Gaslit

To say that I overate today would be the most honest statement I’ve made all this week. The worst thing I did was polishing off an entire bag of potato chips and a whole container of onion dip.

Burp

Because of this, and knowing the wrath I would incur once my wife found out, I set out to hide the evidence of my ‘misdeed.’ It took her a day and a half to realize neither the dip nor the chips were where she put them.

Her focus turned to me.

“What chips?” I innocently asked. “What dip?”

She didn’t buy the doe-eyes I made at her but instead went to the kitchen garbage to look for the bag and the plastic container. Not finding either, she pulled all the trash from our large bin in the garage.

“I thought we had a bag of chips and some dip in the fridge,” she said. “I sorry I got mad at you.”

“It’s not a problem,” I smiled, knowing the evidence hides in our neighbor’s garbage bin.

Out of F Street

It’s a story you cannot share with my wife. She already worries about me when I’m out after dark and in Virginia City.

Because we had a massive number of ‘legal publishings’ inside our newspapers, I was at the shop until about 11 p.m. Once finished, I began loading the boxes full of print into the vehicle as I had to deliver them the following day.

As I opened the door, it became abundantly clear that there wasn’t a single light along F Street, save for the heavenly stars above. However, the single bulb from the office cast itself into the street right before me.

The first thing I saw in the light was my shadow, followed by a movement. That same movement stopped and looked at me as surprised to see me as I was it.

Without blinking, it darted off into the inky darkness. It happened so quickly that I had no time to react, and had it wanted to attack me, I would have been dead in my tracks.

A mountain lion.

My Cousin Elmo says, “My old age is gonna be rough. I spent ten minutes chasing a house fly with the swatter only to realize it was an eye floater.”

Sodded

My son and I were sitting outside on my front porch, enjoying the warming weather and a beer. We like to do this because, well — we like to.

We watched a semi-truck as it drove by, dragging a flatbed of rolled-up sod.

“That’s the first one I’ve seen this season,” I announced.

My comment met only silence, which is not unusual as my grown child has never been much of a talker. Instead, he took another draw from his beer bottle.

As I took a swig, he turned to me and said, “When I get rich, I want to do the same thing.”

Puzzled, I asked, “What same thing?”

“Have my grass taken out, mowed then brought back,” he said in his best dead-pan voice.

I snotted beer all over the two of us.

Busiest Man in Media

“I swear,” my wife said. “He’s the busiest man in media.”

She was talking to her sister or perhaps a friend. My heart swelled with pride that she found my work ethic worthy of a brag.

I was in bed, half-asleep, knowing 3 a.m. would come too soon.

“Oh, he’s not only a newspaper reporter, he also prints and delivers the papers,” she explained. “On top of that, he’s doing the morning show for a radio station in town. Not only that, but he writes a post to his blog nearly every day, takes pictures, draws, and paints.”

“Oh, I almost forgot,” my wife said, interrupting the person she was talking with, “He also writes and produces a podcast.”

Smiling, I snuggled deeper into my blankets, secure knowing that — the thought was cut-off as I realized I had forgotten to do my podcast for the week. Crap!

So much for a worthy brag.

Double Parked

Running two days late because of more printer issues, I finally delivered the week’s news throughout the two counties of Lyon and Storey.

On this occasion, I took the Missus, who is not used to being in the passenger seat. She is also not a fan of my driving, which depending upon her mood, can run from either “you’re such a grandpa” to “slowdown before you get us both killed.”

During our half-hour jaunt through Virginia City, my wife learned how crowded C Street can get in the early afternoon and how hard parking is when making a delivery. To wit: I double park when unable to find a yellow-painted delivery zone available because non-delivery vehicles are lawfully allowed to park in them on the weekends and at night.

Safety was not her prime concern in this case. It was the people ‘staring’ at her when I turned the flashers on and exited the car.

She later admitted, “I slunk down in my seat the second time, so no one could see me.”

TGIF and I Mean IT!

It is amazing what sleep can do for the brain and a person’s attitude. While I’ll admit that I am too lazy to get up out of my comfy studio chair to walk across the hall to get another cup of coffee, at least I can laugh at my silliness this morning.

