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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And Now Back To Our ..............

Good morning everyone. I hope you enjoyed the brief interlude into the adventures of L. Andrew C, gentlemen philosopher and adventurer. I hope to be able to continue his adventures at a later date. So any feedback as to interest or enjoyment or even if you felt it was a waste of time please feel free to comment.

I hope that the absurdity of the writing was a nice break for people from all the stress in the news with the health care debate and Iran playing around with nukes and General Macrystal (sp?) calling for more troops in Afghanistan. I really am truly glad to be back on the train and able to blog again. While last week was a good one and beneficial in terms of getting work done and for the future of VOTE Oregon (Protecting the Electorate since 2009), as well as a shorter commute. I really missed the time I have on the train to sit and write and share my thoughts with my readers.

I know some of you read this everyday and I am thankful for that. Those of you who read me every few days I am thankful for that as well. I just had some thoughts about last week. I would say that I was in the minority in the room. Not in terms of race or religion but in terms of politics. You see this was a predominately conservative group of people. The room demographics seemed to break down like this. The majority of volunteers being both Seniors and Republicans. Then there was one or two, at most, senior Democrats followed by some middle-aged Republicans and then some younger college age Republicans. Now where does that leave me? Well I am an registered Oregon Independent Party member. So I found most of the discussions pretty interesting.

But I want to step away from the political positions of the people and just take a look at the people in the room. What we had was a very diverse group of people who took the time to volunteer in this effort. There were ex-military men, School teachers, farmers, housewives, small business folks as well as college students. What tied all of these people together was their belief in the Oregon System. In Oregon the referendum system is often the only way that the minority can be heard in Government. Some would argue that the system is to messy and results in laws that are not needed and often wasteful.

I would counter that the nature of Democracy is such that it is messy and sometimes wasteful but to me that is the beauty of it as well. We live in a country and state that lives and sometimes thrives under a system that allows for consistent periodic change. I like that. I like that eight years ago for many liberals America was being destroyed before their very eyes. Then the two terms of President Bush ended and now President Obama is in charge and for many conservatives America is being destroyed before their eyes.

Now I am not saying that there are not problems in today's government. Because we all know that there are. But what I am saying is that, for me at least, there is always hope. Because change is always coming around the bend. I look at the makeup of Congress today and remember that several years ago it looked entirely different and after a certain amount of time people grew fed up with it. The grew tired of the actions of Congress and they voted them out. Sure, the pundits on TV said it was a new mandate. I think it was a mandate but it was a mandate for new people and hopefully new behavior in office. Now today's Congress seems to have missed the message and people seem to be getting fed up again. I think soon there will be another change coming. I hope this change wakes some politicians up and makes them realize that this isn't about party politics but about ethical behavior and a responsibility to make America a better nation.

Because for the citizens of this land the only real option for us is to continue to vote out the politicians we do not agree with and vote in those we hope will do a better job. So just remember people when it seems darkest, when it seems like the future of our country is at stake, when it feels like you have no voice. there is change coming. There is change built into the system and by believing in the change and allowing for it to work we can make America a better place. So just hang in there folks.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thus Spake.........

Oh! I see you survived the onslaught my friend. Why are you cowering under a seat? Whats that you say? You slipped whilst jumping from seat back to seat back emulating my fighting style. How very brave of you to attempt such a maneuver. Your sure you did not swoon like the ladies you were supposed to be guarding. Now, now, no reason to be angered. As you can see we are ok. The train is moving along nicely and the brigands are dealt with. Pardon? Oh that, dripping from my blade? Why the blood of a brigand of course. I trust you did not think I was going to greet them with a hug and perhaps a polite political discussion about the error of their ways. I would never do such a thing. In fact the first one to attempt to board was spit upon my blade. In fact I recall as I ran him through I heard a low pitched wailing from behind me back amongst the women. You are sure that was not you...........

