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Robert Frost

“Oh, Stormy, Stormy World”

You’d almost think that Frost must have been raised in the Pacific Northwest judging from the descriptions in:

HAPPINESS MAKES UP IN HEIGHT
FOR WHAT IT LACKS IN LENGTH

Oh, stormy stormy world,
The days you were not swirled
Around with mist and cloud,
Or wrapped as in a shroud,
And the sun’s brilliant ball
Was not in part or all
Obscured from mortal view
Were days so very few
I can but wonder whence
I get the lasting sense
Of so much warmth and light.
If my mistrust is right
It may be altogether
From one day’s perfect weather,
When starting clear at dawn,
The day swept clearly on
To finish clear at eve.
I verily believe
My fair impression may
Be all from that one day
No shadow crossed but ours
As though its blazing flowers
We went from house to wood
For change of solitude.

Here in the Pacific Norhwest we seem to have settled into our usual fall-winter-spring, cloud-covered skies,and sunny days seem few and far between, which may well be what makes them so special. As I’ve noted before, you know it’s going to be a good day any day you can see Mt Rainier shining in the distance.

Here in the Pacific Northwest the sailboats, rollerbladers, and sun worshippers in general appear whenever the sun appears, spring, summer, fall or winter. People act like it’s always been summer and there’s no reason to forget it.

Luckily, most of us have been blessed with more than a single day of uninterrupted bliss, but it is those precious days that stay with us and make life as precious as it is.

I’ve started some serious walking again the last two days, and though I’m still winded when I climb the steepest hills and my calves ache at the end of the walk, I haven’t coughed once since I’ve begun and it’s hard to remember how much pain I was in the last few times I walked. It almost makes me wonder if I haven’t been suffering from a low-grade infection for quite awhile. Hopefully with snow falling in the mountains I’ll be up cross-country skiing shortly and once again forget what it feels like to live as a flatlander.

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Blogging

Election, What Election?

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I’m through with politics. I’ve given my $150 to Kerry and the Democratic National Committee, and I’m not giving any more.

More importantly, I just completed my absentee ballot and dropped it off at the local Rite Aid ballot collection point. I tried to avoid voting a straight Demcratic line, but it was tough going finding anyone who wasn’t a Democrat that came close to reflecting my values. If I weren’t so busy carving Santa Clauses for my grandkids, I might considering running for a local office as a member of the Green Party, because when I looked at most of the Green Party candidate statements they seemed to have little or nothing to do with the environment. In fact, I’m not even sure what “Green” means in terms of the party, certainly not what I thought it meant. Now that I’ve voted, though, I really don’t want to think about politics any more.

Although I haven’t turned off my telephone ringer like Dorothea has, I certainly don’t want any more phone calls. And I sure as heck don’t want any more letters requesting political contributions. As a past contributor to Gore and the Democrats, and as an early contributor to Kerry, I was just slammed with donation requests. At times, in fact, I wondered if they weren’t spending more money sending me letters requesting contributions than I had donated to them.

I definitely think they need a check off box saying, “Don’t call or write requesting any more money.” It’s a waste of trees, and equally important, a waste of my time. I was so put off by the whole money-raising thing that it will take at least four years for me to even consider giving money again. Certainly, if they must request additional money, let them solicit it through email rather than snail mail. At least I would be more comfortable knowing that they hadn’t wasted large amounts of money vainly requesting contributions. And by now I’ve become proficient and deleting spam from my mailbox.

I’m assuming that anyone bright enough to read my site regularly is enlightened enough to VOTE, no matter how they vote, so I’m about ready to wrap this up and focus on more important things, like finishing Frost’s Collected Poems or including photographs of some of my latest carvings. At times lately I’ve actually felt that my whole life was leading up to the moment when I started carving Santa Clauses.

Of course, I can’t promise that I won’t read something that so irritates me that I simply have to make another comment before the election. But I’ll try very hard not to write any more about politics.

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Blogging

If dirt were dollars, We’d all be in the black


Listening to Don Henley’s album The End of Innocence in hindsight you almost begin to wonder if he isn’t prophetic. The fact that an album named The End of Innocence should feature a song entitled “In a New York Minute” with the lines

In a New York Minute
Everything can change
In a New York Minute
Things can get pretty strange

is a little scary. It’s certainly hard to deny that a few moments in New York have changed the politics of America, and the world. If you don’t believe that, consider that Bush’s sole campaign seems to boil down to a commercial called “Wolves” that once again falsely claims that Kerry is soft on defense, as pointed out at FactCheck.org. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I could almost swear that “If Dirt Were Dollars” was describing Bush and his administration:

