Sunday, November 30, 2008

Garibaldi is a small town on Tillamook Bay, on the North Oregon Coast.

The City of Garibaldi was named for Guiseppe Garibaldi, liberator and unifier of Italy, and a world hero in the 1860's.

Founder of the town, Daniel A. Bailey. was a great admirer of Garibaldi the hero.

The town went through booms and busts, and is now enduring one of the latter.

Lumber mills and fishing have carried and grown the town, but both industries have suffered declines for years.

I have been going there for one or two days a week for almost 6 months, to manage the turnaround of a small motel and rv park property, of which I am a co-owner.

Getting to know local residents has been an interesting part of the job.

There is still a fishing business, crab is still caught, some lumber is still cut and hauled, but there are many in the town who have either not enough work or no work at all.

- - -

My wife and I watched small birds in brown, grey, rust, black and white in our backyard yesterday morning as they fluttered in and out, finding bits of food among the plants and shrubs.

The back yard is small, surrounded by tall arbor vitae, with no cats or dogs roaming the space.

The birds found what food they could in the late November fog.

- - -

The day before that was the day after Thanksgiving. I was in Garibaldi early that morning to work on the business, marketing to potential clients, checking on maintenance and upkeep, showing up.

That morning, a commercial crab boat had gone out early. It was not named the "Alexa" or the "Emily" or the "Beautiful Jane", it was named in a play on words, the "Network", for working the nets.

The three on board had said goodbye early that morning to family, and had talked with friends and greeted visitors on the docks, and while making their way out of the marina.

The sky was dry but cloudy. Wind was moderate. Visibility excellent.

Then, heading to close sea for larger carbs and a bigger haul, they pushed over the bar, cutting rough waves coming from several directions, they got hit by a wave from the side, were floundered, righted, then were hit by another wave that took the boat under.

One of the three on board was rescued, suffering from severe hypothermia. The other two were not found that day. They may never be found, and yet they were just at the mouth of the bay, on the border between protected waters and the open ocean. Not far out to sea. Close to shore.

These are the first losses I have seen since going to the town regularly, though that bar is one of the most dangerous in the world, and people die there from time to time.

And although I did not know the men on board, I knew enough people in town who knew them.

I shared a little of their silent pain.

The people I talked with showed resignation, sadness, but not shock. This happens to some of those who work the sea.

- - -

The next morning, I appreciated the grass and plants, the small birds, the sky, my wife, my kids, and my life.

I listened a little more to music, thought a little more about the sky and the sea.

The two men on board who were lost did not have a second chance. That was it.

But each morning when I wake, I get a second chance at doing a little better, doing more of something useful.

This won't change my life, but it will make me think about it for a few days.

I won't be going through it as blindly for a short while.

Though I won't remember it like the families and friends of the two who are gone.

- - -

As I watched the backyard, I briefly understood why my father has made so many sculptures of those same birds. They move in unhurried haste, unaware of external worries. They are not sitting still, mourning any loss or pain, they are engaged in life. Their balletic movements and light verse make us feel better about our lives.

- - -

No matter what we do, or fail to do, we still get another chance each day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just Keep Swimming

I believe we can get through even a painful recession if we keep moving forward.

Find ways to improve your skills, learn more about your chosen profession, or go learn a new profession.

Take classes, read good information, talk to high achievers in your field, or in a field you think you may want to be in.

Work at what you can, and do your best when you work.

When you do whatever you do with intention and purpose, Work is Love Made Visible.

Spend less, save more.

Keep up your best attitude.


Be grateful for whatever you have. It's a lot compared to the lives of millions of people around the world, and yes, it is a lot even compared to millions here at home.

But that is not really the point.

You don't have to compare yourself to anyone to be happy. So don't.

Be happy with less, and take this opportunity to find peace not in things, but in family, friends, the beauty of the world and the universe.

Forgive any slights, insults or meanness. It's better for you and easier on you to let go of it.

And Give Thanks.

Work, Forgiveness and Thankfulness can carry us through this.

They are all expressions of Love, and you know as well as I do, that is all we need.

Oregon In The Fall

Just a few of the views from the hill on which we live.
I love the distinct seasons in Oregon.
The numerous hills on the Western side of the state
offer vistas with dimension and depth
not always seen in other places.
These were taken November 1, 2008.
Salamo Road, West Linn, Oregon

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Timothy Leary Goes To The Beach

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

Life Is Short
Art Endures

Let's hope.

Let's Hope Not

I usually feel very optimistic about things.

I feel optimistic about the direction in which our country will go since the election.

I feel optimistic about people in general, and most people individually.

I am optimistic about humanity's chances of surviving the next few millennia.

But I am increasingly pessimistic about the economy of the U.S. and of the rest of the world. I feel things will look dim for the next year, maybe a little longer.

And I am concerned about the ability of my family members, friends, and everyone else to make a decent living during that time.

I hope (more optimism) that the government is doing things that will have a positive effect on the economy.

I don't know yet if that will happen, or if so, when.

I don't know what other countries will do in concert with us, or in response to us.

Will we see naked greed overcoming cooperation in other countries economic policies and in international trade?

Maybe. (Less optimism there.)

Everyone will likely be hurting. Will we see that behavior in our own country?

Should I just stay optimistic no matter what?

Can optimism have any effect?

If I feel positive, will it encourage me to do positive things, and would that encourage others to do positive things, and could that help?

If I act in positive ways, could that make positive changes in the world around me?

If a butterfly flaps its wings in Beijing, might that cause Martha Stewart to go back to jail in Connecticut?

If I "Pay It Forward", and then want a refund later, do I have to take S&H Green Stamps?

