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Archive for January 2009

Bipartisan government in action…

Good morning, Netizens…

David Horsey takes a long, hard look at bipartisanship this morning, and drew what I believe is a accurate sketch of what has already begun taking place in Washington. It seems that everyone on both sides of the political aisle want to wrap themselves in the robes of being bipartisan, but the proof is in the pudding. The 244 to 188 vote in favor of the economic stimulus package, strictly along Democrat party lines, certainly made Pelosi angry.

According to the New York Times, Pelosi is quoted as saying, “I didn’t come here to be partisan. I didn’t come here to be bipartisan. I came here, as did my colleagues, to be nonpartisan, to work for the American people, to do what is in their interest.”

That doesn’t take the sting out of the vote, where not one Republican voted in favor of the economic stimulus plan put forth by President Barack Obama. It doesn’t take the bite out of Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s comments only days before the vote was taken. It doesn’t bring any of the House or Senate Republicans into the list of those favoring the economic stimulus plan, despite Obama’s attempts to reach out to them.


Quote of the Day — January 31, 2009

I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to
please everybody.

Dr. Bill Cosby (1937 - )

Al Gore to Testify…

Good morning, Netizens…

Whether you ever liked Al Gore or not, whether you believe his message that Global Warming exists or is/is not a threat, you have to admit he does has a certain degree of perseverence. In this morning’s David Horsey cartoon, however, we are allowed to sense yet another advantage most of us might not have noticed.

With Al Gore heading for Capital Hill to testify on Global Warming, thus making all kinds of dire predictions possible, at least for awhile the news media will be ignoring the collapsing national economy. Who said Al Gore didn’t have a purpose anymore?


Quote of the Day — January 30, 2009

The modern rule is that every woman should be her own chaperon.

Amy Vanderbilt (1908 - 1974)

Yourrrrr OUT!!!

Just in from Reuters:

 Illinois senate votes to oust Governor Blagojevich

 … CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Illinois state senate on Thursday convicted Governor Rod Blagojevich of abuse of power, removing him from office amid charges that he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama.

 More than two-thirds of the 59 senators, acting as a jury following the two-term Democrat’s impeachment on January 9, voted to find him guilty, effectively ousting him from office.

 The vote was televised live from the state capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. Blagojevich is the first governor in Illinois history to be impeached and removed from office.

 (Reporting by Andrew Stern and Michael Conlon, Editing by Peter Bohan)

Black Hole of Depression


Layoffs upon Layoffs. 

I’ve never seen anything like it.  First, yesterday’s paper’s headline shouted “One day, 40,000 job cuts” for household names like Caterpillar, Home Depot and Sprint Nextel.  Then the news bulletin alert on my email stated that Mayor Vernor was planning nine layoffs in the building department, because of lack of new homes being built.

Today, Boeing announced 10,000 layoffs for this year and Starbucks added to that number, 6,000.  We are in dire straits, folks.  There is not one family that has escaped this cutting jobs theme.  My son was laid off two weeks ago, in a small branch office where they laid off 30% of their employees.  This morning’s news relayed the tragic effects that layoffs can have – a father/husband killed his wife, their five children, and himself because both he and his wife were laid off this week. 

It’s increasingly worrisome.  Add this to the fact that all of us who are working have watched our savings and 401(k)’s take a big hit and our dreams of retiring are looking grim.  And what must it be like for those who have retired and are living on a fixed income with a dwindling retirement backup plan?

What is the solution?  How can we keep our heads above the panic line?

I am grateful I do have a job, and a job that I enjoy – but what happens when people can’t find a job, when Avista keeps raising its rates, when the economy tanks, and bail outs seem to be only for the big multi-millionaire companies and not for the small families, the homeless, the poor, even the middle class.  What happens to … . me?


Where did the money go?

Good morning, Netizens…

I think perhaps this is one of the David Horsey cartoons upon which we will all agree, when he asks the unspoken question, “Just where the dickens did all that money the government gave the banks go?”

It seems each time I consider the bail out, and the potential for additional money thrown after the bad, I get more irate, little good that it will do me. Here, presented without additional fanfare, are some pretty straightforward rules that I feel should be obeyed before any more funds are dispersed to bail out ailing banks and/or other American institutions:

No more “golden parachutes”. Let the insufferable pricks that run these failing banks do without their bonuses or other special recompense. In fact, let them live on the same economic platform where most Americans are attempting to survive: no bonuses, no health insurance or no other benefits. Let their retirement funds and 401k’s apply to the debts they caused. Can we say minimum wage?

How about full accountability? I was extremely furious the other day watching several bankers testify before the house subcommittee, when they denied any responsibility for their failing banks. If they aren’t responsible, who is?

Cancel the orders for the new Lear jet, if you please. For that matter, not only cancel the Lear, but no more limousine rides, rental cars or other high-end transportation. Let them ride in whatever junkyard cars that seem most fitting, given the amount of bail out money they are requesting.

Of course, if any of these rules were to be applied, it would stand to reason that nobody in their right minds would ever want to be bank Presidents, now would they? Would that be an improvement? I wonder if by trading one greedy corporate type for another, we haven’t simply created a multi-generational problem that still will not be cured. After all, if you’ve seen one corporate-type, you’ve seen them all, no?

What is the solution?


Quote of the Day — January 28, 2009

I’m not going to quit. Why should I quit? This country is worth fighting for.

Hillary Rodham Clinton (1948 - ), Ellen DeGeneres interview, 04-07-08

The Economic Stimulus Plan…

Good morning, Netizens…

If you look back in the history of this Blog you will see a Horsey cartoon where the Wall Street Bail Out was introduced to the members of Congress as a pig with lipstick and a veil. Not to be outdone by his former tongue-in-cheek self, this morning, David Horsey introduces us to Obama’s Economic Stimulus Plan as a caricaturisation of none other than a belly dancer. Oh, my goodness, and what a fine belly dancer she is.

She reminds me of Bethyl (Hula Hips) Carmoody, a ponderous but light on her feet belly dancer whose acquaintance I once made in a far-off casbah of ill repute in Oklahoma one night. Although Hula Hips couldn’t dance worth a fiddle, she sure could rattle the pictures hanging on the wall next door and even down the block when she was feeling particularly boisterously energetic. She ruined the art of belly dancing for me forever. On the average, it took her various layers of adipose tissue two minutes to stop wiggling after she ceased undulating in time to the music.

Of course we could allude some of the same vision of Hula Hips to the current stimulus plan, because the repurcussions of today’s dance might last for decades and decades. Even after you stop playing the music, you have to wait awhile for the pictures to stop rattling.

In David Horsey’s cartoon, while the jackass sitting off to the left (pun intended) is bugging his eyes out at all the visions of pork dancing in his head, the Republican threesome on the right (also pun intended) are not impressed, much less stimulated. Of course, that might be because they didn’t originate the idea first.

So, do you feel particularly stimulated by the Obama Economic Stimulus Plan?


Quote of the Day — January 27, 2009

The scientific name for an animal that doesn’t either run from or fight its enemies is lunch.

Michael Friedman

It’s Off to Aghanistan we go!

