Thursday, October 28, 2021

ECLIPSE


 PHOTO: Marianna Rothen

THE SPORTING LIFE

    I never understood why people call hunting a "sport." Sports are games that humans invent to entertain themselves and sell TV air time, usually where death is not the desired outcome. These days, like many things, hunting has been co-opted by Evangelical Christian Republicans as a rural American right of passage. Watch any hunting show on Youtube and you'll see waving 'Merican flags, dewy-eyed children and many thanks given to the Lord when one of his beautiful creature's guts is exploded with a full metal jacket .30-06. But strip the Second Amendment, vaccine hesitant, bone-headed, NRA, Trump insurrectionist rhetoric away from hunting and you'll start to get at its essence. It is as old as time. Before fire, before belief systems and art (that both represented the hunt on those cave walls) a hunter killed anything from a mussel to a mastodon to feed his hunger. Hunting was a matter of life and death. 

    I grew up hunting birds with my father and helping my grandfather butcher other hunters' deer kills. My grandfather didn't hunt. He had spent his poverty stricken youth subsistence hunting anything that could be put in the pot. Born in 1900, by the time he was a teenager one was lucky to see a deer track in Orange County, let alone a decent buck. Hunting on an empty stomach is about as far from "sport" as you'll get.  My grandfather was happy to let others hunt and for ten dollars (plus the hide) we butchered their kills. By the 1950's, when I was born, the deer herd was still so thin around Montgomery that the townsfolk had to travel to Sullivan County just to see a whitetail. By the time I was old enough to hunt "big game" in the late sixties, the deer herd was beginning to rebound. I couldn't wait.

   But coming of age during the Vietnam War and the hippie heyday of Woodstock left me facing a dilemma. I questioned the need for killing a deer as some of my friends and relatives were dodging bullets in Da Nang. Nonetheless, I loaded my gun and followed the old man and my brother into the woods. It took a couple of years in the tree until I got a shot at a deer. Then, instead of pulling the trigger I whispered "bang" and shouldered my rifle. This was the beginning of my years from 1970 to 1994 of "hypothetical hunting." It drove my father and brother (both serious deer hunters) crazy. 

   Then in 1994, still living on the Lower East Side I decided to actually go hunting with the purpose of killing and eating something. I started with squirrels. They are surprisingly tasty. I was OK with killing a squirrel. Then I shot a turkey, a couple of pheasants, and by the winter of 1994 I had killed my first buck in Lake Otsego. That's another story. The point is despite my earlier reticence to kill, by the late 1990's I had turned into a serious hunter. Over the years I only got more obsessed. I relearned how to hunt, taught myself how to shoot a bow and these days spend as much time in the tree as I can. It has become such an important element of my personality and work as an artist and writer that I can't foresee ever ceasing the activity. Yet, there are times (like last week) when I had a giant ten point buck five yards from my tree stand, drawstring back, waiting for him to take one step into the open....... when I question the whole process. (to be continued)           

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

LAND BACK


 

I'M BACK

     Where have I been? Physically I haven't gone anywhere. But mentally I've been riding the time machine 300 plus years into the past.....again. I realized my first attempt at writing my family history was less than successful so went at it once more. This process requires much reading, writing and editing. It still isn't done but I think I have a better handle on it. A little mental space has opened up so it being the first month of the 2021 bow season, I decided to return to HWS.

    Trump is gone (sort of). The pandemic persists. Biden is a disappointment and Dave Chappell is in deep shit with the trans/woke community. Alec Baldwin killed his DP on his movie set and I reached out to the one Hollywood functionary I know to find out how such an avoidable accident could happen. Here's his response:

 Mike

      A complete and utter fuck up. These people were terrible, bottom of the barrel crew. The AD will be held accountable and the armorer girl will be held accountable and rightly so.

1. Live rounds are prohibited on film sets.
2. A professional set does not allow functioning weapons, we exclusively have guns with blocked barrels. 
3. Someone used these guns for target practice with live ammo. A criminal act in itself.
That’s how the live round ended up in the gun.
4. Not even a blind person confuses a live round with a blank! They are totally different as you know.
5. The AD took the gun and handed it to Baldwin saying it’s “cold” but he didn’t check it. That is criminal negligence. I check every gun religiously on my sets each time it is handed to an actor, I announce to the crew what I have seen (how many rounds are in the in the gun, etc) and invite any crew member to check for themselves before the gun is handed over. It is a “bulletproof” system.
6. Baldwin is a producer on the film. He might be in trouble as well.

Too bad I missed Sam’s party. But I wrote her.

Good luck hunting 

Urs

    Hunting? I know it's only October, but I've already seen two big shooter bucks and have a couple of good stories to tell. Oh yeah, I'm also trying to give some real estate back to the Lenape Indians. We have a lot to talk about. I'm thrilled to be back.  

    

Thursday, February 18, 2021

WOOD POWERED CLOTHES DRYER


 

A FAILED STATE OF AFFAIRS

     I don't know why anybody would live in the red neck state of Texas. Still, I have a niece and a couple of good friends who choose to do just that. As the temps plummet in the Lone Star State and the Texas energy grid fails, it's no help to be judgmental in people's choices of address. It's dark and the pipes are about to freeze. What do you do?

    Every news outlet (left and right) is covering the "once in a generation" cold snap that froze the instruments necessary to deliver the oil, natural gas, nuclear, wind and solar energy to peoples' homes. The notoriously independent state that stands apart from the Federal grid was not prepared and could not handle the sub-freezing temperatures. Rolling blackouts ensued. Anybody who has had the electricity go out during the winter months knows it is no fun. BUT......and this is a big but......it needn't be dangerous or even uncomfortable. How helpless are you?

    In all the coverage of the Texas blackout I have not heard one mention of a wood or coal stove, kerosene lamp (or heater) or even candles. That idiot Texas Gov. Abott went on Fox News to blame renewable energy and the non-existent "Green New Deal." Once again--like the pandemic-- any hope of political leaders actually leading and giving citizens useful options in dealing with disaster is politicized and muddied. Their words are worse than useless; they are dangerous. So to all my friends and family in Texas, if you have electricity and internet required to read this, here's my advice.

 Be prepared. Climate change is the new earthquake or tidal wave. Put yourself in the shoes of your ancestors. A basic check list can save, if not your life, at least your comfort.

1. batteries, flashlight and sharp knife

2. wood or coal- stove to burn it 

3. kerosene- heater and lamps to burn it

4. candles and matches

5. sleeping bag, blankets and warm clothes

6. bottled water

7. ammo and gun to shoot it

8. bird seed (those squirrels hanging from the feeder are very tasty) hence the knife

   This short, relatively inexpensive list will get you through any black out in the depth of winter. Government and media seem to want to keep the citizenry helpless and dependent on patrician authority. We as a "modern" people have been lulled into this state by consumerism and global capitalism. Fossil fuel delivery that Texans are so proud of has failed miserably. It's a wake up call. Imagine how susceptible the grid is to cyber attack while you are googling wood stoves on Amazon. I'd suggest printing this blog out before the juice goes out again. Let me know if I've forgotten anything. Good luck. Stay safe. Stay warm. "Once in a generation" seems to come along every year.              

Monday, February 15, 2021

McDERMOTT AND McGOUGH