Stephan55

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About Stephan55

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    "We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?"
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    Somewhere within the shadows of my mind...

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  1. Stephan55

    The Intelligence of Birds

    Who knows. He obviously had an eclectic personality. Perhaps his interest in da Vinci predated his reading of du Maurier, and maybe it was Leonardo that prompted his interest in Daphne? Perhaps we should take a course on Hitchcock and get an "experts" scholarly opinion?
  2. Stephan55

    The Intelligence of Birds

    You should go Sarge, and find out. My time spent living in Alaska is some of the most memorable of my life's experiences. Even while there, I realized that I was living out a moment-to-moment dream, and often felt as if I was that kid again, and had somehow found a way to actually make Disneyland's Tom Sawyer's Island home... only much, much more so, as everything around me was real! Everything was new for me, and I was like a sponge "drinking" it all in. That is why such memories are so vivid for me, even after these many years. I learned many things while there. About the natural world around me, the indigenous cultures, and about myself. Alaska is not for everyone (and thank god for that) as "wilderness" is really such a fragile thing. However for some it gets into the blood, and for me it was like I had come home to a place that I had never been, except in my mind. I feel much the same way about Northern Canada. I have been back several times, for both work and play, but those first 10 years, when I actually "lived" there, was like one adventure after another. And the first time that we do anything is always the most memorable time. I knew that life is transient, and all things come to an end, so I devoured Alaska like a starving man! I wanted to share the joys that dream while there with those people that had meant a lot to me. I felt like I was a trail breaker for those I'd left behind. I wrote letters encouraging those like-minded persons I cared about to come up. To an uncle who taught me how to hunt and fish, and friends... But sadly none did. They said they wanted to, but "work" and the "burdens" of life kept them hemmed in place. They said perhaps later, at another time they would come. But when later came, they were still unable, some regretfully no longer able... I am of a relative few that can say that they've seen roving herds of wild buffalo in a purely natural state, sadly not numbering in the tens of thousands, as in days of yore, but at least in the hundreds. And I am of a relatively small human population that can yet say that they have witnessed northern caribou still migrating in the thousands. Sadly, one day such events may only be referred to in books and old movies, but not in person. Wilderness on this planet is rapidly vanishing on every continent. Within our brief lifespans we are witnessing the geologic microsecond of a mass extinction event affecting all life (both flora and fauna) on Earth! So again I say, Go Sarge, and find out (while there is yet time to do so). 'Esquimaux' comes from Samuel Hearne's A Journey from Prince of Wales's Fort in Hudson's Bay to the Northern Ocean in the Years 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772 first published in 1795. Hearne, an Englishman employed by the Hudson Bay Company, traveled to Fort Prince of Wales at present day Churchill via ship, and not overland. He is highly unlikely to have encountered French traders or their allies in his travels to have picked up a word for the present-day Inuit from them, as the fall of Quebec and the end of French activity in North America was just 6 years prior to his arrival. On the contrary, trade at Fort Prince of Wales was conducted with the Cree and the Chipewyans, and conducted at the shores of Hudson Bay at that time. Trade, by ship, with the Esquimaux was one of Hearne's first assignments. It would be on Hearne's watch that inland exploration would begin. It was in the company of Matonabbee on his third attempt to find the sources of the copper in use by indigenous peoples that Hearne encountered the Inuit as described in "Massacre at Bloody Falls." That the word 'esquimaux' as applying to the Inuit would have come from French sources, and from such southerly peoples as the Algonquians seems highly unlikely, but Hearne's use of the term and his manner of spelling it suggest that the term was already in use prior to his arrival in 1766. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo A journey from Prince of Wales's fort in Hudson Bay to the northern ocean, in the years 1769, 1770, 1771, and 1772. -- by Hearne, Samuel, 1745-1792; Tyrrell, Joseph Burr, 1858-1957; Champlain Society Read or download this and related books in digital format at the following link https://archive.org/details/journeyfromprinc00hearuoft/page/n6 WORLD LIBRARY LINKS Books https://openlibrary.org/ ebooks & texts https://archive.org/details/texts Video https://archive.org/details/movies Audio https://archive.org/details/audio Images https://archive.org/details/image Eskimeaux: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmal7_hGOz0 Eskimeaux: the Full Album (36.06 min)
  3. Stephan55

    NOW I'M REALLY MAD ! ! !

