Posts Tagged ‘Hal Walter’

A Monday mooning

January 17, 2022

A smattering of Oliphant from the Mad Dog library.

A few observations under the Wolf Moon:

• A Puck in the gob. The Albquerque Journal has a little piece on my favorite political cartoonist, Pat Oliphant, who spent 60 years pantsing the powerful before failing eyesight finally pushed him away from the drawing board. I met Oliphant in the Seventies, when the Fine Arts Center in Bibleburg hosted an exhibition of his work. He was very gracious to a dumbass hippie kid who claimed he was a cartoonist too, enduring a bit of grilling and even volunteering a few tips.

• Dave’s not here. Hal Walter’s dad, Dave, recently passed away. The two had had their differences over the years, as fathers and sons often do (see O’Grady, Harold and Patrick), but Hal took a moment to remember the good times with the man who introduced him to the great outdoors.

• And The Biggest Midget in the Room Award goes to. … The Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame. Every niche needs its shiny object, I guess. But if you can get to it via paved road it’s bullshit.

2022’s not so hot

January 1, 2022

It’s a wee bit weatherish in the ’hood today. First rain of the new year.
We’ll take it.

During the night, I heard what sounded like a brisk rain or maybe some wind-driven sleet peppering El Rancho Pendejo, a soothing musical overlay to the percussive fireworks, gunfire, and general revelry that traditionally accompanies New Year’s celebrations in The Duck! City.

Sure enough, when we arose to greet the new year we found a stiff wind, gray skies, and chilly temps. The weather widget reported 0.24 inch of precip. Yay, etc.

Checking in from Weirdcliffe, where temps were in the teens with a light snow falling, my man Hal Walter reported: “I have looked outside and see no good reason to get out of bed today.”

Of course, his neighborhood is not on fire. Hal confines all fire to his kitchen wood stove. Which he had to get up and feed (see video). Still, a man can dream, yeah?

We have a very slight chance of snow, but I won’t be breaking out the skis or snowshoes. It may be a new year, but I’m the same suspicious old dog. I’ll believe it’s snowing when I can write my name in it.

Happy happy joy joy to all of yis who keep popping round no matter what the calendar or your better judgment advises.

Born to run

November 13, 2021

Harrison Walter (center) signs a letter of intent to run for Colorado Mountain College. His dad and coach, Hal, is third from the right.
Photo: Joy Parrish

My man Hal Walter recently arranged a small signing ceremony for his son, Harrison, who will be running cross country and track for Colorado Mountain College next year.

Harrison is on the autism spectrum, and so making the leap from high school to college may involve more gymnastics than it did for thee or me. Writes Hal in his Substack newsletter:

It’s been a long run for Harrison, who began his scholastic running career in middle school cross-country and track at Custer County, and then continued into high school. Seven years in all. In the first few years we didn’t know what direction he’d run when the gun went off — or if he’d actually run or melt down. We’re still working out the transition to college. He may be splitting his time in Leadville between online and in-person classes, and doing some workouts next fall with his old team — and coach — here in Westcliffe.

A tip of the Mad Dog mortarboard to Harrison and Hal for a job well done.

And speaking of jobs well done, Hal recently announced that he would be stepping down from MetaFaceButt to spend more time with his Substack newsletter. You can subscribe to that here.

And now, here’s Patrick with the weather

April 17, 2021

The maple shares the eastern horizon with blue sky
and a few clouds … for now.

The furnace was chugging away when I woke up this morning. This, after some days of riding around and about in knickers and arm warmers. (Not the furnace. Me.)

Our weather widget in the kitchen told me the temp outside was smack dab at freezing — 32° Fahrenheit. No wonder I was wearing pants, socks, and a long-sleeved shirt, I mused.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla says she would like her meals delivered.

In my office Miss Mia Sopaipilla was tucked away in the Situation Room, monitoring developments, largely through closed eyelids.

