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Friday, December 19, 2014

Mr. Cope’s Cave: Holiday for One

Posted By on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 10:28 AM

You know what today is, don’t you?

Yeah, it’s the 19th. December.

What? No significance?

OK, I knew there wouldn’t be. That’s to be expected. Just because Dec. 19 is significant to me doesn’t mean it’s going to be significant to anyone else.

But this gives me a theory. A new one. So if you’re not in the mood for a theory, go away and do something else. This is one of those things I’m writing for myself, anyway… being Dec. 19 and all… so don’t feel obligated.

What if?… each and every one of us have our own, private, distinct and unique day—there could two or three a year, I suppose—that is significant to them and no one else? And I’m not talking about the days that we’re expected to consider significant, like wedding anniversaries or birthdays.

Nor am I talking about the days we all supposedly share for their significance. The Fourth of July. Memorial Day. Christmas, etc. Those collective hive days when, if we don’t get in the spirit of things, or if we don’t partake in the sentimentality of the event (however forced and phony and false it may be), then there’s something wrong with us.

No, I’m talking about a day that comes about every year on which we pause and think to ourselves Ah, here it is again… that day, and we know we’re the only one on Earth who feels the power, the history, of that day. Because, you understand, that history is personal and interior, confined to one single soul. You. It’s a history that would mean absolutely nothing to anyone else. A history without which you would be someone other than who you are.

It might be a day for nostalgia, for remembrance, for sadness, for quiet reflection, for gratitude, for joy, any or all of those things. It may be a day to make a toast, perhaps shed a tear, for someone from another time, another place. It may be a day for an inner chuckle, a joke that only you get.

It will almost certainly be a day in which something happened that was indispensable to your present day. Your today. And for that reason, it is a magical and mysterious and vivid day. You can’t imagine your life without it. Everything before that day was funneled, filtered, through it, and what came out the other side was you. It may be a day you’d live over and over if you could, or a day you wished had never happened.

One way or the other, it’s yours. Alone.

That’s what today is for me. The 19th of December.

I was going to tell you why, but I’ve changed my mind.


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Monday, October 27, 2014

Mr. Cope’s Cave: Doodling In The Nude

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Just so you know, this is the 100th episode of Mr. Cope’s Cave. Twice a week x 50 weeks = 100.

No huge thing. There are people out there who’ve been blogging daily for years. In fact, there are other Boise Weekly writers—George Prentice and Amy Atkins, to name two—who post numerous items every day, day after day. I doubt if they even count the number of separate items they blog about. They probably don’t care how many times they’ve blogged. They probably think it’s silly that I’m using blog time to tell you how many blogs I’ve done so far. To them, it must be like a Tyson worker stopping work to announce he just plucked his 10,000th chicken.

Really, the only reason I’m doing it is because I have somewhat of a thing for numerical landmarks. And I’m always counting stuff. Even the most insignificant of stuff. Like, when I’m planting corn in the spring, I can’t seem to stop counting the seeds as I stick them in the dirt. And it’s not like I record the final tally in some grand gardening ledger I keep—i.e., On this day, May 7, 2014, I put 73 kernels of Honey Buns Hybrid, with an average two-inch spacing between kernels, into row four of what is proposed to eventually be a seven-row patch of sweet corn.

No, it’s just something that, once I start, I can’t stop. Probably some sort of low-grade OCD, I’m guessing.

None of which explains why I have interrupted my normal blogging patterns to announce that this is Mr. Cope’s Cave No. 100. That has more to do with me being temporarily sick of writing about ISIS or Ebola, Republicans and moronic crap that comes from the mouths of Fox News personalities, stupid gun nuts and why Idahoans ought to vote for Democrats but probably won’t. Jeez, it never ends, know what I mean? If it isn’t one damn thing, it’s another.

I mean… seriously. The news… yuck!

