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Tag Archives: La Tray

Buying Nothing is a Tough Sell on Black Friday

Black Friday of course is the name given to the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally one of the biggest retail days of the year. It is the official start of the Christmas shopping season, supposedly, though it seems apparent that, like Christmas decorations, that frenzy is beginning before the Halloween junk is even stuffed back in the garage. Flyers advertising early “Black Friday” sales started two weeks ago. The chains are particularly desperate this year, especially with typical Christmas meccas like Circuit City bankrupt, and Best Buy issuing their own ominous rumblings. Money is tight everywhere, and the only people who will be surprised if more companies fail after the holiday fog clears will likely be the same ones who were surprised when the house of cards that is our American borrow-and-spend economy started to tumble in the first place!

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Independent Music — Totally

Missoula hosts the premier independent music festival in the Northwest. I’m talking, or course, about Total Fest, which just saw its 7th incarnation go off as a resounding success this past weekend. This is a huge event to wrangle; lots of bands from all over (all of whom needed places to stay, things to eat, gear to protect, etc.) to manage, three nights in a row of rock, and all the promotion and hustling to make it a success. From what I saw Saturday night, it all seemed to go off with less fuss and confusion than most single night shows I’ve had to suffer through with only 3 or 4 bands involved! Just a fantastic effort all around.

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Our Neighbors Probably Hate Us

We have a long side yard that runs the length of our house to the east. Half of it gets a fair amount of shade in the afternoon so the grass does okay. The rest is scorched, and right now it is a bloody battleground where war is being waged against knapweed. In this space I have already built two 4’ x 8’ frames that will be filled with soil to serve as raised beds. There is room for more, and we will probably add at least 3, if not 4, more frames between now and the first snows. There is also a metal container that contains four tomato plants, just planted a couple weeks ago. Our neighbor across the street saw the beds, asked if we were making a garden, and gave us some plants. Ah, the community of gardeners! I know she won’t need it, but I intend to gift her with the first fruit of these beauties.

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A Lifetime in a Couple Months with Ace Frehley

The stage was set, the wall of black, logoless amplifiers had glowing lights. A roadie would wander out periodically to adjust a mic stand or open a couple bottles of water on the drum riser, then stroll off again. A huge smoke machine was belching fog over the stage and theater; ZZ Top was playing over the PA. The crowd was chanting, “Ace, Ace, Ace!” and it seemed to take forever. Finally the lights dimmed, and it was on.

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My Climate Scientist is Smarter Than Your Climate Scientist

I happen to believe global warming is real, not just as something that naturally occurs as our planet hurtles through space over the course of billions of years (yes, I said billions), but also as a process being expedited by our own hell-bent-on-consumption lifestyle. It doesn’t take a scientist, or a Google search, to figure out that as “the global economy” brings more eager mouths to suck at the swollen teat of consumption, stuff is going to get burned through that much quicker. Just look out your window. If you happen to live in a place that more and more people think looks like a great place to be – as we do here in Montana – you can watch, like one of those time lapse movies, the views and resources and access rights get gobbled up faster than we can say, “the last best place!”

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Bookworms Unite!

I love to read, and writers intrigue me far more than rock stars. Of all the passions I have embraced in my life, reading has always been the one I never surrendered. I was hooked from the moment I learned how it all worked. Some years I’ve read more than others, and my tastes have evolved, but I’ve never had stretches where I stopped reading altogether. I’m guessing it comes from my mom, because she reads all the time too. My dad isn’t a book reader; I don’t think I’ve ever seen him read anything that wasn’t a newspaper, the crossword puzzle dictionary, the J.C. Whitney catalog or a Chilton auto repair manual. That’s fine. I can quote Thoreau, he can rebuild trucks and tractors and hot water heaters. You tell me who has the more valuable skill set.

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Night Driving with Dick Dorworth

How do you kill time on an airplane planted on the tarmac, snow blowing and swirling outside, in the wee hours of the morning? The most amusing event was when some older fellow walked up into first class, looked around with his hands on his hips for a couple moments, and then turned to return to the back of the plane without saying a word. He did not pass quietly: clearing the third row, which is where I just happened to be seated, he unleashed a fuselage-rattling fart that did not go unnoticed by any of us in the vicinity. "I think he just fired a shot across our bow," I remarked, and the giddiness of the hour made it a lot funnier than it may have otherwise been.

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Raw Power in the Fun House

I think one of the expectations bequeathed on every parent is that, when posed the question, “What is your fondest memory?”, you are supposed to wax poetic on the beatific moment you first laid eyes on your newborn child. Of course I remember the first time I saw my son, all red-faced and wrinkly, but there was no golden halo around him and I did not hear harps, trumpets or the soft whooshing of angel wings. Mainly Sid grimaced distastefully up at me as I scowled down at him, and I read in his expression the same thought that was going through my head: “So this is what I have to work with?” I’m pretty sure he farted too.

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Booze, Boxing and Mr. Bling

How many drunks get into their cars any given night in Missoula? I don’t think at any point I’ve ever worried about a gun-toting maniac no matter where I am or what I’m doing (except maybe in the front row of a Ted Nugent concert), but once night falls and a loved-one is out and about, I’m nervous for the faceless drunk who just might be en route to causing a ripple effect of shattered hearts.

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Flick of the Switch

It is good to see the Oscar Meyer bologna song is still going strong. Don’t know that one? Let me sing it for you: “My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R. My bologna has a second name it’s M-A-Y-E-R. Oh I love to eat it every day, if you ask me why I’ll saaaaaaaaayy . . . ‘cuz Oscar Meyer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-and-A!”

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