Quicksand Alert!

This weekend’s post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease, civillians!

Being at ease is one of your best lines of defense against trouble of every sort.
But another important characteristic is being constantly aware of your surroundings. You may think you are standing on solid ground, but appearances can be deceptive. I was quite alarmed to see this warning from experts along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers in the areas hardest hit by the relentless drought and low water levels.

Quicksand!

I thought quicksand only happened in Hollywood movies that take place in a jungle or any place wet and dark. But no! Quicksand is real and it can happen along a great midwestern river. There is much advice available about how to react when you’re in quicksand, but you’d better not wait until then to look it up. The sensation of slowly sinking into a mushy combination of dirt and flowing water tends to dull even the best research skills.

My favorite bit of advice starts with this simple strategy:

Avoid quicksand.

That’s easier said than done. Quicksand is so sneaky, you’re caught before you realize it. And though (in the movies) there are always other people nearby, they will not help you because they are either being chased by cannibals or they secretly wish you dead, or both.

That clip illustrates another very important reason to avoid getting caught in quicksand – you can become quite unattractive very quickly when you are being drawn into a bottomless pool of unforgiving muck.

The topic itself is quite dangerous. I discovered at least one person on You Tube who started watching and collecting quicksand videos and got sucked in! About the time you get to video number 28 you realize you are helpless and are going to sit there watching these things until you are dead.

Since Mississippi River sandbars can look solid while they hide a disastrous molten sub-strata, the most obvious way to insure your safety is to never, ever, walk on sand of any kind. I realize this means you must give up the beach, but some pleasures are worth the sacrifice if it means you will never have to call out to your companions that you have blundered into QUICKSAND!

Ever feel stuck?

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76 thoughts on “Quicksand Alert!”

  1. Yes!! I’m stuck right now, matter of fact. I’m stuck in a compulsion to respond to the rapid-fire reactions to my snarky posts on Fox Nation. Having temporarily lost my Strib privileges (which I solved by adopting an alternative screen name), I have no choice but to go on this far right wing rag for my nocturnal activity. Unlike any other forum I’ve ever checked out, this one is like instant messaging. As soon as something’s posted, there are suddenly half a dozen responses showing up in my email. I have a hard time knowing when to quit. “Quicksand” describes it pretty well.

    I’m open to a 12-step group to help me break out of this addiction – I just don’t know the name of such a group? At least this forum elicits my better nature and helps me remember how good it feels to be mindful, civil and respectfully interactive. Tim: I’m still waiting for your idea to occupy myself?

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    1. I don’t know how to say this without sounding offensive, which is NOT my intent, but I just don’t understand that compunction. It seems like a giant waste of good time to me. Why not read a good book or watch a TED Talk instead? That said, husband gets a big kick out of participating in these inane on-line political debates too, although in his case to a much lesser extent than you do, Cb. The lack of mutual respect and uncivil tone of some of the exchanges I have seen, are a giant turn-off to me, and I want no part of it. It would be like imagining myself in a shouting match with Rush Limbaugh; why on earth would I want to do that? What’s the thrill?

      I sense that perhaps you’re serious, and that this compulsion is an addiction that you need help breaking out of, in which case I hope you seek help. I don’t know enough about these things and am not qualified to give you advice, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some very good resources available, and that others on the trail can steer you toward them. Good luck, Cb, I wish you well.

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    2. We’ve talked about this before, as you know! I join PJ in wishing you could find some other hobby. I have thought a lot about communications. Settings where one person talks but everyone in the audience is already ferociously committed to a point of view are not communications but rather a bizarre imitation of it . . . the equivalent in political discourse of commercialized phone sex. There are so many more joyful ways to occupy yourself.

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      1. I don’t know if Cb’s problem rises to the level of addiction, but certainly if she herself feels it’s a compulsion that she’s unable to control, professional help or the assistance of a 12-step program may be Cb’s best bet. It may not be as simple as merely substituting the blogging with a more benign hobby.

        We’re off! Ready to rock and roll. See ya.

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        1. It’s embarrassingly obvious that my attempt at satire failed to come through in the printed word. Everything I do, I do rather passionately. I also post primarily substantive, fact-based comments meant to challenge misinformation far more often than reactionary ones. This is certainly one subject I’m refrain from touching on this forum going ahead. In fact, I may refrain altogether.

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        2. It is the fate of anyone who attempts humor in writing to be misunderstood. Or I’d like to think so, for it sure happens to me a lot! I write something fabulously funny . . . IF the reader understands I am not serious, but what I’ve written is gruesome if taken seriously. Ow, ow, ow!

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        3. hey cb. my offer is still in place. wanna be a lefty columnist for the senate district i work with? i need stuff that is pointed but not too profane, more satire than lashing out. give it some thought.

