Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Gods of the Copybook Headings, Rudyard Kipling 1919

One of my favorite poems from one of my favorite poets....

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming,
They promised perpetual peace. They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Rudyard Kipling 1919

Friday, September 28, 2012

if I had a time machine.....

..... I would go back in time and punch Herman Melville.


They should make the prisoners in Gitmo read Moby Dick. Wait a minute... That would probably be considered torture and is right up there with water-boarding.

Universities should automatically give students an English degree (at least honorary) if they can read that book in a single semester.

In all seriousness, I spent 3 years trying fo finish it and was never able. I know it's considered a classic piece of American literature and a literary masterpiece, but who made that determination. I enjoyed the story of chasing the whale, but I can do without the 100-page rambling tangents. If I wanted to read that, I'd just read my own ramblings. It sure be easier to understand...

I'm not sure if I've ever met anyone who has read Moby Dick in its entirety, but if you have - my hat is off to you fine sir or madam.

Thought of the day - preparedness

Something that has garnered quite a bit of attention lately is disaster preparedness and "prepping". This a subject of great interest to me and if those of you reading this would oblige me, I'd like to use my little slice of the Internet here to give a little advice and hopefully get you to thinking about whether or not you and your loved ones would be prepared in the event of a calamity striking.

One caveat that I'd like to get out of the way is that I am not an expert nor do I claim to be. I have done a lot of research on the varied aspects of prepping and if I don't know an answer, hopefully I can find the right answer and/or point my readers in the right direction. There is a wealth of information on the Internet about disaster preparedness and together we should be able to weed through all of the disinformation and armchair Rambos to get to the useful tips and strategies.
On a lighter note: I have been called a wingnut but some of my friends because I have a keen interest in prepping. At first I took it as an insult until I was told, "you're not quite a nutjob, just a wingnut...." So I guess it's not necessarily a bad thing.

I'm also don't want to spend too much time considering those events that are sensational and fairly unlikely (unless you believe the tinfoil hat types). These events include: CME/EMP events, total collapse of society/rule of law, or the dreaded zombie apocalypse. While each of these might happen, we are all going to need much more than what I can provide here on my little blog. Sure, we'll touch on some these events and a lot of strategies and tips can be applied to all sorts of disasters - but is like to focus (at least initially) on the smaller disasters that we are all susceptible to.
Can anyone honestly say that they do not live in an area where a natural disaster may strike? Wildfire, flood, ice/snow storms, hurricanes and tornadoes are just some of the natural disasters that can cause a person to be without basic services and on their own for a significant amount of time. Also, there can be disasters that are more personal in nature that can cause a disruption in our daily lives. How would the loss of your job affect your ability to provide the basic needs of you and your loved ones?

The good thing is that thew are many things we can do to prepare for these events so our lives can be somewhat normal if we ever find ourselves in one these unfortunate circumstances. There is also a wealth of knowledge found on the websites I've provided links to here on my blog. My hope is that by spreading a little bit of knowledge form what I have learned so far that we can all be a little more prepared. I'd also like to hear from you for any tips and suggestions on each of the topics I hope to cover.


Thursday, September 27, 2012


Of political correctness
Cultural awareness
Tired of everything
Being an excuse
A syndrome
A disability.
Tired of society being

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thought of the day - politics and the upcoming election

I heard yesterday that VP candidate Ryan said that a vote for Ron Paul would be a vote for Pres. Obama. This might be true, but the while idea of it really "sticks in my craw" as they would say where I grew up. Let me explain....

I'm not one of those rabid RP supporters although I do think he was the best choice in the field during the primaries. I heard a lot of talk then about how he couldn't win so there wasn't any reason to vote for him. I've also heard countless times since then how I should vote for Romney because "at least he's better than Obama"....

That's what the world has come to? I'm supposed to vote for the lesser of the two evils even though neither one comes close in reflecting my views? That's just ridiculous.. People vote for the lesser of two evils and then wonder why there's evil. This same idea is one reason we are in the condition we are in now as a country.

