Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Red Zone

Turn on the TV during football season and you hear a lot of talk about the Red Zone. For the non-fans, it refers to a portion of the football field between the end zone and the 20 yard line. Announcers like to talk about this zone a lot. Somehow its become a measuring stick on how efficient a team is when then can score from that particular area. But that's not the Red Zone I want to talk about.

The Zone I'd like to give a little coaching on is red due to the tomato juice in the glass. Yes, I"m talking about a drink, an alcoholic beverage, the famous Bloody Mary. The origin of the name is disputed. Some say it was named after Queen Mary of England, others claim it was Mary Pickford, the actress. Doesn't matter. The important part is the recipe of which there are many. This is where the coaching come in.

Okay, listen up. Forget those spicy concoctions you buy at the stores, they'll eat a hold in your gut. Way too harsh. We're in this for the long haul. Start with a simple, healthy blend found on the shelves of any grocery. It's called Spicy Hot V8 made by the folks at Campbell's. It's 100% vegetable juice people! How can this not be good for you? Ingredients include, among others, tomatoes, carrots, celery, beets, and even a little spinach just like Popeye eats. There's enough vitamin C here to keep you healthy for a week.

Next choice, and this is important too, is the vodka. I strongly recommend a quality brand vodka such as Absolut. You'll not regret it.  Buy the cheap stuff to sneak into the punch. And yes Virginia, there is a difference. Maybe not so much in the taste but the after effects. We're talking hangover and headaches here. I'm told it's all in the filtering process but lets not get into that, just take my word for it.

The last critical part of the mix is the Worcestershire sauce. Get a bottle of Lea and Perrin's. Don't even consider anything else. "What about celery?" some are saying. Go ahead if you feel you must. Why don't you just get a little umbrella for it too? Hmmm?

Putting it all together: Half a glass of ice, one oz. of vodka (okay 1 and 1/2), add the Spicy V8, and then the Worcestershire sauce. Hold it! Did I say sprinkle it in? No, I did not. Two or three drops. That's it! Not one drop, not four or five or six. Two or three. Now is when you sprinkle, but with salt and pepper. Yes, you can use celery salt, sea salt, low salt, or no salt but you can't skip the pepper. Let me take you back to step three for a moment, the addition of the V8. If you're opening a new bottle, you MUST stir it while still in the bottle. No, shaking it will not work. There simply is not enough room in a full bottle to get a good shake. Use an ice tea spoon. Get down there as far as it will go and stir the crap out of it. Failure to follow advice at this juncture will ruin the drink and you'll have to start over.

Go ahead, take a sip. Huh? Huh? What'd I tell you? Oh, you nearly drained that baby didn't you? Let me freshen that for you. Note that I threw out all that old used ice in the glass. Never, never mix a Bloody Mary with used ice. There you go. Now, what say you and I take our drinks and step out on the back deck and watch the cats chase the birds for awhile? I knew you'd like that idea.

(I'll talk to the rest of you folks later.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cat Emergency...again.

Call 911, alert the media, call the neighbors, run up and down the street hollering "kitty, kitty, kitty" at the top of your lungs, OMG a cat is missing...again.

The lost cat scenario is not uncommon here at the abode. With the present population of four felines, an emergency once every two or three weeks would be about the norm. Usually the crisis lasts no longer than 20 minutes or so but with every tick of the clock past that, the tension rises. Overnight absences are the worst. All manner of horrible events can befall a cat when the sun goes down, both real and imagined. The Missus operates under what I call "The Asteroid Theory". No matter how unlikely the possibility that an asteroid could smash through the atmosphere and hit her cat, it's still a possibility and right along with bobcats, coyotes, bear, and the Sasquatch, is not to be easily dismissed.

On at least two occasions I could tell you about, the cats were found the next morning, asleep, and curled up at the bottom of the hall closet where some inconsiderate, insensitive, a-hole (that would be me) shut the door without first checking the whereabouts of all the cats.

Today's crisis began when Minnie le Mew (Minnie seems to be getting a lot of press lately)  was last seen sunning on the back deck when once again, the neighbor's pit bulls came over to visit. (Will those people EVER get their fence fixed?) Cash and Lucky were eventually escorted home by their owner but Minnie was lost in the wilderness just as the last time when the dogs came around.

