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22nd September 2011
Baby Richard, eight months old...
Now I realize that I might be ever so slightly biased, but isn't he just about the cutest baby boy in the history of baby boys?
18th September 2011
Another Zorn passes to the Summerland...
RIP Robert Zorn, honored uncle, family man, veteran of World War II. :
Braved all manner of pains for more years than I can remember. Lived since the war with shrapnel in his leg. Lived more than the last decade with colon cancer. Diagnosed well over a year ago with kidney failure.
Gone now to be with his beloved wife Bernice, in a place where there is no pain.
15th September 2011
Old friend, long gone...
My best friend, Lin Perkins, who passed away from cancer 18 years ago today. :
I still miss you, my brother in spirit. There is not one day of my life that would not have been made better had you still been among us.
"But I can still recall the sting of all the tears when he was gone,
They said he crashed and burned,
I know I'll never learn why any boy should die so young...
We were racing, we were soldiers of fortune,
We got in trouble but we sure got around,
There are times I think I see him peeling out of the dark,
I think he's right behind me now and he's gaining ground...
But it was long ago and it was far away, oh God it seems so very far,
And if life is just a highway, then the soul is just a car
And objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are."
--Meat Loaf, 'Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are'
4th September 2011
Another Summer gone by...
Just noticed I haven't made a post since May. Being a parent to four kids, one an infant, takes up a lot of time. Most of my downtime is spent reading, watching quality movies and TV shows on DVD (yes, there is some quality stuff out there), and keeping up with the news (which, with my blood pressure problems, I really ought not do). :
Not much new around here in the last few months. My health is as lousy as ever, but I'm still on this side of the grave, so what the hell. My right eye has been a constant problem; pressure spikes from the glaucoma, peripheral vision degradation, now inflammation of the cornea. Hand to God, I'm about ready to gouge it out myself and get a cool eye patch, one with Norse runes on it. Then I'll grow my beard longer and carry a big Ash branch walking staff and all my Norse Pagan/Asatru friends will worship me.
It's time for the kids to go back to school, which means we have made serious financial contributions to the free market. Mostly KMart and WalMart. I cannot believe how much the schools expect the parents to provide. And not just for our own kids; we are all asked to supply stuff for the whole classroom. Irony alert: We spend money like it's going out of style in a capitalist marketplace so the kids can learn a lesson in applied Communism. Yippee fucking skippy.
And how the hell do kids grow so damn much in two and a half months? The clothes that fit them fine winter through early June are now too small, meaning more money out of our wallets and into the pockets of American Big Business. What, do human beings grow in the hot sun like corn?
And while I'm on that, the clothes that Emma picked out for herself are no longer the pink, frilly little girl clothes she used to love. It's not teenage-looking stuff yet, nothing inappropriate for her age, but it's way more mature looking than I was expecting. This is all by way of lamenting the fact that, whether Daddy likes it or not, his precious little girl is growing up.
Baby Richard is crawling, babbling stuff that almost sounds like words, and getting into everything he's not supposed to get into. He's probably the cutest little baby boy ever, though I admit I might be the slightest, tiniest bit biased in my opinion.
Summer vacation ends in two days, and in two and a half weeks, calender summer ends. So, predicatably, now is when the southwest interior of Washington is having its longest stretch of hot weather. Because the weather gods love to dick around with the Pacific Northwest. It wasn't until August that we had three days of sunshine in a row. Now Autumn and the Halloween season are around the next corner, and the hot weather begins. Well, it saves on the heating bills, I suppose.
I'm done boring you good people to death now. Altashheth.
Ten Reasons Why Gay Marriage Will "Destroy" America
1. Being gay isn't natural. Americans always reject unnatural things, like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning. :
2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
3. Gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has the same legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
4. Straight marriage has been around for a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. The sanctity of Britney Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
6. Straight marriage is valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.
7. Obviously gay parents will only raise gay children since straight parents raise only straight children.
8. Gay marriage isn't supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why there is only one religion in America.
9. Children can never succeed without a male and female role model at home. That's why we as a society forbid single parents to raise children.
