Friday, November 25, 2005

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Those who know me personally as well as those who have visited this blogsite have probably reasoned by now that I am basically cynical by nature. However, this past Tuesday evening I was pleasantly suprised.

I attended the the Greenway Project forum at the Grand in New Albany and my hat is off to VAB & company for organizing the event as well as the proprietors for for hosting it.

First of all I was impressed with the surroundings. The last time I was inside the building it was undergoing remodeling and it was a disaster area. Kudos to whomever for a job well done.

More importantly though I was impressed with the tone of the meeting overall. Coming in I knew very little about this project.

Going out I now see the vision of what it can accomplish for not only New Albany but Clarksville, Jeffersonville, and Louisville as well. As expected there were differences of opinion on how to ultimately consumate that vision but virtually all agreed that it was a beneficial one for the community as a whole.

There was no name calling, bottle throwing, nor politicizing in the discussion. Questions were asked & answered and opinions were expressed in an adult fashion. Responses were voiced and I believe we all departed more informed than we entered .

For me it was refreshing to see people with varying views of a common goal come together to discuss the issue free of preconceptions and animosity. Perhaps we as a people can and will grow up afterall!!

Monday, November 21, 2005


I tried to post some pictures on my blog and failed. All that I accomplished was messing up my original template big time so we now have a new look. Back to the drawing board!!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Introducing the Holy Church of Ostrichism

Welcome one and all to our humble group! We are many in number and there seems to be no limit to our ability to expand. There are members from our church in all walks of life from all socioeconomic and educational backgrounds around the globe. Everywhere we go thriving local assemblies are present and adding to their flocks daily!
At our most recent annual congregational meeting it was decided unanimously by all in attendance that the fields were ripe for harvest and that we should lift our heads out of the sand at least long enough to spread the message. We had heretofore adopted a low profile for fear of reprisal from those who preach self responsibility but we now choose to stand up and be heard.
Since we are virtually unknown by the general populace I will attempt to briefly explain our beliefs and mission in this life. I will refrain from delving too deeply into the theology behind them as it takes a lifetime to scratch the surface and there isn’t the space to do so in the essay.
I’ll begin with our Seven Demandments which were given to us by our holiest of holies thousands of years ago. His name was Oscar and it is said that during a cataclysmic event in his life, he saw a vision and went forth to the plains whereupon he burrowed his head in the earth for 45 days and 33 nights. This event itself is our first recorded miracle and one that has been studied at length by our finest scholars ever since.
But I digress.
Following his sabbatical, Oscar emerged, called together all our ancestors and presented them with these Holy Proclamations which are the foundation of our church.
1. Thou shalt demand thy right to be indifferent.
2. Thou shalt demand thy right to be irresponsible regardless of the cost to others.
3. Thou shalt not attempt to change the status quo.
4. Thou shalt never pass up the opportunity to demand restitution from others for calamities related to your indifference that may befall you.
5. Thou shalt never admit to being a witness to calamity befalling others.
6. Thou shalt not under any circumstances even consider carrying part of the workload to assist others.
7. That shalt not become involved in any activity that may in any way benefit others. Your only concern is to be for the Holy Trinity of ME, MYSELF and I!! Any act committed outside your personal space ( 36 inch circumference) constitutes the unpardonable sin which will result in immediate banishment from the body of Ostrichism for eternity.

We have followed these principles for generations untold with astounding success. We still to this day believe that if we can’t hear it or see it then it cannot possibly affect us.
However, along with the birth of a new century there has evolved one major change in the everyday practice of our religion. For centuries the act of burying one’s head in the sand has resulted in some very irritating consequences. Namely cleaning the sand out of our ears and eyes when we did have to come up for air, food, and water. But PRAISE BE, we have found a solution! One of our more enlightened souls went forth and returned to us with dark shades and IPODS!
Now we can go about our daily lives without the aggravation of the sand nor the fear of breaking the laws of scripture of seeing and hearing. Who said evolution was a bad thing!

I have tried to be true to my word and be brief about our congregation! I’ll leave you with an open invitation to join us if you so desire. I can without hesitation guarantee that wherever you are on this planet there are members of our group that will ignore you with open arms. All you have to do is don the shades and IPODS and follow suite.

Authors Disclaimer; This is meant to be satire. If it hits close to home or offends any who read it, sorry about your luck. Having said that, I do invite comments on the piece if you so desire.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Damn...! I'm Tired!!

This past week has been busier than usual at work coupled with the extra curricular events I attended on two evenings and my weekly Friday night pilgrimage to Richo's has worn me to a frazzle! That being said, it was an interesting as well as educational few days.

Tuesday evening was spent at Richo's (do we see a pattern here?) with the Louisville chapter of the Drinking Liberally folks. Due in no small part to the weather gurus prediction that we were all going to die in the ensuing storm, that by the way never developed, attendance was not what we had anticipated. However, those of us who were there figured that if this were our last chance to do so, we may as well enjoy the beer.

