Monday, December 29, 2014
OLD FISH IN A SHALLOW POND
When I was 12 I wanted to be 16. When I was 16 I wanted to be 26. When I was 26 I was married, divorced, broke and felt so old and out of touch with the youth, that I can remember actually saying "I'm way too old to be a "punk". That shit's for the kids." Then I met Sally Webster and Freddy "Fritz" Fox, the driving front section of the SF band THE MUTANTS. Sally's a little younger than I. But Freddy was quite a bit older. Their stage antics proved punk was ageless. They turned my sorry ass mindset around. Never again was I to feel too old for anything. In fact, I reverted to the old ways of my youth. I began adding ten years to my age. By the time I was 40 I'd grown a full grey beard and told anyone who asked that I was "50." I looked it. Nobody questioned my arithmetic. Now days I've lied about my age for so long I can't remember how old I am. Let's just say a little under 100.
Age seems to be a big issue for a lot of people- esp. women. They seem to be more vulnerable to the steam rolling youth culture that permeates print, TV, interweb and coffee klatch media. Those yentas on THE VIEW aren't idiots because they are old. They are just idiots. Sure, everyone loves to look at and be surrounded by beautiful young men and women. I'm lucky enough to know a bunch. But I never feel old around them. And, to their credit, they never make me feel that way. I pick my friends wisely. And that comes with age. I'm in love with a beautiful woman, of indeterminate age, who at times also suffers from feeling "old". That's why I made her the piece in the above post. It's called Full of Shit. Because it's tragically true.
Age is fucking awesome, to be celebrated, not bemoaned. When someone like the hardbodied, picture in the attic, GNJohn, calls me "Grandma" I say thank you. Rob Kennedy is in his 90's and look at him! My grandmother lived to be 105, outliving the pacemaker she got when she was 90. Her name was Mary Ethel Jennings. Google her / pacemaker! Nobody could have a better role model. So to all you old "hippies", "punks", "Gen. Xers", and aging "Millennials", (men or women) own it you fucking geezers. It's never too late to get up on stage and twerk yer ass off. Even if that's soooooo "last year". HAPPY and HEALTHY NEW YEAR.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Labels: pHOTO:r. KERN
THANK YOU NORTH KOREA!
I'm officially out of the woods. I've cleaned my guns, paid my bills, picked up my mail, did my laundry and hung it behind the woodstove, reamed out the stove pipe with my branding iron, so I can get some heat, and gone back on facebook....just in time. I know I said I'd never go back on fb. That's usually about the time I completely reverse myself and do just what I say I'll never do. I have 3 deer hanging, that are leading to imagery that I'm developing, a nice piece on Kate Orne's www.upstatediary.com, that I'm promoting and loads of other news I can weigh in on, as well as a bunch of butchering to do. Cuba's opening up. A casino is coming to the hood. Fracking has been stopped in the state- for now. And last but not least, Kim Jong Un and his jerky stringed puppets have hacked SONY PICTURES, forcing the latest movie from James Franco and Seth Rogan- THE INTERVIEW, to be pulled from its holiday release. Thank You KJU!
Why does it take a foreign government to have the good sense to stop the steady stream of drek from SONY? As a little side benefit we all get to learn just what movie moguls email back and forth to each other. And this is what Sony should be optioning. Get those guys from SOUTH PARK to make a bunch more puppets and do AMERICA WORLD POLICE II. Use actual emails, Presidential quotes, North Korean denials and even Franco and Rogan....if you have to. This is the movie that should be made. In the meantime, while you are in there Kim, I suggest NK makes SONY pull ANNIE, THE FURY, THE WEDDING RINGER, CHAPPIE, THE SEX TAPE, THE EQUALIZER, and 22 JUMP STREET, or suffer the consequences. That's what I want for Xmas. Stop them before they do any more damage. HAPPY HOLIDAYS! FUCK YEAH!
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Labels: pHOTO:mARIANA rOTHEN
THE OSTERHOUT NARRATIVE
I've barely taken my boots off, haven't cleaned my guns, skinned out one doe, hung her in the gallery....and Obama opened up diplomatic relations with Cuba, NY Gov. Cuomo banned hydro-fracking and plopped a casino down between me and the liquor store. I bet you can guess which issue is concerning me most. I love Cuba and am very happy the US is taking steps towards lifting the blockade. I worried that NY would follow PA towards the idiotic drilling in our beautiful county. And, although I feared a casino was coming, I prayed it wouldn't. My prayers were not answered.
My kin have been trudging these hills (shoed and shoeless) since the 1600s. We were the Dutch hillbillies that the French and the English would hire as "civilian contractors" to fight the American Indians and later we would turn on the powers that be, becoming early Americans. I'ved been coming up the mountain since I was a tiny baby. In the 50's there was a lonely b&w sign nailed to a tree out in the Bashakill. It read: WELCOME CASINOS. I asked my father "What's a casino?" I was that young.
