Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Back to The Power to Harm

Posted: November 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

It was sometime in 1992 or 1993 that an article in a national news magazine caught my eye. I could not believe the couple of paragraphs devoted to a scandal that started in Wenatchee, Washington. You can read the whole sordid story in Wikipedia if you google “Wenatchee the power to harm”.

So why, via my thoughts, do revisit this 21 years later? An article detailing incompetence and mischief in Wenatchee, on page A12 of today’s (Wednesday, November 6, 2013) by Bloomberg news reporter Brian Chappatta brought memories of horror at the gross injustices perpetrated on citizens of Wenatchee. Only when a local woman suspected there was something really wrong going on and mortgaged her home to engage a Seattle lawyer to take the case of a Wenatchee reverend and his wife. As I observe apparent gaps in the legal system over the years I am reminded of this and, up to now, googling “the power to harm” simply doesn’t get you where you want to go. So, the phrase I invoked get me there and opened a really better source than the original Seattle PI series on the subject.

Facing Our Sub Consciousness

Posted: January 20, 2008 in Uncategorized

I have been asked more than once why I would volunteer without pay to help out in a school classroom. I spoke to the relatively altruistic attitude I have had in mind. I say relatively altruistic because there is a school of thought that there is no real altruistic motive. Maybe there isn’t. You have to accept that there is at least a feel good element in most volunteer efforts. Believe me I don’t have a real feel good attitude after spending a couple of hours in a class room in which I sense a large group of individuals who do not care about learning. I don’t argue with those who say these things because it is more important to me for students to level with me and tell me the truth about their feelings than to have them tell me what they think I want to hear. As a matter of fact I have gotten some real candid responses to my queries about what certain young people expect out of life. I might express chagrin – good naturedly – to some of them; but to one of them I gave a quick “right answer” to an idea that might cause grief to other less accepting oldsters.

But, what got me into this piece was my reflection on an event that happened to me in my class in calculus in college. We were in a particularly challenging (to me) unit when I came into class one day and made a comment like I had not even begun to study before the prior evening. I was talking relatively, of course. I had been studying all along I just hadn’t gotten to a section quite as challenging before. Later, I was expressing confusion over the part the letter “K” played in our equations and formulas. Instead of explaining to me what I was missing the teacher said, “I can understand why you don’t get it if you don’t bother to study”. Is it any wonder I made the decision to opt for classes in “Interpretation of Prose” and “Interpretation of Poetry” by my favorite English teacher rather than take classes by the teacher who had insulted me? Of course when I announced my decision to leave college – on a pretext of running out of money – to the same math teacher who happened to be my advisor he answered, “Ok, Chief”. At that time I didn’t even know that a chief was a rate in the Navy. I’m not sure Mr. Ryan was referring to the Navy rank, either. “Chief” was a common term for somebody who is in charge; even if he meant it sarcastically. Actually I was running out of money but when a certain Father Toner called me and told me there was an anonymous donor who wanted to pay for my next semester’s tuition I stretched the truth and told him that I had committed myself to the Navy. I had verbally committed myself, but I hadn’t signed anything yet. I could have accepted his offer. If I had, however, I would have probably gotten drafted because my grades were so low that I was on academic probation. I received my draft notice while I was in boot camp.

So, was my sub consciousness driving me to make the decision on which classes to opt for, Dr. Schneider’s classes over Mr. Ryan’s? Was I, deep down inside angry because of the insult delivered the previous semester?

More Pillorying Hillary

Posted: December 20, 2007 in Uncategorized

I won’t review my first piece about those who would pillory Hillary. I will just write my thoughts that come to me as I read another column about criticisms of her.

I really don’t think it’s about having “skin as tough as a rhinoceros”; because the column I am reading adds another metaphor about keeping the skin so it still breaths. If one develops the attitude that those who speak negatively about you usually are seeing themselves in a mirror inasmuch as the criticisms are not fair. If they are fair you can take them for what they are: substantial and worth working on or surface and not worthy of your attention. You really don’t want to become like the man making a journey to market with his donkey loaded with wares and his son. For each criticism the man made adjustments until he was walking, carrying the donkey, the wares, and his son on his back. How foolish is that?

I have had a measure of success in developing a barrier against unfair criticism by “considering the source” as my grandmother would say. Thinking about my grandmother reminds me of my aunt’s attitude that, as long as people are talking about me they aren’t talking about somebody else. She also disregarded those who would denigrate her.

More About Guns Germs and Steel

Posted: November 7, 2007 in Uncategorized

One of the most important books I’ve ever read, that was to be found in a book store in Seattle in the archeology section, is "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" by Jared Diamond. It was awarded a Pulitzer and is on the Stanford University’s freshman reading list (along with "The Tao of Pooh"). The term for imported goods that has gained international use is "cargo". I was looking through the stacks in Barnes and Nobles the other day and I noticed that the latest edition (in hardback) has still more material. The latest chapter is about Japan. There was a TV series about it and I am sorry to say I only caught a part of one of the last installments. Even though I only have the first edition (in paperback) and Chris has a later one, I will prioritize getting the latest. Unfortunately the Kitsap Regional Library’s only copy is the 1997 edition. The citations for later copies are “sound recording” and “DVD”. I expect the latter to be the TV series. I just put my name in the queue to get it when it is available. I am number 15 in the queue. That’s not too bad; I was number 97 when I placed a hold on Barak Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope”, and it was only a few months by the time I was able to check it out. The link to the web-site for “Guns, Germs, and Steel” is:

http://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/. This is exciting for me. I can continue studying his perspective on this valuable subject.

Informed Opinion

Posted: June 14, 2007 in Uncategorized

Would Reflections in a Naked Eye denote an element of certainty? That’s just a preliminary thought that popped into my mind as I start this. Ok, I don’t expect anybody who isn’t a fan of Carson McCullers to get that inference. It borrows from the title of one of her novels, “Reflections in a Golden Eye”. Now, I don’t quite know what Carson’s title means regarding the story; I haven’t had time to consider it and I would have to re-read the book to be able to get it. But, my mention of a Naked Eye would imply a high degree of certainty in-as-much as Naked Eye denotes an unaided view of the world. I ask you, dear reader, would it have been better if I hadn’t included all that explanation and let you dig up the meaning? True literary geniuses in history probably would have considered it an insult to the readers’ intelligence to bog them down reading the explanation to a phrase that is obscure but witty. And we know that brevity is the soul of wit, right?

I have heard people so cynical that they believed that no journalist is objective; that everything they say is subject to the accusation of bias. This prompts me to come up with a paraphrase of an old saying, “conjecture – bias, opinion, etc. – is in the eye of the beholder”.

At this point I think I will stop and let the reader do some reflective considering to amplify on the theme I’ve chosen.