Thursday, August 28, 2008

September 1, 2008-It does not follow

Consider This for September 1, 2008-It Does Not Follow

Non-sequitur is Latin for "it does not follow." It is most often used to indicate something which does not follow logically normally in writing but sometimes in the spoken word and always in life.

When I took my first English class in college over forty years ago my instructor would often mark a paragraph with the notation, non-sequitur, meaning that somehow my thoughts wandered away from my original topic. He meant that it did not fit together or “it does not follow.”

This past week it seemed as though every way I turned there was another non-sequitur.

I will start with the best one. Somehow my television set went haywire and changed over the Fox News last week. There on the screen was a well dressed middle age man talking about how “The Surge” in Iraq had been successful. His best example of success was that “we had managed to bring sewage to the people of Iraq.” That of course piqued my interested. I immediately thought of long convoys of tanker trucks hauling “sewage” from Iran, Syria and all of the surrounding countries to Iraq. What a wonderful thing to do. Bring sewage to Iraq. Of course he meant sanitation systems or facilities to deal with human sewage that is naturally generated by the Iraqi people without the United States “bringing sewage” to the Iraqi people.

With the Democratic National Convention in Denver last week the news was fraught with many more bad examples of things not following. More non-sequiturs.

I love the ads of the former Hillary Clinton supporter talking about how she will now vote for John McCain. That is fine if that is what she wants to do but the ad really gives the impression that she never did support Hillary Clinton. She also makes a point to telling the world that she is really a Democrat but that she has had some sort of epiphany and is now a McCain supporter.

And speaking of John McCain. There is another ad telling people to vote for McCain because once he is elected president he will, once again, return to being the independent minded free thinker he was for years in the Senate. That is also ok but if it is true why doesn’t McCain run as “the old John McCain” and not as the person who has all of a sudden become very close to George W. Bush and now supports all of his policies and programs.

And on the other side of that coin, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden both refer to John McCain as a longtime, close personal friend and a fine Senator and a wonderful man. Then they go on to attack him. That is a tradition in politics or at least in the Senate where you never demean a fellow senator. I have mentioned this before but it is protocol to address a fellow senator as the wise, kind, intelligent Senator from Arizona who apparently has lost his mind in the proposed legislation.

By the way. They do not do that in the House of Representatives. I have called the House a form of mud wrestling where in the Senate you can hear a pin drop over the snoring of the Senators contemplating their role of giving advice and consent to the world.

Another one of my favorites. I own a Honda Accord EX. I paid about $20,000 for it four years ago. Since I bought my car I have noticed that BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Lexus and Acura along with a lot of lesser brands such as Chevrolet and Ford all have exactly the same body design. So the bottom line is that you can spend $20,000 to buy a car that has a great body design or you can spend $80,000 to buy another car with the same body design. Kind of crazy if you ask me unless you have a lot of money to waste.

I have done some research on the subject and the very first car with that design was the Ford Taurus. I would imagine that the wind tunnel tests were excellent for the design and it has to do with fuel economy.

Regardless, it does not follow.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 25, 2008—School’s Open. Drive Carefully.

Consider This for August 25, 2008—School’s Open. Drive Carefully.

Summit County Schools open today and I want to make sure that you all stop driving the way you normally do and start driving carefully. And that goes for me too. Small children are often hard to see because of their lack of height. They are vertically challenged. And small children often will dart out into the street believing that they will be safe and not realizing the weight and speed of a vehicle.

My sister reminded me that last week was the 63rd anniversary of her starting kindergarten at Rockwell City Elementary. I guess that make it my 61st anniversary but I am not really that old. My driver’s license is incorrect. I am really 25.

With school starting today and along with my sister’s comments reminded me of my own life’s educational path. Seven years at Rockwell City Elementary, three years in Rockwell City Junior High and three years in Rockwell City High School. By the way all 13 years were all in the same building. (Not one room.) I am not that old.