Sleep came quickly last night after I laid down. I recall waking once because the wind slammed against the house and rattled the man-gate outside my bedroom window.

But I fell back into a solid slumber once I recognized the sound.

Anyway, I needed to prep my first ‘stop set’ for this morning’s radio show. A stop set is that point where the announcer speaks on air.

Thank goodness it’s Friday!

Early to Bed

So tired, I completely blanked out what day and date today was. That is not a good thing for a person trying to live a scheduled lifestyle because of their many facets of employment.

I had to check three sources before I was sure it was Thursday, the 21st. Then I had to go back and double-check another two or three times to be sure I had my first belief correct.

Ah-ha! You are as confused now as I was this morning. I finally got smart, wrote it down, and typed the piece of paper onto the computer screen.

I’m going to bed…early!

Ride Share

Oy Vey! As if I needed one more thing added to my plate.

Yesterday afternoon, I drove up to Virginia City because I had some work to finish at the print shop. I didn’t notice anything wrong with my truck other than the “check engine” light lit up again.

By the time I completed my air shift the following morning, I had gone over a hundred miles when the thing nearly refused to move. I nursed it to the repair shop.

So, I’m without a vehicle, and my wife and I will be sharing her car for the foreseeable future. She’s less than thrilled.

Practicing?

With my new schedule taking full effect, I have found myself on the short end of the blogging spectrum. It is here where micro-blogging comes in — if I can remember it.

Having an air shift in the smaller hours of the morning has left me very tired. I knew it would affect me, but I had no idea how fatiguing it could be.

Slowly, I will get used to it, but because of my age, it will be so much slower than it once was. I need to practice, HA!

Does anyone practice getting up at three or four in the morning? I didn’t think so.

Catch a Rabbit by Its Tail

It’s the day after Easter, and I’m finally finding time to sit down and chat with Buddy, our dog. He has been eager to tell me something since yesterday morning.

“So what’s going on?” I ask him as he curled up next to me on the bed.

“I talked to the Easter Bunny yesterday as he used our backyard as a shortcut to the neighbors house.”

“How exciting for you.”

“Yeah, first time I ever seen him, and I had to ask what he was carrying.”

“What was he carrying?”

“A big basket of colored eggs?”

“Did you ask him for one?”

“Yeah, but he said I couldn’t have any because they were for the kids.”

“I see.”

“I asked him where the eggs came from, and he said he doesn’t know.”

“I’ve always wondered about that myself.”

“I also asked why he delivers them.”

“What did he say?”

“He didn’t know that either.”

“That’s weird.”

“Not really.

“Why’s that?”

“Like you always say, most famous people don’t know all that much. I think it’s the same for famous animals. And he doesn’t speak German Shorthair very well either.”

The Duke of the Bluestone

My dear friend, Alexia Sober ascribes to the saying, “You have one mouth but two ears.” So do I, but I call it the “Louis L’Amour method.”

In his autobiography, L’Amour said he’d often go into a saloon or cafe and simply sit and listen to the “old timers” as they told their life histories. Though I am known for talking more than I ought to, I have learned to sit quietly and absorb the tales being told.

That’s what I was doing at the Delta Saloon one late afternoon and where I heard this piece of “forgotten” history.

The east side of the Singatse Ranch became a hive of activity following the discovery of copper in 1883. The claim became the Bluestone Mine, one of the oldest mineral patents in the U.S.

The blue rock from the mine became a component of the amalgamation process in extracting silver on the Comstock. The Mason Valley-Yerington Mining District formed shortly afterward.

He appeared in Lyon County at the end of the War to End All Wars. The caretaker of the mine, he was often in the valley helping on the ranches.

No one knew his name, so they called him “The Duke of the Bluestone.”

He was an old gentleman, unkempt and dirty, except for his hands which were always spotless. His hair was filthy and matted, and he swore not to cut it until the Bluestone opened up again. And every once in a while, the townspeople of Yerington would catch him and crop his hair.

Not much for socializing, he remained a mysterious personality.

Some believed “The Duke” escaped from Russia following the assassination of Tzar Nicholas. Others thought he had been a Russian ship captain and that this is how he had come to this country. And most believed that “The Duke” had a large sum of money buried near his hovel, a wooden shack near the Bluestone Mine.

