Sunday, May 27, 2018

Solar System

Jack and Eli have built a model of the Solar System at Deep Springs:

For several weeks, Eli and I have been planning and assembling an accurate scale model of the solar system stretching from the main campus to the lake corrals. We expect to put it all in place today. You may notice some stumps with spheres glued to rocks on top of them, notably near the dairy barn and on the road to the lake. Please, PLEASE do NOT move or otherwise disturb them. If any of them are causing problems, please let me know and I'll figure out a solution. We hope everyone will have a chance to take a look and enjoy it! We hope to leave it in place for at least a few weeks to give lots of people opportunities to check it out, and I'm sure Eli would be delighted to give in-person tours to anyone.

We were inspired by the fact that there's simply no adequate way to depict the proper scale and relationships of the planets and their orbits on paper or on screen. Only a large model such as this can really impart an accurate sense of the sizes and distances in play. We were inspired by an excellent video of a similar project in Nevada's Black Rock Desert ( Thanks to that region's flatness, those people were able to drive vehicles on their orbital paths and produce some great video of the results. Deep Springs doesn't offer quite the same possibilities, but we felt obligated to take advantage of our access to a large, mostly empty desert valley and make something similar in the space we have.

For those interested in details, the scale we are working with falls out to 1:404,324,324 (about twice as large as that used by the Black Rock folks, thanks to our not needing to drive our orbits). The Sun will be depicted on the side of the block house, while Neptune will be at the lake corrals - all other measurements flowed from these choices. This gives our Sun a diameter of 3.44 meters and Earth a diameter of 3.15 centimeters. Our calculations surely have rounding errors and other mistakes, and our actual constructions are necessarily imperfect; however I'm confident that they're sufficiently in the ballpark to impart a reasonably true sense of the scales in question. I've attached some Google Earth screenshots to give a birds-eye view of the project.

Some additional trivia:
In this model, Pluto's average distance from the Sun would put it out past the DS Lake bed at the base of the slopes beyond; its perihelion would be just inside Neptune's orbit a couple hundred yards before the corrals; and its aphelion would be well up in the hills near Westgard Pass.
Voyager I, humanity's furthest-ranging spacecraft, has made it nearly to the crest of the Palisades, or assuming a different direction, nearly to the Fishlake Hot Springs.
Going much bigger, the Oort Cloud, which represents the beginning of the end of the Solar System and the Sun's sphere of influence, would be located a ways past Madagascar.
Proxima Centauri, our nearest neighboring star, requires a different approach - at this scale it would be found about 99,350 kilometers away, approximately a quarter of the way to the (actual) moon.
Happy end of term to all!

Jackson and Eli

Paul Domski's Waylon

THIS is a SALUKI (or tazi if you prefer).
Paul says: "he's half Kurd, half Syrian, he's the fastest damn saluki I've had and seen, with drive like no other dog."

Our Bo is similar, and still a bit hard to control.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Still standng...

.. to write at the upright desk novelist Brad Watson gave me in Laramie- or as we say here automatically,"Still staggering".

Professional Travel Writers

I've heard it called "explornography". I don't want to do it.

In The Folk of the Air, the great novel about, among other things, Berkeley and the Society for Creative Anachronism, Peter Beagle, in the person of his protagonist, Joe, had this to say:

"No," he said. "It's like the trouble I have when I travel.Wherever I go, I always want to spend a lifetime there. Anywhere - Tashkent, Calabria, East Cicero. I always want to be born there and grow up and know everything about the place and be horribly ignornant and die. I don't approve of flying visits."

I wanted to call Eagle Dreams "Flying Visit" with this quote up front. The publisher wouldn't let me. I still may,

The New Bird...

is an (A) good big boy Aplo/ (B) little male Gyr {C) BIG... hybrid of unknown gender. We tend to call him "him" but are looking for a genderless trial name until or unless we have "him" DNA tested.

Meanwhile, he's a sweetheart-- look how calm he was putting on jesses (Yeah, I KNOW, two different kinds!)

