Thursday, September 30, 2004

Stay The Course?

I thought of a cartoon idea, while talking to a friend. Car driving toward a brick wall with driver saying, "stay the course."

My friend said I should submit a cartoon to the Bellingham Weekly. My illustration skills are marginal at best, but it's and idea.

Then another friend entered the conversation.

He said, "that was today's political cartoon in the Bellingham Herald."

What a co-incidence. No I hadn't seen the Herald yet.

The Herald cartoon was not a car, but a boat headed for the waterfall. One rower says, "I'm staying the course" while the other says, "We could use a flip-flopper." Cartoon was by a Mike Luckovich, from Atlanta Journal Constitution.

A coincidence indeed.

I like the idea of changing course, in theory, rather than always being bull headed. On the other hand, I don't necessarily think the US should "get out of Iraq yesterday, if not sooner."

On the Iraq war, I have always been a "fence sitter."

Like "flip-flopper," "fence sitter" is another thing that some people don't like.

There are arguments in favor of trying to bring some sort of democracy to Iraq as well as arguments against it.

Being decisive may be impractical, for me, at least.

How is that for hedging everything?

By the way, tonight is the first presidential debate between Kerry and Bush. While I lean in favor of Kerry, I don't see Bush as the embodiment of evil. Both Kerry and Bush plan to stay in Iraq, for the time being at least.

On the other hand, it's not a very good situation. Someone needs to introduce new ideas, like reducing our dependency on foreign oil.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

My visit to Smith Tower in Seattle

Ornate ceiling in the Chinese Room, Observation lounge of Smith Tower, Seattle. Hang out in the lounge, or walk around observation deck. A 7 story penthouse apartment is in the pyramid above. It is private.

See more of my Smith Tower Photos

But Smith Tower is bigger than a house

Another tourist was amazed that this landmark skyscraper sold, in 1996, for only $13 million dollars. The way Seattle home prices are going, it wouldn't be too many years before one bedroom houses are $13 million!

I budded into the conversation and stated that this is a sign of our times. Residential real estate has inflated way ahead of other economic things, such as commercial real estate. Must be a sign of our selfish, narcissistic times. A lot of economic effort just goes into where people live.

Commercial property can be less expensive, by comparison, because it also brings with it the costs of running a business.

Smith Tower is being run very well these days, managed by a non profit foundation related to Jewish education and environmental preservation. They also have some properties in Pioneer Square. One could call this "good stewardship."

The guide, at top of the tower, also pointed out that Smith Tower was a "fixer upper." $30 million had to be invested in upgrades for wiring, pluming, safety and other things. This was done soon after purchase.

Now, the observation lounge is a nice asset in downtown Seattle that is open to the public. Ticket price for the elevator, $6, last I knew.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Kerry; Flip Flop or Flexibility

Presidential Candidate John Kerry gets a lot of flack for, supposedly, being a flip flop on issues. In other words, occasionally modifying, or updating his position.

Flip flop, or flexibility?

If Bill Gates never changed his tune, wouldn't we still be using the early versions of DOS?

Kerry defends himself, saying he really isn't a flip flopper.

Isn't that letting the Bush people set the agenda? Who invented the concept that changing one's position, every once in a while, is necessarily bad? Even a military strategist will realize that plans evolve as circumstances change.

Is this flip flop or flexibility?

Kerry does get a lot of flack for flip flop, but maybe he can say, "Flexibility." All these words do start with an "F."

Some people might think I am just trying to put a good spin on a dangerous thing.

I still have to ask, "who ever said one must always be rigid?" "Isn't it good to turn the wheel when one is headed straight into a brick wall?" Even for the sake of our nation's defense, flexibility can be an asset.

What kind of building withstands an earthquake? Rigid brick or flexible steel?

Bush probably would say, "that's an irrelevant question."

I would ask, "why is that irrelevant?" Who are we allowing to set the agenda for discussion?

Maybe flip flop isn't the end of the world. To put a better spin on this, call it flexibility.

Of course none of the candidates has hired me as a consultant.

No wonder we get politics as usual.

I still vote for Kerry, but we really do need new paradigms for the discussion.

Yes, I am a little tired of hearing Kerry and Bush keep regurgitating that Vietnam War as a campaign issue.

Defending the homeland is important, but who said flexibility, in strategy, is bad?

Maybe Fundamentalists!

Aren't we trying to prevent fanatical fundamentalists from harming us? Why do we let them set the agenda?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Picture Boulevard Park walkway, Bellingham

The new walkway south of Bellingham's Boulevard Park is done. Connects the park to the old Taylor Street Dock. I don't use it often if I am just trying to bike to the south side of town. Crowded with strollers, I only use it if I am in the mood to take in the view; poke along. For a more pragmatic bike commute, I use access road out of the south end of the Boulevard Park parking lot. Then head south on Tenth back to the trail.

This is not a normal rock, seen between the shoreline and the new walkway south of Boulevard Park. Early in Bellingham's history (so I heard) a big cannery swept tin out the back door, over a period of years. The pile bacame a tiny tinflake island.

One can swim out to this island, but the flakes of metal are sharp. It is easy to get cut sticking your hands here.