10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. We could never adapt to social norms, just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer-life spans.
11th May 2011
Will you be...LEFT BEHIND? I know I sure as hell will be...
In case you haven't heard, the long-awaited Rapture of the Faithful is at hand. Yes, on May 21, 2011, the beginning of the end will come. :
I'd link to this hilarity, but there's no need, just Google May 21 2011 and you'll read all about it.
I'm ready for it. Really, I am. I'm going to find all the good, pious Christians in my area. Then, when they're Raptured up to God's side...I'm gonna swipe all their stuff. Well, they won't need it anymore, right? It's not theft, it's salvage.
Or even better...and this might actually work, if it ain't criminal fraud...find these Saved Souls now and ask them if you can have their stuff, since they won't need it in Heaven. I promise to seek salvation, preach to the masses, and fight the Antichrist. Just deed your house and car to me so I have a base of operations to do it all from. At the very least, you won't be needing that 52-inch plasma-screen TV and Blu-Ray player after the Rapture, so would you mind if I pick them up the evening of May 20th?
What's truly amazing about the whole Rapture on 21 May crapola is that Fundies across the country are buying it. Hook, line , sinker, rod, reel, and copy of Angling Times, they're buying the whole smegging lot. My god, where were all these gullible dumbasses when I was a Realtor? Sell your house NOW, the Rapture is coming, and those left behind will need places to live! I'd even offer an End Times Discount, knocking off 2% of my commission for those who list their house and move out before Easter Sunday. (Yeah, I know, if the Xians are right, I'm gonna be on the express bus to Hell, no lines, no waiting.)
Not that I'm the first to see the coming End Times in terms of profiteering. There's a bunch of con artists...sorry, I meant shrewd businesspeople...called Eternal Earthbound Pets USA. From an article about this group: 'The company charges fundamentalist Christians $135, plus $20 per additional animal (payable upfront, obviously), and guarantees that if or when the Rapture comes, one of 44 contractors in 26 states will drive to their home within 24 hours, collect their dog, cat, bird, rabbit, or small-caged mammal, and adopt it.' And with Judgment Day at hand (cue ominous music), they've raised their rates.
Wait...do you hear that? Like a laughing from the Other Side. It's...it's...it's P.T. Barnum! Yes, P.T., you were right, there truly is a sucker born every minute.
6th April 2011
Is THIS what we have become as a society?
Police in Colorado pepper spray...wait for it...an 8-year-old boy. Here's the link, in case you think I'm making that up, and I wish to God I was. : http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/42449949/ns/today-today_people/?GT1=43001
Sad to say, police overreaction is no big news anymore. What throws me is the comments at the bottom of the page. As I'm writing this, 75% of the people commenting, over 14,000 humanoids, think that macing an 8-year-old boy is appropriate. Some of the comments speak about how dangerous this kid could be, that he might have hurt the teachers or the cops.
Have we truly become a nation of trembling cowards? We're talking about AN 8-YEAR-OLD! This isn't some teenage football player with rage issues, it's a little kid. The teachers locking themselves in an office to hide is bad enough (again, not making it up, read the article), but a police officer who isn't strong enough to subdue an 8-year-old? Quit the force and take up botany, dude.
The meek shall inherit dirt.
7th March 2011
The So-Called Financial Crisis
Filmmaker Michael Moore made some statements in Wisconsin today that prove the old adage that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. :
I don't much care for Michael Moore. He's the left's answer to Rush Limbaugh, a self-righteous, obnoxious blowhard who goes out of his way to be annoying. What really makes him hard to tolerate is that he claims to be a documentarian, when he's really a propogandist. No real filmmaker, even with a stated political agenda, would do the things he does; re-edits interviews to make people say things they didn't mean, run footage out of context to make his opponents seem callous and stupid, and just plain make shit up about right-wing politicians he doesn't like. It's not that I disagree with his points; the problem is even when he's right, he's doing it wrong.
