A political discussion bound to get me unfriended

I try not to be too political here, since I feel like politics are divisive at their core and throughout the centuries, political affiliation has broken families apart, created wars, and put some awful people into positions of power. However, this year, Colorado has a proposition on the ballot which is very controversial. It pertains to the re-introduction of wolves to our eighth largest state.

Never mind that wolves are already here.

I grew up in a rural community, which was heavility supported by ranching, hunting, and other activities which automatically set the default at Extremely Red State when it comes to how people vote. I remember nights when people had dumped dead coyotes on the center line of Main St. of my hometown, or how the creedo of “shoot, shovel, and shut the fuck up” is common.

The resounding NOPE of my community is loud and clear. Never mind that a community of God-fearing, right wing, 2nd Amendment loving, domestic beer drinking folks also has some of the highest abortion rates per capita. One might think that it was being used as birth control it is so common. Yes. That was a cheap shot for the hypocrisy of people.

Here’s another cheap shot. Or several. Buckle up.

One of the arguments against reintroducing wolves to an area which spans thousands of square miles of public land, private land, and several different biomes is the destruction that wolves impose on the cattle industry, hunting, and the general safety of people in the area.

Let us consider for a moment, those poor ungulates who roam the wilds of North Park. The gentle and majestic Moose. This animal is like a draft horse with all the lethal hardware of a deer. Because it is a deer. And anybody who knows about moose, knows that they get cranky because those antlers are the fastest growing living tissue outside of bamboo. The process is so painful that moose probably co-adapted eating willow bark because of its analgesic properties. Yes, moose are self-medicating aspirin. Moose get cranky and trample, gore, and fuck up the days of a lot of people every year. My hometown prides itself on being the moose viewing capitol of Colorado, with…damn, like a bazillion moose living up there. Seriously, they are like rats. 1200lb rats with a migraine and a rack of antlers that can flip a Hyundai.

So far, nobody has been gored.

Why am I picking on moose? Well, I’m going to pick on other animals too. Next will be ranchers. The erridication of wolves was a gradual process, popular with Manifest Destiny. Right around the same time buffalo proved a threat to Westward Expansion–likely because they were the main food supply of an entire civilization of human beings that the Federal Government wanted…um, sent to extinction?–the buffalo were hunted out. They were also big animals who could barrel through a fence, which was what cattle and sheep farmers really disliked about the bastards. The Feds didn’t like that the Indians could build an entire town out of one and survive the harsh winters of the American West, so they had to go. Since then, pretty much what ranchers have been saying has been fine for everyone. In World War Two when the Federal Government, who hadn’t successfully starved out the noble creature known as the American Rancher with a thing called the Great Depression suddenly needed food for its troops who were being used to kill other people all over the planet (not picking on WW2, or the validity of what it accomplished–if any war was justified in American History, it was that one. You know, once we decided to actually join in the fight. Four years after Manchuria and Poland were invaded).

Wolves, like the Native Americans before them, were an apex predator in competition for resources. Mainly cattle, who were needed to make C-Rations. I guess somehow they comprised the edible part of these tins of food soldiers relied on in the field. So in order to boil down massive amounts of cattle into nearly inedible canned stew, more cattle needed to be grazed. Colorado was a good place for this, since short growing seasons meant hardly anything grew here. Plus leather was needed for A-2 Flight Jackets, which were pretty damned sweet for pilots looking to plow English girls.

Since bullets were needed to shoot Germans and Japanese, they poisoned the wolves. And the raptors. Because an eagle will eat a sheep or a calf too, apparently. Then they blamed the death of the majestic bald eagle on DDT, which was killing mosquitoes. But yeah. The slow moving rancher could not prevent the loss of livestock, and so baited meat and traps were used to kill the living fuck out of the competition…the wolves this time, not the Native Americans.

Since then, cattle ranching has become a lucrative business. In my hometown, mostly for millionaires who want to dress up and play cowboy for a couple weekends a year. You see, cattle ranches often take a huge loss, and if you own one, you can write it off on your taxes. It’s what every good millionaire does!

