Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Running Man

Most of us can probably rattle off the names of five or six books that really impacted our lives.  If I had to do it, it would prove a little embarrassing, because though I have read thousands of books in my 50 plus years, including some that I suppose are considered among the classics, most of those that truly impacted my life, (consciously, at least) are books most people never heard of.  I’m pretty sure a lot of that depends upon your age when you read it, I remember “Watership Down” as being a very important book to me, but I’m not sure it would even hold my interest now.

So, anyway, I just finished one that I can honestly say is among the best books I have ever read.  I couldn’t bear to put it down to work, eat, or sleep.  It’s title is “Born To Run”.  It starts out being a story about the Tarahumara Indians that still live in one of our planet’s most inhospitable regions called the Copper Canyons in Northern Mexico.  What makes these people unique, besides residing among cliffs where even sure-footed goats have plunged to their deaths, is that they literally live to run.  Fifty to one hundred mile runs are common. And they do it barefoot.

The book makes a good case that running is what we were all born to do.

I’ve done my share.  When I was young, I ran everywhere.  It felt good and I had a naturally comfortable stride.  When I was in the Army, running was a breeze, even with a full pack and wearing boots, I never once felt I couldn’t finish.  Ditto with the police academy.  In fact, we ran more as police recruits than I ever did as a soldier.  Again, while many of my classmates fell out on longer runs, I never even threw up.  Why I got away from it remains a mystery to me.  I played football longer than I should have.  I still play some hoops, but I don’t run.  At least I didn’t.  I’m planning to change that.

Yes, this book is the reason. There is ample science presented in this book, but done in a way that even a non-scientifically minded sort could connect the dots.

The book also connected with me with respect to eating habits.  I was happy to learn that by almost any measure, pinto beans are nature’s perfect food.  I eat a lot of them, so this was vindication of what I have been telling my kids for years.  They also consume a fair amount of chia…yes, the stuff they make chia pets from.  The Primary Wife was already way ahead of me about that, as she has been adding it to her food for awhile now.

I live 1/2 mile from a grocery store, yet every time I go, I drive.  Why is that?  Sure, it saves time, but I rarely do much in a hurry anyway, so I’m re-thinking this bad habit.

Read the book.  Especially if there has ever been a time when you felt that you were in peak physical condition, the book will actually make that feeling return, at least while you are reading it.  I’m sharing my copy with my oldest son, but I may buy an additional one for my youngest kids to read.

Hey!  I’m like Oprah over here!


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Sovereign Citizen

Well, the switchboard here at the Chronicles has been lit up for a couple of weeks now, angry readers demanding to know why there hasn’t been a new post during that time have called our poor operators everything in the book.  I’d love to tell ya that the writing staff has been in what’s known as “deep cover”, having infiltrated some Jamaican drug cartel or messianic cult.  (Wait, do switchboards even exist anymore?)  Sadly, that isn’t the case.

It’s been weird.  That’s the only way to describe the last fortnight here at Coyote Creek.  It started, I think, one late morning as I was slipping through the gate of the catch-pen after tricking the horses into letting me spray them for flies.  The Primary Wife was filling the bird-feeder with whatever the avian equivalent of granola is, when suddenly she called out “Snake!” and I nearly soiled my cargo shorts as I high-stepped around in the tall grass surrounding the fence posts.  I started gesticulating like Elaine dancing on Seinfeld because I didn’t want to scream and startle the snake.   As it turns out, she had spotted a hawk flying OVERHEAD with a snake dangling from it’s beak, but all she could get out at that moment was the word snake.  (It should be noted that around a dozen years ago, I was bitten by fire-hosed sized Georgia Culvert Pit Viper and lived to tell about it, so I had every right to be panicked.)  Anyway, imagine my confusion as she’s pointing skyward and screaming about deadly things that are rarely airborne.  I finally managed to snap to what she was saying and looked up in time to see the winged creature bank left into the trees with dinner for him and mama hawk.

It’s been raining here 24/7 for 39 straight weeks.  The grass seed I threw out and covered with hay straw?  Grew.  Thick, lush neon green rye grass was everywhere…even in the back of Black Cloud Follows, as I must have spilled a few seeds in the truck-bed.   This new growth is addition to the fescue covered peaks and valleys I must mow from around late March till my birthday in November.  I changed the oil in my zero-turn, greased all the fittings, sharpened the blades and filled her up with non -ethanol gasoline purchased from Nervous Charlie, whose gas station doubles as a giant fireworks stand.    (I kid you not.  You may not purchase French Ticklers or ribbed, ahem, massagers in this County, but high octane dragster fuel with cheap Chinese compressed gunpowder?  No problem. )

So for two days I mowed, stopping only to eat and sleep.  I want to make it clear that I love my zero-turn.  It is big and fast and easy to maintain, and goes wherever I point it.  She is all horsepower and whirling blades, my friends, no fancy safety features like a roll bar or even a seat belt.  She has no shock absorbing capabilities and a seat as soft as concrete.  (it is a constant irritation that my friend Rock Solid has a zero turn with a larger deck, shock absorbers, rack and pinion steering, a full roll cage, a skydiver approved harness and an Ipod station, yet his mowing consists of lazy circles on flat terrain, indeed the most challenging part of the chore is keeping the beer in the cupholder from spilling)  So yes, I mowed.  From the tobacco barn to my back deck, roughly 7 seven thousand acres.  Give or take.

On day three, pleased with myself and dreading any more work in 95 degree weather, I took my son swimming.  One of our favorite pool activities (okay mine anyway) is to randomly pluck Noah from his raft and body slam him into the water.   I believe it was only last week when I could do this with one arm.  I’d snatch him up, hold him aloft and cackle like a madman while he screamed for mercy.  None ever came.  I’d plunge him into the depths, headfirst, all the while grinning as I watched his spindly legs follow him into the abyss.  Huge fun.  So, I patiently waited for him to be lulled by the lapping water and let down his guard, then I pounced.  I immediately noticed that I needed both arms to even pull him into position, then I bent my knees, grunted, and yanked him up to about my chin, only to collapse in a heap in the shallow end as he rolled off my formerly strong arms and slithered back onto his inflatable.  I believe I may have heard “old man” related taunts directed my way.

Since that day, I have been in so much pain, I’m pretty sure if I had a cervix I’d be dilated to about a 15.  The muscle relaxers I got from a doctor friend did nothing but constipate me, thereby ruining my regular morning routine.  Ibuprofen made it so that I could still walk, but the spasm was so bad I was locked in a Forrest Gump- like pose for nearly a week.

I’m on the mend, though, feeling more like myself but still a bit shy about lifting anything heavier than a shot-glass.  I should probably let Noah out of the trunk today.

Oh, this is why nothings been posted here for awhile, between the back pain and medication I have just haven’t felt chipper enough to weigh in on the important issues of the day. So, yeah, it’s been weird.

What does this have to do with the title of this post?  Not a damn thing.  I read this morning that yet another “sovereign citizen” picked a fight with an armed policeman and lost,  to become I think the third one this year to earn a chance at a Darwin Award.

We appreciate y’alls patience.


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Guest Post By Debbie Downer

One of the hardest questions for someone like me is “what are you thinking about?”.  It’s a benign enough question, but nearly impossible to answer, and I’m sure no one that has ever asked me truly cares to stick around long enough to hear a complete answer…or really, any answer longer than “nuthin.”  I suppose I could point the inquirer to my “drafts” section of this web-log, where he or she would find hundreds of unfinished missives on a variety of subjects, languishing there because I just could not devote the time to flesh them out properly.  I try to avoid “stream of consciousness” posts, but I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and just get some stuff out of my head and into the cloud.  If you are still here, God bless you.

Let me preface this by assuring the reader that I am not complaining.  As far as life on this planet is concerned, I am well aware that I live better than 99% of it’s inhabitants.  It’s 90 degrees outside and I’m wearing socks, I’m still a bit full from last night’s dinner,  the bills are paid and I have enough left to hit the Redbox if the mood strikes me.  In the hierarchy of pain and suffering, I am well positioned.  My comfort doesn’t prevent me from thinking about and indeed worrying about stuff…

What it will take for Americans to realize that our lifestyle, in its current form, is unsustainable?  “Our lifestyle” is vague and broad and I apologize, but most of us take quite a bit for granted, and I’m wondering how much longer we can afford to do so.  Food.  Something most of us have known no shortage of in our lives.  I’ve said this here before, but my generation was probably the first on this planet’s history that didn’t have to think about where the next meal would come from.  No need to can food for a long winter.  No need to build a fire to cook.  Certainly no need to grow any fruits or vegetables…I can eat relatively fresh apples and bananas and corn in January.  Thats both awesome and terrible.  If you are someone that fears a future dependency on Big Oil, let me assuage your fears…The entities that control our food supply will rule in the future.  The earth’s population is forecast to reach over 8 billion in the coming decade.  They will need to eat.  Using our precious soil to grow food to fuel our automobiles is going to look like a  stupid idea to our great grand-children.

Water.  We have already waged war for oil, the wars in the future will be for potable water.  If it’s true that all of the earth’s water is all there has ever been, and all there is ever going to be, it seems wise to learn to safeguard it and for heaven’s sake, don’t let it become a private enterprise.  OOOPS.  The idea that water isn’t part of the commons eludes me, sorry.

Housing.  We haz it.  Acre after acre of farmland has been sacrificed to make room for row after row of cookie cutter housing tracts, and hardly any of those houses are less than 1500 sq ft.  Many are 2000 plus.  Most will be occupied by four people or less.   I think that will change.  It’s going to cost more and more to heat and cool those homes, if the resources to do so even exist.  This is one challenge I am actually hopeful about…I think we will see a return to multi-generational households, and we may even see a future where homes are retro-fitted to support more than a single family. This will allow us to experience less isolation and more communal endeavors.  Possibly.

Basically, it is going to cost more, a lot more, to maintain the standard of living we currently enjoy.  Wages are likely to stay stagnant or even decline, as leverage for working people to band together to bargain with employers declines or flat out disappears.  Couple that with increased competition for whatever resources remain….well, a change is going to come.

I’ll admit that it is difficult to remain optimistic.  We’ll need strong leaders with vision and courage, and the best and brightest recoil from the mere thought of the ridiculous public scrutiny we heap upon our elected officials.  We will need armies of engineers and scientists, free from political pressure and given the status that movie stars and ball-players enjoy.  We’ll need religious leaders to call out those in the churches who seek only to enrich themselves.  But most of all, we’ll need to get past our own fears and begin to talk with one another.  I think any progress will start from there.

So, thats a fraction of what I was thinking about when you asked.

What are YOU thinking about?





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