Thursday, December 4, 2014

Farewell, Seattle

I don't shop downtown anymore.

The guy that does my hair operates down there, and I'm still planning to see him - during daylight hours - but for the most part, I'm done. There are some splendid restaurants down there, but I can find adequate substitutes elsewhere. If I must, I can catch a weekend lunch.

From stupid-high sales tax to miserable parking, from increasing street crime to de-policing and from prices inflated by a nanny-style city government eager to seize on the latest expensive PC trend - I'm done.

The reality is there are less expensive and less painful choices at lower risk of encountering frisky street criminals - we call them "suburban malls" where parking is plentiful and free, prices are lower and the amount of hassle about what kind of bag you can have and how much the city will insist you be charged for the privilege of a bag to carry your merchandise in are simply non-problems.

For the same reason I do my grocery shopping in White Center, I'm moving my shopping for other items to suburbia with only the occasional trip for exotica into downtown (the annual gathering of the Christmas Gag Gifts at Pike Place Market, for instance).

Seattle appears eager to follow Detroit into the pit - I'm not eager to go along for the ride, or to fund it any more than I can avoid.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Protest or Riot?

As a former activist, I not surprisingly have a few thoughts...

A protest involves a bunch of people gathering and expressing their views verbally, waving signs, making speeches and generally being a pain in the neck. It can be a force for good, a force for chaos, a force for evil - or some combination thereof. But what a protest doesn't include is breaking people and things (that is what occasionally happens to protesters, not what they do).

A riot, on the other hand, is a bunch of folks that get busy about looting, arson, assault and the occasional homicide - and merits lethal response.

I suggest that in many instances the Ferguson and Ferguson inspired melee's have crossed that critical line - and that the appropriate response to looters and other violent felons involves utilizing all force necessary to bring their criminal activities to a screeching halt.

Free speech ends well before buildings are burning, witnesses are dying and the looting has begun.

I suggest that things have a fair chance of getting *far* more festive if police are not allowed to step in and end this - soon.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It concentrates the mind most wonderfully..

"When a man knows he is to be concentrates his mind wonderfully" - Samuel Johnson

“Some wiseacre once said that the prospect of death concentrates the mind wonderfully, but I’m here to tell you that the chance to work for a reprieve concentrates it a whole heap more.”
 Since January I've been dealing with cancer and cancer treatment, and with my initial diagnosis I should be pushing up daisies about now. Happily, round one of treatment was moderately successful and I am optimistic about round two....

However, while cancer is a right bastard, it brought gifts even as it loomed in the wings....

I've learned how many folks love me and support me. I've been blessed with friends and family and co-workers that support me even in my more dramatic moments. I've been granted (slowly, because it wasn't an easy lesson for me to learn) the opportunity to truly appreciate the Louis Prima song, "Enjoy Yourself!"

There is a LOT of truth in that joyous ditty. None of us know when we're going to go, or (with certainty) how - but sometimes you get a wakeup call. Keeping on keeping on when your miserable and not accomplishing much isn't such a great choice - we only know with any certainty that we're going around but the once, and... well, the song says it better than I...

Life's short. Don't throw responsibility to the winds, but don't forget to allow a bit of joy into your world..