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Voice In My Head

Yup, wouldn't it be wonderful if the voice in my head sounded like Morgan Freeman or James Earle Jones or Anthony Hopkins?  It would be so much more dramatic.

For most of my life that internal voice sounded an awful lot like my mother, Margery.  When the angel on my right shoulder was bickering with the devil on my left shoulder, Margery's voice would jump into the discussion and urge me to make the honest and honorable decision.  Of course, there were times when I ignored her "voice of reason" and while those episodes provided some interesting life stories, in the long run it would have been better to have listened to her good advice.

Now that I'm retired that voice sounds more like my own.  Decisions usually seem easier now and usually boil down to the term "whatever"!

Spring Forward, Fall Back

I see in the news that our Montana Legislature has been toying with the idea of dropping the practice of daylight savings time.  I have no comment on this "timely" issue, but I think I have a more comprehensive proposal that my fellow Montanans will like.

I call it "Best Month Adjustment".  As we get ready to face February, we are all aware that this short month is one of the most depressing times of the year.  It's cold and dark and outdoor activities are limited unless you are a snow bunny.  Likewise, October is not on our favorite month's list.  Leaves falling from the trees remind us of our own mortality and the first storms of winter are a preview of the harsh months to come.

So, here's my proposal.  On the first of October we roll back the calendar and have a redo of the month of September.  It's the easily the best weather month of the year.  In a similar fashion, on the first of February we spring forward and start a double March period of 59 or 60 days (leap year) and we get to see spring in Montana for an extended period.  Melting snowpack, birds returning, the first wildflowers and sprouts of green grass.  Cool idea huh?

I'll let the legislature figure out an implementation plan.

Time Of The Season

The Helena High Gym (Harper Court named after the late Rev. George Harper).  The season's first crosstown games this weekend pitted the Helena High Bengals and Capital High Bruins against each other.  Gymnasiums all over Montana are the hub of social activity this time of year.  It's great entertainment watching these young folks pursuing their "hoop dreams", especially if you've watched them progress from grade school to middle school and then on to varsity competition.

East Ridge

Standing at the entrance to the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Mineral Museum, on the Montana Tech campus in Butte.  Across the valley floor is the East Ridge.  Perched on the ridge is "Our Lady of the Rockies".  Here's what WIKI has to say about "Our Lady":

"Our Lady of the Rockies is a 90-foot statue, built in the likeness of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that sits atop the Continental Divide overlooking Butte, Montana. She is also intended to be entirely non denominational, and was dedicated by workers to women everywhere, especially to mothers. 
Height: 89′ 0″
Completion date: December 17, 1985
Dedicated to: Mary
Beginning date: December 29, 1979
Did you know: Our Lady of the Rockies is the fourth-tallest statue in the United States?"

All I know is that there is a lot of history between my vantage point and the East Ridge across the way.  Stories of struggles and triumphs, families and friends, environmental plunder and corporate greed, politics and religion, oh - and pork chops.  That's one reason why we visited Butte yesterday.

Pink Frosting

2019!  Let's start the Montana new year with a party.  We'll cover our mountains with frosting made pink from huckleberry juice, not from store bought food coloring.

Foggy Christmas Eve

We had a foggy Christmas Eve in Helena this year.  That can be a problem for pilots, especially that special one who works the graveyard shift each year, on that particular day.

Not to worry, I guess the North Pole folks have worked out a solution to that issue over the years.

Where Can You See This Portrait Of Chief Dan George?

The artist: (from Artnet)

Harley Brown is a Canadian painter best known for his depictions of Native Americans in traditional dress. Painting in a realistic style with loose brushwork, Brown manages to maintain a strong attention to detail with the ability to capture the likeness of his subjects with a lively and colorful palette. Born in 1939 in Edmonton, Canada, Brown went on to study at the Alberta College of Art in Calgary followed by the Camberwell School of Art in England. After returning to his home country, the artist met Bob Morgan, the curator of the Montana State Historical Society, where he subsequently had a solo show. Brown is a member of the Northwest Rendezvous Artists, the National Association of Watercolor Artists, the Oil Painters of America, and the Cowboy Artists of America. He lives and works in Tucson, AZ.

The subject: (from wiki)

Chief Dan George, OC (July 24, 1899 – September 23, 1981) was a chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, a Coast Salish band whose Indian reserve is located on Burrard Inlet in the southeast area of the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He was also an actor, poet and author; his best-known written work was "My Heart Soars". As an actor, he is best remembered for portraying Old Lodge Skins opposite Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man (1970), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor; also for his role in The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), as Lone Watie, opposite Clint Eastwood.

So, where in Montana does this portrait hang?

A Floyd Of A Different Color

"And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon"

from "Brain Damage" off of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album

Coloring Floyd Lawson with a pink hue is certainly not an original idea.  I've seen many versions of Pink Floyd on the Internet, but I've given the old Mayberry barber a Montana twist.  He's glowing pink from a Helena Valley sunrise.

Finish The Phrase: Meanwhile Back At The Ranch

"Meanwhile back at the ranch" is a phrase used to change the conversation (a segue) to another completely unrelated topic.  It could be useful at the Thanksgiving dinner table if your Uncle Ray and your father-in-law start talking politics from two different points of view.

Today's Montana exercise:  Finish the phrase "Meanwhile back at the ranch"


If you have a true to life ranch, like the Coulter clan in Brusett, Montana, you might finish the phrase something like this:  Meanwhile back at the (Brusett, Montana) ranch, Ruth (Coulter) was boiling up some eggs for a batch of potato salad.

or if you don't have your own ranch you might just make something up.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Little Joe and Hop Sing have placed a bucket of fresh meadow muffins above the bunkhouse door as a prank on Hoss.

I will anxiously await your comments!

Cold Smoke

Is there a massive fire just behind Mount Helena?  Nope.  It's just a winter storm coming in from the northwest this morning.

Just Go With The Flow

I don't have anything against Christmas.  I think it's a wonderful holiday.  It used to irritate me a bit when retailers started advertising Christmas before Thanksgiving was even over.  This year I saw Christmas displays being set up in the stores before Halloween and ads started appearing on TV even before the highly entertaining political ads were finished for the season.  It seems everyone is in on this accelerated Christmas schedule... including our Christmas cactus that started blooming this week.

I guess I'll just go with the flow.  Merry Christmas from Montana where we have enough snow on the ground to make it believable. 

Filling The Freezer

This is the second batch of pasties we've baked this fall.  There will probably be a couple more batches in the upcoming weeks.

Today there is fresh snow on the ground.  There's nothing better than a pasty on a cold Montana winter's night.  Oh, and I've said this before... don't put any peas, carrots or rutabagas into your pasties.  Meat, potatoes and onions ONLY... why ruin perfection.

Negative Campaigning

I'm in a quandary.  If all the things that the opposition party say about my preferred candidate are true then I can't vote for him/her and if they aren't true then I can't vote for the opposing candidate who is guilty of bending the truth or telling outright lies.  American politics have lost any sense of dignity.

Mike Mansfield looks down from the Montana section of Heaven (yes, it's the most beautiful part of Heaven) and shakes his head in disbelief.  Does anyone remember what the term "statesman" means?