Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Living in the Tree House

Illustration by Stiles Designs. Visit the web site!

Making way for the hardwood-flooring boys!
by Charlie Leck

Running my life with less is what I’m trying to do this week.We’ve had to abandon our house. We won’t be able to get back in until, at least, the weekend. Our hardwood floors on the main level are being restored and refinished. They’ve not been attended to since we built our home in 1991. I had no idea what a mess it this process would be (is). There are massive amounts of extra fine dust everywhere – except on the newly sanded floors, of course, because those have been immaculately cleaned for the shiny finish that will now be put upon them.

In the meantime I can’t get to my loft-office to use my computer. My books and papers are all up there where I cannot go. I’ve got withdrawal shakes that this laptop computer, with no Internet connection, cannot cure. I’ll write this and then go off to a lovely little coffee shop (Crow River Coffee Company) in Watertown, where I can get wirelessly on-line to post this rambling.

Of course, I am worried that the world cannot get along without my vital postings. Afghanistan is a mess – the chaos that I long ago predicted – and the President is having trouble with the progressives in his party who don’t believe any real health care reform is possible without universal care or a public option at the very least.

Local Politics
I’m also supposed to be running a local political campaign here in my town. A scoundrel wants to be reelected to our city council and another scoundrel with a disreputable past wants to get elected. They’re both libertarian oriented guys who want to take government supervision out of just about everything. You know how these wingers think – that a property owner ought to be able to do whatever he wants on his own property – like draining his pickup’s oil directly on to the ground – or sticking a big out-building right on the property line in plain view of the house his neighbor just built so lovingly. They haven’t any regard for the wonder and importance of our natural wetlands and they think it is okay to randomly drain them, fill them and build upon them. Go ahead and do it when no one is looking. These guys want to get rid of our fine police department and they believe we could return to the vigilante days of volunteer deputies in charge of law and order with no supervision (or very little of it supplied by a county sheriff’s office that is 25 miles away). These guys don’t understand much about protecting the beautiful environment and open space that we have out here. They propose to allow property owners to make all the money they ever dreamed about, when they can chop up their land into tiny parcels where cheap, but profitable, little houses could be sticked together all over town.

So, our little town is under a serious threat right now. Winning is vital. I have a difficult time sleeping at night when I think about it. I push myself to do other things so that I can relax a little bit.

Fortunately, sports madness is consuming our state and this wonderful metropolitan region right now. The Twins finished the regular season tied for first place in their division and face a one game “play-in” this afternoon at 4 P.M.. The Vikes played the Packers last night and the whole state – and our neighboring state, Wisconsin – was crazy with anticipation while they waited for the nationally televised encounter. If you’re a football fan you know all about this passionate encounter between the Pack and the Vikes (with superstar Brett Favre in the middle of it). Our professional hockey team, The Wild, also started its season this week and this is, well, simply put, the State of Hockey you know.

I got lost in the Viking game last night and I expect to immerse myself in the Twins game this afternoon. That will mean a touch of relaxation for a while before the intensive work to save our town begins again.

Well, I’m about to put a last period on this rambling essay, but first I’ll take a quick glance at the newspaper.

The general population is getting more worried about this strange flu epidemic that crawls across the nation. A perfectly healthy little boy died from the disease a couple of weeks ago. He’d been loaded into an ambulance for a trip to the hospital and died before the vehicle could even begin the journey. He’s the seventh death from the disease in our state.

Support is growing to turn our horse race track, Canterbury Park, into a RACINO; that is, a combination racetrack and gambling casino that would provide huge amounts of income for the state government that might allow them to help the Minnesota Vikings build a new and wondrous stadium. It’s an issue I don’t care about one way or the other.

Republicans are all over Obama
The President foolishly threw himself into Chicago’s attempt to get the International Olympic Committee to bring the 2016 Olympics to the windy city. The Committee did not choose Chicago and somehow this becomes a vital catastrophe to the right-wingers. In his column this morning, Paul Krugman calls the Republicans “a party of spite.”

The President of Alina Health Care and Hospitals, one of the giants in the industry began a column that ran in today’s newspaper with a powerful couple of sentences. Then the rest of the column trailed off to mediocrity and seemed to avoid his own opener.

“I want everyone to have health insurance and access to health care service. Health care is a right, not a privilege. The United States is a country built on capitalism and self-reliance; yet compassion valued in equal measure. My neighbor who was laid off deserves coverage, the ingle mother without benefits deserves coverage, and the poor, disabled individual with a preexisting condition deserves coverage – plain and simple.”
Nevertheless, Kenneth H. Paulus, who wrote the above statement, makes it pretty clear he opposes a public option that would compete with his company.

Enough then!
"Enough then," as we say around here in Minnesota. Don’t worry, I’ll be back in my office by Friday and then I’ll be able to put together some respectable blog themes.

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