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Archive for May 2010

It is the Veteran…

Good morning, Netizens…

From my wife and consort, here are a series of observations about today, Memorial Day that bears contemplation:

It is the VETERAN,

not the preacher,

who has given us freedom of religion.

It is


not the reporter,

who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN,

not the poet,

who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the VETERAN,

not the campus organizer,

who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the VETERAN,

not the lawyer,

who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the VETERAN,

not the politician,

Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the VETERAN who

salutes the Flag,

It is the VETERAN

who serves under the Flag,


And everyone in the Virtual Ballroom and Espresso Bar stands with their hands over their hearts and utters in one voice, “Amen”.


The passage of Dennis Hopper…

Good morning, Netizens…

The passage of Dennis Hopper, 74, leaves a vacancy in Hollywood that will probably never be filled. I am reasonably certain there are certain luminaries in Star City that are hoping in their private moments that no one will ever rise to fill his position because, according to all the pundits, Hopper was a contentious man perhaps as well known for his addictions to alcohol, cocaine and other drugs as he was for his considerable acting and directing talents.

Hopper made people mad. According to several sources, while filming “True Grit”, the late John Wayne once chased Hopper around the set with a loaded gun.

Perhaps best-known for his directing talents in “Easy Rider” produced by Peter Fonda, this controversial film was hailed by the National Film Registry in 1998 as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It went on to become a hit at Cannes, netting a best-screenplay Oscar nomination for Hopper, Fonda and Terry Southern. Having spent some time in the Deep South, there was a lot of harsh reality about interaction between long-hairs and Rednecks that crept into the movie, which is perhaps why today the film still stands tall as a cult classic.

He earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of an alcoholic ex-basketball star in “Hoosiers” with Gene Hackman, another of my most-favorite movies.

In the long list of plaudits which have appeared on the Internet in his passage, there were several fans who mistakenly referred to him as a “gentleman”. He might have been a gentleman once, and toward the end of his life, dry and drug-free, he might have even resumed the role of a gentleman. But for most of his life he suffered with alcohol and drug addictions that made him difficult to be around in the hothouse environment of movie productions.

Nothing, however, could take away from his sometimes greatness, interspersed with bouts of drugs and alcohol abuse. At least now he is at peace.


Using a different brush…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

Like a mother hen doting over her hatchlings fresh from the eggshell, I have sat and contemplated how to speak up about a series of comments about the Cowles, who own this newspaper, blog and numerous other investments throughout the Spokane area. I admit to myself at times, and to very close personal friends occasionally that in the past I have muttered as many deprecations about their business dealings as some who have risen over the past few years to bring allegations of criminal activity to the fore.

I even admit that once upon a time, I was face-to-face with Doug Floyd in the parking lot across the street from what is now the Civic Auditorium arguing with him over River Park Square and I was angry enough I nearly uncoiled a roundhouse shot to his jaw. However, being by nature a sensible man, I cooled down and over the years, have come to both respect and admire him as what a true journalist could and should be. I still do not like the manner in which the public was fleeced over the financing of River Park Square, but even that has faded over time.

What is the most-troubling aspect of this long-winded discussion about the Cowles is that of all those who have marched at the forefront of the fray using entire blogs and various other Internet devices, have never once considered all the good that the Spokesman-Review has done for Spokane.

Unfortunately, an innocent person died in a tragic fall from the River Park Square Parking Garage, and that seems to be the wedge, in the form of a manslaughter charge, which is being levied against the Cowles family. My only question, one which bothers me more than a great deal is, if that charge is to be given any credibility, where is the Grand Jury indictment? As I am aware, there is currently a Grand Jury seated and hearing various cases in Spokane, and although reading a list of the cases they are hearing is all but impossible to obtain, I am certain any investigation of these charges against the Cowles by a Grand Jury would ignite public comment, and be damned what the Grand Jury says.

Over the last year, a lot of highly-respected newspapers have simply dropped off the map in these hard economic times, and the erosion of the power of journalism is far from over, I fear. A considerable number of good journalists have already been laid off right here in Spokane.  I also feel we are fortunate to still have a newspaper in Spokane, and proud of Jeanie and my own limited efforts to support journalism as we have both know it to be throughout most of our adult lives.

I will close with if anyone wants to take on Betsy or Stacey Cowles for their perceived faults, I cannot stop you. However, I will not sit idly by while the entire newspaper staff, some of whom I consider to be worthy of being called “good journalists”, are disparaged with the same red paint brush.





