You Can Take a Hike

You Can Take a HikeLately, whenever someone invites me to go hiking, my response is usually: “You can take a hike.”That’s because, I really don’t care for hiking.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not lazy. Okay, maybe that’s a lie. But I used to take long walking excursions all the time. It’s one of my wife’s favorite leisure activities – so much so that she snuck it into our wedding vows: “I promise to love, honor and cherish you – and take annoyingly long, arduous hikes into mosquito-infested woods in the middle of nowhere – so long as we both shall live” I probably should have read over our vows a bit more carefully, but young love makes you say yes to the craziest things.

I’ve endured tons of treks over my lifetime. I’ve scaled summits of the Rocky Mountains (well, the summit of the visitors’ information stations, at least). I’ve toured all over Europe for two months, with nothing more than a backpack and my sister (to carry my backpack). I’ve run several 10K races and even completed a marathon – that’s 26 miles – and at the end, all I got was a t-shirt. So, don’t tell me I’ve not put in my share of hard miles on foot.

But hiking is not that much fun for me anymore, in part because I have osteoarthritis in both knees – which, personally, I blame on my wife, for making me join her on so many walkabouts over the past 35 years.

I don’t get the appeal of the activity. Hear me out. You want me to walk for hours, usually in the middle of a forest, so the view is totally obscured by trees and boulders and nature. Then, to make matters worse, after reaching my destination five miles later, there’s never a Starbucks. I’m stuck in no man’s land with no cell phone reception, so I have no idea what the game score is. I’m utterly exhausted and my knees are throbbing. But wait! We’re not done with the fun yet. My ordeal is only half over, because to get back to civilization, I have to cover the exact same route in reverse. I guess if you’re a masochist, I totally get the appeal.

Even my wife sometimes concludes that jaunts into the woods can be become a little repetitive. That’s why she likes to add a little challenge by choosing trails with altitude gains of say, 2,500 feet. “Trust me,” she promises. “When you get to the summit, it’s breathtaking.” Well, she’s right about that part. By the time we reach the peak, I’m totally out of breath. And she’s usually right about the view, too. Truly stunning – if you don’t mind staring into a cloud bank with an unobstructed view of fog in every direction.

You Can Take a HikeI actually would not mind scaling mountains and foraging through forests if they could just figure a way to do it without all that walking. If you want to explore the Grand Canyon in a golf cart, then I’m totally in. Call me.

The other annoying thing about this pastime is that it’s often accompanied by another terrible idea – camping. As if walking for miles at a stretch with no couch to rest on wasn’t bad enough! Add to it sleeping on rocks in a cocoon with bugs assaulting you all night, and not even an outhouse but a bush which I invariably must scramble to in total darkness at 3:00 a.m. What part of this spells fun?

Let me ask you a question: When was the last time you heard about hikers on the news? It’s never good. The report usually goes like this: “Two hikers have been missing since Saturday. They were last seen taking photos of a momma grizzly and her three cubs. Details at eleven.”

I realize that it’s politically incorrect to whine about hiking. After all, I live in the Pacific Northwest, America’s mecca for wilderness treks, with not one but two major mountain ranges: the Olympics and the Cascades. Hiking is practically a religion here. People in Seattle wear their hiking gear all the time, because they never know when a buddy will show up out of nowhere and invite them to hit the Pacific Crest Trail. Even when they’re just going to grab a latte, they’re donning their Patagonia garb: a long-sleeve flannel shirt, parka vest and wool hat (in August). Very chic.

You Can Take a HikeI still own all the required gear: cramped boots, bug spray, pepper spray (for the cougars I’ll invariably meet), my 1974 Mets World Series Champions cap, a rusty Army surplus canteen that can hold up to 64 ounces of diet Pepsi, and a three-year supply of GORP my wife bought at Costco in 2005. I am prepared.

So, don’t summon me to your next six-hour pilgrimage into Lost Hombre National Park unless you plan to buy me a steak dinner afterwards.

Hardcore backpacking enthusiasts love to point out that it’s not about the destination; It’s about the journey. Let me politely say, those people are idiots. If I’m going to haul a 20-pound pack over six miles of crags and stumps up 3,000-feet, there had better be a rainbow-colored waterfall or an erupting volcano at the end of the trail – or a 7-Eleven. I’d settle for that.

