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|Editor's Notebook, by Bill Blauvelt||A Different Slant, by Chuck Mittan||Country Roads, by Gloria Garman-Schlaefli|
by Bill Blauvelt
I don't know if my childhood interest in finding lost treasure sparked by my choice of reading material or if my choice of reading material sparked my dreams of finding lost treasure. I do know that while growing up I was always on the look out for a find.
My childhood reading included novels like Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, and Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Westerns and pirate stories were always certain to strike my reading interest.
I had lots of opportunities to stoke my imagination but found very little treasure. I couldn't even find the playthings I lost, not sure why I thought I could find a treasure left behind by someone else.
Monday morning one of our newsletter subscribers from Montana sent us a box of insect traps he had apparently made.
In the accompanying letter of instructions, he said the traps were good for catching hornets, wasps and yellow jackets.
The traps are made from disposable water bottles. The top is cut from the bottle, flipped over and inserted into the remaining bottle before being stapled into place. A hanging string is affixed.
Then according to Johnie, "Fill to the line (about two inches from the bottom) with beer, apple juice, apple cider, apple peels or applecores and then at first light hang next to the insects' hive and allow it to fly until full."
Johnie assured me the traps work and that he has caught 5 to 7 thousand insects a week in his traps.
How did he arrive at that number. He surely didn't empty the traps and count the insects?
I may try one of the traps but I don't plan to bait it with beer.
As a youngster, after spilling stale beer on my pants I wondered how anyone could ever drink such terrible stuff.
My father regularly mowed the highway right-of-way near the gasoline station. He said by keeping the right-of-way mowed back to the fence like a lawn, motorists were more apt to notice and stop at his gasoline station. But before mowing he would send his son out with a gunny sack to pick up the litter.
For the most part I liked the job. I always found several soda pop bottles which I could redeem for two cents each and I dreamed of finding more valuable items which had been lost or tossed from a passing vehicle. The biggest down side was finding a full or partially full container of beer. After days of laying in the sun, the beer smelled absolutely awful. I tried to avoid getting any of it on me but sometimes, I wasn't careful enough and the putrid smelling stuff got on my clothes or the gunny sack I carried.
I had even more hope of finding lost treasure while exploring a pasture, creek or river. I was ever hopeful that someone long before me had hidden or lost valuables that the rains had exposed.
Though most days I could wade the river, I knew the Army Corps of Engineers classified the Republican River as a navigable stream and I expected it once had ran deeper and was probably navigated by Indians, trappers and traders. I didn't take into account the obvious fact that the Republican never reached the mountains, or the less obvious that it was never much deeper than the Platte. I hoped to find a long forgotten steamboat filled with valuable treasure or something that fell from a mountain man's boat. Never did, but I did find a lot of junk probably left by the 1935 flood.
My father, while recalling his own childhood dreams, never openly laughed at my dreams. He even showed me where in his childhood he had dug a hole deep into a sandpile he assumed was an Indian burial mound. All he ever discovered was yards of fine sand. Most likely an early settler in need of courser sand made that mound while screening sand taken from a nearby pit.
When this nation thought nuclear power would solve all our energy needs, I tramped the Jewell County Hills with an electrical instrument looking for the mother lode of uranium. Didn't find that either.
I've given up dreaming of finding a mother lode of anything but other dreamers have taken my place.
I've been reading about a pair of treasure hunters who think they have found a legendary Nazi gold train in a hidden tunnel somewhere in Poland. At first their claims were dismissed as nothing more than pipe dreams being advanced by publicity seekers. But now government officials seem to think the story may be true. The Poles have laid claim to the haul, if and when it is found, acknowledging that the adventurers who say they know where it is would be entitled to a 10 percent reward.
The story line tells us that as World War II was coming to an end, the Nazis sought to make a getaway with the gold and artifacts they stole from the countries they invaded.
It could be a record-breaking finder's fee if, as some say, the train is loaded with 300 tons of gold with a current value of nearly $12.5 billion. But the cargo may not be the gold they are seeking. It is possible the mystery train was loaded with munitions that, if disturbed, could result in an explosively dramatic end to the story.
Some WWII munitions have by now lost all their pow. Others have become very unstable.
In 1912 The Express reported that several train cars loaded with Civil War ordinance were headed to Superior with plans to display in theme park that would be known as Lincoln Park. We have Lincoln Park but it never was developed as originally planned. Plans were supposedly derailed by the financial collapse of the C. E. Adams financial empire. What ever happened to all that Civil War Ordinance? Do you suppose those rail cars are lost in an southern mountain tunnel? Perhaps I should share she story line about the train for Superior that got lost with our resident film writer and columnist on this page, Chuck Mittan.
Perhaps a film developed with that story line could earn him a big treasure. Never know, Anything is possible. Got to keep dreaming.
