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Monster Gator Caught In Florida

Did everyone see the size of the alligator that was recently killed in Florida–estimated at 15′ long and over 700 lbs, it’s shown at the bottom of the page. That’s just…Nope.

It’s like this:

Scary.
grizzly

Real Scary.
shark-intelligence-2a-550x350

Nope.
outwest_farms_alligator2_1459881326461_35552319_ver1.0_640_480

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Personality Test: Zombie or Grizzly

zombieMake your decision before you read my story below.  Now, suspend your disbelief: there are two doors in front of you, both of which open from the outside only. Once you step through, there is no going back. You cannot stay where you are.  Behind one of the doors is a thousand pound grizzly.  Behind the other door is a flesh-eating zombie.  Which do  you choose.  Answer and explain in the comments section.

The first time I saw a Grizzly it was across a long vista of rolling grassland and meadow–it was loping along, covering a lot of ground, traveling perpendicular to me.  I instinctively alg-grizzly-bear-jpgfroze, glanced at the treeline for something to climb–just looking at that beast, probably 800 pounds of horror, running like an athlete, sent my heart racing, my adrenal gland pumping, the little hairs on my arms and the back of my neck bristling. The thing was easily a thousand yards in the distance–although, at the 35 mph a Grizz can romp, I’d have 20 seconds, give or take, if the wind changed.  Later, I would reflect on the immediate, profound fear response and wonder if my subconscious sense of caution was that strong, or if I was experiencing something more profound, literal instinct. Genetic memory.

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National Poetry Month: Whitman Weekend & Boys’ Night Out

I get a kick out of thinking of wild-minded Walt Whitman and the decidedly staid Emily Dickinson as something between Adam and Eve and a prism.  There was American poetry before, and American poetry after the pair–but almost everything before led to them and everything after sprung from them, through them, and what didn’t was still illuminated by their refracted light.  I imagine some sort of cultural birth story–Walt Whitman as father figure, consuming all the verse from history before him, processing it into a seed, then planting it deep in the womb of Dickinson, the “Virgin Belle of Amherst”–it’s conveniently very Christ-like, when one thinks of it.

Some of my favorite memories include a series of nights, back in the way back, when I worked for several summers in Grand Teton National Park.  It was a rather transitional time for me, arriving in Wyoming on the heels of a few dark years, embarrassingly sullen and depressed and emerging a few years later a completely different person, rippling with joy, affection, gratitude and an enthusiastic optimism which must have, to those who followed me through, seemed both cloying and redundant, certainly worth a good bit of head-shaking and eye-rolling.  It’s an odd process, having to learn to be happy.

But I digress.  Among the many great people who charitably shared their friendship with me–a few of whom stop by this blog now and again–were a great bunch of guys who shared my affinity for both playground basketball and poetry, two of the closest things to religion I’ve had in my life.  You guys know who you are. One evening, after beating the crap out of each other at a parking lot hoop, we went looking for some trouble only to hear from our friend Kim that a bunch of girls were going into town, but we weren’t welcome.  “It’s a girl’s night out, sorry” she drawled, in the sweetest Carolina voice I’d ever heard.

Chuck Wagon,
Chuck Wagon,

We were immediately indignant, but undeterred.  We’d have ourselves a “boys night out” and, girls be damned, we’d have a hell of a time.  We wasted no time loading up the back of my old station wagon with firewood, sleeping bags, a bounty of cheap canned beer (Busch?  Keystone? shiver at the thought), and some books and rolled out to a favorite camping spot near “the Buddha stump” on Pacific Creek–an improbably big cut stump in a wash at the edge of about 8 million acres of wilderness.  Our goal: build a big-ass “white man’s fire*,” drink beer, and talk shit on the wimmin who’d abandoned us.

Old Scans_322
Jeff sitting on the Buddha Stump, Pacific Creek campsite, 1990

We stoked a blaze, flipped some pop-tops, and got onto the disrespecting women, at which point, to our great consternation, our failure was evident–it quickly became obvious that we loved women, possibly more than we loved ourselves, missed them, had nothing at all bad to say about them, and quite frankly wished that we had some with us** right at that moment.

Talk about depressing.

But we moved on to the poetry, and quickly discovered that we shared an appreciation for Mr. Whitman, who quickly became Poet Laureate of Boy’s Night Out–an irony we appreciated only many years later.  We read, drank, and bullshitted deep into the night before, too tired and too drunk to continue, we fell asleep in the dusty soil around the fire–taking time to all piss on it, surrounded by fresh, empty, scattered beer cans in the heart of Grizzly country.  Genius.

images66The Boys Night Out theme was repeated, with various personnel added to the core, several times–though probably not as many, or as often, as my memories encourage me to believe.  When Steve got married (to one of those women who went to town without us on that fateful night), his local stag party was Boys Night Out Writ Large–though I didn’t sleep in the dirt, but in the cab of Jeff’s truck, having spilled beer down my shirt and become paranoid about being bear bait.

