Monday, June 30, 2014


The boundaries of parks and wilderness give a false sense of silence

So that the constant whine of the saw can continue unabated.

Closing in like a tightening noose.

Until everything that was ever worth saving is dead and gone.

Our National Parks...our wilderness areas....temporary holdings for the timber companies and mining corporations and land barons who will eventually rape them all.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dreaming of Old Hikes.

Thinking of old hikes in beautiful places.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO.

Long's Peak, Rocky Mountain NP, Colorado.

The Maroon Bells, Colorado.

Mount Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado.

Sherando Lake Recreation Area, Virginia.

Wilson Creek, NC.

The Black Mountains, NC.

Pisgah National Forest, NC.

Nantahala National Forest, NC.

Cullasaja Gorge, NC.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Kirby Additions.

I picked up a couple of nice Jack Kirby comics for my collection. Other than to check out the condition, I haven't had a chance to really read the books. I was very happy to land them, as I got really good deals on both as far as price is concerned.

The Bullseye #1 was actually not a comic book that had been uppermost in my mind to acquire. However, when I was able to get it at such a low price I jumped at the chance and was able to land a book that I would likely not have been able to afford.

I'll try to post interior scans of the artwork later.

This was a companion book to Kirby's MOB title.

I was really pleased to get this nice condition copy of a hard-to-find Golden Age Kirby title.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bad Dog, A True Story.

"Bad Dog, Badder Mailman"
James Robert Smith

This is, I am willing to admit, a mainly true story.

Some people think that dogs are just like people. Others think that dogs are idiot automatons that are driven purely by genetically programed instinct.

I am in the middle. I think that dogs have personalities and are individuals if not actually persons.

Dog apologists, when discussing bad dog behavior, like to say that such behavior is the fault of the dog’s owner and not the dog. Well, as I said, I think that dogs are individuals and I will hold them responsible for some of their actions. And I will react accordingly. As an individual.

This story is about a letter carrier named Alec. That is not his real name, but it will serve.

Alec had a route in what Rodney Dangerfield liked to call “a tough neighborhood, tough neighborhood”. It was a rough spot to work and deserved to be called tough twice in quick succession. Gunfire was just a background noise there.

Along one street Alec would routinely encounter a very bad German shepherd that the owner would sometimes keep chained up and sometimes allow to roam free to menace any and all who passed. The dog was a biter. A big, vicious, slobbering, toothy biter who weighed about ninety pounds or so. It was not a dog you would want to encounter. It was, to put it mildly, an asshole.

Alec had discussed the issue with the dog’s owner who seemed only mildly interested and promised vaguely to “do something” about the situation.

Of course, nothing was done.

Alec was quite tired of it all. He was at the end of his rope when it came to patience for this particular dog and this particular customer. (Postal management makes all letter carriers call recipients of mail “customers”.) He was sick of rounding the corner only to be confronted with the mass of roaring, snarling, slobbering teeth and muscle tissue that was this vicious German shepherd. Thus far, Alec had been able to keep from being bitten by using his mailbag as a shield and by applying pepper spray vigorously about the dog’s angry face.

But the thing about dogs and pepper spray is that, after a few applications, the dog becomes immune to the stuff. Initially it does what it’s supposed to do and drives the dog into spasms of pain. But nine or ten sprays later…it might as well be spring water.

One day, Alec rounded the bend. And there came the German shepherd. By this time, Alec was sick unto death of dealing with the issue. Something had to be done. He looked to his immediate right and there sticking out of a mound of red clay where Habitat for Humanity was constructing a home for someone was a five-foot section of two by four lumber. Just waiting for Alec to use.

Alec is a big guy. Something over six feet tall. He’s in good shape for his age. On that day, instead of using his mail bag as a shield against the dog that wanted to tear his flesh, he dropped it to the ground, along with the mail he’d been carrying in his left arm.

And he grabbed up that section of two by four and pulled it free of that cool, wet, red muck.

The dog came on.

The board went “WOOSH”!

The German shepherd’s skull went “CRACK”!

The dog went down in a heap of meat and fur.

But Alec was not done. He was very, very angry. He was sick of dealing with the dog and the worthless dog owner. But you cannot kill the dog owner. However, you can kill the dog.

Again the board went “WOOSH”!

The dog’s skull went “SMUSH”!

Alec’s big shoulders flexed and his arm went like a piston again and again and again.
The dog was quite dead, but still he went at its cranium with the pine two by four.


Alec got dog brains on his boots.

At last, exhausted, he threw the section of good board to the ground, gathered up his mail, and continued on. 

He was not finished.

He knocked on the door of the house where the dog’s owner lived. The door opened and the owner appeared.

“I killed your dog,” Alec told him, using that voice that’s not a whole lot different from Barry White’s. He can make women swoon with that voice, Alec can. He nodded. “Yes, I killed your dog and if you get another one and let it roam loose like that I’ll probably kill it, too. Now you can call my station manager or my supervisor. I don’t care. You go ahead. All I wanted you to know is that I killed that damn dog.”

And he delivered the guy’s mail and walked on, leaving the guy sputtering on the porch.

The guy did call the station to complain. A supervisor listened to him for a moment and her response was this:

“Sir? Have you ever heard of leash laws? If not, I suggest you read up on it.”

