Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh and sorry for slavery

I'd like to extend an apology to everyone for the shame of slavery. Even though the bulk of my family came to North America as New Englanders in the late 17th Century and were all abolitionists I still feel I must give an apology.

I know I've never met anyone who was a slave or a slaveowner. Even though I can't find anyone at all that endured the horrible institution I guess I should still apologize.

My Great Great Grandfather served in the Wisconsin Militia during the Civil War and I possess many of the letters he wrote to his wife. His wife by the way was also an abolitionist by the name of Sarah Jane Stowe. Yes, I'm related to Calvin Stowe the husband of Harriet Beecher-Stowe another great abolitionist.

So even though I've never been a slave owner. Even though my family had never been slave-owners. Even though my family worked very hard and sacrificed for the cause of ending slavery...I guess I must apologize still since these are the times we live in.

Don't bother to thank me though. I don't deserve thanks anymore than anyone deserves an apology in the first place.

This is a great big stupid world isn't it?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More Vacation Junk

California isn't one of my favorite places but you can never argue that there isn't much to do there.  I've done business in California, written songs, visited tourist traps, attended seminars, ridden rollercoasters, attended Rose Bowl games, and whatever else you can imagine. 

Two weeks ago I visited once again The Trees of Mystery which used to be among the cheesiest roadside attractions on the old US 101.  It was good for a t-shirt and a picture with Paul Bunyan and Babe but little else.   That can't be said anymore with the addition of the Sky Trail.

Above is me (on the right) and on the left is my 2 1/2 year old son who absolutely loved this seven minute gondola ride up to a ridge among the redwoods.

Heights have historically made me uneasy though lately not to the point of freaking out.  That said I didn't escape all the discomfort that comes from riding on a gondola precariously attached to a cable and being pulled up a mountainside.  I hid my misgivings as not to pass on any fear to my son...he loved every minute of it.

Go see the coastal redwoods in California if you get a chance.  As someone who has grown up in the Evergreen State and is quite accustomed to trees...I still came away impressed.

I had a few emails from people who listened to me on the Dave and Steve show mention that I had a child and were wondering why I had never mentioned it here on this blog.  The short answer to this question is that as a completely private person I wanted to refer to my family generically as they didn't really have a way to defend themselves on my blog.  This is a break from that policy and one I've relaxed in general.

I'll have more later and as soon as I can stomach it I'll cover some politics and junk.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I went back in time

On Sunday morning about two weeks ago I was in Grants Pass, Oregon.  I was going to be heading out of town on an old US Highway and I was unsure of how many gas stations I would encounter so I did what I almost never do in Oregon...get gas.

Oregon (like New Jersey) is a state where you are not permitted to pump your own gas.  This was initially started as a public safety measure but after quizzing a "pump jockey" he said he didn't get any training nor did he require a certificate and his boss basically "showed him how the pump worked" in the first few minutes of his first day on the job.

So I'm at the local Chevron on a Sunday morning and I pull up to the pump and heard the "ding" of the bell that alerts the attendant.  The older gentleman came up to the window where I gave him my debit card and said, "Fill'er up with regular please."

"Yes sir!" He shot back.

I noticed some commotion across the street.  Several people walking down the sidewalk toward the Methodist Church on the corner.  From the belfry I heard the church bell begin to chime.  I looked at my watch noticing it was 9:30 and figured everyone was on their way to Sunday School. 

Then something hit my windshield.  It took me a split second to figure out what it was.  A squeegee!  The attendant was cleaning my windshield.  What next?  My oil level?

When the pump had stopped as my tank filled he handed me my receipt and told me to have a good day and to come again.  I felt transported back in time and I must confess...I liked it. 

Friday, July 18, 2008


Best Bumpersticker - "I see Dutch people."

Best Cheesey Roadside Attraction - The Trees of Mystery (Now with a Sky Trail!)

Best Ocean on the trip - The Pacific Ocean

Best Coffee - Dutch Brothers

Best gas mileage - 28.54mpg

Best place to stay - My tent

I just got back tonight so forgive me for not updating the blog. I have stories aplenty from my few days away. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Obama scoots toward the center

The move to the political center once the nomination has been secured is as strong a force as the gravitational pull. You can fight it but in the end succumbing to it not an option. That said it's also a smart move.

