup is that the ladies are, in general, more attractive than the men and they wear shorts, thus giving the galleries a look at some fine legs. Think of the number of Male Cougars that might suddenly develop an interest in golf.

This would be gender equality at its finest.

Update: A commentator just interviewed Condi Rice. Now that the weight of office is no longer on her shoulders, she looks quite relaxed.

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This past Saturday, we drove from Annapolis to Philadelphia to scout out Philly’s historic locations, snap a few photos, snack a little bit, and get sunburned a lot. And, we walked our buns off.

Philly’s primary historical landmarks are concentrated amid lots of tall buildings without historical significance at the moment, but though the historic area may be small in size, it seems larger when you just sort of meander around.

And that’s what we did. We meandered through the Liberty Bell exhibit, the Philadelphia Mint, and the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin and a host of other Colonial personalities instrumental in developing the Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution of the United States. The sense of history and of the times made our meandering worthwhile.

However, we weren’t able to tour Independence Hall. Tickets are required for entry, but by the time we arrived, the day’s ticket quota was gone. According to the National Park Service, tickets are used as a means of spreading the visitor flow throughout the day. Sounds reasonable to me, but I was irked nevertheless. I wanted to see where those Colonial firebrands stood and condemned the British to hell, a tradition that still lives when the subject of universal health care arises.

Interestingly, as we waited in a rather long line to enter the Liberty Bell exhibit, a group of people stood near the line and handed out pamphlets about the Falun Gong. This is a religious group whose members have been persecuted in China, and on this day, the group’s message and writings were aimed at those who in appearance were probably Asian. At least, they overlooked us and others who resembled us, probably assuming, and correctly so, that the number of non-Asians fluent in the Chinese language would range from nil to nada to zilch.

Before I reached a point of utter exhaustion, we decided to survey real history. With our trusty GPS activated, we headed cross-town to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where Rocky ran up about a million steps and then, at the top, gyrated around, finally assuming that triumphant pose now enshrined in a statue at the bottom of the steps.

We, along with a few thousand others in line, stood in front of the statue when out turn came, emulating Rocky’s pose for our own personal pictorial posterity. Like the fool I can sometimes be, I stumbled on the damned pedestal and almost fell, much to the delight of the smirking crowd. I didn’t blame them. Hell, I would have smirked, too. But I recovered nicely and pranced around with arms raised just like Sylvester Stallone did in 1976, 200 years after those rugged firebrands of 1776 may have pranced inside Independence Hall. I think George and Thomas would understand Rocky’s triumph if they were around today.

After the picture-taking session, we walked to the flight of concrete steps Rocky had enshrined in modern American cultural lore so many years ago. Four of us ran up them just as Rocky before us. One of us had better sense and sat down nearby, watching the other members of our party run up and then back down. One female member ran back up and down again, and I was surprised that she wasn’t winded in the slightest when she returned.

By now, the hours we had set aside for our sightseeing were about over. We headed back, taking a route through New Jersey and Delaware and onto US-301into Maryland. As we drove, I noted when we left one state and entered another and thought about the differences. Aside from the obvious—Welcome to Maryland, e.g.—are the people different? Do they look different? Do they speak different languages, New Jerseyese, for example? Do they think differently?

These are philosophical questions for another time. For the moment, suffice to say we had a good time and enjoyed learning a little bit about Philly. As my blogging cohort, Alexandra Jones, a native of Philly, might say, “Go Phillies!” In honor of her devotion to her team, I shouted those words as we passed the Phillies stadium on our way out of town.

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An interesting game is making the rounds on Facebook. Once you’re “tagged” you’re supposed to write 25 random facts, habits, goals, or whatever about yourself and post them on Facenook. Here is my list.

