The thoughts of a writer.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Death of a Dictator

Saddam Hussein died at the end of a rope.
He was once proud and cared little for the common people. This may be true of some of our leaders as well.

Of course Saddam was deserving of his fate.
Yet, I have some difficulty with binding a man and killing him. It touches something deep inside that sees no honor in such a death.
Perhaps that was the point.
Still, now that he has claimed his martyrdom, it is honor backfired.

Dynasties rise and then they fall.
Have we accomplished anything wonderful amidst all of the bloodshed and torture?
I hope so. It is time for the Iraqis to play their own hand and time for us to stop stacking the deck.

May 2007 bring peace.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Brown Christmas Lager

On December 23rd, me and Dave made a Lager. It will now sit in the "Chumperator" for a couple of months until we bottle it. Most homebrewers don't make lagers, because you need temperatures between 38 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit during fermentation.

After the initial, active fermentation, the brew will be moved into a glass carboy for a couple of months before bottling. The "Chumperator," is Dave's invention to keep the cool temperatures needed for a lager. It is a wooden box in his basement with a plastic pipe going outside to provide cool winter air.

When the temperature outside gets too cold, Dave uses a sophisticated device to prevent the temperature from becoming too cold. He stuffs a rag into the pipe.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Merry Christmas!


If you happen to be offended by my wishing you a Merry Christmas, I would like to point out that my constitutional rights offer me the freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion.

It kind of makes you wonder what the controversy is about doesn't it?

If someone wished me a happy Ramadan, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, I would not be offended. Furthermore if I was, I would not expect that I had the right to make that person change.

So, have a very Merry Christmas EVERYBODY!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Tears of a Child

I was reading in the newspaper about some of the awful things that people do to each other around the world.

One story was about a group of Hmong in Laos who had finally decided to surrender to the Communists, after hiding in the jungle for many years. They had been abandoned by the U.S. after the Vietnam War. Their fate was questionable when they were rounded up by soldiers and driven away in trucks. Most of them were reported to be women and children.

Another story led off with a picture of a young Palestinian girl in tears. I found it heart-wrenching.

It leaves me with the question, how can people hate so much that the tears of a child no longer affect them?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bipartisan Commission on Iraq vs. President Bush

Bipartisan Commission on Iraq vs. President Bush
December 12, 2006
UnAssociated Press

On December 6, a bipartisan commission produced a report that said the situation in Iraq, is “grave and deteriorating,” and the United States’ ability “to influence events within Iraq is diminishing.” This came as the death toll for U.S. troops is nearing the 3,000 mark, troops from other countries, private contractors, journalists and thousands of Iraqis have died.

Bush thanked the commission for its work and said that their input would be valuable as he reassessed the “sit-chee-ation.” Then the President announced that he would push for an additional 80-million-trillion-zillion troops to be deployed by the first of the year.

After that, the President started laughing, and said that “the only way to peace, is through war.” He also said that “victory is the only option,” and it is his “solemn duty as President, to protect the citizens of the United States, by sending them to war.” The President did say that things would be reevaluated as needed. No exit strategy was mentioned during the speech.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Special Education Labels

I have worked scoring exams for Special Education, and now as a detention supervisor at a Jr. High, I frequently have Special Education kids in detention.

Among the problems I have noticed with the system, is that once a kid is labeled by a psychologist as a “behavior problem,” that child is suddenly allowed to stop trying, and stop behaving. The bad behavior is expected.

Where does this leave the child when they grow up?
Can they expect to say nasty, obscene and hurtful things to their boss and coworkers and then storm out to the parking lot for an hour to cool off? Aren’t kids supposed to learn coping skills in school to prepare for later life?

Though I am not a licensed professional, I find it disturbing to expect less from a student and enable them to behave poorly because that student gets angry when asked to do schoolwork or behave in an acceptable manner.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My New Book

The novel that I am currently writing is called, "Cottonwood."
It deals with the history in the bottomland forest of the Minnesota River Valley.
As a volunteer park ranger in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, I have become interested in the history, animals and giant trees in the areas where I frequently hike.

This story covers a lot of individual characters, events and natural history. It covers a considerable span of time -during the lifespan of a giant cottonwood tree. The story begins around the time when European immigrants began to move into the area. It deals with how the indigenous people and animals were displaced by the new arrivals.

This story comes from history and from what I have observed on my many hikes into the river valley and the bottomland forest. I am perhaps a quarter of the way done with it. I am hoping for a new publisher. More information will come later about this.