Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Predicting the unpredictable

According to the May 18, 2006 edition of USA:

In another in a series of notable pronouncements, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says God told him storms and possibly a tsunami will hit America's coastline this year. "If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Robertson said May 8. On Wednesday, he added, "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest.

So, does the snow this week qualify? Will he say it qualified if nothing else happens? If something really big does happen will I be embarassed by this entry in our blog? I predict that Robertson will find a way to make his predictions come true. I predict that I will find a way to embarass myself on this blog. I predict that one of the two won't matter much.

Weather people, on the other hand, can't make one of their predictions come true. They can sometimes do generics, like the little smiley face sun with a cloud partially covering it that you see when you go to AccuWeather for Clatsop County. They have to go with what they predict is going to happen. I, like everyone else, looked up the forecast for winter. Is it going to snow? Here? Can I innertube on 17th like when we were kids and Pat went flying down the hill gaining momentum with everyone piling on? Remember that? The huge truck innertube started out slowly, gliding side to side, playing bumper cars with parked vehicles until something like twenty kids were stacked precariously on top. No, really, do you remember?

SUDDENLY PLOP! A child falls from the top in front of the tube, is deftly scarfed down and squirted out of the rear like the morning's danish. If you weren't there, somebody had to have told you about it. I'll remind you: Wailing ensues but cannot be distinguished from the squeals of joy of the children still on the tube, the shreaks of terror of the children in front of the tube and the children cheering the tube on.

In fascinated horror, adults look out the windows of the houses lining 17th street. Mothers holler out their back doors for the younger kids to get in to the house, NOW, "before somebody gets hurt." This spinning, black saucer of arms, legs and heads cascading down, down, down the long, long, long hill is going to get someone hurt and everyone just watches in fascination. Who is it going to be? Children falling off, children jumping on and this can not end but in disaster. At the foot of the hill is a very small snow wall the children have built to keep the sleds and tubes from flying out into traffic on exchange. There is no way this small, two maybe three foot wall would keep the tube of death from rocketing off Seventeenth and launching children into space over the Moose Lodge.

The innertube hit at an angle and the crowd cheered as the wall stayed intact! The tube rode the wall all the way across the street with only one child loosing their seat until, until the stop sign! The innertube hit that stop sign full on and children flew everywhere! The old Coca-Cola bottling Company had children hanging off its sign, children were vomiting over the snow wall. Onlookers who weren't even on the tube had children hanging off of them. Laying on the ground, in silence, laid two of the tubers, who had been on the tube first when it started at the top of the hill and rode it all the way to the bottom, underneath all of the other children.

Quickly, two teams of four teens (the ambulance squads, trained in causing massive injury where little or no injury had previously been noted) grabbed arms and legs and ran the two unconscious young lads to the merciful sisters at St. Mary's where their parent's and the local priest were promptly called.

Now that, I believe, was another year when snow was not supposed to have happened, much like what this winter 2006-07 called for. Little to no chance for snow at the coast and the only chance for it to happen will be late January, 2007.

The snowfall of the year of the innertube (what year do YOU think that was?) may have qualified as a storm the size of a tsunami. No deaths, however, some damage. I don't think livelihoods destroyed. I think some good memories reminding us what it is that we hold dear here. Impossible to predict the unpredictable. In innertubes speeding out of control down an icy hill or weather or life.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks

We can give thanks that we know some kids like the one who has let us share his essay with you. Sure, some school essay assignments are trite, milking the children to learn to regurgitate whatever the teacher wants to hear, so read with care to see the real kid inside this one. Is he speaking his truth or the regurgitated truth his teacher wanted to hear? You decide.