Anger Management

Good morning, Netizens…

Here we have a classic case in anger management as taught by two elderly members of our community. Although the ownership of this pair of pictures is unknown at present, I wonder if they still use their toothbrushes each day.


The things we consume…

 Good morning, Netizens…

Now that the damage to my body has been done, that I am a Type-II Diabetic with high colesterol collateral and resulting damage to my heart, I have a confession to make. I probably did it to myself from slurping down approximately 2000+ calorie Dairy Queen chocolate milk shakes as a younger man. Oh, these weren’t your typical over-the-counter milk shakes by any means. These were chocolate malted milk shakes with peanut butter and a banana thrown in for good measure. An article which appeared in Men’s Health Magazine lists what it believes to be the drinks containing the most calories.

According to the article, drinking this delightful milk shake would be the same as ingesting 68 strips of bacon or 30 chocolate chip cookies in one sitting. McDonald’s large Triple Thick Chocolate Shake comes in a distant third with 1,160 calories or the equivalent of 13 of the fast food chain’s hot apple pies.

Granted, at age 60-something, the damage to my body has been done already, and I have learned from the stupidity of my ways. It is one of the reasons I support requiring restaurants to openly list the calorie content of all foods they sell. It might cost them a few bucks to openly advertise the calorie content of their foods, while they are at it, maybe they should calculate and list the cholesterol content, too.

Old codgers such as myself have to live with the sins of our past, but perhaps, through education, we can prevent the next generation from repeating our errors.


The passage of Art Linkletter…

Good morning, Netizens…

[Picture Credit: Reuters News Service]

Art Linkletter, the Canadian-born entertainer has passed away. A mainstay of American broadcasting in the 1950s and ‘60s with long-running shows like “People Are Funny” and “Art Linkletter’s House Party,” died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles’ upscale Bel Air community, assistant Jennifer Kramer told Reuters.

Linkletter also served as master of ceremonies for opening day at Disneyland in 1955, and returned decades later to officiate at the 50th anniversary celebration of the theme park on his 95th birthday.

He was born Arthur Gordon Kelley on July 17, 1912, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, but was abandoned by his biological family and adopted by the Linkletter family. His new father was an evangelist who moved the family to California from whence he made his fortune as a businessman and investor, becoming involved in oil drilling, copper mining, an Australian sheep ranch, the Hula Hoop toy and the board game “The Game of Life.”

He married his wife Lois in 1935, he had four children. His son, son Robert, died in a 1980 automobile accident and after the suicide of his daughter Diane was linked to LSD use, Linkletter campaigned against drug abuse. He also traveled the world on behalf of World Vision, a Christian charity, and served as a leader of Goodwill Industries, the Arthritis Foundation and the Los Angeles Orphanage.

He was a good and terribly funny man, who made us laugh at ourselves. Rest in Peace, Art.


Who do you trust?

Good morning, Netizens…

Picture Credit: Huffington Post

Here we have Carl-Henric Svanberg, the chairman of BP, and in his own opinion a very important guy who told The Financial Times ( that BP is a very important company. Ooh, I’m impressed. Big and important people sometimes do that to me, but not when they have to tell me what bigshots they are.

On the right hand side of the picture we see one of hundreds of thousands of water fowl being killed by or maimed by BP crude oil wafting up on the beaches of the Gulf Coast. That is but one of a host of sea birds, fish and crustaceans already killed by the oil spill, and presumably more will die before this sad ordeal is over and the sludge is cleaned up.

We have it on BP’s word that they will be financially responsible for the cleanup costs. Unfortunately neither BP nor anyone else can tell us precisely how much crude has spilled from the deep water oil well, and thus it stands to reason, we only have an approximation of how much the cleanup costs will be.

Would you trust Svanberg and BP at their word, or are you as skeptical as some? You can trust a very important company and guy for a few billion dollars, can’t you?


The state of matrimonial bliss…

Good morning, Netizens…

This rerun of a David Horsey cartoon still bears careful consideration over the passage of time. It speaks to the ageless question, just what is marriage anyway? Of course Judeo-Christians quickly will assert that marriage is defined as a union between male and female; some may even go so far as to suggest said marriage is blessed by sex performed in the “missionary position”, as anything else is suspect.