Good morning, Netizens…

In today’s David Horsey cartoon, he takes a long look at Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s special representative to Aghanistan and Pakistan. Holbrooke, is a top-ranking diplomat, magazine editor, author, professor, Peace Corps official, and investment banker to name a few of the posts Holbrooke has held.

However, the agenda of the Afghani and Pakistani tribal members, is not entirely clear to most Americans. Hence it may be possible that we are marching into a hornet’s nest, as Horsey’s cartoon suggests.

Are we substituting an unwinnable war in Iraq for one in Afghanistan? One never knows for a certainty about such things, do we?


Revisiting the Chinese New Year…

Good morning Netizens…

Yesterday morning, I wrote a brief overview of the Chinese New Year which has already begun in China today. Perhaps I didn’t state it fully, but there are several versions of how the animals of Chinese astrology came to be, but today, here is yet another, perhaps more-popular version from the Associated Press, which involves the Buddha.

There are several variations of how this came to be, but nearly all include a feast or celebration, some suggesting that it was because Buddha was about to die and invited all the animals in the kingdom to come celebrate his departure. In my rather obscure library, I have a set of books which predate World War II which include, among others, a series of tales of the Chinese zodiac. Imagine my surprise after reading several of these fanciful tales, I encountered the story of the tale of the ox here:

Of course, those of you who “survived” the 60’s no doubt will remember when one of the fundmental books of Chinese literature, the I Ching ( saw a sudden rise in popularity. Some say it never died.

Did you ever read the I Ching? Now that is an interesting question for a Monday morning.


Quote of the Day — January 26, 2009

Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)

Wildlife at EWU

Good afternoon, Netizens…

Here we have a picture forwarded to me by SR’s Ryan Pitts that proves, beyond a question of a doubt, that the only wildlife at Eastern Washington University is not in the various residence halls, pubs and after-hours celebrations. Ostensibly the moose were just looking for something to eat, but rumors persist they were dropping by for a photo-op session. One never knows about these things…

Why were the moose at EWU? There is a free cup of virtual espresso to the best possible explanation.


The Chinese New Year draws near…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

In just a few hours Non-Chinese and Chinese alike around the world will begin celebrating Chinese New Year, the year of the ox. Considered by most ethnic Chinese families to be the most-significant day in China, you might be surprised, as I once was, at the number of Americans who have immigrated here from China who still honor the old traditions of welcoming the New Year.

However, if you suffer from perpetual intellectual curiosity, you need look no further than the history, evolution and deep-seated implications of not only Chinese astrology but the definitions given to each year of their 12-year cycle on the calendar. Each year of the 12-year cycle is named after one of the original 12 animals. Each animal has a different personality and different characteristics. The animal is believed to be the main factor in each person’s life that gives them their traits, success and happiness in their lifetime.

I highly recommend you read the entire entry in the Wikipedia at which gives us a good overview of the entire Chinese system of astrology. If you also perform a search for “Chinese Astrology” you will end up perhaps in deeper intellectual waters than perhaps you might be willing to explore. Remember the words of the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tse, who once wrote simply, “All diligence is rewarded.”

In fact, if you include a brief study of the five elements or even the inner animals Chinese astrologers use to determine your fates, you might find yourself getting a migraine headache. Otherwise you might, as I have always done, felt mystified and dazzled somewhat by the fact that a full three quarters of the world’s population pay homage to this ancient system that dates back to before 2935 BC. Chinese astrology and philosophy are both incredibly complex systems which, despite their many sharp differences between them and Western thought, are remarkably accurate.


Quote of the Day — January 25, 2009

I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We’ve created life in our own image.

Stephen Hawking (1942 - ) Engineer

Changing trends in fashion…

Good morning, Netizens…

When I was a young man just beginning the transition toward adulthood, I occasionally attended an African American church, primarily because of the incredibly-powerful oratory of their pastor, the late Reverend Bill Saugus. Reverend Saugus had the ability, using the inflection and volume of his voice, to bring members of his congregation right down front and center before Satan. After all, he stated on numerous occasions, we are a pretty dismal bunch, full of iniquity and sin, and he set about describing all of our collective sins in intimate detail each Sunday.

I will never forget his flowing, abundantly rich oratory as he described how utterly depraved with sin we are, and how the Devil is no further away than that bottle, that illicit relationship or turning a blind eye to stealing from your neighbors. He always cast knowing looks around the congregation, as if picking out certain individuals who might be committing transgressions as he spoke.

However, what stands out taller in my memory, perhaps, than his raging against Satan’s power, was the implausible celebration of light, color, texture and size that took place among his female parishioners on most holidays, but especially Easter Sunday. Plumes, jewels, feathers, boas, ribbons and lace adorned women’s hats as never before on Easter Sunday. Sitting there, in my back-row pew, I was furthermore amused as most of the women who truly had gone off the edge with their headgear were covertly looking around the other members of the congregation, assessing and measuring each other with a critical eye.

I was reminded of that time long ago during the Inauguration of President Barack Obama when the “Queen of Soul”, Aretha Franklin nearly stole the entire show with her hat. Discerning women desirous of obtaining a copy of Aretha Franklin’s incredible bejewled hat have no further to look than on Woodward Avenue in far-off Detroit, Michigan. However, be sure to bring your wallet, as purchasing a replica of Aretha Franklin’s outstanding hat will cost you upwards of $500.

Those are, according to one of my sources, “…black women’s hats” and that if I truly want to see one of these magnficent pieces of adornment now, all I have to do is go to The Golden Corral restaurant on Easter Sunday morning.

Do modern-day white women wear such incredible hats? I don’t know. What I do know is that the Queen of Soul did her heritage one better at the Inauguration.


You haven’t seen anything yet?

Good morning, Netizens…

In this morning’s David Horsey political cartoon, David Horsey’s wit has been supplanted with some wisdom. Despite the liberties with which he has created a caricature of President Obama attired as General George Washington at Valley Forge, there is some profound wisdom in what the cartoon implies.

Feeling the pinch as your once-abundant 401k has steadily shriveled up to the size of a pencil lead? What? You have forgotten how small that is? Tired of reading how our country is steadily losing more and more jobs but grateful it is happening somewhere else, not in our back yard? Hell, you still go to work each day, don’t you? Do you tire of reading about the rising number of the homeless, feeling reassured that could never happen to you? Do you ever worry as yet another bank has failed, leaving economic chaos in its wake? Is the Dow Jones driving you the poorhouse instead of into prosperity?

On the other hand, now that you have recovered from your ecstatic euphoria from watching the Obama Inauguration and the festivities that followed, it may be getting colder than we might admit.

Yes, as we come tap-dancing back from our collective memories of the various mountaintop experiences, the seemingly-inexhaustible Presidential Inauguration celebrations that rambled gaily across Washington DC, while we sat on the edge of a stygian wind-blasted plain of economic danger, deprivation and need, we might have stumbled across another vision.

Out of the darkness and chilling cold, a harbinger of the past rises up from the ground and shakes a finger in our faces, admonishing us all to beware. It is time to face reality because we haven’t seen anything yet. Dress warmly. It may get cold.


