Sunday, October 31, 2004


Lisa’s entry on Fighting Terrorism is excellent. (Coming to Terms with Middle Age). There were may commentators after 9/11 who tried to make people aware that this didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s been coming on for a long time. I just hope we have time to turn around.

First things. I think that after the election I’m going to research alternates to my voter registration. I believe the Republicans and Democrats are hopelessly compromised. After all, NAFTA was passed on Bill Clinton’s watch. When we look at “free trade” we have to ask, “who benefits.” Yes, we get an endless supply of cheap  products and produce. Some of it is even worth buying. In an era where a four bedroom house is called a starter house do we really need more stuff.? To pay for it, we’re bleeding jobs oversees and our small farmers are being driven out by corporate agribusiness.. Problem is many third world small farmers are losing out to the corporations too. In many areas third world farmers don’t own their land, they rent and pay in cash or kind. If the landlord(s) sell out to agribusiness, they lose their access to land. May I recommend “Stolen Harvest-the Hijacking of the Global Food Supply” by Vandana Shiva, an Indian author (East Indian) with several books to her credit. She is one of the authors featured by South End Press. Used copies are available on Alibris, too.

We can’t rely on electing a third party alternative to the presidency. After all, the president can only accomplish so much if Congress doesn’t cooperate. The scary thing is that the current Congress is so damn cooperative. I believe we need to start at the bottom. Elect alternative candidates from the Progressive or Green wings of the spectrum. If we can get enough of them elected to the House or even the Senate to deny both sides a majority, maybe we can slow the juggernaut down a little. Lord knows they’d have to have wills of iron. You can imagine what both sides would offer for their support.

I have to admit that the representative from my district in Oregon, Peter Defazio Democrat and Progressive will continue to get my support. Looks like he's going to win again in spite the R's best (worst) efforts. Peter voted against the Patriot Act. He didn't have time to read it (nobody did) and he wasn't gong to vote for a pig in a poke (my words not his),

Under the listing Progressive News from Common Dreams there is a long list of website links. Some are better than others, but are worth research. There is also a very long list of columnists. For example, Norman Solomon, a progressive leaning media commentator is no longer carried in the Eugene paper and the Oregonian has never carried him. They both find room for Charles Krauthamer though. I swear the man has never met a war he didn’t like.

Just throwing out some ideas. Maybe a few fish will bite.. Got a new website to look for. Shiva won the alternative Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Something about the Right Livlihood. I’m in trouble, I work for an auto dealership. At least it’s family owned and the family in question supports a lot of good local initiatives. Be happy and do good work.

After all enough waves will topple a cliff, enough sand grains on the wind will carve it away, and a stream will cut through it. Make waves

Saturday, October 30, 2004


Is it my imagination or has the entire country developed a bad case of carrying on cranky?

Friday, October 29, 2004


The Electoral College came up on the Jefferson Exchange this morning. Specifically how many votes each state has and where those numbers originated. The electoral votes represent the sum of the number of representatives and senators each state has.


The Electoral College was a compromise. The thirteen original colonies regarded themselves as independent states. They handled their own legal systems, customs dues, everything that an independent country would do. Getting these prickly cactuses to compromise and give up some of these powers was very difficult.


In fact the whole system of elections was a compromise: direct election for the House of Representatives, election of senators by the state legislatures, and very indirect election of the president by the Electoral College. In fact, we aren’t really voting for the candidates when we cast our votes. We are choosing a slate of electors who promise to vote for the candidate. I don’t think there is any statute that requires that they keep their promises. Theoretically, when the electors meet, they could decide the hell with the whole slate and choose Mother Theresa (if she was still alive) for president.


The Electoral College favors the smaller states. It was a definite compromise to encourage the small states like New Hampshire and Connecticut to ratify the constitution. They were afraid that the larger states like New York and Pennsylvania would swamp them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Barring something really weird turning up, the heck with politics. Let's turn out attention to really important things. Cats and dogs.

Amy's prodigal is back. I predict he won't even think about leaving for at least an hour, maybe two. Or until he's had a full tummy or two.

It did remind me of little furry heart stealers we've known and loved over the years. There was Missy-small, white with a few black markings and a black bottle brush tail. There was some Siamese in her family tree and her tail was kinked. She was sure that stringing the bean vines was an excercise designed for her entertainment. She was the only critter two legged or four legged I ever met who could look down her nose while she was looking UP at you.

