Lost Our Lease

We lost our lease. That’s right, we woke up the other morning and there was a Cease and Desist, Immediate Evacuation of Premises, Get the Hell Out notice scotch taped to the front gate of The Institute, right where everybody could see it. We thought it was a joke at first. I mean who serves one of those on bright yellow legal pad paper written in black magic marker to an organization (**The Institute) of our stature. They didn’t even use a lot of Scotch tape. One little measly piece stuck to the flange of our *front gate padlock, the second largest in the world by the way, we’d a got the first largest but it was simply too big and the freight to have it airlifted here was out of our budget, we could have watched one full year of DIRECTV (Total package including HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, the works) for what it cost to send just the key.

A couple of our interns from the Pavlovo Arts College No. 23, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia made it for us in exchange for The Institute allowing them to work here under assumed names to escape being sent to some gulag way the hell north where the sun not only doesn’t shine, but draws heat away from the earth in a particularly commie way. Since our padlock alone weighs 916lbs. and is 56.8 in. × 41.3 in. × 10.2 in. including the key we thought we were safe from any process servers, errant bondsmen, Amway sales persons, ex’s, those who deliver religious pamphlets to your door under the guise of saying they like you, census takers, unwanted visitors, some wanted visitors that we’re not real happy with right now, lawyers except ours, rabbis, priests, clergy from unaffiliated churches with really weird names, people who just want to come in and have a glass of water, those who are not pure of heart, puppy haters and general riff-raff.

But noooo, the notice was sent by our government, that’s right, the one that we cheerfully and with full malice a forethought voted in last time. We mean you must have because we sure as hell didn’t. We had what should be an ironclad lease made with Teddy Roosevelt himself back in the days when a Presidents word meant something.

The lease said and I quote ” These guys who forthwith and in perpetuity, hereinafter known as The Institute shall have and hold for the next millennium the right to hold a huge giant p-pot of land there in the mountains with any buildings, corals, parking garages, intern camps, The Big House, helipads, farm implements of unusual design, and anything else their clever little minds can come up with for as long as the sun may shine and the grass may grow and people can walk free upon the land without interference of any cheesy government body. So help us, and I mean really, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, President of the United States and any other place we can get using that new Manifest Destiny thing.”

So you can see how we were confused not to mention vexed as to why we were being summarily kicked off our property. I mean we’re tax payers, sort of. We got rights. We called our attorney who unfortunately was getting his nails done and hasn’t gotten back to us yet with a frantic plea to buy us some time. That was last Tuesday and now we’re heading into the holiday and I’m sure the whole darn office down at Acme Law firm and Tractor Repair is taking the next week off, so we had to get packing and hit the steps. We mean if Teddy Roosevelt’s word isn’t good anymore, what is, we ask you. In trying to contact the present administration to perhaps get some assistance, even our Russian friends sent an email but all we got back was a tweet saying “Did you vote for us? huh? Well, Didya? Hope you like that new refrigerator box.” “the ‘Loser'” being understood. So in the meantime we are sort of thankful for that refrigerator box and the space under the North College Ave. bridge we get to set it in.

There’s more to this story and we’ll be disclosing that information as soon as we figure out how to work this Sterno stove and refrigerator box warmer and get some wholesome cat food in our stomachs. That’s not even addressing the problem of how to hook-up our Wi-Fi. We are a little worried about our staff. Make that ex-staff. The last time we saw them they were milling around the pieces of our lock that had been cut off by the Sheriffs department down at the front gate. Things were pretty chaotic what with dozens of empty acetylene bottles from torching the padlock laying around and various organizations checking ID’s and chasing after those individuals racing off into the sagebrush and hiding under vehicles and so on. Small sad lines of not only unpaid but now unemployed interns shuffling off single file in various directions where towns and villages were known to exist. That was pretty pitiful we got to say.

But we’ve been in tough spots before. It hasn’t always been Peaches and Cream for the Institute. We’ve been kicked in the Fuon Bwey Bweys before and we’ve gotten up and staggered off into the bushes and puked our guts out. So that parts not new. The one thing we’ve got going for us is that you can not keep a good Institute down. And we’re the best damn Institute you’re going to find. To paraphrase Woody Guthrie who wrote a song for the Ladies Auxiliary one time and we adopted it and changed all the words so we wouldn’t have to pay royalties on it. Here’s our semi-non-official version

Here’s our version

Oh, The Institute
It’s a good Institute.
‘Bout the best damn Institute
That you ever did see.
If you need an Institute,
See the director’s Institute.
It’s the Director’s Institute.  (Pretty good, right?)