Quote of the Day — January 24, 2009

He not busy being born is busy dying.

Bob Dylan (1941 - )

Circle the wagons!

Good morning Netizens…

After a wealth of politics and opinion regarding our new President, while I was cruising the used car lot of news in the paper online this morning, a story rose up and bit me where I live.

Say it isn’t so!

Eighty-one year old actor Peter Falk, according to the news, has Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and although he isn’t even in the grave, his family are already circling the wagons trying to fight for the right to be conservators of his personal affairs. His adopted daughter, a private investigator, Catherine Falk, applied last month to be named conservator over her father’s affairs. Falk’s wife of 32 years, Shera Falk, is having none of the the deal, and is opposing any such arrangement in court.

Aren’t most of us fortunate in that, if we were to acquire Alzheimer’s, none of our post-recession estates would have enough for our kids to fight over?

Although most readers will recall Peter Falk as the moth-eaten deliberately-bumbling detective on the TV Columbo series, a visit to will list many of his other credits and awards, not to mention Falk possesses a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University and is a Certified Public Accountant, f’gosh sakes.


Quote of the Day — January 23, 2009

There are few nudities so objectionable as the naked truth.

Agnes Repplier (1855 - 1950)

Homeless agency fires Illinois first lady


“The wife of impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was fired from her $100,000-a-year job as a Chicago homeless agency’s chief fundraiser.  Patti Blagojevich is not accused of wrongdoing and has not spoken publicly since her husband’s arrest… .”

Does this make sense to you, that a homeless shelter would pay someone $100,000 a year to raise funds for the homeless shelter???


Quote of the Day — January 22, 2009

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.

Senator Everett Dirksen (1896 - 1969)

In the scope of Time…

Good morning, Netizens…

Perhaps this quote, from Obama’s Inaugural Speech yesterday, spoke the loudest to me personally, and obviously this morning, it also spoke to David Horsey.

For we are a young nation, and as such, we have a great deal to learn about governance, and dedication to our own beliefs. Without raining on the parade of his predecessor, Barack Obama’s speech served many purposes, including those of the world who consider themselves to be our enemies. At his finest moment, however, he sought and I believe has captured the essence of who we are as a nation, and thus brought us back to where we began.

Nobody ever said he wasn’t eloquent, or a great speech writer. Did Obama’s speech speak to you, and if so, how and where?


Obama’s Inauguration Speech Text

Good afternoon, Netizens…

Here, from the news wires is the entire text of Obama’s Inauguration Speech:

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

Could he be the One?

Good morning, Netizens…

Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009 – unbounded questions persist.

Is he the One?

The abiding question, that most-elusive of all questions has lingered in the corners of my mind since his powerful speech delivered at the Democratic National Convention, and even in the face of nation-wide jubilation that is sweeping the country from shore to shore, border, to border, despite the mass hysteria that is sweeping the national news media, the question remains unanswered.

I submit we as a nation are facing a time of imponderable challenges and threats never before seen in our united history as a people. Our economy, both national and international, are in the tank, and no end in sight. We are fighting wars on two fronts around the world, and threats abound in other places. We have more people unemployed or under-employed than at any time in our history. The disparity between the “haves” and the “have-nots” has steadily been increasing, with the result that more and more Americans are disenfranchised from what is supposed to be the most open democratic system of governance in the world. The call has gone forth for a leader, someone who can unite our great country, to provide us and our generations that will follow a robust economy, with equal opportunities for everyone, and the voters have spoken.

Hail to the Chief

Barak Obama will officially become the President of the United States on January 20, 2009.  It is probably the first inauguration in my lifetime that I have been keenly interested in and excited about.  It’s like Christmas, New Years, wedding days, and birthdays all rolled into one.  It is a phenomenally historical event.  All this mainly because he is black.  I write that with a little ill-ease.  Is it racist to think this is a special occasion because of the color of one’s skin?  At any rate, it is an awesome time.  It is always hoped that the United States is, well, united, in its diversity, in its people, in its two parties.  We are entering a time of great opportunity for change.  As in inaugurations in the past, we are always stepping forward on new ground, a blank page before us to right wrongs, and set lofty goals, and go onward to the future with dreams, hopes, prayers, wishes.  Mr. Obama speaks of change with a positive force.  And change is what we desperately crave.  Now is the time to open the door to the future and leave past what is past.  May this presidency fulfill those dreams and aspirations that every single president has had before him – may this presidency be a resounding leap to a positive future.  May all the best of all the presidencies behind him, be the support and springboard for a future of opportunity and excellence.  Hail to the Chief, President Barak Obama, and God bless the United States of America.

Nonsequitor’s cartoon comment…

Good morning, Netizens…

Per a request, here is this morning’s Nonsequitor cartoon in direct response (almost in my opinion) to David Horsey’s Cartoon I posted earlier. Comments, anyone?



Horsey’s take on Inauguration Day…

Good morning, Netizens…

David Horsey is in Washington, D.C. to observe and comment upon the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama and, as in so many of the times, he posted this cartoon this morning, which seems to capture and perhaps typify the mood of the country.

With an estimated 2 million people in Washington to celebrate Obama’s inauguration, it will be the biggest, most-celebrated event in most of our lifetimes. While the dominant mood across the country appears to be jubilant optimism, Horsey’s cartoon seems to imply relief, more than anything else, and I concur. It is time to put the Bush Administration behind us, to move forward into uncharted territory, and for a time, celebrate history unfolding before our eyes.


Quote of the Day — January 20, 2009

Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn’t grow up can be vice president. Johnny Carson (1925 - 2005)

Martin Luther King Day 2009

Good morning, Netizens…

Today is Martin Luther King Day, and it seems somehow fit and proper that we should carefully and meticulously consider what David Horsey has to say on the issue this morning about the parallels between Dr. King and President-Elect Barack Obama.

They are not the same and yet similar in how they have trod the path of life. However, before we begin casting Obama as the living embodiment of Dr. King, perhaps we should wait and see what he actually does as President, should we not? Optimism, yet caution, appears to be what David Horsey is suggesting should be our course with his cartoon this morning.

Moreover, while we stand on the precipice of what is to be a historical time in history, and Lord knows we need all the impetuous optimism and hope we can muster in these tough times, we should be fully cognizant of the tremendous sacrifices, including those by Dr. Martin Luther King, that have allowed us to stand here today.


Quote of the Day — January 19, 2009

Good morning, Netizens…

Each day I allow a program to select a quote of the day, one which has worked with unfathomable success for nearly a year. This morning, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, I have manually selected one of my favorite quotations from him, instead.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963


Quote of the Day — January 17, 2009

You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. Charles Austin Beard (1874 - 1948)


Good morning, Netizens…

It was so shocking to some that Circuit City, a major purveyor of high-tech gadgets in Spokane has fallen from bankruptcy to liquidation. Circuit City became the largest retailer to fall victim to the expanding financial crisis Friday, announcing it will shut down its remaining 567 U.S. stores at the cost of 34,000 more jobs after failing to sell the business. What is the impact on Spokane?