This whole "you can only vote for someone in these 2 parties" stuff has got to stop if any real, meaningful change is ever going to happen. Take a close look folks - there is no difference between the red and blue teams. Sure, they'll posture and crow about the social issue du jour; but under the surface they're all lapdogs of the big banks, big pharma, and big oil. The presidential election is a good example. Forget what they say. Look at their records and tell me that there is a big difference between the two parties.

I apologize (a little) for the rant and I don't want to try and tell you who you should vote for. That's a personal choice and up to the individual to decide for themselves. What I am trying to do is to tell you is to vote for whomever best represents your views/beliefs/values regardless of their perceived ability to win. And don't fall for the whole "lesser of two evils" line of malarkey either.
This little bit of advice comes from personal experience. In '08 I voted for (in my view) the lesser evil. I had fallen into the trap that I had only two options and I couldn't bring myself to vote for that war-mongering weasel McCain. Do I regret voting for Obama? A little bit; but what I truly and deeply regret is the fact that I let others convince me to compromise. It'll never happen again and I will happily vote for a 3rd party candidate that "has no chance of winning" if they are the best candidate for me.

On a lighter note, this weekend is the opening of archery season here in Texas. Good luck to all those going out this weekend and I wish I was going to be up in a stand or blind Saturday. Oh well, I guess a hungry hunter can be hungry a little longer........

watching for spots

An easy, steady wind
Picks up and changes direction.
Thick smoke engulfs the line while
Ash, dust and grit swarms
Eyes, nose and mouth.
Snot runs unabated.
One eye tightly closed,
The other a squinting sliver.
Throat burning.
The last Nalgene half-full
Of stale, tepid water.
Infrequent twenty degree wind shifts
Being a momentary reprieve.
Each gulp of fresh air seems
Like a small miracle.

What time is it?
It's going to be a long day.

a new friend

He's ok, but a little prickly.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A couple haiku

Pale winter sun
Frost covered grass waking, bright
Expectations high

Dull, gray clouds
Autumn-cured grasses bow
Today I am king

Friday, September 21, 2012


Six dark suits
Six dark suits carry anquish
Five long years
Five long years forever lost
Four gray walls
Four gray walls hold, suffocate
Three more days
Three more days until release
Two blue eyes
Two blue eyes until release
One person
One person responsible

I will find you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

on point

Nerves on edge
Tip of the spear
An all-seeing ghost.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

some stuff from a while back

Here are some posts I had written for an earlier attempt at a blog. The premise of the late blog was to help me remember things I want to teach my son...

These days all you seem to talk about is fire trucks and putting out fires. I'd like to think that part of the reason is because you want to be like your old man. Well, if I can give you one piece of useful advice about fighting fires it would be this:
Keep your feet as dry as possible by changing into a dry pair of socks at least once a day.
This may gross some people out, but I want you to notice that I didn't say "clean" or "fresh" socks, but "dry". It's not really practical to carry 15+ pairs of socks on a fire assignment when you are limited by weight and space restrictions; so here's what I use - the "1n2" rule. It goes like this: wear a pair of socks for 1 day, let them dry out for 2, then they can be worn again. This way you can cut the number of socks you pack by about half.
There are a few caveats though:
1. Never wear the same pair of socks more than twice. Things get kind of iffy after this...
2. 1n2 only works in relatively dry conditions. Granted, most fires burn when it's hot and dry; but if you're in the Southeast or on the Coast you might want to have other options available.

Keep your feet dry, Bear. Trust me, your feet will thank you.

I've currently stopped reading non-fiction books exclusively and decided to read a few works of fiction recently. The first book I picked up was The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Not the lightest book or "sunniest", but I'd heard a lot of good things about it. Well, not long into the book I found this quote by the father (talking about his son):

"...the child was his warrant. If he is not the word of God, God never spoke."

That line has really stuck with me. For those that aren't familiar with the book (or the movie, for that matter) it's the story of a father and son's journey through a post-apocalyptic world. It's a dark and scary book, but there's something uplifting about the way the father is supremely focused on the well-being of his child. Reading the book, I'm constantly putting myself in the father's shoes and asking "What would I do if it was just Bear and I in a similar situation?"

