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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Jackass Pass

  The picture in the upper photograph is of some stairs at the top of Hill Street that connect to the upper road. I think it's Douglas Drive, but I'm not certain. I seldom go up there and never pay any attention to the street names. When we first came to Hoonah, there were no street signs; everyone just kind of knew what street they lived on I guess. Strangers to the area could be lost for days trying to find where someone lived. To this day most of us still don't have numbers on our houses. We live at 265 Hill Street. It used to be 73 Hill Street I believe, but for some unknown reason it was changed. I guess it doesn't really matter. Most of the folks in town know where I live if they need to see me. Anyway, back to the stairs. For as long as I can remember the stairs have always been known as Jackass Pass. I have no idea why. To the best of my knowledge there have never been any mules or donkeys here. I checked on line and the definition of a jackass is a male donkey; also a foolish or stupid person; a blockhead. I love that word- blockhead. It's almost as good as buffoon. While there may not be any mules running up and down the stairs, I don't doubt that there have been a number of jackasses, as in blockheads, who have availed themselves of the stairs. When I climbed up them to get these pictures the other day I noticed that folks are still drinking halfway up and depositing the bottles in the brush down below. I would suggest to the city that they put trash cans in the vicinity, but I doubt that anyone would use them. If they don't care where they throw their trash now, I doubt that having a can to deposit it would make a difference- the jackasses. The stairs have been the scene of several unpleasant experiences that I'm aware of. It runs in my mind that quite a few years ago, shortly after we moved to town, there was a stabbing at the top of the stairs. I believe it was murder, but I don't think the perpetrator ever got convicted. Last year Walter Lindoff was attacked by a sow Brown Bear with a cub at the bottom of the stairs. There was a lot of brush and Alder trees all over the hillside and the surrounding area. Shortly after the attack one of the native organizations came through with brush cutters and cut down all the growth so that any bears in the area would be exposed. It doesn't look nearly as nice, but it's  no doubt a lot safer. Aside from providing a way to get to the upper road, the stairs also serve as a great aerobic exercise platform. I'm not sure how many steps there are or how steep the incline is, but I promise you, if you go up and down them ten times a day, you could probably comfortably afford to eat a doughnut or two every day without too much fear of putting on the pounds. Bob and Glenda Hutton recently embarked on an exercise program that entailed a number of trips up and down the stairs in preparation for a vacation that involved climbing a mountain. They might have been going to Machu Picchu, I'm not sure. That's a little too ambitious for me. I could stand to lose a few pounds-or maybe more than just a few- myself. Perhaps I should start climbing the stairs more often myself. Then they might become known as Heart Attack Pass instead.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Captain Hoochies

 I received a package yesterday from my son Brian. He had ordered some fishing gear for me for Christmas but he was in Spain at the time and postal freight being what it is and whatever other factors were involved, I just got it yesterday, which I think is kind of nice. In fact, I think it would be a great idea if everyone went shopping when they could get the best sales on things, and then sent part of the stuff after Christmas, so that you're not so overwhelmed at one time. It's kind of neat to not know when a gift is coming and it arrives out of the blue. All of this gear was packaged in a shirt box, so I figured he had bought me a shirt, which of course I'm always in need of because I have a tendency to be hard on my clothes. I don't know how one person can get a shirt and still have it five years later and it looks good enough to wear to church, and I get a shirt, and six months later my wife is telling me I need to get rid of it because it makes me look like a bum. Oh well. Anyway, between Brian's gift and some hoochies and a flasher from my grandson and a package of Chum bug hoochies that were in a shoe box from Jen, I struck it rich in the fishing gear department. I'm anxious to try them all out. As you can see from the bottom picture, the green hoochies are much smaller than the clear one. As it is, the green is the standard size of three and a half inches. The clear ones are over seven inches long. Thunderation! Those things are huge! Brian mentioned that they were for use with halibut or Ling Cod, but I suspect you could use them to catch Blue Marlin or giant Blue Fin Tuna. I'm going to try and rig a few and see if the King Salmon would be enticed by them. It would be fantastic if I could steadily catch 40 lb plus kings on a consistent basis with them. I might have to run tandem flashers in front of these big boys to get enough action, kind of like when there are several locomotives used to haul a large number of train cars. If for some reason they don't work, I'll put little Christmas tree lights in them and string them on the tree. It would probably start a fad and there would be a big demand for them. Another business opportunity.
  I looked up the history of hoochies on the Internet, but it wasn't really very helpful. Most of the info was on the hoochie-koochie girls. I did discover that the hoochie koochie was a provocative belly dance that started at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876 and was later re-introduced at the Chicago worlds fair some years later. Needless to say, it was very popular with the men there. Later, hoochie-koochie girls or hoochies were used to describe prostitutes or ladies who dress provocatively. The dictionary went on to describe hooches, which is the nickname of huts in Southeast Asia,  and hooch is also a shortened name for hoochinoo, a Tlingit alcoholic beverage that was usually distilled illegally. Unfortunately I couldn't find out anything about the origins of hoochies, except what I have heard- that a downed pilot was drifting around in the Pacific and noticed that fish kept coming up and tugging on the bits of red thread that were hanging on his clothes,undulating with the movement of the waves.  He apparently got the idea to make small vinyl octopus and call them hoochies, after the movement of of the hoochie-koochie girls. Since then, there have been entire industries built around them and most commercial salmon fishermen are like myself and own umpteen dozens of packs in assorted colors and sizes. Some have red eyes and some don't, some glow in the dark, and some are ultra violet. They vary in size from the small plankton size to needle fish, 3 1/2 inch octopus,cuttlefish,   to the half grown octopus size that I just received. No doubt some enterprising fellow will develop a Giant Squid size to catch Sperm Whales with. Just a heads up kids, I probably won't need any of those. I wouldn't be able to land one if it bit, and no one would believe me if I said I had actually had one on the line.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The View

