Archive for January 2015

01-30-2015 Journal–My Anal Adventures!   Leave a comment

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This week begins the warm-up for one of my least favorite experiences I’ve been cursed with over the years.  It’s a special gift passed on to me through the genes of my late parents and one I wish I could have refused. The secret word for today is COLONOSCOPY.  I begin my preparations tomorrow for my seventh anal adventure and hopefully my last.  Over the next few postings I’ll document as best I can within  the limits of good taste the wonders of medical science I’m about to experience.  Lucky you!

My introduction to colonoscopies began many, many, years ago in a galaxy far, far, away.  After an annual checkup I was referred to a specialist for further exams and a possible bout with rectal and anal surgery for hemorrhoids and polyps.  Trust me, it wasn’t as great as I’m making it sound.  My very first meeting with the specialist lasted only ten minutes. I was given an armload of laxatives and and a large bottle of Citrate of Magnesia. I was handed a sheet of instructions on how to go  about emptying my body of just about everything and a future date for my return visit was also confirmed. All of a sudden I found myself back on the street with a real desire to find out exactly what the hell a colonoscopy actually was.  I needed to do some research quickly.

Two weeks later I seemed twenty pounds lighter after spending 48 hours within running distance of the nearest bathroom.  It was a humbling experience as I did everything possible to expel my entire insides down the drain. I arrived at the doctor’s office and checked in at the desk trying not to make eye contact with anyone. It was a lot like going to a fertilization specialist to ejaculate into a plastic cup or buying tampons at Rite-Aid for my better-half. Totally embarrassing.

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I was led into an examination room wearing one of those backless paper gowns with my butt sticking out. I was laid face down on the table which was then elevated high enough to put my head near the floor and my ass in the air.  If that wasn’t humiliating enough there was a knock on the door and in marched ten student nurses who were permitted one at a time to take a peek at my butt, inside and out. They oooed and awwed as they passed by, took a few notes and marched from the room.   Here’s a reminder for you. Never schedule a rectal exam at a teaching hospital.  You’ve been warned.

Another twenty minutes passed by and my adventure began in earnest when a probe on the end of a cable with a flashlight, torch, and camera were slowly inserted further and further into my backside.  They lightly drugged me and I was able to look up my own ass on a nearby television screen. It looked like a gigantic pink Holland Tunnel without the cars.  I then fell asleep and awoke twenty minutes later feeling rather odd.  My wife picked me up after I recovered a bit and took me home where I was able to get a few hours of drug induced sleep.  It wasn’t much fun but unfortunately for me it was necessary.  My surgery was successful and I received my second colonoscopy just two months later.  The doctor apparently wanted to go back in to check his work.  I just love thorough doctors.

Fifteen years later my family doctor gave me more bad news during my annual visit.  Because of two colon surgeries on my late mother for cancerous polyps he felt I needed to be checked again. Colonoscopy number three came and went and I breathed another sign of relief.  I was good to go for a while I thought.

Within a few years my mother had another cancerous piece of her colon removed and that triggered regularly scheduled colonoscopies for me for the foreseeable future.  It’s now 2015 and I’m ready for number seven.  The technology has improved dramatically over the years and the drugs are much better.  Getting colonoscopies stopped bothering me years ago because the alternative is too ugly to think about.  Over the years I’ve had upwards of ten to twelve very small polyps burned from my colon and fortunately none were cancerous.  I plan on living a long and full life and these god awful procedures make that possible.  No matter what anyone tells you, fear is an excellent motivator.

More to follow.

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01-28-2015 Journal – SNOW SNOW SNOW!!   Leave a comment

There nothing more to talk about after the snow storm we just suffered through. It ended late last night after 36 hours of blizzard conditions. Fortunately all of us crazy Mainers aren’t effected all that much by heavy snow.    The weather experts were predicting 14-18 inches but what the hell do they know.  I pulled out my trusty snowblower yesterday afternoon just to try and keep up with the storm. No such luck. It was white-out conditions for most of the day and night making snowblowing almost impossible. Even though I’m getting my ass kicked by this flu I have, I persevered.  My measurement at that time was  20 inches across the driveway.  Early this morning I once again measured and added another 14 inches to the total.