However, as Dr. John Olson is often wont to say, there is a virtual village of “other” living in marital bliss out there who, as Horsey’s cartoon suggests, simply want to peacefully coexist with the sanctified world of married couples out there and be left the hell alone to their own devices.

My favorite tale outside the demarcation lines that define traditional marriage, involves the two ladies of lesbian persuasion who once lived on South Grand in Spokane. At first glance they appeared every bit as wholesome as any women in the 90’s might appear, both were buxom, tall enough to be imposing and yet very vivacious, well-educated and quite friendly, even to straight men and women. They just wanted to be left alone.

Their landlord, George, however, was a homophobic mean-spirited SOB who, until he learned of their “other” tendencies, was willing to leave them be, assuming they were both students at Eastern, which was true. However, during a routine stop to fix a leaky hot water heater, he discovered their “secret” and all deals were off.

George’s burly maintenance man, whose name eludes me for the moment, simply came in one afternoon uninvited and beat the crap out of them with a baseball bat, tore up their apartment and tossed their brand-new refrigerator across the kitchen and through a pantry door. This where the story would have ended in a different age and time, but one of the pair was studying pre-law and knew a good attorney.

This ugly incident cost George a private substantial damage settlement out of court and coincidentally a divorce, once his wife found out about George’s garish collection of pornographic pictures. One of his favorite themes, it seems, were of lesbian women. You no more can judge a book by its cover than you can the state of another person’s matrimonial bliss with a pair of binoculars.

Thus ends my object lesson of the day with thanks to David Horsey.


A Show of hands if you will, please…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

Tonight’s City Council Meeting promises to be interesting, and that is putting it mildly. City Councilman Bob Apple has brought forth a proposal to change the terms under which the current Spokane Police Ombudsman operates, giving him new powers and the authority to perform his own investigations when circumstances dictate. Unfortunately I will be unable to attend this important meeting due to certain family events which will keep me working late into the evening.

Before I truly get this apple cart rolling (pun intended), my vision of the Spokane Police Department’s Guild is perhaps a bit naive as I am inexperienced in how they operate, but I have a great deal of angst about the incredible power they possess. I believe it is time for change. I believe that the Guild should be accountable to the people, and yet I see no way for this to happen without creating anxiety on everyone’s part. In the current configuration, if the Guild opposes an investigation into the actions of a police officer, it is my experience that true justice can fall by the wayside. One case in point that comes readily to mind is the investigation into the shooting of Shonto Pete. If there ever was a silent scream for justice in this town, I don’t know how else to express it.

No one, not even the Spokane Police Department Guild, should ever be allowed to operate outside the law, and they should be accountable to the voters.

Now while I am opening up a few of what might be termed my crackerjack ideas, I perceive that one of the failures of the Ombudsman’s Office is that he, also, should be accountable to the voters. That, of course, opens up yet another can of worms which not only would create administrative nightmares, but perhaps violate the law.

Giving the Ombudsman the authority to investigate police cases and citizen’s complaints on his own is a good first step toward restoring public trust in our police. The Police Guild may not like it. I’m not certain whether Police Chief Kirkpatrick would support the changes to the Ombudsman’s powers.

More than anything else, it will be interesting to see who speaks out against Bob Apple’s proposal. Mark your ballots for the next election appropriately.


Know your moose well…

Good morning, Netizens…

Don’t try this at home department.

May 21, 2010 Alison Redlich/AP For Pete’s sake: David Lawrence feeds an apple to Pete, a moose who is blissfully unaware of how close he came to death at a game preserve in Irasburg, Vt. Pete became an online cause celebre after the state of Vermont ordered him removed from the preserve or put down because of the potential of spreading disease to farm-raised elk that also share the compound. The Web campaign worked: He will be allowed to stay on the preserve under a compromise fashioned by state lawmakers.

Now if you were to stroll up close to a moose in the wild, it might trample you into the mud or simply charge off down the canyon, for you see a moose’s attitude changes at the drop of a hat from easy going to better get going. The bad part is a moose is as big as a barn and can be quite a handful. A friend many years ago drove his tractor-trailer into a moose on the highway near Clark Fork, Idaho and totalled his truck and ended up in the hospital. The moose simply limped off into the woods never to be seen again.

We even occasionally see moose wandering around Spokane. Unfortunately we sometimes elect them into public office, which can have thoroughly unpredictable and sometimes nasty outcomes, regardless if we feed them apples.