The candidates are chosen largely by political activists. Even more so in the Democrat party where super delegates are in play. Party activists are more idealistic and cast their gaze on a more pure idealogy that reflects the party's platform. Things like a "Department of Peace" and "No War for Oil" are more than slogans they are deeply held beliefs among activists. If you want those votes then you need to talk like one of them.

Where once only angry Americans foolishly clinging to guns and bibles existed in fly over country, you suddenly become a hunter and love the 2nd Amendment. Where once you railed against the war in Iraq you suddenly see the need to seek counsel from the Generals. Where once you seemed angry at an America that is fundamentally unfair and unjust...well...what's that on your lapel?

Thankfully there is enough freedom in this country left that people don't engage themselves in the political process until there are actual nominations and now the great unwashed independents and undecideds need to be convinced. At this point of the game it's party platform be damned. McCain has done it also as he has become every so suddenly interested in global warming.

Where it becomes a problem for Obama is that it turns his greatest strength into a weakness. No, it's not integrity so listen up. It's his position as the outsider. All he has to do is utter the word "change" with no details and it becomes a code word for "one of us." Unfortunately for Obama, When the pull to the center happens and you don't have a 30 year track record to draw upon, it makes you look like an opportunistic flip-flopper. This makes him vulnerable to attack but doesn't necessarily doom him.

I have to confess that I'd just love to see candidates run on their record and stay principled. If our choices only fell on two principled people we'd have to pick one and who knows...maybe we might actually respect one of them.

Oh, one more thing. Bob Barr is polling in double-digits in a few states. Just sayin'

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

From the Quoting Great Men Department

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C. S. Lewis

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Obama's Faith-Based Cure - OH MY GOD

Barack Obama has been attempting to grab the moral high ground and winning the vote of those ill-informed religious folks by promising to expand  on Bush's (also misdirected) faith-based initiative.

Obama calms fears about this program by stating:

“If you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help, and you can’t discriminate against them — or against the people you hire — on the basis of their religion...Federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples and mosques can only be used on secular programs.”

Can someone tell me what a secular program is in a church?

Feeding the poor? Nope, commanded by Jesus.

Clothing the naked? Nope, commanded by Jesus.

Caring for the least of these? Nope, commanded by Jesus.

Caring for the sick? Visiting those in jail? Caring for widows?  Damn it, Jesus got to those too. 

Make no mistake what this means.  It means turning your church into another agent of the state to give strictly regulated compassion to those who are enslaved by a government that refuses to let people assume risk.  This does little more than produce the unintended consequence of enslaving people by doing for them what they could do for themselves.  All this is done through money taken not from donations but from YOU through the agents of government force and the power to tax.  This is un-American and a terrible idea.

My local church is one filled with people of all walks of life and backgrounds.  In the last year they have built small cottages in Uganda for eight orphaned kids to live with a caretaker, they have roofed houses for the poor and have fed countless people who do nothing more than ask for food.  These are not secular programs.  They are the manifestation of changed lives that try to love people and turn no one away who truly needs help.  Oh yeah, they distribute bibles too...big whoop.

You may say, "Yeah, but not all churches seem so nice like yours."  To that I say that I agree and all the better reason to keep tax payer's money away from all religious groups.

From my view the "religious left" is just as wacky as those on the right.

Hope you all had a good Independence Day...I did.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Dave and Steve Show

The Dave and Steve Show just celebrated its 20th episode as it climbs ever so steadily in popularity.  I produced Episode #19 and hosted a decent clip show if you want an idea of what 35 minutes with Dave and Steve might be like...with Tracy. 

For Episode #20 we had a special guest.  Cliff Crook a longtime Sasquatch researcher joined us for a segment to discuss his life long research and the possibility of some breakthrough news in the Bigfoot arena.  We also spoke briefly about hobos.

Anyway, go over to The Dave and Steve Show for a good podcast with some hot Tracy action.