Another reason I’ve brought it up is because I’m mildly surprised I’ve lasted this long. Blogging, I mean. It was sort of an experiment to start with; to see if I had the stamina to produce two of these a week, along with my weekly column, for even as long as a month. I didn’t then, and still don’t, take blogging very seriously as either a reliable source of information or an entertainment venue. Here’s what I said about it in Mr. Cope’s Cave No. 1:

“So what am I doing here, on-line, publishing this material before you in a—God, I hate this word!—blog? (Sounds like something one would do in a public Porta-Potty, doesn’t it?... after wolfing down a chorizo and drinking a quart of Mogen David cooking sherry, perhaps.)

“And the answer is, I’m not sure yet. The immediate explanation is that, after years of trying, my publisher (the tireless Sally Freeman) has finally persuaded me to take up... (gack!)... blogging under the Boise Weekly umbrella. So I’ve agreed to move in and set up a blog shop. But I’m not yet sure what I’m going to peddle there.”

However, at some point between then and now, I’ve actually started to enjoy writing the blog. Even more so than writing the column, that is. I’m looser when I’m writing these than I am when I’m writing those. More relaxed. Less pressured. It feels sometimes like I’m doodling on a napkin that I’ll blow my nose on and throw away once I’m done. And it’s all because I still don’t have the sense that anyone is reading these things.

And frankly, it’s not such a bad feeling, that my only audience is me. It’s like gardening in the nude… (not that I’d know what that’s like)… or something else you may have always wanted to do, but didn’t want anyone there to see you doing it.

Sure, there are one or two struggling wits who feel the need to add their comments to just about everything I write. I have come to think of them as gross, parasitic ticks one is bound to pick up when he goes shuffling through the Internet underbrush. But since the only disease they are spreading is themselves, they aren’t worth bothering about.

Well, I suppose I ought to get back to it… whatever it is I’m doing here. The serious bloggers will be complaining that I’ve spent enough time patting myself on the back for doing in 50 weeks what they do in a month. So next blog, expect more Ebola. More ISIS. More stupid gun nuts and moronic Fox News personalities.

Yuck!
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Mr. Cope’s Cave: In Lieu of Green Beer

Posted By on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Mr. Cope, would you care to comment on the disappearance of Flight 370?

What would I know about that?

That’s what we’re trying to establish here, isn’t it? Exactly what do you know about that?

Look, I don’t know nothing about that. I was home all day when that plane disappeared. Well, OK, not exactly all day. I went to the Jackson store for a paper. A few lottery tickets, maybe. I didn’t even know about it disappearing until everyone else did, too. And why are you implying I should know something about it, anyway?

I’m not implying anything, Mr. Cope. I’m simply asking you to comment on what might have happened to that airplane and the passengers. Have you ever had any experience with a situation like this?

Are you sure you have the right Mr. Cope? Hell, I haven’t even been on a plane in 20 years or so. Oh, wait a minute... except for when I went to Iowa last year. But we got stuck in Denver for six hours, so it was more like not being on a plane that it was like being on a plane. If you know what I mean.

So... as I understand it... you are not ... in any way... an expert in the field of aeronautics? Or navigation? The Malaysian Peninsula. perhaps?

Good gravy, no. Unless knowing where it’s at makes me an expert on it.

And you can verify that you have never piloted a Boeing 777?

Uh... well, uh... I guess not, now that you mention it. It never occurred to me that I’d have to prove I can’t fly an airliner. So, uh, no. I don’t think I have even one document or eyewitness or anything that will back up my claim of not having ever piloted a Triple-7. In fact, I don’t even have proof that I didn’t know those planes were called ”Triple-7s” until this all came up.

Yet, without a shred of evidence to support your story, you still insist you have no experience whatsoever with flying that particular aircraft?

No. Er, I mean yes. I still insist I have no experience whatsoever with flying that particular aircraft. Or any other aircraft.

Then, Mr. Cope, why would you agree to an interview dealing with the disappearance of Flight 370?

I didn’t agree to no damn interviews. Not about that plane or anything else I can think of. I didn’t even know you were coming.

