Just Words

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The Carlisle School. Wikipedia. Pennsylvania

You cannot avoid the news. About the American concentration camps housing children in filth, abject starkness, no basic necessities. Like soap. Or tooth paste or a toothbrush. Or diapers for babies and toddlers. Or food beyond enough not to outright starve people.

The GOP frame this as it’s the fault of the Democrats for not funding so and so. That those kids can leave any time. Just walk out. Past armed guards and…go off into the sunset, I guess. That Obama did it first so the GOP and Trump are helpless not to do that as well. The separation of families, the torturing of children, the secrecy and lies. Except it was Jeff Sessions, last year, who put this policy into place.

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From Zazzle

But what do facts matter when brown people can finally be treated as cockroaches again? Or more than usual.

We hear pundits and amateur alike point out how dangerous the language used is. That it hearkens back to Nazi Germany, to Rwanda, to Cambodia, to places where mass exterminations took place.

Dehumanizing others to make it okay to kill them in heart-stopping numbers. Thousands. Hundred thousands. Millions. Rats. Cockroaches. Scum. Rapists. Diseased. They all carry diseases. They’re all gang members and sex traffickers. So it’s good that we’re taking those kids away. Who are all trained to come here to infiltrate us anyway.

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from the Western Rifle Shooters Association

I did read where the Trump Concentration Camps are to be put under the auspices of the military. Which means no oversight. No monitoring. Nobody allowed in who is not authorized. Rather like Guantanamo Bay.

That those kids are being forcibly adopted out, even as parents seek to get reunited with them. Rather like America did with Native American children. Like the Australians did with Aboriginal children. Like Canada did with…There seems to be a pattern here.

The government of the US stepped in, on those reservations. They placed children into boarding schools, cut off their hair, forced them to speak English only, taught them to be farmers or some trade thought suitable to be useful to society. They were not allowed to visit their families. They were not allowed to go home, back to the place they had to call home instead of where their people had been for centuries. As those lands were now plowed under or buried beneath emerging cities. All of this right after the wrenching years of the American Civil War. Once again, the near success of stripping identity and pride away from people deemed less than or not quite human or not human at all.

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Actual poster from 1870’s-80’s

You hear that Christians built America. You look under that even a little, you see Chinese people laying the tracks for the railroads that would connect the East coast to the West coast. NYC to Frisco. Except you don’t call it Frisco. Those that live there have told me that. But the Chinese were brought over to build the paths for the steel horses, and to fill the brothels and to wash the clothes and cook the food. To be laborers of all kinds, in every way. Families back in China sold their children during that time period, or sold themselves or got on boats heading to the brash new country as there was a horrific drought at that time.

Rather like the Irish and the Great Potato Famine era.

Rather like the American-helped drug wars happening in other parts of the Americas in current time.

Droughts, famines, man-made horrors that seemingly have no end, can and do send people to escape them, outlive them. Refugees. Outcasts. Seekers. They all have individual names. They are all humans. Same as I am.

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This is from a slideshow. I did not put this together. Found it during a search.

There is a massacre of Chinese gold miners in my own back forty, so to speak. In Hells Canyon, the great rift in Northeast Oregon, very western Idaho. A group of about thirty people were slaughtered. They had set up a mining claim on the Snake River, the river that gouged the canyon out of the rocks same as the Colorado did the Grand Canyon. They had some success.

There’s gold yet in Eastern Oregon mountains, streams, lakes and rivers. You can stop and pan for gold alongside the freeway if you like. At least you used to. I haven’t driven up there for a while, it might be gone.

White men crept up on this peaceful group. Killed them, wounded them, took their gold. Some of the men were founders of Joseph, Oregon. Which is named for a Nez Perce leader who very nearly won against the US cavalry. If you don’t know that story, you should look it up. It will break whatever’s left of your heart. But he got a town named for him, set against the truly lovely Wallowa Lake. You can take a paddleboat out on it. You can walk around and look at the art and statues. You can attend Chief Joseph Days. In honor of a defeated cockroach.

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Memorial at Deep Creek honoring those who were murdered.  From the Oregon Encyclopedia

The men who killed the Chinese were not punished. There was a sort of trial. No convictions. Everyone knew they had done this but the Chinese were regarded as a necessary evil, a blight. They were not granted the right to seek citizenship. Their customs, language and way of life were considered disposable or laughable. Bodies of those that had died had to be buried in China or the spirits of the dead could not find rest.

The laws regarding those from Asia said that Asians were not welcome. They had been brought here as children or…what does it matter. I guess. It’s old history. It has no bearing on anything today.

