The thoughts of a writer.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


I did a lot of hiking in the wildlife refuge over the Thanksgiving holiday. I saw some pretty cool things too. One that comes to mind happened yesterday. I was on the undeveloped trail between Long Meadow Lake and the Minnesota River. I noticed a Bald Eagle across the river from me perched in a tree. The snow had been falling steadily and I was developing a nice layer of white over my coat and cap. Suddenly the bird launched itself into the wind. It sailed back around and then pumped its wings and soared off through the falling snow.

I’ve seen eagles up close many times before, but it is always a treat to watch them fly. The snow only added to the grandeur. Before I finished my hike, I had also seen an owl, a cormorant, 14 Hooded Mergansers, four deer, a Red-Tailed Hawk, and more.
Winter is such a great time to go hiking!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Talking Turkey

For Thanksgiving this year, I would like to pay tribute to the most American of birds, the Wild Turkey. Benjamin Franklin had wanted the turkey, not the Bald Eagle to be the country’s emblem. This is because the Bald Eagle is a scavenger and a thief, and he thought the turkey to be more “honest.”

I see wild turkeys in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, where I volunteer as a park ranger. There are quite a few there, even though they are hunted. I enjoy finding their feathers, as they are a unique bird with beautiful plumage.

The wild version of the turkey seems much more intelligent than the domestic turkey. More than likely, however, the domestic bird is better tasting. If I am lucky I will be able to see some wild turkeys on my sunrise hike on Thanksgiving morning. Then, later, I will enjoy dining on a roasted bird. So, I salute the turkey.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


It hurt so badly but I held it in.
When I was finally alone, the pain slowly oozed out, and I screamed to the heavens… why?
I knew why. It was the way it had always been.
I wondered how I could grieve so… for an animal?
I knew why… because my friend had touched my soul.
I collapsed in a heap, suddenly weak.
Then, later… I found my strength. The hurt slowly ebbed, but the memories remained.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Historical Motivation

I hadn’t hiked the day before, because it was raining. It was raining again today, only now it was 15 degrees colder and much windier. I was sick of being inside and wanted to go into the woods.

I started thinking about Gorock.
Would Gorock, the prehistoric man who was so skilled with the “Gorock Stick,” have sat inside his dwelling because of rain? No, he would have been out hunting for food.

Perhaps, I thought, we should not think about those such as Elliptical Jones, who preferred to sleep on his couch, rather than go out and do something. Sure that one day he did get up and he took his virtually unsinkable ship out. The fact that the ship sank later that day near the Cape of Good Mushrooms is irrelevant. The day may have ended in disaster, but Elliptical Jones had both the skill and motivation to cause that disaster.

Would it be so difficult for me to hike for a couple of hours in gale-force winds, rain and 40 degree Fahrenheit temperatures? I was starting not to think so.

I thought of the future. I remembered how on Star-date, 103103.1 Alexander Horatio Cutris would disguise himself as a Klingon and infiltrate the High Command on Kronos. He would steal the Sword of Kayless and so force the release of Federation prisoners and reestablish diplomatic relations. It would also be Alexander Horatio Cutris who would single-handedly win 11 victories at the defeat of Rumsfeld on the Dark Planet of Cheney. Yes, we must always remember the future to avoid living in the past.

I put on a sweatshirt, stocking cap, nylon shell and knee boots. I started my two-hour hike through the river bottoms. I moved at the expanse shrinking “Pace of Cutris.” I needed only to make it to the “Tree of Much Damage,” before I could turn into the woods and head back. Along the way I saw two magnificent Bald Eagles. After finally reaching the “Tree of Much Damage,” I headed into the woods, where I saw a Great Horned Owl and two White-Tail Deer.

By the time I reached my car, I was quite warm from my hike. It was definitely good that I had gone out in the rain. I had only needed to remember the past and future to influence the present, which later became the past… and the future. It was a good day to hike after all.


Thursday, November 10, 2005


Isn't it sad that there are blog-spammers now? I have to delete advertising from the comments section because there are so many pathetic people that want to sell their garbage on my blog!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I would like to take this moment to disassociate myself from the comments of President George W. Bush. Personally, I do not and cannot condone the use of torture to “gain information” about terrorists/terrorism.

I am proud to be an American, and I believe in certain fundamentals of human rights. I was raised, believing that my country was above such things as using torture.

I believe that these comments by the President are dangerous, embarrassing, and ignorant.


