Traveling perspectives

When we were in Belgium, President Bush came through. This was covered on the news there.

I know it must have been covered on the news here, too. Knowing what I know about the people and news coverage here, I can assume that the tone towards the president was rather negative.

But there, no one seemed to care that much. As much as we’d seen footage of people protesting the president.

But we didn’t see that there. No one really cared. The news, and there were about 2 channels of news in English from Britain, didn’t have anything particularly to say about it. They projected what sort of things might be said, but the tone was not particularly negative.

The news was actually more concerned about a recall of food that had a possibly cancerous dye.

There were a lot of things in the news that were very different than what we get here. This makes me trust the news even less.

The thing is, it takes a lot of work to keep up with current events. You have to read several newspapers every day.

But for the news you read to make sense, you have to have a body of previously acquired knowledge to rely upon to interpret what is beign said.

And NOW, it seems that the news we read is unreliable, anyway. That we have an america-centric media is no surprise. But even that media seems to be letting us down.

Dan Rather has retired in a scandal. His motto: False but accurate.

Sure, he can determine that his opinion is accurate based on hunches and invented proof?

I don’t appreciate that the people in charge of portraying facts have already interpreted them before they get to me.

And the other latest scandal…Eason Jordan resigned from beign the CEO of CNN. He went to the EU and made allegations about the military killing the embedded journalists while at war in the middle east.

WHAT?! Actually, we don’t know what exactly he said, because the transcript has been supressed.

What we do know is that Eason Jordan has resigned, without addressing the allegation. Also, there has been barely a peep about why he has resigned.


As I walk around my town, hearing political talk, I hear about how we can’t trust the government.


I hear things like this as a matter of course, and they are met with cheers and applause.

But I am much more concerned about the media that seems to be ‘deciding’ what we need to know.

We can change what is shown on the networks; we get to take our viewing attention away from different channels. What can we do to protest the mockery of news that is being shown?

I am disturbed by the attitude of “we know best” coming from the news media. I would rather they report the news without these hideos slants.

It’s very discouraging. Frankly, it makes me want to avoid the news altogether.

Belgium is the center of all kinds of trade

We just got back this afternoon from Belgium. Our most prominent souvenir was one I picked up on Monday, and that Chris picked up today.

_I_ thought I ate a bad waffle. Turns out it was bigger than that. The flu has been going around.

Poor Chris didn’t know he had it until we were landing in chicago. He tried to make it, but he ended up projectile vomiting in a corner of O’Hare.

The crew there was incredibly good natured about it. The guy came by and said, “Don’t worry about it; Don’t worry. It happens every day. Now today it’s over. Don’t worry about it.”

Chris felt bad that he’d messed up their hallway. But I think he felt worse that he still had to travel from Chicago to LAX.

Poor thing. He is sleeping.

oiu wheee!

My friends! Blog readers! I am leaving for a European vacation tomorrow! I’ll be in Belgium for a week.

And my blog will be blank. I’ll have lots to say when I get back though!

See you!

Happy Valentine’s Day- I’m in love!

I know it’s late…And the day is over for many of my readers. But happy valentine’s day, everyone!

I am happy and in love. I hope that other people have felt love today, too.

1 Corinthians 13
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Devin Brown- may God have mercy

This Sunday, in Los Angeles, 13-year-old Devin Brown was killed by 10 police bullets.

“Police said Devin ran a red light then failed to stop when police tried to pull him over for allegedly weaving between lanes in a Toyota Camry they later found was reported stolen. After a brief chase, the car ran up on a curb and stopped. Officer Steve Garcia, a nine-year LAPD veteran, got out of his cruiser, then fired 10 shots into the Camry when it backed toward his vehicle, officials said. It is unclear where Garcia was standing when he fired the shots.”

I heard an interview with a representative of the police department. He admitted that at the time of the shooting, the car was not reported as stolen. So the police officer shooting did not know that it was stolen. All that officer knew was that the car was backing towards him. And he shot to kill. Shot 10 times to kill.

This saddens me deeply.

When I first heard african americans making noise about America being a “terrorist state” for blacks, I thought they were being over-dramatic. But I stopped to listen.

The more I see and learn, the more I believe they are right. What’s going on around here is wrong, it’s evil, it’s nearly unbelievable.

We are not supposed to be like that. American values are directly the opposite of these kinds of actions.

And yet, this particular incident, which seems to call for city-wide mourning, is not even on the front page. It’s too common-place. Many people in the community are thinking, it happens too often to get upset about it.

I find it interesting that in this article, many people are asking, ‘Where was his mother? If he hadn’t have been out he wouldn’t have been shot.’

What? Are we supposed to assume that uniformed authorities have the right to shoot people for being outside after dark? That thought chills my blood. Fact is, we don’t have to assume anything. We have proof.

We have some cleaning up to do at home. Sure, there are troops in the Middle East. But charity begins at home, and we have to get our house in order.

The Rainbow flag needs to have black and white


Bremerhaven Zoo in Bremen … found that three of the zoo’s five penguin pairs were homosexual.

Keepers at the zoo ordered DNA tests to be carried out on the penguins after they had been mating for years without producing any chicks.

It was only then they realised that six of the birds were living in homosexual partnerships.

