Friday, November 14, 2008

Gameland: A Great Arcade

The need to get away from it all has been around for a long time. The patricians of Ancient Rome would often sneak away to their famous spas for a little R and R and in more recent times, even Kafka went to the baths at Baden Baden. However, if you lived in Chicago your weekend getaways might have been spent in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Lake Geneva was always a great place to go “to forget about life for awhile.” You could eat at some pretty good restaurants, shop in the quaint down town stores, hang-out at the Abbey Resort, and take a boat ride on the lake. However, the best part about going to Lake Geneva was the great arcade in town! The great arcade in town! I know this must sound laughable to many a reader and rightly so. It reminds me of an amusing personal anecdote:

In the early nineties, two of my best friends and I decided to take a weekend vacation to Lake Geneva. Pete and I had made several excursions there before, but Andy had never visited the little village on the lake and was a bit skeptical regarding the trip. Lake Geneva was, after all, a small town in Wisconsin. How fun could it possibly be? After we had loaded up on snacks for the road at Pete’s store and embarked upon our destination, Andy asked with some incredulity: “What is there to do in Lake Geneva?” We responded: “Well they have cool stores, good restaurants, and there’s this great arcade!” With that the most wry look appeared on Andy’s face and he chided us for being so lame as to suggest that a video arcade could somehow justify a trip to small town Wisconsin. We were especially vulnerable because our voices even inflected a high pitched, excited tone when we uttered the words “great arcade.”

Well the inevitable sequence of events followed: listening to The Jam in the car (the trip from the South Side of Chicago to Lake Geneva is exactly the same duration of the Snap! cassette), passing the sign that read Scarborough Fair and obligatorily singing the Simon and Garfunkel song of the same name, checking into the hotel, and of course the trip to Gameland. When the three of us walked into the arcade it was something to behold. It was a blast from the video past, more specifically the Golden Age of arcade games. (This was an era that began in 1978 with Space Invaders and ended sometime around 1987 when two dimensional images gave way to newfangled 3-D.*)

There they were in all their glory, all the classics of yesteryear: Space Invaders, Defender, Asteroids, Donkey Kong (Sr. and Jr.), Galaxian, Joust, Robotron, Gorf, and that great game where the foot soldier you commanded was able to jump in and out of a mini-tank while battling an opposing army.

Descending upon the brown change machine that distributed tokens we went our separate ways, each of us on a personal quest to defeat those classic games one last time. After catching falling astronauts in Defender and destroying asteroids by the dozens, I remember finding, much to my delight, the original Star Wars game --the one that allowed you to race your X-Wing Fighter down the trench of the Death Star searching for your own moment of glory as the voice of Obi Wan Kenobi resonated through the speakers: “Use the force Luke. Let go!” Just as I was moving from the Space Age theme of those games to one decidedly more Medieval, I converged with my two friends on the way to the game called Joust. At this point, a great moment occurred. Andy looked at both of us and was unable to contain the enthusiasm in his voice when he exclaimed: “This is a great arcade!” The two of us never felt so vindicated in our lives.

The End of an Era

We will never forget that vacation to Lake Geneva. Everything about it was great: Singing the Simon and Garfunkel song, shopping the shops, slurping the French Onion Soup that was served in a crock the size of your head, and sailing the seas (well, ok, I mean lake). But the highlight of that trip was “the great arcade.” In the early nineties, Gameland was a veritable city on a hill for the three of us --the last of the great, 20 something, underachievers who ten years earlier modeled our lives on the Matthew Broderick character in the movie War Games (oh, I forgot to mention they had Missile Command too).

This September, I am sad to say, Gameland closed its doors for good. In the end, it just could not compete in a world of high tech, home game systems and personal computers. Indeed, until now, it remained one of last great hold outs of the arcade era. The last ten years have seen all but a few of the bright neon signs turned off and the larger than life game consoles covered with dust --their micro chips slowly atrophying over time. Just as MTV triumphantly declared that “Video killed the radio star,” it may be said that Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox wiped out the arcade revolution. Yes, I call it a revolution for I lived through it! Our cry was not as historically dramatic as “Libert√©, Egalit√©, Fraternit√©!” Instead, we boldly asked: “Can I have another roll of quarters please?” But it was revolutionary none-the-less, at least nostalgically in our hearts. For all of us who frequented the arcades in their Golden Age, we will forever associate it with the time of our youth when we had “hope in our hearts and wings on our heels.”

