Billionaire Birthday Bash #6: An Open Letter to One of Mr. Friess' Assistants


This is just one of several posts about my current conflict with vengeful billionaire hypocrite Foster Friess.  For an overview of the situation and chronology of posts go here...


Dear Mr. ********* (One of Foster Friess' Assistants):

If you want to talk, please send me an email.  I don't like the phone.  I prefer less vaporous forms of communication so I know exactly where things stand.  My address is maxmogren@yahoo.com.

I have no personal problem with you.  I don't know you.  I see you as another guy like myself but doing your job as a representative of Foster Friess.

I'll tell you my personal gripe with FF, so you know exactly where I'm coming from.  Hopefully we can work to resolve this conflict.

I find it unethical and offensive when a powerful man attempts to cut off a working person's livelihood because they spoke their mind.  Your Boss did this to me.  I know FF didn't do the dirty work personally in pressuring both my employers to terminate me, but member(s) of his staff certainly did.  There is no doubt about that.

I find it shockingly offensive that FF's staff tried to pressure an employer who was in no way associated with the situation.  That direct and completely unjustifiable attack at my livelihood made things very personal for me.  Fortunately, only one of my employers buckled to FF's pressures.

The internet is full of criticism of public figures, so FF shouldn't feel entitled to squashing it.  That, Sir, is Un-American.

If FF has a problem with me and my opinions, it would serve his interests to deal with the situation in an up front manner instead of attempting to intimidate and bully me through underhanded attacks at my basic needs.

Tactics like that go completely against the public persona he wishes to convey.  They also fuel my discontentment, and leave me with only two options:

1) Submit and retract my opinions.


2) Keep coming up with creative ways to express my criticism of FF's ideology, hypocrisy, and personal attack on me.

I couldn't live with option 1, and it would take a bullet to stop me from embracing option 2. Frankly, I would prefer a situation with more options.

If FF acknowledged my right to Free Speech and apologized for attacking my livelihood, I would certainly pardon him for the personal offense.  That would take a lot of this fire out of my belly.

My original problem with FF was a lot less personal than this has become.  For the sake of clarity, I will explain my opinions that got me blogging about FF in the first place.

Foster Friess' outrageously expensive, four day long, 70th birthday celebration seemed grossly inappropriate to me at a time when most Americans are struggling to get by.  This disparity disgusted me, as did the conduct of some of his guests, so I wrote about it.

To a poor person like myself, the whole event reeked of hypocrisy because Mr. Friess had put together an elaborate (and expensive) four day celebration to showcase, his own generosity.

He capped off the celebration with a showy flourish by giving each party guest $70,000 to contribute to the charity of their choice.  At first glance this seems like a lot of money, but by my calculations the total amount donated comes to less than 1% of FF's considerable wealth.

To me, it looks more like a tax write-off than a sincere charitable event.  To me,  it looks more like a PR maneuver than a heartfelt attempt to make a positive difference in these exceptionally troubled times.  To me, it looks like FF's excuse to bring the good ol' boys together to plan their next global power play.

In my opinion, true philanthropists give a significant portion of their wealth to charity, and the most exemplary ones do so anonymously or at least with a minimal amount of showmanship.    A good example is once "Richest-Man-In-The World" Warren Buffett who has pledged 99% of his wealth to charity and, along with Bill and Melinda Gates, has started an initiative urging all American billionaires to commit at least 50% of their fortunes to the needs of this planet and it's people.

I urge you to read the story just linked to before continuing further.  Afterward, I'm sure you'll agree that Mr. Friess could learn a lot about true philanthropy from Mr. Buffett's example.

After studying FF's online personality, I find what I take to be a lot of partisan misinformation and fundamentalist quackery that he expects readers to swallow.  He washes it all down for them by promoting himself as a generous, caring, maverick defender of freedom.  I see through this facade and am calling him out on it because I think it is the right thing to do.

In my opinion, people like your Boss are flushing not only our Nation but the entire planet right down the crapper.  I, for one, am sick of it.


Max Mogren

Let's ALL Support TreeFight. Even Our Billionaires Can't Afford Not To.

There are much more important things going on in Jackson Hole than petty squabbles for personal pride.

Our Peaks. Our Plague. Together we can save a significant amount of the remaining forests.
If you've had the pleasure of enjoying a mountain vista in the Rockies this summer, you probably noticed large brown patches of dead and dying pine trees.

The forested flanks throughout the West – from Mexico through Canada – are dying as a plague of biblical proportions decimates one of our greatest natural and scenic resources:

Typical Colorado Beetle Kill
If you really make a point to look, you’ll notice dying pine trees on just about every mountain rimming Jackson Hole.

Thus far Colorado and other areas with milder winters have had it much worse than we have here in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

But please don't fool yourself.

 The problem is very real here in the land that we love.  The longer we wait, the more difficult and expensive it becomes to successfully fight this plague.  The longer we wait, the more likely it becomes that we will suffer a total loss of our pine forests like they're seeing already in many parts of the West.

Photo by James Woodcock, Billings Gazette

Though the tiny Pine Beetle is doing the killing, climate change (whatever it's cause!) is at the root of this disaster.  A few degrees difference throws off the delicate balance of an ecosystem just like a slight fever leaves a person bedridden and bitchy.

