Sunday, August 30, 2009

A New Rise

While sorting through some of my old books, I came across my old copy of William Shirer's classic book "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", still today considered the definitive story of the Nazi era in Germany. I did not read the whole thing cover to cover again, but I did pick chapters here and there to review, mostly from the rise era.

It scared me to death.

For you see, I found frightening parallels between the rise of the right wing fanatic Adolf Hitler during Germany's greatest economic and political crisis and the USA's summer of discontent. Well trained and motivated hooligans are making a living going around comparing Obama and Democrats to Hitler. The most disturbing, and insane, images are these young (should I go so far as say Brownshirts or Hitler Youth???? maybe) instigators holding signs with Obama's image disfigured to look like Hitler.

These poor schleps can't even get history right. Hitler cared not a wink about people, especially poor, we all know that. If there is a Nazi movement in the US, it is from the right, not the left.

In 1930, Germany was a defeated, economically challenged disaster. The once proud nation was reeling. No longer a world power, no longer a leader, ashamed, crushed. Germans, looking around at their world, saw immigrants and people not like themselves coming in and taking jobs, making money, gaining power. Political leadership was corrupt, old fashioned and totally inept.

In the last decade, the US has faced similar, but hardly exact challenges, but similar enough to give one pause. The US is battered by a fast changing world economy, American industrial icons like General Motors, Chrysler, Boeing, General Electric, Kodak, I could name more, are no longer world leaders, usurped by Asia, Europe and even Latin America.

Just as many Germans were concerned over foreign and Jewish ownership of business and feared a take over, a flood of immigrant and threats at home by terrorists have shaken many Americans. My GOD! Even the Supreme Court has a Latina and a black man ("Uncle Tom" though he may be) trying to destroy the Constitution. Many right wing publications, commentators and religious leaders are quick to scream that "True Christian Americans" are under attack. The "birther" idiocy... is that just a cover to make sure no "Muslim named, African" can ever become president again? The term "Pure Aryan Stock" ring a bell, anyone?

Our airwaves have been taken over by a right wing propaganda machine that spits out such abuse at its opponents and weaves so many fear mongering lies that would give Nazi Propaganda Minster Joseph Goebbels a hard on. The truth is what we tell you, spouts the "Völkischer Beobachter" (for the uninformed, the Nazi Party Paper from 1920-1945) and Fox News (the American Right Wing voice since 1996). Lies become truth, and once debunked, they are kept alive by attacking those who dare to challenge.

The USA is a frustrated country. Frustrated and irate at a government that lied and led the country into an unwinnable and unpopular war. Coffers drained, military might stifled, prestige bruised. It is frustrated by its inept and cruel handling of disastrous hurricane Katrina and its victims. The last administration presided over an historic economic collapse, while the new one went on a spending spree leading to the inevitable crushing debt.

Then today Senate Repub leaders came to Kansas City for "Closed Town Hall Meeting" What the FUCK is that?? Oh yes, A Republican town hall, where all the like minded agree on everything the leaders say. In this meeting, Rep Sen Mc Connell of KY said it was time to start over on healthcare. Sure Sen. McConnell wants to start over on health care. The current versions won't protect the mega profits of the insurance industry that is bankrolling his re-election campaigns and those of his friends. To the tune of 2 million plus In Mc Connell's case.

Isn't is amazing that they can have a "closed door town hall" and think they are getting a "fair and balanced" set of opinions? Oops, I forgot, "fair and balanced" means only the right gets to express an opinion. And the Repub's idea of bi-partisanship is 'do it our way or else we'll whine about it to Rush Limbaugh."

Or have you eliminated.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Poor People's Market

Tongue firmly in cheek, my neighbor, Mr. Ford, calls the Thriftway Supermarket at 40th and Main "The Poor People's Market". I say tongue in cheek as he shops there frequently himself, and owning a unit at the Palace and 2 expensive European autos hardly qualifies him as poor. As for me, I had not been in the place for years, opting for the bigger and brighter SunFresh about 8 blocks to the west. Until necessity changed all that. Car-less and counting all the pennies until the ticket mess is done, I think I now qualify as a "poor person".

