Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Vote Early - Vote Often

I don't for a second think that I will personally gain no matter who our next President is.  No one is going to send me a check; I am way too old to be drafted. I am retired and don't even want a real job, not one I would have to work at every day anyway.  I realize that our President is the Head of State, a figure without much power, only one cog in our  Democratic Process, a spokesperson.  Nothing happens suddenly in our political system; it is so full of "checks and balances" that it moves at a snail's pace, and that is a good thing.  It is designed to prevent the sudden emotions of the moment to prevail.  It is not about majority rules; it is about law and order, rights and responsibilities.  What will be really interesting to see this November will be the Republican and Democratic Platforms.  These are statements of belief and offer us a sense of direction as to where we are headed.
   Now the arguments you hear and the criticisms of our President are pretty much nonsense.  Eight years of Republican Rule got us to where we are, a very, very deep hole on the brink of a precipice so deep we are reluctant to admit it.  The "Bailout" of the banks and auto industry was initially instigated under the Bush Administration, an admission of their failure, that deregulation was a bad idea that led to the wealthy getting even more at the expense of working people.  The banking failure almost made our money worthless. Four in ten American jobs are directly connected to the auto industry.  President Bush did the right thing in offering this bailout and Obama did the only thing possible to save the American economy as we knew it.  Now from a comfortable distance looking back Republicans are critical of this idea.  It was their idea.  It was the only thing possible and Obama followed through with it.
   Mitt Romney thinks they (the auto industry) should have filed bankruptcy, basically an opportunity to crush the Unions and further degrade the American Worker.  Santorum would have prayed, I guess.
   What do I want?  I believe that a society will be judged by how it treats its women and children, how it treats those who become ill and need assistance, how it treats the disinfranshised,  how it treats the elderly and how it treats the Earth.  This is what I will be looking for in any platform.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chicken in Every Pot!

All right, I did watch the Republican Debate in Arizona.  I just needed a few days to go by in order to digest it without throwing up.  Clearly no one is worth a damn and the Republicans are scrambling, there is even talk of no one single candidate having enough delegates to win the convention.  They might throw all the bums out and pick someone new!

   I think it could be me!  Newt is promising $2.50 a gallon gasoline, like it is his and he can just reduce the price!  Mine will be $1.75.  That is right.  Vote for ME and I will sell you all the gas I own for a mere $1.75 a gallon!

   You can watch one of these debates and it doesn't take long to realize that there are problems in a Representative Democracy.  No one is really after what is best for the USA, it is all about Special Interest, like five fat guys on a committee to determine woman's rights!  I love it.

   I still think the best way would be everytime they vote for more money, say for the Olympics or that bridge to nowhere, they should just send us the bill.  Then we would really know what something cost.
There is a cost to everything.  We want to put pressure on Iran (think Persia!) to stop their nuclear efforts and they stop exporting oil.  Duh! Who didn't think of that?  As long as oil is the prize the world will be what it is.  We will fight for it and people will die for it.  More drilling won't help; it all gets sold to the highest bidder where ever it comes from.

   I think Santorum might be a great President of Iran or some other therocrocy where the religion of the day prevails and heretics are stoned to death or burnt at the stake.  I have a fear of people who think they are so right.  I wouldn't mind Ron Paul controlling the purse strings.  I think he might have every dime he has ever made.  But his isolatioism in this modern world is a little scary top me.  In think there are bad guys out there.

   The truth is I don't know whether things are getting better or not.  Everybody lies about everything,
that seems to be the only reality.  Obama says there "is no silver bullet" and I suspect he is telling the truth.  It is not what we want to  hear.  We want to be kissed on the forehead and tucked in at night and told all will be fine.  Deep down inside we really want cheap gasoline but I wonder what the cost would be?

