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Behind The Scenes At backwoods Home Magazine

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for October, 2009

Dave Duffy

Ripon Printers congratulates us on our 20th

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

The employees of our longtime printer, Ripon Printers of Ripon, Wisconsin, sent us a signed megaposter the other day congratulating us on our 20th anniversary issue. Many of Ripon’s 300 plus employees signed it. In the center of the poster is a photo of the employees gathered outside their Wisconsin plant. They also sent us a framed copy of our 20th issue cover.

Super nice! That’s why I’ve done business with Ripon for more than a decade. Not only is Ripon and its employees very good at what they do, but it’s a family owned company in a small town and they’ve treated us over the years like we’re part of their family. My wife and I recognize quite a few of the names on the poster.

Lenie views the congratulatory poster from Ripon.

They even framed the issue's cover for us.

Just this past summer Annie and I visited the Ripon plant and got a tour from Tom Welk and Joe Putzer, two of our principal contacts there. Huge plant with state-of-the-art equipment. They are very conscious of quality control and have worked with us over the years saving a little money here, a little there without sacrificing the quality of the magazine. I’ve always felt like they are an extension of my own staff.

Tom Welk, left, and Joe Putzer, with Annie

Thank you Ripon! You’ve made Backwoods Home Magazine look good for years, you’ve helped us control costs, and you’ve minimized all the printing, sorting, and mailing mistakes that inevitably creep into the magazine publication process. May we continue to prosper together.

Dave Duffy

Tough as a . . . kidney stone!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Ever have a kidney stone tear through one of your kidneys? I have!

The first time I was 22 and in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado. I was hospitalized for two days and given morphine until I passed it in my urine. Anyone who has ever tried to pass a kidney stone will tell you you need something like morphine to manage the pain. Some people liken it to a woman giving birth.

The second time was 12 years ago, just after I moved the magazine to Gold Beach, Oregon. I forget what drug they gave me when I went to the hospital, but I needed it. It took only a day to pass that one.

Yesterday morning I doubled over in pain from what I suspected was my third stone. I knew I had several stones lodged in my left kidney after a CT scan accidentally detected them last August while I was being checked for possible broken ribs after I fell through my living room ceiling while putting up insulation. (I live dangerously!) So I suspected that one day one or more of the new stones would give me a nasty surprise. Yesterday morning was it.

But old guys like me tune out pain pretty well because you get all kinds of new pains as you age. So I waited until this afternoon to see a doctor. By then the pain had subsided, and a urine sample showed trace amounts of blood, which indicates a kidney stone had been passed, and an x-ray revealed the stones discovered in August were no longer present in my left kidney.

That means I passed the new stones without pain medication. How tough is that!

Dave Duffy

The mystery of the left-handed work gloves

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Since I have three teenage sons, I’ve found over the years that we can keep track of work gloves better if they all get thrown into the same drawer in the garage after work projects. But I’ve noticed that left-handed gloves in the drawer have always outnumbered right-handed ones, and I’ve often wondered why.

Today, while tending my first wood stove fire of the season, I burned the tip of the middle finger on my right hand while opening the wood stove door because there was a hole in the glove I used to operate the stove’s door handle. I threw the glove away, went to the garage drawer to get another, and found only six gloves there, all left-handed. It suddenly occurred to me where all the right-handed gloves had gone.

Dave Duffy

Pregnant women and the H1N1 vaccine

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Since I’m still searching for some H1N1 flu vaccine for my pregnant daughter, I thought I’d pass on some information I’ve researched.

Even the U.S. Senate is voicing dismay at the shortage of swine flu vaccine while swine flu begins to peak in the U.S. I can’t find any in Oregon. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) site had a “Flu Vaccine Locator” section on the site yesterday, but I couldn’t find it on the site today. I had checked all the Oregon locations listed anyway, but none of them had the vaccine so the locator was not accurate.

According to a study conducted by Purdue University, the vaccine will arrive too late for most people.

Here’s a statement of advice from the CDC site:

What can I do to protect myself, my baby and my family?

Getting a flu shot is the single best way to protect against the flu.  Talk with your doctor about getting a seasonal flu shot and the 2009 H1N1 flu shot.  You will need both flu shots this year to be fully protected against flu. You should get both shots as soon as they are available to protect you and your baby. The seasonal flu shot has been shown to protect both the mother and her baby (up to 6 months old) from flu-like illness.