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    3. cb there are people who would like to have a thoughtful well informed perspective in a forum that can be read appreciated and responded to in a thoughtful respectful and interactive way (kinda like the trail) each senate district has a group of grass roots folks who are trying to get the desired results by having monthly meetings newsletters fundraisers phonebanks doorknockinng events to raise conciousness and awareness of the causes and candadates they support. the list of people you are given are people who are supporters of undecided people who have the ability to consider folowing your view. they dont waste time tlking to the rush linbaughs of the world. let them talk with each other and suck in the poor liberal to the conservative quicksand on their self indulgent one sided debates. a column in a newsletter or political blog may get slower results than the rapid fire email you experience on your new find but i think it may leave you feeling resolved rather than magnifying the intense need to reply to talking heads repeating the lies they pass around until they believe them to be true. want a newsletter. i can help.

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      1. I have responded to a few different action groups and now I get emails from them regularly. I haven’t decided where to focus my attention so I am mostly ignoring their emails, but I have several different choices. One that I have signed up tp participate in is Climate Parents started by Mark Hertsgaard and another person. This group, which is devoted to work on climate warming, is just getting started so there isn’t much being offered by them at this time. I think I will become active in this group once it gets going.

        If you contact moveon.org they will send you lots of emails about all kinds of issues.

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        1. The Steger foundation looks good. I think I want to put my effort into the group Mark Hertsgaard in forming because I especially like his point-of-view on climate change found in his book, “Hot”.

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  2. Good morning. Yes, I frequently feel stuck. What is the next thing I should do? I don’t know. I’m stuck. This happens over and over again. I usually have a long list of things to do, all of which don’t really seem like things I want to do. My spirits are sinking and I am being drawn into a world of despair.

    Fortunately, I always do manage to extract myself from the feeling that I am sinking and just go ahead and do something. Sometimes I launch myself into a flurry of cleaning up a bunch little messes that have piled up. By doing that I get back on track because it feels good to be able to cross a bunch of stuff off my list of things to do. Other times I realize it is just going to be one of those days when I don’t feel like doing much and will not get much done. Then I just go ahead with making a little progress on some project.

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  3. Have I ever felt stuck? The answer is yes, too many times to count. And, as is true with quicksand, the more frantically I tried to get unstuck, the worse it got. In some cases, a big stick might even have come in handy! Sometimes, when you walk away from a problem, you can see more clearly what the solution is. Right this moment, I can see that if husband and I wan’t to meet our self-imposed deadline of being out of here by 8 A.M., I had better get my butt out of bed and start packing for our long weekend in Eveleth. I’ll catch up with ya’ll when I return on Monday. Have a great weekend, baboons.

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  4. my dad haild form fargo and so do i. we moved out of there when i was 1 but the relatives and all the cronies my dad grew up with stayed there, one of the traditions i grew up with was hunting. pheasant ducks and geese are the thing. pheasants you walk the cornfields near the railroad tracks. geese you can drive in at sundown and see where they are coming in and set up blinds for the next day or my personal favorite was to go to the sloughs that run across the middle of the state, these sloughs are a mile long and a mile wide with fingers of head high reeds like cattails or cornstalks growing out into the water. the way to hunt here is to get a bag of decoys and go set them in the water then hide in the reeds along the way and wait for the ducks and geese to fly into your decoys, you pull off a dirt road about 5 miles form some small town you have to be a hunter to have ever heard of, drive about a mile down a 4 wheel drive jeep trail then get out and put on your waders grab your decoys and gun and shells and beef jerkey and head for the slough. first step into the slough immediately brings back the term loonshit. the bottom of the slough is a black muck that sucks your leg in up to the knee. every step requires pulling your leg out of the muck and stepping into the next suck hole that will lead you 1/2 mile down the bank to the perfect spot to set up. you are exhausted by the time you get there and sitting on the reeds waiting for the birds feels about right after muck fight to get there, it always reminded me of quicksand and the movies in dales collection (number 15 in particular) reminds me of the old trips with uncle paul and cousins tom dan and matt. crisp cool mornings driving across the flat dark morning to the slough was as good as it got. the birds were unbelievable whn they came in . like a storm blowing in with hundreds or thousands of duck or geese in a flock all coming in to land and rest and have lunch on route to the south for the winter spot they all go to, wading through the loonshit was the price of admission to the best show around. my kids wont be learning that from me but im glad i learned it form my dad. it was a cool quicksand experience.

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    1. Can’t resist:
      The Hunter crouches in his blind
      ‘Neath camoflauge of every kind
      And conjures up a quacking noise
      To lend allure to his decoys.
      This grown-up man, with pluck and luck,
      Is hoping to outwit a duck.

