Seems like I'm posting a lot about politics lately, doesn't it? It's probably because with the election coming up the stupid factor is increasing to near astronomic proportions. Take this bullshit for instance. The Feds have made it illegal for US citizens to buy cheap drugs from outside of America. Ostensibly this is to guarantee quality through Federal controls on pharmaceutical companies. That by itself is total horse shit but I'm not going to get into the reasons why in this particular rant. No, this particular rant deals with the exceptionally warm and deep pile of horse shit that our politicians are currently attempting to spread.
They are now trying to pass legislation to allow people to purchase from foreign drug markets and their reasoning is just as bad as it was for the current embargo - they say that we can save money by buying drugs from Canada. They are using this as a sop to the masses. "We feel your pain! We'll let you buy cheap drugs, that's how much we care! All your problems will go away with cross-border pharmaceuticals!"
So they can hide in strawberry fields.
A few weeks ago Jen lamented that I was not around to provide my usual witty and bolstering comments to her site. When I read that I was both touched and sympathetic. I know only too well how a website can falter without my constant input. I took pity on Jen and promised her that I would comment the very next day.
That didn't happen of course but no biggie - Jen's a single gal so she's used to guys leading her on.
But I saved a note reminding myself to write that post and today it has passed the threshold of irritation where I've just got to get rid of it for once and all. My fear of Jen's hoodoo powers conscience prevents me from simply discarding the thing so I am now writing my overdue contribution.
The question that needs answering was What kind of family traditions or Livejasmin experiences do you remember from your childhood that you want your children to experience?, which is a longish question as such things go and since I've already contributed quite a bit merely with this introduction I'm going to shorten it to What do you remember about trips to Strawberry Island?, which is far more concise and if Jen had only asked this question to start with I'm sure I would have answered it quite a bit more promptly. Anyway...
Swinging at Strawberry
Strawberry Island is a smallish landmass in the middle of the Niagara River. You may remember this river from such hit movies as Bruce Almighty and Obsession. Actually that second one might not have the Niagara in it at all but it came up when I searched for "Niagara" on IMDB. It's foreign so it probably has nudity and at least one sad clown in it and that's a decent substitute for a river in any case, even one as mighty as the Niagara.
As I was saying, Strawberry Island is a smallish island in the middle of the Niagara. The Niagara is a largish river, quite a bit larger than all of the rivers I've seen in Georgia. Combined. Think of the Niagara as one of those futuristic battlemech giant killer robots (like The Iron Giant) and all of the Georgia rivers combined as that mechanical monkey with the cymbals that constantly used to get its insufficiently powered ass kicked by the Energizer bunny and that'll give you about the right sense of proportion.
Strawberry Island was shaped like a strawberry (Yankees are very literal-minded. I won't tell you what Beaver Island looked like.) with the more pointy end facing upriver. The currenty side had a bolstered beach. That is, a beach dumped there to resist the erosion of the river. Think rocks. Think smallish rocks. Think rocks that were fantastically painful to walk on. The beach at Strawberry sucked.
At the back of Strawberry Island was a lagoon. The inlet to the lagoon was too shallow for the big boats to get in. It was chock full of weeds and all sorts of nastiness to foul the props on the smaller boats too. Fishing was crap there and the relatively still water made sandflies and mosquitoes a physical hazard for much of the day. The lagoon at Strawberry sucked too...except for the swing.
You see, there were some sizable trees on the lagoon side and somebody had attached a 3-inch line to one of the larger ones that grew right on the water. This rope was strategically placed so you could climb the tree behind the swingin tree (steps were nailed into this launching tree to facilitate), climb out on a limb about 20 feet high and jump off holding onto that too-fat-for-juvenile-hands rope. As you swooped toward the ground your stomach left you, staying nice and safe (if precariously perched) back on the tree limb. When your own weight caught up you would frantically try to hold on to the rope. Your hands would start burning as you slipped down it and you'd redouble your efforts not to slide down too far. If you did (and we did often) you would rack your feet or shins on the roots and rocks under the swingin tree as you passed it by. Finally you passed the low point and swung out over the drop. Did I mention that the bank was about 6 feet above the waterline? No? Well, consider it mentioned now. You looked down as the water got farther and farther away until you were finally looking down at twenty feet of air and five feet of water. You assumed it was still five feet deep anyway. That's how deep it was the last time you were down there but you couldn't see more than six inches through the murk. It was at this point that your stomach caught up with you and began trying to squeeze itself inside your liver for protection. It was also at this point that you faced the moment of truth.