The stores will close, and all merchandise that was originally slated to be sold will be handed off to a variety of liquidation companies beginning perhaps as early as today.. According to the AP news wire, Circuit City said in court papers it has appointed Great American Group LLC, Hudson Capital Partners LLC, SB Capital Group LLC and Tiger Capital Group LLC as liquidators. What this means is that products which you could have purchased last month for a given price will be available next month at substantially-discounted prices.

This is, according to most analysts, the fallout from one of the worst Christmas shopping seasons in recent American history. This is yet another in a long string of high-profile bankruptcies including Mervyns, Linens and Things and Gottschalks Inc., not to mention various other national chains that have shuttered their doors.

There is a lot of information about the Circuit City liquidation at including advance notice of sales which are due to take place as early as today.

It is a sad, sad time for our national economy when one of the largest chains have closed. It does not bode well for the others.


Outrageous demeanor in high places…

Good morning, Netizens…

Oh, how the once-mighty have fallen department. A British judge has sentenced Boy George to 15 months in prison after being convicted of falsely imprisoning a male escort by handcuffing him to a wall in a London apartment. British Judge David Radford said the 47-year-old former Culture Club frontman, whose real name is George O’Dowd, was guilty of “gratuitous violence.”

In 2006, Boy George — whose pop band’s hits included “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and “Karma Chameleon” — had been convicted in December of handcuffing Norwegian escort Audun Carlsen to a wall hook at his East London apartment. During the trial, prosecutors said Carlsen was held by O’Dowd for under an hour.

The singer denied the charge, saying he had restrained Carlsen with handcuffs while trying to figure out if a computer had been tampered with. Carlsen, 29, said O’Dowd swung at him with a metal chain as he ran from the apartment after a naked photo shoot.

In case you had forgotten since the Culture Club’s heydays of the 80’s , Boy George was well-known for his flamboyant makeup and outfits. Now we can add outrageous behavior to the list of his attributes.

Does that fit the bill from your point of view?


Andrew Wyeth dead at age 91…

Good morning, Netizens…

Andrew Wyeth, an American painter, died in his sleep early this morning at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Chadds Ford, according to the Associated Press. The son of an American book illustrator and artist, N.C. Wyeth, gained wealth, popularity and considerable acclaim for his poignant, moving water color paintings of Maine and Pennsylvania throughout his life.

His works have not only delighted audiences wherever they have been put on display, but in 2007 he won numerous honorary degrees. He received the 2007 National Medal of Arts. In 1963, Andrew Wyeth became the first painter to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1977, he became the first American artist since John Singer Sargent elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts. In 1980, Wyeth became the first living American artist to be elected to Britain’s Royal Academy. In 1987 Wyeth received a D.F.A. from Bates College. On November 9, 1988, Wyeth received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States legislature.

A quite excellent history of one of his most-famous portraits, Christina’s World, can be found here as it explains the story behind the painting, always a must when it comes to Wyeth’s art.

When four-time Pulitzer Prize Winning poet Robert Frost passed away in 1963, I felt as if I had lost literary guide, who so wonderfully expressed a part of history I had not seen. Now this morning, Andrew Wyeth is standing on the other side of the veil with Frost, his hand poised over a blank tempura canvas but will paint no more.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Wyeth. Your incomparable artistry will live on forever.


A certifiable hero in some quarters…

Good morning, Netizens…

Let us all stand and pay tribute to this man, Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger III, a 57 year-old former fighter pilot from Danville, California who, until yesterday afternoon, was just an anonymous pilot for US Airlines. The news wires are still sizzling after yesterday’s forced ditching of US Airlines Flight 1549 into the frigid Hudson River after what is described as a flock of birds flew into both jet engines intakes, disintegrating the jet engines and bringing the plane down.

Lesser men, including some fighter pilots, one presumes, probably would have been found wanting in this situation, but Captain Sullenberger brought his jet airliner down with no loss of life. He pancaked the jet into the river and then made certain all the passengers got out of the plane safely.

The story in the New York Times states that Sullenberg is a certified glider pilot. Of course, yesterday he was turning an Airbus A320 into a glider, something that one normally would never dream of doing. How did he do it? One presumes very carefully.

His consummate skill, the years of experience he possesses and his pilot’s instincts, are one thing, but the fact that dead-stick landings such as Sullenberger completed safely yesterday afternoon, defy the odds against survival. The statistics against surviving in an aircraft after a bird strike strongly go against you walking away to face another day. If you enter the water with the nose of the aircraft in an attitude-down position, the plane can disintegrate when it hits the water. The pilot brought the plane in nose-up, and thus made himself a place in history.

All the news media seem to agree, that Captain Sullenberger did a superlative job of knowing how to safely bring his plane down, without loss of human life, and then, once everyone was safely taken out of the plane, he tried to appear nonplussed at why so many were singing his praises.

Can we state he was a hero? For the passengers onboard Flight 1549 he certainly was. Now watch the NTSB ( try to place the blame for yesterday’s near-brush with disaster on “pilot error”. Stranger things have happened before.


Quote of the Day — January 16, 2009

Man is asked to make of himself what he is supposed to become to fulfill his destiny. Paul Tillich (1886 - 1965) Theologian, professor and philosopher

Clean up the mess!

Good morning, Netizens…

In this SR photograph, Spokane police Officer Mike McCasland waits for a tow truck to free a truck jackknifed on a snow berm this week at Riverside Avenue and Madison Street. What is this? We haven’t had any snow this week to speak of, and still there are berms in downtown Spokane? As of Monday there were.

Oh, Queen Mary, you had better put some fire beneath the seats of the Public Works Department or else you will join the various others who have been one-term Mayors. This is a travesty, a joke, some kind of flim-flam when your policy of berm removal consists of “let’s wait until it melts”.


Morning Reverie — January 15, 2009

Good morning, Netizens…

Sometime when the yardarm leans approximately in the direction of 9:00 AM or so, my long-time friend Mhibbs and I are meeting for breakfast at a place known to us as The Hilltop Cafe (Annie’s) on North Nevada at the curve. We have been tending this ritual, of having breakfast together, for several years, over a decade if you include various other times we have met, and like so many other friendships that have gone on before this time, we always reminisce over what books we have read, our travels throughout the Inland Northwest, and the world events as they unfold around us. We always have good things to discuss.

Our meeting fits me well, like a suit that is so old the cloth is polished with use, with lots of pieces of debris in the pockets when you retrieve it from the closet where it has been hanging for years untended, unworn. Yet, when I fit breakfast with Mhibbs into my aggressive and sometimes overwhelming schedule, it is like sliding into that old memory-filled suit coat again, as if I had never stopped really wearing it. I slide my arms into the sleeves of friendship, and reaching deeply into the pocket filled with memories that I have held and cherished for years, and breathing deeply, I once more travel down a road less-traveled but so deeply a part of my past.

What is friendship, I ask myself this morning in my reverie. What is it that so binds the souls of people together to where despite being absent from one another, they are inseparable?

