Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hosting Suspicious0bservers and The Mobile Observatory Project

      When our friend Pam first posted on Facebook that Suspicious0bservers' Ben and Kat Davidson had hit the road for a North American tour with their newest endeavor, The Mobile Observatory Project, we were surprised and pleased;  but as we had just begun our new endeavor(s): teaching ourselves web design, aggressively establishing social media and internet presence, learning about search engine optimization and how to be webmasters, painting our sweet new sign, prepping and painting the kitchen, and other assorted projects and side-emergencies, major and minor, I'm ashamed to admit we just didn't have time to look closely at what they were doing. 

      When we were finally able to go to The Mobile Observatory Project website, we saw the opportunity of a lifetime.

      Looking at their schedule, it seemed they had a three day gap between Madison and Minneapolis, so I took what I thought was a long-shot, and invited them to Cole Watch Tower. It was short notice, for them and us; barely two weeks to plan the logistics, and the kitchen still in shambles at that point.

(On a personal note, no rock star or celebrity on Earth has more of my admiration and respect than Ben Davidson. I don't go all fan-boy for anyone, but Ben (and I later found out, Kat, his lovely wife) isn't just anyone. These folks are my heroes.)

      Fortunately, they turned out to be extremely nice, down-to-earth people (the kitchen was still in shambles when they arrived), and I think they understood that this is what it looks like to live in a castle; just like royalty, but can't afford servants or staff.

Billy Jack, Nyoka the Jungle Girl, Ben Davidson, and Katherine Davidson

      I don't really know that I have too much to add to the discussion, that hasn't been well documented on their website and blog, but I would like to point you specifically to this page about Ben, just to show you that he and Kat (who is also a highly skilled professional that was on a lucrative career track) have taken on the modern gypsy lifestyle as a choice, renting out their family home, spending their savings, and relying on the kindness of others (there is no salary or health plan for traveling in your RV and teaching sound and scientifically-supported, albeit suppressed and socially unpopular concepts); and they do this because the information they're sharing is that important

I'll leave you with this story, which sums up how we feel about them, and why: We had been watching Suspicious0bservers' Youtube channel regularly for a year or so, and were already subscribers and fans, but there's often a defining moment when you see some act of integrity from someone, and realize they're family. Keep in mind that Ben had been getting up daily to produce a 2MIN news segment, because he was weary of the alarmism and disinformation that was the internet norm. He put the news out by 6 AM every day with no ads or monetization of any kind. He had a community of subscribers building that really respected his style, determination, and generosity. He had taught many of us about solar weather and some of its effects, but promised a short documentary with all the info and methods he employed in one neat package.

The anticipation was enormous in the community, and when he told us he would finally make a little cash from his efforts by offering it as a .99 cent rental on Youtube, we were happy to finally get a chance to give back; to reward all his hard work. Except...when it was done uploading, it wasn't a rental. Youtube had screwed the pooch and given his debut documentary away for free. Ben (I'm guessing reluctantly) put up a donate link for PayPal and just told us it was an option, not a requirement, and if we didn't want to, or couldn't pay, it was no big deal. He also let us all know, in the comment thread on the video, what he had collected; we were just genuinely interested and hoped to see him do well.

I think there's a good life lesson here: When you have the support of good friends and family, and have shown yourself worthy, good things happen for you. In the first 24 hours, over $5000. in donations came in. We felt honored to witness and be a small part of that.

Cole Watch Tower wants to thank Suspicious0bservers and The Mobile Observatory Project, and we urge you to get familiar with their message; it's empowering in a way you may have never known.

We also want to thank John and Stan for the cash donations through It helped make their visit and time here possible. +Julie Schmidt, we deeply appreciate the news coverage in the Omro Herald. It was stellar for you to do that, especially on such short notice.

Eyes open, no fear. Be safe, everyone!



      "We haven't been getting as many page views as we used to," was my casual remark to someone just the other day. "You haven't posted anything lately," was their reply. 

"Oh no! Are you telling me page views are content-driven?!?"

