Friday, November 28, 2008

And there she goes

Oh. The. Excitement.

First words from most lips at Thanksgiving (even the lips that had freshly arrived from Michigan): house on Plum Island.
Above is a photo I took of this same house back on May 21. My comment then?
So forget about Jeanne's going into the drink - take a look at this house, 5 or 6 houses north of center.
A few days later, the double-decker porch with the railings was lying on the beach.

This is the narrowest part of the ocean side of the island. I don't know who can stop a breach at this point, since no one is concentrating attention down there, where this house was, instead of at the center parking lot.

The ocean is now just one postage stamp-sized lot away from Northern Blvd. in 2 locations.

If I lived north of this spot on the island, on the ocean side, I'd be considering getting the hell out before we get our first winter storm.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Don't be afraid of your freedom!

I was attempting earlier to bolster my pre-holiday flagging spirits (Is it the Irish in me?) by thinking of that song by the Rolling Stones (I was actually surprised when I looked it up that it was the Rolling Stones - but then I realized I was thinking of the Soup Dragons version).

I'm free to do what I want, any old time. I don't have to get up at a proscribed time, enter a stuffy office at another proscribed time, and stay there for however long someone else needs me to stay.

This explains why I'm in a state of economic meltdown, by the way.

So once I got past that depressing scenario, I continued on to thinking about rules and policies and procedures. It wasn't that big of a leap.

According to my dictionary (the little, paperback one - too lazy to haul the big old Oxford English off the shelf), a rule is much more dictatorial than a policy. A policy just guides you to future decisions.

I don't like rules or policies. I'm fine with most laws, and I obey them even if I don't agree with them, but I think being told how you can dress or that you have no freedom of opinion is just wrong. And while sexual harassment policies have pretty much eliminated the chance of your self proclaimed 'horny toad' boss kissing and touching you, they also have eliminated some of the lighthearted banter and mild, inoffensive
flirting that used to go on in the workplace.

If you get a chance, I again urge my readers to check out the dramatic series "Mad Men" on A&E. What I like as much as the storyline is that I had forgotten how thematic the way people are required to dress has always been.

If I learned nothing else at the University of Michigan, I learned that it was OK to run around in a blue work shirt and jeans. Where is the freedom in whalebone stays (OK, they're wire of plastic in this case), half girdles, nylons, and bras so pointed you could take someone's eye out?

And then I thought, why do I have to strap on a seatbelt every time I get into a car? Don't I have the right to risk my own life? The list went on and on, but still I pondered (I could feel my blood pressure rising).

Why was it, that in school, you had to put your name up in the right hand corner and number your answers outside the red line? This put me in mind of my mother, a teacher, relating a story:

Mom: "OK, class, be sure to put your name on your paper."
Student: "Ummm, Mrs. Swart? Where should we put it?"
Mom: "Put what?"
Student: "Ummm, our name ..."
Mom: "Oh, anywhere - just as long as it's on there."
[Stupefied silence]
Mom: "What is it?"
Student: "You have to tell us where to write our name."

I may be free to do what I want, but I'm still under constraints that have been embedded deep in my brain. And those put on me by others - like, hey, if you write for us, you can't write for anyone else (but we reserve the right to never give you any work so that in six or eight weeks you're screwed).

I love being free to do what I want. But I still put my melange of rice and stew into a china bowl instead of eating it out of the pan (and thereby only having one item to wash instead of two), use cutlery (even when using my hands would be a lot less cumbersome), and brush my teeth.

Don't be afraid of your freedom!

Oh, and universal health care is a good thing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Is advertising dead?

I read with interest this post on Ari Herzog's blog, about advertising and newspapers.

I want to add my 2 cents into this, because I have become a victim of this whole death spiral.

If the publications for which I work (dwindling every day) don't get their advertising dollars, I have to wait to get paid.

And here is the value of having a long-term relationship with a bank- Bank of America, for all it's a corporate giant, accepts my situation when they call me about my overdue payments on my credit card.

"I'll pay you when I get paid," I tell the caller - after I remind them of my 21-year relationship with them (through previous incarnations, starting with BayBank).

You have to wonder, with the Globe cutting 24 pages from its print edition and laying people off, that Globe North recently hired 3 full-time reporters, thus rendering its freelancers (starting with me, as the most recent) redundant.