A lot of ranchers I have known (and I’m not saying all by any means) generally just kinda let the cattle do their thing. They move them around sometimes, brand them, artificially inseminate them, help them deliver delicious offspring, but most of the time the cattle are self-employed, roaming around public grazing lands (yes, public lands), becoming ribeyes. And dog food. And fertilizer for vegans to put on soy fields.

The argument is that a wolf will kill a cow for fun, just shredding it until it bleeds out, painfully. However, I’ve seen bone piles where cattle carcasses are dragged, each having one thing in common. Baling twine. You see, when a rancher can’t be bothered to take the fucking twine off a hay bale, the idiot cows will eat the twine, and it will eventually kill them. Painfully. Binding up their digestive tracts which are full of hay, which I guess the baling twine is just really dedicated to its job. Then they pile up the dead cattle in an undisclosed location, where the coyotes pick at the bones until all that is left is tiny little balls of red baling twine and bones. And the lonely howl of the wind in the sage.

This bill includes compensation for cattle and livestock killed by wolves too. Sorta like the compensation ranchers got for killing entire herds at the beginning of COVID because people weren’t buying enough and it was killing futures in the stock market. Don’t feel too bad for the ranchers, they are still being paid.

Hunters complain that wolves kill deer and elk in this way too. You know what else kills them? Prion disease. You know what else prion disease kills? People. You know what prion disease doesn’t kill? Wolves. So, a wolf pack kills some diseased animals and eats them before you can eat these diseased animals and be killed by prion disease.

And hey, since wolf populations will now be “managed” you can try to shoot one for a trophy instead of that deer nobody wants to eat because venison is disgusting. Elk sucks too. Unless you mix it with beef. Then, just eat beef.

I got to hear super hunter and Oregonian, Cam Hanes on Joe Rogan the other day voicing his opposition to wolves in Colorado. The most invasive species in Colorado are the Californian, Texan, and Oregonian. Don’t let this fucker fool you. No wolf ever drove up the cost of my property! If anything they keep property values low, because nobody wants their grandmother to be eaten by a wolf when she is lying in bed with COVID, waiting for her grand-daughter to bring her a basket of goodies.

The final thing is forest fires. Wolves target stupid, slow, and sick creatures. Which likely means the same type of people who will idiotically leave a campfire burning when they are camping and burn down most of my goddamned state. Wolves prevent forest fires by eating tourists who are too stupid to know how to not burn down the forest. * (Okay. They don’t eat campers. But I wish something would have happened to those careless assholes that started all these fires. Maybe the moose need to step up their game and trample some people.)

Trust the science.

That’s it for now. If anyone is left, please vote YES on 114.

I am not a Deep State Wolf.

*It has been brought to my attention (and rightfully so) that in spite of the wolf packs in Yellowstone, there have been no attacks on humans since reintroduction. And there are lots of people and wolves in Yellowstone right now. You are probably more at risk being bitten by a shih-tzu.

Cabin fever

Well, most of us have been on lockdown for a few weeks already and you know, there isn’t really a lot that has changed in my life. Well, other than the soul crushing loneliness sometimes. And when I say sometimes, I mean it. It isn’t a continual thing. There have been times when I have gone days without speaking to another person. Even on my trip to the UK last year, other than the person I was ordering food or coffee from, I didn’t speak a lot to other people. When I did, sometimes I would feel a little bit awkward, as though my words were just a jumble.

I feel like that a lot lately. Sometimes it gets to me, like the other day when I was walking around campus for some exercise and I ran into Larry the Cop. I’ve known Larry for a number of years, but other than him recognizing me, I don’t think he even knows who I am. I hadn’t spoken to many people at all by then. Maybe my gf or my mom and dad on the phone, but that was about it. This was the first person I had spoken with face to face in many days. I pretty much unleashed a whole weeks worth of information on the poor man.

Then, I was fine. I went home, I wrote. I cleaned house. I was productive. This working from home thing has been awesome. I can get everything done without distractions. I don’t have to listen to every stupid story or exclamation about the weather, or worse yet the all-knowing/all-seeing weather app. You know, rather than just looking outside.

