Monday, December 31, 2012

Jim MacDnald, R.I.P

A Bayview Icon, Jim MacDonald passed away early this morning. Long time marina owner, he was once the mail boat postman, state legislator and community leader, and for many years owned and managed MacDonald's Resort now managed by his son, Gary.

During the 1950's and part of the 60's Jim ran the mail boat for 13 years, until the press of running the marina caused him to give up the job he loved.

Jim was opinionated and not everyone agreed with him all of the time, but everyone respected this gentleman of the old school. In recent years he was active to the extent that as of tomorrow, January as president of the Bayview Chamber, but he was perhaps most noted for lobbying the state to discontinue commercial harvests of Kokanee. He was one of the first to recognize that this landlocked salmon was being over fished and insisted the state do a study which resulted in the scaling down of the fishing. Unfortunately, too little, too late. Those of us that occasionally crossed swords with Jim did so with respect.

He did however, live to see the recovery of this valued specie to the extent that tomorrow, January first marks the reinstating of a limited fishery in Lake Pend Oreille after a closure of many years. After World War Two he served as the mailman for lake residents, greeting folks up the lake with his infectious grin.

During the last few years Jim was slowed way down but managed to put around in his golf cart when walking became too strenuous and kept up with the community up until the last. His retirement hobby was building bird houses in his wood working shop above the boat shop. There must be hundreds of these homes for wayward birds in the community as he never tired of producing them.

Regardless if you were a friend or not, Jim MacDonald was a giant in the community, fighting hard at times for the preservation of Scenic Bay and Lake Pend Oreille. He will be missed.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Spoiled No More

For the last seventeen years I have lived in Bayview, there have been two postmasters. Sue for most of those years retired last year. Eric who was her temporary during that period took over. Apparently he was not on the career track as a permanent postal employee and he was eliminated just prior to the Christmas rush. These two were not just postal employees. The were also friends and neighbors who knew everyone and cared about the community and those in it.

I will not mention names here, but I came down to earth with a thud when the new guy showed up. I had a malfunctioning lock on my regular mail box, so another adjacent one was assigned to me. The old box had a block on it which read deposit mail in XXX box. For months that worked quite well. ...Until the new guy arrived.

I get my medications from the Veterans Administration in Spokane, of which some are controlled substances requiring a signature. Such was the case when the VA sent a sorely needed medication December 19 which arrived at 07:28 am December 22. I had checked daily, including Christmas Eve for what should have arrived and didn't.

Finally, I called the pharmacy at the VA which had tracking numbers. They indicated that the post office received it at 07:58 am the 22nd and forwarded it later that morning. When I asked at the post office where they forwarded it they couldn't tell me. It was just out there in the ether somewhere in the system. The new guy failed to read the instructions that everyone else followed correctly. since there was mail in my box every day, one had to assume someone there knew how to do their job.

I got a call telling me that it would show up eventually. No apology, no, I'm sorry a mistake was made, just a mumbled, "I just followed policy." I had been spoiled for so long it took me a while to realize that a true bureaucrat is never wrong, and always has policy or regulations to blame for their own ineptitude. If he had owned the mistake that would have been the end of it. Some people just aren't able to man up and take responsibility for their actions. Nobody is perfect, but you are expected to express regret when you screw up.That he didn't indicates he probably doesn't belong in a small town post office.  

Monday, December 24, 2012

School Security Issue

I support the idea of having an armed, qualified person in every school. Having said that, arming teachers in the classroom is idiotic. Having a shootout inside the classroom would cause more injuries and fatalities having the kids in a crossfire. Perhaps the principal, if as a voluntary act and after training in weapons safety could be included.

The are two major issues regarding school safety. One is after an intruder attempts to enter, and the other preventative measures. Based on the entry used in Connecticut, windows next to locked entryways are alternative entries. Access through doors during school hours should be locked at all times with office control through televised entry ways. Any window accessible from ground level should be barred. Any classroom windows should, at the bottom be at least seven feet off the surface outside. If a terrorist want to shoot kids they can do so from outside shooting through windows.

As far as armed personnel, why not use reserve officers who have passed through the same training academies as serving officers. They could be hired by the respective school districts as school employees, but qualified and supervised jointly by the Sheriff Department and the schools, jointly.

These should be in civilian clothes so that they wouldn't be first targets as they would be in uniform. I am sure the schools could use these guards in other capacities than sitting by a door all day long waiting for something that may never happen.

From a law enforcement standpoint, sending patrol cars from school to school is not an efficient way to utilize manpower. Perhaps at the high school level and depending on local circumstances, school resource officers could  be assigned but probably not at the elementary level. 