I apologize for taking so long to write again. I'd like to say that there was a good excuse, but there isn't one...
So let me tell you about sportsmanship. I'm sure you'll here about being a good loser, but it's also important to be a good winner too. Sportsmanship is also about being a good sports fan too. I'm all for supporting your favorite team or school, but and kind of sport is just that - a sport or game. It shouldn't be taken too seriously. Unless you're in really deep with a bookie, any game is not a life-or-death situation. You should also be respectful of the other team's fans as well. It's going to be hard because there are always those obnoxious fans that you want to go all "spider monkey" on, but please try to refrain yourself...

I suppose I can throw in one quick lesson:
When BBQ-ing, try and use primarily oak. It seems to have just the right heat output and burn time. Mesquite burns pretty hot and doesn't last too long. Plus it can leave a lot of soot on the meat. Hickory and/or pecan are good in moderation, but keep at least 75% of the wood used good ol' white/post oak. Oh, and make sure it's good and dry - it'll make your life much easier.

two years & judging character
I can't believe that it's been two years since you were born. It really just seems like yesterday that I heard your first little cry. I'll never forget that. I'm also glad that your head went back to a normal shape. I have to admit that I was a little freaked out by the "cone-head". Anyways... Happy Birthday.

I'm not sure where I first heard this (I think it was from your Mother) but it's great advice: "You can tell a lot about a person's character by how they treat the elderly, children, and wait staff."
This is something that I feel is an important observation to make. Watch how someone treats their waiter or waitress and you should be able to get a good feeling about whether or not that someone is a good person or a jerk. The same goes for kids or old people.
Oh and by the way, be a good tipper. Tip at least 15% (20% is easier to calculate in my head) unless the waiter/waitress is rude or incompetent.

careers and highways
Today I'm on the road for work and missing you and your Mom. My job often takes me away from you guys - which stinks - but it's just part of the job.
I've been thinking about what I can tell you about careers... Well, I suppose the best advice I can give you is to find something you really enjoy doing and try to make that your career. If you love sports, then find a job that involves sports. If you really like dinosaurs, then become a paleontologist. Just remember that if you really enjoy whatever it is you do for a career; then it won't ever really feel like work.
One the same note, if you come to realize that you don't really enjoy what you do anymore - find something else that you love and pursue that career path.
The bottom line is that there is no need to be miserable at your job. It's not good for you or those around you. Do what you love..

Something else that I thought of while we were driving across America this past week. All US highways and interstates that are even numbered are east/west and odd numbered highways are north/south. Just a bit of trivia. I'm not sure where or when that will come in handy, but it's something you should know.

Hope to see you soon.

toothbrushes and fashion
Here’s a little tidbit that may not be helpful right now, but it will someday.
Always have a toothbrush handy. This doesn’t mean that you have to carry one around in your pocket, but you should have one close by just in case. In case of what you might ask?
Well, if you’re working on a fire in the middle of the wilderness and your boss tells you that you’ll only be there one night – and that one night turns into six or seven, you’ll need a toothbrush.
Or if you happen to meet a pretty girl right after you’ve just polished of a big plate of nachos, you’ll need a toothbrush (and toothpaste, but I assumed you pick up on that).
So keep a toothbrush stashed in your backpack or vehicle or where ever. You just never know…

Your Mom will probably disagree with me on this one, but it’s ok.
As far as clothes and fashion trends go – wear what ever you want (within reason). I don’t really care how ridiculous the clothes you want to wear are, go for it (within reason). If it’s a jean jacket with the sleeves cut off (I guess that’s technically a vest) or neon green pants, that’s fine with me. Just remember that I reserve the right to make fun of you and take pictures – a lot of pictures. And I will save these pictures and someday use them in such a way that will probably embarrass you. You’ve been warned.