I have had the opportunity over the years, to work with many diverse groups of people. I have learned a lot in these situations. There is one particular thing that I find really bothersome, so I would like to bestow some wisdom (totally free of charge) to some people out there –who apparently don’t know this.

If two (or more) people get into a disagreement; that is what it is. It is a disagreement. This occurs throughout life, and indeed, it is a necessary part of living in communities.

Here comes the important thing…

When such a disagreement occurs, it is not necessarily the case that the individual with the lighter color skin is a racist. In fact, using this skin differentiation to try to win a disagreement could be showing racism by the accuser.

Stick to the disagreement. Use logic and facts to calmly support your case. Forget the cop-out strategy, it has been way overused.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Band Naming Party

We had a band naming party on Saturday night. After the ballots were counted, it was found that more ballots existed than people at the party… Mark...

The winning name was Permanent Record.

Dave (front) Tony (back)



Mark ("with the band") & Dean (of Shack & Pasture fame)

Don't ask...

Thanks to Jen for the pictures!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Cutris Announces Candidacy

Cutris Announces Candidacy
November 5, 2005
unAssociated Press

Today, Cutris announced his candidacy in the election for United States President in November of 2008. When asked what he thought he could bring to the country that was currently lacking, he said,
“I will try to tell the truth at least 95% of the time.”
This would be an increase of 77.31% over the Bush Administration. Cutris was asked about his platform, for which he promptly replied,
“I am currently working on the Shack Platform. I hope to have both the platform and my shack built before the election.”
A right-wing liberal asked the question about the abortion issue. Cutris responded,
“The abortion issue is not a political issue. It should be decided by individuals, their doctors and families.”
When asked about the war in Iraq, Cutris fired back.
“Why are we still there? They don’t want us there and we didn’t find weapons of mass destruction. We also removed Saddam Hussein from power. It seems the objectives were achieved.” When asked what three people he would have dinner with (living or dead) if he could, Cutris quickly replied,
“Genghis Khan, Stephen Hawking and Chief Washakie.” When asked about his party affiliation, Cutris stated,
“I am in the Shack Party.” In answer to the question of whether he thought he could win the presidential election, he said,
“I reckon we’ll just have to wait and see won’t we?”

Friday, November 04, 2005


Northwest Airlines, which has filed for bankruptcy, is both cutting its workforce and forcing employees to accept significantly less compensation. NWA owes money to the employee pension fund, Metropolitan Airports Commission, Mesaba Airlines and others.
So how come NWA has just added brand new Airbus A330’s to it’s collection of aircraft?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Shack & Pasture

Shack & Pasture
Issue #1, Volume 1 ..................A publication of
November 2, 2005 .................Cutris Hill Farms
Northern Shack
By Kevin J. Curtis
I met up with my friend Dean in Grand Marais, Minnesota in Mid-October, for a tour of his shack in the deep woods of northeastern Minnesota. It has long been a dream of mine to live in a shack in my brother’s pasture, thus carrying on a family tradition.

Dean’s shack was a good hour past Grand Marais in the arrowhead region. It isn’t finished yet, which only added to the charm in my opinion.
When I arrived on Tuesday, it was raining in the northeast of Minnesota. Later that evening it began to snow. By Wednesday morning we had a beautiful white world outside of the shack.
The shack was located way off the electrical grid, so power was available only by using a generator. Wood was used for heating in the wood stove.
There were numerous innovations at the shack, including the water heater. It consisted of a copper pipe which wound around the outside of the stove pipe.
Hauling Wood
The Water Heater
Sherman, Dudley, Dean
The scenery was incredible. We hiked up the mountain and did some fishing in a small lake near the top. One of the things to remember about shack living is location, location, location!
Dean and his neighbors have a spring for water. It is always good to have plumbing. This leads to the next subject which is the “crapper.” It was a simple structure. Dean said he liked the wallpaper most of all. I must say that when I used it, I found the ventilation to be superior to any I had ever encountered before. It should be noted that the spring and the “crapper” were not in the same area.
The Spring
.......................................................................................The "Crapper"
For entertainment each evening, we would play guitars. I like to think that we were pretty good. Perhaps we should be called
"The Shack Trio."
Dean, John, Kevin
..........................................................................................Lake Superior
I had a wonderful time visiting with Dean at his shack. It is always nice to get up around the Lake Superior area. I want to thank Dean for allowing me to visit his shack, and for consenting to be the first cover story for my new magazine, Shack & Pasture.

Join me again in the next issue, for more incredible shack living!