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As I’ve said  previously a couple of feet of snow is no big deal here. My better-half just left for work, the roads were already clear, and all is right with the world. I’ll throw a few more pictures out there for you folks who missed out on all the fun.

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‘My New Best Friend’

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‘Freezing My You-Know-What Off’

Unfortunately the word is out of two more storms headed this way next week with another foot or two of snow expected.  Here’s a big Bronx Cheer for all those global warming idiots. They should come up here and help me shovel.

01-26-2015 Journal– A Revised Number List!   Leave a comment

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“This is a courtesy warning for those of you with weak stomachs. What you are about to read was written while under the influence of twenty different cold and flu medications. Proceed at your own risk.”

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As my better-half and I lay here in bed this morning coughing and sniffling, I had a major epiphany.  Basically the human body is a complex, disgusting, and disturbing mess.  Let’s run down the list of my favorites things.  We have farts, body odor, bad breath, smelly feet, and a host other smells that are best forgotten. We are easy infected with every virus imaginable and the medical research community is hard at work (so they say) to come up with answers and remedies for them.  That doesn’t include the common cold of course. Nothing or no one seems to be able to find that super drug that will conquer that sneaky little disease.

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Let’s not forget the biggest two items we first learned about as children, #1 and #2.  Let’s call them what they are, urine and poop.  I’m not sure what genius started the #1 and #2 nonsense but I’d bet it was some goody-two shoes afraid to say those two disgusting words.  While he was standing around being disgusted he made a critical error.  He forgot the all important #3, Phlegm aka mucus aka sputum. While urine and poop are smelly and disgusting phlegm rules. It comes in multiple colors and multiple textures and it never stops being produced. At least with urine and poop, you go once and your good for a while. With phlegm there’s no end.  I could probably fill an Olympic size swimming pool with all of the phlegm my body has produced in my lifetime. In just the last twelve hours my better-half and I have produced at least twenty gallons each without even trying.

I actually prefer the term sputum rather than phlegm or mucus.  It sounds much more sophisticated and medical.  If someone  says the word phlegm to me it immediately brings to mind a pearly little lugie.  Lugies are even more disgusting because you can be targeted accidentally or purposely by one of those mean spirited and accurate lugie spitters.  If someone says "I have a build up of sputum in my throat." It sounds a little less disgusting and more official. 

So, what have we learned so far.  First there should a #3 added to the lexicon to identify Sputum or phlegm or mucus.  I’m really just trying to class things up a little for a change but no one wants to cooperate.

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I see in our future a new national observance for Sputum Day.  This substance has become as big a part of our miserable lives as #1 and #2 and in January and February may even surpass them.  It deserves to be recognized and celebrated with parades and parties not just in the US but across the world. We already have Earth Day and I think it’s time for Sputum Day.  The drink of the day can be green beer (stolen from St. Paddy’s Day) and laced with mayonnaise.  A thick and repugnant drink that can really bring back memories of colds and flu from your childhood. There’s nothing better than a disgusting trip down Memory Lane.

Enough! This post is actually beginning to turn my stomach too. I’ll clean up my act when and only when I start to feel a little better.  Meanwhile I’ll just keep producing all this phlegm and sucking down all these miracle cold and flu remedies that don’t really work.  All they do is create more Sputum.

Don’t even get me started on Smegma.

01-24-2015 Journal–Lewis & Clark (Cont’d)   Leave a comment

With the crappy weather continuing to keep me housebound I settled into my chair last night to rejoin the Lewis and Clark Expedition as they traveled through the wilds of the Louisiana Purchase (based on their journals).  As you may not be aware they began their journey on May 14, 1804 and as of July 3, 1804 they arrived in the vicinity of Cow Island (now Montana)and made camp. 

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‘Then’

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‘Now’

Cow island is located in an area called the Missouri Breaks and at that time it was a rather desolate area. In later years it became known as Cow Landing because it was one of a few places to easily ford the Missouri River. The area had been named by groups of nomadic fur traders and was the first time that Clark climbing a nearby ridge saw the Rocky Mountains in the far distance.

During the Nez Perce Indian War in 1877 the Nez Perce forded the Missouri at Cow Island, and it became the site of the Battle of Cow Island. After six days of fighting, and with Nez Perce men, women and children suffering and dying from wounds and exposure to freezing weather, Chief Joseph surrendered to the U.S. Army commanders.