The truth of the matter is, all the other experts were taken. So I thought I’d give you a try, since you seem to have opinions on about everything. Everything but this plane’s disappearance, that is. Which . . . I have to tell you, Mr. Cope... I find exceedingly strange.

Well, OK... to tell you the truth, I’ve been wondering... just as an impartial observer, you understand?... I have been wondering if anyone’s checked to see if the Bermuda Triangle is where it oughta be. Know what I mean? If the Bermuda Triangle has come up missing, too, that would put a whole new coat of paint to this barn, wouldn’t it?

Aha, so you do have a comment on the disappearance of Flight 370? Good. And are you also aware that you have used at least two double negatives during this interview? Quote... Look, I don’t know nothing about that!... unquote. And... I didn’t agree to no damn interviews. Do you care to explain yourself?

OK, OK. I admit it. Sometimes I don’t talk no good. But that doesn’t mean I have any ideas why that plane went missing.

Uh-huh, uh-huh. And is there anything else you would like to add, Mr. Cope? Anything at all?

Anything? Anything at all?

Yes. Anything at all.

And it doesn’t have to be something about that missing airplane?

No, Mr. Cope. If you have something else on your mind, now is the time to bring it up.

Well... OK. I’d just like to say Happy St. Paddy’s Day to everybody, and I’d like to pass something on to anyone who feels like they haven’t had enough beauty in their lives lately.

Could we speed this up some? I have an interview scheduled with Beyoncé later this morning.

Beyoncé?! Wow!

Yes, wow. I intend to be the first to get her comments on the disappearance of Flight 370.

OK, OK. Just listen to this. And that’s all I have to say.


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Monday, January 27, 2014

Mr. Cope's Cave: Gone Fishing... Er, Just As Soon As I Get This Damn Thing Done, Maybe

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Excuse me, but I hope you aren’t coming here today looking for anything of consequence. I’m taking the day off. Frankly, the only reason I wrote what you are now reading is that I wanted to get paid for it in spite of not writing anything worth reading. And it’s not like I’m trying to rip off my boss either, as though I were taking a paid sick day even though I feel just fine.

No, I am absolutely not trying to pull something over on my boss. And even if I were, I do believe my boss would figure it out, don’t you?... seeing as how I’m admitting right here, up front, that I’m dumping a pile of inconsequential words into the blog pipe for no other reason than to get paid for them.

And listen, don’t go to thinking I couldn’t come up with something of consequence if I wanted to. There’s plenty to write about. Plen-ee. Justin Beiber, for instance. He got arrested, you know. I don’t know exactly what he got arrested for because I didn’t bother to read the whole news item because... well, basically, because I don’t give a crap what happens to Justin Beiber.

But if I’d awanted to, I coulda. I write about a lot of stuff I don’t give a crap about.

Or how about Chris Christie. He’s going to be arrested, I’d bet today’s pay check on it. It’s just a matter of time. And don’t tell me I couldn’t write a whole lot about Chris Christie and what he’s been up to over there in New Jersey. Hell, I could write Chris Christie’s weight in words about Chris Christie if I wanted.

But I don’t wanna. Not today. Counting my weekly column, I’ve been knocking out a thousand words, give or take, every 2.33 days ever since I opened this blog operation. Didn’t miss a beat for Thanksgiving... Xmas... New Yeras... my wife’s birthday... nuthin. And I’m taking a break, dammit. I deserve it. Chris Christie can wait.

And so can that weird-ass Martian rock that just seemed to appear out of nowhere. Know the one I’m talking about? The one those NASA fellas claim looks like a jellied donut?

Well, what if I were to tell you I think I know what it is, who put it there and how much it will alter the course of human history when the truth gets out? What do you think of that, huh?

But not today. That Martian rock may well be the biggest, most consequential thing that’s happened in my lifetime, and yours, too. But there ain’t nuttin gonna get me to put some consequence on this blog spot. Not today.

