Example of a Lackluster, waste-of-Time Roadside Attraction

I’ve seen cool places from the Pearl of the Orient to the armpit of the US and one thing I’ve found all over is greedy locals ruining the experience for the uninformed passers-through.

Let’s take something from a recent article, the bit about Hobbiton USA in the Redwood forest. They wanted thirteen bucks for two kids and two adults. We sprung the press pass and got them down to $8 but they weren’t impressed. Schucks, they don’t even have email. Continue reading Example of a Lackluster, waste-of-Time Roadside Attraction

Golden Gate Park Is Tons of Fun, Even Outside the Bridge Area

In San Francisco, we hit up the local park and took in as many of the visible sights available as humanly possible, but I’ve got a beef on my plate, a thorn in my side, a bone to pick and a chip on my shoulder I need to divest. I expected a golden gate, both for prettiness and truth in advertising, but I was let down. Smack it up, flip it, paint it with latex if you like, but this thing is made out of steel. Continue reading Golden Gate Park Is Tons of Fun, Even Outside the Bridge Area

Let’s Draft Vets Over 60

About the Author – Bob van der Valk lives in Terry, Montana and is a US Army veteran. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1964 and was honorably discharged in 1966.

We need a new direction for any war by allowing a draft of our nation’s over 60 veterans. We will use the acronym “OOF” (Official Old Farts) and wear special berets to better cover our bald spots.

I am over 60 and the U.S. Armed Forces think I’m too old to track down terrorists. You can’t be older than 42 to join the military. They’ve got the whole thing ass-backwards. We have been sending 18-year olds off to fight instead of taking us old guys. You shouldn’t be able to join a military unit until you’re at least 55.

For starters, researchers found 18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds. We old guys only think about sex a couple of times a day and some twice a year. That leaves us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy and just leave us alone while we are in a fighting and argumentative mood.

Young guys haven’t lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier. ‘My back hurts! I can’t sleep, I’m tired and hungry.’ We are impatient and maybe letting us kill some extreme jihadist, who desperately deserves it, will make us feel better and shut us up for awhile.

An 18-year-old doesn’t even like to get up before 10 am anyway. Old guys always get up early to pee, so what the hell we might as well get our guns and fight for our country. Besides, like I said, I’m tired and can’t sleep and since I’m already up, I may as well be up killing some fanatical terrorist son-of-a-bitch.

If captured we couldn’t spill the beans because we’d forget where we put them. In fact, name, rank and serial number could be a real brainteaser.

Boot camp would be easier for old guys. We’re used to getting screamed and yelled at all day and used to eating soft food like SOS. We’ve also developed an appreciation for guns. We’ve been using them for years as an excuse to get out of the house.

They could lighten up on the obstacle course however. I haven’t been in combat but never saw a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side in my career in the Army, nor did I ever do any pushups after completing basic and advanced infantry training.

While we’re at it, the running part is kind of a waste of energy, too. I’ve never seen anyone outrun a bullet.

An 18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him. He’s still learning to shave, to start a conversation with a pretty girl. He still hasn’t figured out that a baseball cap has a brim to shade his eyes, not the back of his head.

These are all great reasons to keep our kids at home to learn a little more about life before sending them off into harm’s way.

Let us old guys track down those dirty rotten cowardly terrorists. The last thing an enemy would want to see is a couple million pissed off old farts with attitudes and automatic weapons, who know that their best years are already behind them.

And how about recruiting women over 50 in the change of life? You think men have attitudes??

If nothing else, let’s put them out on border patrol. They’ll have it secured the first night!

To join this worthwhile cause, please sign up in the comments section under this article at:


Include your age, experience and rank while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and any comments you may wish to make about this movement.

A veteran – whether active duty, retired, or national guard or reserve – is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to: “The United States of America,” for an amount of “Up to and including my life”.

The above article includes part of one which was originally posted by Tom O’Halloran on Twitter. Tom’s Twitter address is: TPO_Hisself

Jessica and the Swift Fox

Swift fox family living in Montana

Montana is used to having fugitives chased by the authorities in their forests and prairies. But this article is not about some big burly tough guy averting law enforcement; it is about the hunt, for a small elusive fox to find out if they still exist in Eastern Montana, by a demure looking young woman.

A big buck tripped the shutter on the camera just as he came into range

Jessica Alexander, who much like Evelyn Cameron ending up taking beautiful pictures of people, landscapes and animals, came to Eastern Montana with the good intentions of chasing the swift fox with her cameras, She is has also been taking pictures of the land, people and the animals to be found around taken by those same cameras she uses in her extensive swift fox research.