Well never mind we are safe and the problem has been dealt with. Oh the blood coming from my shoulder? That is just a flesh wound. Nothing to be concerned with. Come now, show me how you jumped from seat to seat fighting off the brigands. Oh, now do not be shy. I long to see such a performance. I understand your hesitation it is often hard to reenact something that never happened. Oh it did happen! I see. Were there, perhaps, any witnesses to your feats of daring do? Hmmmm, I see, there were not.

Oh! Perish the thought, I would never call a gentleman such as yourself a liar. Why I hesitate to even utter the word. What do you mean, I just uttered the word? Well, of course, I did but that was just as a example. I warn you sir you do not want to bandy words about with one such as myself.......I will leave you to think on that. Good Day Sir!!

That being said L. Andrew C turned flinging his cape with a flourish and strode away. Several women swooned as he strode past but he paid them no mind. His mind was occupied with other things today.

I am glad to be back on the train.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I just want to apologize for the lack of updates. It is not that I do not want to write. Because I do but the work we are doing right now is taking place entirely off of the computer and is also as I mentioned before off of the train line as well. But, I promise I will return to touch bases a little bit like I am doing now and that on Monday I fully intend to return with a new installment of the serial I have been working. I know it is a bit different then my usual stuff and I hope you are enjoying it. I also hope some of the new readers I seem to have picked up thanks to CT are enjoying it as well.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Word From Our Sponsors

Due to the nature of the work this week. There may be some blogging but there going to be no train riding. So things should get back to normal next week as the train rides began again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fogbanks? How do I make a deposit?

Welcome my friend. I see you have decided once again to join me. I am glad you are here. Despite your obvious physical inadequacies, for you see it is foggy today and within the fog lies all manner of beastie. I know you think me crazy when I tell you this but it is true. There are the remains of unwary passengers up and down this rail line to give truth to my tale.

For you see with the fog comes a lowering of visibility and the engineer must then slow the speed of the train to compensate for that. It is all very simple and one that most true gentlemen would have learned in school so I apologize if the logic of this escapes you. Now where was I? Oh yes, with the train moving slower this allow all manner of ruffian both human and animal to make an attempt at what they see as a rolling buffet. A rolling buffet that will allow them to satiate themselves upon the blood of the weak and the innocent! That is where you and I come in my friend. For as we both know I am neither weak nor innocent! Ho, Ho, you blush and I hesitate to tell you more but just know this that were I to tell the tales the ribaldry within would cause yon maidens ears to redden and her breath to quicken but that is a story best told at another time.

Back to the matters at hand. We must needs look most alert as the train goes into a corner. This is where matters are likely to come to a head. I will charge you with standing watch of the elderly and the feminine whilst I repel any and all attempted boarders. Oh! I know you believe yourself capable but I do not need you gumming up the works believe me. I am an old hand at such events and am looking forward to the attempt. You would be best suited amongst the petticoats and the lace as when the screaming starts the lower pitch of your voice will make it easier for me to hear you and assist.

Do not be ashamed by your screaming. Many men greater then you have been left screaming when faced with the ruffians that assault this train. Many men greater then you have been left bleeding on the floor as their ability to protect themselves was lost when the violence began. So fear not. I shall be at your side and protect your virtue. The train will not stop so we must just keep the hosts at bay and we shall be through and safe in no time. Wait!! Did you hear that? To your post man, for it has begun...........................................

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Of Tea and Strumpets"

Oh I see you have decided to return and join me in a trip up the rails. North to........NO! Not north to Alaska. Why in the world would one want to go to such a state. You may as well move to darkest Africa. I have heard it tell that in Alaska they have mosquitoes that will carry off a small child. The men there sport enormous beards that go down to the middle of their chest or further and are infested with all manner of rodents. Why I met one fellow that had an angry squirrel in his beard. It was absolutely horrifying I can tell you.

So where were we? Oh yes! Welcome back to the train. I hope this trip is less stressful for you. I see you have brought along a stout walking stick. That is good to see. If needs be the stick will double quite nicely as a thwacking club. Not that I think we will need one. Never fear on that account my friend. I am well versed in all manner of manly arts and I fear no man or beast. If any foul fiends were to try to board the train I would have at them with a vengeance. You would be better off hiding under a seat perhaps. You do not seem muscular and I can tell by the way that you move about that you are all kinds of clumsy.