And don’t ask me what I thought about the Grammys last night. I didn’t think anything about the Grammys last night because I didn’t watch the goddam Grammy’s last night, just like I haven’t watched the goddam Grammys for years. And years and years. Ever since all the good kinds of music were murdered and replaced with whatever you call that swill you’re listening to now.

If you asked me, it started back in the 80s, back when Reagan and his gang were sucking the soul out of America and leaving nothing healthy behind but empty hype and unbridled greed. Seriously, doesn’t it make sense that honest musical creativity went down the same crapper along with unions, fairness, decency, U.S. presitige, and any hope of ever again hearing any semblance of the truth from Republicans? In fact, I have a theory about why those dopes think Reagan...

...hey wait a minute. Yer not gonna get me startd on that. Not that , and not today.

Now on what that idiot Mike Huckleberry... Hucksterly... Huckabuck... whatever... (I’ll be damned if I even take the time to get that idiot’s name right)... what he said about women. Jesus, why would anyone take a creepy little weasel like him seriously on anything, let alone women. Not that I’m goina say any more about that.

Or President Obama’s big speech tonight. The State of the Union. I’m sure e’ll do fine. He always does. I have this friedn—Sergeant Steve I call him—who keeps needling ne about how Obama is the worst president since Jimmy Carter and how Obamacare is flopping, even though eveybody that doesn’t have theur noses buried in Fox News’ butt knows that every month, the news on Obamacare just gets better and beter, and that Ronald Reagan couldn’t shine Jimmy Carter’s shoes, not to mention what a bucket of flop sweat George Busw is, was, and forever will be, and some day, I;; get aroun to telling Sargaent Steve all that not today though beause I’m in a hurry to get this damb thing done so I can go do somethung that isn’t doing this .

And whar;s the pint in talking about the Satate of te Union anywaay since it isn’t been sadi yet, anyways? And Obam’ll do fibe anyways. So I’m done now fir today and in thre minites, I’m gonna be off doing somthig else. I’m not even goig to reread it to see if there anu chagnes should make anf I’m not even gonna hit the spel check beofre I dump this off on my bos. A

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Slideshow: The Idaho HOPE Hemp Festival Rolls into Julia Davis Park

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Julia Davis Park looked pretty green on Sunday, Sept. 25, during a festival held to educate folks about marijuana. Hundreds turned out for Idaho H.O.P.E. Fest (Hemp Offers People Everything), Boise's first hemp festival. It featured live bands, DJs, guest speakers and educational exhibitions.

"The purpose is to educate people that hemp does offer people everything," said Sarah Caldwell, event coordinator. "The turnout is better than I expected."

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Today's Time Suck: First-World Problems on Whitewhine.com

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 7:00 AM

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Riots, terrorism, war, economic ruin, a beach house without Internet access.

One of these things is not like the others. That's because it is from the website whitewhine.com, a collection of complaints from people who could use some perspective.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

BW Columnist in Afghanistan Filing Reports Daily

Posted By on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Contentious, long-time Boise Weekly opinion columnist Ted Rall is in Afghanistan.

Readers who regularly follow Rall already know that he raised almost $26,000 through Kickstarter to fund his trip as an unembedded reporter. He, cartoonist Matt Bors (who has not left the country in his adult life) and cartoonist Steven Cloud left for Central Asia the first of the month and recently entered Afghanistan.

In addition to filing his regular week columns while he's in Afghanistan, Rall is also attempting a daily cartoon blog. Thus far, he's filed 14 cartoons from his Afghan Notebook, a task that requires him to upload his work via satellite phone at a painfully slow rate.

One recent entry from the Afghan Notebook series details the ups and downs in a recent day of travel. Up: roads in the Kunduz province that were not paved during Rall's first trip to Afghanistan in 2001 are paved now, shortening a three-day trip into just several hours. Down: overnight accommodations are difficult to come by without a steep price or the threat of a night Taliban raid.

