A DEFINITION OF BOULDER, COLORADO



 

Here I am. Settled at last in Boulder,Colorado. Time to begin blogging again. Time to clarify these new surroundings. Boulder has me buffaloed. So, here are my thoughts.

 

A Definition of Boulder, Colorado

  It is a place where there’s a lot of sex going on.

A place where you can quickly cross the street after you punch the big silver button and the little white-man figure lights up. A safe crossing place. A place with too many cars. A place where everyone rides a bicycle. A place where exhaust fumes are so potent so you can’t walk along the sidewalk on Arapahoe Ave. A place of dizziness. A scary place.

    It is a place of green. Fresh green trees. Summer shade. Where noxious weeds are the battle ground, not Afganistan.

    A place where the newspaper is called a camera.

    It’s a place where the language has strange words that begin with “eco.” Ecodoggiebag. Ecoefficient. Ecogreenoffice. Ecologic. Econatural. Ecofuture. Ecohandyman, ecoarts, ecochange, ecogreen.

    A place where my dog can poop on the floor of McGuckins Hardware Store and no one gets angry. A place where I can’t shop because my dog is the attraction, not me, the customer. In this place there are many Golden Labs. Outside of this place there are horses.

    A young place. There are no old people. A place with no gray hairs, white hairs, or blue hairs. They are sent to Arizona or Florida.

    The place is terrifying. Where I worry about death by a bicycle racing along Boulder Creek Bike Path. Along the path floods rage. Soggy wet sleeping bags and undergarments lay in fearsome dark places abandoned in the mud along the Creek.

A Secret Gem of Arizona: The Desert Caballeros Western Museum


         


 

THE NAVAJO Charles M. Russell 1919

Permanent Collection of Desert Caballeros Western Museum

It’s hard to believe that the tiny town of Wickenburg, Arizona (population something less than 7,000) could have one of the best and most comprehensive collections of early Western cowboy art. Just about anybody who is anybody as a 20th century Western artist is represented here. In this charming setting, you’ll find the entire panorama of Western art including works by the early explorer artists: landscape painters, the Taos Society, founders of the Cowboy Artists of America, and examples of more recent schools with new perspectives from impressionism to realism. You’ll see George Catlin, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington, Joseph Henry Sharp, Oscar Berninghaus, Joe Beeler, Harrison Begay, and even a stunning large bronze by Earle Heikka.

This museum took my breath away! It’s small and intimate. You feel you belong there. You can almost hear the artist’s voices spinning tall tales. I know my favorite Charlie Russell was there telling one of his yarns filled with his delightful profanity. Bob Fjeld, a handsome docent, said he preferred Russell’s bronzes, but for me, Heikka is the prize winner. I think Bob must be one of my long lost Norse kin from Montana.

And then, before you can catch your breath you’re over at The Old Livery Mercantile, Inc. on Tegner Street trying on Cowboy Hats and buying real Arizona silver and turquoise jewelry. Brett and Mary Ann Gerasim at the Old Livery have a motto. “Don’t hurry—this is Wickenburg!”

I love Wickenburg.


The Shieldmaiden and Nordic Detectives


Hervor dressed like a man, fought, killed and pillaged under her male surname Hjörvard. She grew up as a slave, but when she finally found out that she was the daughter of Angantyr owner of the magic sword, Tyrfing, she set out to claim the sword as her rightful inheritance.

Hervor let nothing stand in her way. When none of her crew would dare to embark on the haunted island of Samsey, she did it herself. Approaching the fires above the ghostly grave barrows she summoned her father to reveal himself with such harsh words that her father’s voice commanded her not to pursue her quest for Tyrfing. She would not give in but shouted for her rightful inheritance.

At last the grave opened and in its center a fire was shining and there she saw her father. He warned her that the sword would bring death to the whole clan if she used it. This only made her words harsher. She persisted until at last the sword was cast out of the grave and she eagerly gripped it, bid farewell to her dead kinsmen and walked to the shore.