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It seems all I have left is a ghostly wisp of sarcasm. A faint wraith with no power left to startle or actually haunt. I cannot even muster up a good sneer or that dry tone needed to deliver the deft blows of a well-placed absurdity into the squawkings about ‘illegals and gang bangers here to ruin ‘murica’.

I am not surprised that Christians justify what is going on now at the border and elsewhere with those whose skin marks them as targets. That seething hatred to dominate and oppress seems built into the foundations of that religion. It has never been about love. It’s been about domination, conquest and erasing all opponents as ruthlessly as possible. I might be exaggerating. I don’t think I am. 

It’s my religion as well. At least it was. Brought up a Missouri Synod Lutheran, a Protestant. Martin Luther started an actual holy war with the Catholic Church back in 1495 or so. I was baptized. I was confirmed as a member of the congregation. My grandparents were staunch Lutherans.

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I cannot see either of them going along with what’s going on now. Their two sons do. My dad. My uncle. They are both Fox junkies; they shoot up on Hannity and Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson instead of heroin. They cry fake news in echo of their lord and savior. They go off into that haze, that high, with a blissful smile.

But I cannot see my grandparents, who were alive for WWII, condoning this. I might be coloring them with rosy lights here but I honestly do not think my church-going grandparents who both spoke other languages and were one generation or so from being migrants themselves, would clap and cheer at children in concentration camps.

However, there were Japanese folks in America who were stripped of their rights and everything else, herded into interment camps. There’s even one nearby.

Whatever faith I might have had in God has leaked away like dirty water into the sand. Evaporated. I think today I am finally admitting I no longer believe. It’s been a long time coming, as the song goes. I look at my country. I listen to the people around me grumbling about illegals. About how Trump is trying to save us and the lefties won’t get in line to let that happen.

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1975, Camp Pendleton. Refugees known as the Vietnam Boat People. LA Times. 

My despair is profound, and awful.

There are children being kept in inhumane conditions in overcrowded cages. We are arguing over what to name such a thing. We are arguing that it’s just a matter of Democrats not willing to give ICE some funding or send funds toward the wall. That there’s a crisis at the border and the Democrats want a flood of…

Everything is broken. Another song title from Dylan. But it’s apt here. Never again. Just words after all.

Just words.

 

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The Owyhees

A few pictures of one of my favorite places. Eastern Oregon, the Owyhees. This area also covers part of Idaho.

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The Owyhee River
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Jake and Molly along the riverbank
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You can see the dry hills in the back. 
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Rocks, dry grass and hills
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Right before the dogs jumped in to fetch sticks. Owyhee River
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Sometimes you get lucky, get your camera up in time to catch deer racing up through the rocks

Three Happy Dogs

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Brigit, Jake in the middle and Molly to the right. The Oywhee River.

I took the three dogs out to the Owyhees, which is the mountain range about forty minutes away. I loaded them into the Jimmy or the GMC, took some water, three dog bones, a towel. The old dirty blanket got placed across the back seat because there’s a small river up that way. And the three dogs love to fling themselves into the waters, whether pond, mud puddle, ocean, lake, trickle, stream, or river.

The wind a bit gusty but the sun out, the day beautiful otherwise. June day, not too hot but hot enough.

It seemed my mood lifted the second I crossed the tiny bridge over the Malheur as I drove toward the state park area. There’s a road carved into the rocks and sagebrush that leads up to the big reservoir where you can boat or swim or just hang. I don’t go up there cause…people are there and my entire goal in life right now is to avoid all human contact. That’s not sarcasm or being cutesy. That’s my depression, which has won and is just waiting for me to cut my wrists already so it can move on to someone else who at least poses a challenge to it…

Medication? Other than whatever’s in the fridge? No.

The three dogs whine and whimper. When they get to go anywhere, their other ends spew. They get excited, they have to empty the chambers. So I pull over, as there are little roads cut into the hills, as well as free range cattle and places to shoot off mortar rounds and…it’s Eastern Oregon. You can also see where the wagons cut grooves into the earth for all time, seemingly. Oregon Trail tracks. No kidding. Come see the permanent damage people have done to the earth, y’all!

I slow down when I see a ‘road closed’ sign, and a traffic cone. One of my favorite little spots to hunt rocks. This part of Oregon is rock hound heaven, in case I have not mentioned that. There’s a Thunderegg Festival in Nyssa, Oregon. That’s where people bring rocks to sell, along with other things. A thunderegg is another name for a geode.