I guess my expectations were too high in that there were no Robert's Rules of Order business meeting followed by a statement of purpose. Camaderaderie seemed to be the order of the day and in the end found favorable results. I met some nice people, made new friends, exchanged email addresses and discussed political views without anyone loosing their cool. Things are definetly looking up!

By Wednesday evening the greatly feared storm had passed us by and was followed by a cold front coming directly off an iceberg. Nevertheless I braved the elements to see the debut of "WalMart- The High Cost of Low Prices" at the Farmers Market in downtown New Albany. At one point I suggested that we find a fiftyfive gallon barrel and start a fire to keep warm but someone reminded me that we did not have an outdoor burning permit for the event and that we would probably end up in jail for the effort. "Suck it up cowboy! It ain't winter yet!

The documentary was as depressing as I thought it would be and I came away with even more resolve to do my small part to not support megacorporations! As much as I hate to admit it, I worked for WalMart for a very short period of time in Colorado. I was not there long enough to experience any personal abuse but I did hear about it from my fellow employees and saw enough to conclude that $$ were all that Bentonville was concerned about and everything else be damned!

A few months ago David Faber of CNBC did an expose on how WalMart deals with their suppliers that again enforced what I have heard on loading docks all over this country. Corporate HQ's position is "If you want us to sell your product, here is the price we will pay you for it. Period! " The only alternative offered was the suggestion that suppliers could bring their price in line by cutting labor costs. They went on to say that the most effective way to do that was by moving prodution out of the country and they just happen to have personnell in house that can help pave the way if one is interested in pursuing that approach!

The CNBC piece caused me to become aggrivated, aggitated and question how & why manufactures in this country let corporations abuse them in this fashion. The Wednesday night veiwing made me "Mad As Hell !!"

So what is the solution? Depends on who you ask. The http://www.wakeupwalmart campaign has several suggestions some of which I like and some I don't. But isn't that what makes America great. Two things I know for sure. Bentonville will not get anymore of my hardearned dollars and I am more determined than ever to strive for a more level playing field!

It has been said that life is not fair; never was, never will be! That may be true for the was part but I have learned one of lifes most prolific lessons the hard way on numerous occasions. That being never say never. The fact that we even exist as a nation bears witness to the fact that we can with combined effort level some of the bumps out of that field and make it better than when we began. To throw up our hands and accept the status quo as is dishonors all who have come before us.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hope Springs Eternal

I just returned home from my first ever meeting with the Louisville chapter of at Richo's and I must say it was an interesting evening. I don't know yet if I agree or disagree with them politically but it was a pleasant exhange of views in concert with some very fine beer.

Dare I hope that such things can be discussed and something positive result from it? Only time will tell and again, Hope Springs Eternal!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I Want To Vote!---But Where???

Before I go any further, I want to offer a disclaimer. Having been over the road for the majority of the past two decades and having changed residential addresses at least a dozen times during the same period, I honestly do not know where I am supposed to cast my vote physically! I say this up front for those who may read that I am being hypocritical, given my propensity to rail about informed involvement or the lack thereof. If charged previously I would have been pronounced guilty of the lack thereof portion. However, age and owning a home changes ones priorities. I'm here to stay!

Having said that, I have voted in the last few elections via absentee ballot which in itself was a challenge. It is a simple thing to obtain if you are in town during the week when the courthouse is open. The only other hurdle is showing up on the day/hour that the person who handles said ballot is present! But I digress.

I spent all day today on the internet with one goal in mind. To become informed. I wanted to know who in local, state, and federal government was representing me in as a citizen of New Albany,Floyd County, Indiana in those three arenas.

Twelve hours later I have a wealth of information about my representatives politcal affiliation, when their terms expire, and how to contact them via web, email, or snail mail. On the federal and state level I now know what district I reside in.

But alas on the city/county level I have failed in my quest. I have not yet found a local district/precinct map that is legible nor any information concerning where to look.

My point is this. I know that I can get what I need from the Court House or City /County Building, but it is rather difficult as well as frowned upon to park a 70 foot rig on Spring Street during normal business hours. It is also illegal as hell! So why in this age of endless information
is something this simple so hard to find?

Albeit I appear to be whining , I'm really not . There are just a lot hurdles to jump in order to do one's civic duty and those who work 8 to 5's find it not worth the effort. Perhaps this is one reason that voting age public shows up in so small numbers at the polls. A weak excuse? Yes, for many. But for many others it's just too much aggravation what with the high cost of living, the risk of losing a job for missing an hour of work, and other worries inherent with raising a family.

Do I have a solution? None save a suggestion. Perhaps those who are currently in office and are seeking to remain there could see the advantage of publishing this information where it is readily available for all eligible voters.

However I would like to pose a question as food for thought. Given my distrust of most things political, do you suppose that many in office would cringe at the prospect of a truly informed voting population actively participating in the process?? Just a thought.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Doomsday Conspiracy? No, But We'd Better Watch Out !

As a follow up to my previous post I had one of those real life encounters today that causes one to question whether the system really is broken.

I was on a dock getting loaded and talking with another driver. During our discussion of current events, he told me of a recent personal expreience.