And frankly, it is not all bad. It reminds me of markets from my Decatur childhood such as the now closed Eisner's on Grand or the Tolly's across the corner on Oakland. Small, narrow aisles, somewhat rickety shelves, only 3 check out counters, most of the liquor behind a counter, no fancy carts, no floral shop, no pharmacy, no salad bar, not a hint of a sushi bar, nix on the deli, generic ATM machine but not a bank, no bakery,and certainly no fresh seafood counter (lots of canned tuna though), all the things we really have come to expect from a "super market". What it does have is friendly staff, interesting shoppers of all stripes, decent selection and not bad prices. My beloved Diet Coke with lime is 30 cents cheaper at Thriftway. As my dear friend Mary Ruth said after meeting her at SunFresh after their recent remodeling, "I see prices are up again, guess someone has to pay for all this", gesturing to the new flooring, fancy displays and new sushi garden. I think chewing gum holds some of the shelves up at the Poor People's Market and the floor, while spotless, looks like it has seen a few decades of shoppers.

When life foists a change on you, and makes you do things a bit different than the rest of the world, you soon learn to adapt. One thing about me, I do know how to adapt to negative situations; poor eyesight, tinnitus, diabetes, low paying job, being single for ages, etc.. for the most part. I bitch about them a lot, and frankly deep down it can hurt and cause lots of sleepless nights. However, being of good English stock, I look at adversity as a bloody nuisance rather than a disaster and with upper lip stiff go about my life.

Thus almost daily, I trek the challenging 3 blocks to the Poor People's Market. I get a few things, say hi to the clerk who calls everyone "babe", wave at the guy at the service desk back in the corner (I need to start noticing and learning names, but there name tags are not always part of the uniform) and adapt once more.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


It is surmised that dogs and humans have had a symbiotic relationship for over 15,000 years. Dogs went with humans as we spread throughout the world, working for and along side our ancestors in their migrations. As humans became more civilized, dogs became less of a worker and more of a companion. Living, working, playing and comforting with us, they have earned the unique nickname, "man's best friend".

Best friend... that certainly described Bud. Bud and his dad Greg were inseparable friends for 10 years. Bud went everywhere with Greg, to church, out to eat with us, visiting, on errands, to the farm. Rare was the time when I would look in the back of Greg's PT Cruiser (especially chosen since it had the requisite "Bud Room" in the back) and not see Bud riding along, surrounded by treats and toys and a warm, familiar blanket.

Bud was found in 1999 as a 3-4 month old stray in Greg's neighborhood; lost, hungry and full of worms. Bud was a Rottweiler, or close enough for Government work. Since his progeny is not known, one can only assume. Graced with the beautiful copper/black markings, graceful large body, dark eyes and an expressive but un-bobbed tail, he looked every inch a Rottie.

He acted like one too; gifted with a gentle yet commanding presence. Bud would rather kiss than bite, have his ears scratched than growl and would lean on you and eventually sit on you to be sure he had your complete attention. He demonstrated that last Fall when at the "Blessing of the Animals" service at our church, he introduced himself to the pastor by knocking him over and sitting on him. Bud rarely got angry, he loved everyone and wanted everyone to love him too. But when threatened, he showed he could mean business. I saw that only once, when a street person leaned in to the open car window as we were parking to go to dinner at Thai Paradise. Bud growled and snapped at the man, causing him to recoil in fear. "Teach you to stick your face where it doesn't belong", Greg admonished the startled beggar as he beat a retreat. Bud, if nothing else, was one of the best auto security systems around.

Bud loved his walks, as many as he could persuade Greg to do. Thus it was heart breaking to see Bud slow down and start to limp. He had good days and some bad ones; when fine he would escort Greg up to the garden and visit all his neighbors. In the last few weeks, he had slowed even more. Greg, recovering from surgery, and Bud formed an even greater bond as they relied on each other to heal and endure.

Sadly, Bud got worse and the Vet confirmed this week that he had cancer. Monday night he cried all night and slept not a wink. On Tues, he went bravely and quietly to the Rainbow Bridge, a place where all beloved animals go, free of pain and suffering, waiting to play with us again.

Bud 1999-August 25, 2009

Bud Spring of 2009

Who could not love this face??

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Traveling at "See Level"

I think it was Amtrak that coined an advertising slogan "Travel America at 'see' level", touting the advantages of traveling along the rails and actually seeing the country side go by. Walking, biking and busing through KC could be similarly described. Not having to concentrate on other drivers, speed traps, red light cameras, surly, donut deprived police and other obstacles gives you a more intimate view of this frankly somewhat broken and battered town.