There was Candy, a little pekapoo with black markings. If she weighed much more than ten pounds soaking wet I'd be surprised. She loved warm laps and warm laundry. We have serveral pictures of her peeking out from under fresh sheets wating to be folded. She also loved green beans and would snitch them out of the bucket while you were picking them. I had an old stuffed dog that she loved to carry around. She adored my grand dad. I hope that he's fishing somewhere and she's with him.

Then there was Sam. Sam was a mix of standard poodle and full size cocker spanial. The only cat or dog I've ever seen throw a temper tantrum. We were going to go for a walk and it started pouring again. I put away the leash and Sam turned into a whirling dervish. He hated getting his feet wet. If he could get across a wet yard or deck by bouncing on one toe, he's do it. He had the pouty "why aren't you petting me anymore?" look down pat. Of course he was laying on his side angled away from you at the time and  you couldn't reach him. He really had the "pitiful" look down pat.

I've written about the current terrible twosome, Misty and Lucky. Of course we aren't wrapped around their paws. No way, unh unh, never happen. If you believe that, do I have a deal for you.

Amy, I'm very glad your prodigal has returned.


Just had a very interesting experience at work. We're doing a potluck Friday and one of my co-workers joked that she should just wear her Kerry/Edwards sticker, I piped up and asked her to find me one too. The third co-worker went cold, and still, and her attitude was definately chilly.

ENOUGH ALL READY! When the election is over we are still going to have to get along together. I don't curse in public, I don't call people names, I don't flaunt my suport or ask anyone else to vote my way, ect. I'm damned if I'm going to censor every innocent comment. 


Tuesday, October 26, 2004


There are ballot measures in Washington and California (and perhaps other states) that would create open primaries. There would be a slate of candidates in the primary and the top two or perhaps three would be in the general election-no matter what their party affiliation. The current parties, especially the top two are screaming bloody murder. “This will be the end of life as we know it.” Maybe it will be. Something tells me that the world will keep spinning. You could find yourself voting between two Republicans or two Democrats. Sooooooooooooo…….I’m not seeing a really big difference in a lot of cases.

The mainline parties are like the big kids who’ve taken over the play area in the park. The rest of us stand around on the sidelines hoping that we’ll be invited in to play. Trouble is we have to play by their rules and keep hoping that if we play their games by their rules, we’ll eventually be allowed to play ours. Boys and girls, it ain’t gonna happen.

Several of the sites I have linked to my journal could be considered or definitely are liberal or progressive. Somehow we have to pull the rest of us together. The open primaries could allow coalitions of feminists, educators, basically everybody who isn’t a white, middle-aged, male, lawyer or business major to have more influence in how the country is run.

We have to pull together on a local level. Gee, I guess I’m basically calling for a second revolution. A lot of good has come out the government on the federal level. Trouble is, getting the hearts and minds as the local level to follow is the problem and divisive attitudes encouraged in the last forty years or so aren’t helping.

There was a story in the local Eugene paper this morning about two groups (Republican and Democrat) doing public demonstrations-side by side. The story is a little confused. Somehow punches got thrown, the cops got called, each side accuses the other of starting it. Near as I can tell, everyone involved is over the age of 50. Now, if they were10, we could send them to bed without any supper and hope they’d learn to behave. I sat there over my breakfast, just shaking my head. Please let me know there’s hope.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


I thought I'd discribe some of my choices in the favorite websites from time to time. Jefferson Public Radio is a small public network headquartered at the university at Ashland. Stations affiliated range from Eugene Oregon to the Mendocino area in California. The name comes from the "State of Jefferson," an area of Oregon and northern California that has more in common with the northern California-southern Oreong area that the rest either state. They carrya good mix of national NPR talk radio and from 8 to10 in the mornings, the Jefferson Exchange. This is a talk show where the people actually "talk" to each other instead of shouting at each other or taling past each other. They've been doing a good job of covering candidates and ballot measures that are important to the area. The Exchange can be accessed on the net as well as over the radio. I enjoy it and listen to it at work.

I had a solar plexus style revelation yesterday. Came home and double checked the voters pamphlet. I don't know about other states, but the state of Oregon puts out a pamphlet with info on ballot measures and candidates. Ralph Nader isn't in it, but I'm going to include him for the sake of argument. There are six candidates for president. All are white, middle-aged males. Between them there are four lawyers including Nader and Kerry, an MBA (Bush), and the Libertarian has degrees in chemistry and marine biology.

Let's face it folks, these guys aren't exactly representative. Kerry may be a Catholic but he and Bush are both Yalies. There may be degrees of difference, but in the end there's not much difference between the lot. I've got some theories, but as Mulder says in one of the earlier episodes "I'm just trying to stitch them together right now." I've got some serious reading and thinking to do.