*In my estimation, the high water mark of the Golden Age of arcade video games were the years 1980-83. This is based on the quality of the games released in those years.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Day For America

Now Playing... "Yes We Can"

Congratulations to Barrack Obama
Tonight’s blog may be the most difficult one I’ve had to write. I’m on uncharted territory. You see, for the first time I can remember, the candidate I supported actually won. After the quadrennial disappointments that I have grown used to, I am uncertain how to proceed. Instead of trying to give any kind of grandiloquent commentary as to the significance of this victory, I simply have this do say: “Congratulations Barrack! Now go to Washington and get the work of the people done!”

Let's Hear What You Have to Say
Today’s blog is all about you, the reader. Everyone, please feel free to comment on your reaction to Barrack Obama’s big win.

Coming Soon
Stay tuned for my next blog. It’s lengthy and apolitical. It was actually ready to be posted, but was passed over until tomorrow in lieu of last nights historic victory. Americans can be very proud of themselves. Electing an African-American President for the first time has officially begun a new chapter in the life of the nation.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Who Do I Support for President?

Now Playing... The People Have the Power

An Apology

I apologize to the readers of this blog for not having offered any new postings lately. I had an important deadline to meet on a literary project that has consumed me these past three weeks. I beg your forgiveness.

The Choice in November

The conventional conventions have descended onto the wheat field of American politics, inspiring and haunting us simultaneously. Our emotions ran the gamut as we took in the sounds and images: stadium speeches, video screen presidents, elephant hats, Teddy Kennedy, 99,000 luft balloons, an Arctic Circle running mate, anti-war protesters, and what Glenn Campbell would call “a load of compromisin’/ on the road to my horizon.” As the conventions unfolded, most of us had already chosen a side in the political chess game. I say “chess” because our society decided, way back when, to invite only two players to battle it out in the political arena, Republicans and Democrats. Sure, third party candidates have shown up from time to time, but they are still largely considered an aberration by most voters, a shop of curios on the Main Street of politics.

I get the feeling that this two pronged approach has become largely inadequate for most voters. How does it accommodate the pro-life, anti-war, proponent of universal health care? How does it satisfy the anti-war, anti-big government, supporter of school vouchers? The citizens who hold these combinations of beliefs cannot really fit well in either party. At least one platform orthodoxy is violated. The whole process is further complicated by the fact that presidential candidates don’t always agree with the mainstream of their party. For example, conservative voters, who strongly agree with the platform of the Republican Party, may feel very trepedatious about supporting John McCain because he supported legislation that provided a road map to citizenship for undocumented workers. The frustrated voter has two choices: join a third party movement or weigh their mixed bag of issues on the scales of American politics and see which side comes down, the blue or the red. Alas, I left out a third choice all too poisonous for any democracy and very prevalent in ours: staying home and not voting at all. In the final analysis, most voters end up choosing a candidate who approximates their core values and beliefs.

Where Do I Stand?

The candidate who best approximates my political beliefs has not been in the news much. He is a man of great integrity who continues to run in spite of the impossible odds stacked against him. And yet, despite his virtue, I do not support his candidacy. His name is Ralph Nader.

It pains me to admit it, but my refusal to support Nader derives from practical considerations, the Aristotelian rather than the Platonic side of my brain. He simply cannot win due to the entrenched culture of a body politic that is distrustful of third party candidates. I would not be so cynical to call a vote for Nader as being “wasted” --a mantra often heard in the past. In fact, a vote for Nader is a vote that indicates “fierce integrity.” But, it’s a vote that we cannot afford right now; the stakes are too high. A vote for Nader at this time would jeopardize the election of the only man who offers hope for the future of our country and has a chance to win at the polls! Despite the claims of Ralph Nader and his supporters, his 2000 candidacy played a big part in giving us George W. Bush --the worst president in the history of our nation.

Well, I’m sure you have already figured it out.

I support Barrack Obama!

It is not that I have any Messianic illusions about Barrack Obama. I do not agree with him on many issues and have been discouraged at times when I saw him shift towards the political mainstream when the Democratic Nomination appeared to be in his grasp. But when I placed my core beliefs on the two party scale the Obama side came down in a thunderous crash. Why did Obama outweigh McCain in my judgment?

