Sorry…I’ve Been Busy Being A Daddy!

DSC00040Greetings!   Sorry for my continuing absence from this blog.   It’s not that I’ve lost interest or have forgotten about things outdoorsy…nope, instead I am finding it very difficult on a daily basis to find time to do everything I want to accomplish in my life right now.   In large part this is due to having a 7–week old baby in my care.   WOW!   Did I underestimate just how much of a time commitment having a baby in the household would be.   Still, it is a marvelous time in my life right now…and one that I feel certainly blessed to be experiencing.

In the meantime, I want to thank my loyal readers for their patience and understanding.   Someday…hopefully very soon as I miss it, too…I hope to be back blogging on a much more regular basis.   Here’s hoping that all of you are having a wonderful summer and getting antsy for the fall season to arrive.


Global Warming? Where Have You Been The Past 60+ Hours?

Here in Minnesota it’s been over 60 hours since the thermometer has been on the plus side of the scale.   That’s right, all of this past weekend and today it has been below zero with bitter cold wind-chills in some parts down to minus 40 below.   Temps like this can literally start freezing bare skin in just minutes, and for the hearty souls who venture outside it requires a great deal of care just to be winter safe.

So tell me about that Global Warming theory once again?   If you listen closely the world is doomed because of our reliance on fossil fuels and other ozone damaging substances, correct?   Hogwash!   If you subscribe to this doomsday thinking you are led to believe that mankind and a century or more of industrialization has left such a damaging fingerprint on our world that for several centuries to come the earth will be adversely effected by progress and our lack of sensitivity for the caring of “mother earth.”

You know what, I will be the first to admit I’m certainly no scholar when it comes to understanding long-term global climactic pattern changes.   I will also be among the first to agree that society can do much to improve our symbiotic existence with our planet.   But the constant drum beat by some on this global warming theory is getting a bit…shall I say, nauseating.   You can point to whatever evidence you may want to cite to bolster your position…but in the end it proves absolutely nothing.   The conjecture is 100 years from now the earth will not be the same as we now know it.   Well duh!   Nothing about the earth is ever quite the same…after all, in its simplest form you can view the earth as one big living organism.   Take for instance the river that runs through my farm.   It looks much different today than it did 35 years ago.   So, too, does the hillside north of my home.   It was once largely devoid of trees…but no more.   Over the years many young saplings have been allowed to mature and grow into substantial trees.

My point is the hype about global warming changing the earth and the main villain being humans is more about politics than it is about pure science.   Oh, sure, it is disguised quite well and made to look as though the situation is rather dire, but give me a break.   If the ocean is anticipated to rise roughly 23 inches over the next 100 years should a change like this be such a total surprise?   Are we really so naive to think that the world is constantly going to stay the same?   Change is inevitable to some degree…and while change is sometimes good, it often times can be adverse.   I just don’t need a bunch of alarmist politicians and name-seeking scientists to go around making matters sound much worse than perhaps they should actually appear.

Now getting back to our role in this world.   As a society, we have accomplished more to advance mankind during the past 100 years of civilization than perhaps at any other similar period of time in world history.   Yes, in some cases it took the burning of fossil fuels to become the society we are today.   Some folks would have us apologizing for that…I say in general we are better off for it.   But moreover, the industrial period we’ve been through during the past century will not exist in the same manner forever…like the world, human needs change and so, too, will our consumption of natural resources.   Do you really think 100 years from now vehicles will be burning combustible fuels?   Hell, maybe even 20 years from now what is common today will be uncommon tomorrow.

I guess I am just damn sick and tired of a bunch of self-proclaimed experts (and former politicians) continuing to beat the political drum of global warming.   That’s really what it is, you know.   It’s a bunch of wannabe influential leaders who find it necessary to keep this discussion stoked because it keeps them in the spotlight and it helps them formulate public policy based on scare tactics.   They’ve learned that voters and most people react more favorably when their passion for a cause is stirred and constantly on their conscience.

It’s a lot like the bird flu that was supposed to hit.   Everywhere you went folks in the coffee houses and at family gatherings would be talking about this terrible pandemic plague that could strike the masses at any moment.   The disease experts had our attention because after all, what were we to do?   Seriously.   But now global warming has become the new societal concern seemingly replacing the bird flu.   It’s in the news…and it’s in our discussions around the water cooler.   Global warming…just the mere mention of those words tends to ironically send a chill up and down some people’s spines.