As a student in the world and an American citizen, I am entitled to my own choices, and am given protection. Along with these rights, I am also given many responsibilities that must be upheld to exercise my individual freedom. These responsibilities include protecting my rights, being an active member of the community, giving back, and meeting my personal and professional goals.
The rights that come with being an American citizen are what we practice on a daily basis. These include the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly, the freedom of religion, and the freedom of the press. Young people have the right to education, and are open to unlimited opportunity as long as it is law abiding. In order to exercise these rights we also have to take action and uphold our responsibilities. This means we must obey the set up laws of government, and practice treatment that is found in successful community life. Qualities of this treatment include tolerance, helpfulness, and consideration to thy neighbor. It is also important that people in the community reach out to help others when in need, and when action needs to be taken to better situations of families in the communities.
As a citizen, I am also responsible for protecting my rights. This can be accomplished by voting for a political party or ideal, and by keeping a watchful eye out for corruption and individual abuse of power. Protection of rights in America also means taking a stand, and making sure that all people are receiving equal treatment from employees and other people.
As an American, giving back to the community is also a crucial responsibility. This means it is important to volunteer and jump into active community projects. This support triggers positive development and change for the future. It also allows community life to be positive and fulfilling. This creates growth of a tighter knit community, and allows a diverse community to be created. Involvement also sparks growth of tolerance and openness that may not be present without involvement of a larger number of people. It is also important to strengthen the community economically; this can be achieved by shopping locally and supporting local businesses. These businesses can turn around and help support community projects. I give to the community through volunteering. In the National Honor Society I volunteer with Dickens of a Christmas, and help out with the annual book sale at the Timberland Library in Ocean Park. I have also volunteered and helped the wildlife refuge host their fourth grade field trip at the Willapa Wildlife Refuge. Economically I give to the community by shopping at small businesses in our area.
The personal goals I plan to achieve in my life are having a family, and being able to stay close to my parents and brothers. Professionally, I would like to graduate from college and become a pediatrician so that I can help sick children. The first couple of years after high school I plan to go to college, and work during the summer breaks to start me toward that goal.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

If we owned the Daily Astorian

So, its blowing HARD outside. The storm has moved in and it is the big one we were supposed to have gotten earlier in the week. Half the gang has no power so those that don't have it go over to those who do have it. As the wind blows around outside we start blowing a lot of hot air around inside and decide that should one of us win the lottery we will either buy the Daily Astorian, see if the Columbia Press is for sale, or start a paper of our own.

WHY? Because, a newspaper should tell us something about the area in which we live that we don't already know and a lot of the information should be new, factual, information that we, ourselves, can not get by doing a google search. ESPECIALLY a small county newspaper.

We WANT to know all of the plays in the area and we want a review of them. Yes, we even want to know if the high school should have worked a bit longer on the play or if its worth the seven bucks to watch it. We want to know what teen is the up and coming new thespian talent. We want to know what the swing band, the swing choir and the African Dance troupe out at the Job Corps is doing, how well they are doing it and when we can see them doing it. An aside here, what gives in that the refreshment stand is open for basketball games but not for intermission or before a play begins at Astoria High School? Well thought out strategy, no food in auditorium or too lazy for the arts but lets bring it on for the sweat?

How about Coaster Theater and River Theater as well as Liberty Theater and the Performing Arts Center, and throw in the Natal Grange? Give us a review of the stand up comics performing locally along with the local bands. What's coming up on all of their calendars and give us a review.

We want to know what the new piece of art in Lunar Boy Gallery's window is called and when will we be seeing a new piece of work from that author? Review her book. We'd get the drama teachers to all stick their names into a hat to review at least one play a year and "write a report" on it. Anyone getting paid for their craft should have a professional reviewing them - which is probably why the Daily A doesn't have columnists for reviews: cheap - cheap - cheap!

We would have a consumer page and not some random page that advertisers get to post answers to selected questions. Our readers deserve to know that QWEST is not REQUIRED to charge us all of those extra fees. That's right, my friends, PUC regulations are so that QWEST won't charge us too high of fees on those things it randomly selects to bill us for (although there are some things it must charge us, there is a cap on how much it can). We would do some comparison shopping for our readers and show them what people in Portland are paying for an average, no bills or whistles, phone connection and how much an average Warrenton customer is paying.

Who's the best internet provider? Our readers would know! The best place to get an iced carmel macchiato latte w/2%, hold the whipped cream? After our story every coffee stand in the county would be waiting for the chance to earn the title!

One of the cohesive tacs of a community is its papers. The Daily Astorian, The Seaside Signal and across the river the Chinook Observer are all owned by the same family, the same publishing company. The small Columbian Press and the Hipfish cater to different populations. Part of this community's seeming apathy comes directly from our paper. Look deeper and you find a community of people who might care with a passion but it's an unfocused, divided, caring. Certainly less troublesome when so fragmented.

Quick to be derisive, the Daily Astorian's political agenda is clear enough when it wants to be and is that fair to a community? Does everyone feel fairly represented? Hell, not even the sporting events get enough pages. If we want people to stay sober long enough to give a damn about something we have to let them know they're being noticed. Everyone, except those in the witness protection program and the mafia, like to see their efforts appreciated. That's what a community rag's for.