Hotter summers weaken pine trees' natural defenses.  Milder winters fail to kill off an adequate number of pine beetles.  The beetles thrive and the forests succumb to their onslaught.  It’s as simple as that.

An exceptionally cold winter could buy us some time, but with temps on the rise worldwide, we can’t afford to place our hopes in Old Man Winter.  We can nip this problem before it gets out of hand, but it  must be done now.  Here's why:

Pine forests are a foundation of the Rocky Mountain Ecosystem. 

FACT: Without living pine forests, most of the animals would die from lack of food and habitat.  At least we wouldn't have a problem with wolves anymore, but we'd also lose the moose, elk, bear, and other forest dwellers that make this land wild and great.  No more hunting.  No more close encounters of any kind with the wildlife that defines this place.

FACT: Without the shade pine forests provide,  snowpack would melt much more quickly, causing flooding in the spring and water shortages throughout the summer and fall.  Over time this means increased erosion, dirty or dried up rivers, loss of species diversity, and the eventual collapse of the largest intact ecosystem in the Lower 48.

FACT: Dead pine trees are extremely flammable.  Inevitable lightning strikes throughout a land of dry, dead trees would cause catastrophic forest fires: uncontrollable, fast-moving blazes that would make the Yellowstone Fires of ‘88 look both tiny and tame.

Imagine a Jackson Hole rimmed entirely by mountains flanked with the black trunks left behind.  The thought is almost too much to bear.  A few years from now, this becomes a very real possibility.  If we do nothing, it is eventually inevitable.

Trying to fight these sorts of fires is a ridiculously expensive lost cause.  We need a preemptive strike.

Pine forests are also fundamental to the Rocky Mountain Economy. 

Without the aesthetic appeal of vibrant, living trees, once inspiring and priceless places become depressingly worthless.

Without the big mammals so many people come here to see, what gives them reason to continue coming?

Who wants to sip a beer on the roof deck at Dornan's if they're looking out across a sea of dead, red trees towards a desolate mountain range covered with the same?  No one.

Then what?

Our tourist economy flounders and real estate prices plummet.

The eventual burned out wasteland is even worse.  No one wants to live amidst a dead, haunted forest.  No one wants to vacation in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Mountains of Mordor.

Like the female organ they're named after, the Tetons are most beautiful when brimming with life.

Skiing, biking, hiking, or horseback riding through a recent burn is, at present, an interesting and powerful novelty.  Imagine if that were the norm.  Imagine if you couldn't find a living pine tree to save your life.

Imagine a Jackson Hole Mountain Resort where the only green boughs adorn the cell phone tower near Apres Vous ski lift.  It would be like skiing through an environmental holocaust.  Few visitors would pay good money for that sort of experience.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

Don’t get hopelessly depressed just yet, however.  My goal is to leave people hopefully motivated. 

Now imagine that most of the West loses their forests, but that here in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem we exercise the foresight to save ours. Over the span of a few years, most Rocky Mountain resort towns will lose much of their appeal.  Meanwhile, here in the Tri-State Area, our forests are relatively healthy and we’re still sitting prettier than anywhere else in North America.

Visitors would flock to the last remaining pristine place in the Rocky Mountains!  Local business would boom at unprecedented levels, and only a small portion of that additional revenue would be needed to continue monitoring and combating this and future ecological (and therefore economic) threats.

By this logic, doing everything we can to save our pine forests makes perfect ECOLOGICAL and ECONOMIC sense.  Irregardless of our personal politics and other differences, taking up this cause is essential for anyone who truly loves Jackson Hole.

If we fund and support the proper organizations immediately, we can at the very least save the mountains that matter most to our collective economic and quality-of-life interests.  At best, we can save the entire Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from devastation.

We can also, quite naturally, create a significant number of meaningful jobs in the process.

Our most precious natural resources are saved from a very real threat.

Our local economy thrives while mountain towns that lacked similar foresight are decimated.

Ski Bums like me get meaningful jobs saving something we love.

And a True Legacy is left for Future Generations.

Everybody (including Mother Nature) Wins!

Unfortunately, the Federales within the National Forest and National Park Service are doing next to nothing to combat this widely evident ecological nightmare.  While the forested flanks of the Teton Range's mightiest peaks are dying, GTNP Administrators are wasting $12.6 million on unnecessary upgrades to their administrative complex.

Many people I've met hold a hopeless attitude about the situation.  I say, if we have the resources to fight this plague, let's do it.  At the very least, we can save these irreplaceable and beautiful forests for a few more years.


The underfunded folks leading the charge to save our forests work through the local non-profit named TreeFight.  They’re not only using current techniques to combat the pine beetle plague but are also leading research into new methods that could be crucial to truly beating this threat.  They’re also doing more to creatively raise awareness of the situation than any other organization in the West.

Back in 2000 the founder of TreeFight, David Gonzalez, literally wrote the book on Jackson Hole.  You've doubtless seen it on coffee tables throughout the Valley.  Now he’s fighting to save the essential essence of the place we’ve all grown to love.

I’ve personally met with David and know that to this point it has been a complete labor of love on his part.  At the very least, we should all hope he sticks with it.  At our collective best, we should all support TreeFight wholeheartedly.  If we want a valley rimmed with healthy green forests instead of depressing blackened trunks, TreeFight offers our best hope.

