Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Robert Frost was a Cool Guy

While waiting for snow, I think of my favorite poem:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of the easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Night Before Christmas - A Different Animal

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of buffaloes danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes all aglow,
Came a miniature sleigh, and eight buffalo,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his buffaloes they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Then and Now

Itchy brother, Bill of the Burbs, watches with Mom and Dad as I try to teeth my way to a present during Christmas 1949. I was nine months old. This is one of my favorite photos that I found while rumaging through ma's attic. Bro Billy will be 60 this Saturday. God that's old. Meanwhile, Red Chief (here with me in the latest photo) has visions of Star Wars dancing in his head for Christmas. Thomas the Train is no longer the star in the Chief's eyes. Darth Vader is the man.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Birthday Boy

My son Tim is 23 years old today. Now with shaven head, tattoos, and an attitude, he will always be my little boy.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Grizzly Man: Death by the Claw

The Grizzly Man and a fox friend

I watched the movie "Grizzly Man" this weekend. I like documentaries about wildlife, and this one intrigued me. Timothy Treadwell, the Grizzly Man, mingled with grizzly bears and other wildlife in Alaska for many years. A self-proclaimed grizzly protector, Treadwell was devoted to the bear but his fate, ironically, was being mauled by one of these giants. He knew perfectly well that grizzlies are wild, ferocious, and unpredictable animals, yet he would walk up to them dangerously close, even petting one on the head. One day, and it is not known exactly what happened, Treadwell and his girlfriend were killed by a bear. The story of their deaths, which the documentary spends a lot of time on, is tragic; even the sounds recorded by a lens-covered camera left on during the bear attack is not included in the film because apparently it is too horrible. For more details, read this.

The best parts of the film were a brawl between two grizzlies, filmed by Treadwell, complete with bear fur flying all over while the two giants wrestled violently; and Treadwell's befriending of foxes, whose almost petlike behavior with Treadwell is something to see. Beautiful animals. A good documenary that shows all too well the violence of nature and man's interference in the world of wildlife.

Musicians would appreciate the making of the soundtrack of the film, which is included on the DVD. By the way, is there anything better in rock music than the last two minutes of Black Magic Woman by Santana? Solid. Blasted the volume while hearing it in the car during lunch hour.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Things that Bother the Word Sheriff

Stuck in the craw of the grammar police:

Unique - One of a kind, so it's not "very unique," or "most unique." It's unique. Period.

Irregardless - Double negative. The dictionary claims it is a word, but it should not be used. Amen. Just say regardless.

Could care less - Aaaargh. This has crept into the language. Should be "couldn't care less." If you could care less then what's the point of saying it?

Nuclear - People hear this mispronounced as "new-cue-lar", so they follow suit. What could be simpler to pronounce? Nu=new, clear=clear. It doesn't help that the leader of our nation always mispronounces it.

Got beat - Common error by sportscasters and those who would listen to them too much. A team or individual "was beaten," or the Illini were beaten.

It's and Its - Common error in writing is putting an apostrophe for the possessive, which is wrong. Correct - "The buffalo drank its fill." Apostrophe is inserted only for "it is." "It's a nice day."

From the sheriff's file of infrequently used words: Clowder. No, not a short version of clam chowder, but . . . a group of cats. Fancy that.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Road Trip: Buffaloes Behaving Badly

Me and Buffalo Dave.

Buffalo Bull magnet Arathi lures in Cousin Don and the Riddler.

Scarface and our hostess Lynn.

Wonder Calves, Buffalo Dave, and Deer Banger.

Whacky buffalo Jay Pineapple about to devour the camera.

Scooter and Scarface. Scooter has run the Mahomet trail and partied with the herd, thus he is a full-fledged canine bison.

Two-fisted wine woman Kissalamb (my buddy Arathi).

The photos pretty much tell the story. Buffalo glee Friday evening in Bloomington as the buffaloes celebrated herd member Wonder Calves' (Duane Frichtl) 50th birthday. Duane's wife Lynn covertly e-mailed us to drive to Bloomington and surprise Duane at a small gathering of his friends. Twelve buffalo showed up. I made the trip in the Bombay Express with Jay Pineapple driving and Kissalamb (Arathi), both natives of India. Their real last names are Palaniappan and Kylasam, last names that beg for deviation. The drive home was a little rowdier with Devil Dawg, Scarface, and Party Marty. With no restroom near, we managed to create a small river in a field in the middle of nowhere between Champaign and Bloomington. I think Wonder Calves had a good time. I hope his neighbors didn't mind.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Buffalo Brew Ha Ha

After a 6-mile run through campus last night I went to Murphys' Pub to have a beer with fellow buffaloes. Being "under the influence" of a rowdy group, before I knew it one beer turned into three and a full meal of laughter. Bison present: Devil Dawg, Cousin Don, One Beer Mudless, the Mechanic, Jay Pineapple, the Cable Guy, and the Ultra Turtle. Jay admitted to being a beefier buffalo thanks to work on his thesis and no running, but soon we'll be calling him Dr. Pineapple. Conspicuously absent: Scarface.

Powow with Red Chief tonight. I'll be preparing buffalo fodder of spaghetti for the little bison. Being only four years old, Red Chief will probably live up to his name when spaghetti sauce coats his face.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Moonlight on Ice

Although the herd turnout was not as pictured above (only 4 showed), the 81st edition of the ongoing full moon run last night at Buffalo Trace trail was worth the drive to Mahomet. An almost cloudlesss sky and very bright moon lit up the ice-coated tree branches and grass, making all appear as glass. I ran the five miles with fellow buffalo Devil Dawg, the faithful mut of the herd. One can only hope now for ice and snow for the Riddle Run, my favorite running event, which will be held at the end of January. I'll have plenty of photos of that event to post.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Why I Run Trails

Saturday, December 2, 7:15 a.m. Buffalo Trace Trail, Mahomet. 15 degrees, sunny. I have seen this trail wear many coats, but none more eye-pleasing than Saturday's ice trimmed with snow. Spectacular. Nippy 5-mile run though. The herd will have a full-moon run out there tonight, which I hope to do.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Winter . . . Gotta Love It

Had the alarm set for 4:20 this morning to run with the Iron Bison (buddy Bruce Rodgers) at Buffalo Trace Trail in Mahomet. Hoped to be running in a nice snow, but 39 degrees and rain just didn't make it. Bruce calls: "I'm not running in this slop." So, I went back to bed. Hibernation is good at 4:30 a.m. Naturally it starts snowing as I'm getting ready for work. I love running in snow on a trail; there will be plenty of opportunities.