But not mine.   Global warming is a cause that stirs little if any passion in this human.   Call me ignorant.   Call me unwilling to face the stark reality, if you will.   I happen to embrace the fact that subtle changes in our world over several generations of time are predictable and inevitable.

Sure, the river I grew up skimming rocks on no longer has that big wide pond because the water levels are down due to the beavers moving out.   Still, I’ve come to accept the change and understand that the world we live in should not be expected to be static and forever the same as we now envision it.   Folks, change is going to happen…and if global warming is going to occur over the next several centuries…well, then, the society that happens to be experiencing life at that time will just have to find a way to accept and to deal with it.

What are your thoughts on this highly-charged subject?   Should Al Gore receive a Nobel Prize for his efforts on this emotion-packed cause that he has long championed?

© 2007 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Allowed Without Prior Permission.

What They Won’t Do…For Your Vote

Here in the Upper Midwest if you go to any local county fair you are apt to see politicians vying for the constituency vote.   And sometimes they will do that in very humbling and often unusual ways.   Take, for instance, the politician who will sit on a stool and milk a cow the old fashioned way — by hand.   In most cases this publicity stunt does very little to prove they will be adept at governing once they hit the capitol steps.   Even so, it gives the onlookers a chance to laugh at someone who often doesn’t work in ways that ordinarily creates much hilarity.

HarrispossumBut courting the constituency vote in this Midwestern manner pales in comparison to what they do down in Florida.   That’s right.   In Florida apparently it’s in vogue in one small city for the politicians to prove their worthiness for office by grabbing a live possum by the tail.   The key here is to hold it high…hold it carefully…hold it tight so…well, the damn thing doesn’t struggle up and bite you in the arm.   It’s not enough to have a positive stance on the issues…nope, here you must also roll up your sleeves and eventually prove there are no bite marks.

Maybe in Florida they use the possum as some kind of political litmus test.   If the possum can bite you…how in the hell would you be able to withstand all the growling and teeth-showing that goes on across from the political isle at the legislature.   Much like ground hogs are relied upon to predict the longevity of winter in Pennsylvania, why not a possum to serve as some sort of soothsayer capable of determining political viability in the Sunshine State.

Of course it extends much deeper than this.   Not only does a candidate need to hold a live possum, but they must also prove they can stomach the taste once it is served up on the platter.   As one candidate put it… “You know that part where they say it tastes like chicken?   That’s a bad chicken.”   I suppose so.   But for the photo-op and the humility it shows, most of these politicians will simply grin and bear it to put on a good show for the voters.

And so it goes for most politicians no matter from what what part of the country they might hail.   They do whatever is necessary to get the vote.   I can’t help but make the comparison to NASCAR and what they call “silly season.”   In the motorsports world this is the time of the year when teams and drivers shuffle their allegiances to sign new deals often with a completely different team.   Is it really much different in political circles?   The political “silly season” lasts for months leading up to election day then the behavior magically disappears usually on the first Wednesday in November.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear a candidate say… “no, I’m not going to grab a possum by the tail or a cow by the teat.   It’s not naturally me to do that sort of thing.   My actions are not just publicity stunts but revolve around serious behavior for making important life decisions that affect many.”   Of course, candidates have long since learned that by doing so will probably not get them elected.   They have to comply with local social pressures even if this dictates they must act out-of-the-ordinary a la some kind of fraternity/sorority pledge behavior.

Indeed, in all parts of the country the political silly season is in full swing.   Sportsmen are likely to see candidates for office performing just about any type of behavior if they believe it will gain them some votes.   This includes hunting and fishing.   Is it enough for you to see a picture of a candidate holding a big fish to prove they are outdoors savvy?   Is it enough evidence for you to see this same candidate holding a gun out pheasant hunting to know they will make the right vote when important conservation measures come before them?

At times politics can be a great source of comedy…but this is usually only during the political silly season.   Once these folks get down to the business we elected them to accomplish the laughing and juvenile behavior must quickly subside.   I’d like to think most sportsmen put careful thought into choosing the right elected official, but the truth is far too many people step into the voting booth not really that educated about the people they plan to vote into office.

Remember, it’s not what the political candidates do before they get into office that really matters to our life.   If they want to play with possums and have their photos snapped doing so…more power to them.   But don’t allow this grandstanding to serve as any kind of proof they are the best candidate for that office.   These folks are not auditioning to do Dave Letterman’s “Stupid Human Tricks.”   Instead, they are auditioning to represent you and the future of our beloved outdoor heritage.   Don’t be confused by all these political antics when the time comes for you to step into that voting booth this coming November.

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.