Annyushka says her undoubted male flies at less than 450 g,which would be typical. Ours is already 22 oz fat and empty-- more than 600 g, heavier than anything since the Gyr hybrids from Nevada that Les killed...

Monday, May 07, 2018

The return of Chatham

Those that say that there are no second acts in American life have obviously never met the painter (writer, publisher, restrauteur, etc.) Russell Chatham He has to my certain knowledge cycled from serious rag to serious riches four times, and it may have been five or six.

In his various reincarnations, he has returned from Montana to his roots as a California painter, and is now living a couple of houses away from his and our old friend Thomas Quinn. I think it was a good move. In this interview he says a lot of interesting things about painting, fame, and money. Russ is an old friend, but I also owe him a lot. Not only did he have the perception to publish Querencia after it was turned down by several less imaginative publishers; he introduced me quite consciously to Libby.


..everything. But I m now convinced that my karate- competitor neurologist, Dr Jill Marjama-Lyons, will do the operation or operations to correct the mistakes made by... another team.

My impatience is palpable, but we are all keeping a sense of humor. A new drug schedule has me moving again. A bird or birds (Bill?) will help. I think it was Daniel Riviera's guru, Ed Pitcher, who famously said "Raptors or Valium", or as we ruder types say, "Raptors or Heroin!" Some progress in writing too. Writing: Book of Books Version 2 is off the stasis point, thank God. I am hoping for help on the Passenger Pigeon book, and that a new electronic "ear" will help Lib take dictation. House remodeling advances. Life can still be good.

TK: Russ Chatham returns, the guns, and something astronomical from Jack and Eli..

Here tomorrow

Ezzie's chick:

Matt thinks that before their feathers are sprouted they are too young to leave mother, but I say it is the perfect time for the cat feeder to do its magic work.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ezzy's First

First Aplo hybrid pipped at Matt's:

How we raise babies

This 7/8 Gyr was the last we raised our own way. He was perfect, and probably would be with us still. But a supposedly experienced falconer, a biologist, begged us to let him "start" the bird on game. In a week he fed it a bridge pigeon and killed it-- but he didn't tell us for a month.I was so depressed I didn't even tell the breeder, who probably thinks that we're the idiots. It was the last Gyr, my favorite species, I felt able to keep up with -- Gyr flights can easily go four miles on Lee's ranch. He was a good bird. We have raised little birds this way too.

Monday, April 16, 2018

John's new shop

With a 16 foot bench and lathe, among other things. Full service amateur non profit custom gun shop.


Including ones to keep Bo in...

And the garden about to begin (after a 2 year hiatus). Hawk housing rear.

Saturday, March 31, 2018


No one doubts that Sam Beckett was among the greatest playwrights of our time. Tom Mcintyre compares him to Shakespeare. He was Anglo- Irish and went to Trinity College in Dublin but lived in Paris nearly all his life, where he was a hero of the Resistance. He had one of the all- time great faces:

Probably his his greatest play is "Endgame" (the serious contenders sre "Waiting for Godot" and (?) "Krapp's Last Tape". Tom has had the good fortune to appear in "Endgame" in Sheridan WY this week.

Years ago my artist - fisherman friend Dellas Henke from Michigan had the good fortune to run into Beckett in Paris and get his Godot signed...

Good Reed (Austin) pics

With his grandson, and off Block Island

Sunday, March 25, 2018

More; toward a history of Modern Sporting Literature....

STILL more Updates!
(SPORT, Steve's definition, actually used in The (Cambridge) Real Paper back then, for the game dinner to be known as "Bodio kills it, Nadeau cooks it." "Sport: I agree with the Ewdardian Brits."Sport" takes place upon or after animals. Anything that uses balls is a GAME!")