   Maybe the Republicans couldn't come up with a better candidate because, well...they...are..
Republicans!  They are after a different time, a time in the past.  Yes, vote for me (and send me money!), I'll make it all perfect!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Wake Up in Pain

   I am lucky.  Put me horizontal and lay me flat and I will fall asleep.  Or put me in front of the television and I will fall asleep.  But I always wake up in pain.  My feet hurt and I cannot feel them, my hands hurt, throb and I can feel them very well, like shuffling razor blades.  Peripheral neuropathy, my collateral damage, a souvenir from my successful battle with cancer.  I go downstairs and feed my doggy, the 128# Rottweiler-pitbull-mastiff breed my daughter gave me. I don't need a home security system although his bark is far worse than his bite.  I don't think he would bite anyone but bad guys don't know this.  He is a big dog.  I make some coffee and take a vicodin and head out my backdoor
the hundred feet or so to my studio. across the stone bridge to my office.  The blood begins to flow, life ebbs into my feet and my hands are stiff and sore, so far unresponsive.  Tender to the touch.
   My new computer is so much faster than the old one, I sometimes wonder why I even bought it?
It can "multi-task" and I cannot.  I have a routine and each morning is about the same.  I check my e-mails most of which are junk and I check out who is blogging what?  What is important and what are people doing and what are they willing to say?  Then I check the news and I have to admit I like this aspect of my computer.  I get news from all over the world.  It is pretty complicated and sometimes difficult to sort out.  It is almost never what the headlines say.  There is always so much more to the story.  I think if voting were a life or death issue I would want to know a lot more.  I sometimes wonder if when we die, if we are really put before God what would happen?  What would happen if He said:
"Well, it was a gift! What did you think about it?"
   So I read the news and I am so thankful that I do not live in Syria and I remember that we had our own Civil War!  There is so much progress in the art of killing people.  We are still tribal people, not much has changed at all.
    I read about how our economy is supposed to be getting better but I don't see that happening around here.  The Stock Market went to 3000 yesterday, carried by the likes of Apple and the price of gold I suspect.  My little $5,000 in Steel Stocks is still down to less than $2,000 and I know that things won't get better for the average person until we are building things again.  Corporations are doing well, making the most profits in that last sixty years!  But we all know it is not trickling down.
General Motors is back to being the largest car company in the world but I know few people who could actually go out and buy one.
   There are debates tonight and I will watch them.  I am saddened by American Politics. This election process will cost billions of dollars and I realize that a regular person can never become President.  It is a lot of money and has to come from somewhere.  Somebody is paying for this and they will want something in return.  As the economy is theoretically getting better the issues have turned to "social issues" and they are talking about gay marriage and religion and all of a sudden I think I am in Iran!  Don't we have better things to do than lurk around bedroom windows?
   By now my feet are better and I feel as though they will hold me up and my hands are no longer the center of my being.  One last check on blogger ville and I am off to my bath!  Hot water in a bubble bath in a six foot one hundred year old cast iron tub!  Pretty lucky, thank you so much.  Then I return to my shop or my studio or my office or my garden or maybe the greenhouse!  I have so many choices!  And I am just incredibly lucky!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In Progress

I am working on Chapter Five and have made it out of Florence, fifty miles or so up the coast to Yachats, a fun little coastal community of only 700.   It is where I had a serious bar room fight and I might tell that story!  I still have 200 miles to go for Astoria and discover what Rebbeecca's coastal cabin is all about.
By chapter Five if this were a really good book, three people would be dead by now and I would have gotten laid at least a couple times!  Ha! that would turn this totally into fantacy and I am keeping just an element of truth to it.  So that might not happen for the entire book, although it is not finished by a long shot.  Plenty of time for that.
   I am finding it extremely easy to find episodes of self destruction, how we destroy our own nests, how we are the evil that is set upon us.  It will be difficult to limit and focus this story.  We complain about China and head to Walmart.  I recently read that polyesters and other man-made fabrics are in the food chain, everywhere, all over the world.  These are tiny particals that can't be filtered out and a little goes to the ocean with each wash of clothes!  Fish eat them.  We eat the fish.  You are what you eat. Plastic man!  We can say how horrible this is.  We know it is going to kill us.  Probably causes cancer.  The liver and kidneys were not designed for plastic.  The solution is simple but somehow deep inside we want that "little black dress" or nylon undies or whatever and we keep buying them, keep washing them and flushing the remains to the ocean.  Pretty stupid, especially when there are alternatives.  Cotton.  And if we didn't have such a horrible fear of hippies, there is hemp.  Besides smokable it is probably one of the most useful plants on the planet, growing in one season to over 10' tall.  You can make ropes out of it and soft hemp underware!
   We are confused so easily, distracted and manipulated by innocent sounding television advertizing.Vote for clean energy and American independence from foreign oil.  That sounds so good but I wonder what it really means?  We will risk the Gulf of Mexico, the beautiful waters from the Carrabean to Mexico, along our own Gulf Coast for a gallon of gas.  Somehow we are under the impression that this planet can be used and used up and we are doing our damnedest to get the job done.
   I don't know.  It is easy to make a story about it all.  Greed, destructioin, power.  What is strange is that the more we do this the less powerful we feel.  It is an addiction, has all the same qualities that destroyed Whitney Houston and others.  We don't feel good and think more will make it all better!
   I really believe that you get anything you want in life.  You have to want it bad enough, appretiate it and work towards it, but it is there for the taking, a gift. I don't think it is complicated and think one should have fun in life, just clean up your mess so others can do the same.  "Ride it like you stole it"!
   I am having a great time writing these chapters and posting them on my other site and then I can analyse them here, let you know what I was really thinking!  Like 2 stories in one! A bonus! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Working on Chapter 4

