Saturday, November 11, 2017

Impeach or imprison?

 A request for signatures on a petition to impeach Trump came up tonight. Apparently whoever is doing it has two million signatures already. The problem is, no matter how many signatures they get, impeachment is unlikely in the current atmosphere. In order to impeach a president, a majority of the House of Representatives must vote for the charges proposed. If that happens, the president is then tried in the Senate where a two-thirds majority is needed to convict. As long as Republicans control Congress that seems like a pipe dream.
To my mind what seems better is a path through the criminal and if not that the civil courts. Robert Mueller's investigation could lead to that as his investigators get closer and closer to the president.
What I would like to see and what would be more possible is indictments coming out of the investigation leading to criminal charges to be tried in a state court. The Southern District of New York (which includes New York City) where the US Attorney there is already involved sounds like a good bet. Why a state court? Because a president cannot pardon anyone for conviction in state courts, only federal courts. One can hope that would lead to a conviction and prison time. At that point Congress could not get away with not impeaching.
Leaving it all in the political spectrum rather than the legal one makes room for all kinds of manipulation.
I am sure this is an oversimplification of the process, but to me it seems a more likely course to take if something needs to be done in the next year. The trick is not to be impatient. Mueller has been described as a methodical investigator and the time this is taking to me means he is being very careful and making sure everything it discovers and develops is solid evidence and it takes that to make a complicated case like this one stick.

So it's fun to carry impeachment signs and demonstrate and feel like we are contributing, but the eventual outcome is going to be decided in the trenches of the legal system and let's hope it happens in time to prevent Trump and his gangsters from destroying the Republic.
#fakenews It's so easy anybody can do it

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Take it to the House

For lack of a coherent thought train these days, offering up some incoherent random thoughts about life and other matters.
What a treat to wake up and go through my morning Internet routine and not end up depressed and angry. Yesterday's elections (Nov. 7, 2017) seem to indicate the American electorate is regaining its intelligence. However in politics victories can be short-lived and major battles to rid the country of the Trump/GOP scourge remain. With that in mind, I am offering the following as a rallying cry for the coming year leading to the mid-term elections next November:

I swear nuthatches must be the pickiest eaters in the bird world. I watched one today land on a hexagonal bird feeder then hop around to each of the six perches, picking and tossing away two or three seeds at each stop then flying off. I'm not sure she took a seed with her. At least she was feeding the grosbeaks who seem to prefer the ground.
From Introverts are Awesome facebook page
I have ended up once again, sitting here in November waiting for enough snow to move to the East Pole for the winter. I've seen posts saying moving is one of the five most stressful situations people face. No doubt but I had never applied that to the annual trek to the cabin. But sitting here waiting with everything but perishables purchased and packed, I go up and down, anxious to go, but dreading the actual first moving day. Then this meme came up on facebook today. A gentle comment on the favorite Alaska pastime, always getting ready. Amen brother.
A couple of days ago a fellow came by to check the well water (and sell me a $2,000 filtration system). Very friendly social sort, who never stopped talking.  My favorite kind of person, right? :=D. He asked several questions that to me seemed a little too personal and made me a little uncomfortable. I finally told him I had to get back to work just to get him out of here. Perhaps it was the question he asked that made me do that. He asked where I was from originally. I told him and then he asked what did I miss most about the place where I grew up. That question stopped me. I finally answered "nothing." He looked surprised. There's nothing you miss about where you're from?" I thought for a moment and said, "nope, I belong here." He gave up then. But later my response bothered me a little. Why wouldn't I miss something from the place where I lived for the first 25 years of my life? I thought through it and there was a submarine sandwich shop I liked and then when you think of my home country and sandwiches, roast beef on Kimmelweck rolls might count. But nothing else really comes to mind. It's not that there aren't memories of good times and bad, and people recalled with fondness, but I came to the conclusion that I'd rather be here than there and I can't think of anything I miss enough to want to go back. Have to wonder if this might be personality flaw.
We all have signs that winter is upon us. I became aware of a new one this year, something I just realized though it has happened almost every year of my life. You know winter is coming when you have to fight your way through at least three layers of clothing to whiz. It's a man thing. And that's all I have to say about it.
Now, speaking of waiting for winter this list crossed my mind. Kind of a reverse bucket list
Alaska things I've  done:
Drove the Alaska highway and on entering Alaska asked them to close the gate.
Built a cabin in the bush and lived in it
Lived on a boat
Faced down an approaching grizzly bear.
Fished commercially for king crab
Drove a dog team.
Drove a boat through the Inside Passage (several times)
Crossed the Gulf of Alaska in a huge storm in a 40-foot sailboat.
Sailed Alaska to Hawaii
Split cords of firewood.
Wrote books about Alaska. (5)
Twice made it through a whiteout in a small airplane
Operated a fishing charter boat
Experienced several 7+ earthquakes
Caught all five species of Alaska salmon. Aware there are a sixth and seventh species (not counting farmed) but not in Alaska.
Hit a moose with a car (twice, though the second one hit me)
Traveled  hundreds of miles on snowmachines.
Was in Nome twice for the finish of the Iditarod
Survived life in Anchorage
Fell through the ice on a snowmachine into the Talkeetna River
Served as editor of the Nome Nugget newspaper
Hit icebergs with a boat (well, burgey bits anyway)
Built three houses mostly by myself,  all three of them in winter.

