Friday, September 21, 2018


Free fall
The first day of autumn is officially tomorrow.
For much of America that means little as it's
still quite hot. However here in central Montana
we've already fallen. Well our thermometer has.
Our forecast calls for highs in the low sixties.
With nights hovering close to freezing. So at
least until "Indian Summer" arrives, it's time
to hunker down. A phenomena homebodies
like myself find inspiring. Mostly because that
means a fire in the hearth, comfort food in the
oven, and hopefully a good stiff drink upon the
horizon. That plus the END of allergy season.
Which honestly, can't come soon enough!
Animal instinct
Frankly I've been miserable since mid-August.
Hence while I don't relish the impact the first
frost will have on our flora - I hope it happens
soon. For those who somehow avoid a pollen
overdose, it's hard to describe just how bad it's
been. Yet having suffered through the worst of
it, the end is near and THANK GOD. All of
which means that rather than hibernate, I will
soon awaken from a seasonally self-imposed
haze of antihistamines. Thus Frank no longer
has to bear living with a growling, snarling,
and sniffling spouse. So while it may be cold
outside, things may finally warm up at home.
Hey big spenders...
Tamed bears aside, fall here in Montana is
all about hunting. Since Labor Day through
late fall it's open season for much of our
local feathered and furry friends. This also
means an influx of outsiders willing to pay
for their kill. Unbeknownst to most, there
are many MEGA houses situated on private
ranches within a sixty mile proximity of our
town. Soon much like the swallows returning
to Capistrano - their billionaire owners will
flock back for a month of hunting. Which
hopefully brings a much needed shot in the
arm of our local economy. Welcome back!
Good will hunting
Allergic relief and influxes of cash aside - what
I welcome most is time well spent with family
and friends. Last night Frank's brother and sister
in-law hosted a family dinner. After a summer
of houseguests, travel, and other distractions it
was wonderful to get together. Aided by a most
delicious meal of Nonna's Chicken Cacciatore
(translated it means "Chicken Hunter Style).
Little is as comforting as being surrounded by
hose whom we love and love us. Yet it's times
like these when I miss my kids most. Wishing
that my daughters lived much closer to "home."
And that they could easily pop over for a visit.
Few and far between
In theory the saddest phenomena in modern
society is the separation of nuclear families.
However in truth it's always been that way.
Generations ago, our fore bearers left their
loved ones and homes to start a new life in
America. Or to homestead way out west.
Many never seeing their loved ones again.
So even if your family can rarely gather
together - it's better than nothing. Which is
reason enough to be thankful for the times
we share with those near and dear. Come
to think of it - Thanksgiving is all too soon.
Isn't it time you came to home for a visit?

Thursday, September 20, 2018


East meets west
In the wild west one can
encounter the unexpected.
Hiking in our mountains,
chances are one may meet
a wary mountain lion.  No
wonder folks are intrigued
by the pair of rare Asian
Foo Dogs (Lions) currently
in C+V HOME's window.
Far from normal yet oddly
familiar. Embargoes aside...

