Friday, January 30, 2015

Beaverton oh Beaverton

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When people think of poetry they typically think of soul stirring dramatic pieces by Frost, Poe, or Shakespeare.  However, poetry can also be tongue in cheek and silly.  In that vein, I rewrote Glen Campbell’s “Galveston” to fit my hometown, Beaverton.  Enjoy.
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Interior of the Cedar Hills Crossing mall (formerly Beaverton Mall)
Subject: Interior of the Cedar Hills Crossing mall (formerly Beaverton Mall) | Date: 07/277/2011 | Photographer: Steve Morgan | This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Beaverton oh Beaverton,
I still hear your cool winds blowing,
I still see her dark eyes glowing,
She was 21 when I left Beaverton.
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Beaverton oh Beaverton,
I still hear your beer trucks crashing,
While I watch the perverts flashing,
I clean my gun and dream of Beaverton,
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I still see her standing by the Starbucks,
Standing there watching phone app TV,
And is she waiting there for me,
At the mall where we used to run.
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Beaverton oh Beaverton,
I am so afraid of dying,
Before I dry the tears she's crying,
Before I watch your small birds flying in the sun,
At Beaverton at Beaverton.
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

50 Years Gone - Tomorrow Looms

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Isaiah 56: 12 ~ “Come,” they say, “let me get wine; let us fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow will be like this day, great beyond measure.”

I came across this verse during my daily reading today, and it struck me.  At first glance,  it looks like the author is advocating drunken partying.  However, it’s actually about hope for the future.  The verse is basically saying, relax and enjoy the day, tomorrow will be just as great as today.

This is an attitude I’ve been lacking lately.  Fifty years ago, our country was in the middle of racial upheaval.  African Americans were sending society the message they would no longer tolerate being; banished to the back of the bus, shipped to separate schools, or denied the right to vote.

Photo courtesy of Amazon's Affiliate Program.

Their message was punctuated by the March 7th march on Selma.  600 angry citizens found themselves attacked by police for calling attention to America’s unequal distribution of civil rights.  The public’s reaction to the treatment of the marchers pressured law makers to address the civil rights issue and make reforms. 

In less than 2 months, history buffs and liberal activists are planning to converge on Selma to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic protest. 

As airline tickets are being purchased and hotel reservations are being made, our nation again finds itself divided.  The Supreme Court has overturned key elements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Many cities have seen protests over court rulings regarding police officers' treatment of African American suspects.  A rift has even formed between New York’s mayor and police over the perception the mayor has sided with minorities over the NYPD.

With racial tensions as high as they are, what was scheduled to be a remembrance of a heroic stance, will undoubtedly become a tumultuous reflection of the currently churning storm.  While I’m all for the gathering taking place (I even have a good friend who’s making the trip), I find myself overcome with a sense of foreboding.  Once gathered, will a horde of well intentioned activists allow current events to fuel their emotions until riots ensue?

On one hand, I hope; cool heads prevail, no one gets hurt, no property is damaged, and intelligent people can peacefully make their voices heard.  Of course, the darker part of my soul recognizes that things may have to come to a head before they get better.

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

I May Be A Lazy Liberal

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The other night, I ordered pizza for my nephews; 7 years old, 5 years old, and a year old; who were spending the night.  On Papa John's site, customers can order pizza and post said order on Facebook.  The post serves no logical purpose whatsoever, other than to broadcast one's tastes to one's friends.

On a lark, I posted, "I just ordered a cheese pizza for the boys, bacon pizza for the uncle, and pepperoni for grandma," along with Papa John's logo.

Within minutes, my friend, and liberal activist, Farrah responded with the comment, "Too bad their CEO is such a douche nozzle, I loved that garlic sauce."

She was, of course, referring to Papa John’s Pizza's CEO and founder, John Schnatter, who declared the company would cut jobs and raise the price of its pies if Obama-Care remains law.  My friend has apparently removed Papa John's pizza from her diet in response to Schnatter's stance on a social/political issue.  This got me to thinking about boycotted companies, in general.

David H. Koch
Subject: David H. Koch | Date: 10/05/2007 | Photographer: Fred Thompson | This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
Perhaps one of the most noted examples of a company targeted by activists is  Georgia-Pacific, which produces "Brawny" paper towels, "Angel Soft" toilet paper, "Mardi Gras" napkins and towels, "Quilted Northern" toilet paper and paper towels, "Dixie" paper plates, bowls, napkins and cups, "Sparkle" paper towels, and "Vanity Fair" paper napkins, bowls, plates and tablecloths.  Because the Koch brothers, David & Charles Koch regularly contribute to conservative candidates, which actively lobby against universal health care and climate change legislation, many concerned liberals boycott Georgia-Pacific products.