I don't know who newspapers are trying to pander to these days, but I suspect it's young people who are reading blogs and other news sources on line. These attempts by newspapers and magazines to appeal to an attention deficit crowd (less meat, more encapsulated news bites) makes me nervous.

It would make more sense, I think, to change the writing style to a less dry, more emotional form. When I say emotional, I mean convey the emotion, not have the reporter be emotional. And include blogs, more personal accounts, and things of that nature.

It's fine to write about our landfill, but of what value is a cold, hard account without the emotion that the whole situation has generated? What about our health director, who spends more time than he should (or even has) dealing with this issue? What about that YouTube video of the mayor of Everett making not-so-nice comments about Newburyport?

This, to me, is hot stuff ... but you don't see it anywhere.

When I wrote that story about the A-frame signs for Globe North, two people told me (in essence) that it was too dry, too lacking in emotion. Well, one emotional part (the owner of Roca's saying she'd parade up and down State St. with the sign on her back, if necessary) was excised from the story.

People want reality, they want emotion, they want to connect. That's why Sarah Palin was so effective. If you trotted someone like that up as the poster person for the landfill, or for the debt exclusion, more people would become emotionally involved with the issue.

As the former editor of a local publication wrote to me a few months ago, people don't want to read about boards and commissions and what they did - they want to know who are on the boards, what was the effect of their decision on real people ... and so on.

Substance always wins the day.

I find that editors, for the most part, are resistant to this.

Weekly newspapers are doing better economically (or so I've heard) because they provide substance, as opposed to quick news hits and briefings.

I don't think people are not paying attention to advertising - they just aren't reading the content with which the advertising is appearing.

Oh my stars

Tom Salemi reported the other day that PI Roasters (what happened to the "Coffee" part?) is not in fact leaving Newburyport - merely opening another location in Amesbury.

Someone wrote a comment to my earlier post about the alleged move (and then asked me to delete it following Tom's clarification) which said something like, "Where in either story did it say they were closing the Newburyport store?"

Well, the headline "PI Roasters moves to Amesbury after all" was kind of an indication, but oh well.

This is what happens when you regurgitate stuff you read - although, you know? A newspaper story should be more reliable than that. The first question the reporter should have asked was, "So ... you're closing the Newburyport store?"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What the ... ?

A skull and crossbones flying over the landfill? Well yeah, says the Daily News (and people's eyes).

At-Large Councilor Tom Jones said yesterday he can see the flag from his house and that it was put up following an article in the newspaper reporting that the state Attorney General's office is seeking a contempt order against New Ventures, the owner and operator of the landfill, for failing to meet the terms of a preliminary injunction.
I'm not sure of the significance of this move. Maybe it was the guy with the gun, who was a few weeks ago seen in the vicinity of the landfill.

Sometimes rumors prove to be true

Way back when I was still posting like a fiend, I got an email from someone alerting me to the probable demise of Plum Island (Coffee) Roasters in Newburyport.

So when I read the other day in the Daily News that PICR was only looking in Amesbury for a spot to put a roaster (not moving, though), I was like, hmmmmm ...

But lo and behold today's story, in which it is revealed that the specialty coffee shop is, indeed, moving to Amesbury. No mention of the multi-page lease I heard the shop was presented by Newburyport Development and which was the purported impetus behind a potential exodus.

Last Friday, (owner Samatha) Stephen told The Daily News that she "has no plans to move into the former J. Bucks location." She noted the item on the Amesbury Municipal Council agenda was just for approval to rent the space to house her roaster so it would be closer to the Newburyport location. The roaster is currently in Franklin.

After Councilor Jonathan Sherwood asked if the roaster would be at the location, she said no.

Stephen later addressed her previous denial of the move by saying, "I'm sorry I couldn't tell the truth. I didn't want to say anything until the deal had gone through."
Oh, so there's a second thing that made me go hmmmmm ....

And send condolences to Tom Salemi, who loves that place. I wish I could say the same, but - alas, I cannot.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life on the Information Superhighway

In the last stages of the last election, as I have written about, I inundated myself with seemingly every piece of news there was out there.

Strangely, I have not watched a cable news channel or Googled "Sarah Palin" once in weeks.

But while I was absorbing all sorts of political stuff - useful or not - it was not in a print newspaper. If it was online, I read it.