  1. I have the attention span of a gnat.
  2. I crossed the Pacific Ocean three times on a troopship.
  3. My favorite snack is a Beanie Weenie sandwich.
  4. Carl Perkins’ version of Blue Suede Shoes beats Elvises hands down.
  5. I’m in love with Diane Lane’s legs.
  6. I was an Expert rifleman in the service.
  7. I hate the egotistical practice of beginning a sentences with a freakin’ I.
  8. One of my daughters was a Sears television model for several years.
  9. The same daughter became a firearms instructor for the Homeland Security Agency.
  10. Another daughter appeared on the old television show Jake and the Fatman as a regular background player, handing papers to Joe Penney and the like.
  11. I had brain surgery and when I woke, the world had changed.
  12. My aversion to assholes approaches the intensity of the speed of light squared.
  13. My favorite city is San Francisco, and my favorite major metro area is the Bay Area, although D.C. will do in a pinch.
  14. I want to be a cowboy.
  15. I would never have an operation in Seattle’s Grace Hospital.
  16. I pray that I can finish this list.
  17. My favorite sport is baseball.
  18. Everything I know, I learned from a crossword puzzle
  19. The world is flat. I know. I’m trying to climb back on.
  20. Savory crayfish make me want to gag.
  21. I used to hitchhike all over Washington State, Northern California, Arkansas, and Missouri.
  22. I once rode the back of a garbage truck, slinging 50-gallon garbage cans over my shoulder and dumping them in the truck. Then I would step aside and retch.
  23. The best job I ever had was clearing tumbleweeds away from fences way out yonder in the Eastern Washington prairie.
  24. I woke up one morning and I was a university professor.
  25. Then I asked, “What the hell am I doing here?”

Okay, I’ve shown you mine. Now, show me yours.

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…et al…

Stupendous, amazing, miraculous…

This site made Nnumber 31 on WordPress’s list of Growing Blogs!

Apparently with 729 hits today, 429 yesterday, and 610 the day before, we made the cut.

Peanuts in the scheme of blog life.

But considering that we operate in total oblivion on a mountaintop overlooking the Colorado River where we carry out the essential national security function of protecting the United States of America from Martian invaders, this is outa sight.

But, there’s always a catch, isn’t there?

Virtually all of the visitors were lured by visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, namely, fantasies of Natalie Gulbis and Sarah Palin.

It’s all about the promise of S-E-X.

Politics is too complicated.

In our cynical and pragmatic brains, we know the hullabaloo will die soon and we’ll revert to our five family members a day record of visits.

We’ve had our five minutes of blog semi-fame.

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You want Sarah Palin, you got Sarah Palin.

Sarah was Miss Wasilla and runner-up Miss Alaska in 1984. The photo linked to above says Miss Alaska but that appears to be incorrect.

Sarah attended high school in Wasilla where she she played basketball and met her husband of 20 years.

She’s been Governor of Alaska two years. At the moment, she’s under an ethics investigation which, as far as I have been able to determine, involves the firing of a state trooper.

Already, some McCain supporters are firing off accusations that anyone who doesn’t vote for Sarah is a sexist.

On Obalam’s side, at least one supporter has argued that voting for Sarah just because she’s a woman is sexist.

One notable “fact”–according to Woof Blitzem, McCain had met Sarah only one time previously, and many Republican Party elders are reportedly stupefied by her selection.

Our Intrepid East Coast Journalist will have some interesting observations in a day or so. We’ll be eagerly awaiting them.

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Today is a marvelous, stupendous, exciting, break-out-the champagne kind of day.

We have received over 500 hits on this site in a single day! And the day isn’t over yet.

You may say “So freakin’ what, dude? Get over it,” and you would have a valid point. We aren’t The Huffington Post here, or CNN, or Politico, or Fog City Journal.

We’re a tiny little blog site tucked away in a remote corner of Quadrant 10 in the Galaxy Sirius 4. On a good day, we’re lucky to receive five visitors and most of those are relatives who fully expect a spot in my will.

But, there is a downside to today’s success. Almost every one of those visitors was lured here by a link to a virtually naked Natalie Gulbis, a young and successful female golfer who is also very, very beautiful.

My comments were about her success as a professional golfer, although she has also shown herself to be an astute business woman in other fields, notably as a producer of calendars featuring herself. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, as the old saying goes.

So, although happy for our increased traffic, if only for a day, I wonder if the people who clicked on this site read the post or stopped at the link to Natalie’s picture.

I would be greatly disappointed to learn that Americans are interested only in square inches of skin. Life is more than unblemished skin. It’s about high ethical and moral standards as exemplified by our politicians.

At any rate, I’m tossing this together in a rush because my Internet connectivity has been slow or nonexistent for a couple of days and I figured I’d strike while the iron is hot, another old saying we like around here.

Which reminds me, I have a dictionary of cliches and I dream of crafting a post using one cliche after another.

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