Thursday, July 24, 2008

Along Route 66

I have always liked taking a trip and driving at night. I remember clearly the first time I knew it was great. When I was six we took a trip from California to Illinois. I learned it was my Dad's choice to drive at night. Almost every trip of substance started either at 9pm after dinner or early, early in the morning, 4am.
My Father would say, "We need to get ahead of the traffice or We want to cross the desert when it is cool".
This one would start after dinner. Dad had found an automobile Air Conditioner, it attached to the passenger side window and it looked and worked like a jet engine, taking air blown into the front and blew cooled air from the water inside the container into the car. It dripped a bit. But it worked! It was like having a wet rag on your face with the wind blowing in. What was the best about these trips is that most children fall asleep as soon as the car starts. At least mine did. I didn't. My parents would say.
"Mark, does not want to miss anything."
That wasn't really accurate but when I was a youngster you did not contradict Mom or Dad. Times have changed for most parents. The truth of the matter was that it was the only time when I had my Father's complete attention. Mom would fall asleep, my three brothers would fall asleep and I could talk with my Father for miles and miles. My folks had purchased a fire engine red 1956 Chevy Belair Nomad Station Wagon for the trip. It was a beautiful car. My Dad had a pad made so that when the rear seats were put down it turned into a rather comfy bed. By the middle of the night I was sitting on the passenger side getting dripped on while everyone else was asleep in the back.
I would learn a great deal. My Dad would tell me how to find which way you were traveling from the stars. As a pilot in World War II it was part of his training. How to reckon from the North Star and figure which direction was North. Where Orion would rise and set and which direction it would travel. The Big Dipper and Cassiopeia, due North I was sure my Dad was some kind of genius. I would learn about farming beans. A High School project to earn money he and his twin brother had engaged in. Green Beans was a warm weather crop and if skillfully farmed could allow for lifeguarding at the community pool during the summer days as well. The key was moisture and soil. Being a shallow crop the key was enough moisture for growth but not enough to allow for "rot". Wasn't really sure what "rot" was but it didn't sound good.
I would learn about how teenagers in the 30's spent their summers. That practical jokes of the 1930's I am sure would land someone in jail today. And how in fact my Father had been arrested. It was a revelation of immense purportions. I learned the important questions: how? Where? Really? Why? What happened then? Climbing and swimming in the cities water tower during the hot summer nights in Iowa.
"Seemed like a good idea at the time." It really was the first time my Father admitted to consuming adult beverages. He told of how after being arrested it was his Grandfather who had to sentence he, his twin brother and another friend for swimming in the city water supply.
"Was it worth it"?, I asked.
Then this sly grin came across my Dad's face.
"I was never so scared, I had never climbed so high before. It seemed you could see the lights of Des Moine from that tower."
It had been worth it. For hours my Father would quietly talk as we moved down Old Route 66. Across California and Arizona. I remember the asteroid showers in the middle of the night in the dessert. I had never seen them before. My Dad said August is a great time as he explained the extraterrestial visitors plummeting to the ground somewhere over the mountains and plains of the United States. Sometimes two or three a minute and every once and awhile a big one.

" ... could be a small rock but it burns up and lights up." My Dad would comment. It was amazing.
Route 66 was never boring. There were signs, interesting signs about place to eat and places to stay and about shaving. Rhymes about shaving. Every two or three hundred yards would be part of a poem.

They looked like this but spread along the highway.













The Grandest experience of all was the lights. Route 66 had Neon lights when you went through a town. Not like today where the Highways bypass the business sections. On old Route messages galore along the highway did their best to entice you to get gas, eat, stay the night, enjoy air conditioned sleeping and communicate the reality of vacancy or no vacancy.

On that trip I remember driving all night and coming to a town. It was a larger town than most. While driving by one motel I notice it had a train in the middle of the hotel grounds and that train would go through the parking lot around the pool and kids could ride it. If you stayed at the hotel you could ride if for free. It was suppose to help with the ease of taking bags and people to thier rooms. But to a six year old it was Disneyland. It was clear to me that the motel was a bit over what my parents had imagined the budget to be. But, after a long night of commoraderie with me Dad he thought it was a fine idea and said so to my Mom. What a place. What for the train to take you to the pool or to the gift shop or just get on board and ride. I have wondered how much did that engineer get paid to run around and around in that train. I have got a feeling he would have done it for free!

Years later I would drive Route 66 as a graduating college student. Cars, girls, fireworks, 4th of July, Indian Reservations.......a bit different view of Route 66 but still magical.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Left "Ya Gotta Love em"

I always liked Michael Kinsley, he was entertaining, and like most entertainers facts don't matter much to them entertainment is the key. Most entertainers have a script. Michael has written a piece about how liberals need to get along with each other. It is the remaining fallout and bad blood from the primaries of Clinton vs. Obama. You may recall Michael as the nerdy but clear spoken liberal with CNN's late 80's Crossfire. It was the format today used by Hannity and Combes and more formidably satirized by Ackroyd and Curtin, great journalist they may be, commenting on Abend and Offit on NY TV, on Saturday Night Live in the 70's. Remember Ackroyd's politically sentient opening, "Jane, you ignorant slut"? I always laughed at the politically imprudent line. I envision Kinsley in a political essay in his chair opposite of Pat Buchanon and defining why the mean Republicans are going to chew up the nice Democrats, "Pat your ignorant manwhore if Democrats don't get along it will be the only reason John McCain, the class elist gets elected President! It is a great article in Newsweek where Michael points out the "real" problems. The real problems for Democrats and the real problem. I must agree he does!,9171,1821662,00.html

In his Time magazine article in speaking of the Democratic Party Primaries he states,

" The one-on-one rivalry between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama lasted only about three months from beginning to end. Their policy disagreements are negligible. For many Clinton supporters, the chance to elect an African-American President represents the culmination of a cause they have been fighting for all their lives. Yet almost half of Clinton supporters tell pollsters that they will not vote for Obama. And Clinton's big-money backers are deflecting money and energy away from their party's presumptive nominee."