They've got this thing now, called the RSS feed. I have no clue, but I gather it's the way people gather together what they read on line. I preferred clicking from the Huffington Post to Daily Kos, to, to ... endlessly searching for something.

I don't know what it was, but obviously I found it.

Last night on the Daily Show, Jon Stewart was remarking about Obama's weekly 'radio' address being on YouTube. See it here.

Stewart, of course, was mocking it being on YouTube. But it seems the only way to go nowadays. As of this writing, it had 802,464 views. And that's not counting people who watched it on his website.

And I wonder how many people would know about vice presidential candidates' gaffes, veiled inferences as to patriotism, or clothing purchases, if not for constant scrutiny by web places like those I mentioned above, along with the cable news channels that showed part, if not all, of stump speeches by McCain, Obama, and Palin?

As you may have read (and as the Globe North editor pointed out to me), the Globe recently laid off 42 people. The Flint Journal is in a similar spiral - as someone has said, print newspapers are circling the drain.

It's all been said, ad nauseum, in the obituary of print journalism.

Do you remember when you could pull up your chair to a nice plate of Spam and eggs and read the newspaper while you ate?

Do you remember rock and roll radio?

Sometimes I think I liked in better when I lived in blissful ignorance ... but still wanted to make people not so ignorant (if that even makes any sense).

Spam, wonderful Spam

A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting my mother when I noticed a hunk of Spam sitting on the kitchen counter.

We in the Swart family grew up on Spam. Fried Spam sandwiches ... makes my mouth water; although I haven't eaten any Spam in probably 20 years.

Now I'm reading today in the New York Times how the Minnesota company that makes Spam is in boom country.

The economy is in tatters and, for millions of people, the future is uncertain. But for some employees at the Hormel Foods Corporation plant here, times have never been better. They are working at a furious pace and piling up all the overtime they want.

The workers make Spam, perhaps the emblematic hard-times food in the American pantry.
Hormel says “it’s like meat with a pause button," the piece goes on to say.

Hot diggity dog.

And sales of another product, Velveeta (a Kraft product that bears the same passing resemblance to cheese as Spam bears to ham), is also booming.

Spam as comfort food?

Yeah, well, along with Kool-Aid, Jell-O and boxed macaroni and cheese, it seems people are turning back to foods from their childhood that they may have nixed in times of prosperity.

Or, as the piece suggests, it's all about the pocketbook.

Even as consumers are cutting back on all sorts of goods, Spam is among a select group of thrifty grocery items that are selling steadily.

Pancake mixes and instant potatoes are booming. So are vitamins, fruit and vegetable preservatives and beer, according to data from October compiled by Information Resources, a market research firm.

“We’ve seen a double-digit increase in the sale of rice and beans,” said Teena Massingill, spokeswoman for the Safeway grocery chain, in an e-mail message. “They’re real belly fillers.”

Sure, I'll go back to Spam. Problem is, will I have a pot in which to fry some up? And if I do, will some singing Vikings appear?

And poor General Motors?

As regular readers know, I grew up in "GM Country." Everyone around us worked for General Motors and things were good.

The cars were good and the workers made good money which they in turn spent like there was no tomorrow.

Turns out they were right - only tomorrow was a while in coming.

In the time I lived in Michigan, I saw a GM car go from being the best of the best (don't know much about Fords) to the worst of the worst. As I wasn't in general paying particular attention, I don't know exactly when this started to happen. I suspect it was in the early to mid-1970s.

I never worked in an automobile factory ("the shop"), but I knew a few people of my age who did.

They were not happy campers.

Do unhappy campers make good cars? I think not.

Sure, they made lots of money, had the best medical insurance money could buy, had vacation days up the wazoo and more personal days than I'd bet any of us others got.

But there was something in the culture of the shop that made them feel ... inadequate. I'll get back to that in a minute.

By the time I got out of college and returned to Flint, the only place people my age wanted to work was the shop. Short of being a doctor or lawyer, it was the place to go to make a lot of money.

It was already becoming rather difficult to get in, unless you knew someone. I had a female friend and a boyfriend who got in because their fathers got them in.

My female friend, EA, worked in receiving. She told me herself all the did was sit on her butt all day and read books. Her (now ex-) husband once severed a finger because he was so high he couldn't operate the machine on which he worked.

