Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Rec Hall

When Valsetz was alive there were several life points in the town. Places where you were able to connect with what was going on in the town. Places where you could get a sense of the local flavor and culture. They were the school, the teen center, the mill and the "Rec Hall".

Why the name, "Rec Hall"? I have no idea. This building housed the general store, the gas station, the cafe, the pool hall and our two-lane bowling alley.

The store was a small four aisle sized store with wood plank floors and plenty of canned goods to feed the town for a month. The main attraction in the store was the beer cooler. At least that is where most of the customer's money went. The selection of "Adult beverages" at the time wasn't nearly what it is today. I believe the choices were, Blitz Weinhard, Olympia and Millers. Though the quantity of choices were limited the limitation didn't seem to slow consumption. The store was great for maintaining the staples and what was needed until the next payday. Since it was a company-owned store the residents of Valsetz were able to charge their groceries, which the sum was extracted from their next paycheck. It was told that there had been several families over the year that had no money left after their store tab was paid. Mainly because their beer consumption was too high.

The cafe was where the local and world issues were discussed, debated and solved to the local participant's standards. Along with the heart of all the town gossip. One could sit at the counter or a booth and listen to the various conversations taking place in the other booths. One booth you might overhear a group of older men discussing hunting, fishing, mill politics or politics in general. Another booth may find younger men discussing hunting, fishing as well and what team was going to do what in their perspective leagues for the season. The high school football and basketball seasons were always discussed by both booths. Now another table could well be filled with a group of people talking about the latest gossip. Who is sleeping with who and where all the bodies might be buried.

The pool hall itself was rarly used as a pool hall by any of the youth in the town. On a rare occassion one of the kids was allowed to rent the balls for awhile but the table was usually saved for the older men in the town.

The bowling alley was another story. There were times of the year this was the best game in town. The best entertainment. There were leagues for all ages and talents. All played on two lanes. It was also a source of income for the younger kids as well. I like many kids I grew up with were able to put the bowling alley on their first resumes as their first employer. Unfortunately the job that was most often filled by the kids was that of a "pin setter". Yes, that's right the pins had to be set up by hand and that required a spry young fellow to do it. You had to move fast to fill the trays with the fallen pins and hit the cord to lower the tray backdown onto the alley for the next ball, all the while you were dodging flying pins from the other lane. You might say the skills attained from such employment could be listed as quick thinking, quick feet and hands and the unique ability to limp from one place to another quickly due to the large bruises you often got as a perk.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

What the Heck is Going on here?

First it was Scotty of Star Trek. Then shortly after, Gilligan assumed room temperature. Now Agent 86, the nemisis of Chaos, Maxwell Smart has joined them. Icons of the 60s and 70s. Whose next Barney Fife? Meathead? Dan August? What really surprises me about these celebs from my youth that are dropping almost at a rate one per month is their age. Man they got old. *Note to myself check my own ID.

The trip to Junction City was amazing. I arrived at the closed sawmill which was tucked away off Highway 99 in a patch of alders, spiny maples and blackberry briers. It was early morning and the sun had just cleared the Cascades to the east, a bit of a cool nip in the air, clear sky and not a person in sight. I noticed a couple of 4X4s parked next to the vacant sawmill building but no one to claim their ownership. So I began wondering about the building, through the lumber storage area, the outfeed area and through the mill to the infeed or staging area. I started jotting down my initial thoughts about the building and its condition when I voice from behind me jolted me into the fight or flight mode. "Frankie Pirate", was the alarm.

Now my innate survival skills kicked in. No running needed, fighting may be a possibility but the shorts would remain clean enough for any future accident. I am only referred to as "Frankie" by those who have known me between birth and high school graduation. Most people in my adulthood call me Dad, hun, asshole or Mr. Pirate or simply Frank. "Frankie" has the tone of long endearment.

I turned around and out of the darkened area behind me came a boy, a man from my past. A man I instantly called "Joey" who had grown to look just like his dad. "Joey" who incidently told me goes by Joe now, and I immediately embrassed. (Yes the Pirate is known to hug men now and then). Tears filled both our eyes from the joy of seeing each other. Joey's dad and my dad were best friends when we were growing up in Valsetz. Our families had spent several vacations together camping along the Oregon coast and Central Oregon. His sister Cindy was in my class.

