Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Morning Edition - 2456732

We had an epiphany of sorts yesterday afternoon on The Ides of March.  Add an "A" and call it perhaps the Ideas of March.  Here's our realization: "We're channeling Charles Kuralt."  Charles is one of our heroes.  He was our hero the very first day we learned about "On The Road" in late 1967.

Our Dear Readers know of our mid-1960's angst about "good news" and how that whole story played out in our life.  Charles was an instant hero for us because he celebrated Good News and Happy Days.  Charles is long gone from this earthly road but he will always remain forever one of our Dearest Heroes.  His tenacious dedication to The Bright Side has been a lifelong inspiration.

Yesterday, we realized we are indeed following in the footsteps of Charles Kuralt.  We are out on the virtual version of "On The Road" looking for whatever Fun Stuff comes our way.  The Ideas of March was especially meaningful because we finally broke on through to the other side.

We finally established a new paradigm to allow us to roam free range at will across America, seeking and finding Fun Stuff Stories in the most unlikely of places....random places truly selected at random.  "Oh, Boy," as Hank The Cowdog would say, that's when the Good Times really started rolling for us.  And that's when the realization of following in Charles Kuralt's footsteps came home to roost.

No one will ever fill Charles Kuralt's shoes.  No one will ever replicate that man's singular contribution to our American culture.  We realized yesterday on The Ideas of March that this humble Morning Edition might actually have a purpose.

Dear Friend Natalie N.W. sent some incredibly touching and thoughtful words our way yesterday right about the time of our epiphany.  She said:

"You are a tremendous inspiration to us all, John. So many good things happening in this world and you find them and share them. Such a joy! People can't take much more of the continuous bad news. (Not good for our health) Smiles and laughter and uplifting stories that say, "We can do this, too." Wow! What a difference it makes in our experience of the day. Love and Blessings," ~Nat & Steve

We so appreciate your kind words, Natalie, and your timing was perfect!  We won't promise a Morning Edition every day.  "No can do."  But we will promise to do our best with the time we have on those mornings when we can once again roam free range "On The Road" channeling the Spirit of Our Hero, Charles Kuralt.

"In October 1967, when Walter Cronkite's CBS Evening News was swollen with combat footage from Vietnam, a young correspondent named Charles Kuralt made a novel proposal to the network brass. His request: a small film crew and a large recreational vehicle. His idea: to roam America in search of tiny, happy moments."

The quote above opens the Slate article linked below.  The Work of Charles Kuralt was a tonic for The American Spirit.  Here is his Wiki and the Slate article.  Thank You for the inspiration, Mister Kuralt--you set an incredibly high bar!  We trust you are wondering the Elysian Fields of Heaven's enchanting byways, entertaining God, Saint Peter and The Angels with yet another other worldly rendition of "On The Road!"

By far and away without any doubt, my All-Time Favorite Charles Kuralt "On The Road" story was the one about Archie Burchfield.  Archie's Story is The Stuff of Immortal Legends, of course, but the way Charles Kuralt told Archie's story elevated it to Maximum Mythology in my mind.  Archie's story has been forever stamped in my synapses.  After all, Archie was from Stamping Ground, Kentucky, so he also knew a little bit about stamping.

Some of our Dear Readers know we have a deep personal affection for The Game of Croquet.  Perhaps that is why Archie's Story resonates in our heart and spirit.  Even since I first heard of Archie from Charles Kuralt, Archie has been one of my heroes.  Archie will forever epitomize the values I hold near and dear to my heart.  His story is a Story for The Ages.  Enjoy these two fine links:

Not only did Natalie N.W. send along her kind, thoughtful and touching words cited above but she also sent this great story, too.  THANKS, Natalie!
Before we discovered our new paradigm, we were roaming our normal "inside the box" news sources.  This a great article and well worth your read.
"Here in Mid-Wilshire," said Dave Sotero, a Metro spokesman, 
"L.A.'s prehistoric past is meeting its subway future.",0,3850679,print.story

And so how did this epiphany come about?  Well, it started with us thinking we were in a rut.  Every morning we checked the same news outlets.  We can tick them off like the stops on a mystical railroad--Salt Lake, Idaho Falls, Flagstaff, Prescott, San Francisco, Seattle, Camp Verde, Cottonwood and Tucson.  Not much genetic diversity in that list.

Anyway, we were feeling a little depressed about our narrowly-constrained news paradigm.  We wondered how to break to break on through to the other side.

And it started Saturday morning when we went to Keokuk.  No offense intended to any Iowa-naise alums but we've always made fun of Keokuk, Iowa.  It dates back to growing up in Laugh-Yet, Indiana.  Whenever we needed a straw dog, it was always Keokuk, Iowa.

