Thursday, October 27, 2016


Sometimes time runs away from you.
And in times like these I often wish I could escape reality.
Given I've been off the clock,
please enjoy this replay of a blog
first published on October 27th, 2014.

Twilight zone
I must admit to more than a bit of
confusion. Yesterday Italy turned
it's clocks back for daylight savings
time. Whereas "back home" doesn't
shift until Sunday November 2nd.
So after finally mastering the art of
easily calculating the time between
here and Manhattan or Montana,
I now must subtract an additional
hour. As someone who has always
prided myself on a well tuned body
clock, I'm dreading the prospect of
adjusting mine back to REALITY.
Wake up call
By now you've figured out that I'm
a creature of comfort. Daily rituals
calm me and create a safe haven.
Here in Italy nothing has changed
much. I awake early, make a pot of
coffee, look out of the window and
appreciate all that is out there. Then
sit down and write this blog. Hence
my angst is adjusting to the fact that
for a month I've been doing it nine
hours earlier than usual. Will I be
be ready for bed at noon MST?! If
true, that will be a rude awakening.
Time out
Why am I worried? Oddly enough,
this sedentary soul easily adapts
easily. We've done enough traveling
that we each have our own formula
to avoid jet lag. Frank seems able to
sleep anytime, anywhere. Given he's
a late nighter his transition back to
Mountain Standard Time may be
smoother. Before you know it we'll
be back in the groove. So while I'm
my Father's son and hence churning
with concern, I'll go with the flow.
Time marches on so fall into line!
Back to the future
Speaking of time, Frank asked me
the oddest question the other day.
His query related to time travel. If
ever such a service was available -
when and where would I go and
why? Nothing peaks my interest
more given I'm bit of a history buff.
What I most enjoy about all things
past is the simple fact that people
are people and have always been so.
The very idea that an ancient Roman
felt exactly the same way then... as
I do now... fascinates and intrigues.
Neither here nor there
Of course manners, morals, and modes
change. We all morph to whatever is
acceptable within the time and place
we exist within. So what would happen
if suddenly one was transported a la
Star Trek to another time and place?
Would it really be all that different or
would you simply change your attire
and move along? After spending a
month in Italy I can tell you there's
little difference between here and
there. We're all the same creatures
each adapting to our circumstances.
Fact or fiction?
Which brings me to the question that
continues to burn within me. How or
why would anybody assume someone
is different simply because of the color
of their skin, who they love, or how
they vote?! Rampant radicalism simply
baffles. In this week's local letters to
the editor (Lewistown), a lady angrily
rants about all sorts of things. While
one wonders why she assumes it's any
of her business, I marvel at her blatant
ignorance. You see, being different is
not proof that there's any difference.
Reality check
"Those people" are exactly like you (and
me) my dear. They wipe their asses and
pay bills along with the rest of us. Yet
radicals like you seem to feel that the
government should enforce your version
of normalcy. Chances are those noisy
grandchildren you coddle in the church
pew each Sunday could grow up to be
or do something that might offend you.
When that happens, how will you deal
with that? Love them or throw them into
jail? It's time you to wake up to reality!
Or... stop writing those damn letters.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


My colored past
Yesterday the street sweeper picked up the
last of our fallen foliage. Proof that autumn
is over in Lewistown, Montana. Therefore I
thought I'd closed this year's chapter on the
fall season. Then a friend posted the picture
shown at left. There was New Hampshire's
Mount Washington ablaze of autumn glory
as it's frigid peak loomed above. And all of
a sudden I was reminded of what fall used
to look like back east. Which left me more
than nostalgic for my colorful past. A time
when maples, oaks, elms, and hemlocks all
brightened one's outlook before winter fell.