OK, Here we presented Woody’s version to show you how much we improved it

Oh, the Ladies’ Auxiliary
It’s a good auxiliary.
‘Bout the best auxiliary
That you ever did see.
If you need an auxiliary,
See the Ladies’ Auxiliary.
It’s the Ladies’ Auxiliary (Link to Woody’s version so you can hear how great it is) https://youtu.be/cvnxdLptWZA?list=RDcvnxdLptWZA


*Our front gate padlock before it was destroyed by bad government people trying to curb our ability to be as ridiculous as we want to be .

** Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.



Bear Strips


Like much of the mountain west we have been plagued by pesky bears. They’re everywhere. For some reason *The institute has even more bears than the average bear-plagued place, with dozens if not more undocumented bears roaming around The Institutes grounds with impunity. They’re like locusts, you go for years without seeing a single locust then suddenly you are up to your Fuon Bwey Bwey’s in them. Such as it is now with bears. There must have been a hell of a party over the winter to have so many young bears running around now.

These bear cubs reach a point where they have grown to a size that their parents, especially their moms, say “OK that’s it, you’re out of here. Go find your own way if you’re so damn smart, Mr. know it all.” and sends the little bugger packing. These are bears that are the equivalent of adolescent to teen age bears. One bear year is equal to ½ human year. That’s two bear years per human year. So if you got a bear cub for your first birthday and you’re fifty now, you bear is a hundred years old. Leave him alone. Don’t ask him to do bear tricks and run and fetch the ball. He’s not going to do it. He’s old. And Cranky. He is more likely to tear your throwing arm off and tell you to go fetch the ball yourself.

By the same token if you were given a Hamster when you were born, their age is 11¼ years to one of ours so if you’re fifty that hamster is 562½ years old. If you ask it to get in that wheel one more time, well we won’t even go there.

This bear above was caught trying to steal the red jeep of one of our senior advisers here at The Institute and had already hot-wired it and was trying to find a good station on the radio when luckily it was spotted. All we can say is this is an example of poor parenting by it’s mother and father and will eventually lead it into a larger life of crime if it isn’t stopped.


After being hit by pine cones and yelled at from the registered and insured owner of this vehicle it nonchalantly moved away from the vehicle but took time to stop and blow raspberries and make rude gestures before retreating further up the hillside. This is a bad bear in the making.


After it found a spot in the boulders to watch for another opportunity to do a mischief the staff and The Director held a meeting titled “What To Do About Bad Bears and Is It Ethical To Smack Them Around a Bit”. As you might imagine there were several strongly held beliefs about this. We decided that since The Institutes motto is “Do No Harm Unless You Gotta” we went to our Department of Solving Unusual Problems and asked our people there to come up with a solution to Bad Bears.

They did and it’s a doozy. Not only will it rid us of bad bears but we see a huge potential for making some money here. This is how it works, we call it “Bear Strips”, like in Fly strips you buy to put up in your milking room at the farm. These are really sticky, I mean really sticky, pieces of film-like material scented with a smell that flies like, such as Old rotting meat or Essence of Modern Politicians, so that as soon as the fly smells it, it goes right to the strip, gets snared by the sticky but smelly goo that covers the film and that’s it, they’re done.  After the strip is filled with deceased flies you take it down and put up a new one. Works like a charm and the sight of dozens of fly filled strips hanging around produces a nice ambiance while you work.

What our people did was develop a thin canvas like film that is tough enough to hold a snarling bear entrapped on its sticky surface and coat it with our new proprietary coating called “Bear Snare”. It can hold up to a dozen bears actually if both sides of the strip are used. The super strong strips are approximately 3½ feet wide and eleven feet long and are hung on tripod-like structures in places bears like to go. When the bear strip is full or before the health department and the Fish and Game folks do their inspections we simply take down the Bear Strip, roll it up and put it in the Recycling bin down at the bottom of the hill. No bears are hurt with these revolutionary new Bear Strips except maybe when they pull the strip off down at the Recycling center but that’s a problem for them to solve. We’ve done our part.