Click here to read more -

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Knee jerk reaction
Recently scientists at Northwestern University
released a comprehensive personality study.
After tracking and evaluating over one and a
half million of us - they came to the conclusion
that some people are simply JERKS. Arrogant,
self absorbed, and nasty human beings. If one
is to take said study at face value - then being
an asshole is apparently in some folk's DNA.
Hence in theory - they can't do anything about
it. However interestingly, most 18 year old boys
initially fall into this category. Only to ultimately
grow out of this stage. Even as our man in the
White House proves that others never change.
Juvenile delinquents
Many of us make mistakes when we're young.
Or worse fate deals us a hand that we're stuck
with for the balance of our time here on earth.
A few weeks ago two teens were killed in an
automobile accident locally. Their loss hitting
their loved ones and our community hard. Yet
one can't help but wonder about the other two
teens who survived. One of whom was driving.
Imagine how they feel. And think about what
impact one error in judgement has upon their
destiny. As parents we try to protect our kids
from the worst that life has to offer. But we're
can't always do so from fate or... themselves.
Prior judgements
Inevitably the error of our ways come back
to haunt us. Often the youngest perpetrators
of crimes against humanity are able to forget
whatever they've done. Whereas a victim's
life can be changed against their will forever.
Ultimately we all move on. However some
carry the scars of past transgressions to their
grave. While some would prefer to deny it -
actions speak louder than words. Hence if
somebody steps over the line - no matter how
young, naive, or foolish - they can never go
back. The residual impact of gross errors in
judgement never go away. They're a part of us.
Life sentence
Sadly, the news that a drunken teenaged male
assaulted an innocent female isn't surprising.
What's disturbing is when the predator turns
out to be a candidate for the Supreme Court.
Suddenly we're faced with the question - "can
people change?" And if this study's results are
any indication - the answer is rarely if never.
What's different is the survival mechanisms
that we learn to employ as we mature. Hence
it should come as no surprise that a young man
may learn that brute force isn't the way to gain
power. Rather, the way to usurp other's power
is by sitting at the top of our judicial system.
Questionable motives
So what about redemption? Often murderers
become Sunday School teachers in prison.
While they've changed for the better - that
doesn't change what they did prior. And what
about forgiveness? Isn't it better to turn the
other cheek rather than punish someone for
something that happened forty years ago?
What about justice? Should some of us be
able to bend the rules simply because of who
we've become? Is there a get out of jail free
card for those who have played by the rules
for decades? What about character? Should
some be allowed to deny all sins of the past?
Error in judgement
It may be that a young drunk Brett Kavanaugh
blacked out and awoke the following morning
sans any recollection of the night before. Yet
the sign of a great jurist is the ability to gather
the facts and make an unbiased judgement. So
what if his accuser is telling the truth? Will our
Supreme Court candidate embrace the facts and
face the consequences? Or do what he has been
accused of doing years ago - do whatever it
takes to get what he wants. And in doing so
prove that in the end a leopard can't change
his spots. Nor alter who they are at the core
of their very being. A jerk is a jerk is a jerk.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


True or false?
Living in a small town it's easy to jump to
conclusions. Much of our local information
comes via word-of-mouth. Or in a modern
mode via Facebook and other social media.
Therefore it's easy to jump on a bandwagon
immediately upon discovering something
inflammatory from a theoretically trusted
source. All the more reason why in times
like these it pays to do your homework. All
too often folks on all sides of an issue spout
off sans knowing what they're talking about.
Thus in order to respond to such accusations
one must avoid rumor, innuendo, or hearsay.
Right or wrong?
The question is why would any of us take
anything at face value? The Washington
Post Fact Checkers report that President
Trump made over five thousand misleading
or false statement during his six hundred
and one days in office. Which equates to
over EIGHT lies daily. Most recently, Mr.
Trump has not only denied the number of
deaths in Puerto Rico post Hurricane Maria
but actually argued against the facts. Thus
why wouldn't we all be equally willing to
embrace the random white lie?! Especially
if in theory it advanced our agenda?
Do or don't?
Have we all forgotten "Thou shalt not bear
false witness against thy neighbor" i.e. one
of the ten commandments?? At some point
we each need to hold the other responsible
for any and all misconceptions we opt to
spew. You'd be surprised how quickly the
most virulent of naysayers grow silent when
simply asked to back up their rants. Rarely,
I repeat rarely are they able to provide facts
or details that substantiate their claims. Thus
rather than play the game of "telephone" -
I stop the foolishness before anybody gets
hurt. It's called being a responsible adult.
Fact or fiction?
Don't get me wrong, we're all guilty as charged.
Liberals and conservatives. Blue and Red, Old
and young. Democrats and Republicans. Our
collective problem is that spreading falsehoods
damages our credibility. Claiming the sky is
falling while the sun is shining benefits nobody.
So unless you can back up whatever conspiracy
theory with facts, please keep your opinions to
yourself. Or until you've had the opportunity to
substantiate them. Fiction plays no valid role in
reality. It only serves as a distraction from the
true issues at hand. Which is exactly the reason
why liars spread lies. To control the situation.
Now or never
At some point the truth finds us out. Which is
what happened to the German people post the
end of Adolf Hitler's rule. Manipulators enjoy
nothing more than pulling strings. No wonder
so many of Jim Jone's innocent followers drank
the Kool Aid. Rather than allow the blind to rob
us blind we each have a responsibility to stand
up for what we know is true. And keep an open
mind in case what we assumed was true is false.
All the reason to do our homework. A lie is a lie
no matter who says it. Nor whether they have
good or bad intentions. So do us all a favor and
do your homework before you "share" or "like"!