Of all the electric verse we quoted on those nights, I can’t help (owing to my supreme, juvenile nature, I’m sure) thinking of this one first–in which the overtly gay Whitman, who vacillated between denying his sexuality one day and playing coy about it the next, overcompensates his testament to heterosexuality just a little too obviously, not to mention humorously.

Leaves of Grass 106. To a Common Prostitute

BE composed—be at ease with me—I am Walt Whitman, liberal and lusty as Nature;
Not till the sun excludes you, do I exclude you;
Not till the waters refuse to glisten for you, and the leaves to rustle for you, do my words refuse to glisten and rustle for you.

My girl, I appoint with you an appointment—and I charge you that you make preparation to be worthy to meet me,
And I charge you that you be patient and perfect till I come.

Till then, I salute you with a significant look, that you do not forget me.

____________________________________

*from the line in that year’s hit movie Dances With Wolves, “only a white man would build such a big fire.”
**the happily married 47-year old me smiles at the idea of being unable to summon up words to whine about women–ah, to be young and single…actually, no thanks.

 

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HIPSTER GOD–Beards are Best

I’ve been enjoying the current prominence of hipsters–I say prominence in respect to the temptation to write “fad” or “trend” because, unlike a lot Hipster%20beard.jpegof trends, hipsters are not so broadly defined, and much like polygamists and Seattle Seahawks fans they’re always out there, we’re just not used to seeing them in full plumage.  I like hipsters because the most fashionable of them wear great hats and the absolute best vintage suits–but mostly I like them for the beards.  And, of course, I’m a HIPSTER GOD because I’ve been rocking the whole fuzzy beard thing since, oh, 1986.  I’m enjoying the company

photoGrizzlyAdams
Grizzly Adams had a beard. And a Grizzly.

I’m not bragging.  It’s been lonely.  For nearly three decades I’ve lived beneath the tyranny of the baby-faced, listening to peach-faced corporate functionaries drone on about “looking professional” and hearing the sad, fetishisticly fastidious pontificate the virtues of being “clean cut” as if that sort of shorn cleanliness has anything to do with manliness–or if it’s any measure of cleanliness at all.  It’s certainly not next to godliness.  God had a beard.  I’ve seen pictures.

228740-20111004-140514-640x360
The Guy On A Buffalo has a beard, too. Can’t ride a buffalo without one. It’s a rule.

And here’s the thing: simpering suburban worker bees fear the beard, clinging to the notion that “good grooming” is in some way actually “good,” quietly judging–and only the most tremblingly weak may judge, but we judge too.  When I look into the eyes of a clean shaven man I assume, until proven differently, that man is not capable of summoning the testosterone necessary to build a better beard.  It’s unfair, but I’ve been ask too many times “what are you hiding.”  (Answer: my snide sneer.)

brad-pitt-beardBlessedly and quite suddenly, beards are in.  Bigtime.  Famous actors like Brad Pitt are rocking beards, and professional athletes like Brett Kiesel as well.

Brett Keisel
Click to enlarge–this is a GREAT picture of a great guy.

 

Of course, bad-ass rugby guys have been pulling full-bore facial fur for a long time now and nothing says testosterone like a sweaty, mud-covered rugby player.

Jason-Eaton article-2056335-0E1AC8DF00000578-143_468x662Josh-Strauss

The list goes on and on.  Bearded men are superior.  Check out these guys, these bearded bad-ass Pakistani heroes saving the day:

p17_24563813When men shave, they do so in shameful obeisance of an inner force that sings, day and night, of their inadequacy.  Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman didn’t bother with razors.  Didn’t need to.

hagridHagrid had a beard.  So did GI Joe, Barbarossa, Leonidas, Robin Hood, The Allman Brothers, and all those Old Testament Dudes.  Even Jesus had a beard.  Jesus and Santa and Mr. Edwards on Little House on the Prairie.  Mr Edwards was the only redeeming quality of that steaming pile–him and Nellie Oleson, that bitch.

Paul-Bunyan-Babe-13or6ndYou want to know who had a beard, you really want me to say it? Paul Bunyan.  Paul Bunyan had an awesome beard–not to mention a blue ox.

You know who didn’t have a beard?

Peter Pan.  Think about that the next time you’re looking in the mirror. Peter Freaking Pan.peter

So, you know what, I’ll thrilled as apple pie that so many guys are sliding out from beneath the yoke of middle American homogeneity and daring to live like nature intended.  I’m happy to fit in, even if it means sacrificing a little bit of my uniqueness.  It’s not so bad, fitting in, when it’s society bending to match me, and I enjoy the company.  The brotherhood of beards–we don’t even need a secret handshake.  It’s like the turtleneck sweaters I love in the winter–when they come back around, style-wise, I’ll enjoy them while they last, store a few in the attic for the future, and look–for just a few, fleeting moments–like I actually give a shit what someone else (except my wife) thinks.

Of Interest:

http://sabotagetimes.com/life/an-open-letter-to-bearded-hipsters-stop-ruining-my-beard-fetish/

http://nypost.com/2014/02/25/hipster-wannabes-forking-over-thousands-for-facial-hair-transplants/