There was a demonstration he was attending in which an emigrant was hoisting a flag of his home country in one hand and setting fire to the American flag with the other. Being from a fourth generation military family the driver calmly walked up with lighter in hand and set fire to the foreigners flag.

At that point the police stepped in and hauled the driver off to jail. In due time he appeared before a judge and was charged, fined and sentenced to six days in jail. When he asked for a jury trial, the judge denied it because the offence was only a misdemeanor. Had the driver landed a punch causing injury then he could have appeared before a jury. So he paid the fine, did his six days and went back to work.

There are two things that disturbed me about his discourse. First , he still doesn't understand why he got fined and jailed. I suggested that in the eyes of that particular judge, the demonstrator was expressing his right of free speech. The driver, on the other hand, was inciting a riot.

The second item however, is the one that causes me the most angst. He appeared not the least bit concerned after the fact. He did, the judge did and it's back on the road. Admittedly he had no recourse at the time but the apathy that followed is my greatest fear. It is why I feel we must become informed and involved at least to the point of going to the polls and writing to our elected representatives to voice our views. Government of, by, and for the people only works
if the people speak.

Speak loudly and often!

Heroes, One and All

As Veteran's Day approaches I pause to contemplate the event and it's purpose. From the Revoluntionary War over 230 years ago to the present day War with Iraq the best of the best have answered the call to arms. First to form this country we call the United States of America and then to protect and defend her against all foes both from within and without. Some eagerly jumped at the chance while others were dragged along kicking and screaming, but the vast majority went because they knew there was a job to do.

They tackled the task at hand the way we Americans do everything; Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! From the stifling heat of the South Pacific, the deserts of Africa, or the jungles of Vietnam, to the subzero cold of Valley Forge, or northern Europe they were determined to finish the job. Outnumbered, outgunned, in mind numbing conditions they trekked on and at the end of the day, if they were left to their own devises, they climbed to the top of the hill and planted Old Glory for all the world to see.

Most of them came home to family, friends, and jobs to rebuild their lives from where they had left them. Many did not return and their families had to learn how to live without them. For the most part, all of them were held in awe by a grateful nation. Did they enjoy it? HELL NO!! Was there a better way? Most definitely!! But as long as greed, envy, and the lust for power rule humanity, it will remain the way we settle our differences.

Nevertheless the fact remains they went and did the deed which resulted in our ability to still walk our streets, speak our minds, and live free. So regardless whether we agree or disagree with the method, we still owe these men & women, as well as their families, our respect and gratitude for a job well done! Without them we could very well still be in debtors prisons, slaves quarters or worse.

For me at least, I am eternally thankful for those both past and present who put themselves between me and those who would destroy my right to be free!!

Thank you heroes, one and all!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

"You load 16 tons and whadda you get...."

Growing up rural southern Indiana I was around many folk who had migrated to the area from the coal country of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. They were like most people from anywhere in that they wanted an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. They did, however, seem to have a hardedged distrust of anyone they didn't know. Over time some of them opened up and spoke of their fathers' and grandfathers' lives in the coal mines.

"Keep 'em barefoot and pregnant.." was the corporate mantra. School was tolerated until the male child got big enough to go down in the mine, at which point he no longer needed book learnin'. The company store had on hand anything a miner could possibly need for his family and it was cheap to boot! In exchange he got to work long hours in dangerous conditions for subsistent wages. Hospitals were nonexistent, doctors were few and far between and sick pay wasn't even a consideration. If an individual dared to go out of the immediate area to obtain better pay he was immediately dismissed and his family evicted from their corporate- owned home.

Time passed, labor unions came to be and for a time conditions improved.
Wages increased,length of the workday decreased, safety conditions were created and monitored and benefits for healthcare, education, and retirement were negotiated through contracts. Production increased, schools as well as hospitals were built and miners had spare change to spend at the company store. All was well.

But, as with all things, nothing lasts forever. Inevitably corporate greed found fertile ground in front office union greed. "We are in dire straits and we must find a way to cut expenses if we're gonna keep the mine open. We are looking for alternatives to laying people off.." was now the company song. The union's response right on que was to increase dues and agree to cut benefits so their members could remain employed. Ironicaly, neither the corporate nor union executives experienced a reduction in either pay or benefits.

Spring forward to 2005. Does any of this sound familiar with current news articles about megacorps like GM and others? Or- better yet- the latest antics of Wal-Mart? Maybe it's just me, but I am sorely distressed by the fact that in only 52 years I've lived long enough to see history repeated itself! Do we ever learn from it or is it just an exercise we go thru generation after generation?

To be fair, I must say that the responsibilty for this dilemna does not fall on corporate shoulders alone. We the working class have allowed this to occur as much by our inaction as by megacorps' action. We have the opportunity to get an education, the freedom to speak, and the power to vote. It behooves us to do so not only for ourselves but for our future generations. If we fail to use these rights and freedoms wisely, we deserve the Wal-Marts of this world to pay us low wages with no benefits while giving us a discount card to buy from what? Oh yeah, the company store.

Sadly, our children do not deserve this fate. We, like our fathers before us promised them a better mousetrap! Are we going to deliver??