The Return of the Daily Reverie…

Good morning, Netizens…

Rumors of my demise or other world-changing events in my personal life are simply not true. I have not acquired hoof rot, beri-beri or a sexually-transmitted disease. What I have done is simply taken a self-imposed vacation from writing in this blog with as much frequency or perhaps even enthusiasm as I have done each day for the past four years. In addition, since my lovely wife has been on an extended road trip to her Nirvana in Nebraska, via Chicago, Illinois, this has kept me busy just maintaining the home front while she is navigating across the United States to commune with members of her family and deal with some of her parents health issues, no mean task that.

Moreover, given the amount of disposable time I freed up by cutting back on various activities, I have finally completed a top down upgrade to my humble Linux workstation. For my workstation, which has been up and in continuous service for over five years with little more than routine maintenance, I added a few new applications but mostly performed upgrades to all the familiar tools by which I ply the maudlin and often disconcerting roadway of the Internet each day for fun and profit.

Plus, given the unpredictable spring weather, I have spent some introspective time wrapped in a blanket, sitting in my favorite lawn chair in the pre-dawn of The Virtual Garden contemplating all the ebbs and flows of political and social networking that seem to each attempt to dominate my personal and professional life. To quote a former professor of mine, I have carefully considered all the options, discarded some and drawn conclusions to match my own biases. My self-imposed vacation is over; it is time to move forward once again.

Once again I mount the Great Chair at an ungodly hour and armed with a cup of my custom-blended coffee that has been known to remove chrome from the front bumpers of every known major brand of automobile or truck, I plug my senses into that world of news and half-news that is uniquely my own and simply watch the dawn as it creeps over the shrubbery in the Garden. I observe the Garden Gnomes as they rise early to tend arboreal matters, with only an occasional foray into the Virtual Ballroom where, even at this ungodly hour of the morning, the Virtual Orchestra is playing a Strauss waltz followed by sitar music. This is of course in keeping with the Orchestra’s philosophy: if you don’t like the music, stick around and something more to your liking may be played. Dancing, by both Ghosts and living entities, is optional, but please no jitterbugging at this hour of the day. It scares the wildlife and reminds me of my always encroaching age.


The solution to the problem…

Good morning, Netizens…

In this morning’s David Horsey cartoon, David Horsey asks the question regarding the Gulf Oil spill which has been asked by everyone from the President of the United States on down. How do we stop the flow of crude oil flowing into the Gulf?

We were promised by the oil corporations that oilfield development is a safe resource and every safety precaution possibly imaginable has been taken to prevent this sort of disaster from ever happening. As Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is prominently quoted as saying yesterday, “This is the heavy oil that everyone’s been fearing that is here now,” and I fear he is right.

Plus there is every sign of deception on the part of British Petroleum and various other petroleum developers, for having apparently underestimated the amount of raw crude flowing from the hole in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Despite all their claims (and the counter-claims by members of the ecology political factions) no one may truly they know how many millions of gallons of noxious crude oil have already filtered into the ecologically-sensitive areas of Louisiana and other Gulf States. They can only estimate the volume, and that, perhaps, is most troubling of all the statistics being bandied about. Nobody can categorically state how much crude has flowed into the Gulf, nor when it will be capped off.

We have to stop the flow of crude. Then we have to clean up the ecological disaster in its wake. I believe David Horsey has found an amusing solution to the first; it may take generations before we have the second, and I fear that the infighting already taking place between the petroleum super-corporations may last at least as long.

With only a brief tip of my hat to Dante for borrowing heavily from the Inferno, we should put the heads of a dozen oilfield executives head-down in the hole they created. That other-worldly solution is probably as functional as the various other promises they have made to the general public. It probably wouldn’t work as promised, but neither is anything else they’re trying.


I do, he/she said mechanically…

Good morning, Netizens…

May 17, 2010

Picture Credit: Itsuo Inouye/AP

‘I do,’ she repeated robotically: Bride Satoko Inouye puts a ring on her groom Tomohiro Shibata as I-Fairy, a four-foot robot wearing a wreath of flowers, directs their wedding ceremony at a Tokyo restaurant. This was the first time a marriage had been led by a robot, according to manufacturer Kokoro Co.