But what he said today reflected what I've been thinking for awhile now. To wit:
"America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and
cash. It's just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the
greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks
and the portfolios of the uber-rich ... The only thing that's broke is the
moral compass of the rulers."
The American people have been told that the Governemt, and even the banks, are running out of money. And by and large, the public has bought this tall tale. (What follows is a rant about economics; I'll try not to be unusually boring.)
Money, as in currency that we use to purchase things and pay bills with, issues from the government (kind of; see below). Everything we do short of breathing is taxed, so a large portion of the money that comes out of the government goes right back into it. And all that money, in private or government hands, goes mostly into...you guessed it...banks, which hold the money in trust and make interest off of it, regardless of what kind of account the money is held in. (In other words, just because your checking account isn't accruing interest for you doesn't mean it's not accruing interest for somebody.)
Now, I can easily accept that the buying power of the American dollar is in the john and circling the bowl. We aren't on any kind of real standard. Instead of a gold or silver standard backing up each unit of currency, its worth is based of credit given to the United States Government by the Federal Reserve, an institution outside of and not answerable to the Treasury Department. The Federal Reserve (the Fed) was created by an act of Congress back in 1913, but it is largely a private institution, controlled by the world's most powerful banking institutions. The Fed issues the credit for, and sets the buying power of, our currency. If anything, the US Treasury answers to the Fed. (It should be noted that this system is profoundly unConstitutional.) So yeah, the buying power of the US dollar is crap, because it's not based on anything.
But what we've been sold on is the preposterous notion that the banks are out of money. How the HELL can that be? That's where all the actual currency is, for Christ's sake! And the governemt is out of money? When I hear about elected officials having to take a pay cut, I'll think about believing that fish story.
Time for an aspirin...when I think about politics and economics at the same time, my brain begins to explode.
14th January 2011
A Son to the House of Zorn!
Richard Willam Zorn, born via c-section Monday night, 10 January 2011, at 10:48pm. :
His eyes are currently a steely grey, and he sleeps best when his Daddy is holding him.
Isn't he a cute little guy?
25th December 2010
It's a good Christmas so far. The kids loved all their presents, and Amy loved the presents I gave her. There's a turkey roasting in the oven, and the scent is making everyone's mouths water like we're hungry wolves who just spotted an obese elk. :
Last night, Emma was sitting on my lap while I looked up NORAD's Santa Tracker. There was a cute animated clip of Santa taking off from the North Pole, with Rudolph lighting the way. At the small size the view window of the clip was, it looked convincing enough for a six-year-old. Emma watched and asked, "Is that really Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?" I said it was indeed, and she clasped her little hands together and said "He IS real!" Hand to God, it was about the most adorable thing I've ever seen. (Apparently, she'd had doubts about Rudolph, even though she still believes in Santa. I will never understand that child.)
A very Merry Christmas to you all. May peace and love be with you this day, and all the days that follow.
14th December 2010
Twilight Zone moments
We've all had them...moments of high strangeness, incidents of surreality, things we look back on later and say 'Whoa, that was *bleeped* up.' :
Two really big ones occur to me just now.
Back in October 2007, I was up in Bonney Lake visiting my little sister, having just discovered my birth family. Now, to fully appreciate what follows, it must be clearly known that my adoptive family had no contact with my birth family. My adoptive Mom knew my birth mother's name, nothing else; my birth mother knew nothing at all of the people who adopted her baby boy.
In my sister's bedroom was an old music box. The box looked very like one that belonged to my adoptive mother, handed down to her from her mother. Mom's music box played a lovely little tune called China Nights. Looking at the music box in on Sister's dresser, I commented on the resemblence. She said she got it from our Mom, who got it from hers. I lifted the lid to hear the tune.
And it started playing China Nights.
The second moment of high strangeness that I vividly remember comes from when I was about 13 years old, and has left me wondering to this day if we really know just how intelligent the so-called 'lower species' are.