Now, now no reason to get your feelings hurt. One must be practical when it comes to ones own protection. Oh leaving again so soon? I understand. Have a safe and pleasant day sir and I hope we meet again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Leaves are Falling, Come Down is Calling"

I realize that yesterdays post was pretty dark and if you were or are a first time reader thanks to my friend Christopher linking me from Word Around The Net I just want to let you know that I am not usually so dark. I mean there are times where the music I listen to and the movies I like would lend one to think that I operate in some sort of gothic fog but those rumors are untrue. Well mostly untrue. I do like a good crushed velvet jacket preferably black or dark red and I would wear some dark eye shadow if I could get away with it.

I am after all riding the train and as I have noted before riding the train is what gentlemen do. I would also wear either a nice powdered wig or a hat. It would depend of course upon the season and perhaps what ever festive event that I had been invited to attend. If the weather was dry I would be with out my top coat but I would have my cane and my hat as I entered the train car. But in times of inclement weather I would need my splendid top coat and I would need my manservant to follow me with my umbrella. A gentlemen does not carry his own umbrella oh no. Indeed carrying your own umbrella would get you banished to the luggage car on my train.

Gentleman only please in my cabin. Perhaps you would like a nice glass of sherry or port to sip as we glide almost magically along the rails. What's that you say? This is your first time aboard the train. Well, then by all means take a seat and gaze out the windows as we roll along. No need to fear bandits on this route sir as the Kings men have long cleared the tracks of any obstacles that may have lain in our path. Besides, I have my trusty sword cane and flint lock to defend us. What do you mean you have no weapon? Why a true gentleman always travels armed. What would you if we happened upon a ruffian or perhaps a young damsel in distress? One must be prepared for all events. One never knows the obstacles that life may throw in their path. Oh do not look downcast sir! I did not mean to shame you. I only mean for you to be educated upon the path of a gentleman. Oh you must leave the train? Fare thee well, I shall see you anon.

Thus ends today's adventures in the mind of the gentleman philosopher L. Andrew C. He will return tomorrow with more tales of adventure and ribaldry upon the tracks of Oregon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Let The Grey Geese Fly"

It is a dark and dreary day today. Which right now fits my mood perfectly. I am not angry. I am more sad then anything else. It is not something I can write about right now and those of you who know me in meat space I will let you know what is going on soon enough.

The world is never constant people and things change on a regular basis. When you look at things at their atomic level things are slowly decaying on a regular basis. So even though I would like to think that I can rise above such things the sad truth is that I can not. That none of us can. That as much as we like to think we have a modicum of control in our lives it just isn't true. There are forces at work that are much bigger then we are and those forces move and cause action and reaction that we are unable to stop or even slow down.

I am going to stop now before this spirals down into the darkest depths of Mordor. Because believe me I can go there.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Civil Discourse

I listened to the Presidents speech last night about health care reform. It was interesting to me in several ways. I do not think anyone would argue that something needs to change in terms of health care in America. It seems like the argument starts when you begin to discuss how to pay for it and who it covers. In fact during the Presidents speech what caused the most stir was when he said that his plan would not cover illegal immigrants.

That surprised me. Not because people disagreed though the vocal nature of the disagreement did. I thought South Carolina Rep Joe Wilson was out of line when he yelled out "You Lie". I understand being upset and disagreeing but his response did not seem appropriate for the location of the speech. Had it been a formal debate I would have expected it more. I would have expected more of a response when the President said that the people who had talked about the existence of death panels were liars.

The response or lack of response by the Republicans surprised me. I really thougt they would jump on him for calling people liars to there face. I wonder if Sara Palin was still Governor of Alaska if there would have been any response because there just wasn't. Also and I have not seen it attacked much so far today but I am sure that it will happen as the day goes on. I was surprised when President Obama said that his plan would not add one dime to the deficit. I mean come on. Not one dime! That is really not even a plausible position.