And that was the end of Alec’s dog problem.

And no one had to worry about being bitten again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Carole and I had a 30th wedding anniversary dinner at a restaurant in Asheville. I really like the town. There's always something cool and interesting going on downtown. I wouldn't mind living there.

Tupelo Honey where we had dinner.

The Mast General Store. We always stop and shop if there's one of these nearby. There are only a half dozen of them, I think.

Part of downtown. They're renovating a very interesting building there. I don't know what it is.
Detail of the building.

Bagpipers were at work.
These kids were jamming in front of the arm museum.
Lots of performance artists all around the streets.
Detail of the very pretty girl.
Marker noting the artistic merit of the old S &W Cafeteria building.

And the building. I couldn't get a better photo without crossing the street.
Another view of the square. Not sure who the obelisk was built to honor, but some local dude. There was a craft fair going on around it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Library Score!

I enjoy going to see what the local libraries have for sale in their used books, used CD, used DVD sections. I can often locate something cool to purchase when I venture in to see what I can locate. Sometimes I'll get lucky and find a collectible, such as I did when I found a first edition copy of the biography of Walt Disney written by his daughter. In dust jacket. In excellent condition. I bought that one for fifty cents and sold it for over $700 on Ebay. Not bad.

Today I nabbed some good DVDs. I'll be burning some time watching films, now.

I liked the American version of the first chapter. So when I saw the Swedish versions of the next two book adaptations I glommed onto them.

I had SHOWTIME for free for a few years and enjoyed the Dexter show. But when they took away the freebie offer I just couldn't justify paying all that money to watch one series and a couple of films per month. So I never saw any of the episodes after the third season.

This was the best score of the day, though. Criterion disk  of THE WAGES OF FEAR. A classic. One of those movies that is flawless. This is the movie that spawned SORCERER in a remake that proved to be every bit as powerful as the source movie, which shows the power of the original script and theme.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Blue Ridge Parkway.

Carole and I visited another National Park inn. This time the Pisgah Inn at milepost 408 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We chose this weekend to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary since we both had to work through our actual anniversary date earlier in the week.

We only had to face about a three-hour drive to get to the Pisgah Inn so we didn't even have to leave all that early to get to the Parkway. But one thing about driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway is that the going is VERY SLOW. Even slower than the 45mph top posted speed limit. There is almost always heavy traffic at favored spots along the Parkway and often people merging in and out of the flow. So once you get to the Parkway itself, you just can't make good time.

Which is fine. Because the Parkway was meant to be savored.

Soon after our arrival. The window looks out on the balcony which has a door access.

This was the view that greeted us when we stepped out on the balcony.

Sunrise, this morning (06-22-2014).

This bunny was enjoying the clover beneath our balcony this morning.

And no mountain excursion is worth having if I can't get out to hunt for waterfalls and go hiking!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Hurricane Campground, Virginia.

Hurricane Campground is a National Forest Service site located in southwest Virginia near the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.We didn't really know what to expect before we got there, but that general area has proven to be one of our favorite places in the South. There is so much to see and do in the Mount Rogers vicinity that you can spend years there and never run out of news things to experience in outdoor activities.

The campground is nice and secluded. You have to leave the highway and take a long Forest Service road to get to it, which is the way I like my campgrounds to be. Down there, deep in the forest, you won't hear any heavy traffic from paved surfaces--because there aren't any paved roads! What you do get at Hurricane is a wonderful campground situated down in a deep cove. There are actually two streams in the campground so that on one loop it is actually impossible to have a campsite that is not on the water!

When we were there in the autumn the place was not at all crowded. There was one Scout troop that was in the group camping section and who were gone the day after we arrived. After that there were only two other families at Hurricane, which made for some wonderful peace and quiet.

The campsites have no hookups for water or electricity. Of course if you have a self-contained system as we do on our Casita travel trailer, this is of no concern. There are centrally located water sources for potable water. And there is a great bath house with flush toilets and hot showers. This bath house is not, however, heated. So you do have to deal with chilly temperatures in the bath house itself if you go in Fall or Winter weather (as we did).

For some reason I didn't take any photos of the bath house. The next time Carole and I go back to Hurricane I will take care of that. Because we very definitely will be returning.

Sign at the Hurricane Campground.
This is a stitched panorama I made of our campsite. The creek was directly behind our Casita. That's our old Nissan Frontier, the only motor vehicle for which I ever developed any emotional attachment.
Carole and I at the picnic table. Carole goes all out--she even had flowers to decorate the table. We carry that small propane tank for our propane stove. We prefer to cook outside rather than in the trailer.
Enjoying the fire.

At a sign for the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. There is SO much to do in this part of Virginia if you enjoy camping, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, etc.
I've forgotten the name of this lake, but it wasn't far from Hurricane.
This waterfall is near Hurricane. Right by the road, but hard to access because there's no parking.

This is another nearby waterfall. I hiked to see it from the campground. It's called Comer's Creek Falls. Not very big and actually just a cascade. You can also drive Forest Service roads to get to it.
This was the nicest waterfall that I found in the area. Rowland Creek Falls. You have to hike quite a way to find it, and it's all downhill, which means that the climb back to your vehicle will be a tough pull if you're not accustomed to such.