I saw a honey bee caught in a spider's web. Now, normally I take a Prime Directive approach to that sort of thing; let the spider be, let nature take its course, don't interfere. But it was a fuzzy little honey bee, and I like honey, so I decided to break the Prime Directive and rescue the bee.
Freed from certain death, the bee flew around me three times, landed on my hand...and dropped some pollen onto me. It was giving me a gift, thanking me for saving its life. I know that sounds like so much anthropomorphism, but I'm damned if I can think up any other explanation. Then and now, logic and rationality have nothing to do with it; the bee understood that this human had saved it, and it wanted to show its gratitude. That's how it felt then, and feels now all these long years later in my memory.
How about the rest of you? Had any moments where logic took a hiatus, where you more than half expected to see Rod Serling come out of the shadows and tell you that you just crossed over into The Twilight Zone?
22nd November 2010
The Wisdom of Sarah Palin, and Other Oxymorons
Sometimes old Mama Grizzly says things so hilariously stupid, she actually makes GW Bush look smart by comparison. Well, almost. :
Bitching and moaning about how Katie Couric was so unfair to her by, you know, asking questions during an interview, she uttered the following phrase:
"I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism."
It's like she knew the words to make a coherent sentence, but just spat them out randomly, with no attempt at grammar or syntax. But that isn't the funny part.
With her very next breath, she says:
"And I have a communications degree."
21st November 2010
Well, it's finally happened. I have finally grown so old that pop culture has left me in the dust. :
To wit, I read online that at the American Music Awards, Justin Bieber has won artist of the year.
I couldn't name ONE SONG of his. Not even at gunpoint. My only knowledge of him was that he was the bare-faced underaged pretty boy that one of the Kardashian media whores fancied. I neither knew, nor cared, that he sings as well.
Think I'll go listen to some 70's and 80's music now. Yeah, it's old, but it beats the living hell out of all the meaningless noise they call 'music' these days.
Ya little whippersnappers...
10th November 2010
35 years ago today on Lake Superior...
The captain wired in, he had water comin' in, :
And the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when his lights went outta sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
I'm just old enough to vaguely remember the news reports of this tragedy at sea. (And yes, it was 'at sea'; what we Americans call our Great Lakes are, geologically speaking, inland seas.) A year later folk singer Gordon Lightfoot made sure that good ship and crew wouldn't be forgotten.
And maybe it remains in our collective interest not just because of the song, but because the wreck remain a mystery to this day. Nothing so sparks our interest as unanswered questions.
But after 35 years, it may be that the only ones who will ever know what happened are the twenty-nine men lost to the Witch of November.
Rest in peace, good sailors and true.
7th November 2010
OK, I give up...
Since everyone else in Known Space seems to have a Facebook page, I decided I might as well join the cult...I mean, join the club. :
I'll still post most of my updates and opinions here, since I've been on LJ for so long, but now I won't feel like such an online hermit. At least my family will be able to keep in better touch with me.
1st November 2010
What Would Jeezus Do? Get a haircut!
A boy in New Jersey is being banned from a Catholic pre-school for his long hair. Here's the story: : http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/39952369/ns/today-today_people/?gt1=43001
Now, I'm not gonna get into the whole How Long Was Jesus' Hair debate, becuase there's no point. Closed minds can rarely be opened, they serve only as a warning others, as well as occasional amusement.
No, what gets me is this quote by the mother:
“I love my church, but this isn’t about the church. It’s about the authority and power and power abuse,” she said.
Woman, THAT IS WHAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS ALL ABOUT! Have you not paid attention to the news about the Catholic Church in the last ten years? Do you know so little history that you cannot see the better part of 2000 years of power-mongering and mind control from the Vatican?
If Jesus ever returns, his first request will be to see the Pope, and to try out this cool new type of flail we call a Taser.
23rd October 2010
525,600 minutes, how do you measure a year in the life?