    Ahhh yes, Barbie Benton. I remember, ahem, "reading" those Playboy "articles" about Barbie back in the day, and from the "discriptions" she was quite a lovely to look at girl....
  4. Stephan55

    NOW I'M REALLY MAD ! ! !

    Well, yes, I was trying to make "light" of my loquacious embarrassment ... But the "too lazy" part is actually part of an extended (albeit less often used) alternate definition, so I decided to use it.
  5. Stephan55

    NOW I'M REALLY MAD ! ! !

    I actually have given some thought about that on more than one occasion. I used to regularly have quite lucid dreams, and would write them down as soon as I awoke whenever the time allowed. Some were just like watching or being part of a movie and I felt certain at the time that they would have been a perfect fit for Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories" back then. But most of what I write and share here (and elsewhere) are snippets of reminisces of past life experiences. I did keep personal journals back in those days and would detail whatever I observed and thought about during my "adventures" even down to the minutiae of temperature and weather changes. But those are stories that I have willingly "given away" over the years, to any with an apparent interest (and, as evidenced here, to many who have not the slightest interest). My mind easily strays into various tangents, and I can relate one subject to another by the slenderest of threads. I've always been a "story teller" even in my youth, and sometimes I can spin a pretty good yarn. But these days, for the most part, it's just me being an old *f*a*r*t wanting to tell someone something that they might find of passing trivial interest. Of course, like any story teller, I always appreciate it when an "audience" enjoys the tale once told. Dargo and I share a youthful sense of time and place, so it is often easy for us to relate to each other here.
  6. Stephan55

    NOW I'M REALLY MAD ! ! !

    Thanks Darg, now I feel worthwhile again....
  7. Stephan55

    NOW I'M REALLY MAD ! ! !

  8. Stephan55

    NOW I'M REALLY MAD ! ! !

    Now I feel wounded.... To my very core.
  9. Stephan55

    NOW I'M REALLY MAD ! ! !

    "Too lazy, didn't read" I had to look that acronym up... Sorry you felt that way. Maybe you'll be more energized later. I actually thought that you had a very good attention span, and enjoyed reading a story every now and then. And though I admit that they aren't very exciting stories, in the spirit of camaraderie with the "Canadian Bashing" posters on this thread, I wracked my brain to think of something sort of "anti-Canadian" to write about, and at that late hour this was the "best" that I could come up with. I suppose that's what I get for mixing too much Irish whiskey with my Bryers, while listening to Gordon Lightfoot and reminiscing at the keyboard. But I was out of Bailey's Irish creme, and (to my immense pleasure) got hooked on that topping while in the north land. Did you know (at that time anyway) Alaskans consumed more ice cream (per capita) than any other state in the U.S.? Makes one think that there might actually be a hint of truth in "selling ice cream to an Eskimo" (seems applicable to Alaskan's anyway). Ever hear of Eskimo Ice Cream? That's another story that you may not be interested in hearing (er reading) about, but I'd fathom you may have no idea what it's made of. Hint (in case you may be piqued) it's called Akutaq in Yup'ik.
  10. Stephan55

    NOW I'M REALLY MAD ! ! !