BW readers will still find Rall's weekly columns in our pages, however, to keep up with his Afghan Notebook, readers will have to visit Rall's personal blog. It's perhaps the most alternative perspective you'll find coming out of Afghanistan now, and a highly recommended addition to your blog reader.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Boise State Football Fans Have Seismic Cheer

Posted By on Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 6:35 PM

Boise State undergrad student Andrew Nies is not a football fanatic. But when it comes to the Broncos, he makes an exception with a twist. In order to more fully appreciate the sport, he wondered if there was a way to watch a game from a scientific perspective. There is. Late last fall, the geophysics major buried broadband seismometers around Boise State’s campus just before a home game. On a chilly November day when the Broncos soundly defeated their age-old rival the University of Idaho Vandals, Nies’ gear recorded the underground waves or vibrations made by the crowd.

Turns out the Bronco faithful are enthusiastic early in the first half of the game. All that cheering, stomping and screaming tapers off as the first half comes to a close. That’s one of many findings Nies discovered. He presented his research at a gathering of some 500 seismologists at the Seismological Society of America conference. It’s happening this week in Portland, Or.

The largest spike in activity happened in the final minutes of the first half of the game when the Broncos scored a last minute kick off and Bronco touchdown. “So we see the crowd isn’t responding as much. Then there’s this build up” said Nies, “Then bam! You have this big event.”

Seismometer recording of a kickoff and Bronco touchdown at the November 2009 home game against the Vandals.
  • Boise State Geosciences department
  • Seismometer recording of a kickoff and Bronco touchdown at the November 2009 home game against the Vandals.


In the geophysical world, these “big events” actually aren’t so big. They’re micro earthquakes. Seismologists usually study these tiny tremors in volcanoes. A tiny vibration almost too small to record happens when something like a rock breaks off inside a volcano. That’s what Nies really wants to study.

“We don’t have any volcanoes here [Boise],” Nies explained, “ So I wondered what we could go out and monitor.” This was last fall about the time when the Oregon Ducks were coming to town to take on the Broncos. Nies and geophysics assistant professor, Matthew Haney, were talking about the big matchup when it struck them both. Why not record the crowd’s response using seismometers?

It didn’t happen for that game between the Broncos and the Oregon Ducks. There’s permits involved. Two foot holes to be dug for the equipment. The gear then must be buried. Volunteers are needed to jot down notes of major events, say when the cannon fires after a touchdown or the marching band performs. By the time the classic rival matchup with the Vandals rolled around, Neis and a team of 20 volunteers was ready.

The seismometers recorded kickoffs and touchdowns and also some anomalies that took Nies by surprise. “We actually figured out we recorded a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Argentina,” he said. There was also a “little blip” in the data. Turns out it was the Vandal’s marching band as they headed toward the stadium right before the game. “We didn’t expect that or the earthquake. It was really cool to see it in the record.”

Nies isn’t the first to record the seismic activities during a football game. The University of Wisconsin and Louisiana State University have already done some similar research.

Nies still has data to analyze. He and Haney plan to submit a paper to an academic journal once their analysis is finished. They also are eyeing the Bronco’s upcoming season where the two plan to do more tests using different equipment that sense ground displacement.

In the meantime, Nies may get his wish to study micro earthquakes in volcanoes. He’s hoping to go to Iceland this summer with Haney to put seismometers in a volcano near Eyjafjallajokull. That’s the volcano that erupted earlier this month. Those plans may be put on hold. Scientists say another larger volcano usually erupts when Eyjafjallajokull does. “If that happens we might change our plans a little bit.” Nies chuckled adding, “I don’t have a say in the matter.”

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Monday, February 22, 2010

No More Solo Blingo

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 5:21 PM

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Bingo's Blingo has been consolidated into Cobweb, our Boise Weekly group blog.

So if you are a fan of the Blingo and looking for new blog posts or archives, don't panic. Bingo will continue to contribute, however infrequently, to the Cobweb.

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