Throughout the day when we had the chance Joey and I found ourselves talking about hunting trips, fishing trips, camping and the laughs and sorrows we knew. Thomas Wolf was right you can never go home again, especially if you are from Valsetxz. But in some way spending the day talking and laughing with Joey, it was like going home again.

Monday, September 26, 2005

What a Great Weekend

I don't think you could have ordered a better weekend except for the damn Duck's game. First off I am gratful I don't live along the Gulf of Mexico. Secondly, I am gratful I wasn't in Washington DC with all the Balkanized irritants marching around the White House. Fortunately I spent my weekend basking in what is left of the sun in Oregon before the fall rains come, and watching my youngest son run in Cross Country race at Seaside.

The Ducks couldn't keep up the intensity to beat USC and I don't think many football experts thought they could. The Ducks gave USC all they could handle until the middle of the second quarter. I must admit USC may be the best college team ever to don the uniforms. These guys could play on Sundays and give many teams a run for their money as well. I then thought if the Gamecocks don't want to play the Beavers would they prefer to play the Trojans first?

Protest in Washgington DC. Isn't great to be an American where at least you can bitch about anything you can think of? I saw some interviews over the weekend with some of those protesting. Where do these folks come from? There were so many different groups with some crazy grips. Groups like the "Pissed off Quilters", The "If its American it has to be bad for you unless there is Democrat in the White House" group, "We hate Bush" Group (what always gets me here is its always some lesbian woman who is their spokesman, isn't there an oxymoron here?), The "Free Phillipines" Group (besides their rendition of Pink Floyd's Brick in the Wall, I have no idea what they were bitching about), The "Why are all the dead Presidents White men?" Group, The "Socialists against Facist" Group (incidently they had some pretty chicks in there group). and about any other group that makes up the party of Ted "Where'd I put my glass" Kennedy and Senator Robert "Sheets" Byrd. And of course you know her, you love her Cindy Sheehan.

What I am about to tell you is going to rile some feathers. When I see all those people marching around gripping and leaving their trash everywhere I am reminded of why people protest. Women protest because they usually are more emotional about issues and have less internal resistance to bring their grievances to the forefront then do men. Men protest because there is plenty of beer, pot and plenty of vulnerable women at the ralliest. If you think less than 90% of the men protesting are there for anything other than what sooths their buzz, belly or balls you're sadly mistaken. Men care for very little outside of their own personal circle. I know because I have been a member of the "Asshole" club for almost 46 years.

When I was in college and you had nothing to do you always went to some protest and feasted on the free pizza, free beer and pot and if you stayed true to the role you usually met some very nice and caring coed to help you with your pain later.

Enough of that. If you doubt me ask any honest men protestors you know. If he answers otherwise he is either gay, or lying in order to soothe his pain.

Seaside and the Cross Country race. If you have ever been to the Oregon coast you know how beautiful the Seaside area is. The weather was in the low 80s with a slight breeze. There were 96 schools with approximately 2,000 athelets running. I even spoke with JoeValsetz daughter, what a nice young lady.

My eldest son, Jock wasn't running because of some seperated ribs he has been dealing with. But the little guy, Slick turned in a good showing. Later that night I asked him what his time was and he said he wasn't too sure what it was but he wanted to share with me all the phone numbers of girls he had gotten from the dance the night before. He told me there were so many pretty and nice girls from all over the west coast and Canada. He had danced with many and got plenty of email addresses and phone numbers. I think Slick is gearing up for some protesting when he gets to college.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

On the road

I will be out and about Thursday and Friday climbing around a closed sawmill in Junction City, Oregon. So no Half Nekkid for the Pirate. Then this weekend my sons have a Xcountry meet at Seaside, Oregon. Work and parenting is on tap for this old salt. Please look around at any of the posts you like or dislike and do not hesitate to make a comment no matter your position. If you find an old post you think you need to know more about or have a special comment let me know.

Peace and for you in Texas get the hell out of there I don't want to get back to a TV Sunday night and see you gripping about the damn weather.

Do you hear the bullfrogs?