I recently accompanied David and a few dozen Tree Fighters for a mission on Teton Pass.  Over the course of a pleasant hike, we saved several stands of scenic old-growth White Pine…. at least for one more year.  By dispersing hormone packets that deter beetles from attacking, we effectively outfitted a few acres with a beetle-repelling force field.  I found out later that David bought that day's hormone packets out of his own thin pockets.

My first impression that morning was, “DAMN, there are a lot of beautiful women getting into this thing.” After that initial shock wore off, I learned a great deal about the trees that David and crew are fighting to save.  If you like living trees and beautiful women, contact TreeFight and take part in one of their upcoming missions.  You’ll learn a lot about the threat and the solutions that TreeFight can offer.

The grass roots support is already there.  Folks are lining up to fight this thing.  The only factor really limiting TreeFight’s impact is a lack of funding.

Protecting healthy trees and eliminating dead trees hosting beetle nests on a scale as Grand as our landscape will be a costly endeavor.  Every little bit helps, but if the true financial powerhouses of our community took up the torch here, we’d all benefit greatly.

We, the People of Jackson Hole, as the stewards of this remarkable land have a responsibility to save it for  future generations.  By saving the trees here, we are also saving ourselves.

We all need to look at the growing devastation around us.  Those patches of red dead trees are only going to grow until they blanket every hill and mountain in our little paradise.

We all need to dig a little deeper.  Support TreeFight.

Ohhh yeah, and the Lyric of the Day:


Billionaire Birthday Bash #5: First Round of Fallout



This is just one of several posts about my current conflict with vengeful billionaire hypocrite Foster Friess.  For an overview of the situation and chronology of posts go here...


Last night I got fired from my Bellman gig for writing about my experiences working at and opinions of Foster Friess' 70th Birthday Party.  I didn't have a chance to defend myself, my claims or my rights.  I just got canned over the phone.

Team Friess has also contacted my other employer and is putting pressure on them to fire me as well.  This seems exceptionally unethical as that job has absolutely nothing to do with the situation.

He's threatening my livelihood in an attempt to intimidate me.  He wants these posts down, and he's going against his declared ideals to shut me up.

I was also informed - not by Friess but rather a friend - that unless I remove the postings and apologize for my opinions, I'll be sued for everything I'm worth and blacklisted by most major employers in Jackson Hole.  Mr. Friess has obviously got financial sway in this valley, and a Billionaire's legal team can make mountains out of molehills, so I've got no doubt of Foster's ability to cause me oodles of trouble.

I face all this though I did nothing illegal or immoral.  Bellmen don't sign a confidentiality agreement.  We'd need to get paid a lot more than $8.50 an hour to voluntarily turn off our eyes, ears, hearts, and voices.

Near as I can tell, the only thing I said that could possibly be construed as slanderous is a caption under a picture of Friess that says "This cowboy fucks sheep.  You, dear reader, and I are unfortunately part of the flock."

The ironic thing is that Foster just fucked me by getting me fired, so I've got pretty compelling evidence the caption - though crude - rings true and is therefore legit.

Another irony is that Foster took out a full page ad in yesterday's Jackson Hole News and Guide to throw a twisted spin on a recent story by Todd Wilkinson called "Friess Implies Obama Welcomes Oil Disaster".  If this doesn't further establish him as a willful public figure open to criticism, I don't know what possibly could.  Thus the libel laws grow looser.

Yet another irony comes near the end of yesterday's "Open Letter to Todd Wilkinson" where Friess writes:

 "... let's you and I pledge to work together to see what we can accomplish for the good of those people who need help right now, particularly those without jobs."

The irony is that on the day he published those words Friess was actually conspiring to get a poor person fired from not one but two jobs.  And for what?

For speaking his mind in his small section of cyberspace.

For exercising his right to Free Speech.

For doing his Patriotic Duty by exposing the hypocrisy and wastefulness of some of the wealthiest, most-powerful, and two-faced Americans.  Let me explain...

The true "Judeo-Christian ethic undergirding our culture"  has deep roots in forgiveness and understanding.  More than by means of financial, political, or military power, the success of our culture is due to our ability to live and work together despite our differences.  It's the whole "melting pot" thing.  Remember?

From small service industry jobs where folks of many races and languages work side by side to the momentous meetings of international businessmen, our collective ability to let bygones be bygones is one hell of an asset.

If our Nation's strategy was to wage war on anyone who criticized or contradicted our prevailing ideology, we'd have suffered the Nazi's fate long ago: utter defeat and a place in the history books as the World's Greatest Assholes.

Right now, I'm having a war waged on me for documenting an honest experience and offering my opinions.  I have had my livelihood partially cut off and am being intimidated with additional threats.

My intent in writing what I did was raising awareness, ideally in the hearts and minds of those about whom I wrote.

I'll let you decide for yourself what Foster Friess' intentions are in dealing with me.

And now, the Lyric of the Day!  Here in America - thanks to the aforementioned diversity - we've got a song for just about any occasion.  Facing the threats before me, I'm embracing the wisdom of Muddy Waters:

You can't spend what you ain't got
You can't lose something you ain't never had.



