Saturday, January 25, 2020

Voter ID

Did you ever hold a strong opinion on an issue then after a long time with little thought on the subject you suddenly had an epiphany that forced a complete about-face?

Case in point, and this really happened to me.Yesterday. I have long been a supporter of the concept that a valid ID document should be required at the polls. Then it hit me: This is probably a violation of the 24th Amendment!  Unless there is a provision which allows one to obtain a real ID at no cost, the requirement to show one at the polling place is essentially a poll tax, and that, my Friends, is unconstitutional.

Sure, this is not a problem for most of us. We have valid drivers licenses, passports, and so on, any of which will work fine. But what of the people, and they are legion, who do not drive, who do not travel? Not a problem, you might say. Anyone of legal age can go to a DMV or BMV as the case may be, and with proper documentation may obtain a real ID. For a FEE. Granted, several states, including my own, have made provisions to waive the fee in certain circumstances. So under the "no harm, no foul" concept there is no problem. But maybe there is. What of the expense and hassle of appearing at the BMV branch office?  Not to mention that MANY states have no such fee waiver.

Thus it is that I sit stewing over a problem that two days ago I didn't know I had.

Where does your state stand? Where do you stand?


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Young,The Elderly

Tuesday, senior night at the local eatery. Four of us at our table, same four who meet here virtually every Tuesday. Okay, there are many others who do this, too.  Next to us is a large table, young family of six, Mom, Dad, eldest child a boy of eight years, twins a boy and a girl about five, and a lad of say three years. It has been a pleasant meal, well-behaved children and so were their parents.

The family finishes their repast and prepare to leave. The eldest child shrugs into his coat and goes on ahead to the pie cooler next to the cash register. Dad follows with tab in hand. The tyke has kicked off his boots and while Mom is struggling to hold on to the child as she installs a boot, Sis crawls under the table to retrieve the other boot. Meanwhile the Boy Unit of the twin pair has put on his jacket and is standing in the aisle near our table. He seems fascinated with something as he intently looks at the four of us. I am seated in position to make direct eye contact with the Boy and as our eyes met I said, What?

You all have white hair! he exclaimed in apparent amazement.

It's okay, I quipped. You'll get there some day, too.

BBBH turned to the mother and said, It's Tuesday. It's a wonder everybody doesn't have white hair.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Talking to Myself

I stepped in front of the mirror, opened my eyes wider, for I was surprised to see within the glass my fourteen-year old self.   My immediate thought was,This is great!  I can tell him what he needs to know; give him the benefit of my experience, tell him what he needs to avoid. His eyes widened and a look of horror spread across his visage.

Fourteen-year old Self disappeared from my view and there looking back at me was, as I had expected, my eighty-five-year old Self. I hear footsteps receding down the hall, accompanied by a high-pitched scream of terror. They never listen, fourteen-year old Boys. And I might have saved him from himself.

Now wait just a dog-boned minute, Old Timer. Didn't your parents make a sincere effort to give you the benefit of their experiences when you were your fourteen-year old Self? And did you listen? No, you went right ahead on, headstrong and full of yourself and made your own mistakes.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Pot and Kettle

 "A blog is a sort of public diary where someone wrote down random thoughts, then other people for some odd reason enjoy reading them.  Who the hell reads this nonsense?"  So asked the author of a novel I just read.

Okay.  He is a published writer, a much published author;  you know the type:  five-foot shelf of books with his name on the spines, NYT best-seller list again and again.  Certainly entitles him to denigrate my scribbling.  Well, not exactly.  He has a right to express his opinion whether or not it is denigrating, whether or not he is an accomplished writer.

And thus it is that I ask, "Who the hell reads his drivel?"  Obviously I do, or have done, anyway.
Thus it is that I am going to spill what I think.  Some of these much-published authors very likely once wrote a book that received glowing critical acclaim, was touted to the skies by the press and the literati.  The book then sold well enough to hit the best-seller list.  His next effort may well have been trash, he having burned himself out in one blaze of glory.  But the publisher needs the money.  So they contract a host of ghost writers to churn out stuff on which they can stick his name and ballyhoo endlessly.  Money!  For the use of his name the "author" gets to sit on the beach in Paradise drinking daquiris whilst the spondoolicks roll in.

At least that is what I think. 

(Based on zero evidence, as you might suspect,  Isn't that the way the world works?)

Saturday, December 14, 2019

When Towns Decorated

Christmas nostalgia, continued.  December, 1952.  Fall term completed on our Seattle campus.  Friend Art had a  1950 Mercury, lived in Wichita and was going home for holiday break.  Sure, he'd be happy to drop me off in Colorado Springs.  I get to go home for Christmas!

We were driving east on US 30.  Somewhere in Southern Idaho we crested a rise and swooped down into a town at the base of the plateau.  It was dark, probably two hours after sunset and it was snowing.  We were of course a bit tense, driving carefully, yet not wanting to lose a lot of time.  Slowing into the town, perhaps Montpelier, I'm not sure, we were careful to keep it well within the