There was one small problem when one of our interns accidentally brushed up against a Bear Strip on his way to the field latrines and became entangled. They are still trying to extricate him from the strip without losing that ¼” deep skin layer that comes off along with the strip. We had classes and put up warnings that Bear Strips were in use but apparently this guy liked the smell of modern politicians, We don’t know, he’s been sedated since he started screaming. But setting that aside our new Bear Strips are working marvelously. Our bear numbers are down, we’ve had fewer vehicles stolen and all in all it’s worked out well. We’re fairly far along in manufacturing our Bear Strips. Our marketing program is ramping up and the tripods used to hang the Bear Strips are just going into production. Like my old man used to say “If you find yourself in hot water, take a bath.” that’s what we do here at The Institute. We make lemonade.

If You are interested in obtaining some of our patent applied for Bear Strips, They’re new! They’re Fun! They Work! Contact our in-house Sales Representative on our new Toll Free number 1-808- StopBadBearsNow. Ask about our extended payment plan and our pamphlet titled “Fun Things To Do With Bear Hair”.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about he Institute, Nevermind.



Thoughts On The Total Suckability of 23 Degrees Below Zero

23Below1860Hawk  Yellowstone                                                    click to enlarge


As I casually throw the leg from a 18th century Mechanical Game table that Riesener created for the use of Queen Marie Antoinette at the Château of Versailles into the fire, I was amused to think back on the last time I was in Yellowstone National Park when the temperature had dropped to -23 below zero. The crackling and curling of the 229 year old veneered oak with its inlay of holly, black stained holly, amaranth, berberis, stained sycamore, and green lacquered wood, reminded me of the sound of the exploding branches of the nearby trees. The remaining sap in them congealing and expanding until it could no longer be contained within the branches and trunks. The color created by the melting of the gilt–bronze mounts carried me back to times when the golden sun shown on the fair meadows that lined the Yellowstone river. A sight I was unlikely to see again until summer. It was a bittersweet memory.

Although the table of the consort of the Sun King would be missed with its glowing surface that reflected the gilded mirror hanging above it. That mirror too, that had been so carefully removed from the men’s room off the main gallery of the palace, was next on the list, nevermore to be seen except in memory. Its loss was preferable to freezing one’s fuon bwey bweys off here in the great hall at the Institute’s main building, where the temperature had dropped into the mind chilling low 60’s.

Through an oversight or out of just plain meanness, our purveyor of propane gas, the fuel of choice at the Institute, had rejected the cases of heirloom chickens we had sent as payment for last winter’s fuel supply and demanded cash instead before they would send their delivery truck up the mountain to bring us our much-needed fuel. Hence the need to begin the burning of our household effects as a caution to prevent the deadly effects of hypothermia.

Luckily for us the fireplace in the great room is large enough to receive even the largest armoire without having to dismantle it. It seems a shame to take an axe to this gorgeous furniture. Things are going downhill fairly rapidly as the table Frank Lloyd Wright created for the Greene and Greene house is next on the list. Unfortunately we had borrowed this table from the foundation overseeing the Greene and Greene property for some photographic purposes and they’re sure to be upset and quite cross with us for using it for its BTU value. I doubt they will lend us anything again.

One of the biggest disappointments about this entire affair is the fact that we have half the national forest cut up and stacked in cords over behind the commissary in neat long rows in preparation for just this type of emergency. Unfortunately, we can not get the staff or even the interns to go out in this weather and deliver that wood to the main building. They flatly refuse to go out and have cut the telephone lines from their quarters to the main building. It’s also unfortunate that I can not make anyone here go and get this much-needed fuel either as everyone is afraid of freezing solid if they leave what little warmth we have.

All of this leads us back to the topic at hand “The Suckability of 23 Degrees Below Zero”. As I sit here in my ermine-lined dressing jacket I reflect back on this image of an unknown hawk on a forlorn branch near the Yellowstone river. HIs body language says it all. This cold sucks. Excuse me, but they’re getting ready to throw a stunning golden hued Ormolu clock which has no BTU value whatsoever on the fire. I have to stop them as that is just wanton destruction for its own sake.  After all we’re not savages here.