Sun
Mar 30 2014
11:03 am

In addition to being a widely read and highly respected naturalist, journalist, environmentalist and all around beautiful human being, Rikki was a valued member of the community here from the get go. Here's a tiny sampling of his words of wisdom from more than 3,000 comments he posted here over the years...


Silence is always the worst kind of reporting.

I think feminism is a good thing. It is progress. Those who use the term as a pejorative are dull cowards, men like Limbaugh and O'Reilly whose purpose is to dig deep moats around their own stupidity and hurl feces at all who dare cross. The counterattack to the empowerment of women and minorities has been an empowerment of idiots.

Don't mistake what the wealthy get away with for what is right and what is legal.

If wanting everyone to play by the same rules is some sort of perverse form of "leveling the playing field," I'm a pervert.

I thought sorcery was the foundation of our government. Weren't most of the founding fathers Masons? What's with all the voodoo symbolism all over our money and seals and monuments? I don't see fishes and chi rhos on our money. I see eyeballs floating over pyramids.

I'm sure it's accurate to say our soldiers believe in what they were told they are doing. Believing they are doing what they were told they are doing is the hard part. Sleazy sloganeering and flimsy political rhetoric don't go down so easy once you've seen someone's foot get blown off.

Let me know when you make up your mind about whether I'm an idealist or a sellout.

The shape of that bird is wrong for a Cooper's. That bird is a buteo, not an accipiter. It looks like a red-tail to me, but since you say it is not a red-tail, I'm guessing it doesn't have a red tail. There are several variant forms of red-tailed hawks ranging from very dark to very pale, and this one may be one of those unusual forms.

I'm more idealistic than most, but I'm a scientist and engineer by training, so when I see problems, I look for solutions. Your solution to every problem is to destroy something, usually the government, or just bitch. Solving problems is a lot harder than noticing them or bitching about them, and it often involves compromising principles. Because I'm willing to talk about solutions that fall short of revolution, I'm a sellout in your eyes.

It's like the Internet is a giant toilet bowl, and you're a huge ass blocking all the light, endlessly farting just for the reverberations, but never shitting.

There is a yellow jacket nest just a few feet from my front porch steps. I'm still trying to decide what to do. So far, no stings, but there will be thousands more by late summer. I'm thinking of trying to coexist, then digging up their nest in the winter and stir-frying the larvae. I'm also contemplating throwing a handful of leaves over the entrance each night so I eventually get a leaf-mound volcano that erupts yellow jackets.

I don't consider someone a neighbor until they send the stretch Hummer over for a drive down Nails Creek Rd shooting meadowlarks, followed by a mediocre steak dinner in Pigeon Forge amidst Ohioans.

The only assumption I make is that competent leaders are preferable to incompetent leaders. I don't give a flying fuck what letter is next to their name. I'd prefer they not have any letters next to their names. All that does is encourage uninformed voting.

I wonder what all kinds of extremists of all stripes would do with unlimited power. Train their lackeys to use cheap rhetorical tricks like distraction, censorship, attacking the messenger and, when necessary, plugging their ears and humming so they never have to doubt the leader or hear better ideas? It's all so theoretical, who can really say?

I'm sure if you put Cas Walker, Suttree and James Longstreet out in the middle of a big watermelon patch, they'd come up with a thumpin-good plan.

Decency is a rare commodity among those who can raise the funds needed to obtain federal office, and it exists largely by accident where it exists at all.

People calling for omission or censorship need to re-examine whether a free society is the right fit for them. Bias is far less harmful than omission. It's unavoidable, really, and any competent person can perceive bias and compensate.

Is it possible that people might hold beliefs that don't fit neatly into any of the handful of ready-made containers (liberal, conservative, progressive, Dem, Rep)? Are there people who actually make up their mind about issues by examining problems and solutions and not by trying to conform to a party or ideology? Are there issues about which reasonable people can agree there is nothing to agree or disagree about because we are still grasping for decent solutions?

What a testament to the robustness of the human brain that it can produce comprehendable sentences even in the absence of rational or coherent thought.

Hey, hey, fellas. It's not a contest. We can all be immature!

In the marketplace of ideas, you are a counterfeiter.

We all understood what was at stake immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. "If we let this change us, the terrorists will win" was what everyone said. George W. Bush allowed the actions of some two dozen men to radically change the United States of America. He has sacrificed lives, squandered billions, alienated our allies, eroded the Constitution and placed our national security under an uber-bureaucracy.

Since you are too terrified to think clearly on this subject, let me straighten something out for you. Only Americans have Constitutional rights, and we afford them to all Americans, even murderers, perverts and theives. It's one of the ways we express our civility and regard for freedom. Because we love freedom and equality, we have traditionally granted similar rights to foreigners and prisoners. There is no excuse for the grotesque abuses that occured in our military prisons or for the wanton violations of detainees' human rights.

