Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Great Basin NP, NV w/ TR

As a young man in the fall of 1858 he had left for the Deseret Territory and taken a job in the Beehive-shaped charcoal ovens. It was only his third week when, one day, having climbed atop the cone, his bootheel melted and he found himself tumbling helplessly into the scorching furnace…. When he finally awoke, after what had been to him a long and dreamless sleep, it was to the rumble of a freight train no more than a rod from where he lay. He found himself whole and his limbs without injury. And when the train had passed he looked up into the quiet sky and blinked at what seemed a white stylus of a bird, drawn across the blue.

We found that, in an unprecedented compromise between extreme conservationists, under-funded and lazy parks service personnel, and people who were just in a hurry to get somewhere else, wilderness had now been made available for a small fee from a vending machine just outside the park.

Lehman, brother

so little depends upon a rusted and beaten wheelbarrow left by miners in a field of white stones.

Once the craft had departed, and the column of flame had been carried away on the wind, the creature emerged awkwardly from its yellow pod. Then, raising its long, fleshy blue ocular trunks, began to survey its new surroundings.

Sunday morning in a forest of bristlecones, several of which have been around since the Iron Age. and they’re like, “‘iron age’ eh? sure, you can call it what you want, I guess.”

some more photos here

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hallelujah, Bum Again

Oh, why don’t I work like the other men do?
How the hell can I work when the skies are so blue?

Hallelujah, I’m a bum!
Hallelujah, bum again,
Hallelujah! Bum a handout,
Revive me again.

If I was to work and save all I earn,
I could buy me a bar and have whiskey to burn.

Oh, I love Jim Hill, he’s an old friend of mine,
Up North I ride rattlers all over his line.

Oh, I ride box cars and I ride fast mails,
When it’s cold in the winter I sleep in the jails.

I passed by a saloon and I hear someone snore,
And I found the bartender asleep on the floor.

I stayed there and drank till a fly-mug came in,
And he put me to sleep with a sap on the chin.

Next morning in court I was still in a haze,
When the judge looked at me, he said, “Thirty days!”

Some day a long train will run over my head,
And the sawbones will say, “old One-Finger’s dead!”

When the springtime does come,
Oh, won’t we have fun!
We’ll all throw up our jobs
And we’ll go on the bum.

Hallelujah, I’m a bum,
Hallelujah, bum again,
Hallelujah, give us a handout,
To revive us again.

Oh, Springtime has come,
And I’m just out of jail,
Ain’t got no money,
It all went for bail.

I went up to a house
And I knocked on the door.
A lady came out, says,
“You been here before!”

I went up to a house
Asked for some bread;
A lady came out, says,
“The baker is dead.”

I went up to a house
Asked for a pair of pants;
A lady came out, says,
“I don’t clothe no tramps!”

I went into a saloon,
And I bummed him for a drink;
He give me a glass
And he showed me the sink.

Oh, I love my boss,
And my boss loves me;
That is the reason
I’m so hun-ga-ree!

“Why don’t you go to work
Like all the other men do?”
“How the hell we going to work
When there ain’t no work to do?”

From The Hobo’s Hornbook, A Repertory for a Gutter Jongleur, collected and annotated by George Milburn, pp. 97-101. Copyright, 1930, by George Milburn. New York: Ives Washburn.
It is hardly safe to classify the following widely-sung ballad as a Wobbly song. There is some dispute as to its origin. Budd L. McKillips, who has himself written some first-rate hobo poetry, has given me the following notes on “Hallelujah, Bum Again’s” history:
“A member of the I.W.W. is credited with having written the words to ‘Hallelujah, I’m a Bum.’ The question of authorship isn’t worth an argument, but if anybody will take the trouble to do some investigating, he will find that ‘Hallelujah, I’m a Bum’ was a lilting, carefree song at least eight years before the I.W.W. came squalling into the industrial world….The song was found scribbled on the wall of a Kansas City jail cell where an old hobo, known as ‘One-Finger Ellis,’ had spent the night, recovering from an overdose of rotgut whiskey.”
The first version is that of One-Finger Ellis, as well as McKillips can recall it, and the second version is the song that the Wobblies sing today. Both songs are sung to the hymn tune, "Hallelujah, Thine the Glory.”—G.M.

from A Treasury of American Folklore, edited by B. A. Botkin, 1944

related post: hoboclowns & coelacanths

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

East of Ephraim: amid hard economic times, secret gardeners put entrpeneuring shoulder to the wheel

last Saturday a friend called to make sure we were ok. on the news a family that sounded kind of like us had wrecked a car kind of like ours. "wow, no. thank God. that's not us. we're alright. everything's fine."

then yesterday afternoon another friend called to check up on us.
"Hey man, we heard about the bust. everything ok?
"yeah, fine. what?"
"I was just worried 'cause, you know."
"you seriously didn't hear?"

it turns out that over the weekend a grove of around 20,000 marijuana plants was found in the foothills east of town. how had I not heard about this? and what have I been doing wasting my time with carrots and corn? actually, I have some serious questions about irrigation, climatic zones and frost tolerance for these guys. nothing on this in the Farmer's Almanac. nothing at the local library, IFA, county archives.
from the photos in the paper those little stalks of pot are looking pretty sad by the time the DEA agents make the scene.

how about it? other suggestions for a viable cash crop for central Utah? turkeys are out. kudzu too. also, I'm gonna say no poppies.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

thank you card to a knot of blowflies caught screwing in midair

With all your sliding rules and abaci,
accounts you’ve been keeping so charily
I guess you weren’t exactly counting on
the pop of the flashbulb and all that would
follow: cottages, industries and so on.

You should know, a neighbor called the other
night to arrange a meeting in our home
for the discussion of our signing on
with their new “health drink”, which I may
owe to you and the convenience of my
name printed near the top of the ward list.

Oh, and thanks a bundle for your reps who
at even’s end, when all was awash in
peanut shells and stubbed-out smokes, still rolled
their sleeves to scoop vanilla, pop corks
and pass wine floats to the last ones standing.

But seriously, for real, thank you for
the apostle-ex-retailer who last week
came tottering up on a pulpit of slow
retracting walnut to kick everything
off with a review of Walden before
a congregation of ten million.

P.S.- And I’ll thank you for telling me of the last time we lathered and rinsed
with actual shampoo, and what to do now with all these bubblewands.