One hour into the search and still no Minnie. I voiced the opinion that hunger would overcome fear and Ms. le Mew would show up at suppertime if not before. Do I really need to tell you how that was received? A short time later, I hear a shout of relief, "I found her. She's in a tree." For Minnie to climb a tree is not an unremarkable feat as this cat has no front claws. The de-clawing was part of an agreement after the animal had destroyed a large section of door insulation, not to mention being responsible for a moon-sized crater in the carpet after some jerk (again, me) had shut her in the bedroom. Now, the fear was that, sans claws, poor kitty would not be able to safely descend.

Ladder Man to the rescue. At the risk of  life and limb and fully expecting to be, at the very least, de-boweled, Minnie was snatched from the limb, and delivered safely to earth without incident.

Until next time, stay tuned to The Drama That Never Ends.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Da book is on da Kindle

My novel, No Refuge, appeared on the Kindle web site this morning. Kinda cool! And only $5.95. Such a deal. Don't own a Kindle reader? Not a problem.  With the appropriate app, Kindle books can be downloaded to PC's, iPhones, iPads, Blackberry's, and Androids. Get your copy now!

Note: The above is a shameless example of crass commercialism using a blog. The devil made me do it.

Monday, October 25, 2010



Usually Mondays aren’t so hot, especially if you’re among the working class as I was for more years than I want to think about. But now, for us old retired guys, Mondays aren’t much different than most other days; except today.

I had spent most of the day working on the computer to prepare my so called novel, No Refuge, to prepare it for publication on Amazon’s Kindle books. The price was right. No fees, but Amazon gets a percentage of each sale. Fair enough. I started around ten this morning, ran into the usual computer glitches changing the text into an html format, resizing the cover photo, and coming up with enough search words and a description to make any potential reader leap at the chance to read this book.

By four o’clock, I’d finished. The book, according to the Kindle website, would be ready for the public in 36 hours. My eyes were burning, my brain was fried, and all I wanted to do at that point was to pour two fingers of bourbon, top it off with a splash of water, and sit on the back deck to contemplate the universe.

It was a wise choice. The thermometer read 78 degrees. The barometric pressure was dropping, suggesting rain in the near future. Clouds were thickening and moving in from the southwest while wind gusts rose and fell. As I settled in, sipping my spooker, leaves dropped and swirled, taking their rightful place among their fallen comrades. Here at the humble abode, I left the back half of the property, a mere half acre, in its natural state; no lawn to mow, no weeds to kill. Granted, a half acre isn’t much and I can easily see the fences of my north and south neighbors, but it’s enough. Directly to the east, that neighbor, bless his soul, also chose to let two of his acres grow as nature intended, in tall grass and natural beauty.

It occurred to me, during the second spooker, that this was the reason I had moved from the city with its traffic, crime, sirens in the middle of the night, and 747’s roaring overhead. Here, I had only the wind, the leaves, the clouds and their kaleidoscope of colors, a setting sun, and the occasional mourning dove settling in to sample whatever seeds had been kicked out of the bird feeders that day.

Mondays, sometimes, are the best days of the week.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


The day is coming soon when I will be forced, well, more like an obligation to the public, to add a few additional chapters to my little book "Cat Consequences". You see, the consequences here at the humble abode just keep stackin' up. Consider:

The cat known as Minnie le Mew has taken a liking to  developed a fetish for my computer keyboard. This condition became known a few nights ago when  a loud crash was heard sometime around 3 a.m. Seems that Minnie, with all her excess poundage, decided to make a flying leap (for the mouse?), landing somewhere between the Caps Lock and Enter keys,bringing down the keyboard and slide-out drawer, rails and all. In fact, even as I write this, a fluffy orange and black tail is dangling over Ctrl and Tab.

Then there's the preventive maintenance aspect which has gotten completely out of control.

Me: Hon, have you seen my hearing aid? I left in on the dresser last night.
Missus: (mumbles something)
Me: What? I can't hear you.
Missus: (Yelling now) I put it in your sock drawer so the cats wouldn't eat it.

Then there's the matter of the open door/closed door policy. Certain doors must remain open at all times to allow access to the litter box, food bowls, water bowls, cat toys, and favorite sleeping spots. Others, but not many, remain closed, denying entry to such places as closets, certain bedrooms, and may God Have Mercy on your Soul if you leave the door to the attic stairs open. Why? Because the little darlings could dash up the steps, fall into the insulation, be trapped, and die a horrible death. Or so I'm told.