We think that, in part, is what a newspaper is about. Creating a sense of community. We think that, in that sense, the Daily Astorian has failed us miserably.

So, if one of us wins the lottery that is what we are going to do. However, until then, we think that we could work on something together. Each time someone who has an online access to the paper reads misinformation or inadequate information they could take a few seconds to let the Daily Astorian know the correct information, or at least how you feel about not having the correct information or the most up to date facts. It can't hurt. The worst that could happen is they take down their comment boxes. The best thing is that for a while we get some pretty decent articles, maybe people take notice and buy more papers and the Daily Astorian says, "Hmmmfph! So, this is how we make money. Sell more papers. Not increase price per paper or charge ridiculously HIGH amounts of money for classified ads!" They learn a brief lesson and we get a few real good issues that concentrate on community life.

We can all discipline ourselves to do this. It is just until one of us wins the lottery. We promise.

As a money saving bonus here's a bitta help. Instead of advertising in Daily A's classifieds try using:
CCM's Free Classifieds (lol, I think Alex finally found a home for that dog but we're still looking for mug)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Too much to do

Okay, so I find out I am definately not the one that should be setting up the blog site but it is my week. Maybe if I flub it real bad then I won't be "allowed" to arrange the site? Arg! (does anyone really run around shouting, "Arg?)

So, all these blogs out there and people are actually tracking ISPs? WOW, I never knew. My mind is a fog with everything I tried to do tonight on the blog. I hope the link works for at least the counter but we've had one and something inside of ME (not Carton fam) doesn't like the idea of being stuck with a schedule! Arg!

LEAVES everwhere. In the gutters, which are bursting, plastered on cars, like nature tried its own version of decopauge or maybe just a collage, all the leaves laid so precisely across the deck. Yellow leaves, red leaves, greenish and maroon tinted with green and yellow, yellow tinted red, green with burnished edges and golden middles ready to ignite a bushel of leaves! Too wet, too wet, too wet!

Clatsop County Matters today. It is a good day to find out why.

Monday, November 13, 2006

It begins

A blank page. Where to start? You can't start at the beginning because too many things must unravel for a beginning to be found. So, you say, "Here, this is where it begins" and that is what we did.

Let's see. The Daily Astorian had a forum page with all sorts of funny characters writing in. Some passionate ones and some hysterical ones. Daydreamers and probably psychopaths and definately psychotics. One day, it seems, some sort of pornography was displayed and the forum was yanked. Possibly lawyers demanded it, who knows, more than likely the Daily A had been waiting for a good excuse for quite a while. The people writing on it were rebels of the worst kind. They knew things and shared thoughts! Sometimes they were even right on the dime!!!! Horror of horrors, the masses had minds! Yikes! They were thinking thoughts before being told what to think!

Soon after one of the long time posters to the Daily Astorian's old forum site got one up and running and started emailing all of the people who had posted to the Daily A's site. Come post, come play! But soon everyone discovered there was, indeed, a new marshall in town and he aimed to keep the town clean his way, with his guns.

After observing a few rounds of flexed muscles and peeing in corners to mark territory a group of people decided to start their own forum to discuss things that mattered to all of Clatsop County, not just Astoria. This group decided that the forum's "ownership" would remain annonymous and thereby leave it open for all. No claims of who can say what or do what, aside from general rules.

The old forum board owner was angry and viewed the new one as a threat! Some flames were shot and soon doused. No fights were wanted, this isn't an "either" " or" it is an "and."

The name of Sydney Carton was aptly chosen as administrator/moderator. The men, when posting, use "Syd"; the women use "Sid."

The forum board was envisioned as a place where people could feel free to communicate their ideas to those people who do have a great deal of control on their lives. It was seen as a place where one could post where they found a great deal or great local service. It was seen as a place where one could leave a warning of where not to shop or what not to buy.

This forum was seen as a place to fill in the holes that were seen in so many places. It began in 2003. Now, in 2006, as far as we know, it is the oldes, continous public forum board in Clatsop County. We don't know how many hits we get a day because Voy does not accurately keep count. It has been suggested that we change to proboard which we might. We hope that The Guy Who Writes This is happy with the address of this blog.

Now, we have to go. You know, its supposed to be a bit windy out. 20-30 mph winds with 60 mph gusts. We guess that means the kids shouldn't be sleeping out in the tent tonight, sigh! The neighbors are coasties and just moved in. They think the newscasters are right on about the weather and that 20-30 mph winds are fierce! Next they'll be taking out umbrellas to walk to the car!

Later ~ Sid