But keep this in mind. No matter what you have done in Alaska, somebody has done it better, gone farther or higher or deeper, faster and under tougher conditions than you have.

OK now I thought this was titled Take it to the House, but it's not. The song with that title is a rap with lots of objectionable language. This is from the old Tim Allen Show Home Improvement, the band from K&B Construction. Burning down the house. Same message lol.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

100-foot waves, 80 mph gusts, just another fall day in Alaska

A male and female Pine grosbeak pick among the leavings for the bird feeder over their heads. During the heavier gusts the stood almost perfectly still, facing into the wind.

There are reports from the Bering Sea of waves 100 feet high as a huge storm pounds the western Alaska coast. Williwaws ahead the storm blast their way down this glacial valley and across the yard sending up billowing clouds of fallen leaves, sometimes swirling like dust devils or tiny tornadoes, splashes of yellow against a gray sky. Under the feeder half a dozen Pine grosbeaks battle the wind, while they continue picking through the skeletal garden for sunflower seeds the chickadees and nuthatches have thrown off the feeders. More huddle among the thick spruce branches, pressed tightly against the trunks on their leeward side. One broken spruce in the yard leans into another and will have to be taken out when the wind dies.

100-foot waves predicted for the Bering Sea

Friday, September 29, 2017

Blackbird fly

For lack of something of my own to say, the following goes a long way into what I am thinking these days.
He was visiting America. It is said that he was sitting, resting, when he heard a woman screaming. He looked up to see a black woman being surrounded by the police. The police had her handcuffed, and were beating her. He thought the woman had committed a terrible crime. He found out "the crime" she committed was to sit in a section reserved for whites.

Paul McCartney was shocked. There was no seg
regation in England. But, here in America, the land of freedom, this is how blacks were being treated. McCartney and the Beatles went back home to England, but he would remember what he saw, how he felt, the unfairness of it all.

He also remembered watching television and following the news in America, the race riots and what was happening in Little Rock, Arkansas, what was going on in the Civil Rights movement. He saw the picture of 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford attempt to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School as an angry mob followed her, yelling, "Drag her over this tree! Let's take care of that n**ger!'" and “Lynch her! Lynch her!” “No n**ger b*tch is going to get in our school!”

McCartney couldn't believe this was happening in America. He thought of these women being mistreated, simply because of the color of her skin. He sat down and started writing.

Last year at a concert, he would meet two of the women who inspired him to write one of his most memorable songs, Thelma Mothershed Wair and Elizabeth Eckford, members of the Little Rock Nine (pictured here).

