Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Two Badass Western New Mexicans

John Davila and Miss BoBo:

I Missed this Novel and it's already in PB...

Celine.
The a heroine is a 67 year- old New Yorker of upper- class background with emphysema and a drinking problem, controlled but not gone. She is a private detective. Her "Watson" is her husband, an ex-communist lobsterman named Pete.

She faces down a biker gang in a Red Lodge MT bar with the simple Samurai statement "I'm already dead." Of course her hand is on a Glock 26 in her pocket and at least one of them is dead too but they don't KNOW.

There is enough natural tragedy in the background, like there is in the lives of most seventyish people with heart and imagination I know, that there is nothing cheaply clever about it.

One reviewer compared her (the heroine, not the author) to a "wise Annie Proulx". Not QUITE, but I know what she meant- and both are complimented...

Good New England, New York, and Yellowstone; good guns & their use; and the best writing about high- society Northeasterners, I swear, since James and Edith Wharton. I'm in love...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Very Small Pig

"Zoo Paul" McCormack of Michigan, one of my oldest friends, runs an animal educational business. He also owns the smallest pig I have ever seen, even when it grew up...amazing.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Another Damn Urban Coop sentenced to "Transportation."

This one killed a squeaker. I missed him with a butterfly net and because he only flew to he top of the fence tried again with a BC. This proved his undoing, but only because of greed- he put his foot into the trap between the bars, killed the bird, and refused to let go of its head-- not attached by any nylon nooses!
Note Gorbatov Japanese Gos behind and that he is digging into the web between my fingers. Released in Socorro, he vanished faster than the camera's shutter, like many do. Unpleasant birds, but great hunters...
Last: a Chinese- spiced risotto made from the luckless pigeon:
And one more:best release pic, of a previous bird, who flew right into the camera.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Paul Schmolke, call "Home"

We are worried. Daniel and Carlos have been travelling in South America, and I have been fighting neurologists, but we still notice. Let us know WHATEVER happens..

Sunday cartoons

The first from Jackson Frishman; the second from the ubiquitous New Yorker, source of all our refrigerator art.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Lucky friends

Daniel Riviera and Carlos Martinez del Rio horse trekking in the Andes.

New Vadim & Joseph Crawhall

No GOOD old dog is too old to learn good old tricks. The latest pics in Vadim Corbatov's Russian site () include this farm scene renminiscent of the work of the dissolute short- lived English painter Joseph Crawhall, who illustrated Abel Chapman in the manner of "the painters of the caves", according to Don Robero (Robert Bontine Cunninghame- Graham). Tom Quinn thinks his white pigeon may be the best in the world. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Bad news for Tim

About a month ago, Tim Murphy, de facto poet laureate of North Dakota if not of the entire west, sent me this poem teasing me for not going hunting with him this year.
Before I reply or even make a wisecrack, I got the following:

"Dear Hunting Buddies, I have Stage IV cancer in my hip, spine, and esophagus
We have a plan. The femur is a crisis, a twig ready to snap. Next week an orthopedic oncologist will insert a metal rod through the marrow, knee to hip, perhaps even do a hip replacement.
Radiation, which requires five day bursts, will start soon in Fargo. My medical institutions here and there are used to collaborating smoothly.

"Chemo: Mayo wants me to participate in an experimental trial combining chemotherapy and the new immunotherapy. Certainly makes sense, kill the bad guys and encourage the good. This will require a trip every two weeks for two months. Then they will pet scan me and see if it's working. I'm going to do it. We'll know in three months whether they can extend my life beyond this year.

"Cancer in three places, very malignant; my friend, the situation couldn't be more dire. But as my oncologist said, "We can't cure this, but we can control it." A brilliant young man, he's made it from Mumbai to the Mayo, and that is the first ray of hope.

"I have two attachments for you fellows, the huge hunting section of Hiking All Night, and the new cancer log. I can't believe I've written 33 pages in twenty days. You'll see my morale leaves nothing to be desired.

Tim"

Tim is an almost unbelievably tough man. Raised in Hibbing, MN (with Bob Dylan as a babysitter!); a Yale scholar and a protege of Robert Penn Warren, a farmer, businessman and classic poet. He's been rich and he's been poor. He chose to live as a gay man in a tough rural northern setting, not an easy decision. He was widowed from his partner Alan Sullivan, a great translator of Beowulf among other things, by cancer. He's a practicing Catholic, a drinker and smoker; above all, the most serious pheasant hunter I have ever known. He has owned five great dogs and written the best poems on hunting dogs I've ever seen. Keep him in your hearts and prayers and read Hunter's Log and the poems he has coming out. Here is a YouTube interview with him a few years ago when that book came out.


"Our dogs teach us how to die."




Friday, January 19, 2018

Mass Saiga die- off

Two thirds of the population of the Saiga, a Central Asian Antelope, died almost simultaneously.

The event was somewhere in seriousness between the Indian vulture crisis and the death of the passenger pigeon. Turns out it was a seemingly benign combination of humidity and a previously harmless microbe. A harbinger of things to come? Thanks to ZooPaul.

Why I like the "Plain Gun".

The seriously flawed first edition of Good Guns, rife with errors and badly illustrated by me, i(s a ...perhaps justifiably... rare book. But it does contain a line drawing of the Platonic ideal of a boxlock gun, and despite the pernicious French influence, as seen in the exaggeratedly curved"shadbelly" stock, it looks a lot like "Plain Gun" (a Weston from Brighton).
Getting the images of gun and illo in the same focus even after Libby outlined the latter ( I CAN'T) but you get the idea...

Eulogy

My wonderful sister Anita's eulogy for Mary. I would not change a word.


"If thou of fortune be bereft, and in thy store there be but left two loaves, sell one, and with the dole, buy hyacinths to feed thy soul."- John Greenleaf Whittier

This quote by John Greenleaf Whittier was my mother's favorite and she truly lived by it. She was heard saying it not because she was a materialistic person, (although the woman knew her way around a stores' sale racks like she had radar) but because she believed in feeding the soul. She would pinch pennies to be sure we'd get lessons in whatever we REALLY needed to learn at the time. She'd drive us anywhere to feed our spirits. I recall many occasions when there would be something we wanted that wasn't necessarily practical..."hyacinth for the soul!" She'd shout and if it meant a great deal to us, she'd do her best to make sure we had it. She believed in the beauty of feeling good and of happiness in even the smallest of gestures. Her own and that of those around her. She tried to provide us with the necessities but also with a sense of individuality, on a budget. Having so many kids always seemed like a shock to her. She grew up the non-practical, artistic child of quiet, !
hardworking parents and their other conservative children. That was, until 14 years later, when Myles came along. Having another albeit younger outgoing, fun-loving (crazy) sibling allowed her to really shine. Then she met Dad, a much more conservative but still very artistic guy. The rest is history.