The bridge, a tiny stone and wood structure you can drive across, had been swept away by a spring flood. The litter of that bridge in the river yet, which rushed past it importantly. Now. This is a narrow little river but it packs a powerful current with a strength more suited to the Mississippi at times. Same with the Snake River. It’s deceptively narrow but treacherous as the current regime of Gross Old Perverts. Crossing it on a covered wagon, in the days before dams and crumbling bridges, shudder. There’s a couple of famous crossing places that have been preserved in Idaho and Oregon. Farewell Bend, for instance. It’s where you left the river and went up into the Blues. By this time in your Oregon Trail adventure, you were just happy you were still alive.

Up the badly maintained road, often with rocks tumbled across it from the stony outcroppings that lean over it like something from a LOTR movie, I discover one of my favorite spots has no camper or group of scrubbed tourists lounging there like ticks on a hound. The dogs explode out of the back of the Jimmy, I notice I’ve left my bucket at home. I did bring a small ice cream bucket and a sack but nothing to put any or all the rocks I was sure to find. Hope is always eternal when I rouse myself enough to sneak off to hunt the elusive stationary rock. Some trips I find agates or chunks of crystal this or that almost at my feet when I park. I make sure I can get back on the road again as getting stuck out there with no phone is not a goal of mine. I can’t afford minutes at the moment.

The dogs go swimming. They sniff. I wander about noting the rocks, how the river must have flooded this little area, as the ground is yet muddy and water plants had died in straight lines. I had just seen the small bridge destroyed by the Owyhee River. I knew of hikers trapped by a mudslide not days ago. Fifty or more. A man had been swept away after falling asleep when rafting this same river. Found safe after a while.

The current at this peaceful little spot, with a small ranch next to it with actual livestock wandering through now and then, seems relentlessly evil. The dogs have trouble swimming against it and I worry I might have to rescue either of the two big Labs or the young Kewpie. Or cow dog as I think of Miz Bridge.

However, they enjoy being out of the yard and I trudge about. I am happy enough as well to be out of the yard, so to speak. But there’s no real joy in me at being in what has always seemed a spiritual place that renews what little I have left in my life’s batteries. It’s my big birthday. I turned fifty. Is that it? I am just down over how old I am?

Yes, to be frankly honest as hell. That is a small part of that yesterday. I expected. I expected a life beyond failing over and over and over, with nothing to show for my writing efforts but two books nobody’s even read. Including people in my own immediate family. My own fault for not becoming a teacher way back when, a real one, with certificates and such. As I pushed to do by my mother and others, and I did see myself teaching English to high schoolers or even, gasp, my little dream of teaching theatre in a college. And if I go into any of my abject wrong turns here or actual dead end blunders, I really will give in despair. More than usual, anyway.

I am not writing this for sympathy or thrills. I am attempting to sort everything out before I can’t. Or am not able to anymore.

Yes, it’s that bad. All the time. That little trip yesterday was my birthday treat. That was it. My family didn’t do anything special for me and I was grateful to even have my dad remember it was my birthday on the actual day of my birthday. I am grateful for a scrap of ‘hey, birthday, whatever’. Grateful. I have never mattered to my family…that’s how I feel.

And we’re not supposed to have feelings anymore. Or ever?

Once my mother brought a German Chocolate cake for my birthday. From the bakery markdown selection. The frosting had cracks in it, as it was old. Cheap old cake. I realize now that during June farmers don’t have a ready supply of cash and that I should be happy she bothered to get me a town cake at all. I just…want to feel that I matter to my own flesh and blood a bit.

And every birthday, it seems, I am faced with the evidence that I don’t.

The lifelong depression is going to win. I’m not going to magically defeat this thing in my head. I can barely concentrate enough to write this. I want to give in so badly and just end it. There it is. If I can look that in the face a bit, maybe I can…

take the dogs for little jaunt somewhere else that’s strange and new to me. Where I have no memories to remember. And I make it through another day.

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Not the bridge I mentioned, obviously. You can see the river doesn’t look formidable or anything else.
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Already dry as a bone. Sagebrush and rocks.
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Happy Jake after he emptied the chambers.

 

Dither

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Three blackbird eggs, in the nest in the wild rosebush. Ain’t they cute? 

I am dithering over a project. A project I will need to turn in eventually to my publisher. Yes, I have one. Stop snickering or giving me pitying looks at my delusions of being a real writer. Snort in your general direction, haters.

Okay. Sarcasm aside…!

Saint Lysette and Bloody Alice. It’s the third in my House trilogy. Alice in Oregonlandia is done, and in line to be seen by Kensington Gore’s editor/s.

Alice takes up about ten years after House On Clark Boulevard ended. The ‘tale’ moves to the world of Alice, Nancy’s daughter. Stuff happens. The end.

Yeah, I should write PR and press releases! For more money than the actual novelists ever get for their words, phrases and entire pages of words and phrases.