Decades ago I used to spend a great deal of time sitting on the park benches of Thompkins Square Park in the East Village of New York, and amid the chaos of the heroin dealers, homeless Hippies and various other local empoverished residents, I studied the elderly chess players who gathered there each morning, and was spellbound with the cross-section of society, the various languages I heard and the wealth of the cultures that were a daily part of my life during that brief moment in time.

Perhaps the fondest memories I have of those days living on Saint Marks Place immediately adjacent to the park, were the septuagenarians who sat quietly beneath the huge elm trees in the park in summer, as friends often do, talking often of old times, of times and places I had never gathered into my wealth of experiences. I recall faded old men with Concentration Camp numbers visibly tattooed on their arms, who spoke of Germanic history as if it happened just the day before, and a panoply of horrors of which I had little actual knowledge. Yet it was peaceful there beneath the trees, a solace from my fractured childhood and the horror of their past , and yet it became an education about friendship.

It was a time of healing, and through these old friends sitting in summer’s splendor in a ten acre park on rustic park benches, I learned of friendship that surpasses all. So thus occasionally, as I sit with Mhibbs eating an excellent breakfast, I remember those times and am proud to say yes, I have a good friend, with whom we speak of the past as if it were yesterday. 


Quote of the Day — January 16, 2009

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.

e e cummings (1894 - 1962)

Guess what’s for dinner???

Good morning, Netizens…

If I had not read about this on the McClatchy News Service, I probably would not have believed it, and prior to actually tasting it, I tended to be somewhat skeptical. However, according to the article located here raccoon meat is becoming a source of food that is highly desirable. Plus if you think I am really whacked out, you might go here,1-0,raccoon,FF.html and read some of the recipes for preparing our ring-tailed furry friends for dinner.

If you do even a marginal search for raccoon meat recipes, it seems there are lots of variations on ways to prepare a healthy meal from raccoon meat. Yes, I did say healthy meals. It originally appears in the 1931 edition of The Joy of Cooking which is, incredibly enough, available from various locations near the back door of the Internet.

It seems since life was much simpler back then, butchering and preparing raccoon meat was quite popular. The McClatchy piece even gives you a brief overview of how to prepare the meat properly, which based upon my experience, is quite a bit more involved than preparing beef or pork. However, it is simply delicious.

For decades I had heard similarly negative comments about preparing and eating armadillo which, after tasting it the first time, I became quite the aficionado of ways to prepare and serve the most-pesky varmint in Texas and other parts of the South. It is not nearly so cute and cuddly as a raccoon, but when properly prepared is once again simply delightful. Plus you are helping pest control in the State of Texas. Look at it that way.

According to several sources, the economy may be the reason for the rising interest in raccoon meat. When times are hard, people historically have sought out ways to eat things which they can hunt or trap, rather than purchase from a store. Are we coming to this again?

Raccoon: the other dark meat. If times get hard enough, we might even hear more about this.


Quote of the Day — January 14, 2009

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950) Everybody’s Political What’s What? (1944) ch. 30

Quote of the Day — January 13, 2009

The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognize the opportunity. John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) Speech in Indianapolis, April 12, 1959

Rocket launcher in a school yard?

Good morning Netizens…

This is pretty much a self-explanatory link sent to me by Ron the Cop.

It shows a Hamas rocket launcher which was set up in a school yard being destroyed by Israeli counter-fire. Ostensibly the persons loading the rocket launcher were killed or injured when the rocket launcher was destroyed.

One would guess that school classes were canceled for the day, if they were being held to begin with. I have a lot of problems with this video, but then I have a lot of problems with both sides in the conflict in Gaza. Anyone wanting to comment on this?


Quote of the Day — January 12, 2009

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it. Soren Kierkegaard(1813 - 1855)

At the end of a long day…

Good evening Netizens…

Tonight as I tiredly limped across the floor of the Virtual Ballroom, it seemed to be all I could do to return the salute of the ghostly doorman standing just inside the doorway only moments earlier. Today I set a record of sorts at Community Comment, because it was the first and only day since its inception that I have been absent without official leave. Something hideous came up, a technical issue which required not only my absolute attention to detail, but also meant I was unable to assume my normal seat at the Virtual Espresso Bar since the day it first opened its magic espresso spigots nearly a year ago.

I sat down in my accustomed seat with a relieved sigh, for although there was a time many years ago when I could work a fifteen hour day and still have sufficient energy to dance all night (well maybe some of the night) but today, at an age that is admittedly older than dirt, I am relieved to be sitting in my accustomed place, my work completed, my feet resting , my mind unwinding as I listen gratefully to the Ghostly Orchestra on the other side of the Ballroom playing some antique piece of jazz featuring the ghosts of some of the greatest sidemen and women in jazz history.

The barrista, a Ghost of one of my ultimate lifetime heroes, Buckminster Fuller, sidles up to me in front of the bar and with a quizzical look, slides a cup of the custom espresso of the day before me.

“It has no name, Sir,” he intones gently. “I know that it is traditional among the various ghosts who have served as baristas here to come up with unique or perhaps even touching names for the brew of the day, but given your exhausted mien, and the lateness of the hour, I think its soothing nature requires no appellation save to say it will relax you and allow you to achieve a deep and fulfilling rest.”

“I once used to work as you have done today”, he continued, “and its reward was when each day was done, I had achieved something, for anything was better than listening to the hollow sounds of ambivalence or boredom dripping into my empty consciousness.”

It was true, at my age each day seems to be a new achievement, I thought momentarily to myself, as I delicately sipped the relaxing brew, for there are some in life who are satisfied to premature obsolescence or customary frivolous ways, but I have always wanted more.

As I sit, preparing to return home for the night, I see I have achieved some of what I sought, for the Virtual Ballroom is alive and harmonious swaying to the songs from the stars, and there is, here and there, conversations which fulfills my everyday dreams are taking place.

From the heart of the Virtual Ballroom, my friends, it is time for me to rest. May yours be as soothing and fulfilling as you could ever ask them to be.


Two Rivers to close for winter…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

According to tribal authorites representing The Spokane Band of Indians, the Two Rivers Casino near Davenport, Washington will be closing for the winter. Business is down, and with the incredibly-impassable road conditions that have taken place most of the winter, it was decided that they would simply shut down and thus complete some necessary renovations. One tribal member, when contacted at his Wellpinit home, stated, “Most of their employees couldn’t even get to work there for awhile.”

It is anticipated that they will reopen in the Spring.


Picture of the Day 01/11/2009

Good morning, Netizens…

A boy is pulled through a field on a sled in Spencer Township, Ohio. A winter storm dumped more snow and freezing rain across most of Ohio on Saturday, grounding flights out of the region and causing vehicles to spin out of control on slick roads.

What so attracted my attention to this photo is that having grown up around farms for several decades, unless my eyes are failing me, the boy is being towed behind an old-fashioned manure spreader. If you look closely at the picture you can see the tines poking up at the rear.

Now for the benefit of those of you who never have been around manure spreaders and/or farming, we once used them to fertilize the soil preparatory or just after planting the crops. However, they are now largely banned by the EPA and various other government interests because they create a bad smell. Now farmers largely use chemicals and other odorless means of fertilization.