Similarly:
  • Parts of America have seen backlashes against the fast food chains In-N-Out Burger and Chick-fil-A for funding anti-gay marriage campaigns.
  • McDonald's is trashing the Amazon rainforest for cheap meat. 
  • Taco Bell was nailed for using ground beef which is only 88% beef.
After thinking about all these examples, I had to admit I'm a lazy liberal and a hypocrite.  While I boycott Walmart, and give friends a hard time for shopping there, in response to unfair labor practices, I have to confess I have Dixie Cups in my bathroom.

Not only do I have Dixie Cups in my bathroom, I order from Papa John's at least once a month because they're the fastest pizza delivery restaurant in my area.  It occurs to me though, as long as I'm not willing to give up my Dixie cups, anchovy pizza with 3 cheese blend, Jalapeño Double Cheeseburgers, or Double Decker Tacos,  I can't really chastise money strapped people for stretching a dollar at Walmart.

Once we establish that I'm not willing to give up my Dixie cups, anchovy pizza with 3 cheese blend, Jalapeño Double Cheeseburgers, or Double Decker Tacos,  and I'm no longer willing to chastise money strapped people for stretching a dollar at Walmart, I have to ask, "Am I part of the problem?"  Maybe I am.

There's no denying that David Koch, John Schnatter, Sam Walton, and other people I don't agree with are benefiting from my business.  Of course, a multitude of middle class workers, dependent on; Papa John's, Walmart, Georgia-Pacific, McDonald's, Taco Bell, and other companies; for their income, also benefit from my business.  I'm not sure that trying to withhold money from the conservative elite is worth putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work.

In the end, I'm going to enjoy my Dixie cups, anchovy pizza with 3 cheese blend, Jalapeño Double Cheeseburgers, Double Decker Tacos, and perhaps even stretch a dollar at Walmart.  Meanwhile, I'll campaign for candidates who share my values, and hopefully defeat men like Sam Walton, David Koch, and John Schnatter at the ballot box.  Isn't that the way it's supposed to work?

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 And 2015

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Last year, at this time, I made a series of New Year’s Resolutions.
  1. Keep up my personal log/diary as well as writing my blogs - I had ignored my personal log/diary since 06/25/11|
  2. Be less anal to the extent I can wear sweats in public, store DVDs out of chronological order, etc…|
  3. Call friends more|
  4. Treat people better|
The first one is a habit I’ve been pretty diligent about.  I sometimes amuse myself by picturing people pouring over my journal, after my death, and thinking, “That’s what he thought?  Man…”

Number two is one I apparently nailed better than I’d thought I had.  While I’m still particular about the filing system for my movie collection, I’ve become known for appearing publicly in sweat pants, something which was UNTHINKABLE pre-2014.  I can be certain of my success in this endeavor since more than one person felt I needed new sweat pants for Christmas.

The third & forth goals are ones I still have to work on.  I have the bad habit of focusing on projects and forgetting about the outside world.  Thus, I’ve lost track of a number of people I shouldn’t have.

2014, like most years, has been a mixed bag of ups & downs. 

Best Part of 2014:

Even with the myriad of publicized glitches, “Obama Care” has helped 10,000,000 people get access to health care.  I personally know one lady who’s finally receiving help for her chronic back pain, after years of suffering with no way to get relief.  If only 10% of the newly insured have similar stories, that’s 1,000,000 people who are suffering less, today, than they were suffering one year ago.

Worst Part of 2014:

Thanks to a few careless officers, and some even more careless rulings, many hard core liberals have vilified the police.  This, to me, is sickening.  99.99% of police are men & women who put themselves out there in order to help others and do the right thing.  Yet, many of us have allowed a few bad apples to spoil the reputation of the collective whole.

2015:

Taking both the good and the bad into consideration, I have high hopes for 2015.  At our best, our society, or the majority of it, has made helping the medically needy a priority.  At our worst, even though we’ve demonized a few too many public servants, it’s, at least, been made clear that citizens can’t be victimized, by abusers of authority, without the public taking notice.

Next year, our society has some work to do.  Not only do we need to protect the progress we’ve made in assisting the neediest among us, but we need to learn how to curb our reaction to travesties by making sure we only blame those who are directly responsible for such crimes.  Of course, once such offenders are identified, we need a system which will hold them accountable.

On a personal note, I have my work cut out for me too.  Like last year, I resolve to keep in better touch with people and to treat people better.  Additionally, I need to research the possibility of self-publishing my novel, write SOMETHING everyday, and find a way to cope better with my physical pain.

No one knows exactly what 2015 will bring.  However, with a bit of concentration, hard work, and luck, there’s every reason to believe it will be a good year.
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