Pothole Mag #5: La Paz, Baja through Mainland Mexico

After the ridiculous business venture in Ensenada Muertos went sour, I had about 1,000 dollars in my pocket and a torqued out brain in my head.  Losing out on such a big opportunity was very depressing, and I couldn't help but feel partially at fault  At the same time, I kinda hated myself for having gone along with the whole fiasco in the first place.  Also, having had a falling out with my friend Mack, I was now sailing solo and feeling very alone.

I had only been travelling four months and had much further to go, but I needed to rest and resupply before attempting a 350 mile crossing of the Sea of Cortez.  I also needed to scrounge together some money because Mexico wasn't as cheap as expected, and I had 1,400 miles of it's coastline to explore before reaching Central America.

After a crusty old windsurfer spun tales of a remote and ridiculously windy spot in Southern Mexico, I set my sights on it: the Gulf of Tehuantepec.  As a kite-surfer, I hoped to discover an ungringofied paradise in the massive lagoons of this hurricane-spawning geographical anomaly.

Kinda fearing for my life, I headed to La Paz where the yacht community -- especially Trimaran Dan and the young crew of Outkast -- nursed me back to good spirits.  I sold a few kites, taught a few lessons, and fixed a few bikes.  By selling them at the La Paz Yacht Club, I was able to pocket a few more bucks.

A Typical Sunset as Seen Skating Down the Malecon in La Paz.
Lonely and doubting the sanity of my voyage, I dropped $450 to fly in an ex-girlfriend.  This was a painful and costly mistake, but at least it confirmed my will to keep sailing.  A few days later I bid farewell to La Paz, and began my voyage across the Sea of Cortez.

It was hauntingly still my first night out and to make progress I fired up the motor and let it burn all night.  Perfectly still, perfectly clear, no moon and not a light on the horizon, it was just me, the dog, the stars, and a gorgeous streak of phosphorescence in our wake.  I lay dozing off when the dog perked up and started pacing.  Hopping up and scanning the horizon, I sighted nothing but black water save our own glowing wake.  Then, suddenly, there was  burst of colorful light dead ahead, and a gigantic glowing tube with a massive tail slid out of our path.  We'd almost T-boned a whale sleeping at the surface.  Fortunately, the drone of my tiny 6 horse motor awoke it just in time.

Lacking the money to clear customs in the many tourist ports throughout Mainland Mexico, I skipped most of them and, if I absolutely had to stop, pulled in secretively just to resupply and check the weather.  This was fine by me as I was trying to avoid disgustingly gringofied resort towns.  In Mexico many a once pristine beach is backed with high rise condominiums.  From sea it often looks like a dozen Jacos lined up side by side.

After a brief stop in Barra Navidad I continued onward to a remote and pristine paradise named Chacahua.  Home to a perfect Left and epic seaside bouldering, I decided to make it my own.  There I spent a week in the service of a local "lord" named, appropriately enough, "REY!".   Once again, and this time no doubt rightly, I fled fearing for my life.  For the complete story on that one, go to my blog and search for "REY".  It's at www.oilfreefun.com.

After another brief stop in Puerto Escondido (it was fortunately flat) I continued onward to Huatulco and the Gulf of Tehuantepec.  All the nautical charts showed a clear and relatively deep channel into the massive lagoons at Tehuantepec, but reality proved otherwise.  Sailing near shore along the length of the lagoons, even at high tide I never encountered less than a 5 foot tall sandbank separating the Pacific from the lagoon.  As such, there was no place to safely anchor so I had to keep moving on.

After a few expensive days of paperwork in Puerto Chiapas, I was just about broke as I crossed the border into Guatemala.  I couldn't afford to clear customs there (~$150) or in El Salvador (~$200) so I set my sights on the poorest country in Central America: HONDURAS.

Billonaire Birthday Bash #4: An intriguing Visit



This is just one of several posts about my current conflict with vengeful billionaire hypocrite Foster Friess.  For an overview of the situation and chronology of posts go here...


Tonight while minding my business I had a visit from a very peculiar young couple.  According to their military ID's they're both 22, but their mannerisms made them seem a lot older and wiser.  Perhaps it's just my paranoia, but they seemed to know a lot about me and tried to steer a forced conversation in unusual directions.  I couldn't help but smile and laugh as my gut told me I was getting cased.  Then, abruptly, they made their exit.

If my recent criticisms of powerful hypocrites and flaws in our American Culture have triggered a red flag somewhere in the halls of power, let me be clear on my intentions.  Then, there'll be no need to waste tax dollars keeping an eye on me.  I am not a threat to anyone's security but my own.

One way to win a resource war is to annihilate your competition.  A more reasonable way is to eliminate your need for the resource in question.  In our case, to leave the oil age in the scrap heap of discarded history.  To leave the brunt of humanity looking like suckers as We, the American People, usher in a new age and a new awareness.  A true "TEA PARTY"... "TEA" meaning, of course, TOTAL ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS.

Now, perhaps it's a lost cause, but if the American people figured out a way to live productive and meaningful lives while utilizing a small fraction of the oil we currently waste, we'd all be better for it.  Thus, I'm preaching OILFREEFUN and feel compelled to call people out on their wasteful and hypocritical behavior... even if they are some of the richest and most powerful folks in the country... especially if they are some of the richest and most powerful folks in the country.

If anyone, they should know better.