Lets at least be logical about the cost of this purposed plan. As far as I am concerned the cost does not bother me. I think we are wasting a large amount of money within the defense industry and if we juggle some of it around then the health plan could happen with out it bankrupting America. But to say that it will not add a dime to the deficit is just plain bad math. I hope the numbers shake out better as more discussion happens on the issue but I will be surprised if this plan doesn't end up costing us qute a large amount of money.

I would love to have a discussion about this issue. the pros and the cons, the nuts and bolts of why and why not it would be a good idea. But, what I am not interested in is having an argument about it. So please if you read this silly little blog of mine. It doesn't matter to me if you are pro or con on the issue but lets talk about it. Lets see where we differ and why we differ. Lets see how big the differences are and if we can reach some common ground on it. But, lets discuss it. I do not want to shout and sto stomp my feet. I want to have a conversation. I am willing to be wrong. So please share with me your thougts on the issue of Health Care reform in America.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Between The Rails

Good morning gentle readers I hope you are looking forward to yet another installment of my adventures on the transit rail system of Northwest Oregon. It was a cloudy drive up today without the low lying fog that I enjoyed so much yesterday. But I did see a couple of interesting things on the way up. The first thing that I noticed was a hot air balloon floating through the sky. What I find interesting about the hot air balloons as a whole is that from the ground they seem to drift along so silently. But when they release gas to inflate the balloon and to keep it aloft it is really quite a noisy process.

The other thing I noticed was a semi truck with an open trailer full of chickens. That is correct, you heard me. The trailer was full of cages of chickens and they were white chickens. That was a surprise let me tell you. I know it makes sense for them to be transported that way but I do not know if I have ever seen a full chicken transport before.

hmmmm, lets see in legal news we had a hate crime at the house this week as our black button quail Onyx appears to have killed our white button quail Milky. Needless to say the wife and I were saddened by Milkys passing. We are still not sure what caused the violence we think overcrowding may be an issue in the cage. But, we have not had problems like this before. But when we saw Onyx go after another bird we caught her and put her in isolation. So we are trying to figure out what the correct response should be. I am thinking we have have her make little tiny license plates.

But, on to my observations about todays passengers. The couple with the Christmas dog are not here and they have been replaced by what apears to be a young business woman. She reminds me of the Cake song about "short skirt and a long jacket". I wish I could remember the name of the song. But, she is wearing a brown skirt and a matching brown jacket and appears to be headed to the office. A bit furthur down the car is a young hispanic fellow wearing a Southpole sweatshirt and baggy pants. He is bald and has his labret pierced (the space below the lower lip and above the chin). He is bald and if it was not for the peircing he would look like your sterotypical latino gang banger. I have no real way to tell aside from his clothing. The rest of the train appears to have the usual people. There is a blonde lady with short hair that the last two trips has had to literally run for the bus when the train stops. I do not think she has been successful in catching her bus. I think she asked the conducter to go faster today.

The car is pretty quite today. The passengers seem content to sit and look outside the window or close their eyes. It is very green outside and that is nice to see and there is a chill in the air. But the temprature in the train car is comfortable for me. Which probably means that it is cold for others. It will be interesting to see the leaves change color as we move into the fall. I need to start taking some pictures to document the changes.

In political news the Surpreme Court is hearing a case today a campaign finance and freedom of speach. It is going to be interesting to see how this plays out because depending on their ruling it could undo, I believe, two decades worth of campaign finance law including the, much hated by conservatives, McCain-Feingold act. Right now the issue is a 90 minute film that a conservative group wanted to put out during the last Presidential primarys attacking Hillary Clinton. The problem with the film was not the content but it was how the film was funded. Had the film been funded by a PAC, political action committee, it would have been fine but it was funded by general funds funds from a union and that is illegal under the present set up. But as long as corporations are thought of as individuals there seems to be a hook to challenge the ruling.

