It is a lovely rainy day here in Oregon. Things are moving right along and the family is in good health and spirit. If all goes as planned today the old 1959 GMC Dump Truck will transform itself into a little pile of moola which in turn will turn into hundreds of gallons of fuel for our upcoming trip south!
keep your fingers crossed for photos of todays exciting event.
It's time for bed after a long and productive day. As the election grows nearer by the hour I am saddened to see this Nation of Opportunity tearing itself apart as politics overwhelm the media and unknown citizens begin drawing lines in the sand. What is the cause of this? Where did civility go? Incredible as it may seem US Senate candidates do not publically deplore the vicious behavior of their supporters. In Kentucky one follower threw a woman to the ground and began stomping on her head with his boots. In Arizona fear of brown skin people has become an acid that is promoting mindless hatred. In Alaska the truth that one in the Senate race admitted to lying and covering up vote computer fraud seems to make no difference to his supporters. Who can believe what they read or see at this point. I am sorry to my soul that these thoughts are so strong that I voice them on this forum but please understand that it is not my desire or place to offend anyone. I will have more to say on this matter over the next week so if its not your cup of tea then just surf some safe sites. My feelings will not be hurt. Much.
It is a rainy Sunday morning here on the old Bonny Slope. Like a hungry dog at a bottomless food bowl I have spent the last 8 weeks working my butt off on our home, and, like that dog, I overdid it a bit! 2 weeks ago the children brought home a little school flu and I charged on working, thinking I was the Superman of home repair Papas. I am often a little wrong and this was the case. Bam. My Musty Troder blew a spark plug and I took my body to the clinic to see my good Physician, Dr. Christopher Hall. A no nonsense man he told me that I was no longer 30 years old and, in no uncertain terms, told me to "slow down for a week or so". As is our norm, we spoke of politics a bit and I told him of my close encounter with President Obama. With a giant toothy grin he thrust his hand forward and had me shake his hand, no doubt hoping to get a little good atomic ju-ju. So, I have been taking it easy and spending a little time reading and posting. I expect to be fully up and running again by mid week.
But I am writing about my son Francis. As many of you readers know, all of my children (not unlike kids all over the world) possess gifts and Francis's is in the fields of Literature, Math and Abstract Conceptualization. What you may not know is that Francis is fortunate and blessed to have an amazing Mentor. A man gifted with wisdom, compassion and an incredible grasp of the mind of man, I will, for now, simply call him Dr. H. The generosity of his time, his patience and kind understanding are providing Francis with a rock solid foundation for building a ship of life that is capable of navigating the challenges of the emerging world around us. This man projects an energy that can only be described as the soul contentment one finds on a warm and sunny fall day. As a father I stand in awe of the two of them, as a human I am encouraged and happy to be a small cog in the wheel of fortune.
I have been thinking a lotabout 'the value of it all' lately. I blog because I enjoy it - I don't make money from it, I don't expect to change the world because of it and I am not normally affected in a negative manner by those who disagree with my personal or political beliefs. They are, after all, my thoughts and feelings and I am proud to stand by them. I spend my precious time putting my blog out there in thoughtful terms and I expect nothing in return except common respect. Well, I confess that I did take offense to the demeaning comments I received from an anonymous reader regarding my remarks about President Obama's visit the other day - I have never been compared to Adolf Hitler or had my work ethic smeared by those who don't agree with my lifestyle . It seems that, in these very political times, there is a fear projected by the lies and deception of those who would have their own beliefs forced on the rest of us. This tiny occurrence is nothing compared to the crap that our elected statesmen are forced to endure just to serve the people who voted them in. I don't see how they they can do it.
