Archive for July, 2009

back to books

TheresMoreThe Texas Observer‘s Summer Books issue, the last one of these I’ll have the pleasure of editing, has been on the stands for a few weeks now, so I thought I’d GO AHEAD AND PUT IT UP HERE.

(If you’re coming to this late and the above link takes you to a subsequent issue of the Observer, HIT THIS LINK INSTEAD to go straight to the archived Summer Books.

I didn’t write anything for this one except THE INTRO, but there’s lots of great stuff on the inside. Check it out.

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Right now this is my favorite photo from my recent canoe trip on the North Fork of the Flathead River in northwest Montana, even though it’s one of the few that wasn’t taken from the boat.

This is from the drive up, where the pavement stops, looking across the North Fork into Glacier National Park, maybe 20 miles south of Polebridge, which is about 16 miles south of the Canadian border, which is where we put the boats in.

We spent two nights and parts of three days on the river. THERE ARE MORE PICTURES ON MY FLICKR PAGE.

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The end of the Blackfoot

The end of the Blackfoot



I’m in Missoula Montana at the moment, sitting on the front porch of my friends Al and Ginger’s house. It’s just as pleasant as could be. This is the 11.5th day of a 12-day trip, three quarters of that sick with an unseasonal head cold, one day deathly, the others just stuffy and fogged.

I’ve lost $120 over two nights playing poker and never once been in danger of winning. Goddamn I love it here.

I found and bought some sweet books but I don’t have the scanner with me so those will have to wait. I’m having two small boxes shipped back to me in Austin, so that I can pack them in a U-Haul and drive them to Ann Arbor in a month. Makes perfect sense to me.

There’ve been two river trips, a 2-night on the North Fork of the Flathead and a day raft on the Blackfoot. I got sick fast driving up to the North Fork and by the time we made camp on the river that night I thought I was going to die. My throat turned raw and my head clogged up and I got terrible heartburn and I threw up twice and I couldn’t sleep because the mucous kept trying to drown me and all things considered I think it was the worst night I have ever spent in a tent. I got zero rest and spent the next day in a small bad place floating through the middle of a very large best place.

The Blackfoot was as splendid and sunny an afternoon booze cruise as ever was launched.


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I love jerky. I really love jerky. Beef jerky, buffalo jerky, turkey jerky, venison jerky, all of it. Earlier this year I started collecting jerky labels. That’s a scanned sampling above, a scrapbook in the making. It has long been an ambition of mine to write and photograph a coffee-table book on jerky, which would sell in every truck stop and interstate convenience store in the land, which is such a transparently brilliant idea that I wake up every morning wondering why nobody has yet transferred a million dollars into my bank account as an advance on the mere concept. Someday.

In the meantime, I had occasion recently in the Texas Observer, bless ’em, to write about the related pleasures of BBQ and jerky. You can READ THAT HERE.

In the meantime, if you know of any really good jerky — and I’m not talking about that gelatinous mass-production crap — pray do tell.

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