The forecast calls for snow, which some of you are already enjoying. Any inclination I might have to bitch about it is tempered by the ongoing grim news about the state of the Rio Grande, which is likely to be drier than the proverbial popcorn fart this summer. Pinning our hopes on a stout monsoon season seems about like asking Santa Claus to lay a few bazillion gallons on us. We have not been good girls and boys.

Speaking of water, if you are fortunate enough to find yourself restricted to the great indoors by inclement weather you might have a sip from this week’s episode of Desert Oracle Radio. Ken Layne discusses the “accidental miracles” that spared so much of the American Southwest’s mountains and deserts from growth for growth’s sake, which Ed Abbey dubbed “the ideology of the cancer cell.”

Then change channels to KLZR-FM in Weirdcliffe, where my man Hal Walter — who seems to be Mister Multimedia these days — chats with Gary Taylor about the joys of running and other things.

Hal is enjoying a bit of snow himself up to Weirdcliffe rather than running his ass off at the Desert Donkey Dash in Tombstone, Ariz., where the forecast is for a high in the 70s. If he has any regrets about this as he feeds the woodstove he is keeping them to himself.

Saddle up, buckaroos

April 6, 2021

Longtime Friend of the Blog Hal Walter got a little teevee time on the Tube of You recently when Nancy Hobbs, executive director of the American Trail Running Association, popped round to his place with a videographer in tow.

Nancy wanted to chat about burro racing, which Hal has been doing for more than 40 years, winning seven world championships along the way. So naturally he had a few thoughts on the topic.

The video is a three-parter. The first is up top, and you can catch the others here and here.

Substacking the hay bales

February 11, 2021

Who is that masked man? Photo by Hal Walter.

My man Hal Walter is getting into the groove with his Substack newsletter.

If you haven’t subscribed yet, have a peek at the archives, and give it some thought.

His latest is about wearing the mask, something he was doing long before The Bug® came calling. When he’s not writing, editing, or wrangling his teenage son, Hal runs a jackass ranch, which means moving large quantities of hay around and about. Seems it helps to have something covering your face-holes to keep them from clogging up tighter than a bull’s butt in fly time.

In fact, everything I know about masks I have learned from hay. I’ve gotta figure over the years I’ve moved more than a quarter-million tons of the stuff by hand, and have eaten my share of dust, mold, pollen, fungi, actual grass and alfalfa, and no doubt been exposed to salmonella, tularemia and hantavirus in the process. At some point I started wearing a bandana, and then along came the face/neck gaiters. I’ve not moved any serious amount of hay without one since.

I mostly move serious amounts of words, which is easier on the snotlocker, and the lower back, too. Although I’ve thought on occasion while penning something particularly outrageous that wearing a catcher’s mask might be smart.

The sky’s the limit

January 22, 2021

And the skies are not cloudy all day? Where’s the fun in that?

My man Hal Walter hasn’t been writing a ton lately. But when he settles down to it, he does a job of work.

His latest can be found over at Substack, a platform that helps free-range weirdos like Hal and me crank out whatever for a small fee. But you needn’t reach for your wallet quite yet — you can have a look around without signing up for a newsletter subscription.

I’m not certain that email newsletters are the way to go. Not for me, anyway. Unlike Hal, I’m fairly comfortable with the WordPress platform, and I’m not really interested in trying to make money off this little one-ring circus of mine.

Anyway, does anyone really need another newsletter cluttering up the in-box? That’s pretty much all I get anymore, or so it seems. I have to scroll a long way down the in-box to find an email from an actual human being.

Hal’s Substack presence is very much a work in progress — at the moment, it’s a blog without the email newsletter. But while you’re waiting on the mail, you might pop round to see what he’s nailed to the wall.

 

’Round about midnight

September 9, 2020

The dread Crusty County Snow Spiral of Doom. Photo by Hal Walter

A wind-driven rain blew us right out of bed last night about three hours after lights out.

I say “last night” because it was still dark. But it was just after midnight. And it sounded as though Poseidon was power-washing the house, or maybe shot-peening it, which probably doesn’t do much to harden stucco against the elements.