It seems our society is losing its way again and civility is a casualty of this morass. Truth is bleeding and near death. I am nearly 58 years old and I am proud as an American to say that I have voted in every federal and state election since I was 18. I have almost always voted for Progressive causes and I am proud of that also. I remember the fear of the McCarthy era, the sweat on my teacher's faces when the atomic sirens went off in school and we jumped under the desks, I remember my parents discussing the election of 1960 - my mothers defense of Nixon and my fathers military friends talking in the garage about John Kennedy's war service. My father and I stood on different ground most of the time, he was a decorated Navy Seal and a 'Zero Defect Man' (he checked H-B0mbs every night for the Strategic Air Command) and I was a Hippie. I also remember driving our black nanny home to the 'black side of town' when I was 16. Riding the city bus and seeing the black people in the back and even watching the whites hold their breath while the blacks walked by. I lived in rural Ohio for 20 odd years and never once saw an inter-racial couple. I bussed tables at the local hotel/restaurant when I was 12 years old for 0.65 cents an hour for 2 years and never once saw a black, yellow or red person enter to eat.I remember where I was when Kennedy was murdered and the flat headed bigots at the local gas station telling me that it was God's punishment for his policies. I did not really understand what they meant. I worked my way through middle and high school washing dishes at the local hospital with an all white staff. Around this time I met a girl who was half Japanese and we had our first touch of young love. All of my friends warned me that she was a spy, a slant eye and I should stay clear of her and I clearly remember how we were refused service at a local restaurant. I worked my way through two years of carpentry college at a foundry that made defense parts for fighter jets and icbm's. I made good money making things I did not believe in and paid lots and lots taxes that helped fund the war machine that Ike had warned us about. I bought into the system, married, got a house and bought lots of stuff on credit, easy, complacent - unaware but choosing to bury my head in the sand. My sports car became more important than my ideals.
Then, the game changer. In April of '74 a vicious tornado ripped apart my hometown, my house, my face and we lost our 7 month old unborn child. I saw Richard Nixon make is last public speaking appearance before he resigned standing in the rubble of my old kindergarten school. He swore that the town would be rebuilt. He lied. My marriage collapsed, my work went on strike and I re-assessed my life. I drifted. I looked for meaning. I was in Atlanta the night Jimmy Carter was elected President and I was inspired. I moved to Oregon and began working for the new Department of Environmental Quality and lived under the progressive government of Republican Governor Tom McCall. I am pleased to say that I have never been disappointed about the enlightened politics of the Great State of Oregon in all these years.
I digress. This missive was not intended to be a biography. I want only to point out that, generally as a society, we have made great strides in social awareness, equality among gender preference and races, science and medicine. I am married to an asian - unthinkable in the first part of my life, with 3 wonderful mixed blood children who are treated without discrimination. Our educational standards, while threatened, are still strong. It has not been and easy road for Americans over the last 60 years and progress has been slow and at great cost but with great results.
Stepping off my soapbox I ask only that, when we vote in this important election, we think it through clearly and refuse to return to a time when the merits of man were defined in black and white terms.
I woke this morning to rain and a nasty comment on my blog from 'Anonymous', relating to my political posting of last night. After responding to it and some soul searching, I deleted it. Why? Because, while I believe in free speech, I will not tolerate lies and personal attacks spouted from those who do not have enough courage to identify themselves. These bottom feeders can crawl under their rock of shame and wallow in their own pettiness -they are a pox upon this earth and should not be tolerated. Anyone who has read my blog knows that I welcome comments from those who do not agree with me - I think it is a healthy exercise of democracy.
Now, on a more pleasant topic - today my pal Bill and I, along with Weng will set in the last of the new windows on the north side of the house! The rains are coming soon and we are working hard to get the place all cozy for Thanksgiving.
When I was a small boy, and TV was young and innocent, there was a show staring Jimmy Durante. The Snozz. Well, he would end every episode by saying "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, where ever you are." What follows is political and if you are afraid to hear the truth do not read any further. Just skip to the end where the hope lies.
Things have changed. Back then my mother was a Republican, but that meant something far different than it does today. Back then politics had a moral canvas that was easy to take at face value - a choice that was clear but most generally reflected a government that was for the people. I remember when Reagan became President and political advertising laws changed - no more equal 'air' time for those who were capable of serving in the government but lacked the budget to let citizens know who they were and what they were about. Corporate money began driving the political mind set and a new generation of greed head and fear mongers arose to spoil the soil of democracy. Finally, after years of planning and skulking in the shadows these dark men succeeded in pulling down the last vestige of fairness in our once democratic democracy with last years 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate/fat cat funding of political races with no accountability. For the first time in our history, elections could be bought and sold to the highest bidder, no matter what the outcome, the motive or even the nationality of those buying the race. And you aint seen nothing yet, just wait for the next presidential race.
Welcome to the elections of 2010. Herrman Gobbles was a baby compared to Karl Rove. This monster is using the Supreme Court ruling to bury the truth and we Americans are poised to give away our precious freedoms with little or no fight from the man on main street. Think I am wrong? Then you are just not thinking.