Now I may have explained the conditions here before but it needs to be repeated. I know, all you macho types are saying, "Why, I'd shoot them damn cats." You do not understand the situation. My choices are.

A. Deal with the cats or
B. Pay alimony and live under a bridge down by the river.

I knows my place Baby and it ain't #1.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Da Book

If there is anyone left in the civilized world that I've haven't told about writing a novel, this is for you. It was quite an experience; frustrating, overwhelming, confusing, perplexing, maddening, and sometimes fun and satisfying. But like the dog that chases a car and catches it, I don't know what to do now. The book, No Refuge, is presently in the hands of, a print-on-demand outfit, but sales are, shall we say, less than impressive.  But with zero promotion, I suppose that's to be expected. What I did expect was that Lulu would have the title in their search engine by now, but nooo. You can find it by typing in Warren Williams if you're so inclined.

If one goes to Google search, and enters How to get Your Book Published, dozens of companies pop up, each of them more than happy to "help" you get your book on the shelves. Their "help" comes after you pay them such things as evaluation fees, editing fees ($35-65 an hour), text layout fees ($7-25 per page), proofread ($35-60 an hour), Cover Design ($650-$1,500). In fact, the whole process can easily run into thousands and thousands of dollars and while I do like to play a little blackjack from time to time, gambling that amount of money would keep me up at night. Way too much stress on this old man.

However, here's how you can help: If any of you know a publisher (surely there's someone out there) that would be willing to take a peek at my effort and possibly offer a contract, please, please give me a name. A movie offer would be considered as well. Or here's another idea, just buy a copy of the damn book. I would be sooo grateful.

(note the new convenient links on the side bar)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My (Weed) Garden

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells,

And a lot of other damn weeds.
I know just how Mary feels. The intention was to raise some wildflowers in a small patch of dirt on the south side of the house but somehow, things went horribly wrong. The idea was to attract butterflies and birds for the camera and to make prize winning photos but nooo, what I got was weeds, lots of weeds.
Yes, I followed the instructions from the seed company last fall. Lightly till the soil so as not to awaken the bad weed seeds. Plant the flowers no more than 1/8 inch deep and mash the seeds into the dirt. Water as required. What could possibly go wrong? What happened was I got a crop of oats that I could have fed half the city of Tulsa with. I know, right now you're saying, where did the oats come from? The oats came from the year before last when I foolishly bought some straw bales to hold moisture for the newly planted Bermuda grass seed. What I didn't realize was that the straw contained about 3/4 billion oat seeds that contaminated the lawn, my neighbors lawn, and possibly a few showplace lawns in various locations between here and Texas.
This year would be different. I bought a product called Round-Up that not only kills weeds but everything with even a  hint of green. I mixed a batch, doubled it, and sprayed liberally all the while mumbling something like, die you little bastards, die. But there was still the matter of the seeds below the surface that Round-Up couldn't touch, patiently waiting for just the right conditions to take life, sprout up, and laugh in my face.
But the secret weapon, the coup de grace, was the plastic; a sheet of clear plastic, weighted down, and large enough to cover the entire flower plot. The theory was that the heat of the sun would come through the plastic and be held there, sort of  like a little bad seed oven set on High, and fry those little oats and weeds to a crisp, never to be seen again.
A few weeks later I removed the plastic and viewed the scorched earth. No growth, nothing. One could almost imagine a few small animal skeletons, the bones bleached from the sun. Once again, I planted the wildflowers according to specific instructions, watered, and waited.
Today I have a lush bed of the greenest, healthiest oat sprouts you've ever seen in your life. If there's a flower in there somewhere, it will never see a single ray of sunshine.  Tomorrow I'm calling the Quaker Oat people and see if they could use another farmer.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bassin' with Barbara

As noted in a previous entry, Arnold and I hired a guide for a morning of fishing on Lake Fork. Now I had used a guide before but on a different lake and in pursuit of a different variety of fish. The lake was Texoma, the fish were  striped bass (stripers), and the guide was a large male that guzzled beer, wine, or champagne, whatever he happened to have on board that day.

When our guide for Lake Fork turned out to be female, I wasn't sure how the inevitable and often urgent need to go pee-pee was going to play out. Arnold and I had decided beforehand to fore go the beer that morning (the only wise move of the day) but even drinking nothing but water, there was the question of proper etiquette if the need arose.