Having nine children, she learned to be frugal with a flare. We can all attest her artistic arrangement of hand me downs. It was legendary. What was once a dress, now a cool pant suit for a leggier child. She was always trying to get us to wear more color and ditch the slimming black clothing. She was the only mother I know who encouraged us the wear more make up, not wash off what we were wearing. Despite having so many daughters and being so “sparkly” and devoted to us, her boys held a special place on her heart. One might say they were her favorites but she’d never say that aloud. She would talk about them endlessly and travel to the ends of the earth to be around them. At any given time, she could be seen walking coursing hounds or hanging out on a ranch with Steve in New Mexico, having drinks with while they poked fun at her accent at Mike’s favorite watering hole in Georgia or riding as the belle of the parade at Mardi Gras in St. Croix with Mark. She loved be!
ing near them and sharing in their adventurous spirits. She shined even brighter when the boys were around although she shined her light on all that surrounded her. Her perspective, which she shared readily, was that of an artist. The colors, the shadows and light she saw in glorious detail. She wanted us all to be good people who saw good in situations instead of darkness. She would point out everyday objects but describe them as extraordinary. Even as her mind and body began to fail her, we'd be driving down the road and she's sit up taller and say "Look at at that tree! The leaves practically glow! Or we'd be driving by the ocean and she'd stare at it and describe the color as only she could see it. Believe me when I tell you, she could talk about ANYTHING in great detail. Her brother lovingly call his "little sister" 78 RPM because she talked so fast and with such energy, she sounded like a record on the wrong speed. For you young people, go check out what a record is i!
n a museum. They were ancient music producers that are now making a nostalgic comeback. She saw art in everything and attempted to pass on her love of art to all of us in various ways. She would keep us entertained with art projects and crafts. She always encouraged us to express ourselves with art. With one exception, however, painting sunsets. Many years ago, one of us was attempting to paint a sunset and was frustrated it didn't look real. She told to them it was almost impossible to paint a sunset that looked authentic. The actual sunsets are so glorious and beautiful, they always wind up looking too colorful and fake on paper or canvas. Even photographs of sunsets rarely do them justice. Because of this, in my mind, I see Mom meeting the artist that creates the actual sunsets. In awe, she’ll says "bravo!" staring at his latest creation and maybe, just maybe... God will allow her to paint a few. So look around you, look up to the skies. Notice the beauty in the minutiae. See the contrast of colors or the beauty in the sunset and know her spirit is with us always.

To paraphrase a Beatles song that I heard constantly as a child and believed it was about her; "I wake up to the sound of music mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And though it may be cloudy there is still light that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be! We love you, Mom! Your spirit will live on in all of us. Rest In Peace seems to confining for her so I say...dance with the angels, Mom!



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

" I ain't dead yet!"

I cant help but think the cowboy defiance is a little forced- but here are Libby and me at the Bar last night to celebrate her 71'st, Parkinson's, broken teeth, and all.

A few Tributes to Mary

From Margory Cohen:
"dear Steve -
Thoughts with you.
When my Ma died, I felt it in my skin. I still do -
They stay with us, they're in us.
And we remember - and that's the best tribute.
Being remembered.
Please take care of you.

Annie Davidson:
I was sorry to read your mother has died.
I remember first meeting her on her way to a modeling gig, looking lovely in a bright red big-sweater over tights -- absolutely the ultra modern in casual-wear.
And there was one particular painting I remember I loved even before she explained it to me what it was; her view looking down through moving water to the rounded rocks on the bottom of a stream. I thought that water looked cold. How did she do that?
She was very special, and I would have liked to know her better. I am grateful I got as much of her as I did.

John Hill:
I was sad never to know you Mother Steve, but Peculiar has posted such a sensitive eulogy for a Great Life - Our thought are with you all.
Johnny UK and June,

Jackson Frishman (Peculiar)
Memory eternal! I wish I had been able to see her more - she was always thoughtful and gracious to her far-away step-grandson. And I remain ever fond of her Salmon River painting that she gave us for a wedding present.

John L Moore
Condolences on your mother passing. You have had ample tests for some time, Steve. I pray for a radiant breakthrough.

Gil Stacy ("separated at birth")
Steve, over the years we have commiserated about our moms, often in amazement at their gifts but all the while recognizing their humanity. Mom often repeats "you can choose your friends, but not your relatives." Even if you had the choice, it would always be your wonderful, beautiful mom. My mom, soon to be 90, has kept her supply of tact intact over the years as well, never keeping a thought inside. A friend in losing his mom told me it was as if a library of family history burned to the ground. I hope we can talk soon. You and your sibs are in my heart and on my mind. Gil

Friday, January 12, 2018

Because it Can

Courtship of Satyr Tragopan:

Building art by Mary

Mary often accepted architectural art projects for money, and word got around, so it wasn't all houses for vain rich people. Easton, Mass, where we grew up, has more architecture by the Gilded age architect Richardson than Boston, because he was a friend of the Ames family, the town squires. Many years later, Mary bcame a sort of court painter to them. I think virtually every building here was by him, including the wonderful public library that nourished my early reading, the Ames Free Library.
c

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Good Bones

Several people have sent me links to Nora Krug's Washington Post essay on Maggie Smith's poem "Good Bones"- you know, the one that begins "Life is short/ Though we keep it from our children" (sorry, no link- still hypertext challenged).