And on that note, here is your Wild Card.


It’s Good News Week…

Good morning, Netizens…

It’s good news week,
Someone’s dropped a bomb somewhere,
Contaminating atmosphere
And blackening the sky,
It’s good news week,
Someones found a way to give,
The rotting dead a will to live,
Go on and never die.

Have you heard the news?
What did it say?
Who’s won that race?
What’s the weather like today?

(Original Lyrics by Hedgehoppers Anonymous in 1965)

Gaza medical officials say about 850 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip in the 16 days since Israel’s military offensive began. Israeli sources have unofficially stated that they will continue the slaughter until there are no more Palestinians left to launch rockets in their direction. That or until someone bombs Iran, in which case all deals for humanity may be off, but perhaps not.

The Golden Globes awards will take off tonight at 5:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, covered by NBC and MS-NBC in sumptuous detail. I guess that beats watching the NFL Playoffs, depending upon which golden globes attracts one’s interests, either prurient or otherwise. Do you have prurient interests? Nah, I didn’t think so. If you’ve seen one set of Golden Globes, you’ve seen them all, haven’t you?

Speaking in dire tones of the potential closure of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Seattle Times has posted an article that bears close scrutiny because it states, in part, “Don’t count on bloggers or talk radio to fill the gap”, said former state Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge, another committee leader: “They mostly talk about what’s in the newspapers.” I would hope the people in this Blog talk about everything including some things not in the paper.

It’s 6:38 in the morning. What’s the weather like today? I don’t know. (Dave opens his window overlooking the Virtual Ballroom entrance) It’s dark. It’s still very dark outside. Since I cannot see the stars or moon, I think it is cloudy. That’s about as good a weather forecast as you get from the talking heads on television who, it seems, never look at the skies anymore, especially on weekends.


Aboard the USS George H. W. Bush…

Good morning, Netizens…

In this morning’s picture of the day, President George W. Bush embraces his dad, George H. W. Bush at the commissioning ceremony for the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN77), a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in Norfolk, Va. Isn’t it grand, having a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier named after your dad during a time when most of the country is sliding down the chute toward bankruptcy?

What is equally interesting from a strategy point of view is that according to Poynter Online ( at least $100,000 of the money that went into furnishing the carrier was paid for by Hearst Corporation, citing a story from the Virginnian-Pilot. ( According to the story, while the carrier George H.W. Bush may be built with taxpayer money, its commissioning and amenities are a privately funded affair, and the entire affair smells like a good scheme on the part of George W. Bush to install certain amenities aboard the ship that never would pass muster with the U.S. Navy.

The Hearst Corporation, of course, gave notice to the employees of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer yesterday that their jobs are in peril, and that if no one can be found to buy the newspaper, a major downsizing, including the possible cessation as as a print newspaper might take place in 60 days. 

Of course, the news of this “contribution” by Hearst Corporation to the USS George H.W. Bush has not appeared in the mainstream news media as of this morning. I wonder if that will change, over time? I wonder what the employees of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer would say if they read about this? 



When it is time to say Goodbye…

Good morning, Netizens…

In my so-called quiet time this morning, I have been contemplating the potential sale or closure of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, among the many other noble newspapers that are currently up for grabs nationwide. Once again, David Horsey has struck a pose with elegant discernment, perhaps even issuing the strident warning that the Founding Fathers of this great country intended for us to have a strong Fourth Estate to counterbalance government. If that is what they intended, what is going on?

Granted, the traditional business model of the printed American newspaper as we have known it to be for most of our lives, is in jeopardy. The combined costs necessary to place a hard copy newspaper on our front steps each day has simply overwhelmed the revenue it generates in an economy that has descended into a stygian wasteland under the George Bush presidency. More and more once-grand voices of journalism in print have fallen sadly silent as massive layoffs have become the order of the day, even at our own beloved Spokesman-Review. Some of the greatest newspapers in the United States are dying as we speak. If he were alive, even San Francisco’s late-great Herb Caen could face a layoff notice in this economic climate and you can count me as one of his true disciples.

When such dire events occur, people by human nature want to point a finger at someone to blame simply because, I believe, it is easier to appoint blame than it is to understand and rectify the underlying problems. Although true financial figures are in short supply, it does seem plausible that the business model of the online newspaper may not only supplant the revenue of traditional printed newspapers, but allow them to survive to face better financial times. Perhaps that business model, based upon online revenues may even become the standard of the future. Nobody knows for certain.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich impeached…

The Illinois House voted overwhelmingly Friday to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich. This didn’t come as a shock to most. Do you think he should be tossed for abuse of power?


Yellowstone about to blow?

Good morning, Netizens…

Scientists are closely monitoring a series of micro-quakes deep beneath Lake Yellowstone in Yellowstone Park. Hundreds of small earthquakes at Yellowstone National Park in recent weeks serves as a not-too-subtle reminder that beneath the famous geysers and photogenic landscape one of the world’s biggest volcanoes has been slumbering for eons. It erupted several times before man walked the earth, hurling ash as far as the Eastern Seaboard.

The U.S. Geological Survey ( and the National Park Service both have issued press releases stating that no evacuations have been ordered, and there is no great cause for concern.

Porn Industry bailout—another view…

Good morning, Netizens…

Since we have the face of the porn industry itself, Hustler’s Larry Flynt, gracing the pages of Community Comment, but before anyone faints dead away, let us allow David Horsey to weigh in, if you please. I think we should have a show of hands of every member of government who regularly invests in pornography. (Looking at the chagrin on all the faces of our elected representatives and former representatives) Surprise surprise!

The only reason you see so many hands is because this is the Virtual Ballroom, and sometimes the ghosts of the ballroom get ecstatically involved in politics, sometimes with predictable results.

So the implications of this David Horsey cartoon are not that absurd at all.


Porn industry bailout?

Good morning, Netizens…

Oh, poor Larry Flynt…

Another less-savory industry is asking for federal assistance as the global recession continues to wax up its skis for the downward slope. Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis said Wednesday they will request that Congress allocate $5 billion for a bailout of the adult entertainment industry.

I had to stop and think about this for awhile. I was completely flabbergasted by the mere thought that our government, that sweet-smelling government we know and love, would stoop to allocating billions for an industry that is nearly as repugnant and icky as government itself. In fact, come to think of it, if you took the porn industry tax income out of government, how much government would we have left?

That begs another question: why do they need a multi-billion dollar bailout? Pornographic DVD sales are down, although both proponents of the porn bailout admit readily that web sales of porn are through the roof. But the proponents of the porn bailout state emphatically our nation is in need. “People are too depressed to be sexually active,” Flynt said in the statement. “This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex.”

Now if you had a choice between a brand-new car or a like-valued supply of pornographic DVD’s, which would you pick?


Quote of the Day — January 9, 2009

We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark. Whoopi Goldberg

A Warning to Hamas…

Good morning, Netizens…

In this morning’s David Horsey cartoon we see a hidden bit of truth. If you walk up to the biggest bully in the playground and punch him in the mouth, naturally he will hit you back with predictable results. You will end up on your back on the ground, and hardly anyone will fault the bully.