From the journals of Clark:

"Our hunters had killed two of the Bighorned Animals since I had left them. we also passed another creek [Cow Creek] a few miles below Turtle Creek on the Stard. 30 yds in width which also had running water bed rocky. (we called it Windsor Cr.) late this evening we passed a very bad rapid which reached quite across the river, [NB: water deep channel narrow gravel &c. on each side] the party had considerable difficulty in ascending it although they doubled their crews and used both the rope and the pole. While they were passing this rapid a female Elk and its fawn swam down through the waves which ran very high, hence the name of Elk rapids which they instantly gave this place, these are the most considerable rapids which we have yet seen on the Missouri and in short the only place where there has appeared to be a sudden descent."

Checking current maps places them in the vicinity of The Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge near the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument east of Great Falls, Montana. It’s taken the expedition almost two months to travel from St. Louis to this point.

I’ll be back with them later tonight and I’m looking forward to their first contact with the local Indian tribes and their entry into the Rocky Mountains.

. . . To Be Continued . . .

01-22-2015 Journal–Moody January Blues!   4 comments

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It appears I may have contracted one of a number of viruses, cold, or a flu of some sort.  Winter is tough enough when your confined to your home but being ill at the same time is murder.  My energy level is such that I’m postponing all of my current projects for a while.

The bathroom remodel is on hold after making a surprisingly good start.  All of the supplies have been delivered from Lowe’s and are piling up in my man-cave.  That’ll start driving me crazy in short order.  I’ve resigned myself to more sedentary tasks such as writing and sketching and a hour or so everyday of Halo where I can kill a few aliens without tiring myself out. There’s nothing so satisfying as ridding a planet of bad guys without getting out of your favorite chair.

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I just finished having my breakfast which was an experiment in eating.  One of our Christmas gifts this year was a NutriBullet used to make any number of smoothies to help us drink our way to good health. I always thought that was what bourbon was for but things change I guess. I eat more than my share of veggies and herbs and I really prefer eating them on a plate and not in a smoothie.  For me smoothies sole purpose is to give me a proper substitute for creamy, sweet, and satisfying milkshakes.  With that thought in mind I decided to try something different.

Normally I’m fairly regimented in my eating habits. I love cereal and try to have it three times a week.  My other option is bacon and eggs and I’ve tried to cut back on that in recent years to just once every two weeks.  This morning I filled the NutriBullet with two cups of almond milk (which I’ve come to love), a cup and a half of cereal containing freeze dried strawberries, oat chunks, and bran.  I dropped in a half cup of blueberries and gave it two minutes in the NutriBullet. I was as shocked as anyone when I tasted it. It was fantastic and I’ll be having it again real soon.  It may not be the oft praised health food that the fanatics require but it works for me.

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The cat and I are spending some quality time together this morning after a couple of weeks of disputes.  He’s been banned from our bedroom at night because of his insistence on waking us up at odd hours for no apparent reason.  I locked him out of the bedroom a week ago and he been more than a little pissy ever since.  He doesn’t like change in his life anymore than the rest of us but he has no choice but to adjust.

I plan on taking it easy for a few more days until after the Super Bowl and then try and get back to work.  I’ve just downloaded four more novels for my Kindle and that should keep me occupied until then. 

Life goes on whether we like it or not.

01-20-2015–January Daily Observances!   Leave a comment

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‘This doesn’t fall in January but I like it anyway.”

We all love observances or so it seems.  I’ve never seen or understood why they’re so necessary.  It seems that if more than three people get together and agree on  something it immediately becomes necessary to make the entire country aware of it. So they submit a request to one of our overpaid and more times than not incompetent politicians requesting a day be set forth for a celebration of their oh so important subject. 

Politicians who are consumed with getting reelected will prostitute themselves in any way for recognition, no matter how stupid or inane the request might be.   Since January and February are such slow months they seem to have plenty of time on their hands for these Monthly, Weekly,  and Daily observances.  A small portion seem reasonable but the vast majority are just so much fluff and utter nonsense. This post will be my PSA (Public Service Announcement) for the first quarter of this year.  The following list contains only a portion of the large number of daily observances for January.  Some are funny, most are stupid, and some I have no idea what they mean or what they’re meant to accomplish. 