Although I agree with everything she says, and recommend the essay, which also features Smith reading from the poem, I am more cynical.

I think we don't tell them how short life is because they wouldn't-- couldn't-- believe it


UPDATE: Aaah, here:

One of the Many Reasons I like Khanat

Email 2 days after 9-11:
(His name has changed its spelling through the years, but that is not surprising in a culture with at least 3 official languages and at least that many alphabets).

Mary T . M. Bodio 1925 - 2018

My mother, Mary Theresa McCabe Bodio, died last night after a long twilight fade. As my sister Karen said "She was a tough old broad." A genteel woman, she probably wouldn't have liked that.

She was beautiful, talented, more intelligent than she often pretended. She also could be a difficult woman.The last time I saw her, her first words to me were "You look old!" (I did).

She was an artist, at times a serious one, and above all, she would say, mother of nine children, of which I am the eldest. She will be mourned by many. I shall write more about her, but not today.
Happily painting in the 80's.
In this next one, perhaps a decade later, out of her element and enjoying it: at the Truth or Consequences rodeo with the late ranch matriarch Betty Pound.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

More "Remains"

WWII- era Ithaca- made 1911.The old rubbed finish reminds me of pewter...
Lawrence of Arabia's copy of Norman Douglas's Together You can always recognize a Douglas book BACKWARDS because of its weird indices. And know your book trivia. I got this almost free in Berkeley because I was the first person (in 5 years) to recognise the bookplate...

Urban Coopers

My theory about the New Cooper's hawks we deal with is that the population is an early incipient species, branching off by isolation in diet and other things in the manner described by Menno Schiltshuizen as a mechanism for SYMPATRIC speciation, something more conventional scientists deny exists (Shiltshuizen convinced Ernst Mayr)

Evidence? Their population has been winnowed twice, by Trichomonas and West Nile; they feed almost entirely on pigeons and doves, are incredibly aggressive, yet live in closer proximity to each other tha any other Accipiter.
That would bw enough for me, but Tim Gallagher and Lucas Macchais just sent me a paper from the American Ornithologists Union confirming my intuitions.In Albuquerque, they are not only thriving; they are "... forcing their rural neighbors out of their nest sites"--!!"

I expect to see more such phenomena, more ne and (initially?) crypto-species, in ths Brave New World of weeds and rapid evolution.

See also: Inheritors of the Earth, by Chris Thomas; Feral Future and Where Song Began, by Tim Low; Rambunctious Garden, by Emmma Marris; Suburdia, by John Marzluff.

Teach me code again, please!

Friday, January 05, 2018

What Remains 4-- Association copies.

I have LOTS of them, and will feature more.
The thrush decoy or "Appu" is from Provence- I bought it from a young hunter named Fabre, while staying in his town researching Fabre, the first great student of insect BEHAVIOR, a self- taught peasant who impressed Darwin to the point of writing a fan letter which I have held in these two hands (it GUSHED). Fabre knew nothing aboout his namesake but that there was a statue of him in the town square of Serignan de Comtat. He had a muzzle loading 32 (?) gauge hammer gun with 36' barrels, which he used to shoot sitting songbirds.

The hood is a rather rudimentary one but it was made for me by a genuine Afghan Prince, Sirdar Muhamad Osman, who was a constant correspondent. The hood fit the Grive well...