If anyone, they can afford to conserve, at least in their personal lives.

My hope is that instead of living opulent lives and throwing themselves ridiculously wasteful birthday parties, the billionaires of the world can lead by example and thus help shift our culture so "keeping up with the Joneses" no longer means matching their CONSUMERISM but rather mimicking their ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS and SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE.

We've got an endless war on for oil.

We've got oil spills wreaking havoc around the world.

We use more oil than any other country, and, as China, India, and the rest of the developing world mimicks our consumerism, global demand is out-pacing supply.  If anything makes WWIII get out of hand, it will doubtless be energy issues.

Isn't it about time we made a real attempt to rein in our oil consumption?  It's a matter of national security, and I'm fighting for that.  It's a matter of improving our global image and influence.  I'm fighting for that too.

Crusty Old Bible-Thumping Billionaires are a thing of the past.  Not quite yet, but soon.  Which brings us to the lyric of the day, inspired by my visit from tonight's young Americans.

Paranoia strikes deep.
Into your mind it will creep.
It starts when you're always afraid.
Step out of line, the Man come and take you away.

That old live shit is classic... too bad it isn't the whole song.  Don't let em' get to you either.  Here's the full song as interpreted by one younger than I.  Not too polished, but let's hope he keeps at it.

Personally... as they know... we're screwed.


Billionaire Birthday Bash #3: Helpless but Hopeful


This is just one of several posts about my current conflict with vengeful billionaire hypocrite Foster Friess.  For an overview of the situation and chronology of posts go here...


 Man,I'm getting tired of thinking about these people.  So much the better if they just didn't exist.  But they do.  And they're all over the place.

I caught a glimpse of the birthday boy himself this afternoon when he personally dropped off former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.  This D-Bag became rather famous a few years back for overt homophobia.  Judging by the clubs, it looked like they'd been playing golf.  Hopefully they had an attentive caddy.

The birthday boy is a "self-made" billionaire, wanna-be cowboy named Foster Friess.  He gives a lot of money to charity but keeps much, much more for himself.  He's one of the greatest donors to the shadier branches of the Rebublican Family Tree.  He thumps the Bible to pieces, but puts a mere fraction of his money where his mouth is.  When you have enough money to fund several thousand lifetimes, donating millions is the equivalent to you or I throwing a dollar into a group of starving bums... and letting them sort it out.

After earning billions in the stock market over the course of decades, this guy sold all his personal shares a mere two weeks before 9/11.  That, my friends, is pretty impressive timing.  Perhaps he was just tired of making money off other people's work, but I suspect he knew something disastrous was coming.

In my opinion, this "Cowboy" fucks sheep in the name of the Good Shepard.  You, dear reader, and I are unfortunately part of the flock.
Fortunately, the Big Buckaroo wasn't around long, and the rest of his posse rolled out shortly thereafter for an evening of fine dining.  While the brunt of us eat ramen and scrambled eggs, these folks suck down truffles, caviar, and other obscenely costly goodies.

In their absence, I had time to devote to more meaningful and worthwhile clients.

I met a writer and photographer for The Surfer's Journal who just wrote a great story on quality - but now polluted - waves in the Gulf.

I drove around a few families who couldn't get enough of my stories and tipped accordingly.  One family, a young Midwestern couple with three boys, was even so kind as to buy me a drink at Dairy Queen.  They invited me over to tell a bedtime story and surprised me with a MooLatte and a crisp 10 dollar bill.

When he handed it to me, one of those good young boys said "Thank you for making our vacation great."

Seeing that family got me reminiscing on my own Midwestern childhood, and I turned into Mr. Misty: all smiley and sweet with the knowledge that life truly is good and way too short to spend making someone else richer. Especially if they don't appreciate it.

Can me, please.  I can't justify quitting cuz, though a few years off, my next boat is in sight.  But every time I hop behind the wheel the hypocrisy tangs through my soul.  Piloting a gas-guzzling Escalade in the service of folks who need a kick in the ass more than anything else. 

At least I'm learning how some of the biggest hypocrites deal with their contradictions.  I'm also meeting good people that remind me what true Americans are really like: generally good with their priorities in FAMILY, FRIENDS, ADVENTURE, and SECURITY. Really, the only fault many of us suffer is naivety.

And regardless of our collective clusterfucking, I found myself smiling to one of the sweetest songs I know.  Which brings us to today's lyric:

So all those old friends, God be with them
I wish, I wish I could see you again
In the same corner bar where it all started from
dig your plow so deep, now the stars have all gone
So wherever they shine may it be warm and bright
Out to ease my mind on this worried night
It all seems so simple, the good tidings I send
I'll never forget that one year that we spent...

-G Love, When We Meet Again

You may be wondering why there is a picture of a guy skimboarding throughout this song.  I don't know why either: it's not my video.  I'm just borrowing it from YouTube.  It's probably because the video's creator has positive memories associated with both skimboarding and this excellent old song by G Love.   Logically, it works for him.

Skimboarding: a much more positive activity than, say, WATERBOARDING.  Fuckers.

Billionaire Birthday Bash #2: Fishing for Change


This is just one of several posts about my current conflict with vengeful billionaire hypocrite Foster Friess.  For an overview of the situation and chronology of posts go here...