It's been going on that long. Way before Vegas there were unofficial casinos in the Catskills. The Italian and Jewish mob, bootleggers, and all the hotel owners worked together to make Sullivan County a nice, quiet little playground for those wishing to drink and gamble (illegally). Money poured in. Bodies were quietly dumped in the lakes or buried in the woods. By the 50's the writing was on the wall for the hotels. Bring in gambling or die. Air conditioning, cheap air fare and crumbling, cheezy infrastructure ended the Borsht Belt. WOODSTOCK put the nail in the coffin.
I moved here from the Lower East Side in 1995. The first thing I heard was "Casinos are coming!". I was freaked. RNButch's and GNJohn's farms were both owned by Robert Parker- owner of the Concord Hotel. He had bought up everything in the valley, gambling that casinos were coming. I looked at the beautiful swamps, tumble down fence lines and herds of deer across the road and worried. A casino could be plopped down on this mountain and there would be nothing I could do about it. But then, as always before, the threat went away. i breathed a sigh of relief.
I've been here 20 years and now I am a member of a very small minority here in the county that aren't thrilled that casinos are coming. But I am resigned to it. I won't be protesting or kicking up shit. But neither will I be celebrating. This Casino (on the old Concord site) will impact our little slice of paradise in ways we can predict. Traffic will increase. "Jersey Shore" knuckleheads will be back in the woods. Buses from the city will join the Hassidic caravans in the summer and the culture clash that already exists will escalate. Yes, there will be jobs. The question is will these jobs go to county residents who are in dire need of them?
What is unpredictable is how this will positively impact any of us. Casino culture is sad, desperate, and ultimately a bait and switch scam. Look at any advertisement for Vegas or Atlantic City, filled with lithe models and bubbling champagne....and then visit any casino. What you will find is a lot of senior citizens in walkers and wheel chairs, rough looking hillbillies (both black and white), cigar smoking frat boys, pastey bizznessmen, and a few well dressed players. Where's the head tossed back, laughing models? I'm in it for the long game. I'm not going anywhere. So it is my hope to help direct the money into the pockets of those who need it here in this backwater. It'll be a challenge. I may ruffle some feathers. I'm sure somebody is mixing cement as I write this. Bring it on boys. The Osterhouts will be here long after you've gone belly up. Good Luck!
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Labels: pHOTO:mARIANA rOTHEN
ZERO DEER THIRTY
It's over. The last drive was completed at 4:26 pm behind the brick house. Here's how the day started.
I took Union street, past the elementary school, figuring i'd drop into Maybrook on the back end and be at the farm before 11:00 am. I passed the catholic church, Mike's Deli and slowed right into line of traffic behind one of those big waste disposal semis, that seem to be tipping over everywhere. I looked at the clock. Plenty of time. Then, just past Roger Beatty's house I looked in my rear view and saw flashing lights. Fuck.
I could go into great detail how i get along with cops, but i know you want me to get to the hunt. Suffice it to say he gave me a ticket, I was pissed and let him know. I always forget I'll get to see him again in court. Hands Up. I can't breathe!
So I tossed the ticket on the floor and beat it to the farm. Savage, Uncle Bob and i were going to push the spots that hadn't been pushed all season. They were seeing more does feeding and a big buck could easily be bedded in one of the swamps or woodlots that surrounded the place, cheek to jowl with houses, roads and barns. It was tight shooting, but Savage and UB knew it perfectly and I'd hunted it enough to be comfortable.
The first drive put out does and a tall spike. The radio crackled: "If that spike gives me a shot, you want me to shoot him?" Savaged asked. "That's why we're here...to shoot deer." UB confirmed the mission. We all had buck and doe tags. It was old school meat hunting. If it's brown it's down.
Savage shot a doe that took a little bit to find, in the thick cover. But Savage's eye for a blood trail got him to her. UB missed a long shot on a doe in the woods and I saw nothing. The next drive Savage shot the spike, but it didn't go down. He found good blood, but the buck jumped and went down the bank to the river, towards the golf course. We couldn't follow. The plan was to go back in the morning by boat and hopefully find a dead deer. This part of hunting sucks, but it happens. If a deer isn't mortally wounded it can go for miles. We had no choice but to move on. Oh. I saw nothing, but the smoke from Savage's gun.