Talk with your doctor right away if you have close contact with someone who has 2009 H1N1 flu.  You might need to take medicine to reduce your chances of getting the flu. Your doctor may prescribe Tamiflu® or Relenza® to help prevent 2009 H1N1 flu. To prevent flu, you would take a lower dose of the antiviral medicine for 10 days.
Is it safe for pregnant women to get a flu shot?

The seasonal flu shot has been given to millions of pregnant women over many years. Flu shots have not been shown to cause harm to pregnant women or their babies.  The 2009 H1N1 flu shot is made in the same way and in the same places as the seasonal flu shot.  It is very important for pregnant women to get both the seasonal flu shot and the 2009 H1N1 flu shot.  Please see to learn more.

Here’s an important study underway for pregnant women and the swine flu vaccine:

The religious character of the debate

Like many things in society, the swine flu vaccine debate has taken on an atmosphere resembling a religious dispute: Some people are vehemently against any type of vaccine, including this one, for a variety of reasons: It supposedly causes autism and other problems in kids, it’s a government plot to kill people, etc. The internet is full of “supposed” evidence backing up these claims, but I find the evidence is typically anecdotal, therefore faulty. It simply does not hold up to scientific scrutiny.

Those people who insist the H1N1 epidemic is nothing to worry about, and that the swine flu vaccine is more dangerous than the flu it is intended to prevent, have a good chance of being able to brag about being correct when this swine flu scare is all over. That is because few diseases ever reach their full potential to be truly lethal to mankind, especially in this modern age of health prevention and care. The same is true for swine flu: Chances are it will pass, illnesses will continue to be mild, and the anti-vaccine crowd will say, “See, I told you so!.”

The problem is that this is like running stop lights all over town. Chances are you’ll get away with running stop lights for quite a while, but one day you’ll run a stop light and get hit broadside by a big truck. Then you’ll wish you had stopped at all the stop lights to make sure it’s safe to cross.

The history of humanity is the history of diseases ravaging human populations, often displacing entire populations. It happened in this country with “old world” diseases killing off 95% of native populations in the 100 years after the arrival of Columbus in 1492. And it happened repeatedly in Europe and Asia and Africa before that time. This is where a study of history is so valuable, but most people do not read history. Only a couple of hundred years ago, George Washington saved the Continental Army by vaccinating his troops (an early crude method) against smallpox at Valley Forge so they could come out of their winter quarters and be an effective force against the British. As recently as 1918 a flu killed millions of Americans because we had no protection against it.

Now we have a method — vaccination — of preventing diseases from killing us. It’s not perfect, we are often wrong about which disease poses a significant risk, and sometimes various vaccines have side effects, but it’s a method I bet the Indians wished they had when Columbus arrived. But there are so many people in our society who have no idea of what has happened in the past, and who have little understanding what constitutes reasonable scientific evidence, that they willingly believe the dubious anti-vaccine literature that pollutes the internet.

I’m merely trying to find a way to keep my pregnant daughter and my other children and grandkids safe, but I have to wade through piles of intellectual rubbish as I search the internet.

Dave Duffy

White House risking big backlash over Fox News attacks

Monday, October 19th, 2009

The White House continues to attack Fox News. How come they don’t go after MSNBC which features overtly biased guys like Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews? They are twice as pro-Democrat as Fox is pro-Republican. The answer: MSNBC is pro-Obama!

My editorial in Issue No. 119 is worth another read. The so-called “news media” has been biased “to the political left” for decades, and Fox News is merely “the political right” getting into the act. The public’s backlash against biased reporting, coupled with the availability of internet reporting, has helped lead to the destruction of the print media in this country, and someday soon it will lead the destruction of biased TV reporting, starting with CNN.

I understand Fox News is pro-conservative, but I also understand that CNN is pro-liberal. The difference is that CNN and the White House try to assert that CNN is unbiased. This is untrue and everyone knows it. There can’t help but be a backlash against the White House and Obama for this type of attack.

Dave Duffy

Burn piles and youth golf

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Robby and Matt, two members of the Backwoods Home Magazine Youth Golf Team, chip balls into a horse trough while I control an extra large burn pile in the background. These are our two best players.

Dave Duffy

I want your old golf clubs

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Anyone out there want to donate their old golf clubs to my youth golf team? I’ll pay the Fed-Ex charges. Just e-mail me ( with your mailing address and I’ll ship you a pre-paid mailing label so you can FedEx the items to us.

