Wednesday, October 18, 2017

ON A ROLL...


Mano a mano
As a man I should abscribe to the theory
that size matters. Yet unlike most males
I limit said aspirational scope to only a
few things like... household paper goods.
Why bother with normal sized allotments
when you can go for "MEGA"? After all,
think of the time you'll save not having to
refill your dispensers. Even better, you'll
avoid the crisis of not being able to clean
up post a sudden outage. Hence I believe
the bigger the better especially when one
is on a roll. However my biggest problem
seems to be going big in the Big Apple.
The gold standard
Anywhere else it's easy to bulk up. Out
in the burbs one needn't be a bounty
hunter to score a case of toilet tissue
or paper towels. The shelves at Sam's,
Costco, or even your local grocer and
drug store are full of maxed out goods.
Thus everyone can upsize. Whereas in
the city, some idiot decided long ago
that less was more in relationship to
household basics. Thus one must pay
the maximum price for the minimum
sheet count per roll. Meaning that one
cannot easily go big and go home.
Enough is enough?
In theory urban life is convenient. But
in reality often the simplest of things are
the toughest. In our neighborhood there
is a Starbucks on almost every block. Plus
plenty of alternative java and juice joints.
In addition there is a Duane Reed, CVS,
or the like on just about every other corner.
Within a few blocks radius sit hundreds of
restaurants and bars. We can choose from
five brands of French butter at the grocer.
Yet finding the most basic of essentials -
things we easily purchase in Lewistown
Montana - can be an exercise in futility.
More or less?
In the case of convenience, Manhattan is often
proof that size does not matter nor is it always
as beneficial as one might think. Therefore one
must plan ahead in order to get one's honey do
list accomplished. Key to avoiding frustration
is assuming that NO place is a one stop shop.
Hence where one goes depends on what they
want to procure. For certain items I'll quickly
pop into my nearby grocer -just a block away.
Other must haves require that I walk six blocks
to Whole Foods on Columbus Circle. Proving
that having a discerning palate also requires
the fortitude to satisfy it. Which is exhausting.
Eyes wide shut
Everything is more expensive in Manhattan.
Which causes me to think of my friends in
Lewistown. One of the favorite activities
back home is to complain of having only
one grocer. A dialogue that often involves
a liberal mix of fantasy and reality. Most
of us base our perspective on experience.
Which invariably is jaded by time, distance,
and opinion. With very few exception - our
hometown market has ALL that I need or
want at prices that seem quite fair. Hence
from the way I see it - the folks back home
have no idea how easy their lives truly are.
Back at you
Often the only thing limiting our view is our
own dumb ass. By our  nature humans are
rarely happy. Especially with the status quo.
So rather than celebrate what we have, we
berate those who do their best to bring it to
us. If nothing else being back in Manhattan
has been a refresher course in reality. Thus
no matter where one lives it never seems to
be good enough. A fact that by it's nature
I find rather repugnant. Wherever one lives
we all have to accept the good, bad, and ugly
that comes with it. Why not be grateful for
what you've got? Roll with it and think big!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

WHERE THE ELITE MEET


False impressions
Often people are rather bemusing. Not in a
funny way. But in an odd, befuddled, and
slightly confused mode. Recently several
folks running for City Commissioner back
n Lewistown Montana have been accused
of being "elitist." Which I find more than
funny given I'm sure that those pointing the
finger probably voted for Donald Trump (a
New York billionaire). Yet what I find even
odder is that some of whom they speak are
retired school teachers. Therefore we must
question their motivation in making such a
nasty and incendiary accusation.
You don't say
Sadly such a slur about one's competitor is all
about derision. It creates the false impression
that anybody who is blessed by privilege can't
possibly understand the wants and needs of
those less fortunate. One might argue that it's
proven by a billionaire in chief who leverages
power for personal gain. However with a few
exceptions, spreading such "elitist" falsehoods
could NOT be further from the truth. Mostly
because we've all been there... done that. And
just because some benefitted along the way -
doesn't mean we forget from whence we came.
Or aren't wiser and tougher post said journey...
Past imperfect
Rarely do we know the full story. Especially in
an isolated community such as Lewistown -
most folks have no interest in what transpired
before one entered their fray. Yet the majority
of successful people got where they are today
via a trail of blood, sweat and tears. Therefore
jumping to any conclusion sans any historical
context is unfair to all involved. Much like the
motivation of those who accuse others of a
skewed perspective, what lays on the surface
rarely reveals the truths hidden below. Hence
it's in everyone's best interest to know what
you're talking about before you spew LIES.
Assume nothing
I'm sure that many locals pass by our house
only to assume we're different than they are.
Add that we're two men who live as one and
drive about in a Jaguar. It's obvious we're not
the norm. But in truth we're not any different
from the rest. Throughout our lives we have
personally suffered through highs and lows.
At times losing everything. Fortunately we
had the will and abilities to regroup and rise
out of said ashes. However it wasn't very easy
hence we resent anybody assuming that we've
never been hungry with no cash in my pocket.
Lost our home. Or were victims of oppression.
Finger job
There is little more arrogant the assuming the
worst about another. The truth is that we rarely
know all of the facts. Thus without an in-depth
knowledge of another's past - it's impossible to
understand where they're coming from. Yet it's
very easy to know where and why such nasty
"elitist" accusations are spawned. And that is
from a dark place fueled by greed, jealousy,
and a thirst for power. Thus just because I've
the wherewithal to pay my taxes doesn't mean
that I think tax increases are good. Especially
when for years I struggled to pay them - often
late. So why give others the wrong impression?
All for one
The majority of those who hold public roles
in local government will affirm that it can be
a thankless job. A few crooks aside, there is
little personal gain in serving others. And yet
some consider working for the common good
beyond fulfilling. Thus they purposefully step
forward for the benefit of our community at
large. Hence while I may not like, agree with,
nor support all of our current candidates for
City Commissioner, I'm grateful that they are
willing to give back. Not all will get my vote,
but all have my respect. That is unless they
purposefully try to hurt others in the process.
Count me in
Why can't we focus on the issues themselves?
There is nothing wrong with arguing over the
facts as each of us see them. We ALL come
from different places. Thus none of us has the
right to slur others for having an alternative
perspective. We ALL benefit from diversity.
That's because ultimately our democratic form
of government insures that we meet somewhere
in the middle. Anger, hate, and derision have no
place within said context. Whereas discussion,
interaction, and negotiation do. And if believing
that such a "mix" is best for all - then I'm proud
to be what some consider an ELITIST!