After a couple hours of fishing and learning that Barbara was just plain folks like us, we asked about the problem. "Well, as you know," she said, "it's no problem for the guys. I just face forward until I hear an all clear. But for me, it gets a little more complicated." She explained how her clients were paying good money for their time on the lake with a guide and to have that guide pull them off a hot spot for her to go to the bank when nature called, wasn't good for business. "I just rely on my male guests to be gentlemen and fish off the front of the boat while I step to the rear." But that arrangement didn't always work out. She told of the incident where she was in the back with her pants down when the boat hit a stump, dumping her in the water. "So there I was with my jeans around my knees, treading water, and trying to protect my modesty all at the same time. I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt that morning and when the guys swung around to pick me up, they grabbed my by the hood and pulled. The problem was, not only couldn't I get my pants up, I couldn't breathe either as the shirt was around my neck. But they finally got me out of the water and we had a good laugh about it."

We asked about other guests and if any of them made a pass at her while on the lake. "Yeah, there were a couple but I got control of that in a hurry. I do keep .38 pistol there in the glove box."

She told us about some other customers that were less than friendly. "I had a bunch from New York once. They were okay I guess but they were a little different than the fisherman I usually get. They would ask things like "What's up with all these people you meet on the road waving a finger at you? They'd never seen the one finger over the steering wheel wave before. It started raining really hard with lots of lightning when we were out and I took them to a covered dock that belonged to an acquaintance while we waited out the storm. The guy that owned the dock saw us there and brought out drinks and sandwiches. The New Yorkers were incredulous, "You're not going to eat that sandwich are you? That guy might have done something to it."

"Then there was the lawyer who repeatedly told me that if he were injured in any way while on the lake, he'd sue me and own my boat before it was over. After listening to his threats for half a morning, I'd had enough, took him to the shore, and told him to get his ass out of my boat."

Needless to say, fishing with Barbara was a hoot. And not once did she pull her gun on us.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Lake Fork Lure

The ad on the Internet read: "Your home away from home." It was describing the facilities at Benner's Lodging on Lake Fork, Texas, the place that Arnold had chosen to rent for our fishing trip.  Frankly, I was skeptical about the facilities. I could believe that the place had a deck, a TV, towels, and some toiletries, but then came the outlandish claim that the kitchen would be stocked with such items as; orange juice, milk, soda, cereal, ice tea, eggs, bacon or sausage, bread, lunch meat, cheese, cheese & crackers and chips. No way. I've stayed in many such places in my time, but eggs and bacon in the fridge? Nope, it was trick, had to be. Nothing more than a vicious lie to lure us dumb fishermen in, not unlike a bass to a spinnerbait.

Upon arrival, you can imagine my surprise as I swung open the refrigerator door to find exactly what was promised. Not only that but there were two kinds of milk, low fat and whole. The orange juice was quality stuff, not your cheapo variety. There was salad dressing, spices, and a loaf of bread. A variety of cereal lined the counter alongside a pound of fresh coffee. I kept looking for little attached price tags such as you find in a hotel mini-bar but there were none.  But the capper was a fresh brewed pitcher of iced tea, chilled, and waiting for us. Unbelievable. I had to talk to these people.

Arlene and Jerry Benner welcomed Arnold and I as we were bringing in the rest of our gear. Arlene related how the people in the lodging business told her she would go broke stocking their rental places like she did, she wouldn't last through the season.  "That was 13 years ago," she said. "We're still in business." One would be hard pressed to find a nicer couple.  I'd forgotten that people who treat strangers like that still existed.

I could think of only one other possible amenity for the cabin. A few cold brewskies might have slid down even better than the iced tea.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

cats and ice makers

What do cats and ice makers have in common? They both cause problems. The cursed ice maker is overflowing again, filling the little tray with water, sticking all the cubes together, and making it damn near impossible for a fella to get ice for his evening toddy. The stupid device has been working perfectly after the last overhaul, about two months ago, and now...

It's not rocket science. A motor turns a gear that turns a cam that closes a switch that opens a water valve for a few seconds. What could possibly go wrong? And why are men supposed to know about these things? We are not born with this knowledge folks. I've never known a woman to work on an ice maker. Why? Their answer to problems such as this are always the same; buy a new one. Simple solutions to complex problems right?