You get to know sidewalk cracks and upheavals, just as you get to know potholes and rough crossings. You can relish the tenacity of weeds, flowers and trees as they cling to their little patches or grow quickly to obscure an abandoned building. You can talk to people, on the way back from Gomer's with my precious cargo of vodka, I had a wonderful time on the porch of my neighbors Mitch, John and Scott a couple days ago... Scott is Scott, John is writing a play and Mitch, a contractor, is pulling another disastrous project out of the ditch, as he is often called upon to do. Sylvia and I discussed spider plants and I took some seeds to plant at the Palace as I walked back from CVS. This AM, while biking to the garden, I stopped to marvel at how the ivy had covered the walls of the Boston Apts and watched a wedding party assemble at the charming Pilgrim's Chapel.

As we speed by in our insulated cabins, stereo blaring, AC keeping all the humidity at bay, we seldom really get to appreciate and rail against the details of our city. I hope, as I go forth with my sort of self imposed car-less life, I can also make a bit of a difference. Pick up litter, not pollute the air, lose weight, meet people ... hopefully friendly.

Winter will be a challenge, but you know, we managed to live for a long time with out getting into motorized vehicles and scooting around. If this winter it is too bad to go out, I won't. Have to learn to stock up (something I am not good at.. but learning) but the anxiety of having to get out and about will subside.

Motorless life has its advantages and can be less stressful. But like everything, there is compromise and another side to the story. You trade the freedom to go about at will for the scheduled and slower world of mass transit, or have to wait for better weather to venture forth. But if nothing else, I am resourceful, I have friends, and if they give me a ride, I offer something in return; Bruce took me on a long errand so he got his wine paid for at 303 that night.

I know I am crazy, been told that by several professionals and non-professionals alike, but this has kind of been sprung upon me and I am making the best of it.

Besides, I'll have stories to tell.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Marvin Parker Memorial Garden X

It is hard to believe it is actually August 20th. Not only has 2009 sped by, we have weather more like April than August. Usually by this time the grass is burnt out from days of drought and relentless sun. Fields are brown, flower gardens wilted, lawn sprinklers out in force and usually by now the newspaper has featured a photo of squealing city kids splashing in an open fire hydrant. Not seen a one.

It was a cool and breezy 62 degrees when I walked over to the garden this AM. Grass wet, cloudy, a rain storm over night that blew over a large tree on 38th St. Police had to leave their morning donuts to block traffic and allow the crews to remove it.

I didn't take the camera to the garden, it being all dark and gloomy. Besides, she is not the most photogenic these days. Some gardeners never got started, their plots looking weedy and forlorn. Some have neglected theirs. The sweet corn, a big failure this year as the odd weather did not provide the hot, humid nights corn loves, is turning brown and falling over. The not so bright idea of planting acorn squash in the corn rows did nothing but produce nuisance vines. Sue's big tomato plant is defying all attempts to keep it upright. The cool, damp weather has propagated tomato leaf rust on most of the plants. My romas keep producing, despite the clumps of brown-yellow withered leaves. Too bad most toadstools are poisonous, we have a bumper crop.

Toadstools in August, don't think I have seen that before.

I did get a bounty today, most of the tomatoes are from the community crop. A few peppers from mine, the community string beans, a couple of the miniature eggplants from an abandoned plot and a big old stalk of basil from my herb garden at the palace.

I think there will still be some good eats and bounty from the garden as the summer closes. This week is supposed to be moderately warm and drier, allowing the tomatoes to ripen and the ground dry a bit, reducing mold, rust and rot. I know am enjoying the bounty, and it is fun to share the rewards with my friends and neighbors. Those that deserve it, that is!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Coming True

I predicted this. Whoever succeeded G.W. Bush would have a tough time dealing with a country more fucked up than it has been since the 1930s. With an economy in shambles, wars still raging in Iraq and more seriously in Afghanistan, the healthcare debate bogged down with lies and fear mongering, the US is facing massive challenges. I harbored a secret thought that maybe it would be good for Mc Cain to win and then fall flat on his face, thus nailing the right wing coffin shut for good. But I was afraid he would not serve a full term and then we would have a bigger mess in the form of the Alaskan nutcase, Ms. Palin.

It almost seems that the success of the now right wing controlled Republican Party is in direct ratio to the stupidity of the American voter. Believe the lies. Believe the "American Dream", whatever that is, and for sure "me first".