    I too really enjoyed Gordon Lightfoot back in the day (now that I think about it, I still do!). In fact I am now thinking of one GL favorite after another.... "For Lovin' Me", "Early Morning Rain", "If You Could Read My Mind", "Sundown", "Carefree Highway", "Rainy Day People", and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald",.... As I continue to write I am now listening to my mp3 collection of Gordies Best and Greatest Hits! But along with that train of thought, I just remembered a couple of not so fun Canadian experiences (or rather experiences with Canadians). First Story: I was driving in BC on the Alcan hwy one winter in the 1980's. I was on a narrow, winding Rocky Mountain road and it was a clear moonlit night. I was pulling a trailer and trying to be as cautiously careful as I could, when a cow and calf moose decided to cross the road immediately ahead of me. I wasn't going very fast at the time as the roads were slick with snow and ice, but even at around 25 mph they were too close for me to avoid. Rather than get off the road they stayed right in the middle of it and tried to outrun me. I tried veering as best I could to the right and then the left while tapping my breaks to slow down, but mom veered with me, staying in my headlights. I tapped her butt with my brush guard and she then moved off the road into a ditch, but when the calf tried to follow her I bumped it too, and it went down. I felt it beneath the center of my truck as it bumped into the transmission guard plate, between my wheels as I ran over it. I finally managed to pull over as far to the right of the road as I dared without getting stuck into the ditch. I grabbed my flashlight and walked back to where the little moose lie. Mom moved up the hill along the side of the road and I could see her silhouetted against the moonlight. She began to bellow at me just like a roaring bear, but didn't charge down after me. The calf was not dead, and tried to get away from me but couldn't. There was blood and urine glistening in the center of the road, and when I approached and examined the calf I could see that it's pelvis was broken. I went back to my truck and examined the front and undercarriage. It appeared undamaged but there was moose hide and hair stuck to the transmission shield where the calf had evidently been dragged along the road, causing the injury. The calf would continue to suffer until it either froze or was dispatched by wolves. I kept an over and under double barrel 20 gauge/.22 combo rifle/shotgun in the back of the cab and decided to put the calf out of it's misery. I kept my flashers on and brought a lantern along with my skinning knife. In Alaska people are always on a list for moose road kill, and anyone who hit and killed a moose was obligated to report it to the authorities as soon as possible. I shot the calf in the head with the .22 barrel and proceeded to field dress it on the side of the road. Young moose stay with their mothers for about two years, or until mom drops another calf. This one had likely been born late in the season of the previous spring and would have been at least 6-7 months old. It probably weighed in the neighborhood of three hundred pounds or so, after pulling the guts out so it would quickly cool. A trucker came along and stopped. He saw that my clothes had blood on them and asked if I needed any help. I explained what happened and he told me that the nearest Mounties were in Fort St. John, another fifty plus miles down the highway. My trailer and truck were stuffed and I didn't feel like rearranging things to make room to carry the animal with me, and I didn't feel like quartering it at that cold and late hour. So after making note of the mile marker I drug the calf's carcass to the very edge of the roadside, and proceeded on my way. It was still dark when I pulled into Fort Saint John and found the Mountie station. I reported what had happened and when they saw my bloody clothes they asked if anyone was hurt or my vehicle damaged. When I said no, they just said I could go on my way and didn't bother asking the location of the moose carcass. I volunteered that the field dressed carcass was on the mountain side of the hwy, at mile marker yada yada, and they just looked at me as if I were an idiot, and asked me why I had dressed the moose? I explained that in Alaska it was required by law to do so, and report it so that persons on the "road kill list" could get the meat. The Mounties told me that they were unaware of any such Canadian regulation, but suggested that I talk to the fish and game dept. and report it to them. They gave me directions to F&G but the office was closed until 0800 and it wasn't yet 0600. So I decided to wait. After all, I had done my part and wanted to make sure that the animal did not go to waste. I slept in my truck until the F&G office opened and then went in and again explained what had happened. The F&G officers patiently listened to my story and then queried if anyone was hurt or my truck was damaged, to which I replied No. They then told me that there was no "road kill list" in BC and added that "Canada has lot's of moose," and