Apparently Ann Coulter got smacked with a couple of pies at a speaking engagement. While I enjoy the mental image, I have another suggestion-one that might carry a lighter load of Karma. Find the websites of Coulter, or Limbaugh, or say Michael Savage and leave a message that you've just donated to PETA, The Green Party, Green Peace, The Society for the Protection of Starving Rabid Ferrets, whatever, in their name. I would recommned setting up one of your alternate screen names for this, just in case. Just, think, for the price of a couple of pies, hopefully they get miffed, a good cause gets a few bucks, and you get to smile. ;-)

Thursday, October 21, 2004


Very disappointed to receive an e-mail from Amy of Hippies in Yuppiedom. She has been forced to take her journal private. Someone with far more time than sense or humor is doing a parody of her journal.

Another journaler has e-mailed the link and the suggestion to turn this individual in. I read enough to convince me I didn't want to read anymore. My advice, go do something positive and let us know about it.

I have enjoyed reading her journal and will miss it. On the good side the Earthmother's Cupboard is still up so those of us who enjoy her work can still cheer her on that way. With luck with enough show of support she will feel like coming back.

I feel kind of glum sometimes that I don't get very many comments, but after reading about Amy and an entry in Lisa's journal about someone she had to block, I gues I don't feel so bad after all. Interest like that I can do without thank you very much.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Whoopie. The close up filters work very well on the cats. Misty always has a very open and trusting expression and is hard to catch asleep and sprawling. Lucky on the other hand could really care less. As long as she has a "pillow" and some sunshine, she could care less. If there is a shortage of sunshine, there's always the chair in front of the wall heater. That's my chair at the table in front of the heater. Watching the "staring contest" when they both want the chair is a hoot. The easiet solution is to put TWO chairs out.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


This is a verbatem copy of an article in the Portland Oregonian about the Bush rally in Southern Oregon.


A Bush rally volunteer reacts to three women’s attire and tosses them out


Janet Voohies said she was curious to see how Republicans would react when she and two other women showed up at President Bush’s Central Point rally wearing T-shirts stating “Protect Our Civil Liberties.”

She got her answer  before the president even spoke. The three women were ejected from the rally and escorted from the Jackson Country Fairgrounds by state police officers who warned them they would be arrested if they tried to return.

Republican officials said they weren’t exactly sure why a volunteer at the event demanded that the three women leave the rally, But a Bush campaign spokesman, Tracey Schmitt, said: “It is not the position of the campaign that wearing a T-shirt that says protect civil liberties is enough to conclude someone is disruptive.”

Thursday night’s action was the latest in a series of incidents in which people have been removed from Bush campaign events for expressing opposition to the president. Officials say the events are open to supporters and people who are considering voting for Bush, but they are quick to act when they think there is a possibility of disruption.

Voorhees, 48, a student teacher who lives in Ashland, said she and two other teachers obtained tickets to the event after saying they were undecided voters. She said she does not expect to vote for Bush however.

She said the three decided to wear T-shirts that weren’t critical of the president but expressed an issue “important to us…We were testing the limits of the Republican Party, of who is allowed to be at a rally for the president.”

Voorhees said the three made it through all three checkpoints and assured volunteers who questioned them that they would not disrupt the event. But when Voorhies was on her way to the bathroom, she was stopped by a volunteer who told her she wasn’t welcome.

She said this volunteer pointed to her shirt and said it was “Obscene.”

Jackson County Republican Chairman Bryan Platt said he didn’t see the incident, but stood behind the volunteer who was trying to make a judgment about whether someone would be disruptive.

“I wish (the women) would have just dresses in a way that was without that kindof intent to incite any kind of incident,” Platt said.

Lisa Sohn, a spokeswoman for Democrat John Kerry, said their rallies have been open to anyone and charged that the Bush administration has the attitude “that if you don’t agree with them, it is not okay.”

Jeff Mapes 503-221-8209

It's time to remember some basic facts.

WE are the government. The foks in beauracracy, the House, the Seante, the judges, the President are the hired help. If MY boss wants to see me I see him.

This situation has been years in the making, it didn't start with Bush. It'll take a few years to fix it.

If someone wats to copy the news story into their journal, feel free. I only ask it be a complete copy including the reporter's name and the paper it came from.

My personal reaction to the county chairman and his statement on "incidents:" Just how do you think we acheived our independece? The American Revolution went far beyond harsh language

Friday, October 15, 2004


The movie not the soundtrack.