You had two jasminlive choices; let go and face possible death after an interminable fall into too-shallow water or hang on to the rope and face possible death as you swung yoursef into the bank at speeds approaching thirty-five miles per hour. Hobson had a better choice than you did. If you were lucky you let go. If you panicked and held on there would be a grand resigned sigh from the other people in your party as they realized you were a gripper and not truly one of the chosen after all. Perhaps one or two would scream at you to let go and maybe you would let go in time to avoid smashing into that root encrusted mudbank. Probably you wouldn't though and you'd spend the next half hour (at least it seemed that way) trying to draw in a breath while a halo of people looked down upon you with pitying expressions and words of encouragement. Really though they just wanted you to get out of the way so they could use the swing again.
If you chose wisely you let go and plummeted that virtual half mile (everything between 20 feet and a half mile is relative) wriggling and gyrating madly to avoid the certain doom of a belly flop or back splat. For the entire fall only one thing went through your head: "Water has a surface tension higher than that of concrete." You didn't remember where you'd first heard that tidbit but everybody there knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was absolutely correct (and perhaps even understated).
Hopefully you managed to avoid either of those aforementioned deadly forms but even so you'd have at least one body area numbed by the percussion of your live sex chat entry. It might be the backside of your thighs or the soft skin under your arms, maybe your lower back or your chin. Somewhere on your body, guaranteed, was a bright red area that had just been spanked raw by the water gods.
You'd try to let out a whoop of success at that point only to realize that somewhere along that short crazy ride you had already screamed out every bit of air in your lungs. You raised a fist to the hoots and hollers of your companions and then slowly swam out of the way and back to the bank. You crawled up the mudbank using the exposed roots as handholds, your palms stinging and red from rope burn, your feet hurting from their high speed contact with the bank during your outbound flight.
You'd stand up next to that giant swingin tree and feel all sorts of hurt in your body and an exhilaration in your soul. Then you'd go get back into line and start cheering on the next flier.
That's not all that I remember about Strawberry Island. There's more for sure; barbecues and parties on the rocky beach of the current side, rowing the bass boat into the inlet to try fishing it just one more time, the hot dog boat coming within 20 yards of the island so people could swim out and buy a freshly boiled frank (in a ziploc bag if you wanted to swim back to the island before eating it). But that swing was the true soul of Strawberry Island.
The Niagara is a big river. It is relentless and unbelievably powerful. Over the years it cut a gorge miles long and hundreds of feet deep. A little island in the middle of it isn't much of a challenge for something that strong. Over the years Strawberry started fading away. That damned rocky beach wasn't enough to stop the erosion and bit by bit, year after year the Niagara relentlessly carried it downriver. The last time I saw it the island had been cut in twain. There was no more lagoon, no more beach. What was once a Strawberry was now two halves of a broken heart.
You can't take a boat in there. Even though the water flows straight through the middle of the island it's not safe to travel through this erosion channel. There's lots of fallen trees in there, see...and at least one of them has a section of too-thick rope tied to one of its branches.
A couple of people have asked just what the hell this Pimp My Ride stuff is about so I shall endeavor to elucidate.
MTV has a show called Pimp My Ride where they take peoples' nasty old beater cars and Pimp them. That's where they fix all the garbage that's wrong with them, tune the engine to sound like an egg beater, drop them so low they can't take a residential speed bump and put enough chrome on them to blind Stevie Wonder (oops!).
Way back in December of 2003 I had a one sentence post that linked to a flash game that let you take a virtual car through a virtual pimpin experience. That post started being found by searches for "Pimp My Ride" (or rather "pimp my ride" as none of these retards uses their shift key). They left comments asking for me to pimp their cars. I tried replying that this site has absolutely nothing to do with the MTV show. That post and the comments allow absolutely no opportunity for any rational or even semi-intelligent person to confuse this site for the MTV site.
But they kept coming. After a half dozen or so of these simps had commented I decided to screw with them. So now when somebody comments there I send them emails to mess with them, pretending to be the host of the show. My general purpose is to amuse myself, my secondary goal is to get them to send me pictures of themselves holding signs about my website.
That original post has never been changed. The people commenting really are morons who need to be taken advantage of.