This is the Valsetz lake I grew up next to. The lake has since been drained. This picture reminds me of fishing for trout or bass knowing I needed to get home before to long. If you listen real close you can hear the bullfrogs calling to each other; Muuuhmmmph, muuuhmmph, muuuhmmph.

This lake was home to not only some of my memories but creatures like salamaders which we called, "Water Dogs". On occasions you could catch otters at play, spook a variety of ducks and find a beaver or two hard at work.

Closer to the mill where most of the men worked in our town, there were several abandoned log rafts that had been left to rot over the years. The logs would be bordered by a circle of logs bound together to hold the others in place. It was customary for the adventurous types like myself to get out on those logs and run across them. It was dangerous sport; skipping logs.

As you ran across the logs they would turn and buck and sink, so you had to be quick-footed and have the ability to truly think on your feet. If you were looking for a little more danger you would run across a field of "lillypads". The type of lillypads I'm talking about are log ends not the plant type. They required a lot more foot work then the logs.

Our folks always warned us about skipping logs because you could fall betwen the logs and drown. At ten or twelve drowning was the furthest thing from my mind. I actually never knew of anyone that had drowned skipping logs but I had a few close encounters as I remember.

The worst was when Phil and I were out skipping logs one day and I looked toward the bank and saw my mom standing next to our red and white VW bus. I could see from that distance she wasn't all too happy. I turned toward home and sprinted across logs, lillypads and I think water, ran down the tracks and up the gravel road. As I got into the drive way of our home my mom was pulling up in front of the house.

I think she was a little worried of me drowning so she beat my butt with a spatula. I am reminded of that day every time I flip an egg.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

What the heck happened to Dennis Miller?

A couple years ago CNBC decided to break ranks with the left leaning format of their network's talk shows and put Dennis Miller on. His show ran for a little over a year and then one day it wasn't on anymore. I realize I was the only person watching it but heck I count don't I?

I've checked with Google and all I find is CNBC bragging about his show, which doesn't show up anywhere. First Monday Night Football gives him the boot for no apparent reason other then he knew absolutely nothing about the game but neither did Cosell or Al Michaels. He at least was entertaining when the game's suspense went south.

I mean this guy is my kind of commentator. He doesn't bend toward anything but common sense. He is conservative and liberal where it is logical. His guests always were entertaining and informative and the show was surprisingly balanced for a political/current event talk show.

Maybe that isn't what we want. Maybe we prefer more screaming shows like O'Rielly and Hannity and Combs. Or the stoogy type programs you find on PBS.

Any ideas?

The State of the Valsetz Church

I am so ticked right now. I had this long post about a conversation overheard between the President and the mayor of New Orleans and when I went to post. Blogger ate it. At least I think blogger ate it. It may be some kind of conspiracy where Dick Cheney and his minions are monitoring the blog world and when someone notices a blog that may be a little slanted or might make GW look goofy they eliminate it. Yeah that's it. A big conspiracy thing and all.

This is the church I went to as a kid. At least to "Vacation Bible School". My mom always thought it was a good idea to send us kids to church. Never mind mom and dad never went. It was good for us. There was a time they sent us both to Seventh Day Adventist, i.e. "Saturday church" and then to "Sunday Church". I always wondered why they wanted us out of the house on weekends. I think they were doing some missionary work of their own.

The funny thing about this church is it was more of a breeding ground for the teenage youth of Valsetz then it was a sanctionary for God. The parking lot to right of the building was always a famed parking location to swap spit and other bodily fluids as well as the wood shed out back.

As small and quaint as the church was it was the central part of the community at times. When one of the local kids got married, the Benediction for the senior class, or Boy Scout Awards night the church would fill up with most of the town, the majority being those who never stepped inside the church for any other reason then to attend a social event.

When I think of this place I always remember how out of touch I was as a kid. I actually told one of the most famous lies in that church. During one of the Vacation Bible School sessions we were given homework to do for the next day. The next day came and as they went around the classroom asking each kid for their assignment I panicked. When it got to me I did say it. I said "My dog ate it". I was only eight or nine. What did you expect? We had very little TV at the time and I had no idea that was one of most told lies.

The one thing I remember the most of the Vacation Bible School was every day Mrs. Jeske would ask us what songs we wanted to sing and I always shouted out, "Onward Christian Soldiers". What a great song for ADHD-type of kids like me. It sounded so kick-ass.

