Ted’s essays

Bitterroot Blues Band

Saturday evenings from now to June will mean playing in the band for me … and a dozen +/- fellow musicians. Everyone I talk with about this is ENTHUSIASTIC. The support from the Darby Schools and Adult Ed staff is phenominal. I was hopefully optimistic when I launched the idea. Now I am EXCITED. My dream gig, what I really want to do musically is play 3rd trombone in a blues, jazz, swing or big band. All that has been available to me in Montana is playing upright bass in a weekly bluegrass jam. This idea to use the marketing, support and facilities of the Darby Schools Adult Ed program to share with potential fellow blues musicians has taken on […]

more on the snowflake culture

The blog Fred On Everything is almost always amusing, interesting and often very good. I ran across his posting on the snowflake culture the day after I published mine. He and I share a lot of perspectives. Believe it or not, he might be even a bit more of a crusty curmudgeon than I. I post a clip out of the middle, but you can go straight to the link to see the entirety of it. —————————   Firing the Pre-Pubertal Arquebus: A Sociological Treatise Posted on December 15, 2017 by Fred Reed “… I was there, in America: Athens, Alabama, at age twelve. Athens was small and Southern, drowsy in summer, kind of comfortable feeling, not much concerned with […]

Happy New Year

This is it. Serious observers tell us today is the shortest one of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun which has been hiding from us for more and more of the day since the Summer Solstice is finally going to start staying up longer. The world has been saved from cold, frigid darkness once again. Time to celebrate the birth of a new year. Cultures have been doing this forever, calling it various names, but the theme is always the same. While it may get colder for a while, sunlight, warmth and nature’s rebirth is on the way.

neighborhoods good and bad

The old man was working his garden by the road when a young couple drove up. They allowed as they were relocating and considering his area for their new home. But they wanted to know what the people in this area were like. How were they where you came from, he asked. Selfish, mean-spirited, unfriendly and unkind they replied. They are like that here too. Later that week the scenario was repeated with another couple. The people where they lived were wonderful, caring, sharing, helpful and friendly. To them he replied, They are just like that here. This evening once again the subject came up of the squatters who spent a year living off our generosity only to leave in […]

I hate XMas

I was a Christian. I understand the religious significance of Christmas. I also see quite clearly the crass mercantilism of today’s Christmas. ‘Tis the season to spend money, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-laaa.’ The Christian holiday has been hollowed out… worse, hallowed out. That it is one of many winter solstice mythologies and religions is another aspect I am not dealing with at this moment. No, what is bugging me right now is the shorthand that predated the texting and Twitter prunings where nothing is spelled out; everything is abbreviated. X mas – pronounced EX MAS. What is that? A has-been mass. Is that like a used-up, Catholic religious service? Perhaps it refers to ex (outside of) the body, the whole, of the masses. […]

arguing

Much of our society has been dumbed down below the level where they can have a friendly, civil, animated discussion with someone holding significantly different views from their own. Quite intelligent people with wonderful potential cannot speak to me because I don’t share their faith in new cloud forms, benevolent vaccines, trustworthy big government and so forth. What is it? What happened to the positive art of arguing? Worse, how did fear of divergent views become normal? Debate has a long history in advanced societies. Participants work to craft compelling explanations for their points of view. Audiences as well as the debaters have their views challenged; have to work through the logic and evidence supporting their convictions. These are good […]

the bookshelf

Yesterday I said the bookshelf told the story. Today I will explain. As an overview I will say that in the middle of a move the stuff that made it to my first installed shelf were things that needed little thought to be foremost. Thus the shelf contents clearly have significance to me. Let’s start with the sign “Think Dangerously”. Can there be any doubt that the person who bought and displays it is non-mainstream? Not average? Liberated? Unafraid to challenge norms? I placed the artist modeling figure in a ‘walking the tightrope’ stance. That is the balance between seeming normal and free thinking. I cannot explain my odd head-on-foot Sculpey clay figure in a short paragraph, but that too […]

cultural divide

In responding to my daughter who felt our Montana reunion last summer was a disaster, I found I could not share most of my thoughts. They would be quite unhelpful. Her San Francisco family of three along with an Idaho mother in-law and her brother’s Utah family of eight rented a vacation lodge. While there were some frictions there, they increased when that group combined with the Bitterroot elders, and further while visiting the homesteading family of six. I realized in the 1990s I did not fit the California culture, and, significantly, that I could somewhere else. Shopping online I found a more appropriate community, moving to Idaho late winter 2000-2001. A dozen years later I snuggled into an even […]

turning points

My first-born’s upcoming birthday inspired my pondering of where I was at his age, and where I went from there. In the photo to the right I am standing in my seven foot tall cover crop of oats, bell beans and vetch. I began studying agriculture in college earlier, fortunately running across Bob Cannard before I wasted a ton of time becoming mal-educated by the reigning ‘conventional ag’. I was about five years into learning how to work WITH nature, listen to her, help her, and subtly discovering that the dominant school of thought was just flat WRONG in the agricultural realm. The Bob Cannard school of thought has many names, but its successes are irrefutable. We can, and […]

computers circa 1970

Given the choice between kill (people I did not know and certainly did not hate) or be killed in the jungles of Vietnam, I enlisted in the US Air Force. In retrospect, I helped with a lot of killing, but I didn’t mean nuthin’ by it. I spent the working part of my 4-year enlistment as a computer operator, and most of that running an RCA 301. Computer operators read the lights, and wrote our instructions to the lights. Milly was the master I learned from, and I ended up exceeding her. I was a geek before geeks were invented. This miraculous machine that could process data at light speed had gen-u-ine Core Storage of 17K. That was A LOT […]

your brain vs GPS

I grew up two doors down from The Woods. I was about 5 years older than “the family dog”, who really grew to be my dog because I spent time with her, shared mutual respect, and I often took her exploring The Woods. How does a little kid find his way into new spaces of the natural world, AND back again? I dunno, but I did it all the time. Into the woods, to the lake, across the valley, to my 2nd grade schoolhouse, to the toy & model store … and unerringly back home again. Heck, one day in my early teens I rode my Schwinn Varsity to visit my little sister at summer camp a half-day out and […]

exploding heads

Another one bites the dust… The Snowflake Generation The ME Generation The Don’t tell me NO generation The Everyone is a Winner generation The Trust the officials, don’t trust your parents generation However you slice it, the middle aged people today are not the same as they were a generation ago. A man is as good as his word. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Give more than you receive. It is this latter one that has come into question today after a third close, dear “millenial” blew up on me this year. In each case I have replayed the incident and all the preceding baggage I can conjure up only to find no […]