A Different Slant, by Chuck Mittan
My wife apparently re-injured her back. She was diagnosed
with a small tear in a disc about 10 years ago, and all indications
now are that it has gotten worse. At the time I'm writing this,
she has had another round of X-rays and we are waiting for them
to be read and the results to be given to us.
I imagine this newspaper has more than a few readers who have used Skype either for business or visiting with friends or family members. I have used it a handful of times lately, and can see I will use it more and more frequently as my work in the film industry progresses.
A month or so ago, I Skyped with the guy who's co-producing and directing our upcoming short film, "Leaving Kansas." There were only two of us involved, so a telephone call would have also worked, but I detest long phone conversations. In truth, I'm not that crazy about short ones, either. With Skype, it's just like you're in the same room, which might not be a great thing, if you are in the habit of making faces or rolling your eyes in regards to the conversation you're having.
A short time after that, I was able to record a DVD commentary segment for the horror anthology I did some writing for by Skyping with the other three writers while we all watched the DVD simultaneously behind our Skype windows.
"How'd you do that?" I asked the director. "Never mind," I decided instead. "Hearing it would probably make my head explode."
I'm not a terribly technological person.
On Sunday morning, I skyped with the director and about half the cast of "My Friend Max," the short film I co-wrote that's shooting next week in Mount Vernon, Iowa. There were eight of us, but it worked just fine. As each person said good-bye and signed off, the remaining boxes grew larger to continue filling the screen. Turns out, no one had any questions for me about the script, but I did manage to get an invitation to dinner with Doug Jones our Hollywood actor playing Max and a few others the night before we begin shooting his scenes.
In a few weeks, I've been invited to be a guest on a horror podcast to discuss my entire filmography, but I imagine the host will be pretty curious about my experiences on set with Doug Jones, who by all accounts is the nicest guy in all of Hollywood. That podcast will be done by Skype as well, so I can just sit at my desk and talk to my laptop.
I can't Skype without it conjuring images of the "vidiphone" in one of my favorite novels, The Butterfly Kid, by Chester Anderson. The first few chapters have the reader convinced it is set in Greenwich Village in the late 1960s. Then, out of the blue, they begin conversing using a vidiphone, which of course was utter science fiction at the time Anderson wrote the book. Then, later, when the city is under siege by the blue lobsters from outer space, you know for sure it's not the 1960s, because if there had been an attack of blue space lobsters in the 1960s, I think we would have heard about it.
Country Roads, by Gloria Garman-Schlaefli
There is a saying: "A picture is worth a thousand words."
As I look through photos taken during my family's gatherings through
the years, photos of other people and their happenings and photos
of local celebrations, I would say I agree with that saying. They
are worth at least a thousand words.
Without old family photos, we would never see what our great-great-grandparents of long ago looked like. Viewing photos of our parents' weddings and seeing their love for each other can not be described. Photos of our youth are often compared to our offspring, and a certain likeness can be seen. There are the baby's first birthday photos the look on his or her face as they stick their hands into the frosted birthday cake, the surprise on a child's face as they open their Christmas or birthday presents. All captured in photos that can be viewed over and over again.
There are photos of high school players in action in football, basketball or baseball games. Photos that show the pride in the faces of graduates as they carry their diploma down the aisle are treasured and posted in some photo album. A loved one looking and holding a new born child for the first time is priceless.
There are the photos taken on trips to remember those good times and these are pulled out of storage time after time to view and relive.
Photos taken at farm auctions that capture neighbors seated together, discussing the local happenings, are so good to have, 4-H fair photos showing participants and their projects are treasured. Photos of town celebrations show a moment in time to always be remembered.
Ancestors' photos are highly sought after. These photos are so important to us as we search through the family history. We look to see our father or mother in the likeness of these ancestors, all because we thankfully have a keepsake photo.
Photos show fashion changes down through the years. They show a little boy all in curls wearing what we'd term as a white gown but that was the way the baby boys were dressed back then. Girls' dresses came down to their ankles and hats were worn upon their heads. A newly married couple of years ago look so sober compared to today's couples showing their smiles of joy.
There are old photos showing the way a town once looked. The old schoolhouses of long ago come to life once again as the photos are viewed.
Last weekend, a wedding in the family brought so many together in celebration, and many photos were snapped. Photos of the wedding party walking down the aisle, cutting the wedding cake, toasting each other and dancing the night away. These photos will be precious for years to come.
Capturing that special moment in time with a camera creates memories. The photographer is making history. Storing the photos correctly is important, and writing descriptions on the backs of the photos may not seem to be important now, but in years to come the names can be forgotten, and so for future generations it will be very important. Give future generations those "thousand words" with the snap of a camera.