I’ve been trying to think of an easier way to raise funds for the youth golf club, and it occurred to me that a lot of people probably have old, but good, golf clubs stuffed away in their attic. I do — or did — until I brought them into the team room, which is part of the BHM office building. If some of you have golf clubs you no longer use, we would put them to good use.

A pertinent story: A high school freshman member of our team loves to Tee-off with my TaylorMade R7, L-flex driver. He, like me, has a fairly slow swing (he because he is young and I because I am old) so the L-flex suits his swing. I’ve been letting him work a few hours here and there at the magazine stacking boxes and sweeping floors so he can save up and buy the club, which probably costs $75-$100 at a golf shop because the club is a couple of years old.

But it occurred to me that once he gets that club, he’s going to realize that now he needs some good wedges, maybe a good 3-wood he can hit. The proper clubs are important to an aspiring young golfer. Crummy clubs often lead to crummy performance and a loss of interest in the game. So I thought I’d solicit clubs, beginning here.

An abundance of clubs would serve two purposes:

(1) The kids could try the various clubs every Wednesday when we play at the local course and see which ones fit their swing.
(2) We could sell some of the clubs to raise funds, probably taking other clubs in on trade and resell them.

We’d make the kids pay for the clubs they like, giving them a steep discount and letting them work at the magazine or a couple of other businesses in town that have decided this youth golf club is a good idea. Simply giving free stuff to kids does not foster self-reliance.

Anyway, if you’ve got clubs, I’ll take them and I’ll pay the freight. If they’re real good clubs, you could probably talk me into giving you a free subscription or renewal to the magazine. I’m easy!

Dave Duffy

Time to jettison the old folks!

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Notice the government cancelled the social security “cost of living adjustment” for next year.  I said they would do this in my Issue No. 117 editorial. The government says cancellation of the automatic increase, which is the first time they’ve done so in 34 years, is justified because of falling consumer prices. I doubt old folks will agree that their costs have gone down. They spend a disproportionate amount of their limited incomes on food and medicine.

Old folks are going to be in for a rough decade or two or three with social security. There’s not enough money! I’ve been saying it for 40 years. This is how it will be payed for: Cut the social security cost of living increases and let inflation (it might be a year off) do its work.

“Screw the old folks,” a lot of people will say. “They set the social security system up for eventual failure and now they will reap what they have sown.”

It’s a cruel world!

Dave Duffy

Swine flu vaccine may become a moot point

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Whether or not we get a swine flu vaccine shot in Oregon may become a moot point real soon. Swine flu is overrunning my area of southern Oregon, yet local health officials say they think the swine flu vaccine shots are still several weeks off. In about a week, county health officials will begin administering the nasal spray for kids.

Much of the local youth population has already begun building antibodies to the swine flu by having contracted the mild version of it. I believe all my kids and grandkids may have already had it, since all have had flu-like symptoms and doctors here say at least 99% of the flu locally is swine flu. About a quarter of the local grammar school population was home sick just a few days ago. Swine flu has come on much more rapidly than anyone expected. We’re fortunate most cases have been mild so far.

My pregnant daughter, Annie, the managing editor of BHM, has still not gotten swine flu, and she is in the highest risk category for complications from it. So that is still a worry. Yesterday she and I got our regular flu shots. Regular flu season is still about a month away.

Dave Duffy

Count me on your side Fox News!

Monday, October 12th, 2009

The White House is making a big mistake by attacking Fox News . Fox News represents the views of people like me far more often than does CNN. Left-wingers are so used to having the mass media spout their views that they are shocked and alarmed when a large media outlet like Fox News champions the conservative cause on a regular basis. Good for Fox News. They are the best thing to happen to America in decades. They are even better than BHM with our championing of Libertarian views. The White House really hates Glenn Beck, who is positively Libertarian.

America is in a major backlash against Obama’s socialist agenda. He’s taken creeping socialism and turned it into aggressive socialism. That was a mistake for socialist strategy. Too many people have finally taken notice of what is happening in America. Now he attacks Fox News, which is the only powerful TV media standing up against the socialist onslaught. Count me on your side Fox! We Libertarians understand that Fox is an important beacon of hope in a media dominated for too long by ultra left-wing ideology. If Fox News is biased toward the right, so what! CNN has been totally biased toward the left for decades. Now things are more balanced.


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