As I will never be smart, this was about the time it occurred to me that I probably should’ve taken down the various bird feeders hanging around and about El Rancho Pendejo, maybe cinched down the cover over the gas grill, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

But this morning, all the feeders and the grill cover remained in place. The only damage was to the plastic footlocker we use to store the cushions for our patio furniture; that sucker got blown over and one of the gas struts FUBARed.

The cushions, as you might deduce, got wet.

I estimate that we got a foot or two of rain, but since it was coming in sideways at warp 5 it only amounted to a quarter inch or so. We can expect more of the same later today, it seems. And with the weather widget showing 43° at 8:48 in the ayem it’s about as warm as it’s going to get.

About 12,000 Burqueños lost power last night, and the problem persists this morning. Khal S. reports that he and a few thousand of his fellow Santa Feos were back to kerosene lanterns, wood heat, and carrier pigeons too. Up north my man Hal Walter was likewise back to a traditional mountain lifestyle (freezing to death in the dark), and woke up to snow; the icing on the cake, as it were.

All in all, it seems a good day to stay indoors and listen to Miles Davis. Even if it’s not ’round about midnight.

The corral-based lifestyle

May 14, 2020

As long as we’re checking in with old compañeros, say howdy to my man Hal Walter.

Hal is Bug-bound up to Weirdcliffe, in Crusty County, Colo., where he’s helping his son finish his sophomore year in high school; trying to cobble together something approximating a living (he doesn’t call his blog “Hardscrabble Times” as a party gag); and pondering the cancellation of the marquee events on this year’s burro-racing calendar.

“You know, these are weird times,” he says in the video up top. “I’ve been in the sport of pack-burro racing for 40 years, and the idea that we wouldn’t … have a season is just unbelievable to me. The important thing, I think, is for us all to stay connected — stay connected to our animals, the earth, and the sky.”

Social distancing isn’t much of an adjustment for guys like Hal and me. We’ve been home-based scribes for hire since forever (some days it seems so, anyway). And we weren’t all that cuddly when we had reg’lar newspaper jobs. Ask anyone.

But The Bug® is out to bite us all in some tender place, no matter what we do or where we do it. The sumbitch got Hal and his burro-racing buddies right in the ass. So, like the rest of us, he’s just trying to keep himself plugged in and plugging along, putting one foot in front of the other.

You can download a free copy of Hal’s latest e-book, “American Flats,” at “Hardscrabble Times.”

Welfare check

May 11, 2020

Herself chats with her mom jailhouse style,
on the phone, through a pane of glass.

We swung by the Dark Tower yesterday, bearing gifts.

Herself the Elder had requested huevos rancheros for Mothers Day. So we ordered up the takeout from Weck’s and ran it on by.

“You’re spoiled!” exclaimed a staffer. Dern tootin’. As spoiled as one can be in an assisted-living facility under lockdown in plague time, anyway.

Ain’t nothin’ a couple sacks of mulch and a cat statue can’t fix.

Afterward we continued a ongoing backyard-cleanup project. I’m a lifelong asthmatic with a personal, portable plague of allergies, the most severe of which is to yardwork.

But the space was starting to look like a tumbledown Tinkertoy tower of rusty playground equipment, a bullet-riddled ’63 Rambler American on blocks, and a three-legged pit bull with bowel issues would actually constitute improvements.

So, yeah. Yardwork.

Up north, where the yards are 35 acres, my man Hal forwards a Colorado Public Broadcasting piece about how gig workers there — including him — are getting the runaround from the plague-jiggered unemployment system, such as it is.

“This is exactly what happened to me when I applied,” he said. “I apparently need to call there. But of course cannot get through.”

Well, you can always get through here, bub. What’s going on out there in Greater Dogpatch? Are you digging holes and filling them in again? Redistributing wealth? Fetching takeout to shut-ins? As the Year of the Plague drags on toward Memorial Day, we want to hear how our readers are getting by. Wag your tales in comments.