Later in college I told a professor why I had missed a class assigment the excuse was my Grandmother had died. Incidentlly, she is 91 years old as I write this. I just was never good at that type of thing. But I am a kick-ass Christian soldier though.

Monday, September 19, 2005

When the cats away....

You can't believe this place I call work. I am surrounded by absolute nuttiness. Last month and frankly over a period of a couple of months my sawed-off boss thought it was vital to his manhood to bring me down a few pegs, so he started challenging me on everything we do around here and at one point took a copule of swings at me. Then he threatened to fire me of which he quickly recanted as soon as I informed him I had called the police on him regarding the assault and that I planned on suing his ass. Now I can't detatch him from my ass.

Picture a H. Ross Perot look alike and with the same irritating voice and speech pattern following you around calling you buddy and laughing at all your jokes. Constantly telling you how much he likes your work and how professional you are and all the bullshit that accompanies an all-out-kiss-ass-assault. Last week he came into my office and told me he was closing some of the offices across the hall and I was welcome to take any of the furniture from the offices I wanted. And he meant I could take it home and have for keeps. We went through all the offices and there was plenty of top cabin desks, bookshelves, credenzas and all the other office stuff you'd expect.

I asked him how much he wanted for them. He told me nothing they're just mine to take. Hmmmm? This guy is usually so damn tight when he squeezes a nickle and Indian comes out of it riding a buffalo. (Sorry NCAA) Something else to think about our annual bonuses are supposedly paid out at the end of this month. I'm thinking this guy is going to give me a bunch of furniture for a bonus. So I plan on taking it all and having a garage sale.

Then Peach, his lovely and gracious swine of a wife comes into my office later in the day and says, Sir Von Ass-Wipe, told me he has giving you all the oak desks and bookshelves. You have great taste Pirate. Those bookshelves are at least $400 apiece. Cha-ching!!!! I think I hear the hook coming.

Now here is the funny part. I am the only one in the office all week long, except for the "Tit-support-system", who rolled in this morning a hour and a half late. She sticks her head in my office at 9:30 and tells me in her most giggly-manner, she forgot to set her alarm. Then walked into ther door jamb on her way out.

How can anyone 49 going on 21 (that's not a typo) forget to set your alarm? Hell, I haven't set an alarm since college. I doubt if she wears herself out enough on a Sunday night where she needs reminding to wake up in the morning and go to work. Then you watch, about 11:00 she'll come in and tell me she has to go somewhere and that will be the last I will see her today.

Anyway before I go too long on this post. Can you imagine someone being silly enough to leave a friggin Pirate alone in their office after they have already tried to screw him over. Not smart...

Friday, September 16, 2005

In the News

Britney Spears has a baby boy. The question is is her belly ring still going to look as hot as it use to. Or are all of us dirty old men going to have to find another peanut butter cookie?

Rene dumps Kenny and says their marriage was a fraud. How does a guy do that? Is he really not Kenny Chesney? What he doesn't really own the island? Did she get a hold of a tape measure? 6 ain't 9 no matter how hard you pull.

Bush takes responsibilty. My question is for what? The sun coming up? I wish the country well on the rebuilding of New Orleans but let's keep an eye on those who will be handling the money. I have less worries about Haliburton as I do the local political thieves in Louisiana.

The Rams lost their first game so beware I be red. But the Ducks and the Beavers are 2 and 0. No word if the Beavers will play the Gamecocks next year. NCAA is concerned. They are threatening to scalp the administrators if they do play.

Streaking is back. That will help with the Half Nekkid cultees. I think its funny as hell. I always like when some guy pops out his pecker in the least appropriate time. The Olympics and the Academy awards come to mind. You go dudes let the wind be your guide.

Cindy Sheehan is claiming Bush did Katrina so he could overthrow New Orleans for their oil. She is saying that Bush needs to get the occupying troops out of the French Quarter. I say share what the hell you be smoking girl.

Some guy has broke the record of watching TV. 69 hours and some. Yeah right dude. You have nothing on me. I just don't brag about it or time myself. Give me plenty of bud and munchies I can do it for weeks at a time.

