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Last week, or sometime in the semi-recent past, I was tagged by Jules- otherwise known as the, excuse me, a UU Deist in Texas.  I’ve never been tagged before, so am trying this on for size.  Basically, the rules are:

“FYI – you’ve been tagged, you have to write a blog with 10 weird, random, facts, habits or goals about yourself. At the end, choose 6 people to be tagged, list their names & why you tagged them. Don’t forget to leave them a comment saying “You’re it!” & to go read your blog. You cannot tag the person that tagged you, so since you’re not allowed to tag me back; let me know when you are done so I can go read YOUR weird, random, facts, habits and goals.”

So, here I go:

  • Despite my fears for the future of our little world and my writings of concern, possibly bordering on cynicism, I consider myself an optimist.  I’m just not happy about it.
  • I used to have an ear ring, two in fact.  This may not seem that strange, but you must realize that despite my liberal leanings I am very conservative in appearance and behavior, and anything that draws public attention to me causes an immediate and painful social paralysis.
  • I used to have a pony tail.  (See above.)  I threaten my wife on occasion that I’ll regrow it.  Don’t hold your breath.
  • I don’t dance.  In public.  See above.  If its ok to dance, isn’t it equitably ok not to?
  • I once considered the military as a career.  Go figure.
  • The last time I cried was at my grandmother’s funeral.  I was 21.
  • When I turn 40 I’m moving to southeast Alaska and living in a boat on the sea for a year, allowing the stunning intersection of water, earth, and life to absorb me.  (My family isn’t totally in support of this yet, so don’t say anything to them until I have the plans finalized.)
  • When I was young, all I wanted to be was a Cowboy.  There was an honesty to the life of the classic cowboy figure that appealed to me.  When I was thirteen, my horse killed herself.  That dream never recovered.
  • One of my greatest regrets is not planning a future with my brothers.  Together, we could have ruled the world.
  • I’m an angry person.  It exhausts me, and may be costing me time on earth.  I hope I never lose that rage, if I do it means I no longer care.

Now for my turn to tag some others.

  • Threads in My Stash- because I love you.
  • Fairbanks Pedestrian- because Russel found my blog through yours.
  • Alaska Journey- because we need to hear from you.
  • Alaska Plights- because you give me such a hard time for not writing and so much encouragement to continue to do so.  Writing, that is.

I’m going to hold the last two of my six tags- for all you taggers out there counting how much ammunition is left I’ve got enough to take at least two of you with me, so watch out.




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Some years ago, my Mom and Dad were up visiting us from the lower 48. Like we so often do, we loaded up the car and went on a camping trip, this time to Valdez.

We have been camping with Dad multiple times since we moved to Alaska and have yet to see any caribou in the wild with him. So my Dad, who is an excellent spotter of wildlife, watched anxiously for them as we drove down the Richardson Highway.

Growing up, my two brothers and I were instilled with a great deal of pride in our ability to spot wildlife. As long as I can remember, it was a competition to see who could spot them first and the most often. The competition has calmed since those days, but is still far from dead.

Of course, worse than not spotting something is spotting something that turns our to be nothing. And so it was to my regret, as we drove south, that my Dad gave out the first yell of having spotted something. Ultimately, Dad may regret it too.
“Caribou, caribou!!!”. We hit the brakes and backed up, anxious to see them. To our delight, Dad had not only spotted a caribou, but what we would come to understand represented a whole new species of caribou.

This species has become to be known commonly as the barrier caribou, or scientifically the rangifer roberticus, named after my Dad, Robert, since he discovered the species.

It has been a bit of an embarrassment for him, since we didn’t get a picture that day and no one has ever recorded evidence of a barrier caribou, that his discovery has been the butt of more than a few jokes.

This Christmas, my older brother Gary and I decided to silence the critics. Despite the odds against us, we would set out to harvest a barrier caribou for Dad and silence the cynics once and for all.

It was cold, and dark.

Fortunately, the car heater and the lights in the Home Depot parking lot kept us safe.

Inside, we came across an entire herd of barrier caribou.

We lucked out and bagged two of them. Paper or plastic? I don’t remember.

We loaded them up and took them home. While Dad was busy entertaining the grandkids, we mounted one and butchered the other into steaks and hamburger. We wrapped them and placed them under the Christmas tree.

It was wonderful seeing him open the packages, the surprise and joy on his face as he realized his much maligned discovery was finally vindicated. It is rare event in this day and age that a species of such scale is discovered. Now he has a mount to prove it.

Barrier caribou mountBarrier caribou mount 2barrier caribou steaks
As for spotting a barrier caribou yourself, be on the lookout throughout Alaska. Don’t confuse them with the more common construction cone, they have some similarities but are actually very different. My Dad will be more than happy to explain those differences to you.

And if you happen to visit him and he offers to serve you barrier caribou steak, pass it up. It is tough beyond belief.

If anybody out there has photos of barrier caribou in their natural habitats, please send them to me and I’ll be sure Dad gets them.

In fact, I would venture to guess, he hasn’t seen or heard the last about the barrier caribou.

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