So I'm 41 today. Woo-hoo. My youth fades swiftly into the distance. :
I've been in contact with my biological family for three years now, but they live just far enough away that we're not in constant contact. I guess that's why I still had a moment of disconnect when my Mom called me early this morning to wish me a happy birthday. Amy picked up the phone, checked the caller ID, and said "It's your Mom." It took a couple seconds for that to clear the circuits, during which time I contemplated that Amy had flipped her noggin, or that Sydney Zorn was making the ultimate long distance phone call, seeing as the woman who raised me died five and a half years ago.
Then, of course, I remembered. My family tells me that every October Mom used to get depressed, and didn't even get out of bed on October 23rd. Now that we're back together, October is her favorite time of year.
Since it's my special day, I treated myself a bit early and went to see 'Paranormal Activity 2' last night. It was good and scary, but I think it tried a bit too hard to explain the demon's presence in Katie and Kristi's lives. I've always thought horror was most effective when there's an element of the unexplained. As Lovecraft said, the greatest fear is fear of the unknown.
It's been a good year since my last birthday. We're out of that crappy little apartment and in a big, old house on the west side in Chehalis. The west side is where the really nice, historic houses are here. I'm so glad that it's an old house. Dracula was right; a house cannot be made habitable in a day, and after all how few days go to make up a century.
Gonna have a nice steak dinner tonight at one of the better restaurants. Then maybe a good horror film or two, since it's the season for all things eerie and creepifying.
15th October 2010
Peace talks with WHO?
I'm seeing several news pieces about cease-fire/peace negotiations between the Afghan Government and the Taliban. Am I the only one who gets an uneasy feeling about this development? :
Back when I was younger, I watched a lot of Pro Wrestling. (Stay with me here, there is a point to this.) There was a common plot device called The Betrayal. You'd have a popular Face (good guy) feuding with one or more Heels (bad guys), with another Face backing him up. There'd gradually be some dissention between the Faces; jealousy, accusations of lack of support, that sort of thing. Then, when the popular Face least expected it (while the audience saw it coming weeks ahead of time), his friend would betray him, clobbering him from behind and openly declaring his allegiance with the Heels. The popular Face would be left lying in the ring, battered and bloody, wondering what the hell just happened.
I get the awful feeling that we're going to see a major, real-life version of this story in the Middle East. I hope our troops over there are keeping a sharp eye on their supposed allies; I guarantee that if the Karzai Regime openly declares an alliance with the Taliban, it will be after a large-scale sneak attack on our troops by Afghan forces.
God, I really hope I'm just being paranoid about this.
8th October 2010
Great quote about the Tea Party movement...
"Sarah Palin and the Tea Party are squatting rent-free in the tent of Middle American Values and pretending we don't belong there." :
1st October 2010
But it was long ago and it was far away...
The other night I was listening to my Meat Loaf playlist, and that song ‘Objects in the Rear View Mirror’ got me again. This time, it was the last verse, which is less morose than the first two. I described the first verse in a post on July 10; the second verse describes the singer’s abusive father. The third verse is a reminisce about the man’s first lover. :
There was a beauty living on the edge of town,
She always put the top up and the hammer down,
And she taught me everything I’ll ever know
About the mystery and the muscle of love…
It got me thinking about the woman I lost my virginity with. Being on the computer, I hopped online and, just for sh*ts and giggles, did a search for her.
And I discovered she passed away three years ago.
So once again, my own mortality has been on my mind. She was only three years older than me, which made her seem like an older woman back then, but is an insignificant age gap now. My first lover, my first time, is dead.
It’s not like I had any lingering passion for her. I hadn’t planned on actually contacting her. But to know she’s dead troubles me. I haven’t seen her in two decades, but for obvious reasons, she’ll always be a big part of my life, an important part of who I am. To know that she died at the age of 40, that I am 22 days from being older than she ever got…it disturbs me. As I said in my post on my 40th birthday, I more and more get the feeling that the Grim Reaper is taking a look at me and checking his list of things to do.