I went into the Air Force in 1960 and took a few college courses there. When I got out I went to Iowa Central College where I earned degrees in English and History. I went on to John Jay College in the City College of New York to study criminal justice. When I moved to Colorado in 1970 I enrolled in CU-Boulder and majored in English Literature. I moved on to CU-Denver where I continued in English and History. I graduated from Colorado Christian College in Lakewood with degrees in Management and Psychology. I went on to get my Master’s of Arts degree from the University of Northern Colorado in Communication and Public Speaking.

More recently I have spent considerable time and money living and studying Spanish in Mexico, Guatemala and Ecuador.

I started teaching at the college level at Metropolitan State College in 1970 in Criminal Justice. I have taught at Colorado Mountain College since 1983 in Criminal Justice and now in Social and Behavioral Sciences.

I had a discussion with a friend last week about addictions and my friend asked me if I had any. I responded that I am addicted to work. Work currently is teaching at CMC and writing for the Summit Daily News.

I started writing a weekly column 25 years ago in 1986 for the old Summit County Journal in Breckenridge. I went to the Summit Sentinel and now the Summit Daily News. I write fifty two different columns a year. When I start a column I write 1000 words and then pare that down to the required 700 words each week. With first drafts I write 52,000 words a year. Imagine if I could get $1 a word? I don’t.

When I went into the Air Force I was assigned as a staff writer for the base newspaper, the Mitchel AFB Beacon on Long Island, New York. It is now the home of the Islanders Hockey team and Nassau Community College.

Later I lived in Europe and was a staff writer for the RAF Alconbury Photogram in England. I eventually became the editor for a short time at the ripe old age of 20.

I was a staff writer for a magazine in New York City from 1968-1970 writing feature articles and helping with some editing.

The reason that I am saying all of this is that without my educational opportunities none of this would have ever happened.

I have been blessed to be able to feed my addictions because of my education. I have a total of five degrees from three different colleges that includes my Master’s degree and guess what folks. This week I will be teaching three classes at CMC Dillon and at the same time taking two undergraduate classes that would count toward an Associate’s Degree. You are never too old to teach and you are never too old to take a class.

There are still openings in most classes this semester at CMC and I would encourage you to go to the Breckenridge or Dillon Campus and sign up right away.

And as you travel to sign up for classes remember to drive carefully as school is now open.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 18, 2008—Summit County at 4:00 a.m.

Consider This for August 18, 2008—Summit County at 4:00 a.m.

Summit County looks a lot different at 4 a.m. First of all it is dark. It is always dark at 4 a.m.

I get up every morning at 4 a.m. I have done that for years. By every morning I mean just that, every morning. Yes, I mean Saturdays and Sundays too.

I live about a block from Highway 9 near the High School. I can see and hear the traffic all day and all night long. At 4 a.m. There is little or no traffic.

It is quiet at 4 a.m. There is hardly a sound anywhere. My phone never rings at 4 a.m. I am left alone with just my thoughts.

Once in a while an ambulance or fire vehicle will come by with their lights and sirens going. Being an old fire horse I always wonder what kind of call they are on and if there is someone dying. I guess that is part of being an old Coroner too.

There are a lot of delivery trucks at 4 a.m. coming from Denver to deliver to the grocery stores and other businesses that accept deliveries all night long.

Sometimes I will see coyotes and fox running across my lawn to get to the Blue River for their morning watering. That goes on year round. I used to see the elk herd from up on the Ten Mile come down but they are gone now. I checked with the Division of Wildlife and was told that they still exist but have moved further away from the highway corridor.

At one time there were several elk hit by cars near my house but not now. The Elk are missing. This all reminds me of “The Little House on the Prairie.” Is it time to move again?

This year I have been inundated by voles in my yard. I mean Voles not voters. Voles are little Prairie Dogs that look like tall, light brown rats. When the sun starts to come up they begin to do whatever voles do in my yard outside my window.

This year they have taken to sunning themselves on my deck. A brazen arrogance for the little critters letting me know that I now live in their territory. I wonder if they would pay my property tax for me.

