Make it happen

A bit of a push to get a blog post together every day. Not gonna lie. They don’t call it a challenge for no reason.

Finding inspiration, time and the motivation… to continue looking at the blue light special screen… I would love to have more time to hack out messy missives to the blogosphere, but don’t we all wish there was more time for the things dread.

On we trudge. Through the muck and mire. Through the over-hyped Supermoons. Through the outrageous misfortune of recent political appointments. Through the disheartening but grounding force of democracy (“The people have spoken”). Through the sidelong looks at our burgeoning stashery.IMG_3838.JPG


I have to remind myself that this mouth brow beats down everyone it sees whether I look at people like an idiot (as above) or not.

I’ll get a big asking yet endearing email out to everyone soon, reminding you of why exactly we do this. No need to go into it now.

Reading a fantastic book at the moment called “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall that I really want to finish…and go for a run in the morning. I’ll leave you with some parting thoughts from him.



Veterans, write it down

img_7871It’s Veteran’s Day and I’d be remiss not to talk about my grandfather, Forrest Kinsley Bunten, a Marine in World War II. A tough nut to crack, gramps made life seem hard.

When dad got back from Vietnam, he got dropped in Atlanta where he bought a Triumph motorcycle (we think that was the make) and rode it straight to Orford. Story goes he barely stopped, arriving with bugs in his teeth and raw skin on his forehead from piling through the rain. Charlotte Huntington, one of his friends at the time, remembers it like this:

Rog said his mother hugged the living daylights outta him and was so excited …his Dad was in the barn and Rog went out and his Dad just said, “Hello, son” and went back to milking. Rog said that was two words more than he usually got from him.

Neither my father or his talked about the wars much. Both started to do so before
they died, but only in spurts. I remember Forrest coming out with a photo of him in Okinawa behind a double bass. He’d played in a jazz band there, supposedly. We knew he played the sousaphone, but the double bass was such a surprise. I’ll find that shot in due course.

Rog said he was real happy to be home in Orford & felt the Marine stint had served him well. He had no clue what to do with his life at 18. Just wanted someone to tell him what to do, when to do it and how.


Dad always seemed pretty ambivalent about his experience to me, but then again, he never put much verbiage behind it. He sure didn’t like seeing any sort of violence, though…

We played this one at Dad’s funeral at the Mt. Philo Inn. Forrest loved the song, too.



*** Looking to donate to the 2016 Movember campaign, raising funds and awareness for men’s health? Go here http://mobro.co/albunten and give all you can — help stop men dying too young. 


Rocked off the wagon


Hello from Canada!

While everyone was sitting around waiting for the Canuck immigration site to come back online, I took the opportunity to grow a dirt-smear, handlebar crumb catcher, grab a 12-rack of Lablatt cans and head north. (Movember is so much more than just men’s health. It’s also about finding the appropriate country for political asylum.)

Photo on 11-10-16 at 22.00 #2.jpg

They barely asked for my passport at the border, eh. Just shotgunned a can of “blue” while humming “God Save the Queen” and they were convinced I was local.

Got a job at Casino de Montreal as a greeter and am planning some collaboration with these funny fuckers.

Quebec trumps hate.




Stats. States. Blah. Nail biting. Percentages. Feck. Red, white, blue. Count-downs. Oh, feck no. Dow futures down. Jaysus. Too close to calls. Jitters. No. Electoral votes. The path to the White House. WTF? Michigan. Michigan. Hello?

Florida. We are all waiting for Florida. Rural F*ckin’ Florida. What are you doing?

Decision night. Whaddawerld. It’s all a bit much.

Democrazy in all it’s colors…



A twisted flag – thoughts on the eve of Election 2016

Bull in a Gina Shop

This has been the first election I’ve been party to in country since college. Our governance system seems to function on obstructionism. What a long, streaky mess of lies, backtracking and bravado. I can’t wait for it to be over; at the same time wonder if it will be over.

The country is fractured. Trump isn’t going to walk away. He doesn’t seem like that kind of gina-shop bull. He’ll stomp around and grunt for a while, grinding shards of broken communities into the foundation of this nation, getting his nose ring caught on shelves holding nasty tweets.

Of course, presuming he loses. Lord knows what’ll happen if he wins. As a friend said earlier today, “I feel like I should be buying hard alcohol and shotgun shells on the way home.” I’m told expedited citizenship to New Brunswick is on offer…but that would be giving up. Nobody likes a quitter. If he loses, someone has to stick around to witness the Trump Revolution—Making ‘Murica Great Again.

Shaking the world

I watched the “Reds” on the flight back from Russia, a film of John Reed’s seminal book, “Ten days that shook the world“.  That’s what I imagine it like here if Trump wins. A lot of shouting, firing squads f0r “established power”, enthusiasm but too many plans pulling “greatness” in the “wrong” direction. Gather all the poorly educated of the country, give them a wildly obtuse goal tinged with hope, glory and economic stability. The only thing that would stop them is the slow realization that they are all finding themselves in ever smaller factions of disagreeable cusses. “Spinning in ever smaller concentric circles until you crawl up your own ass,” touches on the idea. Expression courtesy of Craig Reynolds.

It seems the only character we should be judging politicians on these days is whether they can “work across the aisle.” My way or the highway gets us nowhere. I’m pretty chuffed to have recently received a letter (see below) from a man who knows this better than most. The US Ambassador to Russia, John Tefft, has a tough job, especially now, but he took time out to hang with our humble sister city delegation and thanked us for our efforts in building understanding across a historically vast international aisle.

US-Russia relations are strained, to put it lightly, and probably will be for a while. The domestic chasm between Democrat and Republican parties has some similarities. And for the same reason the Burlington Yaroslavl Sister City Program exists, to highlight and build people-to-people relations, so should our government work together, realizing our grassroots connections and common humanity rather than our illusive, divided political lines.

*Casually steps off soap box and “accidentally” drops a crisp, unfolded, unclassified piece of paper…

Alex Bunten-thank you from ambassador.jpg

*** Looking to donate to the 2016 Movember campaign, raising funds and awareness for men’s health? Go here http://mobro.co/albunten and give all you can — help stop men dying too young. 

Photos, Travel

Russian Roulette… you’ll never believe what happened next!


Blatant click bait. Sorry. Not really. You should know better.

Well, now that you’re here, you might as well have a gander at the wares. It’s all for Movember. A post everyday for the month. Consider a dollar per post! That’s a fair deal.  It’s more work than you think! Plus growing a super tash and working to raise awareness about important men’s health issues? Certainly worth a dollar a day. 

Anyway, I was recently back in Mother Rus as part of a Burlington Yaroslavl Sister City delegation. A lot of the photos and info from my recent trip that trip can be found on the our Facebook page.

As a short Sunday evening post, I thought I’d share with you a few favorites from my own amateur efforts.

The captions have a touch of info about each. Enjoy!

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