Still no word on the cat thief who is making auto fuel out of the neighborhood cats. Hear tell he had a tongue operation too.

And this just in, Bob Denver is still stranded in a box.

Siletz River

This picture is from the earthen dam west of Valsetz. This is where the Siletz River begins its spiraling race to the Pacific. The distance is 30 miles by air and approximately 130 miles by water. The Siletz River is the true snake river because of the cutbacks it has carved out of the Coast Range Mountains. The river travels the furthest miles in the shortest space of all rivers in the world (That's what we were told by local experts when we were being tortured by them in school).

The word Siletz is from the local Indians that means Black Bear. Growing up in the area I had the chance to see several Black Bears in the woods and several hanging in garages being cut up for meat.

Seven or eight miles down the river is the local swimming hole, "Hang up". If I am able to post this weekend I'll tell you about four boys and their lure hunting expedition down the Siletz River to the "Hang up" in the summer of '72. In those days before there was an all out alert of protecting your children from molesting predators we would ride our bicycles a short distance from town to where we hid our truck tire inner-tubes and float the river to the "Hang up". Along the float we would hunt for lures and talk about all the things that concerned a young teen boy in those days.

In the late afternoon the day shift at the mill would get off work, grab their families, Blitz Weinhardt beer, habatchi bar-b-quers, and cool off the end of a hot summer day at the "Hang up". When it was time to head home we would load our inner-tubes in the back of a pickup and ride back to where we had stashed our bikes exchange the inner-tubes for our Schwinn sting rays.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Half-Nekkid Thursday or How I Stopped Worrying and Fell in Love with the Sea

I was going to post a picture of the Pirate half-ass nekkid running through the office swinging his sword and dagger about scaring the shit out of the tit-support system and the little tyrannical dictator we refer to as "Sir von Ass wipe" and his big assed small brained wife, Peach, but I couldn't get the camera to work. I was also concerned that I would never get another visit from my blogger-buds. So I decided to post a picture of Mrs. Pirate waiting by the sea for my return. She doesn't cook well in the kitchen but put her in a pilot's jacket and let her man the wheel. Phew... Boy, she can cook then.

I just read on the net that some German fella named Christian Koch has developed a new source of automobile fuel; dead cats. He admantly dismisses the claim but the neighborhood has been cat free since he last filled up his car. It has also been said that his car's backfire sounds a lot like a cat trying to dislodge a hairball.

While we are on cats, I once asked my Dad why cats sound so crazy when they fight. He told me in his old sage manner that cats are actually trying to maintain their existance by weeding out the week, only the strong will reproduce. In order for a male cat to have the opportunity to mate with a female he has to be able to hold her down and essentially take it from her. Then he said, "As for all that screaming you hear, have you ever felt how rough a cat's tongue feels?"

More Shots from Home

When I was a kid this lake was the best kept secret for large mouth bass and several varieties of trout. The 10-mile circumference lake had originally been developed for the mill to store logs. The water was dammed by a earthen dam at the base of two mountains where the Siletz River began its winding race to the Pacific.

Many young Pirates such as myself began our life on the water of this lake. Shop-built boats and backyard-made ramps were our first floating devices along with truck inner-tubes and anything else we could get to float. The lake was surrounded with many fishing holes with names that only locals could identify with; Green Timbers; Bait log; muddy banks; scaler shack; chip pile and the Gooseneck.

After Boise Cascade decided that our tribe should be dispursed and our homes were to be burned they decided on removing the dam. Today this what the old fishing holes look like. The present condition of the lake is equally as beautiful and is now the home of a roaming herd of Roosevelt elk.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Valsetz School

I have become a crazy man since I have figured out how to post pictures. You can only imagine what kind of crazy I was when I figured out how the boy/girl thing worked when I was in the fifth grade getting the snot beat out of me in the ceramic room on a regular basis. The ceramic room is the three windows above the main entrance in the middle of the building.

This is the grade school junior high high school rolled up in one that I attended when I was growing up in Valsetz. This building was built early in the 20th century and torn down in the early 1980s.

Valsetz originally began as a small logging camp in the Coast Range Mountains in Oregon approximately 50 miles west of the state Capital in Salem. The town grew from several logging camps in the immediate area of the Siletz River, which meets the Pacific in Lincoln City. Valsetz was always owned by one timber company or another throughout its existance. At its largest Valsetz was inhibited with a little under 1,000 residence. The normal population would have remained around 600.