It’s three years late for this, I guess, but…rest in peace, Christel.
19th August 2010
Is this what we pay them for?
I just read an article that baseball player Roger Clemens will be indicted for perjury for lying to a Congressional panel about his alleged use of steroids. :
Question: Why are our tax dollars being wasted so Congressmen can talk to baseball players and the Justice Department can prosecute said players if Congress doesn't get the answers they want?
Question: Are there so few important issues out there that Congress can actually afford the time to probe shenaniginizing in the entertainment industry? Because sports is just a form of entertainment. Have the issues of global terrorism, economic recovery, illegal immigration, energy independence, and preparing for climate changes all been solved whilst I slept last night, so that Congress can shove our money down this particular rathole?
Question: If grown adult atheletes want to improve their performance with steroids, what's the big deal? They know the risks, they need to keep getting better to attract fans and get better contract deals. School sports (including college level) and Olympic atheletes, I can understand the restrictions, but enough telling adult professionals how they can and can't improve their game.
OK, he lied under oath to a Conressional panel, that was bad. Maybe a fine would be in order. But the unvarnished truth is that panel should have never been convened in the first place. This is beyond the Federal Governemnt's authority or responsibility.
If I were the Federal Judge overseeing this case, I would dismiss the charges against Clemens and issue a stern warning to Congress to get the hell back to work.
10th July 2010
Objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are...
A few days ago, the LJ Writer's Block question was about song lyrics that hit you emotionally. Listening to Meat Loaf's 'Bat Out of Hell II' a few minutes ago, I realized what my answer would be. :
The title of my post is the title of the song in question, and if you haven't heard the song and think it's a silly sounding song, think again. It's an emotional beating, depending on your experiences in life. The first part of the song tells of a young man who loses his best friend at a tragically early age.
My best friend Lin died almost 17 years ago now. Died of cancer two days before his 24th birthday. There were a lot of plans we had that went unfulfilled because he passed so soon.
The lyrics from 'Objects in the rear view mirror' that never fail to choke me up:
"There was so much left to dream,
And so much time to make it real."
We always think, when we're young, that we have all the time in the world. It comes as a life-changing shock to learn the truth. And it's a shock that, tell the truth and shame the devil, we never entirely get over.
Sorry about that. Feeling a bit melancholy tonight, I guess.
24th June 2010
Here's what passes for news in my State
I don't even have to turn to the national news to find news stories that piss me off anymore. I just look at what goes on right here in Washington State. :
ISSUE: PEOPLE WHO SIGNED A PETITION TO RESTRICT GAY MARRIAGE WANT THEIR NAMES WITHHELD
COMMENT: This one went all the way to the SCOTUS, which upheld a rare good decision by the 9th Circus Court of Appeals. Public petitions are open to the public. If you sign any petition, it's on record for people to look up. This is a safeguard against fraud, making sure that everyone who signed the petition is eligible to vote in the State the referendum is being presented to. Those who signed the Protect Marriage Petition wanted their names kept secret. The SCOTUS upheld the decision that the names on the Protect Marriage Petition were subject to the same rules as any other petition.
It simply amazes me that the homophobes, while trying to deny civil rights to taxpaying citizens, then have the temerity to demand special protection for themselves. They're afraid of harassment and intimidation, as if telling gays they don't have equal rights isn't a form of harassment in itself. They want to surpress a certain segment of society while remaining anonymous. Kind of like KKK members hiding their faces with white hoods.
ISSUE: THE HANDS-FREE DRIVING LAW CLAIMS ANOTHER VICTIM
COMMENT: Here in the Evergreen State, a law has been passed that prohibits drivers from talking on their cell phones while driving, unless they have purchased a hands-free device. On Tuesday, a guy from Marysville had called the police to report a stolen vehicle in his neighborhood, and was calling his neighbors to give them a heads-up that there might be a car theif in the area. The cop responding to his call saw him talking on his cell phone as he drove to work, and instead of completing his assigned mission, pulled the guy over and ticketed him.