I have mixed emotions about them. They do dig tunnels all over my lawn that has to be good for the soil as they move about. I don’t have one tree in my yard so that is not a problem. Voles love to strip the bark off of the lower parts of trees. Sometimes people blame deer for that but it is normally voles. Voles are short without horns. Deer are tall and some have horns. It is not hard to tell the difference. I am sure that you can buy a book with pictures.

My deadline for my column is 8 a.m. on Friday mornings so I normally write on Wednesday or Thursdays. I am writing this one at about 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

As I sit at my computer looking out of my in-home office window this morning I can see frost on my deck. It must be August in Summit County. Weather happens at 4 a.m. I have yet to have a morning that my high/low unofficial thermometer has not been below freezing at some time during the morning. It was 28 degrees this morning.

I still do six miles on the treadmill every morning. Years ago I would run 12 miles a day on the highway at 4 a.m. before the sun came up. That was 12 months a year so a lot of that was in the snow or even when it was still snowing. Invigorating. That must be my Scandinavian background. Or is it my Scandinavian stubbornness?

And yes, by 6 a.m. I am showered, shaved, brushed and dressed for the day. And then I get to sit and look out the window waiting for all of the normal people to get up.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

August 11, 2008—Barack Obama is Not a Muslim

Consider This for August 11, 2008—Barack Obama is Not a Muslim

This is not a comment supporting Barack Obama. Rather it is a comment to all of you who believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim. He is not a Muslim.

I also will never tell anyone how to vote. If you think that John McCain is the best candidate then I would encourage you to vote for him. But please do not vote for him because you think Obama is black or that Obama is a Muslim. Find a true reason to vote for McCain and not a false rumor you read on the Internet.

Barack Obama’s father is a black man from Kenya. He is also a Muslim. Barack Obama’s mother married his father but only remained married to him for a few years. Will all of you who personally picked your father please raise your hand? Gee, I can’t see any hands raised. Maybe that is because no one can pick their father or for that matter the religion of your father.

By the way how many of you can tell me the religion or ethnic background or racial background of John McCain? Still no hands. Maybe that is because no one has made an issue of John McCain’s religion, ethnic or racial background.

How many of you know that John McCain was not born in the United States? Again, few if any hands raised. John McCain was born in a foreign country. Obama was born in the United States. John McCain was born in Panama because his father was in the Navy and was serving there at the time. It is generally accepted that McCain is a United States citizen and I agree. But no one ever brings that up. I find that interesting.

During Obama’s childhood his family lived in a predominately Muslim country. They lived in Indonesia. During that time Obama attended a school there but it was not a Muslim school. It was not a religious school.

Soon after that Barack Obama’s mother and father divorced and the father returned to Africa. Barack Obama and his mother moved to Kansas to live with his grandmother.

Obama speaks dearly of his grandmother and talks a lot about how she had a positive influence on his life. This is his white grandmother who lived in Kansas.

Barack Obama is a Christian and has been an evangelical Christian most of his life. Most recently he attended a Christian church in his neighborhood in Chicago.

Again, I wish John McCain well and hope for the best for him. I also wish Barack Obama well and hope for the best for him also.

I am just concerned about all of the racist bigots out there who choose not to believe the truth.

We have a very important decision to make in the next few weeks in choosing our next president of the United States. After the dismal record of President George W. Bush we all should know exactly what we do not want for our future.

We need to choose the candidate that is running a positive campaign that is not based on people’s fears and prejudice. We need to choose someone who has a vision for the future and in not interested in continuing the disasters of the past. We need to find someone who we will able to look upon to continue the legacy of presidents like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan and others who made a positive change in our nation.

We don’t need a president who is involved in fear mongering or negative campaigning. We need someone who is truly presidential and not someone who is beholding to the people who are responsible for the problem rather than the people who want to be part of the solution.

By the way that is a paraphrase of a quote from Eldridge Cleaver who was a former Black Panther and black activist in the 1960’s and wrote, “Soul on Ice.” It is not about those who talk the talk but rather about those who walk the talk. Let’s hire someone as President who will walk the talk.