The second major problem of the day happened when I opened the door and the cat known as Minnie le Mew dashed outside to lie in the autumn sun. Not a big deal, she does this a lot and stays close to the house. Then, from out the window of the man cave, I see a large animal in the back yard, a pit bull it turns out. I know the dog, he lives across the street and his name is Lucky. Lucky may be the friendliest pit bull I've ever met but Lucky is not so friendly toward cats. I step out to check on Minnie's welfare and see a flash of orange dashing over the river and through the woods moving at a speed that would leave a cheetah in the dust. The Missus was away, doing whatever she does, in town and under such conditions, I am responsible for the welfare of the cats. In that respect, I'm like the convicted felon, my record with cats is not so good and when bad things happen to them, I take the blame, guilty or not. It comes with the territory.

A half hour later, I finally persuade Lucky to terrorize some other part of the neighborhood while I begin the search for the missing feline. Not that I think the cat would actually leave home, it has it made here and knows it, but there would be that matter of dealing with the wrath of Ruth for not making at least a token attempt to find it. On the second loop around the property, I catch a flash of color and sure nuff, the cat is sitting in the tall grass alternately looking at me and for Lucky.

It was time to pry some ice out of the freezer.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fishing With Arnold; Another Chapter

Lake Fork in Texas, just a ways east of Dallas, was our destination. At one time, maybe a decade or more ago, Lake Fork was the hottest bass lake in the country. Lunkers, monsters, hawgs, whatever you want to call big fish, were coming out of Fork in numbers that would make anyone with a fishing pole drool. I had never fished that lake so when Arnold called me with the proposal to spend four days there, I accepted knowing full well that there would be some mishaps, some incidents, possibly life threatening, but the temptation to catch a trophy fish, a wall-hanger, overcame my fears.

Halfway through the first morning and having caught only a couple fish not much bigger than our bait, the boat began to emit a long beeeeep sound, an alarm. The same thing had happened with the boat on my last trip with Arnold but was thought to be a low oil warning. The addition of a few pints of oil seemed to have cleared the condition. We checked the oil level, the reservoir was full. Not the problem. We make a phone call to Tulsa to son Mark. Check the Internet we say and see what a long beep means on a Mercury outboard. Arnold had a motor manual but it was back at the house for safe keeping.  Turns out it's a heat warning, the motor was getting hot. Not good. We make it back to the dock, haul the boat to the nearest repair facility where the mechanic tells us that the problem is most likely the impeller in the water pump. He would be happy to fix it for $140 he says. We have little choice but to agree to the pirate's terms and make him happy.

Now you would think such a setback would be enough drama for one trip but when you're fishing with Arnold, the adventure has only just begun. While sipping a wee bit of bourbon that evening with the newly repaired motor and boat parked at the lodge, we decided it would be a great idea to hire a guide, if only for a half day, to show us a few hot spots, the honey holes, where we could later return in search of Ol' Grandad Bass. Arnold makes a few calls and finds a local guide to take us out the very next morning. The guide, a lady guide as it turns out, will meet us at a place called The Minnow Bucket at 6:30 sharp. Arnold tells her where he's calling from, or so he thinks, and learns the meeting spot is just down the road from the public boat ramp. Do we drive to the designated rendezvous and confirm the location? No.

At 5:00 a.m. we are up and drinking coffee, excited at the prospects of the day, when Arnold is hit with a sudden attack of diarrhea. We leave the lodge at 6:15. It's still quite dark and to complicate matters, a thick fog blanketed the roads.  At 6:40 we are still looking for The Minnow Bucket. Turns out there are many, many, public boat ramps on Lake Fork. Finally we find a convenience store with the lights on and learn that the Minnow Bucket, another convenience store, is at least ten miles from the place where we sit. Luckily our guide, sweet, understanding lady that she was and having dealt with fishermen of our type in the past, was waiting for us with a smile on her face. But despite the professional help, nary a lunker was landed.

Other noteworthy incidents during the trip were the time when Arnold noticed the boat was almost out of gas when we were miles from the ramp. (We made it back on fumes.) I made my own contribution to the weekend by driving the boat over a few submerged rocks, making a neat little ding in the very expensive, stainless steel prop. Arnold mumbled something about how he would have to get it all straightened out before the out-of-balance prop destroyed some sort of seal thingy in the innards of the motor. Arnold, the rocks were UNDERWATER, how was I to know? Sure I was quite close to the bank with similar rocks, quite large ones actually and yes they were quite conspicuous but again, who knew?