Six thirty a.m. came too quickly, and I was back in the mix at work.  Chaos reigned in the lobby as birthday guests prepared for a half-day of riding horses, fly fishing, or golfing.  Countless questions and complaints were dealt with as these needy old gringos overcomplicated the act of appreciating a comped vacation.  Despite themselves, the other Bellman and I got everyone loaded on the proper shuttles and sent on their way.  Service with a groggy smile but no tips rewarded.

Many of the guests weren't feeling too adventurous so they opted to go shopping instead.  I drove a half dozen shuttles of birthday guests around town and earned $2 in total tips.  Pathetic.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I came to assume they must have been discouraged from tipping as this is the only way I could fathom their almost complete disregard of gratuity.  I heard that ten years ago when Mr.Friess threw his 60th birthday bash, he personally bestowed lavish tips on the "help".  Maybe that's the plan at 70 as well.

When someone's got that much power over you, one can only hope.

This guy, Tucker Carlson, is apparently a conservative political pundit on Fox News.  He's staying at the hotel and has been fishing Flat Creek even though it's illegal for anyone over the age of 14.  Several staff members informed him of the law, but apparently he doesn't care.  If I catch him fishing again, I'll make a discrete call to Jackson's Finest.  We take our fish and game seriously out here.

In the afternoon, flustered at the lack of cash flow, I contemplated a different tactic en route to the airport.  My mission was to pick up an older Yale and Harvard educated MD whose father was a pioneering investor that pocketed billions over the years.  He then renounced his citizenship and moved to the Bahamas to avoid taxation.  Some American.

His father's philosophy?  "Buy when there's blood in the streets."

My plan was to strike up a conversation, steer it towards global warming, and spew the pseudo-scientific rhetoric of the ignorant disbeliever.  Before too long we were having a good hee-haw at Mother Nature's expense and getting along fabulously.  After picking him up, checking him in, and having his tuxedo pressed, Doctor Dipshit gratted me $15,  two chocolate covered strawberries, and a hearty handshake.  Hmmm... it worked!

One thing that I'm noticing in my dealings with the extremely conservative and wealthy is a unanimous belief that their financial successes arose from their own faith and dedication to hard work.  As I poke around their online personalities and glance at the books they're reading, those themes jump out: FAITH and HARD WORK.

Unfortunately, their true faith is in a short-sighted economic model that resource scarcity is rendering obsolete.  We only have one planet, and if everyone strove to succeed as they have, it'd be completely trashed already.  It's only mostly trashed at present.

Also unfortunate, they somehow think buying and selling shit constitutes hard work.  They think playing the market for personal profit somehow contributes to the greater good.  They think GREED is GOOD.  They are mistaken and their Christianity is hypocritical.  After all...

"The Devil can quote scripture for his own purpose."
                                         -Bill Shakespeare

In dealing with a whole crew of walking contradictions, it's no wonder I'm encountering very little actual sense.  No matter how many charitable foundations (aka tax shelters) they've sunk billions into, they're just a bunch of WAR PIGS to me.  And I see right through them just like Ozzy did 40 years ago.

This song's for all the Billionaire Buttfuckers out there... let it serve as a reminder what awaits at those Pearly, Pearly Gates.

For maximum reality, crank the volume.

Lyric of the Day:

Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses

Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerer of death's construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds, oh lord yeah!

Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that to the poor

Time will tell they are power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait 'till their judgement day comes


Now in darkness, world stops turning
Ashes where the bodies burning
No more war pigs have the power
Hand of God has struck the hour
Day of judgement, God is calling
On their knees, the war pigs crawling
Begging mercies for their sins
Satan laughing, spreads his wings


Billionaire Birthday Bash #1: Checking In.


This is just one of several posts about my current conflict with vengeful billionaire hypocrite Foster Friess.  For an overview of the situation and chronology of posts go here...


In the midst of "the greatest recession since the Great Depression" some folks are suffering more than others.  Some aren't suffering at all.  I know.

I'm personally witnessing a bible-thumping billionaire's multi-million dollar 70th birthday party from the front lines.  In an effort to stay financially afloat, I'm serving these folks and witnessing their clueless and contradictory excesses from a servant's stance.

The Jesus-worshiping birthday boy, who made his billions fiddling around in the stock market, flew in a few hundred of his best friends for a long weekend of shootin' the bull.  Having spared no expense, he's payed for plane tickets, hotel rooms, activity-filled days, and lavish parties by night.  Granted, they're probably pretty lame parties, but parties nevertheless.

I was pretty excited when I heard this crew was coming in, as I hoped to earn decent gratuity in my role as Bellman at a hotel where many of the guests are staying.  Conservatives all, several of them are quite famous and politically powerful.  All of them are obviously quite wealthy.

Today, as I headed for the airport to pick up eight couples flying in simultaneously, I felt confident that by courteously serving them they would acknowledge my assistance and reward me with the customary tip.  After all, these were successful, sophisticated, Christian Americans, no doubt aware that GRATUITY is as fundamental a concept here in America as, say, FREE ENTERPRISE.

Millionaires all, and on a comped vacation, they would no doubt throw a few greenbacks to the friendly, helpful Bellman.  Right?! Wrong.