After being in the hospital, “The Duke” died.

Shortly afterward, a group of high school students went to the Bluestone to look for his treasure. According to some, they found thousands of dollars. Others went up to the shack to search, tearing the building asunder.

Soon there was nothing left to remind people that “The Duke” had ever been alive.

Flier

There must have been something in the air as I lost my coffee cup full of coffee only to find it a short time later in my left hand.

About an hour and a half later, a neighbor knocked at the front door. She had in her hands a flier of her Calico cat named Stanley.

It had been three days since she’d last seen her feline, and she wanted to know if I’d accompany her on a trek around the neighborhood to hand out the homemade lost and found posters. I harnessed Buddy, and we spent the next hour knocking at doors and slipping fliers under windshield wipers.

Finally, out of fliers, we turned back to her home, where she offered me a cup of coffee. I rarely turn down coffee.

Once inside, I unhitched Buddy so he could roam around as she and I chatted about the missing Stanley.

Without warning, Buddy came flying from one of the back rooms, tail tucked and ears pinned back. Behind him was a mass of black, orange, and white, hissing.

Buddy found Stanley, and Stanley don’t like dogs.

Black and White and Red On Top

While visiting the Grass Roots book store, not only did I buy some great books, including a 188-year-old bible, but I met two people with whom I began talking.

After a few minutes, Bill said, “You’ve lived quite the life.”

Zoe had walked away by then.

I don’t think either one of them believed my stories.

That is okay, as no one understands that every moment alive is an adventure to be set down into words and shared as a story. For example, while printing, a problem developed with the magenta roller.

It began to leave a red streak across the upper portion of the newsprint, and no matter what I did to correct it, it got worse. Finally, I left it alone and finished the job with the discoloration still present.

When asked, “Why is it red?”

I answered, “Because we’re preparing for Easter, and that is our representation of the blood of Christ.”

Each time I got a good laugh from the person asking the question. Thus, I turned my frustration with the printing machine into an adventure and story.

It is how my imagination works and why I feel the desperate need to write as I do.

A Couple of Points on the Coming Elections

With Biden’s poor approval ratings, and high inflation a top concern for voters, Republicans will take control of the Senate. The GOP also has the advantage because the midterm elections are lower-turnout events and the GOP base is more fired up after the 2020 elections.

While the Senate is subject to less dramatic shifts, the party out of power during a president’s first midterm has won a net gain of two seats on average since 1950.

On the House side, Democrats now have the highest number of retirements from elected life since 1992. Add the known fact that the party in power in the White House usually loses seats in Congress in midterm elections, and the GOP will pick up enough seats to reclaim the House.

Enough about national politics. Let’s get to Nevada.

Biden won took Nevada by slightly more than two percent in 2020. Catherine Cortez-Masto won it by a similar margin in 2016 with the benefit of a presidential-year turnout. She has the money advantage over all Republican challengers, and Democrats have a strong base in Las Vegas and Clark County.

But with the passing of former Sen. Harry Reid, there is an open question of how that base will hold up.

When looking at the House races for the Silver State, the lone GOP incumbent Mark Amodei will be retired from office.

Amodei sits left of center from the Republican middle in his voting. From Sep 2011 to Apr 2022, Amodei missed 299 of 6,167 roll call votes, which is 4.8 percent, higher than the median of 2.1 percent.

He voted to renew provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA,) permitting the federal government to collect business records and other information during national security investigations without a warrant.

The FISA law allows a federal judge to approve such collections without notifying the target or hearing opposing arguments. The bill expands the circumstances that require FISA judges to hear from a government-appointed critic of such requests and increases the number of FISA courts.

Amodei voted for Biden’s 2,741 pages $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package with an attached $13.6 billion for aid to Ukraine. He failed to stand with the GOP against Biden’s COVID-19 federal emergency package and the vaccine mandates while doubling down on the Green New Deal.

I’ll say no more.

Big G, Little O

One morning at about six, my bedside clock/radio rudely awakened me. I had it set to one of my favorite radio stations, KFMI, which at that time broadcasted out Arcata, Calif.

I was doing a part-time gig at its AM sister station, KATA.