(1) Obama regards the sad state of our health care system, the gulag healthipelago, as a broken system that needs to be fixed. John McCain is happy with the status quo of nearly 50 million Americans being uninsured and even more being under insured.
(2) At a time when most of the mainstream politicians on both sides of the aisle sharpened their axes and voted to give The Bush Administration carte blanche to conduct their disastrous war in Iraq, Barrack Obama publicly and courageously opposed it. John McCain supported (and continues to support) the war.
(3) Barrack Obama understands the environmental realities of our world. He knows that decisive action needs to be taken to avoid a planetary, ecological catastrophe. McCain prefers to ignore the problem and picked a running mate who holds the medieval view that global warming is not man made.
(4) After 8 years of the worst administration in the history of our country, it is truly refreshing to support a man of vision and intelligence. John McCain simply wants to continue the policies of The Bush Administration.

I do not feel that John McCain is a “bad man.” He has shone vestiges of flare and originality throughout his long, complicated career. But he is out of touch with the problems that face the citizens of this nation. He is the wrong man for these times.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Great Health Care Debacle

"A true disciple knows his brother's woes, as his own, as his own, as his own"
English Hymn

Now Playing... Dr. Linda Peeno Testifies Before Congress

Why I Blog

I contemplated starting a blog for a couple of months before it became a reality. I hemmed and I hawed. On one hand, I thought it would be a great way to share my views and opinions with the world. On the other hand, I wondered if I would be able to sustain the commitment of time and resolve that such an endeavor demanded. What pushed me over the edge of my indecision and catapulted me into the blogosphere? It was a singular experience.

When I bought the DVD of Michael Moore's documentary Sicko, I did so as a Johnny come lately. I had wanted to see it when it was initially released, but missed it somehow. Finally, almost two years later, I found myself in front of the T.V., mesmerized, shocked, and utterly demoralized. No film had that kind of emotional impact on me since Sophie's Choice. I was filled, paradoxically, with the type of frustrating emotion that leaves you paralyzed and unable to defer taking action for another second. At that moment, Blogomatic for the People was born.

Sicko: Unforgettable But True

This is my 7th post. Only now, do I feel ready to address the issue of health care in America. Since I have been inspired by Michael Moore's film and haunted by its images, it will serve as a framework for our discussion (Mike, I hope you don't mind). Think of this blog as a hybrid movie review/social commentary.

The Problem

Almost 50 million Americans don't have health insurance. That's roughly 1/6th of the population. The United States is the only first world, industrialized country, that does not provide universal health care for its citizens. This can only be regarded as a national disgrace. The rest of the population, those who do have some form of health insurance,are also in a precarious state. Coverage gives a sense of security. But it's illusory, a false sense of security. At any given time, the insured can become so catastrophically ill that their co-pays, deductibles, and exceeded benefit caps could easily cause their financial ruin.

The number one cause of bankruptcy and homelessness in America is due to excessive medical bills. Even more alarming, is the statistic given by Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren: "When we were studying the families who filed for bankruptcy, here is the finding that really blew me away: 75% of the families who ended up in bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious medical problem had health insurance at the onset of the illness or accident that ultimately landed them in bankruptcy. They had health insurance!" (This quote is taken directly from Michael Moore's interview with Elizabeth Warren featured in the supplementary footage of the Sicko DVD.)

These statistics evidence a broken health care system in the United States. However, statistics are really numerical abstractions that project human realities with faces, the faces of everyday people like ourselves, people who have suffered and died because of our gulag healthipelago. Sicko shares these stories with us: disenfranchised patients being "dumped" in front of public health facilities by "for profit" hospitals, the seriously ill being condemned to death because their insurance providers will not cover the necessary treatments required to save their lives, a baby dying after it was turned away from an emergency room because of her mother's inability to pay. Many of us could add our own story to it.

The Solution: Universal Health Care Now!

We need universal health care now! It is intolerable for 1/6th of our population to be uninsured. It is intolerable for those who have insurance to potentially face financial ruin if a catastrophic illness occurs. It is intolerable for us to allow big business to reign over our health care. Their bottom line is greed and they treat people like cattle.

Support H.R. 676!