Monday, October 16, 2017

CABIN IN THE SKY



Opinion poll
To most Manhattanites - Montana is an elusive
dream. We can talk to anybody. Simply chat
with our cabbie on the way downtown. And if
somehow our connection to Montana comes
out in the conversation - the dynamic suddenly
changes. Every jaded urbanite becomes all soft
and mushy. Sort of wistful and dreamlike. Then
from the midst of said trance the majority utter
"I've always wanted to go to Montana... and it's
supposed to be AMAZING." And suddenly, all
involved in said fantastical interaction are taken
to a better place. One where fantasy rarely mixes
with reality. Or... does it?!
Dream house
On the cover of Elle Decor's November issue
is a Montanan "chalet." Often on the pages of
almost every shelter publication appear shots
of mega manses that randomly sit throughout
our state. However many of the most "luxe"
lie behind the gates of the Yellowstone Club
at Big Sky - near Bozeman. Much like any
Manhattan coop - one must go through quite
a rigorous approval process before being able
to build or buy a home in this posh enclave.
Making it anything BUT Montanan. Yet it's
what most folks think is our great state. And
fortunately, they couldn't be more wrong.
Where the buffalo roam...
Most people move to Montana for one reason.
It's vast natural beauty. Yet celebs and mega
billionaires also adore it's annonymity. Within
the confines of our rather vast state - there are
hardly any people. Overall Montana clocks at
just over one million residents. All living on
the same land mass as Germany (pop. 82.7M)
and Japan (pop. 127M) To put that in context -
our population translates to 6.8 people per
square mile. Compare that to 2,700 per mile
in New York City or 1,195 in New Jersey.
However within such wide open spaces -
it still all depends on WHERE YOU LIVE.
Few and far between
The Yellowstone club sits in Madison Country -
which averages 2.1 people per square mile.
But the adjacent Big Sky Resort can host up
to 7,500 skiers on it's slopes on a winter day.
Thus it's no surprise that adjacent Gallatin
County is home to 34.4. folks per square mile.
However not all of Montana is that populated.
Beaverhead County covers the same square
miles as Connecticut. And within it's confines
only 1.7 people reside per square mile versus
the Nutmeg state's 738. Some counties have
even fewer far between. Petroleum (next to
Lewistown) hosts 0.3 which can get lonely.
Neighborly advice
Thus even in Montana it's all about location,
location, location. It all depends on where
and how you live. Near Lewistown there are
several "ranches" owned by wealthy folks.
At least one clocking in at over twenty plus
million in construction costs alone. Rather
than bother with our local air authority, one
family simply built their own airport. Yet
if one peruses the local real estate listings -
you quickly discover that with maybe a few
exceptions, what you see on the pages of
Elle Decor is NOT necessarily what you'll
see touring homes in Lewistown, Montana.
Tastee freeze
True Montanans with money seems to have
an affinity for cushy recliners, taxidermy, and
pithy sayings scrawled on pseudo wood. Add
to that a plethora of golden oak, faux stone
fireplaces, and a gun safe or two. All encased
within an exterior built to weather any storm.
It's akin to living in a large tin clad box. For
most, trees are viewed as a nuisance given all
they do is drop their leaves or block the view.
And given our landscape is covered by snow
at least half of the year, any landscaping must
be described as hardy. Thus by our very nature
we Montanans prefer to keep things SIMPLE.
Home sweet home
But there is something about Montana that all
of the magazines can't chronicle. Which is life
itself within the context of this amazing place.
The difference is the simple beauty of our state
and those who live here. It's filled with wide
open spaces and folks with equally open minds
and hearts. Many locals consider themselves
conservatives, yet they're willing to consider
anybody for who they are - and nothing else.
In Montana actions speak louder than words.
Therefore with few exceptions, Frank and I've
are treated with kindness and respect. Hence
it's no surprise that everyone wants to live here!


Sunday, October 15, 2017

7th Day Surprise: Howdy Cowboy



WESTERN EXPOSURE

I'm a lonesome urban cowboy.
All I want is to be back home in Montana.
However my return is a few weeks off.
So for now I'll dream of riding off into the sunset
with the cowboy of my dreams...

Giddyup pardners