If Dirt Were Dollars

Walkin’ like a millionaire
Smilin’ like a king
He leaned his shopping cart against the wall
He said, I been a lot of places
And I seen a lot of things
But, sonny, I seen one thing that beats ’em all
I was flyin’ back from Lubbock
I saw Jesus on the plane
…or maybe it was Elvis
You know, they kind of look the same
Hey, look out, Junior, you’re steppin’ on my bed
I said, I don’t see nothin’
He just glared at me and said,

If dirt were dollars
If dirt were dollars
If dirt were dollars
I wouldn’t worry anymore

Lookin’ like a beauty queen
Loyal as a wife
She raised her little voice and testified,
I am a good girl
I’ve been one all my life
But her virtue was as swollen as her pride

She should’ve had the Oscar
She must have been miscast
Her fifteen minutes went by so fast
I said, Now, baby, have you got no shame?
She just looked at me uncomprehendingly
Like cows at a passing train

If dirt were dollars
If dirt were dollars
If dirt were dollars
I wouldn’t worry anymore

We got the bully pulpit
And the poisoned pen
We got a press no better
Than the public men
This brave new world
Gone bad again

God’s finest little creatures
Looking brave and strong
Whistling past the graveyard
Nothing can go wrong

Quoting from the scriptures
With patriotic tears
We got the same old men
With the same old fears

Standing at attention
Wrapped in stars and stripes
They hear the phantom drummers
And the nonexistent pipes

These days the buck stops nowhere
No one takes the blame
But evil is still evil
In anybody’s name

If dirt were dollars
If dirt were dollars
If dirt were dollars
We’d all be in the black

No, I didn’t mean to imply that Bush is a bum from Lubbock sleeping on the streets, though that glare at the end of the first stanza does remind me of someone when another of his lies has been pointed out.

I’m not even suggesting that Bush is the lady of suspect virtue, though Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11 did raise some questions about that.

No, it’s the stanzas after those two that most remind me of our current political scene. Although I’d concede that Jon Stewart was rude on Crossfire, he certainly wasn’t far from right when he accused the press of being “no better than the public men.” Who could argue that the “poisoned pen” has not become the weapon of choice in an election that has become the most bitterly contested political battle that I can remember in sixty years.

Like Henley, I also find it hypocritical to invoke Christ’s name while wrapping yourself in the flag and declaring war on the world. Having read The New Testament several times, I’ve yet to find a single line that seems to advocate war. It always amazes me that those who are advocating war can do so while simultaneously asking the blessing of The Lord of Peace.

It’s certainly not hard to see why Henley supports Kerry, not Bush, is it? It’s hard to imagine how anyone who wrote this song during the Reagan era could turn around and end up supporting Bush, especially when many of the “same old men/ With the same old fears” from Reagan’s administration are serving similar roles in Bush’s administration.

If the “dirt” thrown around in this election were dollars, we’d all be in the “black” instead of a nation further in the “red” than we’ve ever been in history. Unfortunately, neither party seems content to rely on the Truth to get them elected.

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Blogging

Bush Signs $140 Billion Corporate Tax Cut Bill

How ironic that the same day President Bush signed a “$140 billion corporate tax cut bill derided by both Democratic presidential rival John Kerry and Republican Sen. John McCain as a giveaway to special interests”
“Oil prices rallied to a record high above $55 a barrel” and “the Dow Market slid to the lowest level of the year.”

With an economy struggling to find some footing in these unsettled times, the best Bush can do is to quietly sign a bill rewarding his real constituency with huge tax breaks, further exacerbating a grown deficiet. Oddly, as the Reuter’s article noted, ” Bush signed the measure into law aboard Air Force One en route to a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, forgoing a public signing ceremony that would have attracted attention to the tax cuts less than two weeks before Election Day” despite the fact that “The White House had marked the signing of Bush’s other major tax bills with lavish public ceremonies. This one was marked with a one-paragraph statement by the press secretary.” Wonder why he wasn’t shouting out the news of his his latest “tax cut” to voters?

Do you think voters might have been more concerned about rising prices at the gas pump and the spectre of out-of-control heating costs during the upcoming Winter? They certainly should be because rising fuel costs will surely reverberate thoughout the entire economy, and add more fuel to already record trade deficeits.

Considering how pro-business Bush is, I’m amazed how badly my stock has done since his administration took power. In fact, my stock, which had almost recovered what it lost in the last three years, suddenly dropped again the last quarter, ending up several thousand dollars lower than its original value. I’m afraid to go online and check what its current value is. I suppose it’s my fault for not knowing enought to buy stock in the oil and pharmaceutical industries.