On Monday, we got our notice that our jobs were ending. They gave us five days to apply for the new positions, and like the dutiful battered spouses so many of us on campus are to our jobs, 90% of us were interested in fighting for those crumbs. You see, the deal is to consolidate 65 jobs down to about 12. You won’t have a pay increase for the additional duties and training, and there’s no guarantee that the university will even be there in two years. But like the person who walks around with a shiner and makes up an excuse for their abuser, everyone was willing to go back to the piece of shit.

My state of mind lately during this quarantine and these layoffs hasn’t been that great, but it could have been worse. Usually I look at my housekeeping as an indication of my state of mental health. I let the dishes pile up in the sink. I haven’t folded laundry in days. But every once in a while I’ll tackle a problem that hasn’t been looked at for a while. The other day, I cleaned my oven. Today, I shampooed my carpets. Then I cleaned out the steam cleaner and I did it again. The carpets which have been looking like the floor of a crack house because of my son’s potato chips and my indifference to garlic and onion skins which drift in and out of the kitchen needed to be addressed. I did it. I shampooed the damned rugs.

I’ve been too busy lately with paid writing assignments as I get ready to transition over to writing full-time. Sometimes it is difficult to not become distracted. I mean Facebook is just a tab over. There’s instagram, twitter, and emails. But all of those are wearing thin these days.

I went on a walk today because I need the exercise. As a person with asthma, I need regular exercise or else my lungs feel kinda junky. They’ve been like this since September when I had pneumonia. With this pandemic, I can’t help but feel like I’m susceptible for pneumonia again, which isn’t anything I ever want to have to deal with. So, I listen to my body. It says I’m getting fat eating pasta and bread at home all day, so I get up and I do something about it. I take a walk and immediately feel gassed. With the layoffs coming, about a month ago I let my gym membership lapse. So, no eliptical for me these days. No twice-daily walks at work. I pretty much walk about ten feet in any direction and spend the rest of the day sitting. Or eating.

To make sure I don’t get sick, my gf and I just talk on the phone. I miss the hell out of her. But she’s protecting me, and that feels wonderful. My ex-wife, in a less altruistic turn, hasn’t let our son come over to my house for three weeks. She has claimed that the kids have all been sick with COVID19 and sends me lectures on hygiene and epidemiology to shame me because we all are supposed to recognize that she knows more than the doctors and isn’t she just the better parent?

I’ve missed my son. Yes, even though he plays a lot of video games and he’s hitting that age when he just wants stuff like Pokemon cards and food and entertainment, I’ve missed him. I can’t imagine what things are like for him over there right now. His mom is a known hypochondriac. This is like when a prepper sees that comet headed for earth and weeps tears of joy because they finally get to use their bomb shelter and eat all those beans they’ve been stockpiling for years.

With this pandemic, I can honestly say, I am sick of dried beans. I’m sick of pasta. When this whole thing blows over, I want to sit in a restaurant and order appetizers and an entree and my lovely gf and I will sit and listen to conversations and make comments about the sad choices being made all around us. But it will be nice because in a weird way, I sorta miss people.

As much of an introvert I am, I do still miss seeing people. Lately, with the empty streets and cancelled plans and shelter in place, I feel a little lost sometimes. I have railed against social media in the past. About how it is neither social nor the media. But right now, it’s all a lot of us have. It’s a small window to the world and so many people who are scared or lonely are hitting the anger phase of their mourning of the life they used to know.

Some are drinking a lot. Some are talking politics and dropping blame on a President, hating him for not saving us from this sooner…forgetting that a kangaroo court of impeachment was going on at the insistence of the established ruling class, who all hate a man who keeps saying “We need to start making things in America again.” Yes. Like medical supplies. That’s biggie. I’m just dumbfounded that nobody has talked about how the country where this crap originated has not only lied about the severity of it, but is providing all of our medical supplies to fight it.

But, maybe that’s just part of the mourning. Bargaining. Anger. Blame. Eventually we will all hit acceptance. In the meantime, there is Tiger King to distract us. At the end of this, so many of us will be without jobs. The way we interact will probably be scarred for many years. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to burn the whole thing down, remove the aristocrats who have ridden this country into the dirt, we’ll continue to just patch things together, distracting ourselves with outrage. Kardashians. Mourning the lives of the old and young alike that we lost over these months. Ignoring the fact that our government doesn’t have our best interests at heart.