After devoting an hour and a half to herding 16 millionaires from airport terminal to hotel room, lugging their luggage, answering their questions, sharing my stories, and doing it all with a smile, I had a total of three dollars to show for it.  All $3 came from one guy who acted as if he was handing me the world.

The other bellman I was working with pocketed $5 so our grand total came to eight dollars: exactly fifty cents per person for a shuttle from the airport, luggage service, check-in service, and countless questions answered.

The typical tourist throws us between two and five for a check in, at least ten for a complimentary ride from the airport.  If these party-goers were anything like the average Joe, we'd have pocketed at least $40-50 each.  My buddy made $5.  I made $3.

Now, I'm not complaining for my own sake, just sharing the story because it calls to question their understanding of Christian ideals as well as their personal stances on the "trickle down economics" we peons are supposed to place our hope in.  If this breed of wealthy can't even acknowledge and reward good service when it's lugging their golf clubs, how can they be trusted to govern our collective financial futures?  Clearly they can't.

As a guy who went to Catholic school from K through College, I've got the true Christian ideals pretty well figured out, so I know them when I see them.  Working as a Nurse's Assistant in the Retirement Home of a Monastery where both convicted child molesters and legitimate Saints were spending their autumn years, I wiped two kinds of asses: those of DELUSIONAL HYPOCRITES and those of TRUE BELIEVERS.

Jesus (whoever he really was) exemplified a mentality and lifestyle of perpetual giving.  Even two thousand years later, no one can take that away from him. When I meet a truly selfless individual I can sense it.  The generosity and kindness exudes off of them.  They practically have an aura.

In my own eyes, none of the folks I dealt with today seemed remotely wise or in the least bit generous.  They came off as a bunch of shallow, twisted goons: a cackle of back-stabbing, two-faced, teacher's pets who've taken these childish habits into adulthood.

The GREED and TRICKERY of Big Finance compounded with the CORPORATE COCKSUCKING of the Bush Administration caused our current recession, which has millions of hard-working Americans stuck below the poverty level.  Meanwhile, the very people who got us into this mess are living higher on the hog than ever before.  I see it.

This weekend I get to witness some real characters firsthand, and I'm paying very close attention... hopeless as they make me feel.

Here's the lyric of the day, from none other than a fellow Minnesotan, Bobby Dylan.  Please listen.

Though it's old news, Obama should take the Bush Administrations' asses to court: for stealing an election, conspiring in the greatest American tragedy, lying to the American people countless times, and bankrupting the Treasury to fund their own interests.

The Republican Party, and especially the Ultra-Conservative "Christians" squatting farthest wrong, needs the piss kicked out of it until they join us here in the 21st Century.  Hypocritical Christianity and Free For All Economics aren't gonna get us through the converging catastrophes America (and humanity) now faces... at least not with any semblance of order.

But hey, the Billionaires will stumble through, perhaps suffering the occasional temporary shortage of cavair.  Meanwhile, the rest of us will continue getting fucked over until suffering repeated thrashings takes us out of existence.

They're just words but mark em'.  I wish it was otherwise, but it feels like the case.

It sucks. I know.

C'est la vie.  Bienvenidos a Los Estados Unidos.


Crossing the Rubicon. Read it.

The expression "Crossing the Rubicon" means passing the point of no return.  It refers to a day in 49 BC when a Roman General we now know as Julius Caesar committed a treasonous offense punishable by death.  Under Roman Law, no military leader could bring his troops across the Rubicon River in Northern Italy.  The law existed to prevent a military coup of Rome.  By crossing the river while heading South with his Legion of warriors, General Julius effectively started a "civil" war.  For him, it paid off in spades.

Our own leaders crossed the point of no return a decade ago when they orchestrated the September 11th attacks to terrify and unify the American people behind an unjust but necessary war.

 OUR war for control of the one resource essential to OUR economic and military power: OIL.

This book, written by a former LAPD Narcotics Officer, pretty much sums it all up.  If you want to know what's really going on in the world, take your brain for a spin with this.  It will either blow your mind or send you deeper into denial.

Regardless, the next time you're filling yer tank, ask yourself where that oil came from and what it really cost.  While what was just your 40 to 60 bucks is flying through cyberspace, take a moment to ponder where it's really going.

Just read the book.

Lyric of the Day: A GnR MASTERPIECE.

"What we've got here is failure to communicate.
Some men you just can't reach...
So, you get what we had here last week,
which is the way he wants it!
Well, he gets it!
N' I don't like it any more than you men." *

Look at your young men fighting
Look at your women crying
Look at your young men dying
The way they've always done before

Look at the hate we're breeding
Look at the fear we're feeding
Look at the lives we're leading
The way we've always done before

My hands are tied
The billions shift from side to side
And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
For the love of God and our human rights
And all these things are swept aside
By bloody hands time can't deny
And are washed away by your genocide
And history hides the lies of our civil wars

D'you wear a black armband
When they shot the man
Who said "Peace could last forever"
And in my first memories
They shot Kennedy
I went numb when I learned to see
So I never fell for Vietnam
We got the wall of D.C. to remind us all
That you can't trust freedom
When it's not in your hands
When everybody's fightin'
For their promised land

I don't need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh
I don't need your civil war

Look at the shoes your filling
Look at the blood we're spilling
Look at the world we're killing
The way we've always done before
Look in the doubt we've wallowed
Look at the leaders we've followed
Look at the lies we've swallowed
And I don't want to hear no more