    There may be those who look at the title of this post and think that I might be writing about that ladies talk show on ABC with Joy Behar and Whoopie Goldberg and I don't know who else. Not sure if Barbara Walters is still on there or not. I recall hearing one radio commentator referring to the ladies on The View as a bunch of old harpies after their mean spirited comments about Sarah Palin. I had to agree, I didn't really think that they had so much to be putting anyone else down for. Anyway, this isn't about TV or harpies or Sarah Palin. It's about the view out my front window this morning. Kind of depressing isn't it? Last night it poured buckets, or as Mary Lou Lail, a family friend from North Carolina used to say, "It's raining like pouring pee out of a boot." I don't think I've ever had pee in my boots before, or at least not so much that I could pour it out. Perhaps there's been enough urine in my neoprene's to soak my socks a little bit, but I don't really recall, which is just as well. Who wants to think about something like that? Anyway, it rained quite a bit last night, and when I got up this morning it was still coming down pretty good. It's been quite a long time since we've had any sun, and frankly, I'm getting tired of all the gloomy weather. It would be nice if we could dial up the weather channel and place an order for whatever we wanted. "Yes, hi, I would like to order three days of sun, two partly cloudy and a light sprinkle this week please, oh and throw in a mild breeze on Wednesday if you would. Just charge it to my visa and make sure I get my Alaska Airline miles." Wouldn't that be great? Of course there would always be some clown who would want some hurricane force winds so that he wouldn't have to fly back to Juneau or folks who would want feet of snow so they could go skiing. When it comes to weather, I guess everyone has a different idea of what would be ideal. I guess it's a good thing that we can move if the place we're at doesn't suit us. If you get tired of the ice and snow,  you can always move down to the scorpions and fire ants or perhaps tornado alley. There's something for everyone, hallelujah. 



