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Brian Fleck

Oh, Canada

Walkin'

From the icy climes of the oil pipeline protest camp of Standing Rock, North Dakota, this week’s column finds us in sunny and hot Playacar, Mexico, or as I refer to it, the land of the endless buffet.
An alert reader may ask, how can you, as an environmental activist, travel so far for pleasure? Aren’t you worried about the ozone? The polar bears? Florida? Life as we know it?

Meetings I’ve known

Walkin'

The worst meetings it was ever my misfortune to attend were run by a “light” colonel. As editor of the post’s newspaper I was expected to be in the room but was never sure why. I was in good company as there were another dozen in the same boat: we were ordered to attend. What I was sure of was that the colonel ran a meeting that was as long as it was worthless. Any topic could be picked apart including sports and soap operas. Nothing was ever decided even if it took all morning to get there.

Entering camp

The final 60 miles into the Standing Rock Reservation and the protester’s camp were nothing to fool around with.

God help us all...under the heading “reality is stranger than fiction”

In early November, as Wikileaks steadily released piles of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, one contact caught the attention of prankster sites and/or political operatives.
James Alefantis is the owner of Comet Ping Pong Pizza, a restaurant in Washington, D.C. He’s also a big Democratic Party supporter and raised money for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Alefantis, who’s never met Clinton, appeared in the Podesta emails in connection with the fundraisers.
And from these thin threads, an enormous trove of conspiracy fiction was spun.

Potpourri

Walkin'

Pearl, our 9-year-old Labradoodle, got stair privileges recently and is very much the happy camper as she can once again sleep at the foot of our bed. She’s recovering from knee surgery, and the last liberty– running off leash– is still a month away.
The chickens survived another week of the great scaly leg mite infestation. Officials from S.E.T.I. (Search for Extra Terrestrial Life) read about Sabra’s extraordinary measures to contain and eradicate the microscopic critters. If aliens ever land here, she’s now on the short list of cleaners to call.

Chicken wishing

Walkin'

A couple of surprises came out of the old hen house recently.
The coop isn’t old at all, but it’s been a few seasons since the girls were spring chickens. Nevertheless, they shouldn’t be over the hill, egg-laying wise. Typically, a hen produces from five to seven years. We have six chickens, average age three-and-a-half, so we should still be making omelets and deviled eggs to our heart’s content.
Wrong.
Creation tapered off this spring and then stopped all together with the beginning of summer. It was a bit of a mystery since production typically goes up in the summer months.

A day in the life of a small town

Walkin'

Ran into Bob Jedlicka in Solon the other day.
Bob served as the city superintendent during the 1980s and ‘90s while I lived there, ran the newspaper and sat on the city council. “
A barrel-chested man, his knees began giving out on him years ago. As a result, he doesn’t so much walk as rock like a washing machine with an uneven load. His large chest also serves as an echo chamber. A man of few words, the ones he does speak echo long and deep before erupting from his mouth.

Stinking and exploding

Walkin'

Talk about your emotional swings.
In just 10 days, I went from the elation of the Cubs winning the World Series to the deep depression of the election of Donald Trump.
This week’s column was going to be about my earliest days of fandom for the loveable losers. I even started writing it before Tuesday:
Dave (Buzz) Buzello and I were as a thick as thieves in our preteens.
He lived a half-dozen houses down the street. Our mutual life’s goal was to discover a secret formula that would either: A.) Stink to high heaven or B.) Explode.

Heaven and hell

Walkin'

Blame it all on the Cubs.

Poisons

Walkin'

We went on our annual fall bicycle ride on the Kewash Nature Trail recently.
It was a gorgeous fall day. Sun out, temperature up and leaves in all their glory. On our half dozen or so rolls up and down the trail, we encountered a bunch of beautiful flora and fauna. On one early summer ride the periwinkles bloomed in all their blue and violet glory. On another, a huge buck with a splendid rack stood in waist high corn and watched us as we watched him.

Chicken ship

There’s been trouble in the old hen house. Someone complained to the ACLU (American Chicken Liberties Union) about the Buddhist prayer flags draped in a corner.
Like the much older and more renowned American Civil Liberties Union (also ACLU), both organizations are nonpartisan, non-profit. Both work through litigation, lobbying and community empowerment to achieve their mission: “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every chicken in this country by the Constitution and the laws of the United States.” Of course in the “civil” version, people are defended.

The big onion

Walkin'

Talked with Mom and Dad on the phone this morning.
The big news of the day was the Cubs. They don’t have cable so they couldn’t watch the series clincher against the Giants, but they did have a radio tuned in until about 10 p.m. That’s bedtime, they observe it pretty closely. It’s a rare evening that finds them staying up past or, even rarer, going to bed early.
We both agreed it’s actually better listening to it on the radio. The television announcers might be talking about what they had for lunch and completely miss describing the triple being played out on the field.