This would be after West Cambridge, premature marriage, running Organisms Prep from my lair on the eleventh floor, and siccing the biker gang on the Weather Underground, but a little before English Literary Renaissance, Phillip Larkin, the firewood biz, and Betsy (mostly) It was inspired by a note from my dear old friend F. Reed Austin, who was my editor at Gray's Sporting Journal and who alleges my first words to him were "I wore a fucking tie for this?!" I was dressed in my best corduroy jacket with elbow patches, a tie and clean jeans, which i thought I thought made up for my Jim Morrison-esque hair,

but "Mr. Austin" had even longer hair, and stubble, and gold- rimmed glasses, and was cleaning his toes with a penknife, when I was ushered into his presence after a fleeting handshake from a distracted Ed Gray in the hall. I had recognized Ed as the genial new stranger my age who was showing up my grouse coverts in Easton. It seemed this fancy 3rd floor office on Beacon Street in Brookline was keeping some secrets from me.

The ageless Ed and Becky Gray, last year-- not only for a shining moment he best magazine editors in the country, but the best hosts.Their hospitality helped me survive Betsy's death.

Reed, who wrote a lovely eulogy for his wife Gordon, another old friend who died very young, that is in my recent blog archives, was to become my chief companion in sport for several years. Being that it was the Roaring Seventies, and that Reed and I had strong bodies and were no strangers to excess, a lot of this consisted of getting blasted and going out to have adventures. As we were young and strong and resilient, we were not enjoined to moderation; in those days we could get away with it, and for years did, despite our commitment to making art- I will not use a lesser word- of often crummy sow's ear of Sporting "Literature". Was it ever a CONSCIOUS genre apart from Ed's big idea and the remarkable sui generis period when a departing French editor picked a horseplayer's daughter named Patricia Ryan out of the secretarial pool and gave her the job of running Time- Life's flagship sporting weekly, Sports Illustrated.

Without Pat Ryan's stable of young men there would probably have been no "Modern Sporting Literature" as we know it, for they either wrote or influenced all of it; I am not the only one who still keeps SI's from the late 60's and early 70's around. They were VERY young- writing from this vantage, it is hard to believe that Tom McGuane, "Squire Tom" of long fame and respectability, who looks like and IS an old rancher who is also welcome at the Yale Club
was the guy with shoulder length hair known as Captain Berserko in Key West.
But he was about 26 when I first fell in love with his prose,and Jim Harrison was neither gnarly nor rich.
Russell Chatham had long dark hair and and was not fat and had not blown through three (four?) fortunes and a restaurant.In the first photo here, with Harrison, McGuane, and Guy de la Valdene (still another good writer who was one of Pat's boys), he looks much as he did when he introduced me to Libby twenty- some years ago.
(Well, maybe like THIS ; honesty compels me to say that Russ was skinny when we first met, but years of good cooking and eating at Deep Crick,a sort of second home to me in those restless years after Betsy's death, put weight on all of us*; this film was made by the late Flagstaff photographer Ed George, who accompanied me on my fist Mongolia expedition on legendary editor Terry McDonnell's dime). UPDATE; no it wasn't. No matter; this one is better!

As he is today. He has returned to his native California to paint and write about his roots, often in Richard Anderson's California Fly Fisher, and lives just down the street from our painter friend and his, Thomas Quinn. Below is the iconic-- I WILL say that- portrait of McGuane, from the first issue of Outside. Try writing a hunting article for them today...

("Gatz" Hjortsberg, the late, was remarkably youthful and serene as long as he lived, an exception to every rule- I treasure a copy of Falling Angel with an exhortation to "Keep those fighting pigeons flying!")
There were other oddballs of talent around; like the Bozeman poet Greg Keeler, author of "Is the ouzel stupid?", the Montana poet turned rifle maven John Barsness; the often baroque but always elegant, hyperliterate young Los Angeles stylist Tommy McIntyre, whose 21st birthday present was, I think, the last safari in Kenya... First photo SB & TM with found antelope head, near the Lightning Field in Catron County NM ca 1984, which led directly to a Sports Afield piece that began "They wouldn't let us run the hounds in the art installation."
(The last is Tommy last week, starring in a well received production of Beckett's Endgame in Sheridan, Wyoming, his home of Many years-- you can take the boy out of Hollywod but maybe you can't take Hollywood out of the boy...