Road less traveled
Easterners enjoy their limited perspective.
They've no idea of what life is like beyond
their rarified realm. Upon informing my
Mother I was moving to Chicago her only
response was "Isn't that somewhere to the
left?" Metropolitan myopia aside, autumn
in New York or New England cannot be
matched elsewhere. In Illinois it came and
went in a yellow and brown haze. As it did
in Minneapolis, Columbus, and even here
in central Montana. Whereas in Dallas, the
only indication that it was autumn was if
a random leaf drifted into one's pool...
Spoiled rotten
The rest of the country has no idea of what
they're missing. I appreciate the little color
we get in Lewistown yet it's NOTHING in
comparison with nature's vivid display way
out east. It's mind-blowing riot of orange,
red, and yellow lines each byway while it
covers every hill and mountain. For two to
three weeks said vivid display dazzles as
the sun shines above in a bluer than blue
sky while Indian Summer warms your soul.
Thus from the very start of life  my autumn
perspective was rather skewed. In essence
it spoiled me to a point of no return.
Farm fresh
As a tot we adhered to rituals related to the
season. That included an annual pilgrimage
up Chestnut Ridge Road to the Tice (shown
right) and Van Riper farm stands. In those
days post a roast chicken or beef dinner we
often took a Sunday drive into the "country."
Upon arriving out in the boonies we bought
a bevy of pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn,
and cornstalks to decorate our manse. Yet
my most vivid memory is of warm donuts
and freshly pressed cider. All enjoyed while
standing in the autumn sun along the side of
the road lined with fellow urban escapees.
Past perfect
Sadly like most things of my youth said sylvan
spot has been replaced by a "lifestyle" center.
The older one gets, the more tenuous the links
between past and present grow. While change
is inevitable, accepting that what one held dear
has evaporated is sobering at best. Which now
causes me to wonder whether those orchards
that once lined highway 9W as it wound it's
way north are now suburban subdivisions. As
I recall, my young family and I often took that
same route to pick apples. Is that fond memory
now but another rotten relic of times long gone?
Which bodes the query - can we ever go back?

Blossoms in the dust
Given we're on an evolutionary journey one
wonders if our past was ever truly as good
as we recall. Could it be that sipping cider
amidst the fumes spewed from a flotilla of
gas guzzling land yachts wasn't in truth all
that pleasant. What made it seem so special?
In our youth everything is new. Hence the
memory of that first baked apple covered
in cream comes from a virginal viewpoint.
The older one gets, the rarer the occurrence
of something new or different. Thus it's no
wonder that as time goes by, our attitude
becomes more jaded as memories blossom.
The fall of mankind
Being more than comfortable in my advanced
state, I've no desire to revisit most of my past.
Possibly because along the way I've benefitted
from both good and bad times. And yet, part
of me wishes I could go back and feel as safe
as I once did nestled in my father's arms. If
youth is wasted on the young, the blessings
of sharing memories from one generation to
another enriches all of our lives. And while
it may not seem all that important to us old
folks, someday all of the little things we've
forgotten will be cherished by those who we
love. And isn't that what life is all about?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I can't believe I have to say this...

A Harry situation?
Yesterday's blog solicited many responses.
Some public, others private. In the end the
byproduct of this contentious election will
be it's long term impact. Sadly many friends,
colleagues, and family members are never
going to look at each other in the same light.
And that is probably what is most disturbing.
Which causes me to stop and ponder about
the capricious candor of cyber venues such
as this. Is it wrong to say it like it is? Or are
we better off emulating Harry Truman who
never sent a letter without first revisiting it's
content a day or two later? Patience please?
Maximum impact
Passion can be a rather enviable emotion. It's
the fuel that drives those driven by love, hate,
or a combination thereof. Without dedicated
zealots our world would be without many of
mankind's greatest achievements. The Trump
Tower might not have been built unless The
Donald hadn't had something to prove. Thus
the need to make a point, right a wrong, or to
create a lasting impression motivates many
to do the impossible. And given that almost
all such initiatives must be group sourced in
order to be successful - many simply go along
for the ride without considering the outcome.
Back at you
Hence many willingly become lambs led to
the slaughter.  Which explains why so many
ultimate political victims had no idea what
was coming. Often innocents who believe
they are going in the right thing direction
are being led down a path to destruction. Yet
while some may feign innocence, in reality
each and every one of them did so freely.
And so must be held responsible for their
errors in judgment. Therefore every one of
us must respectfully consider all of the facts
prior to making any decision. That's because
once it's done, it's done and we must own it.
External influences
The challenge of almost any public discourse
is separating the wheat from the chaff. Here
in Lewistown we're tasked with a profound
decision about our form of local government.
In theory the issue is whether we continue
with our current form of city governance or
adopt a new approach. However our greatest
challenge is considering said options within
a highly engaged context of extremely mixed
messages. Those screaming the loudest for
change have in fact no rational basis for their
voices to be heard. You see, many are neither
city residents nor taxpayers. So why listen?!
Motivating factors
Most of those against our existing local
government are angry because at some
point they didn't get their way. Whether
forced to adherer to rules or due to their
home being annexed no longer matters.
Anger over losing drives their passion
to do and say whatever necessary to turn
the tide in their favor. Thus our fiery foe
is motivated by retribution, arrogance,
and ignorance. Add to them a retinue of
followers willing to do or say whatever
they're told. Which means that the truth
has nothing to do with what they spew.
Suddenly single
To be clear, our "existing" government consists
of SEVEN elected City Commissioners. All of
whom are responsible for hiring and managing
a paid City Manager. Said salaried employee
runs the day in/out operations of our complex
community resources. The "alternative" adds
ONE elected (and salaried) full time Mayor to
the mix. All while maintaining the role of a
paid City Manager under a new moniker - i.e.
Chief Administrative Officer. However the
biggest difference is that the "alternative"
places said employee and all city staff under
the jurisdiction of this ONE MAYOR ONLY.
Mathematical error
Said Mayor adds further bureaucracy plus
their SALARY and EXPENSES all while
usurping the role of SEVEN elected City
Commissioners. And yet proponents of
said "alternative" claim their convoluted
restructure adds "accountability." Do they
actually believe that Lewistown citizens
are willing to accept a drastic reduction
from SEVEN elected representatives to
ONE who holds all control? Even more
important - are we willing to change in
order to fuel the ambition of disgruntled
outsiders who have NO skin in the game?