As much as it is no longer my thing, I’m sure I’ll accompany my wife on many more explores in the years to come. Because I love my wife, and I know this gives her great happiness. And because when we get back to civilization, I’ll get to watch the Mariners in my massaging recliner, chugging a Mountain Dew on the rocks. My kind of rocks.




Volkswagen Emissions Scandal is “No Conspiracy”

WOLFSBURG – German Chancellor Angela Merkel asserted that the Volkswagen emission debacle, including years of cover-up, was “no conspiracy.”

Merkel stated: “Already there are crazy Volkswagen conspiracy theorists on the Internet who believe that two or more persons must have planned this emissions strategy. Instead, we are quite sure it was just one person, some lone nut. And we will discover the one person who is responsible, if we possibly can.” Read more Volkswagen Emissions Scandal is “No Conspiracy”


UN Issues Long-term Weather Forecast

Long-term worldwide weather forecast issued by the United Nations Meteorological Agency:

Unsettled conditions expected for much of the planet for the foreseeable future. In particular, we anticipate further weather extremes in the middle eastern section of the globe.

Since a large-scale western storm hit Iraq in 2003, there have been ongoing disruptions throughout that region. Read more UN Issues Long-term Weather Forecast


Lame Duck Damaged, Begs Extinction

Environmentalists and naturalists have sounded the alarm for a threatened avian species resident in Washington, D.C. Having been spotted in the region for close to six years, this bird has recently suffered numerous setbacks and setblacks and appears to be on the verge of extinction.

Native to Chicago, it was once a flamboyant bird that was erroneously identified as a trumpeter swan. People were enthralled by its unusual dark-colored plumage and impressive wingspan and singing voice although some were put off by its arugula-based diet. Read more Lame Duck Damaged, Begs Extinction


Asteroid RC 15: “I Purposely Avoided Collision With Earth”

OUTER SPACE: In an exclusive interview, RC15, an asteroid that, on Sunday, passed closer to earth than the moon, says it purposely avoided a collision with our planet.

“I really, really did not want to hit you guys after I got close enough to see the kind of shit the human race is going through. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem whatsoever colliding with an inhabited planet. But once I realized how polluted, overpopulated, mismanaged, and just generally dismal Earth was, I had to do everything I could to miss you guys.” Read more Asteroid RC 15: “I Purposely Avoided Collision With Earth”


EPA Report: ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ Responsible for 34% Decrease in Polar Ice Caps

WASHINGTON – In an alarming press conference delivered this afternoon, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy announced that the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge,” which has, since June 30th, gone viral on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, is estimated to be responsible for at least a 34% reduction in the mass of arctic sea ice. Read more EPA Report: ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ Responsible for 34% Decrease in Polar Ice Caps


Lorax and Al Gore in Twitter War Over Earth Day

The Lorax and Al Gore have become engaged in a bitter war of words on Twitter as to who has done more for environmental awareness and the observance of Earth Day.

The Former Vice-President threw down the gauntlet yesterday when he called Mr. Lorax a short, hairy pussy who thinks he owns the movement, to which Lorax replied “Look in the mirror, bitch!”

Lorax, who uses the handle @speaks4trees, and Mr. Gore, @chickenlittle, have escalated their rhetoric today on the annual observance of the environmental holiday. Read more Lorax and Al Gore in Twitter War Over Earth Day


Facing Extinction, Olive Garden Traces Dinosaur’s Demise For Answers

70 Million years ago in modern day Orlando, Florida – It is a warm, sunny afternoon during the Cretaceous Era as Breadsterastyx, a close relative of Triceratops, feasts on a large garden filled with ferns and wildflowers, while closely watching one of its offspring grazing peacefully.

Suddenly, from behind the trees comes a towering Tyrannosaurus Rex seeking a substantial meal to satisfy its insatiable hunger. Read more Facing Extinction, Olive Garden Traces Dinosaur’s Demise For Answers


Giant Sinkhole Draining Gulf of Mexico

NAPLES, FL – Despite warnings of rising coastal waters around the globe, scientists, in late 2012, found that the coastal waters abutting the Gulf of Mexico were actually declining at a rate of .001 (1/1000) inches per month. While in and of itself, this seems like an insignificant amount of change, over the course of the past year or so, the coastal shores have grown by more than that amount, or roughly .07 inches (7/100) or more. Read more Giant Sinkhole Draining Gulf of Mexico


