July 21, 2011

A brief rant, just to clear my throat

To give you some idea of my perspective on things:
Mask and Ether
I’m old enough to have been put under with ether when I had my tonsils removed as a kid. The operation was done in our family doctor’s office. He was a gentle man who knew us all well and personally, and made house calls if needed. His wife was his nurse. Before the ether mask was placed over my nose and mouth, the nurse gently rubbed ointment into my eyes to prevent drying, and asked what I wanted to see when I was out cold. I said a boat. As I lost consciousness I indeed saw a boat, but from the view of someone lying on a river bottom and looking up at the bright white outline of a rowboat’s hull as it moved along the surface. Power of suggestion, I suppose, in a weird kid.
American government still had statesmen (women weren’t yet well represented in politics), not the self-serving, hypocritical, venal dogma puppets who have brought us to the edge of ruin – and not just financially.
When I started in newspapers it was as a copyboy, sharing a city room bench with a few others, neatly dressed, shoes shined, and awaiting the clarion call, “Boy!” – the signal to spring up, run to the source of the bellow, catch the dropped sheet of copy paper “before it hits my out-box,” then deliver it where intended.
Magnafax Telecopier
Other duties included plugging parking meters for anyone who demanded it, sending memos or other text by the new but time-consuming “Magnafax Telecopier” that preceded today’s common fax machines, managing betting pools for some members of the staff, fetching the occasional half-pint of booze as an eye-opener or hand-steadier for a star columnist, and anything else that anyone else wanted done. Later, copyboys were called “copy messengers” after girls were hired for the job. Stories were written on manual typewriters, and newspapers were printed with plates made from hot type by deaf pressroom workers who communicated by signing across the vast, thunderous space where it was impossible to be heard. I learned to type on a big manual, which since has prompted my wife and others to ask why I’m angry while I write on a computer keyboard. I’m not angry (usually) – I just pound the keys like I learned on those old typewriters (which I now collect as artifacts).
Detroit was the automobile capital of the world, and the latest models were oversized, high-powered, often two-toned, and had those pointless but sporty tail fins.
Up the revolution!
I’m in large part a product of the 1960s, when a real revolution here brought an end to the opportunistic war in Vietnam, and changed American culture in countless ways. I often wonder – with our current involvement in two opportunistic wars and the military “support” operation for the revolutionaries in Libya – where our outrage has gone to hide since the ’60s. As we export democracy, we've allowed a wholesale dismantling of ours at home, and now limp along under the withering rule of an oligarchic plutocracy. Which is to say, if you ain’t rich, you don’t count. And populism is the plaything of hustlers.
Now that this is rapidly becoming a rant, I think I’ll cut it short and return to the task at hand – our conversion from battle-weary urban veterans to peace-loving, homesteading country folk.
Besides, it appears some of you are awaiting word on Roxy. Things have progressed, depending on your point of view.


  1. Jane suggests you take him/her to a local 4H club... they knows they chickuns.

  2. I enjoy your blog. Perhaps mostly because you are from Michigan (and so am I) and now you are in Tennessee (and so am I) and I can relate to what you post. I was born and raised in Flint. When I was in my 30s I decided I was going to a trip back to my neighborhood on Niagra but while in a gas station, I was talking to the clerk about Flint. There was a customer behind me, listening in. Apparently I must have said something that triggered a memory in him, because he said he knew who I was. He not only named my family, but also my address. He told me if I go back to my neighborhood, I will be shot. Turns out, he was a retired police officer that patrolled my neighborhood when I was a kid. He was friends with my mother. I did go back to Flint, but not my neighborhood. I had to go there on business, and honestly, I didn't recognize Flint. Houses were boarded up and people were sitting on the steps as if they had no place to go.

    I am a farmer in training, in Clinton, TN. I had to get out of the corporate rat race. I was starting a newspaper in TN but decided against it because the newspaper company that was going to print mine was so desperate for work. They said people aren't buying ads or papers any more. It's online. What's the point in starting a newspaper if people prefer online news? I should know. I don't buy papers either because 1. The stories are bias anyway and 2. I prefer online information.

    I've learned ranting doesn't seem to change things, but still, I rant like you. I think it helps clear the mind. :-)