Came home, turned on local news. Lead story was on a college students' drug overdose. In Idaho. Please, some body tell me what this has to do with Eugene-Springfield. Almost no coverage of what happened in Jacksonville last night. No coverage of the press conference held by the demonstrators this afternoon. No mention that there were at least 200 people involved. At this point I threw up my hands in disgust, scared both cats and decided to visit Middle Earth for awhile.

Given the situation it struck home when Theoden's highest praise of Aragorn was that he was an honorable man. Not a potential king, not a very good looking man, not a formidable warrior, but an honorable man. When was the last time you heard someone described as honorable and it wasn't part of a job title, as in the honorable Congressman from East Podunk?

When Aragorn gives his buck 'em up speech he is ON the battlefield not 4,000 miles away prating about how "we're" going to stay the course. When the army marches out of Minas Tirith they know they can't win on the battlefield. All they can hope to do is keep the enemy looking the other way while the ring is destroyed. And in the end the most despised character in the whole story is responsible for the ring being destroyed and it's by accident. The whole thing is so opposite of the situation we're in right now.

When I look at the treaties we've ignored, the mess with Enron and other companies, the companies that are trying to get out of their pension obligations, the drug companies that have ignored studies that show their product is dangerous and  the whole general mess, I can't help reflecting that one of the main themes of the films is keeping your word. Even if keeping it may cost you dearly. Even AFTER death you may be offered the chance to fulfill your oath. I find hope in that.


The president visited my state last night. He went to a nice, fairly safe venue, Medford, which is down in southern Oregon. I don’t have all the details, hopefully there will be some coverage on the news tonight. From what I’ve heard on Jefferson Public Radio a couple of very disturbing things happened.


Three local teachers got tickets to the rally and showed up wearing shirts with Support Our Civil Liberties on them. They were escorted from the rally. Supporting Civil Liberties is considered subversive? I currently listening to a caller who is calling them “spoilers.” Excuse me.


There were a couple a hundred folks outside the motel where the president was to stay. The secret service tried to get the folks off the sidewalk, the cops tried to get them back on, shoving followed, then followed by pepper balls. These are paint balls with cayenne pepper in them. As far as I can tell no one was being violent or intended to be violent. It was an unwelcoming rally for the president. A caller has stated that the organizers were assured that if they were peaceful they would not be harassed. 


This is the president of the whole country (supposedly). As I stated in my last entry, the old absolute monarchs would be absolutely drooling over the isolation our supposed leaders are able to achieve.


I am making a formal declaration here. I am 54 years old and I have been voting since I was 21. Usually for the loser. I have always supported whoever won. I have never felt like this before. George W Bush is not MY president. He does not have my allegiance. I believe he has no honor and no loyalty to the principles that are this country’s foundation.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


I think the earth moved here in Oregon this weekend and I'm not referring to Mt. St Helens. The Portland Oregonian has endorsed John Kerry for President. I honestly can't remember the last time they endorsed a Democrat. The public editor's column on Sunday actually walked us through the decsion making process. It was interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes. Of course the letters have started already. Where did people get the idea that newspapers were unbiased. Is it this "fair and balanced" moonshine they push at Fox News. Of course the media is biased in some way. Live with it, learn to see through it and make up your own mind.

Realizing as I watch the carefully managed appearances of the incumbents that these guys are isolated and protected in ways that would make the old absolute monarchs drool with envy. At least when Charles I went somewhere he had to ride a horse or use a coach. He couldn't help but see the country side and the people once in awhile. Dubya and his entourage basically go from air port to air port. Anyone who might cause trouble or even ask an embarrasing question is kept very far away.

But, hey, the sun is shining, the fog burns off in the mornings, it's just pleasantly crisp not totally frigid yet. There's still a few flowers left in the garden. The susans are gone. You can bake and broil 'em but bring on the cool, damper weather and they just go. We have a climbing rose in the front. Officially it's white. But get water droplets on it and add sunshine and it gets red polka dots. Very different.

Cold season has started at the office. Any suggestions for immune enhancers besides eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender. The mix I'm using right now also includes pine and citrus. Doesn't smell half bad and works well in my diffuser and steam inhaler. 

Sunday, October 10, 2004


I think Misty must have been a fire siren in a previous incarnation. Mom's upstairs getting up close and personal with the sewing machine. Misty does not like it when she can't keep track of everybody. So, she's sitting at the foot of the stairs (the stairs have door by the way), making her displeasure known, very loudly. And bless, me if she doesn't sound like she's saying mama. Lord, that girl has a great set of vocal cords.