Jessica Alexander setting up the camera in her quest to catch the swift fox in action

On a cloudy, rainy day in early June 2011 Jessica Alexander walked into the Badlands Café and Scoop Shoppe in Terry, Montana with a laptop and some notebooks under her arm. Being very inquisitive, some might call it nosy, I introduced myself and asked what she doing in Terry. Jessica replied she was homeless and came into use our Wi-Fi connection for her laptop.

Jessica then proceeded to tell me she is on a master’s graduate project with Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota to determine the status of the swift fox population in Eastern Montana.

In 1806 Meriwether Lewis described the swift fox in his journal as: “The most beautiful fox that I ever beheld”. The swift fox population in Montana all but disappeared after eating the same strychnine poison being put out to kill coyotes in the early 1900’s. The swift fox was trapped in Canada for their fur and were much in fashion with the ladies in those days. They are scavengers and usually feed on rodents, birds and road kill.

Now it has been put up to Jessica Alexander to gather information, which will be used in the management of the species in Montana, for a study being conducted in cooperation with the between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department. A family of swift foxes were replanted at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and the Blackfeet Tribe reintroduced swift foxes on their lands between 1998-2002.

Wild fox research includes camping and roughing it in the outdoors

The swift fox has a light orange hue but was called “yellow fox” by pioneers, who marveled at the animal’s inquisitive nature. It is named for its lightning speed, which can reach nearly 40 miles an hour in a sprint. The swift fox has the unique distinction of being the smallest canine in North America, weighing just 5 pounds, about half that of a red fox, and standing roughly 12 inches tall.

Jessica is trying to catch “Swifty” in the act by placing cameras near their suspected dens and hangouts but so far to no avail. For this article Jessica shared some of the many pictures of other wildlife caught in their natural habitat with her cameras.

The Andy Pehl ranch on 10-Mile Road in Terry, Montana was used as one of the sites after Jessica trailed a red fox to its den and caught some of the denizens curiously peeking at her while she installed her cameras.

A red fox caught peeking at one of Jessica's cameras

Jessica is currently traveling between Miles City and Sidney setting up her cameras in the hopes of catching on camera and proving the swift fox is alive and well and living in Eastern Montana.

About the Author – Bob van der Valk lives in Terry, Montana is a Petroleum Industry Analyst with over 50 years of experience in the petroleum, gasoline and lubricants industry. He has been quoted by the news media and his opinions are also solicited by government entities. You can reach Bob at: tridemoil@aol.com or (406) 853-4251

You Can’t Park Your Frog Here

Hey, listen, I like your frog-mobile, I really do, but rules are rules and even though I don’t know what they are I’m pretty sure I can point and mutter this quietly: You can’t park your frog here.

Yes, we’re all very impressed that your Frogasuarus Rex made it through mud, sea, sand, and stretches of highway to get here. I’m sure both you and your amphibious friend are plenty tired after your 3-day Arcata to Ferndale pilgrimage. And I know you think that entitles you to all kinds of legal exemptions, but no matter all that, you still have to obey the law. Continue reading You Can’t Park Your Frog Here

Trolley Car Museum Points Out History of the Obvious

Around the time we got sick of San Francisco’s hills, we took it upon ourselves to hop a trolley for a quick spree up the hill, but it got me to thinking about history. Well, okay, not really, but the question was forced on me like the question of which hand is my dominant one, but the reward in this matter is even greater than that, so we went to the Cable Car Museum to get all our answers. Continue reading Trolley Car Museum Points Out History of the Obvious

Road Trip Packing Checklist for the Smart Traveler

So you’re planning a road trip and you want to make sure you don’t forget anything too important. It’s a smart decision, so here’s a packing list we’ve put together to cover as many of the important things as you could reasonably fit in the car. The two biggest risks in packing for your road trip are, in this order, 1) over-packing, and 2) under-packing. A distant third is forgetting something important, but you can still strike a working balance. Continue reading Road Trip Packing Checklist for the Smart Traveler

Mark Hopkins Hotel Central Geographically, Historically

When we took our entire headquarters to San Francisco, we wanted to do it in such a way as to pay highest and best tribute to the very best in family fun that can be had in the town, but naturally, we had to do it in such a way as to maintain sensitivity to our budget. We did all that with our trip to the Intercontinental at One Nob Hill, but we did so much more at that. Continue reading Mark Hopkins Hotel Central Geographically, Historically

Ripley’s Museum Is Believable… Or Not?

When walking around in the armpit of San Francisco’s touristy sweat-pit, it’s hard not to get drawn in to the many museums that abound in that area. Right in the heart of it all on Jefferson Street just up from Fisherman’s Wharf is the Ripley’s Museum, which I found to be more appealing and as curiously interesting as any of them… Believe it… or not? Continue reading Ripley’s Museum Is Believable… Or Not?