With no luck catching any fish to brag about, we decided to forego fishing on the morning of departure. At seven o'clock I stepped outside the cabin to dark skies and thunder. Arnold, says I, we need to hook up to the boat before it rains. We did so, but before we could pack our gear and suitcases, the skies opened up. It was like the proverbial cow urinating on the flat rock. We waited for it to let up, and waited, and waited. Several cows and several flat rocks later, we decided to make a dash for it. We used garbage bags to protect our duffels and my camera gear and ran to the truck only to find that the windows were DOWN. Seems that Arnold had lowered them in order see better as he backed the truck up to the boat and forgot to put them up again. Two hours of downpour were in the cab. On the floor, in a pool of water only slightly smaller than Lake Fork, lay a digital camera (his) and a GPS unit (mine). Status of said instruments are unknown at this time. We sat on still more garbage bags for the trip back home while I made frequent comments on how a ruined GPS should cancel out a little ol' ding in a fancy prop.

At home, as I pulled my wet gear from the truck and piled it on my lawn to dry out, Arnold caught my eye.

"You wanna go again in the spring?"

"Oh hell yes. We'll slay em' next time."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fishing with Arnold, the series.

Past recipients of e-mails know about my fishing trips with Arnold but I didn't have a blog spot with a larger audience such as now. Adventures with Arnold need to be shared with as many as possible, if for no other reason than as a public service for water safety, not to mention saving peoples lives. Listen and learn. The life you save could be your own.

In the past, I have related previous experiences on several lakes where Arnold and I have, at various times:

1. Set the boat on fire.
2. Tore the prop off the motor.
3. Ran out of oil in the middle of the lake
4. Overhauled the motor on the bank of an island.
5. Embedded fish hooks in various parts of our anatomy.
6. Lost hundreds of dollars worth of gear overboard.
7. Narrowly avoided head-on collisions with other boats.
8. Endured gale force winds and torrential rain while bailing water with a Wal-Mart tackle box.
9. Getting drunk
10. Getting lost

I could go on...but you get the picture. Fishing with Arnold is a life changing event. So why did I agree to go to Texas and fish with him again on a date that is approaching with frightening speed? Gotta be a death wish, pure and simple.

For those so inclined, a prayer may be in order. I need to cover all the bases.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Not sure if this is a rant or not, maybe just an opinion. Oh hell, let's make it a rant.

Headline: Tulsa World: Black-bear season ends quickly. The article tells us that 31 bears, some weighing as much as 600 pounds, were killed in southeast Oklahoma in one day. The article goes on to say that most were killed by crossbow rather than the compound bow. No guns are allowed but the hunters do have permission to bait the animals. Come on in bear. Smell that? Good stuff. A little closer now. THUNK!

I have a simple question. Why do we need to kill bears in Oklahoma? Have the black beasts been attacking toddlers in their yards? No. There are no reports of OK bears attacking people where they live, at least that I know of. At a camp, in the woods, with food around? Yes, there was an incident a year or two ago where a bear came into a camp but no people were harmed. Yes, bears do raid bird feeders and are quite happy to clean up any dog food left outside, but what do you expect when you choose to share the same woods where bears live?

Are OK bears killing livestock and depriving the farmer of a living? No. Well, unless you count the one time during 18 year of record keeping where a bear took out a pig. I wouldn't think that predation was that big of a problem

So who decided that our bear population was so out of control, that we need to eliminate 31 of them every year?

Have you ever seen a black bear in Oklahoma? I haven't and I spend a considerable amount of time in the outdoors with my camera. I'd love to see a bear! What a thrill that would be.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against all forms of hunting. I'm not a PETA member. I've hunted myself, many times; deer, quail, pheasant but my justification was this; the game was plentiful, it ended up on the dinner table (I'm told bear tastes terrible), and I enjoyed the camaraderie, the challenge, and a few sips of bourbon before that meal of fresh venison was served up. The only part I didn't like was pulling the trigger, the killing part. That's why I gave it up. An excellent book on this subject is titled Bloodties: Nature, Culture, and the Hunt, by Ted Kerasote.

No, my gut feeling on bear hunting in OK is not that we have too many bears, but that the politicians in this state, looking for that good-ol-boys vote, pushed for a bear hunting season so their constituents could feel that satisfying rush of adrenalin, that pulsating testosterone thrill, that dominance of man over animal feeling, at the moment they see that magnificent creature fall and die at their feet.

"They were all beautiful bears" said a manager of the Department of Oklahoma Wildlife after the recent hunt.

I suppose they were. Most of us will never know. One thing's for sure. They're damn sure not beautiful now.