Eyewitness account
If anybody should be held "accountable" then
I suggest we examine the motivations of those
who are driving this initiative. Most of them
are anti-annexation zealots who are currently
fighting the City of Lewistown in the Montana
State Supreme Court to remain OUTSIDE of
our city's jurisdiction. Therefore Lewistown's
future is being jeopardized by a collective who
don't want to be one of us. And we've allowed
this to happen. Thus the ball is in our court.
By taking action and voting to maintain our
"existing" government we regain control and
therefore will all insure "accountability."

Monday, October 24, 2016


Equal opportunity
As a gay man living in central Montana I'm
comfortable with being an anomaly. Due to
my basic nature I'm different from most of
my fellow citizens. In addition my history,
background, and experience sets me apart
for many locals. Finally - in a state where
red is the color of choice, my blue hue is yet
another reason that I'm not like the rest. Yet
throughout my time living here in this lovely
place I've come to consider many dear and
trusted friends. However now I find that I
must call into question almost everything
I thought, knew and respected about some.
Balancing act
I've never had a problem with discussing
diverse opinions and/or beliefs. In fact I
rather enjoy considering alternative views.
During my lifetime Presidents have come
and gone while our American democracy
continued on. Most of us have maintained
a delicate balance - avoiding topics such
as politics and religion while still building
long-lasting relationships. However this
election cycle has changed all that. In part
because for many it has become not about
ideology - but rather winning at all costs.
Even if that means voting for Mr. Trump.
That's the only explanation I can give for
seemingly intelligent people supporting
a megalomaniac. You know who you are.
And slowly it's becoming obvious that I
never knew the real you. Given Donald's
words, deeds, and actions - only the most
prejudiced hate monger could opt to vote
for such a man. If you deny being such
a person. then why act like one? Even if
Hillary is "crooked," she has not aligned
with white supremacists. Nor has she
refused refuge to those seeking solace.
And finally, she's anything but a bigot.
Ladies first?
If you are trying to make a statement by
voting for Donald Trump, it's working.
By validating his candidacy you support
a man and movement who immediately
plan to eliminate my rights. If you are a
woman, all I can say is shame on you.
Supporting a proven CAD means that
you believe females are the weaker sex.
Those who are freely labeled, slandered,
objectified, or violated at will. And that
women like you are so helpless that they
are unable to make decisions about their
own bodies. Honestly, how could you?!
Rude awakening
This isn't about blue or red, Republican or
Democrat, liberal or conservative. This is
about showing this nation what you stand
for. Many highly respected Republicans
have publicly denounced their candidate.
That's because they continue to uphold all
of the tenets of their conservative party's
beliefs. Therefore if you must vote your
conscience, a vote for Trump indicates
that you are not the person who I thought
you were. That you're so eager to win that
you're willing to compromise the essence
of all that you previously stood for.
Come as you are
Why haven't you told me you're voting for Mr.
Trump? Either you're ashamed or it's none of
my business? Yet sadly, it is. That's because
only bigoted balloters who vote for Donald
will benefit from his win. And what could be
more UN-AMERICAN than that? Thus I'll
remind us all that actions will speak louder
than words on November 8th. If you truly are
who I've come to know and love, you will do
the right thing. Even if that means stepping
back, regrouping, and working to empower
your party to offer up the best alternative in
four years. Don't do it for me, do it for YOU!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

7th Day Surprise: UNAPPETIZING

Lately everything seems so
on the political front.
Whatever is bugging me,
I seem to have lost my appetite.
Leaving me to hope that somebody
will serve up something that just might
tempt my palate...