  • Asarah B’Tevet Day: 1  A SHOULDER SHRUG AND PUZZLED LOOK HERE.
  • Euro Day: 1  WHO REALLY CARES?
  • First Foot Day: 1
  • New Year’s Dishonor List Day: 1   
  • Z Day: 1  WHO KNOWS WHAT THIS IS FOR?
  • Happy Mew Year for Cats Day: 2 SO FREAKING LAME.
  • Drinking Straw Day: 3
  • Fruitcake Toss Day: 3  THIS MIGHT BE REFERRING TO THE POLITICIANS.
  • *Memento Mori "Remember You Die" Day: 3
  • Dimpled Chad Day: 4  ANOTHER DEMOCRAT FROM FLORIDA I’LL BET.
  • Tom Thumb Day: 4
  • Bird Day: 5  I’VE GOT A BIRD FOR THEM RIGHT HERE.
  • "Thank God It’s Monday" Day: 5
  • I’m Not Going To Take It Anymore Day: 7
  • National Tempura Day: 7

The list continues but I promise you they don’t get any better.  The further along we go the worse it seems to get. 

  • Argyle Day: 8
  • Bubble Bath Day: 8
  • National English Toffee Day: 8
  • National Bubble Bath Day: 8
  • National Joy Germ Day: 8
  • Balloon Ascension Day: 9
  • National Cassoulet Day: 9  I HAVE NO CLUE ON THIS ONE.
  • National Static Electricity Day: 9
  • Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day: 11  THIS IS SOOO CRUCIAL.
  • No Pants Subway Ride Day: 11  THIS SHOULD BE A NEW YORK HOLIDAY.
  • Kiss A Ginger (Red Heads) Day: 12  THOUGHT UP BY A PISSED OFF RED HEAD.
  • Rubber Duckie Day: 13
  • Caesarean Section Day: 14  WHO WANTS TO CELEBRATE THIS?
  • Dress Up Your Pet Day: 14  TO STUPID TO BE BELIEVED.

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‘Is there a ribbon for Stupid?”

I just wonder how much time is wasted by our overpaid politicians to process these stupid requests and present them for an official vote.  What special interest groups could some of these possibly represent?

  • Appreciate A Dragon Day: 16
  • Fig Newton Day: 16
  • International Fetish Day: 16  A FAVORITE OF MOST POLITICIANS.
  • Nothing Day: 16  AMEN TO THIS.
  • Tu B’shuvt: 16  HAVEN’T A CLUE.
  • Cable Car Day: 17
  • Tin Can Day: 19
  • Penguin Awareness Day: 20
  • National Disc Jockey Day: 20
  • Squirrel Appreciation Day: 21  THIS IS NUTS.

I know, I know, it’s also hard for me to believe that this partial list continues on.  Just be glad I didn’t list everything else that I found for January or you’d be reading for another twenty minutes.

  • Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day: 22 IF YOUR CAT ANSWERS GIVE ME A CALL.

I find it really interesting and ironic that the following two observances fall on the same day.

  • Celebration of Life Day: 22 
  • Roe vs. Wade Day: 22

Back to the last few entries for this embarrassing display of political patronage and political correctness.

  • Snowplow Mailbox Hockey Day: 23  I CELEBRATE THIS DAY AFTER EVERY SNOW STORM.
  • Beer Can Day: 24  MY BETTER-HALF IS THE POSTER GIRL ON THIS ONE.
  • Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day: 24
  • Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day: 26
  • National Kazoo Day: 28  HERE’S ONE MORE THING TO HUM ON.
  • Inane Answering Message Day: 30
  • Appreciate Your Social Security Check Day: 31 

That’s it for today.  You now know way more about January observances than you’ve ever wanted.   I deeply apologize but I feel these days must be recognized and celebrated because our politicians say so. NOT!!!

01-18-2015 Journal – Bathroom Destruction!   Leave a comment

Now that the holidays are behind us and I’ve had two weeks to catch my breath, it’s time to get back to work.  My biggest goal for this winter was to repair and remodel our upstairs bathroom.  It’s been unused for almost two years due to a major leak either inside the walls or under the floor.