That we must protect our kids is a given. Overreacting isn't. Budget be damned, this must happen even at the expense of cutting other programs. I urge our Sheriff-elect, Ben Wolfinger to enter into dialog with the various school superintendents within Kootenai County with other venues doing the same.

Athletic events, musical events and other gatherings are required to hire armed security guards. Aren't our schools, the teachers and students just as important as an athletic events?

Bayviews wishes everyone out there a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tomorrow Is The Big Day

Do I expect the world to end tomorrow? Heck no. But at this time of year any excuse for getting out of the house is a good one.

We here in Bayview take a rather casual attitude about this and other so called earth changing or destroying episodes. It's an excuse for a party. Friday pm will will party indeed. The Captain's wheel is having an end of the earth party the evening of Friday the 21st. Featured will be DJ, Paul Celeri and end of the world draft beer. We don't know who brews it, but by the time we find out it will be over.

Obviously drinks will be priced as if it were the end of the world, as indeed it might be. For those staggering home after several hours of course, if a cop stops you, it may indeed be the end of your world. Find a designated driver, then party down. If you wake up the next morning, we'll have to think up other means of celebrating. Perhaps the beginning of the rest of your life.

We expect a good crowd. After all, if your significant other thinks this is her last chance at dinner out, resist at your own risk. Steaks and specials and wow, did I mention the real true cod dinners? Oh and fresh Salmon dinners as well.

I'll be spending much of the day in Spokane with my Son and Daughter In -Law who has promised me a grandchild within the next two or so weeks. But never fear. Herb is here for those lonely last chance ladies that show up with no prospects of a last whoopee. See you there.

Guns-- Symptoms, Not Cause

Banning any kid of gun in and of itself is a band aid. Guns, used in tragedies such as in Connecticut and Colorado are present by the thousands with more being sold every day as consumers fear they will disappear.

The real culprit is attitude. With movies, video games and many other genres promoting shoot em up blow em up plots, if that's what you want to call them, has desensitized young people about violent death.

I remember back a few years ago when a mother was looking at one of the worst ones, marked with warnings, I pointed out to her the age advisory. She went straight to an assistant manager who counseled me quickly. While I thought the corporation was sensitive regarding corrupting youth, instead I was told that I was there to sell stuff, not to moralize. (there's a moral of the story for you)

There are other causes, such as mental illness not treated, broken homes and single parenting the rule rather than the exception. I am 74 years old. During my youth in the 1940's and '50's, families stayed together.Generally the wife and mother stayed home with their kids.

Now we have working mothers, admittedly necessary in this day and age of inflation of costs without relative gains in wages, children being raised by other kids in the neighborhood.

These are the primary ills in our society, not guns. When I grew up most of our families including mine had guns. Parents taught their children not to touch them. We didn't. We didn't have the urge to grab one or more and go out to shoot up a school or shopping mall either. We considered death a tragedy, not fun.

Attitudes and training, or lack thereof are the root causes and until we correct those things that are correctable, this insanity will continue. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Horror In Connecticut

As we try to process what happened in this pastoral residential community, One has to wonder what has happened to us as a society. At age 74, I go back a long way. Never during my childhood did anything like this ever happen. The 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. Nothing.

Now in just a few years we have had college campuses ravaged, schools in Colorado and now Connecticut. It can't be just the automatic weapons, as we understand it, two semi-automatic pistols were used systematically, reloading as needed to kill everyone in two classrooms.

For reasons undisclosed yet, the security system that had been installed didn't work. Either the killer was buzzed through routinely, or the front door wasn't locked. Twenty children didn't meet their parents that gathered at the local fire station to reunite. Finally, the Governor announced if you haven't reunited with your child, you aren't going to. All survivors are out of the school. In addition to the children, either seven or eight adults were also killed, some undoubtedly teachers trying to protect their students and paid with their own lives.

In the days to come stories will come out as to the grade levels that were affected and the other details involved. I would imagine that everyone in this country and beyond are wondering what happened in our society that has spawned multiple killings followed by suicides. Is it lack of mental health programs? Back in the 50's we had none to speak of and we got by. Is it lack of societal character? Has the turn away from churches toward the lack of moral values caused this? Single parented families undoubtedly contribute as the primary teachers of right and wrong, the parents are either divorced, or the economy forces both to work creating latch key kids. What? Something! We have to find out and correct what can be corrected.

I have sixteen grandchildren with another about to be born. What kind of world are we leaving them? Are we facing a total breakdown of polite society where lives are no longer sacred? No answers here, just questions.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Insulting Commercials, And Christmas Prostituted

Alright, I've had it. We have always had to put up with stupid holiday advertising. This year we have topped them all.

