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Not liking movies with kids, animals; visiting Yosemite during gov shutdown

By: Robin & The Time Traveler
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Time Traveler:

I never watch a movie or read a book that has little kids or animals as the subjects of the story as it never ends well. The dog gets stolen away from its owner and a happy home winds up in some God-forsaken frozen part of Canada or Alaska pulling a snow sled, leading a miserable existence. Or like the horse that gets spirited away from some bucolic horse ranch and winds up pulling a coal wagon or something for 20 years in England. But they have happy endings people say. How? The dog never gets back to his happy home and by the time they find the horse and bring him home he’s not a colt anymore; he’s put out to pasture and spends his last few remaining years as a worn out, toothless old swayback who probably can’t get a girlfriend anymore. How the hell is that a happy ending? Same thing with little kids. They always seem to be confronted by some unpleasantness writers use to make the story more interesting. Maybe I’m just getting old and soft or maybe I just don’t like stories about animals or children who can’t defend themselves from the cruelties that life serves up sometimes. There’s enough in real life without making up more. I like stories with happy endings.

While standing at Red Box a few days ago trying to decide what movie I wanted to rent, a very nice middle-aged lady waiting her turn asked me what kind of movie I preferred. I turned to her and responded; “I like movies with titles like ‘Sylvester Stallone Slaughters South East Asia’ because he goes somewhere, shots the snot out of the bad guys and walks away a winner. Happy ending without kids or dogs. Besides he can sure enough defend himself.” Well, the old gal backed herself and her cart out of Save Mart and I noticed she was writing the phone number I have on my truck door and taking down my license number. Maybe she wants to send me a fan letter!

Some of you may have noticed this is not my usual subject or style of writing. Well, you can blame Mike Maddon. Today, as he and I were standing outside the Cigarettes For Less store at Elm Center, I was bemoaning the fact that I had to write a column today and had nothing, not a glimmer of an idea. I also told him the first sentence is the most important and didn’t even have that. He said, “You were just saying you didn’t like movies with kids or animals. Start there.” So Mike, as good as your intentions were, I started with nothing and it ain’t getting any better. I’m going to pinch off this nonsense before it gets any worse. Maybe the Pirate can come up with something.

Portuguese Pirate:

Well I’m back from our yearly Christmas in Yosemite. The weather was in the 30s or below all week but no snow. Dammit, the snow’s what makes it more fun! It’s going on four years in a row that there’s been no snow in the valley. There was some snow in the back country and on the recognizable icons like Half Dome, Sentinel Point and other points around the perimeter of the valley. Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls were a bit more than a trickle so there’s been some good rain on top. Glacier Point and Tioga Road were closed for the winter. Badger Pass Ski Resort was open while we were there. We stayed at Curry Camp as usual. This year it was in the Stoneman building. We alternate between the Stoneman and the rustic (original) cabins. We also noticed that since Aramark was awarded the contract and the departure of Delaware North as the concessioner 18 months ago, we saw all news faces that have replaced the familiar faces of the past. As I asked some of the new employees about the transition, they told me that Aramark made a clean sweep of all management and employees. Mind you now, many of those employees had been with Delaware North for 15 years or more. It was really sad to see that happen to them. Apparently one of the stipulations was to upgrade the eateries in the valley. The Curry Camp eatery looks good, but they’ve not quite organized. I’m sorry to say they replaced Peet’s espresso bar with a darn Starbucks, aarh! Don’t get me wrong, the new employees seem eager to help, but it’s just not the familiar faces. One day I’ll get to recognize them. 

My son and grandson always come up to stay for the Christmas. They keep us in a constant hiking mode. We love to hike. I was not able to hike with them in July of this year because of my “worn out” knee. I got the knee replacement surgery on Aug. 21 and four months later I’m ready to hike. So, when Janice, Mr. Turner, our wire-haired terrier and I strapped on our survival packs (don’t hike without one), my son and grandson led us on our daily hike up and down, over and through the valley and up to Half Dome and many other spots along the way. I gotta say, I wouldn’t give you the black powder to blow Trump, the Republicans and the Democrats to hell for what is happening with this government shutdown. Shame on both parties. Thank you to the Yosemite Conservancy, Sierra Club and others for stepping up to keep the trash collected. But the problem I have right now is with the USFS and Ranger Rick not being on duty.  

Janice is still up on Half Dome. I don’t know how that happened. The only thing we can figure is when she went off to take care of a number one or two and nobody noticed she was not with us as we descended the dome. Oopsy! So, until the government is back and staffed again, I guess she’ll be taken care of by the local coyotes, bobcats, and of course, Elmer the Lost Bear, they are friendly in Yosemite I hear, right? This is a good example of why you should always have a survival pack with you. Then to complicate it, Mr. Turner took off after a female coyote half way down and now he’s missing too. Well Ranger Rick assured me they’d start looking for them when the shutdown is over. Well, I’ve got to go now, I have dinner reservations at Nectar Café, for just one.

The Eagle and the Arrow — An Aesop's Fable: An eagle was soaring through the air. Suddenly it heard the whizz of an arrow and felt the dart pierce its breast. Slowly it fluttered down to earth, its lifeblood pouring out. Looking at the arrow with which it had been shot, the eagle realized that the deadly shaft had been feathered with one of its own plumes. Moral: We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.