We’re going to take yet another swing at organized religion this morning, having already muttered thickly to myself about gay Episcopal Bishops in the church. Here we have a tin can with wheels and a handful of robotic chips marrying people for fun and profit for its manufacturer. Who the hell ordained this robot? Is it even qualified to marry two people? Not to be old-fashioned or any such thing, but the next thing we’re going to see is robotic judges and town clerks which, in some jurisdictions, are allowed to marry couples. Come to think of it, having robots as court judges might be a step upward, given the current precedents being tossed into play in Spokane by judges and barristers.

The great Isaac Asimov probably would chortle or perhaps even nod his head in approval at this event, having written the quintessential “I, Robot” a copy of which graces my humble library shelves. Despite the fact I have read the book several times over, and am enamored of Asimov’s literary license, it does make me hesitant when I see the underlying premise put into action in my life despite the Rules of Robotics.

A few of my more fundamentalist friends, already brow feasting on the idea of gay Bishops in the Episcopalian faith, are doubtlessly up in arms over this marriage/non-marriage, as it seems that each religious faction has its own version of who can marry couples. Can a robot lawfully marry two people in these United States? I have no idea, but the thought does tantalize my sense of right and wrong.


The evolution of the Episcopal priests…

Good morning, Netizens…

May 17, 2010 Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

New bishop: Rev. Canon Diane M. Jardine Bruce, left, and Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool congratulate each other after their ordination and consecration ceremony in Long Beach. Glasspool, of Baltimore, became the second second openly gay bishop in Episcopal Church history.

I’ve already heard some snide comments about this precedent-setting ordination, as some people do not believe that the Episcopal Church should allow this, much less women to be ordained as bishops regardless of their sexual persuasion. As always there are a multiple of beliefs about such things, and I do believe that diversity of faith is an acceptable and proper component of religion.

My only rebuttal is that old aphorism that goes somewhere along the lines that God is coming back to our Earth to restore the kingdom, and boy is she mad!

Now that would be interesting, wouldn’t it?


The empty nest… batching it…

Good morning, Netizens…

There is a hole in my life just now. Yesterday morning, I shipped my beloved wife off to Chicago on the train and ever since there is a huge chasm where she normally lives, constantly tending the needs of so many, nurturing and and helping raise our granddaughters. It is the first time in almost 15 years when we have been separate one from another, but that awareness is not about my emotional state but rather a sense of longing for normalcy.

She has always been intimate and close with her entire family, which is a pretty tall order, given she has so many brothers and sisters and both her parents still living. This trip is all about her parents, both of whom are well up in years, and both have been in ill health lately, and the thought did cross my mind this might be the last time she sees them both.

I heard from Suzie by phone as the train pulled into Williston, North Dakota. She had no way of knowing my involvement with the oilfield outside Williston, the other-worldly sociology of tool pushers, deck hands and the ever-present rumble of drilling platforms out on the tundra, constantly drilling for oil and natural gas regardless of the weather.

She has arrived in Chicago just a short while ago, and once again I wish I were there to celebrate her reunion with her daughter.

Tomorrow, both she and her daughter will reunite with both grandparents.

More details tomorrow.


When will we hear an answer?

Good morning, Netizens…

Our new police ombudsman may now have a massive challenge sitting on his desk, or so suggests journalist Larry Shook this morning. Turn your web browsers to and read the first piece, called “America’s Most Dangerous Cop”.

Take your time, as there is a lot of previously-discussed information in the article, but there is a highly-controversial but very factual series of statements made about Police Chief Kirkpatrick and our Police Ombudsman, Tim Burns.

I have known of and respected Larry Shook for a number of years, and if he has taken a newfound fetish for printing lies, it would be news to me. The real question one might ask, having read the entire piece, is why hasn’t anyone stepped up and answered Shook’s challenges and questions? Will Tim Burns?

It seems a more than fair question to me.


Elena Kagan for Supreme Court Justice?

Good morning, Netizens…

Thank God we have gotten David Horsey back from his vacation in time to shine his creative cartoon flashlight on the the nomination of Elena Kagan for Supreme Court Justice. Some members of the Republican Party, according to Horsey’s cartoon this morning, may have called Kagan a witch. However, that may be the least of the problem.

Other groups, some of whom are on the fringe of political thought, even have laid the allegation that Kagan is a lesbian. However, no one has truly stepped forward to take credit for such a preposterous statement.

So long as one bases their opinions upon the facts of Kagan’s past history. President to two distinguished law schools, Solicitor General, to name just a few of the notable positions Kagan has held, we might be safe. As some of the detractors have stated, however, Kagan has never been a judge. However, don’t let that tie your panties in knots, cherubs. If you look back in the history of the Supreme Court, particularly at Judge Renquist, you will see others have already set that precedent.

