Ric Carter's

Can't tell if it's thawed any more since Friday. Those voices in my head tell me not to look. I always do what my voices say. It's safer like that. And the way the ice falls under the full moon...

I asked Evie at Ridge Roost how come she charged almost twice as much for a quart of Bud Malt as it costs down at the WalMart, just 50 miles away, and she sez, "Freight." I noted that the freight was only a buck for 2 or 3 cases, and she replied: "Y'know, I've thought on that a bunch. But the only way I can explain it is freight. If y'can do any better, y'go right on ahead, now, honey."

Crossing the Sierra spine has always been hazardous, due not merely to vagaries of weather, topography, confusion, starvation and hostility. But also, damn perversity and curiosity, greed and gluttony. Many have been lost chasing mineral wealth, delicate victuals, and other will-o-the-wisps. Others have gone, seeking the Fremont Cannon. Yet more have vanished, trying to find themselves. No loss.   —A Seeker
  (who will now settle for a good approximation)

DeWayne DeWitt, camping raw out by Kirkwood, after a summer-over up in the Alaska Range, sez "It's real easy to tell the difference between a black bear and a grizzly. Kick one in the rump, and it's the black bear that will climb the tree after you."

Looking Down Upon the Mother Lode

Had a stopover last week, by Hairy Terry, semi-retired geologist and Death Valley expert. He was enroute from his new ranch east of Mono Lake (where he breeds rocks), to a Men's Retreat up in Sonora. There, he & a bunch of guys dance naked around campfires, chanting and howling and doing other manly stuff. It's always fun in Sonora.

"I went to minin' in the Amador, an' first they wasn't a woman in a hundred miles. And when one did come in one day on a wagon, the men all run to look at her as if she was a show. Better she'da stayed away, an' twenty more like her that come in when the diggins begun to pan out rich. I believe every woman was the cause o' fifty fights an'one or two deaths. It made me mad to see men fight about 'em, when they knowed jest what they was — men that had mothers an' sisters back in the States, an' some of 'em sweethearts an' wives."   J.H. Beadle
  (who prob'ly didn't need to schedule men's retreats)

In old Amador City in 1853, a mob hanged a man for supposed horse-stealing, but afterward discovered that he was innocent. The mob's messenger broke the news to the victim's widow in this manner: "Ee hanged Jim for stealing a horse, but come to find out he didn't do it, so I guess the joke's on us."
—after W.A. Chalfant

(If, after gutting Iraq, no Weapons-Of-Mass-Destruction are found, who's the joke on? In fact, what's the joke?)

Jak at Placerville Poultry Plantation is so worried about the prophesized upcoming terror attacks that he's replaced all his roosters with puppets an' booby-trapped the freezer doors. Y'think he might feel safer in Fiddletown?

Lookin'Down On Damn Near Ever'Thing

  Got a call a few days ago from a reporter down in Riverside, near my old stomping grounds of Pomona-Corona-Yucaipa-Indio. Y'all may be aware of my efforts regarding Harry Oliver. This reporter found me out, said she was writing a profile on him and wanted some info, (which I am generally not shy about divulging).
  Well, maybe I talked too much, 'cause she didn't call back. And maybe her assignment changed, 'cause the finished piece is about the Indio Date Festival, where Harry designed a red-hot Arabian Nights fantasyland. At least Harry's mentioned in the article. (see below)
  You can see it (the article) at the Press-Enterprise [free signup required] or you can read a bare copy. Or you could take a bath. But I recommend reading it, whether or not you like dates or need a bath.

  That reporter asked me about my enthusiasm for Oliveriana, and I gave my stock answer about preserving a part of America's heritage. But then I thought on it, and I wrote a scary essay, about my real motives.
  And other scary stuff comes to mind:
  She wrote "Harry Oliver [was enlisted] to transform Quonset huts and fairgrounds from a Western design to Moorish architecture. Oliver ... designed the stage to resemble a street market in Baghdad." Scantily-clad belly-dancers abounded..
  And I wonder: what will the real Baghdad be like after being hit by 800 cruise missiles? Will the Indio Date Fair, and other stage sets be all that remains, other than ruins & bodies? Should these fantasy Baghdads be updated to reflect reality?

  We return now to our regularly-scheduled shootout. Yee-haw.

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 oftener - This special addendum to issue #2, came about because I had some hot material, but not enough for a whole edition. A fella's got to know his limitations, as Dirty Harry said.

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