The success of the Republican Party is in direct ratio to the stupidity of the American voter. Believe the lie. Believe the American dream. Make up stories, scream it over your airwaves (something like 66% of Republicans think Fox News is 100% accurate and unbiased) bully, hinder, lie, lie some more, take money from your wealthy clients and businesses (conflict of interest anyone??) and be sure the haves have and the have nots are told they are just fine as they are.

But the Dems are getting on my nerves as well. We live in an era where "Profiles in Courage" (John F. Kennedy's (well, maybe his book, that is a story in and of itself) classic book about politicians who stood up for what was right and fair despite criticism and personal defeat) has become "Profiles in Poll Numbers". I just don't get it. 60 Dems, 40 Repubs in the Senate, Democratic majority in the house, and a few Republicans and failed nutcases (Palin, Limbaugh, Cheney, Blunt) are calling the shots. As Rachel Madow put it, when describing the Democrats wishy washy cave in to the right, "I have seen overbred teacup poodles that are better at dealing with sudden loud noises."

Then there is Barney... Way go to man!

Thankfully someone puts down these clowns and tells it like it is. Sadly, Barney is not President. I think Obama is floundering, badly. Meaningful healthcare reform is dead, Iraq and Afghanistan will rage on, the economy will sputter on and off.

The Repubs got us in the mess, and as it was in the Depression, they will throw bricks at every attempt to clean it up. But unlike the 30s, politicians are not as civil.

Win at all costs, keep your numbers up and damn the people.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Coupl'a Things XXII

1) Best headline I have seen in years:

"Octomom Nadya Suleman: 'I screwed myself.'"

I guess that is how you get 8 babies all at once.... but still can't quite picture it in my mind...

2) Saw the fine film "Julie and Julia" last weekend. I recommend it to all. Funny, intelligent, interesting, well paced and insightful. Meryl Streep as Julia Child is amazing, she totally captures the unique voice and manners of Child without being a silly parody. The rest of the cast was excellent as well, standing up to, but of course yielding to Streep's incredible presence.

Also starring was a fabulous and rare 1950 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon. Rare even when new; only 420 ever made.

3) Today's adventure in no wheels: Going to the grocery store. Should be interesting.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mean Streets

The all too common sounds of police cruisers roaring down Main St, sirens ablaze pierced the warm Midtown evening. For the second time in a week, I knew they were because of me.

But this time, I at least knew they were not coming for me, they were out in force because I had called them. Hearing them, as I walked down Baltimore Ave towards 303 to meet my friend Amy for a night of chatting and vodka consumption, was a relief; I was wondering if they were even going to respond. Sadly, the outcome, while not costing me any money, dignity or my personal freedom, was almost as frustrating as the last time the KCMO police were on the move because of me.

As I left the Palace, I could not help but notice two men sitting on our sidewalk steps eating something out of a large shopping bag. Figuring they were homeless and had no place to cook and eat a meal, I felt bad that I had to shoo them along. The people who pay my salary and help provide me with the place to cook and eat my dinner do not want people of any situation having an unauthorized picnic on our steps and ask me to ensure that.

One of the men, neatly dressed in black slacks and a colorful red/yellow/blue patterned shirt went off. He threw whatever he was eating, the plastic forks and a few small rocks at me. Telling me in no uncertain terms I did not understand what it was like to just to try to find a place to eat in peace. "Don't fuck with me," he screamed, "I am from Cuba." This I kind of doubt as he said "Cue-ba" as we say it instead of a more native "Coo-ba". I guess I was supposed to be afraid of that. I told him to leave, immediately. He threatened to kill me.

Happily he left, cursing and screaming towards Main St. I called 911 and luckily got a dispatcher on the first try. After giving the description and telling the dispatcher I would like a follow up, I left for 303. Soon the sirens blared.

The officer was nice, I could not hear him well, but apparently this character is new to the city, caused some trouble from time to time and they were keeping an eye out for him. I guess they stopped him and likely let him go. I thanked the officer and he told to call anytime we saw him or for anything.

For the first time ever, I am thinking of getting a gun and learning to use it. If you know me at all, that was as unlikely a statement as the Pope denying Jesus. But times are different. I am forced to walk, bike a bus, out on the streets more, and they are not safe. This morning, I bought a couple of canisters of pepper spray, mostly sold to women to carry in their purses. I got the ones you can attach to a key ring. I feel a bit safer.