Unusual Honor

I dont know what to say. A friend has just named a hotel after one of my books!
Khanat Chiryazdan, my old guide and the proprietor of Blue Wolf Travel, IMAO the most interesting travel service in Mongolia (especially if you like eagles), has built a hotel in Olgii city and called it.... "Eagle Dreams Hotel-!!!!
-
































Khanat always wanted to have a hotel, and advertises my book, but this was totally unexpected...

Pics- I lost over 1000 on this computer alone, and must look for good ones. Meanwhile, this one of the cocky young ex- commando in his "Bad Dog" days should do..

Normally I would have links but I have lost (or SOMETHING) the memory to write even modest HTML during my"hiatus". Could someone who could give me comprehensible help -Chas?- check in? Meanwhile info the hotel is available on Blue Wolf and on Khanat's Facebook page

Thursday, January 04, 2018

The Goddess

(Our name for her- her real name is "Mail Orher  Brides come with baggage") was painted by Penelope Caldwell just before we stayed with the Caldwells on our first Laramie visit.

Lid & Penelope
 She stood at the foot of our bed, glowing and glowering, and by the time we left I was in love. Now she is coming to Magdalena, to guard our bed again.

I have always found HER entirely benign, but  but her hounds are another mater. I seem to remember a hunter called Actaeon...
h

What Remains continued

This Filson bag, which has been to every country I have but France:















I sent it to Filson to fix the worn leather a few years ago and they offered to REPLACE it. Why bother?

A couple of pairs of binos. The green Swarovskis are modern 10 X 42's., given to me by Pete Dunne decades ago when he heard I had no good ones.They are the most useful and ergonomic ones  I own, and I would never get rid of them.

But they are not romantic. In about 1968 I first encountered German optics in the form of a pair of Ziess Dialyt 7 X 42's like these, carried by Ian Nesbit on a tern colony where my friend Mike Conca and my sometime teacher Jeremy Hatch were studying.I had never seen anything like them-- their legendary, almost supernatural clarity blew me away... and that lifetime guarantee!

It was the first time I ever fell in love with a tool. There was no question of my buying them then-- they already cost about a thousand bucks, when vintage Parkers and L C Smiths went for 500-- but I vowed I would have them someday. And I did, shortly after the green ones.

They are actually beter than the Swaros for dim light conditions, and they no longer make 7 X 42's in the "dated" Dialyt model, but they are my favorites for less rational reasons.

Knives. Here are a  pair  of blacksmith's knives, one from Magdalena, one from Ulgii. Both are made from truck spring steel. or so I am told. John Besse found the Magdalena one in Kelly ghost town, stuck in a tree, its blade orange, its hilt of juniper white and dry. I cleaned off the rust and sharpened it. The second knife was made for me by the late eagler Manai, from Bayaan Olgii, cousin of Khanat, to go with the snaphaunce. He used one just like it for years.

One more knife, a real Gurkha kukuri, obtained for me by my friend Jean Louis Lassez, traveler, ranch owner, computer geek, satirical artist, Asianist, and fellow Buddho-Catholic, in Nepal.. He had to argue with the shop proprietor to get a real hunter's model, not a gaudy piece of tourist crap. This one is an unpolished carbon steel model with buffalo horn handles.
 Jean Louis' art: Zen Catbox:

Total Change of Subject

For a moment. A friend asked for this atypical (or was it?) but favorite pic of the late Christopher Hitchens, with smoke and a brace of pheasants. Done!
This photo was found and sent by Lauren McGough, who I think has been in both Bayaan Ulgii and Thailand in the last week. Nice work if you can get it! She has also gotten a life size eagle tattooed on her back- pics when I get em...

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

What remains 2: Pigeons

Four pairs, all my self- invented NM Rafenos with a touch of homer, Beauty Homer, and Spanish Barb. The Carriers were just too wild for an old man--TWO hitting the wire and breaking their necks when a  Coop flew by? ( I SAW one do it!)

More to come..