      So...I'll start this post with an apology to those of you who actually enjoy our rants and look forward to reading them, and maybe even offer a few lame excuses. We've had so much happening here over the last few months, it's tough to even form a cohesive narrative, so if it seems like I'm wandering off the beaten path, just know that's the nature of the beast that is Cole Watch Tower.

      This is our one of our busy seasons. Some of you know we prepare tax returns professionally from January through April, plus a few stragglers during the summer months. We have several catch phrases, one of which is, "We have two seasons here: Tax Season, and House Season." Both are brutal, and only fit for the likes of adrenaline-junky, challenge-craving lunatics like the keepers of the Tower....and they don't know to stay in their in their respective places. They tend to overlap.

      Currently, we're deep in the throes of House Season (our first full one since we took custody of this place), and it's had its filthy way with us. We've gotten fairly used to getting our collective butts kicked around here, but words really can't do justice to the ego-crushing humbling this place dishes out almost daily. Trust me when I tell you that nothing goes quite as planned here at the Tower.. We rarely, if ever anymore, find ourselves saying, "This won't take very long," or "This should be easy." That's just a fantasy we can't entertain after so many "easy" tasks turning into major projects.

All that said, we have taken on a few projects we already knew would be major undertakings, and we're finally ready to tell you about them. The next few posts will find us catching up on the events of this summer, or rather, catching you up on what we've been doing and where we're headed; and I promise you won't have to wait two more months to hear about it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Guest at Cole Watch Tower


      Want to be a guest at Cole Watch Tower? Many do. It's an extraordinary structure with quite a history.

      It was a popular place to the first known natives. Close to the river and heavily wooded, it was prime hunting land, and fed lots of people. It's also situated between burial mounds to the north and south, so it can be deduced that they truly loved this land and held it sacred. There are stories that suggest this area was still in contention long after the Menominee people ceded the last of their lands by treaty in 1848.

      When the white settlers first occupied this land, it's easy to imagine some of the trials and hardships they had to endure. From surviving the harshest Wisconsin winters, to fending off Indians who either didn't know or didn't care about the treaty with the whites, the experiences had here are a legacy that still reverberate through this unique property.

      These days, we get loads of curiosity-seekers. At least once a day, someone will pull over and take pictures of our home. Sometimes they stay on the side of the road. More often, they pull into the driveway, or even walk into the yard like they have all rights to do so. Imagine yourself in our position:

      You're working in the basement, or relaxing on the couch, or having some private time with your spouse. You hear your dogs outside, barking like mad, alerting you to a visitor. You walk outside to see who it is, only to see a car quickly leaving at your approach. Nobody said hello or goodbye, or took the time to greet you and ask questions; they only fled from your driveway like they were doing something wrong.

      How would this make you feel? Would you be nice and polite when it happened the first time? What about the 100th time? How about when there's a knock on the door that wakes you up, only to have a stranger ask what the place was used for; or cars honking in the wee hours of the morning as they pass?

      We understand the fascination with this place. That should be obvious. We bought it; made it our home, in spite of all the challenges it brings. We worked hard to make a sign to post at the top of the driveway, with a couple places online folks could visit and get more information. Still, strangers come stand in our yard taking pictures.

      If you want to act like and be treated as an intruder, and be met with hostility and suspicion, then by all means do those things we just discussed. If you want to be a guest at Cole Watch Tower, act like one. Call ahead, unless you're family; in that case you know our door is open to you. If you have business here, then walk up boldly and conduct it. Under no circumstances should you run when approached. We'll only suspect the worst of you.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

All along the watchtowers....not always a happy ending.

