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Opinions

Great Aussie ideas

Walkin'

As I write this we are on our last day of our visit with Lisa and Alan, Sabra’s sister and brother-in-law, who live in Brisbane.
We stayed the first three nights at their house and used the days to explore the city by bicycle and foot. Then we traveled about 60 miles north to an area known as the Sunshine Coast, where Lisa and Alan have a beach house, soon to be a retirement home. Located on an estuary, the house was a short walk, or swim, to the ocean.

But what does it mean?

Food for Thought

It’s been well over a year since I first joined a poetry writers’ group. We call ourselves The Poetry Gang, though I’m not sure why. Possibly it’s some sort of rebellion against being stuck with a name more lofty or esoteric. I was not invited to help decide on a name for the group, and I don’t know whose brainchild it was, but I rather like it. It sounds like a group that Carl Sandburg might have joined, no nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is, frank and earnest.
Pun intended. You want to watch out for me, one of my favorite poets was a master at word-play, and so I sometimes emulate.

Crikey on an eskie

Walkin'

We’ve now been in Australia for nearly a week and I’m still finding it all a bit disorienting.
Starting the moment we drove away from the Brisbane airport, the first thing that jarred me was how the traffic– auto, bicycle and pedestrian– was all on the wrong side of the road. It’s confusing and dangerous. While I haven’t had a chance to drive yet, in just a few days I’ve managed to walk into several people and caused cars to come to screeching stops as they dodge me toddling about on a bicycle, or as the Aussies say, “on a bikie.”

Paradise in Hawaii

Walkin'

We are on day number three in paradise.
Thankfully Hawaii is living up to its reputation, because it wasn’t easy getting here. A United delay out of Cedar Rapids led to a change of airlines, which led to additional delays and a change of route, which led to an 11 p.m. arrival, 3 a.m. Iowa time, and no luggage. But we were here!

Dancing and dreaming

Food for Thought

I remember when dancing used to be something people did for exercise and recreation, not just a spectator sport as it appears to be rapidly turning into. My parents went out in the evening occasionally for dinner and, for many years, to dance afterward. By the time I was a young adult, people went out to hear bands, and dancing was mostly reserved for special occasions such as proms, wedding receptions, anniversary parties and New Year’s Eve. It used to be a New Year’s Eve tradition to watch Guy Lombardo and his orchestra on television broadcasting from New York City.

Alphabetical turns

Food for Thought

A recent proposal to introduce something known as J-turns on Iowa’s busier highways seems to have brought about a great many more objections than anticipated. I suppose Iowans, who think the state is pretty much okay just as it is, don’t like to see any dramatic changes, be it weather, politics, fishing regulations or highway designs.

Minimum wage reflections

Walkin'

Minimum wage when I first punched a time card in 1966 at the News Agency was a buck-25 an hour.
The work was fairly hard and dirty, or more accurately, inky.
I was one of dozen boys called “stuffers.”

Cerebral housecleaning

Food for Thought

I’ve never been very good at making, or keeping, New Year’s resolutions, mostly because I already have more things I OUGHT to do than things I WANT to do. Thus, I am taking a different approach this year and getting rid of some of them, rather than adding to the burden.

Traveling whirlwind

Sabra and I have been on a whirlwind driving tour visiting family this holiday season.
I can’t help but feel a little guilty driving long distances.
The burning of fossil fuels is causing all sorts of problems from political instability; to global warming; to making Texans, who otherwise might not be able to handle a job at McDonald’s, insanely rich. I’m all for taxing gasoline heavily and using the proceeds to build sustainable renewable energy for our country and world. In the meantime, we like to travel like everyone else, especially when gas is selling for $2 a gallon.

Christmas Eve magic

Food for Thought

My parents were geniuses at making childhood magic for my sisters and me. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I wanted to have several children so I could have the fun of creating the wonderland for them, watching them learn and grow and thrive in a secure and rich environment similar to what I had known. The world changed a lot in the quarter century between my childhood and theirs, however. Iowa City was a very different place in 1959 than Knoxville had been in 1936 when my earliest memories begin.

Merry Christmas

Walkin'

One of my earliest Christmas time memories is melting crayons with my cousin Suzzie on an exposed heating duct outside our apartment at the Glenview Naval Air Base. Originally designed to be living quarters for pilots, the buildings were turned into low-income housing through the Chicago Housing Authority.

Spying on Santa

Food for Thought

When I was still young enough to have that unshakable faith in the Christmas myth, we lived in a house that had a coal furnace in the basement and the heat it produced depended on gravity to get it where it was wanted. Needless to say, without an automatic fan or duct work to the upstairs bedrooms, gravity didn’t always produce the desired effect. The ground floor rooms had big square metal grates near the walls closest to the furnace below. These were fed the warm air through large ducts that came as straight as possible from the furnace itself.