My ex-boyfriend went into the skilled trades and became a welder. He, too, took a book to work with him. GM gave him an appreciation of reading which he had not enjoyed previously. His cousin, failed at becoming a park ranger (his aspiration), also went into the shop thanks to boyfriend's father. At some later date, he poured boiling water down his legs so he could go on (I think 80%) disability.

EA also ended up leaving on a disability claim. She had a nice house filled with antiques, nice clothes, and lots of leisure.

I don't know what happened to the others. I'm guessing now that boyfriend is retired.

The culture of General Motors was lots of money for little work. I'm not saying no one worked hard. Perhaps it was when the Baby Boomers came on board that things started to slide.

Or maybe I'm just being far too simplistic.

All I know is, when I was a kid we used to have some Chevys and Buicks that ran for years and years. They were built like tanks. Of course, they had 8-cylinder engines and ate gas like nobody's business.

There are some interesting posts about the automaker bailouts on Flint Expatriates and in the New York Times, and I'm sure lots of other places.

One other thing I'll say - living in a car-centric state sure made for good roads. Lots and lots of smooth, pothole-free highway bending and twisting between auto plants on the south side and those on the north.

Poor beach

Last weekend I ran into someone who was lamenting the lack of local blogging going on recently.

So instead of just saying, "Gee whiz, Ed, just write some more!" I thought I maybe should step up my postings. A return to my former glory days of insults and innuendo ... or not.

All I'll say for now is, way back in my personal time machine, I arranged the purchase of sandbags for erosion control for ... well, a company I worked for. Apparently someone has come to the same decision we came to 7 or 8 years ago, about another shoreline far, far away.

From the Daily News:

A five-member crew started site preparation work yesterday afternoon for a long-awaited beach renourishment project at Plum Island Center.

Netco, a Lexington-based erosion control company, will place a network of large, fabric sandbags on the badly deteriorated shoreline from the Center northward for about 500 feet.

If I have the inclination today, I'll hobble on down there to sneak a peek.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I'm surprised that no one has commented (and abused me for implying otherwise) that you can get from Newburyport to Amesbury via the Rte. 1 bridge over the Merrimack River ... I'm very disappointed!

Anyway ... It will be very good to be able once again to drive down Rte. 1A, especially this time of year. I always see wild turkeys along there ... in fact, I almost ran one down a couple of years ago. It wasn't my fault - the negligent fowl darted out into the road while 4 or 5 of its compatriots watched from someone's yard.

That's not to mention the one or two than roam about the PI Airfield/Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm and the one that wanders the sidewalk near Moseley Pines/Woods (I can never remember what the official name is now).

According to MassWildlife, adult turkeys feed mainly on plant material, including acorns, nuts (especially hickory), grapes, skunk cabbage, barberry and other berries and tubers. They will scratch the ground seeking food. Poults feed heavily on insects during the summer. During the winter, open springs and seeps are an important source of food.

They seem to be around all the time - so why is it I only see them in the fall?

Speaking of seeing birds, I've been seeing a beautiful heron on the marsh the last 2 weeks. The tides have been high (or it's just been wet) and the marsh is frequently very wet. I keep trying to snap a photo of it, but it gets alarmed when I stop the car and rush in its direction.

Contempt order filed against New Ventures

The state Attorney General is seeking a contempt order against New Ventures, says today's Daily News.

State Attorney General Martha Coakley is seeking a contempt order against New Ventures, the owner of the stench-plagued Crow Lane landfill, saying the company is ignoring the 2006 preliminary injunction issued in Suffolk Superior Court.

Jill Butterworth, deputy press secretary for Coakley, said the order was filed yesterday. New Ventures will now need to appear in Suffolk Superior Court on Friday.
According to the AG's office, NV has failed to comply with most of the 13 violations of the 2006 preliminary injunction issued in Suffolk Superior Court, which were cited in an Aug. 26 letter from DEP.

It says in the story that the City Council will not debate the proposed agreement with NV until its Dec. 8 meeting.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Solar panel project stalls

Wow, who could have predicted that something like this would happen? There has to be someone ... let's see ... yikes! I think the answer is: EVERYONE.