   I have finished a metal sign from copper and strainless steel thqat I made in trade with my bookkeeper,
my bookie as I call her! Tax season is here and we all hate that.  It would be nice to be in that very top bracket and just pay 14%!!! I keep buying lottery tickets!
   My "Book" is moving along. I am still on chapter 4 and it will be a little longer. I am driving now in telling this story and have made it just 50 miles to Florence, Oregon.  I had to tell you of our trees and mountains, old lumber mills and what Oregon "used to be". I used up my allotted 800 words in the first 50 miles and I still have 200 to go. I want this chapter 4 to get us all the way to Astoria wherewe will find the house, I think, or at least some of it.?? I don't know yet.
   I am finding this a fun process and although I don't know where it will lead or what we will discover along the way, I amn thinking about it a lot of the time. Often.  Most of the time, I even dream about it.
Pretty cool actually, to take a simple theme (someone is going to steal something!) and weave it into your personal philosophy, childhood memories, newspaper accounts, what's happening in the real world, imagined or not and make a story out of it.  I'll get to where I am going or at least somewhere
I could stop for the night and post chapter 4 tomorrow!  I actually have a lot of Florence stories so maybe we will just hang out here for a bit.  I am retired and can do that.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Japan Tsunami Debris May Soon Hit California Coast (VIDEO)

Japan Tsunami Debris May Soon Hit California Coast (VIDEO)

On Writing

Chapter Three is done but for some reason got pretty screwed up! A five paragraph description of my little blue truck just mysteriously disappeared!  I'll put it in later!  I'll have to rewrite and re remember it because this is my first draft right here, unedited and just hot off the press!  Writing a long story is an interesting challenge.  Shakespeare took 2 lovers from 2 families and killed them both off, end of story, then he filled in the blanks with a bunch of detail.  In a way it is no different from painting, what to put in and what to leave out.  So far I am comfortable with the telling.  It is somewhat true and I can't yet be caught up in a lie; however, the fiction of it all will very soon begin.  Truth can be a very dull story.
   No, it is not the story of a former girlfriend, although I do have contact with 2 girls I knew in the early years of college and use them as a foil.  They are both successful artists and one has a husband who is dieing of cancer.  They are in Europe somewhere and yes, because medical care is so expensive here.
  Like all good stories it will be about greed and corporate manipulation.  Half of Japan will end up on the beaches from Oregon through Washington and upwards to British Colombia.  Some will sink but lots will wash ashore and it is said to be radioactive.  There just has to be a story there, I know.
A difficult part in telling any story is "character development".  It can require a ton of research and note taking causing the writer to be always aware of who is talking and what would be appropriate for him to say?  I am solving that problem by just being myself with only tiny lies and manipulations.
Actually all of the characters in this book will be people I know or knew in my youth so it will be easy for me to imagine what they would say or how they would react.  I won't need to take notes, just dredge up memories from childhood, hearsay and newspaper accounts.  So we will have a famous writer, a successful artist and a movie star!  and, of course, someone will die!  The rest will come from newspapers.  You never have to go far to find a story.  Nuclear reactors are leaking near Chicago and in California.  Our local scrapyard has installed a radiation detector at their front entry and there are metal thieves all across this country.  Someone is bound to steal something they don't really want!
The trick is not to write the whole story in one paragraph and attempt to make it interesting and curious along the way.  The chapters are purposefully short because this is the blog world and we have other things to do and, admittedly because I write 800 words or so and have no bloody idea of where I am going!  It gives me something to do between paintings while I am waiting for the paint to dry.
I am retired!  Chapter Three is HERE!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Second Chapter