they weren't going to send anyone out to collect the calf. So if nobody was hurt and my vehicle wasn't damaged that I was free to be on my way. By this time I was too tired to get really mad at anyone, but I was also very disappointed to say the least. I thought that the Alaska Road Kill list was a good idea, and couldn't imagine that there weren't Canadians in the neighborhood that might be happy to get that meat. And after I had taken the time and trouble to immediately field dress it, I didn't want to think of it just going to waste. Of course the local animals who found it would quickly consume it, so it really would not be "wasted" but had I known that would happen I wouldn't have gutted it. I was half tempted to drive back, cut it up and bag it. But after a cool down period I decided to just do as I had been told, and continue on my way.... Second Story: I was traveling in Europe and riding on the night commuter train from Munchen. It was late night-early morning and among the passengers there were a group of English speaking guys wearing BDU's (military "Battle Dress Uniforms"). I began talking with them and they shared that they were Canadian Reservists in Europe for a Joint Forces Exercise. They seemed pretty affable and I began sharing with them in return. Suddenly a fight broke out on the train between two groups of locals. My German is very poor but the guttural Germanic snarls and epithets being hurled among them along with flailing fists made it plain that these guys (and girls) had some serious damage in mind. One guy and girl were down, caught between the seats, and being kicked at by several persons standing above them. Then, to my amazement, these "gentle" and mere moments before "friendly" Canadians, suddenly began egging them on. The highest ranking NCO among them was an E8 (First Sergeant) who set the tone for his men by yelling "Kill them, Kill them, Kill the bastards." Fortunately the train soon made a stop at the next small town and the smaller of the two "gangs" quickly exited, battered, bruised and bloody but alive and able to ambulate unassisted. Another fortunate thing was that this was Germany and not the states, as in the U.S. such a confrontation would quickly have escalated to someone drawing a gun or pulling a knife. The Canadian "soldiers" soon regained their composure and settled back down into their seats. The First Sergeant must have read my bewildered and disappointed expression as he simply retorted "If people get p i s s e d at us we just tell them we're Americans." "American's like to say 'Blame Canada' so we just play it in reverse and blame America." Sadly I have seen way too many bad examples of arrogant and disrespectful behavior by "my" countrymen during travels within distant lands. But to witness these Canadians unabashedly take advantage of that by concealing their identity under the guise that they were just another bunch of "American's behaving badly," filled me with an air of disgust. In fact, using that cover as an excuse to "get away" with bad behavior (that they likely wouldn't allow themselves to exercise if people around them knew that they were really Canadians, and in uniform no less) was inexcusable to me. In the times that I wore the uniform and traveled abroad upon public conveyance with soldiers under my charge, I made it a strong point to emphasis that "we" (ourselves, our military and our country) were being judged on our behavior by persons wherever went. That we were U.S. ambassadors and needed to set a positive example to counter against all of the negative stereotypes. So I found this particular behavior by our Canadian brethren in uniform to be particularly offensive. I don't know how common this practice is among Canadians abroad, but it was made plain to me that this was far from the first time for this particular group of "soldiers." And I use that term loosely as I place square blame on the officer or NCO in charge of their men to maintain discipline and control their troops, esp. while they are in uniform. On a brighter note, I remember a Canadian film that I saw many years ago titled "Silence of the North" (1981). It was a biographical drama about the life and times of Olive Frederickson, and adapted from her book. It was directed by Allan King and featured Ellen Burstyn, Tom Skerritt, and Gordon Pinsent (among others) in sterling performances. With a memorable theme song, "Comes a Time" composed by Neil Young and performed by Lacy J. Dalton. The movie was realistically filmed on location in the north country. Olive Frederickson was an adventurous young girl who married young, had three young children, and was widowed young while living a rugged pioneer lifestyle in Alberta and the NW Territories during the first half of the 20th century. The book is still in print and available and I see the movie is also available on DVD here https://www.vermontmoviestore.com/products/silence-of-the-north I first saw this movie in the early 1980's and was thoroughly entranced by it. Would be really nice if TCM could manage to air it sometime (and make it available for viewing across the northern border as well).
  11. Stephan55