      Ogden Nash

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  5. I am often stuck like a broken record. Sometimes I find myself giving the same lecture 20 times over a few months, then there is mother nagging, and the various drives and projects I run. As the Trail knows too well I am currently stuck on reminding people to go to http://www.kempsnextflavor.com/ and https://apps.facebook.com/kempsfavs/contests/ to vote for Mini-sota Donut Ice Cream. It was really good at yesterday’s taste testing.The other contestant was disappointed with her flavor. The custard base is really tasty but she wanted more rhubarb in it. Both flavors will be available for tasting at the Fair every day at 1 p.m. at the Kemps booth by the Little Fair Hands on Machinery Hill.

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    1. whoo hooo thats great ba i can hardly wait. i am visualiing it in the freezer at cub rainbow byerleys target and becoming the new taste sensation of the millenium

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    2. It’s too bad (for the other contestant) that the Rhubarb flavor was blah but it will help you. Plus, being at the fair will have everyone in mini-doughnut (my preferred spelling) mode. Thanks for telling us when to show up for the tasting. I’m happy now because my kempsnextflavor and FB votes are in sync so I can do both votes at the same time.

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  6. This time of year of I feel stuck in my garden, since there are so many things to do and worry about. Today is pesto day, along with freezing Swiss Chard day and using up some of last year’s frozen veggies in borscht day. Daughter’s best friend left for college today, so things may change around here. I think daughter feels stuck here until she, too, can leave for college.

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    1. i would like to order 1 pound of dried basil or a brick of pesto if its order taking time, the price you pay for planting all that wonderful stuff is having to be there for the harvest. same with your daughter. she is stuck there until she is ready to leave the vine. fertilize her a bit more you are almost done. has she put together a cd of her solo violin pieces yet. i for one would love to hear her stuff. have her put it on you tube for us. she knows how to do it. sorry she lost her friend but the condolence is that with internet and skype and facebook they can almost be in perfect contact. remember when we were wnatng to be in touch in those pay phone booths for dollars and dollars to say hello every month or two? times have changed.

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  7. You have all done a nice job of answering and not answering the question in a lovely baboonish sort of way.
    Once I was really stuck in a job. I had been there several years and knew I could not do it forever, but I could not see what to do next or how to get out. The odd thing was that several of us felt approximately the same. Then one broke loose – finding himself a way to use his skills teaching at a community college. He was sort of an inspiration to the rest of us (helping us see that we needed to totally rethink what we were doing), and over the course of a year, four of a staff of ten or so had gone on to other things. I “went back to school” and became a civil engineer. It was so wonderful to leave the yucchy situation that I knew I should have done it sooner.
    (Now I am a teacher – I switched again more than ten years later, but there was no quicksand involved in that decision.)

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  8. Vicky’s words got me thinking. It is probably good that this comes late on a Saturday, a day when eyeball traffic here is so light. I remember seeing film in which some guys saved a young giraffe or some other animal from dying in the muck. When they got the animal free, it took a deep breath and ran right back into the muck.

    It sometimes feels like that to me. As I age, I get wiser and stronger almost week by week, but the muck I most need to fear is stuff that is created by my own basic flaws. I escape the muck, only to find myself mired in a slightly different variation of it. There is no end point. Nothing is final. It is a cycle of entrapment and escape, escape and entrapment. Overall, it often seems to be getting a little better, but I know better than to think I’m on solid ground forever.

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    1. The challenge with doing it again is that we still do it with the same brain, we think we are learning but then we discover we are learning what we have not learned. Thus the muck, the same damn muck the same frustration and limitations. How could it be otherwise, I can’t go where I am not capable of going until I figure out how to get there, if that ain’t quicksand I don’t know what is. Think groundhog day. Remember how much better he got as he kept doing it over and over and over again until he finally got to move on. You gotta believe that one day you are going to come out the other side.

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      1. Wow, that’s an excellent description. You do have to believe you will come out the other side! And sometimes, after you have been on the other side long enough, you can’t figure out why you were stuck there at all.

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  9. The best example of my being totally stuck was first marriage in NYC. I basically squashed my identity in order to be there, and was so stuck it took therapy for me to be able to admit to myself that I was worthy of leaving, worthy of something better. I’m lucky I was only stuck there for two years – it could have been a lot longer.

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  10. Good for you. I have a friend stuck in exactly that kind of quicksand. She knows she will never be happy if she sticks in the terrible marriage she is in. There is absolutely nothing good left in that marriage. And yet she is a wife of 25 years and the mother of two young men, and she probably has never put her interest ahead of the men in her family. For her to flee the muck would be to hurt others, and that isn’t in her nature. She wonders idly if it is too late to “grow a spine” at 50.

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  11. Yeah, been stuck in the quicksand of a job that I had lost its challenges, but good folks to work with and for…no room to grow, but a good place to be while Daughter was tiny. Got yanked out of that quicksand by the economy. Yanked myself out of quicksand at the prior gig where I realized that i was just not the right person for the job (caught myself when I was only up to my ankles, I think).