After a little lunch we set up for a promising drive, now with Young Bob along. Savage and UB drove, while YBob and I were on stand. I saw deer go out ahead of Savage and YBob's gun cracked. Then UB came over the radio. "One's going out the back door, Mike." I turned to see a huge doe cross the field and stop broadside at "not quite" 300 yards. I pulled up the gun and leaned against the tree in Charlie's Stand, clicked back the hammer, settled the crosshairs right behind her shoulder, and fired. All I saw was smoke. I got on the radio. "I don't know if I hit her." I said. "I'll have to go look for blood." "Just direct me." UB offered and he and Savage took up the track, while I swung around to the bridge, at the end of the swamp. They had good blood, but no deer. I scanned the road for blood and saw nothing. Then I turned and saw brown in the middle of a green field. She was down.
I've killed 3 deer in four days, after a season of frustration, mistakes, passed opportunities, and bone crushing endurance. The feeling that I pursued in chasing a big buck has more than been fulfilled by the clean killing success I have had since Sat. Three deer with three shots. And two I dropped in their tracks. No gut shots or lost tracks. Two of these deer I took with some of my favorite people: Savage, Mupp, Photogeorge, and Uncle Bob. As well as being along for Milawyer scoring on a nice buck, I packed in the social aspect of hunting pretty well in this season, with these solid, completely safe and very good hunters. We all came through unscathed. No heart attacks. No gunshot wounds. I bow to them all. A man couldn't ask for better hunting partners. Mission accomplished.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Labels: PHOTO: KATE ORNE
.....AND HE'S GOING TO GET LAID
Every deer tells a story. There was the one I shot in the lake, after chasing it in a row boat, in a snow storm in Cooperstown. And the one I walked up on with the slug gun and missed. And the monster I gut shot and was lucky enough to stumble over , after just about giving up. Over 20 years I've had good seasons and bad. I've killed little ones and big ones. I've missed easy shots and hit impossible ones. I've felt elated, and completely demoralized (sometimes within minutes of each other). But the one thing I never considered was giving up. I did quit hunting for 20 years- from age 20 to 40, but since I returned to it, another hiatus does not seem to be in the cards. It's become too important to me.
This year I hunted hard; probably harder than I've ever hunted. Give or take a day or two, I've hunted 7 days a week since Oct. 1. I haven't worked. But I also haven't spent much money either. There's nothing to buy in the woods. Since not being able to get the bow string back on the wide 8, I amped it up even more. Some days I left the house before dawn and didn't get home (empty handed) until after dark. Only my hunting buddies and Shewho understand this compulsion. Everyone else thinks I'm nuts. "How can you not kill a deer? We see them everywhere." I have no answer.
A while ago I was having a season just like this one. The only difference was I was still commuting 5 hours round trip to Manhattan every day to work as a carpenter at the Dakota. On the weekends I hunted hard. By the end of muzzleloader season my freezer was still empty. On Saturday night it snowed 6 inches. Mupp had planned to come up Sunday afternoon to put on drives for me. He had already tagged out and didn't even have a muzzleloader.
At dawn I went behind the Old School House and saw fresh tracks. I wasn't set up more than half an hour, when i caught movement. A big doe was coming down the hill followed by a spike. I pulled the gun up and fired. She piled up in a cloud of snow. I was a happy man. But it was after dragging the deer home I realized that the bolt had fallen out of my gun in the snow. It was as useless as a club. I backtracked, trying to find it, to no avail. So when Mupp showed up I grabbed my slug gun and threw one shell in the chamber. It may not have been following the letter of the law, but it was within the spirit. Whatthefuck. I was not going to pass up a willing driver.
We did the cemetery drive. I stood just over the stone wall, facing a hundred snow covered blow downs. I had little hope of seeing anything. The radio crackled, but I couldn't make out what Mupp said. Then like an apperition, an 8 pointer stepped into a xmas card oval of snow covered hemlocks, stopped broadside and looked at me. I almost didn't raise the gun, I was so stunned by it's beauty.....almost. The slug hit his shoulder and he went down. Then he tried to get up. Luckily I had another shell in my pocket. The second shot killed him.
We were back at the shack by 2pm, drinking beer and congratulating ourselves. And it was then that the love of my life- Shewhocannotbenamed, who I rarely got to see in those days, because of the complications in both our lives, pulled into the driveway to see two deer hanging in my tree. I don't know who was happier. My brother looked at her, a big smile one his face, and said "He's having quite a day, don't you think?" Shewho didn't miss a beat, hugging me and replying to my brother. "And he's gonna get laid." Amen.
Yesterday I shot a nice little 8 pointer putting on drives with Mupp, Savage, and Photogeorge. The day before I shot a big doe a mile back in the woods at Mr. X's Mystery Farm, drug it out by myself and hung her in the pine tree. After partying in celebration with the congregation I drunkenly went back on Facebook and resolved to return to Huntingwithsupermodels. Yes. I am out of retirement. The glow is back.