    Sports movies

    I know that Angelina Jolie produced & directed, but didn't the Coen's have a hand in writing the script for "Unbroken"?
  12. Stephan55

    Sports movies

    Well Sarge & Eric, here's where we amicably drift apart. I enjoyed both the "Big Lebowski" and "Kingpin" (they made me laugh with their silliness). And I readily admit to having "enjoyed" other works by the Farrelly and Coen brothers as well. i.e. the Farrelly's "There's Something About Mary," & "Shallow Hal," etc. And, the Coen's "Blood Simple," "Fargo," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," "No Country for Old Men," "True Grit" (2010 interpretation), "Unbroken," & "Hail, Caesar!" immediately come to mind. I suppose it might be their satirical sense of humor which appeals to me and that I can relate to. But, for whatever the reasons, a few of these are among my favorite rewatchables.
  13. Stephan55

    The Intelligence of Birds

    Hey, I resemble that "statement".... Side Note of possible interest... Did You Know, that The black and white Eurasian magpie is widely considered one of the most intelligent animals in the world and one of only a few non-mammal species able to recognize itself in a mirror test. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magpie
  14. Stephan55

    The Intelligence of Birds

    I saw a Nature program on PBS where a guy was training a falcon. That bird spotted and homed in on a small feathered lure at a distance greater than three miles. Telescopic vision, Very impressive indeed!
  15. Stephan55

    The Intelligence of Birds

    Enjoyed reading your post, but just a slight correction regarding the above. There are many corvids that call the U.S. and Canada home. Some are "native" to these shores while others may have been brought here by human conveyance. But since they can be found worldwide, and have the ability to fly long distances, who really knows. When I was living in the far north, I became fascinated by the non-migratory birds that spent the entire year within that harsh wintery northland. Above the Arctic circle there are months where the sun neither sets in the "Summer" nor rises in the "Winter." Permanent residents have adapted to long stretches of both extremes. Nocturnal hunters were forced to become diurnal and vice versa. In the avian community Owls were among such versatile residents, and of the corvidae family, Ravens were of particular interest to me, as well as the related Magpies and Grey Jays. I enjoyed the little Greys a lot. They were bold enough to even lit upon my finger at times and quizzically look me directly in the eye. On really cold winter days I'd see them with their feathers all puffed out like little grey balls perched upon the branches. The Jays could be particularly annoying though, esp. when hunting. When one spied me with a rifle, he seemed to sense my intent and flew from branch to branch after me, and would make little calls, which sounded like alert signals to any animal within ear shot. One winter I had a couple of moose hind quarters suspended from the bottom of my cache. Each quarter had been covered by a deer bag earlier that fall. The little Jays beaks were too small to pierce through to the frozen flesh, but not so for the Magpies and Ravens. However once a hole had been made by the bigger birds, those little Jays had no problem getting in there and taking advantage of a "free" meal during hard times. All corvidae are omnivores, and will scavenge what they can. The top of the line are the Ravens. They are extremely gregarious and highly intelligent. I've spent hours watching them actually "play" with each other and unrelated species. Two different species that are such supreme survivors that they always seem to find ample time to actually "enjoy" life and "play" just for the sake of having fun, are Ravens and Otters. If I could be reincarnated into another species I'd like to come back as either a Raven or an Otter. After Ravens come the Magpies. But because of their size and voracious appetite they were making a mess of my winter moose. The moose was high enough up to keep it out of reach of the bears. And I had sections of slippery metal wrapped around the pole stands that prevented the squirrels and other critters from climbing to the top. But this posed no barrier to creatures with the ability to fly. So one day I shot a Magpie and hung it upside down from the moose carcass, as a "warning" to the other birds and Magpies to "stay away". The next morning I was shocked to see these sociable birds feasting upon their fallen comrade. I had never seen a Raven, even in the dead of winter, cannibalizing another Raven, so observing Magpies appear to eagerly do this knocked them down a notch in my esteem. Though perhaps it really shouldn't have. After all humans have consumed other humans as a matter of ritual and in dire circumstances for survival. I've eaten bear, and remember the first time I really examined a bears carcass with the hide removed. The distal clawed phalanges of the paws are removed with the hide, and what remains (from the neck down) is remarkably similar to that of the body of a large and very robust man. In order to eat that bear I had to overcome the thought of the human appearance of its skinned carcass. I have read numerous survival journals where the difference between "making it" or not appeared to depend upon the mindset of those involved. Where some saw edible food, others did not (would not/could not). When my rations began to get low and such thoughts crept into my mind I began to ask myself, would I/could I eat one of my sled dogs to keep myself and the others alive? if I could eat a bear, then if survival dictated, could I also eat a fellow human? If I could carve up a human-like bear carcass, might I be able to overcome the repugnance of cannibalism by imagining that a human carcass was just that of a small bear? Sometimes this type of discussion has arisen among others, and I might query, "So would you drink muddy water to stay hydrated, and eat insects and larvae, and all manner of creatures and even carrion to keep body and soul together?" "Could you consume the body of another human if your life depended on it?" Depending on the answers, I might muse "Perhaps some of us are not all that different from Magpies after all..." It amazes me that some people (especially younger people) that I have spoken with are apparently so distanced from any natural environment and the realities of life and death that they sincerely have no idea where their "food" comes from. Nor do they equate anything from the meat department as having once been part of a living sentient being.

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