Her ships were gone, but she made her way to Gudmud of Glæsisvellir and taught the king to play the Viking board game of tafl. However, nobody could mess with her, and she killed a courtier when he tried to unsheathe Tyrfing after she left it unattended on a chair. So she left and resumed her Viking activities of killing men for money.

    

. . .More cheery in battle

Than chatting to suitors

Or taking the bench

At a bridal feast.

 

More on Hervor in my next posting.

Meanwhile, I’m reading Stieg Larsson’s hugely popular The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. By now I’d guess most of you have read it. And yes, it’s filled with the fatalism of the Nordic Saga. The Stoic methodical practicality of sifting through hundreds of photographs and police records. Dogged, monotonous procedures.
But it’s also filled with Lisabeth Salander, the embodiment of 21st-century shieldmaiden. None too ladylike, she seeks the only law available in tribal society, revenge.

My Indie Award winning novel is available at: http://www.amazon.com/Buffaloed-Fairlee-Winfield/dp/1439200998

NORWEGIAN HERO WHO SAILED THE KON-TIKI


Knut Haugland, the last surviving crew member of the Kon-Tiki died on December 25. The six man 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition, organized by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, set out from Callao in Peru on a balsa wood raft to prove that people from South America could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times. The expedition used only material and technology that would have been available to people at the time. The crew sailed the raft for 101 days and 4,900 miles across the Pacific before smashing into a reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands.

But more importantly, Knut Haugland was a much decorated veteran of the Norwegian resistance. He helped sabotage a Norwegian heavy water plant that the Allies suspected might be used to construct a German atomic bomb. Haugland built a radio transmitter from a car battery and fishing rods. The mission was the subject of the 1965 film, Heroes of the Telemark. Haugland narrowly evaded capture when a transmitter he had hidden in the chimney of the Oslo Maternity Hospital was discovered.

Knut is at the top of my list of true Viking heroes. But all he ever said about his exploits was, “We just did a job.”

Mange tussen takk, Knut.

Norse Viking of the Cat World


VIKING OF THE CAT WORLD — THE NORWEGIAN FOREST CAT

  1. Emerald green eyes with a band of gold.
  2. Tufts on paws.
  3. Long silky inner ear hair to deflect the wind and snow that gives this Viking her racing stripes.
  4. A long spun-silk coat to delight the touch.
  5. Magnificent tail that fans to twelve inches.

    Is the Norse name accurate? It sure is, skogkatt, meaning forest cat. A natural breed that came out of the Norwegian forest sometime in the last 4,000 years.

    These beauties must have been companions of Sif, the Norse grain Goddess and wife of Thor. How else was Sif to guard the wheat and barley from the Loki’s tricky rodents. They must have traveled on the knarrs and long boats to Siberia and Iceland.

    At the cat show last weekend I saw this Siberian, Russia’s native forest cat. Doesn’t it look a lot like our Viking? A descendent?

Published in: on December 21, 2009 at 10:33 pm  Comments (3)  
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Ode to a Haggis


OK my good Norse friends. I. M. Buffaloed about your postings on my Facebook wall that you prefer HAGGIS to my menu for the Greenland Viking Feast. And I’ll never believe the rumor that the recipe came to Scotland on the longboats from Scandinavia.

Do you have any idea of what that Haggis stuff is? I can hardly even speak of it. It’s sheep’s puck. The heart, liver, and lungs of sheep all minced up with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt boiled together in the poor animal’s stomach for three hours. Oh dear! And up until now I thought I admired the Scots.

Here’s their menu for a Robert Burns’ traditional Scottish supper:

1 large Haggis

Neeps and Tatties (rutabaga and potatoes boiled and mashed)

A dram of Scotch whisky

I’ll need more than a dram to get through this supper! But consolation, we can read aloud from Scotland’s greatest poet. The poem I’m thinking of goes—something, something, and then—

“. . . Nine inch will please a lady. . . .” Burns was a great poet.

Charlie Russell’s Ghost Horse


Charlie Russell never gave up his Cowboy Image. He let be known around Great Falls, Montana that his beloved horse, Monte, had been a Crow Indian buffalo pony. This is the story he told.