McCartney would tell the audience he was inspired by the courage of these women: "Way back in the Sixties, there was a lot of trouble going on over civil rights, particularly in Little Rock. We would notice this on the news back in England, so it's a really important place for us, because to me, this is where civil rights started. We would see what was going on and sympathize with the people going through those troubles, and it made me want to write a song that, if it ever got back to the people going through those troubles, it might just help them a little bit, and that's this next one."

He explained that when he started writing the song, he had in mind a black woman, but in England, "girls" were referred to as "birds." And, so the song started:

"Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting
for this moment to arise."

McCartney added that he and the Beatles cared passionately about the Civil Rights movement, "so this was really a song from me to a black woman, experiencing these problems in the States: ‘Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith, there is hope.’ "

"Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting
for this moment to be free."

~ Paul McCartney, born June 18, 1942

My own note: I don't know if it was before or after the song, but at some time it became a condition for anyone signing a contract to produce a Beatles concert had to agree there would be no segregated seating.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Influence, a double-edged sword

This came up as a conversation on facebook today. A peek into the past. Seems like half the influences in life are the ones you have to overcome rather than ones that help you along.
Originally published by The Adult Side of Tumbler

Tim Jones In both my junior and senior years I was told I could not join the creative writing class.

Jan Williams Simone Don't you wish you could go back in time and bring one of your books to class? Or articles? Or your blog? Or your newspaper work? Etc.

Tim Jones As far as I know I am the only one from that class who has had anything published, except for one fellow who may have published some music.

Lara Simone Bhasin The American public school system is not a monolith. It is quite diverse and will function better if it is allowed to stay that way, rather than being overly controlled by the federal government.

Jan Williams Simone I agree but this is about BAD TEACHERS. Not sure what the solution is...

Lara Simone Bhasin Okay well I was responding to the last line of the post

Tim Jones My complaint is more with guidance counselors. I showed something I had written to the teacher of that creative writing class and he said I should be in there. No one ever did anything about it, though.

Jan Williams Simone You saw what I wrote about my brother after he skipped a grade? That was a problem with the teacher. The only solution I can think of is for parents to intervene on their kids' behalf.

Tim Jones The problem there was bigger than one writing class and neither I nor my parents realized what was wrong until almost graduation. I had changed schools between freshman and sophomore years and never got very high grades. As a result I was put into a put into a program one level short of vocational. Late in my senior year when the national test scores started coming in, the guidance counselor called me into his office and essentially blamed me for not telling him I was intelligent.

Tim Jones Part of the problem in the 50s was when the Russians put up Sputnik it scared the hell out of people and all the emphasis was put on science and math for a few years.
Jan Williams Simone Just because science and math were being emphasized doesn't explain why YOU could not be in creative writing. Seems like pure incompetence to me.

Tim Jones Overall the humanities were discouraged

Jan Williams Simone That reversed when I was in high school. In fact, I was in my high school's first humanities class, which was for only a select group of us, chosen by the teaching team (English and social studies).

Tim Jones That was the era of the only student revolution in American history and you had them scared lol.

Jan Williams Simone The previous class fought for it but they didn't get to participate. Other people always did the fighting for me, LOL. Including my brother....

Tim Jones I can only hope his experience with me taught that guidance counselor a lesson and took more time with other kids who came along.

Jan Williams Simone That is a sad story.

Tim Jones Well, you can't let the past rule your life and I am sure I'm not the only one who faced discouragement for seeking an artistic life. I was able to overcome it for the most part.


This whole exchange may seem a little self-serving, like oh poor me, but I guess all experience leads you where you eventually arrive or at least pass through. I can't blame my lack of production on this for sure, except in this sense. This kind of negative influence from several directions, including the school, my family and almost everyone else in my life, was discouraging enough that I did not commit to writing until several years after moving from school out into the world, losing what for many writers are the most productive years, if not for actual publications, for learning the craft and, too, experiencing what you want to write about. I finally got to the experiencing and eventually writing but I always thought I came to it late. So it goes.

More about the writing life
The writing life 2

Interesting quotations

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeare on Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve