AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

11 February 2009

John Colter, Mountain Man



Private John Colter, considered one of the finest woodsmen and hunters in all of America in the first decade of the 19th century, was chosen by Meriwether Lewis to be a recon scout for his Clarks Corps Of Discovery. His story is, in itself, one of discovery and tenacity.

During the Corps' return trip home to St. Louis after successfully reaching the Pacific, Colter made a courageously bold decision. Civilization was not for him -- he was staying out west.

From Stephen A. Ambrose's masterpiece, Undaunted Courage . . .

. . . and when the expedition set off downstream, Colter turned back upstream, back to the wilderness, back to the mountains, on his way into the history books as America's first mountain man and the discoverer of the Yellowstone country.

Discovering Lewis & Clark has more on Colter here and here.

09 February 2009

Straight Gas from a true Poet









You don't paddle against the current, you paddle with it. And if you get good at it, you throw away the oars. Tell the truth. Sing with passion. Work with laughter. Love with heart. 'Cause that's all that matters in the end.
Kris Kristofferson

Next to Billy Joe Shaver, Kris Kristofferson has got to be one of the most under rated, and certainly under appreciated songwriters ever. Me & Bobby McGee, Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down, Help Me Make It Through The Night, For The Good Times, Why Me Lord . . . need more?

More here.

The Highwaymen, The Last Cowboy Song



This the last cowboy song:
The end of a hundred year waltz.
The voices sound sad as they're singin' along.
Another piece of America's lost.

He rides the feed lots, clerks in the markets,
On weekends sellin' tobacco and beer.
And his dreams of tomorrow, surrounded by fences,
But he'll dream tonight of when fences weren't here.

He blazed the trail with Lewis and Clark,
And eyeball to eyeball, old Wyatt backed down.
He stood shoulder to shoulder with Travis in Texas.
And rode with the 7th when Custer went down.

This the last cowboy song:
The end of a hundred year waltz.
The voices sound sad as they're singin' along.
Another piece of America's lost.

Remington showed us how he looked on canvas,
And Louis Lamour has told us his tale.
Me and Johnny and Waylon and Kris sing about him,
And wish to God we could have ridden his trail.

The old Chisolm trail is covered in concrete now,
They truck it to market in fifty foot rigs.
They roll by his markings and don't even notice,
Like living and dying was all he ever did.

This the last cowboy song:
The end of a hundred year waltz.
The voices sound sad as they're singin' along.
Another piece of America's lost.

This the last cowboy song:
The end of a hundred year waltz.
The voices sound sad as they're singin' along.
Another piece of America's lost.

Time's tale of Lincoln


Very little of The Hammock Paper 's space will be taken up with political crap, but this piece can't be missed.

Statesmanship is not an abstract skill, but a contextual one, highly specific to the circumstances it finds. It is irresistible to wonder what kind of leader Lincoln would have been had there been no secession attempt after his election, or had he lived to be a postwar president. That the question is almost impossible to answer intelligently, though, tells us a great deal. Lincoln was above all a war president. Like it or not, that condition of history defined him. He was not elected to be such a president. He might have been no more effective in peacetime than Andrew Johnson was. And he might well have found out, as Winston Churchill or George H. W. Bush later did, that voters prefer very different kinds of leaders in times of peace and war. We will never know. In any event, such was not to be his destiny.

Read the rest here.

04 February 2009

Mac










Darren McCarty is my all-time favorite Red Wing. He is a consumate team player (ALWAYS follows his teammates going on and coming off the ice), a tough, loyal competitor, with the heart of a lion.

Mac has battled many demons off the ice, a few have threatened to end is career. He has persevered.

HOT DOUG'S: The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium




This place was featured this week on Bourdain's tour of Chicago. The Chicago Dog with yellow mustard, radiant-green relish, tomato, pickle spear, and celery salt ($1.75) made me drool. Then it was on to the sweetheart pictured above . . . the Cognac-Infused Pheasant Sausage with Blackberry Mustard, Foie Gras Mousse and Sel Gris ($8).

Just when I thought this noshing Nirvana couldn't get more Nirvana-ish (as Drew would say), the Whopper With Cheese was laid down . . . Fridays and Saturdays, patrons of The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium are treated to french fries fried in rendered duck fat ($3.50).

Goodness GRACIOUS!

Hot Doug's site is here.

03 February 2009

. . . and that's one hell of a s#$% storm in anyone's backyard



The Barrett M107 50 caliber sniper rifle - trying to win hearts and minds, but willing to splatter them if necessary.

God bless our Armed Forces.

02 February 2009

I think there might be a football game on



Jalapeno & cheddar bratwurst. Serve with baked beans, doused liberally with Plochman's, and repeat as needed.

I put these babies on around noon, left a spoon on the counter, and with a Budweiser open in the fridge, I was a-snackin' all day long.

The road to sausage












The guys from Nona got together for breakfast at Early Birds. Gloriously prepared pig meat was enjoyed by all. A drive through the country followed. It was a nice day.

Happy Birthday, Frazier . . . dang!

On the way to work





Yes, class was in session.

Straight, High-Octane Gas



Tim O'Brien doin' Look Down That Lonesome Road. How 'bout ol' Jerry Douglass?!!!

It's late on a school night, so on that note . . . "I'll just say so long."

For Buff . . .



Echo & The Bunnymen, Seven Seas . . . "swimming them so well."

01 February 2009

"This didn't happen at Grateful Dead barbeques."



Bourdain and Nugent eat meat and fire weapons.

Though the generations wonder . . .



. . . the lineage remains.

A picture of my sister (top) and daughter, both around age six, almost 40 years apart. As I looked at these pictures, Dan Fogelberg's magnificent song, Forefathers, came to mind . . .

They came from Scandinavia, the land of midnight sun
And crossed the North Atlantic when this century was young
They'd heard that in America every man was free
To live the way he chose to live and be who he could be

Some of them were farmers there and tilled the frozen soil
But all they got was poverty for all their earnest toil
They say one was a sailor who sailed the wide world round
Made home port, got drunk one night, walked off the pier and drowned

My mother was of Scottish blood, it's there that she was born
They brought her to America in 1924
They left behind the highlands and the heather-covered hills
And came to find America with broad expectant dreams and iron wills

My granddad worked the steel mills of central Illinois
His daughter was his jewel, his son was just his boy
For thirty years he worked the mills and stoked the coke-fed fires
And looked toward the day when he'd at last turn 65 and could retire

And the sons become the fathers and their daughters will be wives
As the torch is passed from hand to hand
And we struggle through our lives
Though the generations wander, the lineage survives
And all of us, from dust to dust
We all become forefathers by and by

The woman and the man were wed just after the war
And they settled in this river town and three fine sons she bore
One became a lawyer and one fine pictures drew
And one became this lonely soul
Who sits here now and sings this song to you

And the sons become the fathers and their daughters will be wives
As the torch is passed from hand to hand
And we struggle through our lives
Though the generations wander, the lineage survives
And all of us, from dust to dust
We all become forefathers by and by
By and by


The song is here.

Alexander Volkov, Gothic Woods



I've been there.

Volkov's work can also be see here.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's, Mosses from an Old Manse



The opening sketch in this collection is called, "The Old Manse." It is a guided tour by Hawthorne himself of his newly acquired historical estate in Concord, Massachusetts. The house was originally Ralph Waldo Emerson's childhood home.

The study had three windows, set with little, old-fashioned panes of glass, each with a crack across it. The two on the western side looked, or rather peeped, between the willow-branches, down into the orchard, with glimpses of the river through the trees. The third, facing northward, commanded a broader view of the river, at a spot where its hitherto obscure waters gleam forth into the light of history. It was at this window that the clergyman, who then dwelt in the Manse, stood watching the outbreak of a long and deadly struggle between two nations; he saw the irregular array of his parishioners on the farther side of the river, and the glittering line of the British, on the hither bank. He awaited, in an agony of suspense, the rattle of the musketry. It came--and there needed but a gentle wind to sweep the battle-smoke around this quiet house.

Read the sketch here.