My mind went, hey, there’s a third book here. With everything neatly wrapped up, explained and then burned to the ground or somethin’. Cause. Trilogies. Every author should have some.

It’s like. That can of tuna on your shelf. Just in case.

I don’t like tuna so my can of tuna would have dust on it. But it would still be there in case I needed it for something. Maybe a sammich? I’d also have to have pickles, lemon, dill, onion powder, garlic…basically my tuna sammich would taste like anything but tuna. I like tuna melts.

I’m weird and contradictory. I realize that right now at this moment. Personal growth!

Dither.

I know why I’m starting this last opus over and over. I HAVEN’T DECIDED WHAT THE ACTUAL STORY IS.

I knew, vaguely, that Alice would have to return to that old house and…and something would happen that would not be what was expected by any involved. Vague, sure. But. That was the general story in my head and it seemed to write itself for Alice in Oregonlandia. House on Clark Boulevard had the same feel to it but different. Is that crystal clear to everyone??

I just got into ‘that groove’ that hits when you write. Whether it’s novels or poems or short stories or plays or manifestos about why tuna is gross.

I’m not a fish person. I find the taste of fish gross and yucky. I’ll eat fish sticks but only if they taste more of the tarter sauce or whatever dipping sauce is available. I’ve never had lobster.

Living in the interior high desert [Southern Washington State, Eastern Oregon, Western Idaho] most of my life tends to keep me away from lobster binges. Can you buy lobster or find it where I live or have lived? Yes. Did the price of lobster tend to send me off to the lunch meat aisle to see what’s on sale? Yes. Do I think it’s cruel to boil those poor sea spiders alive?? Yes!! 

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Miz Bridge waiting for me to entertain her. Because hey, you’re not writing, she says. Let’s go dig or chase something!

Story. I’ve dithered here in Saint Lysette. It’s changed POV’s. Many times. I now have Nancy, Alice and Lysette all telling the story. Whatever the story is. Which I’m not sure. It won’t coalesce, even a little, somewhere in my foggy writer brain. It does but it’s campy garbage!

Gol darn it!!

I might as well add some clowns and reptilian overlords!! Not that there’s anything wrong with reptilian overlords. There is something profoundly wrong with clowns. Yes, I have fear of clowns. Yes, I do. There’s a fancy word for that even. 

I think, therefore I am…sorry! I think I need to pick a path. Write to the end no matter the horrified faces I make as I write. 

GET THAT MOFO ON THE PAGE YOU DITHERING DITZ!

Get a rough beast shaped up, that I can then go back through and despair over.

After all, I have scrapped entire drafts. Written better versions. Or worse versions. Dang it.

I must examine why I am dithering so. I blame tuna.

Oh if it were that damn easy!

What is the story. That’s what I need to crucify in place with big iron nails. Then watch it rise from the dead a couple times or something? Ugh. Must stop listening to atheist podcasts or atheists taking apart Christian movies made so badly they’re actually in the good column.

I’m also trying to get a screenplay done. A director from the Czech Republic found a short play of mine, made a short film out of it. Traces of Memory. It’s in actual post-production now, as I write this. It looks great. I’m pleased with it.

She also, Lucie, found my book of short stories, Oregon Gothic, and found a tale in there that she wished to turn into a feature-length. One based on…necrophilia. On a woman helping her boyfriend procure a freshly dead woman for sexual purposes.

Lucie wishes it more focused on their relationship. She has the general idea of where she wishes this to go and I am helping shape it out. It’s called Prince Charming so far.

I hope it doesn’t turn out to be another Serbian Tale. If you don’t know what that is or have never heard of it, great. Keep your ignorance. If you do know what that ‘movie’ is, then no, I don’t think Prince Charming is even in the same universe as that one. I’m being cheeky. I’m a cheeky little primate!

Humans are primates, after all, no matter what screaming manbeasts with Jesus tats and a pulpit say. 

I am working on making the rather repulsive pair sympathetic. Understandable.  Which gives the horror element an extra punch in the gut. Layers, y’all.

Must go force myself to work on…something. It’s almost my birthday. I might go to the hills for sustenance and soul feeding as I turn…gulp…fifty. And ponder on the smoking ruins of my life.

I blame it all on tuna.

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The elderly cottonwood showing why it’s called ‘cottonwood’. The big seed pods burst open and look like what cotton does or something. I’ve never seen a cotton field outside of a movie. Or eaten a lobster. 

 

The Merry Happy Pumpkin Wars

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Tommy McMurtry and Liberty Baptist Church, from Mr. Atheist and YouTube. 

There’s this feud happening over on YouTube. Now it’s everywhere on the internet and real world-wise, between this fucktoad Liberty Baptist pastor and Mr. Atheist AKA Mr. Pumpkin. Actual name? Jimmy Snow.

Tommy McMurtry wants to have a MASA event around the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, where he celebrates the deaths. In Orlando, Florida.  He and others want this event to take place in ORLANDO FUCKING FLORIDA BECAUSE HEY LET’S RUB IT IN EXTRA HARD HOW MUCH WE HATE THE GAYS.

You just shrivel up and die a bit over such a thing  so gleefully planned. 

Wait. What is MASA?

Make. America. Straight. Again.

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Note that tag line. Now go pumpkin the hell out of that cuss words cuss words cuss words. 

No, I didn’t make that up nor am I kidding. I didn’t make up the Straight Pride parade happening this August in Boston, MA. Which seems to just be a Trump MAGA rally parade in disguise. Because of course it is.

So. To keep this blessedly brief: Mr. Atheist finds out about this MASA event. He does a rebuttal video, and then works to get McMurtry, who’s buds with Steven Anderson, deplatformed. Due to McMurtry agitating for actual violence against the LGTBQ community. As in the Bible demands such people die, at the hands of government executioners because then it’s not murder. Or something like that. Anderson also preaches along these lines.

If you’re thinking Westboro Baptists, give yourself a gold star! Yep, roughly the same vein of batshit Baptist fundamentalists.

McMurtry strikes back! He goes on record, in public, calling Mr. Atheist the biggest fruit on the planet. Which McMurtry seems to think is a pumpkin. Mr. Atheist, by the way, identifies as pansexual.

Mr. Atheist instead of running away crying like a snowflake, as this moonbat crazy Jesus shouter expected…embraced the pumpkin.

Not only embraced the pumpkin but called upon his followers to do so, too. The biggest fruit, by the way, is the jackfruit. Not the pumpkin.

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The jackfruit. from Hiveminer. 

He also busied his followers to optimize a Google search for McMurtry. As McMurtry pretty much said– that fruit can’t do nothin’…

and Mr. Atheist went, um, yeah, I actually can.

Mr. Atheist also got a collection of other youtube sorts to make a short video blurb.

Basically, it was: I’m not saying Tommy McMurtry is sexually attracted to pumpkins, I’m just saying there’s no way to know.

 

This also went into the Urban Dictionary, all over Google and to other social media sites, such as Twitter. Also, the Tommy McMurtry domain name was purchased, which now features sexy pumpkin drawings. Not even kidding. It is in no way associated with McMurtry, of course…that’s in case I could get sued.

McMurtry is doggedly going forward but it’s clear he did not expect Mr. Atheist to be so creatively ready to take him on. This bully did not expect a pumpkin to fight back at all. Instead of trying to reach out, be an actual Christian leader or something, McMurtry doubles and triples down on what a…pumpkin-hating pricklefuck he is. Homophobic is too mild a word for what he and Anderson and their little band of hatey men actually are.

Why am I bringing any of this up at all? Ah.

I admire Mr. Atheist for taking on this man and his MASA movement like this. He took his rage over all this and turned it into actual action. Merry happy action, at that. He rallied. Anger gets shit done, as Mr. Nancy says over on American Gods. Mr. Atheist was not a door mat here and didn’t ‘let it go’, hoping some fabled future event would solve everything.

Ahem, 2020 elections, ahem. Cough cough.

That’s all. It’s ongoing as of this writing. I know that yesterday there was a shooting scare at the DC Pride parade. I know that hate seems to be winning handily here in Amerikkka.

Pumpkins seem an odd way to find actual hope and light and relief from the constant inertia that seems to be the left anything right now. But there are people finding merry ways to meet hate and crush it beneath rotund squash that get used for Satan’s Day. That’s Halloween, for everyone else.

#PumpkinPosse unite!

Happy Pride month!

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from pride.com

 

June News

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It’s June. Hello, June.

Hot. Ugh. It’s hot. 

With that out of the way–

I just found out a short piece of mine will get into A Door Is A Jar-– By Starlight By Starlight My Dear. 

I also have a poem, My Feet Hurt, in the Rumpus’s Enough, and not sure when that comes out. 

I am also working on St. Lysette and Bloody Alice, which is the THIRD BOOK in the House on Clark Boulevard trilogy. 

And a screenplay based on a short story of mine. I need to get on that. Ugh a bug! 

So, the little writing goblins showed up, bit me in improper places, and here we are. 

 

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A storm about to hit. That’s the Malheur Butte
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Gorgeous clouds against a Ford tractor.