Kinsley has it right. Their policy disagreements are negligible. So what's the problem? The problem is this. This was supposed to be Hillary's chance. Bob Dole had his chance. Al Gore had his chance. Hell, they gave John Kerry a chance and even Democrats knew he was only electable in Mass. And this upstate new Senator from Illinois, Hillary's home state, beats her out of her chance. Beats her out, outwitted the smartest woman in the world, the greatest political machine created, outsmarted Bill! Something must be wrong in America! He is new. He is inexperienced. He defeated the best politicos in America. But more than that he isn't Hillary. Fact is some of the smart folks in the Democratic party don't like Bill or Hillary either. But it reveals something far worse.

When it comes to policies, Iraq, Taxes, The Supreme Court and its appointees, The Environment, Defense, China, Korea, Fuel Prices, Drilling in Anwar, etc. etc. there is a minuscule difference between Obama and Clinton. So why the Clinton angst. Kinsley points out that the Clintonistas believe there was sexism in the race. Like there is no racism in the race when it comes to Obama? Democrats need to walk softly here. If the only reason you don't like Obama is because there is sexism in the press concerning Hillary, what has Obama to do with that? The second question arises then is what is the only reason Clintonites don't like Obama, Racism? No, no that is not it. Cannot be it. Democrats are never racists are they? They are the party who likes Black America. Aren't they?

Kinsley adds one reason the Hillaryites don't like Obama is that Obama is moving aggressively to the center. Oh, really! Was it not Hillary who got her seat on the Armed Services Committee, voicing reservations about abortion, Hillary expanding on her fervent religious ideals sounding more like John Wesley or Billy Graham or her strong support of the Iraq War before she was against it. Democrats are as hard to follow as a Muhammad Ali rope a dope-bob and weave. So why don't they like Barack?

The element to recognize is that a Democrat will go where no other has gone before as long as it gets them elected. Hillary will meet with Newt Gingrich, Obama will redefine his position on Iraq three times in one day while later they can redefine their position in another vague interview because the standard press rarely presses the Dem leaders on issues where they concur.

What is the problem Michael asks? You don't want that McCain to win do you. Because if you think the Republicans are going to play nice. If you think McCain or the Republican are good guys, think again. This is the same Michael Kinsley who wrote about John McCain,

"Even better, he delivers the fresh air without the cloying aroma of piety. Or, rather, he can be pious, but the piety is diluted and made bearable by the knowing wink. He makes jokes at his own expense. That's attractive in a politician, but sometimes it is nothing more than a party trick. McCain goes further: Like Bob Dole, he makes jokes -- mean jokes, in public -- about others. That takes more wit and more guts. McCain is a good kind of cynic: He shares his cynicism with the rest of the class. The cynicism makes the piety bearable, while the piety makes the cynicism acceptable.
Journalists love him, of course. His frankness flatters us, and he flatters us more directly as well. Visiting a big convention of journalists last fall, McCain joined a group that was gambling at the hotel casino until the wee hours. In his speech the next morning, he cleverly nailed his audience and himself by declaring that he was happy to be among "my base."

Kinsley reveals his unwavering and adulterated bias towards Republicans clearly in this statement.

"For the Democrats to find it easier than the Republicans to raise money is a recent development, and a somewhat inspiring one. Affluent people who give to the Republican Party are advancing their own class interests, whereas those who give to the Democrats generally aren't."

The rascally Republicans give money to their party only to advance their own class interests. While Democrats generally don't. LOL....OMG. Read this as anti-intellectualism at its best. William F. Buckley is screaming in his grave saying, " And America believes this is the pinnacle of Left Wing Intellectualism".

I do so miss Daniel Patrick Moynihan who said,
" Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."

"....advancing there own class interests..." it is the speak of those who will say that only Republicans label others while in fact this tag is reminiscent of those who create the envy of rich vs. poor and the haves vs. the have nots. Oh, I forgot those Republicans hate the poor, hate the unemployed and only like rich people. No, Michael, it is that they have different ideas than the Democrats. To say that people only give to the Republicans because there is a class interest in play is intellectually lazy, dishonest and frankly shows a hard bias of the intellectually dishonest. I forget this is not about truth but position. Frankly it is but entertainment once again.
But Michael says it best himself,
..."So they are taking their revenge(speaking about the Hillary supporters) on people without health care, women who need abortions, and others who they (if they supported Hillary) must think will be harmed by a Republican victory in the fall. That'll show 'em."

Harmed by a Republican victory. People who do not have health care or need abortions seem to be the criteria for this election. What we need from the Demos if Obama is elected is more abortions and a plan to put the government into the health care business.

Well, Mr. Kinsley again you are entertaining and in between the lines enlightening. What is the truth her is the rough and reality of the hard feelings between these groups, Feminists vs Black America. A large group of folks in the Democratic party are not thrilled that Obama is the candidate. And as you so aptly put it this is not a difference between Hillary and Barack with the exception of gender and race. So who are the racists in this one? What is the discovery that smells the worst. It is not the call to pure pragmatism and get your guy elected but the dirty secret you are tying to sweep under the floor. Some Democrats don't like the guy because he is black.

Difference is Michael, I don't like the guy because he just like Hillary, a unprincipled and politically expedient socialist. Here is my prophecy. If Obama does not win. You are going to spout that the only reason is that America is racist and that it is not about ideas. That Republicans are racist. You will be entertaining but you will not be accurate or truthful.