Monday, September 17, 2018


Sooner or later
Sometimes it seems that in central Montana
we're either behind or ahead. During our long
winters we wonder if spring will ever arrive.
Once it finally warms up, it still might snow
a foot before summer arrives soon thereafter.
The same applies to autumn. September just
may be our most beautiful month. However
this week may bring a hard frost. Meanwhile
our leaves are already starting to turn. Meaning
that before October begins we'll start raking.
Hence summer is but a brief interlude in Big
Sky country. Yet while feeling a bit cheated,
one can't but feel blessed to live in Lewistown.
Peaks & valleys
For years many felt that Fergus County was
falling behind. Yet our problems were really
no different than comparable rural areas. Yet
naysayers questioned all attempts to adapt
to new challenges. Fortunately a dedicated
group of local residents, community and
business leaders never stopped believing.
And post their hard work - it seems that
great things are finally happening in the
heart of Montana. And while it took quite
a bit of time and  effort we're moving in an
upward direction. Even if that may require
dragging a few of us along for the ride...
Before and after
A few years ago, many considered the historic
Powers Mercantile building to be a community
liability. Some even suggested we were better
off tearing it down rather than trying to save it.
Fortunately a local (but transplanted) couple
took on the challenge. And a few weeks ago
the construction barriers came down to reveal
a restored facade and first floor. Instantaneously
transforming a major downtown block from
bedraggled to bedazzled. Then last week, The
American Prairie Reserve announced it had
purchased said structure for a new interactive
visitors center. Proving dreams do come true!
Here to there
Said announcement is but one example that
Lewistown is moving from here to there...
from our past to our future. A process that
isn't a comfort zone for all involved. The
American Prairie Reserve is a non-profit
organization that is working to create the
largest nature reserve in the continental
United States. Ultimately three million
contiguous acres of public and APR lands
will be merged for conservation and public
access to create an "American Serengeti."
Meaning that soon bison and other almost
extinct wildlife will again roam our land.
Then and now
While many welcome the APR, others do not.
I'm not going to get into the specifics of who,
what, where, or why. Each side in theory has
valid reasons for welcoming or resisting our
new neighbors. However I can't help but find
this rift as yet another example of Montana's
past battling it's future. Founded in the 1880's
Lewistown has seen much over our somewhat
brief tenure. From gold to homesteading to
cold war missiles to oil - it's been a constant
cycle of boom or bust. Hence ongoing change
has always been part of our local experience.
Whether we like it or... not.
Tried and true
For thousands of years this rough and tumble
terrain was truly the wild west. Then a steady
stream of newcomers came and changed it to
their liking. If we're honest, while much of
what they did was good, an equal amount of
their changes were questionable at best. Some
worked, others failed. Said cycle has continued
decade after decade. Leaving radical changes
in it's wake. Thus in theory we should be fairly
facile as a result of such endless evolution. So
why are we our own worst enemies? Doing
anything possible to hold onto what already
may be past imperfect? Are we that scared?!
Now or never
The original settlers of this place did whatever
it took to survive. Therefore city folk became
ranchers and ranchers became bankers. One
thing was certain - constant reinvention was
required to adapt to new circumstances. At
times they lost everything only to start anew.
The question is when did we lose their pioneer
spirit? Rather than embrace opportunity we lock
our gates (and minds) to new alternatives. Fact
is change is on the horizon. Something tells me
that those who made Fergus County what it is
today - would welcome a chance to insure it's
future. Isn't it time we changed for the better?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

7th Day Surprise: September Song

In case you haven't noticed - 
has hit the newsstands in the mega September issues.
While I always find the latest trends entertaining,
they're rarely something one can easily don.

Hence what does one wear?