September 26
Just another average working stiff slowly losing ground in the land of opportunity...


MeatMonkey's Links

Another rock garden. Another cascade down, down, down the rushing boulder-strewn river bed. Forget scouting. I pick a line and hope I don't get rocked in. My kayak wallows between rocks as I make my awkward turns. Left around a big rock, over a couple small ones clearing them by scraping… Read full post »
FEBRUARY 1, 2013 10:31AM

Groundhog Day: My Favorite Holiday

Groundhog Day, the often ridiculed, mostly over-looked February mark on the calendar is my favorite holiday. Besides the fact that it features a giant weather forecasting rodent (what's not to love?), Groundhog Day's origins are interesting and relevant to anyone who loves the outdoors..

Groundhog D/…

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JANUARY 30, 2013 9:21AM

Stopping Off for "One."

For my father's generation, stopping off for one was a time-honored tradition. I distinctly remember the evenings, usually on payday, when dad was late, dinner was late and mom was silently fuming. Of course in those days, the wife could say little more than, “You're late. Supper is ruined.†Dad… Read full post »
JANUARY 23, 2013 7:28PM

Ramble On.

(RAM b'l): to roam about, to stroll idly.

I pull the Jeep into the little trailhead parking space and turn off the engine. There's no one around It's one of those out of the way forgotten trailheads far away from the tourists destinations of Sedona. Though an official forest service trail, this/… Read full post »
OCTOBER 17, 2012 7:31PM

A Short and Sweet Debate.

Watching the debate last night, I couldn’t help but shake my head. Can’t these guys answer a simple question with a simple answer? Sure, questions on the economy or foreign policy might have some complicated reasoning behind them but come on… Some of these questions were no brainer… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 15, 2012 3:46PM

Old Man Takes a walk.

I’d been trying to do a backpack all year. It shouldn’t have been that hard. I have five weeks vacation. I am in good health and relatively good shape. I live on the edge of the Colorado Plateau—a short drive to some of the world’s most spectacular wildernesses.

 … Read full post »

JULY 26, 2012 9:25AM

Moving to the Monkey Islands

I’ve been playing an online game called Nation States recently. It’s actually less a game than a socio-political simulation. You create a country, then everyday (for the rest of your life) you’re faced with pending social problems and legislation. Your country is then rated and cateRead full post »

APRIL 27, 2012 10:37AM

Good Will Was Good Business

Way back in prehistoric times when I was in college, the first thing they taught us in business, marketing and advertising was the old adage that “good will is good business.” The idea was that public relations was easy. You just have to write about all the good works that your… Read full post »

APRIL 9, 2012 11:20PM

Another "Crappy" Holiday.

Did you have a nice three-day weekend? Was your house full of friends and family and food and laughter? Mine was. Too bad I wasn’t there for it.

 Because Easter falls on a Sunday, the preceding week is traditionally the busiest week of the year. All holidays are busy food… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 3, 2012 9:50PM

Revenge of the Pink Slime.

As a professional meat-cutter, I have been barraged in recent days with a single question that I am sure is echoing across the meat coolers of America.  All day they call on the phone, ring the buzzer and grab my arm as I fill the case to ask in a panicked… Read full post »


When I got your cancellation text, I was already standing at the trailhead filled with misgivings. The wind had a sharp bite, a vicious little nip from winter saying it wasn’t dead yet… Already I could picture a spring day bullied by an ugly wind and temperatures that stubbornly… Read full post »

JANUARY 17, 2012 8:04AM

My Secret Shame.

In most respects I’m a normal guy. I have a lot of interests and hobbies. Besides my career, I read, write, hike, bike, play guitar, fish and kayak. I like to watch movies with my wife and take my dogs for walks. These are all normal things I enjoy and appreciate… Read full post »

One thing I like about New Year’s is the tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Unlike other holidays where the customs are meaningless and weird when you stop to think about it (A pine tree in your living room? Really?), the idea of a fresh start, a mediation of your failings, and… Read full post »

OCTOBER 4, 2011 11:02PM

In Defense of Manual Labor

I love to complain about my job. By every measure being a supermarket meat cutter, I have a lot of justification. I’m over-educated, under-employed and underpaid. My job is cold, wet, messy, gross, physically exhausting, mentally frustrating and, throw in customer service on a busy day, you eve… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 6, 2011 8:44AM

I Am a "Radical" Environmentalist.

Apparently, I am a radical environmentalist. The journey from mild-mannered, average working class guy who loves the outdoors and believes in conservation to radical political revolutionary was a short one. A journey I wasn’t even aware I was taking.


I’m not quite sure when it ha… Read full post »

I was thinking about turning points today. We’ve all had those fleeting moments of inspiration, epiphany and sudden resolve that echo across the years. Sometimes they are only recognized in hindsight. Others are instantaneous. They are also somehow unpredictable and maddingly random. Sometimes… Read full post »

When I first joined Open Salon over a year ago, I had one objective. I wanted to become a better writer. I was impressed by the quality of writing and range of topics on the site and I figured if I could post there, get some feedback, I’d have some idea… Read full post »

JANUARY 10, 2011 9:41AM

Welcome to Arizona

It’s been almost 48 hours since the shooting of Representative Giffords in Tucson and I’m still reeling with the horrific details of the tragedy. Like many I am both saddened and angered by the senseless carnage. Many, including Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, have immediately jumped… Read full post »

DECEMBER 20, 2010 8:59AM

Christmas Carols for Retail Workers

Yes, it’s that time of year when the stores will be a-hustlin’ and a-bustlin’. It’s time to enjoy the merry sounds of the season: telephones a-ringin’, cash registers a-singin’ and, if you listen carefully, the sounds of low-wage employees getting a-whuppin'.&rdquo… Read full post »



 You know that story they told you about Santa Claus? You know, the one about the North Pole, toy-making elves and flying reindeer? Well, I hate to break to you, but…

 Your parents are lying to you.




 North pole?… Read full post »

DECEMBER 6, 2010 10:27AM

Oh! Christmas Tree!

My cramping hand clutched desperately for the flimsy limb in the top of a forty-foot pine tree, swaying in the first winter gusts of the year. Hanging on for dear life, I uttered a silent prayer that I would survive—preferably with all limbs and head intact. Of course I already had… Read full post »

DECEMBER 3, 2010 11:10AM

Revenge of the Smoked Turkey

A few years ago, I decided to smoke our Thanksgiving turkey. Roasted turkey was fine, if a little bland, but the whole process of opening up a bird, plopping it in the pan and sliding it into the oven was a little lacking… Where was the challenge? Where was the culinary… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 24, 2010 9:32AM

Thankful for Obesity in America.

My wife says I complain too much. It seems to her that every time I turn on the news, pick up a newspaper or come home from a day of serving the public, I am ranting about something or another. Enough whining, she says. I need to be thankful for the… Read full post »

OCTOBER 22, 2010 8:50PM

Welcome to the Beer Party

Yes, it’s almost election time again when we must grit our teeth and vote for the lesser of two evils. We can vote for the wishy-washy tax-and-spend Democrats or we can vote for the tax-break-and-spend-even-more (we flunked economics) Republicans. Either way we’ll have another pretty face… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 30, 2010 6:44PM

My Happy Place

A while back, a peppy HR representative came to our store and gave us a little pep talk on customer service and attitude-- a meeting that, as usual, came hard on the heels of another round of payroll slashes, benefit cuts and increased workload. I’m sure, however, it&rsqu… Read full post »