As for the other one, I think she's back in the closet. They're indoor cats, so fleas aren't a problem. It's been foggy here all day and at this time of year, by the itime the fog leaves the sun is behind the hill. It may hit 70 out at the airport, but it ain't gonna happen here.

There's a restaurant commercial I get a real (negative) kick out of. This is for a sit-down place by the way. Mom and three kids. Mom doesn't have time to cook a meal. Let me see, the nearest sit down place is about ten minutes away. I've found with my newphews that getting kids ready to go anywhere takes at minimum five minutes per child. So, to and from and getting ready we're at over half an hour already. That doen't account for waiting to order and waiting for your food. Even if you're only opening soup and making cheese don't have time to cook, but you have time to go out?

Also, the two older kids are old enough to help toast sandwiches and set the table. It appears that the good mother is no longer the one who cooks a meal and teaches her children how to help in the kitchen, but one who takes the kids out to eat. Weird.

Sunday, October 3, 2004


Very interesting column in the Oregonian's commentarty section this morning. It's by Lenore Skenazy who writes for the New York Daily News.

She writes about William Thomas' book What are Old Poeple For? He proposes an alternative to nursing homes. He calls them Green Houses. Small groups (eight to ten) with a couple of staff. As much as possible the residents do the cooking and cleaning and everyone sits down to meals together. Sort of a do it yourself family. Thomas is running a pilot program in Tupelo Mississipi. The first 13 are up and running. Apparently the costs are comparable to the institution they replaced and the results sound inpressive.

Four of the seven residents who were using wheelchairs when they moved in are up and walking on their own. Eight out of the ten have some level of Alzheimers but are doing better. One lady even makes her cornbread recipe once a week. Each resident has their own room and all the room open on a yard. I suspect that the buildings are built on a courtyard design with the rooms facing inwards.

Thomas is quoted as saying "the first thing we had to do was run out to the store for sunhats." Some of these folks hadn't been out for years.

We do have a lot of Adult foster care in our area but the results sound pretty hit and miss. A close friend of my mom's is on her second try. Apparently the first home was not very clean and it smelled. Also her medications weren't tracked the way they should have been and she is a diabetic. A one size fits all diet plan is not good in this case. What can you expect when the people who are supposedly running the place never come around to check on the help?

I like the idea of what Thomas calls a "convivium." Of course the people running such a network might actually have to pay attention to the people they're collecting money from instead of just looking at the balance sheet.

Now if we could just move this idea to the schools. I was lucky and went to a small high school. I can't imagine going to a school with more students than many small towns. Yes, I know it's more efficient for equipment and staff, but Lord, there must be some alternative to what we've got.

Saturday, October 2, 2004


I'm almost reluctant to give this writer more publicity, but here goes.

Someone forwarded a notice to me of a new journal. It is titled A Christian Perspective. The entries are unique to say the least. Although the bit about the drugs does ring sort of true. Not because Bush might be involved, but because the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan did sell drugs to buy arms during the Soviet occupation and I'm sure the CIA looked the other way.

But, the term "Christian" begs the question. What camp are we talking about here? Mainline Methodists, Pentacostals, Catholics, Unitarian Universalists, the Society of Friends (Quakers)? All lay claim to being followers of Christ. Personally, I was raised in the Methodist tradition and an inquisitive Methodist I ramain. And probably will remain. If that should change I'll probably find myself a Quaker. They at least have the good sense to keep quiet and wait for God to do the talking. I wonder sometimes how we can hear the Creator over all the shouting we direct at each other.

But, on to things more homey. Tea. I love a good cup of tea. Especially on a gray, foggy, southern Willamette Valley October morning. The sun is probably shining in my old hometown of Oakridge. It's up in the mountains you see. Lovely little valley. The sun is probably shining in Coming to Terms with Middle Age Ville (aka Scappoose, Oregon) It's on the Columbia, not the toe of a valley sock.

Anyway, tea. Discovered (after I sent a fairly large order to Twinings) that Wild Oats carries a nice selection of bulk tea. Put a drop or two of peppermint on the leaves in your tea ball and enjoy. Sweet orange and cinnamon works too. Do the oil first and put the cinnamon on top. It keeps the cinnamon from wandering too badly.

Well, this has to end for awhile. Mom's been at my sister's all week and the cats have basically been on their own for the last week. If I was a balloon Lucky would have popped me by now. :-)