Ignoring the fact that our world is changing in the blink of an eye.

Being stuck at home can give you too much time to think about things. Maybe I should start cleaning out the fridge.

The world is moving on

Today was sunny for a change. Winter had a hold on this place for a long time. Last summer was only four months without a snow storm. This winter has been a creeping grey death since October. I am not a fan. Maybe it’s a sign of my age. Maybe it’s something else.

So today I went outside to walk in the sunshine. I’m tired of hearing about COVID-19. Schools, including mine, threatening shut downs after Spring Break. As if enough communicable diseases don’t get passed during that week normally. Meetings are being cancelled left and right. The WHO is calling it a pandemic now.

Combine that with the layoffs we are facing. It makes me wonder if there will even be a job to come back to if they close up shop at this campus. And if so, why?

So, as I stood outside, feeling the sun on my face, I thought about how things have changed over the years. I’ve been a fixture on this campus for 25 years, as a student then as an employee. I watched the students file past. How many years of that? In a weird way, it feels like the same kids, the only thing that really changes is the clothes they wear. From army boots and sun dresses to hip huggers and crop tops to this new androgynous look with the chunk black-framed glasses. The ubiquitous college guys in their shorts and baseball caps haven’t changed at all in 20 years though. But I do feel a change coming.

I’ve noticed the beginnings of transhumanism here. When I was a student, the most reliance we had on technology was someone who walked around with their walkman earphones on constantly. Now, everyone on the quad was staring into their phones. I see it on the road too, everyone driving like they are dead drunk, and only when you pass them is it revealed in crystal clarity that they are just staring into the screen on their phone. That’s what everyone does who was walking around campus today. Walking, staring at their phone with the intensity of a carnival fortune teller scrying arcade wisdom from a crystal ball.

I think dating apps might be the only thing that allow humans in the First World to continue to breed. And if you think about it, it is all based on an algorithm. Machines are determining who is compatible enough to screw and perpetuate the human race.

Even my own job has taken a hit. A big reason that the workforce of the University is no longer sustainable is because of online classes. Honestly it doesn’t say much about the quality of education either. If you really break it down, who is to say that you even need a professor. Why not just watch a series of YouTube videos and take a test at the end? Well, who would be the gatekeepers then? Who would profit from withholding knowledge?

But the world feels like it is changing. I wonder if this is how people in the early 20th Century felt? Horses began to be replaced with automobiles. The main method of getting around for the last several thousand years vanished overnight. There are many people who have never ridden a horse, much less touched one.

The world changed. And I can’t say really if it was for the better.

An entire century of warfare changed the world and made a more global community than an insular one. Today, we are all freaking out over a virus (which was probably engineered for whatever reason) and somehow wonder how this could be happening when we live in UV-glass protected, hermetically sealed buildings, using touch screens instead of interacting with others to get the job done. Phone trees or customer service, prepackaged food that comes from god-knows-where, and everything is made someplace else, and nobody seems to have a problem with that. Concepts such as gender are now up for debate. The rivers are full of anti-depressants and other chemicals that can’t be filtered out by water treatment. Climate change. The religion of Climate Change. The religion of Social Justice. Coronavirus fears are shutting down travel between states…but borders with other countries are considered racist and oppressive.

Just wait until your employer can quarantine you for being sick, without pay, control where you can go. How you travel.

The world is moving on.

There are days I wish there was a small pocket of the world that was still a place from someone like me. An anachronism, a relic of an expired age. To live in a place that doesn’t encourage everyone to live like a germaphobe. A world where the Media doesn’t control the narrative with fear and controversy and polarization.

A world where people aren’t directed by their bells and whistles of their electronics devices. A place where we aren’t all a bunch of rubes buying whatever snakeoil the hucksters want to sell us.

I see a world of empty streets people used to walk, but they are all safe inside their homes, attached to their electronics. Believing all the horseshit they are fed.