I have done the 2nd chapter! You can find it HERE.  There are hundreds of ideas just in the newspapers,
you only have to imagine "the rest of the story".  I will try to keep politics out of it, the comedians are having a field day now anyway.  Cancer has a big role in this story so it will be impossible not to talk about some kind of National Health Care.  Cancer is expensive, normal is close to $200,000 and it can easily top a million bucks!  If you have one of those 80% plans it can still leave you with a lot of debt!
It is clearly a complicated issue but I do not understand why it is an emotional issue?  We are the only Industrial Country in the world without it.  Here is the funny thing:  if you take all Americans, all groups, all ages, all of us, we are ranked close to 23rd in the world for our health system.  Lots of people live longer, healthier lives than we do.  Yet we pay the most!  On the average, $8,000 per year per person.
  In this country if you can make it to 65 years old we already have National Health Insurance. Medicare.
and IF you only count people over 65 years old then USA has the BEST health care in the world! That is all graphable and chartable and provable.  Just the facts mam, not opinion.  We already have National Health care for Veterans, retired government workers, teachers and a lot of other professions.
Think of it as discount buying like Sam's Club or Costco.  The more people the cheaper it becomes.
   It is not cancer that is draining our medical system.  Cancer and heart disease and long difficult illness is less than 10% of our total medical costs.  The real expense is the cost of dieing.  The last year
(whatever that might be) in a person's life is where most of the money is spent.  It is over 50% of the medicare budget.  Medicare is willing to pay over $100,000 to extend your life a miserable four months!  Maybe that is what we need to talk about?  I still don't think it is emotions; I think it is math.
Hospitals stay open and are available to us all because a lot of their money comes from medicare, government programs and insurance.  Without this money they would close and not be available to anyone.  My personal philosophy is to open the doors, to let each and every one of us have the same benefits.   Congress and lawmakers too.  The same as a welder or bricklayer.
   There is something appealing about Ron Paul and the return of the Eighteenth Century kind of mentality where there is no government interference and we all fight for survival and let the markets prevail and the best man win.  Darwin's fight for survival.  It is appealing to me now where I am strong again and could win in a fair fight but I don't know about last year?  I needed help then...
   I find it interesting how we hate government until we need help.  Hate National Medicine until we get sick, hate government support until we need foodstamps, a road biult or school staffed.
   There is no Western Movement any longer, no "forty acreas and an mule", no setting out on your own and carving out an existence in the wilderness.  Yet we maintain that attitude.  It has been a good attitude and served us well and I would like to  keep the best of it, but maybe modify it for the times?
The truth is most people crossed the Western Slopes in a wagon train, a group effort with shared responsibilities and benifits, a shared protection, goals and ambitions.  Those who ventured out on their own died young.
   We don't teach any kind of History any more and that is too bad.  We are here and we don't know where here is, how we got here or where we are going.  Maybe like my book?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

First Chapter

The first chapter is done!  The Abstract Killers.  I just ended up retyping the damned thing!
From now on I will just write the first drafts here, unedited and raw and without direction.
They might not even be in order.  I will get some ideas out of the headlines.  All names are changed but so far it is mostly true story.  I will lie here and there to make it a bit more interesting but they say to write from expereience, write what you know! We will see where it goes and I will be hunting for suggestions and ideas!  I can't promise that I'll stay away from politics burt that might turn the book into a comedy!  hope you like it or at least might find it curious!