Representative John Conyers of Michigan has proposed bill H.R.676. This bill provides universal health care for all the citizens of the United States of America. We must no longer except "sound bite" answers from our politicians which express some sort of abstract desire for health care reform. Instead, we must tell them. "You're right, we do need health care reform! You'll be happy to know that it has a name and is actually written out on paper. It's called H.R. 676."

Please write your representative and urge them to support H.R.676!


Empathy is one of the greatest character traits a person can possess. In turn, evil has been described as the absence of empathy. We feel empathy for the plight of our fellow man and hope our spiritual growth and maturity increases this impulse within us. This is the genius of Michael Moore's movie. It helps us to face the everyday woes of everyday people, just like ourselves. It increases our awareness, arouses our empathy, and ignites our compassion.

Congressman John Conyers of Michigan Leads the Fight to Pass H.R. 676

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Salt of the Earth

The events of this last weekend gave me cause to eulogize two great men. Both were very different in many ways and yet surprisingly similar. One man was famous throughout the world and the other known in the much smaller circle in which he practiced his art. The death of the former happened on Sunday, while the latter departed more than a decade ago. The two men, however, shared unique qualities of virtue and character that were immediately recognizable to the many lives they had touched. They were "the salt of the earth."

"This World Was Lucky to See Him Born."

I was invited to play in the 4th Billy Colias Memorial Chess Congress last weekend. Apprehensively, I accepted. It had been at least fifteen years since my last foray into competitive chess. Having made the transition from tournament player to chess coach/teacher many years ago, I was rusty to say the least. My tremendous respect for the organizer of the tournament and my great love for Billy made my participation a fait accompli.

Billy Colias was a Midwestern chess master of amazing ability, by far the most talented in the region. He loved the game with the passion of an artist who had no choice, but to create. And create he did! Steadily, constantly, assuredly, like a great tidal force, he became a stronger and stronger player. Undoubtedly, he would have ascended to the greatest of heights! But, it was not to be. The artist who devoted his life to the struggle of the chess board, was simultaneously fighting a great personal battle with cancer. Billy beat the cancer, but the chemotherapy left his internal organs in a very weak state. After years of battling with incredible courage, he finally succumbed at age twenty-seven.

Billy's considerable talent for the game, though impressive, was exceeded by his talent for living. Among the many virtues he possessed, his kindness impressed me the most. In the chess circles he frequented, Billy never equated a player's talent with their worth as an individual. He extended himself to the Grandmaster and Class E player, alike. His kindness was actually an extension of his humility. For Billy, self-importance based on one's chess prowess was a ridiculous proposition. Former World Champion, Emmanuel Lasker, aptly pointed out: "In life, we are all duffers." Billy Colias was the rare exception to that rule.

"When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd"

When I arrived home from the tournament, I was shocked by the news of the death of another man who influenced my life greatly: Alexander Solzhenitsyn. To say the name is to immediately think of great literary talent. His books and ideas have changed the world, helped to topple an empire. As much an impact as they had on me, it was his icon of courage which inspired me the most.

As a young man, Solzhenitsyn embraced doctrinaire Marxism . He even read Das Kapital on his honeymoon! While serving as the Captain of an artillery battery on the Eastern Front in WWII, Solzhenitsyn's life would change forever. He dared to criticize Stalin in his private correspondence --being a committed Communist was not the same as being a committed Stalinist-- was arrested, and sentenced to the vast constellation of forced labor camps he would later make infamous through his writings. The years that followed changed Solzhenitsyn. He recognized the hypocrisy of the Soviet system and eventually embraced Christianity: "first comes the fight for survival, then the discovery of life, then God."

Solzhenitsyn's literary star rose with the ascendancy of Krushchev and his formal denunciation of Stalin. When One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich made its debut, Krushchev encouraged all the delegates at the plenary meeting of the Central Committee to read it! A few years later, Krushchev was removed from power and the succeeding hardliners did not have much use for the popular writer. Solzhenitsyn, however, refused to acquiesce. On November 30th, 1966,in front of an audience of five hundred people, he exhibited a moment of peerless courage when he openly defied the KGB:

There is a certain organization that has no obvious claim to tutelage over the arts, that you may think has no business at all supervising literature --but that does these things. This organization took away my novel and my archive...Even so, I said nothing, but went on working quietly. However, they then made use of excerpts from my papers, taken out of context, to launch a campaign of defamation against me...What can I do about it? Only defend myself! So here I am!