What a crock. I am in more trouble than this threatening, volatile, desperate man is. Go and threaten and intimidate someone, they shake your finger at you. Traffic violations? Get the shit kicked out of you.

No wonder the streets are mean.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Getting Around

It was a pretty typical Wednesday AM at the Palace. Since we are blessed with 3 antique collectors/dealers/designers in the Palace, furniture, art and other expensive objects are constantly going in and out of the building. Such was the case on Wednesday; a library table was going down from 4th floor to its new owner's home. A moving van had been hired to take it on its journey.

The driver called me as I was walking down the stairs and told me he was on the way. "Best you park on the 38th St side", I told the him. For some reason a KCMO Police traffic unit was ensconced in the middle of Baltimore and she didn't appear to be moving anytime soon. I stopped to watch. She sat and sat in her little Ford Focus, just looking out the window, doing nothing, blocking traffic. A rumbling from down the street announced the arrival of a tow truck, waking Ms Meter Maid from her repose. She was back in action; they were going to tow my neighbor's car for some reason, maybe it was parked too close to the curb, or wasn't washed.... it takes no reason for these jokers to write a ticket.

The owner got wind of the event and came running out as the tow truck was hoisting his old Range Rover none too gently onto the bed. A long discussion ensued (turned out the owner is selling the truck and seems he took the plates off just the evening before) and finally the errant Range Rover was none too gently put sort of back in place and the truck and surly parking lady stormed off, no doubt pissed that they had failed in their mission to make Kansas City a safer place...more like make the city some $$$.

I chalked this up as further justification in my warped mind to not have a car in Midtown.

Later that afternoon a friend told me his car was towed a while back over not having the current insurance form, and then he also was gifted a red light camera ticket for not stopping and looking both ways. Basically nothing, but the city gets its money. The previous mayor let every new business get away without paying taxes for years, so they have to make it up on us citizens; at least that is my take on the issue.

Yes it can be an inconvenience to not have a set of wheels. But I am learning to get around. The bike goes to the garden; what great exercise.. and the feel of wheeling down the slope of 38th St brings back the memories of me biking all over Decatur, the city map in my room marked each street I and my trusty Schwinn had visited. I found I can get a bus to the hardware store and the Dollar Tree (my new best shopping friend) taking about the same time as driving. The frustrating thing is not being in control, being able to go whenever I want. I will also need to learn to make lists and be sure I have everything I need. Running out to get a forgotten item is not as easy as it once was.

But at least I don't give the authorities cause to hassle me. That is worth a lot.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Queen Mary: A Swan Song

Yes... the fabled Queen Mary is likely gone....sadly not my real choice, but I am being pragmatic and facing the inevitable.

She is the victim of my recalcitrance to license her in MO, being slow to license in IL and not paying some tickets from 2004. So the KC police decided she (and I) were a bigger menace than druggies, vagrants, shooters and such and spent 3 officer's time and 4 hours being complete jerks. Since she was a menace, off to the tow lot she goes.

Sadly, all sentimentality has to be set aside and I have to realize it would cost more than she is worth to get it back. So they can have her. She understands... she was running on borrowed time anyway. The paint was shot, the tires were shot, the engine was starting to nickel and dime to death, plus I know underneath she was a rust bucket waiting to happen. She was junk yard bound anyway.

For $1000 4 years ago I got my money's worth.

For now, I am forgoing automobiles for a while. I am sick of police, speed traps, red light cameras, no turns, bla bla bla, all for this hell hole of a city to make money. I got a bike now, for the long distance runs. I can walk to:

Drug Store
Post office
Barber Shop
Liquor Store
Favorite Bar

Express Bus direct to:

Crown Center (not like I go there every day)

I don't think I'll miss it much. I will later, I am sure and sometime a new vehicle may occupy my spot. For now, a further simplification of my life.

Queen Mary: July 23, 2005-August 7, 2009

The Queen in her Better Days:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Wrestling With Bernstein's Mass

It was the musical commission of a generation. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis gave Leonard Bernstein quite a plum; compose a work for the highly anticipated opening of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The whole world would be watching, the audience glittering, an event tailor made for the showman in Lenny. Bernstein wrote: “I’ve always wanted to compose a service of one sort or another, and I toyed with ecumenical services that would combine elements from various religions and sects, of ancient or tribal beliefs, but it never all came together in my mind until Jacqueline Onassis asked me to write a piece dedicated to her late husband…The Mass is also an extremely dramatic event in itself—it even suggests a theater work."

"Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers" premiered in September 1971. Vietnam still raged, everything in society was questioned... everyone was cool, hip, flower power reigned. This "cool", "hip" and irreverent Mass was panned, lauded, dismissed, raved about, misunderstood and dismissed.. sometimes by the same critics. Embarrassingly 70's-ish, awkward, one moment highly classical, the next then trendy pop-ish, "Godspell" on steroids
(the two pieces had the same librettist), Mass seemed to be a one performance wonder. Jacqueline even stayed away.

A recording led by Bernstein soon came out on Columbia LPs. The day it appeared at the "Spin Shop", I snatched a copy...played the damn thing endlessly. My friend Rodger and I listened to it daily. Off to college, my friend and eventual roommate Steve also loved it. In fact, it was my hearing it coming from his room that led to us becoming long time friends. It was played endlessly then as well.

To this day, I know every note and word of this strange, zany, psychedelic recreation of the Roman Catholic Mass. That being in spite of not having heard it in years, the LPs being victims of a flooded basement years ago. I never got the CD version.

For a long time, it appeared that only the opening "A Simple Song", soon to be a staple of church performances and the "3 Meditations", taken from 3 instrumental interludes, would survive. A few performances cropped up now and then, but the Kent Nagano led German performance with Jerry Hadley as the Celebrant was the first recorded since 1971. Looking back, with nostalgia and a realization that little socially and politically had changed, Mass looked a little less geeky and silly.. and a bit more relevant and grown up.. as we had along with it. Critics seems to let up a bit and even say the piece might have some life left.

2009 has been an embarrassment of Mass riches, with two new recordings: Kristjan Jarvi led another German based performance for Chandos and now Marin Alsop leads a Baltimore performance on Naxos.

I have not heard the Nagano performance in total so I can not comment on it myself, but it was well received and compared favorably with the Bernstein. It was the first recording using Bernstein's revisions in the score and libretto. The Jarvi was quite good, but a bit on the fast side and I am not sure his cast really understood the piece.

However, the new Alsop/Jubilant Sykes performance is quite a revelation, and spot on for the most part. Sykes is more comfortable in the pop/gospel element, but pales a bit in comparison to Alan Titus' darker, more intense (and "classical") Celebrant in the Bernstein. Alsop's "Dona Nobis Pacem" section of the "Agnus Dei" is breathtaking in its intensity, but darn it, I missed Titus' more commanding, operatic breakdown, screaming "pacem!!" to the out of control cast and world as he breaks the chalice and spills the blood of Christ on the floor.

In a couple of classical music forums, I posted that I dismissed Mass as a dated, embarrassing mess.. part of me wants to simply hate the piece. But 40 years on(!!!) I am still wrestling with the damn thing. Yes some parts are corny (kazoo band still intact, some awfully silly lyrics, every musical style imaginable, sometimes within the same measure) and it still reeks of a bell bottomed, flower child, "peace, man", "dig this" society... but I think, maybe, if we give it a chance and overlook it weak points, it still will speak to us. Instead of being dated, it can show us we have not made a lot of progress socially in 40 years, only the names and clothing styles have changed.

Bernstein wanted this to be his magnum opus; he yearned to be remembered for Mass rather than West Side Story. That likely will not come to pass, but neither will this wacky, overblown...thing.. disappear. It has come back with a challenge to listen and reassess and to remind a fragile nation that "we've got quarrels and qualms and such questions, give us answers, not psalms and suggestions" is a cry heard on the streets today just as loud as it was in 1971.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Hey Kids!!

You can have your VERY OWN counterfeit, bogus and oh so obviously fake Kenyan Birth Certificate!!

Kenyan Birth Certificate

I got mine...

It is free, it is easy and it is Birther Approved!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Civil Discourse

...has gone the way of the dodo bird and the Pontiac Bonneville. Kaput, extinct, deleted, discontinued.

I guess it began in earnest in the Clinton era when a liberal leaning President dared to poke the haves of society with health care reform and gays in the military. That seemed to rock their world to the core, shaking their very core values of "me, mine and more for me". Clinton paid for his sins by having his very life and Presidency ruined by malicious, jealous that he could still get a blow job, "investigators" who really found nothing and spent the country into oblivion making a few lawyers rich but proving little. The skepticism over Bush's two victories, the morass of Iraq and Afghanistan and the "you are either with me or against me" mentality of the last administration further fractured the country.