When the radio came to life, the punk rock band The Clash was banging one out. ♫ Sharif don’t like it 𝄞 Rockin’ the Casbah ♫ Rock the Casbah 𝄞 Sharif don’t like it ♫ Rockin’ the Casbah 𝄞 Rock the Casbah…

Immediately, I came straight up out of a dead sleep, fumbled for 10 or 15 seconds as I turned off the racket, and hit the shower. After a musical interlude like that, I was fully awake.

As I stood under the spray nozzle, I thought back to my time at KPOD in Crescent City, Calif., when the program director Greg “Big G, Little O” O’Neil called and balled me out for playing “Nothing but a Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley at 5:30 a.m. I chucked the rest of the morning, realizing O’Neil would have fired my ass if I had been scratching out “Rock the Casbah” at that hour.

Yes, we were still in the world of turntables.

Try, Try Again

This day certainly got away from me as I spent all of my time before the computer screen and keyboard, banging out news articles for the papers. I’ve been so focused that four, and maybe a fifth time, I warmed up the same cup of coffee.

It sits there still, a full cup, on the counter, by the coffee maker, undrunk. I’ll knock it back in the morning after one more nuking unless my wife finds it necessary to dump it out.

Thank goodness it wasn’t a distilled spirit, as that would be considered alcohol abuse in my world.

Pun Intended

Pranking has been a long-standing tradition on the Comstock. Sagebrush writers Dan De Quille and Mark Twain perfected the art of pulling someone’s leg, writing what are called ‘quaints.”

But a prank that runs for six weeks? I had never been the victim of such a long-running leg pull in all my living life.

Here’s the lowdown. Pun intended.

While working on creating a podcast reflecting on Nevada’s history, I wrangled my friend Tinker Moss into voicing them and then sending the recording to me for editing and publication. The first one I got blew my mind as his voice, inflection, and tone were superb.

It was great knowing I had made a sound decision. Pun intended.

Forward to the sixth week, that’s when I learned the truth. Tink was not doing the voicing.

He was using an artificial intelligence program. The AI sounded so close to his natural speaking voice that I never questioned it.

It was a prank on a grand scale. Tink laughed and laughed, and I laughed and laughed until neither one could hardly breathe.

Then — I fired him. Now I have to voice them.

Disgruntled

It was a few minutes ahead of noon when I stepped out of the printing office onto our boardwalk to be confronted by a disgruntled neighbor.

He was all hissed off, complaining how I woke him up. I gave him the respect he demanded by stopping in my tracks and paying close attention to his body language.

When he finished posturing, it became a stand-off, him looking at me and me looking at him.

He soon took himself across the street, disappearing into the brush, and I proceeded to grab my lunch from my truck, just in time to hear the noontime whistle. I remained on alert the rest of the afternoon, expecting him to return.

He didn’t. Had he come back, I might have put him to work.

In all honesty, I had no idea that rattlesnakes woke from hibernation so early in Spring.

Dust

It may only be an urban legend that a US servicemember working with a powerful military antenna array in Alaska turned to dust after walking in front of an active radar dish and his Zippo lighter was all that survived the ordeal.

Real or not, thank goodness, the lesson I learned yesterday, that the wand that comes with Swiffer wipes is there for a reason, was not half as deadly. It was so painful that I nearly named this piece “Man Nearly Killed by Swiffer Duster.”

No sense in exaggerating.

Seeing dust in and about the equipment, I began cleaning. That is what I was doing when I got one of the worst static discharges in my life.

It came in the form of a brilliant yellow-white flash, followed by a loud crackle and a jolt of painful electricity. It left me weak, trembling, and needing to sit down.

Surprisingly, I did not launch into a tirade of vituperations that would have melted the paint from the studio walls.

Worse yet, it shut down the two computers and the three screens in the office. While I had the passwords and such to restart them, one would not reboot.

Fortune smiled as our station engineer Daniel stopped by drop off some paperwork. Like most engineers, he quickly found the trouble — the keyboard — zapped to the point it froze.

A simple re-reboot of the system and the keyboard came back to life, and the computer lit up. Crisis averted.

I’ve also heard that dust particles contain cremated remains and that the urban legend is true. Either way, I ain’t dusting no more.