When The Gulag Archipelago was published in the West in 1973, this was too much for the Soviet authorities. Solzhenitsyn was exiled and eventually settled in Vermont. True to himself he criticized the excesses in Western Society with the same integrity he condemned the injustice's of his motherland. He triumphantly returned to Russia in 1994.

A Final Thought

I knew Billy Colias, shook hands with him, played chess with him, talked with him, and laughed with him. I never met Alexander Solzhenitsyn or was even in the same room with him. However, both men have affected me personally. I will always see their smiling faces and a gesture of their hands beckoning me forward, exhorting me to have courage in the face of adversity.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

World Premiere of a New Word

New words are not formed, fashioned, or constructed. They are coined. It seems to me, this occurs in one of two ways: (1) organically, rising out of the collective primordial soup of language with no clear author or progenitor, and (2) deliberately, at some fixed point in time with authorial intent. Here is my deliberate attempt to coin a new word for the entire Internet speaking world:

blogodaria (bla go dar i a) [from Bulg blagodaria, idiomatic for "thank you" + English blog ] thanks for the blog

In Bulgarian, blagodaria means "thank you." Given the homophonous nature of the first four letters with the word "blog," the new term suggests itself. Mechanically, the essence of the coinage is simply achieved by changing the "a" to an "o" in the first syllable.

The next time you favorably comment on a blog, don't forget to write: blogodaria or "thanks for the blog."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Code Switching: Who Will Write the Book?

I can't remember which class I was in when I first heard the phrase "code switching." I am not even sure if I was in high school or in college. But the teacher's definition of this phrase has stayed with me for years --not verbatim, but the gist of it: code switching is the phenomenon that occurs when people change their manner of speaking depending on who they're conversing with at the time. Likewise, the social setting a person finds themselves in greatly influences the way they speak. For example, when meeting someone at a friend's bar-be-que, a person might say: "How's it goin'." A day or two later that same person may be seen at the cotillion greeting someone new with a "How do you do?"

That's a simple example which sounds quite reasonable. We all know that different social circumstances demand different modes of expression. But, what do we make of the more sustained and complex instances of the same phenomenon. I once new a man who gave business proposals to Fortune 500 companies. He would "wow" the executives with his eloquence, perspicacity, and polished delivery. Then, he would be seen at the local pub, hitting his head with a checkered gym shoe, quoting Jeff Spicoli: "Dude that's my skull." His original sentences would also be in the same "California surfer dude" idiom.

This "code switching" phenomenon must be investigated further. It is a weird cultural force that, I dare say, everyone seems to engage in to some degree. Its implications are huge and a little frightening. Is code switching normal or as one friend of mine called it "a little bit like Multi-Personality Disorder?" I have failed to find any research on the topic. An entry for "code switching," can be found on Wikipedia, but in a different context. It used the phrase "code switching" to describe the habit of bilingual speakers who toggle between two languages while speaking to other bilingual speakers. An example of this would be the speaking of Spanglish by Americans of Hispanic descent or Greenglish by my own ethic group. An explanation of code switching, used in the context of my teacher's definition, could not be found.

An Appeal

If anyone is aware of any books or journal articles on the topic of "code switching" (as defined by my teacher), please send me their titles in the "comments" section of this blog. If nothing can be found, I invite anyone so inclined to consider writing a book on "code switching." Irony would demand that you change your writing style with each successive chapter.

Afterword: "Code Switching" in Popular Culture

A scene in Martin Scorsese's movie, The Departed, describes "code switching." Sergeant Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) and Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) recruit Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) to be their undercover agent. Dignam accuses Costigan of being a "code switcher":

You were kind of a double kid, I
bet, right? One kid with your old
man. One kid with your mother.
Upper middle class in the week, and
then dropping your 'r's and hanging
in the Southie projects with daddy
on the weekends. I got
that right?...
You had different accents? You
did, didn't you. You were different people...
I need you, pal. You've already
pretended to be a Costigan from
South Boston.

Of course, the whole movie has to do with "code switching." The conflict lies in the tension between the protagonists who are pretending to be someone they are not.

Now Playing...

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Diamond in the Rough

Recommended Reading

Most of the authors I admire are quite dead. However, one man writing today has produced a brilliant string of books. He is on a roll. His realm: non-fiction. His approach: interdisciplinary. His name is Jared Diamond.

