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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 23,067

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RIP Sweet Nick

We had to put Nick-Nick down on June 9. I can just now talk about it. He was 16 years 10 months old. Nick had quite the life. The quintessential fire lookout dog!

Losing Nick was the low point of the worst three weeks of my life. My heart attack scare on May 26 (it ended up being gall bladder). My gangrenous gall bladder and emergency surgery on 1 June. Seven days in the hospital away from Nick. Nick slipping away, and me unable to be there for him. At least I was there at the end.

I still had a Foley catheter and collection bag when we took Nick in to the veterinarian on 9 June. He sensed my condition. He knew. But he was ready to go. It had been 15 days since I had been able to walk him. It broke my heart not to be there for him in his final days.

Remember, Nick saved my life on the first night of fire season 2010. He woke me at midnight in a carbon monoxide filled fire lookout tower in the Oregon wilderness, and I was able to get us both out of there. That's one reason I have taken the last two fire seasons off .. to take care of sweet Nick in his last years.

Nick: the best dog ever.


Old Man Gallbladder Syndrome: GANGRENOUS Cholecystitis

Finally got into surgery at about 7 am this morning (Friday 6/1). We knew from the imaging that it would be bad. But gangrene? Bet that sucker was quite aromatic!

Now for the recovery. I'm typing through some morphine, trying to stay awake. Why?

My B/P plunged on Wednesday, to the 55/45 regions, and stayed there for about a day. Biliary sepsis.

Imaging on Thursday showed a wickedly angry, and dangerously distended gall bladder, with thick walls, fluid, and, lots-o-rocks. The surgeon got it before it popped. A gangrenous gall bladder.

What a week.

I spent a very long day, today, in the ER and Cardiac unit.

I had excruciating chest pain at 4am. The ER was great. Got me back to the unit stat, and got the heart enzyme work done (X2), blood work, chest x-ray, and mid-afternoon, a stress EKG with Gamma camera before and after.
Good news: no heart problems found. Bad news, the severe chest and abdominal pain contines. More tests coming.
One of the worst nights/days of my life (70 years).

Ari Melber just showed clips of the Fool ranting about "pay for play." (MSNBC "The Beat")

After a number of iterations of the Fool ranting about how much he knew about "pay for play", video clips from - mainly - the campaign, it hit me. Hit me hard. So hard, I spewed a mouthful of a really nice Pinot Noir all over my favorite white Cliff Dwellers Lodge t-shirt.

Pay for play? Nay, PAY FOREPLAY. Trump is a whoremonger, and everyone knows it. This twist on a phrase just cracked me up.

I'm no prude, but - seriously - I do wonder how many prostitutes Trump has "had" in his life. And I wonder, too, if he was on that list of the DC Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey. Palfrey operated Pamela Martin and Associates, an escort agency in Washington, D.C.

Someone in the original field of 16 (?) GOP candidates for the 2016 election must have been on the list. The attorney controlling the client list of Pamela Martin and Associates threatened to release info on a candidate or candidates a few months before the GOP Convention in 2016.

Then that attorney went silent. My guesses: 1. the individual that was on that client list dropped out of the race, or (and much more likely); 2. Big buck$ and NDAs silenced that attorney (who I assume worked for the Palfrey estate).

Don't forget, too, that Deborah Jeane Palfrey was "suicided" on May 1, 2008, in Tarpon Springs, Florida. That was shortly after "The List" came out, and implicated a number of high level officials in the Bush administration. I have a theory on those names, or at least one, but it is pointless now.

Things are connected. Things are well hidden. I worked for Ken Lay pre-Enron (as a Learjet 55 and Lockheed JetStar-II pilot). Lay leaves Transco and forms Enron. Enron fails. Cliff Baxter was suicided. Lay is convicted and sentenced, but dies of a heat attack at his Aspen estate on July 5, 2006. No autopsy .. immediate cremation.

The suicides bother me. The secrecy.

Morning at Bear Mountain Lodge

Silver City, New Mexico

"Ghost Town in the Gila"

Gila National Forest
New Mexico

Public Lands; Public Sands

Grayton Beach State Park


Just got into cooking with tamarind. What an incredible fruit! So Asian .. so Thai.
I made a basic tamarind marinade/baste a few days ago. Did a couple of chicken thighs on the grill. Crusty, spicy, piquant. Great BBQ sauce.
Used the same sauce last night on an oven-cooked Cornish game hen (which is neither Cornish, nor game .. it is just a chicken bred to be small). Incredible. Still had some leftover tamarind sauce.
Tonight was steak night (I'm solo on the mountain). Thawed a "Denver" steak (AKA a Hudson steak) from the NY Butcher in Greenville. Googled "steak tamarind recipe" and, the top recipe was for a Denver steak!
I had the tamarind stock - slightly different from the recipe - but I know how specious recipes are. My tamarind stock was good. The only thing lacking was soy sauce and fresh ginger. Both are standards that I keep on hand.
So I added the soy sauce and ginger to my tamarind stock, and marinaded that Denver steak several hours. Then took the steak out of the marinade, and flopped it on a charcoal grill. Four minutes per side, then I pulled it to indirect heat until my meat thermometer indicated medium-rare.
Meanwhile, I took some of the marinade (that had not been in contact with the raw meat), and cooked it down into a thick steak sauce.
I had boiled some tiny, tiny potatoes earlier in the day (one must plan ahead, even when eating alone), and chilled them. They went into an arugula salad. What a great idea. I'm so glad it was mine!
So, how was the steak? Crazy good. I sliced it in thin strips, and dolloped on some of my back-burner tamarind steak sauce.
Tamarind seems to beg lime juice and cilantro. I had neither, and I wasn't driving into Brevard just for those. Tamarind also begs a good, thick salt. Big, crunchy grains. But not too much.


The Best Dog Ever!

Nick, the fire lookout dog. Below the East Butte lookout tower one morning in 2011. He is slipping now, at 16.75 years. Had a little seizure on a walk this morning. But still bright and alert.

This photo works best BIG .. bigger than I can post here.

I shot this from a ledge at Toroweap Point, on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Looking straight down, at a rafting camp about 3000 feet (880 meters) below. Working on the edge, without a net. (Canon 5D MK2 hand-held, with Canon 70-200 f2.8 lens @ 200mm)

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