Valsetz had a plywood mill and a studmill, a company store, medical clinic, dance hall, library, post office, two churches, a pool hall, a two lane bowling alley, a firehouse, a VFW hall and a school. No bars, the adults drank where ever they damn well pleased. The residence lived in several hundred row houses that were rough at best but homey to all of us that grew up in them.

Since the town was owned by Boise Cascade since 1960 and they considered the families there as chattel Boise Cascade one day made a business decision to kick the people to curb, take their profits and leave. In 1985 the town was closed and then burned to the grown and the residence were dispursed throughout on their own.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Picture of my dad when he was a tyke in Valsetz

My dad is the little dude on the far right with the suspenders and his hands in his pocket looking cool. My youngest son, Slick looks a lot like him. This is circa 1950 prior to any traffic lights. I went to the same school in the same town but I wore a belt.

Beware of the Blame Game

A warning to those participating in the blame game regarding Katrina it will eventually backfire on you and expose the hollow shell you base your foundation on. There is no gain in participating in the trafficing of human misery. Few have made a good career out of franchised racism and poverty pimping. Names like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Ted Kennedy and Howard Dean come to mind when I think about it and I am sure there are plenty more multi-millionaires that have filled their pockets on such carpetbagging.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Part 3 of the short stories

I haven't the trime to write a good post today so I have reposted the third part of the short stories I have been working on. I hope you like this one as well. Those of you that have read please read again and let me know what you think. Those who are new to the story feel free as well to comment.