Spotlight: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies.

This book rattled the walls of the academic community when it arrived on the scene in 1997 and by 1998 it was the proud winner of a Pulitzer Prize. Never the less, its appeal to readers world wide transcended the scholarly sanctum of the university. Like all Great Books it was written for everyone, not just the specialist. The fact that Guns, Germs, and Steel traverses the realms of history, sociology, linguistics, anthropology, archeology, biology, genetics, and pollinology (just to name a few) while maintaining a thoroughly captivating readability, gives testimony to Diamond's gifts as a writer.

Guns, Germs, and Steel made it possible for me to articulate questions about history and human societies that I was unable to give voice to before. It gave clarity to thought processes that were intuitive, nebulous, amorphous, and down right confusing. Then, it provided convincing answers to those questions.

In the opening chapters, Diamond retells a famous story most of us can recall from social studies class: Pizarro's conquest of the Incan Empire with just a few hundred men. Then, he poses a fascinating question. What were the historical forces at work that allowed the Spaniards to cross the ocean and conquer a great empire, instead of the Incan king, Atahualpa, sailing to Spain and conquering the Spanish? The subsequent chapters endeavor to answer the question and explain why some societies possessed certain advantages while others did not. The explanations are so fascinating and insightful that I had the feeling of emerging from Plato's cave. My shackles were broken and my historical blinders removed!

Post Script

After reading Diamond's book, I was never able to sing the chorus to Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns, and Money" the same way again. Sing along while you watch the video below. But, every time you get to the refrain, substitute the lyric: "Send guns, germs, and steel."

Now Playing...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Time To Say Goodbye! McCain Cuts Gramm Loose

It was too much for the McCain campaign. Their national co-chair, Phil Gramm made one too many mistakes. Keith Olbermann revealed Gramm was working as a paid lobbyist while advising John McCain on economic policy. His mission: to lobby congress regarding the mortgage crisis on behalf of the Swiss banking giant, UBS. I wish his efforts were on behalf of the citizens losing their homes.

Damaging as this revelation was, McCain kept him on. Then Gramm spoke. In a great show of compassion for the American people while addressing their economic woes, he said: "We have sort of become a nation of whiners." In other words, all those who do not share the same privileges and entitlements with which Phil Gramm was born, have no right to complain. Phil would rather his countrymen endure their hardship quietly.

Thanks Phil!

Wanting to appeal to the middle class voter, McCain realized that he could not advocate his economic policies while rubbing our noses in them. So, he cut Gramm loose; or rather, Gramm resigned.

Ah Phil! His recent words and deeds bring back such fond and vivid memories! Like the time he betrayed his fellow Democrats in 1981 by revealing their budget strategy to the Republicans. Always trying to top his latest achievements, he then went on to help Reagan pass his own budget. The war on the middle class went full steam ahead. Not wanting to miss out on the action, Gramm quickly joined the GOP and rode into combat on an elephant instead of a donkey.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mission Statement or Declaration of Principles

Welcome to my blog! It seems appropriate to start off with a Mission Statement a la Jerry Mcguire or perhaps with a Declaration of Principles like Charles Foster Kane:

In this day and age, American society has become cut off from itself. We wake up in boxes we call our home, get ready, climb into another box and drive, only to enter yet another box (even worse a cubicle, a box within a box) for labor intensive activity that pays the bills. As we drive home several hours later, perhaps we stop at one last box to pick up a gallon of milk. Our sense of national life has diminished; the day of the boulvardiers is no more. We have become segregated from each other and, therefore, ourselves. But we need that sense of civic and national life we call community, if for no other reason, to discuss the important issues we face as a nation, a people. If our streets have become built up with monolithic structures on a plain of suburban sprawl; If mausoleums of mercantilism seem to be artificial and devoid of life; If even a cup of coffee has become corporate and "to go;" then don't we need a forum in which to converse again? It is in this spirit I present my blog. There is so much beauty in the world and too many problems that threaten its collapse. They need to be discussed. Speaking with our friends, in person, can never be replaced. Blogging on the internet is just another small way of moving the conversation along.
This blog promises to express my thoughts and opinions and invite the responses of its readers(whether they agree or disagree with me). Hopefully, it will be interesting and fun to read, as well.

Now Playing...Pete Seager Sings "Little Boxes"