I personally think that there should be limits to how much anyone can give to a candidate. It matters not to me if they are an individual or a group. I think limiting the amount of money serves to level the playing field and take some of the strength away from the incumbent who may have greater access to funding because of the connections that they have made while in office.

Well that is it for today. I hope you have a good one.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Misty Morning Hop

As I left Salem this morning the sun was beginning to shine and there was a low lying fog that was ribboning through the trees. It was a really lovely morning. One that I like to think of as Lord of the Rings weather. That was a nice start to the day but as I moved further and further up I-5 the ribbons of fog became an overall grey. But I can see the blue sky trying to peek through and shine on us,

I am sitting in the train car listening to the couple that is sitting across from me talking about different things. But, what is drawing my attention to them is that they have a small Jack Russell terrier with them in a red Christmas sweater. I am not sure what to make of it. The dog is not barking but he is not a work dog for sure. I do not even know what train policy is on animals. On the MAX dogs must be carried in a carrier. But it appears that the WES has a different policy. It isn't that I dislike dogs but I feel that dogs should be like children, kept on a leash. Though I have to admit that this dog is better behaved then most of the children I have ridden with on the train.

This looks to be an interesting week at work as we are moving into the final stretch on this particular petition drive. While there is no way to predict the future I am pretty confident that we have enough signatures to get this measure to the ballot. It is going to be interesting for me to watch what goes on concerning this tax issue as we move toward the time for voting. I think that the propaganda thrown around by both sides is going to be very interesting. I can hardly wait I hope that this takes some of the thunder away from the health care debate at least in Oregon.

Monday, September 07, 2009

No Train

Since it is Labor Day today the WES train is not running. So I will not be posting today. I am driving myself to Portland like a commoner. Oh the shame.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Back on the Track!

Hey folks. I am sorry that I have not been writing much lately. The job I am working is moving closer to a finish date and I have been a little busier then I have in the past. So I have been reading on the train rather then writing about my adventures.

I just noticed a strange thing today. Two guys in a truck with a covered canopy drove into the Wilsonville Transit Center parting lot and pulled a bicycle out of the back of it. I watched one walk away while the other climbed on the bike and rode off in the same direction. Hmm, I thought they must be heading for the train. But they just came back minus the bicycle and drove off in the truck. I must admit to being confused by this. I can only assume that they were dropping the bike of for someone but it would have not occured to me at first look. Now that I think about it I recall seeing the same truck in the past I am going to have to pay more attention to it to see if it is dropping off the same bike or what is going on.

I know it probably gets old me continuing to trumpet the horn of public transit. But, I am going to do it anyway, in the last month or so as I have ridden the train and taken the MAX in Portland I really have say that I enjoy it. I enjoy the peace of mind it brings me. I enjoy that it allows me to have a relativly short drive to the station. I like that it allows me to follow my own personal thoughts on how much driving I am doing and lets me take my car off of the freeway.

I just hope that Woodburn and Salem are seeing what good the WES is doing and are beginning to realize that it would benefit both of those communities to look toward a rail system of some sort. A rail system that at the very least would connect the WES to Woodburn and Salem for transit purposes. That being said I want to lay out my idea for Salem to make the downtown a more viable place for shopping and for people to live. Because right now the downtown core of Salem is dying a slow death and putting in overpriced Condos is not solving the problem.

This is the plan. North of Salem is Keizer Station a shopping center that is really an eyesore as far as I am concerned but imagine if there was a train or trolley running from the station and down River Road into downtown. There used to be street cars in Salem. I say we bring them back. What if we took a 6 block square or bigger around downtown and made it car free. Only trolleys and people walking perhaps a few of those ricshaw things. We could bypass around the downtown using Front St on one side and something else on the East. But in one fell swoop downtone becomes a place where people go to walk and to shop to sit outside in the summer and eat and have coffee. Because right now it is a place that people sail through. I am sure there are obstacles to my idea but I really think that this could make Salem a more liveable place for all of us.

Please tell me your thoughts. I would love to hear them.