Hamas has been launching missiles at Israel for longer time than Israel has been responding. However, now that Israel has begun responding to the Hamas missiles raining down on their cities, it seems popular in some corners of the press to blame them for the resuilting chaos in Palestine. 

The moral of the story is don’t pick fights you cannot win.


Death of a homeless person in Spokane

Good morning, Netizens…

In a poignant story ( covered by the morning news in the Spokesman-Review relating to the death of Kim Steel, a homeless woman in Spokane, they overlooked a few minor details, most of which probably is covered by the rights of the deceased to medical privacy. However, I thought enough of the story of the story, and the demise of one of Spokane’s many homeless, that I would mildly speculate about the cause of her last days on Earth.

Steel, a woman with a long tortured history of substance and alcohol abuse, died of an apparent heart attack, although what remains entirely unclear is how or when that was determined.

Two days after Christmas, Steel complained of chest pain and was transported to the hospital by ambulance. At an unnamed hospital, she was X-rayed, given painkillers and sent home. One day later, she awoke with more pain which the painkillers would not touch, and once again was transported to the unnamed hospital. She died early that afternoon of a heart attack.

Having had three heart attacks, I can state with certainty that if Steel had insurance, her diagnosis during the first visit at the hospital, would have disclosed the condition(s) that led to her heart attack and ultimately, her death. Modern medicine has the capability, with proper insurance coverage of course, to detect even minor anomalies in the human heart long before a heart attack occurs.

Of course we will never know exactly how the heart attack took place, nor the medical diagnosis during her first visit.

Instead of the coroner’s report listing her cause of death as a heart attack, perhaps a more-honest assertion would be that Kim Steel died of homelessness coupled with long-term substance abuse, perhaps even an incomplete medical diagnosis, but her being homeless and poor killed her just as certainly as anything else.

With the continuing downward slide off the edge of the national economy, with more and more people either falling into homelessness and/or poverty, it seems a certainty that she will not be the last person to die thus, however, it doesn’t make it right.


Words out of the mouth of babes…

Good morning, Netizens…

Here’s a funny story passed onto me that I had not heard before. The late Art Linkletter used to get good mileage telling silly things that kids were quoted as saying, and I think this one certain applies.

Little Tony was 7 years old and was staying with his grandmother for a few days.He’d been playing outside with the other kids for a while when he came into the house and asked her:’Grandma, what’s that called when two people sleep in the same room and one is on top of the other?’She was a little taken aback, but she decided to tell him the truth. ‘It’s called sex, darling.’Little Tony said, ‘Oh, OK,’ and went back outside to play with the other kids. A few minutes later he came back in and said angrily, ‘Grandma, it isn’t called sex.    It’s called Bunk Beds. And Jimmy’s mom wants to talk to you.’


Quote of the Day — January 8, 2009

I think on-stage nudity is disgusting, shameful and damaging to all things American. But if I were 22 with a great body, it would be artistic, tasteful, patriotic and a progressive religious experience. Shelley Winters (1922 - 2006)

Good words from bad…

Good morning, Netizens…

The news wires are having a feeding frenzy over the snow in Spokane, ranging from the stories of schools being cancelled (again!), traffic snarled and mail and garbage collection not running as expected, if at all. Roofs are collapsing, streets are clogged with snow berms, ice and slush and locals are starting to refer to this as Sno-maggon. Granted, despite an overnight warming trend that is forecast to last another 24 hours, the streets are still in a shambles, schools are still closed and people are struggling simply to survive this winter.

The only positive spin the news wires seemed to be able to put on our plight is that at the Chocolate Apothecary at The Flour Mill (free plug courtesy of the AP news wire) is that the owner and employees are surrounded with chocolate, and hence everything is good there.

What is unfortunate is that the news wire spent a lot of time discussing the man who took a shot at a private plow operator, never mentioning the frustration and sense of abandonment by the government that so many of our citizens feel.

On the lighter side, I hear the children laughing as they take turns sliding down the hills, I notice the old-timers still holding forth at Franky Doodles, a nearby restaurant and gathering-place, and I have heard the sounds of laughter floating across the snow berms that are taller than Michael Jordan in some places. In the words of one of these frequent gatherers, the only thing that has truly changed is that we have substituted one of the worst snow emergencies in Spokane history for a flood warning, as the huge snow pack begins melting down.

We have all been stuck at one time or another, have lived with the fear for our roofs caving in, have shoveled and shoveled until we truly hate snow as never before, and yet, here and there, occasionally if you listen to the voices, you will hear levity, laughter and a sense that the worst is over. Maybe.

Say, do any of you have a fishing pole? As the melt down begins, there is a major pond that has formed up in front of my house. Trying desperately to maintain a sense of levity about all this, I am considering seeding the pond with trout and charging admission for people to come fish the Pond d’Laird.

Got any good tales to tell? Whisper them in my ear. Nobody else will hear.


Quote of the Day — January 7, 2009

Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men. Kin Hubbard (1868 - 1930)

Puffed Childhood

Puffed Childhood

Cindy Hval’s article (Jot it down) instantly brought back one of many, many happy memories of my children when they were little. We spent endless nights before bedtime all curled up in one rocker while I read to them. I still have that rocker.

When I look back, I see rows and rows of days where we were either in that chair or all three cuddled up on the couch, one on either side of me. They were precious moments where we “bonded” – where we formed a tight circle of love and affection – just the three of us. I miss those days of cuddling. They haven’t faded completely out of view for just this last Christmas we were all together with our extended families and I lost count of the times that one son or the other son embraced me as we were all celebrating the holiday.

I remember the day I discovered my babies had sprouted fuzzy angel hair on their legs! O my! Who would have thought that those fat squeezable legs would grow into puberty, into long legged teen boys.

Or the day my youngest drew a tattoo in blue indelible ink on his leg. “That was a perfectly good leg,” I told him! “No marks, no scars, no taints, no blemishes. Perfect!”  He now sports several real tattoos, on his legs, arms, neck. {sigh}

And the day that we were watching “Puff the Magic Dragon” when they were six and seven years old. As the little boy in the cartoon grew into a man and forgot his magical dragon friend, Puff, my youngest turned to me in astonishment, huge tears spilling over his cheeks, wondering how something could be so sad – and I was thinking at the same time, how does a six year old learn compassion and empathy to the extreme of tears? I hugged him and encouraged him to stay young! Stay innocent! Stay my baby!

He’s now 35 years old. But he hasn’t forgotten me!

There’s always a hug and there’s always a “hey, Mom!” of some discovery he wants to share.

Quote of the Day — January 6, 2009

Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule. Stephen King (1947 - )”Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully - in Ten Minutes”, 1988

Twitter networking service hacked…

Good morning, Netizens…

If you use Twitter, a social networking scheme similar in function to Facebook, you might want to visit their home page and pay attention to what they recommend. Yesterday their network was hacked, and several luminaries that use Twitter found fake messages from Twitter, as their network had been compromised.

Suddenly Twitter was more like a squawk, or so it seems. Several high-profile Twitter accounts, including Barack Obama, Britney Spears and one presumes others were affected.