It is definitely better to burn out than it is to rust.

Pretending lies are just errors is indeed a cheap apology.

The core notion here is that lying is acceptable if you refer to it as opinion. It is a stupid notion, but it is the backbone of rightwing thinking. The right no longer attempts honest discourse and can not afford intellectual engagement because fraud is the basis for so much of the right's politics.

The Soviets surely watch Fox-News-era Republicans with bitter envy over their abilities to rewrite history and invent reality.

Marmorated stink bug is quite likely what you are seeing. They showed up in East Tenn. in the past 3 years or so, but "no natural predators" is not true. I have witnessed a Carolina wren eat one, and spider webs are fairly non-discriminatory in their lethality. Granted, I have no idea whether the wren thought "Yum!" and went looking for more or "Blah, I'm never eating that again." Still, there are things that eat this invasive stink bug.

I just went to tend to a neighbor's dogs and was treated to close-up views of purple finches on their window-mounted feeder. Having many a time tried to convince myself a house finch was really a purple finch, I was once again struck by how obvious it is that you are looking at something different when you really see a purple finch.

You can not punish the government without punishing the people. The only difference between TVA paying for TVA's disaster and the federal government paying is which group of people get punished, just us ratepayers or all Americans. So far I'm the only one who has suggested another option. I said the coal industry should dedicate this year's "clean coal" advertising budget to cleaning up this coal ash. I would also favor a special 90% tax bracket for all executives in the coal industry, who have been working hard with great success at polluting our air, flattening our mountains and screwing miners.

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Rachel's picture

Thanks for this, Randy

And one of my favorites, in response to some obnoxious poster on the Blab who was insisting that objections to his obnoxiousness were because folks didn't like WHAT he was saying rather than HOW he was saying it:

If you are pissed at a dog for keeping you awake with its barking, it's not because you disagree with what it's saying.

Hildegard's picture

Thanks for that, Randy

I was going to wait a few days before reminding people that as Gandhi-like as Rikki was in spirit, he could light some asses up in an argument. He was, in my mind anyway, a fearless agent of the truth.

Rachel's picture

The last extended discussion

The last extended discussion I had with Rikki was a political argument. We both went at it pretty hard. But we also knew it didn't affect our friendship.

Rikki was like that.

Bbeanster's picture

Yep. Rikki and I argued a

Yep.
Rikki and I argued a LOT. Primarily over whether we have Ralph Nader to thank for Geo W. Bush. We went at that for years.

But it never seemed to matter. It was like exercise.

Andy Axel's picture

I'm certain that the SKB

I'm certain that the SKB archives contain equally insightful, pithy, and funny remarks.

I am just gutted by news of his death.

Mello's picture

This morning

This morning I wandered out into the gardens to begin expanding my monarch waystations and maybe even make new space for the hornworms. I never made it past my cherry tree. Rikki on tent caterpillars
I hope among those of you who knew, loved and greatly respected Rikki will find a way to keep these gems alive.

Somebody's picture

beautiful defiance

There's nothing one could add to this, the man's own words:

Mar 16, 2013

beautiful defiance

A couple weeks ago I pruned the saucer magnolia in the front yard. The pruned branches now bear defiant flowers. Life is powerful and spirited.

Though doomed, these branches retain water and even draw some in when humid air sits over these hills. Death can be sudden, but only after taking its time. We all get a fair allotment of life to use wisely. I can not keep the spirit down when I see a cut branch make a few final blossoms, laughing a pink punchline. What a wonderful world.

cwg's picture

MP

We're swapping up this week's MP cover for a last-minute tribute to Rikki, and we'd like to get some quotes/tributes/stories from his friends and others in the community. Want to comment with your real, actual name? Email me ASAP. gervinc@metropulse.com

reform4's picture

"Let me know..."

Let me know when you make up your mind about whether I'm an idealist or a sellout.

I remember this one, I howled when I saw it. He always had a great sense of humor about things.

amybroyles's picture

My favorite Rikki quotes

I'll never forget:

I'm more idealistic than most, but I'm a scientist and engineer by training, so when I see problems, I look for solutions. Your solution to every problem is to destroy something, usually the government, or just bitch. Solving problems is a lot harder than noticing them or bitching about them, and it often involves compromising principles. Because I'm willing to talk about solutions that fall short of revolution, I'm a sellout in your eyes.

It's like the Internet is a giant toilet bowl, and you're a huge ass blocking all the light, endlessly farting just for the reverberations, but never shitting.

Thanks, Randy, for putting these all together!

RynnDupes's picture

Thank you so much for posting

Thank you so much for posting this.

Pam Strickland's picture

We are so going to miss

We are so going to miss him.

And as someone said, he and Loest are somewhere having some serious damned discussion right now. And poor us, we are missing it.

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