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Job 1 is to demolish whatever it takes to find that damn leak.  My first step was to remove the old shower unit that had been an eyesore at best.  Three days ago me and my trusty sledge hammer began the process of removing that unit.  Everything I’ve tried to do in this house for the last six years has been a struggle.  The house is almost twenty-five years old and it shows.  The rooms aren’t square and the people who built it should have been arrested immediately after first kicking their ass. The wiring is still a problem even after the entire place was rewired just three years ago. Unfortunately there are still certain areas and other issues that are just waiting to be discovered.

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This photo was taken yesterday after I spent three days removing that damn shower and the wall behind it.  The entire unit not only was screwed tightly to the walls but the installer used what looked to be approximately ten tubes of construction adhesive to glue it in place as well. There was no way to just remove the unit without removing the walls too. More unwanted work to be sure.

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Once that was accomplished I began my investigation into the leak. I was forced to remove a large section of the floor and after following the water stains it told me the leak was water flowing on the surface of the floor and not beneath it.  There were no water marks within the walls above floor level which told me the leak wasn’t in the plumbing inside the wall.  As best I can determine is that the leak was caused by a faulty drain connection in the old shower unit. 

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Over the next day or so I’ll do a thorough cleanup of the bathroom to allow me to double check my findings one last time. I can then begin the process of putting in the new shower, toilet, sink, and floor.  Then add some beaded wainscoting, a fresh paint job, and new lighting fixtures and BAM. Job completed sometime in May . . . . .  I hope.

01-16-2015 Journal–Cold Noses and Horses!   Leave a comment

One of the biggest problems with this extremely cold weather is not getting to spend much time outside the house.  I’m able to run outside for short periods but anything longer than a few minutes is problematic.  Even my unheated workshop in the garage  is impossible to spend more than a few minutes in and I’m too cheap to pay for a space heater and gallons of kerosene.  The first week of this cold was bearable but each day that goes by without relief I become more and more antsy.

I ran out of patience yesterday and decided to grab my better-half, my camera, and just go somewhere.  As long as the car’s heater continued to work we’d be just fine.

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I’ve been wondering during the last few days how in the hell the wild animals survive this kind of weather.  I’m sure that many don’t but it’s amazing that any actually survive it at all. I noticed this morning that my house is being circled by a flock of birds which I haven’t been able to identify.  It’s like a scene from Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds”. They seem to be interested in the suet we have near the other feeders but they’re beginning to make me nervous.  Prior to their arrival we hadn’t seen much activity at all except for a few chickadees and those annoying woodpeckers. 

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During our foray into the ice and snow we took a ride through the Dayton area which is loaded with horse farms.  I was surprised to see quite a few horses out in the corrals wearing their coats and getting a little much needed exercise.

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Normally anytime we approach horses they walk right over to check us out. They’re always curious and looking for apples, carrots, or sugar cubes.  Not today though.  They were just as cold and miserable as we were.  They appreciated the exercise but headed for the barn every few minutes to warm up a little.

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Well it’s time to head back home for more reading and TV.  I miss the occasional walk on the beach even during the winter.  The current wind chill makes even that uncomfortable.  Hopefully we’ll see some warmer temperatures next week even if it’s only somewhere near thirty degrees.

01-14-2015 A Dose of Useless Crap!   Leave a comment

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I’m really tired of talking about Maine’s winter weather and I’m just as sure your tired of hearing about it.  I’ll take a few steps back into the past and try to entertain you with some unusual trivia.  It’s been a while since I delved into my bag of useless crap but I feel like sharing today. I’ll try to keep things interesting and not weather related.  Let’s go . . . .

  • Murphy’s Oil Soap is the chemical most commonly used to clean elephants.
  • For over forty years, Herbert Hoover gave all of his political earnings to charity, including his wages and pension as president.
  • America’s last professional bare-knuckle boxing bout, in 1889, went to seventy-five rounds. The fight was between John I. Sullivan and Jake Kilrain – Kilrain lost. The famous lawman Bat Masterson was the timekeeper.
  • Butter was the first food product allowed by law to have artificial coloring.  It is totally white in it’s natural state.
  • The average person laughs thirteen times a day.
  • Forty-five percent of cat owners buy a holiday gift for their pet.
  • Honeybees maintain a temperature of 94 degrees in their hives year round.
  • Your thumb is the same length as your nose.
  • If you were locked in a completely sealed room you would die of carbon dioxide poisoning before  oxygen deprivation.
  • In 1976 the swine flu vaccine caused more deaths than the illness it was intended to prevent.
  • It would take seven billion particles of fog to fill a teaspoon.