Cold Call

In the 1990 movie “Quigley Down Under,” there is a scene where Matthew Quigley, played by Tom Selleck, and “Crazy” Cora, played by Laura San Giacomo, get dumped from a buckboard wagon and left for dead.

“I wish people would quit hitting me on the head,” Quigley says.

“Don’t worry,” says Cora. “On a new job, it’s quite common for things not to go well at first.”

That’s how I felt on Mon., Apr. 4, 2022, the first day at my new part-time radio job at KUEZ. Don’t get me wrong, I love having this position after being out of the broadcast game since 2013, but I cannot think of a more difficult start to a post.

First, Elizabeth Rose, who had planned to spend this week showing me the ins and outs of the station operations, fell ill and was hospitalized. Thankfully, she is recovering and will be back to it soon enough.

Before going much further, during my job interview, I remember telling the station manager/owner that I had “a tendency to overstep my bounds,” acting without permission. It is not encouraged.

But by 10 a.m., I needed help.

So, I asked a former employee I had never formally met if he could assist me. It’s a helluva way to introduce myself.

Anyway, Dave Mencarelli said yes, came to the studio, worked his magic, and got things done. He had been gone just long enough from the station that he had to call someone for an assist.

Now to find a way to put my anxieties back in their Genie lamp and fast treatment for a stress-induced canker sore.

The Photo Booth

Stopping in to visit a minute or two with my friend Liza McIlwee at the Virginia City Tourism Commission, I saw that she was busy, so I took a seat to wait my turn.

Soon, a grandfather and grandson came through the door. While Grandpa gathered information about mine tours, Grandson inspected the free-standing building that adorns the south side of the former Crystal Bar.

Finished and well-informed, Grandpa joined Grandson, “Know what that is?”

“A photo booth,” the boy answered, “But I can’t find the camera.”

“A what?” a puzzled Grandpa asked.

“Yeah — it says sit down and get your picture taken,” the boy said, pointing to a sign.

Grandpa smiled, “It’s not a photo booth, that’s an outhouse, and someone else is supposed to take your picture when you sit down.”

“Oh,” the boy said, exiting the antique facility as fast as possible.

Then Grandpa added, “We had a three-holer when I was your age.”

Suddenly, a woman who had been checking out the books and tee shirts responded to the Grandfather’s comment in sweet Georgia drawl, “So you was considered the rich cousins?”

The Fool

Because I deliver the newspapers, the same ones I write for, I get up Friday mornings and immediately turn on the coffee maker that my wife sets up for me the night before. She’s nice like that.

Then I head for the shower.

By the time I get my shoes on, the coffee has finished making its choking sound, and I’m ready to pour myself a cup. But not on this day.

Since it is dark when I get up and can only vaguely see my coffee cup, I didn’t notice anything was off. But the first sip told me I had just taken a mouthful of a problem and couldn’t hurry fast enough to spit.

Then I turned on the light to discover the problem. Instead of coffee grounds, my wife had replaced them with dirt.

“Ingenious,” I think as I dumped and cleaned everything to begin the process over.

Once on the road and delivering the papers, I stopped at a place and accepted a small box of donuts. It wasn’t until I had finished the first half of my route that I opened the pastries.

A vegetable tray! I munched on the contents the remainder of the morning.

Come nighttime, and I am tired, so I climbed into bed to learn she got me again. This time my wife short-sheeted the bed.

Here’s the rub — I never got to pull even one April Fools Day prank.

I Spent a Year There, One Day

“I spent a year there, one day,” means you’ve been in a place you didn’t enjoy for far too long. That is how it seems to me, feeling like it has been forever since I last posted and realizing it has only been 11 days.

My computer crashed on Mon., Mar. 21, showing me the “blue screen of death.” It has taken that long for a new computer tower to arrive via Amazon.

During that time, I have written all of my newspaper articles using my cellphone. After a few hours and a couple of hours, my eyes hurt, my head pounded, and I had to check the mirror to make sure I wasn’t bleeding from my ears.

As the computer ordeal played out, my truck decided to have a system-wide failure, electrical to mechanical. I spent a week struggling to get anywhere while it was in the shop for repair.

But that is all behind me, and I’m happy about it. Now to figure out how to pay for it all.