My hands are tied
For all I've seen has changed my mind
But still the wars go on as the years go by
With no love of God or human rights
'Cause all these dreams are swept aside
By bloody hands of the hypnotized
Who carry the cross of homicide
And history bears the scars of our civil wars

"We practice selective annihilation of mayors
And government officials
For example to create a vacuum
Then we fill that vacuum
As popular war advances
Peace is closer" **

I don't need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh
And I don't need your civil war
I don't need your civil war
I don't need your civil war
Your power hungry sellin' soldiers
In a human grocery store
Ain't that fresh
I don't need your civil war
I don't need one more war

I don't need one more war
Whaz so civil 'bout war anyway 


FREEDUMB ain't FREE... nor WISE... and it sure as shit isn't SUSTAINABLE.

The 4th of July always gets me a little riled up.  It's a day when we 'Mericans celebrate how great we are despite being one of the most wasteful, hypocritical, and aggressive nations in human history. We celebrate with an arrogant display of pride for our ridiculously unsustainable lifestyle.

Across this great continent, a hundred million people -- many of whom claim to care about the environment -- fire up their automotive exoskeletons and head out in search of recreation.  What exactly are they trying to recreate?  My best guess is some notion of the good life they absorbed throughout a lifetime inundated by advertising and bullshit.

The part that really gets me on the 4th is that most people don't even seem to be enjoying themselves.  Even their attempts at play end up being a whole lot of work.  I mean, come on, if you've never really considered "the big picture" and are only searching out your next little thrill, you may as well have a good time doing it.  Pop some pills, pump some gas, slug some beer, and git er' dun.  If you're going to be a patriotic nihilist, go nuts!  

Across the country, radio stations pump out USA-themed classics to get folks all fired up on Patriotism as they roll down the highway.  One of the most played songs is Springsteen's masterpiece, Born In The USA.

If anyone made the effort to actually listen, they'd realize Born In The USA is the lament of a poor man from an industrial town who got in trouble with the law and was forced into the military.  He lost his brother while they were both fighting in Vietnam and then came back to find no jobs at the local oil refinery and no help available from Veteran's Affairs.  A decade later he's still so fucked up and pissed off that he's screaming about it.

Don't believe me?  Just listen...

Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up


Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man


Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says "Son if it was up to me"
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said "Son, don't you understand"

I had a brother at Khe Sahn fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone
He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go

Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a long gone Daddy in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a cool rocking Daddy in the U.S.A.

While we're about the business of debunking American Myths, here's a little history lesson.  Call it a distillation from a damn fine book -- Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States -- which gives the loser's persepective of those not-so-great moments in history when that shape-shifting tranny dominatrix we call Lady Liberty had her way with em'.

518 years ago hypocritically bible-thumping Spanish pirates stumbled upon this continent.  They were crazy over gold, had the most high tech weapons, and would do just about anything to get what they wanted. Through deceit, thievery, violence, and arrogance they ravaged the pristine land and killed off the folks already living relatively peaceful lives there.

So began the long legacy of genocide, slavery, deception, "Indian-giving", overconsumption, war, and environmental destruction that resulted in the utter conquest of North America.

The rape of the richest continent on the planet naturally reaps big benefits.  Thus we're powerful despite our glaring faults.  If you think our power is the result of some noble spirit possessed only by 'Mericans, you're fooling yourself.  We're so well off because our ancestors hit the geographical jackpot. All we had to do was kill a few million Indians, enslave a few million Africans, and enthrone the ugliest of human capacities: GREED.

The proud conquerors pumped out babies and here we are, with ideas about where we stand so fucked that the whole world has to cater to our overinflated "needs".  And if anyone isn't keen to give us everything we want, like a spoiled child, like the bully on the block, we go ahead and take it... 

...whatever the cost.

Like those Spanish pirates, as a nation we're crazy about money and power, have the most high tech weapons, and do just about anything to get what we want.  Equally hypocrital, all the while we convince ourselves that our intentions are noble.  Freedom is to us what the Catholic Faith was to them.

Operation Iraqi Freedom?!  Ha.  Operation Get Oil has had us aggressively attacking for decades, has us mired in two endless wars, and it's got the Gulf of Mexico in a massive ecological and economic clusterfuck.  Don't blame BP.  Blame the absurd lifestyle we 'Mericans have suckered ourselves into.

So do all of us a favor.  Park the car.  Ride a bike.  Lose the gut.  Love yourself.  And once you see your own self worth, maybe you'll realize all those folks suffering and dying to support your lifestyle have human rights as well.

And when you see a car commercial that hijacks one of our greatest national heroes and puts him behind the wheel of a gas-guzzling sports car, maybe you'll get good and pissed off.  Maybe you'll embrace the anger and do something with it.  If George Washington witnessed the nonsense that America's become, he'd start a new revolution.

See what I mean.  A lifetime of choking down advertising and other assorted bullshit... it hijacks your thoughts, feelings, and desires.  Gotcha, didn't they.  

Yeah, well, I'm bummed about it too... but bumming over it.  If you can, drop out and join the cause cuz if you're not part of the solution...

Exactly.  Plus, it's a hell of a lot more FUN.  Ideally, OILFREE.