From the Daily News:

The panels were expected to be delivered and installed by Nov. 4, but Moak released word yesterday that EyeOn has been unable to secure funding for the $3.5 million project — the result of a general "halt" of projects by the bank serving as EyeOn's investor due to the nationwide credit crisis, Moak said.

"(EyeOn) said (banks) have halted all projects related to PPAs and other types of projects that they haven't actually funded yet," Moak said. "We were told their investor has asked all their clients to hold their projects until they have a better idea of what the financial picture is going to be."
These would be the panels for the Nock Middle School; the ones that generated so many comments due to the rush nature in which the deal was pushed through.

The delay is the latest issue to plague the project since it was first unveiled by the city's lead negotiator and Energy Advisory Committee member Jeffrey Wootan. Questions regarding conflict of interest arose when Wootan helped the city obtain a waiver of Chapter 25A bidding laws and then negotiated a no-bid deal that benefited a company he was being paid to consult with at the time.

And way down at the bottom of the story, this little note:

The Daily News received a copy of a complaint filed with the Massachusetts Ethics Commission charging Wootan and Moak with conflicts of interest in the matter.


Speaking of bridges, here's a blurb from today's New York Times (in its entirety):

Bridge Collapse Is Laid to Design Flaw

Published: November 14, 2008

The Minneapolis Interstate bridge that collapsed Aug. 1, 2007, dropping 108 feet into the Mississippi River and killing 13 people, had cracks in its welds and rust in many places, the staff of the National Transportation Safety Board said. But building up to a conclusion that is not so obvious and not likely to go down well in all quarters, the board’s engineers said those problems had nothing to do with the collapse. Instead, they said, the cause was a design error made in 1965 and a national bridge maintenance system that was not set up to detect such flaws. The design problem, investigators said, was that gusset plates, the poster-sized sheets of steel that tie the girders together, were too thin and gave way when a contractor put tons of equipment and repair materials over one spot.
Need I add that our own Whittier bridge is of the same design? ... Not to alarm you guys or anything ... there's no equipment on there at the moment ....

This is getting good!

I thought this little anecdote, sent in a comment to the post about the Everett mayor .... ummm ... discussing Newburyport in a public meeting, to merit a stand alone:

After Thomas Jones spoke, Billy pointed to the Mayor to get in the hallway and they followed Thomas Jones out there. Everyone in the audience heard yelling and they had to close the doors. Right after that, Mayor Carlo DeMaria tried to wrap the meeting up quick.
(Tom Jones is one of our city councillors.)

Did no news outlet send a reporter to this meeting? I'm assuming it was the one held Oct. 29, in Everett.

I get misty

Oh, how I love the Flint Expatriates blog.

It's an amazing cultural phenomenon. How so many can be so inspired to talk of fries with gravy at an old, beloved coney island restaurant ... I know there's a story in there somewhere ... I think I'm losing my edge.

OH NO! Get me a coney with onions and a side of said fries ASAP. What is wrong with you people out here? You need a good dose of Vernor's ginger ale or Faygo Redpop.

Just kidding.

The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!

I now watch NCIS, just because the writers included the above quote from a classic movie in the script of one episode. By the way, the chalice from the palace was later broken ... can anyone tell me what replaced it?

Bridge notes

Hey, the good news is that the Route 1A bridge is scheduled to re-open next month.

The bad news? I guess some barge hit the Hines Bridge yesterday ... oops.

Not to mention the Whittier/I-95 bridge, from which rusted beams are falling (into the river).

View the photo slideshow of the barge and the Hines Bridge here (from the Daily News). I guess now it's slated for early closing - it was going to close next summer anyway for repairs. This was met with a hearty "A-OK." Or not.

Unlike me, the daily has been all over this. Read about it here and here.

This is from the Oct. 3, 2008, editorial (Doesn't John Macone, the editor, live in Amesbury?):

On Wednesday night, state highway officials announced that the Hines Memorial Bridge — the span that connects Deer Island to Amesbury — must be closed for that length of time in order to rebuild it, rebuild the deteriorating stone buttresses it sits on, and build the complicated swing mechanism needed to open the bridge on the rare occasions when large boats go up the river.

Interestingly, it's the swing portion of the bridge that's now damaged, from the barge.

For all you people who don't live here (if any of you are left out there), the bridge is one of 2 that connects Newburyport with Amesbury, across the Merrimack River. And when I say 2, I mean they are there, at the same place, with an island in between.

