Ric Carter's

Clouds are swirling around Carson Pass like they know something's going to happen.

It's almost between seasons, not so many snowrats heading up to the decaying slopes, so Evie at Ridge Roost is taking some time off, contemplating Eternity. Sometimes she needs both hands.   —A Worried Customer

The corporate clones that run Kirkwood Resort want to expand, build a city there as big as Tahoe or Carson. Folks along the Carson Pass route either shudder at the traffic prospects, or are countin' up how much they can make by selling out. Realtors are drooling like hungry puppies. Of course, if the drought cycle lasts another few years, those plans just might change.

NewAgers say that Yosemite Valley is a navel of the universe, and that when the Mayan Calendar runs out in 2012 and a new cycle begins, a new humanity will be born there, or the New People will ascend there, or something like that. I certainly hope so. Old humanity is so tedious, eh?.

Truth? One visitor to the Yosemite, looking down into the Merced River from a mile-high vertical cliff, wondered how the river got down there, and was told, "That's funny, it used to run along the rim up here, but one day it fell off." Another visitor down in the valley, looking up at a mile-high waterfall, wondered "how they got all that water up there." Just another govt project...

Looking Down Upon the Mother Lode

"Dry Diggings changed its name to Hangtown, for obvious reasons, and then, for equally obvious reasons, to Placerville." —B.A. Botkin

Hangtown gals are plump and rosy
Hair in ringlets mighty cosy;
Painted cheeks and gassy bonnets;
Touch' em and they'll sting like hornets

When Lola Montez danced naked with a bear in Hangtown, nobody was surprised.

The Hangtown Association of Zymurgy Enthusiasts (HAZE) has disappeared from the Web. Hopheads everywhere are mourning.

"I know you. I knew Bret Harte. You're no Bret Harte."   (Eadward Muybridge, to Gertrude Stein)

"He was an incorrigible borrower of money; he borrowed from all his friends; if he ever repaid a loan the incident failed to pass into history."   (Mark Twain, on Bret Harte)

Drove from Volcano thru Pioneer, West Point, Railroad Flat, Sheep Ranch, Calaveritas, San Andreas, Mokelumne Hill, and back. In West Point, all they could talk about was all the drug labs in the area. Scared off all the bears, too.

Jalaba? Somewhere above the Mother Lode, bought a postcard of an Old West village, had a note on the back about "going to Jalaba". Unsure if Jalaba was a place or a girl. Then saw a picture of a bus sign-board: "To Jalaba - Indio" so Jalaba may be both (place and girl). Or maybe it was Jalapa, and Jalapa-Indio. Or maybe it was all a dream, I can't find the postcard now.

Half of the weekly protest in Sutter Creek

Looking Down Upon the Comstock Lode

A denizen of Virginia City of otherwise sterling character was in the habit of promoting non-existant mines, until exterminated by one dissatisfied investor. Entering the Pearly Gates, he amused himself awhile, then grew bored and started promoting a silver strike in Hell. In no time, word of the rich diggin's so filled every conversation, that the promoter decided the Rush was real, and caught the next stage down-slope.

When I got there, the mining ground
Was staked and claimed for miles around,
And not a bed was to be found,
  When I went off to prospect.
The town was crowded full of folks,
Which made me think 'twas not a hoax;
At my expense they cracked their jokes,
  While I was nearly starving.

Sitting out in the patio at the Gold Hill Hotel, established 1859. A row of Sierra peaks pokes up to the west, looks like a tribe of pyramids lately escaped from beside the Nile, come here to the snow to cool off - they've banked themselves with the white stuff and are enjoying it immensely. South of the pyramids, the next stretch of the Sierras looks like churned lava, shoved up and glaciated, a frothy blistered pudding of mountains, whipped up in an argent Alpine agony, or something like that.

Moundhouse Marsha says, "Don't call me that! They'll think I work in one of the brothels!" As if that were a step down from her present career, selling mobile homes.

Moundhouse is 'way downhill from Virginia City, in more ways than one.

Betting On War. You can walk into some local casinos, or just go online, and wager whatever you want on the upcoming Iraq slaughter, er war. It's a good gamble, sort of like buying stock in liquor-tobacco-firearms companies. Bet on stuff that kills people, ya can't go wrong, eh?

Lookin'Down On Damn Near Ever'Thing

 Rx: Indian Whisky

 1 quart alcohol
 1 pound rank, black
  chewing tobacco
 1 handful red peppers
 1 bottle Jamaica ginger
 1 quart black molasses
 Water from any river,
  ad libitum
 Mix well and boil till
 all the strength is
 drawn from the tobacco
 and peppers

Poet Joaquin Miller always explained, "I am not a liar. I simply exaggerate the truth." He should get a job as an Administration spokesperson.

Oh, what was your name in the States?
Was it Thompson or Johnson or Bates?
Did you murder your wife
And flee for your life?
Say,what was your name in the States?

Visitors to Gold Lake are advised not to drink water from the lake, or from streams flowing into and out of it, due to the high levels of gold suspended therein. This water cures the drinker of any desire for alcohol, but itself becomes addictive. The gold remains in the body, causing death - anyone suspected of being a habitual consumer is likely to be shot and melted down for their gold content. Stick to Evian.

Indian Whiskey. As Mark Twain wrote: "You take one barrel of Missouri River water, and two gallons of alcohol, Then you add two ounces of strychnine to make them crazy — because strychnine is the greatest stimulant in the world — and three plugs of tobacco to make them sick — because an Indian wouldn't figure it was whisky unless it make him sick — and five bars of soap to give it a bead, and half a pound of red pepper, and then you put in some sagebrush and boil it until it's brown. Strain this into a barrel and you've got your Indian whiskey: that one bottle calls for one buffalo robe, and when the Indian got drunk it was two robes. And that's how some of the traders made their fortunes." (Drug labs are nothing new.)
PEONS — "Los Angeles had its slave mart, as well as New Orleans and Constantinople — only the slave was sold fifty-two times a year as long as he lived, which generally did not exceed one, two or three years under the new dispensation. They would be sold for a week, and bought up by the vineyard men and others at prices ranging from one to three dollars, one-third of which was to be paid to the peon at the end of the week, which debt due for well performed labor would invariably be paid in aguardiente, and the Indian would be happy until the following Monday morning having passed through another Saturday night and Sunday's saturnalia of debauchery and bestiality.
  —Horace Bell   (Debauchery and bestiality without sanitation can be hazardeous to health.)

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 here's issue #4, which features a hot-linked color picture, but the upkeep of that may be more than I want to bother with.

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