So, Saturday morning we went to Keokuk and that's when we learned about the Bald Eagle Appreciation Days.  "Oh, Boy," as Hank The Cowdog would say, our eyes were opened and our paradigm began to shift.

Anyway, time passed.  Meanwhile, one of our respected Facebook sources posted up a photo of a ba-zillion eagles in trees.  We immediately recognized it as a Mississippi River photo reminiscent of Keokuk's signature event.  And that's what got us to thinking.  If Keokuk works, then what?

And so it was that we wondered if there was such a thing as a "random place generator."  We can't remember the search string we used but we found precisely what we were looking for.  Here's how it works.  First, you select a starting point.  Then you manipulate the variables.  In this case, we set a 500-mile radius and asked for 10 random sites.

Bear in mind, these will be random sites of Longitude and Latitude, NOT cities or towns.  Anyway, then you can ask the website to display your ten sites onto a Google Map.  Then you can zoom in on the Google Map and "eyeball" the nearest town or city that you think might actually have a real newspaper.  Then you type in the name of the town or city and add the word "newspaper" and, voila, The Fun Begins!

Our first experience with this process was using Saint Louis, Missouri, as the starting "S" point.  We set a 500 mile radius. Our first "trip" was to Jonesboro, Arkansas.  Our second experience was to use Asheville, North Carolina as the starting point and we used a 200-mile radius.  (That's the graphic you see above.)

Here's the random site generator.  The rest is up to you

Well, anyway, we went first to the Jonesboro, Arkansas, newspaper and it was more boring that watching paint dry...UNTIL we found this cooler stuff.  (Narrative continues below graphics.)

So, as Career Campers, we were mightily intrigued by this stuff.  It wasn't an article.  It was just two links on an obscure page of  "The Sun" in Jonesboro.  But the facts of the matter popped right out.  If you spend any time with outdoors people you know that some of them love to brag and dote on their insanely expensive coolers.  Coolers are a "Way Of Life" to outdoors people.  All the rage these days are coolers that cost an arm and a leg (or more).  You can easily wrap up $500 in a small cooler with a fancy name.

Anyway, if you know much about the Land of Jonesboro, it's All About Billy Bass.  EVERYBODY back there is a Bass fisherman.  And NO Bass fisherman worth her or his salt or crank bait will sally forth onto their local lake without a cooler that keeps beer cold forever.  If your cooler sux, YOU sux.  It's that simple back there in The Land of Big Bad Bass!

So The Good Ol' Boys at "The Sun" in Jonesboro, Arkansas did their own homegrown "cooler test" last June of Twenty Thirteen.  And guess, what?  Take a real close look at the results and you will bee the Good Ol' Igloo Max Cold hung tight with the Big Dogs.  Ain't NO WAY we could ever justify buying one of them Big Dog coolers after reading this here Good Ol' Boy scientific cooler study.  ($200-$250) ($300) ($250 and up)  ($65!)

OK!!!   Now that we have been cut loose to roam free range far and wide, let the Good Times Roll!  This was the first Charles Kuralt-esque article we found.  She's the one on the left.
And from the most unlikely of newspapers, The Gary, Indiana, "Post-Tribune" comes:

“weenie virgins.”

Meanwhile in Jasper, Georgia, at "The Pickins Progress:
"PHS prepares for Grease...."
(Just watch the slide show--such fun fotos.)
We went to the Bastrop, Louisiana, newspaper because it was on our map of random places.  There wasn't much happening in Bastrop, frankly, but we noticed this link to a so-called "viral video."  As usual, the so-called "viral video" was gunked-up with all sorts of weird ads and so forth.  We traced it back to its source and this should play with minimal interference.

What this video is all about is not just a "show" by a bear.  It's a tutorial for ALL people who think that stringing that food between two trees will deter a black bear from getting there.  NO self-respecting back bear will EVER be deterred by a mere high wire!  I witnessed this very same high wire act back in 1981 in the High Sierra on a 30-day back pack trip with Gus G.  Bears will stop at NOTHING to get your food.  Repeat out loud after me these letters, please:


The full video is here.  Prepare to be amused and educated:

Haley Johnson, 17, Elizabethton, Tennessee
Here is your Sunday "Aw..." Story...Get yer hankies handy.

And, finally, when the Kazoos come marching in....Greensboro, North Carolina:

Thank YOU and Bless YOU, Dear Readers!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is among your best Sunday Morning Editions, ever, John. Thank you for "roaming free range" in the spirit of Charles Kuralt.