Is it possible that those potentially in charge of deciding Kagan’s future at the Supreme Court are playing politics with Kagan, striking out at President Obama’s political beliefs? Say it isn’t so!

A lot of political commentators are suggesting that Kagan will probably be ratified as the next member of the Supreme Court, but will the public be aware of all the facts? That remains to be seen.


Cartoon credit: David Horsey,,

Something about the Constitution…

Good morning, Netizens…

Port Wentworth, Georgia

The Augusta Chronicle

The Senior Citizens are back to praying before their meals at Port Wentworth’s Ed Young Senior Citizens Center in Georgia. Senior Citizens, Inc., the owners of the Ed Young Senior Center informed everyone that seniors could no longer pray out loud before meals because the meals are partially funded by the federal government. That went over like a lead balloon.

Senior Citizens Inc. officials said last week that people could not pray out loud because of the federal government’s rules regarding the separation of church and state. The company provides meals for about $6 a plate. Seniors taking the meals pay 55 cents and federal money foots the rest of the bill.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Doris Allen, who is a regular at the center. “If it wasn’t for God, you wouldn’t have nothing.”

To which I will only add, we should make prayer optional in other places, as well, such as schools, all city government functions (Boy, could they ever use a few good prayers there!) or anywhere else where people gather, regardless of federal government rules.

Your thoughts, of course, may differ.


Mothers Day in retrospect…

Good morning, Netizens…

There is hardly a morning that rises on its delicate gray feet but what I ponder my Mother but in ways far different than most. While most men and women of my generation have well-established relationships with their mothers and fathers, due to circumstances beyond my control, neither my mother nor my father and I had good relationships. One of the first things my wife, who happens to be a good mother coming from a long history of insatiably-devoted mothers, noticed was that I possess neither pictures of my mother, father nor my three brothers.

Many years ago, I could consciously recall the face of my mother, but now, after her demise, even that is gone from my memory. Thanks to the efforts of my son, I do have a picture of her laying in her casket, having died of Altzheimers under the ostensibly watchful eyes of one of my brothers.

One of the first questions close personal friends have asked me is, “If you had your life to live all over again, would you change your relationship with your mother or father? Well, first I have never known my biological father, as that detail was kept hidden from me by Mom, Dad and my three brothers although they all knew his name. Second, my step-father was an abusive man to me, and seemed to harbor some considerable hostility toward me in particular. In retrospect, I have come to believe he and I both lived in our worlds of pain, yet neither of us capable of articulating how it all began or how to end it.

Thus I had no relationship with my mother like most normal kids I grew up with.

However, the only lessons I have learned from my fractured family life is that when anyone is severed from the love of their mothers, for whatever reason, the net result is a tragedy of incredible complexity riddled with sadness and pain. In my life I have seen several friends who were separated from their mothers, and each carried that terrible burden. In my present life, however, I have seen how adult kids still worship their mother, my wife.

Were it not for the undying love of my father’s parents, who raised me and encouraged me to be “a good man always”, and my late Uncle Bud who taught me how to survive despite all the flaws in his character that everyone in the family always warned me about, I do not know where I would be today, because in my younger years I was a good candidate for jail.

So for those of you who honor Mothers Day in act and thought, I encourage you to persevere, to stay the course, and to always honor your mothers by being the living embodiment of good mothers and fathers I never had.


Lena Horne passes away…

Good morning, Netizens…

She was, in life, one of the truly great singers, who brought America from outright racism to acceptance of Black performers. Lena Horne passed away yesterday in New York, and the chasm she leaves in her wake may be difficult to fill. I consider it an honor to have heard an early recording of her singing “Stormy Weather” on an old 78-RPM record back when such things were not nearly so commonplace.

History may reflect a lot of things about Lena Horne, but her candor, outspoken honesty and her views on race never set really well with most white folks in the early days of her career.

“My identity is very clear to me now. I am a black woman. I’m free. I no longer have to be a ‘credit.’ I don’t have to be a symbol to anybody; I don’t have to be a first to anybody. I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else,” she was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

That and her legacy, a smoky voice that wrapped itself around my senses, gave me succor in bad times and constantly touched my inner spirit with an undefinable touch is all I have left in her passage. Rest in Peace, Lena.


