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Location: Bozeman, MT, United States

Hi, my name is Jim Macdonald, and I have an odd assortment of interests. In no particular order, I love Yellowstone, I am an anti-authoritarian activist and organizer, and I have a background in philosophy, having taught at the college level. My blog has a lot more links to my writing and my other Web sites. In Jim's Eclectic World, I try to give a holistic view of my many interests. Often, all three passions show themselves interweaving in the very same blog. Anyhow, I think it's a little different. But, that's me. I'm not so much out there, but taken together, I'm a little unusual.

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    Monday, April 28, 2008

    A delightful trip into the park

    I had a need to go into Yellowstone on Saturday, and so I did - this time by myself. I'm not going to share much here except a fraction of the photos from Saturday. It's not even worthy of mention in the Yellowstone Newspaper, which according to my own standards, I only post stories when they express some unique point of view. These are just pictures that I took.

    If you are curious, however, I have still been writing. Check out this discussion on ethics that I've participated in over at Ralph Maughan's site.

    Click on the pictures, and they should get somewhat larger; I reduced them somewhat to save bandwidth.

    self-shot at the Lower Falls

    Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

    Lower Falls

    Upper Falls

    Big ice at the Upper Falls

    Pearl Geyser at Norris Geyser Basin

    Ledge Geyser - check out that weird snow

    Blue Star Spring (near Old Faithful)

    Old Faithful

    Bison and calves in the Firehole geyser region


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    as they say, \"a picture is worth a thousand words,\" and you, my friend, you look constipated. now it all becomes clear.

    4/28/08, 12:23 PM  
    Blogger Jim Macdonald said...

    You bet; sure you can find one of my chips around there!


    4/28/08, 6:10 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    i take back what i said. you don't look constipated, you look like you're taking a dump, which actually makes the picture that much more disgusting. and is really a sad, sad commentary on your part. taking a dump on the most beloved national park in the world.

    how dare you.

    5/5/08, 4:17 PM  
    Blogger Jim Macdonald said...

    And, it won't be my last. Ever notice how much shit is in Yellowstone all over the place?

    And, haven't you heard how bad off the sewage system is?

    Get your shit together, dude.

    5/5/08, 10:53 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I don't know, man. I think I agree with the other person. I took a good look at your pictures, and they're nice and all, but the one of you gave me douche-chills. You aren't exactly what they call "photogenic."


    5/9/08, 4:25 PM  
    Blogger Jim Macdonald said...

    That's right; I'm not. Especially, as I was taking a dump all over Yellowstone; if the air wasn't sulfur enough.

    Either way, the price to see those pictures is my ugly mug; glad to see you're checking me out.

    5/11/08, 12:58 AM  
    Blogger Mike McCord said...

    Wasn't quite sure where to post this comment, Jimmy, but this seemed like the appropriate place. But, put it where you want it.

    You see, I too had a delightful trip into the park this weekend, and I learned something that might be of interest to you . . . although you probably already know this. Not that I had a delightful trip into the park, but that there seems to be another threat, or threats, to your precious bison. Those threats being wolves and grizzlies.

    I spoke to a ranger down there last weekend and he said that the herds are might bit dispersed this year and that wolves, and grizzlies especially, are taking advantage of the situation and are running in there and taking quite a few of them young 'uns this years.

    He also said that they were hoping the herds would find each other and use their numbers to fend of some of them other critters, but that it didn't look good.

    I'm mighty partial to them big bears and stopped to ask him where they might be congregating, and that's how I found out about the buffler situation. Thought it might interest you.

    So. What do you do now? Propose that the grizzlies and wolves be killed off to protect the buffalo?

    I don't know, Jimbo. I was there, and there still seem to be a lot of 'em. A lot young 'uns too. I just don't see the situation as being as dire as you do.

    But, I'm just an old man. What do I know?

    5/31/08, 2:05 AM  
    Blogger Jim Macdonald said...


    Like a lot of your comments, I have answered this sort of thing previously. I have no problem with beings being what they are, humans included. What I have problems with is humans doing things which go outside the bounds of reason, creating an artificial system of justice in which to enforce their decisions. The boundaries that keep the bison penned into Yellowstone are artificial and without merit. If people kill buffalo because that's what people simply do, that's one thing. Hundreds of buffalo would die in buffalo jumps (see the area around Dome Mountain near Tom Miner Basin as one example of a natural buffalo jump). That's not the issue. The issue is the reason why; and for whatever reason (that philosophy stuff you push away with the wave of your hand), that's what you never actually respond to. There is a connection between reasons and action in the human life; when the reasons are contradictory, then we all needlessly suffer.

    In a world where we aren't acting that way, buffalo and humans will still die. There is no utopia, but we will be better off to an important degree - we won't feel entitled to enforce one narrow particular view of all beings, where some are more entitled than others. We may kill and eat buffalo out of urges related to our senses and not some abstract and incoherent sense of justice (which is what we do now).

    And, people do confuse that, right? A lot of people will shout out at us - "Buffalo taste good" thinking they're getting under our skin (and not even knowing that some members of the group even eat buffalo). They think this is just about simple sense experience, but in fact that's not why buffalo are being killed. In truth, we are way beyond that world. You talked a long time ago about overpopulation. Yeah, that's right - the overpopulated world comes from a world that imposed its will on the earth and was able to grow much more food than otherwise would be natural, built giant machines, built therefore giant machines of death. Who isn't like a caged buffalo in this world? But, we like to pretend it's still about simple things - the way it should be.

    You can't just fight for buffalo; you have to fight against the world that keeps everyone caged by our sophistication (stupidity). The buffalo is just one way into that, one that is closer to my experience.

    5/31/08, 7:51 AM  
    Blogger Mike McCord said...

    First off, let me comment on why I "push away" all that "philosophy stuff" with a "wave of [my] hand." Ready? Here it goes . . . .

    It's boring.

    All that, "I think therefore I am," crap. Booooring. All I know about philosophy is that John Stuart Mill of his own free will on half a pint o' shanty was particularly ill.

    Philosophy, like poetry, is for people with entirely too much time on their hands who like to paint the world in terms that just don't make sense to the vast majority of us. Of course, I'm not saying that to be insulting. I'm saying it because it's true.

    Secondly, I wasn't trying to send you into a tizzy there, Jimmy. I was just trying to bond with you a bit by sharing a personal experience I had in the park last week. One in which I witnessed first hand some of the secondary effects of this past winter's culling.

    I'm not completely heartless, despite what you may think. I thought some folks out there might be interested in knowing that this years efforts by the Montana DOL and the park service has resulted in an above average number buffalo calves being taken by bears and wolves this spring because the herds are so small and spread out. I mean, that part of it isn't exactly national news, now is it? In my own way, I was actually supporting your side of the argument.

    The whole killing wolves and bears to protect buffalo comment was just me ribbing you. How do you not get that yet?

    I know how you feel: Man vs. Nature is bad. Nature vs. Nature is okey-dokey. And that working to protect buffalo is just one part of the overall effort to fight the many, and varied, injustices throughout the world.

    See? I get it.

    Lighten up, will ya?

    And one more thing: You said that we like to pretend that it's still about simple things. Well, let me tell you, my friend, life is what you make it. The world is a cruel, humorless bitch if you want it to be. Or it can be as pleasant as a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon.

    For me, it is about the simple things. It's about family and friends. Tall tales around a campfire. Listening to wolf howls in the Lamar Valley after sunset. And beer.

    Actually . . . it's mostly about beer.


    6/1/08, 1:56 PM  

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