Freedom Industries Explores Its Freedom to Pollute W. Virginia Waterways

Freedom Industries, the more-important-than-humans industry conveniently located next to the major river supplying water to nine counties of a rural portion of West Virginia, has contaminated the drinking, bathing, teeth brushing, clothes washing water of thousands of people with a coal foaming agent that leaked out of their plant. Read more Freedom Industries Explores Its Freedom to Pollute W. Virginia Waterways


31% Chance that Miley Cyrus Will Develop Frostbite During New Year’s Performance

New York, NY – Pop icon and cultural wrecking ball Miley Cyrus is scheduled to headline the festivities in Times Square, performing just before the ball drops to start the New Year. According to forecasters, the weather at midnight should be about 26 degrees Fahrenheit, with 12 mph winds, putting the wind chill in the low teens. While frostbite does not typically begin to set in until the wind chill has dropped down to -20, the charts were made by doctors who assumed that people would be wearing clothes. If the past year of Miley Cyrus’ life has suggested anything, it’s that this is a bold assumption.

In an official statement, ABC stated that “[p]aramedics will be standing by with buckets of warm water and new clothes for Ms. Cyrus” if frostbite should begin to set in during or after her set. The statement did not disclose where Ms. Cyrus’ old clothes will be at that time, hinting at the nature of her performance.

“As if it’s possible for her to do a show and not strip down,” 24-year-old single male and typical Miley fan Seth Hanes said, adding that, if she didn’t, he’d ask for his money back.

“I’d use her tits to hang up my coat,” another fan told us, with a wink and an “if you know what I mean.”

“Of course she’s going to have exposed skin,” Rolling Stone reporter Biz Jenkins scoffed, “Really, the only question is what part of her starts going blue.”

Reports of numerous betting pools on this exact topic have been confirmed, with wagers on which part of Miley’s skin would turn color the quickest. The current 3 to 1 favorite is her tongue.


Oil Companies Have Reversed Idea Of The Spirit Of Christmas

Oil companies, some of the wealthiest entities on earth, have somehow a skewered idea of what Christmas is supposed to be about.

This is due to their RAISING the price of gasoline for the holiday week instead of in the spirit of Christmas lowering it or at least being civil and leaving it at the pre-season rate.

But oil companies seemed to embody the spirit of Scrooge instead of the Holy Spirit and always have. Read more Oil Companies Have Reversed Idea Of The Spirit Of Christmas


Santa Gives China High-Sulfur Coal for Being Bad

Santa isn’t pulling any punches this Christmas.

China was bad. REAL bad.

Executing thousands of people for economic, social, political, drug crimes. Then selling their organs. Making the families of the deceased pay for the bullets.

Oppressing Tibetans and Uighurs and anyone else they happen to have under their thumbs. Read more Santa Gives China High-Sulfur Coal for Being Bad


Seattle’s narrow escape from the icy grip of winter

Whew! That was that a close call. There was a point earlier this week when I thought I might never see my kids again. Worse yet, I feared that my final blog post might be last week’s lame rant about Sarah Palin.

How humiliating. I live in Seattle, and for the past ten days, the entire city has been hunkered down in the grips of an arctic blast so bone-chillingly cold that most of us wondered if we’d ever again be able to venture outdoors in December in flip flops and shorts. Read more Seattle’s narrow escape from the icy grip of winter


“Old Man” Winter Relinquishes Control to Son Biff

Old Man Winter has reportedly turned over operational control of the winter season to his son, Biff according to sources close to the personification of nature.

Citing health issues, Old Man Winter made the announcement in late November and his overly ambitious son has wasted no time in establishing complete control over the frigid manifestation.

After first declaring himself president and CEO of Winter, Inc. Biff Winter called a news conference early this morning to confirm that he indeed has the reins of all daily operations. Read more “Old Man” Winter Relinquishes Control to Son Biff


Black Friday Special: Green Bio-Methane Grill

Innovar Products LLC has something for every taste this holiday season. It’s a grill that cooks up your favorite steaks, burgers and even veggie burgers, with 100% natural gas reclaimed from renewable sources.

“It’s the greenest thing this side of grass,” says Jason Holmesworth, marketing director for Innovar. “Methane is the leading greenhouse gas. We’re capturing it in a natural, non-invasive way, and selling it to eco-friendly consumers.” Read more Black Friday Special: Green Bio-Methane Grill