    Genuinely stuck? Yeah, once in college I got stuck to a pneumatic drill. Was using it with a custom bit to bang some extra plaster out of the inside of a bronze piece I was working on in the sculpture studio. I always always always had my hair in a pony tail…except this one day. Hair, meet spinning thingy. Spinning thingy, here is the side of my head. Since it was a pneumatic tool, it moved quickly. But also stopped immediately when I took my finger off the trigger. Managed to unhook the tool from the air, but had to get help untangling hair from the bit. Never ever again have I picked up a drill (or most other tools more dangerous than a paint brush) without my hair safely bundled together.

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    1. remember shaun phillips the long haired brother of john phillips of the mamas and the papas? he ripped the long hair out of his head in a drill pres incident. i remember having pangs about working the drill press back in the long haired days.

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  12. Good morning. I have a fear of getting stuck in a tight place. I usually stay out of any place I think I might get trapped. I did managed to force myself to go into a cave in which I thought I might get stuck and I don’t think I will try that again. I was with some friends who took me on a caving trip and I decided I had better give it a try since I had asked them to take me on the trip. When I saw the entrance to the cave I really did not want to go in and had to over come my fear that I would get trapped in there.

    I don’t mind going in a cave set up for tourist with fairly large passages. Cavers, like the people I knew, often explore caves that have very narrow passage ways which might be wet and muddy. Also there can be a confusing network of passages that makes you wonder if you might get lost and not find your way out.

    Some of the rocks making up the ceilings of caves look like they might break loose and bury you. The list of hazards that can be found in caves goes on and on. I think caves are fascinating places for someone else to explore. One trip into a cave with people who like to explore caves was enough for me.

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    1. My house is built on a bluff above a system of caves. If you dug straight down from my basement you could tunnel down to the caves. They can be dangerous – due not so much to cave-ins, but just the lack of ventilation. People go in to explore and collapse before they realize they’re not getting enough oxygen.

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        1. A mask with a carbon monoxide filter would be the way to go.

          People start fires in caves – homeless people, or kids who are just fooling around – and the fires deplete oxygen and replace it with carbon monoxide. Caves aren’t venter, so the CO just stays there.

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      1. Seems like every few years, young people die in the caves down by the river – most recent in memory the ones near Minnehaha Falls – from the lack of oxygen.

        I find it interesting that during prohibition, a number of caves were used as nightclubs – speak easys… saw one near the Black Hills where there was room for dancing, even.

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        1. I know a guy who is heavily involved in cave exploration. I’m sure guys like him know how to safely explore caves, although I think he has had some encounters with bad air in caves.

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        1. Me too. I also have a friend who is seriously into the movie… his son built him a life-sized leg lamp that is almost a perfect match of the movie lamp. Hideous!

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  13. Hi all — just caught up the last couple of days.

    Nan – thanks for the poem
    Beth-Ann – thanks for letting us know there is a specific time for ice cream tasting. We’re going on Saturday.
    Jim – I also have a mild case of claustrophobia… so I’m not crazy about caves and small places.
    CB – welcome to the world of misunderstood humor. Happens to us all!

    The traditional vacation in Hayward was… well, traditional! Did all the usual things including adding another Hayward sweatshirt to my collection. The deer were out this morning at Fawn-Doe-Rosa so we ended up going through FOUR bags of feed! The soaking went tent and air mattresses are now dried and put away. Time for a hot shower!

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    1. Sounds like one of our family camping trips. What is a camping trip without a wet tent and, of course, a purchase from from local shop. I’m referring to the Hayward sweatshirt. Then there is the other local attractions such as those at Fawn-Doe-Rosa. I had an opportunity to go on a camping trip like that recently, but stayed home. I probably should not have passed that up.

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    1. i didnt really like the dylan version untl the hendrix version made my hit list. i like it but is it a quickstand tie in im missing or are you just treating after hittin the stuck inside of mobile button? i love the other songs that pop up after the one you are looking for finishes up

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      1. The theme of feeling trapped made me think of the opening line – there must be some way out of here – and then said the joker to the thief echoed the line from Stealers Wheel – clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right – so it seemed like a fit to me.

        I thought of posting I Shall Be Released next, but thought I might be wearing out my welcome around that point.

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  14. Evening kids.
    I’ve been stuck in the snow. I’ve been stuck in the mud. (Sometimes I’ve been the stick in the mud but that’s a different story). I’ve been stuck in some crappy jobs but luckily, I’ve never been stuck in a relationship.

    Left town this morning and writing from a hotel in Skokie IL. Will be moving the son into the college apartment in the morning…

    Catch you later–

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