If I say everything will be okay, and I truly believe everything will be okay, does that mean I need a frontal lobotomy?

I don't know.

I hope not.

I hope everything will be okay.

I guess in the end I'm really only concerned with my own survival...

I don't need much.

As long as I can have my Triple Espresso Macchiato Frappucino four times a day, and as long as I can still buy my Prada dog polisher, and as long as I can still get my New York Times and Wall Street Journal ironed every morning by Jeeves, and as long as I can still drive my Peterbilt 8 wheel drive 900 horsepower sport utility vehicle to pick up the kids at the Rancho Cucamonga Juan Corona Memorial School For Wayward Boys, and as long as I can winter in Ibiza and summer in the Playboy Mansion, I will be fine.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Crumbling Capitalism.

Stagnating Socialism.

Deteriorating Dictatorships.

Mayhem in Monarchies.

What does it all mean?

Nothing more than a recession that, thanks to Globalization, is actually Global in scope.

The looming Recesion can be depressing.

A looming Depression would be, well, worse I guess.


But what can be done?

Look for ways to make it during the downturn.

What do you do that you could do a little differently in a difficult economic environment?

How can you pay down some (any) of your debt and, even better, put a bit of cash away for the rainy days coming in 2009?

Are there ways you can improve your usefulness to your company or to your customers?

Can you find additional ways to increase revenue that you may not have looked for before?

Is there a chance you can grow your job or your business in new areas?

We all have to get a little more competitive now.

Because there does not appear to be a choice, we will see what a rough recession is like all over again.

1981-1982 was tough, definitely tougher in some parts of the country than others, but generally tough all over.

That appears to be the model.

At least if we believe the talking heads all over the airwaves and the internet.

We can hope it's not that bad, but we should plan for it to be at least that bad, maybe a little worse, since credit is tight now and it was not so tight then, it was just expensive.

That makes this recession carry the possibility of more unpleasantness than the Reagan Recession.

Which is a damn shame.

I would have liked to see what Obama could do in an average economy.

But then, a real test brings out the best, right?

Let's hope for that best.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Looking For A Way To Be Grounded?

A Moment

Today as I was driving somewhere, I heard the beginning of "A Prairie Home Companion".

Garrison Keillor and a woman I did not recognize sang a medley, which I believe he or someone on his show created.

It started with America The Beautiful, and wove in parts of a song about truckers, a Beach Boys song, and many others in a wide assortment of various musical Americana.

It was so well done, I sat in my car listening to the last half of it before getting out. Just sat. And listened to the whole long song.

It gave me a familiar tingling feeling, that surge of warmth or emotion or whatever it is, like when the Marines thunder to the rescue of the hero in trouble, or when you wander upon a very old friend you haven't seen in many years, or you hear an aria, or certain Neil Diamond songs. your kid does something you did not think they could do, or the look on your grandmother's face when you visit her in cancer treatment during your honeymoon.

Those things bring a tear to my eye, just after the tingle, and the surge.

I like those things.

I hope to one day give a little of that feeling to readers of or listeners to my work, at just the right time of course.

Garrison did it pretty well.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Test Your Mettle; Which Is The Most Valuable?

The New Guy

Let's hope he can get something positive done soon after he takes the oath. The economy is moving slower, and more trouble is showing up weekly.
We all have to remember that he is only one guy, and he can't affect the economy all the much all that quickly. We have to do our best as well.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Obama Effect



Tears of Joy.






The Real Results

Okay, so maybe the Electoral Vote margin was not the largest in over 50 years.

But it was big.

And it was important, in many ways.

John McCain is a great man, and he is one of the most decent, straight politicians in Washington DC. He is intelligent, competitive and a true loyal patriot. I would have been just as happy for him to be my President as Obama. But that is not how it turned out.

Last night, watching the election returns, I felt a swell of pride in our country. I felt more promise than I have in 4 or 5 years. Most elections have given me this hope, the previous one did not.

I understand the historic nature of the moment we all watched. And by "we all", I mean the whole world. And I enjoyed all of it.

I saw people relieved, amazed, excited. I saw Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey and so many others with tears on their cheeks.

I saw last night our future, in the calm, intelligent, confident demeanor of the new American leader.

This was the real beginning of the new century.

It is a huge moment for us all. This is so powerful in so many ways. Most of us do not even realize what this means, but it will affect us and the world for a long time. It is a very good thing.

This is our chance to prove to ourselves and to the world that we can learn, we can improve, we can do better than we have.

There will likely come a time when America is not the most powerful nation economically, or militarily, but we can still lead the world if we use this opportunity wisely and well.

I believe Barack Obama and Joseph Biden are the right men to make this promise a reality.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

AP Report 8:00 pm EST, Nov 4, 2008

Obama Has Won The Election In A Landslide!

In an unprecedented election, an unprecedented candidate turned the conventional wisdom upside down and beat Republican John McCain by the largest electoral vote margin in over 50 years.

Barack Obama has become the President Elect at a time of great economic and political crisis, and has done so with the support of more American votes than have ever been cast for a Presidential Candidate in American history.

The celebrations will be loud, but must also be brief as President Elect Obama begins to assemble his new Cabinet, and to plan strategies to get the American economy back on track, and to regain some measure of America's diminished support abroad.

In a side note, a small, nearly unknown blogger in Oregon predicted before Super Tuesday 2008 that when it came right down to it, too many Americans just could not vote for a woman or a black man for President. He was so wrong, it is hard to measure just how wrong he was. Let us say it this way for emphasis; He was wronger than any political prognosticator in the history of the world, and he knows it. He was the wrongest of any blogger in the entire history of wrong blogging. He should simply give it up now.