A few were older, like the wisest and most modest outdoor writer who ever wrote, Charley Waterman, Mason "Tim " Smlth, writing from the genteel wilderness of the Adirondacks on such things as traditional canoes; and, uniquely, "Bad" Bob Jones over from Time and soon up in Vermont, Bob, the consumnate not quite Boho (but Gonzo avant la lettre, ie before Hunter Thompson) reporter and the hippest foreign correspondent since Negley Farson; he had more than fifty TIME covers to his name, an unsurpassed number, coined the word 'Hippie' in its demotic form, and was briefly Dylan's Mr Jones.. I can see his gray flannel Brooks bros suit,sure, but also those ever- startling blazing blue eyes under those brooding black brows, obvious even to his loving daughter who painted a portrait very much giving them prominence, called Mean Dad with Nice Dog- one of his beloved yellow labs-- as he told of taking tons of acid and speed at the Formula Car races soon thereafter to prove to himself-- no one one else ever doubted his physical or moral courage ; he wasn't afraid of such things... Meanwhile, a couple of book covers, including the Spanish edition of Blood Sport with a Tyrannosaur on the cover (there are no dinosaurs in Blood Sport), which Bob inscribed "Con pazienza y saliva el Elefante se culo la hormiga"-- that was our Bob, who nearly started two fistfights at one of my weddings, for and against the Vietnam war, and somehow had time to tell an old New York society woman, Joanie van Ness, a bit of history that she didn't want to know. "Who is that odious Bob Jones? He just told me that Pope Innocent some numberorother buggered altar boys!" Here he is at that very wedding, with his Louise, his wife of forty- some years (don't let her gentle looks fool you; not only is she among the most formidably literate humans I have ever met, and my friends include Anne Proulx and Tom McGuane; she once allegedly skinned and butchered a bear naked, as a sort of study for a scene in Slade's Glacier; true or not- I believe it--i adore her. Look at the amused, resigned, but still affectionate look she gives the old warrior as he looks around for another battle..
Bob loved over- the- top plots, killing off his friends in books, and "Blood" in a book's title.
"Bad Bob is the Blood MASTER!" said then girlfriend and Canadian literary critic Elaine Duffy- and that after Bob had thrown us out of his car at 2 AM in a sudden fury, after drinking the night away with Annie Proulx in her half- finished house, leaving us to walk five miles drunk at 3 AM and talk our way into a motel... I forgave him easily when I found this note waiting for me in New Mexico:

Then there was Nick Lyons, the last gentleman editor, without whom sporting lit probably wouldn't exist....

WHOA! I digress , and will, because my recent PD therapy & REDUCTION in drugs has released a flood of energy. Therefore expect (unless everyone hates this!), an occasional rambling instalment of my (ahem) MEMOIRS, which I have planned for a long time. They will be episodic and "thematic" according to subject because I like to do it that way. And I owe Mary Karr, who I don't know, for writing her tragicomic redneck/ Catholic convert/ recovered drunk memoir The Liar's Club, which I read aloud to Libby on the way to Utah a few years ago, and who has now done the definitive book on memoirs,from Stop Time to Nabokov, and who has inspired me to get started (note to Helen Macdonald if she reads this: get me Mary's contact info!)

So since there will be a lot more, let me bring this segment to its temporary end.

The New Sport Lit was overwhelmingly talented-- and virtually all male. I don't want to blame this on editors- Ed Gray in particular went all- out to encourage female writers But all too few came forth.

The main exception was to be Anne Proulx, unique there as in many things. She and I tried for a while, with the help of Bob Jones among others, to buld the foundation for a new sporting lit at at Wildbranch, but... that was not what was wanted. I stayed nine years and was insulted by their anthology, while Annie had the sense to leave. Oh well, anyway, a few good years is all anyone can expect...
More TK

*Proudest I have ever been of my cooking was a dinner there after which Russ said "I wish I had four cook stations here so you, Guy, Libby, and I could all cook at once!" He didn't mention Harrison...