To those who support this invasive law...I read and hear your words, and I hear the bleating of sheep. You really don't see this law for what it is, do you? The Nanny State has expanded its power over your every move, and you are cheering it on. This law is a camel's nose. Next it will be driving while eating. Maybe they should make it illegal to change your radio station or CD while driving; I got rear-ended by someone messing with their radio. I suppose when they tell Washingtonians that we can't drive and drink coffee, the people will try to make a stand. But then it will be too late, because the camel will have pushed us out of the tent.
Are there people out there who can't drive worth a tin sh*t while on the cell phone? Yes, but guess what? A good 90% of them can't drive worth a tin sh*t at all! Why take something away from the rest of us who CAN multitask?
Oh, yeah...money for the State when people don't obey the law, and money for the phone companies when they knuckle under and get the hands-free equipment.
And all the while, the people of Washington say baaaa we like this law, baaaa it was about time, baaaa fleece us more because we like it.
I'd better stop now. My blood pressuse is reaching critical mass.
18th May 2010
Thirty years ago today
May 18, 1980. Might not be a memorable day for everybody. If you're from the Pacific Northwest and were alive at the time, you remember the date like it was your own birthday. :
The eruption of Mount Saint Helens sent an ashcloud that circled the globe. Ash was reported to have fallen in Moscow.
And, but for what may have been divine intervention, I would have been there when it went up.
My Mom was an artist who specialized in landscapes. She wanted to get some good photos of the mountain at sunrise or near sunrise. And the best angle for the kind of photos she wanted was from a place inside the Red Zone established by the USGS and enforced by the State Patrol.
My Dad was a telephone lineman who knew every back road, access road, logging road, and shortcut for a hundred miles in any direction. He knew how to get to where Mom wanted to go without getting caught.
So the plan was to get up at 5:00am, have a quick breakfast, and hit the road. To that end, both my Dad and I set our alarm clocks for five in the morning. We both remember setting our alarms.
Neither alarm went off. Thank God for that. Because we would have been there when the big one hit. Somebody up there was watching out for us.
Since we'd missed the chance to get the pics Mom wanted, we put off the trip and made our usual big Sunday breakfast. Dad was listening to his short wave radio. We heard geologist David Johnstone giving his report. We didn't hear his last words ('Vancouver, this is it!'), because by then Dad had switched to another ham radio frequency. As we were sitting down to eat, we heard a guy camping up at Spirit Lake say that something big was happening, that he was going to try and get away. He was never found. The we felt the ground shake. Imagine the impact tremor of a ten ton anvil landing in your back yard. That's about what it felt like.
We went to the upstairs balcony that looked to the southwest. I can still clearly remember that terrifying black cloud rising from where a beautiful mountain once was. It spread like a skyborne cancer, carrying a violent lightning storm through what had been a clear blue sky.
The prevailing winds carried the worst of it away from the Chehalis Valley, so we didn't suffer the disasterous ashfall that much of the Northwest suffered that day. But our feelings of relief were tempered by an unsettling fact; with heavy ash falling in the north, and boiling mudflows tearing down bridges and covering roads to the south...we were stranded. The Southwest Interior of Washington was on its own until Interstate 5 could be cleared.
The images on the TV were the stuff of nightmares. The Toutle River, once a calm little flow that was more a glorified stream, was now a massive surge of boiling mud, carrying with it the ruined forest that once surrounded Spirit Lake. I watched a live broadcast as a two story house that had been swept into the river smashed into the Toutle River Bridge on Interstae 5, shattering the house and fracturing the bridge. A few moments later, a mass of logs struck the bridge, all but destroying it.
And Spirit Lake...a beautiful place to fish, swim, or just lay by the shoreline and enjoy the quietude...was gone.
It's hard for be to believe that three whole decades have passed since that day. I still remember it so very clearly.