And one quote: “God gave men a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”  ROBIN WILLIAMS

That’s enough for today.  I do love trivia but a steady diet of it seems to be a sad commentary on my life as it currently exists.  If you take these weird facts and use them properly you can amaze and surprise your friends with your vast knowledge of totally useless information.  I have to say my friends were never all that impressed but the hell with them too.  I can tell you one fact that you might not have figured out just yet.  The last place you ever want to be is in a bar on trivia night with me sitting next to you.  You’ll be so tempted to just walk over and give me a smack and truthfully I wouldn’t blame you.

I’m done for today but more of this stuff is in your future if you continue to read this blog.

01-12-2015 Journal–L&C and My Superbowl Tree!   Leave a comment

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Before I get any further into this post I thought I’d give those of you interested in history my Lewis & Clark expedition update. The journal of their travels begins on May 14, 1804, the day they left the Mississippi River, a day or two after they arrived back in St. Louis. They left from a river camp near Dubois and proceeded up the Missouri River under full sail. The party consisted of one ship and two perogues (their spelling for canoes). Those first few weeks were rainy with the river running higher than normal. They suffered difficulties with sand bars and a broken mast when it struck an overhanging tree but they found game plentiful and plenty of fresh water.

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Their group harvested dozens deer and three bears along the way and any meat not eaten was dried and made into a jerky for later use. They’ve met a few French traders roaming along the river and have only seen fresh Indian sign but no actual Indians as yet

On June 6 commander Clark reports himself as suffering from a high fever and severe headaches and here’s his actual quote on the general health of the expedition:

”The party is much aflicted with Boils and Several have the Decissentary, which I contribute to the water.” (This is his spelling not mine.)

On June 13 they made camp near the Carlton River near a beautiful open prairie and that’s where I left them last night. Using modern day maps it’s still difficult for me to determine their exact location due to the confusion in names and descriptions.  An educated guess would be that they’ve traveled between thirty and forty miles up river from St. Louis.

One last quote can better explain how discipline was carried out back in the good old days.  Any current and former sailors will cringe when they read this:

[Clark, June 29, 1804] Camp mouth of the Kanseis June 29th 1804. Ordered a Court martial will Set this day at 11 oClock, to Consist of five members, for the trial of John Collins and Hugh Hall, Confined on Charges exhibited against them by Sergeant Floyd, agreeable to the articles of War. Detail for the Court Sergt Nat. Pryor presd. mbs: 2 John Colter 3 John Newmon 4 Pat. Gass 1 J. B. Thompson John Potts to act as judge advocate. The Court Convened agreeable to order and proceeded to the trial of the Prisoners Viz John Collins Charged "with getting drunk on his post this morning out of whiskey put under his Charge as a Sentinal and for Suffering Hugh Hall to draw whiskey out of the Said Barrel intended for the party" To this Charge the prisoner plead not guilty. The Court after mature deliveration on the evidence abduced &c. are of oppinion that the prisoner is Guilty of the Charge exibited against him, and do therefore Sentence him to recive one hundred Lashes on his bear Back.

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Back to the present and this lovely Maine winter we’re enjoying.  The temperature continues to hover in the single digits and I’m still freezing my ass off.  I’m hoping for a little relief sometime soon but who knows maybe I’m just kidding myself.

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Go Steelers Go Pat’s’

Yesterday was football day in this house and as the games were being played my better-half and I decorated our new Super Bowl tree (formerly our X-mas tree).  If you remember we decided to keep the tree up for the entire year and to celebrate as many holidays as possible. As you can see by the photo the tree contains a lot of Steeler paraphernalia even though  they were soundly defeated last week.  After the Pat’s victory last night over the Ravens  they’ll soon be properly honored on our tree as well.

Our next tree will be celebrating Valentine’s Day.