A snow festival where???

Good evening, Netizens…

In this, our picture of the day, a snow sculpture takes shape at the Snow Festival in Harbin, northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province, Monday. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) (January 05, 2009)

We could, of course, allow these artists into Spokane, Washington. At least we would come up with a beautiful outcome from the snow piled up everywhere. Of course, certain powers-that-be would probably take umbrage at my idea of putting a life-sized statue of Queen Mary in front of City Hall to welcome visitors until the pineapple express hits later on this week.

Yet another thought— create a full-sized statue of a tired driver dismounting from a snowplow at the end of a 14 hour shift. Yes, that also could adorn the front lawn of City Hall, perhaps to remind everyone, myself included, that the plow drivers have had a pretty thankless job (despite the incredible overtime pay) during this introduction to winter 101. Maybe songwriter Doug Clark should even write them a song.


Quote of the Day — January 5, 2009

If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon. George Aiken

An uprising in far-Afghanistan?

Good morning, Netizens…

Here we have yet another of David Horsey’s luminary cartoons, in this case he examines the CIA program to give Viagra to Afghani tribal leaders as an inducement for their cooperation with American forces. Yes, apparently such an operation actually exists, although I am relatively certain they didn’t really want the taxpayers to know about it.

However, Horsey’s cartoon definitely poses a problem that might come about. Of course, like most CIA covert operations, we probably will never know how this potential problem will turn out.


Things to do with this snow…

Good morning, Netizens…

With over 60 inches of snow already on the ground and a healthy storm slated to hit the Inland Northwest in time for the morning commute on Monday, it goes unsaid we are having a record-breaking snowfall this winter. Aside from the incredible gaffes being foisted upon its citizens by the City of Spokane’s Public Works Department in charge of snow removal, we are being faced with a series of problems much closer to home.

Even if you have the good fortune to have a snow blower, or a friendly neighbor with snow blower in hand, as the snow berms have crept higher and higher, the question is rapidly becoming what do you do with all this crappy snow? A snow blower can only throw snow so high, and then you either need a more-powerful machine or a snow shovel.

Never let it be said that those of us sitting snug, warm and snow-free in the Virtual Ballroom are totally devoid of sympathy for those suffering from living in snow tunnels created by snow blowers, and no place left to throw the stuff. We feel your pain, which is why this morning, with the thermometer warming up zero degrees in preparation for the next storm, we have some warm (some may say irreverent) ideas of what to do with the snow now that most snow blowers have reached their height limits.

Once upon a time when my life was much simpler, I owned a kerosene-powered space heater that I used to warm my shop during long, frigid winters in the outback of Stevens County. Now that I have looked fondly back on those days, a bright light came on in my head. Not everyone has one of these handy devices, but I’d wager a used snow shovel that everyone has at least one electric hair blow drier. A few extension cords later, and we have a battalion of citizens armed with their blow driers marching up the sidewalk. Those who have kerosene heaters can, of course, with only minor modifications, clear the streets. Problem solved. Of course, I am told that it is illegal for citizens to remove snow from the public thoroughfares, a minor infraction of the law I was not aware of until just last evening. But, we’re not removing snow, we’re melting snow, and thus in the eyes of Queen Mary’s pinheaded snow gendarmes we have committed no sin.

Currently all the snow our stellar Public Works Department shoves from one side of the street to the other before being inconveniently piled on our sidewalks, driveways and cars. Borrowing from an idea submitted to me by someone who shall remain nameless coupled with the manner in which they removed the snow from the downtown berms, haul the snow away in city trucks! Take it to a vacant lot somewhere, piling it as high as can be using dozers, graders, whatever equipment needed to make a mountain out of a snow hill. Then charge admission to the general public to Spokane’s first snow park and downhill ski slope. The admission fees would be used, of course, to pay for snow removal. Awards will be given for the person who makes the best Queen Mary snow woman.

Do you have any other really good irreverent or functional ideas?


Israel Army ready to attack?

Good afterroon, Netizens…

According to the Jerusalem Times Israel is poised to launch a major ground offensive into Gaza tonight after allowing hundreds of foreigners living in the devastated territory to evacuate.

However, despite the potential onslaught, Hamas rockets continued to be fired into Israel today. Hamas vowed that its attacks, which have lasted for years and which finally provoked the massive Israeli campaign, would not stop.

All along the border, between Israeli and Palestine, tanks and troops have turned fields into makeshift camps from which to launch their offensive into Gaza. The Government has already mobilised more than 6,000 reserve troops and has given the green light to call up almost 3,000 more.


Send help!

Good morning, Netizens…

Holy mackerel! Here we come again, another round of this wretched white stuff, and once again our lovely City Government could not bestir themselves to put traction sand on the hills and intersections, with the result that as of 6:00 AM this morning, according to the Spokane Police Department, many streets on the South Hill are either closed or blocked by various wrecks.

The freeway is open…if you can get there from here. However, tonight the temperature will drop to sub-zero levels, which means all the ice and snow left over after today’s early-morning fiasco will freeze hard as a rock, and no amount of de-icer will make travel safer. 

When will the City of Spokane learn from their errors? Are they listening to the taxpayers?



New Years Resolutions…

Good morning, Netizens…

I’ve always had the misfortune of having a birthday that fell on its prat between Christmas Day and News Years Eve, so without my consent, the day before New Years Eve I celebrated my birthday which, for those of you tracking such things, I am officially now older than dirt. It seems the older I get, the more reverence tinged with disgust I hold for each New Years Eve celebration that rolls by on its quadraphonic multi-media-equipped wheels.

Birthdays, like News Years Eve celebrations, should be a matter of rejoicing when we have done something fundamentally better with our lives, not when we’ve worsened our plight. If we have made dramatic improvements with respect to reverence for human existence, if our overall quality of living has been spectacularly improved, if the groping we do for the cause of Universal Peace has been even marginally-successful, then we have cause for a monstrous celebration, indeed. If we have failed at such a lofty set of goals, instead of massive drunken bacchanals in the streets, vastly overblown orgies of food and drink or even fireworks that make the neighborhood dogs all bark, we should be turning immediately back to the drawing board to correct the mistakes we have made, to craft a better humanity.

In this morning’s reverie, I contemplated the question, what would happen if I died today, and to be utterly and absolutely honest, my conclusion was that I would be found seriously wanting because I have never once taken that turn back to the drawing board. Somehow, through my incredibly active life, I have always assumed that I have done the best that I could do each year, and celebrated the new year as if everything were hunky-dory and fine. Well, I do not know if anyone has been watching over the last fifty-plus years, but things have gotten worse, not better, and it was on my watch.

Quote of the Day — January 2, 2009

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967)

2008 in retrospect

Good evening, Netizens…

And a very Happy New Year to everyone!

Here is David Horsey’s perspective on the year 2008. You have to admit we probably will not see Sarah Palin’s equal in the New Year, but then again things might change.Sometime shortly, probably late tomorrow, I will post my New Years resolutions which might further add to the guffaws and general laughter.

What other wacky things come to your mind in 2008?


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