First, there is the Five hour Energy commercial where the children of the family gather around the tree to open presents. They are apparently thrilled with the prospect of having more energy, when the rest of us are trying to keep them from flying off into space with the excess energy they already have. The idea that children would be thrilled to receive this product that the government is still investigating as unhealthy is surreal. Perhaps in Washington and Colorado, They could have been rewarded by a lid or two.

Then there is Direct TV. In several commercials, whining ten year olds approach their consoling parent with the dismay at not being able to record more than three television  trash programs. What has happened to this, the electronic generation?

In my childhood, we celebrated KING TV, channel five in the Seattle area as the first station in black and white, the first blurry example of what was to come. 

I remember when toys were what we invented and used outside, with comic books available after dark. Hey, we even had books. Many an evening, causing sleepy classroom results the next day, I read books about poor boys succeeding through thrift, good behavior and religious lives, written by Horatio Alger, Jr. What my teachers didn't understand is that I became more of a writer, more as a communicator, by those under the covers reading sessions that sometimes lasted all night.

Enter the present. I still firmly believe that hard work and diligence will produce good results. As a result, late in life, I applied these principles. I used my God given voice to enter Talk Radio. Later, in Idaho, I had the opportunity to write an area column which created income I desperately needed at the time.

As I look back, many friends appear that I never recognized at the time. My high school years were not much fun. I was uninspired. Later, after four years in the Air Force in which I became a man, I remain a believer in Santa Claus. His name however is Jesus Christ, son of God.

Trot out those Christmas trees and statues. The US Constitution does not prohibit these things, only prohibits the government from establishing them. Somehow, someway, we have to overcome the new generation, which apparently is leaning heavily toward no belief system at all. They call that, Atheism. I feel badly for all of them. Firstly, they suffer in life having nothing to look forward too. It is sad, because they don't. I don't believe they will go to Hell, I hist think they will disappear, as their beliefs decree.

As too the companies that continue to thrust crap at us, blessed are those days after Christmas when presents and other non-religious crap is celebrated, and families and human vaues reappear.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Take All The Time You Need, Brother!

Or, Take Five. Or Blue Rondo Ala Turk. Much of the music presented in his lifetime was composed by his sax player, but hey, it WAS however, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, It was a strange group. There was the anonymous black guy on bass fiddle, The drummer that always wore dark glasses. ... Do all jazz drummers wear shades? Then there was Dave. When everyone else was doing 4 x4 time or 4 x 2 time he was doing 5/4 or 9/8. The guy was from a different planet, but oh how he could play that jazz piano.

Dave died the other day, at age 91. He died leaving a musical legacy that will probably never be forgotten. As Sachmo was the king of New Orleans Dixieland jazz, Dave will always be the father of off beat progressive jazz. He will be missed. Below is a link should you wish to see and hear the video of the original recording of, "Take Five..

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Winters Upon Us- Activities

Starting tonight, winter weather season will begin. The forecast calls for 4-8 inches of snow, then off and on through the 14th. That will suit the town's folks just fine as winter activities kick off the 15th.

The annual motorized Christmas parade will start at 3rd and Fir Streets. Look for the bonfire and participants warming both their outsides and inner selves prior to setting out on the parade which will terminate at the community center, delivering Santa for the chamber Christmas party.It is expected that the parade will then wind it's way to the 'Wheel where the party will continue. Festivities will start at the bon fire about 2:00 pm with the decorated parade heading out about 5.:00 pm, carrying Santa to the community center where the kids party will begin. The end of the parade signals the adults it is time to head for the Wheel for adult beverages.It should be a snowy landscape followed by one day of clear cold weather.

December 21, Friday, brings the Mayan world ending party at the Captain's Wheel Resort. There will be a ton of fun as tongue in cheek revelers wait for the stroke of midnight bringing on many more years of political strife and of course joy to all that live life like there will be no end. More on that later.

Christmas, December 25 will see Bayview shut down as families and friends celebrate, each their own way. 

Monday, December 03, 2012

Joe South R.I.P

Joe South left us a ton of original hits mostly written by himself. He had a distinctly different sound. Kind of a nasal deep south accent. Joe died September 6 of this year. He was well known with hits life "The games People Play," and " walk a mile in my shoes" and many others. For us old fogies that were young when he was, he will be missed. 1940-2012

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Amazing Grace ... In Cherokee

I ran across this when playing around with You Tube. This, probably the worlds most beautiful song, sung in Cherokee, with Cherokee words. Enjoy.

How about Inuit?