Director Heike Kueck said … that the birds had been mating for years and one couple even adopted a stone that they protected like an egg.

Maybe they should let that couple adopt?

Walmart and Unions

Walmart is notorious for union busting. They’ve taken measures to keep all unions out of their stores. Today, I heard on the radio that there had been a union finally formed in a Canadian Walmart, but that Walmart would be closed rather than allow a union to form.

Walmart has the pleasure and the pain of being the best at what they do, the first in the crowd. I don’t think that other stores are so much worse than walmart.

Walmart got to its level of prominence because it gathered together its buying power and leveraged it to get prices and products that were beneficial to it’s goals. They get the most amazing prices across the board.

That’s why people shop there.

Now, in a huge ironic twist, they want to keep that leveraging power all on their side. Unions are about a group of laborers, who individually might be insignifiant, banding together to demand things beneficial to them.

Guess what? That’s not fair. Walmart needs to know that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Whose budget items need to be changed? Store managers make more than the greeters do. And the corporate people are not making 7 bucks an hour.

There has to be a way. A way that is equitable. I challenge the corporation to find it.

if the pen is mightier than the sword, why are words so impotent?

1992-Yeltsin ends supremacy of Communist Party, privatizes state-run enterprises, guarantees free press; businessmen, mobsters begin to take over economy, massive corruption sets in

that’s ehat i found. that’s what this internet timeline had to say about life in russia in 1992.

those words seem so small and inadequate. I know that historical timelines that begin in the 800s have to be small and inadequate.

Everything they say is true. But it was so much more.

The AlCan Highway

I just finished watching the new PBS documentary about the making of the Alaska Canada Highway. This highway is very close to my heart. The first time I traveled it was in utero, and there were two more times after that.

And there was still a lot I didn’t know about how it was constructed. For example, the reason they are showing this documentary right NOW is because it’s black history month. And the highway was contructed by a lot of black engineers and regiments. It was really the first time the army had allowed black soldiers to be engineers and to operate big machinery.

I sure didn’t know that growing up in Alaska.

Building roads, building methods of transportation is a hugely important task. More than just tanks and trucks, the ability to transfer necessary things from one place to a far place is something we’ve been perfecting at higher and higher rates of success.

First it was trails, then horse and wagon trails. Ships cut distance over the waters, and then sails gave way to engines that could pull gargantuan loads.

Trains ate up the land. Then, because we moved away from the regimented standardization that trains required, we all got cars and built highways.

Let’s not forget planes. And sattelites.

At the moment, packages and information are shooting around the world at incredible rates, unthinkably fast and with a phenomenal success rate.

Did we do that? who did that? Was it us? Maybe it was.

Right now my meandering thoughts are being sent over the internet for anyone in the world to read. I live in America, where I am not censored, so those thoughts can flow and fly to anywhere in the world unchecked.

I was talking with Chris about how the Alcan highway was built, and I called out all the problems they were going to encounter before they hit them.

“Maybe the Russians would have known how to build a road over the permafrost,” I said.

But no. The Russians did not build roads. They gave up on the permafrost problem and stuck to planes. Planes flew in the goods for whoever lived far away.

When it was the monarchy, the technology wasn’t even there yet to need the roads built. They started the Siberian railroad, that’s as far as they got. Stuck on the standardization, no surprise.

But the Soviets didn’t avoid roads just because of the permafrost. They had concerns with the idea of allowing people access to get in their cars and just go somewhere. That sort of freedom was a bad idea in their minds. Keep people where there were, where you knew where to find them.

The ability to get around and the ability to get your deas and your stuff around is very powerful.

I am truly grateful for the men who build the Alcan highway. It got me around, that’s for sure.

Thinking about the big stuff I couldn’t see

So I’ve been working hard on my book. There are two basic sections to it: the first part where I am a pathetic teenager trying to be a grown up in my hometown in Alaska.

Yes, Alaska is America. Very much america, even if it is as weird a region as Faulkner’s south.

And the second part is in Russia, post-communist Russia.

The first part took a long time to write, and i learned a lot aboiut how I write things that are longer than 10 pages.

In pieces, more or less.

But I knew all along that I had to finish the part that was in america before I could move onto the part that was in Russia.

It was a whole new world. I couldn’t even think about it until I was done with the part in america.

I realized so many things about my life in my hometown. Because I’m not 18 anymore. I could see things taht were completely invisible to me at the time.

And now that I think about my time in Russia, I am terrified by what we did.

I realized that we walked into a time bomb waiting to happen. The people in the town had literally not been paid for 5 months. NO ONE IN THE TOWN HAD GOTTEN A PAYCHECK FOR FIVE MONTHS AT THE TIME WE ARRIVED.

Imagine a company town, in this case a communist town where the employer is the government, and the company just stops paying everyone? and they don’t say, hey, we’ll pay you soon. THey say, “We’re going to go over to new management. Only, we don’t know who these new managment will be. We only know for sure that they don’t have any ideas for the short term. Longer term, we don’t know either.”

No wonder they were warning all the americans to leave. If that had happened in a small american town there would be violence.

But in RUssia, they just kept going to work. They would talk about the situation over their vodka,cognac if they were educated class, and then laugh and lift their glasses again.

I have so much respect for the Russian people. They amaze me more and more the more I think aout it.