Home is where the heart is…

Good morning, Netizens…

The kitty who loved solid waste: An employee at Idaho’s Kootenai County Solid Waste transfer station tried to adopt Shy Guy, a tabby who had hung out at the station for about a year, and took him to his house in Coeur D’Alene. That didn’t sit well with Shy Guy, who sneaked out and found his way back to his beloved dump.

Before we vote yes on the new jail…

Good evening, Netizens…

On May 12th at 5:30 pm Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and Lt Sparber will be giving the final presentation on the siting of the new jail at the County Commissioners Hearing room in the Public Safety building on Mallon. This might be our last opportunity as community members to speak out against this new jail. The cost is $500 million. The intent is to put a bond on the ballot next April . The Sheriff wants a 40 acre jail site in Medical Lake or Airway Heights.

As usual when the City or County of Spokane comes begging for money, there are always taxpayers who question why…

Do we really need a new jail or simply less inmates?

If they put the proposed jail in either Medical Lake or Airway Heights how are the taxpayers going to pay for the round-trip transportation of the inmates to and from court each day? There should be an alternative to this system. How about if the judges make the round trip each day and not the inmates? Either that or keep the jail here in Spokane.

Then there is the question of the additional taxes the proposed bond will cost the taxpayers. After footing the bills for the EMS levy, will the taxpayers be willing to foot the bill for a new jail?

Does anyone have other questions or answers?s


Put a lid on it!

Good morning, Netizens…

Facing certain destruction if not elimination of the sensitive Gulf Coast wetlands and beaches, the engineers and scientists of British Petroleum have come up with what they hope will be the solution to the massive oil flows erupting from deep beneath the ocean. They are going to “put a lid on it.”

Here is a picture of the lid. Although the picture doesn’t truly do it justice, this hefty dome, if all goes well, will be lowered over the leaking oil well deep beneath the ocean waves, and the oil flowing out of the well will be redirected via underwater pipes, to ships floating on the waves above for safe disposal. Why am I skeptical about this?

The first issue I have is that nobody has ever done emergency management of this nature for offshore oil wells. One might expect that, given the billions of dollars of damages and waste at stake, both short and long-term, engineers could have foreseen this disaster long before now. Downhole companies, ie., those that specialize in maintenance and repair of oil wells deep underground, have dedicated massive written volumes into preventing oil field disasters on the land. Why not offshore? If such documents exist, why can’t I find them?

In their own admission, nobody has ever tried something like this, so there is no guarantee it will work. There are a lot more things that could go wrong in this scenario. What about the effect of severe storms at sea? How are they proposing to keep the ships receiving the crude from shifting and thus breaking the supposed impervious seal between the well and the ships? The Gulf is no stranger to such weather anomalies. Mother Nature always seems to have a way.

It still doesn’t totally resolve the problem of light crude erupting from the wellhead, at least as it is being presented to the public. Sooner or later they will have truly plug the well at the well head. Perhaps by then we will know what truly failed, but that seems unlikely.


Dr. Banderas, if you will…

Good morning, Netizens…

Photo Credit: May 5, 2010 AP Photo/Sergio Torres

For those who catatonically worship the man, here is a picture of actor Antonio Banderas before being awarded a doctor honoris causa degree by the University of Malaga in Malaga, Spain, on Wednesday.

Somehow the title Dr. Banderas just doesn’t do his acting career and star-status that much, although that isn’t to say he did not deserve the honor.


We’ll know when it blows…

Good morning, Netizens…

If you haven’t fastened your hats down this damp Monday morning, it might be an auspicious time to borrow a neighbor’s staple gun and take care of that little detail as, otherwise, you might stand in danger of losing your headgear.

Given their lack of accuracy and in some cases, their problems with common diction, I seldom pay much attention to what the local television weather forecasters say. However, this morning the U.S. Weather Bureau has issued a high wind warning for Eastern Washington, something they seldom do. Here it is, barely six o’clock in the morning, and gusts are already kicking up a bit, but the forecast states in part we could easily see steady winds of 30-40 miles per hour and gusts as high as 60 miles per hour.

What does that imply to everyone? With winds of 60 miles per hour, we have historically seen fallen trees, and with them downed power lines and loss of communications.

With a cold front leering at us from the North, we can expect these winds will blow from this morning until later on this afternoon, perhaps even this evening.

What a way to start the new week!


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