Two years ago, for a brief clear moment, after the greedheads almost destroyed our economy, we put a man of intelligence and vision in the drivers seat. Barak Obama. Against all odds and the poison of the dark side he managed to do many good things for us all. At a terrible cost to him and progressive statesmen, both Democrats and Republicans. The interests of the common man have been driven from a fair playing field with an ocean of money, by some estimates Karl Rove alone will spend more than 250 million dollars over the next 10 days to convince voters that we are doomed if we re-elect the current progressives who have pulled us out of Bush's folly. We stand to lose the environment, our education standard, women's rights, and our position in the world.
And for what? Think about it.
I have always been an optimist. My soul is tried mightily now though. Yesterday, through a series of small but wonderful events, my son Francis and I found ourselves front and center at the Obama rally here in Portland Oregon. Organizers had expected 5,000 people but more than 10,000 showed up. We were surrounded by people who believe that there is a better way to live and we stood in awe, some 20 feet away from the President as he spoke of what his administration had accomplished, despite all odds. He also spoke of what is possible if we, the people, get off of our butts and vote with intelligence and consideration. How hard the road ahead is and the line that we must draw against those who would give our children a world of fear and collapsing environment. He spoke like a fit man made of steel that was taking all of our lightning hits for us, strong and passionate. Some of the disgust and horror I have felt this election season died in that moment, and, like those around me, I felt energized and strong against the negative forces who would enslave us all. If we allow them to do so. 35 minutes later he finished and swept through the multitudes of common people and it happened - my hand went out and met his in a flash that I surely will never forget. Shaking his hand was electric and we locked eyes for a second or two and time stopped. I saw the hopes of millions carried by a soul that cares. The eyes of a captain guiding his ship through the biggest storm of all time. The eyes of a father who had given up an easy life to a conviction of compassion. And then he was gone, giving power to another, and another, and another. Even now I can feel his hand shaking mine, the hand of the most powerful person on Earth.
Here in Oregon the voters decided years ago to allow 'vote by mail'. It was a great decision and had increased the participation in democracy considerably in our great state. This morning I voted from the comfort of my home - relaxed with no hurry and time to consider the issues. The election is important for our children and our common future. In other countries people get to vote on the weekend. Why not ours? In other countries people must vote as well as pay taxs. Why not ours? Perhaps one day things will change like election reform where those running can only receive funding from within the state they live in.
Some of you may know that we live here in Oregon on a beautiful little acre valley of wooded land with creeks and ponds and trails. In a few spots the trails are narrow, so narrow that the new roof on Mr. Electric Car cannot quite make it through with the new roof! In one peaceful corner this is a problem. Sitting there in all of their mossing (in western Oregon, even though it rains a bit, things don't really rust much -they grow moss) glory sets two mechanical dinosaurs named The Sub and The Big RV. Now the Sub in another life was a 1959 GMC School Bus from Shaker Heights, Cleveland, Ohio. It was part of my second 'Oddesey' from the East some 33 years ago. A noble beast it made it here to the Bonny Slope and then its Mighty Musty Troder (Trusty Motor) burst in an opera of mechanical chaos, just after it arrived under the Doug Firs. In the mid-80's I converted The Sub (bus spelled backwards) into a lovely little home with a tower on the back, complete with wall paper and stained cedar trim. For years she sheltered me through the uncertainty of the Regan years. It is now been 15 years alone, serving only to store items from an earlier part of my life. Asleep, waiting.
Resting close by is The Big Rv. She started life as a 1971 Travco and was the proud steed of a governor of Pennsylvania when new. No children graced her seats like the Sub and now she is filled with the ghosts of dead politicians. No one really knows what happened until the early days of the new millennium when we found her, via the internet, living in the Appalachian Mountains on a nature preserve. Sad and neglected and full of mice and rotting things we saw the hidden beauty and brought her back from the sunless backwater to Oregon with the notion of taking her to Aticama - the first of the Atomic Age Surf Shacks. Thomas John was an infant and The Big Rv served as his loving crib. A sweet time in life for sure. But, as things have a tendency to do, she was left alone under the the Really Big Willow Tree, near the Sub as we moved to bigger spaces. One stormy wild and windy night over 100 running feet of the giant willow fell upon her - breaking her nearly in half! Torn fiberglass and steel were no match for tons and tons of water logged wood. The Dream of Aticama for her was over. She sat and I tried hard to ignore the cries night after night. A mighty tribute to the men and industry of the 60's and early 70's, she will not die though. Mechanically she is ready, now looking like the Hunchback Of Bonny Slope she waits on an unknown future.