So we lucky people get to go to Amesbury via the aforementioned Whittier/I-95 bridge, which I avoid like the plague since I wrote a story for the Current about its decrepit state.

The scheduled repairs to the Hines Bridge were supposed to facilitate the repair of the Whittier Bridge (the former to handle increased traffic while the latter was being repaired).

I guess I won't be zipping on up to Cider Hill Farm (in Amesbury) to buy cider for Thanksgiving dinner after all!

But the re-opening of the Route 1A bridge will make my weekly foray to Gloucester a lot more convenient.

All my travels will be southward from now until ... whenever.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Family connections

So this is where and when I feel like a complete failure.

See these stories, here and here, in the Globe on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2.

I remember when Laura Corser was born ... see, she's my sister's niece (on her husband's side, of course). I know this woman! Now here she is, twice, in the Boston Globe.

Why didn't I think of that? Not sure it would have done me any good, but WHY, WHY, WHY?

A leg up for nice guys

Nice story here in Globe North about a book written by two Port dudes on "How to succeed in business (without being a jerk)."

"They don't want to confront a situation and . . . things go further and manifest through the rest of the organization, and ultimately I think you start to run into problems such as we're experiencing now," Russ Edelman said.

"Maybe as a country we've been overly nice in terms of not setting good boundaries around our spending, about confronting reality on a personal and a national level, and you just kind of inch down this road and before you know it you're stuck in this huge morass," said Timothy Hiltabiddle.

Now the two Newburyport men have penned a book, "Nice Guys Can Get the Corner Office," written with University of Massachusetts at Amherst management professor Charles Manz. It's intended to help overly nice guys - of either gender - stick up for themselves and stop dodging the confrontations that are a natural part of the work day.
Hmmmmm ... not sure how that works. Guess I'll have to read the book.

Anyway, congrats to Tim Hiltabiddle, who was at our last writers group meeting - and who seems to be a nice guy!

(I believe the reporter, Joel Brown, lives here as well.)

Landfill video

Someone sent us all this link to a YouTube video.

That's the mayor of Everett, I gather.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


OK, I'm singin' my little Patriots song ...

Consumer report

My sisters and I bought my mother, for her birthday, this Shark steam mop.

I borrowed it on Thursday to further my fevered cleaning of this place. I don't do spring cleaning, apparently.

Anyway, this thing was like MAGIC. Fill it with water, wait 30 seconds, and steam away the grime. It works! Boy, does it work ... on the wood floor, on the lino ...

I don't think this floor has been this clean - ever. Well, I don't know who lived here 10 years ago, but I know it's not been this clean since I've lived here.

Two big thumbs up.

Friday, November 7, 2008


A belated huge "thank you" to all the people in Everett who keep me up on what's going on in that city, with this issue.

Someone has written to say that Thibeault's Lynnfield house is on the market. And apparently some policeman from Long Island is sniffing around here, asking questions ...

I don't know what will happen now ... if this all means anything.

The proposed agreement seems to me to be sort of "pie-in-the-sky," but who am I to say? Couldn't we use those landfill gases to generate some energy?

We may have an uncapped landfill on our hands soon! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

Rant of the day

Harking back to Tom Salemi's post on the election - I don't want to raise trouble on his blog, so I'll rant on my own blog this time.

Black liberation theology???? X, what the hell does that mean?

If you are who I think you are, you know me. You've spoken with me. You think I'm dangerous? I mean, you may not agree with me about a lot of things, but do you think I'm dangerous?

I've written about empathy before. That's where you feel the pain of others.

Until you've been followed around in stores, been stopped numerous times by the police for bogus reasons, or, you know, been considered to be sub-human, I would say ... well, I won't say it.

This election result has done more to forward race relations in this country than anything else could have.

If someone can't see that, then God help them.

And by the way, lots of people sit in church and listen to stuff they don't necessarily believe. Look at all the Catholics on birth control.

In fact, listening to the rhetoric of hate might inspire a person to go out and try to make a difference (or prove it wrong, for the most part) ... hmmmm, now there's a thought.

President Obama: sounds good to me

I direct you all, if you have not been there already, to Tom Salemi's excellent post about the election results.

My sister (the one in Malden) yesterday was telling me about how they let my niece and nephew stay up late to watch the results of the election.

