Monday, June 27, 2011

Drums & Bugles: Missing only mom and apple pie.


We attended the Moonlight Classic drum and bugle corps competition at the University of the Pacific in Stockton last night: 13 competitors, probably 2,000+ participants from around the country: Renegades, Vanguard, The Cadets, the Blue Devils. Pictured here is The Phantom Regiment, Rockford IL, the third-place finisher and my personal favorite. Discipline, precision, musical chops and theatrical showmanship.

My only experience in a marching band was at the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Parade, which is held in February. (I played football and so couldn’t march during halftimes, the band’s main venue). I remember trombone players putting anti-freeze on their slides. I kid you not.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Twilight sky, northward

Taken at Redwing Ranch

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Marine general: "keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people..."

Words of wisdom from four-star general David M. Shoup, hero of Tarawa, Medal of Honor winner and Commandant of the Marine Corps. He said this in 1966 as the war in Vietnam was building; I feel certain he'd have said it about Iraq, and probably Afghanistan:

I believe if we had, and would, keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own. That they design and want. That they fight and work for... and not the American style, which they don't want. Not one crammed down their throats by the Americans.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

One last photo of Lucky, walking with me last winter in Snoqualamie


No better proof that life is unfair: in a just world, dogs would certainly live longer than men.

Adieu old friend.

More about Howard

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View from beneath Halle Norne, our great oak, where Lucky like to lie and scan the skies for the raptors he ceaselessly warned away from his domain.

Taken at "Halle Norne, the Great Oak, Redwing

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A tribute in our vacant skies

Rising thermals from the river valley here on warm days makes Redwing Ranch prime soaring territory for hawks and vultures. Today they're absent, a tribute perhaps to the vigilant shepherd whose life's work was to warn them away from his domain.

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The loss of Lucky


Our beloved shepherd Lucky died this morning.

Years after being told he soon wouldn’t be able to walk, it finally came true. Though he was vigilant until the end, he was distressed when he was unable to patrol his rounds or chase the birds away from Redwing Ranch. The enormous vigor and vitality that defined him finally were exhausted.

Known in our pack as Lucky the Lionhearted (The First of His Name), he joined us in 1998 after Barbara discovered him as an abandoned pup in a Target parking lot. His devotion to our family—and especially Barb—never wavered. He was unflaggingly attentive and responsive, always a diligent and stalwart companion, ever faithful. 

Based on appearance and temperament I believe his predominant breed was Beauceron, although of course his ears were never cropped and his classification for agility dog competitions was "all-American."

From Bob Dylan:

Each invisible prayer is like a cloud in the air

Tomorrow keeps turning around

We live and we die, we know not why

But I'll be with you when the deal goes down

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Must read for hockey fans: the goalie skates ...


On my friend’s birthday, I embarrassed him with a Facebook post of a newspaper photo that shows him scoring on an under-the-leg shot in college hockey. Lots of hilarity ensued, most of it interesting only to those of us who know Joe, Alaska hockey, or both.

But one of Joe’s recollections from the comment stream ought to be of interest to every hockey fan, everywhere. I’ll let him tell it:

The Alaska Methodist University goalie, Frenchie, single-handedly re-wrote the NIAA tournament rules one year. 

AMU was playing in upstate MN somewhere near Ojibway (it was a two week bus tour so who knows) and we wound up two guys down on a double penalty. Frenchie's in the net, and Brush and Pete Hegg and I are killing the clock. I pass to Pete, Pete to Brush, Brush back to Frenchie where he is supposed to stand around and kill time, but instead picks up the puck in full battle dress and streaks for center ice, full steam ahead! 

He's deeking around like people are shooting at him, won't pass because he knows none of us will EVER pass it back to him. Pete falls back to cover the net so now it's just Brush, Frenchie and me going in hard against a full squad of guys who are now thinking they're having an out of body experience because here come two wingers with a goalie skating center. 

Meanwhile, defenders are bouncing off Frenchie like flies trying to knock him down... no dice, he be padded. Now he's across the center ice and getting winded because... well he was a goalie, not an athlete, plus he's dragging all the gear with him roughly at light speed. 

The coach is yelling, "Take the puck away from him" and I drift over to get it and Frenchie raises that war club like a sword so I'm out. 

Now we're at the offensive blue line, Frenchie's slowing down and is drawing defenders like meter-maids at the Sturgis Harley meetup. Only one way this works for us, so Brush and I break for the goal, Frenchie passes to Brush who fakes the goalie into a six-year baccalaureate program, passes to me and I slap it in during a once-in-a-life-time moment that was, of course, not captured on video, print film, polaroid land camera, or primitive stick figure drawing. 

It is, however, a part of oral history in Northern Minnesota and goes by the title, "Why a goalie cannot skate across the center line in college hockey." 

There were around 15,000 people who saw this fiasco and the closer Frenchie got, you could hear the crowd change sides and everyone's yelling for Frenchie. Frenchie was never the same after that, "I can score zee goals myself if need be", but neither were we, "OK, Pinky, if we go shorthanded you hang back and knock Frenchie down every fifteen seconds or so." 

Oh, yeah. Those were the glory years....

P.S. Among other things, Joe's writing screenplays now. If you're looking for the funniest script or best dialog ever:

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