Which brings us to today. The area between The Big Rv and The Sub has collected lots of stuff throughout the years. My memory is foggy and I do not remember what lies under the ivy, down limbs, plastic and debris. It must all be cleaned up to allow passage for Mr. Electric Car and his vital material transportation. Mr. Giant Dumpster is waiting far up the driveway to receive all of the dead stuff clogging the North West Passage. To this end I began cleaning the area yesterday. Ugly. Ugly work. Sad and filled with other types of ghosts - ghosts of things made right here in the USA before we got soft and lazy.
Do not worry. The weather is lovely and spirits are high. And I found my camera, now if I can locate a few batteries for it.......
About this time every year Weng and I get nasty colds. These weather logs come from school and hit us in the head with 'slow it down wither you like it or not' fury. The home project took a couple of hits also - Mr. Old Honda Garden Tractor broke his back (frame totally cracked in half) the other day while hauling gravel from the top of the driveway to the house. Now out to pasture he is in the de-composeaium - gently rusting away with the rest of the mechanical beasts - a victim of too much money to be worth to fix...
So, yesterday, I spent the day re-building Mr. Electric Car!! Ta Da!! WELL, last summer Kawena May and I sortakinda crashed Mr. Electric Car in the garden (jumping terraces) and for months the old wheeled horse has been resting in the shed. No more. I will see if I can find my camera - he is now up and running, complete with a new plywood roof!
We will make the big tests today. It looks like it will be another beautiful fall day here in Oregon.
I am saddened by Tioga Georges loss of his son, David.
Hello Again Readers,
These words come from heavy hands and nearly horizontal thinking. And the tail end of a nasty cold. I have said my piece about David , bless his soul with grace and peace.
But Now, like Tioga George, my thoughts are about anger. Why we have it. George stirred this emotional pot with his words and I have had to let the outside world enter my soul with less protection for the truth than I have ever experienced. Every two years this society we live in goes crazy with the fear and negativity that our twisted election mindset smashes upon us all. I am angry about a society that demonizes the good of man under the guise of mindless profit and the convenience it bestows upon us. I am angry that devotion to selfless causes is coal black faced while the politics of war gobbles up our children's future.
Like all people I have anger but I am not, by nature, an angry man. We here in America, are slaves for the next 3 weeks to the very best lies, distortions, half-truths, and more lies the mind of man has ever thought of. Broadcast to us by way of every sense we possess, designed to influence our most elemental demons into believing without facts. All brought to us by the dark Horsemen Of Fear. Then, the day after the election there is a violent full on stop of this madness and we all wake up and say "What the hell did we just do?" Dazed by the happiness that fear consumes we retreat and swear to heal and be stronger the next time.
I am 57 years old and I was of the first 18 year olds to vote after the federal voting law changed. I have voted in countless elections and there has always been bile and evil waiting for the innocent to give away hard won freedoms. Never, never, has this evil been so crafty. To see what we have been reduced to, I must say, that in this time, this moment, for the first time, I am truly ashamed to be an American. I hope to change my feelings someday when, once again, our democracy is without the man behind the mirror.
Guys my age dropped the ball once to often. Think it through. Talk about it. Vote.
The Sword Of Love cuts in many ways. If we are wise, and often times lucky, we are gifted with Kind Love. Love & Spoken Words go hand in hand - you cant see them, weigh them by the pound, hold them in your hand. Yet nothing in this life is more powerful. Fury, compassion, fear, hope, happiness and terrible, terrible sadness are all burned in our emotions by Love. Love and how we show it to others. How it moves us in our souls and the Truth Of It All deep inside. As humans we all feel it. Need it. Live for it and die for it. We all know someone who has died and we ask ourselves "why this wonderful person?" "It is so unfair - such a good heart leaves when so many black hearts remain to torment our paradise?"
Well, I admit it. Love, today, has left me sad and my passion for the moment has left like water draining into sand. No doubt you have all heard that Tioga George's son, David, has taken his kind heart to a place where it no longer gently touches us. The example he set is clear and full of true human compassion and he will be missed by all - even those who never met the man. It comes when the world takes a moment to remember John Lennon on the anniversary of his birth so now the two of them will forever intertwined in my feelings. I never had dinner with either, they never called me and neither ever held my hand. Yet, both have touched me and for that I am a better man.
In the end, what more can any of us ask from this life?