My 15-year-old niece, my sister says, was intrigued by the process but was rather "Okay, he's black ... so what?" about it all. These are my white relatives I'm writing about ... of course, they all live in the highly multi-cultural, multi-racial Malden (which is why my sister and brother-in-law chose to live there in the first place).

See, that's the future comin' at us all.

I find comments about "black liberation" and all the other crap offensive.

I have the same racial makeup as Obama, I'm not even an American citizen, and I'm as American-loving as anyone.

In fact, people who carry on (wasn't it the ultra-white Gov. Romney who insitituted state-mandated health care here?) have given me pause in my vow to institute proceedings to become an American citizen as soon as I ever have extra money again .... if ever, that is ...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Peace and love

I was chatting with one of my neighbors yesterday afternoon, and he brought up an interesting point.

Somewhere way back, when I was still living in Washington, young people took over.

I mean, not me (I was still young then), but people who magically started making lots of money without "climbing the ladder."

Is this bad? Is that the root of all our problems?

Paying ones dues leads to a thought process that a younger person may not have yet achieved.

All of the people in my family (except me and my brother) have worked their way up to the income level that they currently enjoy. My brother and I are just hopeless.

Anyway, my neighbor told me that his 28-year-old son is making money hand-over-fist down on Wall Street. In a way, I guess, it bothers him on some level (or he wouldn't have brought it up, would he?).

I keep looking and listening to all the people - all under 40, as pointed out on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" this very morning - talking about politics and the economy. And I wonder, "Do I trust them?"

They have no historical context.

Take William Ayers, the 60s radical.

I lived on a farm in Michigan, hardly a hotbed of political strife, when Ayers and the Weather Underground were doing their dirty deeds.

But still, I don't care about William Ayers. Most people don't, it would appear.

It seems outrageous now, but back then - well, things were different. For one thing, as my neighbor pointed out, there was a real generation gap then. "Old people" were in charge, and they didn't think like we thought.

Nowadays there are no war protests on TV, young people pouring out into the streets, and no widespread race riots. Parents are "hip." (Although I have to say, my parents were pretty hip.)

It was different. As former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. (38 years old) pointed out on TV this morning, he has never really suffered any particular hardship because of his race. I wish I could say that.

It's hard to explain, but we are poised on the edge right now. It's important, because it's what all those 60s radicals (and people like me) wanted way back then: peace and love.

Prosperity is not owed us - it's what we work for.

Laughing through my tears

Ha Ha Ha

I think it's funny how presidential candidates keep talking about capital gains taxes.

I'll let you figure out why.

Don't forget to VOTE

Saving myself

I keep thinking about that place of my former residence, Flint, Michigan.

I don't want to go back there; I just keep thinking about how different my life might be if I'd stayed there.

So I was reading on Flint Expatriates about something activist film maker Michael Moore said recently, in an interview with Media With Conscience:

Well, that distresses me to no end to even think about that, that it’s almost twenty years since Roger and Me, and I was saying this twenty years ago, that, you know, unless we get a handle on this, things aren’t going to get any better. And they didn’t. They just continued to get worse. If you go back and look, actually, at Roger and Me now, Flint, Michigan looks pretty good. Even though 30,000 jobs at that time had been eliminated, there were still 50,000 people working there. I think the last number I saw is that there’s somewhere between 11,000 and 13,000 people working for General Motors in Flint now, so almost 40,000 jobs less in Flint since I made that film. So it’s—I just can’t tell you how distressing that is for me.
It's almost as if I still live there, in some ways. But - if I did, I would maybe own a home (Pedro would be pleased) and have a job. Not the job I love and probably not this blog, but ...

This morning I woke up in tears because of a dream I had about being unfairly (or not) chastised by police officers dressed in band uniforms. Is there a connection?

I've been gone for a while because certain entities that shall remain nameless had a problem with my blog, my writing for "competing" publications ... and I sold my soul for the boost to my resume.

Needless to say, so far things have not turned out as planned. I'm going back to doing what I want to do (within reason, of course) and not what others dictate to me.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Hey everyone,

Be sure to vote for the presidential candidate of your choice on Tuesday!

I've got no particular opinion about the debt exclusion, except to say that things are probably going to get way worse before they get better.

(You didn't really believe I had no particular opinion, did you?)

Good night and good luck.