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Twenty-two Commandments

   No doubt you've heard of the ten commandments, that set of rules that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai, but have you ever heard of the twenty- two commandments?  That is what is displayed in the picture above. This sign was hanging in room 405 at Hoonah City Schools some years back. I guess it was actually more of a request or pleading as opposed to a command. Some of the teachers at the time were hoping that a polite request would have the desired effect...ha,ha,ha... those silly people. What are the odds that any kid would actually listen to a polite request? It was always my experience that no middle or high school student was even remotely interested in doing what the teacher requested of them. It's just not in their nature. Of course when I was growing up, things were much different. We still didn't want to listen, but there was more of an incentive to follow the rules.Teachers were held in high esteem back then. Corporal punishment was an acceptable form of discipline at the time, back in the days of the barbarians. I recall, although not too fondly, of one time in junior high when I spit out the window in math class. The math teacher, an old bag named Mrs. Moore, happened to glance in my direction and WRONGLY assumed I was trying to spit on some students down below.Well, she gave me detention which I promptly forgot at the end of the day. I had the attention span of a fruit fly at the time, and since I never got in trouble anyway, I forgot about it. When I came to class the next day she sent me down to the principals office. I didn't have the slightest idea why, until I got there and he mentioned that I didn't show up for detention. Then he has me bend over the chair and proceeded to give me three whacks with a paddle that was about an inch thick and three feet long. Holy Toledo. I didn't know if he was trying out for major league baseball as a pinch hitter or if he wanted to remodel his office and was using my head as a battering ram to knock down the wall, but he darn near drove my head into it. I have to say, it took a bit before I could catch my breath. Needless to say, I immediately started planning my revenge on both the principal and the old bag. I knew that I would never get away with doing anything to them while I was still at home, I'd have to wait for about five years. By then they would both be old and feeble and I'd be in a much better position to strike fear in their hearts. I would go to their doors, ring the bell, and when they answered I'd pull a big paddle from behind my back and say, "remember this? Stand by to be paddled!" I revisited that fantasy for most of the remainder of that year, mainly when I was in math class. Fortunately life got in the way and I grew up and got interested in things more fruitful than revenge. Now I'm aware of that bible verse that says, "Vengeance is mine."says the Lord, "I will repay." Somehow I don't think that Mrs. Moore or the principal have to worry. In any event, in order to get along well with others who are involved in your life, please keep in mind these twenty-two commandments. You can substitute the teacher with, spouse, children, colleagues, grocery clerks, postal workers or anyone else you happen to come in contact with. It will make every one's day better, especially yours.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Taking Down Christmas

 It's 2014! I hope everyone had a safe and happy new year. Hopefully you aren't reading this from a  hospital bed or jail cell after a night of unabashed celebration. I'm not all that much of a holiday fan. Jan and I are pretty low key. I spent New Years Eve watching The Twilight Zone marathon on TV and Jan and Jen played cards for a few hours. We had a little champagne mixed with orange juice and munched on some unhealthy snacks. I'm a real sucker for jalapeno poppers. I was being cheap so I bought some Western Family Cheese Puffs. Usually Western Family products are pretty good. These cheese puffs looked great inside the package, but looks are deceiving. Each one was the size of a  link sausage, but the flavor just wasn't there. It would have been false advertising it they had been called cheese flavored puffs. I don't what flavor they were, but definitely not something that will rocket them to the top of the snack line.Sometimes you just have to go with the name brand products, especially when it comes to snacks. My daughter Autumn is visiting and has taken it upon herself to take down the decorations inside. I took down the lights and garland that was festooning the two porches. It's amazing how much faster it is to take them down than to put them up. Looking around at the stuff littering the floor and counters and benches and couch, I can see why retailers love Christmas so much. We had two wreaths for the doors, yards and yards of assorted colored garland, strand after strand of lights, ornaments, phony poinsettia plants, fabric snowmen and ceramic figures for the manger scene, a topiary tree, a Christmas tree, large red bows for the porch,red ribbons for packages and red birds for the tree, gift bags, and wrapping paper and labels, push pins and ornament hangers and suction cups for the windows,Scotch tape for packages and packaging tape for mailing, and then you have to buy something to store all this stuff in. Of course every year there's the annual lighting of the strands to see if they work or not. I usually end up throwing away at least one string of lights. If I could figure out how to fix these things I could probably make enough to retire in some place like Arizona or Florida. My favorite thing is when half the lights work and half don't. I'm so cheap I don't like to throw out something that works- even if it's half way, but as of late I've decided that for the amount of time that I spend trying to find out why they aren't working, I could go to the store and buy new ones and save myself the frustration. No doubt there is some smart person somewhere grabbing out all the strands of Christmas lights from the dump and salvaging the copper or aluminum or whatever they're using to manufacture them. They probably send them off to Christmas Land, China or some such place and they'll be back in the stores next year where we can buy them all over again. Well, I guess it's time to gather the all the garland,and ornaments, lights and figurines and assorted other doo-dads and hoo-ha, stick the whole mess in a couple plastic bins and squeeze myself into the attic crawl space where these goodies will remain hidden until Christmas comes again. Gotta love the holidays!