It’s a lot easier to kill yourself in government-approved fashion in Oregon if you’re a terminal cancer patient than if you’re a convicted double murderer.
Which seems to me a curious situation to prevail in a state that doesn’t trust people to handle certain other, rather less vital tasks.
Pumping fuel into our cars, for instance.
It’s not that I expect Oregon to treat a person on death row, and one who’s at death’s door, as identical cases.
That would be inappropriate, even a trifle silly.
The weather for the Miners Jubilee parade felt more like Halloween.
So did the bag of candy I was clutching.
I had to maintain a firm grip on the thing just to prevent it from
vomiting a glut of cheap paper and empty calories all over the sidewalk.
This single act, besides its potential for saddling me with a
citation for non-nutritive littering, would have obliterated the trust
I’ve accumulated with my daughter, Olivia, over her four years.
I haven’t seen her quite so excited since she figured out how to “steer” her grandpa’s powerboat.
(You don’t want to water-ski behind that vessel, let me tell you.)
Of course there are few four-year-olds, at least among those I’ve
run across, who can maintain any measure of tranquility when people
keep tossing candy bars and chewing gum right at their very feet.
I’ve never landed a salmon. Well, there was this one coho that I manhandled out of the cold case at the grocery store.
But in truth the coho wasn’t all that feisty.
Although I doubt I’d be able to raise much of a ruckus either if I were wrapped like a mummy, only with plastic instead of musty canvas.
And my head and tail cut off besides.
I don’t have any real prospect of filling this yawning gap in my anadromous angling resume.
I don’t own a fishing pole, for one thing.
Or a reel.
In concept, I’m all for cramming more corpses into the design of warning labels for carcinogenic consumer products.
And I have no problem, per se, with packages that show a person smoking a cigarette through a hole in his throat.
But I’m not convinced the federal government needed to go to so much trouble — I don’t expect it’s all that easy to arrange corpses for photo shoots — to explain to Americans that tobacco can kill you.
Which notion pretty much epitomizes the term “common knowledge."
I barged in on a family of coyotes the other day. I had to grin at the
sight of the four pups, scampering away in their clumsy but endearingly
I was reminded, except for the fur and the speed, of a toddler wobbling across a lawn.
I have had some experience of coyotes — all of a non-lethal sort — but this was the first time I’ve seen so many young together.
I saw only one adult. Being ignorant of the typical behavior of coyote
parents I don’t know whether both raise their offspring or whether the
mother is solely responsible.
In any case the dad might have been around too. But the sagebrush was
pretty tall and thick, and the coyotes, as I think I mentioned,
scurried off with some alacrity.
The site was on the north slope of Bald Mountain.
Specifically, the Bald Mountain that caps the divide between the Powder
and Burnt river valleys, a few miles west of Dooley Mountain.
(Bald Mountains are rather common on the landscape, so it’s best to be specific.)
If you’ve driven south on Highway 7 through Bowen Valley, on a day
without fog or heavy snow, you’ve seen this Bald Mountain. It’s the
vaguely pyramidal peak that dominates the southern horizon. Its upper
500 feet or so, as befits the name, is generally bare of trees.
I had started by driving the Denny Creek Road and then taking the spur
that goes up through Hervey Gulch. I parked on the ridge between the
gulch and Rancheria Creek and then hiked up the road that intersects
with the Skyline Road not far below Bald Mountain’s summit.
The campaign to legalize marijuana gets in the news regularly, yet none of the parties involved, pro or con, ever asks what seems to me to be the essential question:
Which is: Do we want America to be more like, or less like, an AC/DC concert?
Because if you want to sample a society that regulates pot the way America controls alcohol — which is to say, by less than draconian means — you don’t have to resort to hypotheticals or simulations.
Just buy a ticket the next time the Aussie hard-rock group plays Portland or Boise.
The emigrants who plied the Oregon Trail lacked all sorts of amenities, but one thing they had in spades:
Now I understand that crossing half a continent without
air-conditioning sounds like an unpleasant way to pass the summer, and
Not to mention the absence of an iPod jack on any prairie schooner’s dashboard.
(No dashboard at all, come to that. Or iPod.)
But it seems to me that too little attention has been given to how
fortunate our forebears were in being able to roll right over boulders
that would yank the oil pan clean off pretty much any of today’s
four-wheel drive rigs.
Including the ones with tires that are tall enough to hide a third-grader and that each cost as much as a used Pinto.
(The tires, that is, not the third-graders.)
Those metal-rimmed, wooden wagon wheels rode a tad rougher than a modern steel-belted radial, of course.
But a sore back beats a ruptured radiator.
If you ask a traveler who has recently visited a small town what it is that best symbolizes the spirit of the place, he’s apt to name a prominent building, or perhaps a park.
I like to have a look at the local high school’s football field.
It’s commencement season and we are obligated, those of us who have passed this milestone, to dispense nuggets of our hard-earned wisdom to the graduates.
Well, here’s my advice to you in the gowns and mortarboards.
You don’t need it.
You’re pretty smart already.
There’s lots you don’t know, sure.
But you’ll figure all that out along the way.
Most of it, anyway.
As a person who has mastered little besides the repetitive pattern of respiration required to survive, I’ve never been especially annoyed at how often I dream about failing at some task.
It seems, based on my conversations with other people, that I’m plagued by an inordinate number of these nightmares.
Although I suppose this might be an illusion, the result of these unpleasant dreams being so abnormally vivid that they linger a good while and thus seem more frequent than they actually are.