Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Waiting out the storm in the UP

     Last weekend I drove about 700 miles. On Thursday, 350 miles, almost due north, through Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Then 350 miles back on Sunday. Quite a long way, really.
     Why? The 60 hours in between. The company: I drove with my brother, reunited with old friends there. We’ve been meeting in the UP for more than a decade. Nature: the deep woods, the ever-changing, frigid lake, the wild turkeys. The food: tomahawk chops from Peoria Packing. Beef jerky picked up at Held’s in Slinger, Wis.
     You’ll note that we brought our food. UP cuisine — pastiescq and doughnuts — not so hot. Though the town where we stay, Ontonagon, now has a juice bar, The Squeeze on Main, and I grabbed a salad there for lunch Friday. Not bad, if a little short on lettuce, more like a bowl of chicken, cheese and sliced apples with some greens mixed in. A Yooper salad. At least there were no Beer Nuts in it.
     A six-hour-plus drive, but that was also part of the fun. Usually the car ride is seen as a necessary evil to get from Point A to Point B. Wasted time. But on this trip, the 700 miles was an unfolding diorama of beauty, the rolling vistas of farmland, shrouded in mist in the morning, glorious in the midday sun. Undulating fields of corn, yellow-tasseled and ready to harvest. Alfalfa in big round bales, each weighing a ton, either left to dry or because the farmers haven’t had time to collect them yet. The raw forest pushed back from the highway — deep green pines and white-trunked birches.
     A lot of industry up there too. Even the town names suggest products: Winnebago, Land O’Lakes, Oshkosh. The vast Harley Davidson plant. Just passing through, I don’t see how you can feel anything but hopeful about America, despite our deepening problems. When didn’t we have problems?
     Sure, there were scatterings of Trump flags, and “Let’s Go Brandon” signs. At least they’re concise. “I’m a dupe in thrall to a liar, bully, fraud and traitor,” is a lot to fit on a sign. I did sincerely marvel at yard signs plugging Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, which made me want to stop and ring the doorbell and earnestly inquire. “Really? Ron Johnson? The guy who tried to shrug off his sedition because it only lasted ‘a couple of seconds’? The man’s an idiot.”

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  1. That poster with Cadet Bone Spurs standing on the front of an amphibious tank landing on a beach, supposedly in combat, holding a huge rifle is hysterically funny!
    That clown is far too much of a coward to ever do something that brave. He's always talked big about heroism, but would actually hide behind a child if there were actual guns firing!
    As for the various anti-Biden signs, I wonder how many of the jerks that put them up get money from the federal government in Social Security or have Medicare?

    1. Sorry to say, Clark St., but I think your criticism of Trump is about as insightful as the "Joe Biden Sucks" poster.It's irrelevant whether the Donald is a craven coward or has the courage of a Braveheart. As to his bone spurs, nobody but idiots like me were anxious to join up to fight for Vietnam's freedom. Today, I yearn for the coming of an age in which wars cannot be fought because nobody will join the military. That age is yet far far off. My point, however, is that Trump and DeSantis and Abbot are not the problem; it's our fellow Americans who are the problem and they may yet become an insoluble problem, as they rush to turn back the clock to ante bellum days.


    2. Clark's criticism of Trump is perfectly cromulent. It is of course relevant to point out that trump is a liar, con man and fraud. Not sure why you are defending him.

    3. How many of the jerks that put up all those stupid signs get money from the federal government in Social Security or have Medicare? Plenty. Damn near all of them. They're mostly Boomer age. And many of the same clowns who piss and moan about "makers and takers" are the very folks...retired military...who get veterans' benefits, disability checks, military pensions for lifers, and sometimes all of them simultaneously.

      And they live like freaking royalty. Snowbirds who never see a snowflake anymore, multiple houses, monster trucks, enormous Harleys, expensive Jeeps, and all the rest of the stuff that the folks you label as "jerks" like so much. Where do you think they get all the moolah for their toys? From Uncle!

      A month ago, I visited one of those yahoos...a relative...for what will probably be the final time. We were as close as brothers for most of our lives, but now I just can't handle the boozing and the ranting anymore. Alcoholism and conservatism are a potent and Sometimes, a pinko's just gotta do what he's gotta do. Bye, Cuzz.

      And those same signs and sentiments are easily spotted "Up North" in Central Michigan...or down in southern Ohio...or in West Missitucky, AKA Indiana. It's not just a Wisconsin thing. It's not even just a Midwestern thing. It's an Untied Snakes thing. It's everywhere, once you get out of the urban blue islands (no pun intended) and onto the byways that crisscross the Red the heart of the heart of the country.

      And the worst is yet to come. The losers...of elections, that is...will no longer ask for a recount, but a reload. Today's young people face a potholed and jolting bus ride, on a mined road. Followed by the plunge over the cliff and into the abyss. For obvious reasons, I'm glad I'm 75...and not 25. My trip to Telluride ("to hell you ride") will be a relatively short one...but just as bumpy.

  2. Understanding why Wisconsin would send an idiot like Johnson to Washington requires only a look back to "Jail Gunner Joe." The state has a history of veering from left to right politically -- from the Lafollett's and the progressive movement to people like idiot Ron.

  3. I try to remain optimistic and enjoy life on a day to day basis much as you describe on your trip. Unfortunately, in the back of my mind is my agreement that things will get worse. Our country has devolved into an unsustainable system that will no longer have elections where losers accept defeat. Whatever trust the people had in government is all but gone.
    Thompson was right. I wish he was still around just to hear his take.
    I believe our government will eventually follow the same path as Cuba's. It's history is remarkable, particularly prior to Castro's rule.
    There's a reason it was so easy for him to overthrow the Fascist Batista's empire.

  4. Go for it! Knock on that door and let fly!


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