Ric Carter's

It stormed heavy on Shake Ridge just before Xmas, and just after Xmas, and after New Year's. A white season. It rained a few times before and between and after, and there was cold cold fog over the State of the Union sideshow — And not just here in the Ridges.

Evie at Ridge Roost is having a special on Cheapola Rum, just the thang for these cold nights, but only because she burnt out on it. Sez she's goin' back to hot Kahla with hash oil, herself. We'll see.   —A Loyal Customer
(Evie's shelves are often bare in places)

Drove over Carson Pass on a clear weekend 2/3 of the way through January and there was near a half-dozen rollovers in a dozen miles, snowdogs in SUV's who thought they could overthrow physics as easy as miscounting votes. Reality Rules, on black ice.   (try it)
Did that Pass again on a sunny weekday, early February; the only real white-knuckle zones were the Avalanche Alleys, especially with all the UFO's buzzing around. They're bad enough when they're hovering quietly.

Heavy Timbered Land.   "Is the land well timbered?" inquired a person of a Wolverine who was offering a tract of land for sale. "I vum," replied the vendor, "it is a most almighty piece of land, and so heavy timbered that a humming bird could not fly through it. As I was passing upon the road along side of it tother evening, I heard a loud cracking and crashing in the trees, so I looked to see what it was, and I'm darned if it were not the moon trying to get through the branches but 'twas so tarnation thick,she couldn't do it, so down she went, and I had to go home in the dark."   —Davy Crockett (real estate promotions are remarkably constant)

Looking Down Upon the Comstock Lode

Reno's really hopping, especially with all those billboards that offer the Loosest Sluts In Town! Or izzat Slots? Anyway the whole casino scene at night looks like arrays of UFO beacons. Hypnotic place, except in full sunshine.

Washoe City, scene of that infamous drunken knife-fight of Mark Twain and John Muir, is nowadays just a sleepy suburb on the commute between Reno and Carson. But there's more potential wealth in its real estate than in *all* the precious metals ever clawed out of those damn' Comstock mines.
—A Washoe Realtor   (with vested interests)

The Police Blotter for Carson City, Nevada's capital city, shows very few arrests. Either the populace there is very law-abiding — or, what's more likely, most of what folks CAN do there just ain't illegal! Carson City is unlike most other places. Period.

Heard the story 'bout a couple sharpies back in the 1860's, went fishing on Lake Tahoe (it was Bigler then) and found a hole in the bottom. Water seeped out to Nevada, into Comstock silver mines. So they figured a way to plug and unplug that hole, draining and flooding the mines, thus to manipulate Silver prices. They got assassinated by the Silver Kings, of course. But their notes were discovered just a few years back, by California energy traders, who learnt well & did well, till they got caught.

Virginia City has to be about my favorite Olde Weste Theme Parke these days, except on weekends when damn tourists are thicker than lobbyists at a Cabinet Lunch. But they're lots cheaper to feed, even in quantity.

 ride the Virginia & Truckee till you puke

Carson River, Let 'er Buck! She's ten yards wide — a damn inch deep! — full o' dust and flat fish! — swimmin' holes fer locusts — cross 'er anywhere — yeou! — uhh! — yahee! — She rolls up hill from Vegas! — yay-hoo! — yippee tie one on! — wooga wooga!
  —Dan'l Boonesfarm   (adapted from an old tradition)

Looking Down Upon the Mother Lode

In Volcano during the US Civil War, gold was shipped back East to finance the Union even while Rebel sympathizers roamed local hills. Union loyalists brought their cannon, "Old Abe," down to Main Street as the Rebel crowd marched on the Armory. At a signal, all the Union shopkeepers dropped their shutters, "Old Abe" was fired, every Reb-owned window in town broke and every Reb in town ran. A clean victory...   —A Veteran
(luckily, cruise missiles were scarce back then)

Antiwar rallies are now regular Friday Nite events in most Mother Lode towns. But they get about as much media attention as the fact that: Saddam didn't "gas his own people," Iranians did. But hey, we stole America, so we can steal Iraq too, right?

Damn, I'm sure glad my face ain't visible in one of these mislabeled photos, from the Volcano Disco Brawl at the Armory (mentioned above). I'm just a blur of hair back there. As usual. Cousins B & B whooped it up, even before her big win. Feeling much better! Boogie down forever!

Down in Angels Camp, officials of the famous "Jumping Frog Contest" are debating whether to ban genetically-enhanced frogs, and if so, just how. They're rightly concerned about recent race results.
—An Organic Believer   (taste-tests are planned)

If you've never read the famous JUMPING FROG story, y'all should. It's about cheating. It happens a lot, y'know.

The ridges and valleys around the Mother Lode are dotted with sign-posted old cemetaries: Catholic, Serbian, Jewish, Methodist, civic etc. These diggins are full of miners, veterans, families. Survivors gather to feast the solstice (or any other excuse) - and very rarely eat frogs.

IT'S ALIVE!   A citizen of Angels Camp, returning home found a corpse in front of his house. Examining the body, he saw that it had not been shot nor stabbed, nor did it reek of whiskey nor ether. He thus concluded that it must still be alive, because those were the only ways that anyone died in Calaveras County. News-Record   (the coroner's jury concurred)

Lookin'Down On Damn Near Ever'Thing

California's about to raise sales taxes by another cent, to help pay for theft by energy traders mentioned above. It'll be near as bad then as in the rest of the capitalist world,'bout 10%. Mother Lode goods dealers are ready to drop prices, to offset that burden, right? Yah sure, you betcha, by golly...

With the great successes of the State Lottery, and Indian Gaming, the California legislature is trying to siphon yet more money away from Nevada, by legalizing prostitution. Also on the agenda (for Revenue Enhancement only) are the legalization of: opiates, slavery, indentures, licensed dueling, and cock- and bear-and-bull-fights.

Amador's county seat Jackson, which had the last quasi-legal brothels in Calif. (documented by Curt Gentry), is ready to step into the breech - by re-activating the Cat House, the Pussy Palace, and other noted landmarks. Child-labor sweatshops are planned, too.

When Methodist revivalist Rev.Dr. James A. Goodnight appeared in Amador City in 1852, he preached flame and brimstone. He described the fires of Hell in eloquent and frightening phrases. Suddenly a whiskered miner leaped up in the middle of the congregation,- held up his hand to stop the preacher, and announced: "They couldn't be no sitch place — the people wouldn't stand fer it!"

JUNE 1879 - Local authorities are very concerned with the recent outbreak of violins committed against the Chinese mining community. Opium dens are again on the rise and the Chinese miners have organized Tongs to protect their own.
  (no Yetis to call upon...)

Dry Weather All Around.   The Oregonian - learned that California's heat was a 'dry' heat; that Montana's cold was a 'dry' cold; and - was immediately inspired to prove to any one that Oregon's rain was, after all, only a 'dry' rain....
—A.B. Hulbert   (luckily, Western thought is dry)

Ric Carter's RIDGE RAT NEWS: Published somewhere off Shake Ridge, Volcano town, Amador Co. Calif., despite everything - Published whenever I have something worth saying, if not more often - This is issue #1, a real collector's item, you should buy a stack of'em - and stash them away until they're worth something, eventually.

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Ric Carter, drsb@klaxo.net, www.klaxo.net, copyright © by OTRSS