asking questions
I’m pretty sure here in a year or two you’ll start asking ‘how’ and ‘why’. Why is the sky blue? How do birds fly? Why do the girls say I have cooties?
I’m also pretty sure that after a while, I’ll get tired of having to explain everything. Regardless, NEVER stop asking. And if you can’t get a good answer, figure it out for yourself. I promise I won’t get mad if you take the TV remote apart to see how it works or go to college and major in philosophy to understand why... well, why anything.
The point is that you should always strive for knowledge and look for answers all of the time. Or you could just ask your Dad, and we can work on it together… if I could just find my hammer…

responsibility and guitars
I will do my best not to let this become a rant or lecture, but this next topic is one that I feel very strongly about… personal responsibility.
It seems that every where you turn everyone is blaming everyone and everything else for their problems or mistakes.
This just drives me crazy.
No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes (including your Dad). So what? Mistakes are a part of life. It is what you do after you make a mistake that defines what kind of person you are, not the mistake you made…So the point is to fess up when you make a mistake or are wrong. And besides being the right thing to do, taking responsibility for your own actions will show other that you have integrity and are honest and will make them respect you.
This is a little off of the subject, but I would personally rather someone respect me than like me.It would be nice if they could do both, but it I had to chose, I’ll take being respected…
Sometimes you could even take responsibility for a mistake when it wasn’t technically even your fault.I suppose that’s part of being a good leader.
Bottom line – hold yourself responsible for your actions.

On a lighter note,
I’m not entirely sure about this, but I think that girls will be much more impressed with you for being able to play an actual guitar than being able to get a high score playing a video game guitar. Instead of strumming in front of a TV, practice on a real ax play for the ladies. It would be even better if you’re a good singer. Hopefully you’ll get your singing ability from your Mom.

Somewhere I read that there are 3 kinds of people in this world: the sheep, the wolves, and the sheepdogs. Try and be a sheepdog... This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to necessarily be a firefighter or a cop; but always remember that there are people in this world who will need your help and those who are out to harm you and others. I hope you never have to find this out the hard way..
Just always try and be aware of your surroundings. It seems like a lot of people nowadays are so engrossed in their own little "world" that they are unaware of what is going on around them. Try and not to be one of these people.

Texas BBQ
I hope that you have all of the opportunities that I have had to travel and try different kinds of food. I know that you already have somewhat developed a taste for barbeque. I also know that there are a lot of good styles of bbq around the country: Memphis, Kansas City, Georgia and the Carolinas...

However, this note is about true Texas barbeque.. You will know if you are eating true Texas bbq if there is no plates and no silverware (except maybe a knife). Also - and this is the most important part - Texas barbeque does not have or need bbq sauce!

communication and squirrels
To be successful at anything you do, you must be able to communicate effectively. It doesn't matter if it's school, work, sports, girls - whatever; if you can't effectively communicate to others, you're not going to be successful. I'm not saying that I am the best communicator in the World - far from it, it's just something that I have learned watching others and through my own experiences. When you're saying, "A B C" and the other person is hearing "X Y Z"; it's just not going to work.
So how do you make sure you're being understood? Try and get the person to repeat back to you what you said to them. Or, repeat back what they just said to you. That way you both know that the intended message got through.

If a squirrel runs into a hole in a hollow tree and you want to get it out (for whatever reason), DO NOT start a fire at the base of the tree to 'smoke it out'. It doesn't work and it will lead to a long night - trust me, I know. I'll tell you about it when you're a little older.


November rain.
No, not Axl 'n' Slash
but the one that's dripping
down the back of my neck.
Each icy drop running its course
brings momentary paralysis
and questions of sanity.

Is it worth it?
The hours, the days
In the hope of a brief encounter,
a glimpse of antler. Heart racing!
Is it worth it?

I'm still here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


here are a couple of cinquains I wrote while my wife was pregnant with our little girl

Beautiful, small.
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
Dancing in your mother's middle.
My Love.

Tap tap
Subtle contact.
Was that a hand, a foot?
My heart skips a beat, tears draw near.
My Love.


I created the blog as an outlet of sorts to share some of my ramblings. Ramblings of thought, thoughts about my rambling around the country, travels inside my mind, ideas and views about what as a nation we are rambling toward...

But most importantly, I'd like to share some of my poems. I've been writing poetry for about a year and while they are a little rough around the edges, I think they are getting better... I would like to think that others would enjoy them as well. There are poems about nature, family, my work, and the world in general. I also like to try different poetry styles so there's no telling what you might find here.

I hope you enjoy what you find here as you join me on the crazy ramblings within my head. I can't promise it'll be a smooth ride or even if we'll make it very far - but it should be interesting.

Any comments, feedback, and/or suggestions are greatly appreciated.