Spring of 1970 two days after hearing that my Uncle Timmy had been wounded in Viet Nam, it was to be the biggest day I could remember for our small town, Black Bear. The school was to be let out early, being let out early was always a big deal for a fifth grader, especially on a warm sunny day. The word was that everyone in town was going to be there. The school was to be let out and the local mill would operate on a skeleton crew to allow for the local to attend. The mayor, Lech “The Polock” Duda was to host the ceremony. People of various levels of importance within our community were to speak. Citizens of day’s past and current civil leaders were to chime in about the significance of this day.
Black Bear was getting its first traffic light. There’s no doubt that the rest of civilization would smirk if told of the big trappings being applied to such a small town affair, but from the view of our community a traffic light assured us that we were a part of modern day civilization; we were part of the world. Black Bear was moving into the 20th century. We were not going to deny progress. Not in Black Bear that’s for sure.
There hadn’t been this much excitement since the town council had voted to blacktop the main street, Cadillac Avenue. Prior to blacktop Cadillac Avenue was oiled every June to keep the dust down from the logging trucks. It was discovered years later that the substance they used to hold down the dust for the main street was cancerous but hell most of the adults of Black Bear drank and smoked anyway and if that didn’t kill them a jealous spouse or an industrial accident would.
At one o’clock the school was released and we were instructed to walk in groups to the town center and meet at the baseball diamond. Mr. Shenk made it clear that all of us were to sit on the south bleacher and not the north bleachers. That was the first time I realized there was a geographical difference between the bleachers. I had thought that one side was visitors and the other side was for the home team. At least the home bleachers were covered even though they were now to be known as the north bleachers. Mr. Shenk had a knack for being so precise and I think a little problem with control.
When the group of us kids arrived at the baseball diamond the home or north bleachers were filling up with adults and the visitors or south bleachers were filling up with students. Phil and I found our place on the top bleacher so we could get a better look at the traffic light that was to be unveiled by the mayor. We both could see what appeared to be the light hanging over the intersection of Mill Road and Cadillac Avenue covered with a green tarp that was connected to a long rope that lead to a stage and dais that had been erected for the mayor.
Mayor Duda was working the crowd of adults, clasping hands, patting backs, kissing old lady’s cheeks and telling the latest Polock jokes. After every joke his laugh would demand attention of others too far away to hear the joke. His laugh solicited more laughs without knowing what had been said. Phil and I looked at each other, rolled our eyes and chuckled at the mayor and the adults that all wanted to be seen with him.
I looked around and saw most of the people I knew except for my mother and father and my grandparents who had stayed home just in case they received a call about Uncle Timmy. I saw my first love that crushed my heart, Kandi; she was sitting prim and proper with her new boyfriend Steve. Steve was an older kid who was doing his second term as a sixth grader. I figured Kandi only went out with him because it made her feel superior to the guys in our class. Plus she had already broken the hearts of all the boys in our class except for Phil’s. Mr. Shenk stood stiff and erect with his arms crossed, his brow furrowed staring at Phil and I, as if he thought he was going to have to drag the two of us off for a good paddling. He always reminded me of a cat that was stalking a small animal, laying in wait, looking for the most opportune time to leap on it’s prey and bite the smaller animals neck until it died.
The mayor approached the podium, shook more hands, the owner of the mill, the owner and operator of the general store and several other old men that owned everything else in Black Bear. As Mayor Duda neared the dais the school band began to play which was followed by the town’s fire alarm. The fire alarm was donated to Black Bear when I was in the first grade. There hadn’t been such a celebration for its inauguration but the alarm still was seen as a vital part of our community. The alarm was sounded ever weekday at noon and at the curfew hour, ten o’clock every evening.
Once the alarm ebbed its whirling gravelling sound the band played the national anthem as both bleachers stood and saluted the American flag flapping proudly behind the cage that separated the home plate from the bleachers. Mayor Duda tapped the microphone and when he received the attention of those in attendance he told us the newest Polock joke. Something about bottle opening instructions being printed on the bottom of the coke bottles in Poland. I never really got the dumb jokes Mayor Duda prided, but it seemed to give him a lot of staying power.
“People of Black Bear thank you for attending this ceremony. Thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to be here today,” the mayor began. “Today it is my pleasure to present to you great folks, the key to modernization for Black Bear, Oregon. Our very own stop light.” He then tugged on the rope that was attached to the green tarp and the tarp fell to the ground revealing the 20th century. There hanging from two power lines that crossed each other above the intersection was a brand new traffic light. Then someone was given the signal and power was supplied to the light. Red, yellow and then green lights shown, the people of Black Bear laughed and cheered and greeted each other with glee. Elder men and women who had spent most of their lives in Black Bear seemed to be the most excited school kids like Phil and I had far less enthusiasm for such celebration.
Then the crowd fell quiet as the first car approached the light, it was my family’s car. My dad was driving, mom was sitting in the front seat with him and my grandparents sat in the back seat. My interest peaked; my family was going to be the first people to use the light. Dad slowly stopped at the red light as he approached the crosswalk on Cadillac Avenue. The crowd cheered and laughed and the mayor wore a broad smile as well. When the light turned green the crowd continued their excitement, dad eyed me drove through the light and pulled over next to the south bleachers.
My parents didn’t give the impression they were all that impressed with the historical significance they had just experienced. Dad wore the look on his face as if his molar tooth had been acting up again. Mom stared at something in her hand and my grandparents seemed to be crying. Dad got out of the car and approached the bleachers. He looked up to me with tears in his eyes and said, “Frankie you need to go home, son.”
I climbed down the bleachers and walked over to the car, “Dad you were the first to use the light, man that was cool.” I informed him with my new sense of local celebrity.
“Frankie, Uncle Timmy, we were just notified that um,” dad wiped a tear from his cheek and eyes, “Timmy died son.”
I felt like my heart was ripped from me, trying not to let those around us know there was despair I walked to my dad and he knelt down to hug me. “Son we have to go.” Dad led me to the car where mom, Grandma and Grandpa sat in pain. We drove off toward home through the traffic light being the first and second people to use the traffic light. The crowd cheered again as we drove away. Black Bear had leaped into the 20th century traffic

Bad Day

The Pirate's laptop caught a cold and has to go to the computer doctor. Gilligan has died. You may not know it but many of us Pirates loved the little buddy.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Saturday Drive

The Pirate wife and I went for a drive around the Willamette Valley to get away from the city and housework.

First we saw "The Second Coming of Jerry Garcia"

We entered the forest through this gate

We found Bilbo Baggins digs

Then left the forest through this gate

We found this real cool church out in the middle of nowhere

RDAs Agenda items for helping the survivors of Katrina

This is a copy of a comment my friend and scholar Reverend Doctor Abigambi suggests needs to be done to move forward in helping the survivors of Katrina in attaining housing.