 

A Blackfeet warrior named Calf Rope stole the pony from the Crow Indians one night. Trouble was, while Calf Rope was escaping with the pony, he was killed. So—as was Indian custom—Calf Rope’s fellow Blackfeet warriors shot the pony so Calf Rope’s spirit wouldn’t have to walk in his afterlife.

 

But—the damned pony survived the bullet wound and became what the Indians call a GHOST HORSE. Since the pony was supposed to be dead, no Indian would ride him. The pony’s medicine was too strong.

 

So—the Indians played a trick on Charlie, a tenderfoot white boy newly arrived from St. Louis. They sold him the horse.

 

Is the story true? It sure makes Charlie appear to have strong medicine, doesn’t it?

 

GREENLAND VIKING HOLIDAY FEAST – 1344


Magnus: Tie an apron over your best fur dress and get ready, Sigrid. Sixty people, sixty people! …and praise Thor,1 they’ll be here overnight. Your reputation as a cook will be tested to the limit. What have you got on hand? We’ll need at least 6 fat seals. Make a list.

Sigrid: 2 seals

Walrus meat leftovers I was turning into pemmican

1 seal, under the stones on the north side (the meat should be turned by now)

Magnus: That’s equal to about 4 seals. So I’ll need to beg a couple of seals from our neighbors; 2 seals from Hallgrim and 2 from Arne.

Sigrid: 13 bundles of caribou bones that are in the cold hole (hunters really enjoy the marrow)

2 rear legs of a good sized lamb

20 bundles of roots from the birch thicket

6 bundles of dried seaweed and algae

1 sealskin full of fermented birds (the kids’ll love them)

Guts from 8 seals stuffed with fat. These will be for snacks. I cut them into little thumb size pieces, and they’re the highlight of any meal.

And, for breakfast, Mangus, we have enough dried fish and butter seasoned with seaweed.

Mangus: We’ll need at least six of your soapstone boiling pots.

Sigrid: I only have four, but they’re getting warm now over the seal blubber cooking lamps. One has a crack, and leaks a little. I smeared grease on the inside, it helps, but we’ll need to do it all night.

Mangus: I’ll send the boys across the bay to get two more boiling pots from the neighbor. But what about the drinks?

 Sigrid: Bva, of course. It’s refreshing. I’ve already boiled the blood and I’ll mix it with the cold water just before serving begins.

 

1 Mangus has never adopted the true faith.

EDVARD MUNCH hears Columbus discovered America


Leif Ericson Day is approaching—October 9. All of us Nordic types are getting ready for big celebrations. It takes plenty of Goggling to make a celebration. So while looking through the great Viking ship stuff at http://media.photobucket.com I ran across the notorious Edvard Munch painting, Skrik, and I finally got it—Eddie’s true intention—the origin of The Scream.

It is a self-portrait. Here’s what happened. Eddie is walking down Ekeberg Hill above the Christiania harbor. He has just visited his sister Laura who is confined to a mental hospital. She’s manic depressive. Eddie only suffers from relentless melancholia. Anyway, as Eddie walks across the bridge he passes two guys. One says to the other, “History books all say that the Italian fugleskemsel, Christopher Columbus, discovered America!”

Well, suddenly the sky around Eddie turns blood red and the fjord and city become blue-black. He stands there trembling with anxiety and he senses an infinite scream passing from his bloodless lips and moving outward through all of Norway and beyond.

BUFFALOed awarded First Place Grand Prize in 2009 Indie Book Awards Contest


As I told you guys, Western Fiction may be shattered but it’s not wiped out.   Yes!  A western has taken the Indie Prize.  No fantasy, sc fi, romance, mystery, adventure, crime, or horror.  Western writers–keep ’em movin’. 

From Historical Novel Society Reviews:

Young Norwegian immigrant Ovidia Odegard expects to find buffalo when she signs on as Cowboy Artist Charlie Russell’s hired girl. Instead, she finds Indians more educated than most whites, social order as stratified as Eastern society, and an assortment of boozers and bamboozlers, women chasers, and gamblers.

BUFFALOed is available at www.amazon.com/Buffaloed-Fairlee-Winfield/dp/1439200998/