Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bad Moves in River City

It is not a good thing to be poor in Des Moines, Iowa. Poor as in working poor all the way to unemployed and broke. You see, there used to be some outlets for a guy who is bored but with not very much cash. You could go fishing along the river near downtown. Or walk some wooded trails along the river, taking in nature. There were some options for the not-so-rich and not-so-pretty folk, of whom there are a lot. Even if all you had was a broken-down jalopy or bus fare or a bike to get you to the river area – you still could enjoy the water and greenery.

But then at some point in time, the city fathers or powers that be decided they wanted a chic new sparkling riverfront. The first to suffer the consequences were the homeless people. All they wanted was to live simply, outdoors by the river. But the new trail-user class decided they were unsightly and had to go. All of a sudden, after around 150 years of being incorporated as a city, the powers that be insisted that the homeless pay “rent” or get out.

Oh sure, there is a splendid homeless shelter. You can make use of it if you reserve a bed by 6 PM, refrain from any use of alcohol and adhere to various other rules. (I'm sure the powers that be are not always refraining from alcohol use in their homes.) What they don't seem to understand is that for a certain subset of people, they cannot tolerate rules. They are not any kind of threat, but rather they want to make good the promise of living in “freedom.” Freedom to do what they want, even if it is destruction of their bodies through substance abuse. Who are others to tell them they cannot? They are adults, after all, making adult choices.

So the homeless were evicted from riverfront wooded areas. Then, the people who fish along both sides of the Des Moines River downtown were next to go. They left trash and dead fish, it was said. They were loud and obnoxious, it was said. We just can't have that next to our pristine walkers and joggers. So the fisher-people were forbidden to fish along the river. Another segment of the public was denied access to our river areas downtown.

Now, recently, they have removed the drive on the east side of the river as part of a beautification effort at the Botanical center. And barricaded portions of West River Drive. More areas of the river cut off from the simple folks. No, you have to own a dog and go to the dog park, or be a paying guest of the botanical center on the East side of the river. No longer can people drive to the riverfront to fish, or simply take a walk along the water and clear one's head. No, this is a new city now, a special city. Only the elite can go to areas formerly open to everyone.

I'm wondering when they will charge tolls to ride the bike trails, or do inspections of your bicycle to ensure it is up to the standards of some uptight committee. Inspect your person perhaps? We have become so risk-averse and panicky today, we cannot allow public access to our own 'wilderness' areas. This is an affront to the principles our nation was founded on, and an insult to the public who must pay taxes and obey rules, but is now denied the enjoyment of public areas. Bad moves, Des Moines. 

     - end

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Deflationary Trend

Gas prices drop at the pump,
give us all some happiness;
Natural gas also takes a dump,
helps maintain US consumer bliss.

Some other prices have dipped,
even though many remain high.
Beef buyers feel they are gypped,
small herds are a stated reason why.

But one object was never meant
to be deflated at a crucial time:
A Football is a key instrument,
Not tampered with, left sublime.

When 11 are deflated in one game,
the offending team is truly defamed!

They should all be ashamed.

- end.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Expensive lesson

The innocuous look on the young lady distracted me. As did her conversation about liking clothes. I thought, “OK, a bored young person, stuck working on a Saturday. Fine – whatever.”
She finally finished recording my purchases, then said, “Ok, you are done,” and I just moved on. She was obviously not very experienced at her job, or did not care. I missed the fact that she rang up a shirt twice.

So, after visiting with some friends in a nearby city, I returned to the huge outlet mall. I took my purchases and receipt in, and asked a kind young man who was at the register to take off the charge. He did so, without a problem. But he had removed the shirt from my bag to scan the tag, and then apparently forgot to return the shirt to my bag. There were other people coming up in line, and so on. So, after he had finished, I thanked him, and moved away, not aware that my nice new shirt was missing. I had neglected to make sure my shirt was returned to my sack, and he had apparently missed it too.

Lesson learned for me. An expensive lesson. Watch what they are doing, watch the amounts, and make sure you have your purchases in hand. For I have reached the age of easily lulled that all is well. The age I have to be doubly on guard. The age that the young think I am old and stupid (in the last case they would be right). I have reached the age of unfortunately needing to be constantly vigilant when making purchases.

I realize that you can't always trust retail situations. And it may be an innocent mistake on their part. Fatigue from checking people through all day, boredom, etc. I need to watch out for myself, and watch them. Unfortunate. It would have helped if a manager would have been around, keeping an eye on the employees and all there – they might have caught that.

Watch those clerks :-) 

 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book teaser

Thanks for taking a moment to check out my books for sale:

Experimental Tales www.createspace.com/4973862



A Strange Enterprise www.createspace.com/4281639


Shadow Intersection www.createspace.com/4113022

- and hope you have a good day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Frozen State

Politicians love to pontificate,
Sum up all their accomplishments;
They call this speech the “state of the state,"
Ignore the other party's admonishments.

The state of our state
would be first-rate
if only the subzero cold
would get gone post-haste.

Springtime will bring the best
that Iowa has to offer – bless
our winter-weary souls as much
as politician-free TV would impress!

Stay warm everyone.

- end

Friday, January 09, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

Terrorists fleeing a printing plant got shot full of holes today.
Good riddance to more of the scourge of humankind.
They don't stand a chance against democratic traditions;
Their hatred rages, uncaring and blind.

Freedom of expression, especially speech, is a cherished value of democracies. Even though it often seems  offensive, vile, repulsive and repugnant, nevertheless it is important to allow people this freedom. Dictatorships over time have tried to repress it, without success. They have fallen every time. Democracies, however, appear to have stood the test of time. 

The danger in the West seems to have been, up until now, a major corporate or political interest affecting the media, putting forth a too-conservative or too-liberal message. The terrorists in Paris showed us there is a greater threat to ourselves than each other!
     Fanatical religions that advocate violence are a real threat to us all, no matter what religion it is they claim. If they force their will upon the weaker members of society, using some supposed interpretation of a holy book, they are wrong. If they mutilate or torture women in the name of some pride or prophet, they are wrong. Religion and government should always remain separate – when someone tries to combine the two, disaster always seems to follow. Fanaticism is a threat to us all.

We all stand with France against the evil that these terror groups represent. I am glad they finally got the terrorists today, and am sorry that innocent lives had to be lost. I hope we can rid the world of these terror-pushing vermin and make it safer for everyone else. Time will tell. Thanks for reading.