Pirate, just a quick rundown for you to magnify your idea:
1. Locate bases that have been mothballed but not deconstructed.

2. Determine # of housing units available.

3. Determine # of medical staff needed.

4. Determine amount of food, personal supplies and medical supplies based upon projected number of occupants.

5. Work on logistics for movement of refugees. Look specifically for bases that are near railroads, highways and working airports. Look at cost effective mass relocation.

6. Investigate usage of military hospitals for special needs victims, such as infants, elderly, mentally handicapped and critically injured.

7. Development registration program for refugees. Need to track new locale as well as assistance provided.

8. Use Federal funds to rebuild housing lost to floods. I would prefer to spend on permanent housing rather than cash assistance.

9. Use Federal funds to transport refugees back to rebuilt housing.

10. Encourage private charities to contribute to refugees while at the military bases.

11. My preference would be to use the military bases as transitional housing as opposed to permanent housing.

Let's focus less on how much money these people would be allotted and focus on the logisitics of helping these people. Its obvious those in charge aren't able to move the large bureaucratic machine to help anyone.

I also would add several people have suggested opening their homes in the immediate to help these people. I am game for that and I think we need to put some pressure on the local churches as well.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Suggestion to relocating Katrina survivors

The long term problem after all the back biting and finger pointing is done and the survivors are attended to for medical and food needs is where are all these people going to go? How will they get their lives back? How are they going to go on?

I suggest the Dpeartment of Defense re-open all of the closed bases we have around the country. These bases have facilties for housing, schools, medical clinics and other infrastructures needed for communities. We then give every individual $25,000 a piece and a housing unit at a base. I mean everyone $25,000. For example the young lady who was a single mother with six kids I saw on TV last night would have a new apartment unit on a base and $150,000 to get her life restarted.

All of these bases are near communities already. Those business people who lost their stores and shops can restart their entrepreneur ways in their new communities with the $25,000 and the additional funds they get from their insurances.

Then the local and federal government can rebuild New Orleans over a period of years. When the city is rebuilt those who had been relocated can move back on their own dime if they wish or continue with their revived lives in their new homes.

This would give the survivors new hope and be a boost in the economy for the communities near the bases. It will also keep a lot of those opportunist from ciphering a lot of the $10,5 billion off for themselves.

If you think this is a good idea let's get the word out in blogosphere. I am sure there are a lot of logisitics that need to be considered but it is a good start.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Random post

The madness of Katrina is seeing people loot objects that require electrical power to run. Where are they taking the stolen loot back to their pile of rubble?

The madness is seeing people from both sides of the political spectrum pointing fingers at one another as if Katrina is someone elses fault. The vanity of any person believing human beings have the power to spin the wind, rotate the Earth, raise the sun and moon or shine the stars amazes me.

Why do sneezes feel so good?

Has anyone listened to the new Brad Paisley's song, "Alcohol"? Witty comes to mind.

Was Ty voted out because he is black?

My new love, no its not Paris or her ilk. Its the new 2006 Black Mustang GT. One drove past me or should I say flew past me on my commute to work this morning. What a beautiful car. It reminded me of the days when they actually made cars. (late 60s and early 70s) Hell, I couldn't afford the gas anyway.

Speaking of gas, who is the looter? The guy stealing groceries off the rack at Wal-Mart to feed himself and possibly his family or the service station owner that charges $6 a gallon?

Why would a shop owner shoot an idiot stealing a flat screen TV out of his high tech store in New Orleans? Murder is a sin as well as stealing. They are equally wrong and equally senseless. (RDA is going to say I'm getting soft in my old age)

Does anyone have a vulnerable feeling about now? It seems to me that we need to keep an eye on anything that may be related to terrorism especially right now. Those evil bastards that are working toward our demise may see the disaster in the south as a good time to lay a big slap up side our heads. Not paranoia just a thought.

Has everyone got on the Rams bandwagon yet?

Something to consider. Would it be a good idea to tell Mr. Vincente Fox of Mexico to give us a barrel of oil per month per illegal alien in the states? That would be 1,440,000,000 barrels per year from my count.

Is anyone yearning for autumn?