Fox farmers built watchtowers to view the breeding foxes without disturbing them and to protect their investment from getting "carried" away.   Most towers were 2-3 story freestanding wooden structures.  Only a very small handful were built as part of the home.  The towers were abandoned after the fall of the fur of trade.  You can probably count the total remaining towers that have not been reclaimed by the elements on one hand now.  They are almost completely erased from our history. The remaining towers are truely irreplaceable. The pictured tower is in Canada. They believe it to be one of two still standing in the country that started the fox farm fever.  The barn is in poor condition. In 2012, a group was formed to save the structure.  I cannot find any recent updates.   I am afraid this will be another one lost.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


"Nobody wants to read your wall of rant," I was told not too long ago. I guess I can't blame 'em, either. Looking back at some of my writings, they range from barely-coherent pubescent tantrums, to pretentious, pontificating puke that might be at home in a university thesis (though ridiculed as a barely-coherent pubescent tantrum), but probably not a public forum. But look out: I have a soapbox now too!

A Tale of Two Authors

If you don't already know us and our change-up style of Life In General, you may look at this blog as extremely schizophrenic, or ADD/ADHD; and you'd probably be right on most counts. But, the fact is, this blog has two authors. This is complicated by the fact that she sometimes writes for me to temper my tendencies, and vice versa. Maybe it's just my fevered little fantasy, but won't it be fun to guess which one of us is currently writing? I hope you think so too, because by-lines are pretty low on our priority list.
We're not going to make it easy for you, though. Guessing which one of us has the caustic sense of humor might be a real chore sometimes. 

Bottom line is, we just want you to enjoy being here and sharing with us; and being shared with. We want you to think; not to think like us - that wouldn't be any fun at all; just Think! We believe humanity is wide-awake and aware, and is just taking a pause to ponder the next step. Let us know how we can help (except by shutting up - that just ain't gonna happen), and we will do our best.

Nyoka the Jungle Girl
 Billy Jack

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Few Words About Advertisements

Jimmy Wales, the Founder of Wikipedia, had this to say about asking for donations instead of using ads to generate funds for their operating costs:

"Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn't belong here. Not in Wikipedia. Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others."

This really resonates with us. We whole-heartedly agree, and we really do feel the same about Cole Watch Tower. We want it to be "...a temple for the mind...a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share..." And we would dearly love for it to be ad-free. We agonized over the decision to monetize for several reasons, some obvious, and some very subtle.

First, we're not too keen on corporate America. Their slippery slope has become a high bank where it's getting tough, if not impossible, to see things the way they used to be. There's a parasitic culture out there spending millions upon billions to convince the viewing public that you absolutely must have this product; the next big thing. It will make you good-looking and popular, skinny and sexy, intelligent and the envy of all your friends, if you'll only buy, buy, buy it. This was, by far, our major moral/ethical hurdle to allowing ads on our site in the first place.

We would love to give you a totally ad-free experience across our whole web-presence. That said, you probably noticed we jumped in with all four feet when we decided to monetize. We live on very little income because we are both repulsed by corporate slavery. We don't have a problem with being career-minded, and we heap praise on those who have learned to do what they love for a living, and on those who are just now beginning to walk that perilous path; we just know that investing your life and your family's time to serve foolish men with material standing is the same as throwing away the keys to Heaven.

Getting our web-presence started has been far from cheap, and this is only the beginning. Besides the substantial out-of-pocket expenses, there's time; literally hundreds of hours so far; sleepless nights; several day binges of learning to code HTML, CSS, and Javascript; fanning out into new social media and deciding which ones have the most immediate reach so we could draw in like-minded people as quickly as possible. We plan to put a donate button on the main site in the very near future, but until then, if you like us and want us to be able to stick to our plan to be here for you for decades, we only ask that you tolerate our ads.

If you want to take it a step further and be active, consider a donation. I promise you, this isn't a lucrative venture. All proceeds, whether from ads or donations go right back into rehabilitating Cole Watch Tower, or tweaking our website technique and content; especially to help get the word out about the massive amount of education, culture, and history available to everyone at no charge via the internet.
It's against corporate policy to encourage anyone to click our ads. What I can say, though, is go visit our sponsors. They're not hand-picked right now, but they could be, with just a little feedback. If you visit them, and find you just don't like them (for their content, or policies, or lack of conscience), please let us know. We want to make the world a better place. In the meantime, we can parasite the parasites, and eventually do the one truly noble thing capitialism is capable of: voting out the unwanted with our buying power.