Patriot = agree with Bush and the wars.
Traitor = anyone who disagreed or criticized.
Idiot = anyone agreeing with Bush
Idiot = anyone who didn't

The color gray was washed from the palate of conversation, dark black and shocking white were all that remained.

The advent of online additions of newspapers has brought with it the concept of instant comments, letters to the editor without a stamp and paper. Sometimes the comments are interesting, most of the time they show the still widening divide.

Most of the time they show the "haves" losing their touch with reality.

Re this comment:

"When that "Democrat" digs in my pocket, instead of cutting spending (ala Cali), to take money for "taxes", when you Dipsh*ts, voted for him. You right! What happen to we are only going to tax 250k, 175k, 150k! This SAYS MIDDLE CLASS. Nuttinclown, what do you classify as middle class! Some "middle class" are making a choice of gas in the gas or food on the table! A tax when we are discussing taking over healthcare, clunkers for cars, a failed stimulus program, is absurd! It just shows how out of touch CONgress and this President are. Is It's funny you bring the race card in, I just take as you thinking "stupidly", and go about your business."

This in response to an article in the KC Star about University of Mo scientists working to control an alien plant species (spotted knotweed) that is threatening to take over cropland.

When discourse gets this silly and polluted, all possibility of compromise or progress is out the window. I read another article that Members of Congress, mostly Democrats, are facing organized hostile crowds at "Town Meetings" shouting the lies of the FUX news lovers, Birthers and other loons. As much as I thought, and still think, Ronald Regan was a fool, he had the class and style to actually have regular card games and informal evenings with his nemesis Tip O'neil. Imagine Bush and Pelosi at a BBQ? Not hardly.

Sadly, this ranting and raving what goes for TV news commentary and "reporting" in 2009. No wonder my TV sets dark. No wonder we miss Walter Concrite. No wonder there is no social progress. The haves, who make the most noise and can buy the most power, get what they want.

The beauty is the US is a free country and all loons of all stripes have the ability to speak their mind. But when the discourse comes down to name calling, lies, innuendo and deceit, we all lose.

Especially the powerless.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

OK Seattle, Give Me My Summer Back

HM decided that 5:30 AM was explore-the-garden-to-see-if-Mr-Bill-had-paid-homage-to-Her-Majesty-with-more-treats time. A few lights flickered on, clothes found, doors opened and off we went. It was cool outside, and raining. The grass a thick green carpet, tree branches drooping with sodden leaves; newly transplanted mint was already taking over the little plot where grass had refused to grow. With rain falling and the grass soaking, HM looked at me and decided that 5:30AM was NOT explore-the-garden-to-see-if-Mr-Bill-had-paid-homage-to-Her-Majesty-with-more-treats time and retreated back to her comfy couch/throne.

I immediately went up stairs and looked out every window I could, wondering if I could glimpse the Space Needle, a glimmer of Puget Sound through the lead skies or possibly snow capped Mt Rainier to the east.

All I saw was the familiar roof tops and skyline of Kansas City.

You see I thought for a moment I had been transported overnight to Seattle. Consider the facts: It is raining...always, it is cool; the temp this AM at 5:30AM was around 60 and everything is green... Pacific Northwest climate, not mid-continent US climate. By August 1st I am used to the world looking UPS truck brown, not green, lush and wet.

The National Weather Service said it is not abnormal to see short term cool weather from the north in the summer. It is unusual, however, to see the cooler air persist for so long. Since records were kept, only 1891 and 1950 had cooler temps. We have yet to see a 100 degree day officially, but we got close.. this spring.

Oh, and as for Seattle...they got our summer, with temps in the 100s and little rain. Maybe like ball teams, we need to do a trade.

Both the pro and anti global warming factions have been doing their usual back and forth using the cool month both to prove and debunk the idea of global warming. Both seem to forget that the climate is unlikely to change over night, and one cool month or one hot winter will not totally prove or disprove the theory. Frankly, as I see it, there is strong evidence of a slow and persistent climate change... and we need to take steps to alleviate it.

But really, I think Grandma had it right all along; the men who landed on the moon screwed with something and everything has been nuts since.

It is plausible... that would also explain Rush Limbaugh's popularity and two G.W. Bush terms too....